Spirit of the Himalayas: Ladakh, Dharamsala & Shimla

Dharamsala, India
May 24, 2017
18 Days
Overland Adventure
18 Guests
From $8,980

Additional Departure: May 23, 2018

Before You Go

This expedition requires a moderate degree of physical fitness for walking on rough terrain and climbing stone steps. Temperatures will range from the low 50s°F to low 70s°F in the high altitude destinations to the high 90s°F in Delhi. Clothing should include layers and waterproof gear in case of precipitation. Ladakh is high altitude desert with the capital, Leh, sitting at over 11,000 feet. Altitude sickness may occur with some individuals. Travelers with a history of medical problems—particularly cardiac or respiratory ailments—should consult a doctor before deciding to take this expedition. Travelers should also be aware that some days of the itinerary will include longer bus journeys, sometimes over rough roads.

Trip Preparation: Gear Up!

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Activity Level & Accommodations

This expedition requires a moderate degree of physical fitness for walking on rough terrain and climbing stone steps. Clothing should include layers and waterproof gear in case of precipitation. Ladakh is high altitude desert with the capital, Leh, sitting at over 11,000 feet. Altitude sickness may occur with some individuals. Travelers with a history of medical problems—particularly cardiac or respiratory ailments—should consult a doctor before deciding to take this expedition. Travelers should also be aware that some days of the itinerary will include longer bus journeys, sometimes over rough roads.

Arrivals & Departures

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Delhi at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.

Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 1.206.285.4000, or 1.206.219.1641 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival into Delhi so that we may inform our Expedition Leader.

Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates and for those who have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, the Taj Palace Hotel.

PLEASE NOTE: Your room will not be available until the hotel check-in time of 2:00pm. If you would like to guarantee an early check-in, please contact us and we can reserve an additional night for you.

If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program. 

Baggage Allowance

For your international flights to and from Delhi, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm. 

Baggage restrictions for internal flights within India for both the main program and post-extension are limited to the following:

  • Checked Luggage: 1 bag at 15kgs (33 lb) per person
  • Hand luggage: 1 bag at 07kgs (15 lb) per person

PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.

We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.

Climate

The temperatures will range from the low 50s°F to low 70s°F in the high altitude destinations. Delhi will be much hotter with average highs in the 90s°F in Delhi.

The following are average high/low temperatures in May & June for selected locations on our itinerary:

LocationHighLow
Delhi103º83º

Leh

71º44º
Dharamsala88º71º
Shimla75º60º

Srinagar Post-Voyage Extension

LocationHighLow
Srinagar84º58º

 

Currency

As of December 2016, the exchange rate is as follows:

$1 US dollar (USD)66.61 Indian rupee (INR)

Most of your expenses have been paid for; therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your money in smaller denominations of hard currency, such as US dollars or British pounds. Cash can be exchanged for local currency at banks in the city during regular business hours.

Credit cards are accepted at certain locations in India for purchases, although not as commonly as they are in North America.

Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.

Electricity

The electrical current is as follows:

India230V/50Hz with Types C, D & M

 

Flight Information

Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, all internal domestic flights are included as a part of this program. Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Delhi and Delhi/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

Health Information

At this time, no inoculations or prophylaxes are required in conjunction with this expedition. However, a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into India if arriving within six days after leaving or transiting infected or endemic areas. Please refer to the World Health Organization website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries.

Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for life, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health departments. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and carried with you on your trip. Your local or state health department can provide information regarding the locations and hours of yellow fever vaccination centers.

Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended as malaria exists in India in areas below 6,500 feet. Overall, 40-50% of cases are due to P. falciparum and the remainder is due to P. vivax .

Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.

The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.

Internet & Phone

Your final documentation will include contact information for our hotels, including phone and fax numbers as well as email addresses. 

Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 am on the North American west coast:

7:00amSeattle, WA
10:00amNew York, NY
7:30pmIndia (UTC+ 5:30)

Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

Packing Suggestions

It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.

Expedition Clothing
Bring loose, comfortable clothing appropriate for the variable conditions you will encounter. Bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, including a hat or visor and sunblock, as we will be out for extended periods of time. At higher elevations, it can be cold, so dress accordingly and it is highly recommended to dress in layers for added comfort and wardrobe versatility. For pants, it may be convenient to bring pants with zip-off legs.


Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide better support than shoes. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.

You will be visiting Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, so sensitivity is necessary regarding dress. Your guides will advise you further, but in consideration of local norms, please observe the following courtesies:

  • Women—It is considered improper for women to expose their upper arms, shoulders or legs, so neither sleeveless shirts and blouses nor shorts are to be worn while in cities or towns. When visiting temples and religious sites, shoes will need to be removed.
  • Men—Men should also dress modestly. In general, conservative dress is recommended. Shorts are unacceptable for men in urban areas, but allowed during nature hikes. As is the custom, men also will be expected to remove their shoes when visiting temples.

Passport & Visa Requirements

Passport
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It is required that your passport is valid for 6 months after you return home, through December 10, 2017. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of one page available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.

Visas

  • E-Visa: Go online to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and apply for an e-Tourist Visa. Currently, applicants may apply online a minimum of 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. However, this policy is expected to change in the near future, which will allow guests to apply 120 days in advance with a Visa duration of up to 60 days. Visit the above link for the most up-to-date policy. More detailed information will be provided with your final documentation packet.
  • Pinnacle Travel Visa Kit: If you prefer to obtain your visa prior to arriving in India, please contact Zegrahm and request a Pinnacle Travel Document visa kit. You should plan to be without your passport for up to 8 weeks while your visa is being processed.

If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the program, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.

PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

Payments & Cancellations

Reservations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare

Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.

With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.