Join me on an adventure of a lifetime to the remote Ladakh region in Northen India to explore the high-altitude lifestyle of the Ladakhi people.
A unique opportunity to learn more about this beautiful culture and to expand your knowledge about photography.
Scroll down to read the full itinerary.
May 18 - 29, 2020 (due to the recent corona outbreak, this expedition will be rescheduled to 2021, please wait for further notice).
An adventure of a lifetime to the remote Ladakh region in Northern India on the border with Tibet. For 12 days we will traverse the high Tibetan plateau on the look-out for real stories about the Ladakhi people. While doing so, I will teach you all I know about visual story-telling & portrait photography. A unique opportunity to learn more about this beautiful Himalayan culture and to expand your knowledge about photography.
Spectacularly jagged, arid mountains enfold this magical Buddhist ex-kingdom. Picture-perfect gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) surrounded by dramatic rocky outcrops amid whitewashed stupas and mani walls. Colourful fluttering prayer flags share their spiritual messages metaphorically with the mountain breeze. Prayer wheels spun clockwise release more merit-making mantras. Ladakh has much to teach. Most Ladakhis are cash poor yet their traditional mud-brick homesteads are large and virtually self-sufficient in fuel and dairy products, organic vegetables, and barley used to make tsampa (roast barley flour) and chang (barley beer). This expedition to Ladakh is a fantastic opportunity to explore the roof of the world alongside the professional guidance of Pie Aerts. Discover ancient cultures, the historic Silk Route, and the fascinating landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau and the Trans-Himalayas. This is an expedition for those who love to dig deeper and interact with places, people, and cultures along the way. We will look for opportunities to tell meaningful stories about this special place and about the people who live there.
The price of the workshop is $ 3930,- per person . There is room for 4-8 participants. Trip starts and ends in Leh Airport, India.
Cost includes: All the accommodation and meals as mention in the expeditions program (BLD), around the clock photography guidance by Pie Aerts, local English speaking guide, airport transfer and ground transportation.
Price is based on double occupancy: a single supplements of $ 380 will apply*
*Note: We will make every effort to connect you with a roommate should you like to share a room, however, if unable to make a match, the single supplements will be apply.
A deposit of $ 1000,- is required to hold your spot, balance is due 60 day prior to departure.
Day 1: 18th May Arrival & Rest Day: Early morning, depending on your flight schedule arrive at the Kushok Bakula Rinpochee Leh airport where our representatives will receive you and help you with the luggage and belongings. From the airport we will transfer and help you check into you to the hotel we have reserved for you. You are advised to take complete rest for the day to adapt yourself with the new environment at 11,135 feet altitude. In the evening you can visit the Leh Market, Namgyal Tsemo monastery or Shanti Stupa, located on a hilltop near Changspa, reaching the top you will see the beauty of whole Leh town. Overnight stay at Leh Hotel.
Day 2: 19th May Leh To Aryan Valley: After breakfast in the morning, we will start driving to the Dha Hanu in western Ladakh. These villages are also known as the Aryan valley, as the people residing there are believed to be the last remaining of the pure Aryan race. Aryan peoples have distinct facial and physical features, they are also culturally quite different from the rest of Ladakh. The route is along the Leh-Srinagar Highway up to Khaltse and diverts from there to follow the direction of the Indus river. Along the way, we will visit several sightseeing places like Basgo Fort, the power centre when Upper and lower Ladakh used to have different rulers. We will also get to see Sangam, (Confluence of Zanskar & Indus River), the Magnetic Hill etc. Overnight stay at Aryan Hotel.
Day 3: 20th May Aryan Valley To Lamayuru Via Sanjak: In the morning after taking breakfast and exploring the Aryan village of Dha Beema and meet the local peoples. The Valley is one of the warmest in Ladakh and most favourable for agriculture. It is known for delicious apricots, unique flower-used as part of their traditional headdress etc. Later we will drive back alongside the river Indus and Cross over to follow the Khangral-Sanjak route, this route is one of the least used by visitors and have some of the most scenic and remote villages. Along the way, we will visit the Chiktan Fort – Once believed to be as grand as the Leh Palace and an architectural marvel of its time. Further, we will drive to join the Srinagar-Leh Highway and divert towards Lamayuru. Lamayuru monastery is one of the grandest monasteries in Ladakh and is the most important monastery of the Drikung Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. The landscape around the village is also quite unique and resembles the lunar surface, for this Lamayuru is often called the Moonland. Overnight stay at Lamayuru Hotel.
