The imagination of making a solo trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley feels quite enchanting, exciting, filled with full of adventures but at the same time sends the chills down the spine, if not for us but for our families for sure 😉 😉 … When you are on a trip to places like Ladakh or Lahaul & Spiti Valley, then, already there are tons of uncertainties in the plans you create. The absence of inhabited places / civilization, medical facilities, phone connectivity and fuel for 100s of miles, extremely high private taxis charges, lack of frequent public transport and above all acute mountain sickness, makes matter from bad to worse for a solo traveler to Ladakh or Spiti Valley.
Yet, there are 1000s of men and women who pack their rucksacks and makes a solo trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley every year to overcome their fears, to come out of the comfort zones and to live the life as free as a flying bird within the sublime spirit of adventure in Himalayas. In this article today, I will talk about some practical tips which might help you on your next solo trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley or any remote corner of trans-Himalayas. This will make you confident enough to take the first step ahead and this first step is all what is required to get out of your comfort zone for living the life of a solo traveler 🙂 🙂
Tips for a Solo Trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley
1. Plan the flow not the trip
When traveling solo to places like Leh – Ladakh or Spiti Valley, you must plan for the flow of the trip rather than following a day by day wise plan. This will help you remain focused and especially when these places have shared taxis of locals as backbone for commute, it becomes less practical you rely on a day by day wise plan. This will help you enjoy with whatever time on hand and also be focused on covering most of the places you planned to visit rather just worrying on commute to hop from one place to another to match your day wise plan.
2. Travel in season time that is June to September
Well, Leh – Ladakh or Spiti Valley are places where majority of people travel in season time that is from June to September. Since, the private taxis are pretty costly, you must rely on public transport or shared tourist taxis to travel between places. Also, you need to reply on the frequent public transport which becomes less frequent in season time. Hence, it becomes all the more important for you as a solo traveler to travel in a season when there are tourists around for help as well as cost sharing. Once, you reach the pro solo traveler stage, I am sure you will find ways out of it.
3. Taxi budget for a solo trip to Ladakh
You are alone and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all in season time. There are lots of flyers which travellers/tourists put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh like Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley or Tso Moriri. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis tourist trips as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost you on your own group of travellers. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. You should also read: 5 Tips for a Budget Trip to Ladakh
4. Online Travel Partners for your solo Ladakh Trip?
You can even search for online Travel Partners for your Ladakh trip to reduce the overall cost and at DoW Community we already have an easy way to spot Travel Partners through our dedicated forum linked here & DoW Travel Calendar. Using our Travel Partners Forum & Calendar, you can pretty quickly and easily spot on which dates people are traveling and if some group suits your preferences to gel up or not. So, take the advantage of this nice little effective tool offered by Devil On Wheels and commute in a group of other travelers to reduce the cost of your trip 🙂
5. Keep sharing your plan or whereabouts with family or friends
You are in Himalayas and that too in trans-Himalayas where no one knows what happens when. Trust me, no matter what, you MUST share your whereabouts and plan always with your family and friends. I have been into numerous instances when either mine or my friends or somewhere on the blog or community, family is searching for their loved ones midst landslides, natural calamities or flash floods or even long road blocks !! Without knowing your traces or whereabouts or where you were supposed to reach or travel and where were you couple of days before, it becomes very very uneasy and tense for our family members to contact us. Hence, because of already scarce or limited connectivity options at these places, one must take all opportunities to keep someone trusted informed about the whereabouts and plans so that in case required you can be traced by your family without much fuss or panic.
6. Travel as light as possible
The more you travel light, the less cumbersome and quick it becomes for you to hop from one commute to another or move around from places without much discomfort. Well, even by statistics, we always pack much more than what actually is required or used by us on the trip. Hence, pack your stuff wisely and accordingly as you are not going on a photoshoot 🙂 🙂
7. Carry a personal ID card, medical card and emergency contact
Always carry a personal ID card, medical card and emergency contact somewhere open, easily accessible, may be as a hanging tag, wallpaper of an unlocked phone or in a wallet or both, so that, in case required a prompt action can be taken by anyone without much issues.
8. Mingle and get friendly with the locals
Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂 … Or you can search for Travel Partners online too (read point 4).
9. Wisely choose your accommodation & its location
Choose your places of stay somewhere near the market or where you need to travel less on day to day basis because within Leh, there is no public transport and walking at high altitude takes a toll on the body which might make you ill. Being ill alone is not a healthy sign for making a successful trip.
10. Travel with confidence and enjoy yourself within limits
Lastly, when you travel solo, enjoy your company to the fullest but always within limits and travel with full confidence so that you are not stalked by stalkers or followed upon with uneasy advances spotted as an easy prey.
I hope the above mentioned tips helps you in some way or the other in your upcoming solo trip to Ladakh or Spiti Valley. You can also read one of the topics in DoW Community regarding Customize Tour v/s Self Organized Tours to Ladakh to really see the benefits of traveling on your own.
In the end, if you are a lover of Himalayas, I will seriously suggest you to join us at DoW Causes – A Step Towards Responsible Travel and if you feel aligned explore the directions on how to help the local Himalayan people when you Travel in Himalayas and contribute towards these causes on your own with very little portion of saved money with the help of tips over Devil On Wheels Travel Community. This will do nothing BUT definitely gift you with some real smiles & blessings from the locals up there in such remote villages of Himalayas. Thank You !!