Snow leopards

12 Day Escorted Tour itinerary

Snow Leopard Tour

Spot one of nature's rarest beauties

Many of us have had the opportunity to spot many animals at home in their natural habitats, from elephants to lions and tigers - but not many people can say that they have witnessed snow leopards prowling across the mountainside with their very own eyes. On our 12 day escorted tour, you will head to the Himalayas to Ladakh, said to be one of India's most remote but naturally stunning regions. 

You will arrive in the colourful city of Delhi for one night, before heading to the stark, mountainous terrain, decorated with colourful gompas, prayer flags fluttering in the cold wind and tiny settlements. Discover the towns of Leh, where you will visit the Snow Leopard Conservancy, here you will learn the history and the current threat to this beautiful species, and how they propose to combat them moving forward. Head to Ulley where you will stay for five nights at the Snow Leopard Lodge, the lodge sits at an altitude of 13,000 feet, commanding stunning unobstructed views of the snow-capped peaks that cover this region - it really is a sight to remember. 

This tour really is for those passionate about nature, and those wishing to help protect this stunning animal in its natural surroundings. After the tour, you can either fly home or head to your onward destination. Stay in Delhi for a few more nights for a culinary adventure, or relax on the white sands of the Maldives after your active tour.  

Departures are seasonal from Dec-Feb

Our Experts Recommend:
  • This incredible tour is only available from December through to February.
  • Learn the history and threats facing the magnificent snow leopard.
  • After this active tour, fly to Sri Lanka or the Maldives for relaxation.
  • A minimum of two people are required to guarantee departure.

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
12 days
Guide Price
£6,399 per person
Price based on
Based on January 20 departure from London Heathrow flying with Virgin Atlantic, meal basis as per itinerary (2 adults sharing).
Our guide price gives you an idea of pricing which will vary depending on exchange rates, accommodation, duration, dates, airline and cabin class.
Destination Breakdown
  • 1 Night
  • Leh
    3 Nights
  • Ulley
    5 Nights
  • Leh
    1 Night
  • 1 Night
Options
Group basis, Escorted
Included
  • Accommodation as detailed in itinerary (hotels mentioned can be subject to change)
  • Meals included as detailed
  • International flights into Delhi
  • Internal flight from Delhi to Leh
  • Services of a qualified English speaking guide/snow leopard expert
  • Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in programme
Not included
  • Visa fees
  • Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Beverages during meals
  • Tips for the driver/guide
  • Travel & Health Insurance

Itinerary Breakdown

On your arrival into Delhi International Airport, you will be met and greeted by the tour representative and transferred to your hotel. Check-in and spend time at leisure at the hotel, before your overnight stay.

Overnight Accommodation

  • JW Marriott Aerocity

Begin your day with an early start, along with a packed breakfast, and transfer to the airport to board your flight from Delhi to Leh. Departure is typically at 07:40 am, and you will arrive at about 11:00 am. You will be met on arrival by your guide, and transferred to your hotel. Check in to the hotel, Grand Dragon, where you will spend the rest of the day at leisure. We recommend, for health reasons, to spend the day with minimal activity to allow your body to get used to the rarefied oxygen levels at such high altitudes. 

In late afternoon, take a stroll through the peaceful village of Stok, and engage with the joyous local community. Enjoy a welcome dinner with Ladakhi folk dances at the Stok Palace. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Grand Dragon

Enjoy the day exploring the town of Leh. Walk through the labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars, and visit the Leh Palace and the white-domed Buddhist Shanti Stupa. Your next visit will be to the Snow Leopard Conservancy, where you will learn and be briefed on the history of the snow leopard, and its conservation in the Ladakh region. You will be educated on the threats currently facing this species and what is being done to combat these.  

Overnight Accommodation

  • Grand Dragon

Today after breakfast, set out for an extraordinary drive eastwards towards the Taglang La pass and the villages of Gya, Lhato and Meru. The drive is spectacular, taking you away from the valley of the Indus, up a subsidiary valley, to an extraordinary area that marks the line where the Indian mainland collided with and drove under the Asian landmass. The scenery is dramatic, and you have a chance to spot wildlife including blue sheep, golden eagles and bearded vultures. You will be provided with a packed lunch. 

On the return, there may be time to visit the Thikse monastery, and receive a  special blessing from the monks to ensure good sightings.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Grand Dragon

Today’s road journey is approximately three hours, and takes you travelling westward on the road to Kargil and Srinagar. Following the Indus River, you will pass through the small town of Nimmu – one of the most important settlements of Ladakh, where the Zanskar River meets the Indus. After a little over an hour, you will head north on a road to Likir – one of Ladakh’s famous Buddhist monasteries. This is all snow leopard country. The landscape here is expansive, until you turn off onto a dirt road, winding up a narrow valley, following a stream called the Ulley Chhu. Smaller valleys intersect this area and your guides will have their heads craned at all times, scanning the hillsides and skyline for any silhouettes. This is also excellent ibex country and there are few more evocative sights than a magnificently horned male ibex standing vigil on an impossibly narrow outcropping, a few thousand feet over a plunging cliff.

Ulley village, west of Leh, is an area that is only recently being developed for snow leopard viewing. It is in the centre of three interlocking valleys that support approximately 12 snow leopards, according to last census.

Check into Snow Leopard Lodge. The lodge is located at an altitude of about 13,000 feet. The six room lodge, simply furnished with three bathrooms, and has dining and sitting rooms looking out over the valley and the surrounding hills. The setup is basic but has comfortable beds, toilets and washing facilities.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Snow Leopard Lodge

After your first overnight at Snow Leopard Lodge, you will stay for a further four nights. Ulley is relatively free of tourism, and from here you will explore three valleys, which, apart from snow leopards, are great for finding urial, ibex, wolf, foxes and an array of birds that survive this harsh winter landscape. Over the days you will have the opportunity to venture into the area on foot and by four-wheel drive, with David and his team of expert trackers. They will interact closely with the local people, and use their network of local intelligence to narrow down the likely sites. In the process, there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to gain insight into the region’s folklore, customs and traditions.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Snow Leopard Lodge

The morning drive from Ulley back to Leh will take approximately three hours, visiting an 11th century Alchi Monastery one of the two oldest monastries in Ladakh. The wooden sculptures, stucco images and Indo-Tibetian art are exclusive, and the style is not to be found in any other monastery in Ladakh. After your visit you will continue onwards to Leh to check into Hotel Grand Dragon. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Grand Dragon

An early morning start to catch your flight from Leh back to thriving Delhi. Flight departs 09:30 am and arrives at 11:05 am  (subject to change). On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • JW Marriott Aerocity

Check out of your hotel and either travel home, or why not  spend a few extra nights in Delhi, or alternatively fly to the Maldives or Sri Lanka? Speak to one of our destination specialists to put together your perfect itinerary.  

  • Delhi

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Explore the contrasts and traditions of both Old and New Delhi
    • Visit the bustling bazaars
    • Taste the flavours of New Delhi's colourful street food
    • Visit the Lotus Garden
  • Leh

    Itinerary Highlights

    • A contrast from vibrant Delhi to the tranquillity of Leh
    • A high desert city in the Himalayas
    • Visit the domed hillside Buddhist temple of Shanti Stupa
    • Admire the Thikse Monastery
  • Ulley

    Itinerary Highlights

    • India's home of the snow leopard
    • Stay at the Snow Leopard Lodge to witness these magnificent creatures
    • Stunning views in the Ulley Valley