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Circuit in the heart of the Himalayas

Northern India

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Circuit in the heart of the Himalayas

Circuit in the heart of the Himalayan chain: discover a land of high passes, spectacular landscapes, by taking the road that goes from the Golden Temple to Amritsar to the Buddhist temples housed on the roof of the world! Welcome to Ladakh!
This tour combines nature, adventure and spirituality. From Delhi, we suggest taking you to Amritsar (Golden Temple), then to Dharamsala (home of his SS The Dalai Lama) and then to take the road from Manali to Leh. In Leh, you will visit some of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh, valleys including Nubra, where a green nature, surrounded by huge rocks and arid mountains, unfolds before your eyes.


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Budget

From CHF 3'445.-

details of the circuit

number of days : 15D / 13N
theme of the circuit : Adventure, Spirituality, Nature
Region : Northern India

Useful information

Ideal period : Fixed dates: from 6 to 20 July 2019
number of people : 8 à 12
Main activities : Delhi > Amritsar > Dharamsala > Manali > Rohtang Pass > Keylong > Sarchu > Leh > Nubra > Leh > Delhi > Agra > Delhi

Highlights of the circuit

A land of high passes

Ladakh is a land like no other.
Bounded by two of the world's largest mountain ranges, the Great Himalayas and Karakoram, it is a land of high passes and spectacular landscapes with green valleys surrounded by serrated and arid mountains that give the region its unique character.

Monasteries of great beauty

Largely influenced by Buddhism, Ladakh is also home to many beautiful monasteries, which also remind us of our belonging to a larger dimension.
The beauty of its picturesque lakes and the power of its wide and impressive rivers, which have remained untouched by human civilization, further strengthen the impact that Ladakh has on each new visitor.

A cultural, spiritual and adventurous tour

This tour is specially designed to give a cultural, spiritual and adventure variation.
It will begin with a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is the holiest sanctuary of the Sikh religion, about 600 years old. It will continue towards Dharamsala, perhaps better known as "Little Lhasa", which is home to H.H. the Dalai Lama.

In the heart of the Western Himalayas

The tour will then take you on the road from Manali to Leh, which winds its way through the snow-covered peaks of the Western Himalayas for a distance of nearly 485 km.
This land route has become an increasingly popular way to get to Leh. The advantage of travelling by road is that you can enjoy an astonishing panoramic view of the beauty of nature and that, at the same time, you gradually acclimatise to breathing the high altitude air; a prerequisite, moreover, that cannot be ignored, to get to Leh. An experience that will undoubtedly remain unforgettable, thanks in particular to the variety of sublime landscapes that will unfold before your eyes.

The road from Manali to

The Manali-Leh road generally consists of sections of roads with very poor conditions, river crossings due to melting glaciers and occasional landslides.
For these reasons, road conditions are different every year. The Manali road is open from mid-June to mid-October. The highway crosses some of the highest mountain passes in the world, including Rohtang La (3,978 m), Baralacha La (4,892 m), Lachulung La (5,059 m) and Taglang La (5,325 m). The land is so high and barren that there are no fixed dwellings and the infrastructure is limited to the strict minimum.



Course of the journey

Day 1 (July 6): Departure from Switzerland

International flight.

Arrival in Delhi around midnight. After a warm welcome at the airport, transfer to the hotel for your check-in.

Day 2 (July 7): Visit Delhi

After breakfast, visit New & Old Delhi. Near Old Delhi:
The Red Fort: one of Delhi's most magnificent monuments, built by Emperor Shah Jahan, who also had the Taj Mahal built in 1648.
Jama Masjid: India's largest mosque in front of the Red Fort. Built in 1656, it is an eloquent reminder of Mughal religious fervour.
Auto-rikshaw" hiking in the narrow streets of Chandni Chowk, the nerve centre of Old Delhi.
The President's house: Passage through the official residence of the President of India.
Gateway to India: A majestic 42-metre high arch, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War.
Qutub Minar: The 72.5-metre high tower dates from the 13th century and is one of the greatest legacies of Islamic culture.
Sikh Temple (Gurudwara Bangla Sahib): Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is located in the heart of Connaught Place.


