As I have told you before, a trip to Ladakh was one of those things that I had written on my bucket list for a long long time. It was my first time in Ladakh and I wish I had more time to see everything and experience all that it has to offer.
To set the scene : Ladakh is the largest province in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is globally renowned as a ‘Snow Desert’ which is made of and bound by mountains, It’s best known for the rugged landscapes, traditional culture, festivities, spectacular monasteries and mesmerizing lakes. It's often called as the Buddhist Kingdom or the land of lamas because of the spluttering prayer flags and monks chanting mantras.
After doing a bit of research, it sounded like the perfect place for Travel Bugs like me. The next step was to put together our travel itinerary for 7 days and 6 nights. The itinerary includes most of the highlights of Ladakh, however we only stayed 1 night at each place except Leh, I would recommend going at a slower pace and spending a few nights at each location to experience the beauty of this little paradise on Earth.
DAY 1 : FLY IN TO LEH CITY
We flew with Go Airways from New Delhi to Leh (1.5 hours), we boarded a morning flight so that we can get ample amount of rest to kick start our adventurous journey from the next day. Because of the high altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level, anybody can fall prey to acute mountain sickness Therefore, it is necessary to take full rest on the day of arrival and get yourself acclimatized. It is advisable to take a minimum of 24-36 hours of rest.
Breathtaking view of the Himalayas from the flight to Leh, amazing first experience of such kind.
After reaching the Ladakh (Late Kushok Bakula Rimpochee) or popularly known as Leh Airport,we took a taxi to our guest house which was located at Upper Changsa Road, it took us around 15-20 minutes to reach the destination and costed us ₹300. We were welcomed by the friendly owner of Zeepata Guest House, he suggested us to eat light and sleep for few hours to feel refreshed. We followed his suggestion and got up in the evening, ate some snacks and went out for a stroll around the guest house. We came back in an hour and had our dinner at the guest house, planned out our travel for the next day and slept again.
We started our day at 05:00 am with our visit to the Shanti Stupa which was approximately 2.2 kms from our guesthouse and took us around 10 minutes to reach the lower entrance and 15-20 minutes to climb up the 500 steep steps to the hilltop.
These two cuties accompanied us throughout the journey (To and Fro)
Met another cutie at the Stupa, a cute little playful Labrador. What a great start of the day.
It is situated on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh. Shanti Stupa as the name suggest was built in 1991 to promote world peace and prosperity.
It is popular to provide a beautiful and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape from Shanti Stupa especially at the time of sunrise and sunset.
Visiting Hours : 05:00 am to 09:00 pm
Entry Fees : No Fees
After spending quality time with these little beauties we came back to the guest house, ate our breakfast and started our DAY 1 of Exploring Leh and nearby places.
we took a motorbike on rent from a nearby shop and started our ride.
There are many shops in the city where you can rent a bike or take a private taxi to explore the city, you can also opt for shared taxi to save some extra money.
Contact DORJE and show UJJWAL VANVARI's facebook page or his Picture to get some discount on your bike rental. 😄
Upper Changsa Road to Hemis Monastery - 45 kms (approx)
It is the biggest and richest monastery in Ladakh, surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery.
The Hemis Monastery hosts an annual festival, during which the sacred mask dance is performed.
Visiting Hours : 06:00 am - 08:00 pm
Entry Fees : Free | Museum Fees : ₹50
Picture Source : www.holidify.com
Every year, on the 10th day of Tibetan Lunar month called as Tse Chu, the Monastery holds a two-day celebration to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava who is often said to be a reincarnation of Buddha. Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have fought demons for the people of Ladakh and helping people on the path of spirituality has been his life’s mission.
They only serve vegetarian food at the Hemis Restaurant
Next Destination : Hemis to Thiksey Monastery
It is the largest monastery in central Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir. The 12 storey monastery has 10 temples, an assembly hall, and is home to 120 monks and nunnery.
Visiting Hours : Open all days 07:00 am to 07:00 pm
Entry Fees : ₹20
Best Time to Visit : Between May and September.
Maitreya Buddha in Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh
While going back to the Leh city, we came across this gorgeous scenery near Shey Monastery and Yay! we also spot a milestone. Picture Time.
The road journey to the Nubra Valley via Khardung La Pass (40 KMs), Khardung Village (34 KMs), Khalsar (23 KMs) and Diskit (19 KMs).
You can reach Nubra Valley in about 5-6 Hrs depending upon the number of break you take in between, unlike us. we stopped at almost every picturesque location.
One of the most memorable moments of my Ladakh trip was my first ever encounter with SNOW at Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. The weather was freezing cold but i couldn't resist myself from touching the snow and feel it. I removed my gloves and beanie and posed for some pictures, however I ran back to the car in a jiffy and covered myself again.
TIP : Do try to ensure you do not stay more than 15 minutes at Khardung La else you might get hit with AMS as human body cannot cope up with such high altitude, so frequently and that too for such long duration. It's better to be cautious and safe. However, This is one of the most popular spots to visit in Ladakh and you definitely need to be here at least once.
a typical touristy picture with baby brother.
