Lightness of Being in Ladakh
with Mary Green &
Vicky Jap Dharam Rose
July 14–27, 2019
Trip at a Glance
- July 14-27, 2019
- Daily practice Kundalini practice with Mary Green & Vicky Jap Dharam Rose (optional)
- Explore the ancient Kingdom of Ladakh, nestled high in the Tibetan Plateau
- Discover the lunar landscape of Lamayuru, the iconic Indus River, the sand dunes of Nubra Valley, and the crystal clear waters of vast Pangong Lake on the Tibetan border
- Limited to 12 guests
- Early bird price of $3799 (USD) per person (based on double occupancy; please see Pricing & Inclusions tab below for details)
How to Register
- Review this entire webpage for details
- Complete Registration Questions and Contract
- Submit deposit by check or credit card
Meditate as a Sage
Over the millennia, countless sadhus, rishis, lamas, and other deep meditators have come to Ladakh to raise and expand their practices right along with the ever-growing mountains of the Himalayas. Guru Nanak himself chanted Hymns of Oneness in this holy land, where he was revered by Tibetan Buddhists as Lama Nanak.
On this trip we will follow this example and travel through some of the highest passes in India, practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation in the unique geography and culture that is Ladakh—unlike any other destination in India or Nepal! The sapphire blue skies and clean, thin air lend themselves to a yoga practice that is light on its physical aspect but, as the sages found, perfect for deep meditation.
The Morning Sadhanas and afternoon meditations will be accompanied by live/acoustic mantra led by Mary Green/Dharamdhyan Kaur and Vicky Jap Dharam Rose. No practice is mandatory, all is as spirit moves. Join us to navigate the pristine passes of Ladakh, where you will travel high to go deep.
- Enjoy Sadhana and Kundalini meditation and mantras with Mary Green & Vicky Jap Dharam Rose
- Experience morning puja (prayers) with Tibetan Buddhist monks at Thiksey Monastery
- Spend 3 nights directly along the Indus River in Uleytokpo (optional river rafting)
- Marvel at the sand dunes of remote Nubra Valley, complete with Bactrian camels
- Dip your toes in the crystal clear waters of Pangong Lake on the border of Tibet
- Spend time and share meals with monks in their homes
- Discover monasteries from various Tibetan Buddhism sects
- Receive a blessing from Thiksey Rinpoche (contingent on his travel schedule)
LEARN MORE ABOUT LADAKH
RetreaTours has a deep love and special relationship with Ladakh. Please click the button below to learn more about this magical region, including suggested pre-trip reading.
Is Ladakh Safe to Visit?
We take your safety very seriously–read more about the safety of Ladakh here.
“Lightness of Being in Ladakh” Itinerary
Jullay! The itinerary listed below is what you will be experiencing beyond your optional Kundalini Sadhanas and meditations with Mary Green & Jap Dharam.
You’ll be picked up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi upon arrival, where you’ll enjoy a good night’s rest before your early morning flight to Leh on Monday, July 15th. This 1-hour flight is among the most scenic in the world, flying directly over the Himalayas and into the high-altitude desert of the Tibetan Plateau. You’ll be met at the Kushok Bakula Rinpoche airport in Leh, Ladakh and head straight to our home base directly on the Indus River in Uleytokpo (~90-minute drive). This is a relaxing place to recover from jet lag and to ease into the region’s altitude, as this is one of the lower areas of Ladakh at 10,000 feet.
You’ll take it easy on our first full day, and you’ll have access to a spa on site. In fact, we’re including one 1-hour massage treatment for you! If you’re feeling up to it, you’ll have an opportunity to go rafting down the Indus River near the hotel. Tonight you can enjoy a bonfire and stargaze from your perch on top of the world.
On July 17th, you’ll visit the famous lunar landscape of Ladakh around Lamayuru monastery (~90-minute drive). You’ll take your time exploring Lamayuru monastery, Ladakh’s oldest monastery. The next morning you’ll get an early start and visit Alchi Monastery further upriver, famous for its original paintings, some of the oldest in all of Ladakh. From Alchi you’ll head to Leh, the biggest town in Ladakh. You’ll spend the night here, allowing for an afternoon of shopping, wandering, and visiting local cafes in downtown Leh. Your central location sets you up perfectly for an early start the next morning on July 19th over Khardung La, one of the highest motorable passes in the world at 17,582 feet (5,359 m). (This is a ~4-hour drive.)
