A Himalayan Journey - Amritsar to Leh

16 days
from
1 815 €
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Traveller ratings
4.1 / 5 from 8 reviews >
Trip code: 
AIF
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

An exciting journey which takes you across the Indian Himalaya to Ladakh.

From the plains of India across the Indian Himalaya to Ladakh; scenically, religiously and culturally this is a spectacular and diverse trip. From Amritsar, famous for the Sikh Golden Temple, we drive up into the foothills of the Himalaya to Dharamsala, home to the exiled Dalai Lama, and McLeod Ganj. We head further into the hills to Manali, a popular Indian hill station, before travelling north across the Indian Himalaya, onto the Tibetan Plateau, and into Ladakh. Ladakh’s centuries-old culture finds expression in the monasteries and festivals.

 

Highlights

  • Visit Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama
  • Marvel at the Golden Temple at Amritsar
  • Cross the second highest road pass in the world
  • Visit ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries  

Key information

  • 14 nights hotels and guesthouses, 1 night full-service camping, all en suite.
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Amritsar; late afternoon sightseeing including the Golden Temple.

    The group flight will arrive in Amritsar and we will transfer to the friendly Mrs Bhandari's Guesthouse, with its fascinating Art Deco interior. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the guesthouse today. Amritsar is the Sikh's holiest city and in the late afternoon we visit the Golden Temple, the main shrine. Shoes must be removed, feet washed and heads and arms covered before we can enter. Stunningly beautiful the Golden Temple is surrounded by tanks of holy water. The atmosphere is incredibly calm as devotees stroll round the temple and sit and listen to the continuous recitals from the Granth Sahib. A visit to the huge community kitchens is a must to see the thousands of meals prepared by volunteers every day for the pilgrims. If there is time we can also visit the nearby Jalianwala Gardens, site of the notorious massacre under General Dyer in 1919, which led to 319 Sikhs being shot by British troops.
    Standard Hotel

  • Days 2-3

    Drive to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj; full day to explore.

    We leave the Punjab heading north into the foothills of the Himalaya. Today is quite a long but spectacular drive as the road winds its way into the hills. The barren plains make way for forests and as we gain height the heat of the plains gives way to the cooler fresher air of the hills. We enter the state of Himachal Pradesh and the Dhauladhar range makes a stunning backdrop to the hill station of Dharamsala, a quiet unassuming town until 1959. This all changed when the Dalai Lama settled here after fleeing from Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion. McLeod Ganj is the upper part of the town and is the area with the greatest Tibetan influence and is where we are based for two nights. We have a full day to explore the town and will visit the Dalai Lama’s temple and the Tibet Museum. There are many other monasteries and temples around the town and a colourful bazaar. (187km, 5-6 hours driving).
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive to Mandi and Rewalsar, visit the monastery, the Sikh Gurdwara and the Hindu temple.

    Travelling by road, we head through picturesque countryside towards the little-visited town of Mandi. We drive through the pretty Kangra Valley with its many tea plantations and there should be time to stop at a tea estate. Enroute we visit Baijnath Temple and Rewalsar, where a charming hilltop lake is revered by Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists, who have each built their temples on its banks. Mandi, situated on the Beas River at the foot of the beautiful Kulu Valley, was once a halting point on the salt route to Tibet. Now a large bustling town Mandi is overlooked by most visitors but it has over 80 temples and shrines including some impressive sixteenth century Nagari style temples. We drive through the town and tonight stay a short drive out of Mandi. (200km and 7-8hrs driving)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive to Manali; afternoon free.

    From Mandi we head east for a while until we join the mighty Beas River and the beautiful Kullu Valley. At Kullu we head north and follow the river all the way to Manali. As we ascend the valley we are surrounded by lush fir and pine forests and the scenery becomes more and more impressive. This valley is popular with Bollywood film makers and many Hindi movies have been shot in the hills around here. Finally we arrive in Manali, a bustling hill station now popular with Indian tourists escaping the heat of the plains. (110km, 4-5 hours driving)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Full day in Manali.