Day 4: 21th May Lamayuru To Leh, Detour To Alchi: In the morning, have breakfast at the GuestHouse, we will start driving back to Leh. We will follow the Srinagar-Leh Highway, also known as NH1D, the roads are mostly wide and well-laid tarmac but consist of innumerable hairpin bends through mountains and beautiful villages. Along the way, we will detour to Alchi Village by crossing over the Indus river. Alchi is a popular tourist spot in the Sham valley, mainly known for its monastery – The Alchi Choskor founded in the 10th century by the renowned translator Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo and is one of the most important monasteries in Ladakh. Unlike most monasteries in Ladakh and the other Himalayan region, it is built on the lower land. Alchi monastery is also known for its well preserved art and paintings dating back to 12th and 13th centuries the arts and paintings are distinctive than usual Tibetan arts found in Ladakh. Later, we will drive back to Leh via the Highway to reach by evening. Overnight stay at Leh Hotel.
Day 5: 22th May Leh To Nubra Valley Via Khardongla: Today we will ride northward from Leh to Nubra valley, which is considered one of the most scenic valleys in the entire trans-Himalayan region. The valley boasts a unique landscape with sand dunes, lush green oasis and snow peaks, along with beautiful monasteries and villages. We will be crossing the Khardungla pass (18,380ft), considered the Highest all weather motorable pass in the world. The Pass has become a dream destination for bikes and adventurous souls from all across the world, we can click some photos, grab a hot tea from the cafeteria and start riding towards Nubra valley. We will drive past the North pull check post, and through the narrow road sand blind curves to reach Diskit in the afternoon. We will visit the Diskit monastery, and the Maitreya Buddha statue which ideally sits atop a small hill overlooking the Shyok valley, the view from there is incredible. Further, we will drive to the Hunder Sand dunes, which is among the most visited place in Ladakh and also enjoy the camel ride. Nubra is the only place in India where these camels exist. OverNight stay at Hunder SandDune view.
Day 6: 23th May Nubra To Turtuk: After breakfast at the camp/Guest House, we will then drive to Turtuk village – a beautiful balti village at the edge of the Line of control. The road runs somewhat alongside the Shayok river and pass through some of the most scenic landscapes and river body. Turtuk, along with the adjacent villages used to be a part of Baltistan and was administered by Pakistan till 1971 before India reclaimed it during the Indo-Pak war. The inhabitants of these villages are ethnic Balti people and has a unique identity and culture distinct from the rest of Ladakh. The region is also known for its beautiful landscape, agriculture. Overnight stay at village Lodge.
Day 7: 24th May Turtuk To Sumoor/Panamik: Early morning after having breakfast, explore the villages of Turtuk, interact with the local Balti people and take some good photography. Later drive back towards Diskit along the same way and further drive towards Sumur village. We will visit the Sumur village and the Samstanling Monastery – one of the most important monasteries in the region. Later, drive further to Panamik known for its Hot Spring , we can also visit the Yarab Tso lake. Overnight stay ta Sumoor eco lodge.
Day 8: 25th May Drive To Pangong Via Shayok Route: Today we will ride to the world famous Pangong lake, probably the most famous attraction of Ladakh. It is the largest brackish lake in Asia and the largest overall at this altitude. The ride involves retracing the route till Khalsar and diverting towards Shayok road. The road from Nubra to Shayok is very less taken but has to be one of the most scenic trails for motorbiking. There will be some water crossings and offroad stretches which will make it more adventurous and fun. The Shayok road merge with the same route to Pangong at Durbuk – a popular halt point for locals and travelers going to Changthang. On reaching Pangong lake, there are many tented accommodations at the starting point of Lake, but we will further ride along the length of the lake towards the Merak, which is ideally the last point up to which a foreigner can go till recently. We will stay at a family homestay at Merak with a local family. The homestay has a beautiful view of the Pangong lake. Overnight at Eco Lodge.
Day 9: 26th May Pangong (Merak) To Hanley Via Tsagala: Early morning, enjoy the sunrise and Photography at the Pangong lake while sipping a warm cup of tea, we will then have our breakfast at the Homestay and start driving towards Chushul, the place known for the Sino-Indian war of 1962. We will further cross the Tsaga-la and then to the Loma bend. Along the way, we will get to explore the Changthang plateau and nomadic life of the locals in the region. Arrive at Hanley village in the evening. Hanley is one of the most remote villages of Ladakh in the Changthang Plateau, it is best known for it’s clear sky and stargazing. The clear sky also means it is the preferred place for India Astronomical Institute which have several giant telescope and observatory. Hanley also has a big monastery, which is said to be the place where the lion King of Ladakh – Singe Namgyal breath his last after returning from a expedition against the Mongols. Explore the Hanley village and visit Hanley Monastery, one of the grand monasteries by visited by very few people. Hanley is also famous for astrophotography and the stargazing due to its spotless clear sky. Overnight stay at Hanley Eco Lodge.
Day 10: 27th May Hanley To Korzok Tsomoriri Via Loma Bend: Early in the morning, we will have our breakfast at the Guesthouse start riding towards Loma bend. We will then divert towards Sumdo and head to Tsomorriri lake. We will get to see some scenic villages along the way in Rupsho, followed by some off-road trails to reach Tsomoriri. Tsomoriri is the large lake with wetlands reserves surrounding the lake. Numerous migratory birds and wildlife throng the region during the season. Close to the lake is the scenic village of Korzok and the monastery of Korzok. Overnight stay at village Eco Lodge.
Day 11: 28th May Tsomoriri To Leh Via Tsokar: Today, after observing the Sunrise at Tsomoriri, we’ll start early via Polokongka-la (16207ft) towards the Tsokar lake, which is known for the salt deposits, rich wildlife and birding spots. We will also encounter the hot springs and sulphur deposits at the Puga valley. The roads will be a mix of patchy tarmac and off roads amidst flat stretches. We will halt at the Tsokar Lake, known for its salt deposits and also visit the Thukje Monastery. Tsokar and the surrounding wetlands are know to host some of the rarest wild animals and migratory birds in the world, it is a favourite spot for those who love birding and photography. Later we will drive along the bumpy road towards Debring, and take right to head towards Leh crossing through Taglang La – The Highest point on the Manali-Leh Highway and pass through the village of Rumtse, Gya and Meru. Reach Leh by evening. Overnight stay at Leh Hotel.
Day 12: 29th May Departure: In the morning, check out from the hotel and leave for the airport to catch your flight back to the next destination.. Ladakh expedition ends with lots of memories and adventures to relate back once back home.
In the past few years, Dutch photographer Pie Aerts has traveled to some of the most remote corners of our planet. From the deep jungles of West Papua to the high plains of Bolivia and from the tiniest Himalayan mountain villages to the beating heart of the Okavango Delta, always on a quest to connect with people through photography and to capture the unfiltered reality of everyday life.
I am proudly partnering with RemotExpeditions for this trip, one of the leading companies in hosting photographic adventures to some of the most remote areas around the world.
Remotexpeditions was founded by adventurer photographers with the passion for remote populations, their lifestyle and the desire to understand different culture on a deeper level. During the last ten years they have been travelling in the most remote and neglected countryside areas. Remotexpeditions was born of the desire to share photographic adventures and experiences with fellow photographers—whether amateur or professional, beginner or expert.
They strongly believe that the human race and its diversity is the greatest thing we can experience. When you travel with them on an expedition, you’ll enjoy boundless opportunities to be surrounded by natural wonders and exotic wildlife, to explore remote lifestyle, to learn about different cultures and share local traditions.