Its a long way from Yama Adventures' headquarters to where most of our potential adventurers live. In fact many people have never heard of Ladakh or Sikkim or Bhutan. Testimonials from our customers help spread the word about the fascinating trips available.
Many of our trekkers have come to us through referrals. Please tell your friends and associates about your adventures with us..
"In a far off land so remote and high, we trekked along so close to the sky." - Trekking in Zanskar song.
In our quest to provide outstanding experiences in this remote part of the world, we greatly appreciate your feed back!
"we would not consider travelling in India (or to Bhutan) without their services. His company is exceptional. Namgial is fantastic with advice and logistics, and will customise to improve your trip without fuss."
-Steward Brisbane, Austrailia
" I can warmly recommend Namgial and his Yama Adventures for your guide and support, whether it is trekking, mountaineering, jeep safari or monastery sightseeing." "
-Timo Helsinki, Finland
"The value of the service from the initial organization and planning to the last drop off at the airport was outstanding. I especially appreciate the fact that there were no 'hidden expenses' or charges for additional items that weren't included in the original price of the trip."
-Mary Portland, Maine
We appreciate the reviews! Contact us to share your experience!
Washington, District of Columbia USA
A Truly Wonderful Experience
I signed up for a solo trek with Yama after reading their great reviews on here. Ladakh was magnificent, and Yama's staff are quintessentially Ladakhi. In other words, incredibly kind, and generous. The option I chose was the 10 day trek in the Markha Valley, and Yama delivered everything they promised at a great price. My guide, Georgi also imparted his significant knowledgeable on Buddhism which added to the experience. As I expected, the facilities were basic. There is no plumbing or cell service and very limited electricity in the Markha Valley. This trek is best for those with high-altitude trekking experience, are in decent shape, and want to experience peaceful, grounding bliss. Lastly, Yama also owns a cafe, Yama Cafe? that was one of my favorite casual hangouts in Leh.
Mahmudul Islam Tanvir
Me and my wife were traveling in Leh @ the end of September. I traveled from Bangladesh so there is basically no way to contact to any local travel agent via phone. But I was able to contact with Rinchen Namgial of YAMA Adventures via E-mail. When I was reached the Leh airport, Mr Namgial sent me a car to pick me up from the airport. After that I traveled to Lamayuru, Nubra Valley, Pangong, Tsomoriri and many other places which were arranged by Rinchen. He made the journey extremely comfortable and as luxurious and budget conscious as possible. He also sent a tour guide, Tundup Dorjey Sidd, who was an exceptional guide and helped us meet the local people and understand the culture. He had so much knowledge of Buddhist religion and culture and shared his understanding. Driver Sonam from Yama Adventures was very funny. Me and my wife talked a lot with him in all the way of travel. We also did a short trek with the help of Namgial. We traveled with a guide and great cooks. The food was amazing--with incredible Indian foods--how the cooks managed to make a cake and bake a cookie on a propane burner is beyond me.
The owner Namgial is a lovely, honest, intelligent man. He takes away the worry of booking the Hotels, and vehicle hire. And his prices are very reasonable. Yama is clearly the leader in travel in Ladakh. We highly recommend Yama Adventures to everybody.
Wonderful Jeep Safari
I was with two of my American friends in the tour managed by Mr Namgial and it was absolutely fantastic. Mr Namgial is very polite, accommodating and thoughtful person himself. And so was the guide he provided.
It was the first India visit for both of my friends and he made the journey extremely comfortable and as luxurious and budget conscious as possible. Every hotel we stayed in and every sight seeing place were a pleasant stay. The guide Tashi and driver Sonam Dorje were absolutely fun to be with as well. Guide helped us understand and appreciate the cultural orientation of the land in a much more lucid and thorough manner while the driver handled the breathtaking mountain road curves very skillfully while being absolutely cautious and making long drives comfortable. We became really good friends through the trip.
I would highly recommend YAMA Adventures to anyone taking the trip to Ladakh. And i hope to go back there soon again.
California USA firstname.lastname@example.org
My sister and I did an 11 day trek with Yama Adventures in June/July. We felt so cared for the whole trip (and before). Namgial was wonderful to work with and helped us out in many ways. Jigmet was an exceptional guide and helped us meet the local people and understand the culture. He had so much knowledge of Buddhist religion and culture and shared his understanding. The rest of our staff was excellent and well organized. We had delicious meals which included many fresh fruits and vegetables. We are very glad we chose to work with this company.
It was a pleasure negotiating two packages with Namgial of Yama to suit my stay period in the Ladakh region, an enchanting part of the Indian Himalaya. His team on the trail Lobsang and Ram are excellent, every detail is covered including the early morning pick up for my last morning in Leh. If you're looking at this beautiful region for short trek or long trek, it's great to deal with a local company to put your mind at ease among the myriad of tour operators.
I have chosen Yama Adventures based on reviews here. I couldn't agree more to all the positive things about Rinchen and his service. My Markha Valley trek was organized by Yama and I didn't expect to enjoy every single moment of it. I wanted to do camping and Richen made that possible without having to use horses or donkeys. Instead, I had 2 local guides with me: Rigzen and Tundup. Both were incredibly kind, supportive, informational and hilarious. As a solo traveler, Rinchen suggested few options of how I can see and enjoy the best of Ladakh. I trusted him and didn't have any doubt that he'll provide me with an exceptional service. I also did a 6 day sightseeing tour with Yama covering the famous lakes, Nubra Valley and a little detour to see and experience another small but thriving village. Oh, it was as if I was dreaming. There's no words to describe how magical Ladakh is. Look no more. You'll be guaranteed an exceptional and honest service from a true born Ladakhi.
Louise Buikman and Tem
Don't trek with anyone else
We had an excellent trekking experience with Yama Adventures who were super organized and professional. They took care of every detail. One of our party changed his mind and decided to do the Markha valley trek after all after Rinchen organized a riding horse and equipment that he needed such as a sleeping bag. Our cook, Ram, was excellent and served an entirely different and delicious meal every night. The staff on the trek could not have been more accommodating, making sure that we were always comfortable. Extra sleeping bags were provided in case we were cold. Our guide, Lobsang, even loaned us money on the trek when we ran out. We also enjoyed our discussions with Lakhbar, a sherpa, who spoke remarkably good English and who had met Sir Edmund Hillary. The trek itself was tough but we always felt safe and in good hands. Highly recommend this company.
Messire Nolwenn and Phillpe Zanettin
A wonderful trek
Namgial provided us an exceptional team with a cook, an assistant, a horseman and 6 horses! Our guide Jigmet explained to us a lot about religion, politics, Ladakh ... It was ten days out the "world". Conditions are extrem in April but we had sunny mornings every day and we were well equipped. I recommend without restriction to make this trek with Yama!
You are in very good hands when you travel with Yama Adventures. The owner Namgial is a lovely, honest intelligent man who runs a very professional outfit. He clearly attracts good people. That means everyone including his staff, local horsemen, drivers, guesthouse operators et cetera are all really nice people.
In November 2015, five of us from Australia did a Yama tour in the Darjeeling area of India and in Bhutan. A great holiday. Over the years, my partner and I have travelled with other operators as well as by ourselves in South Asia. We have now done four trips with Yama Adventures and have no doubt that it is by far the best. Every component of their tour is excellent - the staff are professional, knowledgeable and helpful, lots of delicious food including on trek; good equipment; comfortable vehicles; delightful guesthouses providing clean and comfortable lodgings; and prompt and reliable transfers to and from airports and train stations.
Namgial often looks at ways of making improvements to your itinerary as you go along. If a problem arises such as bad weather or sickness that may interrupt your program, he or his staff will calmly find a solution or a good alternative.
Namgial is not at all pushy and is happy to give you ideas on how you can visit other parts of India by yourself. However, it is well worth asking him if he can arrange it for you. He knows things like how long you’ll need to see the point of interest, the best modes of transport and the connections needed. He takes away the worry of booking the right domestic flights or express trains, and vehicle hire. And his prices are very reasonable.
Whether you are brand-new or an old hand in India, give Yama Adventures a go. You won’t be sorry.
A tip - Namgial is based in Leh the capital of Ladakh, a high altitude area in the far north of India. If you haven’t been there, it’s a fantastic area for sightseeing, trekking and experiencing a remote Himalayan Buddhist culture and an extraordinary landscape.
Michael M Arnhem
Reviewed: 27 September 2015
We arranged for a Markha valley trekking trip of 6 days/nights with Yama and set off after acclimatizing for 2 days in Leh. Our team was lead by guide Lobzang and further consisted of cook Bim, helpers Nubu and Jiggy and the horseman. This clearly was a great team.
When it became clear during the first day that Markha valley was not possible (people returning reported the river was impassable because flooded) our capable and experienced guide Lobzang offered a good alternative parallel route.
When one of our team got altitude sickness during the trip and required a descent in the night, our guide Lobzang and one of the helpers helped her and husband down the mountain and to safety.
Overall the trip was organized perfectly and challenges found on the way were met with creativity towards good alternative solutions. The crew and team were great people to be around, capable and very professional.
Even in the middle of nowhere in the mountains the food provided and prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner was of excellent quality and taste. We were surprised every day with great and creative food. Wonderful and almost surreal.
The horses that carried the tents and most of the luggage were in good health and clearly taken good care off. The horseman set the horses free each night and has the incredible task of collecting them again from the mountain meadows each very early morning. But this guy was a professional that clearly loved his job and the horses he worked with.
All in all the trip and team exceeded expectations by far. It's the best organized event that I have witnessed so far in India.
Silke Umlauf: email@example.com
Reliable , friendly and competent –Yama Adventures ia a great Organaser
We organized our combined two-week tailor-made sightseeing (Indus Valley Monasteries with stays in Alchi and Temisgam) and trekking tour (Markha Valley from Zingchen to Chang Sumdo) with Yama Adventures from back-home in Europe. Namgial, the competent and helpful owner of Yama gave us with his emails a good feeling that all would be ready once we reached Leh - and it was indeed so. Some changes had to be made to the schedule due to our health (adapting to altitude) and the weather, but that was no problem at all.
On the tour, our guide Stanzin was an extremely warm, friendly and resourceful company, both when organizing homestays, introducing local customs, visiting monasteries and on the trek. Our whole group (the excellent Nepali cook Bim, who surprised us with his dishes out of his tent kitchen and his son plus the Tibetean horseman) were fun to travel with.
We would surely chose again Yama when travelling in Ladakh.
Fantastic Trip with Yama Adventures
We visited beautiful, breathtaking Ladakh for 10 days in June 2015 with Yama Adventures…….from our home town, Melbourne, Australia at sea level. As retirees we were concerned about the altitude but had a sense of anticipation and adventure. Yama organised a road trip itinerary covering most of Ladakh, totally organised with great care for our welfare at altitude. Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places we have seen. Our driver Naawang and Guide Jigmet were so friendly, knowledgable and helpful and we found there was flexibility in our itinerary each day, they even took us to 6am prayers at a monastery. Namgial kept making sure all was well.
Don't go to Ladakh expecting the Taj and 5 star. Part of the beauty is it is unspoilt. Our hotels, food and all Namgial organised were excellent. We will travel with him again. And don't forget the Yama Coffee Shop. Our home town is the coffee capital of the world, Yama's coffee rates among the best we have had, and the cake is a perfect way to end every day.
Silver City, New Mexico
Extensive trekking expertise
Completed two separate treks with Yama Adventures and both were seamlessly organized and perfectly executed. In an area of India where road closures, landslides, bad weather, and trail closures are common having the Yama Adventures staff coordinate and suggest alternatives was a godsend. On the trail the guides were knowledgeable and thoughtful. They looked after everyone in the group. The cooks were amazing and spoiled us with endless dishes and hot Chai at every turn. Yama Adventures is an excellent guide company. Without hesitation we would use them again.
I contacted Mr Namgial about a 3-day tour in ladakh. Once we arrived, he checked on us, wether we need anything to adjust for the altitude, which was nice of him to do, the guesthouse he booked us in was beautiful, I only have a negative comment about the prepared plan. For the first day we had to stay at the guesthouse to adjust to the altitude, which was okay for us, the next day we went to Thiksey, Hemis and shey monastries, they were beautiful, however the guide didn't know much about the practice, she just knew some facts and a general idea about buddhism, which left us a little confused. For the third day, pangong lake was planned we spent 6 hours going to the lake only to sit there for an hour and a half and head back to Leh for another 6 hours! So we spent 12 hours on the road, wasting half of the day when we could have been doing something useful! If it was planned on the second day, maybe stay there for a night then head to the monasteries for the third day, that would have been much better! But all in all, Mr Namgial is a good man, when we talked to him about this plan, he listened. So yeah.
After three summers working with Namgial and the Yama team, I give them my highest recommendation—six stars out of five! I bring small groups of Americans to Ladakh each summer to tour Gompas, trek, and enjoy the beauties and wonders of this very special land. Namgial has found beautiful and comfortable guesthouses for us to stay. His staff, from guides to cooks to drivers, is professional, courteous, and knowledgable. In three years, I have not had a single complaint. The food is delicious, the accommodations comfortable, and the trekking perfectly designed for the groups. This year we needed to change our itinerary repeatedly due to weather related circumstances, and Namgial was swift and responsive in helping me to design and redesign our itinerary. He has also helped friends and students I know to design personalized trips for solo travelers. Yama is clearly the leader in travel in Ladakh, and you will not be disappointed.
London , UK
I travelled extensively with Yama Adventures in Ladakh, India (Sikkim, Darjeeling, Dharamsala, etc) and Nepal and always had a fabulous time. Trips and treks were well-planned, costs were very reasonable and the company was always convival, helpful and friendly. We saw some amazing sights and I learnt so much about local people. I would highly recommend them, especially Namgial who is an excellent tour guide, extremely reliable and honest, personable and knowledgeable.
Extensive Trekking expertise
Completed two separate treks with Yama Adventures and both were seamlessly organized and perfectly executed. In an area of India where road closures, landslides, bad weather, and trail closures are common having the Yama Adventures staff coordinate and suggest alternatives was a godsend. On the trail the guides were knowledgeable and thoughtful. They looked after everyone in the group. The cooks were amazing and spoiled us with endless dishes and hot Chai at every turn. Yama Adventures is an excellent guide company. Without hesitation we would use them again.
Managing Editor International Media
Lisa Mitchell: firstname.lastname@example.org<
One thing I learned on this trip is that I am not a trekker. But I think Yama's boss Namgial sensed this way before my own revelation!
It's not easy doing business in Leh. The internet goes down all the time. Roads close, flights are cancelled, clients get altitude sickness. All this happened to us and through it all, Namgial remained calm, patient and helpful.
He sent my friend to the hospital for oxygen when we were being terribly British about making a thing about the altitude sickness. Our trek was pushed back without complaint because we were feeling ropey (definitely worth leaving a buffer around your trek in case it happens to you).
Every driver spoke English and I was impressed when one pulled over during fog on the notorious Zojila Pass to let it clear (nice one, Prem). Our trekking guide Jigmet was fun, smart and as patient as his boss. He invited us for lunch at his family house and having butter tea churned by his mum was a highlight of the trip. We were on the Sham trek, a more easy route a couple of hours to the east of Leh that takes you through barren, hot mountains into cool, green oasis of villages. You reach passes marked by prayer flags before walking down into barley fields and apricot groves marked out by poplars.
We stayed in homestays, but if you don't fancy carrying your gear, another option is to base yourself at Namra Hotel in Temisgam and do day walks.
When you get to Leh, you're faced with row after row of tour operators. My tip? It's much more relaxing to let Namigal sort it all out for you before you arrive.
