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Cultures of the Trans-Himalaya : Short Version

Culture of the Trans-Himalayas

Journey on the silk route in the Trans-Himalayas of Ladakh, India, and get a feel for the ancient cultures, vast landscapes, and deep spirituality of the region. The relaxed pace of this expedition allows you to learn about the history, deep relationship to Tibetan Buddhism, and global connectivity this region has enjoyed.


June 16 – June 24, 2019 (spots left)
Ladakh, India
Group Size: 6

Duration: 9 Days
US $6,490 p.p.

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Ladakh Tour

Ladakh Tour

Ladakh Tour

Ladakh Tour

Details

Cultures of the Trans-Himalaya

Ladakh lies at the heart of one of the major trade routes out of India that connected the subcontinent with the Great Silk Road. For over two millennia, the Great Silk Road connected the empires of Asia with Europe through an intricate network of terrestrial trade routes beginning in the Han dynasty (207 BCE–220 CE). Ladakh, situated between Tibet, Xinjiang, Baltistan, Kashmir and the Indian subcontinent was an important trading hub with multiple routes passing through it. Trade on the routes played an incredible role in developing civilizations across Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Europe, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia. It served to open long-distance political, economic, and cultural relations in the Old World.

Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Old Silk Road in Ladakh, exploring the major trading town of Leh, the achingly beautiful valley of Nubra in the north, bounded by the high Karakoram range and the Ladakh range, and the serene landscapes of high altitude Tso Moriri lake. This tour, led by historian and photographer Behzad Larry, explores some of the most fascinating bits of history on the Silk Road, an intricate web of Tibetan Buddhism and Islam across the region, a visit to the Changpa nomads, and spectacular landscapes of the Trans Himalaya. There are plenty of opportunities cultural immersion on visits to locals, stays at some of the regions best properties, and many opportunities for great photography.

We go above and beyond to make your trip memorable.

Who better to organise a private expedition here than the operator that guided the BBC’s Planet Earth II team to the first on-camera capture of four snow leopards together in the wild.”- Financial Times, How to Spend It, November 3, 2018

If you want the ultimate adventure-moon, This. Is. It. Think bespoke itineraries, luxury camps, and genuine off-the-beaten-track experiences with locals.”- Condé Nast Brides, March/April 2019.

“We came away with beautiful pictures, profound experiences, and a ton of knowledge – not just about photography, but about the places we visited. We can’t thank them enough – both Behzad and Rashid were amazing!” – Nicole, August 2018

“This trip delivered everything we could have hoped for and more.” – Liz & Renata, July 2018

Also read our 100% 5 Star Trip Advisor Reviews.

Voygr’s Expert Guides

Behzad J. Larry
Behzad is a professional photographer, historian, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.  He specializes in documenting the remote reaches of the world. Through his travel photography he covers portraiture and landscapes in the high Himalayas, Central Asia, and the Tibetan Plateau. His favorite subjects are remote and difficult to get to, often requiring 4x4s, pack animals, and hiking.

Behzad has been featured frequently in travel magazines and has done travel features for both print and web.

Abdul Rashid
Voygr’s Head of Himalayan Operations, Rashid, is a Ladakhi who has organized photography and filming expeditions for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the BBC. Rashid’s deep connections across the region and two decades of experience as a professional guide make him a world expert on Ladakh.

Physical requirements

This is not a trek and we will be using our vehicles to get around for the most part. Still, sometimes there will be a little walking to get to some locations; you’ll need firm walking shoes rather than full-on trekking boots. There will be some early starts and late finishes as well. It won’t hurt if you get fitter before you come, given the altitude. It’s called an ‘expedition’, so expect to be outside in this wonderful environment a good deal and to be adaptable to the unexpected and to great opportunities.

Acclimatization is important for your safety and comfort. You arrive in Leh at the high altitude of 3400m. Most people certainly feel that, and a rest day is certainly needed on arrival. If you have the time, especially if jetlag is likely too, an extra day would help your body adjust. So you are encouraged to arrive a day earlier if possible. Please discuss your individual situation and how to manage the altitude with your own doctor.


US $6,490 p.p.  

