"Challenge yourself with a trek across high mountain passes and through cavernous gorges on this adventurous 21-day tour"
Hike through the remote Ladakh and Zanskar areas, breathing the crisp mountain air as you experience the untamed and natural wilderness of the high Himalayas. Begin your tour with two days of acclimatisation in and around Leh, the Ladakhi capital, before starting your trek up to the Dungduchen La pass (4,849m). Admire breath-taking views of the Stok mountain range before you make your descent into the stunning Ripchar valley. Pass by villages dotted with scattered mud-brick buildings and Buddhist monuments, and marvel at the scenic beauty of wildflower meadows as you journey through dramatically changing landscapes.
Your trek continues to the Sniugutse La pass (5,009m), a high pass hung with colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Keep a lookout for rare glimpses of Himalayan wildlife including marmots and ibexes, and take in the awe-inspiring views of the Zanskar range from your high-altitude vantage point. Follow the path of the Kong River before you make the ascent to the trek’s highest point at Kanji La (5,279m). Conclude your tour in the charming village of Rangdum, before driving through the picturesque Suru valley in the shadow of the majestic Nun and Kun peaks.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi: Arrive at Delhi’s international airport at night, and receive a traditional welcome from Active India’s representative. Later, board an early morning flight to Leh.
Delhi – Leh: Fly over the Himalayan Range, enjoying magnificent views of glaring peaks and gigantic glaciers before you land in the fertile valley of Leh. Upon your arrival in the Ladakhi capital, situated just north of the mighty Indus River, transfer to your hotel before taking some time to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (3,500m). In the afternoon, walk the town’s bazaars and admire the nine-story Namgyal Palace, which has been likened to a smaller version of Lhasa’s Potala Palace.
Leh – Thiksey – Hemis – Matho – Leh: Visit three of the main gompas (monasteries) around Leh, starting at the Yellow hat Thiksey monastery. Its distinctive red and white buildings can be seen for miles! Continue on to the Red hat Hemis Gompa, the region’s largest and wealthiest monastery. This gompa houses a rich collection of rare 17th century murals and ancient relics, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Last but not least is the 16th century Matho monastery on the other side of the Indus.
Leh – Chilling: There’s an exciting option for any adrenaline-junkies today: take a 2.5 hour rafting trip along the Indus River to Nemo, where you’ll stop for lunch. Alternatively, travel by road. After lunch, there’s a two hour drive along a rough track leading you to Chilling (3,180m). This small village is known for its metalwork, and it is thought that early settlers came from Nepal and intermingled with the Ladakhi people here.
Trek to the Base of Dundunchen La: Today’s trek enters a narrow valley and follows a river, taking you past several old stupas and Mani walls. You’ll make a quick ascent over a zigzag path to reach the base of Dundunchen La. Today is relatively short, as you’ll be gaining a lot of altitude.
Base Camp – Dundunchen La – Sumda Chenmo: Begin a steep three to four hour climb to the top of Dundunchen La (4,800m) this morning, and enjoy great views of the Stok mountain range at the top. The descent to Lanak (the other base) is gradual and fairly easy. You’ll continue downhill to a pleasant spot near a willow tree grove and wild roses, and then on to the river. From here, you’ll climb gradually to the small village of Sumda Chenmo (3,900m). The village has an old monastery, and you’ll be able to watch metalworkers ply their trade.
Sumda Chenmo – Sumdo Phu: Journey up the main valley to shepherds’ huts at Sumdo Phu, before continuing along the stream bed for another hour until you reach your campsite at 3,800m.
Sumdo Phu – Konke La Base: Walk through pastures where shepherds graze their flocks to reach Konke La pass (4,900m). Admire stunning views of the distant Zanskar Peaks and the Stok Range. Descend steeply to your camp in pastures located at the other side of the pass.
Konke La Base – Hanupatta: Today’s walk takes you down into the village of Hinju, and then further down through the Ripchar Valley to Phenjila village. Enter a gorgeous gorge strewn with multi-hued rocks and journey through natural stone archways to reach Sumdo, the meeting point of three valleys. Take the far right valley and follow the river to your campsite in the village of Hanupatta.
