Leh-Ladakh is one of the most picturesque and an epic place to be found on earth. Since the ancient times the place is referred to as God’s own land or a way to heaven. In this blog, I am going to share with you my experience in the valley of Leh and Ladakh.
Since many years my friends and I were planning for Leh Ladakh trip but due to some reasons, we couldn’t make it at most of the time. Before I turning 18, I always wondered that after attaining the adulthood I can take my own bike to Leh. I think it’s a dream of almost every boy to ride a bike in the cold deserts of Leh-Ladakh; especially conquering the world’s highest passes like Khardungla. So it was truly one of my dreams to conquer all those mountain peaks.
Since last year I started searching for Ladakh trip packages. But I was not sure that whether I would get a good package or not because in the present times we could find 100 of travel companies; but there is no guarantee of their good assistance. I kept searching for and finally got one company. The company was actually recommended by some of my friends and moreover he was very sure about this company named KPL Expeditions, based in Manali, as he had done many treks and expeditions with them. I have collected many beautiful memories from the Leh trip in 2018. So, guys here I am starting my story from Day 1 to Day 9.
We were total 4 Friends and booked Leh Ladakh trip on 20 April 2018. Our trip started on 26 May and ended on 5 June 2018.
On 20 May we reached Manali in the early morning and our stay was at Rockland Inn Manali. For the night we decided to do dine in old Manali because as one of my friends had already told me about old Manali Food gali and I was excited to try new food. As we finished our food I got a call from our host Mr Rahul Thakur, that we have to start our journey early in the morning at 2 am.
The odd timings initially astounded everyone but the organizers convinced us that because of the never ending Rohtang jam problem we had be as ray as possible.
We started our day long journey at 2:00AM with our host Mr. Rahul Thakur. He came to our hotel and we organised our luggage in the Suv and started our most memorable trip. We crossed Manali area very quickly but you won’t believe that it took around 4 hrs to complete our Manali-Rohtang journey which otherwise is only 55KM.
So, I think everybody going to Leh must be prepared for these kind of surprises. Tuesdays are banned for the tourists who only wants to visit Rohtang and open for everyone else, so traffic for the day was sparse which was a good news for the Leh tourists like us. One of the best thing about the leh ladakh journey is the initial trail from Rohtang pass and as the sun rises with our journey, it perfectly synchronizes with our hope for the unexpected trip.
After crossing Rohtang pass we stopped at Jispa for the breakfast. We rested there for an hour. First, So again, We then started our journey towards Sarchu as our guide told us that our first day’s halt would be there. Before reaching Sarchu we encountered with a monstrous rivulet named as Zing-Zing Bar that changed its flow every now and then and had the capacity to destroy even big trucks.
We were earlier instructed to cross the rivulet before sunset as the water level rises in the evening. As we crossed Zing-Zing bar, we reached one of most beautiful passage between the high mountains known as the Baralacha Pass. We were in love that place as we had never witnessed many feet high walls of snow welcoming us with a cool breeze.
When we reached Sarchu one of my friend’s started feeling anxious which was a sign of the mountain sickness or AMS (Altitude Membrane Sickness). He was given Diamox, a medicine for the situation. So, that night was very tough in Sarchu. We wanted to stay in tents there but because of the fast wind speeds we were not allowed to do so and instead we stayed in a homestay in Sarchu.
Why you should or should not stay at Sarchu.
If you have some sort of health issues then you are advised to avoid taking chances of any kind, as in most of the cases, it resulted in death because of scarcity of oxygen. Or even you are a healthy person please take Diamox medicine from Manali and just take it before you start your journey.
‘Leh-Ladakh jitna khoobsurat hai utna hi bereham bhi.’
The big question is if sarchu is not good for night stay then where to stay. The answer is Jispa, Guys jispa is 3100M above sea level. Has a high level of oxygen but after jispa the oxygen level began to fall down.
Day 3:Sarchu to Leh-Ladakh
The night stay was very tough and we started our journey very early because we had to reach Leh before 3:00 pm as we need permits for Nubra and Pangong Tso. So, we started at 5:30 AM from Sarchu. After Sarchu the valley became more beautiful. I’m out of words to explain the beauty of this valley. After Sarchu we crossed the gata loops, which were one of the best looped hair pin bends in India. One thing that I noticed and loved the most was the gradual change in temperature and climate while moving from Delhi, then Manali, then Sarchu and finally Leh. One more thing about gata loops was that there we have to throw a water bottles in a specific place, which is a kind of a real ghost story (I will write an article on that story too in another blog).
After Gata loops, we found a dhaba before Nakeela Pass. As we crossed Nakeela pass (4780M), again most of us felt a shortage of oxygen, so our guide suggested us to open our windows to breathe in the fresh air, because in this situation our body needs to be acclimatized with the surroundings. After crossing the Nakeela Pass we headed towards LachungLa Pass which is 5020 M above sea level and again had a very less amount of oxygen.
It is advised in the oxygen devoid areas to remain calm, as running or exertion could choke the lungs out. After Lachung La we reached Pang. It is advised that if somebody have serious breathing problem then they can stay there.
After crossing Pang the landscape become more plain making it more panoramic.
The landscape will give you a fresh energy and a positive feeling which is needed for travelling the space ahead. We reached Taglang La pass situated at 5200M above mean sea level and the world’s 2nd highest Pass.
Because of the considerable height and reduction of breathable air, it was very difficult to stay for long on that place and only after crossing the pass we could revive back.
As we reached UPSI
We got the first look of the Indus river, the view was beautiful and serene but the river bank had reduced which is most probably due to less snowfall and the retreating glaciers. After UPSI we reached at Karu. Karu is a small town from where we can go to Pangong Tso or to the Nubra valley. In Karu we had camping and hotel option for the night stay but we crossed the place without a halt. We passed along the beautiful village Thiksey where the famous Thiksey Monastery is located. And in the afternoon at around 2:40 PM we reached Leh. Many roads on the internal route of the town was under repair, so we took a longer route and reached out hotel at 3:40 PM.
Day4Leh Local Sightseeing:
Night was quite good at Leh-Ladakh. The town is at 3100M above mean sea level and has a considerable number of trees around, enough to give us sufficient oxygen. That day we explored the Leh market and in the meanwhile he collected all the permits. We visited Shanti Stupa, Leh palace situated nearby the Leh market. Our guide arranged the permits till 11:00 AM, after which we visited Pathar sahib and the Magnetic Hill which is around 30 KM from the Leh city.
The spots were not in included in our package but our guide was kind enough to add those spots as a bonus. After 30 min drive we reached at Pathar Sahib. The gurdwara is handled by the Indian army. Don’t miss the prasad in Pathar Sahib. After this 4-5 Km drive we reached the Magnetic Hill. In the evening we visited the Leh town and we tried few local dishes in a food store and believe me ‘you won’t find momos and thukpa like of this place anywhere else in the country.’
Now in Leh we bought a sim, which were otherwise banned in the state of Jammu and kashmir because of some security reasons.
This was one of the most amazing day of my life as that day we visited ‘Pangong Tso’, the crystal clear blue lake. We woke up early in the morning at around 5 and started our journey at 6 to Pangong Lake. For this trip we were provided with a Bullet 500 as per our booking. The distance was just 160 KM from Leh to Pangong Tso. For this summit, we submitted one copy of our permit at Karu and the second one after 50 KM from Karu.
Initially the condition of the road is not that much good as the metalling work was at progress. After 2 and a half hours we reached Chang La, world’s 2nd highest pass and with the god’s grace snowfall started. The moment was mystical and full of ultimate joy. We had some snacks at Chang La pass and then after a rest of half an hour we moved from Changla. As we crossed Chang La, we saw more meadows where horses were grazing.
First glimpse of pangong tso
After travelling for around 160 KM we reached the beautiful lake Pangong Tso. The beauty of the lake couldn’t be described in words. It is magnificently displaying its real blue colours spread to a wide distance just like an endless ocean and you won’t even find its other end. Later, we got to know that the actual shooting of the movie ‘3 Idiots’ was done 7 KM far away from the starting point of lake. Excited to visit that point, we reached there and guess what was the first thing that we did there? We posed exactly like the ‘3 Idiot’ movie poster – 3 people rubbing their bum; the moment was filled with laughter and cheers.
