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Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't

  

This list will show you what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do, when in the magical depths of the Ladakh region. Once you make a checklist out of this during the planning, you won't need to worry about anything about your trip to Leh Ladakh.

Getting over the altitude!

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-1 We can't stress enough on this. Settled in the Zanskar valley, the location of Leh is the ultimate guide to beauty. Your arrival in Leh is marked by acute mountain sickness. The natural beauty has been preserved due to minimal human interference. Which is because it's hard to undergo industrialization at such a high altitude.

This altitude is what makes the natives quite tough, and the hurdle that you face on reaching here. So, keep in mind, acclimatisation itself takes a few days once you reach Leh (depends on person to person). So relax and don't exert yourself too much on Day 1. And most importantly, avoid smoking and drinking and stay hydrated all the times.

Getting cold feet?

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-2 I meant literally. You should be well aware of the temperature an average Ladakhi Lama faces. The region of Leh experiences a cold desert-like climate, which requires you to take care of a few things before you step out of the warm and comfort of your hotel room.

1. The sunlight can get a little harsh, especially during the summers. So carry sunscreen (and cold cream(s) ) and moisturisers at all points of time, since dryness and UV ray exposure are both pretty common.

2. Do not forget a handy pair of sunglasses either (for both the sun and the snow blindness).

3. The winters are even worse, with the temperatures dropping below zero, generally during the nights. Thus, when your mom tells you to carry your coat this time, you follow without question, and always keep an extra layer(s) of clothing handy.

4. Due to climate, the travellers who simply want an escape from the summer heat, take a tour of Leh route and Ladakh from March to September. While those who wish to the ice age experience, go with the colder months of October to November, or December to March for the snow.

Licenses and Permits

1. Ladakh Inner Line Permits (ILP) is needed by Indian Nationals (other than Jammu & Kashmir residents and children below the age of 12 years) and Ladakh Protected Area Permits (PAP) is for the foreigners.

2. Inner Line Permits and Protected Area Permits can be obtained through both online as well as offline mode. The permits can be online applied & obtained through official website of LAHDC Leh

3. To obtain the ILP, you will be needing a valid photo ID (PAN card is not valid). Also, an original and self-attested or attested photocopies of Proof of Nationality (Passport, Voters ID etc.)

4. To get these permits, you need to pay an environment fee of Rs 400 per person and Inner Line Permit fee of Rs 20 per day per person.

5. The Inner Line Permit is valid for a period of 3 weeks for Indians, and 1 week for foreigners.

6. The regions which require ILP in Leh-Ladakh are: Chusul, Dah, Digger La, Hanle, Hanu Villages, Khardung La, Loma Bend, Mahe, Man, Merak, Nubra Valley, Nyoma, Pangong Tso, Tsaga, Tso Moriri, Turtuk, etc.

7. Make photocopies of your permits as you'll have to show or submit these at various checkpoints.

8. If your permit is included in the package cost, then you need not worry about it. Our ground handler will arrange the same. You just need to carry original valid I'd proofs of all the travelers during the trip.

Clothes and Basic Necessities You'll Need

If you're planning on travelling to Leh Ladakh around June - August, then keeping light woollens would do. The weather is usually pleasant at that time. However, if your trip is scheduled for some time in March - May or September - October, only keep proper woollen clothes. You're supposed to keep yourself always warm during these months.

Things you ''MUST'' carry-

- Sunscreen / Lip Balm / Moisturiser / Cold Cream

- 2-3 pairs of woolen socks. Cold enters from the feet so socks will work just perfectly.

- Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the direct reflection of snow (can make your eyes watery)

- Your warmest jacket shouldn't be left behind because the weather of Ladakh can on some days (nights, I mean), even go down to zero.

Those boots are made for hiking!

The terrain of Leh has been attracting hikers and trekkers to conquer its lands. The area has various routes for both beginners and the advanced. However, there is a whole host of useful items you need to gather before you take the journey, a mistake which many make.

Firstly, maps. You can check out several maps online, the paid ones being more detailed than the free. You can also buy good quality tourist-oriented route maps from Ladakh Book Shop above the SBI A.T.M. in Leh (cost about 200 to 1000 bucks, with increasing quality).

Next, if you are planning to visit the areas near Nubra Valley, Pangong or Tso Moriri, you need an inner line permit, which is easily available with Shoes on Loose representative.

To climb the Stok Kangri, you need one from the Indian Mountaineering Foundations (IMF) office near Chansa Road in Leh, for about 2000 bucks.

Trekking in the Hemis National Park requires a permit from the Dhaba below the Rumbak Village (costing 20 bucks for Indian and 100 bucks for foreigners). To avoid the snowfall, it is recommended that you visit the region during July and August.

Another essential thing to keep in mind is that many travellers choose the options of trekking on horseback since the packs including the tents can be immensely heavy. Again, to avail of any such plan, talk to the representative.