Hanupatta – Base Camp of Sniugutse La: After breakfast, continue your trek to a tiny settlement of just two houses! From here, climb through captivating scenery of snow-capped peaks and colourful rocks, past juniper and wild rose bushes. Leave the main Zanskar trail to cross a small river and climb a ridge. You’ll follow along the right bank of the river to a small ridge which offers lovely views of the surrounding valley. Climb past shepherds’ huts to reach your camp at the base of Sniugutse La (4,500m).
Base of Sniugutse La: Keep a look out for marmots and ibexes today, as there’s a good chance of spotting them. Track along the river to enter a narrow gorge filled with sharp rocks, before making the steep ascent to the stop of Sniugutse La (5,100m). Watch colourful prayer flags flutter in the breeze, and admire views of the Zanskar Mountains. Descend along a steeply winding path before climbing for around an hour. You’ll make several river crossings and pass by shepherds’ huts before reaching your camp at the base of an unnamed pass.
Base Camp – Spring Camp: Climb a steep zigzag trail to the top of the unnamed pass (5,390m), and be rewarded with panoramic views of the beautiful valley and surrounding mountain peaks, including the imposing Tsomothang. A gentle descent brings you to your picturesque campsite situated near a spring, at 5,300m.
Hike to High Camp: Today’s hike brings you to the High Camp (5,520m), where climbers stay when attempting to ascend Tsomothang. Admire views of the world’s second highest mountain, K2, in the distance.
Spring Camp – Kanji: Descend from the valley and follow a river, crossing several times, to reach the tiny village of Dumbur notable for its large prayer wheel. Journey on to the quaint village of Kanji (3,850m), where you’ll enjoy the novelty of seeing people and even shops! You also have a good chance of seeing wildlife today, including ibexes and marmots.
Base of Kanji La: Leaving the village behind, walk through cultivated fields and cross over the river via a small wooden bridge. Follow the Kong River on its right bank, wading across the water several times to reach a narrow valley. From here, take a small trail that leads you to the Kanji la base camp.
Base Camp – Mapollan: Tread carefully as you follow the loose and rough trail to the top of Kanji la (5,250m). From camp, you’ll climb for around two hours to reach a small ridge, before continuing along moraine and rocky terrain to the base of the pass. Follow a steep and narrow path to reach the top, which is likely to have some snow covering. At the top, you’ll be greeted by the welcoming sight of fluttering prayer flags as well as awesome views of the Nun Kun massifs and Zanskar mountains. From the top, you’ll descend for two hours to a dark gorge, crossing the river to reach camp at Mapollan (4,310m).
Tashitongde: Continue on your trek through wildflower meadows, following a stream to the road-head. Ascend to Rangdum Gompa (3,667m), a hilltop monastery home to around 40 monks. Founded in the early 16th century, the monastery complex also contains a small school. Descend to the road and walk a little further to reach your camp at Tashitongde. Here is where your trek ends!
Tashitongde – Kargil: Rest your weary legs and enjoy the scenery as you drive across the Parkachik la and through the picturesque Suru Valley. Known as ‘The Granary of Ladakh’, the valley’s green hillsides are filled with flowers, and the high peaks of Nun and Kun loom in the background. Stay overnight at a hotel in Kargil.
Kargil – Srinagar: After breakfast, pass through Drass, the second coldest inhabited place on earth, as you make your way to Srinagar. Enjoy spectacular views of the famous Tiger Hill and other snow-capped peaks. Your passports will be checked at the Army Checkpoint at Drass before you can continue towards Zojila (3,527m). Notice how the landscape changes from the colourful barren mountains of Ladakh to the verdant green hills of Kashmir. Upon your arrival in Srinagar, check in to your hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Later, in the evening, take an optional shikara (small boat) ride on Nigeen Lake.
Srinagar: Indulge in some last-minute sightseeing in Srinagar: visit the Mughal Gardens, built in the Islamic style of architecture, and the famous Shankaracharya Temple that overlooks the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple sits on top of the Shankaracharya Hill at a height of 300m. Later, visit the charming Old City and explore its labyrinthine roads and busy bazaars.
Srinagar – Delhi: Take an early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Upon your arrival, transfer to your hotel where you will have the use of day-rooms. In the evening, explore the local bazaars of Delhi for one final time before travelling to Delhi’s airport for your onward flight.
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- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals during camping
- Full trekking service including food and equipment (apart from personal equipment)
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.