Ladakh: Trails of Little Tibet

13 Days Starting and ending in Delhi

Visiting: India, Himalaya

Tour operator:

Exodus

Tour code:

TGX

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

Moderate

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, Polar

From:
$2998
$2772 Operator discount: -$148 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$78

NB: Prices correct on 26-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Remote, rugged Ladakh is making a name for itself as a paradise for adventurous walkers. The high-altitude desert region in northern India is flanked by the mighty peaks of the western Himalaya, Karakorum range and Tibetan Plateau and soaked with a history stretching back centuries. Our journey starts with a scenic flight from Delhi past the mighty Himalaya to the regional capital Leh, where we acclimatise and explore the town. We then set off on a fairly gentle trekking adventure, allowing us to marvel at jagged mountain ranges, explore Buddhist monasteries and find out why this culturally rich region has earned the nickname Little Tibet.

Highlights

  • Take a sensational flight over the Himalaya

  • Enjoy a short trek through traditional villages and intriguing multi-coloured landscapes

  • Stay in village homestays and local lodges to experience Ladakhi hospitality and learn about the traditional way of life

  • See colourful Tibetan Buddhist monasteries along the Indus and Sham valleys

  • Visit Lamayuru with its lunar landscape and Alchi Monastery with 11th-century paintings

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Start Delhi

Accommodation Name: Hotel Deventure (or similar)

Welcome to Delhi, a captivating city full of life and cultural intrigue. To make the start of your adventure easy, free arrival transfers are available for all travellers provided you have supplied your flight details in advance and have requested a transfer.



Depending on your arrival time, you may then have time to explore this electric city. A short taxi drive from our hotel is Karol Bagh Market, where colourful stalls are packed with clothing and jewellery, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a magnificent Sikh temple topped with an onion-shaped gold dome. Alternatively, there is a pretty rock garden within a 10-minute walk from the hotel if you need a stretch of the legs after your flight.



Accommodation: Hotel Deventure (or similar)

Day 2 : Fly To Leh; Rest Of The Day To Acclimatise

Accommodation Name: Comfortable hotel

Meals Included: breakfast

We have a very early start today for the flight to Leh. We sometimes have to leave the hotel around 2am and drive to the airport for the very early morning departure but the spectacular flight over the Himalaya is worth it. Flying straight to the high altitude of Leh (11,485ft/3,500m) can take your breath away (literally) and so we concentrate on acclimatising for the first few days.



In the morning, we rest and catch up on sleep. In the afternoon, there will be a gentle orientation walk of Leh and its bazaars.



Accommodation: Hotel Rafica (or similar)

Day 3 : Drive To Shey Palace; Short Walk To Tikse Monastery

Accommodation Name: Comfortable hotel

Meals Included: breakfast

Today there is a sightseeing tour to two of the major gompas (Buddhist monasteries) in the area. We first drive to Shey, a former royal palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350-year-old copper-and-gold statue of the Buddha.



From Shey, we walk across the fields (approximately two hours) on a good, level trail to Tikse, where we visit the hilltop monastery; its red-and-white buildings can be seen for miles. We can explore the temples and courtyards and meet the red-robed monks who live here. In one of the temples, there is a 50ft (15m) high statue of the Future Buddha. We return to Leh in the afternoon with free time to relax.



Accommodation: Hotel Rafica (or similar)

Day 4 : Half-Day Walk To Leh Palace And Sankar Monastery; Optional 4Wd Trip To The Khardung Pass

Accommodation Name: Comfortable hotel

Meals Included: breakfast

Today we have an acclimatisation walk around the Leh Valley. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill are the ruins of the Old Royal Palace; from here, a winding path takes us to the Tsemo Monastery, where our efforts are rewarded with magnificent views of the whole of Leh and its surrounding villages.



Descending round the back of the palace, we walk via Sankar to the recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda. This huge stupa overlooks Leh and we have stunning views of the town and the Stok mountain range across the valley.