It's often said that 'It's not about the Destination, It's about the Journey. ❤️
we covered Diskit & Hunder on the same day to Nubra Valley from Leh.
106 Feet Tall Lord Buddha at Diskit– Nubra Valley
Diskit Monastery, also known as Deskit monastery is not only the oldest but also the largest Buddhist Gompa in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
About 10km away from Diskit to the west you will see the beautiful Hunder village, also known as ‘the desert in the Sky’which is popular for the dune-like landscape and double humped camels. You could go for Dessert Safari and take a camel ride or just enjoy looking at their beauty or even have a fun time watching them poop ,every time someone sits on them.
Charges : ₹50 for a picture and₹180 for a 15 minutes ride
Entry fees : ₹20 per vehicle
Where to Stay :It’s a pretty small village with limited options of accommodation, few guest houses and more home-stays. Average night stay cost range from ₹300 to ₹1200 in most of these guest houses, home-stays are much cheaper.
We spent ₹1,100 for our stay which included Dinner and Breakfast for two and WiFi connectivity.
(Unfortunately due to shortage of electricity and stormy weather the wifi didn't work and all my snapchat stories got deleted, one of the worst thing happened during the trip and I cried hard. hope you can feel me.)
Double humped furry camel at the Nubra Valley Sand Dunes.
The day started around 06:00 am, we quickly got ready and left to visit this beautiful place. While Ujjwal was busy capturing the sand dunes, I had quality time with myself gazing at the water stream and clear blue sky. I was so upset for not having the data coverage since yesterday, i recorded so much on Snapchat but couldn't post it for you all to see and join me on my trip.
PS These pictures were taken by Ujjwal (in case you're wondering) while we were waiting for our car to come and take us back to the guest house.
Time to say Bye to Nubra Valley and get ready for another journey to the popular lake Pangong Tso, via Panamik which is famous for its hot springs.
Entry Fee : ₹20 for tourist into the hot bath complex
Do not forget to refill petrol/diesel at the old style petrol pump at Diskit, however better tank up at Leh only before heading to Nubra Valley as according to the locals the petrol pump at Diskit is not always in working conditions.
On our way to Panamik, we took a 10 minutes stopover at a nearby market to buy some eatables and the moment I got down from the car I spotted these little angels.
It was a plain drive all the way up to Panamik via Sumur and nothing much happened. In my opinion you could avoid visiting the place to save 2-3 hours of your journey. The Panamik hot water spring was completely commercialized and I honestly did not find it worth my visit.
We reached Pangong around 07:30 pm and it took us around 10-11 hours to complete our journey, the weather was partially cloudy throughout the day but as we entered Pangong Tso Lake it started to further darken and gave us this stunning view, trust me this picture is not even 50% of what exactly it looked like. although it was freezing cold and I was shivering badly, I tried to make the most of my presence there and get the feel of this surreal place. Kudos to Ujjwal on spending more than 30-40 minutes to get that perfect shot ( he hasn't given me his best pictures, waiting for him to post them on his blog soon)
After he got the chill in his body he agreed to leave the lake and hunt for a guest house, after checking out 10-12 guest houses we finally found 1 home-stay for ₹600 including Dinner and Breakfast (NO WIFI 😐)
Early morning selfie and good vibes to my Lovelies!
Day 5 started around 05:00 am with a view of this gorgeous place. The lake looks absolutely stunning in the moonlight but in sunlight it was shining bright with several shades of blue and the sun glistening on the water.
Charges : ₹50 for a Picture and ₹100 for Picture + Ride
we only opted for pictures but he charged us ₹200 as we took many pictures and later on he added a clause of 1 picture only. HaHa! Business minded you see.
Remember the last scene from the popular Bollywood movie 3 Idiots when Bebo aka Kareena Kapoor Khan comes riding on a scooter to meet Aamir Khan?
Yeah! This is the place. Isn't it absolutely Picturesque?
Finally a picture with Mr. Photographer, clicked by a new travel buddy RAHUL SHAH, whom we met at the lake last evening.
It is okay if you missed the first view, you can get a picture with the last view of world famous Pangong Lake.
We stopped for a little Tea break at Changla Pass (claimed to be the second highest motorable road in the world.) where I met all these gorgeous babies. There were almost ten dogs around me, this picture was captured when I started feeding them. later on Ujjwal got carried away too, he almost lost my phone in excitement. huh! but Thanks to the wonderful people at the cafe it was right there where we left it, Nobody took it. Like Seriously. 😠 I almost cried with Happiness.
The best part about my Ladakh trip has to be these little fur balls. They were all so cute and adorable, I wish I could get them all with me. (day dreaming) I guess I've met more than 60-70 dogs during my 7 days journey. I loved the warmth they have for humans, love how they meet and greet with you. I used to carry at least 5-6 packets of glucose biscuits everyday. The most amazing part of my day was to meet these furry angels, cuddle with them and feed them Parle-G.
