Shakti Ladakh (summer product)

Delhi – Leh – Stok – Taru – Nimoo – Leh – Delhi

Duration:8 Days / 7 Nights

Day 1

ARRIVE DELHI

Arrive Delhi, after clearing Immigration & Customs formalities; you will reach the arrival hall. Here you will meet your guide from Banyan tours and then you are transferred to your hotel. Overnight: The Claridges, Deluxe Room

Day 2

DELHI – LEH (by Air) – STOK

Early morning transfer to domestic airport to board flight for Leh (9W 609 – 0540/0700 Hrs). On arrival at Leh Airport (3332m), please proceed to the arrivals hall to collect your baggage and register yourself at the foreign registration counter, where foreigners must register. Once you have collected your luggage and have registered, continue outside of the airport, where a representative from ‘Mountain Trails’ will meet you. Please note that Shakti guides are not allowed into the airport, hence we use a local agent and that your Shakti guide will be waiting for you at the village house. You will then be driven to our village house in Stok, around thirty minutes from the airport.

The charming village of Stok (3650m) lies at the foot of Stok Kangri which at 6120m is not Ladakh’s highest mountain, but one of its most beautiful. The village is home to Ladakh’s royal family and their Tibetan style palace watches over the village’s unspoilt vernacular architecture, apricot orchards and barley fields.

Shakti has renovated an impressive Tibetan style house on the edge of the village and we recommend that you do very little on your first day whilst you get used to the altitude. After a delicious lunch prepared by our chef, we would recommend that you spend the afternoon reading on the roof terrace whilst soaking up the gorgeous rural Ladakhi scenery. Overnight: Stok Village House – Double/Twin Room. BLD

Day 3

STOK

Today we would again advise a fairly leisurely pace as you will still be acclimatising. This morning your guide will take you on a gentle walk to explore Stok village, further to a one hour walk to Stok Palace, you will visit the Palace and Museum before continuing for forty-five minutes to the picnic lunch site. A further ten minute walk takes you to the Heritage House which you will visit before walking for forty-five minutes back to the village house. Cars will be on stand-by so that any of the walks can be done by vehicle, depending on how you are feeling and acclimatising. By the same token, this walk can be lengthened according to how you are feeling. Overnight: Stok Village House – Double/Twin Room. BLD

Day 4

STOK

For those who are prepared to get up at around five am, we would recommend starting early and driving for one hour to Thiksey monastery (3400m) to experience the early morning Buddhist prayers (you would need to leave at five thirty). Built around 600 years ago, Thiksey monastery is one of the finest examples of Ladakhi religious architecture. The monastery consists of twelve levels ascending the hillside crowned by the current lama’s private residence. Below the monastery proper are chapels and houses stretching down the hillside where one hundred monks of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect reside.

After the monastery visit, drive back to Stok village house for breakfast and a rest and freshen up. You will then proceed to Hemis monastery (3500m) which is an hour away around mid morning. Belonging to the Red Hat sect, Hemis was built in 1630 and is Ladakh’s largest monastery. It is an impressive and intriguing experience. Your guide will show you around providing you with an insight into Buddhism and a glimpse into the monks’ way of life. If you are lucky enough to be here during the annual festival (in June or July each year) you will experience dancing, a colourful pageant and an annual bazaar where people come from all over Ladakh to buy and sell wares.

After you have visited the monastery and the museum, you will have the option of a short walk in the area before driving to Shey (3400m, 30 minutes away) for a picnic lunch. After lunch drive back to Stok with the option to visit Leh bazaar on route. Very quickly developing and somewhat a wash with backpackers and tourists, Leh’s busy central bazaar is worth visiting (especially if you want to pick up any souvenirs) but is perhaps not essential to a Ladakh itinerary. Overnight: Stok Village House – Double/Twin Room. BLD

Day 5

STOK – TARU

After breakfast you will be driven for forty-five minutes to the rafting point on the Indus river at Karu for a two hour raft to Choglamsar. We have deliberately not used the term white water here as the rapids here are no more than grade two making this is more of a float than anything else. Please note that the rafting trip will only be available from mid June to mid September.

