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Snow Leopard Lodged Adventure (13 Days)

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Snow Leopard Lodged Adventure (13 Days)

 
Code:- Sanjay/Sacredot
Day 01  Arrive Delhi

Arrive in India. A representative of Adventure Travel Vacations, holding a sign in your name, will meet you in the arrivals area upon exiting baggage claim and escort you to your hotel.

Delhi is one of India’s most vibrant cities today. It is not only a city that has played capital to various dynasties, but is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Today, apart from being at the political forefront, it also leads the country in terms of art, culture, culinary experiences, shopping, entertainment and overall standard of living. The city, like other ancient cities, is a beautiful homogeneous mix of the old and the contemporary. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Delhi is a microcosm of all that is India.

Day 02  Delhi – Leh

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the Indira Gandhi Airport for your flight to Leh.

Upon Arrival at Leh Airport you are met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure to acclimatize to the high altitude and rarefied air. Leh is at 11400 feet and the flight up from the plains means that you have to acclimatize gently without pushing yourself. The 2 ½ days scheduled here is the minimum required as you will be going to a higher altitude and will be doing a fair amount of walking. At some point over the next few days in Leh, meet with staff from the Snow Leopard Conservancy for a briefing on the history of snow leopard conservation in Ladakh with insight given into the current threats to snow leopards and the strategy adopted to combat these threats. (B, L, D)

Day 03  In Leh

Leh is a fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars. The main street is open and airy, with rows of shops on either side. Leh is very Tibetan; the national dress, 'stove-pipe' hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The Royal Palace, which dominates the town, is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs are a dramatic culture change from the hot, teeming frenetic rush of Delhi. This morning you will visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy; here you will see the efforts made by the authority with the help of the local community to conserve the endanger snow leopard.


In the afternoon, you visit the Thiksey monastery. Thiksey Gompa is the most picturesquely situated monastery in Ladakh, perched high on a hill above the Indus. Its buildings are arranged at various levels, leading up to the private apartments of the incarnate lamas on the summit. From here one commands a magnificent view of the valley. The Gompa possesses a rich and beautiful collection of hundreds of hand-written or painted prayer books. A new temple contains a 15-meter tall Buddha statue, constructed in 1970 to commemorate a visit to Thiksey by the Dalai Lama. The statue, made of clay and covered with gold paint, is the largest Buddha figure in Ladakh and took four years to construct. Inside, the statue is filled with the Kandshur and the Tandshur - volumes of Buddhist canonical texts. The statue was made entirely by local craftsmen and represents Maitreya, ("compassion" in Sanskrit) the Buddha of the Future. The prophecy made of the Future Buddha is that the world will be undergoing such chaos that He will teach compassion to the people. (B, L, D)

Day 04   In Leh

Today you set out for an extraordinary drive East heading towards Taglang La and the villages of Gya, Lhato and Meru. It’s a fantastic drive taking you away from the valley of the Indus up a subsidiary valley to an extraordinary area even by Ladakhi standards that marks the line where the Indian mainland collided with and drove under Asian land mass. There is some dramatic scenery here and you have a chance of sighting wildlife including Blue sheep, Golden eagles and Bearded vultures. Rafts of Red-billed Choughs perform synchronized aerobatics and in the fallow fields you have the chance of seeing the very beautiful Tibetan Partidge and the more common Chukor partridge.

Day 05   Leh – Ulley (by surface)  (Snow Leopard Lodge)

Drive west today on the road to Kargil and Srinagar, generally following the Indus River. You pass through the small town of Nimmu – one of the most important in Ladakh, where the Zanskar river meets the Indus. After a little over an hour you head north on a road marked to Likir – one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries. This is all snow leopard country. The landscape here is even bigger, more expansive and open, until you turn off onto a dirt road, winding up a narrow valley, following a stream called the Ulley Chhu. Smaller valleys intersect and the guides have their heads craned all the time, scanning the hill sides and the skyline for any silhouette. This is excellent Ibex country and there are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned male Ibex standing vigil on some impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff.  You will be based here over 7 nights. (B, L, D)

Day 06 To Day 12  Leh to Ulley (by surface)  (Snow Leopard Lodge)

Settle in on arrival and acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley. The advantage of Ulley is that it is relatively free of tourism and the chaos that has enveloped the first snow leopard destination - Rumbak. The other advantage is that from here you explore 3 valleys, which, apart from snow leopards, are great for finding urial, Ibex, wolf and Himalayan fox. Norbu is an exceptional tracker and spotter whose entire being seems to be narrowed down to the field of vision of his binoculars.

