We’re sorry to inform you that this trip has been postponed. Thank you for your interest & your understanding.  If you are still interested in a 2015 Ladakh yoga retreat with us, please see TheLadakhExperience.com.  If you are interested in experiencing Ladakh on your own, consider our travel consulting services.

Trip at a Glance:

  • 12 days, 12 nights
  • Limited to 12 guests
  • Guests are met in New Delhi, India
  • We travel to Agra (Taj Mahal!) and then to the Ladakh region
  • Daily yoga & meditation with Debby Andersen, RYT, C. Ayu.
  • $2995 (double occupancy rate)

I Want In!

Send us an email to start the registration process immediately!

Join us on this 12 day & 12 night journey to experience yoga and meditation in the stunning Ladakh region of India. Our homebase will be picturesque Thiksey Monastery, where we have unprecedented access to ancient prayer halls for yoga & meditation. This Tibetan Buddhist enclave is nestled high in the mountains, with stunning panoramas of the Himalayas and the Indus River valley. We’ll also visit the iconic Taj Mahal, a must-see while you’re in India!

Click through the tabs below for a daily itinerary, price, registration, photo album, FAQ & more.

DebbyNamasteDebby Andersen, RYT, C. Ayu., has over 18 years of teaching experience and offers a transformative approach to living in alignment with one’s true nature. Her teachings blend the ancient wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda into a practical, modern-day path of self-discovery and healing.

Debby discovered the profound healing power of yoga while traveling in India in 2005. It was then that she also discovered yoga’s healing roots in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. She spent over a month living in an ashram, immersed in an Ayurvedic lifestyle and the practices of yoga. She especially grew to love pranayama, yogic breathing practices, which help one enter a meditative state. She emphasizes these practices in her teaching.

While in India, she fell in love with the diverse culture and its people. She spent a month in Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, teaching English to a Tibetan monk and learning about Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Debby’s travels in India have inspired her to bring others to this sacred land in order to experience the transformative power of its culture, people, spiritual wisdom, and ancient practices.

She is certified to teach Hatha Yoga through Yoga Vidya Gurukal (Nasik, India). Debby is also a certified Ayuryoga® teacher (500-hour level) and Ayurvedic Practitioner through the Ayurvedic Institute (Albuquerque, NM). Debby has been a featured presenter at the Iowa City Yoga Festival, the Austin Yoga Expo, the Manifestation Celebration, and the Om Vibrations Yoga and Music Experience.

For more information visit her website: www.debbyandersen.com

ladakh yoga retreat map 2015This is our intended itinerary, but we always remain open and flexible to the desires and needs of our guests. Plenty of time will be built into your experience to explore on your own, shop, and discover with friends, old and new!

Sunday, July 26, New Delhi— Welcome! You’ll arrive in New Delhi, India at night, and we’ll whisk you off to a comfortable hotel so that you can refresh and relax after your journey. As you’ll be arriving at night, one of the best things you can do for jetlag is to stay awake until you get to India and then have a restful sleep that first evening.

073-Man sitting at base of minaret Taj Mahal Sep 1, 2012 2-18 PM 3610x5356Monday, July 27, New Delhi—You have many choices today, including simply resting and lounging around the hotel. However, if your style is to hit the ground running, we have some options for you.

There is plenty of fantastic shopping to be had, not only directly around the hotel, but at Dilli Haat, an open air market with crafts from all over the country. There are many beautiful, historic site to see in Delhi, including Humayun’s Tomb, the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, which inspired several major architectural innovations (culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal).  We can visit the Lotus Temple, which is a stunning Bahá’í House of Worship, and the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the fantastic Sikh temple in Delhi.  Whether you want to take in much of what Delhi has to offer or simply start slowly, the choice is yours. 

Our yoga practice for today will be gentle and restorative, with a focus on getting you grounded after your flight and reducing any symptoms of jet lag. We’ll also end the day with an Opening Circle: a time to share, get to know one another, set intentions for the retreat, and connect as a group.

