I know that self driving to Ladakh is as adventure in itself but there ought to be something good with the local taxi in Ladakh as well. In today’s article, I will specifically talk about the advantages you get when you hire a taxi in Ladakh. This article will surely help you decide in case you are in a dilemma of taking your own car to Ladakh against hiring a local taxi in Ladakh. The motivation behind this article is simple enough to help those who are not really keen much on driving and want to enjoy pleasure watching the mesmerising beauty of Ladakh.
You must know that self drive rented cars and taxis outside of Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Leh – Ladakh including Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. You can use them for getting to Leh and getting out from Leh but not for any sightseeing purposes. So, the self drive cars you are taking must have private number plate, mostly should be under your name, your wife name or your father name. Otherwise, you will have to again hire a local taxi in Ladakh and pay for your other taxi/self-drive car without using it in Ladakh. In order to know more details, you can read: Rented Self Drive Cars in Leh – Ladakh Banned “FORCIBLY”
1. Years of Local expertise of the local terrain and roads
Like a noble person said one day, “Nothing can replace an individual’s skill & experience”. Well, same is true for the local ladakh drivers. These local drivers are born & brought up in this rough terrain and road conditions. They know about every other turn, every other pothole around the corner, the mountains that fall down, the places where shooting stones are common, the conditions which favours and which doesn’t, etc.. They drive up here all year round and know how to tackle trickiest sections of the roads. No outside station driver can replace those local skills and experience. Hence, hiring a local driver means you are in very safe hands, rest assured.
2. No worries of your own car damages or wear and tear
Very true, some people love their car more than anything. A scratch on the car body feels like a scratch on their own body 😉 … For all such people self car obsessed people, Ladakh roads are not meant to take their babies. There will be some wear and tear that will certainly go in. Sometimes the underbelly scratches are inevitable. The maintenance and service cost need to be paid before/after the trip. And, god forbids, if in case something goes wrong like a tyre cut or engine breakdown, well, a very heavy price needs to be paid to get the baby back home :D… Remember the car will be towed in full body truck not damages are common in such towing.
3. No worries of being stuck due to a broken car
You cannot just abandon your own personal car anywhere, could you?? 😀 😀 … Well, that does not hold valid when you are traveling in a local taxi and you can abandon it and move on in another taxi. Moreover, instead of you worrying about getting it fixed, the local taxi guy will be worried of getting you the new taxi. Hence, you walk away with a safe passage in an unforeseen situation. Believe me, talking from experience of abandoning my own car up there alone for weeks and going through those horrible feelings 😉
4. Focus on relishing the natural beauty rather worrying about driving
When you drive in places like Ladakh, one small mistake or lapse in concentration can cost your own life and lives of all fellow co-travelers. Hence, most of the time you are worried of ensuring the safe passage rather relishing the mesmerising landscapes around. You are always ready with your camera when someone else is driving and you can just jump out, click the picture and get back in. This results in more and more photos 😀 😀
5. Upper edge of local connections with local taxi in Ladakh
Driving with a local driver has a major advantage of local connections and in some crazy situation you will do nothing but praise or bless him. The local language has its upper edge always. In situations like when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, when it is time to negotiate the with the local authorities or negotiate a safe passage in tense situations or accident or local tensions, he will act as a saviour for you. Things change with a blink of eyes in the remotes corners of Himalayas and nothing comes close to any insurance that you can get up there in troublesome time than having a having a local driver with local car with you.
6. Better bargains at stays
Another advantage of traveling with local driver is that he may know some crazy economic guest house or home stay and strike a deal for you which you could not have even expected. Be assured that in Ladakh, the locals are very honest and don’t mint money while fixing you on some property or the other as it happens in other hill stations. All they want is their guest gets the best possible deal and they get the good food or stay arrangements with least cost in return.
7. Driving the entire trip with the local culture
When you are traveling with a local taxi driver, you ought to hear some warm local stories and get an opportunity to learn more about local culture. You have a local companion with you all the time to whom you may ask numerous questions and delve into the details of the day to day lives of the locals. This provides you a chance of traveling like a traveler and leaves the tourist behind you. Most of the time you end up making friends for lifetime 🙂 🙂
Hence, by now, if you have made up your mind for hiring a local taxi in Ladakh then you can refer the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2016 – 17 at the link here. This will give you an idea about the taxi rates in Ladakh in general and help you prepare your budget for the Ladakh trip. You should also get in touch with the list of some reliable taxi drivers in Ladakh to avail their services. You can easily get about 12-15% of discount by directly getting in touch with these local taxi drivers in Ladakh which otherwise is not possible to get through travel agents or tour operators. This also helps us in spreading smiles in Himalayas by giving local Himalayan people enough earning opportunities. Above all the local gets the hard cash in hand which is very very valuable to them.
I hope you will find the above article helpful in deciding between taking your own car or hiring a local taxi in Ladakh, next time you plan a trip up there. Feel free to post any queries in the comments section below or in the DoW Community forums. I will also look forward to read about your thoughts and experience of traveling with a local taxi driver in Ladakh. Dow you have any to share??