Top of the World – Ladakh & Kashmir tour 2019

Himalayan Kingdoms

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Maximum Group Size: 10

Tour Length 22 days / 21 nights

Starts in Delhi on Friday 28th June 2019

Finishes in Delhi on Friday 19th July 2019

Fully Escorted by Deb Kindness, who has been travelling and leading tours through the Indian Subcontinent since 1993.

Cost USD 4890 per person twin share (USD5795 including Optional Single Supplement)

We have an additional departure of this tour in June 2018

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS – Some testimonials from our past guests

“This is absolutely the best trip I have done. Every day was a WOW day. The scenery was stunning and totally unexpected. There were unplanned surprises along the way which were accommodated effortlessly. The small group was taken care of admirably. Lots of different types of accommodation but all highly acceptable.  Great trip but if you don’t like road trips it may be challenging.”

Suzanne, Australia, August 2017

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“This is an incredible journey and one not to be missed. You are immersed in the landscape, the people and the culture in a wide variety of activities and experiences, with all logistics professionally taken care of by Deb Kindness and her team. Lots of beautiful surprises along the way. This is what I have come to expect from Incredible India Tours and Deb Kindness – Himalayan Adventure & Hemis Festival 2017 was my fourth trip with them.”

Robyn, Australia, August 2017

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“This trip without a doubt was one of the most incredible journeys I have ever done. From the overnight train in Delhi (always a great experience) connecting to the Toy Shimla train. Mcleod Ganj, Manali and then over the Himalayas. We made 10 Crossings of the mighty Himalayas, crossed the highest motorable pass in the world @ 5602m twice, 2nd highest once @5400m, 3rd highest twice @ 5360m and 5 other passes from 3860m to 5000m. To meet Tibetan people and travel the Northern part of India from Ladakh / Leh and Pangong Lake in the East to Kashmir / Srinagar in the West. Staying in excellent hotels, Tents x 3, Houseboat and train.”

Geoff, Australia, August 2017

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Ladakh & Kashmir Group Tour

 

Overview  Highlights  Itinerary  Trip Notes  Downloads  Bookings  Gallery     

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Accommodation Transport Meals
15 nights Hotels Airport Transfers 9 dinners
3 nights tents 2 day trains 21 Breakfasts
3 nights houseboat Air-Conditioned Minibus in Delhi 4 lunches
  Private SUV’s (in the mountains)  
  Auto & cycle rickshaws for sightseeing  
  1 Domestic flight  

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This is a very exotic Himalayan Kingdoms adventure across the Top of the World.

First we journey to Ladakh through Himachal Pradesh, visiting Shimla and Manali before driving the spectacular Manali – Leh highway. In and around Leh we explore the Nubra Valley and also experience the Hemis Festival. Heading west we drive through the upper Himalayas along one of the most stunning drives in the world to Kashmir, and Srinagar, summer holiday mecca of India.

Experience Incredible India and the Himalayas on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western female tour leader with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing..

 

Highlights

•    the splendour and contrast of the 7 cities of Delhi
•    the historic toy train ride up the mountain to Shimla
•    witness the remnants of the British Raj in Shimla
•    see the mountain views from the beautiful green Beas River valley in Manali
•    experience the spectacular Manali – Leh Highway
•    be part of the energetic and colourful Hemis Festival
•    drive the highest motorable pass in the world – the Khardong La – at over 5600m
•    explore the amazing Nubra Valley in Ladakh
•    drive the amazingly scenic Leh – Srinagar Highway
•    discover the monastery villages of Uleytokpo & Basgo
•    soak up the relaxing ambience of Dal Lake in Srinagar 

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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Delhi

Arrival Day. We meet at 6pm for a short tour briefing before dinner.

Hotel: The Claridges

 

Day 2 Delhi / Overnight Train

We have a half day sightseeing tour of New Delhi this morning visiting Humayans Tomb, Rajpath and the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. This afternoon relax by our hotel’s swimming pool, take a massage or get some retail therapy.

Hotel: The Claridges

 

Day 3 Shimla

We take a morning express train to meet the World Heritage Toy Train for a 5 hour journey on this famous mountain railway, travelling over 864 bridges and through 102 tunnels, arriving in Shimla late afternoon. 

Hotel: Clarkes Hotel

 

Day 4 Shimla

We explore Shimla the old summer capital of the British Raj and surroundings today, taking a heritage walk through Shimla town to the Viceregal residency, visiting historic buildings and monuments along the way.

Hotel: Clarkes Hotel

 

Day 5 Shimla

A visit to the Jakhu temple and then Wildflower Hall for morning tea before a free afternoon to enjoy Shimla, take a walk, explore the markets or rest in our charming Heritage Hotel. 

Hotel: Clarkes Hotel

 

Day 6 Manali

We drive to Manali today via beautiful valleys and stunning scenery. Manali, a favourite Indian holiday destination is also a very spiritual part of the Himalayas and a favourite with many long-time western travellers to India.

Hotel: Mayflower

 

Day 7 Manali

We have a half day hike to a nearby village untouched by tourists to experience traditional life here in the Kullu valley. 