There is the chance today to take an optional 4x4 trip to the nerve-jangling Khardung La, one of the highest motorable roads in the world at 18,379ft (5,602m) above sea level and once a route for Silk Road traders. On a clear day, we enjoy views over the mighty peaks of the Himalaya, including the Ladakh and Karakoram ranges. The journey to the top and back takes roughly four to five hours and can be booked and paid for locally. Your leader will have details (if you do the 4x4 trip, this will be in the morning and you can do a walk in the afternoon).



Accommodation: Hotel Rafica (or similar)

Day 5 : Drive To Yangtang, Visiting Basgo Fort And Likir

Accommodation Name: Village homestay

Meals Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Well acclimatised, we leave Leh this morning, taking a road west towards Kashmir. We climb out of Leh and descend to the Indus River with great views of the Zanskar River as it meets the mighty Indus. Descending to the village of Nimmu, the road climbs to Basgo village where an old fort and temples seem to be built out of the mud cliffs. Climbing out of Basgo, we take a short stretch of straight road before turning off to Likir, where we can visit the monastery. The gompa is well kept and there is an active school for young monks.



We then drive to Yangtang village (12,083ft/3,683m). Time allowing, we can explore the village and maybe visit the small school or watch the Ladakhis sowing barley and potatoes, the staple crops of these hardy mountain people. From Yangtang, there are wonderful southerly views over the village to the Zanskar mountains beyond.



Accommodation: Village homestay

Day 6 : Start Trek To Ullay

Accommodation Name: Village lodge

Meals Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

We leave Yangtang away from the main trail and head north with spectacular rock formations surrounding us. Ladakh is a mountainous desert and the multi-coloured hills are magnificent in any light.



During the first couple of hours of the walk today, we come across some interesting erosion features, including pinnacles with rock boulders precariously balanced upon them. We get to our accommodation around lunchtime. In the afternoon, there is the chance to walk higher up the valley. This area is well known for ibex, while snow leopards have also been seen here.



Accommodation: Village lodge

Day 7 : Cross The Spangpo La To Hemis Shukpachen

Accommodation Name: Village lodge

Meals Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

We head along an easy trail, climbing to our first pass, the Spangpo La (13,392ft/4,082m), with wonderful views of the hills ahead and down to Hemis Shukpachen (12,018ft/3,663m). This tranquil village with a small gompa, green pastures and a clear stream is a lovely place to stay for the night. In the afternoon, we can visit the monastery and have a look around the village.



Accommodation: Village lodge

Day 8 : Cross The Mebtak La And The Lago La To Ang And Onto Temisgam

Accommodation Name: Village homestay

Meals Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

From Hemis Shukpachen, we cross the pastures in a northwesterly direction, skirting the sides of the fields. After a stop at a chorten (a Buddhist shrine), we follow the trail past the mature juniper trees (known locally as shukpa), after which the village is named. The path climbs easily to our first pass today, the Mebtek La (12,454ft/3,796m), from where we can admire the pink and mauve mountains ahead.



We descend into the next valley and the trail ahead can just be made out as it zig-zags up the mountainside in the distance. The path winds up to the Lago La (12,572ft/3,832m) and from the top there are magnificent views across to the south side of the Indus Valley. The trail descends steeply from the pass to the village of Ang. This area is regarded as the richest in Ladakh and fields of barley, potatoes and orchards provide more than adequate food for these villages.



From Ang, it is an easy walk (although it can be hot and dusty) along the 4x4 track to Temisgam (10,682ft/3,256m). This is the largest, most prosperous village on the trek with fertile fields, spreading apple and apricot orchards, and large, white-washed Ladakhi homes, plus castle ruins and temples you can visit.



Accommodation: Village homestay

Day 9 : Trek To Khalsi, Crossing Bong Bong La And Drive To Lamayuru

Meals Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner

The size and wealth of Temisgam becomes evident as we continue our hike through the village to the foot of Bong Bong La (11,910ft/3,630m), our last pass. As we hike up, we gain wide views of the Sham Valley, with streams and the Tia Monastery in the background. From here, it goes down to the nearest road to Khalsi. Now it’s time to say goodbye to our trekking crew and the other employees before we are picked up and driven to Lamayuru. Shortly before the evening falls, we can get to know the village on a short walk.