On arrival at Choglamsar, you will be driven for fifty minutes to Phyang monastery (3587m) in the village of the same name. The monastery belonging to the Dingung order sits in the middle of the valley floor with the village surrounding it, with many of the houses clinging to the steep sides of the valley. Here you will have a picnic lunch in front of the monastery. Continue by road for twenty-five minutes to the picturesque village of Taru which is at an altitude of 3770m and is situated at the top of a narrow valley. Our village house in Taru is another traditional Tibetan style building, though it is a little more modern than the one at Stok. The house sits at the edge of the village with stunning views over the mountains, traditional buildings, fields and orchards. You will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore the village on foot with a member of the family and your guide or to simply relax at the house. Overnight: Taru Village House – Double/Twin Room. BLD

Day 6

TARU – NIMOO

Today, we have various options. You can choose to walk for two and a half hours between Taru and Nimoo (driving part of the way), before driving up the Zanskar Canyon to the village of Chilling (3236m) for a picnic lunch. For those who do not want to walk, you could drive up to Chilling after breakfast before continuing onto Nimoo village house for lunch.

Chilling is a settlement that is traditionally home to metal smiths and is the only village in Ladakh that has provided copper, bronze, tin, silver and iron work to Leh through the centuries. You will get the chance to see the local metal smith at work before enjoying a picnic lunch. After lunch you will have the option of rafting (or driving) back through the Zanskar canyon to Nimoo (mid June to mid September, Grade Four Plus) or to return by car.

Alternatively, you could do a day trip to Pangong Lake. If you choose this option, we would recommend that you left after an early breakfast. You would then be driven for around five to six hours from the village house over the Chang La Pass (5475m) and onto to Pangong Lake. Pangong is a 130km long lake that is bisected by the India-Tibet border. The lake was a part of the Tethys sea (that separated India and Asia before the Himalaya were formed) that was lifted up in its entirety. As such this stunningly beautiful turquoise hued lake contains oceanic fish and seagulls.

After a lunch by the lake shore, drive back to the Indus valley to Nimoo village house. Please note that this is a very long day and involves a lot of driving and the crossing of a very high pass. The scenery however is stunning and this is one of those things that some people would find enjoyable and fully worth the long drive whilst others would find that it was too much driving.

Nimoo (3190m) is a large village situated 36km west of Leh along the Indus valley at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. The village is characterised by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms – lush green fields and apricot, apple, and walnut orchards abound.

Nimoo House is arguably the most impressive of the three Ladakhi houses that Shakti has renovated in Ladakh and like the Stok house, it is has a large ground floor with a first floor built in a ‘C’ shape around a courtyard. We have paved the courtyard and the roof terrace above with local grey slate – a perfect place to soak up the ever present sun whilst reading a book or enjoying a meal or drink on ‘the rooftop of the world.’ Overnight: Nimoo Village House – Double/Twin Room BLD

Day 7

NIMOO

Before breakfast, you will be taken on a two hour walk of the village of Nimoo by the owner of our village house who is also the village Goba (head of the village), Chinglo, (villager in charge of water distribution) and Ladakhi medicine man. You will get a fascinating insight into rural Ladakhi life before returning to the house.

After breakfast, you will drive for an hour to Lekir monastery (3600m). Founded in 14th century by Lama Dhwang Chosje, a great champion of meditation, Lekir monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect. After visiting the monastery you will drive for around half an hour to Saspol where you will have a picnic lunch.

