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In the Heart of Zanskar

India - Ladakh - Zanskar - Indian Himalayas
Sustained
'

After a spectacular flight over the Himalayas, you will enjoy two days of acclimatization in Leh before setting off for the Indus Valley along the Zanskar River to start your 11-day trek in the Himalayas. Spirituality permeates the region which is home to some of the largest Buddhist monasteries.

Exploring the ancient kingdom of Zanskar on foot is a truly unique experience. Each mountain pass reveals sumptuous lunar and mineral landscapes. Tranquility surrounds you, and the villages become scarce in this region, which is among one of the most isolated in the world.

This trek in the heart of Zanskar is for people in excellent physical condition. You oscillate between 4,000 and 5,000 metres of altitude during most of the trip and many mountain passes follow one another. Accompanied by a local English-speaking guide, cook and muleteers, you embark on your adventure in the heart of Zanskar.

New roads are opening up the area and reshaping our trekking routes in the Himalayas. Some parts of the trek in Zanskar have been modified, taking alternative paths to avoid walking on the road.

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A perfect holiday for...


expert-voyage
Hannah
Experte Himalaya Indien

This mythical trek through the heart of the Zanskar Valley is a great classic. This updated itinerary is a must for all trekkers looking for a great Himalayan adventure.

Your tailor-made trip - Ladakh - Zanskar

Arrival at New Delhi Airport
Day 1
Arrival at New Delhi Airport

First steps in India

Welcome to India! Your driver will welcome you at New Delhi Airport and drive you to your hotel. Step outside and take in the sights and sounds of India’s capital city. Take a city tour by taxi or tuk-tuk to visit some of Delhi’s must-see monuments. Lose yourself in the alleys of Old Delhi, in the middle of the spice market, the Great Mosque - Jama Masjid and the Red Fort, dating back to the Mughal era. At the end of the day, return to your hotel to rest before your early journey the following morning to Ladakh, nicknamed “Little Tibet”.


Delhi - Leh
Day 2
Delhi - Leh

Welcome to Little Tibet

In the early morning your driver will bring you to the airport for your flight to Ladakh. Throughout the flight the view of the Himalayan range is spectacular. Before even setting a foot on Ladakhi soil you will already be charmed by this region. Upon arrival at Leh Airport you will be welcomed by our Shanti Travel team on-site. Your driver will then take you to your bed and breakfast. During this first day in Leh, it is very important to rest in order to gradually acclimatize to the altitude. Remember to hydrate yourself and keep physical effort to a minimum.

Bed and breakfast at 3,500 metres


Leh
Day 3
Leh

Discovery of the Indus Valley

Free day to acclimatize before the start of your trek in Zanskar. Take this opportunity to explore the charming little town of Leh and visit the beautiful monasteries of the Indus Valley. The Monastery of Matho, perched on a rocky hill, contains a unique museum on Tibetan art. On the other side of the Indus, the imposing Thiksey Monastery stands out for its architectural style, which resembles that of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Return to Leh at the end of the day for a good night's sleep before leaving for Zanskar.


Leh - Kanji
Day 4
Leh - Kanji

Lamayuru Monastery

After breakfast, you leave Leh by car to the west of the Indus Valley to start your trek through Zanskar. Along the way, you visit the famous Lamayuru Monastery, perched on a rocky outcrop. You continue on a newly built trail to Kanji, crossing the Fotu La Pass. At Kanji, you will meet the local team that will accompany you throughout your trek in Zanskar. At sunset, be prepared to admire a breathtaking panorama of the Indus Valley.

Camp at 3,850 metres / 6h drive


Kanji - Shila Kong
Day 5
Kanji - Shila Kong

First day of the trek

After breakfast at the camp, you leave for your first day of trekking in Zanskar. You start by visiting the small village of Kanji, and meet the locals while sipping on salted butter tea. You leave with your trekking team towards the hamlet of Kanji Dok. The trail brings you along the banks of a stream before continuing through a green valley that contrasts with the aridity typical of Ladakh. The first day of walking is easy and relatively short. You reach Shila Kong where you set up the camp for the night.

Camp at 3,900 metres / 5h walk


Shila Kong - Spangthang
Day 6
Shila Kong - Spangthang

Yokma La Pass

You start the day’s trek by climbing to Dumbur Dhoksa. You cross a small stream before reaching a gentle slope to the Yokma-La Pass (4,700 m). From the top, you enjoy an extraordinary view of the surrounding landscape. Continue your trek through Zanskar by heading into a beautiful valley to set up camp for the night. In this enchanting setting, you will encounter herds of sheep, goats and yaks grazing. The region of Ladakh-Zanskar is home to a rich wildlife. A refuge for the snow leopard, there are also some ibex, Tibetan antelopes, marmots, and many bharal ibexes from the Himalayas.

