Your flight arrives into Delhi international airport where you are met by a local representative and transferred the short distance to your overnight hotel, Lemon Tree Premier. The remainder of the day is free, allowing you to rest after your journey. Hotel facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, spa, restaurant, bar and 24-hour coffee shop.
Fly To Leh, Ladakh
It's an early start as you are transferred to the domestic airport for the morning flight to Leh in Ladakh. Flight time is around 85 minutes, and you should get some stunning views of the Himalayas. On landing you are met and transferred to Leh's best hotel, the Grand Dragon. Nothing has been arranged for the rest of the day so you are free to take it easy at the hotel as you acclimatise to the altitude, or to venture out to explore the market.
Post breakfast departure for full day drive to Gya and Lato area close to the town of Leh for some viewing of Blue Sheep and trans-Himalayan. These areas lie in the same valley as Leh and in similar altitude giving guests a good chance of acclimatizing and seeing wildlife at the same time. We will stop and have a picnic lunch at a scenic spot in the valley. Post lunch we will make our way towards the Indus River and a walk around the river. In the evening guests will be taken back to the hotel for dinner, overnight in Leh.
Ule Frozen River Walk
Have an early breakfast before setting off for the drive to Ule. After about 2 hours you reach the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers, where you can stretch your legs with a half hour walk on the frozen Zanskar River, followed by lunch. Keep your eyes peeled as the drive resumes: you're likely to spot urial and argali (wild sheep), Tibetan antelope and wolves. The region is home to snow leopards, though sightings are rare. On arrival in Ule you are taken to a homestay where you spend the next 2 nights.
You have a full day to explore Ule with your guide. The snow leopard, known locally as shan and also named 'the ghost of the Himalayas', is at home in this mountainous landscape. Insulated by a thick coat of fur and with wide feet that act as natural snowshoes, they are adapted to the climate, and their powerful legs enbale them to jump high into the air and across ravines. They are elusive, but your guide will help you look for signs such as tracks and spoor, aided by spotters using high-powered scopes and binoculars. The presence of Himalayan blue sheep, the snow leopard's preferred prey, is a promising sign, too, as they are likely to attract leopards. At the end of the day you return to your homestay.
Ule To Leh
This morning you have another chance to explore the area around Ule and continue the search for snow leopards and other wildlife. You return to Ule for lunch and are then driven back to Leh, a journey of about 5 hours, and your town centre hotel.
Trek To Rumbak
Following breakfast you set out for Hemis National Park, for the next phase of the holiday, a multi-day trek. The park is famous for its snow leopard population: there are estimated to be some 200 leopards here, and while they are your main goal, there are plenty of other animals to look out for including ibex, lynx, Eurasian brown bear, red fox, chuka partridge and Tibetan wolf. It also has a wide range of bird species. Your guide leads the first stage of the trek, as you accustom yourself to these surroundings and watch for signs at the base of rocks where leopards mark their territory. Tonight you stay at a home-stay at Rumbak.
These days are spent trekking in Hemis in search of the beautiful snow leopard. They are solitary creatures and effective predators, primarily hunting mountain sheep and goats, though they have been known to target domestic animals, too. Their mottled coats provide good camouflage and help them follow prey undetected, using rocks and ravines as cover. Spotters are in touch with the guide and help direct your treks to optimise the chances of sightings. Look up at high ridges, often used by leopards to survey their surroundings, and with luck you may catch a glimpse of this graceful, powerful and endangered creature. At the end of each day you return to the camp for hot food and tea.
Rumbak To Urutse
Today's trek takes you to Urutse at the foot of Gandala Pass, where ibex and Himalayan lynx are often seen. You head down the valley, all the while keeping watch for the silhouette of a snow leopard in the mountains above, stopping on the way to enjoy a packed lunch, and arriving in Urutse by the afternoon. After a short rest you are driven back to Rumbak.
Urutse To Zinche And Leh
This is your final day in Hemis National Park, following a route through the valley past known snow leopard haunts, so keep up a close vigil for a last sighting. You walk past carved Tibetan prayer stones as you continue on to Zingchen. This trek takes about 5 hours, and you are met at Zingchen and driven back to Leh for a late lunch. Take it easy this afternoon, enjoy a hot shower and change of clothes, and a refreshing drink before sitting down to a farewell dinner with the group. Overnight at the hotel in Leh.
Fly To Delhi
Leave the hotel after an early breakfast, for the morning flight to Delhi, arriving in the capital at around 10:00. You are transferred to the Lemon Tree Premier Hotel, where the day is yours to spend as you while. A massage at the spa may be just the thing after several days trekking in the mountains, or you might prefer a swim in the pool, and the hotel café, bar and restaurant offer plenty of refreshments.
It's time to pack your bags. A representative will collect you from the hotel today for the short drive to the international airport to check in for your flight home.
Call: 01473 890499
Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.