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Quick Itinerary: Cultures of the Trans-Himalaya Tour

Day 1. Arrive in Leh, India Fly to Leh. Check in to the Grand Dragon Hotel and slowly acclimatize to the altitude.  (B, L, D)
Day 2. Explore Leh
Explore Leh, visit some medieval monasteries, and enjoy a sunset over town.   (B, L, D)
Day 3.  Drive to Nubra Cross one of the world’s highest passes and descend into the beautiful Nubra Valley (B, L, D)
Day 4. Explore Nubra Explore Nubra Valley with a trip to the high-altitude sand dunes, a picnic lunch by a holy lake, and visits to local families to get a sense of place. (B, L, D)
Day 5. Return to Leh Return to Leh (B, L, D)
Day 6. Drive to Tso Moriri Lake, India Set out to the sapphire waters of the high altitude Tso Moriri lake in the Changthang region. (B, L, D)
Day 7. Explore Tso Moriri Lake, India Explore the lake side, visit the monastery of Korzok and Changpa nomads. (B, L, D)
Day 8. Return to Leh Drive back to Leh via the small saline lake of Tso Kar, a haven for rare birds. (B, L, D)
Day 9. Fly to Delhi Fly to Delhi (B). Make sure to book your flights no earlier than the evening of this day. (B)

B = Breakfast. L = Lunch. D = Dinner.

What’s Included in the Cultures of the Trans-Himalaya Tour

  • Behzad Larry, historian, explorer, and photographer as your expedition leader.
  • Accommodation in the Grand Dragon Hotel in Leh with all meals, on twin-sharing.
  • Accommodation at the Stone Hedge Hotel in Nubra valley with all meals, on twin-sharing
  • Accommodation in our custom mobile tented camp while camping at Tso Moriri (Single included, if required)
  • All road journeys and airport transfers
  • Pre-trip advice and briefing
  • Group medical kit and oxygen cylinder for emergencies.
  • Access to a Gamow Bag for high-altitude emergencies.
  • Austrian and Swiss full down sleeping bags (Rated to -40ºC)

What’s NOT Included

  • International flights
  • Visa for India
  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodations are extra
  • Personal expenses such as alcoholic drinks, beverages, gifts, calls, laundry, hot showers, snacks, battery charging etc.
  • Gratuities

Single supplement is $928 extra per person for accomodations in Leh and Nubra. A single tent can be provided at no extra-charge when camping

Please read Voygr’s terms & conditions for further details.

Add on Extension Trip Possibilities

Extend your trip to cover the stunning Aryan valleys to visit a remote ethnic group of Dardic tribals, or head to the remote valleys of Zanskar, some of the most beautiful high altitude terrain in the world. Price depends on number of people and itinerary

US $6,490 p.p.

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Itinerary

Full Itinerary for the Snow Leopard Tour

Cultures of the Trans – Himalaya

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 1
Arrive in Leh
Catch the morning flight to the Trans-Himalayan town of Leh. Leh straddles the old silk route and was a nexus of important Central Asian trade routes till the late 1950’s. Today the bustling town serves as an entry point to a dozen different types of mountain and high altitude adventures. We’ll check-in to our hotel in Leh, the Grand Dragon, and spend the day at a pace that is slower than normal to properly acclimatize to the high altitude. We recommend reading a book, drinking a few cups of tea, and enjoying the view. Time is the best way to acclimatize. In the evening we’ll have a welcome dinner and trip briefing with the whole crew. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Grand Dragon Hotel.

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 2
Leh
After breakfast, drive down to the monastery of Thiksey. This is a beautiful and calming experience steeped in the tradition of the Gelugpa, or yellow hat order, of Buddhism, headed by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Once the morning prayers have concluded, drive around the beautiful Indus valley and view the monastery of Stakna towering above the meandering Indus, and visit the monastery of Hemis, from a different order of Tibetan Buddhism, the Drukpa. Return to your hotel for lunch.Rest at your hotel after lunch and then head out again to view a sweeping and glorious sunset from the Shanti Stupa, or peace pagoda, built by the Japanese, with commanding views of Leh and the Stok Range.Overnight at the Grand Dragon Hotel

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 3 & 4
Nubra Valley

Cross the high pass of Khardung La, one of the highest motorable roads on earth and descend into the famed Nubra Valley, overlooking the Ladakh Range, the Saltoro Range, and the high Karakorum Range. Nubra is a melting pot of the Central Asian culture of Xinjiang, just across the mountains in China, the Muslim influences of Baltistan (now mostly in Pakistan), and  the Buddhist history of Tibet that infuses so much of Ladakhi daily life. It is the perfect blend of landscapes and portraits for the photographer.

You will explore Ladakhi culture, silk route history, and some of the impressive local monasteries. Over your time in Nubra valley, you will visit a few remote villages, including, Hunder, and Deskit, explore the high altitude sand dunes and get awed by the towering mountains around you.

