Upon arrival in bustling Delhi, you will be warmly welcomed by a representative from &Beyond who will assist you to your hotel. You’ll be driven to The Trident Gurgaon, situated just 30 minutes from Delhi’s international and domestic airports in the satellite city of Gurgaon (Gurugram). The wide selection of rooms and suites all look out onto soothing views. Elements of graceful style and sophistication underline all the accommodation interiors. The Pool Bar is a great place to enjoy cocktails, or pop by the interior stylish bar for a premium selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
2 nights, Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh, Ladakh
The Grand Dragon Hotel is located in the heart of the ancient city of Leh, and is amongst the first luxury hotels in Ladakh. The hotel is decorated magnificently with handmade paintings by Gulam Mustafa (First modern Artist of Ladakh) around every corner, and fixtures that are reminiscent of royalty. The entire hotel is wheelchair accessible, for providing differently abled guests with a comfortable sojourn.
The hotel is also centrally heated and solar powered, not only ensuring warmth but also ensuring that all the services are eco-friendly. The rest of the day is at leisure to acclimatize to the high altitude and rarefied air. Leh is at 11400 feet and the flight up from the plains means that you have to acclimatize gently without pushing yourself. Please note: The first day here is the minimum required as you will be going to a higher altitude and will be out in the wilderness exploring. Today is entirely spent resting and acclimatising to the new surrounds and preparing oneself for the days of exciting travel to come.
Spend two nights at Grand Dragon Hotel on full board basis.
3 nights, Brown Bear Lodge, Drass, Indian Himalayas
You’ll be driven to your welcoming accommodation at Himalayan Brown Bear Camp, a homestay in a village located in a bear hotspot. This is an extraordinary opportunity to understand the traditional lifestyle and gather in the kitchen, the heart of a Ladakahi home. There’ll be early morning and evening excursions (small hikes or drives) with a specialist guide in this bear hotspot. Other options range from exploring the greener hillsides of western Ladakh or walking through colourful Shina tribal villages. You will be able to interact with some of the villagers who have real-life stories to tell of their experiences with the bears. The Brown Bear Lodge is currently working with these villagers and has created a sustainable tourism model which involves the local communities.
3 nights, Nimmu House, Nimmu, Indian Himalayas
Be enchanted with a stay in the quaint little town of Nimmu, set amongst glacier cut hillsides and apricot orchards, on the banks of the Indus. This eco-resort is a century-old noble’s residence, a true heritage home. The owners of Nimmu House have turned the restoration into a heritage project to preserve the local culture and architecture, create economic opportunities for the locals and provide travellers with an authentic Ladakhi experience. The village is also gaining prominence as a base for many treks in the region, and its proximity to some renowned monasteries.
Walk and drive with wildlife spotters in the nearby valleys of the Sham region. This area is a showcase of majestic, little-known wildlife species. It’s prime ibex country and there are few more evocative sights than a magnificent horned male Ibex standing vigil on some impossibly high cliff face. There are chances of spotting Himalayan wolves, urials, golden eagles and maybe even the ghost of the mountains, the snow leopard.
3 nights, Tsokar Eco Lodge, Tsokar, Indian Himalayas
This welcoming resort stands at the edge of Tsokar, in picturesque lake and mountain surrounds. The Tsokar Lake is known as the ‘White Lake’ due to the salt water residue on the lake shores. The lake and surrounding wetlands are a haven for wildlife and birds, in particular, the iconic black-necked cranes, but including ruddy shelducks, bar-headed geese, gulls, terns, the great crested grebe, short-toed larks and other migrants that breed on these banks.
You may also wish to visit the ethereally beautiful Tsomoriri Lake and Puga Hot Springs, a vast stretch of the Himalayan valley that is interspersed with geysers and hot springs. It is also home to the Changpa community who are nomadic pastoralists that bring their livestock these lands every year.
1 night, Grand Dragon Hotel, Leh, Ladakh
Following a scenic-rich drive back to Leh, you’ll stay another night at the Grand Hotel, giving extra time to marvel at the striking detail of Gulam Mustafa’s paintings. He was Ladakh’s first modern artist, and his work adorns the hotel. Snow-capped mountain peaks frame the views from the hotel’s dining area.