Day 3 (July 8): Delhi - Amritsar by train

Early morning transfer to the station to take the train to Amritsar (departure at 07:20/arrival at 13:25). On arrival, transfer to the hotel.

Amritsar is one of the main cities of the Sikh religion. It was founded by Guru Ram Das Sahib in 1574.

In the afternoon, you can visit the Golden Temple: Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, which means the Temple of God.

Sikhs from all over the world wish to visit Sri Amritsar daily and prostrate themselves to Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.

In the evening, visit the busy streets of the local bazaars (markets).

Day 4 (July 9): Amritsar - Dharamsala (1700m) 200km/4h

In the morning, another visit to the Golden Temple and continuation of the visit with the discovery of Jallian Wala Bagh: this place is known for the most notorious massacre in its province under British rule. It is located 400 meters north of the Golden Temple. At that time, in 1919, British General Dyer was the country's lieutenant governor.

Later in the morning, we set off again towards Dharamsala, perhaps better known as "Little Lhasa". Dharamsala nestles in the steep mountains of Dhauladar, amidst pine and deodar forests. The region offers fantastic views of the Himalayan peaks and the Kangra Valley. After China's invasion of Tibet in 1959, the fourteenth Dalai Lama and his Buddhist government were granted asylum in Dharamsala, which is also a former British mountain resort.

Since then, many Tibetan exiles have settled there and some of them still cross the wild Himalayas in winter to escape oppression and to get closer to the man they consider their religious and political leader.

In the evening, visit the busy streets of the local bazaars (markets).

Day 5 (July 10): Dharamsala

We suggest you visit the Namgyal monastery in front of the Dalai Lama's residence. The monastery contains large golden bronzes of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara. Buddha Avalokitesvara - the bodhisattva of compassion - of whom the Dalai Lama is the embodiment, was saved from the Tokhang temple in Lhasa and brought here during the massive destruction caused by the Chinese cultural revolution.

The visit will continue at the school of the Tibetan Children's Village, which is located near the monastery. The school has housed, cared for and educated more than 2500 orphaned Tibetan children under the patronage of the Dalai Lama since 1960. You can also discover the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which was re-installed in India in 1961. It is an Institute of Traditional Tibetan Practice and Care.

Day 6 (July 11): Dharamsala - Manali (2050m) 235km, 5h

After breakfast, on the way to Manali. On the way, we will cross small towns and villages, such as Palampur Mandi and Kullu, along the Beas River.

Manali is located at the end of the valley, on the national road leading to Leh. The scenery at this stage of the tour is breathtaking. We can see snow-covered peaks, and in the heart of the valley, the Beas River that flows through the city. On the other side, there are deodars and pines, a succession of fields and orchards. Manali is a very popular tourist destination in India.

Upon our arrival, we will visit the 16th century Hadimba temple, the thermal spring of Vashisht and the old Manali - to this day still an enclave of the hippie movement.

Day 7 (July 12): Manali - Rohtang Pass (3'980m) - Keylong (3'350m) 117 km, 5h

After breakfast, you will head to Keylong. You will cross the famous Rohtang Pass (4'000m), the first of our journey. Along the way, you can admire the spectacular scenery of the Lahul Valley, along the Chandra River, as well as the confluence of the Chandra River and the Bhaga at Tandi. The road we will take to Keylong is upstream along the Bhaga River.

Keylong, popularly known as the "country of monasteries", is the administrative centre of the Lahaul and Spiti district. The exhilarating and archaic mountain ranges and green valleys are breathtakingly beautiful!

Upon arrival, we offer a 2-hour hike to Khardong Monastery, which is thought to date back to the 12th century. This monastery has a large library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist writings in Bhoti.

Day 8 (July 13): Keylong - Sarchu (4'250m) 140km, 5h

In the morning we offer you a 2-hour walk to the monastery of Shashur, founded in the 17th century AD. It belongs to the Red Hat Sect and is located among the blue pines. The paintings on display there, which you can admire, represent the history of 84 Buddhas.

