It means that we will not provide a car with driver on that day because it is not needed. Indeed, on that day, you will need a car only for a very short distance.
For the transfer from Leh airport to the city centre, you do not need to book a taxi in advance. Leh airport is only 4 kilometres from the city centre and you can easily find a local taxi (dedicated to airport transfers) directly at the airport; a prepaid taxi from Leh airport to the city centre costs approximately ₹ 600.
If you still want us to arrange airport transfers for you, send us an email with your flight details.
The visit of Leh (Main Bazar, Leh Palace, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Shanti Stupa) can be done on foot or you can get a local taxi on the street.
It means that we will not provide a car with driver on that day.
For the transfer from the city centre to Leh airport, you can get a local taxi on the street. If you still want us to arrange airport transfers for you, send us an email with your flight details.
This is it - the “big loop” through Ladakh - for a journey of a lifetime. This 9D/8N tour package is designed for explorers and for those who prefer the road much less travelled. During the first 3 days, you will visit Leh and the must-see places of the Sham region (the west part of the Indus valley). It includes the monasteries of Spituk, Phyang, Basgo, Alchi, Likir, Rizong and Lamayuru as well as the Magnetic Hill, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers and Gurdwara Pathar Sahib. On day 4, you will embark on a scenic and adventurous 5-day road trip which will take through sublime and off-the beaten-track mountain scenery. You will head north over the Khardung La pass (5,602m) to the beautiful Nubra valley. Top attractions of the valley include Diskit and Sumur monasteries, Hunder sand dunes where you can experience a Bactrian camel ride, Panamik hot spring and the picturesque Muslim village of Turtuk inhabited by the Balti people. The next place on the loop will be the magnificent Pangong lake that is reached after a lovely drive through the isolated Shayok valley. From Pangong, you will head south towards the Tsaga La pass along a rough and remote road following the Sino-Indian border. The shimmering blue Tso Moriri lake lies at an elevation of 4,530m. Here you will meet the Changpa nomads who herd pashmina goats, sheep and yaks. Next stop will be the Tso Kar lake, a heaven for birdwatchers. With luck, you might spot the endangered black-necked crane. Then, you will get back to Leh via the Taglang La pass (5,328m) and you will visit the well-known monasteries of Hemis and Thiksey on the way.
If you don’t have time for the entire circuit, you could check out the shorter options such as the Best of Leh-Ladakh Tour Package, the Wild Leh-Ladakh Tour Package and the Delightful Leh-Ladakh Tour Package.
See other itineraries for 9 days.
Arrival in Leh, acclimatization & visit
Day 1: Leh
Indus valley to Lamayuru (2-day tour)
Day 2: drive from Leh to Lamayuru monastery via Alchi monastery
Day 3: drive back to Leh
Nubra valley with Turtuk, Pangong, Tso Moriri (5-day tour)
Day 4: drive from Leh to Turtuk village (Nubra valley)
Day 5: visit Nubra valley
Day 6: drive from Nubra valley to Pangong lake
Day 7: drive from Pangong lake to Tso Moriri lake
Day 8: drive back to Leh via Hemis monastery
Departure from Leh
Day 9: departure from Leh
For more details, check out this tourist map of Leh-Ladakh.
|Day 1:||Leh airport - Leh (Main Bazar, Leh Palace, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Shanti Stupa)|
Night in Leh
Board your morning flight to Leh and contemplate the beautiful mountains of Ladakh from above. The flight from Delhi to Leh takes approximately 90 minutes and it is one of the most impressive in the world. Upon arrival at Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport, transfer to your hotel in Leh. The height of Leh is 3,500 metres above sea level and your body needs to adjust to the rarefied oxygen level at this altitude. To do so, you need to drink a lot of liquid (water, tea, juice, soup, etc.) and you should walk at a leisurely pace. For lunch, head to the Main Bazar or Changspa Road where you can find many restaurants. This could be the opportunity to try local dishes such as skiu, chowmein and momos.
