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LADAKH – Sham Valley Trekking and Cultural Tour

Ladakh Ladakh

Trekking Map

This trekking and cultural trip takes you into unique desert-like mountain landscapes with the green valleys and oases of the Sham valley in between.
You will get to know many secrets and traditions from the land of the lamas and you will fall in love with the unique mountain world of Ladakh. The tour leads through the Indus Valley and through the ancient Kingdom of Sham. You will visit the most important monasteries in Ladakh including Lamayuru, Alchi and Thiksey.
On relatively easy treks you wander through the numerous villages where the inhabitants have preserved their Ladakhi customs and traditions. You will admire the uniqueness of the dry mountains and the green oases in the valleys.

This trek does not reach higher than 4,080 m and is very suitable for beginners and culture lovers with a good health condition and a certain level of fitness.

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

Day 02: Flight to Leh (3,500m) – most of the day relaxation in the hotel and welcome lunch with your guide – evening walk 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/afternoon resting and acclimatizing for the first day. Today 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 late afternoon. This will be a leisurely stroll, during which we can get used to the special atmosphere of this city. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|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. There is the possibility 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 you can admire the 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: Sightseeing and hiking in and around Leh – preparation for the trek
Visit of Shankar Gompa & Shanti Stupa, evening walk to Tsemo Gompa above the Leh Palace. Later that day, your trekking guide will give you information about the trek at a meeting. Overnight at Hotel Glacier View or similar category, (B|D).

Day 05: Water rafting, visit the Likir monastery and drive to Yangtang at 3,680m – 2 hours drive
Soon after breakfast we will be driven to the starting point of the rafting, presumably near Phey, from where we will start the rafting. This is optional and you will receive detailed safety briefings from the rafting guides before you set off. Rafting is mostly done in the 2nd and 3rd degree of difficulty, so the white water is not too demanding, and after about 3 hours you will reach the exit point in Nimmu, at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. Those not interested in rafting can visit Spituk & Phyang Monastery and join in at Nimmu. We will also visit Likir Monastery on the way to Yangtang. We arrive in Yangtang shortly before evening. Enough time to take a short walk to explore the small town and observe local life in this remote village. Overnight with a host family, (B|L|D).

Day 06: Trek to Ullay 3,900m – 4 hours hike
We drive north along a river (Ullay Topo) and begin our trek. Here some impressive rock formations have been created by erosion, which we can marvel at on the hike to Ulley. Ulley is a famous winter spot for spotting the shy snow leopard. We reach it in the afternoon and shortly before the evening we can hike a little above the village, also to be able to claim that we have reached 4000 meters. Overnight with host family, (B|L|D).

Day 07: Trek to Hemis Shukpachen 3,660m, crossing the Shangpo La (4,080m) – 5 hours hike
Today we follow the same route out of the village as yesterday and then head north-west. From here we will reach a small green meadow after crossing the rocks. We are now at the foot of the Shangpo La (pass) 4.080m, our first pass. From there you can enjoy a beautiful view of the village. Then we continue our descent to the village of Hemis Shukpachen. Beautiful streams, many fields and a recently erected statue of Buddha in the middle of the village await us there. Overnight with host family, (B|L|D).

Day 08: Trek to Tingmosgang on a 3,200 – 5 hour hike
We leave Shukpachen and pass a group of juniper trees (“Shupka” in the local language). These trees also gave the village its name. Today’s destination is Tingmosgang in a landscape known as the ‘lower Ladakh’. Nevertheless, we are always over 3,000 m above sea level. Overnight in the camp hotel / fixed camp, (B|L|D).

Day 09: Trek to Khalsi, crossing Bong Bong La (3,630m) and drive to Lamayuru 3,500m
Tingmosgang is one of the larger, wealthy and beautiful villages in Ladakh, which becomes evident when we continue our hike through the village to the foot of Bong Bong La 3,630m, our last pass. As we hike up, we gain wide views of the Sham Valley, with streams and the Tia Monastery in the background. From here it goes down to the nearest road to Khalsi. Now it’s time to say goodbye to our camping crew and the other employees before we are picked up and driven to Lamayuru. Shortly before the evening there is still enough time to get to know the village on a short walk. Overnight in a simple hotel in Lamayuru, (B|L|D).

Day 10: Drive to Alchi
In the morning we will visit the Lamayuru monastery. This houses some of the largest tangkas that are rolled out during the famous mask dance festival and some of them are very old. More than 150 monks live here permanently. On the subsequent journey we cross one of the most extraordinary landscapes of Ladakh, which is called “Moon Land” due to the forms of erosion and unusual colors. We will reach Alchi in the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll through the village in the evening and see many barley fields, apple orchards and apricot trees. Overnight in the hotel, (B|D).

Day 11: Visit to the Alchi monastery and drive to Leh
This morning we will visit the Alchi monastery because there are fewer tourists around early in the morning. 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 temporary UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998. After visiting the monastery, we drive towards Leh and arrive there in the afternoon. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View, (B|D).

Day 12: Free day for individual activities in Leh
Today is the last day in Ladakh and free for individual activities. Perhaps you can buy a few more souvenirs, or let the atmosphere of this country with its unusual views, colors, sounds and smells affect you once more as you say goodbye. Overnight at the Hotel Glacier View, (B|D).

Day 13: Flight to Delhi, in the afternoon short sightseeing in Delhi
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.

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = 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: € 1.890 per person
Group size: min. 2 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of two persons)
€ 370 for single room/single tent supplement

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in India / Ladakh
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • All internal flights Delhi – Leh – Delhi (with Go Air oder Air India), inclusive Airport Taxes and 22kg free luggage (15kg luggage+7 kg hand luggage)
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner
  • All meals on trek (B,L,D)
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide, ponies and supporting staff on tented trek
  • 12 kg free luggage on trekking tours, carried by ponies
  • Quality service
  • Oxygen set for emergency cases
  • Oxymeter

Not Included:

  • International flights
  • Transfer Agra – Delhi – Agra, entrance fees Taj Mahal
  • 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

About Ladakh
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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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: Homestay / Hotel
  • Best trekking period: Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: Spandmo La 4.080m
  • 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 mountain and city guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 1.890,00 
  • Single room supplement: 370,00 €
    single room/single tent supplement