LEH / LADAKH : The Dream of Many, The Opportunity for Some, The Reality for a Few

17th Aug 2017
Photo of LEH / LADAKH : The Dream of Many, The Opportunity for Some, The Reality for a Few by aawaaragiri

"Once a year go someplace you've never been before - Dalai Lama"

This is the first time I am penning down my travel experience and what could possibly be better then writing about my recent Road Trip to LEH/LADAKH.

My Vehicle: Maruti Swift Zxi

This post will tell you the realities of Leh / Ladakh region which were not being told earlier by anyone.

Before I start let me tell you the things you should keep in mind if you planning a road trip to LEH


*Get your vehicle serviced.

*Battery, Brake shoe / pads, Tyres needs to be checked.

*Carry a Tyre Air pump (Just in case)

*Keep an Oxygen gas Can / Cylinder (Optional)

*Download All the possible offline maps for the leh / Ladakh region.

***Diamox : Tablets to deal with AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)


*Sunscreen (Spf 50 & above) as the Sunlight is too bright and UV rays can cause serious damage to your skin.

*Woolens, Woolen cap, Jackets (August you don't really need em but you do while crossing the passes like Taglang la, Khardung la etc)

*Carry Light Snacks, Cookies, Chips.


*Water : Keep Drinking water throughout your journey.

*Energy Drinks be handy most of the times.

*Mini pocket torch.

***** And the MOST IMPORTANT*****


1: Tourist Development Council Permit (H.P.)

Any hotel staff in Manali can get you this for 100 bucks.

Make sure you get the permit for the date on which you'll be crossing Rohtang Pass & Koksar (First check post of the Lahual Spiti region)

2: Ladakh Inner Line Permits (ILP)

Inner Line Permits are required for Indian Tourists / Nationals (started again in 2017) and Ladakh Protected Area Permits (PAP) are required for foreigners. One has to pay an environment fee of Rs 400 and inner line permit fee of Rs 20 per day per person to get these permits.

Any travel agent can get you this for INR 650 to INR 850 / person or you can go to SDM office and get it before 1700 hrs.

*Make sure you clearly mention all the names of the traveller's and the number of Days.

These permits are required in Ladakh in order to visit the inner line places like Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, etc.


* Do not Overload your vehicle. You will end up damaging the undercarriage.

* Do not trust the Milestones beyond Jispa. Whenever in doubt step out of your vehicle and ask the locals (You will be lucky if you see any :P)

* Do not exhaust yourself if you are the only one driving. Take regular breaks.

* Eat Healthy not Heavy.

* It'll be a crime expecting cellphone working beyond Vashishth. Once you leave Manali your cellphone can only be used as a Camera, A Music Player, Offline GPS.

* Leave the stuntman in you back home.

* Do not Litter.


Day 1

Let's Start :)

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri

Start Early From Manali so that you can cross Gulaba, Rohtang and can reach Koksar on time.

Photo of Gulaba Viewpoint, Kothi, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri
Photo of Gulaba Viewpoint, Kothi, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri

Road from Manali till Rohtang pass is good. From Rohtang pass until Koksar you go downhill driving on the 3rd worst 15 km stretch. In Koksar Get your HP Permit Stamped. On your way back you again have to get it stamped here in Koksar.

Deepak Taal!

Photo of Deepak Tal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri

A small lake called "Deepak Taal" ( 3750 m ) is about 50 kms from Keylong along with Leh- Manali highway (NH-21). It gives the mirror Image of the surroundings.

Its recommended to stay in Keylong, Jispa or Darcha and get use to of the low pressure, lack of oxygen and cold. But if you want to continue driving then Sarchu has the next staying option.

Roads are very bad in shape after Deepak Taal till Sarchu.

I personally will not recommend staying in Sarchu. Oxygen is less, Air is rough and thin. It gets very windy in the evening and one should not be out of their tents no more then 10 minutes if staying here.

Sarchu is exactly where the AMS hits you. Symptoms of AMS includes Headache, Loss of Appetite, Dizziness. Best way to get acclimatize is to take rest once you reach Leh.


Photo of Patsio Lake Or Deepak Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri

Zing Zing Bar!

Photo of Zing Zing Bar, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri

Baralacha La Pass

Photo of Baralacha La Pass, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by aawaaragiri
Day 2

Biskynala has Roadside tea stalls. They offer food and beds to stay. Never think, i repeat Never think of staying here or else you'll wake up with the most unfavorable AMS ever. Temperature here drops down to -5 in August.

20 kms before Biskynala till you reach Pang, this 48 kms road stretch is the worst of this entire road trip.

Once you cross pang you will witness the phenomenal view and unimaginable terrains.

Photo of Taglang La by aawaaragiri

Road to Leh!

Photo of Pang, Leh by aawaaragiri

This View :)

Photo of Pang, Leh by aawaaragiri

PostPaid phones starts working in Karu & works till Leh.

Internet is a challenge but you can get that in your hotel. Most of the hotels and Restaurant / Cafe's offers internet.

I suggest you do not carry any pending work there as you might not get internet connectivity for days. Unfortunately i had some pending work which i thought will complete in Leh but had completed only after reaching Manali.

Reach Leh and Relax!!

Photo of LEH / LADAKH : The Dream of Many, The Opportunity for Some, The Reality for a Few by aawaaragiri
Day 3

Magnetic Hill

Photo of Magnetic Hill by aawaaragiri
Photo of Magnetic Hill by aawaaragiri

Sangam / Confluence of Indus and Zanskar!

Photo of Confluence of Indus(right)and Zanskar(left) by aawaaragiri

Pathar Sahib, Leh

Photo of Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Leh by aawaaragiri
Day 4

Khardung La

Photo of Khardung La by aawaaragiri

Likir Monastery

Photo of Likir Gompa, Likir by aawaaragiri

Shanti Stupa, Leh

Photo of Shanti Stupa, Shanti Stupa Road, Leh by aawaaragiri

From Karu till Zingral roads are in the poorest condition for about 35 kms.

Day 5
Photo of Chang La Pass by aawaaragiri

and after that:

Another one :)

Photo of Pangong Tso by aawaaragiri
Photo of Pangong Tso by aawaaragiri

Sunrise @ Pangong TSO

Photo of Pangong Tso by aawaaragiri

Pangong Tso

Photo of Pangong Tso by aawaaragiri

Will keep writing and improve!!

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4 Comment(s)
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@aawaaragiri - I loved your clicks, which month you have visited ?
Fri 02 09 18, 10:18 · Reply (1) · Report
Thank you Mayank. I was there in August
Sun 06 24 18, 00:41 · Report
i am going ladakh on 17 september, do i need inner line permit for the same. can i apply for it online as well/
Mon 09 11 17, 11:40 · Reply (1) · Report
Hi Deepika. yes you do need it. you can get it online but you might face a challenge as at times it does not show the payment option. it's better to reach leh, relax and get this done. can only be done before 5 pm from SDM office next to leh market, or get it from a local tour operator. he will charge 150/200 bucks extra per person but can get that easily. do let me know in case of any other help
Mon 09 11 17, 13:21 · Report
Sun 09 10 17, 23:05 · Reply · Report
Thanks for sharing.
Sun 09 10 17, 22:57 · Reply · Report