Changpas and Hidden Lakes of Ladakh

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8 days

In the land of nomads of Tibet

A journey to the Changthang plateau – a home to the nomadic community migrated from Tibet

Why this experience is unique?

  • Unexplored places
  • Exploring ancient routes
  • Visiting geothermal site
  • Pashmina carpet weaving
Experience Details

At an average altitude of 14,600 meters above sea level, the Changthang plateau is one of the least populated areas of the world. The region has various high-altitude lakes, including the world-famous Pangong-Tso Lake. The vast plateau stretches from Ladakh in India to about a thousand miles east into Tibet and is home to the Changpa nomads who live all year through in these harsh conditions.

Chushul is one such nomadic villages of Ladakh which offers an enriching experience of the nomadic lifestyle. Chushul also happens to be the last border village of Ladakh. Village women do carpet weaving from pashmina which is a specialty of Changthang. Through homestay-based tourism we are engaging tourists to experience the nomadic culture, aiming alongside to improve the lives of this community. The region has breathtaking views, some unexplored lakes and endemic wildlife.

Your Day by Day Journey
Day 1 and 2: Explore the main town
  • Arrive in Leh
  • Sight-seeing in Leh

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 and 4: Begin the journey to see mystical lakes
  • Scenic drive alongside the Indus river
  • Visit Hemis Monastery
  • Stay with locals

Day 3Drive to Sakti

After breakfast in Leh, we will start the journey towards Sakti, the last village before crossing the mighty ChangLa to reach Chushul the next day. The village situated in the mountains of Ladakh is the place one should spend time in to see the real rustic Ladakh. Visit the Takthok (meaning stone roof) Monastery in Sakti Village, built in mid-16th century. The monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect. In the evening, you can meet the family and settle in one of the beautiful homestay. Your host is a retired army personnel and has a lot of stories to share with you.

Day 4Visit the Hemis Monastery

The village exploration continues today. Visit one of the wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh – Hemis Monastery. Bulit in 11th century, Hemis Monastery has a vast collection of Thankas, gold statues, valuable stones and much more. One can visit the museum that has stored the various treasures of the monastery and the sacred hermitage. This could be your day to be relaxed in the most picturesque location. Surrounded by mountains, a beautiful sunny day, and a lot of organic healthy food will be something to restore your energy. Drive back to Sakti Village and spend time with your host and accompany them in their daily chores and fields. The day will end in the same homestay in Sakti.

Day 5 to 7: Journey to the lake with turquoise waters
  • Drive to the remote lake in the region
  • Meet the nomadic community
  • Drive via ancient route to last Indian village

Day 5Drive to Chushul via Pangong Lake

You will drive to Chushul – The last village before China border through some mesmerizing views. The village situated in the mountains of Ladakh is the place one should spend time in to see the real rustic Ladakh. If you remain observant, you can spot ‘Kiang’ (wild ass) and marmots along with the famous Pangong Lake which you will not miss. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in the region with turquoise waters against the backdrop of mountains. You will spend some time at the lake. On reaching Chushul you will meet the local nomadic community here. In the evening enjoy some authentic Ladakhi dinner and settle in beautiful mud house homestay.

Day 6Spend a day with nomads of Changthang

The village exploration continues today. Chushul village has a history of 1962 Indo-China War. RezangLa War Memorial is the true testament of valor and respect where one can easily witness the history of battle, our soldiers and know their stories. On your way back to meet the Pashmina Herders, visit the hidden Mipam lake in the outskirts of village. Surrounded by mountains, a beautiful sunny day, and a lot of experiences to witness with nomads. One can spend time with the herders and learn about the process of dehairing, weaving carpets and their daily chores. The day will end in the same homestay in Chushul.

Day 7Drive to Leh

After bidding goodbye to the lovely hosts in Chushul, you will start driving back to Leh. On the way, we stop to see a magical and quite unknown areas in Ladakh. Sato Kargiyam route offers pristine landscapes of huge pasture lands with hardly any tourists. You will stop to see the magnificent views and spend some time to enjoy it. After the excursion, you will drive back to Leh and check-in to the homestay and enjoy some comfort.

Day 8Fly back

After having a good breakfast, you will be heading back to Leh airport. You will be leaving the land of mystical mountains with loads of beautiful memories and a wish to come back again.

What it includes?

7 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

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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