Snow Leopard Expedition

A Journey Beyond Compare

The ultimate snow leopard expedition combines remote luxury and rugged adventure. An elite team of trackers, a spectacular location & High Asia's best camp. Join us for the experience of a life-time.

This snow leopard expedition gives adventurers the best chances at seeing a snow leopard in the wild. Guests spend two days acclimatizing and sightseeing in Leh and 9 days tracking snow leopards and other rare wildlife at the LUNGMĀR with our expert field team. There are several opportunities to visit local homes, learn about life in our mountains, and really take it all in.


Length : 12 days / 11 nights.
Dates :  November 1 through April 30.


This is a private departure and can be customized to your preferences.
Dates based on room availability.

INCLUDED WITH ALL LUNGMĀR JOURNEYS

• English speaking Resident Camp Manager and local guides
• The regions finest accommodations and all meals
• Airport meet & greet & transfers
• Luggage transfers
• Internet access, where available
• All entrance fees, permits, taxes, & gratuities
• Group wildlife tracking (private available)
• Group transfers (private available)
• 24/7 Support


Pricing Per Category

Like all our trips, this one is offered in 3 categories, Shan, Irbis, and Kurkhang.
Each category uses the corresponding tent at the LUNGMĀR. Pricing is per tent, it remains the same whether it is occupied by one guest or two.

SHAN

Includes 9 nights in the Shan Suite at the LUNGMĀR and 2 nights at a Luxury Heritage Suite at the Grand Dragon in Leh. The Shan Suite accommodates 1 or 2 guests on the ground level, and 2 adults or 3 children on the mezzanine level bed.

1 or 2 guests: INR 8,96,700 [~US$ 12,284]++

IRBIS

Includes 9 nights in the Irbis Suite at the LUNGMĀR and 2 nights at a Premier Suite at the Grand Dragon in Leh. Irbis Suites can accommodate 1 or 2 guests.

1 or 2 guests INR 831,700 [~USD 11,393] ++

KURKHANG

Includes 9 nights in the Kurkhang Tent at the LUNGMĀR and 2 nights in a Heritage room at the Grand Dragon in Leh. Kurkhang tents can accommodate 1 or 2 guests.

Per tent INR 496,700 [~USD 6,804] ++

Group wildlife tracking + guiding always included.
Private guiding and/or tour escort extra.

USD rates are approximate.
Can’t figure out what’s right for you? Just get in touch and our reservations team will figure it all out.


Itinerary Overview

Day 1Arrive in Leh, India. « Acclimatize »
Day 2Leh. « Acclimatize + Sight-see »
Day 3 to Day 11LUNGMĀR Remote Camp. « Snow leopard expedition begins »
Day 12Transfer to Leh airport. « Fly to New Delhi »

Summary

Introduction to the LUNGMĀR’s Snow Leopard Expedition

We’ve crafted our snow leopard expedition to deliver a lovely combination of wildlife, culture, and history.

The LUNGMĀR has great access to both wilderness and Ladakhi cultural treasures. We’re within a 40 minute drive of three major Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, a few warm and welcoming Ladakhi homesteads, and 25,000 hectares of prime snow leopard landscape.

An ideal setting for a snow leopard expedition that combines the very best of what Ladakh has to offer.

Leh, the capital of Ladakh, was an important trading center on the Great Silk Road. It was a crossroad for traders coming from the Indian plains to the South, Tibet in the East, Xinjiang, Turkestan, and the great Khanates of Samarkand and Bukhara to the north, and Kashmir to the West. This made it a cultural melting pot and helped it develop a warm and hospitable culture - one welcoming to travelers.

Sandwiched between Buddhist Tibet and Islamic Central Asia and Kashmir, Ladakh is religiously diverse, with a population that is roughly half Buddhist and half Muslim. The major Tibetan Buddhist orders are all represented, including the Gelugpa Sect (Yellow Hat Order), led by HH The Dalai Lama and the Drukpa (Red Hat Order), led by HH The Gyalwang Drukpa.

After spending the first day acclimatizing to Leh’s altitude of 11,442 feet, we will do some easy sightseeing on the second day to get a feel for the rich history of the region, with visits to the 15th century monastery of Thiksey, a trip to Leh’s main market, in the shadow of the impressive 16th century Leh Palace, and to the Central Asian museum. We’ll take it slow as you’re still acclimatizing.

On the third day, we’ll transfer you to camp. Our field team will let your transfer team know if there is any wildlife activity reported before you depart. If there is, you’ll head straight to wherever our trackers are, in case there is a sighting opportunity. If the trackers haven’t discovered anything that morning, you will be taken to camp, checked-in, given our welcome tour, and then you’ll head into the field for a day of tracking.