After lunch, head to Leh’s old town. It's easy to get lost exploring its maze of small winding streets flanked by mud-brick houses and crumbling chortens. The Leh Palace that dominates the town of Leh is a typical example of medieval Tibetan architecture. This tall dun-coloured complex of nine storeys contains a shrine and an interesting museum with objects belonging to the royal family. From the palace, follow the path climbing up to the hilltop where hundreds of colourful prayer flags are floating in the wind and reach Namgyal Tsemo gompa. This Buddhist monastery rising above the city was founded during the 15th century. The main shrine contains a 3-storey-tall statue of Maitreya Buddha and a number of statues of protector deities. Next, go to the Shanti Stupa that dominates the city and admire the spectacular panorama of Leh and the surrounding mountain peaks. This large white stupa is a Japanese gift to Ladakh to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism. It was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1991. Walk back to the Main Bazar where women clad in Gonchas (traditional Ladakhi dress) sell homegrown fruits and vegetables. As you take a stroll in the bustling market, visit the Gompa Soma and the Jama Masjid mosque.
|Day 2:||Leh - Phyang - Magnetic Hill - confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers - Basgo - Alchi - Lamayuru|
Night in Lamayuru
After breakfast, start your 2-day tour in the west part of the Indus valley tour called “Sham” (which means “West” in Ladakhi). A 20-minute drive from Leh brings you to the Phyang monastery which belongs to the Drikung Kagyu order. 90 Buddhist monks live here. Then, you reach the intriguing Magnetic Hill where a car left out of gear will appear to be moving uphill against gravity. There are several theories trying to explain this strange phenomenon, the 2 most commonly accepted are the magnetic force theory and the optical illusion theory. A few kilometres further on the Leh-Srinagar highway, stop at the popular Sangam viewpoint, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers. Follow the valley until you reach the mud-brick Basgo Gompa which spectacularly crowns a rocky peak. Located on the left bank of the Indus river, the village of Alchi is a good place to stop for lunch. The village is famous for its 11th-century Alchi monastery wich contains the most beautiful murals in Ladakh, an exceptional example of Ladakh’s Indo-Tibetan art. From Alchi, the main road winds west, passing Ulley Tokpo en route to Lamayuru. Located 116 km from Leh along the route to Srinagar, the pretty village of Lamayuru has a wonderful medieval gompa overlooking around 100 mud-brick homes. The barren mountains next to the village resemble moonscapes with unique rock formations, the area is known as “moonland”. If you want to discover the Ladakhi culture and try authentic local food, you should spend the night in a homestay in Lamayuru. Ask your driver to help you find a host family.
|Day 3:||Lamayuru - Rizong - Likir - Gurdwara Pathar Sahib - Spituk - Leh|
Night in Leh
Start the day off with the morning prayer in the gompa’s assembly hall where all the monks gather to chant mantras and recite sutras. The Lamayuru monastery (also called Yungdrung gompa) was founded in the 11th century by Rinchen Zangpo. In the main prayer hall, there is a small cave where Naropa, Milarepa’s teacher, is said to have meditated. Heading back east, visit the Rizong monastery located in an impressive rocky amphitheatre. It is home to 40 monks of the Gelugpa lineage and it is known for its strict discipline. Nearby, the Chulichan Nunnery school is picturesquely set in orchards. Led by the younger brother of the Dalai Lama, the Likir monastery has 120 resident monks. A huge 22-metre-tall golden statue of the Future Buddha is located beside the main temple. While driving back to Leh, make a stop at the Sikh place of worship Gurdwara Pathar Sahib and the Spituk monastery that houses an exceptional collection of thangkas (Tibetan scroll painting) depicting the 21 forms of Tara. If you want to visit the Hall of Fame museum, inform your driver and he will take you there too.
|Day 4:||Leh - Khardung La - Diskit - Hunder - Turtuk (Nubra valley)|
Night in Turtuk
Today is the start of an exciting 5-day jeep tour taking you to the most remote parts of Ladakh. Drive 2,000 metres uphill to reach the Khardung La pass which connects the Indus valley to the Nubra valley. Khardung La is the world’s highest motorable road and it offers a beautiful panorama of the Karakoram mountain range. Drive down to the Nubra Valley which is also called the “valley of flowers”. The valley lies at an average altitude of 3,100 metres along the Shayok and Nubra rivers. Stop at the 15th-century Diskit monastery, the largest gompa in the Nubra valley, perched atop a rocky peak above the village. On a nearby hill, there is a gigantic 32-metre-high statue of Maitreya Buddha, one of the landmarks of the valley. A few kilometres from Diskit, experience a Bactrian camel ride across the rolling Hunder Sand dunes. These camels are a reminder that Hunder was a stopping point for the caravans travelling on the old Silk Road between Central Asia and India. Then, head to Turtuk, India’s northernmost village located just a few kilometres from the border with Pakistan. In this charming Muslim village, you can stay in a homestay in a traditional stone house and you discover the culture and traditions of the Balti people, an ethnic group of Tibetan origin.
