Trip Overview

Who wants to hike the Himalyan Mountains, bike, raft and ramble through Northern India’s region of Ladakh over 12 dazzling days in July 2020? You’ll explore northern India’s ancient monasteries, join monks in a sunrise prayer then hike over terraced highlands and raft glacier-fed rivers while listening for the calls of the elusive snow leopard. This is Ladakh!

Join AdventureWomen on an active cultural odyssey through the elemental beauty and enchanting communities of Ladakh, India. In Delhi, meet the spirited women with whom you’ll travel, then it’s off to the high-desert city of Leh in Ladakh! Over two days, you’ll acclimatize to the rarefied mountain air with low-key outdoor activities. Get to know your travel companions better with an easy stroll to see the stunning Shanti Stupa, shop the outdoor market, explore 16th century Leh Palace, and visit the Central Asia Museum to learn about India’s silk trade. On your second day in Leh, participate in a sunrise prayer ceremony with the monks at Thiksey Monastery! Prepare to be astounded at their 49’ tall gilded statue of Maitreya Buddha.

In the verdant Sham Valley, explore the remote Rizong Monastery, known for its strict monastic practices; also visit nearby Chulichan nunnery. Arriving at Lamayuru, marvel at a village and monastery built into sheer cliffs, caves, and narrow plateaus! Discover a trove of exemplary murals and statues within the unassuming walls of Alchi Choskhor temple, then take a rollicking river rafting trip from Chilling to Nimoo on the Zanskar River! Hike up to Rumbak for one night of camping in the snow leopard’s native habitat. Listen for its call at night and watch for sure-footed blue sheep negotiating vertical cliffs with death-defying precision. Gather next for an awesome hike to reach the base of Stok La Pass at 16,076’, but don’t worry, horses are available for the journey if you get tired along the way.

Hidden amid the dry, craggy mountains and rocky landscapes bedecked with monasteries, what few get to see in Ladakh is the verdant valley of Nubra. Travel there via the Khardun La Pass, the world’s highest drive-able road. Stay in charming Hunder Village, visit Diskit Monastery to see its unforgettable 105’ statue of Maitreya Buddha, blessed by the Dalai Lama. Cycle the old Silk Road to explore Panamik, an oasis for travelers and their camels, and walk the sacred “hidden” Yarab Tso Lake. Through Hundar Gorge, you’ll enjoy an upstream hike to explore the tiny mountain village of Hundar Dok with its artfully terraced farmland. Pass shepherd’s huts where farmers may be churning butter or harvesting crops. Feeling filled to the brim with Hundar’s charm, you return to Leh on the unbelievably breathtaking Khardun La Pass once again.

Join your fellow Adventure Women for a delicious farewell dinner shared among new friends while you enjoy recalling favorite views, discoveries, and insights during your odyssey in Ladakh, then depart with memories that last a lifetime.

Main Attractions

  • Dive into culture in Northern India with visits to monasteries and nunneries while learning about the silk trade, Buddhism, and Ladakh’s history
  • Hike the Himalayan Mountains ascending to high mountain passes with stunning views of the farming valleys below
  • Raft the Zanskar River
  • Stay overnight in a campsite deep in the habitat of the elusive snow leopard and blue sheep

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Bicycling
  • Buddhism
  • Camping
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Cultural Performances
  • Hiking
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Natural Hot Springs
  • Photography
  • Trekking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Delhi
You will be picked up at the Delhi airport and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a lively welcome dinner as you get to know your fellow travelers this evening. Share stories and learn about why each woman on your trip is excited to explore Ladakh!
Dinner

Overnight: Taj Palace

Day 2

Delhi to Leh
Head back to the airport this morning for your short flight to Leh in Ladakh. You’ll be met at the Leh airport and transferred to your hotel. You’ll have most of the day on your own to acclimatize to the altitude.

Meet your group in the late afternoon for a talk on Ladakh’s social, cultural, and historical background. Make sure to ask plenty of questions! Stroll around the local market before visiting Shanti Stupa, which is perched atop a magnificent viewpoint over Leh. This Buddhist stupa, also known as a chorten, has a stunning white dome and offers panoramic views of the surrounding boulder-strewn landscape. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: TBD (11,483 feet)

Day 3

Leh
This morning, you will have the privilege to participate in a sunrise prayer ceremony at the Thiksey Monastery. The monastery boasts spectacular views of the eastern Indus Valley, and is home to a two-story statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus. If she is available, meet the oracle lady, a fortune teller and traditional healer. She is still visited by people of many faiths for help with health issues, predictions, and solutions to other issues.

