Manali – Leh/Ladakh: 10 Days
Manali – Keylong – Leh
The Manali-Leh highway intersects with ancient Silk Routes and is one of the most scenic ways to enter Ladakh.
Spend a day visiting local sites and sampling Himachali home-cooked fare in Naggar/Manali and set off across Rohtang Pass to Lahaul. Travel along the Chandra and Bhaga rivers to Keylong and visit monasteries and waterfalls. Continue the drive along the spectacularly scenic Manali-Leh highway with one night on the road. Option to stay in Swiss tents, pitch our own tents and camp overnight or stay in little dhabas along the highway. An HBA special detour on this drive is a visit to Tso Kar lake in Ladakh teeming with birds and wildlife. In addition to touring Leh, spend a few days at gorgeous Pangong lake and Nubra Valley.
Day 1: Manali – Keylong
Start from Kullu valley and travel along winding roads to cross the 3,979m high Rohtang Pass and enter the valley of Lahaul. Drive along the River Chandra with views of towering mountains and glaciers. Arrive at Keylong, a small town and the district headquarters. Check into hotel for overnight stay
Day 2: Keylong sightseeing
Spend the day in this little town and visit the 900-year old Khardong monastery, a 4 km uphill walk from town and the Shashur gompa, about 3 kms away. Shop in the local markets for shawls, local tweeds, silver jewellery, footwear, rugs, metal craft and olive and almond oil.
Day 3: Keylong – Sarchu
Driving north on the Manali-Leh Highway, you will see some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Western Himalayas. Visit the Jispa Folk Museum and the crystal clear lakes of Deepak Tal and Suraj Tal. The landscape changes to stark and barren as we climb up to the second mountain pass – the 5,000m high Baralacha La. From the pass you will have beautiful views of meadows and snow-capped mountains. Reach Sarchu and check-in at your camp.
Day 4: Sarchu – Leh
The last leg of your journey consists of more passes, emerald lakes and flat plains. Drive down from Baralacha La and climb up the Gatta Loops, a series of 21 hairpin bends and wind your way up Nakeela Pass and onto the Lachung La pass (5,059 m) with spectacular views. Twist your way to Pang through amazing canyons with sheer cliffs on both sides of the road. Ascend up to the Pang Plateau, also known as the More Plains, encircled by snow-capped peaks. Climb to Tanglang La (5292m), one of the highest motorable roads in the world, this pass gives way to beautiful views of the Karakoram Mountains and the Ladakh valley. There’s lots of opportunity to see wildlife along the way. Descend till Rumtse and drive through the Indus valley to Leh.
Day 5: Leh – Local sightseeing
Visit Shey monastery, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hemis monastery.
Day 6: Leh – Nubra
Cross Khardung La, the worlds highest motorable pass (5359m), to reach Nubra valley in the northernmost part of Ladakh sandwiched between Tibet and J&K. Visit the monastery, take in the giant Buddha statue and take a ride on the double humped Bactrian camels in the sand dunes.
Day 7: Nubra-Leh
Start back to Leh. Spend some time in the Leh markets stuffed full of jewellery, pashmina shawls, turquoise and exotic treasures.
Day 8: Leh-Pangong
Set off for Pangong Lake, the largest high altitude lake (4595m) in the Trans-Himalayan range,past the Changtang plateau. It is also known as the Lake of Changing Colours – especially on a sunny day. Enjoy sunset at lake and stay overnight at homestay or camp.
Day 9: Pangong-Leh
Spend half the day at Pangong and travel back to Leh.
Day 10: Leh-Guru Govinda Pathar Sahib/Rafting
On the way to rafting on the Zanskar River, visit the beautiful gurudwara built in 1517 dedicated to Guru Nanak, on the Leh-Kargil road.
Day 11: Fly out of Leh airport to Delhi.
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