There used to be (still exists) a saying in northern India in the pre-independence era – “Jisne Lahore Nahin Dekha, Usne Jeevan me Kuch nahi Dekha” (If you haven’t seen Lahore, you’ve seen nothing in your life). I dare say: “Jisne Ladakh Nahi dekha Usne Jeevan me kuch nahi dekha” (if you haven’t seen ladakh, you’ve never seen anything in your life).
Ladakh, the first image / feeling appears in your peripheral vision when you hear that name; it is nothing more than the paradoxical feeling of infinite serenity mixed with doses of excitement and adventure. Ladakh is a region (Leh is the district) and registers the largest region and district in all of Asia. Strategically, Ladakh is a vantage point for India’s forces and government. Instead of theoretical information, I would like to focus on traveling part of it.
Since the beginning of my adolescence and being raised as a farmer, the landscape of my mind has always been involved in adventures and, mainly, in traveling.
When to go
When the road is declared open and snow is being removed from the road. So, keep an eye on the Himachal Pradesh websites or the Leh City website for updated information. It usually opens in the last week of May and opened in the last week of September.
- Chandigarh – Manali – Leh
- Srinagar – Leh
- Anyway, the whole journey is from 2500 – 3000 Kms Chandigarh, being the point of departure and arrival.
How to go to Ladakh
So folks, there could be three ways to explore Ladakh: –
- Bike Road Trip – It is advisable for guys who think and believe they are difficult. Pay attention to my words; this road is the grandfather of the most difficult road in the world. Also, this is for guys with a lot of time.
- Four-wheel travel – It is more convenient than the previous one. A group of friends, the family can go in a four wheeler. Hiring a driver would be the best option instead of driving alone. It is good for females too.
- Flight to Leh – it is the best option available for those who want to do Leh, but cannot travel due to time and other restrictions. This gives you the advantage of being cool to explore the important points around Leh. From the city of Leh, it is possible to rent a motorcycle and a four-wheel drive vehicle to further explore the beauty of the region.
What to bring?
People who want to explore Ladakh by road in an organic way should have –
A sleeping tent:
According to the size of your group, buy a sleeping tent that can accommodate the maximum number of people. The Dom shaped tent is recommended. Don’t be looted by purchasing online. The best way is to go to the Azad Market in New Delhi. It is a wholesale market for sleeping tents, bags and other things. I myself inspected the whole day and bought a dome-shaped tent that could accommodate four people. It weighs about a pound and is easily adjustable.
Forget the blankets, choose the warm and compact sleeping bag when you decide to go the organic way. Again, it can be purchased at Azad Market in Delhi. You would understand the importance of both items when you reach Lake Pangong. You would like to spend an evening and the owners of the local tents would require more than two thousand rupees for one night.
A small diesel stove:
It is essential, as you need to prepare your breakfast, tea and food. If a larger group is there, during the night you can cook in the forest, but again you will need to carry them, which would increase the weight of your luggage.
Small multipurpose pan is the way to go, where you can make pasta, heat the water and make chapattis out of it.
Instead of looking for light liquids, take powdered milk.
A pair of strong waterproof shoes and warm socks. Your feet would often kiss the water on the way.
Waterproof jackets / Gloves / Jackets / Warm interior / Knee and elbow protectors are essential for a rider. They must be of very good quality, otherwise your hand will stop talking. A special type of bandana hits the market for motorcyclists, which covers the head and face and prevents tanning. Choose a pair.
A pair of extra clutch wires, clutch plates, extra break wire, a small plastic air pump. Along with the full-service bike and new tires, you must keep the accessories mentioned above.
The iron carrier on both sides of the bike is mandatory to carry your luggage. This can be purchased and assembled at the Karol Bagh car market in Delhi.
- Last but not least, a pair of 5-liter plastic cans. It is interesting that you know that in many places the next gas station comes after more than 300 km.
- And yes, a good SLR camera to click on the eternal beauty of the land in this region. I bet this place is a photographer’s paradise. You would never have seen this beauty before in your life. An SLR with an extra pair of battery, memory card would be your partner and you would appreciate it. We shot almost 8 hours of footage on a normal video camera. It would be a treasure to show your children and grandchildren.
Many men can experience acute mountain sickness due to the thin air in and around Leh. Therefore, there may be stomach pains, vomiting and dizziness. Don’t forget to take a strip of Diamox (Acetazolamide) from your local pharmacy. For motorcyclists, you would start to feel it on the road near Sarchu. Don’t fight it. Take a pill; drink a lot of water and sleep soon. Give your body time to acclimate. When you arrive in Leh, rest for a whole day for acclimatization.
Anyone outside the Jammu and Kashmir region would need permission from the Leh city administration to go beyond Leh. This is a mandatory step for everyone. Write the maximum number of spots around to cover. This permission would be verified at various locations by the state police and military forces.
If you are accompanying any foreigner with you, they will only get permission on a pair. A single foreigner is not allowed. Therefore, you need to look for travel agents, many of them hummed in the same office to get their clients’ permission.
