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Ladakh Explorer Tour

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Ladakh Explorer OVERVIEW

TOUR SUMMARY

11 days

Delhi to Delhi

From

US$2509

Country(ies): India

Tour type: Small Group

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 12

Accommodation: Mid-range hotels & Nubra Valley tented hotel

Meals:

Transport: Car, minivan or minibus

Highlights: Old & New Delhi tours, Leh, Magnetic Hill, Hemis Monastery, Shey Palace, Nubra Valley, Turtuk village, Pangong Tso Lake

This 11-day Ladakh India tour takes you high into the Himalayas in the far north of India near the Tibetan border to explore this remote and inaccessible region. Ladakh, (or 'Little Tibet' or 'Little Shangri La' as it is sometimes known), means 'land of high passes' in Tibetan, and this is a spectacular part of the country with the plateau surrounded by high mountains, beautiful lakes and meadows, Buddhist temples and friendly people. Due to the remote location and severe winters, the region is cut off by road for much of the year, limiting the main tourist season to the summer months. We start in Delhi with a tour of the old and new sides to the city before flying north to Leh which will be our base for much of the India tour. We take the first couple of days relatively easy to help acclimatise to the high altitude (Leh sits at 3,500m) and take day trips out to visit some of Ladakh's most important and impressive monasteries. The region is dominated by Tibetan Buddhism and we'll learn more about how this influences daily life here. Our first visits are to the monasteries and temples at Alchi and Likir, and the Sangam Point where the Indus and Zanskar rivers merge. We will also drink butter tea with a local family, learn how to make momos, and try some traditional Tibetan archery.

Our next tour starts early so we can hear the morning chanting at Thiksey monastery and visit Hemis and Shey monasteries and the Stok Palace Museum. We then leave Leh for a few days and cross the Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable road in the world, to the Nubra Valley, also known as the Valley of the Flowers. There are sand dunes and opportunities for camel rides here as well as meadows and fruit orchards. We'll visit Turtuk village, close to the Line of Control with Pakistan and taste their famous apricots, while checking the horizon for views of K2. We cross back over Khardung La on our way back to Leh, with the option of cycling down if you wish. Our final day trip is then to the beautiful Pangong Tso lake, one of Asia's largest brackish lakes. The lake's crystal clear blue waters are framed by the barren mountains making for a spectacular setting. Finally we fly back to Delhi to finish the tour. A range of options are available to extend the tour if you wish.

ITINERARY

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Day 1 Arrive in Delhi, airport to hotel transfer included

Once you arrive in Delhi, one of our staff members will be there to meet and greet you at the airport, before transferring you to your hotel for the day. We'll make sure you settle in OK, and confirm your pick up time for tomorrow morning.

OVERNIGHT:

Delhi hotel

MEALS:

None

EXTRAS:

Extra day in Delhi - pre-tour
Single Room Supplement (INSGLE)


Day 2 Exploring the Kathputli Colony and a haunted step well

Our morning starts with a tour of the Kathputli Colony, home for the last 50 years to thousands of India's street performers such as magicians, snake charmers, acrobats, singers, dancers, actors, traditional healers and musicians and puppeteers. During the tour, we learn about their lifestyle, heritage, and passion for their craft. We'll also see some performances during the tour, such as Chari Dance, Kachchi Ghodi Dance, Puppet Show, Ghoomar Dance, Fire Show, Dandiya Dance, Bhawai Dance.

This afternoon, we'll explore the towering India Gate Monument, which is inspired by the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris. India Gate is dedicated to the 82,000 soldiers who participated in the undivided Indian Army.

We'll also drive past important government buildings including the Parliament, and see the Bangla Sahab Gurudwara Sikh Temple and Humayun's Tomb - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll also stop at the 60-metre long and 15-metre wide Agrasen ki Baoli step well, which is believed to be haunted. The thousands of bats and pigeons that call this step well home only adds to its eeriness.

