How I traveled free to Ladakh!

Tripoto
15th Jun 2018
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

All started by virtue of tripoto. I had started sharing sharing my experiences on tripoto 6 months back and on women's day meet I was blissed by a fully sponsored trip by tripoto and managed by cox and kings.

Day 1

My trip was scheduled on 15th june but due to some issue it was postponed to 16th june and by the time my tickets were already booked from delhi to Leh. So, I decided to go with the flow and landed leh on 15th june early morning at 6.00. The view form above was just like perfect painted picture.

Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik

From my last good travel experiences with zostel this time I had booked zostel for one day.

Zostel stay

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

As it was just 30 min walking distance from airport i decided to walk till there but just then one local guy suggested to hire a taxi as it was my first day at leh and walking with that weight might make me fall sick. I hired taxi for 350/- till zostel and took a nap till afternoon. After having lunch around 3.00 pm I thought to stray around meanwhile I followed up with cox and kings agent for my next day schedule. I checked out in the local market and had butter tea at "ladakhi women cafe" who serves the local tea in just rs 10 and owned by a group of local women . The rest of the day went well by meeting some new local people and strolling around.

Ladaki's women cafe at main bajar

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

leh market

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Day 2

Next morning I checked-in my hotel booked by cox and kings. "KANGLACHAN" owned by a local who lives in the backside of the hotel with his family with one beautiful garden. I took nap after my breakfast. In evening while i was in local market i met one Spanish guy who is a tour guider and was very familiar with the place. He took me to sunset point at shanti stupa. The view was just amazing as the vincent paintings.

Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik

Next morning after breakfast we (with cox and kings group) headed towards again Shanti stupa but now the view was different to what i had experienced last evening. You can experience a different view every time when sun changes its position. The picture will convey more than my words. The stupa is designed in such a manner that it can be seen from anywhere from leh main market. The significance of the stupa is to promote world peace . There are two ways to reach stupa when directly through and the another by stairs from just the opposite side of the road. It hardly 10 mins from main market.

Photo of Shanti Stupa, Shanti Stupa Road, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Shanti Stupa, Shanti Stupa Road, Leh by Vandy Malik

The next was LEH palace which was 11 min from the stupa. The palace is nine storey high and was built for the king family. Each storey has its own significance the upper were used by the royal family and lower ones by the servants. The palace is full dark and cold and the only medium of light is sun. Now this palace is under Archaeological Survey of India. As you go up at the top storey the full view of leh is visible. Now it is said that king lives somewhere in the main leh city. Around 6PM I was again in the market to buy Buddhist flags for my friends.

Day 3

The day was scheduled to Nubra valley. We started at 8 in the morning and it was approx a 5hr journey straight but for us it was a 12hr journey as our group for sometime at the places in between. As the area is close to the border so you would require Inner Line Permit only if you travelling through your own vehicle else the agency take about that for any solo traveler there's also a local bus which goes to Nubra from leh. The first stop is at North Pullu check point. Road is smooth till South Pullu. Afterwards its all stone full till you reach Khardungla-Pass.

Photo of Nubra Valley by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

At Khardungla the oxygen level is comparatively less than any other place in leh as it is at approx 18ft height. We stooped there for 15 mins only as some from our group were having health issues. There was drastic change in weather as we reached there it suddenly started snowing.So, it is prefer to carry warm clothes with you even if it's a sunny day. The view from here is breath taking with the Himalayan ranges fully covered with snow and sun rays enhancing the beauty. And if someone has a health issue then one can easily check his/her oxygen level at this point at any shop. Yes, most of the shops in leh has this device to measure oxygen level.

Photo of Khardung La by Vandy Malik
Photo of Diskit Gompa, Diskit by Vandy Malik

The Himalayan ranges

Photo of Diskit Gompa, Diskit by Vandy Malik

Our next stop was at Diksit Monastery which took 2hrs from khrdungla pass. Just near the monastery there's s huge statue of Maitreya Budha with the height of 32 meters. The Maitreya is known as the future budha. Just opposite to this statue is the oldest Diksit monastery. To the right of this statue the whole Nubra valley is visible. The valley is formed by the amalgamation of the shyok river and nubra. The combination of valley and mountains is peerless. After 15 mins we headed towards Diksit monastery.