Camp at 4,100 metres / 7h walk


Spangthang – Manechen
Day 7
Spangthang – Manechen

Sniuguste La Pass

Today be prepared for a long day of walking. After crossing a river, you reach the Sniuguste-La Pass (5,140 m). Upon reaching the top, you shout together "Ki, ki so, so larghyalo! ": The gods are conquerors, the demons are defeated. This local tune is sung during the passage of mountain passes by many local guides. You thank the deities by hanging prayer flags of all colors. In front of you, the landscapes of Ladakh-Zanskar continue to astound you as you make your descent along a steep path to Manechen.

Camp at 4,370 metres / 8h walk


Manechen – Photoksar
Day 8
Manechen – Photoksar

Sisir La Pass

After breakfast, your walk begins with a river crossing before starting a long and progressive ascent in mineral landscapes to reach the pass of Sisir La, culminating at 4,850 metres. The steep descent of about an hour takes you to a stream. After the crossing, you reach the gentler slopes leading to the pretty village of Photoksar (4,390 m), located at the foot of huge rock faces dominated by the Chomo Tang (6,000 m). With its vast surrounding fields and rock formations, Photoksar is a truly atypical place in Zanskar.

Camp at 4,150 metres / 7h walk


Photoksar - Foot of the Sengge La
Day 9
Photoksar - Foot of the Sengge La

Bhumiktse La Pass

After a good breakfast, you set off for an easier day of walking to recharge your batteries for the crossing of the Sengge La Pass (5,090 m) ahead. Your trek brings you past small streams before reaching a vast plateau. The walk continues towards the Bhumiktse La Pass at 4,200 metres. In the Photang Valley, you come across villagers tending to their yaks and horses in pastures. This is an opportunity to share a moment with them over a cup of salted butter tea, the local drink. Overnight at a base camp at the foot of Sengge La.

Camp at 4,290 metres / 7h walk


Foot of the Sengge La - Gonma
Day 10
Foot of the Sengge La - Gonma

Sengge La Pass

Wake up early to start the long and difficult climb of the Sengge La Pass (5,090 m), nicknamed "The Lion's Pass". This day is the most difficult of your trek in Zanskar. You are rewarded at the top by a breathtaking view of the Himalayan range. During the descent, the landscape changes and becomes more green and softer. You pass the Kiupa La Pass at 4,400 metres and follow a steep path that zigzags down to the village of Gonma at 4,100 metres. You arrive at the camp tired but satisfied to have accomplished this challenging day of trekking in Zanskar.

Camp at 4,100 metres / 7h walk


Gonma - Foot of Hanuma La
Day 11
Gonma - Foot of Hanuma La

Lingshed Monastery

After a gradual climb to the Margum La Pass (4,100 m), you reach the village of Lingshed in the heart of a mineral landscape. Visit the Lingshed Monastery where you can discover the meditation room where the monks gather each morning. It is possible to meet Amchi, a local healer who uses medicinal plants. The practice of this traditional medicine, passed down from generation to generation, is more than 2500 years old. You continue your trek, crossing the small pass of Chapskang La (4,200 m) to arrive at the foot of the Hanuma La Pass at the confluence of two rivers.

Camp at 3,840 metres / 8h walk


Foot of Hanuma La - Zingchen
Day 12
Foot of Hanuma La - Zingchen

Hanuma La Pass

The trekking day in Ladakh begins with a steep climb to the Hanuma La Pass (4,710 m). The descent brings you through a long desert valley before reaching a steep part that continues until the foot of the Parfi La Pass (3,390 m). This green valley contrasts with the surrounding arid mountains. On the way, you come across many chortens (Buddhist stupas) and manis, low stone walls on which mantras are inscribed. You follow a stream through gorges before reaching Snertse. A little further down, in Zingchen, you set up the camp for the night.

Camp at 3,390 metres / 6h walk


Zinchen - Hanumil
Day 13
Zinchen - Hanumil

Parfi La Pass

After breakfast, you start the climb to the Parfi La Pass (3,900 m), following trails on the side of mountains in the middle of the juniper trees. You enjoy the tranquility of the place, observing the wind twirling the flags of colorful prayers. What a great place to stop for a picnic break and take time to admire the environment around you. You then descend along the famous Zanskar River, which joins the Indus River to the north. You arrive at the village of Hanumil (3,425 m) where you set up the camp for the night.

Camp at 3,900 metres / 6h walk


Hanunmil - Pishu
Day 14
Hanunmil - Pishu

In the plains of Zanskar

You set off for a day of easy trek. The path climbs gently along the Zanskar River. A long wall of prayers and stupas mark the entrance to the village of Pidmo. The few inhabitants are occupied with working the fields. The villages of Pishu and Pidmo as well as the villages of Tsazar and Honia formed the former Zangla Empire. Continuing the trek on the left bank of the Zanskar River, we arrive at Pishu and set up camp near the village. Enjoy your afternoon of relaxation after the efforts made in recent days.