OVERNIGHT:

Delhi hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 3 Fly to Leh, airport to hotel transfers included

Our day starts early as we'll be transported to the airport to board a flight to Leh, the capital city of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. We'll transfer you to your hotel, before giving you time to settle in and adjust to your new surroundings.

This evening, you'll be given an Indian cooking lesson, as we attempt to make dumplings called momos, which is quite a popular Indian street food which is often filled with meat, pork or vegetables. We'll enjoy the fruits of our labour by having our momos for dinner tonight.

OVERNIGHT:

Leh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 4 Exploring Leh and a visit to a local family in Tingmosgang Village

Today, we'll visit the Alchi Village in India, which is home to some of India's most beautiful temples which date back to the 11th century, Sangam and the interesting Magnetic Hill, which creates an illusion in which a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope, making it seem as if vehicles are able to drift upwards.

We'll also visit Likir, home to some of the oldest and best preserved monasteries in Ladakh, before stopping to visit the Sangam point, which sees the Indus and Zanskar Rivers converge to become one single water source.

Our busy day of travelling ends with a more relaxing activity, as we visit a local family in Tingmosgang Village to enjoy some butter tea - one of the most popular drinks of the people who reside in the Himalayan area of India.

OVERNIGHT:

Leh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 5 Discovering Leh's monasteries

We'll start a little earlier today, as we make our way to the Tibetan Thiksey Monastery, to listen to the morning prayers of the monks which involves chanting and playing drums, a magical experience to start any day.

On the agenda today is a visit to the Hemis and Shey Monasteries, before we stop to play some archery. This afternoon, we'll make our way to the Stok Palace Museum, which was built in the 14th century by Lama Lhawang Lotus. We'll explore the ancient artifacts on show here, which includes royal crowns, copper coins, precious stones, jewellery, heirlooms, and prayer instruments.

We'll also explore the village of Stok, it's palace being the current residence of the former royal family of Ladakh.

OVERNIGHT:

Leh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 6 Exploring Hunder

After breakfast, we'll make our way to Hunder, situated in India's Nubra Valley. Hunder is often referred to as the 'desert in the sky', made famous by its sand dunes and barren landscapes.

Once we've settled in at our accommodation for the day, we'll visit Deskit - a quaint little village with its main attraction being the Diskit Gompa - a monastery well-known for its artfully arranged mounds of stones, embellished with Buddhist prayers and mantras.

As an option, you can even go camel-riding on the sand dunes of Hunder, one of the most popular activities in the region, giving you an excellent opportunity to take in the scenic beauty of the Ladakhi valleys.

OVERNIGHT:

Nubra Valley hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 7 A visit to the Turtuk Village

Today, we'll visit the remote Turtuk Village, which is home to just over 4,000 people. The drive here is long, but the views are so rewarding as we pass mountains and view the Nubra Valley and the Shyok River from above.

While we're here, we'll learn about the line of control, a military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Balti People - an ethnic group of Tibetan descent and the various fruits grown here, especially apricots, which are grown in four different varieties.

OVERNIGHT:

Nubra Valley hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 8 Nubra Valley to Leh, optional activities available

We'll make our way back to Leh via the Nubra Valley today. We'll explore the Deskit Monastery, the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. Founded in the 14th century, It stands on a hill above the Shyok River. The monastery runs a school for the Tibetan children in the region. We'll also see the towering Maitreya statue, which sits atop of a hill below the monastery, facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan.

You also have the option to cycle down to Khardung La mountain pass, which is at an altitude of 5,359 meters and is approximately 40km from Leh. Some believe that it may be the highest motorable road on the planet. The views here are spectacular. Hundreds of bikers traverse the pass on a daily basis, as it serves as an important gateway to the Shyok and Nubra Valleys.

OVERNIGHT:

Leh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 9 Exploring the Pangong Tso Lake

We'll spend the entire day exploring the Pangong Tso Lake, which sits at an elevation of 4,350m. Pangong Tso is Tibetan for 'high grassland lake', however it's often referred to as the hollow lake.

