Yeah! I am writing my First Travellogue! From when I was introduced to this term in School, I have always loved to read Travel Blogs! And I keep watching Travel Vlogs on You Tube and I always had a wish to write about my Travel Experiences! This August, I went to Ladakh and I have a lott to share!
This article is like a guide to plan a trip to Ladakh.
You can travel in Ladakh in various forms.. as in you could be a Cyclist or a Biker and stay in Camps, or you could be a Trekker and go for a Summer or Winter trek; or you could be a Tourist who stays in Leh and travels around in SUVs or buses.. All of these forms have their own adventure and excitement but what remains common are the Surprises that Ladakh will provide you!
- Day 0: Delhi to Leh via Flight
- Day 1: Reached Leh at 6 AM. Full day of ACCLIMATIZATION.
- Day 2: Sight seeing on Srinagar Route- Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, PattharSahib Gurdwara, Sangam, Leh Palace, Leh Market
- Day 3: Nubra Valley via Khardung la Pass
- Day 4: Sight seeing on Manali Route- Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Shey Palace, Rancho’s school, Sindhu Ghat
- Day 5: Pangong Lake via Chang La
Something about the Flight
The flight from Delhi to Leh is the most picturesque! The view of the Mighty Snowclad Himalayas from above the Clouds is Breathtaking! And as you near Leh, the Pilot tells you about some remarkable beauties like Rothang Pass, Thiksey Monastery, Tso Moriri etc. that you would fly above! But what makes it even more Golden is the Sunrise! We had an early morning flight from around 5am to 6:30am. Soon after we took off, we saw a Beautiful Sunrise at the Horizon. Andd after we landed at Leh and came out of the airport, we saw the sunrise from behind the Mountains! I watched 2 sunrises in the same morning! Definitely this flight is one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
How many days are enough to experience Ladakh Properly?
Of course it is never Enough!! But a 5 day plan is good. Plus 2 days of travelling to and from Leh.. Some people may want to cover Druk and Kargil and Lamaryu (moonland) and Tso Moriri which may take 2-3 days more.
As I mentioned before, you could have all forms of stay from Luxurious Hotels to Adventure Camping. We went there with Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) and stayed in a Hostel.
Cyclists and Bikers usually stay in Tents. They may set up their own tents or stay in previous set up Campsites!
Some tourists, like us, travel back to Leh from Nubra and then go back to Pangong other day. But some, especially Bikers, choose to stay at Nubra and/ or Pangong and experience Night stay there (which is quite Extreme weather-wise plus Expensive- but I think, worth it!)
What is the Best Time to visit Leh?
The Highways and Passes open at the End of April but it may get too hot in May. Most hotels and houses there do not have Fans! Plus the Sun is too harsh.. So it’s best to visit after June(when summer is over). For Greenery Lovers and Photographers, the best time to visit would be August and September as it rains in August and you would see Green Valleys till September.
But for Bikers, Late June, early July or September is good because you can get drenched in August, plus there would be a lot of Water Crossings! And after September, it gets too cold while before June the roads would be in a bad condition.
Also, if you would like to see their Festivals, do check those dates and plan accordingly. One of the Greatest Buddhist Festivals- The Naropa Festival takes place at the Hemis Monastery around September. From the pictures that I have seen of the Celebrations, I am sure it is something one would Not want to miss!
How to take care of your Health there?
When you are Travelling at Higher Altitude, you are prone to Motion Sickness as well as Altitude Sickness. We hear that many people suffer from strong headache or bleeding from nose or severe conditions. But this does not happen to everyone; especially to those who strictly rest for the first 24 hours after your suden elevation to the Altitude.
Would I get Altitude Sickness?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS ) is the most common form of Altitude Sickness one would get when they go anywhere higher than 8000ft. Anyone, no matter how Physically fit, can get it. Your chances of getting Altitude Sickness depend on Where you stay and the altitude there; how fast you moved to higher altitude; how high you go up; your age (Young People are more likely to get it!!); and whether you have had altitude sickness before.
It basically occurs because of the low pressure of Oxygen at the Altitude. You could feel shortness of breath, fatigue, inability to exercise, high heartrate, light headedness or dizziness and nausea.
Best way to Prevent AMS is Acclimatization.
The process of adapting to low oxygen concentrations at certain Altitude is Acclimatization to altitude. Strictly rest for the first day. Drink lots of water and eat carbohydrate rich food.
Some people also take a medicine called Diamox. But it is said to be effective only if you start taking it atleast 24 hours before reaching the Altitude and continue talking it for 5 days after reaching.. It allows you to breath faster and metabolize more oxygen. Ask your Physician and keep it with you, but the local people there do not recommend taking it. They believe in more natural ways.. And Honestly me and my family did not feel the need to use it. We used to take our Home Remedies like Ginger powder (Sooth) balls and Dry fruit balls etc😅.
Keep your Ears uncovered on the first day. This is what our Campleader advised us to do to adjust to the surroundings..
Also, try drinking only Hot, Boiled Water there. Helps with adjusting plus Feels really nice in the throat😄.
Do we need to buy Oxygen cylinder?
