The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but having new eyes.
Better words couldn’t have been said than what Marcel Proust mentioned above. In contrast, everyone loves to travel; not all go beyond the star attractions, especially when going on a Leh Ladakh road trip. Travel, if done responsibly, can bring us up close to some of our planet’s most stunning natural wonders and connect us with unique cultures around the globe. Moreover, it also has the power to change places and the lives of the people who live there – for better or worse. Through our latest venture – TSW Trips – we want to change locals and travellers’ lives for the better through our specially curated sustainable trips. Let’s explore offbeat places like a local in a sustainable way.
Launching TSW Trips
Being a full-time traveller who has travelled to around 70 countries worldwide and 25+ states in India, I think I know a bit about our beautiful planet. People often ask me for my advice when planning their trips and often ask me if they could join me on my travels.
“Happiness is only real when shared,” said Christopher McCandless. So, here we are, sharing our joy of visiting offbeat places in search of untold stories with you.
Presenting TSW Trips exclusively curated for you that I’ve personally experienced not just once but many times. Trips that are highly personalised, completely offbeat and experiential. Most importantly, they are sustainable and would benefit the economically challenged local communities at the grassroots.
Why we chose Ladakh as the first destination for TSW Trips?
My second innings in life (aka my travel career) was a gift from Ladakh. If Ladakh had not happened, I, Archana Singh, would not have left the corporate world to make my passion (travel) my profession.
As I start a new chapter of my travel life, I thought of going back to the drawing board and starting from where I took the first step – Ladakh. Moreover, having visited Ladakh 7-8 times, I know a bit of the place. I have some outstanding local experts who are keen to show the hidden gems of their homeland.
TSW Trips to Offbeat Ladakh is an initiative to help you get in touch with the true essence of Ladakh. An essence that goes beyond star attractions to take you to the heart of “Lama Land” that lives in its villages. Allow us to take you on a journey that will show you Ladakh in a different light altogether.
Through this trip, you will get an opportunity to experience the unique cultures, artisanal cuisines, extraordinary adventures and awe-inspiring landscapes of Ladakh. You’ll get to meet and interact with the local indigenous communities that are almost on the verge of extinction, visit notable monasteries, and experience local food that hardly anyone knows. The tour will be guided by locals and your very own Archana Singh (half Ladakhi herself by now), who have full knowledge of the local terrain and sites that provide overwhelming experiences.
Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll see in Ladakh with TSW.
When is the Travel planned?
15th-22nd August 2021
What will you experience in our Sustainable Road Trip to Leh Ladakh?
Offbeat Ladakh itinerary for 7N/8D
Day 01 –: Leh Arrival.
Traditional Ladakhi welcome followed by a full day rest to acclimatise well before exploring Ladakh. The two highlights of the day would be – firstly, a short introductory presentation about Ladakh, its history and culture to better understand the destination. Secondly, experiencing a Tibetan medicine system established during the 7th century.
Overnight in Leh.
Day 02 – Visit the Monastery, Nunnery, Market and Shanti Stupa
We will start early morning to attend the morning prayers with the monks at a 16th-century monastery, followed by a riverside breakfast on the banks of the Indus River. Later, we will visit a local nunnery to learn the secrets of spirituality from the nuns of Ladakh. In the afternoon, we will go on a heritage walk of the Leh town that was once the hub of traders and artists on the silk route. We will round off the day with a visit to Shanti Stupa, a symbol of peace sitting atop the cliff. We would witness the golden hour with soul-soothing reverberating Buddhist chants.
Overnight in Leh.
Day 3: Leh to Aryan Valley via Alchi
After breakfast, we’ll leave for Aryan Valley, ‘the Land of Aryans”. The inhabitants are believed to be the descendants of Alexander’s army. The latter is believed to have wandered on their expedition some two thousand years ago. Besides tourists, Aryan Valley has gained a lot of attention from historians, filmmakers and anthropologists. En-route the valley, we’ll pass through villages that became a household name during Kargil War. Interestingly, these villages are also considered the most fertile in the entire region and produce the best of the apricots and apples in the valley. While interacting with the locals, we’ll taste the fresh apricots straight from the orchards.
On the way, we will pass through Pather Sahib Gurudwara, Magnetic hill, Confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers and reach Alchi, where we will visit the oldest monastery of Ladakh, which has unique architecture and rare wall paintings.
Overnight at the Homestay run by the local family to savour authentic Aryan cuisine.
Day 4: Aryan Valley Village tour and Apricot Harvesting.
After breakfast, we will go on a guided tour of the village and apricot fields to relish the fresh ripe fruit. Later we will enjoy authentic local Aryan cuisine over lunch. In the evening, we will have cultural performances by the locals while sipping the local grapevine.
