Like every traveller and tourist, I had a desire to travel around Ladakh. Being broke and a frequent solo traveller, the idea of funding an extensive solo trip to Leh was clearly out the window. So, after a quick search, I decided to travel with Streets Of India for a 10-day trip. I’ve usually travelled solo, so the idea of travelling in a group full of unknown people made me a little sceptical. But meeting those people and getting to know them turned out to be a good experience to my surprise.
Ladakh is a Union Territory located in North India, Leh being its capital. It is bordered by Karakoram range in the North and Himalayan range in the South. It is divided into Leh, Nubra, Zanskar, Lower Ladakh and Rupshu with the great Indus flowing through the region. This cold and dry desert is home to many distinctive landscapes like uplands, craggy barren cliffs and plateaus. This extends far beyond Leh, some parts of the region are so remote that the only accessibility medium is by foot. Even beyond this, there’s still a large part of Ladakh that is remote and beyond civilian access.
Reaching Ladakh by road is a road-trip in itself. Leh being the prominent town, one can get there in two ways. Route 1 is the Srinagar-Leh highway NH-1D and Route 2 is the Leh-Manali highway NH-22. Both these highways are packed with breath-taking landscapes and adventurous terrains including some of India’s highest passes like Zo Jila and Tanglang La.
Flying to Leh is a rather quick option and a favourable one when there’s a time crunch. Regular direct flights are operational to Leh including direct flights from Srinagar to Leh as well.
*PRO TIP: Try taking a window seat on the right side to enjoy the aerial valley view. If you get lucky with clear weather, you’ll manage to get a beautiful view of the Himalayas.
Because of the time crunch, I flew to Leh from Delhi and returned back to Delhi by the local bus via Key- long, Rohtang pass and Manali.
Accommodation and Transport
Ladakh’s popularity has gained a lot of tourist attention over the years, which also means that the accommodation choices in Ladakh have also increased. From luxury hotels to economical guest houses to personalized homestays and backpackers’ hostels, there’s an option for every budget. The internet has brought people of this remote area together which has helped them understand the needs of the travellers. We stayed at Solpon Guest house, owned by Mrs Tsewang Dolma, a very warm-hearted host and person.
The public transport buses between Ladakh and other parts of India (Manali, Srinagar and Kargil) are up to Leh. If you have a rough idea of the dates for your trip and are flexible with your itinerary, you can book taxis for your travel there. If you are travelling solo, you can share a taxi with the people you meet during your travel as per your comfort. Bike rentals are also a great option to explore the city and the main market provides a lot of rental options. If you’re travelling solo and are confident about riding a bike on the rough terrains, bike rentals may be the best, most feasible choice for you.