SIGHTS & CULTURE
7 Nights/8 Days
In just over a week, this itinerary gives the opportunity to experience some of the most interesting cultures and spectacular vistas of Ladakh.
From ₹55,000 per guest in Double Tent.
From ₹60,000 per guest in Double Cabin.
From ₹61,500 per guest in Double Cottage.
From ₹41,500 per guest in Double Tents.
From ₹47,500 per guest in Double Cabins.
From ₹50,500 per guest in Double Cottages.
Day 1 - Acclimatising at Camp
Day 2 - Camel Sanctuary and Monastery Tour of the Indus Valley
Day 3 - Nubra Valley via Khardung La Pass and Yarab Tso Lake
Day 4 - Nubra Valley Sand Dunes and Diskit Monastery
Day 5 - Frontier Village of Turtuk, Baltistan
Day 6 - Return via Khardung La, or Wari La
Day 7 - Sangam, Sham and Rafting or Pottery
Day 8 - Depart
This itinerary is indicative and its price approximate. We tailor each to our guests' interests and send a final price.
The final amount includes all accommodation at The Indus River Camp and elsewhere, breakfast and dinners every day, as well as lunch on the first day, SUV transport to and from each destination with a trusted driver, as well as necessary permits for each guest and rafting tickets for each guest.
Guides are available on individual days, at an extra daily cost. Any extra activity or taxi journeys will be charged separately.
We believe in transparency, with no hidden charges. We usually charge 8% commission on all costs for the organisation and preparation of your itinerary. However, here, as the guests will be staying with us for multiple days, we will only charge a 4% organisational fee, which is inclusive in the above price.
If you would like a price cost breakdown or a stripped-down version of this itinerary, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day 1 - Acclimatisation
On arrival, you will be collected at the airport and transferred to The Indus River Camp.
After a greeting with your holiday manager, we will show you to your riverside room, where you can relax through the day, acclimatising to the altitude and taking in the Himalayan vista.
In the evening, we will take you on a guided tour of the 40-acre grounds, stopping by the river for sunset, followed by a campfire under the stars. The Milky Way is visible with the naked eye on most days at camp and there's a telescope to gaze at the moon and Jupiter.
Day 2 - The Indus Valley
An early start to witness the sunrise over Thiksey monastery. A vast monastery complex, built with earth and stone, climbs up a steep ridge of rock. Participate in the Buddhist morning prayer ceremony, after which you can take a tour of the monastery.
Towering on the valley's other side, with views from Leh to Hemis, is the Matho monastery. Witness ongoing restoration work on 14th-century thangka paintings and manuscripts, conducted by a local and international team.
In the afternoon, take a guided walk from camp through the village of Chuchot, along the streams that meander its mud-brick homes, to the Bactrian double-humped camel sanctuary. These camels were brought to Ladakh via the Silk Route.
Spend the rest of the day in leisurely fashion at the camp, or drive up to nearby Stok Palace, the magnificent home of the Ladakhi royal family.
Day 3 - Khardung La, into Nubra Valley
The Khardung La pass stands 5,360 above sea level, opening a path to Nubra Valley. From Leh, it's a quick and steep ascent, winding up narrow roads with views across the parallel peaks of the Zanskar and Karakoram ranges.
As we descend into Nubra, the valley splits into two. One fork follows the Nubra river to the Siachen Glacier and the other to the frontier village of Turtuk, along the Shyok river.
We take the latter, past the sand dunes of Sumur, nestling in a garden property below the revered Samstaling monastery, where the Dalai Lama conducts annual teaching. In the afternoon, a short drive takes to Yarab Tso (literal meaning 'Secret Lake'), that reveals itself above a jagged charcoal rock that protrudes from the centre of the sand dunes.
Optional - As of 2020, the Siachen Glacier is now open for tourism. An overnight trip will be available to add on to any itinerary. The accommodation will be basic, but very few civilians have had the opportunity to visit one of the largest glaciers in the world.
Day 4 - Nubra and Shyok Valley
After breakfast, we navigate the valley that straddles the Shyok river - a flat basin of sand, water and greenery, enveloped by the Karakoram range. We start with a visit to the Diskit monastery beside a 30-metre tall Maitreya Buddha statue, whose imposing height provides views across both the Nubra and Shyoke valleys.
We continue on to the sand dunes of Hunder, to settle into a property whose rooms are arranged around an impressive organic vegetable garden.
From Hunder, a 1-hour hike uphill is available that takes you through a natural garden up to a stupa with stunning views of the valley (from where the photo was taken).
Spend a leisurely evening amongst nature and a sky untroubled by light pollution.
Day 5 - Turtuk of Baltistan
In the morning, we leave the expanse of Nubra Valley into the narrow stretch of the Shyok river, to explore the frontier village of Turtuk.
The majority of Turtuk sits 20 metres above a river on a plateau. Its houses are fed water by a system of mini canals, dams and levers originating from a waterfall. They have converted a dry plateau into a green space with three harvests a year with apricots, mulberries, buckwheat, barley and vegetables.
The culture is unique in Ladakh. It is in Baltistan and was part of Pakistan before joining India in the 70s. Until 2010, the village was shut to outsiders, helping to preserve the culture. The majority of the town's economy comes from the Indian army - donkeys with goods are sent zig-zagging up mountain paths to border army posts. The Silk Road once passed here and this region was central to the Great Game, the espionage war between Russia and England to map out Central Asia during the 19th century.
We then return in the Hunder in the early evening.
Day 6 - Khardung La, Wari La
We can return to camp by Khardung La, or the alternative Wari La route. The road offers different scenery to Khardung La, with open plains and a more off-road feel, with less congestion and the only company the wild asses, yaks and sheep grazing at high altitude. The pass is as high as Khardung La, at 5,300 metres above sea level.
Optional: You can opt to drive back via the brackish Pangong Lake that stretches 134km from India into China. This would mean 10+ hours of driving and is only possible when the river level is low. We generally don't recommend guests staying at Pangong Lake, as the administration has removed almost all of the accommodation options.
Day 7 - Sangam and Sham Valley
Follow the Indus river downstream until you reach the Sangam point in Nimmu. Here, the Zanskar and Indus Rivers combine, with the distinct colours of each merging into one and heading on to Pakistan.
Drive to nearby Alchi to view the village's exquisite, well-preserved 11th-century murals. Eat traditional Ladakhi cuisine at Alchi Kitchen, one of the best-rated restaurants in Ladakh. The chocolate and apricot momos are a must.
A couple of options -
1. Raft along the Zanskar River (a choice of grade 1 to 4) that carves up a valley of multicolour flagstone rock.
2. Take a pottery lesson in the village of Likir with the last potter to use traditional Ladakhi ceramic techniques.
In the early evening, we make our way back to camp for a comfortable evening of dinner and relaxation.
Day 8 - Depart
We say farewell and take you to catch your morning flight, with a healthy breakfast to see you off.