Afterwards, we will continue our journey towards Sarchu. The landscape becomes more and more austere and barren as we climb from the top to the Baralacha Pass, at an altitude of 4,875 m. This pass, the second of our trip, offers you a magnificent panorama with very beautiful views of the meadows and snow-covered mountains.

In the late afternoon, we will arrive at the small hamlet of Sarchu which is located on a large plateau.

Free evening.

Day 9 (July 14): Sarchu - Leh (3,400m) 235km, 8am

Early in the morning, the road to Leh gives you the impression of being on the Tibetan high plateau. Going up from Sarchu, the road first follows a series of loops, composed of 32 hairpin bends. At the end of the Pang Valley, we cross the Tzanspo River and continue to another plateau for a long crossing of the legendary Moore Plain. It is the highest Tibetan plateau at 4200 meters above sea level. The road then continues to Tanglang La (5'280 m). It is the second highest pass in the world that can be crossed by car and offers breathtaking views of the Zanskar mountain range. A pleasant journey of about 20 km then takes you to the hamlet of Ladakhi, Gya, announced by prayer flags. A few more villages will still have to be crossed, before finally reaching the great Indus River.

The journey will continue for a few more hours to the city of Leh.

Day 10 (July 15): visit of Leh and its monasteries

Hemis Monastery is distinguished by the fact that it is the largest and richest monastery in Ladakh. It dates back to 1630 and was founded by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso.

Hemis Monastery is located in a gorge, about 47 km from Leh.

Stakna Gompa of Ladakh is located on the right bank of the Indus River, about 25 km from the city of Leh. The name,'Stakna' literally means'tiger nose'. The monastery was so named because it was built on a hill, which has the shape of a tiger's nose. Ladakh Takthok Monastery is located in the village of Sakti, about 46 km from the town of Leh. The site where the monastery is now located once housed the Mahassid meditation cave "Kunga Phuntsog". The name Takthok literally means "Thiksey monastery with a stone roof", located about 18 km from the city of Leh. One of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh, it belongs to the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism.

Day 11 (July 16): Leh - Nubra (5,360 m) 130km, 5h

After breakfast, we head towards the Nubra Valley via the Khardung Pass - the - (the highest road in the world) at an altitude of 5360 m.

The Nubra Valley is located in the far north of Ladakh; this desert land is characterized by its white sands.

Hike around the villages and interact with the local population. Visit Diskit & Hunder Monasteries.

Diskit Monastery, is located on the highest point near the village. Belonging to the Gelugpa sect (yellow hat), parts of the gompa, which houses 120 resident monks, are about 760 years old. Hunder gompa, this little gompa, was built during the time of King Jamgyal Namgyal who came here with his wife Gyal Khatun. We suggest you to discover the village which has some beautiful old houses.

Optionally, a 30-minute camel ride.

Overnight at the camp.

Day 12 (July 17): Nubra - Leh, 130km, 5h

Morning visit to the village of Samstanling. Then back to Leh.

On arrival, visit Leh Palace, Sankar gompa, and shanti stupa.

Leh's Palace is a majestic 17th century palace that was built for King Singge Namgyall. The architecture of Leh's palace is very impressive.

The Shankar gompa is located a few kilometres north of the city centre.

A relatively modern monastery, it is closely associated with the Spituk monastery.

Shanti Stupa: In order to advance the cause of world peace and the spread of Buddhism, a Japanese Buddhist sect established the Shanti Stupa in Leh. The Shanti Stupa was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1985 and its main objective is to spread peace and the message of Buddhism throughout the world.

Day 13 (July 18): Domestic flight from Leh to Delhi, then drive to Agra (210 km, 4 hours)

Early morning transfer to Leh airport for Delhi.

Arrived in Delhi, transfer by bus to Agra.

In the afternoon, departure for the visit of the famous Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, unique and unique in the world. The monumental work of love of a great sovereign for his beloved queen. The ultimate realization of Emperor Shahjahan's dream. One of the wonders of the world. From 1631 A.D. onwards, it took 22 years of work. An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River.

