The Zanskar Canyons trek can be seen as a combination of two previous treks, here are some photos from my Flickr photos to inspire. First up, our 2012 Kanji Canyons:
And our 2013 Zanskar Traverse (the short photo version here):
Click the photo to go to Flickr or use the arrow keys to see them here within this page.
We spend three nights at around 3500m/11,500ft so reasonable acclimatization but if you are new to altitude or to Leh, perhaps plan to arrive one day early and we will arrange transfers and hotel and show you around.
Included in all our Ladakh trips is a sightseeing trip, with or without a cultural guide (your choice) and it is your choice of where to go; many people joining are previous trekkers so have seen some places previously.
If you are more ambitious we can also help you arrange a day or overnight trip to Alchi and Basgo Gompas, a day rafting trip on the Zanskar River or even a mountain bike descent of the Khardung La (best a few days into your Leh sojourn). If you have been working flat out you are welcome to just relax, kick back and de-stress too.
Day 1 - meet Leh 3480m
Phew, after a long series of flights, you are here! Look for a sign with your name on it at the airport, and our wonderful drivers Ang Chuk or Pasang will pick you up.
Jamie meets you at the hotel on your arrival and we discuss altitude over tea/coffee or breakfast and perhaps introduce Leh and show you the better places to eat. Most people crash out for a few hours and spend the day relaxing; do drink plenty of fluids which helps the acclimatization process. We normally go out to dinner together, let's meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm.
2 - Leh
This is a day for sightseeing but with some flexiblity to cope with people who have previously visited Leh and already seen some of the sights. For today perhaps the best plan is to visit some of the world's most revered gompas and monasteries a short distance from Leh. We will help plan and arrange a jeep, and a local cultural guide if you like (included). Usually we arrange as a morning sightseeing trip with lunch at the good restaurant at Thikse or a late lunch back at Leh then you can relax in the afternoon although we can easily arrange a full day trip.
Choosing where to go is the biggest challenge, there are so many special places to visit. To the east is Shey, Thikse, Hemis, Chemde, Thagthok, Stakna, Matho and Stok, although don't plan on visiting all of them in one day.
Heading west out of Leh are Spituk, Phyang, Nyemo where the Indus meets the Zanskar River, and further afield are Basgo, Likir and Alchi.
Prayer time at Matho Gompa - Jamie
3 - drive Lamayuru 3550m
We drive to timeless Lamayuru Gompa, exploring it, and meet our horse team here. Spectacularly set atop a hill, this much photographed gompa on the main Srinagar-Leh road has been an inspiration to travellers.
**This detailed itinerary is a work in progress.**
The sublime Lamayuru monastery - Jamie
4 - trek Shilla Orchard 3250m
Trekking! We stretch the legs crossing the baby Prinkti La at 3750m and camp a little above Shilla in an orchard.
A luxury trekking lunch - Jamie
5 - trek Shillakong 4150m
The gorge here is legendary, and still an adventure as the tame morning stream starts to rage in the afternoon. You are warned!
6 - trek Kanji 3850m via Yongma La 4720m
The reward for the relentless climb is a glorious new vista, delightfully colourful crinkled mountains. One time we stayed at a delightful camp near Dumbur but this trek we will aim for Kanji to experience once of the more picturesque villages there is.
Ornella admires the view from the Yongma La - Jamie
7 - trek Kanji La Base Camp 4345m
Today we move smartly, despite the short trekking distance as we should beat a stream that rages in the afternoon.
8 - trek Kanji Sumdo 4300m via Kanji La 5250m
Glorious! Lunch on top of the pass? We continue down through a delightful canyon and again, if we can cross the river, we continue to good camping. If we can't cross then it is interesting camping!
This detailed itinerary is a work in progress...
27 - drive Leh 3480m
We drive from Zanskar Sumdo back to Leh with Ang Chuk and friends. It is also possible to finish in Manali instead, talk with us.
Leh from Shanti Stupa - Jamie
Day 28 - depart (/Leh 3480m)
Ang Chuk or our other drivers take you to the airport for your morning flight.
Ang Chuk, one of our regular drivers, with his turbo Scorpio jeep - Jamie
If staying, Dzomsa does washing by the kilo and there is plenty to see and do, or just kick back and relax over a variety of meals.
Day 29 - optional departure
You are free to fly out today to Delhi - or to stay in Leh for longer, or journey overland to Manali or Srinagar... The Leh-Delhi flight should get you to Delhi before midday, but do note that on rare occasions it can be delayed a day by bad weather.