One of the most visited destinations in India, located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is globally renowned as a ‘Cold Desert’ and known for its Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The region shares its international boundary with Tibet and has a huge influence of Tibetan culture on its lifestyle. Summers are the perfect season to travel to Ladakh. The summer season starts from May and continues till September. However, most of tourist plan their trips in winters because most of Ladakhi festivals take place at this time. It is generally a barren land and has a low atmospheric pressure. Owing to its rigid climatic conditions and other features, tourists are required to certain necessary precautions during their Leh Ladakh tour.
Read the tips and suggestions mentioned below.
The altitudes at Ladakh range from 9000ft at Kargil to 25,170ft at Saser Kangri, at the Karakoram Range. It should be perfectly clear that it’s a land of contrasts. Summers here are quite comfortable as compared to the winters, which can be quite harsh. During winters, the temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees in Leh and Kargil, and minus 60 degrees in Drass. Between the months of December to February, this region experiences subzero temperatures. However, the intensity of the sun here is greater as compared to the lower altitudes, due to the thin air.
2. Carry a good amount of cash with you
Most restaurants and shops in Ladakh don’t accept credit or debit cards, so it is safe to carry a large amount of cash with you. If you are travelling with a large group, divide the possible expenses between them and ask them to keep a set amount in their bags. The Leh market has several ATMs where you can remove cash including Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and State Bank of India ATMs.
If you want to save money during your Leh Ladakh trip, travel to Ladakh before the official season. Food and other costs are lower. Some restaurants charge a premium for simple things, so ask the cost before you order food.
3. Prepare a special medical kit for Ladakh
Keep your medical kit simple, so it isn’t too heavy to carry about. Medicines and other things you should include in it are Iodex, Savlon or Dettol, headache medicine, body pain medicine, nausea medicine, Disprin, medicine to help you breathe better, band-aids, imodium, Diamox, and stomach pain medicine.
4. Phone / Internet Services
When it comes to mobile networks, the best option is to go for a post-paid BSNL mobile connection from any mobile shop, as this is the only mobile connection which will work in Ladakh. In the city of Leh, as well as the areas surrounding it, you will enjoy full connectivity.
For the Manali Leh highway however, your network will disappear as soon as you begin descending on the other side of Rohtang Pass. For the Srinagar Leh highway, your connectivity will completely disappear after leaving Srinagar and will remain that way until you reach Leh. For these reasons, it’s advisable to keep a copy of emergency numbers with each person on your team. If you are travelling with family, ensure that every person’s family knows the contact number of at least one other person in case of an emergency.
The peak summer months from mid-June to September have a pleasant temperature and therefore single T-shirts or shirts can do. In winters (from November to February), one needs heavy woolen clothes and warm jackets. However, in most parts of the Leh- Ladakh region, there is a drastic fluctuation in the daily temperature. Therefore, tourists should carry woolen clothes and sweaters while packing their bags for the trip.
6. Carry photocopies of your identification documents
If you are not an Indian citizen, carry photocopies of your passport and the permit you received from the government to travel to Ladakh. If you are in Indian citizen, carry photocopies of your passport, PAN card, AADHAR card, and voter id, if you have one. For bikers, there are a few more documents including vehicle registration papers, vehicle insurance, PUC, and driving license.
7. Stays and Food
The majority of the hotels here are family run establishments and offer personalized services. Some of the best luxury hotels which one can find here are Hotel Charu Palace Leh and Grand Dragon. The deluxe hotels which promise comfortable and luxurious stays are Hotel Shangrila and Spik n Span. Standard hotels include Hotel Asia and Hotel Dreamland, among others.
Opting for homestays is a great way of getting acquainted with the Ladakhi people and their incredible hospitality.
8. Languages Spoken
The main language spoken in Ladakh region is Boti. Other languages spoken in this region include Brokshat, Changshat, Balti and Shina. Use of English and Hindi languages can be seen in schools, offices and restaurants.
9. Popular Attractions
Leh city, Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, Zanskar Valley, Khardung La Pass, Nubra Valley, Hemis National Park, Pathar Sahib, Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri Lake, Hemis Monastery and Village, Shanti Stupa, etc.
10. Popular Activities
Ladakh is an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts. You can go for trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting etc. You will also try traditional sports such as polo and archery, and camel safaris across the countryside.