Day 14 (July 19): Agra - Delhi, 210 km, 4h

In the morning, visit the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 AD, although additions were made until the time of his grandson Shahjahan. The exterior of this fort hides an inner paradise. There are a number of exquisite buildings like Moti Masjid - a white marble mosque.

In the afternoon, we set off again in the direction of Delhi.

On arrival in Delhi, you can check in at the hotel near the airport for a rest and refreshment (up to 22.30 hours) before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to Switzerland.

Jour 15 (20 juil.) : Vol de retour

Departure of your international flight to Switzerland.

Course on the map

Accommodations

Hotel Shangri-La's – Eros 5*, Dehli

Situated in one of India’s largest financial, commercial and business districts, Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, New Delhi is at the beating heart of the bustling capital.
Located just a few minutes from the nearest metro station, and a short drive from the Presidential Estate, guests are easily connected to the best of the city. With panoramic views from the Horizon Club, Asian-inspired dining options and luxurious facilities, the hotel provides a peaceful escape for business and leisure travelers alike.

  • 320 recently refurbished rooms and suites
  • 5 award-winning restaurants and bars
  • Prime location close to business, shopping and entertainment districts
  • Rejuvenating spa treatments
  • Spread over 20,000 square feet, Chi, The Spa boasts of 5 spacious treatment rooms, including a special couple’s suite. Spa products used are organic, natural and include internationally renowned brands such as Zents and Omorovicza.


Spa Treatments :
  • Massages/Facials/Body Treatments/Relaxing shirodhara
  • Spa Facilities : Wet area with steam room and sauna/ Jacuzzi and personalised locker facilities with a relaxation lounge
  • Fitness studio for meditation, yoga and workshops
  • Swimming pool

Activities in the hotel :

  • Piscine couverte
  • Terrain de tennis
  • Plage à proximité
  • Toboggans
  • Sauna

Included in the offer :

  • Massage régénérants
  • Visite guidée de la ville

Hotel Hyatt Regency 5*, Amritsar

Hyatt Amritsar, is the 5 star Deluxe hotel of the city, located at 4.2kms distance from the world renowned Golden Temple.
248 rooms including 10 Regency & Executive Suites. All rooms feature large bay windows to enjoy a picturesque view of the pool or the cityscape.

Activities in the hotel :

  • Spa
  • business services
  • room service
  • concierge
  • pool
  • restaurant
  • fitness center
  • laundry

Fortune Park Moksha 4*, Dharamsala

Nestled in the scenic Strawberry Hills with beautiful views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range and the pristine Dharamshala valley, Fortune Park Moksha is located just 6 km from the main square.
The hotel provides guests easy access to all the main tourist attractions in and around McLeod Ganj.

Unique for its natural abundance, the hotel is surrounded by pine trees and deodar forests which leave the air around scented with sweet pine fragrance, making it an ideal choice for a stay in the lap of nature.

Fortune Park Moksha features 59 well-appointed rooms, including 36 Standard Rooms, 20 Fortune Club Rooms and 3 Suites, offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and the valley. The rooms are spread across three block.

Activities in the hotel :

  • Parking
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Conference Room
  • Gymnasium
  • Swimming Pool
  • Body Treatment
  • Steam
  • Sauna
  • Global Distribution System
  • Wi-Fi

The Himalayan, Manali

Perched at an elevation of 2003 metres & built in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, The Himalayan is an exclusive boutique castle resort with an al fresco swimming pool overlooking Manali town.
Tucked away in its own cul-de-sac amidst an apple & cherry orchard are 8 opulent guest Chambers in the Castle (all with four-poster beds & antique armoires) and 8 Duplex Cottages (each with 2 Bedrooms complete with en-suite bathrooms, dining & drawing space with functional fire place). The Cottage kitchenettes are equipped with all modern amenities/appliances. All cottages have their own cosy gardens, balconies & mountain views. All rooms come with tea/coffee makers, in-room safes & bespoke bath amenities. Bar, Restaurant & In-room dining is available. Croquet, Trampoline & Table Tennis is provided for children & adults alike. Gymnasium is offered on the premises. Fully equipped Boardroom.