|Day 5:||Turtuk - Yarab Tso lake - Panamik - Sumur|
Night in Sumur
After breakfast, take a stroll through the village and the surrounding fields. Turtuk is located at 2,800 metres altitude, therefore it is warmer than in other parts of Ladakh and apricot orchards can be found here. When the weather is clear, one can get a glimpse of the K2, the world's second highest mountain at 8,611 metres above sea level. Next, head to Yarab Tso lake, a small lake hidden in a picturesque location surrounded by mountains. Yarab Tso lake is reached after a 15-minute hike from the road. The lake is a sacred place for local people, therefore swimming is not allowed. If you want to bath, you can do that at Panamik Hot Spring where you can relax and soak in the soothing hot sulphurous water flowing out from the mountain. This hot spring is well-known for its medicinal benefits. In the afternoon, drive to Sumur and visit the Samstanling monastery. Sumur is a pleasant village on the bank of the Nubra river and it offers several accommodation options.
|Day 6:||Sumur - Shayok - Tangtse - Pangong lake|
Night at Pangong lake
From Sumur, follow the Shayok river to the east towards the Changthang region. The small and remote road passes through scenic mountain landscapes. One of the gems of this region is the mesmerizing Pangong lake located at an altitude of 4,250m. This brackish lake is 140 km long and a large part of it is in Tibet. In winter, the lake gets completely frozen and visiting the area during this season is an unforgettable experience. Pangong lake became popular in 2009 after it was featured in “3 Idiots”, the famous Bollywood movie with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
|Day 7:||Pangong lake - Tsaga La - Tso Moriri lake|
Night at Tso Moriri lake
The trip from Pangong lake to Tso Moriri lake is one of the most adventurous road trips in Ladakh. It is a long drive so you need to start early. After Chushul village, follow the remote dirt road that runs south along the Sino-Indian border via the Tsaga La pass. From the pass, there is another 130 km to reach Tso Moriri lake. Lying at an altitude of 4,530m, this magnificent lake is surrounded by impressive snow-capped mountains towering above 6,000m. Korzok village, situated on the northern bank of the lake, has a good choice of homestays and guesthouses. Here, you can meet the Changpa nomads and learn about their way of life. You can also visit the Korzok monastery.
|Day 8:||Tso Moriri lake - Tso Kar - Taglang La - Hemis - Thiksey - Leh|
Night in Leh
About 80 km from Tso Moriri is the beautiful Tso Kar lake. “Tso Kar” means “white lake” in Ladakhi language. The white colour comes from the thick layer of salt deposited along its shores. The area is a famous among wildlife lovers and bird watching enthusiasts. If you are lucky, you might spot the rare black-necked crane. Then, drive towards Leh via Taglang La (5,328m), the highest mountain pass on the Leh-Manali road. When reaching the Indus valley, head to Hemis monastery, the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. The gompa existed before the 11th century and it was re-established by the king Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. It belongs to the Drukpa lineage. One of the temples enshrines an 8-metre-tall statue of Padmasambhava (the founder of Tibetan Buddhism). Just 20 km before reaching Leh, stop at Thiksey monastery whose spectacular architecture reminds of the Potala palace in Lhassa. This large Gelugpa gompa is home to more than 80 monks. One of the main attractions of the monastery is the fascinating 14m-high statue of Maitreya Buddha in an intricately jewelled headdress.
|Day 9:||Leh - Leh airport|
This morning, it is time to bid goodbye to the captivating region of Ladakh as you proceed on your onward journey. From the plane, enjoy one last time the sensational aerial views of the Himalayas.
This package is the combination of 2 tours:
|Xylo, Scorpio, Ertiga||Sumo, Eeco Van, Qualis|
|Indus valley to Lamayuru (2-day tour)|
The tour package is arranged with a private taxi (the car is only for you and it will not be shared with other passengers).
The price includes:
✓ Car with Ladakhi driver
✓ Tolls and parking fees
✓ Driver’s food and accommodation
✓ Oxygen cylinder (optional)
The price excludes:
✗ Meals and hotels
✗ Inner Line Permit
Our dedicated team can assist you with your accommodations, permits and everything else you need.
For each individual tour/trip, click on the price corresponding to the desired car category in the above table and you will be redirected to the booking form.
For more details, check out How to book a tour package: step-by-step guide.
Inner Line Permit is required for this trip.
You need an Inner Line Permit during the tour to Nubra valley, Pangong lake and Tso Moriri lake on day 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Therefore, you need a permit with a validity period of 5 days.
You can easily obtain an Inner Line Permit when you are in Leh and it takes one working day. We can help you to get it. More information about permits can be found on this page.