Tuesday, July 28, Delhi to Agra— After morning yoga & breakfast, we’ll take a private vehicle to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. That’s not all Agra has to offer, though! On the way into town, we’ll stop by Fatehpur Sikri. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a former capital of the Mughal Indian Empire; however, its reign was short-lived (14 years) due to severe water shortages, and the capital was moved to Lahore.  The architecture here is stunning, and the red sandstone will be picture-perfect in the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday, July 29, Agra to Delhi—Rise & shine! The best time of day to see the Taj Mahal is dawn, not only for great photography, but to beat the heat and the crowds. We will awaken and leave the hotel before sunrise to get into the Taj Mahal early.  We’ll explore the grounds of the Taj for a couple of hours with an excellent tour guide, and you’ll also have time to explore on your own.  It truly is a breathtaking monument  and the craftsmanship is unparalleled.  While there we’ll find a quiet corner for some cooling yoga practices.

From there we’ll head to Agra Fort for a guided tour of this enormous stronghold that is astonishing in size and “fort technology.” This fort is where the builder of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, was imprisoned by his son for spending too much money on building projects (the Taj Mahal didn’t come cheaply!) He had a small window from which he could see his masterpiece from miles away.

0108-Himalyas as seen from the flight into Ladakh 3 Jul 18, 2010 8-20 AM 4288x2848After our visit to the fort we will take our private vehicle back to Delhi to rest before our flight to Leh, Ladakh in the morning.

Thursday, July 30, Delhi to Leh—Today’s the day we fly to the Tibetan Plateau in India! You’ve never experienced a flight like this—only 50 minutes, but half of that is over the Himalaya mountains! Snowcapped mountains and glaciers as far as the eye can see on both sides of the plane. Astounding!

Leh is around ~11,500 feet in altitude, but we’re going to prep you on how to avoid altitude sickness (BJ is an old hand at this, and Lauren is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine with several tricks up her sleeve!) We’ve taken people as high as 17,500 feet high with little to no problem, so we don’t expect any snags. However, we’ll take it easy today with some light yoga and relaxation.

Two good friends, HHDL and the Thiksey RinpocheFriday, July 31, Leh—You can’t get more authentic than this: we’ll be staying at the Thiksey Monastery guesthouse, which is on the monastery grounds.  The accommodations are clean, neat, and spare—much like the fascinating mountain landscape directly outside your windows. There are shared bathrooms (with Western toilets) down the hall.

BJ has been visiting Thiksey since 1995 and has made close friends—family, really—with many of the monks here. We’ll have tea and meals with them in their quarters (called tashoks) and explore this beautiful monastery, including the 2-story Maitreya Buddha statue that was built to commemorate the Dalai Lama’s visit here in 1970.  (Speaking of the Dalai Lama, the head lama of Thiksey Monastery is dear friends with HHDL; BJ was lucky enough to capture this sweet friendship on film in 2010.) If the Thiksey Rinpoche is in residence at the monastery when we arrive, we can arrange a private audience and blessing with him.

yoga in leh, ladakh We have unprecedented access to a stunning prayer hall for our yoga & meditation practice; while it stays locked most of the time now, it formerly functioned as the old winter prayer hall.  Stocked with a thousand Buddhas and a beautiful thousand-armed statue of the Buddha of Compassion (Chenrezig or Avalokiteśvara), this prayer hall will provide a perfect backdrop for our meditation practice.

Saturday, August 1, Leh—Today we can explore the village surrounding Thiksey and observe every day life in this part of the world.  We’ll visit the home of some of our friends’ families, even joining them for dinner. We can also visit the nearby Thiksey nunnery; this nunnery helped blaze the trail in the 1990’s for raising the status of nuns in Ladakh.

Sunday, August 2, Leh—Today we can visit the famed Indus river, which flows directly by Thiksey village.  This life-sustaining river is fed by glaciers and rivers high in the mountains, and is what originally gave “India” its name.

We’ll also visit nearby monasteries, including Hemis and Stakna.  Hemis is the largest monastery in all of Ladakh; for a time, Hemis was famed to have been a landing spot for Jesus’ fabled “lost years in India.” Although since proven a hoax, you can still feel that this is truly holy ground.

Stakna is a relatively small monastery, perched on a big hill shaped like a tiger’s nose (the meaning of stakna). This monastery is well known for its beautiful paintings, and there are fantastic views of Thiksey Monastery from the top.

0052-close up of maitreya in thiksey jul 27, 2007 11-32 am 3872x2592Monday, August 3, Leh— We’ll head into the Leh proper today, the capital city of this area.  A lively town, there are plenty of colorful local markets, including a Tibetan refugee market.  This is also where the monks come into town to buy their robes, mala beads, dorjes, bells, bowls, and Tibetan Buddhist items. In addition, there are some great Tibetan restaurants that serve up traditional specialties like momos, thukpa, and even butter tea.