Your destination is Nubra Valley, rich with cultural and natural treasures. You’ll take in the sights of the sand dunes and fuzzy Bactrian camels, as well as majestic monasteries like Disket Gompa. Nubra Valley is a special place in Ladakh, having opened to outsiders only in 1994.
When you depart Nubra Valley on July 21st, you’ll take the scenic route via Wari La (another of the world’ highest passes at 17,428 feet/5,312 m) back to your home base at Thiksey Monastery (~4 hour drive). During your stay at Thiksey, you’ll enjoy morning puja (prayer) ceremonies at the monastery, as well as a thorough exploration of the temples of Thiksey and those in the surrounding area, including Shey.
You’ll say goodbye to Thiksey for a night and make your way over Chang La (you guessed it–another one of the world’s highest passes at 17,586 feet/5,360 m) and you’ll spend the night at beautiful Pangong Lake. This lake, on the border of Tibet, rests at 13,900 feet (4,230 m) and will provide a nice getaway within a getaway. Although you’ll be staying in simple tents, far from 5-star luxury, this has the opportunity to be a one million-star accommodation (give or take a galaxy or two) as far as stargazing potential goes. However, these tents do have beds and their own toilets–now that is called ‘glamping’ in Ladakh!
On July 25th, we’ll head back for more time at Thiksey Monastery in order to spend time with the monks, learning more about Ladakh culture and Tibetan Buddhism. We’ll visit different monasteries as time allows, including Shey Palace, Lower Shey, and Stakmo. And we will visit with the gracious Buddhist Monks, to get an insiders perspective on Tibetan Buddhism and the Ladakhi culture.
On the morning of July 27th you’ll head back to the airport in Leh to return to Delhi and on to home (or perhaps another adventure!)
If you’d like to extend your journey before or after this RetreaTour, we would be more than happy to help you plan your stay! We can advise you on hotels, flights, and itineraries, whether you want to arrive in India early or stay on afterwards (or both!) We can also set you up for a tour of beautiful Bhutan, Nepal, or anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia. We offer our RetreaTour™ guests free travel consulting, a $300 value.
Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.
Price & What is Included
The early bird price for this journey is $3799 USD per person (double occupancy). This price only covers the actual trip in Ladakh, not international airfare (for a full list of inclusions, please see below). THE EARLYBIRD PRICE HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 31! After April 1, 2019, the price increases to $3999.
A $1000 deposit holds your space. The second installment of $1500 is due by February 14, 2019 and the balance is due by April 15, 2019. Single supplement ($499) is due along with the last installment.
We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date.
If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $499 USD and will be added to your last payment. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.
- Roundtrip airfare from Delhi to Leh
- All accommodation, including first night’s hotel in Delhi on July 14th
- All transportation within Ladakh
- All meals in Ladakh
- All site fees
- All tips at hotels and restaurants in Ladakh
- One 1-hour massage in Uleytokpo
- Donation to Thiksey Monastery
- Laundry at Chamba Guesthouse
Price does not include:
- International airfare (although we will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
- Any meals in New Delhi
- Indian visa fee ($100 for US citizens; required)
- Travel insurance (required)
- Additional activities, such as rafting
- Snacks and drinks outside mealtimes
Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.
A $1000 deposit holds your space. The second installment of $1500 is due by February 14, 2019 and the balance is due by April 15, 2019. Single supplement ($499) is due along with the last installment.
We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date.
For our U.S.-based guests, we accept payments via check and credit or debit card (via PayPal). For our guests with bank and credit card accounts outside the U.S., please write Lauren@RetreaTours.com for transfer details.
- Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to RetreaTours and sent to 8821 NW 14 Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.
- Paying by Credit Card or PayPal balance: You can pay with credit card or PayPal balance through the following the green button below. Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction. Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance; please click here if you’d like further instruction.
We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date.
Registration Questions & Contract
Please click here to go to this Google Form (https://goo.gl/forms/zp3tMr7DexVqBU5m2) to complete this journey’s Registration. You will be asked for your passport number; if you will need to renew your passport before this trip, simply fill in your old information and update us when you receive your new passport.
At the end of the form, please press “submit” to finalize your answers. Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and submitted your deposit.
Please click here to download to view and download PDF of the contract for your records.
About the Practice
To honor the altitude, the daily practice is designed to be “yoga light” and meditation-focused. Sadhana is available each morning, with opportunities to participate in Buddhist morning Pujas when in residence near Thiksey. The morning Sadhanas and afternoon meditations will be accompanied by live/acoustic mantra led by Mary Green and Vicky Jap Dharam Rose. Every day we will take advantage of opportunities to chant and meditate deeply with practices inspired by our surroundings, and the vibrations of millennia of sages who have gone deep in these landscapes and temples.