Snow leopard expeditions are unique and very different from African safaris or game drives that take place in other parts of the world. We’re working with incredibly mountainous landscape, and our “prize” is both incredibly elusive and spectacularly well camouflaged. Our road access is limited to the valley. Snow leopard tracking is done on foot, out in the open, very unlike how you may experience lions or tigers via vehicle. Snow leopards do not consider humans prey and there are no recorded cases of snow leopards hunting humans in the wild. They also really like keeping their distance.

Our senior team members have run snow leopard expeditions in various forms for almost twenty years. We’ve focused on improving every single aspect of this expedition over the years. Sometimes in small steps, other times with giant leaps. Our current iteration of the trip brings together these two decades of learning, technological upgrades, and spectacular improvements in guest comfort.

This snow leopard expedition is designed to give our guests the very best chance at seeing a snow leopard in the wild. Our experience has shown that a 6 to 9 day tracking window is highly successful for sightings. Snow leopards cover enormous territories. The cats in our area are known to cover 150 to 250 square kilometers. As highly territorial and independent animals, snow leopards are constantly on patrol to mark and re-mark their territory - defending it from other snow leopards. The way they signal ownership of territory and set boundaries is by spraying urine on rocks and overhangs on ridge lines, valley floors, and valley junctions. Snow leopards routinely revisit the same areas, re-marking these rocks with “pee-mail.” Other snow leopards will also visit these boundary markers to leave their scent.

While snow leopards like to define their territory, there are always significant overlaps between the boundaries of individual cats. We estimate there are between 6 and 11 snow leopards whose territory overlaps with our most frequented tracking areas. As snow leopards make their way across their territory and across our tracking areas, our expert field teams are able to spot them, or pick up their tracks. Sometimes we are lucky enough to witness a successful hunt, with a snow leopard on the kill for a few days.

Essentially, it always comes down a combination of highly skilled trackers, enough time, and a snow leopard traversing our area of operations. Our snow leopard expedition itinerary is designed with this in mind.

We can confidently say that the LUNGMĀR runs one of a kind snow leopard expeditions. We’ve invested heavily in top equipment, such as Swarovski optics and communications, developed ranger training and community engagement programs that result in strong conservation gains, and spent an extraordinary amount of time learning everything there is about the snow leopards that inhabit our area.

Full Itinerary
Extensions

Flights to Leh

Exceptional patience, incredible vision, and over two decades of experience are called upon each morning as Dorjay Stanzin performs his dawn ritual. Gloved hands unlock, stretch, and lock tripods legs, bringing the Swarovski BTX-95 scope to eye level. He unclasps the lens cap and removes the hood. Then, whispering Buddhist chants to himself, he swivels the scope to a ridge-line opposite him. This is his ritual every single day on snow leopard expedition.

Dorjay is the LUNGMĀR's Head Tracker. His legendary ability to spot cats first, even when a dozen or more trackers are working the same mountain has earned him the nickname "eagle eyes."

 

New Delhi is the recommended connecting airport for flights to Leh, and is the nearest international airport. Though Leh is connected by air with Srinagar, Chandigarh, and Mumbai, flights often do not run everyday. Leh airport has no direct international flights.

Flights to Leh only operate during the mornings. International guests may need to spend a night in Delhi, depending on when their flights get in. Many guests get into Delhi in the wee hours of the morning and catch an early morning flight into Leh, minimizing their time spent in Delhi. Others arrive during the day and get a hotel for an overnight stay, before flying to Leh the next day.

Our team will be happy to help you figure this out and make any arrangements, including booking hotels in Delhi and arranging airport transfers.

Leh : Acclimatizing To The Altitude

Ladakh, being a high altitude region, requires all travelers to acclimatize to the altitude before embarking on travel in the area. Acclimatization is the biological process that creates more red blood cells and increases the flow of oxygen in the blood. Time is the only thing that helps the body acclimate to altitude.

All of the LUNGMĀR's guests must stay in Leh for two full days before they can transfer to the camp on day three. This is done to ensure that your body has sufficient time to rest and begin to cope with lower atmospheric pressure.

It is recommended that the first day, the day of arrival, is one of total and complete rest at your hotel in Leh. We recommend reading a good book, hydrating well, and just taking in the incredible views. No walks, exercising, or sightseeing. Day 2 can have a few activities peppered in, like visiting the Thiksey monastery, while keep the afternoon free to rest some more.

On the morning of Day 3, a LUNGMĀR vehicle will transfer you to camp to begin your adventure.

Acclimatizing to the altitude is a key requirement to enjoying the search for the snow leopard. All our itineraries are designed for this. We live by the 6Ps, a British army adage that states "proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance."

In case of emergencies, we are always prepared. Our camp and vehicles have oxygen cylinders. The LUNGMĀR has a field first-aid station, a doctor on call, and a portable hyper-baric chamber. Our team has decades of experience running operations at high altitude. You're in good hands.

If you have questions, please send us a message and we'll help answer them.

 


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