Pangong Tso is one of Asia's largest brackish lakes, with its crystal clear waters spanning over the borders of India and China. Both the sky and the lake create an amazing shade of blue. A visit here will make you understand why it's the most sought after destination in Leh.

OVERNIGHT:

Leh hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

None


Day 10 Return from Leh to Delhi

You'll say goodbye to Leh as you board a flight to Delhi. One of our staff members will be there to meet you before transferring you to your hotel. You then have the rest of the day free to yourself.

Several half-day tour options are available for this afternoon which you can either pre-book or arrange while in India (a few days notice is required) or you can go shopping or do some more sightseeing on your own.

OVERNIGHT:

Delhi hotel

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

New Delhi half day by car
Old Delhi half-day walking tour
Salam Balak Trust walk


Day 11 Bon Voyage! Transfer to airport included

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and your time is free until we transfer you back to the airport to board your flight back home. Further options are available in Delhi this morning, subject to your flight departure time. You can also add extra days to your tour, or extensions including visits the holy city of Varanasi or the beaches in Goa.

OVERNIGHT:

N/A

MEALS:

Breakfast

EXTRAS:

Goa beach extension
Extra day in Delhi - post-tour
Spinmonkey cycling tour


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Included:
  • Accommodation in mid-range hotels and a comfortable guesthouse/camp
  • All transport and transfers
  • Return domestic flights between Delhi and Leh
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary
  • Services of local tour leaders and specialist local guides
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (10 breakfasts & 2 dinners)

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for driver and/or tour guide
  • Any other items not mentioned above

Gallery


Dates and Prices

The tour can also be booked privately to travel anytime in the year though adjustments may be needed in winter (Oct-Apr). We can also customise the itinerary to fit your own requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price
Note

8th of Jun 2019

18th of Jun 2019

US$2509

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29th of Jun 2019

9th of Jul 2019

US$2509

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20th of Jul 2019

30th of Jul 2019

US$2509

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10th of Aug 2019

20th of Aug 2019

US$2509

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Book this tour in less than 3 minutes!

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31st of Aug 2019

10th of Sep 2019

US$2509

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Accommodation

The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Almondz Hotel

Delhi


Almondz Hotel puts you in the center of New Delhi, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Laxminarayan Temple and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Art Mall. Highlights at this hotel include 2 bars/lounges, a restaurant, and free buffet breakfast.

Local rating

Our rating

Almondz Hotel puts you in the center of New Delhi, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Laxminarayan Temple and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Art Mall. Highlights at this hotel include 2 bars/lounges, a restaurant, and free buffet breakfast.

All 28 soundproofed rooms feature LCD TVs with satellite channels, and you can enjoy free WiFi, sitting areas, and coffee/tea makers. Refrigerators and round-the-clock room service make in-room dining easy, and minibars provide refreshments. Nice touches include bathrobes, slippers, and designer toiletries.

Hotel Hill Town

Leh


The mid-range Hotel Hill Town has a convenient location right in the heart of Leh, a short walk from the main market, bank ATMS and the tourist information centre.

Local rating

Our rating

The mid-range Hotel Hill Town has a convenient location right in the heart of Leh, a short walk from the main market, bank ATMS and the tourist information centre. There are great views of the Stok Kangri mountain range in the south, and the Leh Palace, Tsemo Temple, Shanti Stupa and Khardungla in the north. Staff are friendly, and there is a small garden to relax in. Rooms are all en-suite but as is common in Leh due to the altitude, do not have AC or fans which are not often needed. Free WiFi is available though expect speeds to be slow and connections intermittent.

Nubra Organic Retreat

Hunder


The Nubra Organic Retreat is a lovely property situated amongst gardens and apple & apricot orchards near Hunder Village. A stream runs through the property and the extensive kitchen gardens provide most of the food for the restaurant.