Accommodation: Lodge

Day 10 : Drive To Alchi

Meals Included: breakfast, dinner

In the morning, we visit the 11th-century Lamayuru Monastery, which houses more than 150 monks and some of the largest thangas (traditional Buddhist paintings) in the world. On the subsequent journey, we cross one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Ladakh, which is called Moon Land due to the forms of erosion and unusual colours. We reach Alchi in the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll through the village in the evening and see many barley fields, apple orchards and apricot trees.



Accommodation: Lodge

Day 11 : Alchi Monastery And Drive To Leh

Accommodation Name: Comfortable hotel

Meals Included: breakfast

We visit the Alchi Monastery this morning, a fascinating complex said to have been built around the 11th century by the Tibetan translator Richen Zangpo. Where other gompas in Ladakh are built on hilltops, Alchi was constructed on the plains with exquisite architecture including a Kashmiri-style assembly hall and wall paintings depicting Ladakh kings in an intriguing combination of Buddhist and Kashmiri styles. After our vist, we drive to Leh and arrive in the afternoon.



Accommodation: Hotel Rafica (or similar)

Day 12 : Fly To Delhi

Accommodation Name: Hotel Deventure (or similar)

Meals Included: breakfast

We fly from Leh to Delhi. The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing. You may want to visit the colourful bazaars and the Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi or visit some of the Mogul monuments dotted around this ancient city.



Accommodation: Hotel Deventure (or similar)

Day 13 : End Delhi

Meals Included: breakfast

Your journey in India ends after check-out from the hotel. Free departure transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied your flight details in advance. Alternatively, speak to your sales representative about joining our five-day post-trip extension taking in the Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This extension can also be done before the tour.

What's Included

  • All breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners

  • All accommodation

  • All transport and listed activities

  • Tour leader throughout

  • Free arrival and departure transfers for everyone (in Delhi)

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance

  • Single accommodation (available on request)

  • Visas or vaccinations

Accommodation

We spend six nights in hotels and four nights in lodges and homestays.



In Delhi, we use a standard hotel with air-conditioned rooms. In Leh, we stay in a standard hotel, close to the market and town centre. All rooms in Delhi and Leh have private bathrooms. There is wifi available in Leh; however, there is no coverage for international phones in Ladakh.



During the trek, we stay in a mix of homestays and lodges. Homestays offer an authentic experience of village life, allowing you to immerse in Ladakhi culture, lifestyles, hospitality, food and drinks. Homestays directly empower and benefit the community as well as the environment, while giving visitors the chance to experience the true Ladakhi culture. They enable a constant flow of travellers to rural economies, creating multiple livelihood opportunities for local people. At some locations on the trek, we also use lodges. These are also run by local people but are slightly more comfortable than a homestay. Homestays and lodges generally provide common/shared Western toilets and showers, although shared squat toilets may be the only option in some locations.



The quality of food in homestays and lodges can vary, so we carry our kitchen with us including the cook and the helpers to provide full-service meals during the trek.



Single rooms can be accommodated in Delhi and Leh for a supplement (subject to availability); however, single rooms are difficult to guarantee at the homestay and lodges so, if available, an additional supplement charge can be paid locally. Please enquire at the time of booking.

Food

All breakfasts, five lunches and six dinners are included.



Indian food is highly regarded and there is ample chance to try traditional Ladakhi cuisine, which was influenced by Silk Road traders from Tibet and China. Don’t miss the delicious and popular snacks momos (dumplings) or yak cheese. Also try thukpa, a clear vegetable soup with noodles and often mutton, chicken or yak meat; tingmo (pronounced tee-mo), steamed bread eaten with dal; and a favourite found in most restaurants, chutagi, a thick soup of local vegetables and bow tie-shaped pieces of dough cooked in the broth (also served with meat).



