One of the most challenging yet adventurous treks in India, Chadar Trek in Leh is known for its thrilling experience. The Zanskar river freezes completely due to the sparse sunlight and dropping temperatures. The otherwise raging river appears like a white blanket of ice. Owing to this the trek is named ‘Chadar,’ which means blanket in the local language.
The entire trek is on the frozen river which usually takes eight nights and nine days to cover with the total distance of 75km. So, if you are planning to trek on Chadar, here is an ultimate Chadar trek travel checklist you can refer.
Reaching Leh for Chadar Trek
During winters, it is impossible to reach Leh via road; therefore, taking a flight is the best option. We recommend you to book the flight tickets in advance to get a reasonable expense.
Best Time for Chadar Trek
The best time to visit Chadar is from mid of January to the end of February. Trekking during this time will provide you with the breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Things you should carry for Chadar Trek
- Backpack (55-65 litre) with sturdy straps and supporting frame
- Trekking shoes
- Four pairs of track pants
- Four full sleeve cotton tees with collar
- Two full sleeve sweaters
- One fleece jacket
- One full sleeve thick jacket
- One pair of thermal inners
- Four pairs of sports socks
- Two pairs of woollen socks
- Woollen hand gloves and synthetic gloves (waterproof)
- Sunglasses—curved ones will cover your eyes well. (Don’t pack blue-tinted sunglasses, as those do not block the harmful UV rays)
- A woollen scarf or muffler
- A trekking pole is mandatory
- Light towel (should be thin, quick drying kind)
- Lip balm
- Cold cream and sunscreen lotion (SPF 40+)
- Trekking water bottle
- A plate, spoon and coffee mug
- LED torch with extra sets of cells (headlamps preferable)
- Personal toilet kit (minimal) and toilet paper
- First aid kit
- Avil 25mg
- Brufen 400
- Crepe bandage
- Gauze cloth
- Betadine cream
- Moov spray
- Memory cards
- Batteries (carry enough spare batteries)
- Portable chargers
- Extension cords
- While packing use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry a few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
- Alcohol is strictly prohibited on the trek.
- Leave your denim clothes behind (these are ill-suited for treks and add weight).
- Do not pack snacks, colas and personal food as these will only overburden your backpack.
- Do not carry any disposable plastic bottles and plastic wrapped/packaged items. (Do not bring any non-biodegradable material).
- After packing, weigh your gear. It should be in the range of seven to eight kg (keep it on the lighter side).
- Only carry things that are essential.
- To protect yourself from cold, layering clothes is the key. Two t-shirts worn one over the other will keep you warmer than a single t-shirt which is thick. If you are prone to cold, carry extra sweaters.
Ensure to carry the following documents:
- An identification card (driving license, voter ID card etc.) along with its photocopy.
- A passport size photo.
- A medical certificate.
- A disclaimer certificate.
- These documents are mandatory (without these you will not be allowed to trek).
Required medical fitness
- Minimum age: 18 years.
- Useful fitness tips: This trek requires you to be in your top physical condition before you begin trekking as you will experience intense cold. A fit body will manage the extreme conditions during the trek. You must be able to jog 4.5km in 30 minutes before beginning the trekking. Jogging makes your lungs stronger and enables them to function with less air for more exertion. It also helps the body to acclimate better to the bitter cold of the trek.
Mobile networks and connectivity in and around Leh
BSNL, MTNL and Airtel provide the best network connectivity (calls and data). Aircel provides a good network for making calls. Tourists using post-paid mobile connections of these operators can use mobile phones in the region.
Connectivity at different places
- Nubra Valley: Phone booths are available in Diskit. BSNL provides phone networks in Diskit, Hunder and Sumur area.
- Tso Moriri: No network connectivity is available in this area. However, there are mobile networks available in Chumathang (60km before Tso Moriri).
- Pangong Tso: No mobile connectivity is available near Pangong Tso. However, Tangste (15km towards Pangong) has a satellite phone booth. Here, the BSNL connectivity is weak.
- Zanskar: This area has mobile connectivity (BSNL) in some parts.
- Internet and email services are available only in Leh. Telephone, fax and post facilities are also available in Leh, Padum, Kargil and Nubra valley. The call rate ranges from two to five rupees per minute at the phone booths.
Not many places accept credit/debit cards, so it is advisable to carry cash with you. There are SBI/J&K/HDFC/PNB/AXIS banks’ ATMs available in Leh. However, due to the huge tourist movement in the season, they are usually jam-packed or out of order.
At various places you will have to stay at campsites, so you must carry your own tents, sleeping bags etc. Packaged food and water too would be needed at such places.
Inform your family members that there would be network interruptions in Ladakh—thus, you would be unable to communicate properly for a few days.
Do not forget to visit your doctor before going on this trek; especially, if you suffer from any heart-related problem or asthma.
Best cafes and restaurants in Leh
Leh offers an intriguing variety of cuisines that can be relished at various places. Some of the famous cafes and restaurants of Leh are:
- KC Garden Café and Restaurant
- Otsal Restaurant
- The Tibetan Kitchen
- Open Hand café
- G Kitchen
- Chopsticks Noodle Bar
The beauty of the frozen Zanskar River and the valley is a sight to behold. Hence, it is the collective responsibility of all the trekkers and tour operators to keep its pristine splendour clean. Make sure that you don’t litter your discarded packaging and other redundant material around. Keep the waste products in your bag or pockets to throw them away later. Pick any litter you find on your way and also stop others from littering.
Due to the environmental concerns, the local government has decided to levy a permit fee of Rs. 2500. The maximum limit for the number of groups per tour operator has been restricted to seven in a season. Also, no more than 10 members will be allowed in one group.
Now, with all the prerequisite information needed, you can start preparing for one of the most thrilling treks in the world and have the time of your life.
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