Local rating

Our rating

The Nubra Organic Retreat is a lovely property situated amongst gardens and apple & apricot orchards near Hunder Village. A stream runs through the property and the extensive kitchen gardens provide most of the food for the restaurant. Accommodation is in deluxe tents with comfortable beds and attached bathrooms. Hot water is available in the mornings and evenings. Upgrades are available to more luxurious super deluxe tented rooms with views of the Himalayas.

Options

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single Room Supplement (INSGLE)

Min numbers: 1 person


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a room share cannot be arranged.

Price from
$349.00
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Extra day in Delhi - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$69.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Extra day in Delhi - post-tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
$69.00
per person

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Salam Balak Trust walk

Min numbers: 1 person


Explore the city of Delhi through the eyes of young guide who used to live on the streets and will guide you through the busy streets, while giving you a glimpse of their way of life.

Price from
$59.00
per person

This two hour tour operated by a respected local NGO through the city of Delhi is guided by adolescents who grew up living and working on the streets, but have since been trained as travel guides with the aim of helping them improve their communication skills and opportunities.

Listen to the stories of these kids as they take you through the busy streets of Delhi, exploring Paharganj and the area around the New Delhi Railway Station. The tour provides a fascinating and different insight into the daily lives of the locals that live here than most typical city tours.

The tour normally starts at 10am, though earlier or later starts can be arranged. It can be arranged on your final day in Delhi or if additional days are added. It can be run on any day of the week though Sundays are not ideal as the streets are much quieter. Transfers to and from your hotel are included.

Spinmonkey cycling tour

Min numbers: 1 person


This cycling tour is an unforgettable experience, taking you through the streets of Delhi in the early morning as you learn about the history, food, culture and spirit of this unique city.

Price from
$59.00
per person

The Spinmonkey cycling tours which run through Old and New Delhi are led by a group of young cyclists who want to change the way that people explore Delhi, promoting healthy interaction and fun along the way. It's the perfect introduction into the history, culture, food, architecture and spirit of Delhi.

During the Old Delhi cycle tour, you'll visit the Turukman Gate, the Chawri Bazar, the Jama Masjid Mosque, Chandni Chowk, and a spice market before being treated to an authentic Indian breakfast.

The New Delhi cycle tour explores Connaught Place, the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate, Agrasen Ki Baoli, Dhobi Ghat before enjoying breakfast at the Bengali Market.

This cycling tour normally starts early at 6 or 6.30am during summer or winter to avoid the busy traffic later in the day, and lasts around four hours. The cycling tour can be arranged on your final day in Delhi (subject to your flight departure time) or if additional days are added. It can be run on any day of the week, and transfers to and from your hotel are included.

Varanasi extension

Min numbers: 1 person


This extension option takes you to Varanasi by train and adds 4 days to our tours that finish in Delhi. In Varanasi you'll discovering its traditional villages and the holy Ganges River and join an Aarti ceremony.

Price from
$489.00
per person

This extension option takes you to Varanasi by train and adds 4 days to our tours that finish in Delhi. In Varanasi you'll discovering its traditional villages and the holy Ganges River and join an Aarti ceremony, a Hindu ritual which sees small candles lit inside cups made from leaves and flowers, before they are floated down the river - a very important ceremony for residents and pilgrims alike.

Day 1 - Sleeper train to Varanasi

We pick you up from your hotel in Delhi today (normally the last day of your main tour) and transfer you to the station for an overnight sleeper train journey to Varanasi. The train takes around 12 hours though delays of an hour or so are common, and your ticket is booked in the 2nd class AC carriage. Sheets, blankets and pillows are provided.

Day 2 - Exploring the villages of Varanasi and the holy Ganges River

After your overnight train ride from Delhi, you'll have breakfast in the hotel in Varanasi before we head to the Sarai Mohana Weavers Village, well-known for its silk weaving, with most of the locals here skilled in the art. The Banarasi sarees made in Varanasi are some of the finest you'll find in India.