Allow at least 1,600-2,000 rupees (approximately US$20-US$25) per day for lunch and dinner (where not included). You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. Please note, service in restaurants can be quite slow. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large) bottle of beer is approximately 300 rupees (approximately US$4).



While camping, the staff bring a hot drink (usually tea) to your tent each morning. When you reach camp in the afternoon, tea and biscuits are served. At breakfast, dinner and in the afternoons, there is a choice of hot drinks. Breakfasts typically include cereal, toast and jam, eggs and porridge. Lunch on trek is usually served as a picnic en route (except on shorter days when it is in camp). Lunch and dinner typically include soup to start, followed by a variety of hot dishes (both local and Western) such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dal and paneer (cottage cheese). At dinner, a dessert such as tinned fruit and custard, fritters or cake is also served.



Please note, although some meals include meat, it is not as readily available while camping.



Drinking water



Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly so at altitude where it is generally recommended to drink at least 100floz-135floz (3l-4l) per person per day.



We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Ladakh. In Leh, there is a shop called Dzomsa that sells safe drinking water. Your leader will show you where this is on your first day in Leh. The Leh hotel provides safe filtered drinking water.



During the trek, the cooks will collect and boil drinking water from the mountain streams and fill up your water bottles for you, but you may need to collect water during the day and may wish to use your own water purification treatment as well. We suggest you bring a reusable bottle with a wide opening (Nalgene or similar) with you and use a SteriPEN (a handheld UV water purifier) or purification tablets to treat any non-boiled water.

Check out our Q&As

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    If you wish to make any changes to your booking, particularly if you need to alter any flights booked through us, please let us know as soon as possible. There is a booking or flight amendment fee of £40 per change and flight amendments often incur extra airline costs depending on the changes to be made and if the ticket has been issued or not.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Exodus has been trading since 1974

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Your final joining instructions and flight details, if booked with us, will then be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact the customer operations team. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Travellers are welcome to opt to share a room with a tour member of the same gender for no additional charge. If you'd like your own room, we can request a single supplement so that you will have your own room throughout.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    You are welcome to meet the group after the tour has departed however there is no reduction in rate for joining a tour after the departure date.

Reviews of this operator

Gergana Racheva  

Very helpful and prompt service

06-Jan-2023

Very helpful and prompt service. I called to check for an already booked trip and once we sorted this, the agent was ready to help me with another booking as well. He actually waited for me to book my flight tickets, answered all my questions, informed me of all my options. Exodus is a tour company I am using regularly due to the quality of their trips, ease of booking and helpfulness of their customer service team

Trustpilot
Tim Hardy  

Stunning walking. Walking the Amalfi Coast

04-Nov-2021

This trip takes you through the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean walking with a guide and also discovering the wonders of Pompeii and Vesuvius. The hotel had a nice feel as family run, spotless and comfortable rooms, we were well looked after for breakfasts and dinner each day, and the barmen fixed some mean cocktails for us.!

Paul Green  

It's amazing what you can do in a week! Cycling the Dalmatian Coast.

08-Oct-2021

This holiday was extremely enjoyable. The itinerary is well planned and the route takes you to a variety of destinations. Not having been to Croatia before I didn't know there were so many beautiful small islands and I loved the ferry and catarmaran rides. The coastal route we took was dramatic and the World Heritage sites in Split and Dubrovnik very interesting and worth visiting. The Adriatic Sea was warm, blue and inviting, good for swimming even in October. The hotels we stayed in varied in size from medium to large. I particularly liked the one just outside Dubrovnik as I had a sea view. Tourists were plentiful in Split and Dubrovnik but in the other places we stayed there was an end of season feel and it was quiet on the roads and in the resorts. The food was good and our guide was always able to recommend a nice restaurant for our evening meal. The weather in October was good for cycling - not hot, partly cloudy most days and one day it rained!

