Zanskar Ultimate Off-roading Trip
Zanskar is one of our favourite places. Known for its breath taking, yet rugged landscape and immersive Buddhist culture, Zanskar Valley is an ultimate destination for both adventure lovers and culture enthusiasts. The place is isolated from the rest of the world for almost seven months a year because of intense snowfall.
For the rest of the year, Zanskar is lively and beautiful. The people are simple and friendly and will welcome you for a cup of butter tea and Tibetan bread. There are monasteries to visit, local delicacies to taste and brave the treacherous river crossings and bumpy trails. Zanskar is an experience to be savoured. And we ask you to join us in this off-roading trip.
Day 1: Arrive at Manali
We take it easy on the first day. At Manali, you can either relax at your hotel, or go out exploring the gorgeous hill station by River Beas.
Day 2: Manali – Jispa/ Darcha
This is the start of the journey. We will start from Manali and drive through the Pir Panjal area crossing Sissu, Tandi and Keylong. The scenery changes as we cross the Atal Tunnel and we are sure that you will be quite busy with the camera.
Stay: Jispa/ Darcha
Day 3: Jispa/ Darcha – Purne
So begins the long drive through the mountains crossing the high-altitude passes. We will be in car most of the day, but we promise the views will be undeniably epic. We will drive through the Lahaul Valley and travel over to Zanskar valley after crossing the Shinku La Pass at 5050m. There are a few river crossings that will definitely give you an adrenaline rush.
This day, we will also come across Gombo Ranjan, the most sacred mountain in the Zanskar valley. This mountain is also known as the Kailash of Zanskar. Crossing a few villages, we will finally reach Purne, our destination for the day.
The journey will be a bit tiresome, but the scenic beauty on the road more than compensates for it.
Stay: Homestay at Purne
Day 4: Purne – Phugtal Monastery – Cha – Padum
This is a day of activity. This day we will take you to our favourite place in Zanskar Valley – the Phugtal Monastery. The trek to PhugtalMonastrey is an easy one with a couple of tricky portions. It takes about 2.5 to 3 hours to reach the remote Cave Monastery.
This is the place where you can witness the life of the monks. Explore the place at your own pace, take photographs and create memories. After our visit to the Cave monastery, we return back to Cha village and head towards Padum.
Stay: Hotel or Guest House at Padum
Day 5: Padum
No more driving on the hard roads. It is the time to relax a bit. We will visit the ancient Zangla Palace and the Stongdey Monastery. To get an understanding of the Zanskari culture, we will explore a Zanskari village and visit a local household.
Stay: Hotel or Guest House at Padum
Day 6: Padum
This is a day for the monasteries. We will visit the oldest monastery in Zanskar – Sani Monastery, the largest one – Karsha Monastery and the mysterious Dzongkhul Gompa.
Post afternoon, we will visit the small Padum market area.
Stay: Hotel or Guest House at Padum
Day 7: Padum – Rangdum
It’s the time to say goodbye to Padum and head towards Rangdum. Once again, the roads are dusty and the views are awesome. The Suru River keeps us company throughout the journey. This day is epic in its own as we cross the DrangDrung Glacier, the second largest glacier in India after the Siachen Glacier. Finally, we cross the Pensila Pass and reach Rangdum, our destination for the night.
Stay: Hotel or Guest House at Rangdum
Day 8: Rangdum – Kargil
Another epic day on our trip. Today we enter the gorgeous and lush Suru Valley. The scenery is different from what we have being seeing the last few days. As we cross Parkachik village, we get the soothing glimpse of greenery that keeps on increasing as we head towards Panikhar, Sankoo and finally to Kargil. On the way, we see the Parkachik Glacier and the Nun-Kun Peaks.
Stay: Hotel or Guest House at Kargil
Day 9: Kargil – Leh
We are at almost at the end of our trip. We start from Kargil in the morning and drive towards Leh crossing the two beautiful passes – the Fotu La and Namik La. If there is time and interest, we can stop at the Lamayuru Monastery.
Stay: Hotel at Leh
Day 10: Leh
This is the last day of our trip – so live it up at Leh! Have a proper breakfast before hitting the winding streets of this small and rustic city. Explore the city, visit Leh Palace, buy your souvenirs from Leh Market and enjoy the sunset at Shanti Stupa. – a great way to end the day!
Stay: Hotel at Leh
Day 11: Depart from Leh
All good things come to an end and so does our trip. Today you fly out to your home, though you are welcome to stay here longer
Who this tour is for?
This off-roading trip to Zanskar Valley is not for all. Before you book this trip, you must know a few facts about this trip. This Zanskar Tour package is suitable only if
- You are fascinated by culture and have a thirst for adventure
- You are flexible. It is okay if things do not go according to plan. For in Zanskar, plans can change any minute.
- You do not mind a bit of rough conditions and are not intimidated by squat toilets, no electricity and little or no network.
- You are ready to adjust with the food and open to taste the local cuisines. We will definitely keep in mind your food choices – veg and non-veg. But you might not get butter chicken or matar panners!
- Zanskar is a remote area. You will not get the comfort of your home while traveling in these areas. You will be staying in basic homestays and guesthouses, but they will be clean and hygienic. Please do not expect luxury here.
- Electricity, hot water, mobile network and wifi are not always available.
- You might have to use squat toilets and basic Ladakhi toilets once in a while.
- There are no fancy restaurants in the area. You will be having mostly home cooked local meals. Local food comprises of majority of our diets. If you have any dietary restrictions, let us know beforehand.
- There are not many shops and markets in most of the areas. So, we recommend you carrying basic medicines and other essentials.
- Zanskar is at a high altitude. We will be exploring at a medium pace and are not going to rush. We will not cover each and every sight at Padum.
- Accommodation on Double/ Triple sharing basis.
- Meals on MAP (Breakfast and Dinner daily) basis.
- All local transport and sightseeing as per itinerary on Tempo Traveler/ Innova/ Xylo etc.
- All road tax, toll and parking, driver charges.
- All necessary permits.
- Monument & Others Entrance fees & local guide charges are excluded if required.
- Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, tips & gratuity, mineral water, soft drinks & porterage.
- Wi-Fi, Room Heater, etc. charges as may be applicable.
- Additional sightseeing or extra usage of vehicle, other than mentioned in the itinerary.
- Anything which is not included & mentioned in the ‘Inclusions’ shall be considered as Exclusions.
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