After lunch, continue on for thirty minutes to Alchi (3120m). Situated 69kms from Leh and around one and a half hours drive from Nimoo, Alchi is the only monastery in Ladakh to be built on flat ground. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences. Later in the afternoon, you will drive back to Nimoo, around an hour and a half away. Overnight: Nimoo Village House – Double/Twin Room. BLD

Day 8

NIMOO – LEH – DELHI (by Air) – ONWARD DESTINATION

Early this morning, you will be collected from Nimoo and transferred to Leh Airport in time to check-in for your return flight to Delhi. (9W 610- 0730/0850 Hrs). Arrive Delhi and you will be transferred to International airport to board your onward flight. B

LadakhPangongLake3 Note: All hotels and suggested flights mentioned within the itinerary are subject to change due availability at the time of booking. LadakhLadyCchild

  • B: BREAKFAST
  • L: LUNCH
  • D: DINNER

Dates and cost

please contact us for dates and prices

This tour is operational with a minimum of 2 people travelling.

What’s included

  • Accommodation in Delhi in hotel and in Leh region will be in Village Houses on a fully inclusive (twin/double share) basis, including all meals, all drinks (soft and alcoholic) as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All activities including one rafting trip for a five night stay. For a stay of six plus nights we include two rafting trips or one rafting trip and one trip to Pangong Lake.
  • An accompanying English speaking guide, cook, support guide and porters.
  • Car at disposal (Mahindra Scorpio/Xylo, Toyota Innova or similar).
  • All taxes.
  • The Village Houses will always be PRIVATE, i.e. just for your party.
  • Return transfers between Leh Airport and the Village Experience.

What’s not included

  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc.
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.

General Conditions

  • We reserve the right to change the order in which you stay in the houses.
  • Minimum stay of 5 nights, though we recommend 7 due to the altitude.
  • Domestic air fare is based on Economy Class Fare and is subject to revision by airlines.
  • All flight timings are based on current schedule and are strictly subject to change.
  • All prices are subject to any revision of tax and tariff structure.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us directly to reserve a place, then complete a Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.

Deposit required: $1,000 pp
Balance due: 60 days prior to departure
If booking on or within
60 days of departure:
full payment must be made

Travel insurance is strongly recommended and Adventure Associates will be pleased to forward a selection of insurance proposal forms.

Cancellations

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels/boats/trains and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departure AU$800 pp
Between 99-60 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit pp
Between 59-45 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost pp
On or within 44 days prior to departure No Refund

All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

LadakhWoman LadakhVillage5 Group tour costs shown are quoted in Australian Dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.

Our Accommodations

HotelClaridgesThe Claridges, Delhi

With 137 rooms & suites, The Claridges, New Delhi offers a wide choice of accommodation ranging from well-appointed spacious Deluxe Rooms to Luxury Suites, some with their own private terrace. The rooms are amongst the most spacious in Delhi and are a blend of the classic and contemporary, providing guests with all modern conveniences and facilities like interactive plasma television and wireless Internet access.

HotelShaktiVillageHousesVillage Houses, Stok, Taru, Nimoo

Shakti offers a rare opportunity to discover compellingly beautiful and remote regions of the Indian Himalaya, combining an honest and sustainable approach with sophisticated simplicity and style. Without the strenuous effort involved in trekking, the romantic and rejuvenating effects of the Indian Himalaya can now be experienced. Shakti’s Village Houses offer a complete change of pace.

General travel guidelines for India

Passports

Passports must be valid at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from India. Travellers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport and Indian visa.

Visa Formalities

For visiting India, all foreigners are required to acquire their visa in their home country. No visa is granted upon arrival in India. For those traveling to Sikkim an additional permit is necessary. This will be obtained once in India.

Dress

The hotels are smart but not hugely formal and the smart casual label is the best description for suggested dress code. Do carry a warm coat/jersey for early morning starts and especially for any train journeys, as the onboard air-conditioning can be very severe.

Dress Code for National Parks

Please wear appropriate colours when in any National Park or Reserve – these should be muted earthy colours. You may also like to carry a sun hat and sunglasses with you.