    We have a full day to explore Manali. Manali is surrounded by beautiful fir and pine forests and there are lovely walks in and around the town. The ancient wooden Hadimba Devi Temple is the most important temple in Manali. Set in the forest it is an easy walk from our hotel. Manali has a colourful Tibetan bazaar full of souvenirs. Or you may want to take a taxi to Naggar (12km from Manali), the old capital of the area. The ancient castle is now a hotel. Nicholas Roerich, the famous Russian artist and traveller lived in Naggar and his estate is preserved as an art gallery and museum and is well worth a visit.
    standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Jispa via the Rohtang Pass (3980m) and Keylong.

    We now leave the lush green forests behind and embark on the spectacular road journey to Ladakh across the Great Himalayan Range. This journey rates as one of the world's classic road journeys. The days can be long and some of the road surfaces are not the best but those prepared to take the opportunity to travel this spectacular route through the wild mountain scenery of Lahoul and the high altitude plains of Changtang, to the remote northern territory of Ladakh will not be disappointed. Today is a long drive and you need to be prepared for delays along this stretch of the road. Leaving Manali we pass several waterfalls as we climb towards the Rohtang Pass. A popular sightseeing destination for Indians the road can get very busy at times and due to the large amounts of snow in winter the road condition is not very good. It will be slow going to the top of the Rohtang Pass at 3,980m where we cross the Pir Pinjal Range of mountains. South of the Indian Himalaya, the Pir Pinjal are no less spectacular than their grand neighbour and from the top of the pass we can see immense jagged peaks ahead. The weather can be misty and cloudy to the south of the Rohtang but once we have crossed the pass into Lahoul the scenery changes dramatically - we leave the green fertile valleys of Himachal Pradesh and climb up onto the barren mountainous desert of the Tibetan Plateau. Lahoul is the northern boundary of Himachal Pradesh and the people and culture are more akin to Ladakh and Tibet than to India. The valley narrows as we head north with the mountains towering above us. Passing through Keylong, the district headquarters, we continue on to Jispa where we stay in a basic guesthouse tonight. (145km, 7-8hrs driving)
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Drive to Tsokar Lake and camp for the night.

    Another long but spectacular day as we cross the mighty Himalaya. Climbing from Jispa the road zig zags up to the Baralacha Pass (4,845m). We are now surrounded by huge mountains and it’s hard to imagine how a road was built through this landscape. From the pass we descend to Brandy Nallah and wind our way to the bottom of the Gata Loops. This is an amazing series of 21 hairpin bends which climbs onto the Tibetan Plateau. The scenery becomes even more dramatic as we climb to the Lachalung La and further on the Nakli La. Descending from the Nakli La we come to the spectacular wind-eroded landscape of earth and rock pillars around Pang. There are lots of tea tents at Pang where we can stop for a well earned cup of tea. From Pang we continue north across the Morey Plains. These vast high-altitude plains are home to the hardy Changpa nomads and we may well see their encampments in the distance and spot the huge herds of yaks. Leaving the main road we divert across an open landscape to Tsokar Lake. We stay in a fixed camp about a mile from the lake at Pongunagu (due to ecological reasons camping is not allowed on the lake shore). This salt lake supports a vital industry that allows the Changpa nomads to trade with merchants from the rest of Ladakh. The area is home to herds of rare kiang (Tibetan wild ass), which we may see in the distance. (230km, 8-9 hours driving)
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Drive to Leh.

    This morning we drive back to the main road and head north climbing to our last pass, the Taglang La. The road seems to wind up forever to the top at 5,328m. The Taglang La reputed to be the second highest motorable road pass in the world (the highest is the Khardung La which we have a chance to drive up to in Leh) and the views from the top are superb. Hundreds of Buddhist prayer flags flutter in the winds which blow over the pass and we can look north towards Leh and the Karakorum and south back to the Himalaya. Descending steeply the road drops to a small river which we follow down a stunning gorge. Passing several small villages we finally join the mighty Indus River at Upshi. We follow the Indus now nearly all the way into Leh, the capital of Ladakh. We will arrive in the late afternoon at our guesthouse for a welcome hot shower after the rigours of the last few days. (154km, 5-6 hours driving)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Sightseeing around Leh including Shey and Tikse monasteries (or monastery festival).

