Wonderful extensions to any of our Kamzang Journeys treks in Ladakh & Zanskar or journeys on their own! Leh, the Indus Valley & the high salt lakes of Tsomoriri, Tso Kar and Pangong are other-worldly, sublimely beautiful, endlessly fascinating and full of the history of nomadic life and Central Asia ...
We have created several itineraries to tour Leh, the Indus Valley monasteries (gompas, in Tibetan or Ladakhi) and a jeep safari to the breathtakingly beautiful and culturally interesting Tso Moriri and Pangong Lakes, the later partly in Tibet. Visit the nomadic communities at Tso Moriri, the traditional villlages at Pangong Lake and explore the bustling Tibetan Buddhist monasteries en route to these lakes.
There is lots to explore in historic Leh, a Central Asian capital which once ruled much of the Tibetan Buddhist world. The 'central bazaar' is chock-a-block with local women in traditional garb selling their fruits and vegetables, Muslims headed to the mosque to pray, Buddhists to the gompas and Hindus to the temples, there are narrow alleyways, backstreets with antique stores, the polo grounds and local 'dhabas' (food stalls) to explore, relaxing cafes, crumbling fortresses dominating the town and incredible diversity under a backdrop of the snow-capped Ladakh range.
In the outskirts of Leh ancient chortens and white-washed monasteries are tucked away amongst the shady lanes, perfect for an afternoon's wanderings. Adventure sports are plentiful; white-water rafting, cycling down the second highest motorable pass in the world and short treks through traditional villages are some of the activities on offer.
Or enjoy the more spiritual side of northern India, and spend a week taking a course in Buddhism or zen-ing out with a rejuvenating yoga retreat. Add on a jeep safari to Kashmir and Srinagar, some of the jewels of the Indian Himalaya, described by Kashmiris as 'heaven on earth'.
There are many ways to customize this trip.
Get in touch to create your personal trip of a lifetime!
Indus Valley + High Lakes Jeep Safari
Day 1 - Leh | Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar, Leh Fort + Old Leh City
Day 2 - Leh | Western Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (Alchi, Basco + Likir Monasteries)
Day 3 - Drive Korzok (Tso Moriri Lake) | Tented Camp or Homestay
Day 4 - Korzok (Tso Moriri Lake) | Visit Korzok Phu Doksa (Nomadic Settlement)
Day 5 - Drive Man (Pangong Lake) | Tented Camp Man
Day 6 - Man (Pangong Lake) Daytrip Merak Village
Day 7 - Drive Leh | Eastern Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (Chemre, Thikse + Shey Monasteries)
Day 8 - Trip Ends
Ladakh Sham Homestay Trek Extension
Day 8 – Drive Likir 3650m. Trek Yangthang 3720m | Cross Phobe La 3580m + Chagatse La 3630m
Day 9 – Trek Ulley 4023m
Day 10 – Trek Hemis Shukpachen 3665m | Cross Spangpo La 4082m (Tsermagchen La)
Day 11 – Trek Temisgam 3255m | Cross Mebtak La 3795m + Lago La 3830m
Day 12 – Drive Leh | Visit Rizdong + Spituk Monasteries
Day 13 - Trip Ends
+ OPTION: Indus or Zanskar River Whiten Water Rafting Day Trip
+ EXTENSION: Kashmir & Srinagar | Floating Worlds Tours
+ EXTENSION: Himachel Pradesh + Spiti Jeep Safari
Leh + Indus Video
Leh + Indus Valley | MrMennoBen YouTube
- Leh + the Historic Indus Valley
- Indus Valley Tibetan Buddhist Gompas (Monasteries), Fortresses + Palaces
- Stunningly Beautiful Tso Moriri + Pangong Lakes
- Traditional Ladakhi Villages along Pangong Lake + the Indus Valley
- Nomadic Settlements (Doksas) at Korzok Phu
- Spectacular Jeep Safaris on the Indus Highway
- Traditional Ladakhi Cuisine + Culture
Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography
Kashmir + Srinagar Photos
Kim Bannister Photography
Himalayan Wildlife Photos
Himalayan Flowers Photos
Articles + Videos | Ladakh + Zanskar, Indian Himalaya
Kamzang Journeys | Kharnak Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube
Kamzang Journeys | Markha Valley | MrMennoBen YouTube
Kamzang Journeys | Changthang Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube
Kamzang Journeys | Rupshu Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube
Leh + Indus Valley | MrMennoBen YouTube
