Leh Ladakh, the land of everything beautiful has to be on your bucket list. From foreigners to locals to bike riders, everyone flock around to see this destination. Come on, who would not?
From landscapes straight out of a wallpaper to the sweetest locals greeting you to cute cafes to natural detox, everything is a paradise.
Please refer to the blog “Tips for Ladakh” so you know all of it, things to taken care of, things to carry.
Travelling to Leh:
1. We took a direct flight from Mumbai to Leh and then headed by cab to the hotel.
2. You could also take the road journey from Manali to Leh which is very scenic, however the roads can be rocky and steep.
3. You can take a bike ride like many do.
4. You could also take the road journey from Leh.
Time to Visit:
June – August
Kindly research well before freezing onto one. The wifi is a problem everywhere. Dragon Hotel is supposedly the best hotel, Also check the proximity from various locations like market, etc. We stayed at the Snow Lion which was a very basic hotel. The staff is sweet but the food is beyond average. Even the rooms are very okayish. I would recommend other hotels.
Budget: (Solo traveler will be expensive as your travelling cost will increase).
1. You can easily get a hotel for Rs2000-2500 a night, one of the basic ones.
2. If you are four people, travelling also becomes cheaper with the cost being shared. Travelling will account for your maximum cost. Please bargain / crosscheck before freezing onto your vehicle. The local market has many cab centers.
3. Food is reasonable.
4. I cannot really mention the exact cost as it depends on how many kms, where you all stay, what deals you all get.
Please rest and acclimatize well, do not stress yourself. Keep checking your oxygen levels often and drink fluids and keep eating nuts.
Duration for the trip:
So as you all know I did a pretty short trip of 5 days (excluding the day of rest) but people say you can easily do a 10-14 days trip depending on your interests.
My visit to Ladakh was a more of a cultural one this time than the scenic one. I would highly recommend the later. I visited almost 5-7 monasteries. However if you are like me, I would say visiting 2-3 are more than good. I am not much inclined towards the same. However if you love culture and history then you definitely should.
We attended the Naropa Festival (a cultural festival) and then headed to Stakna Monastery. It is beautiful for the view that it has to offer.
We visited the Hemis Museum. It had lot of artefacts. If you are a fan of culture then go for it. There is a nice café besides Hemis museum serving good hot food.
Then we headed to the Live to Love animal rescue but I found it very depressing to see animals in that state as many of them were ill.
We visited the famous Rancho school, whose name was changed after the movie of 3 idiots. (You can absolutely give it a miss).
We headed to Shey Palace. The view the place has to offer is a lot like Switzerland. It is so beautiful.
We headed to Pangong Tso , It is a beautiful lake which has shades of blue.
Please note it is rough 5 hour drive from Leh, we left early morning. We also stopped at Changla where we shivered to death as it was so cold.
We did a day trip to Pangong as it gets really cold in the night and acclimatization often gets an issue since we were travelling in September end.
But many people stay for one night at Pangong and then head to Nubra Valley as they come on the way and you can save onto the cost as well.
Pangong has tents to stay. Also one to two hotels are present. Kindly book in advance for the same. Secondly, if you are going on a day trip, there are local shacks where you can get maggi, thukpa, water,etc.
So you can do a 3 day trip of this. I missed Nubra Valley but it is a scintillating sand dessert. The oyo room hotel here is apparently great to stay.
#TGJTIPS : you do need a permit for pangong which will be for around Rs600. 24 hours are needed for the same, so plan accordingly.
We covered the local stuff.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – It is a very peaceful feeling going here as the same is maintained by the Army regime. Also the Chai is really nice. Have the langar if you reach on time.
Sangam Point – We headed to Sangam where the Zanskar river and Indus meet, both having different colors.
Alchi Village – It is a little village having some artefacts. It shuts by 3.30pm so please reach on time. It is again more on the cultural side.
Bazgoo – It is yet another monastery but the most beautiful part is the view that this place has to offer. I didn’t go much inside the monastery but just sat by the steps and breadth amidst the gorgeous view of the trees and mountain. The sunset is spectacular from here.
Please avoid this. I am only mentioning this as you also know what not do. We drove for five hours and headed to Aryan Village where pregnancy tourism was once promoted. It was a disappointment as there were barely any locals. Also I did not found them something different. You should go only if you are really inclined towards the history or knowing the cultural aspect.
Next we headed to the Lama Yuru Monastery. There is a basic restaurant outside but I found the food very ok. Also the Monastery is beautiful but to be really honest, I had seen many and did not wish to see more.
So it really depends on your interest.
Other things to do in Leh (I did not do them due to short of time but you could, I have curated the same after research so it is all for you at one place itself)
1. Shanti Stupa – The sunset is spectacular from here. Also the night lighting is quiet a scene.
2. Leh Palace – I had enough history for the visit
3. Tso Moriri – It is again a beautiful lake but extremely cold. So kindly check before you get there
4. Khardungla Pass
5. Kargil – This one is a bit far but absolutely a thrill in itself. Also sometimes, you do need permission so kindly enquire before you go.
6. Camping in Ladakh –
7. Zanskar Valley – It is sandwiched between the Himalayan ranges and zanskar valley and is beautifully isolated.
8. Hemis National Park – It is not much known as barely you get to spot anything.
9. Tso Kar Lake – It is a great White lake
10. Trekking – You can either do the Chhadar trek or even trek to Markha valley. Kindly note your health and agility before doing this.
11. Backpacking – Go minimal and go adventurous!
12. Cycling – You can rent a cycle at the shop in markets (just ask locals around) and go riding.
Hall of fame can be absolutely given a miss. There are many monasteries as well. Also the snow leopard safari can be given a miss
Places to Eat:
1. The German Bakery Gazebo is absolutely fabulous with the choice of yalk pizza .
2. Brazil Café offers a stunning view of the local Leh market as a whole and has great coffees and vegan cakes.
3. Metta Café – Another little café in the lanes of Leh market, the pancakes here with apricot sauce is so good.
4. Himalayan Café is a fine dining to say considering the Leh market, it has a lot of Asian cuisine. It is on the expensive side to say around 1200Rs for two.5. Sorriso – If you are craving for pizzas then you should definitely stop here to have a bite. Pretty good pizzas for Leh.
6. Wanderers Terrace – This place is so beautiful in its way and has a view of the Leh palace.
7. Rajus Dhabha , Khaltsi – If you are on the way to Lama Yuru, then you can definitely head here at Khatski. It is so good with some amazing parathas and chole samosa.
8. Alchi Village has some fabulous restaurants. We stopped at Zimshkhang restaurant. The crepe what they call pancake was also so delicious.
9. There are many local hidden gems which you can just walk in and explore like their traditional roti in the lanes of market.
Food as a whole is pretty reasonable when it comes to comparison with Bombay.
Alcohol : The local Alcohol Chhand is pretty well known.
#TGJTIPS: Usually places to see shut by 6pm. Kindly check the same before visiting. Also due to occasions, they might be shut. Also some monasteries and places do have entry fee for around Rs30-100 depending. The same is higher for foreign tourists.
#TGJTIPS: Please carry water while you are travelling. Many monasteries have steps to climb and being on a high altitude will leave you breathless. Carry something to munch on too as many off beat locations would not have anything to eat
I am just happy I ticked off Ladakh from my bucket list. Hopefully will be heading back soon. Afterall who doesn’t want to head back in the lap of lature?
Also do read the tips for Ladakh blog so it becomes extremely easy. More than anything, do let us know how you all find the blog by likes, comments