Ladakh is a huge area of mountain lands and what we see, in everyday travel agency tour packages and blogs, is nothing compared to what is left for one to see. After Kutch in Gujarat, Leh is the second largest district in India. And nearly all of this district being covered by mountains, it makes it more and more interesting and attractive. There are ways of life that one might never have seen before because he or she might never have ventured into that area. Yes, that is how mesmerizing Ladakh could be for one, if and only if one is ready to take some troubles and keep going more into the wild and keep them maps and itineraries behind to embrace something totally new and out of the box.
WHY TRAVEL TO LADAKH
Ladakh is a land like nothing else. It is a major attraction of the world. Located right between Tibet and Kashmir, Ladakh is a mixture of Tibetan and Ladakhi people spread all over it. Some areas are so isolated and unexplored even after so much commercialization of the place, that we still get to read and see new findings by explorers today. When it comes to adventure, Ladakh offers rafting, trekking, mountaineering, biking and road trips, making it one of the most sought for destinations in the world. But here are some of the places that one does not hear a lot from people about and hence, one should go.
Basgo is a small village, 40 kilometres from Leh towards Kargil. This village is famous for its apricots and farm fields. Basgo suffered a huge blow during the 2010 cloudburst, but today, it looks as good as other villages and its monastery is spectacular.
HOW TO GO
From Leh – A bus from Leh Main Bus Stand
From Srinagar – A bus to Leh and deboard after Saspol
Public Bus from Leh – INR 50/-
Private Vehicle from Leh – INR 1400/-
Homestays are available in Basgo, but the families have to be requested personally to accommodate the traveller. Very rarely would one find a Ladakhi family denying stay to a traveller.
A cost between INR 500/- and INR 800/- per day which would include food and tea for the whole day.
SUMUR & PANAMIK
Panamik is a hot spring in Nubra Valley. People do go to Nubra valley, but they take the other route to Diskit and visit the places there, totally overlooking the fact that 20 km ahead of the small village of Sumur, lies a hot spring were one can take a warm bath amidst the mountains and enjoy the vast scenery around.
HOW TO GO
From Leh – A shared vehicle to Nubra Valley
Private Vehicle from Leh – INR 400/- per head
Homestays are available in Sumur village.
A cost between INR 800/- and INR 1200/- per day which would include food and tea for the whole day.
After the movie, 3 idiots, tourists have made Pangong Lake so popular and so visited a destination that it has lost its flavour today. Indian tourists have littered the places near the lake, but still, due to its fame, people go. But a similarly beautiful, perhaps more beautiful lake is the Tsokar Lake which is the smallest lake among Pangong, Tsomoriri and itself. It is located in the Changthang region and is the area of the Changpa nomads from Southern Tibet.
HOW TO GO
From Leh – A private vehicle to Nubra Valley
Private vehicle – INR 1500/- per day
Camping at Tsokar Lake
Depending upon camping costs at Leh
Turtuk is the last village of India while in Nubra Valley. Turtuk was under the control of Pakistan until 1971. After the war, this region came under India’s control and after Turtuk, starts the Gilgit-Baltistan region which is under Pakistan’s control. Turtuk is a Pashtun village and is famous for its wild apricots. One of the most unvisited places in Ladakh, Turtuk is a must-go place for a traveller looking for something new in Ladakh.
HOW TO GO
From Leh – A private vehicle to Turtuk
Private vehicle – INR 2500/- per day
Homestay at Turtuk Village
INR 1000/- to INR 1500/- inclusive of food
VISA AND PERMITS
Non-indians are required to obtain Ladakh Protected Area Permit to enter Ladakh. For Nubra Valley, even Indians need to get Inner Line Permit from the DC office at Leh which costs INR 450/- per head for Indians. Other areas for which a permit is required are Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La, Tangyar (for trekking only).
CUISINE TO OFFER
Traditional Ladakhi food is available at all the above places.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Ladakh is July to October.