Date: July-August 2020.
Duration: 21 days.
Cost: To be decided but will be inclusive of hotels & tented camps, transportation, local taxes & permits with breakfast & dinner provided.
Deposit: 50% of the cost of the trip placed at least two month before duration.
All major credit and debit cards are accepted.
Places: 4 or 8
BOOKING FOR THIS TOUR STARTS ON THE 1st of January 2020.
If you want to arrange your own itinerary, Clive Grylls can also arrange bespoke tours to this region.
For a quotation/price:
Ladakh is the largest province within the North Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, covering approximately 60,000 square miles (100,000 sq. km.)
Roughly, the size of Switzerland, it is surrounded and bisected by some of the highest mountain ranges and passes in the world.
Thanks to its remoteness, Ladakh was one of the last cultures on earth to come in contact with westerners and it was only in 1974 that the region was opened up to tourists.
An arid, high altitude paradise (part of the Greater Tibetan plateau ) of spectacular ever changing vistas bathed in surreal light and worshipped by monks that practice and embrace ancient Buddhist philosophy in gompas perched precariously on wind eroded cliffs. This region, unlike Tibet, remains unfettered by outside control.
A land guarded by chortens that stand like giant, immovable chess pieces and watched over by elusive snow leopards and giant birds of prey.
A region of intrepid weather worn people, their lifestyles adapted to the changing hues of a Himalayan wilderness dictated not by mankind, but by nature, and thus cut off by the demands of modernity or time.
You will be travelling into one of the least inhabited and rugged regions on earth. As a photographer or guest just sit back and enjoy……using your senses to soak up an ambience both ‘unworldly’ and magnificent……..Ladakh will cast an intoxicating and mystical spell on you that is unlikely to wear off for the rest of your life.
Clive Grylls (photojournalist)
Clive Grylls is the coordinator of this tour and your photographic tutor. He will also be a paying guest on this tour. If you have any questions about this tour click on CONTACT……or I can also be reached on: www.facebook.com/clivegryllsphotography
Day One: Arrive at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. From here you will be met by our rep and ferried by taxi or minibus to your comfortable hotel.
Day Two: After an early morning breakfast you will be driven by minibus on the 12-14 hour journey to Vashisht, our base in Himachal Pradesh. Here you will stay in our comfortable hotel overlooking the raging and turbulent waters of the Beas River surrounded by hills cloaked in alpine forest. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day Three: Guests have the whole day to themselves to adjust to the change in altitude (2050m) and perhaps visit the historic Vashisht temple and its hot springs located a stone’s throw away from your hotel.
Day Four: Day of organized sightseeing around the immediate environs of Vashisht and the close by town of Manali decided by you.
4 by 4 jeeps will be available for the whole day.
Day Five: Your adventure to Ladakh begins. Depart at 3 am in 4 X 4 jeeps on the start of a breathtaking 470 km road trip to the heart of the Ladakh region, spread for your comfort, over two days. The road will circumnavigate through extraordinary hillsides as it climbs 1930m to the austere Rohtang pass before meandering downwards on its way to the picturesque town of Keylong where an early lunch or refreshments will be taken. Overnight accommodation will be taken at the hamlet of Jispa overlooking the banks of the Bhaga river and surrounded by glorious stands of juniper and snow-capped mountains.
Day Six: Depart at 6am to Leh, the capital of the Ladakh region. If you thought the landscape on the first day of this road trip was special…. take a deep breathe of invigourating alpine air and be prepared to be surprised. This section of road is internationally recognised as one of the most scenic on earth, zig-zagging its way through impossibly remote and barren mountain vistas punctuated by sapphire-blue lakes and rivers. Estimated arrival time at our comfortable hotel in Leh (3600m) will be approximately 6-8pm.
Day Seven: A rest day in Leh allowing you to acclimatize to the change in altitude. Take it easy in your comfortable hotel…..DO NOT OVER EXERCISE …….so put your feet up and get an early night.
