• Leh Ladakh road trip tips for the beginners

    Why it is called that everybody doesn't deserve Leh....
    Leh-Ladakh- At top of the world
    Leh Ladakh is called heaven on earth...It lies in trans Himalayan region and known for its pure atmosphere, deep blue skies & unforgettable experience. Bounded by two of the world’s highest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Here natures beauty is both raw & naked, barren & rusty, desolate & remote and yet live & colorful !! Words seem less to describe the virgin beauty of this land famous for the highest passes.The peace, beauty of the place can not be expressed in words. Right from Highest passes to gompas to the local markets & vibrant culture everything is unique, the superabundance of attractions to visit makes this city heaven on earth.

    It is said that only in Ladakh is the only place where you will get sunburn & frostbite at the same time. The place holds so many surprises together that one can’t help but be awed.
    There are people who visit foreign land to see beauty and miss the very place in their own country. No wonder even foreigners are crazy for this place. Seeing is believing.
    Things people should know before they visit Leh.
    How to reach: By Road & By Air.
    Road status:- Closed
    Best time to visit:- Mid of May till end of mid of October.
    (All depend on the amount of snowfall)
    Flights:- From Delhi
    Jet Airways (Daily 2 flights)
    Go Air (Daily 2 flights)
    Air India (Weekly 3 flights)
    From Mumbai:
    Go Air (Daily 1 flight via Delhi)
    Leh ladakh can be reached by Flight and road via Srinagar & Manali.
    Leh is open for 4-5 months only.
    The main reason is Zojila pass and Rohtang Pass. Rohtang pass (If you go Via Manali) & "Zojilla Pass (via Srinagar) remain closed from October till mid of may due to snowfall in that region.
    Although the 434 KM long Srinagar – Leh Highway open earlier this year in March.There was only about 8-10 feet of snow between Baltal to Zojila this year. (keep in mind that even when the highway gets open it needs at least couple of weeks to settle or get stabilized from initial snow sliding that happens due to quick melting of snow) www.devilsonwheelz.com
    BRO (Border Road Organisation) is the force behind making and maintaining the beautiful roads you see in this region.

    Leh Ladakh by road

    Climate is at extremes, oscillating between 36c & 60c. Because of incessant snowfall during winter.
    AMS -Acute mountain sickness or High Altitude Sickness:- Acute Mountain Sickness occurs due to scarcity of oxygen at high altitude, and inability of our bodies to adjust to low oxygen content in air. Acute mountain sickness is defined as: In the setting of recent ascent to high altitude, headache with at least one of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue or weakness, splitting headaches, mild breathlessness, dizziness or light heartedness, lack of sleep & hallucination. The way out is to give your body time to acclimatize to high altitude. In our briefing for Leh Ladakh tours we give advice on how to stay fit. We plan tours in such a way that people can  avoid AMS & stay fit to enjoy entire trip.
    Things to keep in mind :-
    Once you arrive in Leh (either by land routes or by flight), you should still be cautious about your sleeping altitude and only gain it gradually by doing Nubra Valley first, followed by Pangong Tso and then Tso Moriri, Hanle etc.. This is due to the fact that even though you have to travel on the highest motorable road, Khardung La, to reach Nubra Valley, it is lower in altitude than Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri.

