day "Best of Ladakh" trip lives up to its
name, by getting you to all the highlights of Ladakh
- this includes visiting some of the best-known monasteries
in the area, as well as exploring some of the most beautiful
sights of this remote mountainous region.
TRIP OBJECTIVES AND DATES
The trip runs from August 1-12, 2009.
The emphasis of the trip is on exploring
the wonders of Ladakh - the stunning scenery, the exotic
bird and wildlife and the traditional Buddhist way of
life. The trip includes the famous Manali-Leh drive,
with its breath-taking views and amazing landscapes.
Because heavy snow makes driving in
the region impossible for most of the year, trips to
Ladakh are only fasible from July to September. This
trip is scheduled from August 28 to September 8, 2008,
and is led by professional photographer and founder
of Photo Safari India, Vandit Kalia.
Because Ladakh is at an extremely
high altitude (Leh is at 3200m, and our excursions will
often take us across passes as high as 5,500m and beyond),
altitude sickness is a valid and real risk. Also, in
order to get to the best locations, some walking may
be required. As such, we require all participants in
our Ladakh trips to carry appropriate medical insurance,
including coverage for emergency evacuations, if needed.
Furthermore, all guests over the age
of 50 will need a medical clearance certificate from
their doctor. Proof of both will be required at the
start of the trip.
Lasty, the goal is to get to the right
places at the right time for photography. For this,
we may camp in some locations, or we may stay in guesthouses.
A certain degree of flexibility when it comes to creature
comforts is essential for this trip.
You can use everything from a 10mm
fisheye to a 1200mm uberzoom in Ladakh. Realistically,
we'd recommend real wide angle coverage (atleast 20mm
in 35mm terms) for shooting inside monasteries and such
- because light is low, and flash is not allowed, a
fast prime works really well in such situations. For
general scenics, you willl need everything from wide
angle to medium telephoto (200-300mm). Wildlife in Ladakh
is quite shy, so you will need your longest lens and
We plan our trips in order to ensure
that everyone has access to proper electricity outlets
every couple of days. We also provide a car inverter
that puts out 220V - you can recharge your camera batteries
off that, if needed. However, because cold plays havoc
with battery life, an extra battery or two is always
a good idea.
Aug 1: Meet in New
Delhi and fly to Leh, where we will spend the rest of the day acclimatizing - we strongly recommend avoiding much physical activity on this first day (L, D)
2: Continue the acclimatization process - lots of rest and sleep. Those not feeling the impact of the high altitude can go for walks and photograph the busy streets and markets of Leh.
Aug 3: Spend the
day in and around the Leh area - watch
sunrise over Stakhna monastery, visit Thiksey & Hemis monasteries and
watch the sun set from viewpoint on top of the hill
overlooking Leh valley.
Aug 4: Depart for Hunder valley, crossing the world's
highest motorable pass en route. Spend the evening shooting
landscapes over the high-altitude sand dunes of Hunder.
Aug 5: More photography around Hunder, including
photographing two-humped Bactrian camels against a backdrop
of snow peaks. Continue onwards to Diksit monastery
and then drive back to Leh. Celebrate with another hot
Aug 6: Drive to the ancient monastery of Lamaruyu, stopping en route for scenic landscape shots and also to visit the monastery at Alchi. Arrive at Lamaruyu in the evening, just in time to catch the "golden light" over the monastery. (B, L, D)
Aug 7: After doing some early morning landscapes, we will visit the monastery itself, and watch the monks at prayer. Afterwards, we will head back to Leh, this time stopping for some photography along the Indus river.
Aug 8: Depart for
Tso Moriri, in Chumathang valley - a large lake surrounded
by abundant wildlife, including kiangs or Tibetan wild
asses, marmots, many species of birds and an occasional
visit from snow leopards. Camp by Tso Moriri.
Aug 9: Drive from Tso Moriri to Tso Kar, crossing
a 5,500m pass via a rocky trail. Explore the area around
Tso Kar looking for kiangs, or the Tibetan wild ass,
and black-necked cranes. Camp overnight at Tso Kar.
Aug 10: Drive to
Leh, stopping en route at Hemis monastery and arriving
back in Leh by the afternoon. Rest of the day free to relax and do some street shooting. (B, L, D)
Aug 11: Catch flight from Leh to Delhi.
This is an outdoors/nature trip to
a very remote destination,where luxury is defined as
bucket hot waters! Ladakh is a destination for people
craving to connect to Nature - and while we provide
comfortable accomodation and tasty (but simple) meals,
we are exploring a region where you can walk for weeks
without seeing any sign of human civilization. Please
keep that in mind when it comes to setting expectations
for what qualifies as "luxury" in the region
- and remember: the photos will truly be memorable!
Also, do note that dependong on the
weather and current stte of the road, the actual itinerary
may vary a little. We have backups, alternate destinations,
etc. all squared away, so we will do our best to ensure
a productive 12 days of photography.
Altitude sickness is a concern, as most of Ladakh is at heights exceeding 10,000 ft / 3,000m and some of our drives will lead us to passes that are over 18,000 ft. Acclimitazation is important - and packing some medication to combat the symptoms of altitude sickness is strongly recommended.
Ladakh is often called the place where you can get frostbite and sunburn in the same day. Nights get chilly while the day-time sun is very strong. We recommend a broad-brimmed hat (not a baseball cap), light long sleeves T-shirts (or lots of high-SPF sunblock) & long trousers. Re. footwear: we will not be doing a lot of trekking, but you may end up doing some walking in order to get in position for the "perfect" shot. So sandals or comfy sneakers are good for most of the time, with medium-weight hiking shoes for the last few days.
The prices for the trip is $2750 per person and the trip is limited to 6 people maximum.
The price includes all transfers,
local transport, accommodation,
meals and guides. Accommodation in Leh is in top-tier
hotels; accommmodation in other parts varies from Tibetan
owner-run guesthouses to camping, depending on where
Not include is airfare from Delhi to Leh, which is charged at actuals (or can be booked by you directly), as well as personal expenses such as laundry, beverages, tips, etc.
BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS
To make a booking, please email us