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Ladakh (6N/7D)

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  • 7 Days  6 Nights 

Welcome to ‘Back-Pack-Go!’ Ladakh!

Brace yourselves for the adventure of a lifetime. This is a deep, explorative experience of this amazing ancient kingdom. Over centuries, Ladakh has seen many shifts in its societies and cultures. From being a prominent market of Central Asia on the Silk Route to being an important stronghold of the Tibetan Empire, and finally to being a modern global tourist destination hidden amidst the mightiest of the Himalayan mountains. The one thing that has remained a constant, however, is the landscape. Witness the grand mountains, deep azure lakes, and diverse wildlife like nowhere else in India. It’s no wonder that Ladakh is sometimes referred to as the ‘Crown Jewel’ of India.

 

Batches:

16th-22nd Jun (3 holidays: 16th Sunday, 17th Bakri Eid, 22nd Saturday)

6th-12th July (2 holidays: 6th Saturday, 7th Sunday)

20th-26th Aug (3 holidays: 24th Saturday, 25th Sunday, 26th Janmashtami)

 

Places covered: Leh, Alchi, Pangong Tso, Hanle, Umling La

Meeting point: Leh Airport

Highlights

-Curated slow-travel experience to northern and eastern Ladakh

-Visit to the Leh Palace, the former royal residence built in 1553

-Exploring the pristine blue waters of Pangong Lake

-Travel to the highest motorable road in the world: Umling La

-Stay in India’s only Dark-Sky Reserve at Hanle

Day 1: Better ‘Leh’t Than Never

After your flight lands, we will make our way from the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport to our hotel in Leh. After checking in, you will do some hard-core resting. Since you have suddenly arrived at 11,500ft, your body is going to take some time to acclimatise. 

After a hearty lunch, we’ll familiarise ourselves with Leh and visit the Shanti Stupa, and the Leh Palace.

We will first visit the Shanti Stupa. This was built to celebrate 2500 years since the first Buddha attained enlightenment and started Buddhism. We will then visit the crown jewel of the erstwhile kingdom of Ladakh, the Leh Palace. This nine-storeyed royal residence was built in 1553! While the royal family had to escape and move to the Stok Palace in the late 1800s, the palace still towers over the town of Leh. It’s known for its ancient rammed-earth architecture and a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and rivers. 

We’ll get some time in the market before we regroup for dinner and get a good night’s rest. 

 

Travel: 3 Hrs (Airport > Hotel | Hotel > Shanti Stupa  > Leh Palace > Hotel)

Meals included: Dinner

Stay: Leh 


 

Day 2: Alchi You Later!

Our day begins with a journey to one of the oldest and well-maintained monasteries in Ladakh — The Alchi Monastery. Said to be built by Rinchen Gyalpo, also known as The Great Translator, this monastery holds a special place in Buddhist culture.

On our way back to the capital, we will stop to see the sangam of the Indus and Zanskar rivers.

The Central Asian Museum is located a short walk away from the palace. A walk through the unchanged bylanes of the old city of Leh paints a beautiful picture of the past.

The second half of the day is going to be dedicated to walking about the historic little town of Leh. As an important stop on the erstwhile Silk Route, Leh was an important trade centre and witnessed a vibrant multi-cultural past. While the bright and shiny new market has a great variety of things to buy, there are some rare jewels hidden in plain sight all around this ancient town.

 

Travel: 4 Hrs (Leh > Alchi  > Leh Market)

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Stay: Leh 


 

Day 3: The Long Road East

We’ll now start our expedition with a journey to the easternmost region of Ladakh. Before modern borders were drawn, the town of Hanle was an important stop on the route that connected Tibet to Ladakh. On our way, we make a quick stop by Thiksey Monastery. We’ll get to the remote town and retire to our homestay for the evening. In the evening we head out to a secluded land a little away from the hustle and bustle, while we chill there stargazing the best views the dark sky can offer

 

Travel: 5 Hrs (Leh > Hanle)

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Stay: Hanle


 

Day 4: We’re Gonna Get High!

Until recently, Khardung La held the record for being the world’s highest motorable road. From Hanle we will take a trip to Umling La — the highest motorable road in the world. At a staggering 5,798 metres (19,024 ft), it is at a higher altitude than even the Mt. Everest base camp. 

After returning from the frigid high mountain pass, we make our way back to our homestay to rest a little. Evening at leisure to explore the beautiful landscape of Hanle.