After breakfast at the hotel, explore Leh Palace. This nine-story edifice is Leh’s dominant structure and architectural icon, and is similar in look to the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet). The palace was built in the 17th century, but has been mostly unoccupied since the Ladakhi royals were stripped of power in 1846. Visit the Central Asian Museum, which is a modern construction based on a historic Lhasa mansion and was built on the site of an old caravan camp. The museum examines Leh’s role in Silk Road trade, and the building is hidden in a courtyard that also contains Leh’s oldest mosque and a traditionally styled Ladakhi show-kitchen where you can order lunch.

End your day at the Ladakh Arts & Media Organization, which is housed in one of Ladakh’s most important heritage houses. The view from the terrace is not to be missed. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening with your group.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: TBD (11,483 feet)

Day 4

Leh to the Sham Valley
Drive to the Sham Valley this morning. Stop along the way for a beautiful hike to the Rizong Monastery, also known as the Yellow Hat Buddhist Monastery (11,158 feet). Set within a hidden amphitheater of rocky cliff, this lonely but much-revered little 19th-century monastery is famous for its code of monastic discipline introduced by founder Lama Tsultrim Nima.
Hiking time: 2 hours

After your hike, visit the Chulichan Nunnery, which is a short drive away. It is a nunnery with a teacher and comprised almost solely of younger nuns. The nunnery is featured in the film, “In the Shadow of Buddha” by Heather Kessinger; watch the movie trailer which features an interview clip with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on the status of nuns. The film reveals the beauty, poverty, hope, and faith of these nuns, including old women and young girls and the worlds they share.

Arrive at your hotel, which is set on the banks of the Indus and nestled in among apple and apricot orchards. Take the late afternoon and evening to relax in this beautiful setting.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Ule Ethnic Resort (10,000 feet)

Day 5

The Sham Valley
Visit the 10th century monastery in slow-paced Lamayuru this morning. From Lamayuru (11,319 feet) hike down the trail to a stream. Then the track winds its way up through a barren gorge of yellow sand landscape to the Pritikingir-La Pass (12,139 feet). Across the pass a slightly steep descent leads you to a gorge which takes you to the entrance of the village of Wanla (10,499 feet). Arrive in Wanla for lunch. The timing of lunch depends on the hike, so there will be snacks available on the trail to tide you over.
Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Drive back to your hotel this afternoon in time to freshen up and enjoy dinner with your group.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Ule Ethnic Resort (10,000 feet)

Day 6

Sham Valley to Leh
The Choskhor Buddhist temple is the star attraction in Alchi. The original murals and statues within these four seemingly modest 11th-century temples are considered the crowning glory of Ladakh’s Indo-Tibetan art. The complex was founded by the “Great Translator” Lotsava Ringchen Zangpo, whose rather reptilian portrait appears on the inside rear wall of the Lotsa Temple.

The Indus River offers the best combination of exciting and safe stretches for rafting enthusiasts in Leh. From Chilling, begin a three-hour whitewater rafting trip through Class III rapids, and end at the confluence of Zanskar and Indus Rivers at Nimoo. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the river bank. After rafting, return to your home base in Leh. Check in and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: TBD (11,483 feet)

Day 7

Leh to the Rumbak Valley
After packing up and having breakfast, drive to Zingchen Village in the Rumbak Valley along the Indus River. Start your trek in Zingchen Village. You’ll hike in a gorge for about three hours until you arrive at Rumbak. If you’re lucky, you might spot blue sheep, various mountain and migratory birds, high altitude flora, and very rarely, a Tibetan Wolf or a Snow Leopard.
Hiking time: 3 hours

Arrive at your camp, where the tents will be set up and ready. Take time to explore the local village before dinner and a well-earned rest.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Mobile Camping (13,287 feet)

Day 8

Rumbak Valley to Leh
Today’s hike is one of the highlights of the trip, but it is a long, challenging day. Should you struggle with the altitude, there will be a few horses available that you can ride during the day.

