“The land is so barren and the passes so high that only our fiercest enemies or our best friends would want to visit us.”
– a Ladakhi saying
Ladakh, a place so explored yet unexplored, a place where thrill and culture co-exist, is the dream of every adventure seeker who adores some roughness, lot of beauty, culture and spirituality. Ladakh is a cold mountain desert with rugged roads, clear blue skies, starry nights, postcard-perfect landscapes, serene lakes, vast plateaus, hilltop monasteries, rustic houses, momos & butter tea, snow-clad mountain peaks, and verdant valleys dotted with tiny villages that surprise us with a splash of vivid green patches.
Ladakh, once used to be the part of silk route, is also the land of high passes. It boasts of having the highest motorable road in the world passing through Khardung La situated at 18380 feet. It’s the proud home to some of the highest elevated lakes in the world such as Tso Pangong and Tso Moriri situated at 14800 feet.
Do you know that the word Juley is used for hello, tso for lake, la for pass in Ladakhi language? Do you also that Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in Ladakh, and it’s sects and practices?
Do you know that a major portion of Pangong Lake lies in China?
Let’s embark on a lifetime adventure to the roof of the world, and open up our heart & mind to a new road and new realities, while taking a deep breath. More than landscapes, the bright smiles and the warm hospitality of Ladakhi people, the joy of discovering the simplicity of buddhist culture make a visit to Ladakh an unforgettable experience. We shall forever be beckoned by the beauty of the prayer flags waving in the air, smiles of monks, eternal silence in the monasteries, and countless cups of butter tea.
1. Leh Palace: Leh Palace was built as a royal palace by the former king of Ladakh in the 16th century. It bears a close resemblance to the Potala Palace (erstwhile residence of the Dalai Lama) in Tibet, and it’s rustic architecture makes it stand out. Overlooking the city of Leh, the rooftop of the palace provides a magnificent view of Stok Kangri Mountain and the Ladakh mountain range. It’s a nine storey building, the tallest of that era, where the upper floors accommodated the royal family while the lower flowers were reserved as stables and storage rooms.
2. Shanti Stupa: The spectacular white-domed Shanti Stupa was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Monks to promote world peace as a part of Peace Pagoda Mission. It’s a 15 minutes hike to the top of the stupa, but the mesmerizing view of Leh from the above and a simplistic café located over there makes the pain of climbing completely worth.
3. Hall of fame: Hall of Fame is a museum and a war memorial constructed and managed by Indian Army. There are different galleries in Hall of Fame which gives us the in depth information about the history and culture of Ladakh, Kargil War, the surviving conditions in Siachen Glacier etc. There is also a three dimensional map of Ladakh region kept in one of the galleries. Hall of Fame also houses a museum shop which sells souvenirs. Not to mention that a visit to Hall of Fame makes every single Indian proud and emotional at the same time.
4. Shey Monastery: Shey Monastery is located on a hillock in Shey Village which is situated at a distance of almost 15 km from Leh. Shey is also the erstwhile summer capital of Ladakh. The monastery was built in 1655 within the complex of Shey Palace. It’s worth visiting as it has a giant copper statue, with gilded gold, of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha.
5. Hemis Monastery: The beautiful Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is located in Hemis village of Ladakh which is tucked on a mountain on the west bank of the River Indus. Founded in 1630, the monastery is home to a large number of religious treasures such as Thangkas, weapons, carriers, tiger skins, skull vessels, swords and a stuffed vulture pup which are exhibited during festivals. It’s one of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh.
6. Thiksey Monastery: Thiksey Monastery is located at an altitude of 11, 800 feet, on the top of a hill in the village of Thiksey, 19 km to the south of Leh. It bears a resemblance to Potala Palace in Tibet, which is the former residence of the Dalai Lama. It’s also the largest monastery in Central Ladakh housing stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings, weapons, etc. The most significant part of monastery is Maitreya Temple which was built to commemorate the visit of 14th Dalai Lama to the monastery in 1970.
