In the last article, I introduced you with the top 12 myths of a trip to Ladakh. In this article today, I will share the top 9 mistakes people commit while considering a Ladakh trip. Enough stress has been put on the importance of acclimatization and AMS for making a memorable trip to Ladakh. BUT, still many other factors drive people towards believing in its importance in reality. I will try to make you understand some of the such common factors or mistakes for making a successful trip to Ladakh or any other high altitude place in trans-Himalayas.
Top 9 Mistakes You May Commit on Your Ladakh Trip
Given below are the most common mistakes people make while making a trip to any high altitude place including Ladakh. Why I am sharing with you? The problem is that people start abusing the places like Ladakh for their horrible trips and tag them as harsh, unforgiving places. However, they forget that it is not the place or region which is harsh or unforgiving, people still live up there in such place. It is the way you planned or executed your trip to such a place what causes horrible experiences.
1. I am very fit and have good body, I do not need acclimatization
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.
2. I have done many high altitude trips, I do not need acclimatization now
No matter how many trips you under go to Ladakh or other high altitude places and how many times you under go every year, AMS just won;t spare you if you break its basic principles. Been there in trans-Himalayas countless times in last 7 years and having suffered AMS twice very badly, believe me, it is not something to be taken lightly. It cries the death out of you when it strikes and in such remote terrain you know what it is to be in India for survival !! Hence, you need to understand & accept that your body needs time to adapt to high altitude and you should respect that basic natural principle rather than boasting any stupid reasons.
3. I have clocked 100,000 Miles, I will breeze through the roads in Ladakh
Never be over confident that you are master of driving or riding or you have done Rohtang Pass ‘x’ number of times, you are a champ driver in plains with 100K miles of driving/riding experience, etc.. because driving to Ladakh especially via Manali – Leh Highway could be one of the strangest and adventurous drive you will ever undertake in life. Never think that any overlying stone will not hit the underbelly, never think that the road ahead is straight as an arrow like runway and you can cruise through it, etc… Such a thinking can get you/your vehicle stranded in the middle of no where for hours to up to days.
Even the smoothest and straightest of the roads, which look super fine, newly laid tarmac are washed in between or have sudden bumps in them which can badly hurt your vehicle. If you see a big rock lying in between on road especially at sections with loose gravel then it is always you better step out and throw it away to make your way instead of taking any chance and getting your car’s underbelly hurt with it.
4. I never plan my trips, I give a shit on planning a trip and so for a Ladakh trip too
Well, this is what I hear most and those commenting consider themselves coolest stud on the planet BUT PLEASE always keep in mind, “Trouble never comes knocking your door” !! 😉 😉 … It is good to be impromptu in travel but with a remote place such as Ladakh where even a diarrhea can lead you to death path if not treated in time, I will personally suggest that please plan at least basic things before making a trip to Ladakh. I am advising you just because I do not want your family and loved ones to go through what one of my knowns and I went with just that cool mistake in the past…
5. I can follow his WRONG plan because he had no issues on his Ladakh trip
This is mostly fine, if you are following a plan suggested by an expert and covers basic principles of acclimatization. However, it horribly goes wrong in cases when people try to copy anything including short crazy drive plans just because they read an account of someone who did it. Believe me, 80 out of 100 times you may just be fine with mild headaches and few sleepless nights BUT what if you end up in that remaining 20, vomiting blood like him & documenting the experience here for the sake of others well being 😯 😯
6. I have done 800 KMs drive in a day, so, 400 KMs in a day in Ladakh is nothing in for me
You may be a great driver or a rider having done 1000s of KMs in a day BUT keep in mind these are trans-Himalayas and they RULE the time and life up there. You may be able to do 400 KMs in Ladakh on a last day, which is perfectly fine because you are going to descend to lower hills where your body is used to live. However, things change when you plan something crazy as doing Manali – Leh Highway in single day while going to Ladakh. Again, it is completely possible but just imagine a very possible situation of running without acclimatization and having a tire puncture just below Taglang La pass. Man, you are in mess in that case !! 😯 😉 …
7. I can take my infant baby because I have seen many pictures where people took theirs too
It depends on person to person to take the children of such age group. The issue with children is that they tend to exert the body considering it the same kind of place they belong to and this elevates the chances of getting struck with AMS. Secondly, they are not much expressive about their uneasy feelings, so it is parents who need to watch out and take care that the child is not suffering from uneasy feelings, headache or nausea and is behaving properly. With less than 3 year child, I think he/she will also be NOT able to convey the uneasiness she may feel. You have to be vigilant and if you notice any such feeling or he/she tells you about such a feeling then please do not ascend anywhere, either descend to lower altitude or stay at the same place to watch things overnight and if symptom increase then start descending immediately. Same is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated!! Also, PLEASE read the article: Traveling to Ladakh with Kids or Babies. This article covers this topic in complete detail.
8. I can drink alcohol because there have never been issues
I know you are a champ when it comes to patiala pegs BUT bhai, please hold on to them in Ladakh or high altitude places because any kind of tobacco, smoking and alcohol or other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquillisers, and sleeping pills etc.. decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the AMS symptoms. The alcohol actually dehydrate your body further which does not help a bit in acclimatization.
9. I can remove my shirt for a selfie at Khardung La or Chang La 😉
Wow, that is the MOST coolest thing that you SHOULD NEVER do in Ladakh 😀 😀 … The highest motorable road and a sleeveless or shirt-less selfie up there does make a deadly, super cool combo for your next profile pic on Facebook BUT always remember that exposing the bare parts of the body, especially the chest or lower neck, to the cold winds at that high altitude with less acclimatized body also makes a FATAL combo which can lead you to being seriously ill or just take that next morning flight from Leh back home in horrors 🙂 🙂
With years of experience of traveling to high altitude places, I have been able to bust these myths outlined in the last article and mistakes in general people commit for a Ladakh trip in this article. I hope this will prove helpful to you in making your upcoming trip to Ladakh as memorable as it can be without committing such common mistakes now that you know about them in detail.
Do you know or have you experienced any other mistake you committed while making a Ladakh trip or any other trans-Himalayan trip? If yes, do share with us here too so that it helps other fellow travelers in planning a memorable trip to Ladakh.