We had an amazing trip that exceeded our expectations ... The places we visited, the accommodations you chose, the quality of the guides, the itinerary, and all the logistics were excellent.
A couple from the Dominican Republic

Searching for Snow Leopards: A Himalayan Mountain Adventure

The sneaky Snow Leopard proves a rare sight to see. The cat prowls the Himalayan Mountains, lurking in the shadows of dawn and dusk. Thankfully, Norbu - an unparalleled expert in the ways of the cat - is prepared to take you through every valley surrounding beautiful Ullay, working with charming locals and utilizing his own talent for tracking to ensure you spot the sneaky Snow Leopard. Begin your journey in lovely Delhi before heading to picturesque Leh to begin the acclimatizing process in preparation for full Snow Leopard-based exploration of incredible Ullay.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Explore the visually and historically spectacular Thiksey Monastery
  • Indulge in local cuisine with meals prepared by your private chef
  • Work with Norbu, a local expert, to locate and spot many Snow Leopards
  • Adventure through Ullay, learning local lore and befriending your host family
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1

Arrive in beautiful Delhi. Meet your guide upon landing and transfer to the elegant Leela Palace hotel for a restful evening before your adventure truly commences.

Day 2

Rise early and enjoy a delicious breakfast before taking a brief flight to lovely Leh. Once here, check in at the luxurious Hotel Grand Dragon before gently acclimatizing yourself to the 11,400 ft elevation. The next few days are a mandatory acclimatization period while also providing time to familiarize yourself with the Snow Leopard and your mountainous surroundings.

Day 3

After breakfast, attend a lesson at the incredibly Snow Leopard conservatory. Then, enjoy a guided exploration of the picturesque Thiksey Monastery, being sure to take in the many unique and beautiful elements of Buddhism and Ladakh history this architectural wonderland offers. After, return to the Hotel Grand Dragon for a night of refreshment and relaxation.

Day 4

Rise early and enjoy a scenic drive east of the village. Indulge your senses in the extraordinary scenery this piece of paradise displays. Additionally, prepare your eyes for sightings of Golden Eagles, Blue Sheep, Bearded Vultures, and Red-Billed Choughs. Later, return to Hotel Grand Dragon for a tranquil evening.

Day 5

After breakfast, enjoy a stunning journey west to the village of Ullay. Drive past many areas of both natural and architectural beauty, featuring rivers, mountains and monasteries. The expansive landscape narrows upon entering Ullay, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for nearby Ibex and Snow Leopards as the sun begins to set. Then, retire to your local homestay, Snow Leopard Lodge, for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Day 6

Take time to enjoy the morning, chatting with your charming Ladakhi host family and tasting delicious cuisine prepared by your homestay chef. Then, luxuriate in a slow-paced walk in this stunning village as you continue to acclimate to the ever-increasing elevation. Later, return to your homestay for a warm dinner and a quiet night.

Day 7

Greet Norbu, your friendly and knowledgeable Snow Leopard guide. Listen as he speaks of his dedication and experience tracking these amazing animals. Ullay is not an overly populated town, and Norbu knows exactly which locals to speak with to receive the best Snow Leopard information. As night falls, enjoy a home-cooked meal with your host family before retiring to your room for the evening.

Day 8

After a warm breakfast, join Norbu on an adventure into the first of three nearby Snow Leopard sighting valleys. Use a combination of SUV roads and foot to navigate this winter wonderland of wild potential. After an exciting day of mountain adventure, return to your host family for a delightful meal and intriguing conversation.

Day 9

Enjoy a tasty breakfast before joining with Norbu to explore the second Snow Leopard sighting valley. While looking for the stunning Snow Leopard, keep your eyes peeled for Urial, Ibex, Wolf and Himalayan Fox. Then, return to the main village for a night of relaxation and refreshment.

Day 10

After breakfast, greet Norbu and set off to journey through the third and final Snow Leopard sighting valley. While continuing along your adventure, you are sure to meet many locals, all of whom wish to help your quest. Listen to their stories, as they are full of intriguing lore and local mystery. As the day comes to an end, return to the village for a warm meal and a peaceful night.

Day 11

Enjoy a slow-paced morning as you rise and partake in a wonderful breakfast prepared by your homestay chef. After, explore the charming village with Norbu and decide on the valley areas you would most like to revisit. Be sure to return to your homestay by dusk, as you stand an excellent chance of seeing incredible wildlife from your own front door. Then, enjoy a final night with your host family, reminiscing about your Ullay adventure.

Day 12

After a final breakfast with your lovely host family, it is time to take the scenic drive back to Leh. En route, enjoy a guided exploration of Alchi monastery, where you will see incredible ancient architecture and learn tales of local history. After the day’s adventure is complete, retire to the enchanting Hotel Grand Dragon for the night.

Day 13

Rise early for a delicious breakfast before transferring to the airport for a lovely, brief flight to Delhi. Upon landing, check in to the amazing Oberoi Hotel before partaking in a guided exploration of the city. After, return to Oberoi Hotel for a dinner of local cuisine and a night of relaxation.

Day 14

After breakfast, it is time to take a final stroll through Delhi’s nearby street before heading to the airport. Home or your next incredible destination awaits!


Suggested Accommodations

The Leela Palace

The Leela Palace

Opened in 2011 and located near the heart of Chanakyapuri, the city’s diplomatic enclave, the Leela Palace New Delhi is the newest five-star luxury hotel in the Indian capital. Its 260 rooms and suites combine traditional Indian opulence with sleek contemporary decor and amenities in typical Leela luxury. Dining options include the striking glass-house Qube,offering an eclectic global menu and show kitchens, overlooking the Leela’s gardens; Jamavar for traditional Rajasthani and north Indian cuisine; and new outposts of the acclaimed restaurants Le Cirque (French and Italian) and Megu (Japanese). The Library, meanwhile, is a sophisticated retreat for cocktails, fine whiskeys, cigars, and a collection of first-edition books. The ESPA spa offers a range of Western, Oriental and Ayurvedic-influenced health and beauty treatments, as well as a café, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, relaxation lounge, finishing studio, roof terrace, and sauna, steam and drench rooms. The Leela is approximately a 30-minute drive from Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL).
The Oberoi, New Delhi

The Oberoi, New Delhi

A symbol and staple of elegant Indian hospitality, The Oberoi, New Delhi is a ultra-luxe urban oasis of sophistication and world-class service. An iconic landmark in the New Delhi skyline, this historic hotel enjoys sweeping views of the Delhi Golf Course and Humayun’s Tomb, overlooking crystal blue waters, palm trees and a spectacular white, marble lotus fountain in the glamorous entrance. With incredible restaurants offering up delicious cuisine from around the world, a wide variety of spacious and luxurious suites and a world-class spa, The Oberoi is more than just a hotel - it’s a destination. As an added bonus, for the most discerning of business guests, many suites offer private office spaces and meeting rooms, in addition to the extra level of service offered in Business Travel Plus.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
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