Ladakh lies on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and is the highest, least populated and one of the most inaccessible regions in all of India. It is a striking destination, home to many Tibetan Buddhists and its capital, Leh, is often referred to as a “Little Lhasa”. Fascinating in its own right, it is the overland route to Leh from the lowland town of Manali that draws travelers from all over the world, being renowned as one of the world’s most spectacular road journeys. Crossing four Himalayan mountain passes (including the 5400m Taglang La); this epic journey will literally take your breath away. As we ascend from the verdant foothills of Himachal Pradesh we’ll travel past snow-capped mountains and stunning vistas all the way to Ladakh. From here we will venture even further to the remote Nubra Valley and take in some of the sights of Leh. In addition, we’ll also take a toy train to the summer Raj capital of Shimla and pay a visit to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamshala/McLeod Ganj. This is a big trip in every sense of the word and one that will be sure to stay with you for many years to come.
Late evening: On arrival in Delhi by your international flight, meet and greet at the airport and transfer to hotel for immediate occupancy.
After a relaxed breakfast, proceed for a full day guided city tour of New Delhi and Old Delhi covering largest Mosque in Asia, an unforgettable cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, Mughal architecture, soul-stirring temples and the 72 pts tall minaret. Evening you the option of dining at one of the many Indian specialty restaurants.
Early morning you will be transferred to train station to board Shatabdi Express, tourist train to Kalka. On arrival in Kalka, switch over to the “toy train” – a UNESCO world heritage mountain train, which passes through 102 tunnels in its 96 km of the picturesque journey in almost 6 hrs to Shimla, the fascinating former summer capital of the British Raj. On arrival in Shimla, you will be transferred to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Today you will visit the sites of Shimla including visiting the Jhaku Hill – the highest peak which offers a panoramic view of the town, the historical shrine of Hanuman, the Himachal Pradesh State Museum known for its miniature paintings and Viceroy Lodge – built between 1884 and 1888 as residence of Viceroy of India when Shimla was the summer capital of India. Rest of the day is free to explore the town on own.
After an early breakfast drive to McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile and as residence to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Rest of the day at leisure to explore this spiritual town.
Today you will have the whole day to enjoy this legendary hill station and have the opportunity for a day walk in the surrounding area. The Dalai Lama resides at Macleodgang, Upper Dharamshala, and in the colorful Tibetan township are the newly built Gelugpa monastery and a school of Tibetan culture with an excellent library. Lord Elgin was buried in the gardens adjoining St. John’s Church. The Institute of Buddhist learning and the Dal Lake and other nearby interesting spots.
After an early breakfast, you will drive to Manali on the way visiting the tea gardens in Palampur town. On arrival in Manali, assistance by our representative and check in at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Today you have the full day at leisure. Take an optional day walk in the surrounding area through apple orchards, forests to meet the local people or if you seek adventure go for water rafting or parasailing.
Today you will start your drive along what many consider the most spectacular drive in the entire Himalayas. Today you will cross the 3,980m Rohtang Pass and head to Jispa valley. Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the mighty Himalaya ranges.
Today you will cross the 4,900m Baralacha La and it is from here that things begin to change. Caught in the rain shadow, the land now begins to dry up, to form the high altitude desert for which Ladakh is famous. On arrival, you will check in at your tented accommodation.
Today after an early breakfast, drive on arguably the most amazing of the route as we pass over the 5400m Tanglang La to Leh. On arrival in Leh late in the afternoon, assistance at the time of check-in by our representative.
Today is a day of relaxation, sightseeing, and acclimatization with a free morning and then an afternoon spent visiting the spectacular monasteries of Tikse, Matho, and Shey.
Today you will drive the highest road in the world and over the Khardung La (5600m) before descending into the remote Nubra valley.
Today you will take a walk in the stunning countryside, passing through villages to see how the Nubra people live, enjoying the magnificent culture and scenery.
After breakfast return to Leh and this afternoon, you will have time for some personal exploration.
Today is a free day with options to visit gompas and palaces in Stok and Matho to the south and south-east of Leh, or relax around town and maybe do some shopping!
In the morning you will be transferred to the airport in time to connect the most spectacular flights in the world to Delhi. On arrival, assistance at the airport and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day free for last minute packing/shopping.
Your tour ends today and you will be transferred to the airport to connect onward flight
Little gifts from Travel East: