Planning on an ultimate trip to Leh and Ladakh? Keep these dos and don’ts in mind before you start packing your bags.
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If you don’t know what to expect from your Ladakh trip, then know that the place will surpass your expectations. Horizons dotted with monasteries, the highest mountain pass in the world, brightest rainbows ever, the world’s highest motorable road, clear blue skies, fresh flowers everywhere, alpine forests, and one of the world’s purest cultures you’d ever see, Ladakh is a paradise and nature’s best gift to travelers. While this is Ladakh’s good side, lack of proper infrastructure, traffic jams, unreliable connectivity, extreme temperature fluctuations, and treacherous, steep roads can overwhelm tourists.
However, to make your trip to this faraway land memorable, we have compiled a few dos and don’ts.
Road Tripping to Ladakh? Ensure You’re a Good Driver
Roads in Jammu and Kashmir are pretty rough and tough. While the landscape is gorgeous and unbeatable, the terrain and weather can be inhospitable, such as slippery roads, unpaved trails, potholes, and lack of visibility. Therefore, you must be comfortable and confident driving off-road and on hills.
- Don’t drive if you are tired and unwell.
- Do choose an SUV or 4X4 over any other vehicle.
Carry Your Prescriptions and Medicines
Medical supplies and pharmacies can be hard to find in Ladakh as it is one of the remotest areas in India. Therefore, we advise you to carry medicines that you use consume every day.
- Do carry pills for altitude and motion sicknesses.
- Do carry a first-aid kit.
- Book hotels or camping accommodations that provide oxygen.
- Stay in touch with a local or your doctor if you feel sickly.
Do Acclimatize Your Body for High-Altitude and the Extreme Cold
Acclimatization is mandatory for trekkers, hikers, and mountaineers traveling to Ladakh. Places at higher altitudes generally lack oxygen, and the steep ascent can leave you out of breath and your heart pumping harder.
However, Ladakh’s air is so fresh and pure that it is not likely to feel out of breath if you drive and take stops. The rules are only for adventurers.
- Remember to acclimate your body at least 3 – 10 days before the trip. Do it gradually.
- Carry your prescribed inhaler if you have asthma.
- Take a day’s rest in Leh before heading to Ladakh.
Carry Toilet Paper (It is a requirement)
Public toilets are scarce in Ladakh. While the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department is trying to improve the scenario, it will be a long haul. And therefore, you need to be prepared in case of a bowel emergency, particularly when traveling by road.
Do Not Depend on Google Maps and Mobile Network Connectivity
If you don’t know the place, hire a local guide, or ask for directions from the villagers. Internet and Google Maps are haywire in Leh-Ladakh. You cannot refer to Google Maps to estimate time nor expect mobile networks other than Airtel and BSNL postpaid to work in the state. That said, the connectivity tends to get sloppy after the town of Sonamarg and worse after Kargil. So, doesn’t it make a perfect hideout for a digital detox?
Wear Clothes in Layers
You will ascend various heights in your trip, from 10,000 feet to 18,000 ft and back to 14,000 ft. This means the temperature will keep fluctuating throughout your Leh-Ladakh tour. Therefore, instead of just one heavy jacket, we suggest wearing clothes in layers to control your body temperature as required.
- Wear thermals as your first layer under your clothes.
- Carry light and thicker jackets to layer up your clothes based on the temperature.
- Bring gloves, caps, mufflers, and woolen socks for additional protection.
Make Sure Your Paperwork is Ready Before the Trip
Since Ladakh is close to the Indo-Pak and Indo-China borders, it is essential to organize your travel documents and keep them in order. Foreign nationals may require special permits and documents from the Jammu tourism department to visit certain parts of Ladakh. If you are self-driving, keep all the KYC documents handy. For more details, visit Jammu and Kashmir Tourism’s official website.
Our last piece of advice is: do not be fussy about food and accommodation. The living conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, especially as you go higher, are harsh. Try staying with the locals in their guesthouses. They are a friendly bunch. Eat local food and enjoy the raw beauty of the place. For more updates on Jammu tourism, follow us.