"Yama Adventures is absolutely the best trekking and tour operator based in Ladakh, India. Namgial designs and manages the finest tours available in northern India as well as Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. From full-service treks and cultural tours to mountain expeditions and desert safaris, Namgial can and does do it all! Village homestays and service learning opportunities are also terrific programs that Namgial and Yama can arrange. I have known and worked closely with Namgial for ten years (2005-15) and at least ten of my expeditions and study abroad programs to Ladakh and northern India have been professionally managed and supported by Namgial and Yama Adventures. I recommend Namgial and Yama Adventures without reservation and am confident that you will have the best of experiences with his service."
"I met Rinchen Namgial of Yama Adventures not as a client, but as a fellow professional. He was the local coordinator for the educational programs in Leh, Ladakh to which I sent my students. During my visit he took me to meet the local villagers with whom they lived and the organizations where they volunteered. With his keen cross-cultural skills and professionalism, he was the perfect guide for me, and for the students. He also is an expert in Buddhism, so visiting monasteries was an educational pleasure. Based in the quality of Namgial's organizational skills, local expertise, and the great feedback from my students I would join Yama Adventures for a tour of Ladakh and beyond. "
"Rinchen is highly recommended as professional and highly motivated person. His company Yama treks are guaranteed to take you on a trek of a lifetime. He is warm, friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the mountains of Ladakh"
From Coffee to Camel
I actually found Yama Adventure through it's sister coffee shop, Yama Coffeehouse ... when I first arrived in Leh it was shortly after the floods in Srinagar. I found my way to the coffeehouse to try to check wireless, but wound up in a two-hour-long conversation with a German woman who had spent the previous nine months traveling around the world on a biology research fellowship. It was an inspired interaction, and I returned to Yama regularly after that to hear other stories. In late September, I met a yoga teacher who was traveling with Yama Adventures. She and I became close friends, and actually wound up adventuring together to Nubra Valley. We were given a pack lunch before we left, and our driver was patient and accommodating. Other reviewers have written that Namgial, Yama's owner, is a great resource for information about Ladakh and its cultural heritage; it is true. He is not only well-informed and eager to share his knowledge with others, but honest and unassuming. Yama Adventure is well worth working with, if a trip to Ladakh is on the horizon.
I love traveling when I have free time. Last August I and friend went to Leh with a group from Thailand. We were enjoyed the trip very much. The place is beautiful. Many things to see there, and people who like to go there should open their minds. Because we are going to touch the world, see something that is different from another place, touch people and try their food.
Lets do it.
Newport, Rhode Island
Ladakh is Blazing Gold in October
I first heard of Ladakh when I discovered a painting of a wrathful deity in the book, Sacred Places of Asia. This image haunted me for 12 years, reappearing in mask form and eventually a full on sculpture standing on someone's dining room table. I dug further into this artwork and found that the intentions of the piece were to scare the Ego out of those confronting it. The more research I developed, the more beautiful the different layers of Ladakh, its landscape, its history and its art compelled me to make a spiritual mission - alone. That is when the internet full of its resources led me to a forum between a professor of a well respected ivy league university and her students discussing the details for their journey to Ladakh mentioning Rinchen Namgial as their host. Namgial is a well-liked human being besides the fact that he owns a business which is virtually one degree of separation between you and anything you may want or need in Ladakh. He is also a graduate of Buddhist Philosophy and Geography. He is a fountain of knowledge, and a valuable resource, in this region of the world. I am an artist and a writer, and Ladakh offers the most impressive material and time and space to capture individual moments with vivid clarity. Namgial helped me with more than organizing treks. He supplied me with books and references for my own work. It was fantastic to have such a fortunate connection on more than one occasion. He made me feel so welcome and more importantly safe. He arranged a SIM for my mobile. He would check in with me if he hand't heard from me. Beyond sharing ideas and knowledge at the coffee house, beyond the breathtaking visits to monasteries, we even arranged a day to bake with his wife, Nilza, introducing new recipes for the menu at his coffee shop. My guest house mate and Namgial arranged a small going-away gathering for me before I left. Not only did I find the painting I was searching for, I found so many more reasons to be thankful to be alive! Go. Go. Go to Ladakh.
After reading many reviews, travel forums and so on, i decided to get in touch with Yama Adventures and check what could i get during my 2 week stay in Ladakh.
We (me & wife) got a good deal, we could visit different areas in Ladakh (Indus Valley, Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake) with reasonable price and all included (accomodation, food [most of], transport).
some points it might interest: - car was a Toyota, very new, confortable; [we spent many hours on the Ladakh road, you might spent too]
- accomodation was very good in Leh and all other areas (Pangong lake, Nubra valley, Indus valley) note that some remote areas we visited accomodation was basic, but clean enough and good food, considering all the distances/conditions. - guide was very cool guy, explained us a lot of budhism.
During the stay, Namgial was very kind, he gave us so much attention, we really felt we just did the right thing hiring them.
We left 2 days on arrival for acclimatize, on day 2, we were feeling a little bit fuzzy, Namgial was there to help us to get better, he left a O2 (oxygen) tank with us at the hotel, got some medicines and he really helped us to get better.
We decided to go to hospital, just in case you know, nothing serious, but we really realized if needed, he was there, we felt safe !!
They picked us at the airport, we did all that was planned and in the end, they droped us to the return flight to Delhi, all went super well, we already miss the Ladakh vibe !!
The best Travel Arrangement in Ladakh
This company made me feel safe and welcome in Ladakh from the moment I arrived at the airport and was picked up with a sign that read my name. Clean and modern vehicle with a very kind driver. I was set up with really great hotels the entire trip and was given incredibly fair deals on travel expenses. The owner of the business is so, so sweet and caring and efficient. Ladakh is a magical place and the travel agency allows you to experience that without any hang ups. Very grateful for the service and look forward to visiting again in the future.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Organised all we wanted and more
Yama Adventures organised our overland trip from Srinagar to Delhi very well, they catered to us changing our schedule and at every destination one of their representatives was waiting for us. My husband and I have travelled in Ladakh with Namgial Rinchen twice now and can recommend Yama as a trustworthy and reliable operator.
Internet communication with Leh can be patchy but phone calls have proved to be the answer if there is trouble with the internet. Namgial catered to our individual needs, changing hotels proactively when the need was anticipated.
South Florida, Florida
Yama Adventures –A small but professional travel –trekking agency in Leh Ladakh
There are literally hundreds of travel and trekking agencies in the Leh / Ladakh area and finding one that you can feel comfortable with can be a challenging experience.
We searched over a dozen agencies before leaving for India - some gave prices in the sky and some didn't even bother to answer our e-mails after the initial round of questions and itinerary. Finally we felt comfortable with and chose a small and very professional one owned by Richen Namgial at Yama Adventures.
We think his best qualities were his quiet, soft mannered and trusting relationship with the clients and flexibility in changing the program on a day-by-day basis.
1. We left for a three day trek with a private guide and found ourselves quite tired from the thin air following the first two days and very quickly were able to make an immediate change in our program directly with Namgial with no extra costs or difficulty whatsoever.
2. Our deposit money got tied-up with an international wire transfer from the U.S. and this did not even cause any questions on his behalf. When the funds finally arrived to his account after we paid him in full for the trip on arrival, he simply returned to us the wired funds in cash upon our return from the trek. His staff and guides are most friendly, honest and very much represent the nice quality of people from the Ladakh region.
Yes, upon return to Ladakh we wish to visit the Nubra Valley and we certainly would make these arrangements with Namgial.
“O'-Jule, for a fantastic experience”
I have been planning my Ladakh trip for a while and I wanted to go with some local travel agent for the same. Tripadvisor came to rescue and I found Rinchen Namgial of Yama Adventures.
Though he needs to be a bit prompt with his email communication, Rinchen arranged the trip perfectly. So apart from the initial panic attacks, where communication from the other side would just go low for weeks, my experience with Yama Adventures & Rinchen was pleasant and highly recommended.
The guide and drivers provided - Jigmey, Norbu and Ali - were excellent. Friendly, flexible, courteous - they made sure we had a safe and fun tour. Jigmey deserves a special mention as he made sure that we got all the experiences we wanted - from visiting a local monastery school to having food with the locals. Nothing was too much of a trouble for him and he is a sweet and intelligent kid and he showed us around his land, with much pride and enthusiasm.
Ladakh is gorgeous and in case you need a travel agent to arrange your tour, do contact Rinchen of Yama Adventures. Highly reliable, trust worthy and recommended.
“Everything is great in Ladakh !”
We chose them because they were the only one who responed to our plan from Srinagar to Leh. However some problems happened during the trip. Our guides could make it through. Sonam and Mingun, the trip guides had taken care of us with delicacy and kindness. Sonam followed us during the horse riding trip at Sonamark because we were in situation amongst the fighting horse owners (Fighting for customers) and Mingun (her name means unchange, but probably I misspelled) always took care of her tourists and solved every problem and took good response to our requests, which sometimes seemed fussy. Mr. Rinchen, he also made service with his mind. If we have a chance to go to Kashmir and Ladakh again, we definitely choose Yama adventures!
Hyun Jung Cho
Ulsan, South Korea
My mom and I spent 7 days in India (2 days in Agra and Jaipur and 5 days in Leh) with Yama Advertures in July 2014. I wanted to make my mom feel special, since it was her 60's birthday present. With my continual requests, Namgial arranged a wonderful itinerary for us, and prepared a wonderful staff. Our tour guide and a driver were very helpful, professional, and sincere. When my mom had an altitude sickness, Namgial's wonderful staff (Mingur) was always with us, and helped us a lot. Also, Mingur was so good at explaining everything that we saw (especially regarding Monasteries). I wanted to thank Namgial and his staff. If you are looking for a special trip in Leh and are looking for a reliable travel agency, I would recommend Yama Adventures.
-Flora and Kim from Korea-
Charlestown, Rhode Island
Can’t say enough about Yama Adventres
Namgial and his incredible staff at Yama Adventures helped my friend and I plan and excecute a wonderful spiritual sojourn in Ladakh, India for 2.5 weeks. He was flexible when we needed to change some plans, accommodating, and professional at all times. And we fell in love with the driver he assigned to us -- Ali. Ali didn't speak much English but his driving skills -- and choice of Hindi and Ladakhi music -- put us at ease (especially on the 6-hour switchbacks over the 18,000-plus pass into Nubra Valley). Whatever you want to plan in Ladakh, Namgial and Yama Adventures is the way to go. He met with us every night we were in Leh and took care of every detail effortlessly. Yama Adventures IS the tour company to work with, no matter if you are mountain trekking or on a spiritual soujourn.
Excellent Ladakh Trip organized by Yama Adventures
We, me and my wife, were planning to visit Ladakh since last 2-3 years. This year, we just took our bags and arrived in Ladakh. I read few reviews about Yama and thought "hmm..lets give a try". I told Mr. Rinchen that , we have 2 weeks and this is what we want to do. He gave us fantastic schedule. We managed to visit most of the gonpa's (monasteries). we did 3 days trekking with Yama's guide. Guide was a fantastic local fellow. He helped us in all possible way. We also did River rafting, Nubra valley, camel ride, Pang-gong lake visit and Thanka painting as well. Yama adventure was most accommodating when wanted some change in the schedule. (Usually you see sour face whenever you inform tour operator about any sort of change) . Mr. Rinchen gave all his thought in his planning. He use to visit us everyday morning over tea just to let us know that " I am here for you"...
If you are looking for adventures holiday in Ladakh, I would say .."Yama adventure is just the one"... just let Mr. Rinchen know what you want to do and he will take care of everything.
My partner and I booked a nine-day trip with Mr. Rinchen Namgial and Yama Adventures. We were met at the airport, even though our flight was initially delayed by one day, and Namgial met us at our Leh hotel at the beginning and end of our Ladakh trekking experience. For trips from Leh, we were paired with an excellent guide by Mr. Namgial who took us to Pangang Lake and on a four-day hike, trekking between monasteries and small villages. Our guide, Stanzin, was genuinely lovely to spend time with and knew the mountains and culture of Ladakh expertly. The "home-stays" were enlightening and fun, and the trekking was truly awesome. In addition to the world-class hiking, we learned a lot about Buddhist and Ladakhi culture. I can't imagine a better planned, more professional outfit to work with and look forward to working with Mr. Namgial on future treks. In addition to being a true professional, he's a warm and kind person. I wholeheartedly recommend working with him and Yama travel.
“Super Yama tours”
Kari Aarstad Aase
Norway E-post: email@example.com
Reviewed October 8, 2013
Yama tours was very helpful, skilled and amicable. The owner Rinchen Namgial helped us with walking trips, guided tours, good tips about do's and don'ts and even shared his extensive knowledge of Buddhism. He was patient and very knowledgeable in answering all kinds of questions from religion, to culture to shopping. And the trekking he offers feels very well planned and safe.
“Another perfect trip with Yama Adventures!”
San Francisco, California USA
Yama Adventures is truly the premier trekking agency. I've been using Yama since I came across them on my first trip to Ladakh in 1999. Over the years Namgial (Yama's owner) has organized fantastic trips for me and friends, and generously provided endless regional travel advice. Our most recent trip was in the summer of 2012 when Yama handled a month-long trip for a group of us to explore Ladakh, including a trek through Zanskar, and Srinagar. The trip was absolutely perfect thanks to Namgial's wonderful guides and support team. They were flexible and reliable, while also helping us to access a side of Ladakh that we wouldn't have seen on our own. We were welcomed into our team's homes along the trekking route, met with lamas in remote monasteries and even learned Ladakhi folk songs and dance. Yama is currently busy preparing another trekking itinerary for us this summer and is once again proving to be wonderfully accommodating and patient as we explain our needs and specific interests. They have also been great in working with me on different cost estimates to make trips accessible. It feels great to work with such a fantastic business that is both locally owned and locally run. I can't recommend them highly enough!
“Friendly and perfectly understands our needs”
We took a family trip and we had certain needs as a family as well as individual desires.Namgial was friendly, patient and listened to all we asked. Then he made a few suggestions, leaving us the final say even if it was not the easiest thing to do. He never said no! He always found the solution to help us do what we would like to. He always came up with the right solutions.We strongly recommend Namgial and Yama Adventures to anyone. Kind and trustworthy. Michael Klinghoffer Israel
"Excellent trekking agent"
Kim Soi and Howard Ginsberg
My husband and I pre-arranged a trek with Namgial via email in July 2013. We only had ten days in Ladakh and wanted to make sure that we used every day! Namgial was extremely helpful in answering all our questions about packing, acclimatization, travel to Leh, etc. After our long trip from Toronto, Canada, it was wonderful to be picked up at the airport by friendly faces from his company. We stayed at the Kidar Hotel for the first few days while we got used to the altitude and visited Leh Town and surrounding monasteries. We had an excellent and extremely knowledgeable guide who took the time to explain both the history of the region and Buddhism in incredible detail. We unfortunately had to change our trekking plans at the last minute and Namgial went out of his way to help us plan day excursions instead of the multi-trip we had initially organized. We would highly recommend using Yama Adventures for any kind of trip in Ladakh!
I went on a 7 day Markha valley trek with a girlfriend in August 2013 and we booked Yama because of the excellent TripAdvisor rating. As two women trekking alone we wanted to ensure security and safety and a reliable tour outfit. The team that were assigned to us took excellent care of us from start to finish beyond the call of duty and were very friendly but always professional. They were very astute to pick up on how we were physically and atune the trek to our level and helped us across all the heavy and cold river crossings. The food was incredible - better than a lot of restaurant food - freshly made in the tent. I really couldn't fault anything and I would highly recommend this tour agency.
