Visit mystical Ladakh and its unspoiled and rustic Nubra Valley
Deep in the outposts of northern India, in the eastern Karakoram range along the southern border of Tibet, the Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh maintains a traditional way of life that is still largely isolated from Western civilization. Many of the villages are built around ancient monasteries, and the quiet serenity, grace, and heartfelt hospitality of its people can’t help but be contagious. In this dry, desert landscape, protected by the eastern Karakoram from the monsoons of the subcontinent, the fertile Nubra Valley stands apart in the spring and summer, teeming with colorful wildflowers and grazing yak. With over four decades’ experience in intrepid travel, MTS is just the right company to introduce you to one of India’s most remote areas.
Our itinerary in Ladakh is ideal for both regular hikers and first-time trekkers—days on the trail are long at high altitude (from 12,000’-15,000’), but not as strenuous as other mountain treks. In addition to 8 days of hiking, we’ve included another 6 days for excursions, transfers, sightseeing, and acclimatization to show you the best of the region, especially if you’re short on time. Bookended with a few nights in charming, local hotels, we’ll spend the bulk of our nights camping. As you move from camp to camp, all you’ll need to carry is your day pack. You’ll be supported by a team of porters, ponies, and talented chefs who will season your days with plenty of local color and delicious food. MTS only works with the best guides in the region—true, professional mountaineers—so you’ll have heaps of expertise on hand to guide you along.
Our first night is in Delhi, before an absolutely unforgettable flight over the Himalaya to Leh, capital of Ladakh and a stopping point on the ancient trade routes. Ladakh is known as “Little Tibet” for its similarities in high-desert landscape, people and culture. After acclimatizing to the altitude in Leh, we’ll drive across Khardung La Pass, considered the highest drivable pass in the world at an inconceivable 17,582 feet, with stunning panoramas! We’ll begin our trek in the lovely village of Hundar, where we’ll camp for two nights to see the surrounding villages and the beautiful Samstaling Monastery,and ridedouble-humped Bactrian camels in the Nubra dunes, Our trek unfolds past barley fields, along streams and rivers in deep gorges, and through verdant valleys and meadows filled with wildflowers. We’ll gradually hike up to the snowline at the famous Lasermo La Pass (17, 716’). Although snowbound, the Lasermo La Pass offers a gradual and easy descent with unsurpassed views of the Karakoram, Zanskar and Ladakh ranges on either side. We’ll end the trek at Phiyang and visit its monastery, celebrated for its frescoes and sacred shrines.
A visit the Nubra Valley is a little slice of heaven, far away from the worries and pressures of the Western world. Come refresh yourself with a healthy dose of adventure and Buddhist culture from some of the world’s most unfathomable heights!
Trekking, camel ride, cultural encounters
- Trek past barley fields, along streams and rivers in deep gorges, and through verdant valleys and meadows filled with wildflowers with MTS—the intrepid travel experts
- Take in inconceivably beautiful views of neighboring mountain ranges from high vantage points: the Khardung La Pass (17, 582’) and the Lasermo La Pass (17, 716’)
- Learn about the Buddhist culture with visits to the ancient monasteries of Ladakh
- Go for an awe-inspiring plane ride over the Himalaya and ride the double-humped Bactrian camel in the Nubra dunes!
- Meet local families and learn about their culture and traditions
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Delhi End Location: DelhiDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive Delhi
Arrive in Delhi, India. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free to rest and relax.
Day 2 : Leh (11,600')
Transfer to the airport for the early morning flight to Leh, the ancient historical capital city of Ladakh and once a stop on the Asian “Silk Route.”This is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular one-hour journeys on earth as the Airbus 320 jet flies out of the scorching Indian plains over a virtual sea of snowcapped Himalayan peaks before landing at the ancient city of Leh in the Indus River Valley. Situated at an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet in elevation, Leh is in stark and spectacular contrast to the urban intensity of New Delhi.
Because of the early departure as well as the dramatic elevation gain, your first day in Ladakh will be a restful, easy one. You may wish to stroll in the Leh bazaar, where there are many shops selling Ladakhi, Tibetan, and Kashmiri goods.
Day 3 : Leh (11,600')
We’ll walk from our hotel to the town center and walk gradually through the Old Town of Leh to Lehchen Palkhar, the ancient palace of Leh which was built in 1600 by the then King Singge Namgyal. Above the castle is the “Red Chapel” which houses a statue of Maitreya ( the future) Buddha as well as three-story-high statues of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri on either side. Above this Chapel is the Namgyal Tsemo, “Tower of Victory,” which was built during the reign of King Tashi Namgyal. We then walk down to the village of Chubi to visit the Women’s Alliance center and return to town for lunch. In the evening, we’ll drive to Shanti Stupa, a Japanese Peace Pagoda to watch the sun set over the Indus Valley. We’ll drive a short distance to tour Changspa, one of the most popular places in Leh, and explore its many restaurants, bakeries, internet cafes and shops.
Day 4 : Drive to Nubra Valley (10,000')
Today our drive to the Nubra Valley will take approximately four hours. Afternoon is free. We will make an evening visit to Samstaling Monastery, a 150 year old complex with seven temples, an amazing collection of thangkas and restored frescoes. This monastery has the distinction of being inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1962 .
