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India: Ladakh

Enter ''Little Tibet'' ! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,299,-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

India: Ladakh

Here you can find the day-to-day description for India: Ladakh

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Delhi

Delhi

A visit of the Jama Masjid, the great mosque in Delhi, is definitely worth a visit. |India

Amritsar

Amritsar

Visit the most important sight of the city, the golden temple of the Sikhs! |India

Dharamsala

Dharamsala

In Dharamsala the Dalai Lama has his seat of government. The whole place exudes a Tibetan atmosphere with its temples, colourful prayer flags and the monks dressed in red. |India

Manali

Keylong

Sarchu

Leh

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Delhi Delhi
2 Delhi Delhi
3 Train Delhi - Amritsar Amritsar
4 Bus Amritsar - Dharamsala Dharamsala
5 Dharamsala Dharamsala
6 Bus Dharamsala - Manali Manali
7 Manali Manali
8 Bus Manali - Keylong Keylong
9 Keylong Keylong
10 Bus Keylong - Sarchu Sarchu
11 Bus Sarchu - Leh Leh
12 Leh Leh
13 Leh Leh
14 Walk Leh - Likir - Yangtang (optional trekking) Yangtang
15 Walk Yangtang - Hemis Shukpachu (optional trekking) Hemis Shukpachu
16 Walk Hemis Shukpachu - Themisgam - Alchi (optional trekking) Alchi
17 Bus Alchi - Leh Leh
18 Leh Leh
19 Leh Leh
20 Plane Leh - Delhi Delhi
21 Delhi Delhi
22 Delhi End of tour

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Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India! 

Your tour starts in Delhi, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive in the late evening of day 1 or early morning of day 2, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule.

Day 2: Delhi

Free day In Delhi. In this chaotic city there is much to experience and the contrast between the old and new areas is enormous. The old part is an anthill of narrow streets, temples and mosques including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the largest and most beautiful mosque in the country. The new section is a vast city stuffed with long, wide, straight streets, parks and pavilions. All in all there is plenty to see but if you do not have enough time to do everything then do not worry as you will return here at the end of your trip.

Day 3: Delhi - Amritsar

Board an early morning train ‘Swarna Shatabdi’ to Amritsar. The scheduled departure of the train is 7.20 hours. The trip takes about six hours. You arrive at Amritsar at 13.25.

Later visit the main attraction of Amritsar, the Golden Temple of the Sikhs. This famous temple is situated in the heart of the old town. The actual sanctuary of the temple is the Har Mandir which has a golden dome, shaped like an inverted lotus flower. The Golden Temple is an oasis of peace and a wonderful place to see and to meet the friendly Sikhs. Visitors to the Golden Temple must remove their shoes to get their feet washed and cover their heads before entering.

Besides the Golden Temple, there are a number of attractions in the old town of Amritsar, with a small gold temple, a mosque and many markets. Take a trip to Attari (30 kms outside Amritsar), and witness the elaborate border ceremony between India and Pakistan.

Day 4: Amritsar - Dharamsala

In the morning, drive to Dharamsala (200 kms/ 6 hrs drive), a sleepy town in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a long winding ride alongside the (coniferous) trees, rice fields and near the village you will see some tea plantations.

In Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama and his government sit, so the whole place exudes a Tibetan feel with its temples and monks dressed in red. It is sometimes possible to go to an audience with the Dalai Lama, thats if he's not traveling at least. You can visit the famous Tibetan monastery and the interesting Local markets of Mcleod Ganj and Bhagsu Nag Temple.

You'll spend two nights in a hotel located in upper Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj, and the area where the Tibetans live.

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Day 5: Dharamsala

Day at leisure. In the green area of Dharamsala there is much to discover. The forests and fields in the Himalayas lend themselves to a good walk. It is possible to walk from Dharamsala in one day into the mountains, up to the snowline and return again before darkness falls.

Day 6: Dharamsala - Manali

You go through the beautiful Kullu valley with green wooded hills and numerous waterfalls. The valley along the Beas River is also called the Valley of the Gods. There is a large forest area and Kullu is known for its apples, apricots, raisins and Kullu Shawls. After a slow acsent of around four hours (112 km) we arrive in Manali, situated at an altitude of 2050 meters.

In the 70s and 80s, Manali in summer attracted many western hippies because of its mild climate during the hot Indian summers; they also harvest marijuana in this region. Still you can see these plants growing ornately on the roadsides. Today it is the rich Indian families and honeymooners who come to enjoy the wooded area and its’ many restaurants.