Ladakh Diaries: Postcard from Paradise | India Today - Features Kamzang Journeys
On Snow Leopard Mountain | BBC Planet Earth
Child Monks of the Himalayas | BBC - In Pictures
Chang Tang Pa | Cat Vinton Photo Essay
Silent Roar, The Snow Leopard | National Geographic Documentary
Shepherdess of the Glaciers | Trailer YouTube
Ladakh, Mountains & Men | Le Figaro
Blog Article | Za Rahula Local Nomadic God
Street Food in India | India Mike Blog
Ladakh, the Last Shangri La | National Geographic
A Journey to Little Tibet | National Geographic
India: Extreme Biking in Beautiful Ladakh | The Telegraph UK
The Grey Ghosts of the Mountains | Vimeo
Kashmir, the Inheritance of Loss | New York Times
In Search of Gandhi | BBC Documentary
8, 13 Days
+ Single Supplement $350
+ Sham Valley Trek + Indus Sightseeing Trip $695
+ Rafting Trip $45
- Delhi - Srinagar flight (optional)
- Airport transfers
- Hotels & houseboats in Srinagar with breakfast
- Group transportation by private vehicle
- All sightseeing in Srinagar & en route
- Jeep Srinagar to Leh (optional)
- All accomodation in Leh, Tso Moriri & Pangong Lakes
- Indus Valley monasteries
- International flights
- Indian visa
- Travel or travel health insurance
- Equipment rental
- Alcohol & bottled drinks
- Gompa (monastery) donations
- Tipping & other items of a personal nature
Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $250 for meals & tips. We recommend $100-$150 per person into the tip pool as tips to the guides & drivers.
Kamzang Journeys Contact
Kim Mobile: +(91) 9419 981715
Lhakpa Mobile: +(91) 9419 977569
Delhi Airport Transfers & Sightseeing | Dhruv Travels
Contacts: Prince & Rajesh
Office: +(91 11) 6536 8764
Prince mobile: +(91) 98104 85897
Rajesh mobile: +(91) 98993 73886
Srinagar & Kashmir Contact
Mehraj Deen (GM & Ladakh Operations)
Mehraj Mobile: +(91) 9419013874, 9858986512
Office: +(91) 0194 2502083
Shangaloo Travels Tel : +(91) 0194 2502082-90, +(91) 9596 787001 -20
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361
We are not able to access SMS or phone calls to our satellite phone in Jammu & Kashmir state because of security restrictions. In case of emergency, a few numbers are listed below, or contact Doma Sherpa of Khumbu Adventures (above)
Ang Chuk (driver) +(91) 9419 344641
Rinchin (Shaynam Hotel manager) +(91) 9906 990444
NOTE: We are probably not able to use this satellite messaging system in 2016 either, but in case of restriction changes, info below:
We have a MapShare page that works for sending emails to our InReach messaging device. Give this link to people who want to follow us and have them send us a message so we have their email in the system. We can email them back directly Please tell people not to expect updates every day. There is a ‘message’ button on the top left, and the message sender needs to put their EMAIL address instead of phone number to get a response. Messages are free, enjoy.
Follow Us on Facebook
Kamzang Journeys Facebook
(Posts before and after treks, from Leh)
Hotels in Leh | Extra Nights + Luxury Hotels
We use Hotel Shaynam, Padma Guest House or Hotel Omasila as our arrival hotel, depending on availability and your preference. Our standard hotel is the Hotel Shaynam where Kim and the Kamzang Journeys staff stay, a lovely family-run guest house with a blooming garden, deck chairs, tables + umbrellas. We don't charge a single supplement at Hotel Shayman. We charge a single supplement for Omasila and Padma, and a double upgrade for Omasila. We will book all hotels for you regardless of where you stay. Please specify your preference when booking a trek. Breakfast included in all of the hotels.
NOTE: For private treks or trips in Leh we may use the new Chonjor Residency as our arrival hotel.
Single Supplement - No Charge
Extra Nights - Single $35, Double $40
Padma Guest House
Single Supplement - $50
Double Upgrade - No Charge
Extra Nights - Single $45, Double $50
Single Supplement - $175
Double Upgrade - $200
Suite Upgrade - $400
Extra Nights - Single $70, Double $80, Suite $120
Single Supplement - $50 Per Night
Extra Nights - $50
Lunch + Dinner - $20 Per Meal
We're happy to book other hotels of your choice. Some recommended hotels below.