Ariadna Gabarda Mallorquí
I travelled to Ladakh last August to do a trek organized by Yama Adventures. All the staff there was absolutely professional and they made me feel really comfortable. The trek was amazing and my guide very friendly. He managed and arranged everything on the way and he was taking care of me in every moment.If you are looking for a trek in Leh and surroundings, don't hesitate to contact to Rinchen Namgial and his staff from Yama Adventures and you'll enjoy an extraordinary experience. Everything with Yama will be absolutely enjoyable.
I just came back from Ladakh week ago of my 10 days trip arranged by Yama Adventures. I had great time visiting the monasteries as well as the 4 days trek to Markha Valley. Namgial is a very helpful and friendly person with good services. I also enjoyed the coffee I had at his coffee shop!
“Great trek; great organisation”
Matlock DE4 2JG
Roger Clarke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yamatreks organised a six-day, five night trek for my wife and me in mid October. We walked from Hemis to Stok over the Shang La and Markha La, and then climbed Stok Kangri. Although it was a cold time or year and outside the normal trekking season, Namgial willingly undertook the task. We were very well looked after. The trek leadership was excellent, and the food was superb. The equipment was fine and we were warm and comfortable in the tent. We thought the trek was good value for money.
Stok Kangri Climbing with Yama Adventures
Mr. Namgial, the head of Yama adventures, is a local guy who used to be a guide himself. He was very friendly and knowledgeable and informed us very well about every detail in advance. He spoke excellent English. He took great care to assess our health, acclimatization and equipment (shoes, jackets, etc) to make sure we were fit to reach the summit. A big plus was his flexibility – when the weather situation was unclear, we were able to shift our tour the night before the planned start. It would have also been possible to spontaneously extend the tour to five days, if the weather would have been too bad to climb the summit on day 3.
Gurmet our guide is from Stok village, guiding Stok Kangri tours for six years, this season alone it was his ninth time on the peak. Gurmet was a very helpful guide offering physical assistance and psychological support whenever necessary, especially during the comparatively difficult final hours of climbing the peak. We always felt safe. He was very knowledgeable about the area, its wildlife and culture and also quite a funny guy. He spoke excellent English.
Ashok and Lobsang, Cook and helper, were also local guys with much experience on Stok Kangri and other trekking tours. They prepared enormous amounts of fresh, delicious food and drinks. The meals were served at a proper (camping-)table, weather permitting outside in the sun, otherwise inside the spacious kitchen tent. At every meal they offered us a selection of mostly vegetarian snacks (popcorn, fresh chips) and Ladakhi, Indian and Continental dishes. They even prepared a “summit cake” upon our return from the peak. They also serviced us with snacks (popcorn, fresh chips, chocolate), warm water for washing and an always friendly, humorous attitude.
Pony man – We had five ponies to carry equipment and luggage to the camps, which was extremely helpful. The ponies were treated nicely, with enough water and food from a friendly, joyous pony guide.
Everything was provided in excellent shape. We had a small two-person tent with soft mattresses, which was well suited to warm up quickly in the cold nights (we brought our own sleeping bags). The kitchen tent was spacious and cozy. The team also brought a toilet tent; however, the zipper was broken. This was not a problem for us, as there are toilet huts in all camps. Crampons and ice axes were also provided. We did not carry helmets or ropes, as our guide recommended they were not needed at that time of the year.
The whole team was always very helpful, friendly and humorous. It was a great pleasure to spend time with them. Another plus was that we were able to pay with credit card, either before or even after the trek. We would highly recommend Yama Adventures for Stok Kangri tours. Value for money was very fair and reasonable.
“Perfect Ladakhi experience”
Tavernier, Florida, United States
I am a 25 year old female from the United States that came across great reviews of Yama Adventures on TripAdvisor and took the plunge to book in advance with another female companion traveler. Not only were we thrilled with the customer service and efficiency of Yama Adventures - getting to know Namgial, one of Yama's partners, was one of the highlights of our India experience. Namgial is incredibly educated and thoughtful, and he was so easy and pleasant to spend time with. His staff is incredibly sweet and accommodating for changing interests once you arrive in Ladakh. My friend and I have traveled all around the world, and we will definitely come back to Ladakh, and definitely be back in touch with Namgial - either for his trekking expertise or just to see him and catch up. He is an incredible person and a lifelong friend. His expertise ranges from trekking to mediation retreats to cycling. Cannot recommend Yama enough (their coffeehouse is the bomb.com as well!!!)
“Yama is all you need”
Yama tours and Namgial turned out to be everything we needed: He made a tailored trip for us in the mountains and area around Leh, went out of his way to accommodate our wishes, as we had very limited time, and many things we wanted to see. The trek he planned for us was so beautiful, and his knowledge as a guide gave us insights to everything from geology to buddhism and indian tradition. Namgial and Yama tours was also very flexible in providing us with practical help with other things such as sightseeing, guiding and contacts.
Extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
“Yama Adventures - Ladakh & Beyond”<
Deb & Stew <email@example.com>
We five friends spent four weeks in Ladakh during August 2012 with Yama Adventures. My partner and I had previously used Yama for a trek in 2009 and then in 2010, we travelled with Yama from Manali to Dharamsala to Amritsar and back to Australia via Delhi. We have travelled to India six times. After going with Namgial and his local company Yama Adventures, we would not consider travelling in India (or to Bhutan) without their services. His company is exceptional. Namgial is fantastic with advice and logistics, and will customise to improve your trip without fuss. This time we did two fabulous treks - in Nubra Valley & Karnak (check them out on his website) and after a spell in Leh, we went driving/sightseeing down the Indus Valley for a couple of days. He and his staff are wonderful people – intelligent, warm, relaxed and honest. You are in good company and safe hands with every component of your trip e.g. airport transfers, hotels, trek guide, cook, assistants, horsemen (transporting your gear) and the driver taking you along the incredible mountain roads. The food is great and there is plenty of it, and the equipment is 1st class. Ladakh is a knock-out and if you want to extend your trip to other areas of India talk to Namgial. India’s communication and transport systems etc are rocketing ahead and it’s a good time to see this amazing country. Namgial makes it so easy and his prices are very very reasonable. 1st class service at budget prices. If you have already used a tour company based in a western country for travel and trekking in this part of the world, and then go with Yama you will really appreciate this.
Stewart & Deb
“Family Friendly trip”
Yama Adventure with Namgial organised our last holidays in Ladakh (August 2012). We had fantastic holidays and memorable one (till this days the children still talking about their great holidays). Originally, we were bit hesitated to go up North with trekking trip since our youngest one only 6 years old. With reassurance from Namgial and baby trek itinerary, we pushed forward with the trip and proved to be the greatest experience. Dorje (our guide) is very accommodating and with smile always on his face...;-)
Namgial, for sure we will be back and hopefully soon.
We did a wonderful two week trek in the Zanskar region in July 2012 with Yama Adventures. The whole trip was a great experience and we were able to relax and enjoy it knowing that everything had been taken care of for us. Namgial himself was generous, flexible and reliable, and so were the people he connected us with throughout every stage of our journey: our guide Tashi and our trekking crew were a delight (welcoming us into their villages and their homes), and from Delhi to Srinagar we were thoroughly impressed with the Yama contacts and experience. It was an unforgettable time and I'm very grateful to Namgial, Tashi, Peter and the whole team for making it so enjoyable. I would wholeheartedly recommend Yama Adventures to anyone wanting to explore the beautiful region of Ladakh. The mountains, the monasteries, the warm people and the wild roses - simply magic. Thanks so much guys!
The Bruno Family
E-mail: Ido Bruno firstname.lastname@example.org
We have just come back from a wonderful trip in Ladakh.
One of the highlights of our trip was a 6 day trek from Chilling through Zalung Karpo la to Datorganized by Yama Adventures under the expert hands of Rinchen Namgial.
Our Trek guide, Tashi, was attentive, knowledgeable and thoroughly familiar with the route. The rest of the team, Prem the cook (great food!), the "two Stanzins" and the horseman were very friendly and helpful. The equipment was 1st class, and in excellent condition.
Namgial made every effort to answer our various (and numerous :-) questions regarding anything from technical details to political and cultural information on Ladakh. All our needs were answered in the best possible ways, and every promise fulfilled. Providing a professional driver for our trip to the Nubra valley, and good contacts for the continuation of our trip in Kashmir were very helpful.
I highly recommend Yama Adventures to anyone looking for the best fitted support for a great vacation.
And a remark regarding river crossings:
One remark to take note of for anyone trekking in Ladakh: During the summer The volume of the water in rivers fluctuates dramatically during the day, especially on sunny days where the ice melt reaches a peak during the afternoon. This means that river crossing should be attempted during the morning rather than the afternoon. There was one day during the trek which almost ended in a catastrophe. Apparently the river was exceptionally high, and during the crossing one of the horses was swept over by the current. This could have been prevented by camping before the river crossing, and crossing safely in the morning. Fortunately the horse was saved about a mile down the river, but the food and cooking utensils on the horse were lost. The team dealt with the loss of food and equipment very well, but this type of risk should be avoided.
Yama Adventures took away any anxiety that I had about trekking in Ladakh and spending time in India. The guides were wonderful and took good care of us as we did our baby trek. Namgial came often to check on us at the hotel and invited us to his wonderful coffee shop for some excellent coffee and sweets. I could not have been more satisfied with the service and the overall trip. I would recommend his company without hesitation.
“Yama Adventures & Namgial - best trekking experience in Ladakh!”
When trekking in Leh, Yama is the only way to go. I spent 12 days in Leh in July 2012, and went on an 8 day trek with Yama in the Markah Valley.
Namgial is simply the best - he took amazing care of us start to finish during our time in Leh. And beforehand, he was great on the phone and over email helping us plan our time in Leh, helping us figure out what to pack/expect and even found extra gear for us that we were missing upon arrival (sleeping bags, water bottles, etc). He set us up in a local hotel/provided tour guides for the 3 days we spent acclimatizing in Leh. His cafe is also really cute and delicious - you must visit it upon returning from your trek! Namgial even drove us to the airport for our flight out of Leh when the taxi driver didn't pick us up. He is a truly remarkable and generous person, and takes incredible care of his guests!!
The trek experience absolutely amazing. Our guides, cook, equipment, etc. were all top quality. We had better gear and tents than friends of ours who booked with other trekking companies and who paid less. His guides are knowledgeable and helpful in all matters from altitude sickness to river crossings. I HIGHLY recommend Yama Adventures - it's the best quality you'll get in Leh.
“Incredible Ladakh Trip!”
New York, New York, United States
Thanks to Namgial from Yama Adventures, we had a pleasant and comfortable stay in Ladakh. Despite our short trip of 5 days, he was able to create a customized adventure. On the first day, we toured the city of Leh and bought lots of souvenirs. On day 2, we had an arranged car and driver take us on a tour of the monasteries (Shey Palace, Hemis, and Thikse). On day 3, we traveled to the highest motorable road (KardhungLa) en route to the beautiful Nubra Valley. The valley was the most picturesque scene I have ever seen filled with such unique landscapes. We rested in valley that night, and drove back the following day. On the final day, we again hit the road to see the amazing Pangong Lake. I am still boggled by the idea of how a salt-water lake ended up in the mountains! During this entire trip, we stayed at the Kidar Guest House. The people there were so hospitable and made great home-cooked meals. Our room had great views of the mountains, hot running water, and a TV with countless channels. We would definitely recommend Namgial for any future custom trips to Ladakh :)
“The best Ladakh tour organizer”
We just returned from an outstanding two weeks in Ladakh, organized by Namgial at Yama Adventures. Namgial organized a 5 day trek in the Markha Valley, as well as various day trips to see the many sites that Ladakh has to offer. I agree with the other reviews that Namgial was very well organized. He was also quite flexible. When we arrived, one of our family members became ill for 36 hours, and, working with Namgial, we were able to reorganize the trip to allow us to ensure that we wouldn't miss any important sites. This required some re-bookings of hotels and drivers, and Namgial was more than willing to make sure this happened. The trek was also terrific. While several of the days involved a lot of walking, Namgial hired a Nepali cook who did remarkably well given the limitations of cooking off of a camping stove; in fact, his food rivaled the food in the restaurants in Leh. We were also quite happy with Tashi, the guide on our trip. Lastly, Namgial organized wonderful guest houses for our visit. We were especially pleased with the Kidar Hotel, which is a family business and very warm and welcoming.
“Trip of a Lifetime!!! Ladakh!!”
We found Yama Adventure Tours through Trip Advisor. I emailed Namgial and we corresponded and arranged our proposed itinerary. Namgial arranged for us to be met at the airport and transferred to our Guest House Lha-Ri-Sa where we made our base for our two week trip. The Lha-Ri-Sa is a charming and comfortable place to stay. Exceptionally clean and well run by Mr. Motup.
Namgial arranged all our accommodation, food and tours. We had the wonderful Motup for our guide and Namgial as our trusted driver. Both were so professional and great company on our trip.
We visited all the Stupas and Gompas in the Leh area including Hemis and Thiksay and Shey Palace. It was also our first siting of the Indus River....
We then visited Leymaru and Temisgam staying at the lovely Namra Guest House. We spent 4 nights away in this gorgeous area, visiting Liker and Alchi two exceptional places of interest. The monastery at Alchi being so unique and a remarkable 'heritage' site.
A trip to Pangong Tso and then to Tsomoriri Lake. The scenery we enjoyed was incredible and astounding. Seeing is believing!!!
We had a wonderful time thanks to the careful planning of Namgial and his team. Definitely worth a two week visit. May seemed to be the perfect time. Blossoms in bloom and not too many tourists earlier in the season. Weather was fresh but not freezing!!! A good sleeping bag essential.
A most memorable trip, thank you Namgial!!! We are looking forward to going with you to Bhutan next!!!!
Bristol, United Kingdom
Really wonderful trek organised to meet what I wanted. Well organised, very professional. I trekked alone with just Tashi the extremely brilliant and entertaining guide and the hilarious cook And horseman. As a woman alone I was extremely well looked after and kept safe, entertained and very well fed. Namgial is great and a really lovely guy. Go with Yama you will not be disappointed.
“Responsible & reliable, very trustworthy, best decision for Ladakh!!!”
Ladakh is a beautiful place to visit & Namgial will take care & make sure you have a wonderful experience altogether!!!
Our tour was perfectly planned & included everything (hotel, tours of monasteries with driver + tour guide, hikes & homestays at the villages, tours of the lakes, etc). Even when things went wrong (for example we could not sleep well the first night or I got a terrible sun allergy on my face) Namgial reacted quickly & got us the help we needed (we even got lost one night at 9pm up by the palace & we did not how to get back, so he came personally & picked us up!!!) Last but not least, he actively helped us find additional people to share a taxi with to go to Pangong Lake & Nubra Valley so our cost would go down dramatically.
The guide we got from Namgial was very very knowledgeable about Buddhism (his name is Jigmet) & he really enriched our tour of the monasteries 100%; we recommend him as well!
All in all, Namgial made our experience really great in Ladakh!! He was the person we trusted the most in ALL our India trip & we highly recommend him to anyone going to the region!!! If we ever visit again, or visit Nepal/ Tibet, we will for sure contact him again!
