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Cultural Tour in Ladakh – in “little Tibet”

Ladakh Ladakh

Trekking Map

This trip is full of highlights and shows you the local culture, tradition, and Buddhism in its various forms up close. You will visit some excellent attractions such as the Shey, Thiksay, Lamayuru, and Alchi monasteries.

In addition, you can admire the beautiful oasis-like deserts in the Nubra valley and cross the world’s highest highway on Khardungla at 5,260m. Finally, visit the Taj Mahal and return home with unforgettable impressions. The tour begins with a wonderful flight from Delhi over the Indian Himalayas into the land of contrasts, with snow-clad high Himalayan peaks, arid deserts, and architecturally-technical incomparable beautiful monasteries. Before long, you will see how unique every corner is in Ladakh, which is also known as “little Tibet”. Finish the tour with a visit to the Alchi monastery which is world famous for its murals and is one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World”.

This tour will appeal to travelling enthusiasts who are interested in culture, landscape, Tibetan architecture, and Buddhism. Due to the height of Ladakh (3,000m) and because of the warm climate, good health is a requirement.

Day 01: Arrival in Delhi
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met in the arrival hall at the airport and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Ashok Country Resort, (A).

Day 02: Flight to Leh (3,500m). Most of the day relaxation in the hotel, welcome lunch and evening tour in the bazaar
You will be driven to the airport early in the morning. After an impressive one-hour flight over the high Himalayan peaks, you will arrive in Leh at 3,500 m. You will be brought to the hotel and spend the rest of the morning resting and acclimatizing for the first time. On this day you have to expect physical reactions (e.g. headache, shortness of breath) to the unfamiliar altitude. After a welcome lunch, we take a short walk to the Leh bazaar in the afternoon. This will be a leisurely tour, during which we can get used to the special atmosphere of this city. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View, (B|L|D).

Day 03: Morning visit to Shey & Thiksay monasteries, afternoon free time
After breakfast we will be driven to the ruins of Shey. It used to be a former palace of the Ladakh dynasty before it moved to other places like Leh and Stok. It is possible to hike from here to the next place, the Thiksay Monastery. The hike takes about an hour and a half in almost flat terrain, but at a demanding altitude. Thiksay is also known as ‘Mini-Potala’ because the complex is very similar to the famous monastery palace in Lhasa. In one of the halls of the monastery there is a 15-meter-high statue of the future Buddha – Maitreya. From the roof of the monastery you have a very nice view of the whole valley. Overnight at Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 04: Acclimatization hike in and around Leh, visit to the Gönpas Shankar & Shanti Stupa, evening walk to the Tsemo Gönpa, which was built above the Leh Palace
After our body has adapted to the unusual height, we can lace up our hiking boots to go on a hiking tour through Leh and its surroundings. We will learn that Leh is not only an arrival point for our trip, but also has many places of interest to offer. Overnight at Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 05: Drive into the Nubra Valley over the Khardung La (5,602 m) to reach Hun-der – 128 km / 5-6 hours drive
On a 33 km long drive we cross the Khardung La (La means pass) at 5,602m, and at a lower altitude we arrive at the much greener landscapes of Ladakh. The Khardung La is the most important pass that connects the Nubra Valley and eastern Ladakh with Leh and the rest of India. Due to the altitude and the amount of snow, a large part of the pass road is closed for more than six months in winter. We reach Hunder, which is almost 150 km from Leh. We are now in the impressive valley of the Shyok River, which is fed by mighty glaciers and flows into the Indus through huge gorges. It separates the Karakoram from Ladakh. This area is also known for its two-humped ‘Bactrian camels’ and its sand dunes. Overnight at the Hotel Karma Inn, (B|L|D).

Day 06: Visit the Diskit Monastery and drive to Sumur – 50 km / 2 hours drive
Today we will visit the Diskit Monastery, which is located near the town of the same name, which is also the main town for the administrative district of the region. The 32m high statue of Maitreya is the symbol of the city, which stands under the Diskit Monastery, whose building dates from the 15th century. This is where monks reside who belong to the “yellow hats” sect of Buddhism. It is famous for its Dosmochey Festival and is also home to a statue of a crowned Buddha as well as some beautiful frescoes. Afterwards we travel on to Sumur. Overnight at the hotel in Sumur, (B|L|D).

Day 07: Drive to Panamic to the hot sulfur springs, return to the hotel for lunch
Sumur lies along the Shyok River. In the morning we visit Panamic’s hot sulfur springs and the secluded Ensa Gompa. During the day we visit the Samstaling monastery. Overnight in hotel / private accommodation, (B|L|D).