Overnight in Aryan Valley.
Day 05 – Aryan Valley back to Leh.
After breakfast, we will bid goodbye to the Aryans and drive back to Leh via the same route. Reach Leh by evening as we will stop by at various places en-route. Evening you’ll be free to explore the market on your own.
Overnight at Leh.
Day 06- River Rafting in Zanskar river.
Ladakh is known for adventure, and a visit to Ladakh would be incomplete without indulging in one of the most adventurous activities – white water river rafting on Zanskar river and July-August are the best months for this activity when the river gets swollen with water. You can raft on rapids up to grade IV. Hot lunch will be served at the rafting location itself. It’s almost a full day activity.
The evening will be free to explore the Leh market or any other place you want to explore by yourself. Overnight in Leh.
Day 7: Visit PAGIR and Artisanal Alchemy.
The experiences that we will have today will stay with us for the rest of our lives simply because, with the first one, you will impact and contribute to making someone’s life better positively. The second one will leave a long-lasting impression on your taste buds by experiencing the authentic local Ladakhi cuisine that no one knows about.
We’ll start our day by visiting PAGIR (Peoples Action Group for Inclusions and Rights), a Leh based NGO run by the disabled hailing from various parts of Ladakh. The organisation has been working tirelessly for the last thirteen years to welfare of the disabled communities of Ladakh. The artisans, who are primarily differently-abled, works for preserving the environment and promote the livelihoods of communities engaged in waste management. They turn waste raw materials like paper, cloth, plastic or cd into decorative and meaningful products. They even make sustainable bricks from waste. You can not only see them working, but you’ll be able to try your hands too at making your own gift items with recycled materials.
After this life-transforming experience, we will experience a specially curated Ladakhi artisanal meal by an exceptional local expert. Overnight at Hotel
Day 08- Departure
Tour Ends but not the experiences.
Or you can extend your trip by two more days to experience any of the below destinations at an extra cost.
Option 1- Khardungla Pass/ Nubra Valley (Minimum 2 PAX)
Option II- Pangong Lake (Minimum 2 PAX)
Option III- Tsomoriri (Minimum 2 PAX)
Day 09- Return to Leh
Day 10- Departure
Get early drop back to the airport for a flight back home with happy memories of Travel See Write in Ladakh.
Disclaimers – If the situation worsens because of COVID, we will cancel the trip and refund the entire fees of the trip as the safety of locals and travellers is most important for us.
Only ten people. First-come, first-serve basis.
Here is a glimpse of different experiences you’ll have in Ladakh:
How much will it cost?
The cost of the entire Trip – Rs 45,000/-
Tour Inclusions for 7N8D trip:
· Accommodation on twin sharing basis
· Meal Plan – Breakfast & Dinner
· Flight Tickets
· Any kind of Insurance
· Museum or Palace Tickets
· Beverages, telephone calls, items of a personal nature, and personal services.
· Anything not included in ‘Tour inclusions’
· Additional days
· For cancellations received up to 30 calendar days before the scheduled departure; a 25% cancellation fee will be charged.
· For cancellations received 15 -29 calendar days before the scheduled departure date; a 60% cancellation fee will be charged.
· For cancellations received 7 -14 calendar days before the scheduled departure date; an 80% cancellation fee will be charged.
· For cancellations received within 7 calendar days before the scheduled departure date, a 100% cancellation fee will be charged.
Who should not join TSW Trips?
While TSW trips are open to all, I would request the following people not to join who
- Could you not care about our planet
- Interested in visiting only touristy places
- Are penny wise pound foolish
- Are loud, too demanding and quarrelsome
- Won’t adjust to local traditions, food & culture
- Don’t have an open mind
- Are not punctual
- Have heart ailments
- Have young kids
What will be the end result of TSW trips?
While you’ll make life long memories at the end of the trip, the locals will earn their livelihood from showcasing their land and culture. Our close association with local Ladakhi communities will take us beyond the majestic mountains and high passes to experience the local Ladakhi Life most authentically!
Additionally, we will ensure that we leave only footprints while making memories. We will leave no trash behind throughout our trip and will try to neutralise our carbon footprint to zero.
Why is Travel See Write focusing on Sustainable Tourism?
The flora and fauna that we discover during our travels are essential to the local people who live in the places we visit. Indigenous communities tend to have an incredibly intimate relationship with the natural world. They rely heavily on the land and its resources for their traditional ways of life.
As Responsible Travellers, we must take care to protect the local lands and ecosystems that we visit. Because while these places are destinations to us, locals call them home. Let’s not destroy others home for our pleasure.
So, ready to join me on my first ever specially curated sustainable road trip to Leh Ladakh?
If yes, email at [email protected] to book your slot. Hurry up! Limited slots.