“Trip of a lifetime”
This was my first visit to Leh, and I had an excellent trip thanks to Namgial and his team, namely Namwa (the driver). Namgial was very helpful in creating an itinerary that was both comprehensive and flexible. Due to some bad weather, a missed flight and a bit of altitude sickness, we were unable to travel to some of the intended locations; however, Namgial and Namwa were quickly able to find alternatives to ensure that I made the most of my time. Moreover, as a female traveler in a relatively remote area I felt very safe with the staff and the hotels that were selected by Namgial. Finally, I found that I really didn't need a separate guide for some of the monasteries etc. that were visited as Namwa himself was quite knowledgeable.
Unless you're very familiar with Ladakh, I feel it is one of those places where having a good guide and driver are essential to a good experience. I would highly recommend Yama Adventures when travelling to Leh, it was an unforgettable experience for a very reasonable price.
“On top of the world”
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Sitting in the Delhi airport after 3 weeks in Ladakh. Namgial of Yama Adventures organized our stay including a 9 night trek in the Markha valley. What an incredible adventure. Namgial's careful planning and thoughtful consideration made our experience one that I will never forget. If you are thinking of visiting Ladakh and exploring the magic it has to offer, I would thoroughly recommend Namgial and Yama Adventures.
"all couldn't have been better"
I had an absolutely wonderful time trekking in northern India with my sixteen year old daughter. Yama Adventures, contacted at yamatreks.com is a small operation owned by Rinchen Namgial is a great way to go. We were taken care of very nicely. The daily personal visits of Namgial at our hotel, the friendly and knowledgeable trekking guide , the reasonable costs, the nice family ran hotel in Leh as we were adjusting to the altitude....all couldn't have been better!!
"tracy robinson" <email@example.com>
“Yama Adventures, and Ladakh, were terrific.”
Four of us recently returned from trekking the Markha Valley trek, in Ladakh, under the wing of Rinchen Namgial at Yama Adventures. It was wonderful. Namgial took very good care of us, and of every detail that needed attention; we couldn't have been more pleased with our trekking company. Our guides were wonderful, both on the trek and for the sightseeing in Leh and Delhi. The food was excellent, and none of us got sick over the course of the 9 days of trekking, or during the 6 days we spent in Leh/Delhi. The trek itself was beautiful - but if you are going to do the Markha Valley, I'd recommend that you go in September. We had only 2 other small parties at any of our campsites, but the sites themselves are set up to hold around 50 people, and our guide said that during the high season they are full. That wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable. Many thanks to previous reviewers, who pointed me to Yama Adventures.
Visited September 2011
“the best trek ever”
This was my second visit to Leh. Last year my husband and I had seen most of the places in and around Leh, including Kargil, Pangong lake etc. We were unable to do any treks due to bad weather. I had another opportunity to go in May and I contacted Namgial. From the word go he was so helpful and accommodating. I was traveling on my own and really wanted to do the Markha valley trek. Namgial found me another group to go with, a lovely American couple. The trek is one of the best I have ever done. The pace was perfect, very good quality tents and the food was awesome. We had pizzas, momos, pasta, soup every day. I have climbed Kilimanjaro and done the Inca Trail - this was by far the best. Not many people, good camp sites all along the river. We had 2 high passes during the trek: 1st at 4800 mts and the other at 5100 mts. As we were so well acclimatised we were all well and enjoyed the experience. Namgial and his team are great and very reliable. I would recommend them anytime. My husband and I are planning to do the Stok Kangri peak in Ladakh (6100mts) I would definitely go with Namgial.
Visited June 2011
October 4, 2011
“A pleasant journey in Ladakh with Yama Treks”
I used the service provided by Yama Trek during my visit in Ladakh in July, 2010. It was my first trip in Ladakh. During my research, I found that this local-run company was highly recommended by other travelers. And Yama Trek really did not disappoint me and gave me a very pleasant and safe (the most important thing for a sole woman traveler!) journey in Ladakh. Though the price offered by Yama Trek was not the cheapest among the other agencies, the money I paid was of good value. I got my own decent car without sharing with others. My guide took good care of my meals and accommodation during my trip. What impressed me most was that when I stayed at Temisgan, I needed some personal stuff which had been kept at Yama Trek, Leh before. Mr. Namgial, the boss of Yama Trek, sent a guy to deliver me the stuff without charging me extra money. And between Temisgan and Leh, it took nearly two hours car ride. How touching!!! I will visit Ladakh again in 2011 and will surely choose Yama Trek again!!!
Visited July 2010
Hong Kong, China
“VERY SERIOUS AND COMMITTED”
I was with a friend in Ladakh in August 2011. I contacted YAMA ADVENTURES due to the good references of Trip Advisor and I reconfirm them. The guesthouse they arranged in Leh, KIDAR Guesthouse it was very good...even we were the first customers to use a new room in a new building. The second day we were visiting the monasteries around Leh in a very well organised tour. And finally we did the five days trek to Lamayuru (called the Baby trek...it was very easy). Everything was perfect and I must congratulate our guide, LOTUS...very nice person and an excellent guide. Just a detail...try to wake up early to reach the villages also early...in that way, the guide can take the best homestays for you.
“Great hospitality and service!”
My friends and I signed for a 5-day trek and the owner Namgial was friendly and helpful. Our guide was knowledgeable, sincere and caring, taking care of us throughout the trek. On the 3rd day of the trek I fell ill and couldn't continue with the trek, my guide suggested me to return to Leh city centre and I met Namgial at the hospital. Namgial was extremely thoughtful and kind to look for accommodation for me and brought me to hospital on the subsequent day for a review check up. He was even concerned about my meals and had his people to buy food for me. He went the extra mile to do all these and I am really appreciative of it. Superb service I must say! Would definitely recommend Yama Adventures!
Lim Ee May
“Yama Adventures - Exceptional Hospitality!”
We used Yama Adventures to organize our two week trip to Ladakh, mainly to trek the Markha Valley. We had an incredible time and would highly recommend their services for anyone who is looking for a unique, once-in-a-life-time experience in the Himalayas. Namgial, the owner of Yama Adventures, is friendly, caring, and thoughtful and as a son of Ladakh, he knows the area very well. He has been organizing trips for over 20 years and not only is extremely careful with the details, but is very selective in hiring guides, chefs and ponymen. A friend who resides in Delhi recommended Yama Adventures to us. She utilized their services in planning her trek and quickly became close friends with Namgial. Given Ladakh’s remoteness, we naturally had a lot of concerns and questions about our trip. However, Namgial quickly erased any trepidation with his thoughtful, detailed email responses. Once in Leh, he constantly checked in on us, making sure we were comfortable and enjoying our visit. He even took one of our backpacks to be repaired the night before our trek. In addition to our 8 day trek through the Markha Valley, Yama planned day trips in and around Leh. We traveled through the countryside with our enjoyable driver and knowledgeable guide to visit monasteries and glimpse the gorgeous landscape. The accommodations of each guest house were comfortable and rich with Ladakhi culture. The Markha Trek was epic! The pace was perfect, the campsites were pristine and the equipment provided by Yama made camping in the remote mountains feel like home. Our guide and chef were extraordinary, the food was delicious and our conversations full of laughter. Our trip would absolutely not have been as rewarding and engaging without meeting Namgial and the gracious people he introduced us to. We are very thankful to Namgial for his hospitality and welcoming us into his incredible world.
Visited June 2011
Chicago , Illinois
“YamaTreks does a terrific job organizing everything in Ladakh”
Highly recommend YamaTreks and Namgial, who runs the show there. We did a 5 day Markha Valley Trek, and also an overnight trip to the Nubra Valley. Namgial did a great job listening to our needs and making all the arrangements, charged a reasonable rate, and impressed me and my friends with his immense knowledge of the region. As someone who has done extensive travel in India, I can say that working with Nama is as good as it gets. I really trusted him, and strongly recommend reaching out to YamaTreks if you are planning a trip in Ladakh.
Visited May 2011
Michael Glassman and friends
New York City, New York
“Yama Adventures your gateway to Ladakh exploration.”
I engaged the services of Yama Adventures for a 'baby' trek in Ladakh for 4-5 days. And I would look back at this experience without a hint of regret. The guide was absolutely great, providing in depth information on the culture and life of the Ladakhi people to my questions. The scenery along the trek was fantastic. And I absolutely...
We consisted of a party of eight, four teenagers (15 to 20) and four adults all in their fifties. Four of us live in Bermuda and four in Paris. We were all reasonably fit but definitely not at the gym everyday. I wanted a trek that took us off the beaten path and as far as possible, away from fellow trekkers.
I found Namgial and Yamatreks on the recommendation of a daughter of a friend, who had spent part of her GAP year in Leh. All contact with Namgial was through Email and one telephone call to his cell just before we departed Bermuda for Leh. These and all subsequent communications with Namgial have been nothing short of excellent. The whole trip was planned and executed on trust, no money exchanged hands until the day of our departure and the price never changed.
Namgial suggested the Zalungkarapola trek, a nine day high altitude trek. The parts of the trek that we could find in the guide books were described as challenging. I think every member of the party would agree that the trek had its individually challenging moments, with three passes at 17,000 + feet. The magnitude of the flooding was beyond living memory, having last happened some eighty years ago. On arrival at the airport my wife was waylaid by French journalists who challenged us over flying into Leh so soon after the catastrophe. The facts were, that parts of Ladakh were inaccessible as a direct result of the flash floods and an emergency effort was in full swing but the majority of the population was still very reliant on the tourist dollar and was very happy to see us. Unfortunately, up to 70% of the remainder of the tourist season was cancelled.
We persevered and Namgial, who is very flexible, arranged three days of acclimatisation in Leh. Namgial accommodated us in a simple but very charming bed and breakfast, most of what we ate came from their garden. I guess it took 15 minutes to walk into the center of Leh and by the third day, this uphill walk was our acclimatization. We also enjoyed (organised by Namgial) an unscheduled but truly delightful, 4 hour expedition, by taxi, to the beautiful Gompa at Thiske. Our first two days trekking were tough, as a result of the floods pushing our start point closer to the highest pass (Kongmarula). The first challenge which took our excellent guides by surprise was the volume of water, in the many streams, we had to cross in any one day. We were trekking in a mountain desert where water is scarce and streams the land's most valuable resource. On two occasions three and four days into the trek (well beyond the point of retreat!) crossing the streams was formidable and lived up to the treks designation 'challenging', this however, may not be the case for the next eighty years! Nine days at this altitude and remoteness (no telephones, roads but only in the last two days) will inevitably lead to a problem to be conquered. Tents were good, food was vegetarian and good but neither were 'Abercombie and Kent'. The messing tent needed a heater and to be more wind proof. It is cold at night and however exhausted, you don't want to be driven to a sleeping bag at eight in the evening because the messing tent is simply too cold. Our only other suggestion is to provide a camping chair with a back, silly really, but after a long day's walk....
There is little doubt in my mind that six of our group will return, one day, to Ladakh with its remote and beautiful landscape, magnificent on a scale that only the Himalaya can provide. At its core our trek was about Buddhism and wild empty spaces. The two are inexorably linked and every step of the way, however remote, we were reminded of this as we passed Mani walls with the prayer "Om Mani Padni Hum" etched on the stones. How many people, over how many centuries had contributed to these simple but inexplicable walls.
This is not a feature packed trek with picturesque villages or indeed many nomads to be met along the trail although we did have several high points along the way. It is difficult to describe the sense of privilege one has in having such vast spaces and awe inspiring scenery all to oneself (we met only two other trekkers in nine days) the opportunity for long conversations and thoughts that are simply not practical in our long and busy days. There were high points, a Kiang (wild horse which is the least studied large mammal in the world), two huge golden eagles and marmots, the rabbits of the Himalaya. On the fifth day we arrived at Dat the first civilisation since we started. Here is a nomad winter village with maybe sixty very simple dwellings and only one inhabitant the resident monk and his pet goat whose duty is to care for the ancient Gompa, that the village has been built around. We saw several Gompas but nothing was to equal the beauty of artefacts inside and the paintings on the walls of the Gompa at Dat. How could we be sitting with this monk in the middle of nowhere, drinking his delicious tea, in the shadows of this ancient building - we were in the land of fairy tales. We walked on eventually arriving on the seventh day at the summer grazing grounds of the nomads at Yagang and the opportunity to greet nomads and briefly view the starkly basic but happy way of life that these people live.
Nine days was long enough, the boys hankering after a steak! the fifty year olds after a bed and Francesca the longest hottest shower ever. The drive out, due to impassable roads, took eight hours and took us alongside the Indus which was still in full flood and awesome in in its power. We successfully arrived in Leh in the late afternoon to find the whole towns internet system down and another painful two hour wait to come to terms with the real world and GCSE examination results!!
We raised enough money ($4,000) on our return to Bermuda to replace one of the flood destroyed houses which is being co-ordinated, as you would expect, through Namgial.
With kind regards,
Simon Templeman & Teresa Chatfield
24 Mill Shares Road
Pembroke, HM 05
Simon JS Templeman < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Teresa Chatfield <email@example.com>,
"Very Impressed with Yama"
Paul & Jo Ainsworth
We spent 10 days in Ladakh in mid-October and made arrangements through Yama for our accommodation in Leh, 4 nights on the Sham valley trek including homestays as well as a couple of day trips to the monasteries and Khardung La. Contact prior to our trip with Namgial via e-mail to make preliminary arrangements was very easy and we were given detailed suggestions for putting together an itinerary. The guides and drivers we had during our stay were all excellent and the Kidar guest house in Leh was a great place to stay with cosy clean rooms and a very welcoming and helpful host family.
What we were most impressed by though was the very personal service that we (and other guests) received from Namgial himself throughout our time in Leh. He was at the guest house to welcome us on first arrival and talk through our plans for the coming days, then took us into Leh town later that day to show us around. On subsequent days Namgial passed by the guest house at least once or twice a day to check that everything was OK, make any adjustments to our plans, alternative suggestions etc. On our last evening Namgial invited us to have dinner with him and it was a pleasure to spend time with him, he is extremely knowledgeable about Ladakh and Ladakhi culture. He was up early the next morning to accompany us and see us off personally at the airport. We wholeheartedly add our recommendation to the others on this website and would not hesitate to use Yama for future arrangements should we be fortunate enough to visit Ladakh again in the future
"I found Yama Adventures through online testimonials and decided to email Namgial for my trekking trip to Leh, Markha Valley. He replied to me promptly and we continued to exchange emails until my flight to Leh was nearing. I must say that Yama Adventures not only provided top quality service, but Namgial also went out of his way to make sure that he had someone from his agency accompany my friend and I before my trekking trip started. I stayed in Leh 4 days before my trekking trip and we always had a guide bringing us around the city of Leh at no extra cost!
During the trekking trip, every single detail was handled, from the 5-star meals (awesome chef) to an extra horse for my friend who ran of stamina. Everyone was sincerely nice and generous. The tent was super comfortable and every single thing made my first trekking trip super memorable.
I strongly recommend Yama Adventures! Feel free to contact me to know more. They are simply awesome! Namgial even treated us to a delicious goodbye dinner during my last day in Leh!"
Rachael, Singapore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oliva Au <email@example.com>
I went to Leh ( India ) in early August and joined the YAMA ADVENTURES for a 5-day trekking tour with my friends. This professional agent is highly recommended. Since it's the first time I climbed up to such high attitude (ie 5250m), but without the expertise assistance of Mr Namgial, the owner of Yama Travel, in providing us an excellent supporting crew team, this mission would never be possible.
Our mountain guide is a very thoughtful, caring, attentive, experienced and energetic young man. He noticed that I suffered from symptoms of AMS at the very beginning of the trek, so initiated our cook to prepare some “recovery” drinks (ginger and garlic tea) for me, kept me company with slow pace, etc. Our cook is also very professional and impressed us everyday with different variety of scrumptious meals throughout the 5-day-trek. The rest of the crew is also very friendly and has been extremely helpful all along and my special thanks to every single one of them in making my trip a memorable one.