ATM & Cash
Most of the time, there is only one ATM (SBI) in operation in the city of Leh. You would have to wait a long time for your money. Therefore, it is better to take a little extra money with you than to stand in line.
Until Himachal, your pre or postpaid number may work. But in the state of Jammu and Kashmir you would need BSNL yes. Your service would hardly work there.
If you really want to go on an adventure, this is the best option in the world. I met hundreds of bikers on the way, including enthusiastic bicycle lovers from foreign countries. None of them saw such exciting, beautiful, difficult and adventurous terrain around the world. You would be a changed person after this trip in many ways and, in particular, you would start respecting truck drivers and driving.
What NOT to do in Ladakh
Drink and smoke:
Aha! Yes boys, don’t drink there after Manali. When you approached Keylong, the oxygen level started to decrease and your vehicle reported. In addition, alcohol dehydrates the body, so at lower oxygen levels, you would need more water in the system. Less oxygen and tobacco also do not do very well. So restrain your desire for the sake of security.
Absolutely not. Don’t try to do an Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan here. When the rain starts to rain, look for a hidden rock. There are many sheds and villages on the way, take a refugee there.
On the road, there were many small monuments mentioning several soldiers and men who made the road who died on their duty. Do not put your feet, piss on them. If possible, blow a horn when passing.
Not under the pain of death, drive in the dark. 6 pm and you’re in your tent. In fact, wake up after a complete sleep and try to start the trip right after breakfast. Where to stay in Ladakh
In the city of Leh, rest your tents and bags a little, as there is no need to stay in tents in the city. Most of the Indian middle class choose to be plundered in 3 or 5 star hotels or inns. A sensible traveler, in my opinion, should follow what an international is doing. There is a specific area near the Police Station and the Main Bazaar, where the people of Ladakhi opened their home to tourists. They charge like INR 150-250 per day. In addition, you become familiar with Ladakhi culture up close while living at their home. Most foreigners apply the same way of living. The day after your arrival will be used to obtain permission from the local administration and for minor bicycle repairs. Your camera, the phone’s battery must be fully recharged before doing anything else. It would also give your body acclimatization according to the environment. Check the Ladakhi festival date online before planning your trip. It would be a great experience to enter.
Where to go beyond Leh
This is the highest motorized road in the world, at 5,000 meters. In itself, it would be a sense of achievement when you click on that point. Khardung La alone can be done in a single day with ease. Post Khardung La is the beautiful valley of Nubra, where you must spend at least one night. Two humpback camels in India are found here. Start early, explore Khardung La and at night reach the Nubra valley.
Beauty, beauty and beauty. It falls on a road other than Khardung La. Almost 80 km from Leh. 145 km of lake, of which 45 km in India and the rest in China. So, apparently, you would come close to the border with China. Spend a night in your tent. You would never have experienced a night before in your life. You would like to stay there for a week. Otherwise, I can bet what you ask for. It is a beauty, a virgin beauty. The climax of the film ” Three idiots ” was filmed here. A famous song ‘Satrangi re’ from the SRK movie ‘Dil Se’ was filmed here and to add to your information, SRK used to bathe in the lake every day. 2 nights here equals a lifetime experience.
This terrain of Manali
Leh e consists of four highest motorized passages in the world. Khardung La, Chang La, Tanglang La, Nakee La.
The famous Sindhu River flows through Leh and a special cultural festival is celebrated every year for tourists. So don’t forget to be a part of it.
Okay, after exploring Leh and its surroundings, you would be very tired. Most likely you would like to be home as soon as possible. If so, it is good for those who travel by plane. They can fly back home directly from Leh. People traveling on four wheels can follow the same route via Manali or choose to go on Srinagar.
Then you will be on the Leh – Srinagar road. You would soon witness the magical magnetic hills on this road. Their vehicles would be pulled naturally. Geographically, the hills are at an angle that creates magnetic force. Also, don’t forget to receive the blessings of 500 year old Guru Nanak Gurudwara. It is known as Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib. Imagine that it is such a difficult terrain in the modern era and Guru Nanak arrived here about 500 years ago, without facilities.
The next destinations would be Kargil, Tiger Hill, Drass, Amarnath boot camp in Sonamarg.
The bicycle guys would need to stop for a night in Kargil. We camped outside the city of Kargil. This highway was the target of Pakistani invaders during the Kargil war. Men with four wheels can stay for one night in Kargil. Say that you cannot reach Srinagar in a single day from Leh.
The Kashmir valley is lush green and divinely beautiful. It has a totally different culture from the Ladakh region. Try to communicate with the residents of the Drass region and you will hear the surprising stories of the Kargil war.
When you arrive in SriNagar, rest at night and explore the beauty of Lake Dal. You can go from Srinagar to Jammu, Pathankot and, finally, Chandigarh.
I tried to cover as much as I can. Rest if any reader wishes to explore Ladakh this summer, your sincerely would be happy to advise you.
- We shot the documentary of the entire organic trip. We are planning to launch it for the mountain documentary festival. The working title is “The Kicked”.
- The cost of this organic trip was INR 15000 /. Half the total amount is the patrol cost.