Full Itinerary for Ladakh Mountains Adventure
Day 1: Fly to Leh transferring in Delhi
This is a rest day to allow for acclimatization to the altitude and to rest from your journey. We will gently wander around the town to become accustomed to our new surroundings and have our first group dinner.
Day 2: Local monasteries in the valley
In the morning we will visit the architecturally gripping Thiksey Monastery that covers an entire hillside, giving us an opportunity for a short walk to stretch our legs and help acclimatise. Built in the style of the Potala Palace in Tibet, it has maintained its murals and paintings very well including a huge 3-storey Maitreya Buddha housed in one of the temples. On our return to Leh in the afternoon, we stop at Shey Palace to climb up to the huge Buddha and Stupa. Any spare time we will spend at leisure either resting or visiting the market to enjoy the bustle of Leh.
Day 3: Hiking around Leh
Today we will start to use our legs properly as we take on the 565 steps up to the Shanti Stupa where we are rewarded with panoramic views of the Leh valley and the Stok Mountains. We walk through the old villages that have been swallowed up by Leh; Gompa, and Horzey, full of old buildings, very quiet and rural. We enjoy the views from Tsemo castle and add in a visit to Leh Palace also, time allowing. We will be walking for around 4-5 hours today as we explore local sites.
Day 4: Giant Buddha with optional white water rafting
Our destination for the day is Alchi, 70km downstream from Leh, where we will find the oldest monastery in Leh. We start the day with some rafting for 3 miles or so down the river (wetsuits, wet boots, buoyancy aids and helmets all supplied) – a fantastic alternative to driving, and offering an opportunity for swimming in the river if you wish. We lunch in Nimruu before visiting the Gian Buddha at Likr Monastery, en-route to Alchi. En-route we stop to visit the Giant Buddha in Likir. Depending on arrival times, we will have the chance to wander the streets of Alchi tonight before settling into our Guest House.
Day 5: The trek begins! Ridzong to Yangtang (5.2km, 340m ascent)
Before starting our trek today, with an introductory length walk (5.2km and 340m ascent, taking 3-4 hours), we take the chance to visit Alchi Monastery. Built in around the 11th Century,the ancient, ramshackle buildings and beautiful murals reflect both Buddhist and Hindu influences of the time. A 30 minute drive to brings us to Ridzong to see the monastery and the nunnery, very different to Alchi. The monastery is renowned for the strict order the monks who follow their order with their only possessions being their books and robes. From here we begin our trek, much on single track alongside the Uley river, enjoying a packed lunch under the trees, against old terraced fields. Our destination is the village of Yangtang, on a plateau at 3720m, where we find our welcoming homestay.
Day 6: Trekking from Yangtang to Hemis Shukpachen (7.4km, 300m ascent)
After a simple but delicious breakfast we leave Yangtang, crossing the river and taking a steady upwards route to the pass at 3910m. It is the perfect place to pause for lunch and photos before we drop down to the large village of Hemis Shukpachen (3596m). On a weekday and barring school holidays, you will meet with many children from the village of Yangtang walking to school in Hemis Shukpachen. We can visit the school and spend time there. We will spend the afternoon enjoying the beauty of this place, and walking up to the huge golden Buddha in the centre of the village. Our walk today is 7.4km, with approx 300m of ascent, and will take around 3 hours.
Day 7: Trekking from Hemis Shukpachen to Tingmosgang (12.5km, 500m)
Another homestay breakfast sets us up for a harder day of walking (12.5km and 500m of ascent, 5 hours walking). Crossing farmland, we quickly leave the village and hike westward over two passes, at 3740m and 3820m. The landscape is dry and remote and the passes afford amazing views. Once over the Mebtak La, the 2nd pass, the trail winds gently down for a descent of 90mins or so, to the village of Ang where we can pause for a cup of black tea. Another hour of descent takes us down to Tingmosgang which was once the ancient capital of Ladakh, and our hotel. After tea in the hotel garden, we can visit the local nunnery school before an excellent dinner in the hotel. Depending on timings, we may visit the monastery, the site of an ancient palace, which dominates the hill above town this evening, or tomorrow morning.
Day 8: Trekking from Tingmosgang to Balukhar, return to Leh (15.9km, 420m ascent)
From Tingmosgang we enjoy some easy long switchbacks up to the Bongbong La (3580m), which eats up the kilometres. We choose a suitable spot with magnificent views to enjoy our packed lunch. From the pass we descend gently through a hanging valley and some steep zigzags to Bhalukhar. We meet with vehicles at Bhalukhar and drive back to Leh (1.5hrs) to celebrate our adventure and enjoy a flurry of souvenir shopping! 4–5 hours walk.
Day 9: Fly from Leh to Delhi for your connecting flight home