better travel photography•COM
Start: 5 July 2022
End: 22 July 2022
Variable price structure:
8 pax £2695 pp
9 pax £2650 pp
10 pax £2595 pp
11 pax £2475 pp
12 pax £2400 pp
excl. flights, based on twinshare
Min 8, max 12 people
Trip is to be confirmed.
Single supplement: £565
flight cost £600
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Impressions of Ladakh Itinerary
Day 1: Delhi
Day 2: Leh
Day 3: Leh
Day 4: Nubra Valley
Day 5: Nubra Valley
Day 6: Leh
Day 7: Hemis
Day 8: Leh
Day 9: Lamayuru
Day 10: Kargil
Day 11: Zanskar
Day 12: Zanskar
Day 13: Zanskar
Day 14: Manali
Day 15: Manali
Day 16: Amritsar
Day 17: Amritsar
Day 18: Tour ends
Website, Images and text © Steve Davey/stevedavey.com 1990 - 2021
Land arrangements are sub-contracted to Intrepid Travel, who have many years experience in running small group adventures.
Bookings are made through the Intrepid Tailor Made Dept. in London not the Intrepid website or Stores. Contact Steve Davey for information
This tour is led by Steve Davey - a professional photographer, whose work appears in publications all over the world. He is the author of the bestselling Unforgettable Places To See Before You Die (BBC Books). Steve recently published Footprint Travel Photography (Footprint Books), which covers everything that you would ever want to know about travelling with a camera. Click for more.
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The high altitude region of Ladakh, nestled into the Indian Himalaya is, quite literally, breathtaking. The pre-dominent religion here is Tibetan Buddhism, and travelling in Ladakh can feel like you are going back in time to a Tibet that sadly no longer exists.
Travel in Ladakh can be grulling though. Many of the roads are rough, there are long drives, and once you get outside of the Leh Valley, facilities are basic. You will be more than rewarded though with stunning scenery, a vibrant culture and the knowledge that you are very much on a road less travelled.
We have timed this trip to take in two festivals: the Leh Polo Festival and the Stongdey Gustor in the remote Zanskar Valley. We also visit the hidden Nubra Valley, after crossing one of the highest motorable passes in the world!
The trip will include extensive photography tuition from professional travel photographer, Steve Davey, countless photo opportunities and the company of fellow photography enthusiasts.
Our adventure starts in the capital city, Delhi, where we will all meet to prepare for our journey into the wilds of Ladakh. Delhi is a busy, bustling city, and depending on when you arrive you could explore the spice market, or some of the Mughal tombs or even the historic Delhi Fort.
Flights to Ladakh leave quite early in the morning, and by lunchtime you will be in the main city of the region, Leh. The altitude of Leh is 3500 metres, and you are advised to take things quite easy for the rest of the day to avoid any problems with altitude.
Leh is a fascinating city, set in a wide valley, and ringed by atmospheric mountains. Perched on the top of the old town is the Leh Palace, which was modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa in Tibet.
We will have a day to explore this fascinating town before driving to the Nubra Valley. This involves crossing what is claimed to be the second highest motorable pass in the World, the Khardung La at 5359 m (17,582 ft). There is often snow at this elevation - even in the height of the Indian Summer!
We swiftly drop down into the Nubra Valley,a truly remote part of a very remote region! We will be spending a couple of nights in the valley, exploring monasteries, traditional village and hopefully photographing a smattering of Bactrian Camels - a reminder that this used to be part of an ancient trade route.
After another trip over the Khardung La Pass we spend a night in Leh to catch our breath before heading out to explore the rest of this fascinating region.
following the start of the Leh- Manali Highway, we explore the Leh Valley, calling in at the Shey Palace, Thiksey and Hemis Monasteries. Staying locally we hope to hear the morning chanting at Hemis, before taking in the start of the Leh Polo Festival. This should be a great chance to shoot some amazing local portraits, as well as some exciting action shots of the polo.
At the end of a long day, we will return to Leh before heading out to the Wild West of Ladakh.
Our first stop down the Srinagar-Leh Highway takes us to the glorious monastery at Lamayuru. The views across the valley to the Monastery perched on the top of a ridge are fantastic, especially as the sun sets in the evening.