 

Travel: 5-6 Hrs (Hanle > Umling La > Hanle)

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Stay: Hanle


 

Day 5: You Are Not Ready For This

From Hanle, we start the long journey across the gorgeous Ladakhi landscapes and go to one of the most well-known places—Pangong Tso. While the journey is pretty long, nothing, and we mean nothing, can prepare you for the pure blue waters of this mystical lake. On our way, we’ll make a quick stop at the Rezang La War Memorial

We’ll be by the lake till dark and then retire to our campsites for some well-deserved rest. It’s going to be a cold night, so it’s best to fill your stomach and tuck in before too much of your body heat escapes. 

 

Travel: 5-6 Hrs (Hanle > Pangong Tso)

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Stay: Pangong


 

Day 6: Leh Jayenge

Back to base. After exploring the edges of Ladakh, we’re going to start our journey back to Leh. Absorb the jaw-dropping landscapes and picturesque sceneries as they change throughout the journey. We’ll check-in to our hotel for one last night. 

We’ll gather together for one last dinner 

 

Travel: 5-6 Hrs (Pangong > Leh)

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Stay: Leh


 

Day 7: Homeward Bound

After a good breakfast, we’ll board our vehicles one last time and go to the airport. 

 

Travel: None

Meals included: Breakfast 

Stay: N/A

 

Vagabond Experiences

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Vagabond Experiences

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Vagabond started out as a project by four friends with a disdain for the ordinary. The idea was simple; take people out of their comfort zones. Not like Roadies, but just enough to bond them together through beautiful and authentic experiences. Happiness, as they say, is only real when shared. And share we did. The company was founded in 2014. As fresh Bachelor of Arts degree holders, companies were lining up to hire us fine gentlemen; we’re kidding. Fueled by entrepreneurial zeal, we started with small events in the city like heritage walks through Bombay’s old quarters. As musicians and travellers ourselves, we decided to marry these two loves of our lives. That is how the idea for the first Fields of Sound™ came about. Since then, it has only been onward and upwards for us. Since 2014, we’ve made friends like family through our journey. Our little ‘Vaga’-Fam. It’s safe to say, it’s been quite an adventure. One we would like you to join :)

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Inclusions

-Double-sharing accommodation at Leh, Pangong, and Hanle (triple sharing) (click for photos)

-Tickets/Entry cost wherever applicable.

-Two meals a day i.e. breakfast and dinner while in Ladakh [Veg & Non-veg (if available)]

-Private internal transport during the trip (tempo travellers/jeeps)

-All activities as per itinerary

-Visits to places as per itinerary

-Oxygen cylinder backup in each vehicle for high-altitude routes. 

-First-aid kit and assistance

-All permits, tolls, and parking charges

-Experienced local guides

-Assistance by Vagabond EMs

Exclusions

-Flights to Leh and back

-One meal a day in Ladakh

-Travel insurance (we recommend you take one)

THINGS TO CARRY

Footwear: Shoes meant for rugged outdoor conditions, slippers/flip-flops. 

Warm wear: Warm fleece/down jackets, thick socks, gloves, beanie, neck warmer/scarf/muffler, thermals (base layer).

Accessories: Torch, cap, polarised sunglasses, swiss knife (optional), water bottle (1L), multi-plug device

Toiletries: Towel, soap, face wash, lip balm, sunscreen (min 40 SPF), hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper

Rainwear: Raincoat/jacket/poncho, rain cover for bags, spare plastic bags (to waterproof your belongings)

Medical: Personal medication (Asthma, Allergen medication, etc.), crepe bandage (each person should have a roll), basic medicines (Diamox, aspirin, cold and flu, painkillers, motion sickness (Avomine), etc)

Personal recreation: Camera, binoculars, books, music, cards, etc.

Miscellaneous: Rucksack (no suitcases, trolley or duffle bags), an extra day bag for day outings, valid photo ID/address proof, 3 passport-sized photographs

Tips: Avoid carrying new clothes as colors tend to fade in high-altitude sunlight there. Avoid jeans and other kinds of rigid/uncomfortable clothing.


HOW TO REACH

Pickup point: Leh Airport (Day 1) 

It is ideal to book flights that get to Leh in the morning before 10 am on Day 1. There are no flights landing or taking off from the airport before 6 am and after 1 pm.

 

Drop Point: Leh Airport (Day 7)

We stay the previous night in Leh, so feel free to book your return anytime before 1 pm on Day 7


Policy and Terms

-In case of cancellations 30-22 days prior to the trip, Rs 12,000 will be deducted.