We’ll also visit nearby Shanti Stupa, which offers marvelous views of Leh and the surrounding mountains. A joint venture by Japanese and Ladakhi Buddhists, HHDL consecrated this brilliant white stupa in 1991.

Tuesday, August 4, Leh—A short hike from Thiksey Monastery is Shey Monastery, which is over 800 years old. The picturesque walk from Thiksey winds through hundreds of stupas of varying size. We’ll also visit the stately Shey Palace, which was a former summer retreat used by the kings of Ladakh.

Wednesday, August 5, Leh—The next two days we’ll leave open for you to rest and contemplate or even revisit some of your favorite places in this area. There are plenty of conversations to be had about Tibetan Buddhism, and our friends Chamba and Stanzin thoroughly enjoy these talks.  Devout, intelligent, and articulate, they relish questions about Tibetan Buddhism. There’s a small restaurant on site where you can philosophize for hours over chai and noodles! There’s also a museum downstairs which Chamba and Stanzin had a hand in curating and writing the descriptions for, and they’d be happy to give you a tour! There are also plenty of options for beautiful hikes around the monastery.

sun salutation statue delhi airport indira gandhiThursday, August 6, Leh—Whether your interest is professional or just for fun, this is a perfect place for photography. From expansive landscape shots to long exposure Milky Way shots at night, you’ll want to have your camera on hand! BJ has been shooting around Thiksey for 20 years and can show you some great vantage points to take pictures of the morning sun lighting up the monastery, or where the best place might be to capture the daily conch blowing ritual on the rooftop.

Today we’ll begin winding down our retreat with a Closing Circle in the evening. We’ll share any insights, experiences, and transformations that have emerged from our time together, as well as having an opportunity to express gratitude and share intentions for our return home.

Friday, August 7, Leh to Delhi to home—We’ll say our goodbyes to the monks and the monastery and head to Leh airport, one of the highest in the world.  You get another more chance to enjoy the one-of-a-kind views from your window. You’ll land in Delhi airport, where you’ll catch your flight home (or on to your next great adventure!) Delhi’s international airport is quite comfortable, with plenty of restaurants and shops (and even has a statue to guide you through a Sun Salutation, should you want to get in some more yoga!)  Where will we meet again?

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 11.50.26 AMYoga

Our daily yoga practice will include pranayama (breathing practices), asana (postures), and meditation that will vary from day to day, based on the climate, environment, time of practice, and experience of the group. These daily practices will strengthen our connection to Source, serving as a foundation that will allow us to relate more meaningfully with the people, cultures, and experiences we encounter as we explore this beautiful, sacred region of the world.

Our on-the-mat practice will be based in a classical Indian practice, much like you would find at many ashrams in India. Debby is a 500-hour teacher certified in Ayuryoga®, a style created by Dr. Vasant Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute that is a unique blend of classical Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Mudra, and Meditation practices to harmonize the mind, body, and soul following basic Ayurvedic principles.

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old traditional Indian system of holistic medicine, emphasizing the uniqueness of each individual. When Yoga is integrated with an Ayurvedic understanding of the body and mind, these two systems are a powerful combination for healing and rejuvenating all bodily systems. In India, these two systems are the foundation of a holistic lifestyle. Debby will be available for private Ayurvedic consultations throughout the retreat upon request.

Pranayama & Meditation

According to the ancient teachings of the Vedas, the active healing ingredient in all foods and all medicines is prana, or life force. The pranayama (breathing) practices we will explore during this retreat are designed to open the channels of the body, remove stagnation and pain, and enhance deeper states of meditation. You will feel clear, light, calm and energized—and you will want to continue these practices when you return home!

We’ll explore a variety of meditation practices, including seated meditations, writing meditations, breathing meditations, and walking meditations. Depending on the availability of the monks, we’ll also bring them in to teach us Tibetan Buddhist meditation, the 5 Tibetan Rites, and to share teachings on Buddhism.

The all-inclusive price for this trip is $2995, based on double-occupancy rooms. If you wish to have your own private accommodation, there is an additional $200 single supplement in order to provide you with your own room. If you wish to join in a double-occupancy room but don’t have a roommate, please contact Lauren and we will do our best to match you with a suitable partner who is also looking for a roommate (although we cannot guarantee one!)