On the agenda as well is a trip to the Chiraigaon Village, famous for its pickles, jams and guavas, before you spend the evening on the holy Ganges River participating in an Aarti Ceremony, a Hindu ritual where we'll light candles inside cups made from flowers and leaves and float it down the river.

Day 3 - A boat trip on the Ganges and a Brahaman family lunch.

You'll start your day with a boat trip on the calm waters of the Ganges. You'll notice how busy the banks of the river are, as the locals come here to pray and immerse themselves in its spiritually cleansing waters.

You'll also have the chance to explore Varanasi with a walking tour through its old streets, visiting its holy temples and busy markets, before visiting a local Hindu Brahaman family for some cooking lessons. Here, you'll be given a masterclass in Indian cuisine, before sitting down to have lunch with the family.

This afternoon, we'll head to the ancient Buddhist site at Sarnath, the location where Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon after becoming enlightened. We'll head back to Delhi in the overnight sleeper train, or if you'd like to spend another night in Varanasi, board a flight back to Delhi in the morning.

Day 4 - Arrive in Delhi. Free day

After arriving in Delhi we meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel where breakfast is included. Normal check in time is midday but we will aim to get you into your room earlier if possible. The rest of the day is free. Various half day tour options are available if you would like to see some more of the city.

Day 5 - Departure airport transfer

Your time is free today until we transfer you to the airport for your departure.

Goa beach extension

Min numbers: 1 person


After one of our busy sightseeing tours in northern India, why not finish your holiday with some time relaxing on the beach in Goa. Made internationally famous by the hippies that used to throng its northern beaches, Goa now has lots more to offer.

Price from
$679.00
per person

After one of our busy sightseeing tours in northern India, why not finish your holiday with some time relaxing on the beach in Goa. Made internationally famous by the hippies that used to throng its northern beaches, Goa today has a huge amount more to offer. You can stay in simple guest-houses, eco resorts or luxury hotels at beaches frequented by backpackers, new-age travellers or remnants of those hippy days. The beaches are gorgeous, and the interior is well worth exploring as well. Extensions to Goa of any length are available on all of our India tours - please contact us for more information and prices.

Day 1 - Travel to Goa
We pick you up from your hotel in Delhi and transfer you to the airport for an internal flight to Panjim, the state capital of Goa. We meet you on arrival and transfer you to your boutique hotel in Calangute.
Overnight at Casa de Goa boutique 3-star hotel (B)

Days 2-4 - Goa. Free time
Your next 3 days are free to spend in Goa as you wish. You can relax on busy or remote beaches, go exploring inland, visit Anjuna flea market, or try a wide range of watersports. Goa also has its famous nightlife to try if that's your thing.
Overnight at Casa de Goa or similar (B)

Days 5 & 6 - Return to Delhi
We pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to your flight back to Delhi. You then have one night in Delhi and free time before we transfer you to the airport for departure
Overnight at Delhi hotel (B)

Includes: Internal flight Delhi-Goa, 5 nights' accommodation with breakfast, Return transfers by an AC CAR

Note:Prices shown are for low-season (mid-April to September) and higher rates will apply for high season and peak periods. These are shown on our online reservation form and are available on request. Single room supplements apply. There is a minimum of 2 people required to run this option.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

We use good quality hotels rated at the Indian 3-level on this tour in Delhi and Leh, and a guesthouse or camp style hotel in the Nubra Valley which will be comfortable but more basic. Local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards but we ensure we use some of the  best hotels available at the level stated.
The specific hotels listed on our website are our preferred hotels for our small-group tours. However, these may be changed from time to time based on current availability and other logistics. In this event alternative hotels of a similar standard will be used. If you would like to guarantee any particular hotels for your trip, please contact us to request a tailor-made tour.

Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. We will endeavour to give all couples a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a room with one or two other travellers of the same sex. If there are no other single travellers available for you to pair up with at the time of your booking, then we will need to add the single supplement to your tour price, but will refund this or deduct it from your balance payment if we are able to pair you up later on.


