Ladakh is a wonderland that blends adventure, cultural charm, peace and panoramas altogether. It is inherently present the bucket list of every ardent traveler who wants to experience mountains soaking the clouds touching the azure sky and creating a heavenly aura! Thus, here is a complete guide about a trip to Leh Ladakh to help you plan your trip while keeping in mind all the essentials for your backpack so that to ensure that you have an amazing time in Ladakh!
How to Reach Ladakh
There are many ways through which you can plan your Ladakh visit either by road, air or bus transports. While the road networks are closed by the extreme winter, you can prefer to fly by air to Ladakh if you want to experience the chilly winters and snow wonderland that it turns into. So let’s take a brief look at the various ways via which you can reach Ladakh.
Traveling to Ladakh by road is actually the best way because you will get to soak in the lovely landscapes and the valleys. There are two main routes for reaching Ladakh by road: Srinagar to Leh and Manali to Leh.
Srinagar to Leh:
This route is approximately 434 km and you can go through it only from early June to November. Further, you can opt to hire a car or even a bike to travel through this route which also goes via Zojila Pass. J&K State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) buses are also accessible from Srinagar to Leh and private bus services are another option to reach Leh via this route.
Manali to Leh
This 473 km long route is opened from mid-June to early October and there are several passes that are included in Manali to Leh route. Even the highest motorable road, Taglang La also comes in this route. You may require to stay in between while traveling, so you can camp at Sarchu or Pang for a night. Moreover, hiring a car is always a good option and for traveling by bus, there are bus services availed by Himachal Pradesh Tourism as well as J&K State Road Tourism Corporation (J&KSRTC).
Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the airport that links flights from Srinagar, Jammu and Delhi. The flights are decided as per the weather so traveling in winter can be risky. Moreover, Air India, Jet Airways and Go Air have their regular flights from the mentioned cities to Leh so you can plan accordingly.
What to pack- The essentials
For ensuring a safe and happy journey to Ladakh, it is significant that you carry all the key essentials along to take care of several issues from High altitude sickness to interline permits. Thus here is a complete list for essentials that you must pack to have a great time in Leh Ladakh.
- Extra jackets, pullovers and a pair of hand gloves.
- A sleeping bag and a pair of sleeper
- A camera, charger, power bank and other cell-phone related essentials.
- Waterproof shoes that are important for trekking as well as for bikers because there are various water streams that you will encounter during your ride to Ladakh.
- Medicines like Avomine, Dexamethasone, Diamox and Acetazolamide, and similar medicines prescribed by your doctor for Acute Mountain Sickness.
- Extra soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, sunscreens, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. in toiletries
- Eatables like dry fruits, biscuits, and other snacks along with plenty of water.
- A pair of raincoats
- Waterproof gloves
- Waterproof and good-quality boots
- Engine oil along with extra tool puncture kit for the bike as well as other requirements that can come handy like a spare tube, clutch wire, chain lock, etc.
Where to Stay
Accommodation is readily available on both the routes and the various places in Ladakh. You can go from homestays to live with the locals and you can also stay in various hotels in Leh and other places in Ladakh. Also, for those interested in camping, there are camps in and around Ladakh and you can try self-camping by looking for a good camping site and carry all the camping essentials along as well. But for camps availing facilities, make sure you pre-book before visiting Ladakh so as to avoid any issues.
Planning a bike trip to Ladakh
Traveling to Ladakh on your bike alone or with your buddies is a special dream of every bike rider. The roads leading towards Ladakh are challenging yet filled with an adventure that will give you a thrilling travel experience of a lifetime. But there are a lot of things that you have to keep in mind if you are planning a bike trip to Ladakh and here is a list of all those things to make sure you have a lovely as well as safe bike trip.
Ideal months for a bike trip to Leh Ladakh
June to September are the best months when you can explore Ladakh on your bike. Other than these months, the road networks might be closed during winters while roads can be slippery in monsoons so you have to ensure that you plan your bike trip during the mentioned months.
Where can you rent a bike?
Delhi and Manali both have plenty of options for bike rental services. In Delhi, Bike rental services are availed in Karol Bagh with starting prices of INR 800 per day while in Manali you can rent a bike for INR 1000- INR 1800. Also, you will be required to provide your ID proofs as well as a security deposit for renting a bike.
What’s the best route for a bike trip?
Both the routes, i.e. Srinagar to Leh and Manali to Leh, are quite different and have a uniquely amazing experience waiting for travelers. Srinagar to Leh route doesn’t overlap while when traveling via Manali to Leh route, you have the chance to witness the best views of Ladakh and the adventurous roads are like icing on the cake!
- Other things to keep in mind
- Make sure to keep an extra supply of petrol along as you will be covering a long distance and you might not find petrol pumps in emergencies.
- Take a first aid kit in case you need it.
- Put a tool puncture kit and other extra bike tools.
Acclimatizing with Ladakh’s High altitude
Acclimatization is another significant thing to be ensured before planning your trip to Ladakh. Firstly get a proper check-up with your doctor and take his/her advice on whether you can pursue your journey to Ladakh or not. Further, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is also an important issue because Ladakh is located at a tremendous altitude that can lead to dizziness, as well as symptoms of AMS affecting your body. The symptoms of AMS can be many, namely Fatigue, Stomach illness, Dizziness and nausea. AMS is mainly caused by the high altitude which results in a lack of oxygen. So below is a list of prescribed medicines that you must carry with yourself to take care of AMS but contact your doctor regarding your Ladakh trip and take their advice as well.
Medicines for AMS:
Diamond, Aspirin/Disprin, Dexamethasone, and Oxygen Cylinders.
Since April 2017, Inner Line Permits have been made mandatory for both Indian and International travelers to visit some of the specified areas in Ladakh. Now you can apply for Inner Line Permits online rather than standing in long queues for hours. These inner line permits are only required for places like Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Khardung La, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Manu, Merak, Loma Bend, Nyoma, Chusu, Hanle, amongst various others. For applying online, you have to first visit http://lahdclehpermit.in/ and then apply for a permit after filling all your details including your ID proofs, details about the journey, etc. Then, in the end, you have to take the printout of the application and submit it along with the payment to TIC Office, Leh.
The Inner Line Permit then received will be valid only for the period of three weeks for domestic travelers and only 1 week for international travelers. Also, the payment fee per person consists of INR 400 as an environmental fee plus INR 20 per day which is the inner line fee.
Hence, these are all the key essentials that you have to keep in mind while planning a trip to Ladakh. From carrying the important things to Inner Line Permits, you need to ensure that you have taken care of everything before heading to Ladakh. Have a safe and happy journey to the alluring and charming vistas of Leh Ladakh! Bon Voyage!