Travel through some of the most remote settlements on earth, where weather hewn canyons and moon-like rocks create a dramatic backdrop for crumbling monasteries and fortresses that cling to ridgelines above small oases of green. Discover how the Ladakhi people live in almost total self-sufficiency, in valleys where the dominant religion, culture and language can change from village to village thanks to ancient Silk Road settlements. Modernity has only recently set foot in Ladakh, leading to dramatic improvements in living conditions and accessibility, while Ladakhi culture remains strong as it has done for centuries. Ladakh is majestic, awe-inspiring, and truly like no other place on earth.
This 8-night tour lets you step into another world in Ladakh, and discover a different way of life. See the very best Ladakh has to offer with a Discover Ladakh tour with Beyond The Clouds.
8 NIGHT TOUR
DEPARTS: leh, ladakh
Availability: May to October
Minimum group size: Two
* Price based on twin share accommodation. Single rooms available, subject to availability and surcharge.
Find out approximate trip price in your own currency here
Comprehensive travel insurance. Click here for an insurance quote.
Additional activities e.g. massage
Alcoholic or soft drinks
Tips for guide/driver
Any meals not included in itinerary
Transport by private vehicle
8 nights accommodation in handpicked hotels
All entrance fees at monasteries and museums
English speaking driver/guide
Please note that flights to and from Leh, and stopover hotels in Delhi are not included in the trip price, but we can help with recommendations.
Your journey begins with a spectacular flight over the Indian Himalaya into Leh. Step off the plane and enter this high-altitude world, for the start of an unforgettable journey. Drive west following the magnificent Indus river, dropping in altitude to assist acclimatisation, and arrive at your charming river-side hotel. Relax and unwind for the remainder of the day. The next day explore ancient villages in this fascinating corner of Ladakh.
Visit an ancient monastery complex in the historic village of Alchi perched on a ridge above the Indus before travelling to Likir Monastery, one of the oldest in Ladakh. From here, we continue to our boutique accommodation in an ancient Ladakhi house which will be your base for two nights. Next, go off the beaten track staying in a village guest house in Phyang, offering stunning mountain views, great food and some lovely walks. Stopping in Leh, explore the market en route to the quaint village of Saboo. Here, you stay in a luxury resort surrounded by tall poplar trees and gurgling streams. Follow village walkways to a ruined fort above a monastery or meet the villagers in their traditional homes. Just by uttering the word 'Julley' ( Ladakhi version of Namaste) you will be greeted back with a friendly face!
Visits to Shey Palace and Thiksey Monastery are a real highlight of this itinerary. Clinging to rocky outcrops, the views are wonderful of the Indus Valley from here. Resembling the Potala Palace in Tibet, Thiksey contains a 15 metre statue of the Maitreya, the largest in Ladakh. Continuing along the Indus, monasteries perch on almost every hill. Just as spectacular, Chemrey Monastery offers the picture postcard view of Ladakh. Before stopping for the night at our village homestay in Sakti, visit Takthok Monastery which has temple rooms built inside a cave. Enjoy a home cooked Ladakhi dinner with your friendly local hosts. Returning to the Indus, visit Hemis Monastery Museum before returning to Leh for a last night in Ladakh.
Optional Extension: Visit the remote Valley of Flowers - the Nubra Valley - which is cut off from the rest of Ladakh by high mountain passes, and sits on the border with Pakistan and Tibet. Spend two days here amid the rolling sand dunes, watching the two-humped bactrian camels as they graze on wild seabuckthorn, and marvel at the ancient monasteries clinging to rocky spurs above the valley floor.
Arrive in Leh, Ladakh: You will be met at the airport, and drive to the village of Nurla. Check into your hotel overlooking the Indus River. The hotel is 700 metres lower than Leh and is therefore the perfect place to start acclimatising to the altitude. Spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Driving time: 1.5 hrs
Altitude: 2,800 m
Nurla: Day hike in the Hemis Valley to Tingmosgang, the 15th century capital of Ladakh.
Driving time: 1 hour
Walking time: 4 hours
Nurla to Nimmu: After breakfast, drive to the ancient village of Alchi. Visit the world famous Choskhor Temple complex, renowned for its millennium old murals. Enjoy a traditional Ladakhi lunch before visiting Likir monastery, constructed in 1065 by the 5th King of Ladakh. Continue to Nimmu for your overnight stay.
Driving time: 1 hr
Altitude: 3,140 m
Nimmu: Relax in a hammock, do a tour of the ancient Ladakhi house, or visit the local villagers.
Altitude: 3,140 m
Nimmu to Phyang: Depart Nimmu for Phyang where we visit the monastery and do a village walk.
Driving time: 3 hrs
Altitude: 3,554 m
Phyang to Saboo: Travel to Shey Palace, once the residence of the Ladakhi Royal family. Arrive in time for lunch at your hotel set in a traditional model village. After lunch take a walk in the stunning countryside.
Altitude: 3,525 m
Saboo: Visit Thiksey, Hemis and Chemrey Monasteries
Altitude: 3,525 m
Saboo to Leh: Enjoy a last stroll around Saboo before arriving in Leh for lunch. Visit the Central Asian Museum and stroll in the market. Visit the ruined Leh Palace offering excellent views of the city.
Altitude: 3,500 m
Optional Extension: Add 2 days to visit Nubra Valley, a 5 hour drive from Leh via the Khardung La pass. Nubra sits at around 3,000m altitude, and is well known for its scenic sand dunes, culturally diverse people, and population of bactrian camels. Spend your days exploring this little-visited region, and seeing remote villages, ruins, and monasteries.