This is the ultimate Ladakh experience that features the known, the little known and the hidden regions that only a privileged few get to see. Of course the plan involves several long drives over rugged jeep-able trails going through vast stretches of stunningly bleak terrain with absolutely no sign of sentient life: except the odd herd of Kiangs galloping alongside or maybe a family of Marmots. However as a more-than-just reward for the ardors you'd get to see unparalleled and one-of-its-kind sights like the twin glacial lakes of Kyun Tso I & II, the Chushul Wetlands, the highest astronomical observatory in the world at Hanle.and have unique experiences like being atop what is actually the highest motorable pass in the world - Marsimek La
(16 nights 17 days)
- Day 1: ARRIVE IN SRINAGAR - SONAMARG (2800 M) 84 KM / 2 ½ HRS Reach Srinagar Airport in the afternoon and enjoy a short but picturesque drive to reach Sonamarg. Reach there by early evening. Stay overnight in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 2: SONAMARG - KARGIL (2676 M) 160 KM /6 ½ HRS A morning walk in the meadows should just hit the spot. Later leave on a drive from verdant landscapes into starkly contrasting mountain desert terrain as you cross the formidable Zoji La (3529 M). Drive via Drass to reach Kargil by late afternoon. Stay overnight in a hotel.
- Day 3: KARGIL - RANGDUM (3657 M) 140 KM / 5 HRS The beautiful Suru Valley starts after leaving Kargil. Progress will be slow on these roads but the stunning landscape and views more than make up for this. See glaciers of the Nun-Kun massif around Rangdum. Late afternoon & evening at leisure to enjoy the stunning views. Refrain from much physical activity, except for a short acclimatization walk. Stay overnight in tents at a campsite.
- Day 4: RANGDUM - PADUM (3669 M) 103 KM / 4 HRS Leave after breakfast and drive on over Penzi La (4450 M) to reach Padum- the administrative capital of Zanskar & also the road head. Later visit Sani Gompa & the nunnery at Bardan. Overnight stay in rooms at a guest house/inn.
- Day 5: PADUM Full day excursion to Karsha & Stonghey monasteries and the fort at Zangla.
- Day 6: PADUM- KARGIL 230 KM / 9 HRS Leave after breakfast and drive back to reach Kargil by evening. Overnight in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 7: KARGIL - BATALIK - DHA HANU - LEH (3505 M) 250 KM / 9 HRS Leave after an early breakfast and drive over Hamboting La to reach the pristine & pristine Batalik sector. You then go along the Indus to reach the Drokpa villages of Dha-Hanu around 1100 hrs. Spend some time checking out the unique & flamboyant lifestyle and traditions of this Indo- Aryan race who claim to be descendants of Alexander. Carry on along the Indus, stop at Nimmu (confluence point of the Indus & Zanskar), Patthar Sahib Gurudwara and Magnetic Point for a quick look, and reach Leh by evening. Stay overnight in a hotel/resort in Leh or its outskirts.
- Day 8: LEH SIGHTSEEING Visit Shey, Thiksey & Hemis Gompas. Later enjoy a Ladakhi meal at a traditional home in Stok Village. Late afternoon and evening at leisure in Leh – see the palace & walk around in the bazaar.
- Day 9: LEH - NUBRA VALLEY AT TURTUK (AVERAGE ALTITUDE 3048 M / 10,000 FT) 220 KM / 8 HRS A stunning drive over the mighty Khardung La (5602 M) brings you to the verdant Nubra Valley. Carry on northwards past Deskit & Hunder, along the Thoise airstrip to reach Turtuk by evening- a part of the Balti region of Pakistan till it was annexed by India during the 1971 war. Overnight stay in tents at a campsite
- Day 10: TURTUK A full day for walking in & around the village; seeing some stunning vistas and interacting with the warm & hospitable locals with cherubic European looks- the kids are especially adorable. Also have a traditional Balti lunch
- Day 11: Turtuk - Nubra Valley At Tegar Village 130 Km / 5 Hrs Drive back past Hunder & Deskit, at Khalsar drive about 25 odd kilometers towards Panamik - Siachen side and reach your hotel in Tegar Village by afternoon. Later drive up to Panamik Village to see the Hot Sulphur Spring and perhaps have a dip. Overnight stay in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 12: Nubra - Wari La - Sakti - Pangong Tso (4270 M) 230 Km / 9 Hrs Morning visit by walk to Samstanling Gompa in Sumur. Back to your hotel for breakfast. Post breakfast start on a stunning drive over the little explored route going over Wari La (5050 M) and then Chang La (5289 M) to reach the grand Pangong Tso by early evening. Overnight in tents at a campsite bang on the lake shore.
- Day 13: Pangong Tso - Chushul - Loma- Hanle 220 Km / 8- 9 Hrs Picturesque drive along the lake shore to reach the Chushul wetlands, and then over Tsaga La to reach to reach the alien desert landscape of Loma and finally Hanle by evening. Every km of this drive is through some stunning terrain & landscape and these images are sure to get etched in your minds for a long, long time. Overnight at Hanle – rudimentary facilities at a local home or camping.
- Day 14: Hanle - Kyun Tso 1 & 2 - Tso Moriri 250 Km / 8-9 Hrs After breakfast start on yet another once-in-a-lifetime kind of drive through unforgettable scenery for an unbelievable sight: twin glacial lakes one with salt water & one with fresh water, framed in geometric symmetry by twin glacial peaks! Finally reach Tso Moriri by evening. Overnight in rooms/tents at a resort in Karzok - overlooking the lake.
- Day 15: Tso Moriri Full day to walk around the lake & wetlands to spot rare Himalayan avian fauna or simply relax observing the mesmerizing ever-changing green blue hues of the lake’s waters. You could also do a hike to a Changspa settlement – a nomadic tribe following a timeless lifestyle with their herds of Yak, Dzo & Pashmina Goats
- Day 16: Tso Moriri - Leh Via Mahe Bridge 220 Km / 7 Hrs A nice drive all along the Indus (after Mahe) brings you back to Leh by early evening. Spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for great views.
- Day 17: Leh - Fly Back Morning transfer to the airport in time for your return flight.