Day 08: Drive to Shakti via the Wari La. In the afternoon, walk around the village and visit the Thag Thog monastery – 130 km / 5 to 6 hours drive
Today we drive back towards Leh and cross another 5,200m high pass called Wari La to get to the quiet village of Shakti. We will visit the Thag Thog monastery which is also famous for a mask dance festival with its name. It is a construction from the 16th century, belongs to the Nyingmapa (Order of the Red Hat) and is home to around 50 monks. Overnight in hotel / private accommodation, (B|L|D).

Day 06: Visit the Diskit Monastery and drive to Sumur – 50 km / 2 hours drive
Today we will visit the Diskit Monastery, which is located near the town of the same name, which is also the main town for the administrative district of the region. The 32m high statue of Maitreya is the symbol of the city, which stands under the Diskit Monastery, whose building dates from the 15th century. This is where monks reside who belong to the “yellow hats” sect of Buddhism. It is famous for its Dosmochey Festival and is also home to a statue of a crowned Buddha as well as some beautiful frescoes. Afterwards we travel on to Sumur. Overnight at the hotel in Sumur, (B|L|D).

Day 07: Drive to Panamic to the hot sulfur springs, return to the hotel for lunch
Sumur lies along the Shyok River. In the morning we visit Panamic’s hot sulfur springs and the secluded Ensa Gompa. During the day we visit the Samstaling monastery. Overnight in hotel / private accommodation, (B|L|D).

Day 08: Drive to Shakti via the Wari La. In the afternoon, walk around the village and visit the Thag Thog monastery – 130 km / 5 to 6 hours drive
Today we drive back towards Leh and cross another 5,200m high pass called Wari La to get to the quiet village of Shakti. We will visit the Thag Thog monastery which is also famous for a mask dance festival with its name. It is a construction from the 16th century, belongs to the Nyingmapa (Order of the Red Hat) and is home to around 50 monks. Overnight in hotel / private accommodation, (B|L|D).

Day 09: Drive to Alchi – 110 km / 3 to 4 hours drive
We get back on the main route that leads from Manali to Leh and follow it north to the Leh – Srinagar Highway. We will make a stop at the ruins of the Basgo Fortress and later visit the Alchi Monastery – a thousand year old monastery famous for its wall paintings and its influence on the wooden architecture of Kashmir. This monastery was built around the 11th century by the famous Tibetan translator Lhotsava Richen Zangpo. Because of its special paintings, it has been on the list of candidates for World Heritage status since 1998. The rest of the day will be free for the individual activities. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 10: Drive to Lamayuru – 60 km / 2 hours drive, in the evening a short walk through the village
After breakfast we set off for the Leh – Srinagar Highway and drive towards Lamayuru, which is at an altitude of 3,500 m. On the way we will make a stop in Nimmu (at the mouth of the Zanskar into the Indus) and visit the Likir Monastery before continuing to Lamayuru. Crossing a bridge over the Indus River we reach Lamayuru with its magnificent monastery complex. This is also the starting point for many hikes in the Zanskar region. The landscape will change dramatically and you will see a beautiful green village surrounded by seemingly unreal dry mountains that resemble a lunar landscape (“Moon Land”). We will explore the village and visit the Lamayuru monastery. It houses a large collection of very old thangkas (scroll paintings) that are rolled out and exhibited during the famous mask dance festivals (Cham mysteries). It currently houses more than 150 permanent resident monks. Overnight in a simple hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Drive to Tingmosgang – 35 km / 1.5 hours drive, short hike through the village and through apricot terraces
We set off early in the direction of the village of Tingmosgang (3,200m). It was once the seat of ‘lower Ladakh’ and the fortress on the hill protected the kingdom. Today you can only see ruins from the past, as well as a small monastery, which stands out due to its beautiful location and its bright red and yellow color. We will take some walks around the village and visit the monastery. It is one of the wealthiest villages in the Ladakh region with many apple orchards and apricot trees. Overnight in hotel / fixed camp, (B|D).

Day 12: Drive to Leh – 84 km / 3 hours drive
We reach Leh around noon. The rest of the day can be used to buy some souvenirs, or just to let the atmosphere of this country with its unusual views, colors, sounds and smells sink in. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View, (B|D).

Day 13: Flight to Delhi, in the afternoon short sightseeing
You will be transferred to the airport for an early flight to Delhi. Depending on your arrival time in Delhi, you can get your first impressions by visiting the center with a visit to the Indian Gate and past other buildings that are symbolic of colonial architecture. Overnight at the Hotel Jay Pee Siddharth, (B).