  2. Transport

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. Due to the somewhat chaotic nature of Indian roads, we only use private vehicles for all road journeys on this tour.

All vehicles used in Delhi have air-conditioning for use in the summer, though in Ladakh this is not guaranteed (or usually at all necessary!). Subject to the group size, minibuses may be used in Delhi, but in Ladakh 7-seat cars/MPVs will be used, with a maximum of 3 or 4 travellers per vehicle to ensure everyone is comfortable and has a window seat.

Delays are possible to some of the long journeys in Ladakh due to poor weather and snowy roads, especially at either end of the season (April/May, early September)

The tour also includes return domestic flights between Delhi and Leh.


  3. Transfers
The tour price includes a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in New Delhi airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.

  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.

Most of our Indian tours start and finish at Delhi airport (DEL).

  5. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There's no point in us providing great guides if you've got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won't ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our India small-group departures to have a maximum of 12 travellers. The minimum group size is 2.

In India we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking tour leader/driver to accompany our groups. On this tour you will have one driver in Delhi and another in Ladakh. Additional specialist local guides may be used for some of the sightseeing tours and activities included in the tour.

At Encounters Travel we have a policy of aiming to use only local Indian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.


  6. Entrance Fees

The tour price does not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. This allows for fluctuations in the prices set by the local authorities, which do change from time to time.

You should currently allow approx. US$15 per person to cover these entrance fees. You will also need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit that are not listed in the main tour itinerary. Your guide will offer to collect the entrance fee cost from everyone at the start of the tour and pay on your behalf, or you can arrange them yourself as you go along.


  7. Tipping and Haggling

Haggling is a traditional necessity, so its wise not to pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an items value in your mind then negotiate towards it unhurriedly and don't be afraid to simply walk away if the price isn't right. Once you have offered a price though, you should be prepared to pay it as you may cause offence if you then back out. 

While an accepted part of the culture and customs in India, tipping is always optional, and the amounts paid should reflect excellent service. We are often asked for advice on common amounts, and for assistance with tipping. Some suggested guidelines are given below.

Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide. We suggest USD 5-10 per person per day for local guides.

Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, for example if you don't have an extra accompanying guide. However USD 3-6 per person per day is generally appropriate.

Tour Guides: To answer your next question. . . as a guideline for tour guides who accompany you on the entire tour, we suggest you allow around USD 5-10 per person per day, but ultimately, as with all the tipping descrbed above, its up to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount.


  8. Health and Vaccinations - India

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

India: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Yellow fever rules for India are quite complicated and lengthy. Please read the WHO guidance.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the north eastern regions of India including Assam and Orissa are considered high risk,while the rest of India is generally considered low enough risk that anti-malarial tablets are not necessary for most travellers doing relatively short tours.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.


  9. Passports and Visas - India

Your passport expiry date must be at least 6 months after your time in India finishes. Do not bring a full or almost expired passport. You must also have a machine-readable passport or you may be denied entry. If you have an old-style manually issued passport you will need to replace this with a new machine-readable passport before you travel.

Most nationalities (including UK, USA, European, Australian, Canadian) will need to arrange their Indian tourist visa in advance. A new online e-visa system is available which makes the process more straightforward than before. You can make your application online here... https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

Visa requirements for India can and do change regularly and we suggest that you arrange your Indian visa early and re-check your specific visa requirements prior to travel for any changes.


  10. Time

The time in India and Sri Lanka is GMT plus 5 1/2 hours.

The time in Nepal is GMT plus 5 3/4 hours.

The time in Bhutan is GMT plus 6 hours.

The time in Tibet is GMT plus 8 hours.

Daylight saving adjustments are not applied.