May I take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Mr Namgial once again. During our stay in Leh, my friends and I were being stranded unexpectedly due to that unprecedented catastrophic flooding and landslides. According to the local people, they had never experienced such heavy and thundery rainstorm three days in a row. Almost the whole city was swallowed up by floodwater, infrastructure being paralyzed, power-cut consequentially hampered the minimal operation of shops/restaurants, internet connection, etc. We were very helpless and desperate in finding our way back to Delhi, though we also volunteered ourselves in some rescuing work, but pretty much dissuaded by the locals due to the very stringent and dangerous situation. With the enormous and unconditional help of Mr Namgial, he managed to get us airtickets and leave the disastrous zone on time. Million thanks again for the warm hospitality and kind assistance Mr Namgial and his crew rendered us. The warmth and sincerity of Ladakh people can strongly be felt and shall always be remembered. I will definitely return to this beautiful place one day.
"Wonderful trekking in Ladakh"
Leh is a wonderful place with gorgeous scenery and warm-hearted people. I just went to Leh in Ladakh for a 5-day trek in August. The experience was so great!
We found this trekking company, “Yama Adventures” from the lonely planet. We told them the number of days that we would like to trek, what kind of trek we want and they suggested a few for us and showed us the photos of the trek. They were very helpful and also informative, we decided to go for the Makha Valley trek, the highest pass is around 5100m.
They provided us a mountain guide, a cook, a cook assistant and a horseman; there were all together 7 horses!! I was so amazed by such a large team, because I went to Morocco for trekking before and they provided us only 2 mules. They have carried everything to cater our needs.
The mountain guide was caring and experienced. We started our trek at around 3500m, my friend had been having headaches and could not sleep for two consecutive nights. He noticed about her condition and asked about the symptoms that she was having. Then at dinner time, he prepared a ginger garlic soup for her to drink, it’s good for AMS. Moreover, my friend is a beginner in trekking, so he had been helping her to cross all the rivers.
I was so fascinated by the food that they provided. I didn’t hope for good food in the mountains, but the food that they provided was unexpectedly good! The food was different every day. There were lots of variety, from curry to pasta and even dumplings and pizza! Imagine they did not have an oven, but they made one with the steel pot! This has reminded me of my old schooldays, backwoods cooking in the wild! On the last night, they even baked a hazelnut cake for us! It was so amazing!
What was more dramatic was that, we were stranded after our trek because there was a flash flood in Leh. All the main telecommunication and electricity were being cut off. The road to Manali was blocked by landslides, so we could only fly to Delhi. However, when we found the boss for help, he helped us wholeheartedly. He drove us around the city to find an internet café, also for accommodation. The Ladakhis are really kind, friendly and helpful people. I had a great memory with this trek. Therefore, if anyone would like to start their trek in Leh, I highly recommend you try this company out.
"Fantastic Travel and Tour Company"
Namgial, the proprietor of Yama Adventures, is a fantastic travel and trekking agent whose integrity, commitment, expert knowledge, and warm personality make him a pleasure to work with. Namgial helped us plan our trip of about 20 days in Ladakh and included cultural tours of the surrounding Leh area, as well as a trek up into the fantastic Markha valley. I highly recommend checking out Yama Adventures if you are heading up to Leh or Ladakh.
Sophie Lyons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am a student who was doing some research in Ladakh. Namgial was so incredibly helpful. He connected me to great people and helped me stay in a village homestay for 4 days. My experience in Ladakh would not have been the same without him. When I go back to Ladakh sometime in the future, I definitely plan on using Namgial to help me plan a trek.
"Recommendations for your Ladakh Trip"
I have traveled extensively in India over the last 15 years, and have always wanted to visit Ladakh (located in Jammu & Kashmir state). Finally, this past April, I had the opportunity to make the trip and it was everything I expected and more!
I got the name of a local contact in Leh through a friend of mine who is the director of the SIT Tibetan Studies university semester program in India, and this made a huge difference in my experience. Ladakh is a vast area bordering Tibet and Pakistan and it can be overwhelming trying to narrow down the options for your visit. Rinchen Namgial, who has a company called Yama Adventures, was extremely helpful in answering all my questions via email and putting together an itinerary for my 10 day visit. I highly recommend that you get in touch with him. It was really important to me to be immersed quickly in Ladakhi culture, because this is an area of interest for me, and Namgial arranged several homestays and a guide who had good knowledge of Buddhism and Ladakhi history. He also arranged a trek and multiple excursions via Land Cruiser to outlying areas to see historic temples, monasteries and even a high altitude salt water lake on the Tibetan border called Pangong-Tso.
If you are reading this review, then you probably already know something about Ladakh, or have at least seen photos. It's one of the most breathtaking places on earth. But there are a couple noteworthy things that i hadn't known about before, but learned on this trip. Ladakh is one of the cleanest places in India! No offense to Indians from other areas, but Ladakh takes the gold medal for cleanliness! Because Ladakh is so remote, there is a sense of not wasting anything or discarding anything haphazardly. Ladakhis are naturally conservation-minded people. Everything gets re-used, and therefore there is very little garbage and litter on the streets. By the same token, Ladakhis are very ecologically aware. Water is a precious commodity in the high altitude desert, and rivers and water sources are well cared for. In other parts of India, rivers and streams become a dumping ground for waste, but in Ladakh it is quite the opposite. I was very impressed that Leh has a water bottle filling station geared toward tourists that allows you to fill your bottle with boiled UV treated water for only 7 Rps. This is half the price of a bottle of mineral water, and it doesn't lead to another empty plastic bottle being discarded on the streets. Furthermore, in some of the villages we saw public trash sorting bins (separated plastics, paper, metal, glass, compost, trash) that were set up by local high school students and were being used by everyone in the village. I've never seen this anywhere else in India. In fact, it's surprising how hard it can be to find a trash can in India.
There is a public bus system in Ladakh, so if you are on a tight budget you can get around that way. If you have two or more people traveling together, it probably makes more sense to hire a car and driver. The important site-seeing locations are very spread out and a 2 hour car ride might be more like 6 hours on the bus. Three places I recommend visiting outside of the greater Leh area are Lamayuru Gompa, Alchi and Lake Pangong-Tso. Lamayuru has some very unique geological features surrounding it and it also has an amazing 11th Century Naropa meditation cave. Alchi has some of the best Buddhist wall paintings I've ever seen and some of them are remarkably well preserved. Finally, Pangong-Tso is very difficult to get to -- 12 hours in the car roundtrip -- but you get to drive over a 17,586 ft. (5,360 m.) pass, which is one of the highest motorable roads in the world, and the pay-off when you get to the Lake is worth it. It's an incredible journey to the Chang Tang region and the turquoise blue color of the lake changes hues minute by minute. You can see into Tibet on the other side of the Lake.
In Leh, we stayed at a place called Kidar Guest House. The rooms had attached baths and were incredibly clean, large and filled with natural light. The family that owns the house can prepare all your meals and they have a beautiful Ladakhi family style living room (with satellite TV). I would absolutely recommend that you stay there.
One final note: I usually travel on a tight budget and many times I choose not to hire a local guide. In Ladakh I found it to be incredibly useful to have one. It's not very expensive and really can enrich the experience. Tourism is the heart of Ladakh's economy, so it's also a great way to give something back to a people who are so generous themselves.
If you do decide to visit Ladakh, do yourself a favor and get in touch with this gentleman.
"Testimonial from Deb and Stew"
If you are going to Ladakh for trekking or just sightseeing - do yourself a big favour and contact Namgial of Yama Adventures. We did his Marka valley trek and also used Namgial's people for a trip down to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It was all fantastic.
We found Namgial on the internet. If possible, we wanted to give our business to local people based in Ladakh. And what a find - he is very professional and it all happens on schedule with good spirit and no fuss. Everything we agreed on (communicating by email) and more was delivered - from being picked up at the airport, accommodation and itinerary for the trek.
It all happened so smoothly and Namgial's personal touch really made our holiday special. The accommodation in Delhi and Leh were clean, comfortable and well located with lovely hosts. We chose one of his standard treks - and after talking with us, Namgial made some small changes to allow extra sightseeing on the drive to the start of the trek. Some of us have done 4 or 5 organised treks in Nepal and with hand on our heart we can say Yama Adventures have been the best - Great staff, delicious food, excellent quality trekking gear eg modern roomy tents; thick foam mattresses; mess tent with table and good chairs, stainless steel cook and table ware; and nice extras like a morning wake up with a cup of tea delivered to our tent with a bowl of warm water for a freshen up. The pack ponies have different chiming bells adding to the atmosphere – and all of this laid on as we travel through the spectacular Marka valley -Our trek guide Dorje and the crew were great company. Dorje speaks good English and was happy to share his extensive knowledge of local area and the Budhist culture. Namgial is sensitive to the environment. His people make a point of not leaving any rubbish behind at campsites. While in Leh, instead of us buying bottled water and adding to the plastic pollution, Namgial delivered safe drinking water in refillable bulk containers to our guest house.
For our trip to Agra to see the wonderful Taj Mahal - again everything happened as he said it would, and made it a very easy trip for India. I would highly recommend Namgial to anyone - trekkers and non trekkers. Anyone is welcome to email me personally if they want to ask about our trip.
Stewart Jones and Debbie Leigh
Our trek and entire stay in Ladakh was made forever memorable by attentiveness, great planning and such elegant amenities as a huge tent, vegetarian meals to die for and a staff that was cohesive, knowledgeable, patient and seemed to really enjoy themselves! This was my 2nd visit to Ladakh and my traveling companion’s 4th.The Nubra Valley trek was well-paced for us geezers; the food fantastic from the first meal to the last. (Prem is Nepal’s answer to the best camping chef ever- fresh vegetables and a variety of dishes at every meal, an incredible chocolate birthday cake and all served with graciousness.) What else could one ask for? We had ample time to take photographs, good humor and shared information. It all added to an experience, which revealed the essence of this land and its people – humility, diligence, benefits of sustainable knowledge, and kindness and caring for everyone.
"Awesome Markha Valley trek, Ladakh, India"<
2 Jul 2009
The highlight was a 6-day trek through Markha Valley. Thoroughly fun but challenging as well. What made it all worth it was the view from the Markha Valley pass at 5150m on the second-to-last final day. Awesome. Simply breath-taking. Our group of four ( 2 guys, 2 girls – all with little or no trekking experience) couldn’t have made it with our precious guide and “crew” of 4 – chef, 2 kitchen helpers, pony man – plus our 6 ponies. Each meal was sumptuous, well-prepared and a welcome break. The hot soups were a life-saver!
All this was made possible thanks to Namgial (email@example.com) and Yama Adventures (www.yamatreks.com). We were well taken care of during our acclimatization phase and put up at a decent Guest House, both in Leh as well as New Delhi. The added bonus was that Namgial was also able to arrange a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal on our return to New Delhi. Another awesome sight. Overall, the entire trip was fuss-free, well-coordinated and super enjoyable.
5-star recommendation to any adventurous souls out there with wanderlust in your eyes.
Sin, Jennifer: Jennifer.Sin@dkib.com
Jeff Oon : firstname.lastname@example.org
Regina Sin: email@example.com,
Living in Singapore over the past 4 years, my family and I were planning a trek in the Himilayas as a lifetime dream before returning back to distant New Zealand. There was no science about finding a trekking provider - just a quick google on a Sunday afternoon and pretty much the second or third name that came up caught my eye -with its positive endorsements by fellow Kiwis and a singaporean. We corresponded with Namgial for about a month before committing - and he was very patient with our various requirements and a couple of changes of dates to do with our airfares. All the information we received from him was clear, straightforward and helpful. Most importantly, it turned out to be a true reflection of what we found when we arrived in Leh.
Frankly, we did find the altitude hard on arriving at Leh, and found that Namgial was very patient with this - putting on no pressure, and suggesting local remedies. For several days we took some local tours while we adjusted. This was an exotic experience and really felt like we were on top of the world. Then the big road trip. Coming from New Zealand, I honestly expected to find the roads and mountains a walk in the park - the scale is truly overwhelming, the roads scary and narrow. Thank goodness for Yamatreks well maintained vehicles and cautious drivers.
Probably the single image I will remember for ever from this trekking experience was the pack of horses waiting for us on the other side of the Markha river - their feet kicking up the dust as they waited for us to cross the river on a flying fox. My 9 year old son was enthralled by the horses and for the next nine days, was conducted safely by the misty grey one, he called Yoda.
The team leading us on the trek were sincere, helpful and friendly. I won't go in to all the details but as we climbed about 1,000 feet per day towards the 17,000 foot pass, I became ill with altitude sickness and feel truly indebted to our guide Tstunzen - who did not 1, but 2, ascents on the last day - leading the pony over steep terrain with me on one trip and my son on the second.
Nine days later, this had all been a life-changing experience - we were delighted with the service we received from Yamatreks, capped with a 6am send off from Namgial himself and care and concern for us up to the point we were surrendered back into the grasp of the tiny airport bristling with guards.
I would personally like to thank Namgial and his team for conducting my family and I safely through an awesome trip of a lifetime.
Piet de Jong
Juley from incredible Ladakh!
I first met Namgial traveling in Northern Thailand in December 2002. We kept in contact by email through the years. My son and his wife, who live in Switzerland, went to Ladakh on their honeymoon in 2003. Namgial arranged for horsemen and cook for their scenic trek in the Nubra Valley. Flying in June from Delhi to Leh over breathtaking snowy peaks, I began my two week exhilarating exploration of Ladakh, embedded in the mountain world of the Karakoram to the northwest, the Himalaya to the southwest and the Trans-Himalaya at its core. Namgial is the "real deal"...humble, honest, reliable and knowledgeable. He and , Nilza, from traditional Ladakhi families, introduce you to their authentic culture and explain Tibetan Buddhism at historic monasteries. They custom design your tour or trek according to your interests in order to experience a very personal Ladakh, not as a tourist. Namgial and Nilza who began as excellent guides have become family friends for life.
San Diego, California
Highest praise and thanks to Rinchen Namgial (of YAMA Adventures - Trekking in the Himalayas) who made our trek in Western Ladakh the highlight of our trip to India. Leh is saturated with trekking guides and locals eager to show visitors beautiful Ladakh, but I can't imagine a more reliable, humble, trusting and informative Ladakhi who could better share the beauty of his people and land than Namgial. We felt privileged to have been in his charge, and our sentiments were shared by the other American and European visitors we met during our stay. He designed a three day trek for us that gave us the perfect exposure to the rugged and beautiful land on foot, with delicious meals prepared by spirited Ladakhis, including being welcomed into villagers' modest homes to try butter tea, mint tea, milk tea, masala ginger tea and chung, and learn about their traditional way of life. Namgial and his team are in tune with the needs of their clients and made us feel safe, was attentive, generous in sharing his own insights into Ladakh, but not overbearing. Whether you are looking for an extensive trek or short day hikes, or whatever your needs, contact Namgial - you will be delighted.
Julley!! S. Lilly, R. Sumanis.
May 27, 2009, Leh.
Dr. Sarah Lilly
Bhutan, May 2009
We have just come back from Bhutan (after a short stay
in Delhi and Benares) and it was our fourth trip with Namgial! We met
him in 1998 in Leh, Ladakh. In 2001 we traveled with him again (to Sikkim)
and in 2002 in the Dharamsala region. In 1998 our 11 and 13 year old children
were with us and in the following years our then teenage children. And
this time in Bhutan without children but with a female friend.