    Ladakh, or ‘Little Tibet’ as it is sometimes called, is now part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Before the 10th century Ladakh was part of Western Tibet and from the 10th to the 19th century Ladakh was an independent kingdom with its own kings. In 1834 Ladakh was invaded by Zorawar Singh and became part of India. Still culturally and religiously akin to Tibet it is one of the last bastions of living Tibetan Buddhism. We have five days to explore the monasteries and main sights of Ladakh.

    Today we will visit some of the monasteries in the Leh Valley. We first drive to Shey, a former Royal Palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350 year old copper and gold statue of Buddha. From Shey we drive (or there is the option to do a two hour walk across the fields) to Tikse, where we visit the monastery - perched on top of a hill - its red and white buildings can be seen for miles. A recently built temple contains a magnificent image of the Future Buddha. We return to Leh early afternoon and there is time to explore the back streets and bazaars of Leh or you may just wish to have time relaxing in one of the garden cafes with a cup of coffee and fresh apricot pie.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Drive to Likir Monastery; optional walk to Rizdong; to Alchi.

    We leave Leh this morning following the Indus River westwards. We pass Basgo where an ancient ruined fortress is built atop the wind-eroded cliffs. We turn off the main road to visit the monastery at Likir, a beautiful building, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. From here we drive to Yangtang village from where there is the option to walk to Ridzong monastery, set hidden in a valley. This solitary gompa is renowned for its strict monastic teachings. Just below in a grove of apricots is a small nunnery, which is inhabited by young nuns from the Nubra Valley who have come here to study Buddhism. After Ridzong we rejoin the Indus again, which we follow to Saspol. Just after the village we cross this mighty river and drive to Alchi, a pretty village set in a grove of apricot trees. Barley fields surround the village and at harvest time the village is a buzz of activity.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    See ancient gompa at Alchi; visit village and monastery of Lamayuru.

    The main attraction in Alchi is the monastery, which is the most important cultural site in Ladakh. Built in the 11th century, it is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh's other monasteries. It was founded by Rinchen Zangpo who was said to have built 108 temples in Ladakh and is responsible for reviving interest in Buddhism at that time. After breakfast we make an excursion to Lamayuru. The drive takes us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ladakh. A short way from Alchi we pass through Khalatse after which the road leaves the Indus and winds its way round to the lunar landscape at Lamayuru. This part of Ladakh is where 50 million years ago the continents crashed together and the Himalaya were formed. The monastery is set on top of a beautifully eroded crag, complete with rock caves and pinnacles and has an almost fairytale quality as it stands over the village below. We have time to explore the monastery and the village before driving back to Alchi.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Drive to Leh visiting Basgo Fort en route.

    After breakfast we drive back to Leh visiting Basgo Fort en route. The rest of the afternoon is free for individual exploration. The old town and the local bazaar are well worth a visit.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Free day in Leh (or monastery festival); optional trip to Khardung La.

    There is the option this morning to take a jeep trip to the Khardung La Pass, reputedly the highest motorable road in the world at 5,602m. This can be arranged and paid for locally and your leader will have details. The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing. You may like to take a hike up to the old Royal Palace and Tsemo gompa, set on a hill high above Leh, or you could climb the 500 steps to the Shanti Stup, a wonderful white peace pagoda built a few years ago by Japanese Buddhists. You can walk or drive to both hilltops and both have spectacular views over the Leh Valley.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Fly to Delhi; afternoon free.

    We transfer to the airport for the spectacular early morning flight over the Himalaya to Delhi. If the flight is on time we should have the afternoon in Delhi for last minute sightseeing. Humayum’s Tomb (a forerunner to the Taj Mahal) is worth seeing if there is time.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    End Delhi.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London. Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    The detailed itinerary above refers to the general itinerary, without a festival included, it gives all the information needed though for each departure. For the exact brief itineraries in Ladakh of the festival departures please see below.

