Located in a small valley just to the north of the Indus River is Leh, the capital of Ladakh, a region often referred to as ‘Little Tibet’ which marks the boundary between the peaks of the western Himalaya and the vast Tibetan Plateau. Leh was only opened to tourists in 1974, and until 1947 it had close trading relations with Central Asia, with yak trains setting off from the Leh bazaar to complete the stages over the Karakoram Pass to Yarkand and Kashgar. The town itself is dominated by the nine-storey Leh Palace, home of the Ladakhi royal family before they were exiled to Stok in the 1830s. In Leh, the supply of vehicles to any tour operator is controlled by the local transport union. This means that we are allocated such vehicles and their drivers as the union considers appropriate. Due to the restrictions imposed in this area, we are unable to personally source the vehicles or monitor the standards, as is our practice elsewhere in India.