7. SECMOL School: Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) is a school founded in 1988 to reform the educational system of Ladakh. It’s a fully sustainable school focusing on self-learning and social innovation. Currently, almost forty students reside here from various socio-economic backgrounds. Will you believe that students manage the entire campus practically by green construction, harnessing solar energy, farming, water recycling, building compost toilets and many more eco-friendly concepts here? It was founded by Sonam Wangchuk (the real-life Phunsukh Wangdu from Bollywood movie ‘Three Idiots’) and a couple of Ladakhi youth. A visit to this school shall send you home back with some lifelong learnings.
8. Alchi Monastery: Renowned as the oldest Buddhism learning centre in Ladakh, Alchi Monastery was built between 958 and 1055. It was built by Guru Rinchen Zangpo who was sent to India from Tibet to translate Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan language. The monastery complex is divided into four portions which have monuments constructed at different times. All the structures are adorned with minutely carved paintings and intricate woodwork which never fail to captivate the visitors. In fact, some of the paintings found inside Alchi Monastery are the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh.
9. Magnetic Hill: Located at a distance of 30 km from Leh, on Leh-Kargil highway, is a small stretch of road that is believed to be defying the concept of gravity. The magnetic hill seems to be pulling the stationary vehicles upwards. If one parks their vehicle in the designated area on the highway, it can be seen to be moving at 20 km per hour with engines being entirely off. Let’s unravel the mystery behind this – science or supernatural?
10. Sangam: The confluence of the Indus and Zanskar river can be seen at a spot which is now popularly known as Sangam Valley in Nimmu Village. The muddy color of Zanskar can easily be distinguished from the emerald green color of Indus River at the convergence point, which is breathtaking beyond words. One can overlook this magical beauty from the highway, or go down for a closer look as it’s also a perfect place to sit, relax and click photos.
11. Pathar Sahib Gurudwara: Beautifully tucked between rugged and rustic terrains, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to Ladakh region. It’s located at an altitude of 12000 feet, and 40 km from Leh. The Pathar, translated to stone in English, has a legendary story behind it which we shall learn during our visit to the place.
12. Khardung La: Located at an altitude of 18380 feet, Khardung La is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It’s also a high mountain pass (La in Tibetan stands for a pass) connecting Leh to Nubra and Shyok valleys. It was built in 1976 but opened to the general public in 1988. Riding Khardung La has been the dream of every Himalayan rider. Not to mention that this pass is crucial to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier.
13. Diskit Monastery:Built in 14th country, Diskit Monastery is the oldest surviving monastery in Nubra Valley. Beautifully tucked on a hilltop right above the floodplains of Shyok River, it can be easily recognized even from the far because of the stunning 106 feet tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. The monastery also runs a school for the Tibetan kids in the region.
14. Hunder Sand Dunes: A desert is incomplete if it doesn’t have sand dunes. Spread over an elevation of more than 13000 feet, the stunning sand dunes of Hunder look even more picturesque with the backdrop of snow-clad rugged mountain peaks. They are also home to the double humped Bactrian Camels who were significant key players during ancient silk route.
15. Bactrian Camel Riding: Bactrian camels are double-humped camels, now found in southwest Kazakhstan and Nubra Valley in India. These camels can adapt well with the wide variations in temperature ranging from freezing cold to blistering heat, and a remarkable ability to go without water for months. Due to their tolerance towards extreme weather conditions, altitudes and lack of food conditions, they played a key role in enabling the travel of caravans on the Silk Road. During our visit to Hunder Sand Dunes, we will get an option to do Bactrian Camel Riding.
16. Turtuk:Turtuk, a village divided by the border of India and Pakistan, was a part of Pakistan until 1971. It was opened to inquisitive tourists in 2010. Surrounded by Karakoram range, it’s one of only four villages in India that lies in Baltistan region. Turtuk gives visitors a great opportunity to experience the culture of Baltisan, which is a dream to many people. We will also visit Turtuk Gompa, hike towards border point, visit the ruins of Brokpa fort and interact with Balti folks.
17. Pangong Lake: Pangong Lake doesn’t need any introduction to someone who has been wanting to visit Ladakh. Shimmering at an altitude of 14270 feet, and 134 km in length, the lake is completely frozen during winter. Pangong Lake is a saline water lake and different shades of color can be seen during different times of day. Do you know that this lake is shared by India and China, with a majority of its portion (more than 60%) lying in China? Be ready to spend a fairytale (cold though) night at the lake.
