Hemis National Park – The Wildlife Trail

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6 days
Markha Valley

Colorful valley of Ladakh with one house village

Hemis National Park – The high altitude protected area on earth and home to vulnerable snow leopards.

Why this experience is unique?

  • Exploring geology of the cold desert
  • Hiking through high altitude national park
  • Stay in homestay at remote village
  • Life of locals living in national park
Experience Details

Witness first hand the most majestic creatures of the Himalayan Cold Desert. Winter is the best time to explore the high altitude wildlife and your best chance to check off ‘see a live snow leopard’ from your bucket list! Hemis National Park is India’s largest protected wildlife area and have the highest density of snow leopards anywhere in the world. Passing through the snow-laden mountains, view frozen waterfalls and walk on a frozen river.

Your Day by Day Journey
Day 1 and 2: Arrive and acclimatize
  • Arrive in Leh and acclimatize
  • Visit local heritage and town
  • Observe the geology of cold desert

Day 1Acclimatize in local homestay

We will pick you up from the Leh airport and transfer you to your eco-friendly homestay in Leh (11,500ft). You will be resting today and acclimatizing yourself to the High-Altitude environment amidst the picturesque Himalayan landscape. This day is called the Acclimatization day and is required to adjust your body to the low oxygen levels of this altitude.

Day 2Shanti Stupa & Leh Market

Before we step into the villages of Ladakh we would acquaint ourselves with the Ladakhi culture, heritage, and lifestyle. As per your choice, you can pick local places to visit. Hall of Fame, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Central Asian Museum – these are the places we recommend you to visit. Come back after spending a day doing sightseeing and rest in the same homestay.

Day 3 to 4: Hike to see the wildlife
  • Hike through the high altitude national park
  • Spot the Himalayan wildlife
  • Stay in one house village

Day 3Hiking in Hemis National Park

After having breakfast, start from Leh and drive to the village of Zingchen. Here the road ends and you will start the trek towards Yurutse that is about 4-5 hrs away. The route passes through some of the most enchanting landscapes, entirely through the Hemis National Park. It is time to keep an eye on the wildlife in the surrounding mountains. Reach the village Yurutse and relax in the homestay. A bowl of hot soup and a freshly cooked organic meal would be nothing less than a luxury.

Day 4Spot the wildlife

Hemis National Park is the largest protected area in India and there are numerous wild trails to be explored near Yurutse. There is ample opportunity to spot species like the marmots, the Himalayan pika, Tibetan brown fox and if you are lucky, the elusive snow leopard as well. You can explore multiple trails near the village today to spot the wildlife. Patiently stay back in the village to see these rare species. Also, enjoy today the hospitality of Yurutse homestay.

Day 5 to 7: In Snow Leopard’s vicinity
  • Hike to village known for Snow Leopards
  • Learn about the snow leopard folklores
  • Back to Leh city

Day 5Hike to Rumbak

Today you will hike to a nearby village Rumbak and stay at the homestay. The village is very well known for spotting snow leopards. Hear the folklore that locals would share about snow leopards and other animals. You can also buy small woolen toys that the villagers make, resembling the wild animals.

Day 6Hike down and drive to Leh

After spending the morning in the village you will hike through the park back till the road. The 3 hrs hike passes through the park till the road point. Drive back to Leh city and come to the homestay in Leh. After freshen-up, you can spend the evening in Leh market. You can also buy Pashmina or other local crafts.

Day 7Fly back

On the last day, the tour ends post breakfast in the homestay. One can fly back or keep exploring Ladakh for next few days.

What it includes?

6 nights in village family homestay
All meals
Responsible Traveller’s Kit
Tour Guide
Entrance Fees
All transportation in the destination location

What it excludes?

Air fare
Travel visa and insurance
Bottled water
Room service
Any private expenses

Is this Experience right for you?

Are you travelling because you need some time away from your urban life? Does living a village life in the mud house in the mountains excite you? Are you ready to truly live the local lifestyle? If your answer is yes, take up this experience that will transport you to a different world. You might not get the internet here but you will also not feel the need for it as you will be busy exploring the unique sites, mountain views, and village life. The luxury here is living at the beautiful mountain destination, getting freshly cooked organic food at every meal, and having happy locals offering their warm hospitality.

Hear from communities

  • Guests like to eat our Ladakhi food. They say it is delicious, even when it is prepared by an elderly ama (mother) like me. I always make sure I serve them the cleanest and healthiest food. My husband is a copper artist. When guests leave us, they say ‘Julley’, and hug us. It makes us feel happy.

    Tsering Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Sumda Chun
  • I became a Mountain Homestay Host in 2018, and I have hosted many travellers since then. Running a homestay has helped me and my family a lot. Not only is the solar set up in our house useful for us, but even travellers prefer to stay in our homestay because of it.

    Rigzin Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Photolalok
  • The training we got in astronomy turned out to be a life-changing experience for our village. I felt happy and proud while mapping the position of the planets and sharing the secrets of the universe with the tourists. Tourists told me that even they didn’t know so much about the dark skies!

    Tsewang Dorjey
    Astropreneur - Maan
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