These 4 trips with Namgial have been very interesting, enjoyable and safe! He has a gift of knowing how to adapt the trip to client’s or family’s wishes and always with great discretion.
If requested he is able to give in-depth cultural information, and if not, he discreetly watches over the clients in order that they feel at ease.
We know that he accompanies people all over India and we hope to be able one day to discover South India or Tibet with him. Namgial is very honest as far as price is concerned and profit seems to be the last of his worries.
What counts for him, above all, is being able to offer safety, information, company and support to the client while guaranteeing the type of holiday the client wants. We recommend Namgial to single people, groups and families and also to people like us who don‘t do trekking, but rather quiet holidays in “contemplation” of the people and the landscape. They will not regret it.
Rino and Maria
Rino & Maria Bernasconi
Thank you very much Namgial and Yamatreks for your kind and caring guidance while we were in Ladakh. We were in Ladakh for the first three weeks in September and arrived just in time for the Ladakh Cultural Festival - a colorful introduction to the wonderful people and culture of Ladakh. We visited the Nubra Valley which was awe inspiring, majestic and sublime. The five day Healing Trek we did was easily manageable and relaxing. We finished the trek in Temisgam a beautiful, friendly and peaceful village. Our guide for that trek was Sonam who was knowledgeable, spoke good English and had a great sense of humor. Namgial gave so generously of his time, and we felt well looked after. His knowledge of Buddhism was extensive, which was particular of interest tor me. Namgials English was excellent and his warmth and way of being was inspirational. We very much enjoyed the trip with Namgial to his home village Domkar. His family and the people we met there were unforgettably humble and hospitable. The short visit from there to the Aryrian people of Dha Hanu was fascinating. The experiences that I had in some of the Gompas was life changing and I look forward to returning to Ladakh and joining up with Namagial and Yama Treks in the near future.
Dena Lawrence and Mark Wouda
"one of the best trips we have ever made"
We discovered Yama treks through the internet and Namgial e-mailed us loads of info and advice before we left England so we felt prepared and excited. After arriving in Leh we met up with another English couple and set off into the mountains with a full support team organised by Namgial.
We spent eight days walking and crossed two spectacular passes which wouldn't have been possible without our excellent guide Dorjay and our two cooks who provided more food than the four of us could ever eat. Also our horseman who had near mystical powers over the eight horses that carried our gear.
This was one of the best trips we have ever made and we would throroughly recommend doing a trek with Yama Treks.
Helen and Josh (Markha Valley Trek September 2008)
helen Pickering Pick
Both Jo and I would like to thank you for our most wonderful holiday
in Ladakh and the Golden Triangle. Everything worked like clockwork
from the moment we landed at Delhi airport and were met by Peter all
the way until he dropped us off again 21 days later. The trek was the
absolute highlight and we have many wonderful memories of the Marka
Valley, the sights, the people and of course the 5 star food. We are
both still amazed at the quality of the catering that the cook was
able to prepare in a small tent in the middle of the Himalayas.
Your itinerary said that you will feel exhilarated and relaxed by day four. We both certainly did and arrived home to Riyadh refreshed and reinvigorated.
I have no hesitation in recommending anyone to book their trek through Yama Treks as we feel the service you offer is excellent and offers fantastic value for money. Please feel free to have any potential trekkers email me personally if they wish.
Pete and Jo Stoddart
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
From Bily Brown
Thanks for everything. The experience was amazing and I hope to get back to Ladakh soon.
I am surprised at how easy our trip was due to Namgial's help and resources. It wasn't as if we made it easy on him. We had missing bags, delayed flights, and a rigorous schedule. I am still in awe with the information that spewed out of Namgial's mouth about the buddhist monasteries we visited and also his team's ability to set up camp and feed 16 people. And by the way, the food was incredible... We had cake while camping! For anyone considering going to Ladakh, for whatever reason, Namgial is your man.
bily brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Kirby Moore
Thanks for an incredible pilgrimage. The organization, the service and the guidance was phenomenal. I have never eaten so well while camping - even having several particular requests taken care of. You and your staff are very accomodating and generous. You went way beyond any expectations I had. It was truly a lovely journey.
Thanks also for taking care of my lodging in Man Ju Kateela for those last 36 hours. It went well - I met some people from Belgium and went exploring with them.
Merci Beaucoup, Tuh Chen Na, Gratefully yours,
I have India time and local time on my desktop, as there is a part of me that is still there. I can't imagine our incredible pilgrimage to Ladakh, especially our time in Leh and Lamayuru, without you. You were the perfect guide and organizer for such a trip...you are knowledgeable of the region and know specifics about the monasteries down to the dates of paintings, statues, when different parts were built when and who runs them. I did not expect to have a guide who was so knowledgeable about Buddhism, and it really made the difference for me since I didn't know that much about Tibetan Sacred Art. I can say I do now! And as for your help coordinating, you kept us with clean water supply, great places to stay, driven by safe and nice drivers and fed well. We also kept to schedules pretty well, so we knew where we were going, but had enough flexibility to go off and explore. I would love to come back and do some trekking and whitewater in addition to traveling by road. I don't know how you did it, but you were always there when we needed you, early in the morning or after dinner. I think you run on milk tea! I am so glad Hun Lye found you as our guide. I would recommend your company to anyone planning a trip to Ladakh, whether it be to the Nubra valley, eastward or just in Leh. It was a trip I will never forget, and I keep thinking of little gems I experienced, like lunch by those roaring glacial waters near Hunder, with the local children coming up to us to shake our hands, lying under the stars at the campground at Lamayuru, where I saw more stars than I have ever seen in the sky at once, and going to the traditional wedding. I have many wonderful memories--those are just a few. I hope you enjoyed our group. At times it was hard for all of us to want to be doing the same thing, but we made it through without very many problems. I caught a cold in Delhi, but I'm fine now. I hope your summer is a very prosperous one. You made my travels memorable in a good way!
All the best,
Laura L. Herrmann
Warren Wilson College
George Tilley & Group
A group of 7 of us age range 17 to 45 walked from Chilling to Shang up the Markha Valley having spent 4 days in Leh and the surrounding area acclimatising by visiting local sights. Namgial customized the hike to our needs, reducing the overall length from 8 days to 5 days with a minimum of fuss. Overall we were all hugely impressed with Yamatreks. Thanks to Namgial's organisation and competent and enthusiastic teams the whole trip went very smoothly. Their guides were friendly and attentive throughout the week, anticipating all the help that we would need, and flexible enough to cope with all our requests - including rounding up a horse to carry one of our number who had severe blisters.
Peter the agent in Delhi was there to meet us at the airport o the way through en route to Leh. It was a good first impression, and the level of service was consistently high all week. The cook did a sensational job, constantly amazing us with the feasts that he conjured up despite being in the middle of nowhere. He made some fresh pakoras to go with our tea one day and they were some of the best snacks I've had in India. As for his surprise on the last night... well, I don't want to spoil that! The guides and porters really looked after us, never rushing us and happy to take detours (eg to Hankar Fort) to suit our curiosity whenever necessary. The tents and matresses provided were very comfortable and we were the envy of the campsite.
Basic things but important - the campsites were all clean
with the exception of Thagutse which was filthy, and most had locally constructed toilets
- you need your loo tent at Thagutse and Nimaling meadow where we pitched
ours with a view of Kang Yatse. It was great to only have to carry
a day pack - lunch carried by the guides, gear carried by the horses, all
of which we gave names to.
. This was seriously well organised trekking, Ladakh was a truly amazing place, and we would love to go back. When we do we'll have no hesitation in contacting Namgial again.
We would without reservation recommend using Yama adventures
provide access to the pure magic of Leh and the Ladakh mountain range.
Namgial Rinchen and his team right from the very first enquiry were
effciient and thoughtful in organising a trek to suit our needs. They
were sympathetic to our time constraints and the altitude. In
particular we were concerned about food and water quality. The food
was delicious and with pressure cookers, they made sure the water was
safe to drink. Namgial made us feel very special in the way he
organised our trek. There was no question of money, he wanted to
ensure our experience was truly rewarding. This was in contrast to
other tour operators we approached who were not locally based where
the fee seemed more important than the service. These days ostensibly
the whole world is open to travellers which makes it sometimes rare to
want to return to one place. Without hesitation we are going back to
Ladakh and will ask Namgial to help us escape once again into a
special land where one can breath again.
Rupert and Susie Rucker, based in Singapore originally from the UK
We went to Ladakh in August 2007 and planned a Markka Valley trek for 8-days
through Rinchen Namgial's company, Yama Adventures. Though
there are many trekking outfits in Leh and it is somewhat confusing
to get an idea in advance as to good prices and the quality of gear
and services, Rinchen was prompt and attentive by phone and email in
responding to our inquiries while we discussed various trekking
options. Upon arriving in Leh, Rinchen and his staff were great about
making sure we were settled and had the requisite things for a
successful trek. The trek itself was spectacular, and we were very
happy at the services Yama Adventures provided: very good equipment,
and a knowledgeable guide, horseman, and cook. Compared to previous
treks in other countries, this Markka Valley trek was luxurious and
the staff were attentive and patient. We would recommend Yama
Adventures to any group seeking reasonable costs and excellent
quality for their treks in the Himalayas.
Ajay Gandhi and Olga Sooudi
August, 2007, the Baby Trek
Yamatreks rocks. Trek in the Himalayas and you will be rewarded by vistas words can't describe. The six days we spent in Ladakh were the high point of our two weeks in India. They were some of our best vacation days ever, and that¹s thanks to Namgial and the spectacular trekking crew he gave us: Tenlis, Prem, Tashi and Sherb. We heard about Namgial from our daughter's friend, who had spent a month in Leh. She gave Namgial rave reviews, too.
Namgial is a wonderful teacher, as interested in his students as he is in his subject. Sage-like, exuberant, and funny, Namgial introduced us to Buddhist thinking and observance. As we became accustomed to Leh's altitude, he guided us through monasteries, illuminating frescoes with a flashlight and his understanding of Buddhist teachings and ritual. With his encouragement, we sampled the monks' salted butter tea whoa!
Take a careful look at his touring and trekking itineraries, and note how carefully Namgial prepares trekkers. By the time you¹re on your first path, you're ready. A day or so later, when you¹re ascending the steeper paths, you have no problem handling them. The amenities range from comfy to fun mattresses, dining tent, toilet tent, shower set up, morning bed tea, lunch boxes stuffed with healthy meals, freshly-baked cake (no kidding!).
One evening, camping in a village on our trek, we ran out of mint for the fresh mint tea we¹d been enjoying. Thanks to our guide, Tenlis, we found a local family with a beautiful garden. The family sold us an armful of mint, fed us apricots from their tree, and invited us to join them for tea. With Tenlis translating, we spent an hour visiting we were two mothers, each with a daughter. For an hour, we enjoyed the privilege of connecting with family as a common frame of reference, visitors who arrived via jet in an area where things haven¹t changed much for the last thousand years or so.
If you care about the environment keep Ladokh pristine - go with Yamatreks. Namgial makes a point of educating his trekkees to follow environmentally sound practices.
We're back in the USA, prayer shawls displayed. We look forward to more treks under Namgial¹s supervision. Trek and tour with Yamatreks. And, one winter (when trekking is out of the question), we hope Namgial will make it to the USA.
Meris Powell, Darrell Prescott, Katherine Prescott
Meris Powell, M.A., L.C.S.W.
Testimonial for Namgial, Yama Adventures:
I have spent two summers in Ladakh and done trekking, mountaineering, jeep safaris and many smaller trips and I have always relied on Namgials services. With him everything is working perfectly and with a great spirit. During my earlier job as a trekking tour leader for Finnish travel agency I have seen many tour operators which organize various trips. From that experience I can warmly recommend Namgial and his Yama Adventures for your guide and support, whether it is trekking, mountaineering, jeep safari or monastery sightseeing. Namgial is a humorous and very responsible person and has a good connection to Ladakh life.
Especially trekking with Yama Adventures is great. They have good quality equipment, such as original The North Face tents and very comfortable sleeping mattresses. Guides are experienced and food is delicious. Markha Valley trek and Stok Kangri summit in summer 2006 was a great experience!
Good to know: You can also let Yama Adventures to organize your sightseeing, accommodation and transports on your arrival or departure in Delhi.
Remember to bring your sun cream and your good spirit when coming to Ladakh!
Please request my email address from Namgial for further inquiries!
Just wanted to sing the praises of Yama Adventures for giving our family such a good trek in Ladakh this year. Rinchen Namgial's laid back style complements a very competent and highly attentive organization which accomodated any needs we had without stress or bother. Lots of nice little personal touches which really made the trip for us. My wife and I have climbed and trekked extensively in Nepal, Pakistan, and India in the past 25 years, and the food, equipment, and staff on our trek was among the best we have experienced. The staff took a special interest in our 13 year old and made sure he never got bored during our 12 day trek and climb of Stok kangri.
Namgial is a native Ladakhi with a deep concern for the culture and environment of Ladakh - our trip was low impact and highly interactive. Listening to Namgial's insights into Ladakhi history over a few beers overlooking Leh at sunset was a treat!
Park City, Utah, USA
Testimonial for Rinchen Namgial at Yama Adventures
Namgial and the other staff at Yama Adventures were top notch and I highly recommend them. My wife and I rearranged our entire trip in India after we arrived. Yama bumped our trek up a couple weeks with no problem. The guides, cook and horseman were friendly and energetic. My wife and I are used to carrying our own gear, but were very grateful to be free of it in the high mountains. The great Himalayan beauty was enhanced by the intelligent guides who not only pointed out interesting sites, but also gave us great insight into the local culture. We were able to see Bhuddist monasteries and mountain dwellings that were many centuries and in some cases more than a millenium old. The food was unbelievable, particularly for a trip through the mountains. Our campsite was always spotless after we left, something important to us.
The Markha Valley trek was a big highlight of our two months in India. I highly recommend it.
Please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com
Rikke Hansen & Peter Schack – Copenhagen –
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
We arrived in Leh in June and knew beforehand that we wanted to go trekking for a week’s time and wanted to plan things after arrival. We realized already on our first day that the “trekking company scene” in Leh is a bit chaotic with more than 200 agencies around.
We tried to talk to other travelers for recommendations and went on a tour around to 9 companies to get a feel of things. We experienced on our trek quite a few trekkers with some bad experiences – mainly equipment not up to the promised standards and very importantly cooks that didn’t boil water and prepare food properly – result was that people had to abandon the trek due to food poisoning.
Most of the popular treks are offered by most companies and we found out that most trekkers and companies fast get very focused by how much you pay per day instead of looking at what you get for your money!!!!!
We went by our “gut feeling” and choose Rinchen Namgial to arrange our trek – Namgial was very serious in his approach and we could feel that he was very experienced and concerned that we should have a good trek.
The night before we took off we were very exited of what would happen – AND we had a wonderful 8 days with everything living up to expectations. As a little example Namgial had told us that food would be “basic” and it was absolutely not – we were spoiled with pancakes, popcorn and a wide variety of different and also healthy dishes! His staff were very competent and we felt well looked after on the whole tour.
We have both been “teahouse” trekking several times in Nepal and here in Ladakh it is different - you need a reliable organizer that also focus on safety during the trek and provide good equipment, staff and back-up!
We can really recommend Namgial’s company Yama Adventures for organizing a trek.
Rikke & Peter
From Galen Murton,
Global Learning Across Borders (Global LAB)
If planning a trip to Ladakh, one can do no better than work with Rinchen Namgial of Yama Adventures.