What’s included?

All-Inclusive makes it easy for you! Included in your yoga journey is the following: all lodging; all meals; all the water, tea, and coffee your heart desires; all transportation in and between India and Nepal; daily yoga & meditation classes; site entrance fees; all tips and donations. We also provide a dedicated guest phone for international calls home.

Guests are responsible for: plane fare to and from India, required travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads), your India visa (you will have to send away for it; contact us for details), any additional beverages (alcohol, specialty beverages), souvenirs, and extra excursions/optional activities.

How do I sign up?

1. Send Lauren an email at [email protected] and tell us that you’re interested! You can also leave a message at 941-363-1065; as we are most likely on Asia time, we will call you back as soon as we possibly can. We’ll also address any questions you may have about the trip. We will send you a contract that you will return with your deposit.

2. Fully reserve your spot by paying the deposit of $700 and returning the contract. We love checks (made out to “Insight Travels, LLC” and sent to the address on the contract) and we’re now accepting credit card payments via PayPal. You can find the form below. There is a minimum of 6 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.

3. Fill out the Registration Questions in the next tab on this page.

4. You’re in! Now you need a plane ticket to India; we’ll help you with details about flights to Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

Yoga & Meditation in Ladakh with Debby Andersen

You will need to scroll down within this window to complete the questions.

Help us to make this the BEST possible experience for you by telling us more about yourself. Thanks!

  • Will I need a visa? What about a passport?

Yes and yes!  Your passport should not expire 6 months before the end of the scheduled trip.  That is, if the trip in January 1 – January 15, 2015, your passport should be valid until at least July 15th, 2015.

You will need to apply for your Indian visa before you leave home. After you sign up for the trip, we will send you details about how to do this along with a timeline.  You are responsible for your visa costs, although we will help you through the process!

  •  What vaccines do I need?

We travel in countries where no vaccines are required for entry. However, we encourage guests to work with their own physicians or their local health department’s travel vaccine department about these choices.  The CDC’s site (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/india) is also a good thing to check, but know that they tend toward the overly cautious side.

We recommend all people traveling in Asia receive a Hepatitis A vaccine, Typhoid vaccine, and make sure their Tetanus vaccines are up to date.

  •  Should I take malaria medicine?

When people envision traveling in Asia, they almost certainly imagine a landscape think with vengeful mosquitoes; we’ve found that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We actually often comment to each that we can’t believe how few mosquitoes we encounter on our travels!

While you need to discuss this question with your doctor, we feel that the minimal risk of malaria only warrants a bit of “bite-prevention.”  Neither of us take any anti-malarial medication; rather we use common sense approaches to prevent being bitten, including long sleeves/pants at dawn/dusk, mosquito repellant, and mosquito nets at night when necessary. There is no vaccine for dengue fever, which is also transmitted via mosquito bite, so taking the above precautions is important all around.

Note: mosquitos are very rare in the high altitude desert of Ladakh, but they can be more common around Delhi and Agra where we will also be visiting.

  •  How will I get by without knowing the local language?

If English is your first language, you are truly in luck.  We are constantly amazed by how much of Asia speaks English—and relatively well, considering it’s usually their 3rd or 4th language!

That said, we always like to provide you with a few words that will go a long way, including the local greetings and words like “Delicious!” and “See you later!”  It’s not required, but it always elicits a smile and we think it’s only right to learn at least a few local words.  Even saying “Namaskar” can make some locals think that you speak fluent Hindi!

Click here for our very own primer in the Ladakhi language (also called Western Archaic Tibetan).  You can go a loooong way with just the word “Jullay!”  (Think of it like the Ladakhi “Aloha.”)

  •  What about food?  I don’t know if I like Indian/Ladakhi food!

This seems to be a common concern amongst our guests, and certainly within our own families. [Lauren’s mom thinks we don’t eat (HA!) and BJ’s mom thinks we live on nothing but fried tarantulas and intestines, thanks to shows like Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. In all fairness, though…we have eaten tarantulas.

We will always give you the scoop on local foods and delicacies; sometimes the dishes often sound exotic (like Aloo Gobi) but are usually quite accessible (Aloo Gobi = “Potatoes and Cauliflower.”)  Even if you don’t want to venture into local fare, almost every single restaurant in India has Western food on the menu, everything from pizza to fries to pasta.

