Every year about 50-100 people ask me about traveling tips to Ladakh. Finally I thought instead of giving tips to every individual separately, I should rather write a blog which could be useful for all the travelers who choose Ladakh as their next destination.Ladakh is a not a tourist destination. Its a spiritually charged place with positive energy of great people who survived the harshness of Extreme Himalayan conditions. There's so much to learn from Ladakhis about respecting Human life and how to make the best use of the available resources. Ladakhis are humble and respectful people, so when you to travel to Ladakh, make sure you don't try to teach them your behavioural skills , rather learn from them. You may be the slaves of technology and encaged animals of the concrete jungles , they are not. So Dont cry about the scarcity of the resources but respect and learn from their way of using the resources.For the road trip bikers:
1. Carry jerry cans for extra fuel
2. Your bike should have a carrier for extra fuel if you are on a bike which has the mileage of 40 kms or lesser.
3. If you are not allergic to sulpha drugs then take a diuretic called as diamox. It helps in acclimatising on higher altitude. Have half a tab one day. Drink more water . Start it 3 days prior to your travel
4. Carry basic first aid kit , specially antiseptic , bandages, cotton, tiger balm(most important), strepsils, crepe bandage, candies (that you can suck)-they help in keeping your mouth moist , maintaining your sugar level . Candies also helps in avoiding motion sickness and Acute Mountain sickness (AMS). Acute Mountain Sickness can get you killed and not to be taken lightly.
5. Torch (preferably solar)
6. Puncture and tool kit (know your machine better and you should be able to fix anything in bike/motor vehicle). Spare head and tail lamp bulbs, extra spark-plugs, clutch and accelerator wire, vaseline / grease, extra tubes (front and rear) if your tires are not tubeless, extra engine oil (mixing engine oil directly in your fuel (100 ml or so) helps in avoiding hiccups for your bike at high altitude thin air . Air foot pump . Sand paper to clean up your spark plug and for fixing the puncture.
7. While crossing Morey Plains or desert, your air should be comparatively lesser to avoid getting stuck in the sand.
8. If in case, your Tyre gets stuck in the sand, try not to give more throttle and put water in that particular part of sand and then give throttle. Inflate tyres again after crossing the sand.
9. Eat normal and drink lots of water throughout the day
10. Thermals and wind proof jacket(s)
11. Carry a garbage bag .. Don't litter the fragile ecosystem of Himalayas. trash thrown by you may kill a local animal.
12. Bungee cords / strings for tying your luggage
13. Rubber hot water bottle. After a tough day's ride you would want to relax and sleep well. Hot water bottle helps in keeping your foot warm in your sleeping bag/ blanket
14. Swiss knife
15. Chocolates/ dry fruits
16. Raw garlic .. It helps if u r feeling the headacheor any sort of palpitation . Dont think twice before gulping one whole bulb of garlic. Or keep sucking it like a candy. Chew it and gulp it down if you feel headache.
17. Carry some meaningful gifts for locals , you always take things back from places you visit...sometimes you must learn the art of giving instead of only taking... Money is never a gift..its an obligation. use your creativity.
18. Carry your driving license (5-7 copies)/ car papers.
19. Obtain inner line permits for places like tsomoriri, nubra valley, Turtuk, dha-hanu, pangong lake and Zanskar. Though there was an order that in-line permission (ILP) is not required for Indian citizens but i have heard local taxi guys still insisting of taking ILP. May because it helps them make some extra bucks.
20. For photographers, carry spare batteries (keep them in the inside pocket of your jacket- batteries gets discharged quite fast in that terrain..like real fast), polariser, remote trigger for night photography and a good stable tripod.
1. Do not throw wrappers or your garbage anywhere on the road or in the wild.. Its my humble request with folded hands.
2. Thumb rule of mountains / nature : Don't be a Gama , in the land of Lama.
3. Do not try unnecessary heroics, unless and until you are with experienced and sensible guides.
4. Don't over use clutch/brakes.
5. Ride at ease.. If you are in a rush..better go to the restroom and ease yourself. You are traveling to find peace and enjoy nature. By rushing you are trying to achieve a milestone that has been already done by a thousands of people already. You, yourself are defeating the purpose. It may have been a coolness quotient a decade ago. Now its just another travel which is not a luxurious one. That is it . .
6. Carry your music, if you are such an addict but dont carry those usb speakers to make everyone else hear your collection of songs.. Because there will be people beyond your own group and please respect their purpose of travel as well.
7. Don't smoke - 'up' .. Try not to.. No logic behind it.. Just that it is not good for your health :-P
8. Avoid alcohol.. But try chhang/ arak if you are well acclimatized . If at all you feel uneasy.. No need to even try them.
9. Don't be rude to people you come across, even if the other person is not pleasant to you. Avoid unpleasant things and move on.
PLACES TO VISIT:
1. TSO KAR - A SALT WATER LAKE BETWEEN TSOMORIRI AND MORAIY PLAINS (VIA PUGA)
2. STAKNA MONASTERY
3. PANGONG TSO (TSO = LAKE IN LADAKHI)
4. NUBRA VALLEY
5. TURTUK (NUBRA VALLEY)
6. HEMIS MONASTERY CAVE - TREK FURTHER UP FOR 2 KMS FROM HEMIS MONASTERY
7. Thiksey MONASTERY
8. Khardung LA- WORLD'S HIGHEST MOTORABLE ROAD
10. RAFTING IN ZANSKAR RIVER
11. SPITUK MONASTERY