Camp at 3,500 metres / 5h walk


Pishu - Karsha
Day 15
Pishu - Karsha

Last day of the trek

Before setting off on today’s trek, you visit the Pishu Nunnery. The walk then takes you along the Zanskar River, one of the most beautiful parts of the trek in Zanskar. The trail climbs gradually to Rinam (3,550 m). From there, the view of the Tongde Monastery, on the opposite bank, is splendid. You leave the Zanskar River behind you, where its two tributaries, the Doda and the Tsarap, meet. As you approach the village of Karsha, you visit its monastery. Overlooking the Padum Valley, it is one of the most important monasteries in Zanskar. You set up the camp below the village.

Camp at 3,600 metres / 7h walk


Karsha - Kargil
Day 16
Karsha - Kargil

End of the trek

You say goodbye to your local team as your trek through Zanskar ends this morning in Karsha. This region is completely cut off from the world; during winter it is only accessible a few months a year by a track connecting Padum to Kargil. You take the road to reach Kargil, the second largest city in the area after Leh. Back to civilization, you can take the time to walk around the city. Night at the hotel.

6h drive


Kargil - Leh
Day 17
Kargil - Leh

Visit of the Alchi Monastery

This morning you take the road towards the Indus Valley. You cross Ladakh from West to East to reach Leh. The road is long, but you think back to the highlights of this trek as you watch the landscape unfold before your eyes. You take the time to drink a cup of tea at the roadside bistros. Then you make a stop at Alchi Monastery, the oldest and most emblematic of the Indus Valley. Dating from the 10th century, Gompa Alchi is home to artistic treasures of Buddhism and the Hindu religion. End of the day in Leh and overnight at the hotel.

6h drive


Leh
Day 18
Leh

Last day in Ladakh

Enjoy your last day in Ladakh by exploring Leh, the region’s capital, and stroll through its busy streets. This is the perfect opportunity to do some shopping. You discover local Tibetan or Kashmiri handicrafts. Choose a beautiful pashmina - these cashmere wools are known throughout the world for their softness. In the various shops of Leh, you will find many souvenirs to bring back to your loved ones: jewels, carpets, Tangkas, decorative objects, woolen socks... Enjoy a hearty lunch at one of our recommended restaurants in Leh. At the end of the day, meet our Ladakh-based expert to share your experiences during your trek through Zanskar.


Leh - Delhi
Day 19
Leh - Delhi

Return to New Delhi

Enjoy an early morning breakfast in front of the mountains before leaving for Leh Airport with your driver. The flight to Delhi takes you back over the Himalayas and offers an unforgettable show. Your driver welcomes you att Delhi Airport and takes you to your hotel in the city center. Relax by the pool away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or for the brave - venture outside to visit some of the must-see sites in the Indian capital. Stroll through the south of the city, discover the Lodhi Gardens, the Lotus Temple or go to the great Qtub Minar Minaret.


Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport
Day 20
Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport

Departure flight

Depending on the schedule of your international flight, choose how you will enjoy your last moments in India. Treat yourself to a moment of well-being during an Ayurvedic massage. Based on the principle of rebalancing the energies of the body, this treatment is very popular after a trek in Zanskar. Your driver is available for your additional visits. Head to India Gate, the gateway to India, the equivalent of the Arc de Triomphe or the incredible Humayun Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Depending on the time of your flight, your driver will take you to the airport. End of our services.


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Travel terms and conditions

Price includes

  • Welcome to New Delhi by your Shanti Travel Expert.
  • Reception and briefing in Leh by Shanti Travel representative.
  • The assistance of your Travel Expert 24h/24h and 7d/7d.
  • Transfers and scheduled trips with English-speaking driver, according to the program.
  • Delhi-Leh / Leh-Delhi flights. (Price subject to change at the time of booking).
  • Accommodation: At the hotel in a standard double / twin room in Delhi and Leh; camp during the trek.
  • A local team to accompany you: English-speaking Ladakhi guide, cooks, muleteers as well as pack animals for the transport of collective and individual equipment.
  • Camping tents (2 people), kitchen tent, kitchen equipment, camping mattresses.
  • Meals: In Delhi and Leh, only breakfast; full board during the trek.

Price does not include

  • International flights.
  • Lunches and dinners in Delhi and Leh.
  • Entrances to the temples, monuments and museums planned for the program.
  • Assistance-repatriation insurance.
  • Drinks and personal expenses.
  • Tips.
  • Anything that is not listed in the "price includes" section.

Details

  • Starting from 1 per person based on 2 travellers
  • Quotation is subject to change according to availability, exchange rates and government tax rise. All the rates mentioned are based on current best available rate and can be modified at the moment of the booking.

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