Over the millennia countless sadhus, rishis, lamas, and other deep meditators have come to Ladakh to raise and expand their practices right along with the ever-growing mountains of the Himalayas. Like Guru Nanak—revered by Tibetan Buddhists as Lama Nanak—you will chant Hymns of Oneness in this holy land. The sapphire blue skies and clean, thin air facilitate a yoga practice that is light on its physical aspect but, as the sages found, perfect for deep meditation. No practice is mandatory, all is as spirit moves.
About the Altitude
We’ll experience a range of altitudes on this journey; our hotels are located at 10,000 feet in Uleytokpo; ~10,000 in Nubra Valley; 11,000 at Thiksey; 11,400 in Leh; to 13,940 at Pangong Lake (just one night). We will be driving over a few 17,000+ foot passes. We plan our first few days in Uleytokpo very lightly, to allow you to acclimatize.
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to worsen at high altitude, so it is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your physician.
Certain medications are utilized to aid acclimatizing to high altitude, such as Diamox (generic: Acetazolamide); please discuss these options with your doctor or a local travel physician.
Here are some resources for you to read about altitude sickness, its symptoms, prevention, and treatment:
- http://www.travelconsultants.biz/prevent-altitude-sickness (written by BJ)
- http://www.treksafe.com.au/medical/altitude_illness.htm (written by a high-altitude medicine specialist)
The following is taken from traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm:
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS is very common at high altitude. At over 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) 75% of people will have mild symptoms. The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatisation process. The symptoms usually start 12 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude and begin to decrease in severity around the third day.
The symptoms of Mild AMS include:
- Nausea & Dizziness
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Disturbed sleep
- General feeling of malaise
Symptoms tend to be worse at night and when respiratory drive is decreased. Mild AMS does not interfere with normal activity and symptoms generally subside within two to four days as the body acclimatises. As long as symptoms are mild, and only a nuisance, ascent can continue at a moderate rate. When hiking, it is essential that you communicate any symptoms of illness immediately to others on your trip.
You may consider using ibuprofen as a preventative (if this is something that is safe for you and you have discussed with your physician). “Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory medication often used as a painkiller, was found to significantly reduce the incidence of altitude sickness in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 86 men and women, according to the study, published online March 20 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.” [Source: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2012/03/ibuprofen-decreases-likelihood-of-altitude-sickness-researchers-find.html]
We recommend that, if it is safe for you, you start taking ibuprofen 24 hours before your arrival to Ladakh (take as often as instructed on the bottle).
It is important to keep us informed about how you feel and we will be checking in with you regularly.
Sleeping pills are respiratory depressants and should be avoided, as they slow down the acclimatization process.
Click here to read Lauren’s suggestions to natural therapies to begin before your trip. Lauren is a Board-certified Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine with a specialty in the world of dietary supplements.
*All of the information here is for reference purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed health care professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition or disease. If you are experiencing medical issues, you should contact your medical healthcare provider.
FAQ (aka, Everything You're Wondering Right About Now!) Visas, Health, Hotels, Food, Money & more.
- Passport and Visa information
- Health & Vaccines, Altitude, Travel Insurance
- Money & How to Get Local Currency
- Communication / Internet Connectivity
- What do I need to know about the visa?
First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). You will need to arrange an Indian visa before you arrive; we will provide you more detailed information before you apply for your visa.
You can apply for a Visa on Arrival 4 to 120 days in advance of your arrival on this website. Please click here to read our blog about how to apply for this visa. (Please click here to make sure your country is eligible for a Visa on Arrival).
If you plan on staying in India longer than 60 days, you can apply through Cox & Kings Global Services, but you must allow more time for this process (start at least 3 to 4 months before the start of the trip). Please let us know if you prefer this option.
- I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?
Vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels (in fact, our hotel in Uleytokpo and Thiksey are exclusively vegetarian). The only thing that might prove difficult 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 we 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.
Gluten is also avoidable in India by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local languages 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.
When you register for a trip, you will answer a set of questions, including a question about food allergies. We’ll take a look at your answers and let you know if we have any suggestions or concerns.
Click here for our very own Indian Food Primer!
- Can I drink the water?
In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it. Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. If you’d like to bring a reusable bottle and a means of sterilization to save on plastic water bottle consumption, you are more than welcome. Otherwise, we will have access to bottled water at all times.
