7 Things to Consider for a Ladakh Trip

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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.

Piles of Prayers at Tso Moriri, Ladakh

Piles of Prayers at Tso Moriri, Ladakh

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.

Rare moment when you smile over a puncture on Ladakh trip

Rare moment when you smile over a puncture on Ladakh trip

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.

Yes, I know - Traveling to Ladakh ain't that easy as it looks..

Yes, I know – Traveling to Ladakh ain’t that easy as it looks…

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…

And the boards says it all...

And the boards says it all…

Conclusion

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.

If you found above article useful, then PLEASE stay connected with us on Facebook or Twitter or Email Subscription for any himalayan travel queries or travel updates / tips / news / guides on Traveling to Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas. Travel, off the road with us...


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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

21 Comments

  1. Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank you for giving the wonderful information.
    We prepared our Itinerary – Private Car From Chennai to Leh ( 11th – 27 th Aug). While finalizing it, we come across Taxi Mafia gang attack for Private / Self driven cars in recent days @Leh and very hesitant to proceed with our Itinerary. We need support to understand the current situation and was the news published in media is real ?,. with mixed information about mafia attack still in confusion stage. Please advise, thanks

    • Thank you Sakthi !!

      There is no attack at all since last few years and there was just one single off ugly incident when it happened. I am not sure where you got mixed info. With private personal vehicle, there is no issue at all in Ladakh as far as I know and community members are posting in forum updates.

  2. UDAY SANKAR SAHA on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    Thanks for your advice for our Leh Ladakh trip which I recently completed on 26th may. Your technical advise was of really helpful. Specifically for taking the Pangong to Tso Moriri direct route via man, merek chusul…. This route is simply outstanding.
    Thank you
    Uday.

    • Thank you Uday, glad it was helpful and you had a memorable trip. How about sharing some travel tale or photo tale or some important updates/reviews that might help others too in their plans.

  3. Vishal Nagar on

    Hello sir ,
    I am planning for Delhi -manali -leh trip, for 10 days. Me nd my wife will reach Delhi on 11th may at night. From then I have to plan. From where should I start my trip manali or leh ?? So how should I plan. please Suggest

    • It will take 4 days to reach Leh from Srinagar side starting from Delhi with stop overs at Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil and 3 days to come back from Leh from Manali side to Delhi with stopovers at Sarchu, Manali. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. You have about 10 days. 1 Day can be used as Day trip to Pangong Tso and other day can be used as day trip to Nubra Valley or just Khardung La pass.

      Opt to go via Manali – Leh Highway and I will suggest that you refer the thread for more details on the route and night halts though it is of 9 days: Manali – Leh – Ladakh – Manali | Itinerary for 9 Days. You can fit in plan I suggested in above para in this plan

  4. I am going for an internship in Ladakh for 4 weeks. After that I want to go to srinagar. I wanted to know that is the way from leh to srinagar generally open by the end of MAY if i want to travel by bus?

  5. Thank you soo much for mentioning so many cautions. This is really helpful for the ones who decide on riding to Leh. It would be great if you could share some places to spend night along the way.

    • You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

  6. Good Morning,
    Is it advisable for going with family on Leh – Manali high way. which time is suitable for family. We are four persons. we will reach Leh on flight from delhi. Our plan is to cover leh – manali- Amruthsar and come to delhi in 10-12 days. Request suggest itinerary in economy way. If any other join with us most welcome
    Thank you

    • Hello rammohan,

      Firstly, I will suggest you that please plan it in other direction as going via Srinagar – Leh Highway will be much much easier on your body and help you acclimatize to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Also, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of Manali – Leh by splitting the journey almost evenly in two days which is very difficult in the other direction. Thirdly, it will allow you to fit Tso Moriri lake into the itinerary in better way. You can read more reasons on the link here

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

      For the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2016 – 17 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 10-12% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

      For the list of good restaurants in Leh – Ladakh or eateries or food joints where food is enjoyed by many travellers including me, you can check the link here: List of Good Restaurants in Leh – Ladakh | Restaurant Reviews

      Check the list of things to carry for Leh – Ladakh or other trip including basic medical kit, clothing, must haves etc. at the link here: List of Things to Carry for Leh – Ladakh trip.

  7. Uday sankar saha on

    I am planning a trip to leh Ladakh, My journey dates are 19th to 26th may 2017 by flight to leh. Please suggest the below mentioned itenary is ok or not.13, 2016 2:27 pm Ali
    Dear Mr. Uday sankar,
    Greetings!!!
    Please find below our best possible discounted rates and send us confirmation email as soon as possible.
    Itinerary
    Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
    On arrival transfer to hotel.
    Day 2 | Leh to sham valley.
    Sham Valley include Alchi, Likir, Basgo Palace, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu, Gurudwara Pather Sahib

    Day 3 | Leh – Khardung La – Deskit – Hunder
    Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Deskit. On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La. DO NOT stay more than 10-12 minutes.
    Deskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari.About 5-6 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between and at Khardung La.
    Day 4| Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
    Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs.Overnight at Leh.About 7-9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between.

    Day 5| Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake
    Cover either of Thiksey and Shey on the go towards Pangong Tso Overnight at Pangong Tso (Spangmik orLukung) About 5-6 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

    Day 6 Pangong Tso Lake to Tso Moriri Lake via Changthang (Merak – Chusul – Nyoma)
    You can go to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso directly via the remote and ever beautiful Changthang region. The drive between Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri is one of the most beautiful drives in whole Ladakh region. Foreigners are not allowed to go beyond Man – Merak Villages as permits are not issued to them for this route. Hence, they need to follow the indirect, slightly longer route to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso. You need to mention all the places mentioned in the route below on your permit form in order to under take this route. The route along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man (9 KMs) – Merak (12 KMs)– Kakstet (4 KMs) – Chusul (24 KMs) – Tsaga La (33 KMs) – Tsaga Village (20 KMs) – Loma (23 KMs) – Nyoma (22 KMs) – Mahe (25 KMs) – Sumdo (10 KMs) – Tso Moriri / Korzok (53 KMs) = 235 KMs
    Day 7 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh
    Come back via Tso Kar and Manali – Leh Highway to Leh.Cover Hemis, on the way towards Leh.Overnight at Leh.About 9-10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in .
    Day 8 flight to Delhi.
    Today pick up from Hotel and transfer to airport to board the flight.
    Look forward to hear from you as earliest.
    Tour End
    Tour cost:
    On Triple sharing the Net cost is Rs.26500/- per person
    Is the cost acceptable.

  8. Shankara Narayanan on

    I owe you a big thanks for a while now… I took all the tools that you provided during my trip last year and it was really an awesomatic one… Will definitely replan one in the years to come.. onset again, you made the planning lot easy.. THANK YOU

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