North India: Roof of the World, Sample Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary. No two Dragons courses are the same. Every itinerary considers the unique strengths of the instructor team and interests of the student group.
Week One Upon our arrival in Leh, we’ll take jeeps to our orientation site about a half hour away. We’ll get everyone settled, review health and safety information, and start getting to know each other on a deeper level, all while taking it easy to acclimatize to the altitude. Our orientation will be a mix of activities meant to help us get to know one another, important information on staying safe and healthy in this new environment/altitude/climate, and visiting some of the nearby sights, including an ice stupa and the local monastery.
Week Two We’ll travel a few hours outside of Leh to the site of our homestays, in a beautiful village right along the Indus River! The families there are incredibly welcoming, and usually there’s some young people around who speak English. You’ll also have fun practicing a few words of Ladakhi with incredibly charismatic grandmothers and grandfathers who stay busy tending to the fields and taking care of livestock. We’ll be meeting as a group during the day for lessons, activities, and day trips. We may get to help with harvesting in the fields or go for a hike up to the village’s summer fields. We’ll say farewell to our homestays and travel to another village where we’ll prepare to start our trek.
We’ll go over all the essentials of how best to pack our bags, and instructors can help fit your packs in advance of our first trek. Trekking in the Sham Valley is gorgeous and a great way to practice our skills for our second, more challenging trek later in the month. We’ll cross a few mountain passes to get our bodies and minds primed for the environment. We’ll be staying in small villages each night, enjoying the company of the generous and hospitable families who host visitors as a means of creating sustainable livelihoods for themselves.
Week 3 For nearly 3 decades, the Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) has promoted sustainable living and bolstered education for Ladakhi students. The campus is an incredible place to exchange with Ladakhi teenage peers, and we’ll have an exchange with the students who love sharing about their lives and culture and practicing their English with foreign visitors. There will be the possibility for day hikes and spending time next to the Indus River.
We’ll head off from a nearby trailhead on our second, more challenging trek. We’ll be well-supported with a team of guides, cooks, horsemen, and their pack of ponies. We’ll have thorough briefings on health and safety and will learn skills from instructors and guides as we navigate through this beautiful terrain with views of the Zanskar mountain range in our sights. We’ll look for wildlife and admire the surrounding mountains during the day and enjoy starry skies in the evenings before tucking into our tents.
Week 4 After completing our trek, we’ll have a couple busy days in Leh! There are many sights and possible guest speakers in Leh, and we’ll make our itinerary for these days according to the interests of the student group. Additionally, instructors will give guidance and direction and challenge students to use all the traveling skills that they have acquired to arrange their own day trip outside of Leh. There will also be opportunities to buy gifts and souvenirs to bring back home during these days. We will also shift our focus to our departure, and begin preparing for the transition from India back home and everything that means.
We’ll have an early morning flight from Leh to Delhi, and then we’ll have a day to explore what Delhi has to offer! We’ll make plans according to students’ interests, but some options include a walking tour of Old Delhi, a visit to the National Museum, visiting other historic monuments and sights, and shopping in some of Delhi’s bustling markets. We’ll continue our conversations and sessions on what it means for this experience to come to an end.