Day 7: Manali

Day at leisure in Manali. There are some great attractions in Manali, like the wooden Dhungri Temple (built in 1553), a four-story building in the woods (Pagoda Architecture), and Gadhan Thekchokling monastery, built by Tibetan refugees in the sixties. Old Manali is an area with old houses and orchards where you can take a pleasant walk. Vashisht near Manali is a charming village on a hillside with hot sulpher water springs, where you can take a public bath.

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Day 8: Manali - Keylong

Through a spectacular mountain road you travel through the Himalayas towards Leh. The road, which is constantly in a state of decomposition, you will find to be literally breath-taking. The first part of the road, rises through green forests and apple orchards, through a lot of hairpin bends to get to the first pass, the Rohtang Pass (3978 m), where many Indian day trippers from Manali come themselves to perpetuate, dressed in rented fur coats and boots, sitting on a sturdy mountain pony or a yak. The total travelling time can vary depending on the road condition and traffic.

The trip continues to Keylong, the only town of importance here. The area is becoming less green, the trees disappear and the population density decreases. Slowly you rise to Jispa where you overnight at 3400 meters in a hotel on the Bhaga River. If you do not arrive too late in Jispa, it's nice to go hiking in the area.

Day 9: Keylong

Today you are free to explore further. Take a walk around the village or perhaps a half day hike to Shashur Monastery (Shashur means Blue Pines). This 17th century monastery has a picturesque location in Keylong, Lahaul Spiti. You will see large Thangka paintings, some of them over fifteen feet in length and wall paintings depicting all the 84 siddhas of Buddhism. Shanshur is around 2 Kms from Keylong Market and will take between 1 ½ and 2 hours (one way: uphill). After arriving at the monastery you can relax there enjoying the beautiful view of the valley below. Later you can hike back to the local village market and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 10: Keylong - Sarchu

On the second day of travel through the Himalayas ride through the valley of Lahaul and Spiti. Again, it is a path with beautiful views, including the Baralacha La (4890 m). The name means something like Crossroads because it joins two different valleys together. You arrive after a long drive in the tented camp at Sarchu (4250 m), still in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Day 11: Sarchu - Leh

At the start of the journey you quickly ascend a road with 21 hairpin bends giving a fantastic view of the moon-like landscape. You pass the More Plains, an area where sometimes Khampa nomads hang with their herds. The road leads you to Tanglang La (5328 m) and Lachulang La (5060 m) and past the monasteries of Shey and Thikse (they can be visited from Leh).

Later you reach Leh where you have three nights to visit magnificent palaces and temples of "small Lhasa" and the monasteries and palaces in the vicinity. The broad main street recalls the days when hundreds of camels, yaks and horses had to find a place in the crowded bazaar. Leh is the only town in the valley with a market and the whole valley of Ladakh comes together to buy and sell. At night there are many restaurants where you eat by candlelight (failing electrics dictate!).

Day 12: Leh

You are free to explore Leh. The town of Leh is dominated by the former royal palace, Leh Palace. Built in the style of Potala Palace in Lhasa, but smaller. The building dates from the 17th century and has nine floors. It is in poor condition, but has a beautiful location above the city. At the foot of the palace are some temples and gompas (monasteries).

High above the palace is the viewpoint of Namgyal Gompa and a fort (Tsemo Castle) which is accessible along a goat trail. A visit to the gompa in and around Leh is very special because of the Buddhist statues and manuscripts, but perhaps even more so because of the intense atmosphere that often hangs.

Day 13: Leh

Free day. There are many small gompas surrounding Leh which are interesting to visit, not only because of their art treasures but also because of the friendly Lamas (Monks). You will have to choose which gompas to see but a nice combination is: Shey Gompa, Thikse Gompa, Hemi Gompa and Matho (all southeast of Leh).

To the east of Leh, Shey Gompa is the former summer palace, with a 12 meter high Buddha statue of Shakyamuni, made of copper with gold leaf. Thikse Gompa is a little further and situated on a beautiful hill. This restored monastery belongs to the Gelukpa order and there are temples and chortens everywhere. From the roof of the monastery there is a beautiful view. Hemis Gompa lies across the Indus River in a lovely valley with babbling brooks. It is known for the largest thangka in Ladakh, which is only displayed once every 12 years! The monastery is also famous for its mask dance festival. Whenever you are entering a temple, you have to remove your shoes.

