Ladakh: Best Boutique Hotels, Luxury Camps, Luxury Glamping, Off-Beat Locations, Unique Stays and Itineraries

Ladakh:

A land of varying landscapes, from white deserts to blue lakes, ice-capped mountains to lush valleys, Ladakh, like a dream captured in a snow globe, is a wildly beautiful milieu set between the Kunlun Mountains and the Himalayas.

Located in a valley just north of the Indus River is Leh, the capital of Ladakh, a region often referred to as ‘Little Tibet’. The centuries-old culture of this picturesque capital city finds expression in its monuments, monasteries, oral literature, art forms, fairs and festivals.

The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC):

The Ultimate Travelling Camp, is a unique concept where guests can access some of the most remote and beautiful corners of Ladakh whilst staying in true glamping style.

Choose from The Chamba Camp Thiksey, Ladakh where the camp sits at the base of the mighty Thiksey monastery in an idyllic meadow setting in the Leh region. Or head over the high mountain passes and into the deep interiors of Diskit into the enchanting Nubra Valley where the second Chamba Camp is based. Both Camps combine to make a fully and vibrant itinerary of land of the Lamas. Both camps operate throughout the summer months from Mid-May until October.

The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Chamba Camp Thiksey: Open from 15th May to 10th October, 2021:

The Chamba Camp is situated at the foot of the Thiksey Monastery and is the first Indian ‘luxury glamping’ experience offers a wonderful blend of old world charm and contemporary luxury.

The camp has 14 air-conditioned tents and overlooks Thiksey Monastery. Each tent offers en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, crisp luxury linens, safe deposit, laundry service, valet service and private decks offering views over the Monastery.

The beauty of Chamba Camp, besides its rural surroundings, is the fact that it is off the beaten track yet doesn’t compromise on luxury. Guests can spend the days exploring nearby remote villages, many Buddhist Monasteries, polo, rafting, trekking and archery, and by night they can unwind at the camp with some gourmet cuisine and relaxed vibes.

Dining at the camp is an exceptional experience, guests can choose where to dine, be it in the restaurant, in the organic vegetable garden or by the fish pond, each location provides a special experience. The camp chef conjures up culinary delights in the wilderness of Ladakh, such as delicious family recipes, as well as fusion style cuisine.

It is located about 1-hour drive from the airport in Leh.

The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Chamba Camp Diskit – A Nubra Valley Camp – Open from 15th May to 10th October, 2021:

The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Diskit is nestled between the jagged mountains on the road north from the Leh Valley, which is the meeting point of two ancient rivers – the Nubra and the Shyok. They together form the enchanting Nubra Valley known as the valley of flowers, it is famous for its birdlife, green oasis villages, Bactrian camels and undiscovered landscapes.

It offers 8 luxury tents which accommodate up to three people each, with extra bedding included. Tents are built on solid wooden decks. Each tent consists of a bedroom with a four-poster bed, a full-size wardrobe with an electronic safe, an ensuite bathroom with hot showers, and a private patio, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and dramatic landscapes.

The dining options at the Camp are minimalist but thoughtful, with a single house restaurant serving family recipes and local delicacies prepared on a made-to-order basis. Farm-fresh ingredients are incorporated alongside a Western-style breakfast, and an outdoor barbecue option is available for al-fresco dining under the stars.

They offer walking tours through local villages and Buddhist monasteries, birdwatching excursion s, classes in archery, games of horse polo, as well as more adventurous activities, such as white water rafting and downhill mountain biking.

Diskit is located about 5 hours from Leh, the capital of Ladakh.

Below is a 7 Nights Skeletal Itinerary for stay at Chamba Camp, Thiksey and Chamba Camp, Diskit in Ladakh:

Embark on a nomadic journey in canvas luxury. Unfurl the centuries-old culture of Ladakh, exploring her fascinating monuments, quaint monasteries enriched with ancient art forms, fairs and festivals. Be part of the region’s unique rituals – enjoy the ancient sport of Polo, brought to Ladakh in the 17th century by the Royals. Try your hand at archery set amidst the most dramatic and breath-taking landscape. Raft on the gentle Shyok River, stop for a delicious picnic lunch at the most picturesque hamlet. Experience Ladakh in all its splendour at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey (in the Leh Valley) and the Chamba Camp, Diskit (in the Nubra Valley) brought to you by ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’.