On the first day you will arrive in Hunder. On the 2nd you’ll explore some more remote parts of Nubra along the ancient silk route. Sumur and Kyagar were the last major villages that silk route caravans encountered before crossing the Karakorum pass into the region known as Yarkand, south of Xinjiang in China. The area still has some fascinating traditional houses that you will get to visit. Sumur is also a lesser frequented part of Nubra valley, which is crawling with tourists and cars during the summer, so you will be off the beaten path and closer to the glorious history of the Silk Route.

Overnight at the Stonehedge Hotel

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 5
Return to Leh
Cross the pass of Khardung La to return to Leh. Free evening in Leh.
Overnight at the Grand Dragon Hotel.

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 6 & 7
Tso Moriri

After a relaxed breakfast, you’ll drive to the village of Korzok, perhaps the highest altitude village in the world that is inhabited year round. Korzok is nestled by the stunning lake of Tso Moriri at 4,500 meters  and is one of the headquarters of the Changpa nomads of the region. You will stay in a luxurious mobile camp by the lake.

The Changthang is a high altitude plateau that stretches 1,600 kilometers from southeastern Ladakh in India to northwestern Tibet in China with altitudes averaging 4,500 meters above sea level. The nomadic people that call this harsh land their home are called the Changpa, or northern people. Their name comes from the region, which itself means the northern plains, referring to the area’s location from the perspective of the former rulers sitting in Lhasa.

The stunning landscape is home to families of pastoral nomadic Changpa that have reared pashmina goats and livestock in the region for millennia. Pastoral nomadism has played an important role in shaping world history.  The periodic interaction, cooperation, and conflict between Central Asian nomadic tribes and the sedentary peoples that shared their borders played critical roles in the development of trade routes, the transfer of ideas between East and West, and the spread of technology across the world.

Nomadic life is often romanticized, usually with representations of freedom, wanderlust, and being beyond society’s obligations. In reality, the lives of these nomads are harsh, difficult, and dangerous. They follow migration routes that are centuries old, moving in between pastures and meadows that have been divided and assigned to different families. They walk the same path that their ancestors trod, moving their herds of Pashmina goats, sheep, yaks, and horses in cyclical journeys season after season. Losing animals to predators like snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, and lynxes are a sobering reality. They camp in stone-walled structures called rebos and spend cold winter nights in canvas tents.

The snow-melt and spring fed meadows of the Changthang are delicate ecosystems that rely on winters with heavy snow to provide the moisture to grow grass in the spring.

The lake also harbors much bird life and is visited by Tibetan wolves, red fox, and Tibetan wild ass.

You’ll camp besides Tso Moriri Lake in Voygr’s luxurious mobile camps for 2 nights.

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 8
Return to Leh
Drive to the smaller high altitude lake of Tso Kar to explore more landscapes and some spectacular and rare bird life such as Black Necked cranes, Lammergeier, and Golden Eagles. Cross Taglangla La, one of the highest passes in Ladakh open to civilian traffic, and descend into the Indus valley. It’s about 5 hours driving to Leh if road conditions are good. Spend a free afternoon in Leh.
Overnight at the Grand Dragon Hotel.

Cultures of the Trans- Himalaya Day 9
Fly to Delhi
Say goodbye to the mountains and fly to Delhi in the morning. We advise scheduling your international flights no sooner than the evening of this day incase flights are delayed out of Leh.

US $6,490 p.p.

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Accommodations

Accommodations on your Snow Leopard Tour

The Grand Dragon Hotel
Leh
The Grand Dragon  is a luxurious hotel located a few minutes walk from the main market of Leh. The warm hospitality and traditional Ladakhi friendliness of the staff keep you warm and comfortable in the cold Trans Himalayan winter.

 

 

 

 

 

The StoneHedge Hotel
Nubra
The StoneHedge Hotel is a beautifully designed boutique hotel in Hunder which incorporates some fantastic local materials to give the perfect blend of modern and ancient on the old Silk Road. The rooms are large and tastefully decorated.

Stone Hedge Hotel Stone Hedge Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

The Voygr Camps
Hemis National Park
Voygr has custom canvas tents with heating and interior insulation that are much warmer than standard expedition tents and allow our guests to sleep on cots instead of on the ground. The added bit of warmth and comfort allows for a much more relaxing night when on a winter expedition. Tents can comfortably house two guests with space in between the cots. The camps will have heated dining tents with a lounge area where you can relax around a fire with a hot toddy after a day of snow leopard tracking. Hot water will be available in the mornings and evenings.

Voygr Camps in Ladakh

US $6,490 p.p. 

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