    Festival Departures

    Each monastery in Ladakh holds a festival once a year, which is a time when temples are open to the local people to come and worship. The main attraction, however, are the masked dances, which symbolise the success of Buddhism in overcoming evil forces and demons. The dances are performed by monks dressed in magnificent costumes made of old Chinese silks and brocades. The monks wear terrifying painted masks depicting the evil spirits of the old Bon religion. The festivals are also great social occasions when Ladakhis wear their traditional dress and gather together to exchange news. Stalls are set up around the monastery selling food and snacks and there are luck based games for the children. (Please note that the monastery festival dates are set by the monks according to the Tibetan calendar. Very occasionally these dates are changed at the last minute as they are not considered auspicious, if this happens we will arrange different activities).

    The first 9 days of all the trips will be the same.

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 23rd June 2017 (Land Only start date of 24th June 2017) which will visit the Hemis festival

    Day 10 (3rd July) Hemis Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 11 (4th July) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (5th July) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 13 (6th July) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (7th July) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (8th July) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (9th July) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 7th July 2017 (Land Only start date of 8th July 2017) which will visit the Phyang festival

    Day 10 (17th July) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 11 (18th July) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (19th July) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 13 (20th July) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (21st July) Phyang Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (22nd July) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (23rd July) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 23rd July 2017 (Land Only start date of 24th July 2017) which will visit the Tak Tak festival

    Day 10 (2nd Aug) Tak Tak Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 11 (3rd Aug) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (4th Aug) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 13 (5th Aug) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (6th Aug) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (7th Aug) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (8th Aug) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 9th June 2018 (Land Only start date of 10th June 2018) which will visit the Hemis festival

    Day 10 (19th June) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 11 (20th June) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (21st June) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 13 (22nd June) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (23rd June) Hemis Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (24th June) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (25th June) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 28th June 2018 (Land Only start date of 29th June 2018) which will visit the Phyang festival

    Day 10 (8th July) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 11 (9th July) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (10th July) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 13 (11th July) Phyang Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (12th July) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (13th July) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (14th July) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    The notes below refer to the trip Ex London on 12th July 2018 (Land Only start date of 13th July 2018) which will visit the Tak Tak festival

    Day 10 (22nd July) Tak Tak Festival. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 11 (23rd July) Drive to Likir Monastary, optional walk to Ridzong; to Alchi. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 12 (24th July) Alchi Monastary plus Lamayuru. Basic Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Day 13 (25th July) Drive to Leh via Basgo. Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 14 (26th July) Shey and Tikse sightseeing (Optional Khardungla). Standard Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 15 (27th July) Fly to Delhi. Comfortable Hotel (Breakfast)

    Day 16 (28th July) Fly to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out. (Breakfast)

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included.

Other meals are not included; allow about £100 (approx. US$130) for these. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties- for example, Amritsar is a great place to try lassi (yogurt drink), faluda (I=ice cream), aloo paratha's, samosa's and Chai. There is a good choice of restaurants in most areas offering both western, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese or continental food. Soft drinks, tea and coffee are cheap in India, but beer can approach western prices.

Weather

Amritsar and Delhi will be very hot and humid in the summer months with temperatures up to 40ºC. In Dharamsala, Mandi and Manali it will be hot and humid with daytime temperatures up to 37ºC and there may well be some monsoon rain. Generally the weather is good in Ladakh in the summer time, with hot sunny days (up to 30ºC or more), and cooler nights. At the tops of the high passes on the road journey the temperatures will drop. The night in Tsokar can be cold if the weather is cloudy. The sun is very strong at these altitudes. Ladakh, though technically part of the Tibetan plateau and classified as a high altitude desert, occasionally experiences a few effects of the Indian monsoon. Although the departures are timed to coincide with the normally good weather, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described here.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate). This is a busy and adventurous itinerary with visits to many monasteries. There are some long drives with some high passes, and the high altitude and rough sections of road can make the trip demanding at times. All the walking and activities are optional. On the road journey the days can be quite long including stops for photos, lunch, teas etc. There is plenty of varied sightseeing, taking in some of the most interesting places in northern India. Please note that this trip does not have much time in Delhi. If you want to see the main sights of Delhi you will need to add in extra time there at the end of the trip. This busy trip is an amazing journey with an insight into this remote corner of India with its Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh cultures.