Hotel: Mayflower

 

Days 8-9 Jispa/Sarchu

We commence a two day drive along one of the most spectacular roads in the Himalayas, crossing the Rohtang Pass and into the Lahaul & Spiti valleys, stopping the night at Jispa. On day 10 we continue over the Bara-lacha Pass north and have a second night at Sarchu, situated at 4290m.

Hotel: Jespa – Ibex Hotel  / Sarchu – Goldrup Camp

 

Day 10 Leh

Today’s drive is breathtaking as we head to Leh in Ladakh, caught in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, this land is a high altitude desert with some of the most incredible landscape scenery you’ll ever see. Today we cross the 2nd highest motorable pass in the world, the Taglang La at 5328m.

Hotel: Ladakh Residency

 

Day 11 Leh

We take a day to relax and acclimatise to the high altitude of Leh (3500m) with a trip to Hemis Monastery to experience the fascinating Hemis Festival in all it’s flamboyant colour and ritual.

Hotel: Ladakh Residency

 

Days 12-13 Nubra Valley

Heading over the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardung La pass at 5359m, we travel to the remote Nubra valley. Visiting the stunning Diskit monastery on the afternoon of day 12, we have a full day on day 13 to hike through villages and countryside enjoying the local culture and scenery. You will also have the opportunity to ride the double humped Bactrin camels through the sand dunes at nearby Hunder.

Hotel: Desert Himalaya Camp

 

Days 14-15 Leh

We return to Leh and take some time out to visit some of the towns sights and monasteries, including Thiksey Gompa, Shey Palace and the Shanti Stupa. There is also time to wander the markets in Leh, where you’ll find many Tibetan market stalls and Kashmiri shops selling beautiful handicrafts.

Hotel: Ladakh Residency

 

Days 16-17 Uleytokpo/Kargil

We spend two nights on our second spectacular scenic Himalayan mountain drive to Kashmir. Heading west from Leh, we head first to Uleytokpo via the monastery villages of Basgo and Alchi. In Uleytokpo we stay in charming cottages overlooking the Indus river. On day 17 we travel on to Kargil, via Lamayuru Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, situated in a barren moon-like valley of eroded hills and snowy peaks. 

Hotel: Uleytokpo – Ule Ethnic Resort / Kargil – Zojila Residency

 

Day 18 Srinagar

We continue on today to Srinagar over our final high altitude pass, the Zoji La at 3528m. The capital of Kashmir, often called Paradise on Earth, Srinagar was a summer getaway for the British Raj and before that for the Moghul Emperors back in the 17th century. Srinagar is famous for it’s houseboats on the idyllic mountain reflecting Dal Lake.

Hotel: Royal Houseboats

 

Days 19-20 Srinagar

We spend two days relaxing on our houseboat and exploring the sights in and around Srinagar including the Dal Lake, the Moghul Gardens, the old city and perhaps nearby locations, such as Gulmarg and Pahalgam.

Hotel: Royal Houseboats

 

Day 21 Delhi

After a free morning, we take an afternoon flight over the Himalayas to Delhi for our final night. After checking into our hotel we head out for a final night dinner to celebrate our remarkable journey across the Indian Himalayas.

Hotel: Claridges

 

Day 22 Departure Day

There are no organised activities today. You are free to depart at any time.

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Bookings

Register your place by paying your $500 deposit now
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Downloads
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Download Himalayan Kingdoms Tour Registration Form

Download Itinerary

 Download trip notes

 

Read the full tour dossier here on Issuu

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Trip Notes
Group Size

Minimum 4, Maximum 10
Days

22 days / 21 nights
Starts and finishes in 

Delhi
Tour inclusions

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Tips and gratuities for hotel staff, porters, guides and drivers
Meals as specified
Tour exclusions

Visa costs
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
International flights
Accommodation

Guesthouses/hotels (15 nights), Houseboat (3 nights), Tented Camp (3 nights)

This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From guesthouses to heritage hotels to tented camps, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets. Although a few rooms may be air-conditioned, most will be fan-cooled.  The tents are all en-suite.

Optional single supplement

If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travelers. However if you do not wish to share accommodation, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USD905 will be payable.
Transport

2 day trains, 1 domestic flight, Private minibus in Delhi, Private SUV’s on our mountain drives.

Train travel in India is essential considering it is such an efficient and extensive network, and is also such a part of India’s culture and heritage. On this journey we enjoy a trip on the UNESCO World Heritage Shimla Toy Train. We have one domestic flight and will be taking private vehicles (Awd – 3 person maximum per vehicle) for all other journeys.
Activities included

The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.

Humayans Tomb, Rajpath, Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (Delhi)
Toy Train ride, Vice-regal Lodge, Jakhoo Temple (Shimla)
Village hike, Hidimba Devi Temple (Manali)
Hemis Festival and Monastery, Shey Palace, Thiksey Monastery, Shanti Stupa (Leh)
Diskit Monastery, Village hike (Nubra Valley)
Bagso, Alchi and Lamayuru Monasteries (Leh-Kargil Rd)
Shikara Rides, Floating vegetable market, Moghal gardens, Pari Mahal (Srinagar)
Meals included

21 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 9 Dinners

Meals

Traveling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in India. Generally, meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group. Your leader will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.
Money Matters

Money exchange As at October 2017

AUD1 = 49 INR
CAD1 = 50 INR
EUR1 = 76 INR
GBP1 = 85 INR
NZD1 = 44 INR
USD1 = 64 INR

There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout India. This is a safe and convenient way to access money in India, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (suggested $300) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Travellers cheques are no longer commonly accepted. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.