Over the next few days you explore the area on foot and SUV’s with Norbu tracking the snow leopard. You will be amazed at the sheer dedication and commitment he brings to his trade and the effort he makes to ensure that his guests leave happy. Norbu interacts closely with the local people and uses the network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. In the process, there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to get insights into local folklore, as well as learn about local customs and traditions. (B, L, D)

 

Day 12  Ulley - Leh (by surface)

After another morning out, after lunch you will be driven back to Leh town. En-route we visit the Alchi monastery if time permits (the morning can drag longer if there is good wildlife movement). Alchi Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries dating back to the 11th century. It is the only low land monastery in the region as it was built in a time of peace, before the marauding armies forced the monasteries to take shelter amongst the slopes and gorges. (B, L, D)

 

Day 13  Leh – Delhi (by flight)

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to connect your flight to Delhi. On your arrival in Delhi you will be met by a representative of Adventure Travel Vacations holding a sign in your name once you exit Baggage claim. Thereafter you will be transferred to an airport hotel. (B)

Day 14  Depart Delhi (by flight)

This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to the International airport to connect your flight back home. (B)

Cost inclusions for Snow Leopard Trek

• Accommodation on Twin Share Basis.
• All 03 major meals in Leh and Ulley, except in Delhi for both visits where it is based on bed and breakfast basis only
• Tea / Coffee all day.
• Return airport transfers in Delhi.
• Transportation at the lodge for wildlife spotting.
• Transfers to and from the lodge from Leh.
• All activities.
• Spotter / Trackers.
• Resident Naturalist at the Lodge.

Cost exclusions for Snow Leopard Trek

• Personal Tour Leader / Naturalist.
• Any Alcohol / Beverages.
• Any Travel / Medical Insurance.
• Personal Tour Leader.
• Anything not mentioned in the inclusions above.

Notes:

• Check-in time is 1400 hrs and check-out 12 noon.
• Hotels offered may change at the time of actual booking and if so a similar hotel in the same category will be offered.
• Twin room are subject to availability at the time of check in at hotel.

Details about The Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley

Open: November – September

Best Time For:

Snow Leopard: November – May (sightings possible at other times as well)
Wolf: All year. Denning: April – July
Himalayan Fox: All year
Golden Eagles & Lammergeiers: All year. Courtship displays: March
Ibex: November – June (sightings possible at other times as well).
Nayan: All year
Marmot: May – October
Wild flowers: End May – early July. Accessed on foot.
Bird watching: Throughout the year. Seasonally arranged list available.

Wildlife Viewing: By vehicle and on foot depending on location of wildlife. Reasonable fitness required. All excursions guided by naturalists and expert spotters/trackers.

No. of rooms: Lodge: 5 Double with 3 common Toilets + 1 Single with attached toilet
Annexe: 3 Double rooms with attached Toilets +
2 Double rooms with 01 shared Toilet

Power: Regular power supply with generator back up for charging purposes

Food: Mix of Indian / Continental / Ladakhi Set Menus

Facilities:

• Library of reference books and fiction.
• Binoculars available on request.
• Spot scope.
• Tea / Coffee & cookies available all day in the dining / lounge area.
• All water freshly filtered in RO / UV.
• Packed lunches / tea coffee provided when in the field.
• No credit card facility – nearest ATM in Leh.
• Vehicles / guides / spotters at disposal.
• Rooms are heated with Gas / electric heaters.
• Hot Water Bottles.
• No running water in winter. Toilets are flushed with buckets.
• Hot water for bathing is available in buckets at your convenience.
• Projection system for screening films in the Main Lodge.
• First Aid Kit.
• Oxygen Cylinders.
• Nearest Hospital in Leh (approx. 2 hours’ drive).

SNOW LEOPARD TREK – Important Points To Remember
SNOW LEOPARD TREK – HEMIS NATIONAL PARK, LADAKH, INDIA