-In case of cancellations 21-11 days prior to the trip, Rs. 22,000 will be deducted.

-In case of cancellations within 10 days of the trip, no refund shall be admissible.

-3.8% of all booking amounts are payment gateway charges. This amount is not refundable

(Please refer to the further Terms and Conditions mentioned in the footer of the website)

Terms and Conditions

-All timings and activities are subject to weather, group size, capabilities of participants, etc.

-Vagabond holds the right to cancel the event due to unforeseen circumstances (for eg. unfavorable weather)

-By registering for this trip, you agree to have read through and abide by the Vagabond Terms & Conditions mentioned in the footer.

Frequest Questions

Q: What region of north India are we traveling to?
A: We will be travelling to Leh, which is the capital of the ancient kingdom and present-day union territory of Ladakh. Ladakh is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the east, the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to the south, both the Indian-administered union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan to the west and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north.

Q: What is the stay like?
A: At Leh we will stay at Sankar Residency (or similar). Pangong - Alpine Cottage (or similar). Hanle - Sonam Homestay (or similar). Rooms will be on a double-sharing basis (triple/quad at Hanle). The hotels will have running hot water facilities. Most of the rooms will have an attached toilet. At smaller hotels, campsites, or homestays, please do not expect luxuries.

Q: What kind of food can we expect?
A: Vagabond will provide 2 meals a day. We will take care of breakfast and lunch or dinner every day in Ladakh. The food we're providing during the trip will be regular nutritious food (veg, non-veg and Jain will be available on prior request). The cuisines will be shuffling between Indian, Continental, and Tibetan. You can also try any of these cuisines at the restaurants near where we're staying. We urge you to go explore the various cuisines that they serve in Ladakh.

Q: What altitude would we be traveling to?
A: Leh is at an altitude of approximately 3,524 m (11,562 ft). We will be going to a maximum altitude of 5,640 metres (18,500 ft) while visiting Umling La, and at 5,359 m (17,582 ft) when taking the Khardung La Pass.

Q: What will the temperature be like while we're there?
A: Temperatures rise to a maximum of 25-27°C during the day and can drop to a minimum of 5-7°C during the night. At Pangong Tso, the temperature at night can drop to as low as 0°C.

Q: How will we be travelling?
A: The entire journey inside Ladakh will be in privately booked tempo traveller buses or jeeps (Mahindra Xylo or similar) depending on the group size.

Q: Is there mobile connectivity in Ladakh?
A: Only postpaid Airtel and JIO networks get coverage in Ladakh.

Q: Are there any ATMs where we're traveling?
A: All major banks such as HDFC, SBI, Axis, YES, and ICICI bank ATMs are available in Leh. They accept international Visa, and Master Card. AMEX is not widely used in India. UPI transfer works as well. Please carry adequate liquid cash while travelling away from Leh.

Q: Can I smoke/drink on this trip?
A: We at Vagabond do not refrain our participants from smoking or drinking on our backpacking trips. However, there are times you will be disallowed to do so (while acclimatising, public places, religious monuments etc). Please indulge in these activities responsibly. Any misbehaviour on any account will warrant severe penalties.

Q: What will the group size be?
A: We will be a maximum of 12-15 travelers including 1-2 Vagabond EMs.

Q: Is there any age limit to join this trip?
A: No. There is no age limit to join this trip. However, based on our previous experiences, the age group of travelers is usually between 25-35.

Q: Can I join this expedition solo?
A: Of course you can! We have a good number of solo travelers on almost every Vagabond experience.

Q: How physically fit do I need to be to join this trip?
A: This trip doesn't have a very high physical requirement. You need to be able to walk long distances on flat plains and be able to do a few climbs too. Our Ladakh expedition doesn't have much physical activity but it's always safe to be in good physical condition. Those who have a low tolerance of cold should be prepared with temperature-appropriate clothing.

Q: How do I avoid altitude sickness?
A: The oxygen levels in Ladakh are far less compared to a city at sea level. However, you can avoid AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) if you just remember to keep yourself hydrated and well-rested constantly. In the scenario that you aren't coping with the altitude well enough, we will do the needful to get you medical attention.

Q: Are there doctors/hospitals in Ladakh?
A: Leh has well-equipped hospitals run by the government and the Indian Army. The nearest medical facility from Pangong is at Tangste which is 45 mins away. There are medical check-up points set up on the way to Pangong and other locations by the Army, where immediate relief from altitude sickness can be provided.

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