  11. Voltage
Sockets are mainly two round pronged and 230 volts (Type C,D,M). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are sometimes available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already but cannot be guaranteed.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

  12. Money

Rupee (INR; symbol Rs) = 100 paise. Notes are in denominations of Rs 2,000, 1000, 500, 200, 50, 20, 10 and 1 Coins are in denominations of Rs 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 paise (Rs 0.5). Note: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller vendors will not take bills larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry a range of rupee notes if you are shopping at bazaars and local markets.

Note: You must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques. Commission for foreign exchange is becoming increasingly rare; if it is charged, the fee is nominal.

Credit cards: In major cities, the full cadre of banks cards are generally accepted including debit cards, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa.

ATM: 24 hour ATM machines can be found in all the major cities and most large towns. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are amongst the most commonly accepted cards.

Travellers cheques: These are gradually getting less accepted but may still be changed at larger banks and some larger hotels. The most widely accepted currencies include US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands of traveller's cheques whilst others may exchange quite happily.


  13. Dates & Prices

We run small-group departures on this tour through the main summer season in Ladakh, which runs from mid-April until mid-September. The ideal months for travel are July, August and early September. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website (please check the website for up-to-date prices and special offers).

Private and tailor-made tours are available on any dates and may be adjusted to fit your personal requirements, available time and budget.


  14. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.


  15. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.


  16. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.


  17. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).


  18. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')


  19. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign


  20. What to take

Luggage: Suitcases are fine, though you may find rucksacks or large bags are more practical. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always porters to assist.

Luggage allowances: Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.

Clothing: The weather is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end of November to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.

NOTE: India is very traditional and some heads will turn if you dress provocatively in public. Short tops, short skirts / shorts, tight or body revealing clothes etc should be avoided. You might invite unwanted attention from certain men who stare and pass comments at women to amuse themselves. More detailed climate information is available on the India Country Guide page on our website.

Suggested List: This is a guide only - there's no problem if you bring more or less with you. Cheap comfortable clothing is also readily available in India and laundry is inexpensive. It is also worth having some smarter clothes for going out. Towels are provided and laundry services are available in all the hotels we use.

Men: Lightweight trousers, shorts, light shirts & t-shirts, Swimwear

Women: Light cotton skirts/dressers, loose-fitting trousers, light shirts or t-shirts, loose shorts, Swimwear

Men & Women: Jumper/sweatshirt/fleece, Long sleeved shirt(s) (for cool nights, protection from the sun & mosquitoes, and visits to religious sites etc), Handkerchiefs, socks & underwear, Comfortable trainers/sandals for daily wear, Other shoes/sandals for evening wear, Sunhat or headscarf (headscarfs come in handy for some sights which require women to cover their heard)

First Aid: Although First Aid and medication is readily available in India, it may be very different to what you are used to so individuals should consider bringing along their own personal kit. Your personal kit might include: Sunscreen, sunblock & aftersun, Insect repellent/relief, Antiseptic cream/spray, Plasters and a bandage, Lomotil or Imodium against diarrhea, Pills against nausea, Aspirin for heat-stroke (or hangovers) Your kit should also include your brief medical history, including allergies, blood group, drug vaccinations etc. We suggest bringing copies of prescriptions if you will be carrying medicines on board your flight.

Toiletries: Razor, soap & box, shampoo, Toothpaste, toothbrush & container, Sanitary items
Note: If you wear contact lenses, you should consider taking or wearing glasses instead, as lenses can be uncomfortable and/or cause infections in hot and humid climates.

Other useful items: Sunglasses, Small Torch, Money belt, Camera and equipment, Toilet paper (this is not always provided in public toilets so it is a good idea to carry some spare tissues in your bag. It should be placed in the basket beside the toilet, not flushed away, for you might block the pipes).

IMPORTANT: As it can get extremely hot in India, and the sun can burn very quickly, it is very important to ensure you are protected from the sun with sun-cream & sun-hats, and do not get dehydrated.

Reviews

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Ladakh Explorer & Country Reviews

Product Review


Posted 4th of Sep 2015

great experence

Product Review


Posted 14th of Aug 2015

Been twice with them in 6 months. All perfect