 
Snow Leopard Tour, Ladakh – November to March
 
Tour Highlights

• Accompanied by one of the best Snow Leopard guide in Ladakh and an experienced trek and camping back-up team you will explore some of the best habitats in the Rumbak region of Hemis High Altitude National Park, known as the Snow Leopard capital of the world. In spectacular scenery with panoramic views of high passes, open skies and beautiful valleys mammal sightings will include Blue Sheep (Bharal), the primary prey species of Snow Leopard, Pika, Woolly Hare and perhaps Mountain Weasel, Northern Lynx, Ladakh Urial, Tibetan Argali, Asiatic or Tibetan Wolf if you are lucky. Expect regular sightings of Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Red-billed and Alpine Coughs, Robin and Brown Accentors, White-browed Tit Warbler, Fire-fronted Serin, Robin Accentor, Brown Accentor and Brown Dippers. Eurasian Eagle Owl, Himalayan Snowcock, Tibetan Partridge, White-fronted Tit Warbler, Wallcreeper, Tibetan Snowfinch and Himalayan Griffon are all possible with a Rosefinch or two! Our experienced guide, along with other members of the team, will be looking for tracks and signs left by this elusive and endangered big cat, with the added benefit of up-to-date knowledge of recent sightings and often being in contact with others by radio. Everyone will scan the mountain-scape on a regular basis for the ultimate sighting of a Snow Leopard.
• Accommodation will be in hotels (Leh), well equipped tented camps and village Homestays, subject to weather and where our quest for Snow Leopard and other wildlife takes us.
• Grade is moderate to challenging at times, especially for the first few days as your body is getting used to the rarified air. If you have struggled at high altitude before, then this tour is not the tour for you! You should take it easy, not rush and most importantly go at your own pace. You need to be physically fit (but not ultra-fit) with experience of hill walking and the ability to deal with some challenging terrain including rocks, scree slopes, steep slopes, narrow paths and stream crossings.
• Most of the trekking is on well-trodden trails Depending on sightings it is likely that on several mornings and evenings you may well walk up to one of three vantage points in the Husing Valley which offer excellent views across extensive valleys and long ridge-lines; a popular place to scan for Snow Leopards

What to expect while camping

The camp team is there to set up camp, cook and help to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The camp is well equipped and the tents and sleeping mats etc. are excellent. You can expect three course dinners on the table with table cloth in the dining tent and often hot meals are carried up the mountain and served with hot drinks! However, it is a basic rural camp, so do not expect hot showers, although you will be delivered a bowl of hot water for a wash/strip wash and hot water bottles are also provided. Packed lunches (often hot) are normally delivered to you by the camp team while you are out and about, so there is no need to carry your own packed lunch each day. Tea and biscuits may be delivered on some days too! You do however need to take a 30 – 50L day sack as you must carry plenty of water to drink and have room for extra layers of clothing that you may well take off while trekking and put on while sitting for long periods. You’ll need the extra layers on very cold days and especially if it is windy (as temperatures can drop dramatically with the wind chill) and towards the end of the day when you lose the warmth of the sun as it disappears behind the mountains. Ponies are employed for transport of camp equipment and some of your extras. Try not to over pack, but do be aware that it is very difficult to wash clothes while you are camping and get them dry. They are strict on the internal baggage allowance on the flights these days, but you can usually pay more per kg of extra weight and it isn’t too expensive. However taking the appropriate kit is doable within the weight allowance.

MUST BRING:

• Binoculars and ideally a telescope with tripod (as lightweight as possible) if you have one to scan for Snow Leopard.
• A 30 - 50 litre day backpack (with cover to keep off the snow if encountered) large enough to carry water bottles, camera and extra clothing needed to combat wind chill and change in temperatures
• 1 large duffle bag/holdall/rucksack (with cover to keep off snow if required) for all your main luggage with 2 large plastic bin bags or dry-sacks for keeping gear dry. Note: It is a very dry environment. You can expect snow, but even the snow is dry snow, but better to be on the safe side and ensure your belongings are protected from the damp
• A thermarest to place on the ground to sit on is essential. Expect quite a lot of sitting and scanning.
• 1 litre water bottles with a wide mouth (preferably not metal as they are cold to hold) but something that can withstand warm water. You may wish to consider bringing a small thermos for tea or coffee if you are not keen on drinking cold water, as it is essential you keep your fluid intake high to help avoid feeling ill.
• Clothing suitable for snow (rain less likely), but hopefully it will be dry – so a light weight waterproof jacket to go over a down jacket, waterproof trousers and ensure your boots are waterproof.
• Good quality sun goggles with 100% U/V protection essential
• Sun hat
• Sun cream lotions (remember to protect your ears!) SPF50+ for your face. You can purchase tins which don‟t freeze!
• A good moisturizer essential for face, hands and lips as the air is very dry
• Head torch and spare batteries (worth taking with you on each trek as we often headed back at dusk)
• Comfortable clothing / no formals required
• Thermals (at least two sets and you may wear both if the climate is extra cold) and plenty of layers. Note: Checkout pure merino wool thermals as these come highly recommended.
• At least one pair of padded (not just lined) trousers and two pairs if you know you feel the cold. Or you could go with lined trousers and carry larger padded trousers to add an extra layer while scanning for long periods at the end of the day
• Pair of water proof trousers
• Decent mittens (like Montane Prism Winter Mitts) or gloves and consider a larger size so you are able to wear glove liners (silk or merino wool liners ideal), scarf and balaclava or buff (the buff recommended over the balaclava) in case of very cold weather so you can cover nose and ears. Consider the movement of your fingers required to focus your telescope or press a camera button. Take a spare pair just in case you lose one, or get a pair wet.
• Warm wool or fleece hat essential
• A warm jacket (a decent down jacket is preferable or more layers) to wear over other layers. For your upper body over the top of thermals you may consider a base layer, micro fleece, a second zip fleece jacket (this can be invaluable to unzip when trekking and feeling hotter, then zip up and have pockets where you can store your batteries to keep them warm). Some may prefer to bring a wool sweater. If you feel the cold you may wish to bring a down waistcoat/gillet. What you ultimately wear will depend on the temperature at the time, what you are doing (walking/sitting) and your own tolerance to the cold. Issue is to have sufficient layers to cover every eventuality and room in your day sack to strip off!
• Personal medicines – even if you are not prone to getting headaches do bring some Paracetamol as the altitude can bring on niggling and sometimes severe headaches, especially if you become dehydrated. If you feel at all ill then you must tell your guide how you are feeling and others in the group.
• Ankle length trekking boots (light weight good quality Gore-Tex preferable with solid soles for both insulation and grip). You could bring gaiters though most of the time these are not likely to be required in Feb or March. Note: Biggest bit of advice is NOT to have your boots too tight. You will need decent woollen socks (take at least three pairs and you may wear two pairs) and a pair of silk socks for extra warmth. So you need to wear boots at least one size larger than normal, and some would opt for two sizes larger to accommodate two pairs of thick woollen socks. Note: If you are purchasing new boots remember to buy in advance and wear them in. Extra note: Some may opt for fur-lined boots (leather and/or rubberized on the outside) if your feet are prone to feeling cold.
• Trainers for around the camp (though you may not bother)
• A good quality four season sleeping bag and you might want to consider sleeping bag liner (silk ones are good for space-saving and add an extra season of warmth – some would prefer the square ended rather than mummy shaped liners). Note: If space or weight is an issue you can hire (on extra payment) army issue sleeping bags. Note: If you wish to hire one please tell us in advance and you then just need to carry a sleeping bag liner.
• Roll-on deodorant, antiseptic wipes (2 packs of large and 2 packs of small help to make washing and personal hygiene easier – small ones are good in the day sack), hand sanitizer, blister treatments, plastic bags for tent rubbish.

