After almost 4 months of planning, we just concluded our first trip to enchanting Ladakh to witness its beauty. I could not resist sharing my experiences from the trip. Here’s how it all went.
We were in Leh by 6:30 am and we could already see some amazing views of enchanting Ladakh through our flight windows.
We were greeted by outside of the airport by Mr. Anchuk, our driver and guide for the entire itinerary. He took us to a beautiful hotel, Hotel Cho Palace. We had a warm welcome there as they greeted us with their traditional souvenir, followed by much-needed breakfast. Then, it was time for much-needed sleep.
Being the first day at Leh, we had to spend half day relaxing and getting acclimatized with the climate. We met our travel coordinators by 3:30 pm and they gave a walkthrough of our entire itinerary.
By 5 pm it was time for some nearby sight seeing and local market shopping. Mr. Anchuk took us to the Shanti Stoopa where we started witnessing real Leh beauty. The mesmerizing view there made us fall in love with Ladakh.
After Shanti stupa, it was time for Leh Palace. The 7 storied palace situated in mountains gave us a glimpse of ancient architectural styles in this part of India.
It was time for some local market shopping now. Before we end our day, we spent some time in Leh market.
We were already feeling the toll on our bodies now and some of us got the taste of high altitude sickness.
We started our day at 9:30 and we went to Hall of Fame museum. We saw some amazing memories and of several Indian wars such as Kargil. It also has showcased handheld weapons used by Soldiers. What amazed me the most was the heavy suit and accessories they carry every day, especially at Siachin.
It was time for the second most exciting part of the trip, 14 km long river rafting at Zanskar river. Being my first experience I liked it a lot. At the start, it was frightening looking at the rapids in the river, but it we felt like we conquered it. We also got a chance to get down in the river which is formed by the melting of the ice layers on the surrounding mountains. Needless to say that it was very cold inside the water.
Then we headed to a calm monastery which also had some eye pleasing views and a huge Lord Buddha idol.
We were already tired after 2 hours long river rafting. We decided to skip next places and we reached our hotel for the second day, Hotel Namra Camp. We had some nice tents for a cozy sleep after a surprisingly good dinner.
We started our day with a 9℃ cold weather with birds chirping just outside our tents. After a heavy breakfast, we left for yet another monastery in this land full of monasteries. We also snapped some selfies and photos at Moon Land.
Then we headed to Alchi Monastery, which is said to be the oldest here, which has 3 forms of Buddha. Just outside this monastery we delved in the local market there and started our return journey to Leh.
En route to Leh, we stopped at Patthar Sahib Gurudwara and also enjoyed the Prashad in langar. It was then time for one of the very popular attractions here in Ladakh, the Magnetic Hill which defies gravity.
In the evening we checked into Hotel Hill Town and after a refreshment, we captured beautiful flowers at the hotel and spent some time gossiping. We also went to the local market here in Leh for some shopping.
After an early breakfast, we headed towards Khardungla Pass, highest motorable point in India. In the amazing and chilling weather of Khardung, we spent some quality time in the snow.
After spending almost 40 mins in the snow, our hands and feet started freezing that forced us to leave the place. This was my first snow experience and the best one so far in this trip indeed.
After the lunch, we left for nights Nubra valley. This place is another beauty of Ladakh. After experiencing snow, we were in desserts of Nubra valley. It was quite surprising to see sand dunes in Ladakh which is known for its cool and snowy weather.
In the evening we went into the desert for a Camel ride. A ride on a double humped camel was our first experience and was quite enjoyable.
We had a stay in tents where we ended our night with Dumb charades and songs.
In the morning we heard the news that Dalai Lama had arrived at the Diskit monastery of Nubra Valley. It was obvious that the place was going to get crowded which is why we had to skip Diskit Monastery sight seeing and take a different route back to Leh.
En route to Leh, just a few km outside Nubra, some of us went for AVC Bike ride in the dessert.
There were also few spots in the amazing climate where the free flowing water added to the beauty of the greenery of Khardung village. We snapped some photos there and stopped again at Khardungla Pass for some snow play.
By early evening we reached Leh and had lunch at the popular restaurant Tibetan Kitchen. We spent the evening Leh local market for some souvenirs for friends and family.