- What vaccines do I need?
None are required to enter India, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you. You can read the American CDC’s recommendations here and the UK’s NHS recommendations here.
- What about the altitude?
Please see our separate toggle on this web page about the altitude.
- What about malaria?
We request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information. You can see an NHS map of malaria risks in India here: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/india/india-malaria-map
- What are the physical requirements for this trip?
Please see the separate section on this page titled “Suggested Fitness Requirements.”
- Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is required on this trip; please see the separate “Travel Insurance” toggle on this page.
- How much money should I bring?
That is entirely up to you and how much shopping you want to do in Leh and the monastery gift shops. All of your meals* and transportation are covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras. (*except for meals in New Delhi)
- How do I get the local currency?
You can either exchange cash in India or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in India so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world.
- What kind of hotels will we be staying at?
Please see the separate “About our Hotels” toggle on this page.
- Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?
Yes, just be sure to bring along a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world! Please don’t forget this, as it will not be easy to acquire on in Ladakh.
- How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?
Before the trip begins we will give you a contact for our hotels and our local friends/guides.
- About the Wifi
Please understand that you may not be connected to the internet on most of this trip. WiFi connectivity is sparse in Ladakh due to its remote location and harsh terrain, particularly in our destinations. Ladakh uses a different phone system than the rest of India (and most of the world). Because of this, your international phone/data plans will not work in Ladakh (although they should work upon your arrival in Delhi). We will have no access to wifi in Uleytokpo, most of Nubra Valley, or Pangong. Wifi will be available in Leh and Thiksey, given that it is working in the region. When it is working, it is still much slower than you are used to and is not conducive to video chats, streaming, or downloads.
In an emergency you will always have access a landline or mobile to call home (we request that you ask your emergency contact and loved ones to download WhatsApp, as well, as this is the easiest, free way to contact people overseas).
About our Hotels
All of our hotels will have an ensuite bathroom with a western toilet (not a squat toilet). Most of our hotels do not have heat, but can provide extra blankets on request. We’ll provide you with specific hotel names before the start of the trip.
For three nights we’ll make stay along the Indus River in Uleytokpo, in order to explore the monasteries of Lamayuru, Alchi & more. This quaint riverside resort even has a spa, if you want to get a massage on the Rooftop of the World! We can even enjoy a bonfire and stargazing. This location also has a bar onsite, a rarity in this part of the world (with some decent Indian wines in stock!) The restaurant at this hotel is strictly vegetarian. There is no wifi available at this hotel.
Our hotel in Leh is centrally located and comfortable, and each room has its own private bathroom. WiFi is available but it is not uncommon for connectivity in the entire region to go down for days at a time. This hotel does have central heating.
Our hotel in Nubra Valley is in an area called Hunder, and this particular hotel is owned by Thiksey Monastery. It is removed from the more touristed areas of Nubra Valley and gives us an opportunity to explore local temples and wildlife undisturbed. The rooms are simple and clean, and all rooms have their own bathroom. Please note there is no wifi at this hotel.
We will be staying at Thiksey Monastery’s guesthouse, with a gorgeous view of the monastery itself. In fact, this guesthouse is where the His Holiness the Dalai Lama stayed during his August 2016 visit to Thiksey. Although the monastery’s guesthouse is simple, it is clean, and each room has ensuite bathrooms and hot water. Wifi can be very sporadic, due to our very remote location, and the best wifi reception is in the common areas.
Our guesthouse has an on-site vegetarian restaurant, featuring Tibetan specialties & northern Indian classics. Most importantly, we are an extremely short walk to the monastery, which is beneficial for early morning pujas and exploration.
Our camp in Pangong is simple and clean, and all rooms have their own private toilet. Please note there is no wifi in Pangong.
Suggested Fitness Requirements
Participants should be able to comfortably climb and descend stairs, slowly but in a stable fashion, sometimes without handrails. In Thiksey, our guesthouse is at the bottom of the hill Thiksey Monastery is built on, and the prayer hall and upper temples are still about ~100 stairs from the highest place we can get dropped off by a vehicle. From the guesthouse, it is 400 feet to the top of the monastery (or about ~475 stairs). It is normal to feel winded climbing stairs at altitude–slow and steady wins the race.
We will be driving for several multi-hour stretches several times on this trip, so guests should be able to sit in a vehicle for up to 5 hours at a time (although we can stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching along the way).
At many of the places we visit, we will be sitting on the floor (or on very low mats); guests should feel comfortable sitting on the floor for 20-30 minutes at a time (although you are certainly able to get up and stretch your legs at any time).
