“A two week guided small group holiday, travelling through the Himalayas, India and Ladakh. This is a holiday that is all about moving mountains.”
Amritsar | Golden Temple | Dharamsala | McLeod Ganj | Dalai Lama's temple | Tibet Museum | Mandi | Rewalsar temple | Jispa |Rohtang Pass |Keylong | Tsokar Lake | Leh | Shey and Tikse monasteries | Likir Monastery | Alchi | Lamayuru monastery | Basgo Fort
Description of Amritsar to Leh Himalayan holiday in India
Himalayan holidays do not have to be about trekking. As this itinerary shows, they can also be a cultural odyssey through ancient mountain landscapes, visiting ancient temples, magnificent monasteries and taking in tranquil and touching traditions. Travelling in a small group, with local expert guides, this Himalayan holiday starts in Amritsar, where the Sikh Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple is a superb start to your trip.
Then from one of the most important Sikh sites to one of the most important Buddhist ones, in Dharamsala where Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, now lives. In addition, we will visit nearby Mcleodganj, also known as Little Dhasa, and home to the exiled Tibetan government.
This holiday then journeys deeper into the Himalayas, after a night in Manali, an Indian mountain resort town at the at the northern end of the Kullu Valley , with exquisite views from its 2050m Himalayan elevation. From here, we journey across some of the famous Tibetan Plateau, also known as the Roof of the World as it is the highest plateau on earth, averaging 4,500 m. This leads us into Ladakh, where the ancient cultures and extraordinary mountain scenery, colourful monasteries and soulful Ladakhi people are the icing on the cake on a holiday that is not only magnificent but, for many, extremely moving.
Note: When possible we will include Ladakh’s festivals into our itinerary, with planning done well in advance to time trips around these spectacular events when temples are opened, masked dancing is a site to behold and, above all, you get to experience local tradition at its most striking.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Amritsar to Leh Himalayan holiday in India
Accommodation & Meals: The accommodation for this trip is a mixture of hotels, lodges and one night full service camping. You will notice that our hotels employ locally and use local produce from markets in the area wherever possible. Camping is very eco-friendly, but the hotels are also waste and energy conscious and have their own policies like asking guests to turn off the power when leaving a room in order to save electricity. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties- for example, Amritsar is a great place to try Lassi (Yogurt Drink) , Faluda (Ice cream), Aloo Paratha's, Samosa's and Chai. One of the hotels is family run, so clients can even walk into the kitchen and see how meals are prepared.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Community: Our Himalayan Community Support Projects have been helping people in the Markha Valley, Ladakh since the floods in 2006, when we helped people rebuild homes. Since then we have been involved with the local women’s groups and Youth Organisation for the Conservation and Preservation of the Hems National Park in building and running a successful Eco Café. The focus is using only locally made or organic produce and eliminating the plastic bottles littered around the Valley with the use of a UV water filter for trekkers. The Ladakhi women have been trained in needle and flat felting in order to make and sell felt snow leopards, ibex and blue sheep as souvenirs. This has had great economic, social and environmental benefit for the area.
Local Craft & Culture: There are several opportunities to support local people and their crafts throughout this tour by buying handmade products and souvenirs. In Dharamsala, we visit the Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture, where Tibetan refugees are provided with training, education and employment. Here we stop by different workshops where students are learning Thangka painting, wood and bronze statue making, carving etc. At the end of the tour clients can purchase items manufactured in the Institute, which provides a huge support to the initiative and its students.
Charity For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.