Hike to the base of the pass. Along the trail you will come across small villages, remarkable landscapes, and many species of birds. The climb from the base to the pass itself (15,420 feet) is quite steep. Celebrate your accomplishment at the top! During your descent, don’t miss the view of Mt. Stok Kangri, the highest mountain in this range.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours

You’ll be picked up in Stok village and driven to Leh. Take a warm shower and kick your feet up after dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: TBD (11,483 feet)

Day 9

Leh to the Nubra Valley
Leave Leh for the Nubra Valley, and drive over one of the highest motorable passes in the world at over 18,000 feet. In the Valley, there are sand dunes, monasteries, a ruined palace, and a whole different culture (Balti) to discover at Turtuk and Bogdang. Permits are required for foreigners to enter this area; AdventureWomen will arrange for these permits.

Explore the Diskit Monastery, much of which dates to between the 14th and 17th centuries. At the back right-hand corner of the medieval gonkhang (guardian spirits’ temple), a six-armed white Mahakala statue clasps a withered forearm and a human skull, supposedly body parts of a Mongol warrior. The gigantic 105 foot Chamba statue next to the monastery was formally inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 2010.

Take in an authentic Ladakhi cultural show at your hotel this evening. Enjoy dinner with your group before turning in for a good night’s rest.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Stone Hedge (10,000 feet)

Day 10

Nubra Valley
Head out on a full day cycling trip on the ancient Silk Route to Panamik village. Panamik sits on the banks of the Nubra River and is famously known for its therapeutic hot springs, Pashmina goats, and two humps Bactrian camels. The views of the snow-clad peaks and rich green valley are the perfect backdrop for a bike ride. Should you choose, you can hop in a car at any point during the ride.

Have a picnic lunch along the banks of Nubra River before crossing through Yarab Tso lake (10,827 feet), and if the weather is good you will see the surrounding peaks and clouds reflected onto the water. If there is enough time, stop at Samstemling. Samstemling is believed to be the most important monastery in Nubra valley. Located in the picturesque village of Sumur, this monastery belongs to the Gelun-pa sect and about 100 monks live here. A huge image of Shakyamuni dominates the main hall, along with the statues of Maitreya and Mahakala that flank the image. The prayer ceremony takes place in the morning and evening.

Head back to your hotel in time for dinner. Share stories with the women in your group about your intrepid day.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Stone Hedge (10,000 feet)

Day 11

Nubra Valley
Stretch your legs today on a hike to Hundar Dok (11,975 feet) through the beautiful Hundar Gorge. Spend most of your hike walking alongside the Hundar stream and passing by shepherds’ huts, where the men and women from Hundar village live with their yaks, cows, and sheep. You might see them milking their animals to make cheese and butter, or collecting wild vegetables and fuel for the winter. Have a picnic lunch in the village before walking back downstream to Hundar Bridge and monastery. The final descent is through a valley of meadows. You will have a great view of Saser Kangri Peak (25,171 feet) in the Karakoram range.

You’ll be back at your hotel by mid-afternoon. Take some time to explore the area, or just relax at your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Stone Hedge (10,000 feet)

Day 12

Nubra Valley to Leh
Drive back to Leh over the Khardung La Pass. The drive will take 4-5 hours. Explore Leh on your own this afternoon. Perhaps do some last minute shopping.

Share a farewell dinner complete with a local dance performance with your new AdventureWomen friends. Reminisce over all of the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an amazing journey through this truly spectacular country.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: TBD (11,483 feet)

Day 13

Leh and Depart
Head to the airport in Leh this morning and fly to Delhi. You’ll arrive around mid-day. Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the international airport for your flights home.
Breakfast

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Ladakh, India



Arrival and Departure Information

Arrive: Arrive at the Delhi Airport (DEL) after 10:00am on July 5, 2020.

Depart: Depart from the Delhi Airport (DEL) in the late evening on July 17, 2020.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates and a minimum of two blank facing pages. You must apply for an India visa. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

You can apply for an e-visa no more than 30 days before departure at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html If you prefer to get your visa earlier, we recommend using a visa service such as www.traveldocs.com.

