Ladakh tour -Leh, Nubra and Pangong tso

Tripoto
19th Aug 2017
Day 1

The view of the entire LEH city from the Spituk Gompa

Photo of Leh by Rajat Mukherjee

The Main Market of Leh City and the Shanti Stupa

Photo of Leh by Rajat Mukherjee

Acclimatization: The way you acclimatize in the first 24 hours makes all the difference in how you enjoy the whole trip.

The region is a remote habitat of Ladakhi and Tibetan people surrounded by the great Himalayas of the Northern India.

Our trip starts with arrival at Leh Airport. Take the first whiff of this spectacular mountain city as you step out into 10000 feet plus terrain. You have entered in the Ex -capital of ladakh. Arrive and check in hotel. Acclimatization is the first thing you must concentrate on here (your whole tour depends on the level of acclimatization you achieve). In the evening we take a stroll through Tibetan Market and Leh Bazaar.

The next day After achieving the much needed acclimatization and an early breakfast we drive to see the Magnetic Hill, The confluence of river Zanskar and Indus, Patthar Sahib Gurudwara, Spituk Gompa, Hall of Fame, Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa. The Shanti Stupa overlooks the city of Leh, providing panoramic views of the city, best location to shoot time lapse video.

(NOTE: If you are not feeling well it’s advised to stay at the hotel and take more rest, so that you can enjoy the upcoming days)

Day 3

Way to Nubra via Khardungla Pass, World's highest motorable road

Photo of Khardung La by Rajat Mukherjee

On the third day of our trip, we drive to Nubra Valley via Khardung-la Pass (the highest motorable road in the world at an altitude of 5,359 meters and is 39.7 km from Leh). Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldorma or the valley of flowers. We visit the Diskit Monastry on the way to Hunder, Nubra. After checking in to the camps we move towards the sand dunes to experience the cold deserts and to see the Double Humped camels. We will stay at the dunes for astro photography, this is place where we will capture milky way.

Clockwise from the Top left: The Valley of Nubra, The Statue of Buddha, The Bactrian Camels, The Camp we stayed in at Nubra

Photo of Nubra Valley, Leh by Rajat Mukherjee

The next we stay at Nubra only and After having breakfast we enjoy the vast untouched beauty of the valley and rest after yesterday’s long journey. A visit to the Turtuk Village if possible, (The last village of Indian border, with an interesting story to offer), subject to clearance permit from the Indian army for non-Indian passport holders.

Day 5
Photo of Pangong Tso by Rajat Mukherjee

On the Fifth day we move towards the Pangong lake, via the scenic route, looking at natures most raw beauty and wildlife, unique to the Himalayas. We will stop on the way to Pangong Tso for shooting some long exposure pictures of Shyok river. One rarely feels so close to nature and environment and the scenery is unforgettable.

Day 6

After an overnight stay at pangong Tso, ON the Sixth day Early Morning after breakfast, you will leave Pangong tso via Chang-la pass. One the way we visit the Thiksey Monastry and the Druk white lotus school (also known as the Rancho school). Returning to LeH by evening

Camera gear:

The tour of Ladakh is a big tour spread across the whole region of Ladakh. The primary types of photography that will be commonly used are Landscape, Astro, Architecture and some amount of character shots, rest the type of photography will solely depend on the photographer and his taste of field.

One Ultra Wide like 8mm, 12mm, 11-16mm, 15-30mm, 16-35 etc.

One common lens like 18-55mm,18-140mm,18-135mm,24-70mm,24-120mm etc.

One prime lens for character shots like 35mm, 50mm, 85mm

[Carry only what you want at the end of the day your perspective with one lens will matter far more than a whole set of gear with utter confusion]

Why Ladakh?

The Ladakh trip is one of a kind for both domestic and foreign tourists. This remote land has a completely different culture and way of living which mesmerizes even the most experienced travellers. The land harbours one the highest motorable road in world as well as the largest fresh water lake so high above the sea level. A night time this is one of the very few places in India where the milky way is clearly visible to the naked eyes.

The trip is a combination of experiencing a slowly loosing way of life of the remote regions of Himalayas as well as the feat of the modern man fighting toe to toe with nature to keep its presence at this barren land.

How was my experience?

Completely mesmerized!

Just as mentioned above, our trip was planned on a similar itinerary. Even though we faced a slight delay due to one of our members falling ill, but he recovered well with good care and the helpful locals and administration. For a city dweller like me, who rarely gets the view of the night sky due to excessive pollution, the view of the milky moving across the night sky was something that will go into my book of forever memory.

The groups of Bactrian camels on the sand dunes was an exciting view. As I have never seen the Bactrian camels before and neither expected a desert with camels roaming, so high up in the Himalayas.

The Local fauna around the Pangong Lake was also very new to the me. On our way to Pangong Tso, we successfully spotted a group of Himalayan Marmot(A Giant squirrel like animal). The animal seemed pretty accustomed to humans as they were easily approachable, but ran to their burrows at the slightest of sudden sound.

The overall tour was an experience of a decade for me and my whole point of taking tour groups there is just the proof of how much I want to share my experience with other such enthusiasts.

NOTE:

1) Avoid any kind of junk eating and exercise a lot at least a month prior to the trip: Even though you will see locals running up and down like nothing, don't be fooled by it. The region has a very low pressure and oxygen. For People from the plains, like me, even a small walk of a kilometre may render you tired and out of breath. So keeping a healthy diet and some good excerise will help you enjoy the experience better.

2) Be polite to the local people: The Locals here are very helpful and kind hearted people . And the lack of basic amenities beyond LEH might force you to ask for local help. So keeping a relation with the locals will go a long a way.

3) Carry your prescription medicine: As mentioned the region is still remote with the Indian Army providing most of the logistics, as roads mostly stay closed around the year. So it is likely that you may not be able to find your prescription medicines.

5) Hire your Taxi from a reputable service provider: The roads are tricky with frequent landslides. An experienced driver might save your life. So it's very important that you research about your driver who will take you across Ladakh with safety and security.

7) Be carefull if you are asthmatic: Carry your inhaler and DO NOT strain yourself. Also inform the hosts about your condition so that they can arrange for an oxygen cylinder while crossing the Khardungla Pass. Prevention is always better than cure.

8) Keep your camera aside for a while and enjoy the experience: This goes without saying for any trip. Your senses are more important than your sensor/s.

9) Carry sun-screen and a head gear: In the afternoon the sun light mostly gets very harsh, So it good to carry proper protection from harsh sunlight.

Metrics:

Delhi to Leh is around 600 Kms via flight, which takes around 1 hour to reach.

Leh to Nubra is around 400kms. and takes around 5hrs. via road.

Nubra to pangong is around 170 Kms., But the road is quite difficult with frequent landslides and rivers flowing through the roads. an early morning ride will help you save much of the time and is safer due to low water levels and landslides.

Pangong to Leh is around, 180 kms. via road and takes around 5-6hrs. of drive

NOTE: Due to frequent landslides, it's common for vehichles to take a detour via another road chaning the time and distance mentioned to cover a distance.

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