As the program director for secondary school and college study-abroad programs, I have had the unique opportunity to work with Namgial over he course of the past several years. Whether organizing a trek in remote valleys of Zanskar, guiding western Buddhists on monastery Dharma-tours, or running the complex logistics for groups sized two to twenty, Namgial is eminently capable and affable in all that he does. And not only that, he is also one of the most perceptive, intelligent, and fun individuals I’ve ever met. My students invariably identify the friendship which they forge with Namgial as one of the true highlights of their time in India, and he has single-handedly inspired many of my students, friends, and colleagues to return to Ladakh and greater India in order to volunteer, teach, and trek on many occasions.
The treks and climbs which Namgial sponsors feature the finest staff of guides, cooks, and horsemen that Ladakh has to offer, and he uses the best equipment available (tents by The North Face and the like). Furthermore, for monastery tours during festival season and excursions of cultural exchange into remote villages, Namgial has the personal connections and seasoned experience to customize your trip to fit all of your needs and dreams.
Namgial is fluent and articulate in Ladakhi, Tibetan, Hindi, Urdu, and English, and having grown up in a quiet Ladakhi village but educated in Jammu and Delhi, he is also completely comfortable and experienced in both Indian and western communities. His extensive trekking experience combined with a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies makes a day with Namgial a learning experience wherever you may venture.
I recommend Namgial without reservation for any of your Ladakh travel needs, and guarantee that you’ll be impressed and satisfied with his professionalism, integrity, and wonderfully warm personality.
For any further information please contact me at
or, please contact Namgial at:
PO Box 187, Head Post Office
Leh, Ladakh 194 101, India<
Global Learning Across Borders (Global LAB)
Sue & Nathan Cope, UK
Let us begin by saying that booking our entire 2-month stay in Ladakh through Yama Adventures was one the best decisions we ever made (apart from the decision to go to Ladakh in the first place, that is).
We found Namgial on a search engine. Booking a holiday with someone thousands of miles away is always a little nerve-racking but Namgial, in the three months prior to our departure, set our minds at ease by always replying promptly to all the questions we had (and there were lots of questions, I can tell you!)
When I think about Namgial – now that I’m back in London – my overwhelming memory is of someone who always went that one step further for us the whole time we were there. In the first week he popped up in our guesthouse almost daily to check were we drinking enough water, not doing anything too strenuous and generally doing all the right things to acclimatize. He always came to see us after each trek to get our feedback. And, most importantly, Namgial was articulate, knowledgeable and obviously cared a great deal about the culture and environment of Ladakh.
Our whole trip was organised perfectly – from the Sham Trek at the beginning, to the sight-seeing around Leh, to the high altitude trek to Tsomoriri. The teams we went out on our treks with were always resourceful and fun to spend our days with. They also did all they could to minimize the impact we had on the environment we were traveling in – quite unlike many of the other large groups who we came across who left piles of rubbish and tin cans in this once pristine landscape.
After two months Namgial was much more than someone who ran the company that organized our trip – he had become a very good friend. Saying goodbye at Leh airport at 6am was very difficult indeed.
We would strongly recommend Yama Adventures to anyone reading this. Take a look at our travelogue for more details www.yearaway.com. Don’t go with one of those big tour companies, you’ll miss out on the personal touch that made our stay in Ladakh so magical.
Sue & Nathan Cope,
Novelist / Professor
Author of the Basket maker
Namgial’s gentle competence rubbed off on all of us. We were given extraordinary opportunities, such as visits to an oracle/healer, & the home stays in a remote Ladakhi village. It was clear that none of this would have been possible without Namgial’s connection and the trust he has built between people.
His knowledge of Buddhism & his intelligence are wonderful, as his humor.
Sarah M Decker
The experience that I had in Leh and Ladakh was only made possible by Namgial and his extensive knowledge of the Ladakh area. At every moment Namgial kept things lively and interesting. The accommodations were excellent and the home stay was the highlight of the trip. I would recommend this for anyone interested in having an unforgettable trip.
D. Linnea Decker
My experience traveling though India was more then amazing. Namgial’s & Galen’s knowledge and interaction with the group made my first time in India memorable.
Everyone should have as much fun.
Travelers usually don’t understand the cultures they are traveling though. They are witnesses to the architecture and the external appearances of the places and people they see. Previous travel experience I have had were like this, but Ladakh was completely different. When I was in Mangyu I felt like part of the community. I stayed with an amazing family, ate dinner with them, and had fun trying to understand one another. I helped in the local school and still had plenty of time for hiking in the Himalayas and rapping. My thanks goes to Namgial for making this possible and I would definitely recommend him to any future travelers.
William Pitt Root
Poet/ retired professor
If there is a better way to experience Ladakh than touring it with Namgial, I cannot imagine what it might be. Namgial is a guide who soon begins to feel more like a companions who just happens to have an inexhaustible knowledge of the place, its people, and its resources. He is at ease with everyone, attentive to details, and has a fine grasp of the myriad test comprise Ladakh culture in city and village alike, and his English is as excellent as his sensibility is delightful.
Fort Lewis College
E -mail: Pamuschuk@mac.com
Extraordinary would be the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of Namgial. As a guide, as a teacher, as a profound human being with great warmth and humor, Namgial excels at being a guide. No wonder National Geographic and Smithsonian have employed him in this capacity. Not once have I seen him become frustrated nor not have an answer to the many questions we have plied him with. I would recommend him without reservation to any group wanting to trek the Himalayas of Ladakh or wanting to learn in a deep way about Ladakhi culture, its varied peoples on the facets of Tibetan Buddhism. Namgial is nothing short of a genius of guides.
Leh and its surrounding areas were undeniably more interesting with guidance and expertise of Namgail. He was extremely kind, understanding, knowledgeable, and funny as our guide throughout Ladakh. When I come back Namgail will be the person who will be my guide once again. Loved him, the experience, and the amazing scenery and people we saw. Namgail is highly recommended by myself and the group I traveled with.
Namgial is flat-out amazing. I cannot imagine doing a trip like this –approximately a week in Leh Ladakh without Namgial’s immense breadth of knowledge and hilarious sense of humor. With excellent English, confidence, and compassion he will make your trip the experience of a lifetime.
My trip to India would not have been complete without the trip to Ladakh. Nmagial was a wonderful addition to our group and fit in right away. His knowledge of the region was outstanding and indispensable. I have learned so much from him and had many wonderful laughs. I will miss him and wish he could have accompanied our group throughout India.
Namgail has been an awesome guide. He is excellent at explaining what we are seeing, and he is hilarious. He has definitely made this trip an amazing experience.
In May of 2007 I traveled to Ladakh with a group of students from America. Rinchen Namgial and Yama Adventures facilitated our trip; I think I have never felt so well taken care of. We reached Leh early in the morning, descending from the airplane to the runway and out into the cold, thin air. A rocky desert landscape rose and plunged in muted colors to either side, gray, snow-capped mountains cutting the horizon to the front. The sky was impossibly blue, a color of crayon boxes, arching above into a bowl of definite form and dimension—these spectacular facts of the landscape are still my most vivid memories of Ladakh, beauty magnified a hundredfold by the days spent trekking, completely immersed in it. Namgial met us at the airport, and took us to our guest house. Accommodations in Leh were all we could have asked-- there were soft warm beds with thick blankets, and hot showers; for the next two days we slept and ate tremendously, acclimatizing and (gently) exploring the capitol city.
We spent nine days trekking through the Markha valley, rising to begin early and making camp in time for hot tea in the afternoon. Stenzin and Stenzin, our guides, kept a perfect pace, allowing us to challenge ourselves, but always sensitive to the needs and limits of the group. They were thoroughly competent, and more, delightful to be with, from card games in the evenings, to a snowball fight on the descent from the Kangri pass, to a surprise gift of Munch bars at the top of the same (who would have thought that so much happiness could lie in five rupees of chocolate!). Our cooks Norbu and Lahkpa made every meal a feast—a variety of dishes, both local and western—and woke us with tea or hot water in the mornings. The tents were snug in the cold spring nights, each easily sleeping three, and the dining tent was a spacious and comfortable place to spend evenings in the camp.
he pony man singing to his horses as he saddled and loaded them in the mornings; miles of intricately carved mani walls along the trail; cold, clear water running by our tents; the delicious warmth of a sleeping bag—all of these things are unforgettable. But most of all, I will remember the kindness and care of the people we worked with through our trek. I cannot speak highly enough in recommendation of Namgial and Yama Adventures.
From Mary Margaret Bradbury
Portland, Maine U.S.
My trip to Delhi and Ladakh with Yama Adventures was a wonderful experience. Summarized below are my thoughts on specific aspects of the trip.
Initial organization and planning: Namgial was very responsive and patient with all of our questions about possible itineraries. I really appreciated his willingness to make changes in our itinerary once we arrived. Specifically, I think changing the starting point of our Markha Valley trek to allow us to spend our first night at Rumbak really helped us acclimatize for our climb over Ganda La.
Guides: Peter Sonam, our guide in Delhi, was terrific. Always smiling and upbeat (even on the hottest day in Delhi), he was punctual, reliable and personable. Our trekking guides, Lobsang and Stenzin were equally upbeat and pleasant to have around. We had no problem communicating in English with either of them and were easily joking, laughing and enjoying one another's company by the end of the trek. Lobsang also did a commendable job taking care of one of the people in our group that had trouble with the altitude.
Equipment: Our camping equipment all seemed in good shape. The 4 man North Face tent was very roomy and comfortable for two of us and the cushiony sleeping mats provided were fantastic.
Food etc.: The food on the trek was incredible and much better than expected. Prem, Noorbu and Karma did an outstanding job serving a variety of high quality meals. Eggs and porridge in the morning, a hot lunch of stir fried veggies and chapati, dinners of wonderful soup, rice, veggies, meat and fruit. Our horsemen, Dorje and Sonam, also seemed to take great care of their horses and always safely delivered our bags and camping gear to the next camping spot - unlike another group we met along the way whose horses had gotten 'lost' in the night and the group was unable to get their bags to the next camping area.
Lodging and Transportation: The lodging at the Likir house was basic but better than I expected and quite comfortable. The lodging at the Spic and Span hotel in Leh was also quite comfortable and had a great view of the surrounding mountains. The hotel staff and the dining room staff could not have been more attentive and pleasant. The vehicles we used carried our group of 6 comfortably and we were grateful for the air conditioned car in Delhi. We were pleased that the vehicles were all reliable.
Overall: The value of the service from the initial organization and planning to the last drop off at the airport was outstanding. I especially appreciate the fact that there were no 'hidden expenses' or charges for additional items that weren't included in the original price of the trip. I would like to specially thank Namgial for showing us around Thiksey, Alchi, Temisgam and Rizong. His incredible knowledge of Buddhist practices and history greatly contributed to our understanding of the Ladakhi people and Tibetan Buddhism.
From Alice Grant
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
During our recent time in Ladakh, my friends and I frequently commented on how fortunate we were to have chosen Rinchen Namgial to arrange the trip. We wanted to hire a local guide, but wanted to make arrangements before arriving in Leh, so were pleased when an acquaintance recommended Namgial and his company, Yama Adventures. Namgial answered our questions via email and we easily arranged a slightly customized version of the Markha Valley trip. Namgial was a wonderful guide to the monasteries of Ladakh, and his wealth of knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and symbolism added greatly to our visit. The itinerary was flexible enough to add a spontaneous visit to a school and change some stops along our trip to Temisgam. When it looked like someone might not be well enough to start the trek with the others, Namgial had alternative options.
The crew accompanying us on our Markha Valley trek was very reliable and enjoyable to spend time with. Some other groups did not seem quite as well equipped and our horsemen ended up helping out some trekkers whose horses ran off during the night. Prem cooked up delicious meals, including lots of vegetables, hot lunches packed to eat on the trail, and even a cake on the last day. Our guide, Lobsang, took care to keep tabs on the hikers at the back of the pack and make sure everyone was doing well. For someone used to camping, this is a fairly luxurious trip (dining tent with tables, tea at your tent door in the morning, horses carrying the loads, people cooking for you, thick sleeping pads…), but not quite to the point of embarrassment.
In Delhi, Namgial made arrangements for Peter Sonam to meet us at the airport, take us sightseeing, arrange our flight to Leh and do the reverse on the way back. We had complete confidence in Peter – very efficient and amazingly energetic. The guest house in Delhi, the Likir House, is a lovely, friendly oasis associated with the Likir monastery in Ladakh. We also stayed at a great family guest house in Temisgam, with wonderful home cooking, including a chance to try tsampa and butter tea. In other words, Namgial will put you up in a nice place.
Ladakh is a beautiful place of awe inspiring gorges and mountains, quiet villages surrounded by laboriously irrigated barley fields, fascinating monasteries, and friendly, welcoming people. I plan to go back someday and when I do, I will certainly arrange my visit with Namgial and Yama Adventures.
From Chris Wriggins
I have recently completed the Markha Valley trek in Ladakh with Yama adventures and would like to recommend Namgial and Yama wholeheartedly to anyone interested in a Himalayan trek. From our first meeting at the Delhi airport with Sonam to the scarves Namgial presented us with as we departed in Leh, we were well taken care of with personable style and good humor. We stayed at a very nice Tibetan style hotel in Leh and spent several days acclimatizing to 11,500 feet and touring Buddhist monasteries on day jeep trips. Namgial was very well informed about every aspect of Buddhism and could explain the meaning of the many elaborate paintings and rituals we saw in his excellent English. His graceful style was very responsive to everything we asked for and made the understanding of a very different culture that much easier.
The trek, which includes a couple of high passes of 16-17 thousand feet, was sometimes strenuous but again we were well taken care of with ponies to carry the heavy gear and cooks to serve good Indian style food, bed tea in the early morning, and a guide who was very familiar with the trail. The cooks and guides were all competent and fun, and one evening we each put on a songs and dances for each other in the dinner tent. All in all, Namgial was a great trip guide, and I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend his excellent organizing skills and Yama adventures for a Himalayan trek.
Sincerely, Chris Wriggins, architect, and veteran of 10 treks over the years
From Frank Siringo
Namgial and Yama Treks are the only way to go. The gear they have is top notch, the tents are North Face, and it is all in solid condition. The food that is prepared by the crew is nothing short of amazing. Sometimes you can't believe you are in the Himalayas eating some of the dishes they prepare. The crew are knowledgeable, kind, and always willing to share about the life, culture, and geography of Ladakh. Namgial is a great leader, speaks beautiful English, and has tons to teach about Ladakh and Buddhism. He is a true trekker, and one that you will have trust in as soon as you meet him. I had such a great time on the Markha Valley trek, and it was mostly due to Yama and Namgial. Thanks!
From Melissa Dittmann
16 E. Stillwater
Beverly Shore, IN 46301 USA
Envision yourself in Ladakh: surrounded by the Himalayas, the legendary Roof of the World, the mountains that make all others look like molehills, what I’d call the most awe-inspiring and exquisite landscape I’ve ever encountered. In the midst of the mountains, surrounded by the overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming people of Ladakh. Immersed in this people’s unique and fascinating culture, so integrated with Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
How could this experience possibly be made better?
Why, through the excellent guidance and insights offered by Rinchen Namgial-leh, of course! Namgial went well above and beyond the duties of your average trekking guide, and through his well-informed insights into the local culture and landscape, his personal dedication to our group, likely the best command of English I encountered among the non-native English speakers across India, his generosity, kindness and all-around accommodative attitude, he made what would have been a interesting and enjoyable experience traveling in Ladakh (a place already so wonderful that I think a person would consciously have to work at not having a good time) an exceptionally enjoyable and always fascinating outstanding and unforgettable experience.
