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Pallas’s Cat Expedition (Ladakh)

In the heart of the Himalayas, Ladakh enchants with its diverse landscapes—towering peaks casting shadows on vast plateaus, while the thin air adds an adventurous touch to the experience. Renowned for its enchanting beauty, Ladakh is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering extraordinary landscapes and a rich variety of wildlife to delight nature enthusiasts.

Nestled in Ladakh’s eastern part, the Changthang plateau stretches west to the northern part of Tibet—a high-altitude cold desert region with vast grasslands, giant lakes, and barren mountains. This picturesque landscape is home to the Changpas, indigenous semi-nomadic people uniquely adapted to the harsh terrain. They are mostly pastoralists, raising pashmina goats and yaks, co-evolving with their animals. The region boasts impressive wildlife diversity, with species like the snow leopard, Pallas’s cat, Tibetan grey wolf, and Tibetan gazelle, some endangered. The high-altitude wetland in Changthang hosts rare bird species, including the Black-necked crane.

Hanle, a serene village surrounded by mountains and vast valleys, sits at an altitude of 4000m. It’s renowned for stargazing, being one of the highest spots for astronomical observation. Home to the Indian Astronomical Observatory, it’s also a habitat for unique wildlife like the Tibetan gazelle and wild ass. The Hanle river basin welcomes migratory birds such as the bar-headed goose and the black-necked crane for breeding. Despite its sensitivity due to its proximity to the China border, the Changpas have peacefully coexisted with wildlife, though recent years have seen some migrate to Leh in search of a different lifestyle, often ending up in menial jobs.

Disseminating conservation awareness and involving locals is crucial. We’re currently training indigenous youth from Hanle in conservation, aiming to make them proficient spotters and tour guides, emphasizing the importance of genuine community involvement.

Discover the allure of Changthang, known for Pallas’s cat sightings. First described by Peter Simon Pallas near Lake Baikal, these elusive cats thrive in rocky areas, using natural caves as dens. With a polygamous mating system, males compete for females through ad-hoc strategies, often guarding mates post-copulation. Mating, occurring between December and March, leads to litters born from late March to May after a 75-day gestation period. Pallas’s cats, solitary carnivores, face threats like declining prey and habitat degradation. Collaborative efforts have increased sightings, reaching an impressive 60-70 percent. Join our expedition to witness these elusive cats and support their conservation in this fragile ecosystem.

Dates & Rates


25 February – 05 March 2025


US$ 4300 per person sharing
US$ 5000 single traveller

A portion of the proceeds from each spot sold go toward supporting conservation and the locals from the areas visited.


  • Maximum 8 guests
  • Legend Safaris photographic guide
  • Photographic tutoring
  • Accommodation in Leh, hotel on MAP plan
  • Accommodation in Hanle in local homestay with heating arrangements, all meals included
  • All transportation by Innova
  • Local naturalist in Ulley
  • Spotters and spotting scopes
  • Wildlife protection fee
  • Village community fee
  • First aid box
  • Oxygen cylinders


  • International flights
  • Any kind of personal expenses or optional tours
  • Alcohol
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under the heading “Services Included”
  • Tips, insurance, laundry

The Weather

Leh will experience pleasant, warmer temperatures with good sunshine. Temperatures typically range from -20°C to +15°C. Days will be warm, but evenings can get bitterly cold. It’s essential to stay well-hydrated at all times. Please only drink bottled mineral water, ensuring the seal is intact. A cool box stocked with mineral water bottles will be provided in your vehicle for the day. What to Wear: Prepare for cold climates by bringing thick jackets and trekking boots. Comfort & Eating Out: Consider requesting less spicy food if needed. If you have food allergies, please inform us in advance so we can advise on suitable options. Consume food in small quantities, always freshly cooked and served hot, as your stomach may not be accustomed to the spices and oil used in preparation. When ordering cold drinks, request no ice in the glass. Bottled water and drinks must have unbroken seals when purchased. We recommend labeling your bottles. Others: Cell phone connectivity may be inconsistent while on the road between destinations and varies among operators. Prepaid mobile numbers do not work in the UT of Ladakh. The Fine Print: While the itinerary is the part to dream, over here are the Terms and Conditions to ensure our trip runs smoothly. Please read carefully. Disclaimers: We cannot accept responsibility for flight delays or lost luggage; once air tickets are booked, the airline’s conditions apply. Please be patient during airport formalities. Our team assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to property or baggage, injury, illness, death, or any damages or claims arising directly or indirectly from accidents, delays, transport failures, strikes, wars, terrorism, uprisings, or acts of God over which we have no control. The tour starts upon your arrival in Leh. Our aim is to provide a hands-on experience of local life and culture rather than a tourist coach bubble situation. There’s a clear timetable for each day but flexibility to explore options at each location. If you see something you like and time allows, we can stop and check it out. We ensure you have a memorable experience with us.

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