Please note from mid November until end February, the early morning and evening games drives can be very cold – this is attributed largely to the wind factor of the ‘open air’ jeep. We highly recommend you to carry fleeces, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. By about 8/9am, the sun is out and you will begin ‘de-layering’ and be comfortable in a t-shirt for the majority of the midday.

Currency

India’s currency is ‘Rupee’, abbreviated as ‘Rs’. One Rupee is equal to 100 paise. Coins are in various small denominations of 10, 25, 50 Paise (these are rarely in circulation these days) & 1, 2, & 5, Rupees. Notes (Bills) are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 & 1000 Rupees.

Foreign Exchange

Visiting foreigners can exchange money at international airports where 24-hour exchange facilities are available, through banks and approved moneychangers. Or, one may change money at the big city hotels.

One can also change money at national or international banks such as Standard Chartered, Citibank, Bank of America, Hong Kong Bank and others in the major metro cities. Most of these have 24-hour ATMs. American Express and Thomas Cook offices may be found in major metros and tourist cities.

Bank timings are usually from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs on weekdays and 1000hrs to 1400 hrs on Saturdays. Please remember that not all banks will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques particularly in small towns.

Exchange money only through authorized banks or Money Changers. Insist on a receipt/encashment certificate when changing money. Retain all receipts to facilitate re-conversion of unspent money on departure from India. The current exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to the Indian Rupee is 1 AUD = Rs 41.82.

Travellers Cheques/Credit Cards

travellers’ Cheques should be of well-known brands like Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa. Large establishments generally accept Major Credit Cards like American Express, Master Cards, Diners Club, Visa, etc, including hotels, shops and airlines.

Payments

All foreign nationals must pay their hotel bills in foreign currency (cash, Traveler’s Cheques or even by Credit Cards). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a receipt to show as a proof of currency exchange.

Tipping

It is usual to tip the waiters, porters, guides and drivers. Tips are not included in the bills, whether of hotels, transport companies or any other suppliers. At hotels and restaurants, about 10% of the bill is usually acceptable.

Though we give below the general guidelines, it is to be remembered that tipping is a sign of gratification for good service, and therefore please view the below guidelines as the middle ground, which can be adjusted depending on the level of service you feel you have received.

Please note the below amounts are per couple/ individual traveller.

Electricity

In India voltage is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles, though some areas also have DC supplies. Visitors are advised to check the voltage before using electrical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is as well to take a set of plug adapters, available from most electrical stores.

Prohibited Articles

The import of prohibited articles such as dangerous drugs, live plants, gold/silver bullion and coins, not in current use, is either totally prohibited or restricted. The law provides heavy penalties for the infringement of this restriction, and in some cases punishment can extend to the death sentence. Also, by law, visitors are banned from taking antiques and wildlife products out of the country – any infringement is punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Caution

The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment up to 7 years. Foreigners are, therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives especially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.

Photography

Visitors to India find varied subjects for photography including people, monuments, wildlife, festivities, and landscapes. Note, however, these formalities, in respect of photography:

Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light on monuments.

Special permission of Government of India is required for any photography for the purpose of publicity and commercial use.

Photography is prohibited in tribal areas.

Taking photographs of airports, railway stations, bridges, military installations, and from the air is prohibited.

Visiting Places of Worship

Removing one’s shoes before entering temples, mosques or Gurudwaras (Sikh Temple) is essential. Avoid taking leather goods of any kinds (bag, belt etc) and cigarettes into places of worship, as these are often not permitted. Do not wear shorts or sleeveless tops in places of public worship.

Insurance

It is always advisable to obtain good travel insurance to cover the worst possible scenario. Do keep a copy of your policy separately as a safeguard.

Inoculations/Vaccinations

Before traveling to India it is advised that you get vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis, rabies and typhoid. Consult your doctor before taking them / also take advice on other vaccinations for meningitis and tuberculosis. Most vaccination courses are completed within four weeks, best taken before the trip. Malaria preventive course may be taken before your trip, but again this should be consulted with your doctor.

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