So, as far as the specifics of my month in Ladakh through Yama Adventures (as one of the student participants of the Pacific Village Institute North India trip in the spring of 2006), my group did two treks interspersed with time around Leh and a homestay in Phey. For someone (like me, an anthropology student and long-time nature enthusiast) interested in seeing and learning about both the local Ladakhi environment and the culture that pervades this part of the Himalayas, Namgial put together a perfectly balanced travel experience, integrating wilderness and culture.
Namgial’s obvious well-seasoned professional experience combined with a wealth of knowledge and contacts enabled him to arrange for homestays, visits to monasteries and other cultural/historical sites, local experts in various fields to lecture to our group on a number of issues facing Ladakhi society, in addition to the outstanding treks. The overall organization of this month-long student group excursion was great and well structured, while also remaining flexible so as to accommodate for individual interests in addition to group consensus. Namgial’s goal of best serving the group while considering and catering to the diverse interest of each individual was remarkable, another instance of above and beyond.
My personal favorite part of all this was the homestays: in my book, the way to travel because of the insights into local lifestyles that are hard to get at a general guesthouse. Each member of the PVI group (10 students in all) lived with a different family during our several-day stay in Phey. Also, during the shorter “baby trek” my group undertook, each morning would find us heading out into the exquisite Himalayan environment and every evening would find us accommodated in the homes of families in the valley villages along our route. All of this was very well prearranged by Namgial.
And, of course, the trekking: the attraction that draws most foreign travelers to Ladakh. In this regard, I can’t imagine a trekking experience better than the one Namgial arranged for our group. In addition to having Namgial himself as our trek leader, the other staff members of Yama Adventures were exceptionally competent, helpful and friendly. This group of guys did an amazing job keeping our health and spirits up along the trail, caring for the posse of pack horses, and preparing masterpiece meals. Another admirable aspect of the Yama Adventures trekking was that in addition to caring about each person in the group, they also showed great care towards the environment we were trekking through, making for a light-on-the-landscape nature-conscious trek.
Among Namgial’s countless qualities, he has the most charming/amusing way of telling someone, “You did a goood job!” Well, Namgial did more than a good job. He did an above-and-beyond outstanding job. So thank you! Thu ji che nang (thanks in Ladakhi language)!
From Derrick Rieveley
4102 Yuculta Crescent
Vancouver, British Columbia,
A place that is full of mystery that never has a disappointing turn is a place I found well on my Yama Adventure. It started in Delhi for me when met by a Yama Treks employee at the airport. From then on I remained under trusted hands until my departure. The equipment we used made me feel safe in a sometimes unpredictable environment. The food was never disappointing and was constantly a welcome surprise. Never did I think it was so possible to see such beauty in my surroundings! Something I would and never could forget! In particular the head of the organization showed himself to be extremely trustworthy and fully capable of taking a group of trekkers under his care!
Trip to Nubra Valley
From Ian Rieveley
I had a fantastic trip with Yama treks in Ladakh. Namgial and his staff were very helpful throughout the trip. Yama treks helped me solve any problems that arose over the course of the two week trip. We were guided through the Nubra valley by a very competent English speaking guide who was also a Buddhist monk! It was great to meet such kind and knowledgeable people through Yama treks. The trip went smoothly from our arrival in Delhi to our departure to London. Namgial and his staff have given us a good insight into Ladaki culture that has given me a better sense of the area and people. I would highly recommend Yama treks for any Himalayan adventure. Their professionalism was outstanding. Ian Rieveley
Stok Kangri via the Markha Valley
The trek with YAMA ADVENTURES turned out to be an excellent choice. Five of us did all our booking to India independently but used Namgial to organise our trek from Leh to Stok Kangri via the Markha Valley. After 3 nights' accommodation at Melarapa Guest House (highly recommended) and acclimatisation in Leh we joined the horses for the walk over the 4900 Ganda La before dropping down into the Markha Valley. Weather in October was superb - wall-to-wall blue sky with only the occasional cloud (and a brief snowstorm at the top of the valley). We had 6 staff and 12 horses (and a foal which was just along for the walk) to carry all the equipment including comfortable mattresses (not to mention the hotwater bottles). Temperatures at night were cold - but not as cold as Nepal in November, probably down to around -10C. Daytime temperatures were perfect for walking. Tchinley was an excellent guide right to the top of the mountain (20140 ft) and the food cooked by our Nepalese cook was SUPERB - at least 5 delicious courses every evening. After the trek Namgial also organised our trip to Agra including accommodation. Since we returned from India we have been extolling virtues of a horse trek in Ladakh (and Namgial's organisation in particular) to all our friends. We also travelled by air to Aurangabad to see the Ellora and Ajanta caves. Overall India (especially Ladakh) was a fantastic destination for an October holiday. Check my website www.johnspiveyphotography.co.uk for photos.
John Spivey, John Vose, Bill Dean, Geoff Cound and Steve Harris (October 2005)
From Beatrice Orsini
I wrote many mails to different travel agencies, asking for trekking, and since the first answer Namgial has been different from all the others, I mean that he wrote me a detailed plan of the trekking itinerary, he wanted to know if I had experience on trekking in altitude, then he suggested me to start the trek from a different point, the one I decided for my end, this due to weather, that was going to get colder and colder.
So it is easy to understand why I choose him: first he showed me that he had good knowledge of the area I was going for trekking and second he was always available for every question. Then, when I met him, my impression was further confirmed. He took care of me also before leaving for the trek, even though it wasn't his duty, he wanted to see my stuff for the trek, if they were enough good, otherwise he would have provided for me.
Coming from Delhi, I had some stomach problems, and he didn't force me to leave for the trek, thinking to something else in case I couldn't leave. Luckily, after 1 day I was ok and I left for Zanskar trek from Lamayuru to Darcha. I was alone, I had a guide, a cook, 4 horses and a ponyman: wonderful and helpful staff, we were like a small family. I have to spend a few words about Prem, a wonderful and polite cook, five stars cook, he prepared so tasty dishes...and also incredible cakes at 4000m..!!! Food was plenty, and very good was the quality: I'm from Italy and I could eat the same good quality pasta "Agnesi" I usually eat in Italy. Then, for breakfast, muesli, cornflakes, pancakes, chapati, jam, honey and milk, coffee,chocolate….
When I got back, Namgial was friendly as the first day, even if he already got the money :-)...I mean, that he's a very good hearted person, he wants to make his job as best as he can, he wants the client is satisfied, and money is not the main purpose of his job. So, these are only a few words of my experience, but one thing I can surely say is that YOU CAN REALLY TRUST IN HIM.
from BEATRICE ORSINI -ITALY-
my address: Via Rossini 5
40066 Pieve di Cento (Bologna)
From Sarah Stewart
My experience with Yama Adventures was outstanding! As co-director of the North Indian program run by Pacific Village Institute, an American NGO, which leads three-month educational programs in Asia, it was very important to me that my students be safe, enjoy their time in the Himalayas, as well as learn about the environment in which we would be trekking.
Namgial, owner/co-founder of Yama Adventures, was wonderful to work with. His patience and concern when planning our seven-day trek was above and beyond the call of duty. Namgial took the time to consider each individual member of our group in terms of their ability, skill level, and personal needs in order to plan a trek perfectly suited to our particular group.
Nightly, we were shocked by the masterpieces that the cooks and horsemen presented on the dinner table. It is true that anything tastes better when eaten in the mountains after a long day of trekking, but the quality of the food was more than I ever expected. My students often commented that we didn’t eat half as well while in Leh town, and it was true!
On top of having a competent, attentive, and very friendly staff accompanying our group, we were fortunate enough to have Namgial as our guide. Over the course of the week, each student (and leader) developed quite a close personal relationship with Namgial. As a result of his extensive experience in the mountains, he was able to explain many natural phenomena of the Himalayas and wildlife behavior. He was also able to identify the remnants of a carcass killed by a snow leopard, various animal tracks, as well as noises and calls made by other Himalayan dwelling creatures. More importantly, however, Namgial has the amazing ability to motivate people, and to keep their spirits high regardless of how they are feeling physically. He was incredible with the students. Whether he was making us all laugh around the dinner table, informing us of the wonders of the mountains, explaining the philosophy of Buddhism and the Ladakhi culture, or just chatting, Namgial was an indispensable part of our group.
In addition to being a reliable and comprehensive trekking company, Yama Adventures is ecologically aware, and an environmentally friendly trekking organization. While this idea is fairly innovative compared to the approach of most Himalayan trekking companies, Yama Adventures takes care to collect all garbage, especially tins, and leave the villages and campsites exactly as they were found - pristine and beautiful. Currently, I am in the process of planning an eco-trek during October with Yama Adventures. As one of the last groups of the season to head out at the end of October, Yama Adventures is helping to plan a “clean-up” trek around lake Tso Moriri.
For anyone who is searching for a Himalayan trekking company, I highly recommend Yama Adventures. Namgial is wonderful to work with. You can count on having a personalized trek, some of the best food in Ladakh (no exaggeration!), and a reliable and experienced staff, who are friendly and fun to be around. In addition, Yama Adventures will help you as a trekker to minimize your impact on the land.
Thank you Namgial for all of your help, and thank you to Yama Adventures for helping Pacific Village Institute experience the Himalayas in a way we never could have without you!
Co-Director: From Brahma to Buddha: Cultures of the
Indian Himalayas and the Ganges River
Pacific Village Institute, USA
Letter from Gavin Turner - Leader from the Pacific Village Institute and the Lake Side School.
It is with great confidence that I recommend Namgial to anybody planning a journey in Ladakh. On two occasions now I have taken student groups to Ladakh, and Namgial has acted as our Ladakhi coordinator for both programs. I have been very impressed with Namgial's professionalism. He has excellent organisational skills, he is reliable, honest, intelligent, and attentive to details. He is also a great person. I and all of my students have found him to be caring, genuine, and fun to be with. Whether you are planning a trek through the mountains, or you are wishing to organise a student program in Ladakh, I can think of no better person in Ladakh to look after your plans than Namgial.
Gavin Turner Australia
Markha Valley-Kangyatse- Stok Kangri Trip
21st June - 5th July 2005.
Feed back from Dr. Becky Bradley
University of Menchester UK
David Bradley (Engineer)
An extremely enjoyable trek with the added bonus of successfully climbing two 6000m peaks. We will look back on this trip with some great memories. The team of Shiva, Sambu and Thinley plus the 2 Tibetan horsemen treated us very well.
Sambu was an excellent cook. The meals were varied, fresh + healthy with plenty of vegetables. Best trekking food we’ve ever tasted! The food & drinks were always served with a smile day or night, by the ever-helpful Thinley.
We got on well with Shiva. It was great to have a guide that spoke such a good English. He was very polite, considerate + patient with us + his knowledge of Sikkim & India really added to the overall experience of the trek.
The equipment provided on our trek was fine. It was nice to have such a big North Face tent for the two of us! Becky was also very appreciative of the sleeping bag lent to her by Namgial (it was cold at the base camp). We found that the rope provided for the ascent of kangyatse was too short for adequate belaying (25-30m single rope required). Also there was no first aid kit for the Guide, which we believe to be an essential requirement, especially for mountaineering trips.
From John T
I am pleased to pass along my observations of the Singalia Ridge/Goecha La Trek we went on in October.
Two nights in Darjeeling and a night in Pelling, all above 7000 feet, definitely assisted acclimatization. I was a little disappointed with the Windamere Hotel. The rooms were small and the Hotel doesn't have that British Raj atmosphere it is supposed to. Maybe if the weather had been better it would have been more fun. The food was good. Darjeeling is an interesting place, but I was definitely ready to leave when the time came.
Uttrey to Yensub (six nights)
I recall three long days on the exposed Singalia Ridge with hail, sheet, rain and snow. We climbed up to 14000 feet, but had no obvious altitude problems because of careful acclimatization. Bad weather on the Ridge made for real alpine conditions and hard going. The weather prevented great views of the high mountains to the north, but the snow squalls were quite exciting and atmospheric. Also, I'd never camped on snow before. (If God had meant Texans to sleep on snow, He'd have made bullshit white...) There were very few people on the Ridge except a couple of groups and a few Yak herders.
Yensub to Dzongri (four nights)
Half days. Much up and down, but generally above 12000 feet. Poor trails. Very few trekkers or anybody else. High camps. Better weather. Great views.GOECHA LA
Prek Chu Valley (four nights)
From Dzongri there are a lot more trekkers, although nothing like the Solu Khumbu or Annapurna areas in Nepal. This is the only part of the trek with back tracking. Great mountain scenery. I question the need to get up at 4AM to get to Goecha La. Walking in the dark is dangerous. The last three days of this trek are long and the last day has a dangerous descent through the mud to the river.
The Tashi Gang Hotel is good for what it is and the Himalayan Hotel in Kalimpong is the best on the trek.
Excellent crew, good cook. Nobody got the runs or URI, more than I can say for the other four treks I've been on.
A good portion of this trek is on high ground, 12000 feet plus, but the stages and acclimatization are good.
Some really long days on the Ridge which is very exposed. In summary, six long days, nine half days. We did not have a rest day. And fourteen nights under canvas is a long time.
The mountain scenery is tops. Reminds me of Annapurna Sanctuary trek in that regard. Note that Sikkim is much more humid that Nepal (at least on the days I was there), so you can count on being in the clouds from, say, 1-2PM 'til after sunset.
India feels different from Nepal and security does not appear to be a big issue, at least on trek.
The trails on this trek are generally bad, except for the first two days. This is clearly a wilderness trek. No villages. But unspoilt country and great views!
From Eric Karlstrom and Barbara Lacey
My lady friend (Barbara Lacey) and I (Eric Karlstrom) feel extremely fortunate to have had Rinchen Namgial of Yama Adventures as our guide on our trek through the Markha Valley of Ladakh in September 2004. As a local Ladakhi, his expert knowledge of the area's trails, terrain, wildlife, culture and religion, his fluency in English, and his unfailing kindness and consideration make him a truly exceptional guide. Based on his personal experiences and his university training, he is equally comfortable translating for Western university academics, guiding wildlife film-makers, and discussing the fine points of Buddhist philosophy. Namgial took no shortcuts on our trek: The equipment and organization were top-notch and the meals were exceptionally tasty, healthy, and varied. Our adventure in Ladakh was truly blessed by the time we spent with Namgial and we would give him our very highest recommendations to all.
Dr. Eric T. Karlstrom
Professor of Geography
California State University, Stanislaus
Dr. Barbara Lacey,
From Ross Williams
I stumbled across Yama Adventures through a Google search looking for organized treks in the Markha Valley. I was wary of committing myself to an "unknown" operator of "unknown" quality. I corresponded with Namgial, the proprietor of Yama Adventures and was impressed by his patience in answering my questions about his equipment and services, as well as impressed by his very competitive pricing. Still, I did not commit myself until I arrived in Ladakh and had a chance to meet Namgial, and again he was very patient in meeting me a number of times and answering my questions. I am happy to tell you that my experience of the Markha Vlley trek with Namgial and Yama Adventures was a pleasure from start to finish. Namgial speaks excellent English and has a deep love and knowledge of Ladakhi culture, history and geography which he was eager to share with me. The equipment, meals and organization were of a very high standard for this kind of trek, and we regularly had to help other groups with information and guidance as they were much less prepared and poorly equipped! I have no hesitation in recommending Namgial Rinchen and Yama Adventures as a provider of quality trekking tours in Ladakh, and am happy for you to contact me to confirm this advice.
Psychologist, Newcastle, Austrailia
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