Mrs Y Morrison  

Fabulous company and trip

06-Jan-2023

We went overland from Cape Town to Zimbabwe through Botswana and Namibia. What a fantastic trip. Our first time with Exodus although we have travelled extensively around the world. We would highly recommend this company for such a brilliant trip - we got everything and more all at a good price. Thanks to everyone involved. We are looking at our next trip!

Trustpilot
John Edwards (Google Reviewer)  

I went cycling in Albania...

19-Aug-2023

I went cycling in Albania with exodus as my first holiday with them. Such a well organised and wonderful experience where I met multiple fellow travellers who have been advocates of them for many years. You can't argue with happy repeat customers and I'm planning my next adventure with them soon

Rob Burridge (Google Reviewer)  

I'v just come back from...

17-Jul-2022

I'v just come back from an amazing Wildlife & Wilderness trip in Botswana and I highly recommend Exodus Travels. Our guide Brian, was extremely knowledgeable on both the wildlife and history of Botswana and neighbouring countries. The other three staff, Abbis, Chief & Mr T, who accompanied us through out our 2 week trip, put in the hard work and made sure our camp was always prepared and that we we're well fed and looked after. The tour took us to some beautiful places and we saw some amazing wildlife, and on several occasions this was due to Brian's knowledge of the area and wildlife behaviour. Exodus have been very quick to respond to any queries I had, and the whole experience ran smoothly. I was also pleased to hear that during lockdown they provided staff with food packages 👍. I'd normally go on self organised trips, however, with this trip, the tour and guide Brian took us to places not possible otherwise and showed us things that we would'v missed out on. All of which were the highlights of the tour.

Daphne Partridge (Google Reviewer)  

After 14 roup adventure holidays...

26-Nov-2023

After 14 roup adventure holidays with Exofus we would not hesitate to recommend them as an excitingholiday company. They take you off the beaten track but offer great support and expertise :)

Alison Payton (Google Reviewer)  

I've done 8 trips in...

17-May-2023

I've done 8 trips in the last 14 years with Exodus, and have been rewarded with a 10% discount on all future bookings. I feel very confident that I'll receive pleasant, efficient service, and have the unusual holiday experience that I'm looking for each time. I've trekked to the top of snow-capped peaks, wild-camped in the desert, seen amazing spectacles of nature, visited 4 capital cities in a week, and learned about local culture and experienced local hospitality in a way that I simply wouldn't on a conventional holiday. The quality of the accommodation and guides can vary, but this is mainly down to cultural differences and things that Exodus can't control. I've only ever complained once, my complaint was taken seriously, and I was sent a discount voucher - you can't say fairer than that. I remain a loyal customer.

Jacquelyn Moore (Google Reviewer)  

Food came quickly. Staff very...

07-Mar-2024

Food came quickly. Staff very friendly and polite . However the chef or person preparing the food did not seem to read the menu! If it says a meal should come with vegetables, you should not have to ask for them. They served shepherds pie with garlic bread! The munchies ice cream sundae said it should come in a glass with a flake but came in a little bowl with just a few munchies! When asking the staff were happy to replace and correct but customer should get what they order and what menu says first time round!!

johanna leonor (Google Reviewer)  

If you like to be...

07-Sep-2023

If you like to be mistreated Exodus is perfect for you. If you enjoy terrible choices for hotels and pseudo restaurants Exodus is perfect for you. Careless about their clients and loveless about their propositions. Exodus has been a dissatisfaction and disappointment about every dealing i and my group have had with him. Especially a man called Simone who just cares about the money he can get from you couldn’t care less about service.

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Sunday - Friday

Sep 01, 2024 - Sep 13, 2024
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Jun 29, 2025 - Jul 11, 2025
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Jul 13, 2025 - Jul 25, 2025
$3225 $3136

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$89

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Sunday - Friday

Aug 10, 2025 - Aug 22, 2025
$3225 $3136

Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$89

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Exodus allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform exodus, 43 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Exodus requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exodus charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

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