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A solo trip to Ladakh in mid-December 2017

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Travel QuestionsCategory: General-travelA solo trip to Ladakh in mid-December 2017
Kiran asked 7 months ago

Hi, I’m planning a solo backpacking trip to Ladakh soon. The main reason is for star-gazing as I have read it has perfect cloudless weather and little light pollution. Is it possible for this season? I have all the winter gear (upto -25c) so cold shouldn’t really be a problem.
Main queries are:

  1. Will the trip be possible on a budget? I read that you can travel here only by private taxi. Will I have trouble travelling on a cost-sharing basis?
  2. Is teahouse trekking a thing in Ladakh like Nepal? Any recommended trails? I’m looking for a trek as I’ll probably get to star-gaze a bit too. But I’ll probably need to find a partner for this (Which I’m not sure I’ll find in Leh).
  3.  Are there any travellers I would find or would it be mostly the locals?
  4. Since I’m mostly coming here for star-gazing (and trekking if possible), what place would you recommend me to stay at? I read Leh is quite light-polluted.
  5. Any estimate on how much I would be spending per day for food,travel and stay?

I’m most worried about the travelling part. Not sure if I’d be able to find anyone for taxi-sharing. Renting a vehicle would definitely be over my budget.
Are there any other places in the Himalayas that you would recommend me to go instead that would be much more solo/budget friendly? Main purpose for the trip is star-gazing and maybe a bit of trekking

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6 Answers
Dheeraj Sharma answered 7 months ago

Hello Kiran,

Please my answers in the same order below:

1. Well, it is hard to find many tourists to share taxi cost in the month of winters as most come with either group or have their own arrangements. Private taxis are quite costly and public transport will be limited but with some effort possible.

2. No, teahouse trekking is not common and no such treks exist.

3. Very limited number of travellers will be there, don’t expect a lot of them. Mostly locals will be present.

4. Leh is light polluted but I have seen decent density of stars and in winters traffic won’t be much problem too. So, it will be limited as most shops/restaurant/hotels will be closed. Also, then you can travel to Nubra Valley as you must be planning to visit there too on the trip. You will find ample of opportunity there. Hanle has the world’s highest observatory which you can try.

5. It depends on how many days you plan to spend there and what transport you get.

Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley will be much more budget friendly in comparison, if you are interested.

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Kiran answered 7 months ago

Hi, thank you very much for the reply! 
I suppose Hanle is not possible through bus/ shared taxi?
Spiti Valley sounds amazing. Could you tell me a little about it? I’m not sure how to get there. And how much would I be spending there per day?
 
 

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Dheeraj Sharma answered 7 months ago

Hey Kiran,

Kinnaur and Spiti valley are in the Himachal Pradesh tribal belt. The route from Shimla to Kaza Spiti Valley remains open all round the year. The taxis are not that much costly in Kinnaur Valley and Spiti and ample of trekking opportunities will be there along with nearby access to places to see even using local transport and hitch hikes.

However, before we get into more details on it you can read:

How to plan a trip to Spiti Valley in Winters

Spiti in Winters – Most Common Itinerary

Trip to Kinnaur Valley in Winters – Important Tips

Kinnaur in Winters – Most Common Itinerary

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Varun Walia answered 7 months ago

 I too am planning a solo bike trip, but not sure if its possible to go beyond Nako. Although kinnaur would be amazing during this time of the year. 

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Kiran answered 7 months ago

Thanks again!
Could you give me an idea of trekking in Spiti?As in, which place to trek and where to find a local guide. I’m interested in stargazing and maybe spot the elusive snow leopard. 
 
Do you think it would be possible to see the milky way here during the night?
 
 

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Dheeraj Sharma answered 7 months ago

Hey Varun, the road from Shimla to Kaza remains open all around the year barring days of heavy snowfall and time to clear that snow from the roads. However, BRO makes all the effort to clear it. The risk is that you cannot rely on it and you may get stuck for some days to few weeks in case the snowfall.

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