The most popular foods in Ladakh are thukpa (a thickened soup with noodles), momos (dumplings), tsampa (roasted barley powder), local bread products, and tea (butter tea and sweetened chai).  Barley is the primary staple in Ladakhi food.  It is used in the form of roasted flour called tsampa, and in fermented form in the production of a homemade beer called chang. Tsampa provides energy that is especially beneficial in cold weather; and can be eaten alone, or dunked in noodle soup, yogurt and butter tea. Butter tea is another Ladakhi staple–made with tea leaves, salt and butter in wooden churns. Although an acquired taste, one must try it for its uniqueness.  Fresh apricots (and their juice) and seabuckthorn (aka Leh berry) juice is also worth a try.

Click here for our very own India Food Primer (more like what we’ll be eating in Delhi & Agra).  

  •  I have food allergies/intolerances or I’m a vegetarian/vegan—will I be OK?

One of our Registration Questions you’ll answer when you sign up for a trip asks about any food allergies or intolerance you may have.  Our answers depend on the areas you’ll be joining us.  Gluten is also avoidable in India and Nepal by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. Vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels.

The only thing that might be a bump in the road is veganism in India. Although meat is entirely avoidable, India is the world’s largest consumer of butter and it is almost unavoidable in most of their curries, stews, and even breads. Many vegans that I have known to travel through India adopt what is locally referred to as a “pure veg” diet: no meat, no eggs, but it allows for dairy consumption.  (It is worth nothing that some of the reasons for avoiding dairy consumption in the west is slightly mitigated here, as there is less factory farming and antibiotic use in livestock). Milk can be avoided by not consuming creamy dishes or milk tea.

Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local language to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten.  Click here for the Hindi version.  If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages. Let’s talk more about your specific needs—drop us an email and ask!

  •  Do I have to hang out with the group or can I adventure on my own?

You are more than welcome to participate in all or none of our scheduled group activities. We don’t want you to feel like you are at Travel Boot Camp–this is your vacation after all!  That said, we plan our outings carefully in order to make them the most pleasant (best weather, fewest tourists, etc) so some of our activities DO take place around dawn. If that’s not your cup of tea, feel free to snooze away!  Just make sure you have the hotel business card to show to taxi drivers (or helpful people on the street) in case you get turned around!

  •  Do I need travel insurance?

We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind!

When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click on the “Travel Insurance” tab on this page to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

  •  What about money? Can I use credit cards? Will there be ATMs?

Don’t count on using credit cards except for very large purchases (furniture, rugs, etc); most stores will only take local currency.

There will be ATMs at every destination, but some cities have them few and far between.  ATM fees can be high (although some banks, like Charles Schwab, refund all foreign ATM fees) so plan to get out a large chunk of money instead of getting a lot of small withdrawals.  ATMs are a very convenient way to get local currency, though.

Make sure you alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling abroad so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used overseas!

  •  Can I smoke?  Will other people be smoking?

None of our hotels allow smoking in the room and we don’t allow it during group dinners or other group activities. Yes, that means no smoking during yoga class, even  ;)

  •  How many people are going?

A minimum of 6 guests is required to make this trip happen, and we’re only taking up to 12 guests total. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.


About Your Yoga Equipment

This is not a traditional yoga retreat where you’ll be stuck in the same yoga studio all day for 12 days.  We will be practicing our asanas in unique, beautiful, and inspiring locations. For this reason, we do require that you bring your own mat and any accessories you may need (such as a strap). We will provide mat spray and towels, although if you can bring your own if you have a preference.

Coming soon: clothing and accessory packing list!

headed to delhi airport immigrationWhat’s the best way to get to India?

Getting to India’s Indira Gandhi International airport is pretty straightforward from the United States.  Depending on where you begin your travels in the US, you can typically buy return tickets for between $1100-$1500 (economy class, as of 2014).  I generally start my search for flights on Kayak.  When I find a flight that I like, I usually go directly to their website to make the purchase (e.g.  United or Delta).  I look for two things when looking for long-haul flights:  price and total travel time. Secondarily, I look at whether we can have a long layover at a decent hour in a city we’d like to explore.

I have been traveling to India for 20 years and have been there more than 20 times; I have flown the leg from the US to Delhi more than a dozen times.  It’s a long flight, but quite manageable.  You are typically flying in nice aircraft, most often in a Boeing 777, which is quite comfortable and has an excellent entertainment system for each seat.

