My solo trip to Ladakh

Tripoto
2nd Jul 2019
Day 1

So ..after a lot of brainstorming around my vacation, I finally decided to take the plunge of getting Leh'd.

The first stop was Manali. The way to zostel, Manali had this different rustic look and the zostel itself had an amazing peaceful environment.

The walk in the nature park with trees and the river was very soothing. Ended the day at drifters cafe having some good food and refreshing music

Zostel common area

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul

Nature park, Manali

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul

Having wine on the riverside with the sound of nothing but the river and birds

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul

The famous manu temple

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul

Freshly plucked fruit

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Day 2

Started the day early to catch the HPTDC bus to Leh. Yes! They do run the bus from Manali to Leh on every alternate day from July 1 till September 15. The bus stops at all the sightseeing places on the way and trust me, the journey has some amazing views in store!

The bus reaches Rohtang pass by lunchtime. The first day ends at an overnight stay with Keylong at the hotel Chandrabhaga. I was sharing the room with 3 other women, 1 from Korea, 1 from US and another from Argentina (I met these women again and again throughout my trip). The overnight stay, dinner and breakfast is all included in the bus package.

The highlight of my day was the excitement of all these solo women travellers from across the world and India. (There were atleast 5 of us in that bus and it was so exciting to hear their stories) The day ended early as we had to start early the next morning.

Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Photo of Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India by Puja Kaul
Day 3

Day 3 was long but so beautiful that it completely took away the 16 hour drive in the bus from Keylong to Leh.

The scenery began to shift as soon as the bus left Keylong. After passing the fully frozen bralachala pass, the scenery shifted again in another 2 hours after we crossed sarchu, the last district of HP. It seemed like something out of a picture.

We had our lunch at 17000ft, the oxygen levels had come down and we could no longer find an appropriate toilet :)

There was still 200kms till Leh and it was already 3pm. The bus covered the last 200 kms in just under 5 hours. As the bus entered Leh district, we came across a valley having mountains on the both sides and a straight infinite road ahead.

We reached leh at around 8pm on that day. I quickly took a cab to my Airbnb and ended the day with a hot shower.

Moving past the ice sheets

Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul

Chandrataal jheel

Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul

Just another overwhelming scenery on the way

Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Day 4

Day 4 was more about planning the Leh itenary and trying some awesome local food.  I visited the main market, the bus station, travel agents and the most importantly 'The Tibetan kitchen' (for the food) . I finalized my itenary and finished the day early only to make myself acclimated to the altitude

My Airbnb had a tiny stream flowing right opposite to it. I could hear the sound of it the whole night which added so much positivity to my stay ;)

Almost every third person in Leh was talking in kashmiri. I being a kashmiri myself, found it very exciting!!

Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Day 5

I started by day with a hearty breakfast at gesmo restaurant following which I went to the Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations at choglamsar monastery. The celebrations seemed like a huge Indian Mela where people brought their picnic along. Multiple performances and food stalls made the entire ground more colorful.

Spending almost an hour at the monastery, I left that place and then trekked my way to the Leh palace followed by a great Ladakhi meal at the Alchi kitchen.

Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul
Photo of Leh by Puja Kaul

Ended my day by attending the cultural night in the main market. The colorful costumes and Ladakhi traditional dance were the highlight of that evening

Photo of My solo trip to Ladakh by Puja Kaul
Photo of My solo trip to Ladakh by Puja Kaul
Photo of My solo trip to Ladakh by Puja Kaul
Day 6

I hired a shared cab to visit the pangong lake. We started at 6 am that day, the cab driver was an ex BSF personnel which made me feel very safe with the strangers.

The other 3 people who I shared cab with were kashmiri people from Srinagar who were very friendly and fun to talk to.

After 2 hours of driving, we stopped for breakfast. The biggest coincidence happened here. I met one of my college seniors in the same dhaaba. His family had come there all the way from Mysore!!

In the next 3 hours, we reached this lake. The amazing beauty of the lake is not captured enough in the photos. Just sitting there staring at the lake and the snow capped mountains is a treat to eyes

Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Photo of Pangong Lake by Puja Kaul
Day 7

The much awaited leg of my trip started with the local bus to nubra valley All the bus drivers here in Leh were extremely helpful especially for the tourists who intend to take some pictures and spend sometime in sightseeing places on the route

After passing the majestic Khardung la and Khardung village, the scenery takes a shift as it enters the nubra and shyok valley.

The highlight of the valley were the silver sanddunes and shyok river flowing alongside

The first stop was diskit from where I took another local bus to turtuk. It is almost unbelievable to eyes when the views change almost every 100kms in the area.

As you reach Turtuk, you can feel the changing views and greenery.  Turtuk is one of the northernmost villages of India. The wheat fields, flowers, greenery, wooden bridge, monastery and waterfall make this village very picturesque. 

Most of the people from this village spoke balti language and had balti food. Some of them were kashmiri and Ladakhi as well.

Photo of Turtuk by Puja Kaul
Photo of Turtuk by Puja Kaul
Photo of Turtuk by Puja Kaul
Photo of Turtuk by Puja Kaul
Photo of Turtuk by Puja Kaul
Day 8

The second day of nubra valley was spent in Hunder and diskit.

I took a local Mazda from Turtuk till Hunder. The bus dropped me just outside one end of the village. On asking some locals, I found that the sanddunes were on the other end of the village.

I started walking towards it and quickly realised that it would have been a very long walk in a very hot sun. I hitchhiked in a couple of cabs to reach near the end and finally walked the last mile

I was excited about camel ride in the sanddunes. So I got the ticket as soon as I reached there. I got to know from the driver that these double humped camels were originally brought from Mongolia and now their number in the Hunder village was more than 700

Finally, after the camel ride and some pics, to leave the Hunder village, I travelled to diskit in a mini bus which was rented by a group of old friendly couples from Maharashtra

The diskit monastery was the next stop for which I trekked almost 2kms.  The family I stayed overnight at diskit was really friendly. We had some interesting conversations and very delicious Ladakhi food (the dessert was mouthwatering)

Photo of Hunder by Puja Kaul
Photo of Hunder by Puja Kaul
Day 9

While coming back to Leh, the short layover at Khardung La, one of the highest motorable roads in the world, was mesmerizing.

Photo of Khardung La by Puja Kaul
Photo of Khardung La by Puja Kaul
Photo of Khardung La by Puja Kaul

I spent the last day in Leh in Hemis monastery having the Hemis festival celebrations :)

Tourists from across India and world flocked to the monastery to view the traditional celebrations in colorful costumes of the lamas.

The locals had a day off and they were visiting the place with their families. They had brought picnic along with them to the monastery.

I was scheduled to fly back to Chandigarh the next day morning, so I ended my day early.

Photo of Hemis Monastery Museum, Hemis by Puja Kaul
Photo of Hemis Monastery Museum, Hemis by Puja Kaul
Photo of Hemis Monastery Museum, Hemis by Puja Kaul

The trip had now ended and I was happy that I did this and I did this solo.

Extremely safe, Ladakh has some amazing views to offer and acts as a perfect vacation to chill. I advise to have atleast 6-7 days for this vacation.

Moreover, Ladakh has some very helpful people. The tourists are respected a lot.

The accomodation and food are all worth the prices. The local transport is way cheaper than the shared cabs (or private cabs). Leh town has a lot of must try cafes and Tibetan market (where you will get a thousand things to gift your loved ones)

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