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

Maitreya Budha

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

The Diksit monastery was one the best monastery for me in leh. The monastery comprises for more than three stories. Each storey has its own significance. We met one monk who was preparing stuff for evening prayer. As he told us that more than 300 monks stays there during their teachings and they even has provided separated accommodation for other visitors who can stay there. Monks used to walk from tibet to this place. The place was very clam and we would like to sit more there but we had to move ahead.

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Day 4

Our next stop was hunder famous for double hump bactrian camels and sand dues. The price for camel ride is 200/- INR only. We will find river flowing along with the sand dues and mountain another amazing view. You can stay there overnight if you have your own tents. This place would totally justify your stay.

Double hump camel

Photo of Hunder Sand Dunes, Hunder by Vandy Malik
Photo of Hunder Sand Dunes, Hunder by Vandy Malik

come and feel it...

Photo of Hunder Sand Dunes, Hunder by Vandy Malik

Our stay was at Flower Valley Camp. Network will not work at this place and even the electricity get off at night after 9 but these guys provided us with emergency lights and warm water.

Stay at Nubra

Photo of Nubra Valley, Hunder by Vandy Malik
Day 5

Next morning we headed back to leh. We had planned to see this beautiful Silk route festival but we were already very late so we had to skipped this and we reached at 7 in the evening and slept off. The day was a bit tiring.

Day 6

Our first visit was at Hall of fame run by Indian Army with all the vital information of our soldiers, guns and different ammunition used during the Kargil War. The place is must watch as it has all A to Z history of the Leh. You can see biographies of eminent defense personalities, images and weapons used during Kargil war, Siachen and its heroes and their daily instruments and lifestyle of Ladakhi people. Being a Army Bratt I was totally into this place and gathered as much as information as i could get. Photography is allowed so pleass take these all information with you.

Our next stop was at Gurdwara Pathar Sahib about 15 mins from HOF. The Gurdwara was constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak and it has it's own very interesting history of how he defeated a wicked demon who later realized how powerless he was and lead a normal life there after . Guru Nanak is well respected by Tibetan Buddhists who consider him a saint. You can serve here and live here as long as you want to, yes even for women. This Gurdwara is maintained by Indian Army.

Few miles ahead was magnetic hill. It is said that the hill has some magnetic properties to very strong enough to pull the cars uphill. Very aesthetic place to click pictures though I haven't experience that magnetic power but yeahh its amazing to see how this mountain is built slightly different from the other peaks.

Look what magnetiv hill did to me..........

Photo of Magnetic Hill, Srinagar - Ladakh Highway, Leh by Vandy Malik

And my wait was over at Confluence-Sangam at Zanskar River formed with junction of the two streams , Lungnak means "dark gorge" and Stod, which carries the melt water of the great Drang-drung glacier. And amazing part was doing rafting there. The rapids were good in the initial 7km and water was still after that. This was my second experience after risikesh . This confluence freeezes in winter and famous for trekking called CHADER TREK.

Confluence at Zanskar

Photo of Zanskar Trek, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Zanskar Trek, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Zanskar Trek, Leh by Vandy Malik

From there it took us 3 hours to reach Alchi Monastery at 11500ft . This monastery was different. Abandoned centuries ago the gompa or monastery is known as Chos-kor or religious enclave and comprises of five temples.There were no storey's and entrance gate was small comparatively to others. The painting on the walls are from 9th century and yes you can feel the same there. Paintings were all on the wall from top to bottom painted with gold. Photography is not allowed here as the reflection will dull its colors and charm. This will hold you in spell by its beauty. Better to reach before 6pm as it closes after that.

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Day 7

Next morning, after breakfast, we headed towards Pangong Tso, a which is 134km long and extends to Tibet and around 60% of the of the lake lies in China. The lake freezes completely during winter and locals are still not confirmed about the depth and the marine habitat.It was long journey and we reached around 4pm. On the way towards the lake we had come across many beautiful scenic views and rare species. Marmot was one from them. Marmot are social big squirrels .They were not shy towards tourists and happily eating with what they are feeded with. The impact of more tourist traffic and global warming they are now in the list of getting endangered. The other specie I saw on my way was Pashima sheeps also known as changra.

Pashmina Sheeps

Photo of Pangong Lake, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Pangong Lake, Leh by Vandy Malik

Marmot

Photo of Pangong Lake, Leh by Vandy Malik

We also passed through the Changla, a high mountain pass and the world's 3rd highest motor able road at approx 17000 ft height. It was cold there which made us to put our warm clothes. Its not advisable to stay more than 20 mins due to less oxygen level. Roads are difficult till lake with many ups and down full of debris.