Other off-beat, away from the crowds, boutique, authentic, remote, retreats and places of stay in Ladakh:

Stok Palace Heritage Hotel and The Chulli Bagh Villas, Leh:

To stay in an actual royal residence is the biggest charm of Stok Palace Heritage Hotel. Guests staying here also have privileged access to the Museum and the Lhakchung Temple, which are part of the complex. This offers an intimate insight into the cultural history of Ladakh.

Built by the rulers of the Namgyal Dynasty, this palace, which still belongs to the Namgyal family, reflects a royal lifestyle. It has numerous intriguing features including spatial planning with access passages, royal apartments, a prayer chamber arranged around multi-level interlinked courtyards, decorative balconies at the upper levels of the five storied main building, support and service space, an entry courtyard, yabkhor (veranda) and a lhakchung (temple) on the upper floor. The stupas and main walls also attest to the palace’s cultural significance.

Stok Palace has just 6 suites – airy, bright and offer a stay that celebrates traditional heritage architecture and perk it up with creature comforts. There are four Standard Suite Rooms, one Royal Suite and one Queen’s Room available from 15 May to 15 October. Otherwise, enjoy one of the three Chulli Bagh villas located in the apricot orchard, a 5-minute walk from the palace that are open from 15 February to 30 November.

The Chulli Bagh villas are made for complete privacy with 2 private bedrooms that open into a common sitting area with views of the orchards. Each villa comes with an ensuite bathroom and a kitchenette.

The property does not have offer WiFi, TVs, air-conditioning or intercoms in the rooms to ensure that you get complete mind space to enjoy the royal immersion.

It is located about 20 kilometers away from Leh airport. Stok is situated at an altitude of 3,500 m or 11,500 ft. above sea level.

The Apricot Tree Hotel at Nurla:

A small boutique hotel built in close synergy with traditional Ladakhi architecture and artistic styles. The hotel offers modern facilities to make your stay comfortable.

It is located on the outskirts of the village of Nurla, which lies at an altitude of 2,800 metres. It is a 90-minute drive from Leh Airport, and easily accessible along the Leh-Srinagar Highway.

So if you are looking for some peace and quiet, or a base to see the sights of Lower Ladakh, then The Apricot Tree is the perfect place for you.

The 21 rooms, all with private balconies are a combination of modern and traditional architecture with the latest in-room comforts & tastefully upholstered in elegant drapes, delicate hues and soft furnishings.

It offers an elegant style with amalgamation of classic décor, rich paneling and interiors in shades of Ladakhi culture and heritage with beautiful artifacts, original art, antiques and designer furniture.

Overlooking the iridescently blue Indus river, the restaurant at The Apricot Tree offers traditional Ladakhi food, as well as multi-cuisines from Indian to Chinese to Continental.

Lchang Nang, the House of Trees, Nubra Valley:

North of Leh, Ladakh’s capital, nestles the Nubra Valley, a beautiful enclave cradled by rugged mountains.

Here, surrounded by the most spectacular Himalayan landscape, lies a piece of heaven called Lchang Nang, the House of Trees.

It is a boutique hotel with 17 cottages, constructed in Ladakh’s signature architectural style using local poplar trees, stones, and mud, which is best suited to the changing seasons and temperatures of this region.

Each cottage sits in a space of its own with features like sit-outs leading from the suites into the gardens with views of the surrounding mountains. Designed to accommodate couples as well as families, the rooms are categorised as Nomad King, Tranquil Twin and Family cottages.

The hotel serves a mix of Ladakhi, Indian, Chinese, and Continental dishes, updated each day based on the ingredients available in the garden and local area. Guests are also always welcome to order dishes in consultation with the chef, who speaks with each group about their dietary preferences and restrictions. Tables can also be set up outside for couples seeking romance under the stars or large groups.