We then drive on to the town of Kargil - scene of an armed conflict between Pakistan and India just some twenty years ago! We then leave the Highway and hit the atmospheric and scenic back road leading to the Zanskar Valley.
This was always a hidden part of Ladakh, only reachable via a three day drive from Leh, but has recently been connected by a new road leading out to Himachal Pradesh. Before this, Ladakh only had two land routes to the rest of the country, and these were often impassable during the long Winter months.
The new road has been under construction for some time, and should be finished by the time that we run the trip. It will make Zanskar easier to reach though, and so this is the perfect time to visit, before it fully opens up to the rest of the country.
We have timed our visit to the Zanskar Valley to coincide with the Stongdey Gustor festival. This is a relatively small festival, but should be less crowded and more photogenic than others in the Valley.
We will also have time to explore the rest of the Zanskar Valley before heading down the new road to Manali, in Himachal Pradesh.
Manali is a fascinating town, and an amazing destination in its own right. There are a number of historic Hindu temples, and the atmosphere is very Alpine - a shock after the barren wilds of Ladakh.
Manali is still a very remote corner of India. It is a massive drive to Delhi, but a shorter one to the city of Amritsar in the Punjab. This also throws up the possibility of visiting the fantastic Golden Temple complex - in my opinion the most beautiful and spiritual building in India. We will also head to see the crazy closing ceremony on the Pakistan border.
One of the great advantages of heading to Amritsar is that as well as copious flights to Delhi and Mumbai, there are many direct flights to various cities in Europe - making it a great way to avoid the long hack back to the capital!
This is an unashamedly adventurous tour. Outside of the main cities, journey times are long and conditions basic. Your reward though will be visiting some of the most stunning and atmospheric parts of the world, and seeing sights that very few people in this world will ever see. You should think carefully though whether this trip is for you - especially if you have ever suffered from altitude sickness or have any heart conditions. Please do speak to us, or seek medical advice if you are at all concerned.
The drive to Zanskar is a long but stunning and rewarding drive. In Zanskar, you are at least two long days drives to get to any decent airports! You can repeat the long drive back to Leh to fly home to Delhi or you can drive for at least two days to get to Srinagar - a destination which is often closed due to the political situation in Kashmir. We have opted to do something even more adventurous, and take the newly constructed Zanskar to Manali road. This takes us into the main city of the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh.
After a day to relax and explore we will then drive to the Northern City of Amritsar. The journey here is shorter than the drive to Delhi, and you get to explore one of the most beautiful buildings in India: the Golden Temple.. From Amritsar you can easily fly to Delhi, but there are many direct flights from here to Europe.
The elephant in any room at the moment is the Covid19 situation around the World. As I write this, India is in the middle of a brutal second wave of this disease, but we have to hope that things will get better and that international travel will be possible again. This is not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of so many people in destinations all around the world.
I am in touch with many people in India and in other destinations and they are suffering as all of their incomes have collapsed. Whilst there are some harms arising from travel, it is a fantastic way to get micro-finance to people in very poor and remote locations.
Covid19 will change the way that we travel and the way that we organise our trips. One of the main things is that on all of my trips Covid Vaccinations are now compulsory. This is to protect the other people on the trip, as well as the people that we encounter on our travels. Quite simply, I do not want to be responsible for future infections in the region. Obviously, if you have a medically certified exemption, then this policy won't apply to you - although it remains to be seen whether local restrictions might still apply. You can see more about this Covid19 policy here.
Covid has also prompted our variable price policy, as it allows us to still run our trips without making a crushing loss - even if a number of people pull out at the last minute. This variable prices are shown in the trip information box and the implications of the policy policy can be seen here.
We, and Intrepid Travel, are in the process of working out revised booking conditions for future private trips. These will have different cancellation and confirmation terms to past trips and also to the scheduled trips offered by Intrepid Travel. Any bookings will be pending until the new booking conditions are established and will be subject to these conditions. A summary of what will be covered in these conditions can be seen on the booking conditions link on the booking page.
Highlights of this trip
• Breathtaking Leh
• Remote Nubra Valley
• Hemis Monastery
• Zanskar Monastery Festival
• Driving the Zanskar Highway
• Golden Temple of Amritsar
• Photography tuition