CONSIDER BRINGING:

• Camera with lens to cope with UV filter (especially for more professional cameras), image stabilising lens worth considering and cable release. You are not walking all day, but some of the treks can be long, so you’d need to determine how long a trek is likely to be and decide how much heavy equipment to take with you.
• Tripod for telescope and/or camera, but be prepared to carry it over tricky terrain OR bean bag to place on rocks and boulders to help keep camera steady
• Extra Batteries for the camera OR Solar Backpack Chargers OR Portable Solar Panels for Backpacks

REGIONAL FACTS:

• Avg. Altitude: 3500 m
• Avg. Temp: (Winter) Max 5 / Min –25
• Language Spoken: Ladakhi, Hindi & English
• Regional Capital: Leh
• ATMs available: SBI, J&K, HDFC, AXIS Bank, but please bring with you enough spending money for the duration Credit Cards are NOT accepted by most of the shops, restaurants or hotels.
• Mobile: POSTPAID BSNL, Airtel mainly. Prepaid SIMs will not work in Leh.

HEALTH

Travel to any part of the Himalayas deserves a little more respect than many other destinations because the whole region lies over 2600 meters (8500 ft). People in good health should not get alarmed by this but if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, you must take the advice of a doctor who has experience with the effects of altitude. We do not take heart or lung patients or pregnant mothers on this expedition. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy more.

ACCLIMATIZATION

Most of Ladakh is at an altitude of more than 3000m so you need to get acclimatized before you can set out to travel. Your body needs to adapt to high altitude, as the higher you go, the air becomes rarified and the oxygen available for you to breathe becomes lesser. Even though your body is capable of adapting to 'thin air', you need to give it time to do so. This is what is called acclimatization.
• Complete rest at the hotel to acclimatize to the high altitude region of Ladakh
• Take short steps and stop if you are breathless. You may not be able to walk here like you do it back home
• Always carry warm clothes while travelling, because weather in the mountains can change any minute
• Do not venture out on the first day
• It is advisable not to take bath or shower on the first day as you might catch cold due to the exposure. So, keep warm and cozy on first day and avoid bathing
• Please do not consume alcohol and cigarettes for the initial 2 days
• Do not spend more than 10 minutes at high altitudes of Khardungla and Changla passes
We recommend Diamox medicine to counter the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness. (PLEASE CONSULT A DOCTOR) before you start your course.
Note: Please keep your personal items to a minimum (besides the essentials) so that your bag (No hard shells please) is light and easy to carry.


  Price:- From $3,243 per person sharing. Please contact us for seasonal rates and availability 

 

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