A variety of complimentary activities are on offer in the property and in the surrounding area which include daily yoga classes, a nightly campfire, possibilities for stargazing, guided village walks and renting out mountain bikes.

You can take a cultural immersion walk where you can visit a traditional Ladakhi kitchen maintained by the women’s alliance. Get a glimpse of the local dance as local troupes perform traditional dances in traditional attire. You also get to see fascinating sights all around the Nubra Valley during your stay.

Lchang Nang is located approximately 4 hours by car from Leh. The most common route is Khardung La, one of the highest motorable passes in the world, where you can often see snow. It is 120 Kms from Leh Airport.

Below is a 9 Nights Skeletal Itinerary for stay at The Apricot Tree Hotel, Stok Palace Heritage Hotel and Lchang Nang the house of trees:

Day 01: Delhi – Leh – Nurla
You will be greeted on arrival by your friends in Ladakh waiting to welcome you. After a quick introduction, you will be driven to Nurla (80 kms).

Arrive at the idyllic The Apricot Tree, expect to be pleasantly surprised. For the next three nights you will be in residence at one of best examples of the original style of traditional Ladakhi architecture.

Lunch will be served in the restaurant.

Gentle explorations to allow you to acclimatize, lot of fluids and rest.

Early dinner and overnight.

Day 02: Nurla @ The Apricot Tree
Another easy day of gentle exploration. May be a 30 minute drive to Alchi where the exploration is rather even.

Staying at Nurla gives you driving access to Alchi , Mulbeck, Likir monasteries as well as the petroglyphs of Dumkhar, Cave Paintings of Saspol. Wildlife sightings at Ulley – Ibex, Urial, Tibetan Gazelle, Bharal, Aragali etc.

Lunch and rest for the day.

Early dinner and overnight.

Day 03: Nurla @ The Apricot Tree
Post breakfast head out to Lamayuru (40 mins drive) one of the best and most scenic monasteries in Ladakh. Pack in as much as you can in terms of sights.

Return to The Apricot Tree, Dinner and Overnight.

Day 04: Nurla to Stok Palace Heritage
Post breakfast drive to Stok.

Settle-in to your rooms on arrival. Stok Palace is a living palace, where the Namgyal family reside.

Enjoy a stroll around Stok and you can take up a tour of Stok monastery.

Later, explore the village, the intriguing palace museum and temple.

Enjoy a traditional Ladakhi dinner in the atmospheric dining room in the evening.

Day 05 : Stok Palace Heritage
Wake up to sacred chants from the palace monastery.

Post Breakfast head to Leh the Capital of UT Ladakh, en route visit Hall Of Fame (Army Museum) arrive at the bazaar full of colourful little shops, cafés and restaurants then post Lunch explore Leh Palace, Tsemo Gompa and Shanti Stupa, later head back to Stok

Day 06: Stok to Nubra Via Wari-La @ Lchang Nang
(175 kms / 6 hrs)
This is a scenic route and not much populated especially in the summer, with hordes of people going towards Khardungla.

Nubra Valley is scenic and beautiful and has the areas of Sumour, Hundar and Diskit within an hour’s driving radius.

Check-in at Lchang Nang, an organic boutique hotel in the tiny hamlet of Teggar. Known as the house of trees, Ladakhi styled cottages are set amidst an orchard of elm, apricot and apple trees, with stunning views of the snow-capped mountains.

Day 07: @ Lchang Nang
Breakfast looking out at the picturesque mountains around the Siachen river. The hotel itself has several inhouse activities, like Yoga, Village Walk, their tea houses, organic gardens etc.

Also Turtuk (the last Indian Village), Siachen (on permits only), Samasthaling, Ensa and Diskit Monastries are drivable, so is Hundar for the Bactrian Camels

Parmanik Hotsprings and Trisha lake are also excursions.

Famous Campfire nights & Night skies at Lchang Nang

Day 08: @ Lchang Nang
Another day exploring the Nubra Valley, as there is plenty to do.

Famous Campfire Nights & Night Skies at Lchang Nang.

Day 09: Nubra to Leh
After breakfast, leave the Nubra Valley (175 kms / 6 hrs) towards Leh.