Day Eight: After breakfast, spend a lazy morning walking in Leh’s pedestrianized thorough fare, the Main Bazaar Road. Here you will find shops laden with Tibetan curios and wizened folk selling their vegetables and wares. Take your lunch in one of many eateries selling delicious international or local food. The afternoon will be spent visiting the ancient and magnificent Leh Palace and adjoining Namgyal Tsemo and temples. All adorned with idols and prayer flags and offering a breathtaking overview of the town.
Day Nine: A visit to Thiksey Gompa, probably the most stunning temple in Ladakh. Watch the sun rise as monks perform early morning prayers and mantras. Mid-morning you will visit the equally picturesque Hemis Gompa to wander around its ancient chambers and marvel at its glorious murals.
After lunch at a local eatery we finish off our day of sightseeing with an afternoon visit to Shey, the ancient capital of Ladakh, with its ruined castle and Gompa enshrining a giant Sakyamuni Buddha statue.
Day Ten: Another very early morning start for a day long return trip to the 131km long Pangong Lake (4241m) taking us through some of the most spectacular scenery in the region.
Day Eleven: All day trip to the Phyang Gompa to visit the annual Tse-Dup festival to watch sacred dance-dramas or Chams that form the core part of this celebration.
Day Twelve: An early morning start on a two day return trip to the awe-inspiring Lamayuru Gompa set in an eerie lunar-like landscape. The morning drive will take in a visit to the Likir Gompa, guarded by a 23m high Maitreya statue. In the afternoon we will reach the Alchi Gompa to visit its 12th century shrines that boast the most beautiful and important murals found in the whole of Ladakh. Overnight stay in a local guest house in the quaint village of Lamayuru.
Day Thirteen: A morning spent visiting the mystical Lamayuru Gompa a lost Shangri La set amongst impossibly steep scree slopes and one of the last Buddhist settlements before you pass into the predominately Islamic region of Kashmir. Our afternoon drive back to Leh will take in a visit to Mulbekh and its imposing rock carving of the future Buddha. Time and weather permitting you will also visit the Basgo Gompa set amongst fields of golden barley.
Day fourteen: Depart to Lake Tso Moriri. At an elevation of 4,5200m this ‘Mountain Lake’ is located in the Changthang Plateau-the wildest and most bio-diverse region in Ladakh. The Lake is ringed by hills rising over 6,000m and the surrounding area is inhabited by the nomadic and migratory “Chang Pa" people.
Day Fifteen-Sixteen: You will stay altogether for three nights in a tented village located close to the village of Korzok and bordering Tso Moriri Lake. From here you will attend a rarely visited two-day festival, called the Gu Stor, attended by the Chang Pa people and performed by mask clad monks as a celebration of their Buddhist way of life.
Day Seventeen: An early morning departure to Leh visiting along the way the saline waters of Tso Kar Lake located in the barren Rupshu Plains. Gloriously uninhabited and isolated, the mountain peaks behind it offer a breathtaking backdrop to its desolate beauty.
Day Eighteen and Nineteen: You depart to the Nebru Region set between two spectacular river valleys and their scenic confluence. On your way there you will cross the Khardung La Pass( 5602m)- arguably the highest motorable passage on earth. You will stay overnight in the charming village of Hundar.
Other highlights will be a visit to the Diskit Gompa, the most important in the region. A visit to the sand dunes between Diskit and Hundar that look like they have been transplanted from the Sahara. Here you will ride two-humped Bactrian camels on a scenic ride in this mini desert. A visit to the village of Turtok surrounded by glorious fields of ripening apricots and also a trip to the sulphurous hot springs before the small town of Panamik.
Day Twenty: Drive back to Leh where you will spend the last evening of your tour.
Day Twenty One: Finish of the Tour. If you want us to book you an internal flight to Delhi or any other destination please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note, this is NOT included in the price of the tour.