Photo of Chang La Pass by Vandy Malik

campside at pangong

Photo of Chang La Pass by Vandy Malik
Photo of Chang La Pass by Vandy Malik

After chilling for 1 hour at lake we went to our camps. The lake side will astonish you. I even strolled in the evening and the temperature got down with the nightfall. In night I had this amazing opportunity to gaze up and look at the Milky Way though i was literally shivering but this was not what i usually see in Delhi. The alternate could be of watching sunrise but i was not able to make it.

Y for "YAK"

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik

Pangong Lake

Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Photo of How I traveled free to Ladakh! by Vandy Malik
Day 8

Next day on our way back to leh we had amazing lunch at one of the restaurant run by Cox and Kings. Our last place to visit was Thiskey Monastery and Rancho's school.

Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik

Thiskey Monastery

Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik

The rancho's school part II

Photo of Thikse Monastery, Leh by Vandy Malik
Day 9

I was back in leh around 6p.m and did some shopping . I bought those Tibetan winter caps.

Next Morning I boarded my bus from leh bus stand at 3.00AM . It was more than 14 hours journey to Manali. The landscapes which kept on changing at every steep, and snow capped mountain peaks, rugged barren wasteland, high mountain passes, travel on this road and you will see it all. This journey was more adventures than my last days at leh. You will find local dhabas after every 2 or 3 km, very fortunate for the bike riders and other travelers plus they too have the option of night stay. I reached keylong at 6.30p.m and from there I had took another bus to Manali. This journey exhausted me to hell with that 25kg of backpack, any how I managed. Bus reached late due to congestion at Rohtang pass and I missed by bus to delhi.

Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik
Photo of Leh by Vandy Malik
Day 10

It was already 11.30pm and i thought to wait for traveler to drop me till delhi and i found 8 more guys were waiting with me on the same spot. I felt little unsecured there and decided to stay overnight in Manali. I took help for a auto driver who showed me some hotels but it was a weekend the whole manali was almost jammed with people. But fortunately one lady who was owner of a hotel helped me by offering her guest house. Yeah she charged me 1000/- INR too but that was acceptable to me. Next day i woke up late as i was hell tired. Took my bus in evening at 5 and reached delhi at 9.00 am next day. Straight to my office!

Tips:

- Book tickets prior 4 months if you wish to travel during march to Aug. Normally would be around 10k both sides. Air Fair from Delhi to Leh is cheaper comparatively to leh to delhi. In that case to can come via road from leh to delhi which will hardly charge you 1000/-INR. Only if your comfortable in travelling in local buses.

- Home stays in leh are cheaper and between 500 to 1000/- you can find a descent place and another option could be ZOSTEL where you can find travelers like you. Single bed will charge around 600/-.

- Advisable to hire a bike or book a cab on sharing basis.

-Carry portable oxygen cans if you have any breathing related problems or you are above 40 and not regular on exercise. They are easily available on amazon and at local shops. Carry Dimox which will maintain your oxygen level throughout the journey.

- Avoid Smoking and consumption of alcohol (beer is fine). Brandy could be used as an option.

- The best option is to book your trip from COX AND KINGS

for any other information pls feel free to contact me .

ZULLEY! 

ONCE GET LEH'ED IN LADAKH 

3 Comment(s)
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Ahh .. again a incredible journey and a amazingly written blog .I think the way you mentioned details in your writing is just showing the reflection of Leh beauty and specially the pic's you have taken there and used in the next blog . Wishing more more and more incredible journeys for you and these amazing blog for us . Expecting video blog Also .
Sun 09 09 18, 21:31 · Reply (1) · Report
thank you so much for appreciating my work ✌️
Mon 09 10 18, 05:49 · Report
Nice blog. But Khrdungla is not on 18ft from sea level. You should edit it.
Sun 09 09 18, 21:29 · Reply (1) · Report
thanks Dipti for loving my blog and height I mentioned here is a approx ... value. still I will take that ✌️
Mon 09 10 18, 05:49 · Report
good work....
Fri 09 07 18, 05:06 · Reply (1) · Report
thanks
Mon 09 10 18, 05:49 · Report