Hotel Royal Ladakh
Single Supplement - $225
Extra Nights - Single $80, Double $90, Suite $115
Single Supplement - $200
Extra Nights - Single $70, Double $80, Suite $120
Spash out on one of Leh's most luxurious hotels! We will be happy to make any bookings needed. Enjoy!
The Grande Dragon Ladakh
Single Deluxe $220, Single Suite $210
The Zen Ladakh
Single/Double Premium $155/$180
Zen Cotage - $250
Executive Suite - $310
Presidential Suite - $340
Nimmu Village (45 Minutes from Leh)
4 Rooms + 5 Tents
Single/Double Rooms – $170/$190
Single/Double Luxury Tents – $185/$220
India Health Information
We also recommend bringing probiotics with you to help prevent infections while on trek. Doctor's recommendation!
Travel Medical Insurance
Required for your own safely. We carry a copy of your insurance with all contact, personal and policy information with us on the trek and our office in Kathmandu keeps a copy. Note that we almost always trek over 4000 meters (13,000+ feet) and that we don't do any technical climbing with ropes, ice axes or crampons.
Note that private helicopter insurance generally not available in India!
Please do bring your own Western medications and electrolytes (rehydration). We advise bringing your own Diamox, Ciprofloxacin, Azithromyacin, Augmentin, painkillers, anti-nausea tablets + Imodium (Loperimide/Lomotil) . Do not take sleeping pills, codeine or other opiods at altitude as they depress your breathing!
Arrival in India
NOTE: Flights to/from Leh are NOT included in the price or itinerary. Everyone will need to arrange their own flight or overland trip to Leh. You can book your international flights all the way to Leh, Ladakh (IXL) which will ensure that your flight provider is responsible for hotels if your flight is delayed or cancelled. You might also want to come overland from Manali, breath-taking jeep safari, or from Srinagar, both some of the planet's most spectacular drives.
Email us your flight arrival details and have our contact details with you when you arrive in Delhi in case you need assistance. Kim will have her mobile with her, as will our agents from Dhruv Travels, so don't hesitate to call. We can help with hotels, flights, airport pick-ups and drops, sightseeing in Delhi or travels further to Rajasthan or Agra & the Taj Mahal (see Dhruv Travels).
Be sure to have your Indian Visa before arrival in India. Most countries qualify for the new visa-on-arrival system, which is valid for 30 days. Information about the new visa-on-arrival for citizens of many countries (excluding the UK). NOTE that you need to apply and pay for the visa BEFORE arriving in India. You get the actual visa with your paid application once in India.
Reference for Indian Visa:
Hotel in Leh: Shaynam Hotel, 20 Old Leh Road, Leh 194101
Travel Agent in Delhi: Dhruv Travels, 2464, Nalwa St, Chuna Mandi, Paharganj, New Delhi, 110055, India, +91 11 2358 2715
Hotel in Delhi: Jyoti Mahal Guest House, 2488-90 Nalwa Street, Chuna Mandi, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi,110055, +91 1123580523/24/25/26
You can print out + fill out your Visa on Arrival form before arriving in India, but you need to apply for the visa before leaving for India!
Delhi Airport Hotels
Delhi Airport Hotel
Delhi Restaurants + Bars
Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.
The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...
Temperatures + Clothing
Dress conservatively in Leh and on the trail as a rule. Shorts are okay if they aren't too short, mini skirts aren’t recommended. Sleeveless t-shirts are absolutely fine, but perhaps avoid tank-tops on the trail. Super tight doesn't go over so well with the village elders. Many of the younger generation in Nepal wear modern Indian or Western-influenced clothes, but remember that you haven't signed up for a beach or surf vacation. Use your good judgment, be an ambassador for western tourists! Please ask Kim or your guide if unsure about appropriate clothing.
Leh is generally very hot during the day (t-shirt weather) and cool at night (long sleeve shirt, fleece or synthetic jacket weather depending on month in the summer). A sun hat is essential during the day, sandals like Keens perfect for both a wander around town and trekking. Ladakh is very casual, a pair of jeans and shirt fine for evenings.
Trekking temperatures vary considerably, and you will need a wide range of trekking gear during the trek. Gear will range from sandals to boots, from t-shirts to down jackets. We suggest packing a warm sleeping bag, and bring layers. A full discussion of gear on 'Gear' tab.
