Trip Inspiration

11-Day Quest for Snow Leopard

Explore the Indian Himalayas

This journey takes you along an extraordinary route featuring diverse flora and fauna, punctuated by photographic attractions. Visit Hemis National Park situated in the Ladakh region, famous for the elusive snow leopard.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • Nights at the Radisson Blu Plaza in Delhi, before and after your trip
  • Nights at the Grand Dragon Hotel in Leh, before and after your trip
  • 6 nights at the Snow Leopard Lodge in Ulley

Activities

  • Spot the elusive snow leopard
  • Hike through the untouched valleys of the Indian Himalayas
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to India might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Delhi, India

Welcome to Delhi, the capital of India! Upon arrival, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private transfer to The Radisson Blu Plaza, where you will spend one night.

The city of Delhi is a blend of two strikingly different yet perfectly balanced parts, Old and New Delhi.

Radisson Blu Plaza Meals: N/A

Day 2

Delhi to Leh

This morning you will be met by a Travel Beyond guide and transferred to the Delhi airport for your flight to Leh.

Upon arrival at the Leh airport and transferred to the Grand Dragon Hotel, where you will spend 2 nights. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon at leisure for acclimatization to the high altitude.

Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas is one of the best areas to see the elusive snow leopard and is where you will go on your snow leopard safaris. It is not only about the snow leopards, as there are a host of other animals and birds to see, apart from the scenery and getting to know more about the natives.

Leh is bounded by two of the world’s biggest mountain ranges which are home to numerous monasteries. Visit a few palaces and monasteries to further acclimate yourself to the high altitude gradually. This is important to do before beginning the snow leopard safari, which involves a good amount of strenuous trekking in Husing valley.

Grand Dragon Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3

 

Leh

You will have the entire day at leisure for proper acclimatization. It is very important to move slower, drink plenty of water/tea and not put too much stress on the body in order to be in proper shape when exploring the Himalayas.

If you are interested in walking, partake in only the bare minimum. You can visit one of several possibilities like Sankar Gompa, Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace. Perhaps head to Leh Palace right before sunset to photograph Shanti Stupa from a distance.

Grand Dragon Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

Leh to Ulley

Today after breakfast you will make your way to Ulley by road, generally following the Indus River. Pass through the small town of Nimmu where the Zanskar River meets the Indus. Head north on a road marked to Likir – one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries. This is all snow leopard country. Smaller valleys intersect and the guides have their heads craned all the time, scanning the hillside and the skyline for any silhouette – notably the ibex, a massive wild mountain goat indigenous to the region. There are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned male ibex standing on impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff.

This afternoon you will arrive at Snow Leopard Lodge which, apart from being more comfortable than camping out in sub-zero temperatures, puts money directly into local hands and strengthens the constituency of the snow leopard. The lodge is built separately from the main house with a dining room, lounge and kitchen with a personal cook and camp staff– all in the same low-built stone building with luxuries like extra gas heaters, a warm shower and bathroom, and comfortable mattresses that go a long way to alleviate the cold and the altitude.

Experience living with a Ladakhi family in the depths of winter to immerse yourself in their lifestyle. From the house and its terraced fields, you will have a superb view across the valley and are almost certain to see ibex from here, and possibly much other wildlife including wolf, Himalayan fox and perhaps even snow leopard. Settle in on arrival and acclimatize to the higher altitude of Ulley. From here you can explore three valleys, great for spotting wildlife.

Over the next few days, explore the area on foot and vehicle with your exceptional spotter Norbu tracking the snow leopard. Norbu interacts closely with the local people and uses the network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to get insights into local folklore, as well as learn about local customs and traditions.

Snow Leopard Lodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Days 5-9

Ulley

Snow leopards are some of the most elusive big cats remaining in the world because they live in such remote areas of Central Asia. There are thought to be between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards left in the wild. Due to the rugged terrain of the Himalayas most of the herbivores are related to the agile footed sheep and goats. They can move easily from one pasture to the next. During the winter months the Ibex move down to lower altitudes where there is food, and they are followed by the snow leopards and other predators like the Tibetan Wolf. Each day you will head out in a different direction to track this grey ghost.

Snow Leopard Lodge Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10

Ulley to Leh

This morning after breakfast, you will make your way back to Leh by road. Upon arrival in Leh, check into the Grand Dragon Hotel and feel free to spend the rest of your afternoon at leisure.

Grand Dragon Hotel Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 11

Depart India

After an early morning breakfast, a Travel Beyond representative will assist with checkout and your transfer to the Leh airport for your flight to Delhi. You will be assisted on arrival and transferred to the Radisson Blu Plaza for the rest of the day at leisure. This evening, you will be transferred to the Delhi airport for your flight home.

Radisson Blu Plaza Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner