Leh Ladakh FAQs – Preparing for Ladakh Trip

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Let us look at some of the most common questions asked on my blog about preparing for a Ladakh trip. I am starting this five-article series of Leh Ladakh FAQs to answer all your questions about planning a successful trip to Ladakh.

Why??

It will be easy for me to redirect you to the right question and its answer in these articles instead of repeating the same answers again and again in the comments section of various blog articles on this website.

I will also keep updating this Leh Ladakh FAQ series with new questions in case I have missed to answer any and also keep my answers fresh with updated information about preparing for a trip to Ladakh.

Preparing for Ladakh Trip

This section should answer all your questions about preparing yourself for a trip to Leh Ladakh. Once, you go through these questions you will understand how to prepare for a Leh Ladakh trip.

Q1. What are the tips to prevent Acute Mountain Sickness?

Ladakh is a high altitude place in trans Himalayas and when you make a trip to Ladakh, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is always on the cards. Majority of people suffer from AMS symptoms knowingly or unknowingly, some mild and few sever. It is the biology, one cannot defeat or trick it in case you are not following the basics of acclimatization, that is to give time and allow your body to adapt to change in altitude.

Generally, people can go up to 8000 feet without much problems with mountain sickness. As you start to increase altitude, the barometric pressure starts to decrease which reduces the Oxygen intake per breath. Hence, people start to suffer from AMS as the body is not adapted to the change in high altitude.

Some of the tips that you can follow to minimize the chances of getting hit with AMS are outlined below:

  • Increase the altitude gradually
  • Keep your body properly hydrated
  • AVOID overhydration
  • Avoid sleeping at high altitudes
  • Avoid overexertion
  • Avoid tobacco and smoking and alcohol and other depressant drugs
  • Keep your body warm
  • Eat lots of Carbohydrates
  • Avoid sleep during the day
  • Sleep in an upright position, if possible
  • Carry preventive medicines for AMS
  • Carry Small Oxygen Kit

The best cure is either to acclimatize properly or descend. In case, you feel the person is suffering badly then ask him to walk in a straight line by placing toe to toe. If the person is not able to walk in a straight line i.e. he is suffering from ataxia. IMMEDIATELY DESCEND!!

That highway to heaven NH1D - Srinagar to Leh
That highway to heaven NH1D – Srinagar to Leh

Q2. Can a person with asthma visit Ladakh?

People with Asthma issue are in general OK to travel to Ladakh or other high altitude places because of purity in the air and less pollution. Asthma is mainly related to pollution and dust mites which are a common allergen. These are not present at high altitude places.

So, it is believed that people with Asthma issues do just fine in Ladakh. You can read about it in the reference article Pre-existing Medical Conditions at High Altitude

Having said that, I am not a doctor, so please do consult your doctor and do not take my advice as medical advice. It is a question that you MUST consult your doctor before traveling to high altitude region of Leh Ladakh.

Q3. Can a person with hypertension or high blood pressure visit Ladakh?

This one is tricky because a lot of variables goes into controlling the blood pressure. In general, people with controlled blood pressure at low altitudes with medication or without it do fine at high altitude but consultation from a doctor is highly recommended and not to be ignored.

Usually, there will be an increase in your blood pressure as you reach high altitude because of lack of oxygen that infuses stress and adrenaline in the body. The high blood pressure subsides over a period of time as you stay at high altitude, usually 1-2 weeks when your body is acclimatized to rarified oxygen. However, by no means, you should alter any dosage of medication that you are already taking within consulting your doctor.

Hence, if you have hypertension or high blood pressure, then you MUST consult your doctor before making a call to travel to Leh Ladakh. You can read about it in the reference article Pre-existing Medical Conditions at High Altitude

Again, having said all that, I am not a doctor, so please do consult your doctor and do not take my advice as medical advice. It is a question that you MUST consult your doctor before traveling to high altitude region of Leh Ladakh.

One of the many beautiful bridges in Ladakh
One of the many beautiful bridges in Ladakh

Q4. Can I take my 2-3-year-old kid to Leh Ladakh trip?

It totally depends on person to person to take the children of less than five years age group because AMS do not matter with respect to age or gender or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness I shall say.

Personally speaking, I will not take a child of less than five-year-old to high altitude places like Leh Ladakh and I will wait for them to get older. You MUST remember that no matter how much they sell, Leh Ladakh is not a family or leisure destination. It is an adventure travel destination and will always remain that ways. Adventure comes with a risk always and I will prefer not to take any risk with such a young child or toddler.

The issue with small kids of any age group 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, the children in such age group of fewer than five years are not too much expressive about their uneasy feelings, so it is the 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 five-year-old child, I think he/she will also be NOT able to convey the uneasiness being felt. You have to be very 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.

If symptom increase then starts descending immediately. The same principle is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated always for everyone!!

PLEASE read the comprehensive topic that covers all the tips on Traveling to Leh Ladakh with Kids or Babies and it will give you a complete understanding of the details of it.

Q5. Can I take my 5-10-year-old kid to Leh Ladakh trip?

It totally depends on person to person to take the children of less than five years age group because AMS do not matter with respect to age or gender or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness I shall say.

The issue with small kids of any age group 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, the children in such an age group of more than five years become expressive about their uneasy feelings and do tell if they are having any issues. Having said that, it is still the parent’s job to watch out and take care that the child is not suffering from uneasy feelings, headache or nausea and is behaving properly.

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.

If symptom increase then starts descending immediately. The same principle is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated always for everyone!!

On the way to Kargil from Srinagar
On the way to Kargil from Srinagar

Q6. Can I take my pet or dog on a trip to Leh Ladakh?

As the travel industry is booming in India, more and more hotels are becoming pet-friendly and welcome pets. Hotels in Ladakh even provide food for pets. You can otherwise choose the carry your own frozen food. As you will do to yourself, do keep your pets adequately hydrated.

Do consult your veterinary doctor for any medicine for motion sickness or high altitude that he would like to prescribe. Finally, make sure you always carry your pet’s vaccination records with you on all your trips.

Q7. Can I take my old age parents on a trip to Leh Ladakh?

As we have discussed in the previous questions, acute mountain sickness does not matter with respect to age, gender or physical fitness. It can happen to anyone and of any age. So, yes, as much as you can go yourself to Ladakh, you can surely take your parents provided they are in healthy condition and can endure the fatigue of this long journey.

You should plan a relaxing and comfortable itinerary for your Ladakh trip when taking your elder parents. Travel from Srinagar – Leh Highway with night halts at Kargil and Alchi. Finally after doing sightseeing in Ladakh, come back from Manali – Leh Highway.

Plan to hire a comfortable vehicle as a lot of distance need to be covered, they must be comfortable on the journey. Make sure to keep everyone in the group always adequately hydrated.

If they are on medication or have any existing illness, make sure you consult your doctor only after the doctor’s approval travel to the high altitude places carrying proper medication.

Again, having said all that, I am not a doctor, so please do consult your doctor and do not take my advice as medical advice. It is a question that you MUST consult your doctor before traveling to high altitude region of Leh Ladakh.

Q8. Should I carry oxygen cans or cylinders on my Ladakh trip?

If possible for you, you may carry oxygen cylinders to Leh Ladakh trip which are medium to large size, that is big enough to last for several hours and that’s the whole point for carrying them.

Small oxygen cans do not provide much support as they do not last for a long time. They can mentally psych you up only. Hence, you need to carry medium to large-sized oxygen cylinders which help to restore your dropped oxygen levels back to safety. This buys you time only and is not a cure for AMS.

The charges of renting these oxygen cylinders may look a bit high if you are a budget traveler. However, it is somewhat like buying an insurance for yourself and the best return with any insurance is that you do not get to use it.

Some reasons why you should be carrying an oxygen cylinder on a Ladakh trip are:

  1. Traveling with Kids or Elders to Leh – Ladakh
  2. Traveling with People having Medical Conditions to Leh – Ladakh
  3. Traveling with a Large Group to Leh – Ladakh
  4. Having Rushed Travel Plan for Leh – Ladakh Trip
  5. Flying Directly to Leh
  6. Starting Leh Ladakh the trip from Manali – Leh Highway

For your Leh Ladakh trip, you should be able to rent the oxygen cylinders in Leh or from Delhi.

Flowers from Ladakh
Flowers from Ladakh

Q9. What are things to carry on my Leh Ladakh trip?

A list of things to carry on a Ladakh trip is one of the topmost questions that I may have answered in the last decade of running my blog. However, I will be concise here and suggest that you may carry the following essentials on any Ladakh trip:

  • Basic Travel Kit Essentials
    • At least two copies of PhotoIDs for all members
    • Pen and a small diary
    • Bag locks (2 or more)
    • Backpack or Daypack
    • Extra spectacles with cover
    • Torchlight or Flashlight
    • Small Scissor
    • Hand Watch
    • Sunglasses – Recommended
    • Multi-Plug – Recommended for remote areas
    • Match Boxes or Flint or Cigarette Lighter, Couple of candles
    • Plastic Bags / Plastic Zip Lock Bags
    • Twist-ties, safety pins. You can find twisties at the link: Twist Tie 20m (Pack of 2)
    • Swiss Knife (optional) I have a Victorinox Huntsman Red Swiss Army Knife which I have been using since 6-7 years. It has helped in many situations in mountains and still works as new. One of the best products I have bought in life.
    • Small water bottle, say 500 ml
    • Pens, pencils, colors, crayons, chocolates, toffees for distribution among local children
  • Toiletries, Grooming & Hygiene
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Oral Hygiene – Toothbrush and paste
    • Bathing essentials – Soaps, Shampoos, Face wash, Hair Oil
    • Tissue Papers
    • Deodorants
    • Moisturizing Cream
    • Lip Guard
    • Cologne Talc
    • Comb
    • Small Mirror
    • Feminine Hygiene, if required
    • Shaving Kit
  • Clothing & Mountain Must-Haves
    • Cold cream
    • Cold Cream
    • Sunscreen lotion (SPF 50 or greater) or  Sunblock
    • Lip Guard with sunscreen
    • Hats / Caps
    • Clothes as per the schedule
    • At least one light jacket
    • Heavy woolen clothing including woolen socks (Winters)
    • Woolen hand gloves (Winters)
    • At least 2 pairs of thermal
    • Towels
    • Socks
    • Handkerchiefs
    • Slippers
  • Camera Kit & Other Electronic Essentials
    • Camera, charger, spare batteries, cleaning kit, memory cards, tripod
    • May carry, remote releases, filters, headlamps for night photography
    • Mobile, charger, power banks, AC-DC converter for the car
  • Basic First-aid, medical kit & any ongoing medicines

In the end, I have prepared for you this comprehensive list of things to carry on Ladakh trip, which covers all the items listed above in detail.

Wondering on how to prepare for Ladakh trip?
Wondering on how to prepare for Ladakh trip?

Q10. What clothes should I carry on a Leh Ladakh trip?

Carrying clothes on a Ladakh trip mainly depends upon the season in which you will be traveling. The winters may have altogether different requirements than summers while the shoulder season months of April to May and September to October may prove to be tricky ones.

The peak season months of late June, July and August are considered to be pleasant where light woolens mostly do the job for you. In the winter months, when both Manali Leh Highway and Srinagar Leh Highway are closed due to heavy snow then the conditions are extremely cold.

Hence, in such winter months, very heavy woolens are required to survive on a Leh Ladakh trip. The tricky windows of visiting Ladakh are April to June and September to October.

The basic thing for making your Ladakh trip a successful one is that at any cost, you MUST KEEP yourself warm enough always with proper woolen clothing and always wear shoes all the time with woolens socks.

The second thing on clothing is that you must carry clothes which can be worn in layers as it helps you adjust to the fluctuating temperatures in sun and shades, up there in Ladakh.

Yes, in the season start and season end months, when the sun is shining then everything appears good and suddenly you enter a shaded portion with the wind blowing, that is cold enough to have a jacket. So, take due care around it and avoid letting the cold flow inside the body in such cases as well.

Keeping these factors in mind, I will recommend carrying following clothes for Ladakh trip:

  • 2-3 pairs of Inner thermal suits
  • 3-4 sets of heavy woolens
  • 1 heavy woolen jacket is always handy throughout the year
  • 3-4 pairs of woolen socks
  • 1 good insulated boots or trekking shoes in winters. Summers, any sports shoes should be fine.
  • Carry at least 1-2 caps to protect yourself from direct sunlight as it is too harsh in this region.
    • Kids especially should wear caps or hats all the time when out there in sun.