We have North Face style duffel bags with Kamzang Journeys logos for sale (XL, orange). They are (mostly) waterproof, mid to lightweight (lighter than North Face) and good quality. Price $40. Please inquire early as we need to bring from Kathmandu.
Ladakhis are very open and welcoming, but there are a few issues you should be aware of to make your stay in Ladakh more fulfilling. Use your right hand to pass things, shake hands or do most anything. Left hands are somewhat taboo. Best not to pat kids on heads, or point feet ahead of you at monasteries. Don't walk over someone's legs or feet, but put your hand down in front of you to signal them to pull their legs to the side. Take off shoes and hats when going into Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples, don't use flashes inside monasteries or temples in general, be respectful of a puja (prayer ceremony) if attending one. You can talk, all religious are very tolerant, but be aware of your level of voice.
Ladakhis don't anger quickly, so try not to raise your voice if exasperated or angry as it only will make a situation worse. Do bargain at shops, with taxis and rickshaws, but don't fleece them. They are poor and making a living, generally.
Give small donations on the streets if you choose, but try not to encourage begging too much. Be aware of who you are giving money to, and please only give small amounts. If you do want to donate to a cause, ask about our Kamzang Fund or other responsible organizations.
Note that Leh and Ladakh are melting pots of different religions: Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim, as well as a few Christians. Tolerance and acceptance of all religions tolerated!
Pampering Yourself in Leh
Inquire if you're interested in staying in one of Leh's high end hotels. A few suggestions ...
'Built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen in 1820, the Stok Palace still continues to be a snug abode for the Namgyal dynasty. The Namgyal dynasty traces its origin to its founder –Lhachen Palgygon as early as 10th century. You are entering a historical property and the Palace stands 195 years old. The Stok Palace was opened to public in 1980 with blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and since it’s been over a decade and visitors continues to pour from all over the World. It encapsulates and reflects the lifestyle and history of Royalties set in the midst of the valley of Singey Sangpo which is known more popularly as Indus River.
Preserved from urbanity, this pristine natural landscape allows you to relax in serene atmosphere, pregnant with the delicious aroma of the country side and amazing views all around and takes the visitors through the imagery experience, detailing the softness of Snow, the brilliance of sunlight, billowing clouds, wandering pathways, and picturesque local architecture. As with anything embracing the grandeur and beauty of nature, the landscapes achieve a sense of timelessness; they envelop the echoes and silence of eons gone by. So come and enjoy the fine dining experience prepared from the family kitchen products coming from the local market and village. You can enjoy the pleasures of healthy and natural Ladakhi, Tibetan and Indian food.'
'Nimmu House Ladakh is a sustainable Hotel in Ladakh, 30 km from Leh, in the village of Nimmoo. A noble house belonging to the cousin of the king of Ladakh, from the early 90s, surrounded by an orchard. Nimmu House includes five spacious tents scattered across the orchard and a room located in the house. Activities include Hiking, trekking, rafting, cooking classes, visits to the village of Nimmu and the monasteries of the Indus Valley'
The Ultimate Traveling Camp
'The first truly mobile luxury camps in India covering a calendar of destinations and festivals. This nomadic super luxury camp introduces the discerning traveler to different adventures in Carefully selected exceptional locations in the mountains, deserts, jungles and unexplored Countryside. Experience the many moods of exotic India with its dramatic landscapes, rustic and unexplored rural surroundings. Rediscover yourself…meet gurus from the far reaches of the Himalayas, raft down the River Indus, watch a game of Polo, a sport of the Royals, picnic in picturesque spots, celebrate tribal hues at the Hornbill Festival, explore quaint tribal Naga villages, or simply curl up in your ‘tent with a view’!
Tips for Staff
We recommend $100-$150 per person to go into the tip pool for the staff. Please bring IC with you on the trek for the tips. It’s nice to buy the staff drinks on the last night. Or any other night that you feel like getting them a bottle of run!
Tips in General
Tips are always appreciated but they don’t need to be extravagant. 50 IC to carry bags to/from your room is fine. 100 IC for drivers to/from the airport. Round up taxi fares. A larger tip would be expected for a day trip in a car, perhaps 500 IC. 10% is included in some restaurant and hotel bills in India, and if it’s not included it’s still expected. Check your bills, and still round up at restaurants.
