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India: High Road to Kashmir

Group Tour

16 Days From C$5,416

Overview

For more than a decade the holiday Mecca of Kashmir was considered out of bounds. Not anymore! Since 2005, we have been running trips to this stunning destination with great success. Of all our trips to Kashmir, this is one of our favourites, including as it does a visit to neighbouring Ladakh with its strong Tibetan Buddhist influences.

Starting with an epic flight over the Himalayas to Leh we will visit the ancient palaces, forts and monasteries of the Indus Valley and also witness rural ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

15 x Breakfasts
15 x Lunches
14 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a variety of vehicles including minibuses, autos, a local style land cruiser, small man-powered boats and domestic flights.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. This particular trip will involve hotel accommodation in Delhi and Leh, a more local style hotel in Kargil, a houseboat in Srinagar and two tented camps en route. Please be advised that the camp at Rangdum is slightly more basic due to its remote location. Please also note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

India: High Road to Kashmir
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN DELHI

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN DELHI

The tour starts this morning in Delhi at our hotel. After a group welcome meeting we’ll head off to explore New Delhi. Starting at the iconic India Gate, we continue along Rajpath past Parliament House to Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy’s Palace). We discover the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site of Humayun’s Tomb, a stunning building built in red sandstone with white marble. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner.

The Claridges or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: DELHI – LEH

DAY 2: DELHI – LEH

With an early start we’ll take one of the most spectacular flights in the world, from Delhi across the plains and over the Himalayas to Leh – if your eyesight is good enough you might even see K2! Upon arrival in Leh we’ll transfer to our hotel and spend some time relaxing and acclimatising to the altitude. Known as the ‘Land of High Passes’, Ladakh and its capital Leh were important junctions on the famous Silk Route. In the afternoon we’ll take an orientation walk around the town still dominated by the ruins of Leh Palace. This former residence of the royal family of Ladakh is built along the lines of the Potala Palace in Tibet. At nine storeys high it’s a striking building and an architectural icon of Leh.

Spic and Span Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: IN & AROUND LEH

DAY 3: IN & AROUND LEH

Today we’ll visit some of the most spectacular monasteries in the area surrounding Leh. Situated on a hilltop to the south, Shey Monastery was once the summer palace of the royal family and it’s believed that many of the Kings of Leh were born here. The monastery is home to an impressive 24m high seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf. Thiksey Monastery, filled with colourful murals and statues, affords picturesque views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop. Located around 26kms from Leh, Matho Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery built around 500 years ago which belongs to the Sakya order. We’ll return to Leh in time for dinner this evening.

Spic and Span Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: LEH - NUBRA VALLEY

DAY 4: LEH - NUBRA VALLEY

This morning we’ll head north on a scenic journey along the highest motorable road in the world as we journey over the Khardung Pass (5,600m), before descending into the spectacular Nubra Valley below. Lying high on the Tibetan plateau - and only recently opened to foreign visitors - Nubra Valley means ‘Valley of Flowers’ and visiting here is like stepping back in time. This is where the Shyok River meets the Siachan River to form a large valley separating the Ladakh and Karakoram mountain ranges. Throughout the journey a number of stops are required to obtain protected area permits and to show passports. On arrival we’ll settle into our campsite with some free time to explore the surrounding area. In the late afternoon there is an option to take an easy walk from Diskit to Hunder. We will start from main bazaar in the village of Diskit. En route we pass sea buckthorn bushes used as a traditional medecine for centuries. On the approach to Hunder, an oasis in the cold desert of the Nubra valley, we visit a rolling expanse of sand dunes. After a stroll around the village we return to our camp and have dinner.

Desert Himalayan Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: IN THE NUBRA VALLEY

DAY 5: IN THE NUBRA VALLEY

After breakfast we cross the Shyok river heading to the other side of the Nubra Valley to visit a couple of remote local monasteries. Samstanling Monastery is the main monastery of the region and is over 130 years old and home to around 50 monks. Ensa Monastery in contrast is around 600 years old with only one resident monk. Here, the kora path takes us passed dozens of white chortens and a hermitage retreat to offer fabulous views of the valley. We return to the banks of the Nubra for a picnic lunch. This afternoon we take a short drive to the Yarab Tso Lake known locally as ‘Wishful Lake’. Situated at 3,300m it is one of the holiest high-altitude lakes in the valley where we can enjoy another pleasant walk. On our return journey we pay a visit to the Women’s Alliance of Nubra, an initiative to improve the status of women in this region. We also stop off at a local farm before returning to our camp for the evening.