DAY 6 : GURUDWARA PATHHAR SAHIB and SHOPPING IN LEH
Here it is, almost the end of our trip, it's day 6 and we have covered almost all tourist destinations of Ladakh. This day we decided to shoot all the outfits for my blog and keep it slow and easy. After waking up at around 07:00 am, we got ready, had our breakfast and shot the first outfit at a nearby location, came back changed into 2nd look and than 3rd look. Phewww it's a task guys to balance everything especially on a vacation where you're suppose to be relaxed and not rush into things. Blogger problems, Haha! Anyways, so after shooting 3 looks, we decided to go and visit the nearby market for Lunch and some souvenir shopping for friends and family.
The market was nearby and we took this dude ROYAL ENFIELD bike on rent from the same shop to make the most of our day in and around Leh. After a little shopping in the market we head to Gurudwara Pathhar Sahib.
Like every good thing come to an end, so as this trip but needless to mention, I had a great time not as great as I expected but yes I have enough memories to cherish for a lifetime and of course these breathtaking pictures. Thank you Baby Bro. Kiss Kiss.
Time to get back to life, to constant internet and to familiar faces and Yes my baby boo SPIKEY!
Oh yes! Ujjwal didn't accompanied me back to Delhi, he extended his trip for another 3-4 days and planned to explore a bit more of Ladakh. So make sure to Follow his Travel Adventures around India atTRAVEL WITH UV .
Go see all theunseen pictures of our Ladakhtravel diary on his blog.
Yumm! Yumm! Yumm!
Bought this drink from a local grocery store and tried it for the first time and loved it so much. Have you ever tried it too? Let me know how do you find it?
PS. I boarded a Go Air morning flight to Delhi and don't know for what reason they charged me ₹1,750 extra for my luggage (I swear i didn't shop that much in Ladakh just a prayer flag and few other little things for my office) I wonder what was hidden in my bag that weighed so much. huh!
LIKES :Weather, People and Dogs | Dislikes : Network Connectivity and Food Options for Vegetarians.
Total Cost of our Trip : ₹46,000/- for Two
Before you pack your bags to travel to Leh Ladakh India, here are a few travel tips that help you on your tour to Leh and Ladakh.
Health Check :
It is advisable to take at least 12-24 hours of rest after reaching Leh to fully acclimatize to the high altitude. If you feel shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or fatigue, immediately take some rest. Always carry drinking water, chocolates or energy bars while traveling.
Note : A trip to Ladakh is not advisable for people with high blood pressure and heart ailments
Best Time to Visit :
Ladakh is open for tourist throughout the year, while the best period for tour and trek is from June to October. Most of the trekking routes are closed after November due to heavy snowfall.
Climate in Ladakh :
The weather in Ladakh experiences drastic fluctuations in the daily temperature while the days are pretty warm, even hot at times, the evenings can become quite chilly.
Language Spoken : Ladakhi, Hindi and English.
People : The faces and physique of the Ladakhis, and the clothes they wear, are more akin to those of Tibet and Central Asia than of India.
Currency : Rupee. Credit Cards are not accepted by most of the hotels and travel agents except some antique shops, so carry decent amount of cash while you travel.
You can enjoy shopping for curios and souvenirs in the bazaars and markets of Leh, while on your tour of Ladakh
Telephone facilities are available in Leh, Padum, Kargil and Nubra valley. Internet is only available in Leh. It is best to travel with a postpaid connection to use your mobile phone. Only the post paid mobile network works in Ladakh. BSNL and Airtel post paid SIM cards are your best bet to stay connected to the world.
The moment you're out of Leh, keep in mind the following facts :
The closest Petrol pumps are located either in Leh or in Karu.
There are no petrol pumps in either Pangong or Nubra Valley
There are only limited restaurants/eating joints available on route to Nubra Valley. Food is mostly provided in the camps or guest houses you’ll stay in or in homestays.
Carry enough money as there are no ATMs outside Leh on Leh Nubra Valley route.
In these remote valleys electricity is only available for a couple of hours in the evening, even if the village is solar-powered.
To make the most of your trip, follow this simple rule - Start Early & Sleep Early.
What to pack in your Travel Bag :
Clothing : Always carry comfortable clothing and be prepared for sudden climate change, which would require additional clothing for layering. Don't forget to carry a pullover and a down jacket. Other essential items include a sturdy pair of walking shoes, a warm cap, gloves, and a pair of woolen socks or some thick cotton socks. You can also keep a muffler and ear muffs.
Skin Care : Moisturizers and sun-screen lotion are a must when traveling to Leh Ladakh to protect yourself from frostbite and sunburn at the same time and Yes! Sunglasses for that style quotient and also protection from harsh sunlight during
Food : Stock up a lot of packaged food and eatables like biscuits, protein bars, candies, and some energy drinks in liquid or powdered form like Tang and at least 2 bottles of Water(skip this and buy later in the city if you're traveling by plane)
(Click here to see what I carried in my travel bag?)
Do's and Don'ts in Ladakh
You must take permission before clicking photographs of any person or monument. Remember photography is restricted in some of the monuments and monasteries in Ladakh.
Do not forget to take water bottles, water purification pills, energy drinks and eating items along with you.
Don’t use plastic bags for carrying stuff as plastic is officially banned in Ladakh.
Hope you enjoyed my travel diary. If you liked this post or found it useful, please leave me a comment in the box below!
Can't wait to share many more travel posts with you guys.