Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard Expedition with Valerie Parkinson

 Day 01: Your journey commences in the vibrant city of Delhi. Today, you can delve into its bustling streets or unwind after your flight. While rooms may not be ready until noon, they become available sooner. Watch for a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.

Day 02: Our journey to Leh typically begins early with a 2 am departure from the hotel. We embark on a captivating flight amidst the snow-covered Himalayan peaks, landing in Leh, where the temperature drastically falls, necessitating our down jackets. If weather permits and the flight remains on schedule, we should arrive in Leh by breakfast. The remainder of the day is dedicated to unwinding and adjusting to the altitude (11,485ft/3,500m). We take the morning to rest and recuperate, followed by a leisurely orientation walk through Leh and its bustling bazaars in the afternoon.

Day 03: The day’s agenda is tailored to your departure date, accommodating the shifting schedules of monastic festivals. You can partake in the festivities or explore the monasteries on Day 3. In 2024, we’ve arranged for visits to Ladakh’s vibrant monastery festivals. These annual gatherings feature monks adorned in ornate attire, reenacting ancient tales of Tibetan Buddhism. Whether attending a festival or touring monasteries, it’s a day filled with cultural and spiritual immersion. If opting out of the festival, we’ll explore critical monasteries in the Indus Valley. Our itinerary includes stops at Shey, Tikse, and Stakna, each offering unique insights into Ladakhi heritage. Festival participation is exclusive to land-only departures on February 19-20, 2024, featuring the Stok Festival on Day 3.

Day 04: Today marks our departure from Leh as we journey across the Indus towards Jinchen. Along the way, we traverse past Phe until we reach the awe-inspiring entrance of Rumbak Gorge. Parking our vehicles near a bridge, we venture into the narrow gorge, commencing our quest for traces of snow leopards and blue sheep. Our resting grounds for the night are set at Rumbak Sumdo, 12,470 feet (3,800 meters), where we establish our base camp.

Day 05 – 09: For the next five days, we’ll immerse ourselves in the stunning landscapes of Rumbak, Yurutse, Husing, and Tarbuns valleys within Hemis National Park. Our journey is led by expert wildlife guides, allowing us to optimize our chances of encountering the elusive snow leopard. Situated at altitudes ranging from 10,825ft to 19,685ft (3,300m to 6,000m), Ladakh teems with endangered species like snow leopards, Tibetan ibexes, blue sheep, and more. Our base camp at Rumbak Sumdo is a hub for explorations into the surrounding valleys, renowned for snow leopard sightings. We alternate between camping and homestays, offering a blend of wilderness immersion and cultural exchange. Our well-equipped trekking crew ensures comfort with amenities like dining tents, hot water bottles, and traditional Ladakhi meals. Flexibility is critical; if snow leopards are spotted elsewhere, we can adapt our itinerary accordingly.

Day 10: Today, we journey back to Jinchen, rendezvous with our transportation, and return to the cosy confines of our hotel in Leh.

Day 11: Refer to Day 3 for comprehensive activity listings and festival schedules, including when your departure coincides with the monastic festival.

Day 12: We’re kicking off early for our flight back to Delhi. Once we land, the day is yours to explore the city, whether you prefer shopping or sightseeing.

Day 13: Should our flight from Leh be delayed, we’ll have a spare day in Delhi. If we arrive as planned, today offers a chance for personal exploration. Old Delhi beckons with its iconic Red Fort and Jami Masjid. Humayun’s Tomb, reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, is a must-see. New Delhi boasts India Gate and Parliament House. Don’t miss out on Delhi’s vibrant markets. Your leader can arrange an optional trip to Agra to marvel at the Taj Mahal (except on Fridays when it’s closed).

Day 14: Our journey concludes post-breakfast today, marking the start of our homeward-bound trips. Alternatively, for those seeking further excitement, why not embark on our five-day Golden Triangle extension? This adventure spans Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, offering a cultural whirlwind that includes iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort of Akbar.

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