Please note that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

FESTIVAL DEPARTURES Every year most of the monasteries in Ladakh hold a masked dance festival. This is a time when temples are open to the local people to come and worship. The main attraction, however, is the masked dances, which symbolise the success of Buddhism in overcoming evil forces and demons. The dances are performed by monks dressed in magnificent costumes made of old Chinese silks and brocades. The monks wear terrifying painted masks depicting the evil spirits of the old Bon religion. Some of the departures are timed to visit popular festivals. Sightseeing will be altered so that you can see all the main sights in and around Leh and spend a whole day at the festivals.

Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and guesthouses

14 nights hotels and guesthouses, 1 night full-service camping, all en suite. We stay in a fixed camp near Tsokar Lake, where a proper bed, mattress and quilt is provided. Each tent sleeps two people and has a western bathroom attached. The standard of hotels and guesthouses range from basic (Jispa and Alchi) to comfortable (Delhi). Single accommodation available on request from GBP320

Call us on
015 407 558
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

With a country as diverse and riveting as India, it can feel almost impossible trying to narrow down which region to

  • Reviewed September 2015
    Santosh Rai

    Himalayan journey-Amritsar to Leh

    Spectacular scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The lunar landscape at Lamayuru. The monastery at Alchi The shanty stupa in Leh.Roerich gallery in Naggar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mr Anand Kapil was polite,helpful and knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light.p

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Instead of staying in McLeod Ganj I would have liked to stay at Norbulingka Institute.It is a clean and peaceful place.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Christopher Spencer

    Best highway journey in the world

    This is a well organised and very scenic trip with an excellent introduction to the mountainous regions of northern India. The pace is very good and the altitude adjustment gradient is safe and easily achieved. The food and restaurants were all excellent and great value for money.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Golden Temple after passing Sikh guards armed with swords!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Annand was a very patient and reliable guide with good knowledge of all areas we visited and he was able to address all needs of our group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would advice 125 mg acetazolamide daily on consecutive nights during the Manali-Leh highway part of the trip. No side effects with this dosage and no headaches or symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Janet Ford

    Amritsar to Leh

    A demanding itinerary, but very rewarding in that we were shown an part of India that not many travellers get to see. The local guide, Anand, was unfailing patient and considerate to members of the group, especially those of us who struggled at times, with the India-ness of it all.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the bleak and windswept lake on the high altitude Moray plains. I watched the sun set with a blaze of yellow on the tips of the snow covered Himalayan peaks, while on the opposite horizon, the moon rose, pale, fat and round in the darkening sky. The light and the atmosphere was magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was great - very kind and fair to everyone, and with excellent English

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Take travel sickness tablets. The ride from Manali to Mandi is very stomach churning with relentless hairpin bends and up and down roads. Even worse were some of the Himalayan passes, with unmade roads, steep ascents and declines and no room to stop anywhere! 2. Take altitude tablets. 3. Don't buy the carved mani stones unless you get a receipt. Customs will ask for one and if you haven't got one, confiscate the stone. Which is what happened to me. 4. Recognise that service is going to be slow and don't get too hungry before going for meals.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Michelle Gabelich

    A Himalaya Journey. Amritsar to Leh

    I was very pleased with the whole trip. The tour leader went beyond his duties I'm sure to accommodate 9 Western individuals. The scenery was spectacular!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Dharamsala,. home of the Dalai Lama. A dream for so long. Also the many monasteries we visited as well as meeting so many beautiful Tibetan people. An inspiration in themselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I thought he was very patient, kind and put up with an at times difficult mix of people. He was very knowledgeable. He worked hard.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The altitude affected quite a few people in different ways. One person had to be transported down to lower altitude.It's hard to know if you'll be affected but those on altitude medication seemed to suffer the least if at all. Do some walking training beforehand. There's not a huge amount of walking but what there is involves steepness, altitude and stairs at times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would suggest a daily roster on seating in bus. There was some antagonism created when people wanted to sit in particular seats. The leader would also have to accomodate those who suffer motion sickness as well.
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Angela Morton