Cash + ATMs
You’ll want some cash with you on the trek for drinks, snacks, beer, sodas, etc. There are often chances to during the trek, and usually local crafts to buy en route. (You’ll want your tip money IC as well). There are ATMs in Leh but they don’t dispense large amounts of cash so you’ll be best with currency to change. Traveler's checks not recommended in India.
Extra Days in India | Customize Your Journey
We are happy to book extra nights at the hotel, or a hotel of your choice, if you want to stay in Leh for a few extra days to explore our favorite Central Asian capital, or just to relax and soak in the mountain scenery. We are also happy to book trips to Nubra, sightseeing jeep safaris along the Indus Valley, rafting, bicycling down the Kardung La or any other activity you would like.
See our Extensions Tab for trip ideas!
Srinagar & the Jewels of Kashmir
Kashmir, Srinagar & Indus Jeep Safari
A great extension to any of our Kamzang Journeys treks in Ladakh & Zanskar, or a wonderful trip on its own. Kashmir and Srinagar are some of the jewels of the Indian Himalaya, often described by local Kashmiris as 'heaven on earth' ....
We are offering a wonderful nine-day itinerary, flying from Delhi to Srinagar and finishing in Leh via the overland route.
There are many ways to customize this trip, please get in touch to make this trip exactly what you are looking for!
Some of the highlights: old historic Srinagar & the Mughal Gardens, touring Dal & Nageen Lakes by shikara (local boat), the atmospheric morning floating market, a visit to Dacigram National Park, an excursion Manasbal & Wular Lake, the largest lake in Asia, a tour of
Yousmarg and a visit to Naranag Temple, the oldest in Kashmir.
En route to Leh you'll have the option to drive the stunningly beautiful Indus highway via the Koji La, with a chance to visit idyllic Sonmarg and stop at several Tibetan Buddhist monasteries along the road to Leh. Or you can take a one-hour flight directly to Leh.
Enjoy the world renown beauty and hospitality of Kashmir!
Day 1 - Meet in Leh 3500m | Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar, Leh Fort + Old Leh City
Welcome to Leh, the capital of predominantly Buddhist Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, tucked away amidst mountainous Ladakh, part of the great Trans Himalayan range. If arriving by air, you will feel the jump in altitude and it will take your body a few days to adjust. If arriving by road from Manali or Srinagar, you will have had some extra acclimatization en route but still need time to adjust to the 3500 meter altitude. Hydrate with plenty of water, stay away from alcohol for a few days, rest and don't over-exert yourself! Even walking up the stairs of the guesthouse, or the steep steps leading to Leh Fort, will make you breathless for the first few days. We recommend starting the day before you fly up to Leh, and consider taking 250 mg of Diamox the night before before you fly to Leh, continuing 2x per day for the next few days. Discuss with Kamzang Journeys if you have questions.
A driver will be at the airport to meet you if you arrive by air. Look for a sign with your name on it, and you will be transferred to either Shaynam Hotel or Hotel Royal Ladakh. The family run Shaynam Hotel is a lovely guest house with a beautiful garden courtyard, located just below the Main Bazaar in Leh. Hotel Royal Ladakh is a beautiful hotel just north of Leh, near Shanti Stupa.
Your guide will take you on a short tour of old Leh once you've settled into your room. Central Asian Leh is packed with Muslim bakeries, modern cafes, Western and tandoori restaurants, old, winding alleyways, antique and pashmina shops, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, picturesque mosques, Hindu and Sikh temples and wonderful, atmospheric fruit and vegetable markets along the Main Bazaar.
Have a walk up the bustling Fort Road, lined with shops owned by Kashmiri, Tibetan and Kashmiri shop-keepers, to the crumbling but majestic Leh Fort (3680 meters) and the red, Maitreiya Tsemo Gompa, perched high on a craggy and crumbling hilltop overlooking the bazaars of old Leh. You can stop at 16th century nine-story Leh Palace, of a similar architectural design to the Tibetan Potala Palace, on the way down if you have the energy. Visit the museum, a worthwhile endeavor, as well as the nearby gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) - Soma Gompa, Chamba Lakhang and Chensrig Lakhang.