    In fact irrespective of your mode of transport and route, you should aim to spend at least first couple of nights in Leh, in order to acclimatize and unwind, before proceeding to any of the above destinations.
    #Don't stress your body- You should avoid overexerting yourself and take frequent breaks while walking or climbing stairs.
    # Drink plenty of water (warm water preferably)-You should drink water at regular interval and water mixed with glucose or electrolytes to keep yourself hydrated and keep your energy levels up.
    # Avoid smoking & Drinking, especially in Sarchu (Don't Drink) avoid till you are fully acclimatized, since alcohol is known to cause dehydration.
    # Keep yourself dry and Hydrated.
    # Try and take srinagar route (As in this route your body get acclimatized automatically as your body get enough time to adjust to High altitude.
    # Start taking medicine whichever you choose to avoid AMS.
    # Always remember precaution is better then cure.
    # Always keep your head , forehead ear covered even if it is sunny day.
    # Don't do heavy exercise, instead you can still do yoga it will help.
    # Avoid spending too much time at high altitude passes.
    # You should avoid overeating and eat light yet frequent meals.
    # Approach hospital or an army base if you or a fellow traveler starts showing symptoms of severe AMS.
    #And of course, travel to Ladakh with an open mind and an open plan, and avoid trying to stick to a plan/itinerary at the cost of your own health and wellbeing.
    # Last but not the least DON'T BE A GAMA IN THE LAND OF LAMA.
    Medicine :-
    Diamox: While Diamox can somewhat speedup acclimatization process, by making your body breathe faster and help increase overall oxygen intake, it isn’t a surefire way to avoid AMS and it will not help if you take it only after you start feeling the effects of AMS. It is better off as a preventive medicine.
    Current recommendations are 125 – 250 mgs twice daily, starting a day before ascent and continuing for a couple of days at the height or even for the entire duration of stay. If severe symptoms develop, Diamox will not be useful and in such cases, descent is the best way out.
    Side effects:
    Ranging from numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, drowsiness and confusion. It will also make your cold drinks taste flat and increase urination. So make sure to drink water regularly to keep yourself hydrated.
    You should consult with your family doctor, before taking Diamox, especially if you are on any medication. Also since Diamox is a sulfur drug, it cannot be taken by those who are allergic to sulfur drugs.
    Taking a test dose a few weeks before your trip to see whether you experience any severe side effects of Diamox is a good idea.
    Dexamethasone: 2-4 mg of Dexamethasone every 6 hours is also effective in preventing and treating AMS. The mechanisms of action of dexamethasone in relieving AMS symptoms are unknown. Its relative effectiveness compared to Diamox has not been established, but it likely is equivalent to Diamox. Dexamethasone should only be taken in consultation with your family doctor/physician.
    Disprin/Aspirin: Those who do not wish to take Diamox, blood thinners like Disprin, Aspirin etc. can not only help reduce some of the symptoms of AMS eg. headaches, but also help your blood carry more oxygen.
    Oxygen Cylinder: You should also carry portable oxygen cylinders, which are available at chemist shops and should provide you temporary relief, in case you or those traveling with you start to feel uneasy. We always carry oxygen cylinder & medicines while on expedition to Leh Ladakh.
    Highest Passes u will cross on Manali to Leh Highway(475km):-
    Rohtang Pass -3979 m.
    Baralacha- La- 4890 m
    lachulung- La - 5059 m
    Tanglang- La - 5328 m
    Highest Passes u will cross on Srinagar to Leh Highway(435km):-
    Zoji-La - 3528 m
    Fotu-La - 4108 m
    Highest Passes in Leh & around:-
    Chang-La- 5360 m
    Khardung- La - 5359 m
    Rohtang Pass
    Tandi (the last petrol pump on Manali Leh highway)
    Zing zing bar
    Tso Kar
    Tso Moriri (Lake)
    Khardung-La - (5359 m) Highest motor able road in the world:
    Pangong Tso Lake: The lake from 3 Idiots, that changes colors.
    Nubra Valley
    Hall of Fame: experience the patriotism.
    Shanti Stupa
    Thiksey Monastery
    Gurdwara Pathar Sahib
    Deskit Monastery
    Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers
    Magnetic Hill
    Prayer Wheel
    Spituk Monastery
    Stakna Monastery
    Leh Royal Palace
    Stok Palace Museum
    Shey Monastery
    Moon Land
    Kargil War Memorial in Drass (A must visit)
    Gumri Post (A cafe is also there run by Indian Army)
    Ladakh is a very friendly place and you’ll find many people willing to share their own experiences and stories of Ladakh with you. The monks and children are particularly helpful and will go out of their way to get you accustomed to the culture of Leh and make you feel at home.
    But there are few things to keep in mind while hiring & driving vehicles coz of rules & regulations.
    Hiring Vehicle from Manali & Srinagar for Leh.
    There are unions that run the business of rented vehicles (Bike/ taxi) and because there is tussle between these three unions (Leh union- Srinagar Union- Manali Union.) Hiring is bit complicated and rules & regulations keep on changing.
    The thumb rule is -Outside commercial vehicles are not allowed in Leh Ladakh area. So you have to keep your vehicle and hire another from leh only to roam around.That why srinagar and Manali unions also dont let Leh vehicle in their area. (unofficially)

    Network is available in Leh, BSNL works at most of the places whereas Airtel & Vodafone (postpaid) also work at some places. But communication with the outside world is extremely limited. Usually in our trips hotels we provide have wi fi in most of the places like nubra valley as well. but camps site like sarchu and pangong is out of question.
    The first thing to know about this trip is that it’s not for everyone. There are 100's of kilometers of barren land and no signs of human habitation.
    Now to the first point why we say that everybody doesn't deserve Le.... coz it tae the hell out of you... which people are not ready for (specially who r glued to phone) Its a an experience... like meditation..in our trips.. the most common thing are...
    people loose weight without knowing (6-10 kg)
    they lost the count of the dates
    they lost the count of the hours
    They forget all the deadlines set for them
    they forget official politics..
    all the world is forgotten

    And they become like child friends fighting to each other and in the end they realise they found their best friends....
    You need to learn to cherish each moment. Its not about reaching destination in leh. Its like life, where 90 % of the time you will take to reach to the destinations, so if you don't enjoy the path, you are wasting most of your time. Go there to Enjoy the route, not to reach to Pangong, khardungla or Nubra valley. Fall in love with the roads, the turns, the broken paths, snow covered paths, the difficulties, the mess that a single truck causes, Landslides. Fall in love with almost everything that you see around, embrace every little experience, as you don't know it yet, but you will cherish these moments for the rest of your lives. believe us ... this will be best trip of your life.

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