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Leh Ladakh Trips
Imran, May 15 ,2014

How to Plan your Ladakh Trip: Complete Travel Guide on Ladakh by Road

Before introducing Ladakh, I’d like to mention some pertinent points which every tourist planning trip to Ladakh should know and take care of.

These are also the questions which are often asked in online travel forums like Tripadvisor, Indiamike and Lonely Planet’s Thorntree etc.

The most recurring questions are related to acclimatization, ATMs, Petrol Pumps, acute mountain sickness and innerline permits along with the length of Ladakh tour itineraries.

In this Hub I have tried to answer as many questions on Ladakh trip planning which popped into my mind or as a traveler myself I’d asked before venturing to this barren paradise.

Nestled in the Trans-Himalayan region, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir in North India, Ladakh is one of the favorite jaunt for nature lovers and adventurous souls.

Tourists from all over the world throng in this mountainous region to explore the less explored jewels of nature.

Besides natural treasures, the region is also famous for its ancient Buddhist monasteries. Ladakh is often dubbed as ‘Little Tibet’ as it shares an international boundary with Tibet and play host to a sizable population of Tibetan Buddhists.

Although a trip to Ladakh has a lot to offer but tourists are required to take some precautions as it is mostly a barren land and has low atmospheric pressure/low oxygen level at higher altitude.

Going by the statistics of Google Trends, ‘Leh Ladakh India’ and ‘Leh Ladakh tour packages’ has the highest search results. In a bid to assist first time Ladakh travelers for the peak season (May to August), I have listed a few travel tips which could help you plan your trip to Ladakh.

All these tips are based on my personal travel experiences in Leh Ladakh region.

Acclimatization in Ladakh
How to deal with high altitude and acclimatize in Leh Ladakh

While planning your trip to Ladakh, acclimatization is one of the most vital aspect of the itinerary sketching and should be given utmost importance. The rule is not to rush your Ladakh trip and give proper time for acclimatization.

To adapt to the low atmospheric pressure condition you need to give yourself time for proper acclimatization. It is always advisable to keep first 2 days after your arrival in Leh for getting used to high altitude condition.

Don’t just arrive in Leh and think of going to Nubra or Pangong or you could get seriously affected by AMS which may lead to severe headaches, nausea, restlessness, or even inability to walk and think and ataxia which in turn will ruin your vacation.

Even the most fit people get affected by the Acute Mountain Sickness. Therefore, it is advised to take some precautions beforehand.

Few points to keep in mind:

  1.     Physical fitness is the first and the foremost thing you need to consider while undertaking a trip to Ladakh region.
  2.     Increase your altitude gradually and compensate ascent with rest at places to acclimatize.
  3.     Due to the low atmospheric pressure, it is necessary for a tourist to take the rest of around 2 days or 48 hours after     reaching Leh.
  4.     If you are suffering from high blood pressure, heart ailments and asthma, kindly abstain yourself from planning a trip to Leh Ladakh.
  5.     Hydration is necessary but overdoing it could only harm you. Just increase your normal water intake by a liter and it will do. Dehydration does not necessarily leads to AMS
  6.     During the cold weather, cover your head and ears with something warm.
  7.     Don’t exert yourself physically too much. Never run here and there out of exscitement especially on passes. Low level of oxygen could lead to fatique in an instance and it would be literally very difficult to catch your breath. You mind feel the earth go round or even fall unconscious.
  8.     Some preventive medicines do aid acclimatization and treat altitude sickness the most popular is Diamox, The local version of these medicine, a time tested and natural alternative is garlic soup or soup prepared with lots of Garlic
  9.     If you notice any early warning symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue, take immediate rest and descend if you are on high altitude (as in Khardung La Top) without any delay.
  10.     I know this one is difficult to do but avoid smoking and drinking alcohol on high altitude to prevent AMS
  11.     If you are taking Leh-Manali Highway then stop at Keylong, Jispa, Darcha and avoid if possible staying at Sarchu; else if you are taking Leh-Srinagar Highway you should spend overnight at Kargil (I am assuming that you have already spent a night in Manali or Srinagar respectively).
  12.     If you are flying directly to Leh and 2 days should be the minimum time spent in Leh for acclimatization. During this period short detours to Thiksey, Hemis, Shey, Nimoo and Stok etc. to visit monasteries and palaces are always open for you to choose.
  13.     And yes do not sleep during days. I know this was not required as who'd waste even seconds of time sleeping during day in such a magnificent land.

Readers' opinions ( 2)

Yogesh Kumar
Jun 28 ,2017
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