Please see the “About the Altitude” section on this web page for more important information.
If you are traveling with RetreaTours, we require that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation.
We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.
Below you will find some options to look into, if this is a new world to you. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.
World Nomads provides medical coverage for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation, as well. You can use the box on this page to get a quote and see coverage.
InsureMyTrip.com is a good place to see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like.
It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.
About your International Flights
We are more than happy to recommend international flights, but ultimately you will make the purchase yourself. Here is some important information if you would like to research flights yourself:
When must I arrive in Delhi / where will I stay in Delhi?
Your flight to Leh is early in the morning on Monday, July 15th, so we recommend arriving in Delhi the evening of July 14th at the latest, so that you do not miss your flight on July 15th if your international flight is delayed. You may wish to arrive even earlier to get accustomed to the timezone. However, this is not an optimal time to sightsee in New Delhi, due to high temperatures and pollution, so we don’t recommend getting there more than a day or two early.
Your night in New Delhi on July 14th is included in this retreat fee, and you will be staying in a comfortable hotel in Delhi’s Aerocity complex, just a convenient ten-minute drive from the airport. The hotel will pick you up from the airport, and this service is also included in the trip cost.
What time should I book my departing flight from India?
You will be leaving Ladakh the morning of July 27th, and although it’s usually clear this time of year, delays are always possible. We would recommend making your return flight home no earlier than 8 PM on July 27th—perhaps even later to account for any potential delays.
Temperature & Suggested Packing List
Based on historical averages and 2016’s temperatures, the typical temperature while we are in Leh will be 65° to 90° F (18° to 32° C), and although rain is not likely, it is possible. It can feel quite hot in the sun and chilly in the shade, so layers are going to be your best friend on this trip!
Unfortunately, there are no accurate weather forecasts we’ve found for Ladakh; your best bet is to visit Accuweather and look at July 2018’s actual temperatures. Even that doesn’t feel entirely accurate to us, but it is a good starting place.
Note: The weight limit on your internal flights (from Delhi to Leh and return) will be 44 lbs (20 kg), not the 50 lbs that you may be used to domestically in the USA. If you prefer to only bring a carry-on, you’re welcome to do that, as well.
One more tip: Using packing cubes may make your life easier.BJ and Lauren swear by them, and they’ve been living out of their suitcases since the beginning of 2013!
Although more and more Indians are adopting Western wear, traditional clothing is very prevalent and modesty is the name of the game (particularly around the monastery!) Please do not wear clothes that are tight, transparent or show too much skin or underarms. This means no tank tops or mid-riff baring tops (even for your yoga gear). We also discourage wearing form-fitting “skinny” jeans and shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wear loose fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and t-shirts, collared shirts, blouses or tunics.
- 8+ pairs undergarments; you can always have them washed or wash them yourself in your bathroom.
- 3-5 pair pants or long skirts. You may want to bring leggings or long johns (2 or 3 pair) to wear under your long kurtas, tunics, skirts or pants on chilly mornings or evenings (again—it’s all about the layers!) Fleece pants might be nice, and good to sleep in (remember, the nights are going to be in the 40’s to 50’s)
- 4-5 cotton t-shirts, blouses, or long sleeve shirts.
- A thicker sweater or jacket for cold Ladakh mornings and evenings.
- A windbreaker or shell might prove useful if your jacket doesn’t protect you from the wind or rain.
- A warm hat and scarf for chilly mornings and evenings.
- 2-3 pairs of socks. Wool (like SmartWool) or tech socks work very well, but whatever socks you have will be just fine.
- Warm sleeping attire
- Comfortable walking shoes. Boots aren’t necessary and can be cumbersome when going in and out of monasteries and temples. Sneakers or comfortable slip-ons will suffice.
- Walking sandals (such as Teva’s, Chaco’s, or Merrell’s) also work very well here.
- A hat with a brim is a very good idea for our daytime adventures.
- Ear plugs and eye shades to help you sleep better and recover from jet lag more quickly. BJ swears by this—click here to read an article he wrote on the topic.
- Good sunscreen is CRITICAL at this altitude. Lauren prefers mineral-based ones: good for you, good for the environment. How do you know if it’s mineral based? If the active ingredient is either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide—that’s it. MyChelle and Devita make good ones.
- Daypack or camera bag. (If you need a recommendation on a camera, BJ would be happy to help, depending on what type of photography you like, how much you want to spend, and how much you want to carry around.)