Desert Himalayan Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: NUBRA VALLEY – LEH

DAY 6: NUBRA VALLEY – LEH

We rise early this morning to observe the monks carrying out their morning prayers at Diskit Monastery. We return to the camp for breakfast and after taking in some more of the magnificent views we’ll return to Leh where the rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure. Dinner tonight will be at your own expense.

Spic and Span Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7: LEH - HEMIS FESTIVAL - LEH

DAY 7: LEH - HEMIS FESTIVAL - LEH

This morning we’ll visit the Hemis Gompa, the largest Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh, for the spectacular annual Hemis festival. Celebrating the birth of Guru Padamasambhava this wonderfully colourful festival of Buddhist religious dance ad storytelling is an unforgettable experience! We’ll have the chance to appreciate the famous masked dancers, who through plays, music and dance tell the teachings of Guru Rinpoché – the precious jewel. The whole atmosphere is like that of an ancient carnival and a wonderful experience. In the late afternoon we will return to Leh in time for dinner.

Spic and Span Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: LEH – KARGIL

DAY 8: LEH – KARGIL

Today we depart Leh and take the exhilarating High Road to Kashmir, stopping at Alchi Monastery en route. Adorned with murals depicting different forms of Buddha, this monastery is distinct from other monasteries in Ladakh in that it sits on flat ground rather than a hill top. From here we’ll drive to the magnificent 11th century Lamayuru Monastery. This impressive building belongs to the Red Hat sect of Buddhism and is home to more than 150 monks, housing a rich collection of artefacts, wall paintings, thangas, statues, carpets and an impressive 11-headed, 1,000 eyed image of Chenzing. Continuing west we’ll drive over more mountain passes stopping at the 9 metre statue of Maitreya en route (the future Buddha and carved out of solid rock), before reaching Kargil in time for dinner.

Hotel The Kargil or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: KARGIL – RANGDUM

DAY 9: KARGIL – RANGDUM

Today we’ll travel through the spectacular Zanskar Valley and on to Rangdum, one of the most extreme and isolated parts of the Suru Valley. Rangdum is situated on an extended plateau encompassed by breathtaking hills on one side and encrusted rocky mountains on the other. We camp just before the beautiful monastery with charming Buddhist villages dotted around - the perfect place from which to take a good walk. The Zanskaris consider themselves different to the Ladakhis of the Indus Valley and will provide us with another cultural dimension while based among this spectacular scenery.

Nun Kun Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: IN RANGDUM

DAY 10: IN RANGDUM

We’ll spend today in Rangdum to explore its culture and beauty on trails used for centuries by both traders and holy men. With the picturesque Rangdum Monastery perched on a hillock above the valley floor, it‘s a pleasant walk to visit the cheerful monks both old and young who reside there. Rangdum village is nearby and with the unexplored side valley’s surrounding the camp, there is the flexibility to meet the locals or stretch one’s legs up in the hills.

Nun Kun Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: RANGDUM – KARGIL

DAY 11: RANGDUM – KARGIL

Leaving early we’ll take a scenic drive back out of the Zanskar Valley and on to Kargil, the second largest town in Ladakh. If time permits we will take a stroll around this very Islamic town, with workshops and old merchant stores cramming the packed central area.

Hotel The Kargil or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: KARGIL – SRINAGAR

DAY 12: KARGIL – SRINAGAR

This morning we’ll leave early for our drive to Srinagar. En-route we’ll make a brief stop at the Drass War Memorial, built in commemoration for the fallen soldiers from the 1999 conflict, before continuing over the Zoji Pass and onto Sonamarg. Meaning ‘Meadow of Gold’ we should arrive in Sonamarg for lunch surrounded by Kashmir’s most beautiful mountain countryside. From here we’ll begin our final drive through the Sindh Valley to Srinagar, in many ways the real highlight of this trip! Sitting at the heart of the Vale of Kashmir lies this extraordinary town, famed for centuries for its clean, clear air, its idyllic setting and of course its lakes. Framed by high-forested hills that rise up in the distance to the snow-capped Himalayas, it’s simply one of the most picturesque places you’re ever likely to visit. On arrival we’ll transfer by shikaras and check into our beautiful houseboat, which have changed little since the British first built them back in the 19th century. Our houseboat, usually made from cedar wood, is family owned and operated, therefore providing a wonderful personal touch.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: IN & AROUND SRINAGAR