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Day 14: Leh - Likir - Yangtang (optional trekking)

For those of you that have chosen to (specify when booking) you will start your trek through the rugged mountains of Ladakh (The rest will have free time in Leh). You can store the luggage you won’t be taking, back at the hotel. In the morning, you drive to Likir (3500 m). Here are the vans, horses and/or donkeys ready to transport the luggage. You have the option to view the beautiful monastery of Likir.

From there you follow our guide on foot over rocky goat paths. Soon you leave the green area behind you and enter an arid moonscape when you cross the Pobe La (La = Pass) at 3550 m. The green trees and fields of the village Sumdo (3470 m) soon come into view. You cross a wooden bridge over the river Saspol Tokpo and climb to the next pass at 3650 meters, the Charat La. From there it is about 35 minutes to walk to the first camp in Yangtang, a picturesque, adobe village (3600 m). In the evening our cook prepares a hearty local meal by the campfire. Likir/Likir Gompa to Yangtang is approximately 5 hrs.

Day 15: Yangtang - Hemis Shukpachu (optional trekking)

In the morning you start the trek to Hemis Shukpachu (2-3 hours). From Yangtang descend down to cross the river at Wuleh Tokpo and then walk up to the next pass of 3750 meters, the Sarmanchan La. From the pass you can already see the village Shukpachu Hemis (3600 m). The camp is situated along the fast flowing river with cold water and surrounded by mountains. The village of Hemis Shukpachu and its surroundings are very picturesque, and you can explore this beautiful region of your own. There is a small monastery and a couple of small shops.

There is another alternate route from Yangtang to Hemis Shukpachu via Rizdong Monastery which takes around 7 to 8 hours. The remote monastery of the Rizdong Gelukpa order is known for its strict regime. The monks here have only the clothes they wear and all the food is prepared in the monastery kitchen.

Day 16: Hemis Shukpachu - Themisgam - Alchi (optional trekking)

This morning we start trekking towards Themisgam, totaling about 3 or 4 hours. First you slowly cross a small pass (3710 m) and then zigzag down overlooking the valley with mountains in different pastel colours - a feast for the eyes. Later we get to zigzag steeply up to the next pass of 3750 meters, the Lago La. Then comes the village of Ang before the end point of the trip, Themisgam (3200 m), located in the richest valley of Ladakh. Apricots, apples and nuts grow here in abundance. It is the largest and most prosperous village of the trek.

After arriving in Themisgam we travel by bus for half an hour to Alchi, where we overnight. Alchi Gompa is the largest and most beautiful monastery in the valley with splendid paintings and carvings and with a total of five temples.

Day 17: Alchi - Leh

In the morning drive back to Leh. It takes only two hours to drive back to Leh (70 km), where you have three nights at the same hotel where you previously left the remaining luggage.

Day 18: Leh

Free day. Time to look for the beautiful crafts of the Tibetans or maybe go for a rafting trip on the Indus River (depending on the water category). You can even just sit and relax on a rooftop restaurant or watch a traditional show near Leh Palace.

You may also like to explore other monasteries. The Stok Palace (Stok Gompa) is located upstream from Leh and is now partly opened as a museum, especially recommended for its’ thangka exhibits.

Taktok Gompa is an interesting little monastery, built around a cave. It is the only monastery of the Nyingmapa sect in Ladakh, the oldest Tibetan monastic order. Every year there is a beautiful festival at Taktok. The monastery belongs to the Kagyupa order (Red Hats). Phyang Gompa has a similar festival, but on a smaller scale. Also, make sure to see the ancient Spituk Gompa.

Day 19: Leh

For your final day in Leh visit the white Shanti Stupa, situated on a hill just outside the city. Shanti was built by a Japanese sect in 1983 and opened by the Dalai Lama. The view of Leh is very nice in the late afternoon light.

Day 20: Leh - Delhi

You'll board an early flight from Leh to Delhi, which is about 1 ¼ hours. The rest of the day you're free to spend in Delhi.

You might want to look for souvenirs in the city markets. Chandi Chowk is the artery of the old town with many shops and a large market. It is a chaotic jumble of streets teeming with people, cattle and horse carriages, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, buses and anything that moves.

Day 21: Delhi

Free day. Visit those sights that you didn’t get round to at the start of this trip. We suggest the Qutab Minar, a minaret with five floors (each with a projecting balcony) of 72 meters high. The first three floors were built with red sandstone, the top two floors are marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the first mosque built in India: the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid. The mosque was built on the remains of a Hindu temple.

The Lotus Temple is also well worth a visit. This modern building was so named because it has the shape of a giant lotus flower and it reminds us of the Opera House in Sydney. It is a temple of the Baha'i religious community, which believes that all world religions have to unite.