- If you do bring your camera, don’t forget extra batteries or your charging cord. You may want to think about an extra memory card, too.
- Toiletries (including shampoo and conditioner)
- A few packs of travel tissues is a good idea, to keep on you for public restrooms.
- Wet wipes or hand sanitizer.
- Any necessary feminine hygiene products.
- Plug adaptor for electronics: you’ll need a 2 pin adaptor common across Europe. Here’s a nice example of a great universal adapter and here’s one with USB ports, as well.
- An external battery charger, such as this one, may be useful for USB-powered objects. Given the remote location of this retreat, electricity can be finicky, so it is best to have a secondary way to charge your phone or camera.
- VERY IMPORTANT! A print out of your RETURN airline ticket itinerary; you’ll need this to enter the airport to get home. You can also have a copy (we recommend a screenshot) on your phone.
- Photocopy of your passport and your visa, just in case you need them.
- A small travel umbrella is a must. It can work for rain OR as a parasol
- Notebook and pen for journaling purposes
- Enough of any prescription drugs you need, as well as over-the-counter needs. We recommend Imodium (anti-diarrheal), a probiotic (Lauren is a BIG fan of Jarrodophilus EPS), as well as melatonin and Benadryl for jet lag purposes.
- Our hotels in Leh and Thiksey technically have wifi access, but outages are not uncommon (all over Ladakh). Nevertheless, we encourage you to bring your smartphone or tablet, and please don’t forget your chargers! We recommend setting up Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or another wifi-based calling service before leaving home, and familiarizing your loved ones with it before you leave.
Please write Lauren@RetreaTours.com for any questions you may have about this journey. If you have not received a reply within 48 hours, please do check your spam folder.
About Mary Green
Mary Green, RYT-500, is a K.R.I certified Level One and Level Two Kundalini Yoga Teacher and a member of IKYTA. She trained with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa in India, and returns there often to deepen her practice.
Mary believes in Kundalini yoga’s transformative power—that you can see the world through new eyes from the very first class. Her goal is for others to experience the joy of reaching for their highest selves. Through her humorous and supportive style, Mary helps people of all abilities to open their hearts, strengthen their bodies and heal their nervous systems from the stresses of the times.
Mary teaches yoga at Yoga for Everybody in Fairfield, CT. She is also an investment professional, writer, corporate stress management advocate and a mother to three boys.
Mary’s spiritual name is Dharamdhyan Kaur, which means the Princess/Lioness of God who meditatively and fearlessly holds to the path of righteousness. She looks forward to treading the path with you in Ladakh.
You can contact Mary at MaryGreenYoga@gmail.com
About Vicky Jap Dharam Rose
Jap Dharam finished her KRI Level 1 Teacher Training 11 years ago at Golden Bridge in Los Angeles and has never looked back! Having been a teacher of one thing or another most of her adult life, she knew teaching Kundalini Yoga was her destiny and chose to merge it with her other great passion, music.
As well as being an international recording artist and performer, Jap Dharam has been blessed to assist several Masters and teachers throughout the years with annual trips to India. She has continued independent study through Level Three classes, a vibrant curiosity, and a deep, personal practice.
The name Jap Dharam (Kaur) means The Lioness who stays the Path of Righteousness (Dharma) by repeating (Jap) or meditating on God’s name. Chanting and meditating on these high roads is a destiny she is honored to share.
You can contact Jap Dharam at VRose4@verizon.net
About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours, your tour organizers
RetreaTours is perfectly suited to facilitate your time in Ladakh. Although we will not be there on site with you this time, you are in VERY good hands while you are there!
BJ Graf has been traveling to Ladakh and Thiksey Monastery since 1995. He was invited as Thiksey Monastery’s official photographer for the Dalai Lama’s Summer 2010 visit to Nubra Valley and again for HHDL’s August 2016 Thiksey Monastery visit and his 2017 teachings at Disket Monastery. In addition, one of BJ’s portraits of Thiksey Rinpoche graces the cover of his recent biography.
Having developed deep and personal connections to many lamas (monks) at Thiksey, BJ and Lauren have secured access to sacred prayer halls otherwise inaccessible to the public. In addition, you’ll experience a warm welcome into the homes of the monks and their families in the village for tea, dinner, and thought-provoking discussions about Tibetan Buddhism.
BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours 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 January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable and transformative retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)
BJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, 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 professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime. The dynamic duo 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, 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 $300 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, 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!
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Check out this stunning music video shot in Ladakh–you’ll be visiting ALL of these places!