Day 14: Optional day trip to Agra by train or free for custom activities. In the evening transfer to the airport for the return flight
Depending on your flight schedule, there is an option to visit the Taj Mahal before flying home. We take the train to Agra and take a short trip to the famous Taj Mahal, the 17th century mausoleum of Mumtaz, which was built by her husband, the then Mughal King Shah Jehan. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the seven new wonders of the world due to its extraordinary beauty and perfect architecture. After returning to Delhi and after dinner you will be driven to the international airport to say goodbye, (B).

We reserve the right to make program changes due to special events, force majeure or weather reasons.

F = Breakfast | M = Lunch | A = Dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

This trekking tour can also be booked for your individual group at an additional cost at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 14 days
Costs: € 1.690 per person
Group size: min. 2 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of two persons)
€ 350 for single room supplement

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in India / Ladakh
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • Internal flights Delhi – Leh – Delhi with Go Air or Air India (inclusive Airport Taxes and 22kg free luggage, 15kg luggage+7 kg hand luggage)
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Transfer – Delhi – Agra – Delhi and entrance fees Taj Mahal
  • Quality service
  • Oxygen set for emergency cases
  • Oxymeter

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visa India approx. 62€
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 22 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

Ladakh is one of the highest regions in the world. When you land in the capital of the region, Leh, you will already be at an altitude of 3,500 m. We spend the first few days of our Ladakh trips sightseeing in order to ensure that you adapt to the change in altitude. You will see Leh’s old town as well as the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries and villages in the Indus valley. Here, there are numerous opportunities for meditation in the monasteries and meditation schools. Please contact us if you are interested.
All our tours are conducted by local trained and licensed guides. At the end of our tours, we offer the opportunity for you to travel to Agra in order to admire the world-famous Taj Mahal. We also offer the option of extending your trip to Kashmir/Srinanagar on request. The houseboats on Dal Lake are the perfect way to relax after the tour.

Visa
A visa is always required for entry to India. Since November 2014, under certain conditions, you can apply for an electronic tourist visa (e-Tourist Visa – e-Tv). You can find a list of the requirements for an electronic visa at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. You can also apply for a visa under the link. Please note that the tourist visa must be applied for in good time (at least 28 days before the start of your visit) so that no travel complications occur. If you have any questions, we will be happy to help you.

Vaccinations
No specific vaccinations are required for travelling to Ladakh (India). However, vaccinations against hepatitis, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and typhoid are recommended. We advise you to speak your family doctor approx. 3 months before your trip and in the case of physical weaknesses, a health check should be carried out beforehand.

Insurance
Travel health insurance (with recovery costs) is essential for your own safety and a precondition for participation in our trips. In the event of an accident in the mountains which requires a helicopter rescue, the helicopter will not take off before the responsibility for the cost is clarified. The conclusion of travel cancellation insurance is highly recommended. In the case of bargain price flights in particular, changes or cancellations generally can’t be made free of charge. In Nepal complications with the weather or with your health could make it necessary to break off your journey. We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel health insurance at https://www.reiseversicherung.de/vrv/partner/ep-Assistent.html?/data/agent/hagtnr=027256&/data/agent/nagtnr=000000.

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country. It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

Money
You should bring with you a debit card with a PIN (international), a credit card and cash in either Euros or dollars. In cities like Delhi and Leh you can withdraw money at ATMs or change money using your debit card or credit card. The local currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). One EUR is equivalent to approx. 75 INR.

The hotels booked by us are
In Delhi and Ladakh hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. There may sometimes be power cuts, or no hot water may be available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:
Delhi: Hotel Ashok Country Resort (3*) and Hotel Jay Pee Siddharth (4*)
Leh: Hotel Glacier View (3*)
Hunder: Karma Inn (2*)

Flying in India (Ladakh)
The domestic flights booked by us are with Go Air or Air India

General information regarding our trips
The tour program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. However, it can be that roads must be closed or become impassable without prior warning due to climatic events in the destination country. Delays of several hours are also possible due to traffic congestion or fuel shortages. This means that access to attractions may also be hindered. Nevertheless, our guides are used to such situations and will endeavour to fulfil all items on the programme to the satisfaction of all our participants. Therefore, the inconvenience can normally be kept to a minimum. Nevertheless, it should be noted at this point that the above-mentioned reasons can result in changes being made to the programme at any time. These changes fall outside of the responsibility of the organiser. The resulting costs are borne by the traveller. We apologise for any inconvenience.


Trip Details

  • Duration: 14 days
  • Holiday Type: Hotel Accommodation
  • Best trekking period: Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Max Altitude: 5,600m
  • Group size: Min 2 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Indian city guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 1.690,00 
  • Single room supplement: 350,00 €