The Indian Himalaya conjures up images of ancient pilgrimages and sacred sites against breathtaking mountain scenery of a superlative scale. Often overshadowed by its neighbor, Nepal, when it comes to trekking, India is nevertheless a great destination that also offers fantastic trekking opportunities in the Himalayas.
Ladakh and the Nubra Valley has to be one of the best regions for trekking and enjoying India’s mountain scenery. A popular destination for serious adventure seekers and trekkers, one doesn’t have to be a mountaineer or a mountain goat to enjoy this region. The trekking routes are many and varied, with a pace and difficulty to suit all levels of walkers and trekkers. The mountain scenery here really is awe-inspiring and almost other-worldly. The landscape is immersed in Tibeto-Buddhist traditions with ancient monasteries and time-worn gompas inviting meditation and contemplation, and the tourist infrastructure is reasonably well developed too – that being said all travellers with Secret Retreats are fully supported by professional travel experts every step of the way on a Ladakh, or wider Asia, travel itinerary. The Nubra Valley or ‘valley of flowers’ in its local name, located in east Ladakh, is a land of contrasts where meltwater rivers run through pastures and orchards, and high-altitude desert sand dunes are home to Bactrian camels. All this awesome scenery is set against a backdrop of snow-covered Himalayan peaks. The wildlife here is as spectacular as the scenery, with Golden Eagles, Snow Leopards, Asiatic Ibex and Black Necked Cranes being just some of the highlights.
The perfect itinerary to enjoy and explore Ladakh and the Nubra Valley combines stays in two of the areas Must See and Must Stay boutique hotels, the Stok Palace and Lchang Nang The House of Trees. Sustainability lies at the heart of the design and management of Lchang Nang The House of Trees. This charming boutique hotel is located next to the Siachen River in the Nubra Valley. The property was built to be in harmony with its surroundings, with the 17 cottages built in the traditional style with poplar wood frames and sundried mudbrick walls. Cool in summer and warm in winter the design of the property is totally in character with the hotel’s surroundings. Set amongst the elm, apricot and apple trees that give the hotel its name, The House of Trees, power is generated by the sun’s rays and water is filtered from glacial meltwater for use in guestrooms and for drinking. Produce for the kitchen is grown in the boutique hotel’s own organic gardens, and they even have their own milk cows. Luxury here is defined in the way the property works in harmony with its surroundings and shares Ladakhi culture and tradition so sustainably with guests. Pair your stay at Lchang Nang The House of Trees with a stay at the magnificent Stok Palace.
Stok Palace was built by the Namgyal Dynasty, the royal family of Ladakh, over 200years ago as a summer retreat. Set overlooking the Indus Valley this gorgeous boutique heritage hotel was opened to the public by the Namgyal family in the 1980s. With a choice of 6 rooms and suites inside the palace, including the Queen’s room with its traditional décor of colourful Buddhist murals lining the walls, and 3 beautiful wooden villas set within the orchards of the palace under the apricot and walnut trees, guests are spoiled for choice here when selecting their room. Located less than an hour’s drive from Leh and Leh Airport, Stok Palace makes for the perfect to stay both at the beginning and end of a holiday exploring Ladakh and the Nubra Valley, and pairs beautifully with Lchang Nang The House of Trees, making for a truly stunning itinerary in a breathtaking land the memories of which will live with you forever and draw you back time and again.