One could also stay or camp at Pangong Tso but according to me 3 to 4 hrs were enough to absorb the serenity of the lake but yes, one could stay there to witness the exotic sunrise. At 3:00 PM we drove back to Leh and we have reached back the town at around 8:00 PM.
Important things for you to follow: start your journey early and take some snacks along with you.
Day6Leh Nubra Valley:
On the day 6th we started late at around 10 AM, yes we started late and the upcoming events added an overdue to our schedule. As we reached the first chowki, the personnels asked us for the permit xerox and we didn’t have that so we returned back to Leh cit, got the xerox and handed it to the police officials. All this took around 40 min and 10 KM of extra journey. So actually, we started at 11:00 AM and reached Khardung La at 1 PM due to heavy traffic jam. After reaching at the world’s highest pass we got many disappointments as the place was no more attractive than any other pass.
Then we started our journey towards the Nubra valley. As our guide told us that we should first visit Diskit and Hundar village. But one of my friend convinced us to take another route which finally proved out to be a wrong turn. So due to this mistake, we wasted around 2 Hrs and extra 50 KM.
We reached Diskit at 5 o-clock and at 6PM we reached Hundar. Hundar village is famous for two Hump camel rides. We found small sand dunes in Hundar village. Interestingly, driving car on those dunes could cost a person a fine of Rs. 5000.
After spending a quality time in Hundar, we headed back to Leh-Ladakh. We took a short route from Hundar to Karu, we found many rabbits around during our night journey. During this journey, we passed the Warilla pass. So, after crossing warilla pass our next destination was Shakti. Shakti is 10 KM before Karu and we reached Karu at 11PM. We already had bookings in camps, so we went there and had dinner.
Day7Leh to Jispa:
We woke early in the morning at 6:00AM. After taking bath and having breakfast we all were ready to take our next journey from Karu to Jispa. Our guide told us that we were to travel back upto Jispa or Keylong. We started our journey from karu at 7:00AM. Everything was going perfectly, we crossed Taglang La, Nakeela Pass, Moore Plains.
Later we came to know that there was a flood in Zing zing bar. It was closed for 2 days due to the collapse of a bridge over it. As we moved towards Baralacha La, another problem approached us. There we found some army personnel trying to fix one of their trucks. There was another person in a gypsy who asked us for his help. His gypsy was stuck in the mud, later we got to know that we had mistaken him for being an army personnel.
Think before you help :
But without thinking much we helped them. After an hour their car got released but due to that person’s suggestion, our SUV got stuck in same situation. Thankfully few Punjabi tourists came forward for our help. We struggled for around 3-4 Hrs, then after successfully pulling out our vehicle, we reached Keylong at around 8 PM. That day was no doubt one of the worst nightmares of my life. Even we could have died if anyone would haven’t helped us that day. So, help others but don’t risk your own life as nature is the supreme power and we are just like a bug in front of her.
After reaching there we had had our delicious dinner. In the night I was trying to thank god to save us from being trapped in some bad situation. At that time, I realized that this was the actual kind of Leh Ladakh trip. So, guys please make yourself fully prepared for the Leh-Ladakh trip.
Day8Jispa to Manali:
This was our last day of the trip with KPL expeditions and with Rahul and katappa. We started at 8:00 AM from Keylong. Our morning breakfast was aalu ka parantha and curd. So, when we started from Keylong we thought that we would reach Manali by 11:00 AM. But we were not aware about the Rohtang pass real traffic jam. When we entered Rohtang pass there were 1000s of vehicle at the top. Then we estimated that it would take no less than 4 hrs there. But thanks to the Himachal police, who helped every vehicle to get rid of jam. We reached Manali in 2 hours while witnessing the deadly dikes along the road.
We went to our hotel in Manali, which were booked already. After having bath, we decided to go to the Manali market for some shopping. We had spend our last night manali. In the 9th day we have Bus from Manali to Delhi. And with this our 9D/8N Trip was over.
Important things need to be followed before going on this trip: You must know about AMS
Note : If you have breathing problem then please confirm your doctor first.