For the ones bitten by travel bug, there’s always an inner voice calling you to the Himalayas. for those with this inner voice calling, it’s now time to plan the Ladakh trip with ample five months for perfect planning, airlines offering low fares.
First step in planning a Ladakh trip is how you plan to reach Leh city. You have three options via Srinagar, Manali or by air. Travelling via Srinagar or by air will be more likely for better acclimatisation.
We had meticulously planned our trip during August 2016 but during the 11th hour we had to make changes in our itinerary due to turmoil in Srinagar. One cannot say what and how the situation in the Kashmir be in the Summers. Had we planned our visit during the early summers the situation was better but mid July onward the situation was not right for the road travels. I hope and pray there’s no issue that would lead to any disharmony in the valley. We still miss visiting Kashmir during our last visit to Ladakh. So, if you plan to fly to Srinagar and opt to go by road from Srinagar to Leh – have a plan B and always book refundable flight tickets to Srinagar. Jet Airways was very kind with refunding our fares last time. Look for the Srinagar – Leh highway status which will open only after the Snowfall stops mostly after April onward. Check the status of Srinagar – Leh highway status here: http://devilonwheels.com/srinagar-leh-highway-status-2016/
If you plan to fly to Leh, ensure an additional rest day to acclimatise yourself to the high altitude. Do not take it lightly, nothing happens if you take care.
Exiting Leh – always plan how you want to return back from Leh. One does not want to return back from the divine bliss of the Himalayas but that cannot happen with every wanderlust. The only options to return from Ladakh is by road via Srinagar/Manali or by air. Srinagar roads are safer compared to Manali, conditions of the situation in Kashmir should always be considered. Manali has adventurous roads and beautiful scenes has HPTDC bus run every alternate day during the season. Book well in advance, you may not find tickets during the 11th hour as it’ll be full always. There are shared taxi’s/ tempo travellers plying every night, that’s scary travelling at night in those roads. You can always hire your taxi and pool in like-minded people and take the Manali route. We could not travel via Manali route as we travelled in the month of August and the roads were not great due to heavy rains and it was also closed down for a day. If you plan to fly back, then make advance bookings as the flight tickets would go up as high it can. while we were trying to find tickets from Leh the entire week was from 22000 INR onward from Leh to Delhi.
Even after all the hassles we had reaching Leh and coming back from Leh we had a beautiful vacation, one that I cannot forget throughout. One of the best destinations which I want to go back again and again. The chants Om Mani Padme Hum, the number of times I listen, it takes me to the Himalayan terrain, puts me in peace with the memories of Ladakh. Don’t miss on this destination, it’s not just a destination but an experience.
My itinerary of my last visit to Ladakh, hope to have many more vacations. https://travelsoiled.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/experiencing-ladakh/
Few pictures from my experience:
After Khalsar, Nubra
Nubra Valley @Hunder
Rainbow at Pangong Tso
Prayer flags at Pangong Tso