No. Almost all commercial vehicles there have atleast one cylinder of Oxygen. And in cases of Emergency, the drivers are well trained to provide Oxygen. And Camphor (kapoor) is really a Blessing. Tie a handkerchief over a piece of Pure Camphor and keep smelling it every few seconds whenever you feel the lack of Oxygen. It really really helps. (We were traveling with a few senior citizens also in our group and even they didn’t require cylinders.)
Roads in Ladakh
Definitely the BRO (Border Roads Organization) has done a great job in Ladakh! Majority of the roads are smooth and wide enough. Even on the Hairpin Turns of Mountains, there is enough space! Plus there are Safety Instructions with Meaningful quotes everywhere. And more importantly, you will find Washrooms even at the Highest point of a pass. (These Washrooms are difficult to maintain, as water turns to ice and everything gets frozen and clogged up!) And as we are talking, I must say everywhere the toilets were pretty clean.
Coming back to the Roads, there are areas where the condition of roads is bad, like near Chang La. This occurs because these areas are prone to Avalanche and face frequent Snowslides and landslides. But then it takes you to the Amazing Pangong Lake, whose beauty will make up for everything! (Plus there are alternate roads than Chang la..)
Culture of Ladakh
Ladakh was the first Buddhist Place I visited and therefore knowing the Culture was the most exciting part for me! I was fascinated to see how they Pray. The Prayer Flags we see everywhere are believed to spread the message of Peace with each breeze of Wind that strikes them. And it is believed that the number of times you rotate the Prayer Wheel, that many Sins of yours get washed off. The towers they make using stones are symbolic representations of Stupas and according to one belief, the higher that tower, the higher would be your House.
Everyone greets others with a warm Smile and saying Julley- which means Namaste or Hi.
The Ladies of Leh are very smart and Confident. I was really amazed by them. Most of them are working women who can handle the responsibilities of their Farms and Homes also equally well with their jobs. Also, they are Gorgeous!! The men there are mostly serving with the Milltary or are into Agriculture or Tourism industry.
Monasteries of Ladakh
Ah, the most interesting part! The Monasteries are so peaceful and beautiful! Each and every thing in their prayer hall is a piece of art! Walls have paintings with deep meanings!
The benches where monks sit are beautiful and the doors have intricate carvings. Their lamps and pots have elaborate details on them!
And the best part is to observe the monks! I saw a group of Lamas making a Rangoli and they were doing it in a fascinating way! Also, it was just amazing for me to see the lamas do daily routine things like Shopping! (Each time I saw a monk at a market, I couldn’t resist to take out my camera and click that out of amusement.) Also its really nice to talk to them! There is a certain peace in their voice!(🙃)
Willow trees are one of the most numerous trees in the region. You can also find lots of Apple and Apricot and Walnut trees. People grow Potatoes, Carrots, Raddish, Tomatoes, Cauliflower etc around their houses.
Besides gorgeous furry mountain dogs, we can find Yaks, Horses and Marmots and the unique double humped – Bactrian Camels in Ladakh. You may also find a few Migratory birds at Pangong Lake.
Coming to Water bodies, the region has huge rivers like Indus, Zanskar and Shyok. The Sangam of Indus and Zanskar is a really beautiful sight- you can see 2 different coloured waters merging..
And then there is Pangong Tso- one of the highest saltwater lakes! It is fabulous! The shades of blue of the lake change every few minutes! Moreover there are plenty of Streams carrying Glacier water and their sound is Serene!
The Mountains of the region are not green like most other hill stations. They are brown and dry but that structure too varies over the region. There is one Magnetic hill which is believed to be very rich in Iron content and it can literally pull cars towards it.
Food in Ladakh:
Yes my dear Gujjus, Vegetarian Food is available in Ladakh. Lot of tasty things like Thukpas or Soups, Momos, Tapu, Tingmo, Phirni, Punjabi dishes and even Fast Foods- the most popular being Maggi could be found easily.
People there consume a lot of Butter- Tea(Gur-Gur Cha). But not everyone would like its taste. Kahwa tea is something one should try.
Please eat the Frest Apricots that are available there- the experience is heavenly!
It’s a good idea to carry Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds and Chocolates etc with you because it can serve as good bitings during the long hours in Car..
The weather in Ladakh can change immediately. Carry clothes that you can layer. Carry Sunscreen which have atleast SPF 40-60. Else, the direct sunrays can burn your skin. Apply Moisturizer and lipbalm without fail. You should have a Government approved ID Card like Aadhar card, license, Passport, voting card etc. Only Postpaid BSNL and Airtel SIM cards work there. Batteries die faster than normal in cold climates- so don’t forget charger of your devices and powerbank.
Ladakh has something for all kinds of people: Paradise for Bikers and adventure lovers, treasure for Photographers and heritage- lovers, many tasty varieties for Foodies, Pretty things to Shop for Ladies, Peaceful Monasteries for Meditators, and many interesting things about Millitary!
It is absolutely safe to visit! And yes, most of the locals are quite welcoming and positive about the conversion to Union Territory..
So that was my Experience of Getting Leh’d! Do tell me what you think! For even more details, follow me on Instagram at diniwriteup.
Thank youu for reading this longg!
Keep showering your Love!