A tiny tip for those who are planning to go to the snow infested areas: stay warm. And this doesn't just include clothing. Always carry a pack of dry fruits (raisins do wonders) and perhaps even a thermos with a hot beverage.

Ladakh is a place where you can have the adventure of your life. And if you're into trekking then here are the 11 best treks of Ladakh.

Medication

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-3 Ladakh doesn’t require any specific shots or vaccinations, but it is still recommended to get your family doctor’s approval since altitude sickness is a common problem.

Your luggage must contain the essential medications – cough, cold, fever, etc., with extra stress on those pertaining to bowel regulation indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation. It is because most of you will travel via a plane, and it will take your body a while to get acclimatised to the climate, and thus will end up with an upset stomach soon enough if you don’t take care.

Don’t gouge yourself during the initial few meals. Excessive exertion can sometimes cause light-headedness, headache and nausea, since your lungs aren’t up to speeds with the rest of your body. So it will take a while (sometimes two days) to expect normalcy. Carry medication like Diamox to prevent the AMS. Note that before taking any medication, consult a doctor about the possible side effects or allergies. Any medical tip that we give is statistically working, and may not suit everyone. So, do take the precautionary check. We are not responsible for any adverse impact of any medical drug. We also discourage the recreational ones (ahem) since they are banned by the government.

Visit the Monasteries and Valleys!

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-4

Those who are unaware of the history of Ladakh should know that it was ruled by several dynasties. Do visit these Ladakh monasteries. These monasteries are home to Buddhists, monks and preachers. You'll be able to find stunning monasteries out of which some will be inhabited while the others will be in ruins. Some of the famous ones are- Hemis Monastery, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Shanti Stupa etc. Thiksey Monastery happens to be the largest monastery in Central Ladakh district.

Don't miss out on the valleys, situated in Ladakh. Just a drive away, the Nubra valley should be visited sometime before the sunset because the view is simply breathtaking there. If you're game for trekking, you can go to the Markha Valley which happens to be one of the most famous valleys of Ladakh because of it's villages, monasteries, and view.

You must also visit Khardung la pass, Chang La, Tanglang la pass, for the ultimate experience of the bike trip. Remember, there is a number of check posts on the route and you have all the documents as the rules here are pretty strict. Also, you need to carry petrol with you in cans, as the number of petrol pumps in the area is very low.

You must also put Confluence Point and Pangong Lake on your must visits in Ladakh.

Click here to read about the famous monasteries in Ladakh.

Connectivity

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-5 BSNL postpaid, Airtel and Jio (this year onward) works in Leh. The other operators do not work in this region.

Network is available in Leh main city, some parts of Nubra valley and the areas around. However, there are still many regions where you don't have network access including Pangong. So inform your parents / well-wishers beforehand and enjoy the beauty of nature without worrying about getting lost.

You can also purchase temporary SIM card from Leh market by providing valid ID proof.

BSNL Mobile Phone Customer Care outlet (Ph: +91-9419024365).

Miscellenaeous

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-6 Always carry multiple documents about your identity, along with several copies, for the area is heavily infested with the military. Occasionally, you might be asked for a minute verification, for security purposes. Otherwise, you’ll be subjected to a lengthy confirmation process that will eat up your travel time. And of course, possession of all the permits mentioned above (regarding the trekking) requires these documents. Like any other trip, always carry a portable set of essential toiletries.

Although this would be your primary concern both consciously and subconsciously, charge all your gadgets beforehand, and carry extra battery packs and memory cards for your camera. Photographer’s Regret is something we’d rather not let you have on your trip.

Its preferable to carry cash in Ladakh. Although Leh DOES have some ATM machines, they are not available at convenient locations. So you would do well to carry some in-hand liquid money. Also, don't rely on credit cards - they may or may not work when required. Before clicking photographs at any of the places you visit, make sure that you have the permission to do so. You do not want to violate any rules. Trust us on this. Unless you’re okay with leaving the venue with a blank film.

Food & Water

Leh Ladakh Travel Guide - Do's and Don't-7 The local cuisines in Leh city are a perfect balance of familiar and exotic, for both meat takers and vegetarians. However, don’t expect your average restaurant/coffee shop chain to have an outlet here. In fact, in some areas, you might not even find exclusive vegetarian food. So be prepared for such circumstances (Maggi is legal again after all).

Water is your friend, always. With direct sunlight looming above you, dehydration isn't a rare occurrence. So always stock up on potable water, since the local sources might offer water unfit for drinking. Read about famous restaurants in Leh.

Carrying electrolyte (like glucose sachets), chocolates and biscuits also helps, since they provide instant energy. Note to self: Buy apricots. Locally grown and use in all sorts of derivative dishes, such as jam. The foodie in you will want this as an edible souvenir, even as the magpie in you likes the handicrafts.

Keep the above mentioned points in mind while traveling to Leh and we assure you'll get the experience of a lifetime on your Hassle-Free Journey!
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