Wander the willow-lines streets of Changspa to reach the many steps leading to the Japanese-built Shanti Stupa for a view over the green fields and white-washed Ladakhi houses of the villages surrounding Leh. The precariously perched Leh Fort guards the eastern edges of the fertile valley. Sankar Gompa (17th - 18th century), reached through shady lanes to the east of Changspa, lies in the midst of Chubi's groves of poplar and willow and is another wonderful morning or afternoon walk. The back route to Leh Fort starts in Chubi and passes through a desert-like Buddhist cremation ground before climbing to the fortress.
Enjoy the peaceful, willow-lined streets and bustling bazaar life of Singge Namgyal's 17th century capital of Ladakh, once an integral part of Western Tibet and a major trading post along the southern Silk Route. There is lots to explore in this wonderful Central Asian town; the newly-restored ruins of the 17th century Leh Palace, the ancient 15th century Leh Fort and the attached Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, other historic Tibetan Buddhist gompas, the Sunni Muslim mosques, narrow back alleys with steaming Muslim bread, tiny antique shops tucked away amidst the many ancient stupas and architectural remnants, the exotic Main Bazaar (c. 1840s) which once accommodated trade caravans, and even a polo field. Today, the Main Bazaar is a colorful street, the sidewalks crammed mornings and afternoons with Ladakhi women selling their fresh fruits and vegetables, and locals at the far end vending their dried nuts, apricots and apples. (B)
OPTIONAL RAFTING TRIP
You can arrange a day rafting trip on the Indus (easier) or the Zanskar River, approximately $40.
Day 2 - Leh | Western Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (Alchi, Basco + Likir Monasteries)
Your guide will take you on a private tour of some of Ladakh's most ancient, beautiful and photogenic palaces and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, a full day tour. You will visit the 1000 year old Alchi Gompa, Basco's renovated monastery and the stunningly set ruins of the capital of Northern Ladakh, now a UNESCO site. Last you will visit the resplendent Likir Gompa, with its massive, golden Buddha and monastic community.
Enjoy the afternoon back in Leh, where the late afternoon light is wonderful for photography. Caravans of merchants from far-flung destinations such as Yarkand, Tibet, Kashgar and North India passed through Leh during ancient trade missions, trading salt, wool, Pashmina, tea and semi-precious stones, lending to the city its exotic allure. Pilgrims flocked to the monasteries of Leh and the Indus valley, explorers of old stopped in Leh to re-stock and weather out the harsh Himalayan winter and soldiers en route to plunder and conquer desirous destinations passed through Leh, all leaving their mark on this unique capital. (B) (5-6 hr trip)
Day 3 - Drive Drive Korzok (Tso Moriri Lake) | Tented Camp 4550m
After breakfast, board your jeep for the 6+ hour drive to Korzok Phu. You will follow the Leh Srinagar highway east, past the ancient, 14th century Spitok Gompa, spectacularly perched on a craggy hillock above the cultivated fields of Spitok village. We continue past the old palace and gompa at Shey, surrounded by hundreds of whitewashed chortens, and continue past more chortens built by the kings of Ladakh towards colorful Thikse Gompa, with a large monastic community, on the left. The renown Hemis Gompa is built high up on a hillside to our right, across the Indus.
Soon after the turnoff to Manali, you will continue along the Indus highway and camp near Chumantang and it's small hot springs. Another few hours of scenic driving as you head south at Mahe bridge, cross a 4800 meter pass with views down to salt lake of Thadsang Karu Kyagar Tso, and continue along the small road towards lake Tso Moriri. Once at the protected wetlands section at the top of the lake you will take the western route to Korzok where you have a choice of camping at a semi-luxury tented camp, or at a traditional Ladakhi home stay in Korzok, one of the highest villages in the world. (B, L + D) (8 hrs drive)
Day 4 - Korzok | Hike Korzok Phu Nomadic Camp 4640m
After a traditional Ladakh breakfast, enjoy a visit to the recently renovated 300-year-old Korzok Gompa. There are often 'mani' pujas happening in Korzok, and if you're lucky you will have a chance to sit in on all the villagers and nomads counting their prayer beads in this ancient monastery. After the monastery visit, hike south along the shores of the lake for about 20 minutes to a small hill, fluttering with Tibetan Buddhist 'lung ta', or prayer flags, for an exquisite view over Tsomoriri Lake, with Himalayan peaks reflected in its brackish, still waters.