Unequivocally I recommend flying United Airlines via Newark—Delhi (direct).  Flying United is usually cheaper and shorter than many other options.  In addition, if you fly the direct route from Newark—Delhi you arrive earlier in the evening (about 9:20 PM) versus other airlines which land between 1 AM to 3 AM.  United also has other flight options that are sometimes less expensive (flying through Frankfurt, Germany).

You will generally begin your flight one calendar day before you are supposed to arrive in Delhi.  For example, if you depart the USA on February 15th you will arrive into Delhi on the night of February 16th OR just after midnight on February 17th.  When you are flying back to the USA from Delhi, you’ll leave very late at night and arrive in the USA the next calendar day in the early morning hours.

For our tours, we set a date that guests must arrive (the first day of the tour).  We understand that most individuals will arrive late that evening or even after midnight.  You can arrive for our tours anytime after noon on the first day of the tour–we would get you checked into the hotel and allow you to rest or help you to explore.  If, however, you arrive before the first day of the tour there will be an extra charge for your expenses that day. We will see to it that you are well taken care of, but please know we may have other business to attend to before the rest of the group arrives.

How do I get out of the airport?

Lauren has written a detailed blog with pictures about navigating out of IGI airport–check it out by clicking here.

sun salutation statue in Delhi airportWhen should I buy my tickets?

Research done at CheapAir says that the optimum time to purchase tickets from the US to Asia is 129 days before the initial flight.  That said, they also write that purchasing tickets too early is much better than purchasing them too late.  It is also worth noting that tickets cannot be purchased before 330 days prior to your return flight.

When you’re buying a ticket for one of our tours, please communicate with us before your buy your ticket. Our RetreaTours™ have a minimum number of guests required before “launch,” and we want to make sure we have those numbers before you purchase tickets.

If you have any questions please let us know.  You may choose to break up your flight with a stop on the way to or from India (you can stop in Europe, Dubai, Singapore, etc).  We can help you plan your itinerary at no extra charge.  You can also read some of our tips on how to mitigate jet-lag for your flight.

We’re big proponents of Travel Insurance. We believe it instills a sense of security and assurance that sets a positive tone for the entire trip, and this is part of the reason that we require it for all Insight Travels & RetreaTours™ trips. We’ve done much research and found that we prefer World Nomads for our guests age 69 and younger (click here to learn more about World Nomads). For our guests 70 and older, we prefer Travel Guard (click here to learn more about Travel Guard). We believe in each of these companies so strongly that we’ve aligned ourselves with them as affiliates. If you choose to purchase policies through these companies, we ask that you please use these links so that we may continue to grow our relationship with them.

First and more important lesson: Jullay!  (pronounced Joo-Lay.)  This is the “aloha” of Ladakh: hello, goodbye, thank you, nice weather we’re having, is that your yak?, etc.  (OK, maybe not the last two…)

Ladakhi, also called Western Archaic Tibetan or Bhoti, is only spoken by  200,000 speakers in India & 12,000 speakers in Tibet.   It is very similar to Tibetan and uses the same written script.

This is a brief primer in some Ladakhi words and phrases that we have found helpful during our travels. It is not necessary to speak Ladakhi, as most everyone you encounter in Ladakh will speak Hindi, but it sure it appreciated and elicits those beautiful Ladakhi smiles.   We’ve spelled the English side out as phonetically as possible.

