Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir

India

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

5 days £1,185 pp This is the price per person for a private tour (based on 2 people travelling) excluding international flights. Contact us for pricing for other group sizes including individuals.
Intro, Dates & Prices

Intro

Take one of the most scenic drives in the world, travelling across the Himalayas from the Buddhist heartland of Ladakh to the Islamic region of Kashmir. Stop off at Lamayuru monastery, one of the oldest in Ladakh, and take a stroll in the stunning hill station Sonamarg. Arrive into Srinagar and check into your traditional Kashmiri houseboat located on serene Dal Lake. Visit the floating market by 'shikara' and learn about Kashmir's history and what makes this one of the most fascinating and important regions in India.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Dramatic location of Lamayuru monastery
  • Overnight in a charming houseboat on Dal Lake

Places Visited

Lamayuru - Kargil - Leh - Sonamarg - Srinagar - Dal Lake

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights (if relevant - refer to itinerary)
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks

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Itinerary
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Day 1 : Leh - Kargil

Today at an appropriate time, you will be driven along the spectacular 'Himalayan highway' to Kargil, stopping to visit Lamayuru monastery en-route. On arrival in Kargil, you will check in at your hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Kargil.

Overnight in Hotel The Kargil, Kargil

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Lamayuru is a medieval monastery that is built on top of a near-vertical cliff. Towering over a small cluster of mud-bricked houses, it was founded by Rinchen Zangpo in the tenth and eleventh centuries. However, the place itself is thought to have been sacred well before Buddhism when the local people followed the shamanistic Bon cult. It is known for the being one of the largest gompas or monasteries in the Ladakh region with 150 monks permanently residing there. It hosts two masked dance festivals in the second and fifth months of the Tibetan lunar calendar when all the monks from the surrounding gompas gather together to prey.

Lying on the banks of the Suru River, Kargil is the second largest town in the Ladakh. Before the Partition of India in 1947, the town was part of the Baltistan region of Ladakh and was a sparsely populated area with diverse language, ethnic and religious groups living in the isolated valleys. The town has a unique mix of architecture with the older mosques built in Tibetan and Iranian styles and the more modern mosques built with Arabic influences.

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Day 2 : Kargil - Srinagar

After breakfast, you will be driven to Srinagar. Enroute you can stop at the Drass War Memorial, commemorating the Kargil War of 1999 between India & Pakistan. Continue your journey through Zojila Pass and Sonamarg (Meadow of Gold) where you can take a walk in this picturesque hill station. On arrival in Srinagar, you will check into the houseboat on Dal Lake. In the evening, you will be taken for a Shikara ride (Kashmiri Boat) on the lake. Overnight on board the houseboat.
 

Overnight in Sukoon Houseboat, Srinagar

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Translated as 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is a hill station. With a backdrop of snow-clad mountains, the hill station had historical significant and was a major gateway on the ancient Silk Road connecting Kashmir with China. The area surrounding the hill station is full of bewitching natural beauty as the great Himalayan glaciers, Kolhoi Glacier and Mohoi Glacier, lay in its vicinity.

Surrounded by snow capped mountains, Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful urban lakes in India. It's the second largest lake in Kashmir and has many orchards dotted along its shores. The lake is part of a natural wetland including its floating gardens which cover the surface in lotus flowers during July and August. Called the 'jewel of Kashmir', the best way to view the stunning scenery is to take a colourful shikara ride across the tranquil waters.

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Day 3 : Srinagar

Wake up to a hot cup of chai and after breakfast you will be taken on a guided tour of the beautiful Old City. The walk begins at Zaina Kadal, a bridge to the living, breathing museum of Islamic architecture. Walk through the old quarters of Srinagar to the grand mosque of Jama Masjid and later to the Shah Hamadan mosque. Stop for lunch at an authentic Kashmiri restaurant in the Old City, then head to Zaina Kadal Market to soak up the atmosphere of this typical local market before a visit to the Mughal gardens. We will then aim to reach the Shankaracharya Temple before sunset for the glorious view it offers. Afterwards, you will be escorted back to your houseboat in time for dinner. Evening free to relax. Overnight on board the houseboat.
 

Overnight in Sukoon Houseboat, Srinagar

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar is the summer capital of Kashmir. It is well known for its beautiful gardens, lakes and houseboats as well as dried fruits and Kashmiri handicrafts. Known as ‘the Kashmiri Venice’, the city has a unique blend of cultural heritage which is reflected in the city’s many religious buildings, such as Keer bhawani and the Hazaratbal Shrine, which is the only domed mosque in the city.

The Shankaracharya Temple stands at the top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Mountain. The temple dates back to 200 BC, and was built in dedication to Lord Shiva. The historic stone temple offers magnificent views over the city of Srinagar.

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Day 4 : Srinagar

After breakfast we begin the Sukoon Zabarwan Climb. This is a superb hill walk offering great views of Dal Lake and the surrounding hills. The hike is moderate and anyone with an average level of fitness can do it. We will drive to the place where the trail begins. The trail originates from a Sufi shrine near a small village and terminates at a small cave where the Sufi saint is believed to have meditated for several years. We will be accompanied by local guides, who will also host our lunch when we finish the walk. The guide belongs to a family of the village; he is very proud of his origins and takes great delight in showing you the scenic beauty of his birthplace. We then head back to Sukoon after sunset for dinner and retire for the day. Overnight on board the houseboat.

