Tour Price with internal flights£ 3450 per person on twin sharing basis
Single Supplement: Available upon request
Prices are all inclusive with no hidden or local payments
FlightsWe can arrange to book flights for you through our partner travel agent or you can arrange your own flights and we will arrange for your transfer from the place where the tour starts
Best Time to TravelNovember-April
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Overview

The snow leopard is the most elusive of the big cats and their habitat is quite extreme: cold, harsh and found in very high altitude. This makes tracking the snow leopard far more challenging than other wildlife. Ladakh in India is one of the best places to spot this animal. Alongwith a dedicated conservation program involving the local Ladakhi people, tracking of this animal is now possible although spotting cannot be guaranteed. However, a visit to this place is quite rewarding with the variety of unique wildlife of the region this high up in the Himalayas, the vast stark landscape, monasteries and witnessing the way of life of the Ladakhi people. In this tour, stay during leopard tracking will be at a traditional homestay/ lodge in the Ulley valley. We do give at least 3 days to get acclimatised to the high altitude and undertake day treks in the mountains to track the leopards.

Destinations

Kanha Delhi → Leh → Ulley

Detailed Itinerary


Day 1: Delhi

Arrive at Delhi international airport, where our representative will meet you and thereafter transfer to your hotel. Delhi, the capital city offers a glimpse of both ancient and modern India, rich in culture, always changing with time but never hiding its splendid past. The various ancient ruins seen in the city are silent witnesses to its magnificent history. Depending on the time of your arrival in Delhi, we can arrange a city tour (optional). Overnight in Delhi. (B)

Accommodation: Hotel Pullman, Delhi

Day 2: Delhi-Leh (early morning 2 hr long flight)

Upon Arrival at Leh Airport you are met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure to acclimatize to the high altitude and rarefied air. Leh is at 11400 feet and the flight up from the plains means that you have to acclimatize gently without pushing yourself. The 2 ½ days scheduled here is the minimum required as you will be going to a higher altitude and will be doing a fair amount of walking. At some point over the next few days in Leh, meet with staff from the Snow Leopard Conservancy for a briefing on the history of snow leopard conservation in Ladakh with insight given into the current threats to snow leopards and the strategy adopted to combat these threats. (B,L,D)
Accommodation: The Golden Dragon, Leh

Day 3: Leh

Leh is a fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars. The main street is open and airy, with rows of shops on either side. Leh is very Tibetan; the national dress, ‘stove-pipe’ hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The Royal Palace, which dominates the town, is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs are a dramatic culture change from the hot, teeming frenetic rush of Delhi. This morning you will visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy; here you will see the efforts made by the authority with the help of the local community to conserve the endangered snow leopard.

In the afternoon we visit the Thiksey monastery. Thiksey Gompa is the most picturesquely situated monastery in Ladakh, perched high on a hill above the Indus. Its buildings are arranged at various levels, leading up to the private apartments of the incarnate lamas on the summit. From here one commands a magnificent view of the valley. The gompa possesses a rich and beautiful collection of hundreds of hand-written or painted prayer books. A new temple contains a 15-meter tall Buddha statue, constructed in 1970 to commemorate a visit to Thiksey by the Dalai Lama. The statue, made of clay and covered with gold paint, is the largest Buddha figure in Ladakh and took four years to construct. Inside, the statue is filled with the Kandshur and the Tandshur – volumes of Buddhist canonical texts. The statue was made entirely by local craftsmen and represents Maitreya, (“compassion” in Sanskrit) the Buddha of the Future. The prophecy made of the Future Buddha is that the world will be undergoing such chaos that He will teach compassion to the people. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: The Golden Dragon, Leh

Day 4: Leh

Today you set out for an extraordinary drive east heading towards Taglang La and the villages of Gya, Lhato and Meru. It’s a fantastic drive taking you away from the valley of the Indus up a subsidiary valley to an extraordinary area even by Ladakhi standards that marks the line where the Indian mainland collided with and drove under Asian land mass. There is some dramatic scenery here and you have a chance of sighting wildlife including Blue sheep, Golden eagles and Bearded vultures. Rafts of Red-billed Choughs perform synchronized aerobatics and in the fallow fields you have the chance of seeing the very beautiful Tibetan Partidge and the more common Chukor partridge. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: The Golden Dragon, Leh

Day 5: Leh - Ulley Valley

Drive west today on the road to Kargil and Srinagar, generally following the Indus River. You pass through the small town of Nimmu– one of the most important in Ladakh, where the Zanskar river meets the Indus. After a little over an hour you head north on a road marked to Likir – one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries. This is all snow leopard country. The landscape here is even bigger, more expansive and open, until you turn off onto a dirt road, winding up a narrow valley, following a stream called the Ulley Chhu. Smaller valleys intersect and the guides have their heads craned all the time, scanning the hill sides and the skyline for any silhouette. This is excellent Ibex country and there are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned male Ibex standing vigil on some impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff. Ulley village, west of Leh is an area that is only recently being developed for Snow Leopard watching. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Day 11

Explore the wilderness of Ladakh from Snow Leopard Lodge. Over the next few days you explore the area on foot and SUV’s with our team of trackers at the lodge, tracking the snow leopard.