As you ascend out of Nubra, and over the Khardungla pass (18,379 ft), you are rewarded with some of the most stunning landscapes of the trans Himalayan region, and perhaps even more remote and stunning as you leave behind Nubra Valley (10,000ft) embraced by the Shyok and Siachen rivers.

Leh is the high-desert capital city of Ladakh. An erstwhile stop for trading caravans, it is now known for its impressive monasteries and Buddhist buildings as well as a base for trekkers and mountain climbers. The old town’s bazaars selling all sorts of everything with its maze-like lanes is especially interesting.

The Central Asia museum gives you a glimpse of the role played by Ladakh in the Silk Road trade with rooms that focus on China, Turkestan, Tibet and Ladakh. LAMO (Ladakh Arts & Media Organisation) is a treasure trove of culture and information.

Other sights include – The Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace and the market place to buy dried apricots, dried apples, Yak cheese and Apricot oil.

Day 10: Depart Leh
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to airport for your flight back home.

Important:

  1. Altitude: Staying at Nurla will help you cope with altitude better and also acclimatize easier. However, Diamox (or COCA as an alternative homeopathic recommendation) – both to be taken on doctor’s prescription and advise with rest and lots of hydration is recommended.
  2. Covid-19 Regulations: The UT of Ladakh requires an RTPCR Test to be taken 72 hours prior to arrival at Leh airport. Masks and Social distancing are high priority.

Nimmu House, 45 mins drive from Leh:

Nimmu House is a charming eco-resort nestled at 10,000 feet in the traditional village of Nimmoo. It is situated at 45 minutes of Leh, capital of Ladakh and can be reached easily by taxi.

It is a noble house that was built a Century ago for the cousin of the King of Ladakh.
Converted in 2012 into a charming glamping retreat, Nimmu keeps its authenticity by respecting Ladakhi traditions and offering modern comfort.

The property features a stable with yaks, dzos, cows and goats, terraces and a 4,500 square meters orchard with hundreds of fruit trees (apricot, apple, walnut). Nimmu House is both a perfect playground for your kids to get in touch with nature and yourself for relaxation, meditation and yoga. The two Buddhist temples on the property convey a very special aura to the place.

With only 7 Ladakhi comfortable tents scattered throughout the orchard and 5 charming rooms all designed by French designer Emeline Leveille-Nizerolle using traditional and local materials, Nimmu House offers you a home away from home in the heart of Himalaya.

The heritage rooms are located at the 1st floor of the house with a peaceful view on the orchard. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with king size bed, private ensuite bathroom with solar heated hot water, electricity and fans.

The double deluxe tents are scattered throughout the orchard and built like charming homes with wooden floors and plain stone walls. They are spacious and comfortable with king size bed, private ensuite bathroom with solar heated hot water, electricity and fans. The patio at the entrance of each tent offers a breathtaking view of the Himalayan mountains.

Meals are served in the charming traditional dining room or outside on the terrace surrounded by Himalayan panoramas. You will enjoy the delightful meals prepared with fresh products sourced directly from the orchard, the garden, the cattle and local farms.

It is an ideal place to discover Ladakhi culture, visit the monasteries in the area, go trekking on the Himalayan paths or take some time to recharge your batteries far from the noisy cities. You will love to relax in the hammocks in the garden or read a book on the terrace in the evening admiring the bonfire.

Below is a suggestive 9 Nights itinerary, selecting 3 authentic properties, including Nimmu House, Stok Palace Heritage Hotel and Lchang Nang the house of trees:

Each of the 3 properties are different in their stories and architecture but offer in common comfort and unique experience for the travelers. Accommodations, service and activities of each property were designed to discover deeply the culture and the traditions of Ladakh.

How to Book:

You can book any of above Hotels, or a full curated itinerary using services of Delhi based Boutique Travel Design Company – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd. . They know the region well, and have preferred connections with all of above listed properties and local associates.

– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

Published by experientialtraveljourneys

A Private Travel Designer specialising in private, luxury, experiential, transformational, off-beat, off-the-grid, bespoke, tailor-made, bespoke, authentic, sustainable journeys to destinations worldwide.

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