Activity Level

We rate this trip as High Energy with two Challenging Days. Our High Energy adventures are designed for women who enjoy a physical challenge and crave being on the go! You should be prepared for itineraries that include (but are not limited to): a full day of biking on rolling terrain, hiking 5-8 miles on moderate to steep trails, being active at high altitudes, whitewater rafting, or skiing. Our Challenging adventures get your heart rate pumping, these are demanding yet deeply rewarding and designed for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. You should be in excellent physical condition, and be able to hike up to 10 miles, in steeper, more rugged terrain. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more here.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to India, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history. You may want to discuss altitude illness medications with your travel doctor.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about India.

Altitude Symptoms

At high altitude, it is typical for trekkers to feel some physical effects such as loss of appetite, fatigue, or headache. Symptoms become more severe if you experience acute altitude sickness. Symptoms of acute altitude sickness can include troubled breathing while resting, severe coughing, confusion, impairment of motor skills, and irrational behavior.

Notify your guide immediately if you believe you are experiencing any of these symptoms. As a highly-trained professional, your guide makes your safety his top priority. If he determines that you are suffering from an acute form of altitude sickness, you will need to descend immediately to a lower altitude.

Money

US Dollars are sometimes accepted in India, but we recommend exchanging money for local currency.

Suggested Gratuities: Gratuity suggestions will be advised closer to your departure.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before April 6, 2020. A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • All hotel accommodations throughout the trip
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • Bottled water during all drives and meals
  • Gratuities for baggage handling, restaurant and hotel staff, porters, and other assisting staff
  • One AdventureWomen Ambassador

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from India
  • Domestic airfare
  • Optional activities as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Camera fees
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Taj Palace
The Taj Palace, New Delhi, is spread out over six acres of lush gardens in the heart of India’s capital city. It is an oasis of calm while still being right in the middle of the city’s action.

Leh Hotel - TBD

Ule Ethnic Resort
Famous for its riverside assortment of beautiful villages, trekking routes, rafting passages, and the best yield of apricots, Sham valley is the Eden of Ladakh. The family-run Ule Ethnic Resort uses micro-hydro plants and solar water heaters and offers a barefoot luxury experience.

Mobile Camp
Spend a night in a traditional A-frame tent in a cozy sleeping bag. This is the best way to see the remote parts of the countryside!

Stone Hedge
Stone Hedge overlooks the merging of three different mountain ranges - the Ladakh range, the Karakorum range, and the Saltoro range. It was built using local materials which are best suited for the climate and history of the region. Each room is furnished with comfortable beds, steam-based room heating, and spacious en-suite bathrooms.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

As you get ready to pack for your adventure, have a look at The AdventureWomen Store at www.theadventurewomenstore.com - we have picked out our favorite travel clothes and outdoor gear to help make packing easy for you. You can also see our recommendations for this trip on the AdventureWomen Pinterest page.

Ladakh is India’s coldest, highest, and driest zone. Much of the area is over 10,000 feet in elevation. Daytime temperatures in July and August average between 65° and 75°F, and nighttime temperatures can be as low as 40°. Don’t be fooled by these temperatures - it can still be cold when it is windy!

Ladakh is a conservative area; please keep your knees and shoulders covered when sightseeing.

Clothing and Gear

  • Duffel bag
  • Daypack with rain cover
  • Medium-weight, waterproof hiking boots (make sure they are broken in!)
  • 1 pair comfortable walking shoes
  • Sport sandals (must stay attached to your feet for rafting)
  • 4-5 pairs wool hiking socks
  • 3-4 short sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 midweight long underwear tops
  • 1-2 midweight long underwear pants
  • 1 medium weight fleece sweater/jacket for cool evenings
  • 1 warm down or synthetic insulated jacket
  • 1 Gore-Tex jacket
  • 1 pair Gore-Tex pants
  • 2-3 pairs of pants
  • 1-2 pairs of capris or long shorts
  • 1-2 sets of nicer clothes for dinner
  • 1 bathing suit
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear

AdventureWomen Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Write down/print out travel insurance number
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (optional; 8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Power adapters/power bank
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Your AdventureWomen water bottle and/or water bladder system for your daypack
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: We recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs. Available at most drugstores or at www.earplugstore.com
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and Ziploc bags
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit

  • Prescription medicine you usually take (in original containers)
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686