When Planning for Leh-Ladakh

Alchi village

With temperatures rising day by day, many of you would be trying to make a vacation plan to the higher altitudes. Leh-Ladakh is becoming a popular summer destination because of the unique landscape it offers to the travelers.

I have been getting lot of queries regarding planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh and thought I would put this useful piece of information on net. First I thought of writing it in a form of article but I thought I would rather improve on a recent conversation on facebook with a friend. I think the reader can get a clear grasp from the conversation and get idea for planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh. The conversation goes as follows:

A: Hey hi; how are you?

impreeti: hi, i am good

A: I need your advice on something

impreeti: ya sure tell me

A: I am planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh with my friends. Can you tell me approximate expenses for the trip. I would like to do a little bit on bikes. Where will I get bike and what would be the rent and all such details which you can give would be useful for planning.

impreeti: There are many ways in which you can plan a trip to Leh-Ladakh. How many days are you planning to spare for this trip? And do you want to travel to and from from Leh by bikes or take a flight bothways?

A: I have no idea where to start or the number of days required. I am totally clueless.

impreeti: Ok then. No problem. What I can do is tell you about the trip I made to Leh-Ladakh in July 2012 and you can then tweak it according to your suitability. It will give you an idea about many things and then you can go ahead and customize it for yourself.

A: I am not thinking of travelling all the way from Delhi to Leh on bikes. Yes that would be better that you tell me your experience.

impreeti: Ok. Bikes are generally hired by travellers from Manali. I would suggest that you take a to and fro flight for Delhi to Leh and hire a bike on reaching Leh. Leh is like a stopover for the places you would visit in Leh-Ladakh. You will be travelling in different directions to visit places of interest and will come back to Leh. So these can be done on bikes. For example, Nubra valley is 150 kms from Leh town and you will pass Khardung La pass en route which is considered one of the highest motorable roads of the world.

If you take a flight for Leh then do take a full day’s rest as your body needs to acclimatize to the high altitude. AMS (Acute Mountain Syndrome) can be a problem in such altitudes. Keep a medicine called Dimox with you in your first aid box. Its a bit difficult to breathe in such high altitudes due to rarified air. Be careful and dont run or exert yourself on your first day. After that also be careful and drink lots of water. If you go by bike or bus then your body acclimatizes to the higher altitude gradually and not much problem is encountered. But still you should always be careful.

Assuming that you are taking flight; I will give you a suggestive iternary based on what I had done:

Day 1: Delhi to Leh by flight; take rest full day even if you don’t feel you need it.

Day 2: Hemis monastry, Thiksey monstry and Shey Palace; these places are nearby and would be a day trip by bikes or any vehicle.

Day 3 & 4: Nubra Valley; Start from Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardulng La Pass. Khardung La is one of the highest motorable roads. In Nubra valley you can vsit Hunder village, Dikshit village and Turtuk. At Hunder you will find desert in between the mountains; a very unique spectacle. Also unique are the double humped camels which are available for a ride in the desert. On day 4, you can start back from Nubra to Leh.

Day 5: Leh local; Explore the Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa and Leh local market. You will find the markets full of Tibetan artifacts. One of the things I liked was the Tibetan singing bowl which is used by Tibetans for meditation.

Day 6: Alchi; Alchi is a beautiful village 60 kms away from Leh. It has one of the oldest monastery. Return to Leh the same day. On the way you will come across the famous Paher Sahib Gurudwara, conflence of Zanskar and Indus and Magnetic Hills.

Day 7 & 8: Pangong Tso Lake; Start from Leh to Pangong Tso Lake on the seventh day early morning. Its going to be quite a ride of around 200kms with roads full of boulders. People generally come back the same day but I would suggest you to plan a stopover there in the tents and enjoy the Lake’s morning view the next day. The lake is simply splendid! After that start back for Leh town on day 8.

This is broadly the plan and after this I had taken a tai from Leh to Srinagar to catch the flight from Srinagar to Delhi. I thought we could do Srinagar as well but it was not much of a use. So wouldn’t advise this. But on the way we visited the Lama Yaru monastery which is also one of the oldest monasteries in this area. I would suggest you to plan a trip to Tso Morroriri lake on Day 9. This is what we missed but heard a lot of praise about it. And then you can plan a return from Leh on Day 10 or 11.

My total expenditure including the flight tickets was around 30k. If you remove flight tickets the expenditure would be anywhere between 12k-17k per head. This is broadly what I know about visiting Leh-Ladakh. Feel free to ask for any more details. I would be happy to help.

A: Ooooooohhhh…Nice yr…Thanks 🙂

impreeti: You are most welcome 🙂

One more thing. You are a guys group so you can save a lot of money. Like you can get cheaper accommodation and all. Remember to take your id proofs as you will need to get Inner Line Permits to visit Nubra valley and Pangong Tso Lake. Keep the photocopies as well and carry your passport size photographs. So i guess this is it. And you can keep researching more by yourself. There is no dearth of information about this beautiful place. Bye and all the best for your trip t heaven 🙂

A: Byeee 🙂

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4 thoughts on “When Planning for Leh-Ladakh

  1. Beautifully explained mam!

    Two things I would like to add which are local in Leh are Kaali mandir… Which is quite high and has lot of religious beliefs associated with it… Also there is a war memorial (I am missing out the name) but it is near transit camp and worth watching as it has all the memories of kargil war.

    Rest everything is explained very nicely. I agree with you in most of the things like going by civil flight, staying one night at Pangong Tso…. And not covering the strech from Leh to Dras. Rather to make altogether a different trip for Srinagar/Jammu/ Udhampur… Coz it is quite far and very bad route…

    Very nicely explained mam 🙂

    • Thanks a lot Divya….You having first hand experience of that place adds value to your comments and adds to the information I have tried to put down here. Most of the things being on recall basis, it was difficult to pen down…but your encouraging words show that I have been able to do some justice to that experience by writing it down here 🙂

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