Day 5 : Trek to Skarchen (12,500')
Visit the villages of Deskit, with its quaint little monastery atop the hill, and Kyagar with its well-known and large Samstaling Monastery. We begin our trek from Hundar Bridge, the trail follows the river on a wide dirt track. The landscape is spectacular as we continue along an impressive gorge. The trail becomes narrow and steep at Dzongpa (an hour from Hundar) and continues so along a side valley until it opens out at the highest point between Hundar and Skarchen. Our ponies will have a difficult time at certain places and may need unloading . We then descend and continue along the river to reach camp at Skarchen (approximately 12,500 feet) at the confluence of two streams in the gorge. Hiking for 4-5 hours today.
Day 6 : Trek to Hundar Dok (13,200')
Continue along the river in the gorge for about two hours, passing below Wacham Village (a tiny settlement of two families). The trail then climbs steeply for about 20 minutes to Dok Yogma, a small village of five to six households. We walk past their barley fields and follow a good path to the village of Hundar Dok, a scenic village with plantations, barley fields and flowers from the end of June until the end of August. Our camp is in the village close to the river and we reach it by lunch. It’s a short day, but we go slowly for sufficient acclimatization. The afternoon can be spent visiting this friendly village (13,200 feet). Hiking for 3.5 hours today.
Day 7 : Trek from Hundar Dok to Sniu Sumdo Valley (14,400')
It’s a lovely walk today through the Thanglasgo Valley following a small stream and through pastures with views of the 6000 meter peaks to the junction of the Thanglasgo and Sniu Sumdo Valleys. We trek into Sniu Sumdo Valley to camp near a glacial lake at Sniu Sumdo (14,400 feet). These are all summer grazing pastures so we will be meeting the local shepherds until about mid September. Hiking for 5-6 hours today.
Day 8 : Sniu Sumdo Valley
We spend another day here leisurely exploring the lake and this stunning side valley.
Day 9 : Trek to Thanglasgo or Jhingmoche (14,800')
We descend to the junction of the Thanglasgo and Sniu Sumdo Valleys. Climb gradually across pastures studded with wildflowers, following a stream for another 4 - 5 hours to camp at Thanglasgo or a little further up to Jhingmoche (14,800 feet). During the summer months, shepherds bring their sheep, yaks and Dzomos for grazing. There are temporary huts here and there is a tradition that just 2 -3 families from the village of Hundar Dok come here every summer with the animals of all the villagers for grazing . While here, they make cheese and butter for the villagers. They stay here until the end of August or September, then return to their village for the harvesting season. A very pleasant walk again today.
Day 10 : Trek to Base of Lasermola (15,750')
We follow the river upstream on a well-defined path in this high and beautiful valley of meadows. Yaks and Dzomos can been seen grazing around these large meadows by the glistening streams. We climb gradually until we reach camp at the base of Lasermola (15,750 feet), our highest camp. The snow bound Lasermola can be seen from camp. Hiking for 4-5 hours today.
Day 11 : Trek over Lasermola Pass to Phyiang Sumdo (14,800')
Leaving the pastures we keep climbing to the snow line and moraine until we reach the top of the Lasermola Pass (17,700 feet)--taking approximately 2 - 3 hours to reach the top. At the pass we are rewarded with excellent views of the Karakoram Mountains and Ladakh and Zanskar ranges of mountains and the valleys on both sides. For those who are still not tired, they can continue a little higher from the pass for better views. There will be snow at the pass and we will need to leave camp very early in the morning to make the crossing easier for the animals. From the pass, you descend the Phyiang Valley to camp at Phyiang Sumdo at 14,800 feet. Hiking for 8–9 hours today.
Day 12 : Trek to Phyiang and Return to Leh
We descend to Morubuk pastures and then to Phyiang. We enjoy wonderful views of the Stok range of mountains today. Our vehicles are waiting at the trailhead and we drive through the village of Phyiang, stopping to visit the monastery here before continuing to Leh (25 minutes). We reach Leh by early afternoon.
Day 13 : Fly from Leh to Delhi
Fly to Delhi this morning. Enjoy a free afternoon in Delhi.
Day 14 : Delhi and Fly Home
We will have a morning tour of old Delhi including Jamma Masjid (The Great Mosque), the largest mosque in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan; Chandani Chowk, the main street of old Delhi loaded with stalls selling interesting wares; the Red Fort, built by the builder of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, who started the construction in 1638 and completed it in 1648; and Raj Ghat, where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was cremated. Afternoon free. Late evening transfer to Delhi Airport (our rooms will be held until 8 pm).
DATES: Best time to go: July - August Departures: Jul 5 - 18, 2015 Aug 2 - 15, 2015
$3,795 (4-15 members)
$850 single supplement
Claridges HotelNew Delhi
Graceful architecture, elegant décor, and a seamless blend of old-world charm and contemporary facilities have earned The Claridges Hotel its esteemed reputation. Distinguished guest rooms, personalized service and proximity to shopping and local culture make this the ideal accommodation for the discerning traveler.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.