If you are planning a trip to Ladakh and wondering how? This post is for you.
Road trips are the best and one to Ladakh is certainly on everyone’ s travel list. Well, pack your bags, bid adieu to your hectic schedule and get ready to escape into the world of high altitude passes and serene lakes. All you have to do in Ladakh is feel the crisp mountain air and soak in the spectacular views of this enchanting land.
Ways to reach Ladakh
1) By Air :
You’ll find many flights scheduled from Delhi landing straight into Leh, the capital of Ladakh. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of travelling to Ladakh by air:
- Luxurious mode of transport.
- Takes less time, around 1 hour 30 mins.
- You get a chance to fly over regions of the Himalayas, Ladakh and Karakoram, experiencing unmatched natural beauty.
2) By road :
Going by road is the best route for the adventure fanatics and nature lovers. It is more interesting, cheaper and thrilling mode of transport.
- Best way to travel is by using Manali – Leh highway. The entire journey can be broken into following fragments:
- Delhi – Panipat via grand trunk road (85.2 km), Ambala – Kullu – Manali via NH21and then on the Manali – Leh highway for the last leg of the journey.
- Tip: Make a brief halt at “city of weaver” to refresh yourselves. Don’t forget to halt at Murthal and grab a meal.
Panipat – Ambala
- Drive via SH7 and grand trunk road (124 km).
- Places of interest: Halwai Bazar, Puran Singh Ka Dhaba.
- Budget hotels are available in the main market, for an overnight stay.
Ambala – Kullu
- Drive via NH21 (322 km).
- A beautiful part of the journey – enter into the lap of Himalayas. Time to take out the camera from your backpack.
- The fruit bowl of the country – treat your taste buds to fresh fruits, plucked straight from the orchards, offered by local sellers at many places en route.
- Give yourselves a visual treat – a clear stream of water running alongside the road. Various deciduous and evergreen oaks, chir pine, along with regional shrubs, alders, birches and rhododendrons can be seen along the hillside.
- There are picturesque sights worth capturing along the way.
Kullu – Manali
- Drive via NH21 (40 km).
- Shortest yet most enjoyable part of the journey.
- It is advisable to stay one night in Manali before beginning the journey on the highway towards Leh and minimum one night at either Keylong, Jispa or Darcha to cope with the high passes and plains that follow Darcha. Give some time to your body to acclimate to lower oxygen levels.
Manali – Leh
- Manali – Leh highway (474 km) remains open for only about four and a half months in a year starting from May or June and is maintained by Border Roads Organisation of the Indian army.
- The highway is two lanes wide (one lane in either direction), but has only one or one and a half lanes at some stretches.
- Trees cover both sides of the road and views of the snow-capped mountains are a treat for nature lovers and photographers.
- Watch out for the peppy signboards issued by the Borders Roads Organisation.
Altitude sickness: Owing to less oxygen in the air, many travellers experience altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness. Carry chocolates, glucose or other high energy food on the journey and spend only a little time at the high mountain passes.
It is strongly advised not to sleep in Sarchu or Pang on the upward journey (towards Leh) as it can cause acute mountain sickness, resulting in a headache, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. The safer option is to camp after reaching Leh.
3) Reach Srinagar from Delhi by flight and then drive to Leh via the Srinagar – Leh highway.
4) Design your own possibilities :
- Pack your bags and work out your own permutations and combinations picking any mode of transport that you feel like taking. There are regular Jeep taxi services available from Srinagar and Manali when high passes are open during the summer months. From Srinagar, the pass opens in May end till October, while the Manali side opens a little late and closes early. Bon voyage!
Delhi is 1,023 km away from Ladakh. The best season to visit the ‘land of high passes‘ is from June to October when the temperature remains less than 16°c and light woollens are required to brave the cold.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND :
- Make yourself comfortable. It is advised not to wear slim fit or body-hugging clothes. A tight piece of clothing, along with increasing altitude and decreasing air pressure can result in uneasiness.
- Drink plenty of water. Keep yourself hydrated! Remember to carry at least 2 bottles with you before hitting the road.
- Fuel it up. Do check the fuel needle once in a while, as finding a gas pump station can be a tricky task. Carry spare fuel.
- Medical kit. Before planning any trip, make sure you have a medical kit. Altitude sickness is the major problem faced by tourists.
- Pack all your woollens and then some more. The nights are chilly, and if you are camping in the open, you’ll require plenty of warm clothes.
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