A 10-day private tour of Ladakh. A gently paced itinerary for travellers to India who wish to explore the beautiful mountain Kingdom of Ladakh. Discover the unique people, culture, climate and landscapes of Ladakh, and experience a part of India that stands in stark contrast to everywhere else that you will see and experience in India. Discover incredible mountain monasteries, marvel at the high-altitude dessert landscapes and discover the warm and welcoming Ladakhi people, and learn about their unique culture they value so greatly.
With longer stays at authentic and boutique accommodation in Ladakh, this itinerary has been crafted to take into account the need to acclimatise when travelling in Leh and Ladakh. It is also designed so that there’s less unpacking and shifting of hotels, with time for you to settle in and enjoy the special boutique accommodation of Ladakh included in this tour. This easy-paced itinerary gives time to enjoy the accommodation and to immerse yourself in the places you visit, as well as the local activities to be experienced there.
An ideal private tour of India for those that have visited India before, for visitors wanting to travel in the Himalayas and experience the beauty of this mountain region, or for those with an interest in Buddhism. To truly appreciate the diversity of travel in India, we recommend adding a tour of Rajasthan to a tour of Ladakh – providing you with the opportunity to experience two individually beautiful, but completely contrasting parts of India. This itinerary can also be modified if you are wishing to travel and experience one of the authentic festivals of Ladakh, such as the Hemis Festival.
Day 1 Leh
Arrive in Leh. There are several morning flights from Delhi direct to Leh airport. As you arrive in Leh, if you are lucky enough to have a window seat, you will catch your first glimpse of the incredible Himalayan mountains. Hold your breath as the pilot descends into Leh, turning left through the mountains and landing at approximately 3,500 metres above sea level. Our local representative will meet you upon arrival and transfer you to your hotel in Leh.
This afternoon is for rest. Many travellers make the mistake of doing too much too soon when they arrive in Ladakh. Given the high altitude of this region, it’s crucial to rest initially when you arrive to avoid altitude sickness. We will provide you with some tips for travelling in Ladakh separately.
Day 2 Leh
A restful morning at your hotel. When you take a tour of Ladakh, you’ll notice the thinner mountain air and should expect that for the first few days you’ll have less energy and will naturally feel like resting. We encourage you to take it easy during your first few days in Leh, to allow your body to get used to the high altitude climate. This morning you have free time to relax at your hotel. A great time to catch up on that book you have been meaning to read, or to listen to a podcast. You may simply feel like resting.
In the afternoon, an initial introduction to Leh, with a gentle-guided walk through Leh town. See the evening central market, where women in traditional dress come each evening to sell local vegetables and produce, such as the apricots or apples grown seasonally here. The main market of Leh has been refurbished in recent years. It is the heart of this town and a picturesque place, with its pretty paved, car-free streets where prayer flags of many colours fly overhead and the Leh monastery creates a spectacular backdrop. Take a gentle stroll through the market, with its street vendors, small boutiques and souvenir shops and see the many cafes and restaurants that populate this pretty town.
Day 3 Leh
A full day of sightseeing in Leh. Today’s activities led by your local guide will include a visit to Leh monastery, which sits atop a hill overlooking the main town, see the white Peace Pagoda of Leh and spend some time exploring the Central Asian Museum.
In the evening you may wish to venture back to the main bazaar for another stroll along the promenade, and shop for souvenirs at the many interesting stores in town. There are also a number of cafes or restaurants where you can enjoy the view of Leh town and monastery and enjoy a meal.
Day 4 Nimoo
Depart for Alchi today, stopping en route to visit Basgo Fort. Set in the small settlement of Alchi, this ancient monastery is unique for the influence of Kashmiri art versus the pure Tibetan style prevalent in most of the other monasteries you will visit in Ladakh. A small monastery, inside you will discover ancient, and beautiful paintings that line the walls of the monastery, and date back to the 11th century. These paintings are some of the most impressive temple or religious art we have seen in all of India over decades of travel. The colourful paintings are well preserved and internationally recognised for their beauty and sacredness, and depict both religious and secular stories. The monastery is surrounded by a white-washed brick wall and features pretty courtyards where apple and apricot trees blossom and the colourful Buddhist prayers flags turn in the breeze, with the clear-blue high mountain sky as a backdrop. After visiting the monastery, savour Ladakhi cuisine with lunch at a local restaurant where you can taste the delicious local brown bread served hot and fresh with locally made jam, and other dishes such as momos. Alchi also has many small vendors, who line the winding path to the monastery and sell Tibetan handicrafts and jewellery, should you wish to have a little meander through their stalls.