    A Himalayan Journey - Amritsar to Leh

    A little disappointing compared to all other Exodus trips I've done. Reasons: structure of the trip and parts of the itinerary could be improved; the last few days could be made much more exciting (and not left to fizzle out); the location of some of the accommodation is poor (long distances from the action so nowhere close by to eat, shop or sight-see) That said, the scenery is stunning and the sights we saw were amazing

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I thought Manali was a great town with a lovely vibe, with beautiful riverside walks. And Alchi was just wonderful, with such amazingly friendly people in such stunning surroundings.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Capable for running the trip and got the essentials done. But didn't socialise with the group and was not good at managing some members who were constantly late.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a very demanding trip. Roads are terrible (I think the worst I've ever seen) and drives are long and tiring. Accommodation is adequate but sometimes no hot water after a long grubby dusty day. The campsite is not good (make sure you have your own toilet paper and a torch/flashlight (preferably for your head). Take something for: tummy upsets; chapped lips; nasal/chest infections as a result of dust/aircon/pollution. There are places to get washing done cheaply so don't take much stuff

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A lot of monasteries! But they are great for photos! Food and drinks are very cheap so that's a blessing. And this part of India is not so crowded and frenetic as the rest so is more enjoyable.
  • Reviewed August 2014
    Dipak Shah

    Amritsar to Leh (Beauty of Ladakh)

    All that I wanted in a trip and more - contrasting landscapes and the sheer range of the Himalayas - seeing it with your eyes will do it justice (photos are not the same!!). The warmth of the Indian people is amazing (and I am Indian). INDIAN MASALA TEA - best in the world!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the passes we had to traverse and Gyan (the driver) did it without fear, taking a nap too when stuck due to a rock slide on one of the passes!! Talking to the locals.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bhupesh is really good - very knowledgebale and humorous. His anecdotes of his trips and taking the mickey of accents - top class!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Lose your inhibitions - immerse into the local customs and especially the food and TEA.
  • Reviewed October 2013
    Anonymous

    A HIMALAYAN JOURNEY - AMRITSAR TO LEH

    The first half of the trip is very busy with lots of travelling and giant passes to cross, the second half is much more sedate and more cultural. A well-balanced trip BUT not really sufficient time to acclimatise before hitting the really high altitudes. Would be better/easier/safer if there were an extra couple of days in the Kulu valley perhaps. Overall a great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The (optional) trip up to the top of the Khardung La Pass was fabulous - not to be missed (although it's NOT the highest pass in the world).The monastery at Alchi was pretty special too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent English, great sense of humour and an all round nice guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Buy a Steripen UV water sterilisation kit. Easy to use (2 mins per litre) and means you don't end up littering the country with used water bottles. We drank treated tap water in India for 2 weeks with no ill effect (and no horrible tasting water either).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus should pay their group leaders much more. It costs them next to nothing to use a local instead of shipping someone out from the UK. I don't see this reflected in their prices to us either . . . . . 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    LEH TO AMRITSAR

    Ladakh is an amazing area! I could have spent the entire holiday visiting Buddhist monasteries! The only downside to the holiday was the unseasonal weather - we could have done without the blizzards, landslides and heavy rain!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Tak Tak festival was spectacular. As much to watch in the crowd as the performance.Hemis monastery was a delight. Visiting in the late afternoon provided beautiful lighting and a very peaceful atmosphere.Reaching Manali was somewhat of a relief, after all the pass closures and dreadful road conditions!Amritsar and the Golden Temple never fail to impress. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilip was extremely knowledgable, and completely unflappable. He managed to remain completely positive despite the challenges thrown up! Nothing seemed to faze him, and throughout he was charming and affable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the advice seriously about the potential cold at Tsokar Lake - it was very very cold, and you needed properly warm clothing! Also never go anywhere without a very good waterproof!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 015 407 558