Everything was going until we realized that we don’t have a booking for last day hotel. We had flight tickets booked for 17th July morning and the hotel was booked till 16th only. We decided to visit airport next morning to check if we can rebook our flight.
Our day began earlier as we had to go airport for the inquiry. We went to the airport only to know that the rescheduling the flight would cost more than staying in the hotel for one more day and adding one more spot. So we decided to extend our stay in Ladakh.
To start with, we went to Rancho school which featured in 3 Idiots movie. Unfortunately, it was closed for some reason.
Then we went to Chumathang, where we witnessed the amazing phenomenon of Hot Water Springs. Just to the side of the Indus river, which is known for its cold water, boiling hot water springs were quite amazing to watch.
After having lunch, and almost 250 km drive, we reached Tso Moriri which has an amazing picturesque lake. We had a good long photo session here amidst the mountains and lake water. It was extremely cold there which is why we had to head back to our hotel immediately after the sunset.
In the chilly weather of Tso Moriri, we woke up early and after breakfast headed towards Tsokar which is known for its too salty water. We could hardly see any water in the lake.
It had started raining heavily already. We drove in this heavy rain and foggy weather to Tanlangla Pass, the second highest motorable road in the world. We had much-needed Maggie there and proceeded towards our next destination.
In the evening we reached at Druk White Lotus Padma school, which is popularly known as Rancho’s school after the popular movie 3 Idiots.
After this tiring day and 250 km drive, we reached our hotel for the rest.
After having some rest and dinner we went for shopping some leather jackets.
We started our journey back to Leh in the chilly weather. En route to our journey to the hotel we were staying in, we visited Hemis Monastery, largest monastery found in Ladakh. It was really gargantuan and awesome. It also had a huge idol of Padmasambhava.
Adjacent to that, it has a big museum where you can find ancient cultural clothing, weapons, vessels. etc. We also bought some souvenirs from the museum. We were already tired with the 250Km long journey and passed some time relaxing at the hotel in the evening.
Finally, the day had come for which we were all waiting in readiness. Today we were about to visit Pangong Lake, a whopping 140Km long lake with mesmerizing beauty situated on Indo-China border. We traveled through some, desserts, greeneries where we also got a chance to meet some Marmots.
This was the first time all of us saw this amazing animal. We reached Pangong by 5 pm and went immediately to the lake side to shoot some photographs. We also got a chance to see Yak there.
We shot many photographs of the lake and also shot some pictures which you can relate to the movie 3 Idiots (as some of the scenes were shot at this lake). After it was dark, we went to our hotels for a good night sleep.
This was a surprise day for all of us. We had no plans for this day as we had mistakenly booked flight tickets for 17th instead of 16th. So some of decided to rest at the hotel whole day and others decided to do some adventurous stuff.
I and my friend rented a Classic 350 and went to the Khardungla Top once again, but this time on a motorcycle. Whereas two of us went to explore Leh on a bicycle. All of us enjoyed the day and went to sleep thinking about the amazing and memorable 11 days spent in Ladakh.
It was finally the time to say
Julley Ladakh 👋🏼
P.S. My two cents for those who are planning for a Ladakh Trip.
- High altitude medications are a must. Carry at least 8-10 pills per head.
- When traveling to places for Leh, make sure you carry as much drinking water as possible.
- Public toilets are a rarity except for the sight seeing places.
- Extra batteries for cameras and power banks for the phone are a must. As almost every day in the evening, you’ll face power cuts. Especially at the tourist places.
- Sunscreen lotions and UV glasses are a must carry. Especially for those who are planning for a bike ride. You should also carry body lotions and cold creams as it gets chilly at night.
- Carry Maggie cuppa noodles, as you won’t find good food at many places. Hot water you’ll get at most places.
- Carry extra jackets at Tso Moriri. It’s freakin’ cold there.
- Carry gloves and extra shoes/socks when you’re going into the snow as your shoes and clothes will be wet and you will find it uncomfortable to sit in the car afterward.
- Mind your pockets and phones as we found at least 2-3 broken phones on the road. The rough rides there probably cause the phones to fall.
- If you are traveling to places from Leh, try to leave as early as possible. The places are distant and rough roads make it taxing to cut the journey time short.
- Never, never go out doing activities on day 1. Your body needs to get acclimatized to the Ladakh climate.