Slowly, slowlyGoolay, goolay
I like __________ very much________ ma demo tsor rarak
How are you?Khamzang inalay?
I am wellKhamzang (lay)
What is your name?Neerang mingla chee in lay?
My name is ___________Gneeya mingla ____________
OKDeegk (lay)
YesKasa (lay)
NoMann (lay)
I don't understandGnya hamago (lay)
I understandGnya hago (lay)
_______ tastes good_________ ma szimpo
please sitzyooks lay
You are a good teacherGergan gela dook lay
Boiled waterchu kol
Butter teacha kantay
Milk teacha ngarmo
May I take your photo?Naksha gabna diga lay?
Please eatDoan lay
Please drinkToong lay
SmileGoo chess
Nice smileGodna demo dooglay
I am full (or, I have eaten)Dok so zeus
Many peopleMee mong po
I am going aroundNgya kora chet
Very niceMa demo doogk lay
practiceyang jang chess
I like Ladakhi people very muchLadakhi meeyoon ma gyala tsor rarak
I walk to _________Dool tay chen _________
(formal) thank youToook jay shay
Please (insisting)Joo joo
Please go (ex: going through a door)Schyoad lay
Where are you going?Neerang karu skyoad-at lay?
Where are you from?Neerang ka nay in lay?
Are you fine?Neerang tik?
Do you have __________?________ yo ta lay?
no havemet
yes haveyote
Sleep wellZhim cha nang go
Please say in EnglishKonyay chee mola rak lay
What did he say?Chee lo?
How do you call this in Ladakhi?Ee chelok ming la chee inoklay?
How much is this?Eebowa zrin sam in lay?
Monks house/quartersTashok
Again, again I hope to see youYang yang ja lay mo lem
sounds good (I like the sound)Ma nyampo tsor ra
very respectful hello to monkChatsel jullay
it is hot outsidetsapa rak lay
I like Lakakhi foodnga Ladkhi kardzi ma szimpo tsor ra rak
Do you like?Kerang see la tatpo yote
Leh water is not goodLeh chus szimpo mer rak
He/she is funnyKho ma tarrshen duuk
He/she is a good personKho ma ghella duuk
Where are you going?Kerang karu skoachen?
Going to LehNga Leh a kora chet
Be carefulShangchoos
I'm happySkeepo rrak
Weather is coldNamla tangmo rrak
Weather is hotNamla tonmo rrak
yesterday I was happyDang nga skeetpo tsorr
I will see you next yearNga nangmo loktay jallaen
See you in MayNga May nang jallaen
he is a good teacherkho ma gerrgan ghella doook
I Love YouNga Rang Ngs Thada Rak
I like Ladakhi foodNga Ladakhi kardzi ma szimpo tsor ra rrak
I like the sound (sounds good)Ma nyanpo tsor rra
my favoritemangsten gyala tsor rarrak



Lauren’s Ladakhi cheat sheet on her first visit to Thiksey. Writing the list on a piece of paper also works.

Not only are you going to be under Debby’s expert care, but you’ll have two more seasoned travel professionals accompanying you on your trip!  BJ & Lauren created Insight Travels in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding.  In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in early 2013 to reside full-time in Asia.  Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable, transformative, engaging retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!) bj and lauren bagan

BJ & Lauren take great pride in the trips they offer, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local contacts in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.

They provide not only on-the-ground support and guidance during the trip, but they are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins.  From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, information about local food, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.  In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $200 value) should you choose to extend your travels in Asia; let them help you plan your post-retreat adventure in Singapore, Bangkok, or beyond!

As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination country, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you! So….let’s get going!

Check out this short video trailer for Debby’s Ladakh yoga tour!

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Around the World Journeys


World Wonder journey coming in late October 2022–stay tuned and check out 2020’s itinerary for inspiration!





  • Oct 31–Nov 9, 2021: Treat, Spay, Love in Nepal–celebrate the dogs of Kathmandu on Kukur Tihar. Coming soon!


Sri Lanka

  • Coming in February 2022!


South America



Argentina, Chile & Easter Island

  • December 8–21, 2021: Featuring a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE!  Coming soon!

Wonders of South America Journeys

  • Jan 6–20, 2022: Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) & Iguazu Falls, coming soon!
  • Late September 2022: Wildlife Wonders of South America, coming soon!

Cultural & Wildlife Journeys


Around the World Journeys





  • Treat, Spay, Love in Nepal–Celebrate Kukur Tihar! Coming soon! Oct 31–Nov 9, 2021:

Sri Lanka

  • Coming in February 2022!


Buddhist Journeys with Tricycle: The Buddhist Review


India & Nepal

  • Pilgrimage to India & Nepal: Walking with the Buddha, Oct 10-24, 2021, coming soon


Sri Lanka

  • Coming February 2022, stay tuned!


  • Coming Summer 2022, stay tuned!

January – March


April – June


Check back for more exciting journeys!


October – December

  • Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island: Featuring a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE!  December 8–21, 2020 (website coming soon)
  • Pilgrimage to India & Nepal: Walking with the Buddha, October 10–24, 2021
  • Around the World: World Wonders Edition, late October 2022. Website coming soon, but you can see 2020’s itinerary here!









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