Activities in the hotel :

  • Pool
  • Room service
  • Free Internet
  • Free parking
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Lounge
  • Spa
  • Fitness Centre with Gym
  • Workout Room

Hôtel Dekyid 2*, Keylong

Situated in the serenity and the spiritual encounters in the divine land of Lahaul and Spiti is the Hotel Dekyid with all the amenities for acomfortable stay.
There are many places to visit like Shashur Gonpa, Yordong Gonpa and Kardang Gonpa.

Features & Amenities:
  • Deluxe rooms for singles and couples/Family suites/Parking for Car and Coaches/Multi Cuisine Restaurant/Medical Services/WiFi Internet access
  • Deluxe Rooms:
  • Facing wide open valley with amazing 360 degrees of awesomeness. All rooms are well furnished and designed to accommodate 2 adults and an extra if required. Recommended for couples and singles.
  • European style attached bathrooms.

Gold Drops Fixed Camps , Sarchu

An Trek Camp is situated just 222 kilometers from Manali on the Leh Highway, opp. the Sarchu Temple (HP) Goldrop Camp at Sarchu set up from mid of May to end Sept at a height of 14000 ft.
The Goldrop camp is a deluxe Camp in the beautiful environs of Himachal Pradesh. The hotel offers comfortable accommodation with modern amenities to its guests.

The camp offers a range of facilities to its guests like Electricity, Attached toilet, hot water in bucket, Food served in buffet and medical facility.

The Camp / Resort has around 20 tents and 10 royal tents with electricity divided into Deluxe Single rooms and Deluxe Double rooms . All has wall to wall carpet.

Facilities of Goldrop Camp:
  • Swiss Cottage Tents
  • Fully waterproof with double layer canvas
  • Furniture in all rooms
  • Attach bathroom
  • Hot water in Bucket
  • Food served in buffet
  • Warm quilts and blankets in all rooms
  • Power backup
  • Oxygen cylinders.

Ratna Hotel, Leh

Welcome to an adorable little hotel, on a human scale, housed in the heart of a green setting, in a quiet and peaceful area, located on the outskirts of Leh.
Ratna Hotel is a charming little hotel located in a quiet area near Leh. A Swiss woman who fell in love with Ladakh, lives there six months a year and manages the establishment with love. The decoration, simple, is tastefully made. The facility is very clean and well managed. The food is excellent. No doubt you will enjoy staying there for the three nights planned;)

Activities in the hotel :

Stargazing at night on the hotel roof
Moments of discussion in the restaurant room, Erica's office or in the hotel lobby.
A walk near the hotel, along the Indus River or a slightly longer walk to the small town of Choglamsar.

Shangrila fixed camps, Nubra

Shangri La Camp Nubra is A class camps in Nubra Valley and it is best accommodation in the Hunder Village because tents of Shangri La Camp Hunder are concrete.
Shangri La Camp Nubra Valley have 14 deluxe concrete tent with attached bathroom. Shangri La Camp Nubra Ladakh is situated in the center of the hunder village where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Nubra Valley. Guests also have access to our garden and organic garden, perfectly located to relieve tension by day or night.

Chrystal Sarovar 5* , Agra

Bel établissement de haut standing où vous apprécierez séjourner dans la ville d’Agra !

Pride Plaza 5*, Delhi

Un bel établissement, de bon standing, avec une belle empreinte indienne ;)
Le Pride Plaza est un hôtel très agréable, où il fait bon rester à l’arrivée ou au départ de Delhi. Pratique, car il est tout près de l’aéroport international. Très confortable : la réception est accueillante, bien décorée et bénéficiant de beaux espaces. Les chambres sont très confortables, ainsi que les salles d’eau. L’établissement est équipé en outre d’une belle piscine, facile d’accès et fort agréable. Si vous bénéficiez d’une petite heure pour vous et que le cœur vous en dit, je vous recommande vivement une heure de massage dans le Spa de l’hôtel : une vraie merveille !

