The Ladakh Escapade!

Merriam Webster defines Bucket-list as ‘A list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying’. And those of us who plan the itinerary of Ladakh, will also add “or die trying”. When a bunch of friends sits to plan a vacation, nothing but wild plots are hatched. As enticing as Ladakh is, there wasn’t a doubt that this was going to be a rough one.

After a lot of R&D, interrogation and risk analysis, we gathered the rest of the troupe for a debriefing of what was going to be the most epic vacation of our lives.

Starting on the 8th of June our journey began with much enthusiasm and anxiety about what awaited us. We’d heard so much about this trip from so many. Was it all exaggerated? Is it as risky as they say? Will we be able to deal with the low oxygen situation and many more questions were traversing through our minds, as we drifted through the clouds. But all it took was one swift turn by the pilot and the view of the valleys all over Srinagar vaporized all questions in our heads and we were left awestruck. And that was just the beginning!

I’ve been writing and re-writing this one post for days now, but a place as scintillating as Ladakh cannot be described in mere words nor presented on a screen. I’m lost in this newfangled situation that has left me searching for words! So here is a timeline of events spanning over 11 days commencing at Srinagar-The picturesque summer capital of J&K and concluding at Manali- The Switzerland of India. More detailed articles on each of these places will follow, so stay with me 🙂

leh
Srinagar – Leh – Manali: Covering a distance of approximately 1760 KM!

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Trivia

Ladakh is crossed by 4 mountain ranges: Great Himalaya, Zanskar, Ladakh, and the Karakoram. The altitude ranges between 9000ft-20000ft above sea level. There are 3 main rivers native to this region i.e., The Indus, Shyok, and Zanskar. Ladakh is also home to many wild animals including the Royal Ibex, Snow Leopard, Marmot etc. Ladakh is home to many wonders too like,

  • World’s Highest Motorable Roads (Umling La)
  • World’s Highest Terrestrial Research Centre (Chang-La)
  • World’s Highest Battleground (Siachen Glacier)
  • World’s Second Coldest Inhabited place ( Dras)
  • One of the World’s most Treacherous Roads (Zojila)
  • Only place in the country to house Double Hump Camels (Nubra Valley)
  • Only place in the world where one can die either from a frostbite or a heat stroke
Must Do's
  • The legendary bike ride
  • Go on at least one hike, even if it’s small
  • Try momos (Not like you’ll have an option not to)
  • Drink water from any natural stream ( If you find a filthy one to drink from I’m not to be held responsible)
  • Breathe as much fresh air before you return to the city
  • Keep drinking lots of water
  • Share this article all over the internet
Please Dont's
  • Engage in sudden or rapid movements like running uphill. You’ll find yourself gasping for breathe, unless your fitness is in the vicinity of Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness
  • Try precarious bike stunts while on the narrow valley roads
  • Write about your Leh experience to counter my experience
  • Get too drunk, because dehydration feels much worse up there
You Can Contact
  • Me! We’ve been lucky to get acquainted with some really nice people who ensured that our trip goes smoothly. Well, ensure is too strong a word, because one can never have a fully smooth vacation here. So I’m going to settle with “People who tried their best”
  • Please drop me a message/comment if you need any help with the itinerary or bikes or even a cab
The Ladakh Kit
Things Needed Priority Comments
Sunscreen (SPF 50+) Extremely High No amount of SPF can spare you from the tan, so embrace it with pride!
Thermals High Keep a min of 2 pairs if your trip is at least for a week
Rain Jacket High The rains can hamper your spirits if you’re not prepared.
Shades High These are very useful
Shoes (Preferably waterproof riding shoes) High It might rain, or you’d need to wade through streams on the bike and trust me you do not want to ride with wet feet
Socks (Many Pairs) High You’re obviously not going to wear shoes without socks, are you?
Moisturizer High Without this, you’ll end up looking like you’ve acquired the grey scale disease
Riding Gloves (Preferably waterproof ones) High Frozen hands are no fun
Jackets/Sweater High The quantity depends on your threshold for withstanding the chills
Medical Kit High Bandaids, antiseptic creams, travel sickness tablets, Altitude sickness tablets and any other generic drugs that you need. And I mean authorized ones only
Clothing ( Also includes Nightwear, Innerwear) High Of course, you need clothes! But you can decide what you want to wear. But mind the climatic conditions. Just wear comfortable clothing. You can look glam once you’re back.
Toilet Paper Low Most of the places (Including camps) have these, even if they don’t have water
BSNL/Airtel Post Paid Sims Low These are the only ones that work
Balaclava Medium Helps in protecting your face from the harsh sun and the chilly breeze
Wet Wipes Medium These are very useful in regions with a scarce supply of water
Cap Medium Good to have when you’re not wearing a helmet
Woolen socks and Gloves Medium These are really helpful in the night

Free Advice

  • The best season to visit is between End of May to End of June because the snow would have melted enough to make way for you but you still have snowfall and it’s not the monsoons yet. But it’s not too bad until the end of September
  • The camps in Nubra and Pangong start opening usually by April beginning, but the roads connecting Srinagar – Leh opens only Beginning or Mid May and the Manali – Leh opens to tourists in June
  • So if you’re planning a trip to Ladakh between October to March then you clearly haven’t read my blog correctly
  • Bike trips are the most recommended
  • However, cars are also available for those that aren’t comfortable on just two wheels
  • This place is not just for the young blood, families can also explore these regions
  • Be mindful of the perilous roads!

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15 thoughts on “The Ladakh Escapade!

Add yours

  1. Sajja I’m sure gonna keep this as a checklist when im planning for Ladakh! Next year probably 😀

    I loved it!

    Cheers
    Pari

    Like

  2. Superb article and makes the saner people also get the itch to travel there, even if one is at the stage where the bucket is being carried closer than the end of the list!!!

    Like

  3. Amazingly written and very informational ! I am for sure adding it to my list and not to “die-trying”. Keep writing more articles.

    Like

  4. Trying my best not to repeat my praises for your writing skills, but I can’t stop myself from saying how great and inspiring your articles are, and this particular article has ‘You’ written all over it. It’s so originally you, anyone who knows you, knows what I’m talking about. Thank you for letting us live through this beautiful adventurous journey of yours.

    Like

  5. Beautiful pics and interesting article. Adding to my long bucket list. Looking forward to more articles and PCs from your trip.

    Like

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