Clive was born in Cornwall in the UK and raised in London. In his early thirties he trained as a photojournalist at the ‘London College of Printing’. He has over thirty years of experience traveling around Asia photographing the people, landscapes and the wildlife of the Indian sub-continent.This will be his fourth time visiting and documenting the Ladakhi region and he has covered every blade of grass included in this itinerary. He is a pragmatic and objective conservationist who believes that to save the world’s natural wonders you must first give the local people that surround it a vested economic reason to protect it. His articles and photographs have appeared in the following UK publications: the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Express, the Evening Standard, the Observer, Focus Magazine, Geographical Magazine, Travel Africa Magazine, BBC Wildlife, the New Statesman as well as numerous publications worldwide.
Ladakh is one of the driest places in South Asia and rain in July is rare…..however it is beginning to see the effects of global warming. Expect to see azure blue skies and temperatures during the day of 75F…..25C.
Beware, you are in a high altitude region, the ultraviolet rays of the sun are thus much stronger. Bring plenty of sunscreen, a good pair of sunglasses and wear a hat. Night time temperatures can dip alarmingly especially at very high altitudes. Bring plenty of warm clothing. All weather/terrain boots or trainers are essential. So are a good torch and a comfortable backpack for day trips.
If you use a DSLR camera for photography you should bring telephotos (or converters) that will cover the range of 28-200mm. Bring plenty of spare battery power. If you would like to talk over suitable equipment, please contact Clive Grylls……he will be happy to give his advice.
Accommodation, Transport and Meals
All hotels and tented camps will be comfortable and based on dual occupancy but please remember this is a very isolated region and in some locations facilities are limited. If you are a single traveler there is no additional charge for single occupancy but you may in some circumstanced be asked to share. Please raise this with us directly before booking. The price is inclusive of breakfast and dinner. Lunch to be paid by the individual(s) and will be taken at local eateries. The trip from Delhi to Vishisht will be by minibus…..all other travel will be in four wheel jeeps occupied by a maximum of four travelers plus the tour leader/rep and driver.
HIGH ALTITUDE BOX
Ladakh is a high altitude region at 3500m and above. Some visitors may suffer from headaches and dizziness on arrival. It is essential for the first couple of days to take things easy and not over to over exercise. Mild symptoms can be partly relieved by resting and drinking plenty of fluids or by taking one Diamox tablet morning and evening for three days.
Our trip is designed to take you up in altitude in gradual steps with rest days in between, thus allowing you the benefits of acclimatization. There is a no trekking or ‘adventure’ sports involved on this tour-you will be driven to every destination.
Acute mountain sickness is caused by ascending in altitude TOO fast and can be dangerous, and even fatal, if all the warning signals are ignored. In Leh there are specialist medical facilities that can deal with this problem. In higher climes, such as our visit to Lake Tso Moriri at Korzok (4300m) there are not and if your symptoms become severe the only remedy would be to take you down to a lower destination. Your insurance for this trip MUST cover you for the cost of this eventuality.
We carry a first aid kit with the standard medicines prescribed by most doctors. We recommend you to consult your own doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We suggest protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid etc.
WHAT THE TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE
All images appearing on this web page, unless noted otherwise, are the exclusive property of Clive Grylls. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Clive Grylls. These copyright laws impose substantial penalties for infringement, and violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The use of any images or other materials included herein, in whole or in part, for any purpose other than the private purpose of viewing them online, including, but not limited to, copying, reproduction, publication (including on Internet Web Site), including third party web pages by any means, including "hotlinking", storage in a retrieval system (other than internet browser), manipulation (digital or otherwise), or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, is expressly prohibited without the written permission of Clive Grylls. All artistic and moral rights of the author are hereby asserted.
For online use on social media sites, you may use images from this webpage…. provided you keep the watermark intact, clearly credit Clive Grylls next to the image, and link back to his social media page…….www.facebook.com/clivegryllsphotography