Please bear in mind that your group will either leave very late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Day 22: Delhi

Today is the end of your tour. You will need to vacate your room, usually by 12 noon. We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Ladakh.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 22) is not included.
 

Departures for festival trips:

2019: Hemis festival: 30th June; Phyang festival: 19th July; Taktok festival: 29th July

 
Please note that itineraries of festivals trips are subject to change. Please check 'More info' and then 'Festivals' for more information. 

Extend your trip

  • Agra and Varanasi Extension

    A combined extension with Agra and Varanasi. You stay in hotels at Agra, Varanasi (with swimming pools) and Delhi.

    Schedule for the Agra and Varanasi Extension:

    Day 22: Private transfer from hotel in Delhi to Agra hotel.

    Day 23: Free day Agra.

    Day 24: 'Check out' at 12.00. Transfer from hotel to Agra railway station, travel by night train from Agra to Varanasi. Scheduled train times: Departure from Agra at 23:30, arriving in Varanasi at 11:55 am (train times subject to change).

    Day 25: Transfer from train station to the hotel in Varanasi. Free day Varanasi.

    Day 26: Free day Varanasi.

    Day 27: 'Check out' at 12.00. Transfer from the hotel to the railway station in Varanasi, travel by night train from Varanasi to Delhi. Scheduled train times: Departure from Varanasi at 19:30, arriving in Delhi at 08:10 am (train times subject to change);

    Day 28: Transfer from train station to the hotel in Delhi. Free day Delhi.

    Day 29: End of extension.

    Included: Private transfers by car / bus; night trains; hotel accommodation in Agra, Varanasi and Delhi (Agra and Varanasi hotels have pools)

    Excluded: All meals; optional excursions; entrance fees; tips

    This special Agra & Varanasi extension package starts from € 229 per person (based on two people sharing a room). If you would like a single room then you pay a supplement of € 79.

  • Agra Extension

    You may like to opt for an extension in Agra at the end of your tour.

    Please specify when booking if you would like this extension. You can indicate this by ticking the appropriate box in the booking form.

    Agra is of course best known for the fabulous Taj Mahal. Built entirely of marble, the magnificent mausoleum sits at the end of an elongated basin. Make sure to also visit the bazaars and the Red Fort, the residence of the Indian emperors. Note: The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

    You stay in Agra in a hotel with swimming pool.

    Schedule for the Agra Extension:

    Day 22: Private transfer from hotel in Delhi to hotel in Agra.

    Day 23: Free day Agra.

    Day 24: Private transfer from the hotel in Agra to Delhi.

    Day 25: End of extension.

    Included: Private transfers by car / bus; nights in hotels (Agra hotel with pool)

    Excluded: All meals; optional excursions; entrance fees; tips

    This special package to Agra starts from € 129 per person (based on two people sharing a room). If you would like a single room then you pay a supplement of € 49.

  • Varanasi Extension

    The mysterious city of Varanasi is located on the banks of the holy river Ganges. Hindus from all over the world come here to take a ritual bath in the holy waters of their 'Mother Ganga'. The ghats stretch along the western banks of the Ganges. Every day there are all kinds of rituals performed here, from cremations to washing of clothes. When you have had enough of the hustle and bustle of the big city, you can visit the ancient Buddhist temples at Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon. This tranquil village is located in a green area at about ten kilometers from Varanasi. There is also a small museum.

    You stay in Varanasi in a hotel with swimming pool.

    Schedule for the Varanasi Extension:

    Day 22: Transfer from hotel to Delhi train station, travel by night train from Delhi to Varanasi. Scheduled train times: Departure from Delhi at 18:55, arriving at Varanasi 7:20 am (train times subject to change);

    Day 23: Transfer from train station to hotel in Varanasi. Free day Varanasi.

    Day 24: Free day Varanasi.

    Day 25: 'Check out' at 12.00. Transfer from the hotel to the railway station in Varanasi, travel by night train from Varanasi to Delhi. Scheduled train times: Departure from Varanasi at 19:30, arriving in Delhi at 8:10 am (train times subject to change).

    Day 26: Delhi.

    Day 27: End of extension.

    Included:

    Private transfers by car / bus; train travel Delhi-Varanasi and Varanasi-Delhi; two nights in a night train; accommodation in Delhi and Varanasi

    Excluded:

    All meals; optional excursions; entrance fee; tips

    This special package to Varanasi starts from € 179 per person (based on two people sharing a room). If you would like a single room then you pay a supplement of € 59.

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