18. Kyagar Tso: Located at an altitude of 15300 feet, Lake Kyagar is one of the high-altitude lakes in Ladakh region. It lies in Rupshu Valley, while traveling from Tso Pangong to Tso Moriri.
19. Tso Moriri: Located at an altitude of 14800 feet, Tso Moriri is the largest of all the high altitude lakes in India. It’s 26 km long and width ranges from 3-5 km. The lake is fed by springs and snow-melt from the adjacent mountains. Just like Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri is mind-numbingly beautiful and sacred for Ladakhi people. Also, both the lakes enoheric lakes meaning there is no outlet for the water.
Fly-in to Leh and transfer to homestay
Rest & Acclimatize
Orientation and Introductions
Overnight stay in a homely guesthouse in Leh
Hall of Fame
Overnight stay in a homely guesthouse in Leh
Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
Overnight stay in a homely guesthouse in Leh
Breakfast in Leh
Maitreya Buddha Statue
Hunder Sand Dunes (optional Double humped Bactrain Camel Riding)
Cultural show (optional)
Overnight stay in a guesthouse in Hunder Village
Breakfast in Hunder
Drive to Turtuk Village
Turtuk Gompa Monastery
Hike towards border point
Ruins of Brokpa Fort
Interact with Balti Folks
Back to Hunder Village
Overnight stay in a homestay in Hunder village
Breakfast in Hunder Village
Reaching Pangong Lake
Stay in luxury camps (with attached toilets) at Pangong Lake
Breakfast at Pangong Lake
Start driving towards Tso Moriri
Stay in luxury camps (with attached toilets) at Tso Moriri
Breakfast at Tso Moriri
Start driving towards Leh
Arrival in Leh
Overnight stay in a homely guesthouse in Leh
Exchanging warm hugs and plans to keep in touch
Drive to Leh Airport
35000 INR (from Leh to Leh)
First five seats available at 34000 INR. We are also extending the price of 34000 INR to those who have traveled before with Transforming Travels.
Please note that our group leader, Chandni Aggarwal (founder of Transforming Travels) will be flying to/fro Delhi for this trip. You can get in touch with us to check the schedule of her flights.
1. The group size will be limited to 12 participants
2. Ladakh is a high altitude region. Before traveling, we can never say if an individual is susceptible to altitude sickness or not, irrespective of the age. We usually advise to take a dose of Diamox two days before reaching Leh, but we also suggest to consult to your doctor if you need Diamox or not or any side-effects it might have on your body.
3.We condemn the consumption of alcohol or smoking during the trip because makes the body dehydrate resulting in fatigue, headaches and breathlessness at high altitudes.
4. All places in Ladakh region don’t have adequate medical facilities. As a safety precaution, we do carry an oximeter, oxygen cans and the first aid kit with us for any emergency case. We also give necessary insights to participants before the trip and during the trip so that they can take care of them.
5. The camps which we have booked for you at Pangong Lake are luxury camps with proper beds, and attached toilets. Hence, you need not to worry about carrying any kind of bedding or sleeping bag.
6. Please carry enough cash during the trip so that you don’t depend on the ATMs in Leh city or Ladakh region. Shops and Restaurants in that region don’t accept cards. However, you can use ATMs in Manali.
7. Please note our journey includes some places which have poor or no network reception. BSNL and Airtel are the best preferred operators for visitors. Only postpaid connections work in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
8. All the places you will be visiting during the trip have electricity, but power cuts don’t inform anyone before their arrival. Sometimes, they could be long. Hence, don’t depend on your gadgets during the trip. Let’s try to disconnect and get some peace.
• 60 days before the trip: 90% refund
• 60-41 days before the trip: 70% refund
• 40-21 days before the trip: 50% refund
• 20-11 days before the trip: 30% refund
• 10-5 days before the trip: 10% refund
• Less than 5 days before the trip: No Refund
You need to follow these terms and conditions while traveling with Transforming Travels.