Traveling- It leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller.
This is the line that first comes to your mind when you visit Ladakh, a city in the state of Jammu & Kashmir; a city so beautiful and mesmerizing that it has been correctly given the title of “A Paradise for Travelers”.
Riding Royal Enfield in between the aesthetic valleys on the clean and plain stretch of roads with a sense of happy smell in the atmosphere, while the cool breeze passes through- kissing away your cheeks, is one of the best experiences one can have in his entire lifetime.
Are you a backpacker? On a trip with family? Want to get away from all the noise and city crowd? Looking for some spiritual freedom? Want to explore some different cultures? Well maybe no one ever told you, but Leh-Ladakh is among the very few places in the world which can offer you all of these. Believe it or not, Leh-Ladakh is not only meant for adventure enthusiasts but is also an ideal place for the nature lovers.
Here is a guide that will help you to plan your trip better; firstly you need to select the best time to visit Leh Ladakh, it is believed that these places are only a summer place, and is completed isolated during winters, this is true to an extent because during winters there is heavy snowfall.
Best Season : The perfect season to travel to Ladakh is summer which starts from May and continues till September. Due to the famous Ladakhi festivals - most of the tourist plan their trip in winters.
Best time to visit Ladakh : the ideal time to visit Ladakh would be anytime between the months of April to September. However, it also depends on other factors like mode of traveling, budget to be spent, and if there is anything particular that you wish to see. Best season to visit Ladakh : Autumn is the best season in which you can visit Ladakh. The beauty of Ladakh is doubled during this fall season as the city turns colourful.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh on bike: There is no doubt that a bike trip is much more fun than a trip on a car, so if you are a thrill lover and are planning to go on this astounding trip on the bike, the best time to visit would be July and September. August will treat you with heavy rainfall so it is not a good idea to take your bikes out. Anytime before July could be a punishment as the road conditions would not be ideal for a bike ride.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh by road : There are two options of a road trip to Leh Ladakh, first being the Srinagar to Leh highway, the second is Manali to Ladakh highway. You must choose a time when both these highways are open, anytime from mid-June to mid-September would be perfect for a road trip.
Once you have finally decided when to go for the trip, here are the many things that you can do once you reach your destination.
Accommodation : As soon as you reach your destination, the first thing you will need is an accommodation, you will rarely find luxury hotels in Ladakh due to the conditions of that region, and however, there are standard places where you can find basic facilities such as running hot water and a western toilet. If you are not convinced with these options, you can choose to stay in Grand Dragon which is the only luxury hotel in Leh.
Medicines : If you suffer from mountain sickness - it’s always better to carry Diamox or Asprin or Disprin. Basic medines for headache, upset stomach, fever, cold and cough is a must to carry for any unforseen situation.
ATM : You can find several ATMs in the Leh market, including two SBI (State Bank of India), which is located on the crossroad where the Tibetan refugee camp is. Other ATM’s like J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) Bank ATM, and a PNB (Punjab National Bank) ATM can also be found. However, there are no ATMs in Nubra and towards Pangong and Tso Moriri. Do not rely on credit cards as it is may or may not be accepted in Leh. It is always better to carry enough cash as a measure of safety. There is no ATM after Manali and on Srinagar route, the only one available is at Kargil. There are no ATMs anywhere in Ladakh except for the ones in Leh.
Police Stations : You can also connect to the police in case of any unexpected circumstances or any kind of difficulties during your journey. You can contact the two police stations - Nubra Police Station in Nubra Valley and Nyoma Police Station in Nyoma.
Permit & Passport : The tourists do not require permit for travelling to Leh except for the foreigners and international tourists. However, for those travelling by road - registration is needed which can be done at Drass, Rumtse and Sarchu.
In order to visit the restricted area - the tourists are required to obtain a Protect Area Permit. It includes the area like Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, Pangong Tso Lake, Dhahanu and Nubra Valley. It is also advisable to carry six copies of the permit as these are required to be submitted at the checking points.
Languages Spoken : The main language spoken in Ladakh region is Boti. However, other languages that are spoken in this region include Changshat, Balti, Brokshat and Shina. Most of the schools, offices and restaurants also use English while conversating.
Festival and Culture : If you want to get a glimpse of the culture of Ladakh the best time to visit is during the festivities. If you have only heard that Ladakh is all about brown mountains, blue skies, and white snow, you have heard only half the part, because once you witness the festivals of Ladakh you will see how colourful life can get! Here are a few festivals that are bound to leave you speechless
The Losar Festival - This is one of the most important festivals celebrated in Ladakh, it is a festival full of merriment and color as the good and the evil present a stage fight and there are people making alluring performance dressed in colourful clothes. People from all age group and tribes from all across Ladakh take part in the Losar Festival.
The Ladakh Festival - As the name suggests, this is the festival that is popular worldwide and is celebrated in a large manner in Ladakh. If you want to experience the vivid and vast cultural diversity of Ladakh attending this festival can be the best idea. Also, you can feed your camera with some absolutely delightful images.
The Hemis Festival - This is a two days festival which marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The Hemis Monastery is decorated beautifully and the natives of Ladakh belonging to different tribes come together to showcase their tradition and handicrafts. The lamas of the Monastery come together and dance in joy, and it is during this time that the cold desert comes to life!
Attractions : There are a lot of places in Leh Ladakh that can offer great sightseeing and experience:
Pangong Lake : situated at an altitude of 4,350m above sea level and a 5-6 hour drive away from Ladakh, it leaves all its visitors spellbound, enchanted, and in nothing but the awe of its sheer magnificence and sparkling color. The natural setting of this place also invites people for a quaint little overnight camping adventure.
Shanti Stupa : perched at an altitude of 4,267m, it is one of the most magnificent Tibetan Structures. The beauty and the architecture of this Stupa are insanely mesmerizing. This Stupa is dedicated to Buddhism, but people from all cultures visit this place.
Leh Palace : this palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th Century. The palace is one of the tallest buildings of its time with nine stories in all. The top floors were used to accommodate the royal family and the floors at the bottom levels were used as stables and storerooms. Though in ruins now, it still continues to attract a great number of tourists.
Khardung La Pass : one of the highest motor able roads in the world and the highest motor able road in Asia, Khardung La Pass is the gateway to Nubra Valley. Tourists can take a halt at this point and take a yak ride but should be careful not to overexert themselves due to low oxygen levels in this region.
Documents to Carry
At least one government issued identity card like driver’s license, voter ID, Passport or Aadhar Card.
Print out of your itinerary or Flight ticketsHotel reservation slips if booked in advanceMedical insurance if anyMultiple copies of your Inner line permit once you have procured it in LehPassport size photograph
Things to Carry
Carry Glucose, choclates, Nuts and other stuff which u want to carry.
Tooth brush/ Tooth paste
Wet tissue/Dry tissue (NOTE: Carry lots of tissue paper as tissues are expensive in leh)
Moisturizer / Comb
Light trouser/ t-shirt
Some other important stuff one should carry :
Carry your ID-card and some photocopies of itMedical Insurance (if any)Map of LadhakhImportant ContactsChargers or power bank for your phoneExtra battery for your camera.Carry enough memory cards for your camera
Do you know where to find all the elements of nature served to you in a platter? Yes, Leh-Ladakh it is! A cold desert by nature, one can get to see all the three beauties of nature- a mountain, a river and a desert, all together in one place. It has something to offer for just about any type of soul. Traveling to Leh Ladakh is one of the most cherished dreams of the majority of the population all around the world.