L’hôtel se situe dans la zone aérocity à proximité de l’aéroport ; plusieurs cafés et restaurants disposent de belles terrasses où il fait bon vivre, le soir, lorsque la température est plus fraîche. Allentours, il y a aussi divers commerces avec des zones piétonnes où c’est vraiment sympa de se promener, notamment avant de reprendre son vol pour la Suisse.

Activities in the hotel :

  • piscine
  • Spa
  • Salle de fitness

Information & rates

From CHF 3'445.-

(possible variations due to the price of international flight)

Inclusions

  • One double room (two people occupancy) for 13 nights
  • Meal plan: Delhi, Amritsar, Manali & Agra: breakfast included; Dharamsala: half board; Keylong, Sarchu, Leh and Nubra: full board.
  • Visit of Delhi and journey from Delhi to Agra and back to Delhi : bus with air conditioning. Journey from Amritsar to Leh: Innova cars (3 passengers per car) without air conditioning.
  • English-speaking guide accompanying throughout the circuit. Ladakhi guide in Leh.
  • All entrances to sites, monuments and monasteries. Passing permits on some road sections in Ladakh.
  • Train ticket for a seat in an air conditioning compartment from Delhi to Amritsar.
  • Booking of a room in a hotel near the airport for a rest and refreshment period until 22:30 on the day of departure for the return flight to Switzerland.

Exclusions

  • Domestic flight Leh-Delhi
  • Airport taxes (if any)
  • Visa application fees
  • Meals that are not specified in the program
  • All tips for drivers, guides and porters in hotels
  • All accident, health and repatriation insurance, telecom expenses and expenses related to the purchase of medicines.
  • All beverages (water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • All expenses related to an emergency situation, transportation and evacuation by helicopter in the event of an accident, illness, train or plane cancellation or any type of emergency situation.
  • Laundry costs, camera use on certain sites and any type of personal expenses.
  • Sleeping bags useful for nights spent in fixed camps on the road to Manali-Leh.

Good to know

  • This circuit, which is proposed on the road from Manali to Leh and Ladakh, is a circuit that takes place in high mountains; the road passes several times through high passes (the highest at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres!). A healthy person will gradually acclimatize to high altitude. However, at some levels, headaches, dizziness and the urge to vomit may appear temporarily. Most of the time, these discomforts are only temporary. However, for this type of circuit, it is recommended to have a good general state of health.
  • The stops in Manali, Keylong, Sarchu and Nubra offer clean but very simple places to stay overnight. No other alternative exists in this region where only rudimentary facilities are available. The acceptance of these accommodations is an essential condition for this tour. For the entire trip and in all cities where 4 and 5* establishments exist, we have chosen them for your trip.
  • The road between Manali and Leh is a high mountain road. As already mentioned in the program, some steps can be difficult: there may be large stones on the road, landslides and mud in some areas. The road can also be temporarily blocked.
  • No major trekking is planned during this trip. However, two treks, of two hours each, are proposed to visit temples that are located on the road from Manali to Leh. So no big difficulties to reach them. However, equipment consisting of good shoes, pants, jackets, hats and glasses for mountain running are recommended.
  • The food that is cooked in the mountains is also quite simple. It is cooked, often with lentils, rice, vegetables and soups. It is often rather vegetarian and rather tasty. As a reminder, drinking water that is not bottled is to be avoided at all costs, as well as all raw vegetables.
  • As for the sanitary facilities, they will be clean but very rudimentary, as will the sleeping areas in Manali, Keylong, Sarchu and Nubra. However, a rudimentary wash can be done in these accommodations until you can reach the Ratna Hotel in Leh.
  • The guide who will accompany us knows the region and this tour well, having already done it several times with Westerners (from Germany in particular). The best month to do this tour (during the opening months of the Manali Road, from mid-June to mid-October) is July.
  • Throughout India, many efforts have been made to develop telecommunications extensively. And overall, the network is quite good. However, for this route, whether on the Manali road or in Ladakh, the network may be non-existent on some sections or have many cuts in Ladakh. These conditions are an inherent part of this circuit and the adventurous part it contains. By choosing such a tour, you also agree to not necessarily be reachable for a few days.