I decided to spend 10% of my annual salary on a trip every year in the month of May. I usually don’t like to travel with family or very close friends where we end up talking (cribbing) about our awful life. So I wanted to travel with two friends who I know but I don’t know (hope you get the point) I posted a status that am planning Ladakh a few months back on FB and a few responded, after sharing the plan and details, 3 of us got set but unfortunately one had to drop out.
I kept reading many posts on ladakh visit and this blog by Rajiv Verma was of much use- http://webguy.in/
I love traveling within India, especially north, because it is rich in culture and heritage.
I have a very silly bucket list and I am done with a few in this trip:
Stay in a tent
Do white water rafting (am done with paragliding at Goa, next on the list is Scuba diving J )
Things to carry:
Himalayas lip balm or equivalent (I swear you’ll need it more than anything else)
Sunscreen lotion of 40+ SPF
Boots/shoes (No slippers please)
Gloves, mufflers, wind cheaters
P.S: At ladakh, the shops are open just for 6 months, so if you want to buy things, it is costly. You can bargain and get things for 20% less than quoted but still it would sound pricey.
You can get gloves for 200 INR and woollen clothes from 600 INR onwards. You can choose to buy them at the Tibetian Refugee Market. I spent almost 3 days there shopping there and I loved going around.
Try to reduce weight – walk and take stairs which will help you to travel at ease
Oxygen levels are low, and you might start panting if you walk uphill or use stairs (you can buy a small oxygen cylinder that costs 450 INR, they make it mandatory when you go to the lake side, if you don’t use – return and get 350 INR back)
If you have heart problem, asthma or breathing issues, please re-consider the trip
Choose to use tablets that would help to keep your oxygen levels normal and also, wouldn’t let you to puke often because you will be travelling through hairpin bends
Most talk Hindi – better to have at least one person who knows to converse in Hindi. Local Ladakhis are not good in English
No direct flights from Chennai to Leh. So flight/train journey from Chennai/Bangalore to Delhi and flights from Delhi to Leh.
Important places to visit and things to do at Leh
Nubra Valley (6 hours ride from Leh main and you can stay over in a tent camp)
Pangong Lake ( 7 hours ride from Leh main and again, a lake front tent stay)
Shanti Stupa (Leh is a place where Buddhism is predominant, and wherever you go it is Buddha) – this is an important place to visit as it has great views of the mountains
There are many monasteries around and almost, all are same. If you’re not of a type to look around places, just visit one – Diskit Monastery because right next to it is the giant Buddha statue. See both in one visit.
White Water Rafting – 600 INR for 6 kms and 1200 INR for 14 kms. 6 kms is just normal boating types, but 14 Kms is the best. The water is nothing but the melted glaciers, and know what? I jumped in the water and had a chilling dip J
Tso Morori lake – I didn’t visit (yet)
Sangamam – where lakes meet, the point beyond which you will go for rafting
Cultural dance – try their clothes too for 100 INR
Magnetic hill – they say in here the car will keep going without having to drive, but, nahhhh 😦
If you’re physically fit – trek at Lamayuru and try mountaineering
When you travel to Nubra you will get to see and play at frozen lakes, ice plateaus, mountains of different colours – purple, brown, yellow, and some metallic colours too. Throw ice at your folks and spend time at the ice plateaus but please use gloves and boots or shoes
Go on a pony ride, camel ride; see yaks and the flock of sheep, at the sand dunes. Nubra valley is where you’ll see the cold dessert with white sand, with snow capped mountains around.
These are just important places to visit, there are many more. And you can visit as per your choice.
Climate ranges from minus 3 to 8 degrees (Jealous aren’t you) 😛
People at Ladakh
They are sweet and religious people, very pious and sweet. As they get to sell things only for 6 months, their price is way too much.
Try Gesmo Restaurant and Lamayura restaurant for sure.
Things to buy from Ladakh
Dry fruits – Apricot – fruit and the seed, walnut
Kashmiri salwar suits
Wish bell (picture attached) ranges from 85 INR for a small keychain to 2500 INR that are big ones
Pashmina shalls starting from 1200 INR – 3000 INR
P.S – you’ll get to find the same things at Spencer plaza in Chennai or at Bangalore
Best places to stay at Ladakh
Stay at the Old Leh Road – either Hotel Grand Dragon or similar on the road, there are many small spots near the grand dragon where they arrange trekking, mountaineering, rafting, share taxi to nubra and pangong lake.
Ladakh has a lot to offer, it throws different colour at different months of the year. You can choose to road trip (you can rent Royal Enfield) or trek when the river stays frozen (Chadar Frozen River Trek)
Am back with chapped lips, dry skin, great good memories and 2000 odd pictures! so when are you planning your visit? 🙂