Especially, in the month of September and October, the UV rays are harshest and you must protect your skin using Hats / Caps and good high SPF sunscreen lotions.

  • Carry at least 1 Balaclava or monkey cap
  • Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the reflections from snow
  • An extra pair of shoes/gumboots in case people are on bikes and are expecting a lot of water crossings,
  • Hand gloves must have in the months of October to June.
  • In the end, it is always nice to take some candies, chocolates, books, pens, pencils, crayons etc. anything that you can distribute among the local children. Nothing but the smile on their face would be too much worth it.
Smiling at Namika La at Srinagar - Leh Highway
Smiling at Namika La at Srinagar – Leh Highway

Q11. Are there any ATMs in Ladakh?

There are 4-5 ATMs available in Leh town but you will not find any ATMs anywhere else in Ladakh. Sometimes, especially in offseason or winters, the ATMs may face difficulties and maybe nonoperational due to weather conditions and power issues.

Hence, make sure you carry sufficient cash with yourself to pay your bills and do not rely heavily on these ATMs.

Q12. How much cash should I carry on a Leh Ladakh trip?

There are few ATMs in Leh town but you should not rely heavily on them and carry enough cash with you on your Ladakh trip. The total amount that needs to be carried depends upon if you have done your hotel bookings or the taxi bookings or you are planning to book everything after arrival in Leh.

When you travel in a group of 4-5 people, in general, you would end up spending somewhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 for a complete Leh Ladakh trip. Of course, as discussed in this book, there are ways to make a budget trip but here I am giving a ballpark figure on how much cash needs to be carried.

You can do the calculations based on the numbers that say a complete circuit of Ladakh trip from Srinagar to Ladakh to Manali covering all major tourist destinations will cost you a taxi of about Rs 60,000. Then you can consider about Rs 900 – 1200 per person per day for food, stay and miscellaneous expenses. Please note I am talking about a moderate budget trip here that has a decent level of comfort, neither too luxurious nor too basic.

Q13. Can I take my laptop to Ladakh?

Yes, you can surely carry your Laptop on Ladakh trip. However, there are some considerations that you should take into account when taking electronic devices like Laptop to high altitude places in the Himalayas.

The new generation laptops have solid state drives (SSD) in them and hence, they will just do fine on a Ladakh trip. However, the laptops with old style hard drives (HDD) may suffer a crash or data loss on an altitude of 10,000 feet and above.

To understand better, these old hard drives have a head which flies between the rotating disks/platters. When the air pressure is too low, then there is not enough lift for the flying head, so the head gets too close to the disk, and there is a risk of head crashes and data loss. The laptops with Solid State Drives (SSD) does not have this problem.

So, if you are carrying a laptop to Ladakh, try to follow the following tips for carrying laptop to Leh Ladakh trip:

  • Carry Waterproof Bags / Pouches
  • Do Not Switch ON at Altitude above 10-11K
  • Keep them out in an environment before switching ON
  • Always Shutdown or Switch off Laptops
  • Protect them from Cold Conditions
  • Take care of your own belongings
Prayer flags at Tso Moriri Lake
Prayer flags at Tso Moriri Lake

Other Articles in the Series

Conclusion

In the next article of the series, I will answer the frequently asked questions about stays and accommodation in Ladakh, where to eat in Ladakh and inner line permits for Leh Ladakh. I hope this article answers your questions with respect to getting prepared for a Ladakh trip. 

Still, have a travel question left?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

And,

If you loved this article, DO NOT forget to hit the share button to share it with your friends and family planning a trip to Leh Ladakh.”

So, what are you waiting for? Just plan your vacation to Ladakh in the coming season and I am sure you will never forget about the heavenly experience.

Are you looking for the CUSTOMIZED TOURS?? Get in touch with our our handpicked & trusted Destination Specialists from the Himalayas who offer SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATES to all the readers/followers of the Devil On Wheels website.


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You can call me an avid traveler, a day-night dreamer and a passionate lover of the Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in the 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 ...

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Are you looking for the CUSTOMIZED TOURS?? Get in touch with our our handpicked & trusted Destination Specialists from the Himalayas who offer SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATES to all the readers/followers of the Devil On Wheels website.


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