DAY 13: IN & AROUND SRINAGAR

Often referred to as the ‘Land of Lakes and Gardens’ or the ‘Switzerland of India’, Srinagar is a place of unforgettable natural beauty. The famous gardens have a distinctly Mughal influence as many of them were cultivated by Mughal emperors. The old city with its narrow streets and ancient mosques is a wonderful place to explore by foot. We may also take a stroll up to the imposing 18th-century Hari Parbat Fort, built by Emperor Akbar in the 1590's and visible from virtually anywhere in Srinagar. Until recently this was closed off to the public but is now open from time to time when the security situation allows it, and a visit here provides some stunning views of the surrounding area. There’s also the opportunity to do some shopping, though in truth that doesn’t require much effort as the hawkers of silk, leather, flowers, jewellery, pashminas etc usually come to the houseboats. For the really energetic there is even a round of golf to consider on one of India’s best courses.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: IN & AROUND SRINAGAR

DAY 14: IN & AROUND SRINAGAR

If you don’t mind an early start then a dawn trip to the floating vegetable market to watch the hustle and bustle of trading on the water, along with the accompanying sunrise, is a truly wonderful experience. Returning to the houseboat for breakfast, we’ll enjoy a trip out on the lakes taking in more of the picturesque gardens, drifting along the narrow waterways and witnessing more of the unique lifestyle that Srinagar offers.

Royal Houseboat or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: SRINAGAR – DELHI

DAY 15: SRINAGAR – DELHI

After a leisurely morning we’ll fly to Delhi and check into our hotel. Depending on our flight arrival time there might be a couple of hours free for a last look around before heading out for our farewell dinner.

The Claridges or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16: TOUR ENDS IN DELHI

DAY 16: TOUR ENDS IN DELHI

The tour ends after breakfast at our hotel. Those on the suggested group flight will transfer to Delhi airport in time for the early afternoon departure.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 257 London Heathrow (LHR) 19:35 Delhi Airport (DEL) 08:20
BA 256 Delhi Airport (DEL) 10:25 London Heathrow (LHR) 15:20

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for India.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Amritsar

Visit Amritsar to see the Golden Temple and witness the famous Wagah border ceremony close by

Shimla

Spend a couple of days at this traditional Raj Hill Station

Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj

Spend a day or two exploring the area around this hill station known as ‘Little Lhasa’, home of the exiled Dalai Lama.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Warning

The FCDO sometimes advises against certain parts of this itinerary.

Wild Frontiers has many years’ experience of running trips which contravene FCDO advice but these decisions that are never taken lightly and are always taken in conjunction with our local partners after extensive consultation. As part of the booking process, you will need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you have read the advice, that you are still happy to travel and that you will obtain travel insurance which is not invalidated by the FCDO advice.

On this tour the FCDO advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir, except for travel within the Union Territory of Ladakh. The tourist destinations of Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg, the city of Srinagar and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway are within the areas where the FCDO advises against all travel. This effectively equates to Days 12 - 15 of this tour, however please note that this information is subject to change.

For more information, please see the Insurance section or contact us. Non-UK clients should be sure to check the travel advice of their own governments as well as the small print of their insurance policies. Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The main thing to bear in mind when visiting Kashmir, especially when travelling up from the Indian plains, is that weather-wise anything can happen. Though we plan our itineraries carefully, taking into account the seasonal conditions, and would expect you to experience nothing but sunshine, there is the potential for lingering monsoons and chilly conditions on the high mountain passes. Therefore, as with so many of Wild Frontiers’ mountain trips, you need to come prepared for any eventuality. Saying that, you can generally expect daytime temperatures in the mountains to be in the mid-20’s with night-time temperatures to be a little above freezing. Delhi will be a good 10-15 degrees hotter.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

This trip operates at altitude. However, as long as you take it easy on arrival in Leh (3,500m) – as the itinerary is planned – you should be fine. The highest point this trip reaches is 5,600m as we pass into the Nubra Valley. But this is only driving – we’ll actually sleep back down lower than where we start. Anyone in a good state of health who enjoys walking should be perfectly able to cope with our Ladakh and Kashmir itineraries.

Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for but the selection and variety may be limited. Guests with other dietary requirements should discuss their requirements with the office.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Elite policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 8350 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION