For a brief period each summer, it is possible to experience Ladakh with all the comforts of a luxury safari camp. Perfectly situated in Thiksey and Diskit, these camps evoke the charms of a bygone era of exploration, one where adventurers were supported by armies of servants, stayed in opulent surroundings, and dined on the finest foods. Staying in a Luxury Suite Tent, you will sleep in a four-poster wooden bed between crisp linens, have your own en suite bathroom and private patio, and use colonial-era furniture. Staff will anticipate your every need, and introduce you to all manner of activities and experiences, from bird watching and archery, to hiking and monastery tours.
Holiday at The Ultimate Travelling Camp - Leh & Nubra
London • Delhi • Leh • Thiksey • Nurla • Diskit • Thiksey • London
(Meals: B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
Flight from London to New Delhi onboard Jet airways direct flight 9W121 departing at 21:15
Arrive Delhi in the morning. Transfer to Shangrila Eros hotel. On arrival in Delhi you will have the day at leisure, or you can choose to explore the city’s history highlights: Delhi Fort and the Jama Masjid; Chandni Chowk bazaar; and Humayun’s Tomb, an architectural model for the Taj Mahal. B
The early morning flight from New Delhi to Leh will give you a stunning bird’s eye view of the snow-capped Himalayas, whetting your appetite for what is to come. On arrival in Leh, the largest town in Ladakh, you will transfer to the Chamba Camp at Thiksey, a short drive away, where you will receive a traditional Ladakhi welcome.
Chamba Camp is a luxurious safari camp in the tranquil shadow of the Thiksey Monastery. Your surroundings are quite magical: the fresh mountain air mingles with the smell of fresh grass, and the gentle sounds of monks chanting and prayer bells float across to the camp on the breeze. You will have the afternoon to acclimatise to the altitude, as you might feel a little breathless and light headed here. B, L, D
After a leisurely breakfast and stroll around the camp, you will walk to the Nyema Nunnery, passing by the ruins of 108 chortens (small stupas). 25 nuns live, study, and pray at Nyema, which is within a temple complex dating back to the 11th century. The nuns are keen to talk about their philosophical studies and to impart their knowledge of medicinal plants, as well as to show off the Buddhist paintings on the inside of the stupas.
Lunch will be back at camp, and you will then continue your day with a visit to the Matho Monastery, which belongs to the Sakya Order. The conservation of the monastery is being undertaken by a team of local women, and the 600-year-old thangkas (Buddhist paintings on silk) here are especially fine.
Later in the afternoon you will tour the Old Town in Leh, exploring the labyrinthine streets beneath Leh Palace. There’s the chance to shop for curios — many of which are made and sold by Tibetan exiles — and you will finish your day at the Shanti Stupa, which has some of the most impressive views across Leh. B, L, D
Early in the morning you will visit Thiksey Monastery, which overlooks the camp. Here you will participate in the monks’ prayer ceremony, a truly moving experience. The monastery has exceptional views along the Leh Valley, an intricately decorated temple dedicated to the goddess Tara, and a two-storey-high statue of the Maitreya Buddha, sat upon a lotus.
A sumptuous lunch will be served at camp, giving you ample sustenance for the afternoon ahead, when you will visit the Drukpa monastery at Hemis. The largest monastic centre in Ladakh, Hemis was established by King Senge Namygal in the 17th century. It continues to be a centre of Buddhist learning, with a large number of young monks studying in the monastery’s beautifully adorned halls. B, L, D
Today you will drive north along the Leh Valley, to Alchi and then Nurla, hugging the banks of the mighty Indus River. You will stop en route at the Stok Palace Museum, which is the summer residence of the Namgyal dynasty, and was built in the 1820s. It’s an attractive building with some interesting displays of textiles, armour, and household items.
Alchi is set back from the main river valley, and this is what enabled it to survive: unlike other monasteries in the region, it was never sacked by invaders, and so its incredible medieval wall paintings are uniquely well preserved. Local tradition has it that Alchi was founded by Guru Rinchen Zangpo in the 10th century, and that he engaged Kashmiri craftsmen and artists to produce the stunning carved woodwork and paintings which decorate the temple complex’s shrines.
You are heading for the Apricot Tree Hotel at Nurla, a peaceful property with individual cottages set amongst fruit trees in an orchard. Though without the luxurious furnishings of the tented camp, the simple setting has its own charms, the food is organic, and the location is dramatic: the orchard is atop a cliff overlooking the Indus River. B, L, D
Enjoy an organic breakfast in the garden, and perhaps a yoga or meditation class to get you into a peaceful frame of mind to start the day.
Today’s excursion will take you first to the impressive Buddhist monastery at Lamayuru, and to its surreal, lunar-like landscape — a natural geological formation. You will continue to the twin villages of Dha Hanu, the only two Brokpa villages in Ladakh which foreigners are permitted to visit. The Brokpa are culturally and ethnically distinct from other Ladakhi communities: they are Indo-European, rather than Tibeto-Mongol in appearance; and their religion is a combination of Buddhism and animism.
You will return to the Apricot Tree for the night. B, L, D
This will be one of the most exciting days of your tour: leaving the Leh Valley behind, you will climb and climb to the top of Khardung La (5,570m), the highest motorable road in the world. The views — and the altitude — are utterly breathtaking!
The road then winds down into the Nubra Valley, a surprisingly green, lush place where the farmlands are dotted with poplar and willow. You will stop for a packed lunch along the way, pass the famous sand dunes, and arrive late afternoon in the oasis of Diskit. You will be staying in the stunning safari camp — the sister to Chamba Camp at Thiksey — where every tent has a private deck, and the mountain peaks are reflected in the water. On a clear, cloudless night, the star gazing here is second to none. B, L, D
After a sumptuous breakfast you can choose from a variety of activities, including rafting on the Shyok River, visiting the holy lake at Yarab Tso, or meeting members of the Women's Alliance of Nubra, who produce traditional handicrafts and document their oral history through lively performances. You might take a drive through the farmlands to the village of Sumur and visit a local family in their home.
The Nubra Valley was part of the Silk Road network of overland trading routes, and merchants drove their caravans of camels along the river. You can relive their journeys in a small way with your own camel ride on a Bactrian camel across the sand dunes at Hunder, the perfect evening excursion. B, L ,D
Spend the day at leisure, enjoying the tranquility of camp, or travel to Turtuk at the end of the Nubra Valley. Due to its proximity to the Line of Control, foreigners have only recently been allowed to visit Turtuk. The villagers here are Balti, with a language and culture which is distinct from other communities in Ladakh. It’s a simple village, pleasant and green, and relatively untouched by tourism. B, L, D
The day begins early with special prayers at the foot of the vast Maitreya Buddha at Diskit Monastery. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect, and it is the largest and oldest monastery in the Nubra Valley. You will return to camp for a hearty breakfast, collect your luggage, and leave Nubra for Thiksey, crossing this time over Wari La (5,300m). Less commonly used than Khardung La, this is an exceptionally photogenic route, with shepherds grazing their flocks along the way.
You will check in for the night at Chamba Camp in Thiksey, your home from home in Ladakh. B, L, D
It is sadly time to bid farewell to Ladakh, and so you will leave the camp before dawn to catch the early morning flight from Leh to New Delhi. On arrival check in at the International Terminal for your home bound flight with Jet airways 9W122 which departs13:30 arrive home at 18:35
Suggested extensions: Tailor-made holiday extensions to Rajasthan, Southern India and Kerala are available on request.
- How to Book this Tour
- Travel Insurance
International flights in economy class from London Heathrow or a regional UK airport in economy class.
Economy class flights from Delhi to Leh and back to Delhi inclusive all taxes.
Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary.
All Meals in Leh, Nurla & Nubra, Breakfast on in Delhi.
All transfers and sightseeing arrangements by a private chauffeur driven car.
Sightseeing tours and monastery visits with a local English speaking guide.
Entry fee to all monuments and places of interest mentioned in the itinerary.
Complimentary mineral water while driving or on sightseeing.
Full ATOL Bonding.
Cost does not include:
Visa fee. British passport holders can no apply on line for an E-toursit visa. We will send essential information and a step by step guide on booking the tour.
Travel Insurance. Please visit http://www.tgic-online.com/ti/jsp/welcome.jsp?AccountID=5268 for a competitive quote for your travel insurance
Gratuties and any expenses of a personal nature.
- To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £250.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
- If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
- It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
- It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
- It covers you for all activities.
- Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
- Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
- If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.