(8 nights 9 days)
Zanskar is easily the most exotic & pristine of Ladakhi regions. This vast region is very sparsely populated, it is accessible only by the road connecting Kargil with Rangdum & Padum, or long treks. Apart from stunning landscapes & terrain, a visit to Zanskar offers a unique opportunity to see several ancient but fully operational gompas, perched in impossible locations on the rugged mountainside.
- Day 1: Arrive In Srinagar - Sonamarg (2740 M) 84 km / 2 ½ hrs Reach Srinagar Airport in the afternoon. Do a short but picturesque drive to reach Sonamarg by early evening. Stay overnight in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 2: Sonamarg - Kargil (3140 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 (2820 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 (3510 M) 86 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 Full day excursion to Zongkhar Fort & the cave monastery of Zongkul.
- Day 7: Padum- Kargil 226 km / 9 hrs Leave after breakfast and drive back to reach Kargil by evening. Overnight in rooms at a hotel.
- Day 8: Kargil - Srinagar (1730 M) 203 km / 7 hrs Leave early on the drive over Zoji La, then via Drass- the 2nd coldest place in the world, and Sonamarg to reach Srinagar in the afternoon. Check into a luxury houseboat on the peaceful Nageen Lake. Enjoy a long relaxing Shikara Ride on the lake through sunset.
- Day 9: Srinagar- Fly Back Morning visit to Dachigam National Park. Post breakfast transfer to the airport for a return flight back to Delhi/Mumbai/Chandigarh. There are late afternoon flights to Delhi so you could do some sightseeing – see Shankracharya Hill / visit Chashm–e-Shahi & Pari Mahal - the pick of the Mughal Gardens, and then get dropped to the airport
• If you can spore more days, then a few days at the end in Pahalgam & Gulmarg could be included. This would be very relaxing.
• An interesting alternative would be to fly out from Leh: Kargil- Leh 230 km / 8 hrs on Day 08; spend Day 09 in Leh and fly back from Leh on Day 10. You could also fly into Leh on Day 01- spend Day 02 in Leh – drive to Kargil on Day 03 – carry on as per the itinerary from here onwards.