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Wondering how to plan your Ladakh tour? Awesome! you are in the right place. Keep on reading…
Ladakh – the name consists of two words La – means Mountain Pass, Dakh – means Land, so literally means Land of high Passes or The Land Across the High passes to get to Ladakh one has to literally cross numerous Mountain Passes which are among the highest in the world. Till the early 80s, Ladakh was almost untouched and explored by outsiders, be it Indians or Foreigners. The Region had gone through many Invasion, Occupation, and war but each time succeeded to stand up with its full glory and rich Heritage. The Indian Himalayas are spread across 11 states and union territory and around 500,000 sq km. Among these 11 states and union Territory Ladakh is least Explored, still a mystic land. While thinking about the Himalayas, the first name that comes to my mind is Ladakh.
Ladakh tour is the best option for you to rejuvenate your wanderlust spirit. It is a place like no other with awestruck beautiful Landscape, with the sheerness of raw beauty to make you speechless in its every step, with The thrill in your Soul while looking at that vast valley, with the rush of Adrenaline pumping in your vein while crossing those high Passes, with those shooting breeze coming over the Blue Crystal Lakes, with the sighting of one of the most incredible Wildlife on the Planet, One of the most Ancient Indigenous Tribes in the World. So if you are a Travel Buff, an Explorer, a Nature Lover, someone who dares to dare you must include Ladakh in Your Wishlist right now.
But as I always say –
Travelling is not just about going to a beautiful destination, it’s more about knowing yourself the fact that how little we are and how big the world is, it is about learning new things every day, it is about giving back, it is about respecting others, it is about preserving and conserving what we have it is about sharing. So in this blog, I will let you know a few important things that you should keep in Mind before Planning your Dream Ladakh tour.
The Route and Geography:
One can go to Ladakh by 2 ways of transport by Land or by Air.
Air – There is a wide range of regular flights from Delhi, which takes around 1 hour 20 minutes. There are daily flight from Srinagar, Kashmir as well, but I do not know to think does make sense if you are not from Kashmir.
By Land – by land, there are 2 main highways that connect Leh to the rest of the country. One is via Manali and the other one is via Srinagar
Manali – Leh Highway
Its a 480 km long Highway, built and maintained by Border Road Organization, out of which 225 km is in Himachal Pradesh, and the rest 255 km is in Ladakh. This road is open for only 4-5 months a year. Once the snow is cleared in late May – late June the road is opened for Civilians and then again when the road is blocked due to heavy snowfall at the beginning or mid of October it is closed again. The road connects The Lahaul – Spiti region to Manali and goes till the Zanskar region of Ladakh.
The average elevation of this road is above 4000 meters and the highest is 5328 meters at Taglang La Pass.there are 5 mountain Passes that have to be crossed in this route. Rohtang la at 3980 meters, Baralacha La at 5030 meters, Nakeela 4739 meters, Lachung La at 5065 meters, Taglang La at 5328 meters.
Khardungla top, Ladakh
View of Khardungla top, the hightest motorable road of the world (5560 meter), Ladakh
Srinagar – Leh Highway
its a 434 km long road. This is also opened only for 5-6 months in a year due to heavy snowfall. Opens up in May- June and closed by October – November. On this route, one will have to cross only 3 mountain Passes. The 1st one is Zoji La at 3528 meters, the 2nd pass is Namki La at 3700 meters, and the last one is Fotu La at 4108 meters. So the average elevation of this highway is way lower than Manali – Leh Highway. This highway connects the remote region of Dras, Kargil to the rest of Kashmir valley, and as well of Ladakh. Though the elevation is comparatively lower crossing Zoji La is a difficult task, which needs experience Drivers or Riders. Zoji La is infamous for its Slushy Land.
Altitude Sickness and Prevention
There are lots of myths and wrong information about altitude sickness. So let me clear that Acute Mountain Sickness is a completely different thing which is much more fatal and happens in really high altitudes where usually only mountaineers go like above 7000 meters as so.
Altitude sickness is not fatal and we can easily take care of it being aware in well advance. This can happen above 3000 or 4000 meters. The symptoms are – Headache, Nausea, Less appetite, problem getting asleep. Once you are in Ladakh and your body is adopted there will be no problem, it only happens in the first few days. Young ad healthy people do not feel discomfort in lower than 4000 meters.
Remedy and cure:
4 litres of water or other fluids like tea, juice
avoid too much caffeine, avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
Vitamin C tablet, start taking them at least 1 month earlier to your trip
Eat fruits, chocolate, nuts during your Travel
keep Garlic in your pocket. Chew Raw Garlic at least 4-5 Garlic cloves a day, remember Garlic is the cure or remedy that even local inhabitants use as well.
I also recommend at least two/three cups of Tea with Ginger and also Lime Juice.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
The Climate and Weather of Ladakh are no similar to any other region in the Himalayan region. It is almost similar to that of Central Asian Steppe or Cold desert areas. In the summer the temperature rises even till 30-35 degrees Celsius, while in winter it can go down till -40 degrees Celsius. The climate here is extreme, only 3-4 months in the year the weather is way pleasant to visit the region. One should carry sunscreen lotion and sunglasses all the time during the visit.
Picturesque landscape of Ladakh.
The best time to visit Ladakh in the Summer, but in comparison to the rest of India the summer arrives a little late in Ladakh. The summer starts from mid-May or June so opens up the roads and so starts the tourist season. The roads are available to travel on usually till the end of October. So you can visit Ladakh at the end of June, July, August, September, and the starting of October. Many Adventurers, Photographers and Travelers still frequent Ladakh even in the winter. But in the Winter only way to enter Ladakh is by Flight.
During the tourist season, the average temperature is usually between 15-30 degrees Celcius, hot and sunny in the day, a little chilly after sunset.
Who can Visit Ladakh
Anyone can travel to Ladakh. I have seen Infants, Kids, Youngsters, and elderly people happily traveling across Ladakh. Every individual has different reactions to everything. So as I mentioned before if you take precautions and preventive measures, if you are a responsible traveler, if you do not have serious Respiratory disease, serious Heart Problems, Very High or Low Blood Pressure, then you can travel to Ladakh for sure.
How many days one needs to travel to Ladakh
Many visit Ladakh only for a 5 nights trip. Others prefer it a 7 days tour. Many go for a 2 weeks long tour. I have even seen crazy explorers travelling and exploring for months across Ladakh, like me. The thing is its completely up to you – depending on your Time Limit, depending on your Budget and the destination you want to visit in Ladakh.
Though I would recommend you should have at least 7 days spent in Ladakh to understand, to know, and to feel Ladakh.
1st day on arrival in Leh, you have to take a completely day rest to acclimatize yourself with the altitude. rest 6 days one can Travel in Leh, Shey, Thiksey Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake.
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