After lunch, hike 45 minutes along a gurgling stream, through the green nomadic plateau, to visit Korzok Phu, a nomadic settlement tucked away between high snow peaks. Or your jeep driver can drive you along a slightly longer road to this wonderful doksa. Enjoy the rest of the day in this bustling, colorful nomadic settlement of Ladakhi nomads. Nomadic boys cruise by on their donkeys if they're not in school, children and local Ladakhi nomads stop by camp to watch the happenings, donkeys roam the green campsite, and the hundreds of sheep and goats are herded back to their paddocks in the evening. The late afternoon light is sublime. A traditional dinner at the tented camp or guest house, and don't miss the stars in the evening! (B, L + D)
Day 5 - Drive Pangong Lake. Camp Man 4260m
Back into your private jeep for a continuation of the great 'jeep safari' to Pangong Lake, following the Harong Chu, passing lovely Chidbra driving along a blacktopped road which was once an ancient trade route that went from Leh to Rudok and the on to Lhasa in Tibet. The sky is wide and blue above us as we pass Chilam (4070m), and 7 more kilometers to the larger town of Tangse, from where we head east along the Pangong Highway and have to drive another 30+ kilometers, over the small Yakmil La (4300m), to Man. The first village at the western end of the village is the touristy Lukung. From here, you will drive along the southern shores of the lake (the northern shores are restricted) followed by Spangmik, full of tented camps and parachute tents. Man is blissfully separated from the tourism at Pangong, and the tented camps in Man village are lovely, right on the lake. Enjoy an afternoon by the lake, walking, swimming, skipping stones, exploring the village and just relaxing and gazing out at Tibet across the lake.
Pangong is 6-7 kilometers wide at its broadest point. In 1634 at the Treaty of Tingmosgum the boundary between Ladakh under Singge Namgyal and Guge under Nyima-gon was fixed where it stands today. North of the lake across the Changchmno Range is Tibet: the Lingzithang and Askai Chin. Locals told us that in the winter they cross the frozen lake to reach their winter settlement on the opposite side! (B, L + D) (4 hrs drive)
Day 6 - Man (Pangong Lake). Daytrip Merak
After another traditional Ladakhi breakfast, we've scheduled a wonderful day at Pangong Lake, a drive along the western banks of Pangong Lake to visit the remote, beautifully-situated village of Merak. There is a Tibetan Buddhist gompa to visit in town, and time to walk back (about 2 hours) for anyone who enjoys lake walking. Take time to also explore Man village, and walk along the idyllic shores of the lake right from our campsite, and even go for a swim! Enjoy the 'beach' day right on the border of Tibet! (B, L + D)
Day 7 - Drive Leh | Cross the Chang La Pass (5360m)
Back in the jeeps, you'll drive back along the southern shores of Pangong Lake and after a few hours, following a branch of the large Shyog River, turn south and drive over the Chang La (5300m) to Karu, where the road intersects the Indus and the Leh-Manali highway.En route we pass the western Indus valley gompas, amongst them the 1000-year old Alchi, Hemis, Rizdong, Likir, Thikse and Shey. Back at the Shaynam Guest House in Leh, hot showers and a clean change of clothes await, and tandoori food and cold beers are not far away at the Ibex. (B) (8 hrs drive)
Day 8 - Trip Ends
Sadly, your wonderful Himalayan journey ends today. You have several options after the trip - a flight back to Delhi, an epic 'jeep safari' back to Manali, a cultural, beautiful 'jeep safari' to Kashmir and Shrinagar (or elsewhere in the Indian Himalaya) or spending more time in Leh. We're happy to assist on all fronts. Note that Leh flights are not included in our India itineraries but we can book them for you. (B)
Ladakh Sham Homestay Trek Extension
Day 8 – Drive Likir 3650m. Trek Yangthang 3720m | Cross Phobe La 3580m + Sumdo + Chagatse La 3630m (5 - 6 hrs)
Day 9 – Trek Ulley 4023m (4 hrs)
Day 10 – Trek Hemis Shukpachen 3665m | Cross Spangpo La 4082m (Tsermagchen La) (8 km, 5 hrs)
Day 11 – Trek Temisgam 3255m | Cross Mebtak La 3795m + Lago La 3830m + Ang - (5 hrs)
Day 12 – Drive Leh | Visit Rizdong + Spituk Gompas
Day 13 - Trip Ends
EXTENSIONS: Kashmir & Srinagar | Floating Worlds Tour
© Kim Bannister