Overnight in Sukoon Houseboat, Srinagar

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 5 : Srinagar - Delhi - Departure

This morning we will wake up early at around 05:30am for an early morning Shikara ride to the floating vegetable market on the lake. Afterwards return to the houseboat for breakfast enjoying panoramic views of the lake and mountains. At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to Srinagar airport  for your flight to Delhi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Hotel The Kargil

Kargil (1 night)

Located next to Hussaini Park and the Suru River, The Kargil offers a comfortable, modern stay. The hotel's 33 rooms and suites feature a stylish decor, en-suite bathrooms, mountain views, and all modern amenities including a free laptop rental service. Guests may enjoy buffet dining in the hotel restaurant, or spend time exploring the town or surrounding landscape, which is as beautiful as it is rugged.

Visit hotel's site
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Sukoon Houseboat

Srinagar (3 nights)

Moored on the waters of Lake Dal, Srinagar, with views of the surrounding waterways, and beyond them, the Himalayas, Sukoon Houseboat offers guests a unique living experience. Standard rooms and suites are available, and all are of a simple style with colonial furnishings for a touch of history. Guests may dine in the boat's on-board restaurant which serves traditional Indian and international cuisine. The houseboat is also well situated for the exploration of Srinagar's abundant natural landscape.

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Beaches (1-7 days)

After exploring the busy cities, there's no better place to relax than one of India's paradisiacal beaches

Treks & Walks (1-12 days)

Himalayan treks, village walks and more

City Extensions (1-4 days)

Visit the must-see sights and the hidden depths of India's most vibrant cities.

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Hill Stations & Mountains

Escape the city and unwind among some of the most breathtaking mountain and hill scapes the world has to offer.

Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir (5 days)

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

Kolkata & Darjeeling Snapshot (7 days)

Ideal extension to Bhutan

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Indian Odyssey (29 days)

Experience the best of North and South India

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Journey through the Indian Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills via Shimla & Amritsar to Ladakh

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

UNESCO Sites of South India (17 days)

Discover South India's ancient archaeological wonders

Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan (16 days)

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Essential India & Sri Lanka (16 days)

India's Golden Triangle & the best of Sri Lanka.

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Nagaland: Festival of the Headhunters (15 days)

Aoling Festival, wildlife in Assam & natural beauty of Manipur

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Rajasthan Explorer & Pushkar Camel Fair (15 days)

Fort cities, rural villages & camel fair

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

Hampi and Beyond (14 days)

Discover Karnataka's stone temples, wildlife and coffee farms

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Sacred India (14 days)

Uncover the religious diversity of India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Heart of India (14 days)

Take in the highlights of central India

Tribes of Rural India (14 days)

Visit remote tribal villages of Orissa & Chhattisgarh

Kashmir, Ladakh & The Hemis Festival (14 days)

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Islamic & Buddhist cultures

Kerala - Trekking the Western Ghats (13 days)

Explore this UNESCO biodiversity hotspot on foot

Treasures of Gujarat (12 days)

Villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Glimpse of India (12 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Kerala

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Classic Kerala (10 days)

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Reviews

A really well planned trip. We experienced life in Northeast India in just the way we wanted to. We loved the game reserves and saw a rock python which thrilled our guides as it is even rarer than the tiger! We visited villages and were able to interact with local people and loved the busy markets in Delhi and Calcutta. A special highlight was the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland; shown to us by our very own Naga guide Kezo. Kezo accompanied us for 15 days of our trip and ensured that we had many very special experiences - even taking us to the home of one of his Aunts where we spent a couple of hours sitting by the bonfire chatting.

Ann Holgate , Tailormade India

Thank you for organising our holiday in Kerala. I certainly wouldn`t have had the time or the knowledge to put together such a trip. Munnar was my favourite and the accommodation throughout was excellent.

Vik , Kerala Calling, India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

The tour was an amazing experience for our first visit to India. The country, its people and its cuisine were friendly,delightful, colourful and exceeded all our expectations. Travel the Unknown have put together a superb unique package that we have no hesitation in recommending to anyone with an interest in food and culture.

Elaine & Neil Smith , Delicacies of North India, India

I`m sure I could not have found a better operator for the type of complicated Indian tour I wanted to undertake on a limited budget. India is an intimidating country to visit, and I suspect that some operators look down on the first time visitor, or disparage their requirements. Travel the Unknown, by contrast, helped me all the way, and their local guides were superb.

Andrew Martin , Tailormade North East India

This was a very varied and interesting trip to a forgotten part of India. If you like off the beaten track travel it is definitely worth the effort but go with an open mind and keep a smile on your face.

Richard Williams , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

This was my first experience of using Travel the Unknown having enjoyed small group adventure holidays for many years. I was attracted to the company because it seeks out the more unusual and lesser known areas of a country and I was not disappointed by my visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. There is a clear contrast between the people and the scenery of these two regions and we saw very few western tourists particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. The tour was well organised with plenty to see and do.

Keith Lewis , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

A fantastic trip to Arunachal Pradesh. Very well organised exactly to our requirements. Superb local guide. Would recommend this trip. Hazel and James.

Hazel Frost , Tailormade North East India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

This trip was very well put together and ticked all the boxes that we had requested. The accommodation throughout the tour was of a high standard and our experiences in the national parks was wonderful spotting many different animals including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, lions, jungle cat plus countless number of birds. Thank you Rahul for tailoring this trip to our requirements.

Nigel & Margaret Turner , Tailormade India Wildlife & Birding tour

We went on the Spirit of South India Tour and had a great time on our honeymoon. There was a good variety of places visited and the hotels, drivers and guides were all very good. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Rachel , Spirit of South India, India

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India
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