Spending money

Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit. Many sites levy camera fees.

Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities.

It is recommended you allow enough money for the following:

Meals – USD350 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities – USD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.

Tipping

Tipping is an integral part of Indian life and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport we use. We do NOT cover restaurant tips. You will need to allow approximately 10-15% on top of your restaurant bill.
Physical rating 4/5

There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites with many steps, which due to the warm weather and the altitude of many locations on this tour will make general sightseeing more strenuous.  There will also be long days of travel on rough and bumpy roads.
Culture shock rating 3/5

Conditions in India are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to deal with squat toilets, or no toilets (especially on mountain drives), cold showers or power failure.
Travel insurance

Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours. Please read the small print of your insurance policy to ensure it provides cover for travel to areas where your state department may be advising against all but essential travel.
Visas

All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Tourist visa. The Indian Government is in the process of extending this e-Tourist facility to more countries so check this website to find out the latest eligibility details.

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

For the e-Tourist visa, you need to apply within 120 days of travel 60 days validity. The visa is issued online and takes up to 3 days.

Regular tourist visas (issued by the Indian Embassy or Consulate) for those nationalities who do not yet have availability of the e-Tourist facility, or for those who require a visa longer than 60 days, are usually issued for 6 or 12 months and are either Single, Double or Multiple Entry. As the validity begins from date of issue, be sure you do not apply for your visa too early. For information, or assistance with obtaining a visa, check out the following websites.

Australia http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/visa_services/index.html
New Zealand https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration

USA https://www.in.ckgs.us/visa/
UK https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration
Canada http://www.blsindia-canada.com/touristvisa.php
Health

We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements .

The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.

Australia https://www.travelvax.com.au/
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
USA https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

UK http://www.travelhealth.co.uk/
Canada https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines
Communications / Keeping in touch

Most of our hotels have Wifi, but do not rely on it being available or fast.

You can purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) and data sticks (for mobile internet on your laptop) inexpensively in India, although they will not work in Ladakh and Kashmir, where only post-paid sim cards work. Recommended are Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance. You will need extra passport photos for this as well as photocopies of your photo and visa page from your passport.
Your tour manager

Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. They will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of India, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom.  On this tour, we also have local guides for Ladakh and Kashmir who have unparalleled knowledge of their regions and will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.
Responsible travel

We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do’s and don’ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.
Joining and finishing hotel

Claridges Hotel
12, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road,

New Delhi, 110011  
Ph: +91 11 3955 5000

Transfer/joining instructions

Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.

Arriving early

The elegant Claridges Hotel is one of Delhi’s premium 5 star hotels. Built in 1952, Claridges is a short walk from the trendy Khan Market area and is just two kilometres from India Gate. The refined rooms feature wood floors and a mix of colonial and contemporary decor, plus flat-screen TVs and minibars. Dining options include 4 restaurants, a cafe and a bakery. There’s also a fitness room, an outdoor pool and a spa, plus garden cabanas and a modern Indian art gallery.

Early arrival information

If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Delhi is available at TBA Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as hotels in Delhi tend to be heavily booked up well in advance.  

Staying on

If you are staying on in Delhi after the tour, extra accommodation in Delhi is available at TBA Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room.  Again, if you will require extra accommodation in Delhi, please advise us as early as possible as rooms tend to get booked out quickly at peak season times.
What to take

We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible.  The smaller your bag in India the better, as the various modes of transport we use tend to have limited storage space.

India is very conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool. Singlets, tank tops and shorts are not suitable attire for India. We will be visiting some high altitude regions on this trip, which despite it being summer can be quite cold, particularly our overnight camping stop at Sarchu, where the overnight temperature can get as low as 0C (32F). Thermals and a warm windproof jacket are recommended as are layers to keep warm.

Note that some Indian domestic airlines have recently reduced their check-in baggage allowance to 15kg. If you have heavier luggage, you may need to pay the excess at the airport for your internal flights. Excess luggage charges range from around Rs300 (USD5) per kilo.
Laundry

Inexpensive laundry facilities are offered by most hotels we use and are generally available wherever we have a two night stop.
Weather

The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm, in the range 20-30 in the mountains (hotter in Delhi). Night time temperatures will be comfortable, and you will need to bring a jacket and layers for the cooler evenings in the mountains and our excursions to the high altitude passes.  Rain is always a possibility at this time of year, so bring an umbrella, and sunblock and a hat are essentials.
Checklist

Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don’t forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
Day pack
Health vaccinations/medication
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash and travellers cheques (for emergencies)
Money pouch
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your bag or suitcase
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes. A lock and chain are useful for securing your luggage on overnight train journeys.

 

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If you have any questions or would like more information please contact us:

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