Settle in on arrival and acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley. You will be based here over 9 nights and the advantage of Ulley is that it is relatively free of tourism and the chaos that has enveloped the first snow leopard destination – Rumbak. The other advantage is that from here you explore 3 valleys, which, apart from snow leopards , are great for finding urial, Ibex, wolf and Himalayan fox. Norbu is an exceptional tracker and spotter whose entire being seems to be narrowed down to the field of vision of his binoculars.

Over the next few days you explore the area on foot and SUV’s with Norbu tracking the snow leopard. You will be amazed at the sheer dedication and commitment he brings to his trade and the effort he makes to ensure that his guests leave happy. Norbu interacts closely with the local people and uses the network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. In the process there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to get insights into local folklore, as well as learn about local customs and traditions. (B,L,D)

Day 12: Ulley-Leh

After another morning out, we say our goodbyes to our host after lunch and drive back to Leh town. Enroute we visit the Alchi monastery if time permits (the morning can drag longer if there is good wildlife movement). Alchi Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries dating back to the 11th century. It is the only low land monastery in the region as it was built in a time of peace, before the marauding armies forced the monasteries to take shelter amongst the slopes and gorges. (B,L,D)

Day 13: Leh-Delhi

Check out post breakfast and transfer to Leh Airport for flight back to Delhi. Rest of the day on your own at Delhi. (B)

Day 14

In the morning, check out of your hotel and drive to the airport for your onward journey. (B)


Inclusions & Additional Information


Inclusions

  • All accommodation as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified above
  • Tour guide for snow leopard tracking
  • Donation to Snow Leopard Conservation
  • Internal flights
  • Transportation
  • Sightseeings mentioned above other than optional

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Visa
  • Tipping

Passport and Visa Requirements

A passport (with at least six months remaining validity) and a current Indian visa are required for this trip. Please note that you are required to have a passport with a machine-readable bar code. You will need to apply for your Indian visa in advance from the relevant issuing authority in your home country. British Passport holders can apply for an e-Tourist Visa, a single entry visa valid for 30 days. Please visit the website https://www.hcilondon.in/pages.php?id=28

Travel Insurance

You must take out appropriate insurance to cover personal accident, medical costs, repatriation, loss of baggage and holiday cancellation.

Vaccinations

Please visit your GP for guidance for vaccinations while travelling to India. Please also visit this website for more details https://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-(east)/india.aspx

Currency

The currency used is Indian Rupee.

Tipping

Guides on tipping, at the lodge ( for entire team ) GBP 20 per day, Driver – GBP 5 per person per day, tour guide/ naturalist- GBP 15-20 per day.

Accommodation

Pullman, Delhi
Hotel Pullman is a 5 star property conveniently located near Delhi international airport and offers large, updated rooms and 6 restaurants, with many options nearby for shopping and exploring around the place. Guests have liked this property for the friendly and professional staff and excellent location.
https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-7559-pullman-new-delhi-aerocity-/index.shtml

Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh

The Grand Dragon is the perfect candidate for everyone setting foot for the first time into Ladakh, both in terms of the comforts necessary to acclimatize to the altitude of Ladakh and also in lieu of its central location in the capitol of Leh. Established in the year 2007, The Grand Dragon Ladakh, one of the first luxury hotels in Ladakh, is owned and operated by the Abdu family from Leh, who have more than 40 years of experience welcoming visitors to the beautiful region. It is decorated magnificently with handmade paintings by Gulam Mustafa (First modern Artist of Ladakh) around every corner, and fixtures that are reminiscent of royalty.
http://www.thegranddragonladakh.com/

Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley

You will be staying in a home stay – which apart from being more comfortable than camping out in sub-zero temperatures – puts money directly into local hands and strengthens the constituency of the snow leopard. This will be your base for the next week. The home stay consists of 2 bedrooms, built separately from the main house with a dining room and kitchen – all in the same low stone built building. For our clients, we bring in our own cook and camp staff with an assortment of important luxuries like extra gas heaters, warm shower (and bathroom!), long drop toilet but with a comfortable thunder box, comfortable mattresses, linen, an assortment of coffees, teas, snacks etc that go a long way to alleviate the cold and the altitude. Add to this the interest of living with a Ladakhi family in the depths of winter and understanding their life-style and you have a very special experience in store – especially sharing the large and warm kitchens that are the heart of a Ladkahi home in winter and resplendent with brass, copper and silver ornaments.

From the house and its terraced fields you command a superb view across the valley and are almost certain to see Ibex from here and if you are lucky much other wildlife including wolf, Himalayan fox and perhaps even snow leopard.
http://www.snowleopardlodge.com/


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