Many times readers at Devil On Wheels asks me, “What are the most important things to consider for a ladakh trip?“. Well, mostly, it ends up being an open question with so many things to suggest and opens up a series of questions. There are so many moving parts when you plan a Ladakh trip that one straight answer can never suffice. In remote parts of Himalayas, things can be very different from our day to day lives and hence, it is always better not to make any assumptions or take things for granted, example assuming medical facilities will be around. In this article today, I will share with you some of the most important things you should consider when you plan for a Ladakh trip.
In the recent past I have already talked about the top 9 Mistakes People Commit on a trip to Ladakh and Top 12 Myths About Traveling to Ladakh. These articles pin pointedly talk about what you should care and what you shouldn’t be caring about when you travel to Ladakh. Today’s article is a simplified version of things everyone must consider when hopping on to this adventure deep into trans Himalayas.
Things to consider when you plan a Ladakh Trip
1. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
No matter how fit you are in your homeland, you must consider acclimatization as the most important factor for a successful trip to Ladakh. AMS does not matter with respect to any age or sex or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness level I shall say :D… I have personally seen the fittest of the fit kneel down and cry like hell when AMS hits them. So, do consider the principles as suggested by acclimatization schedule and try to follow them to minimize the chances getting hit with AMS which in result will spoil your Ladakh trip. You must read the article: Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization
2. Breakdown in the middle of nowhere
Most of the Manali – Leh Highway, almost about 300+ KM, runs barren and desolate with no hint of civilization. You must be prepared for a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. You should expect it to happen and must have a contingency plan in place. Example, puncture repair kits or puncture protections foams especially for bikers are life saviours. You must have enough food, drinking fluids/water, blankets/sleeping bags and may be a back up tent in case possible, in order to survive for 2-3 days without any help. When things go wrong, they do not knock the door and hence, best is always to be prepared in such remote regions. This is true for many desolate routes within Ladakh as well where it is difficult to spot a settlement and shelter for food & stay.
3. Lost connection with the world
Many parts of Ladakh and almost three-fourth of the Manali – Leh Highway does not have any phone connectivity or any means to connect to family or friends. You must consider that help will not be just a phone call away. Hence, you must be able to prepare yourself to survive for few days on your own. Best is that you follow these 10 Tips on Mobile Phone Connectivity in Leh – Ladakh
4. Flash floods, landslides, snow slides or shooting stones
Landslides, snow slides or shooting stones are part of day to day lives of Himalayas including Ladakh. One must always expect to witness or being stuck for few days due to any of these natural events that happens in Himalayas, often enough. Your trip can be delayed, cancelled or extended by any of these events. Hence, whenever you plan for a Ladakh trip, you must always plan to keep a day or two as buffer days.
5. Drive or Ride with Caution & Care
You must be a very good rider or driver in plains but the roads in Ladakh or other parts of trans-Himalayas are nothing like those roads. The faster you drive, the sicker the passenger feels. The margin of errors is minimal and lapse in concentration can cost you lives. Due to loose gravel or ice sleet, falling down while riding is pretty common because people are so used to applying front brakes on bikes. It does not help at all as a minor injury could end up in pretty ugly state because health care is not next to the corner. It may take a day or two to get the required medical attention or help in such cases. Hence, it is very important to ride or drive with very much caution and care, always !!
6. Availability of Medical Facilities
When traveling in Ladakh, medical help can be more than a day away. It is in your best interest to not to plan a trip to Ladakh in case you are already having any medical symptoms. Even an untreated diarrhoea can be fatal in Ladakh. Hence, do not take any health symptoms lightly. You may be used to neglect it in your home town where a Pharmacist or Doctor lives next door in most lanes of your city. However, it is not true when you travel to the remote corners of trans-Himalayas including Ladakh. It is always recommended to carry a basic medical kit with you and a consultation with your doctor before your Ladakh trip starts.
7. Loosing Your Soul Forever
Last but not the least, you might end up loosing your soul forever in Ladakh 😀 😀 …Like I said for myself, ever since I went to Ladakh about 8 years back, it is the mere mortal body of mine that has just returned. My soul has been lost somewhere up in that heavenly place forever. Everyday when I close my eyes, my wandering soul in the heaven transmits back the majestic vistas of Ladakh. Everyday I wish I could go back to the heaven in search of my soul and bring it back. However, I always overlook the fact that some things in this world are still impossible and bringing back your soul from heaven is one of them. Each time you visit Ladakh, you will fall more and more in love with the place, people and culture of Ladakh, no matter how harsh & tough the terrain is to survive. It is nothing but the MAGIC of the heaven named Ladakh. All my heart always says — There is no other place like Ladakh in this world…
I hope you will consider the things outlined above in the article while planning your Ladakh trip. I have tried to be simple and realistic taking into accounts 1000s of people I communicate every season who goes for Ladakh trip. I am sure there are many more things which one must consider but for the brevity of article, I have tried to outline the most important ones.
Do you have any other suggestions which one must consider while traveling to Ladakh?? If yes, feel free to share in comments section below. Please feel free to share this article with your friends/loved ones who are struggling with the things to consider for their first Ladakh trip.