Afterwards, continue on to Nimoo. For the next three nights, stay at Nimmu House, a lovingly restored, boutique eco-resort of traditionally Ladakhi architecture and style, where food and the local area are an important aspect of your stay. Unpack and settle in upon arrival, as you are sure to truly enjoy this longer stay and authentic Ladakhi accommodation. Once a royal house dating back a century, the property now has just a handful of rooms in the main house and a series of permanent ‘glamping tents’ set in its garden. It boasts a lovely outside courtyard and fire-pit where lunches can be savoured and has been styled to respect the traditional ways and customs of Ladakh. The rooms are elegant with warm, pretty textiles and all modern comforts within the framework of a traditional Ladakhi building. You will be welcomed and get to know the genuine, warm staff that work at Nimmu house and will be your hosts for the next few days.
Day 5 Nimoo
A full-day to experience and enjoy the beautiful accommodation of Nimmu House and the surrounding area, with a number of gentle local activities on offer here. You may choose to begin your day with yoga or meditation offered onsite. There are lovely meals to enjoy and other activities such a gentle guided village walk, or a more active day trek into the mountains. Other ways to pass the day include a cooking class, rafting or a special prepared lunch by the Zanskar River. Or you can take the opportunity to just relax at the property.
Day 6 Lamayuru
Take a day trip to visit Lamayuru Monastery, impressively perched on a steep rocky outcrop in the mountains. There are a number of shrines to see at Lamayuru, as well as its rich collection of thankas and wall paintings. The view itself of Lamayuru is impressive and one that people love to photograph.
Afterwards, return to Nimmu House in the afternoon and enjoy this wonderful property for your final night’s stay.
Day 7 Stok
Drive to Stok where you will stay in a restored palace and have the opportunity to see and experience life of another unique village in Ladakh. Your accommodation here is the incredible Stok Palace. Experience the living heritage and history of Ladakh, with a stay in this 200-year old traditional palace. With just a handful of rooms, Stok Palace will reveal to you the traditional ways of Ladakh with its onsite working family monastery and museum, its authentic and original architecture and design, and authentic local dishes. Rise early to hear the daily chants of the family monk, savour local breakfast on the impressive fort walls with stunning mountain views and dine like a royal in the traditional Ladakhi dining hall where you will feast on dishes such as lamb cooked in the Ladakhi style and Kashmiri green vegetables, as well as freshly made momos. The rooms are elegant, colourful and have all the modern comforts, but give you the opportunity to experience a stay in a 200-year old Ladakhi palace. A luxury stay in a boutique property that you will remember long after you have gone.
Settle in upon arrival. In the afternoon, you can take a self-guided walk to the nearby giant Buddha and take in the impressive view of Stok Valley. Pause for tea and savour the view, strolling stroll back through the village. In the evening, savour a delicious Ladakhi dinner.
Day 8 Stok
A full day to relax and soak up the atmosphere at Stok Palace, or to enjoy any of the local activities available here. Some of the experiences you can have include witnessing the daily rituals at the onsite temple, a private session with the onsite monk on making sacred amulets, visit Stok Gompa or a walk through the local village. You may also simply like to enjoy a quiet, restful day.
Day 9 Thiksey
Discover Hemis and Thiksey today with a daytrip and sightseeing. Visit the monasteries of Hemis and Thiksey. At Hemis you will see the monastery’s impressive central courtyard and the beautiful space where prayers are held. Thiksey is a large 12-storey monastery overlooking the village of Thiksey, which houses many artefacts and paintings. Both are considered to be must-see places in Ladakh and are an opportunity to see some of the most impressive Buddhist monasteries in India, as well as the temple art and artefacts housed within these working monasteries.
Later, return to Stok Palace and enjoy another night stay. You may like to have tea on the palace walls as the sunsets and soak up the Himalayan views as your tour of Ladakh draws to a close.
Day 10 Leh
After breakfast, return to Leh airport for your departing flight. Fly to Delhi and continue to your other India tour destination or connect with your international flight.
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