Ladakh - Facts and Information
Planning and Travel
Background information

LADAKH INDEX


Leh 1
Leh 2
Thiksey & Hemis
Chang La & Pangong
Matho
Stok
Shey
Khardung La
Nubra Valley
Nubra Monasteries
Lamayuru
Alchi Village
Alchi Monastery
Likir
Basgo
Chilling
Nimoo


First thoughts
In 2008 we had made a long trip through Asia which was to include a week in Tibet. A few weeks before departure the Chinese authorities closed Tibet to tourists. Despite this Tibet remained on our list of places to visit, but we were beginning to have reservations about going there due to China's policies regarding Tibet. When Tibet was closed again we came to realise that any future plans to visit there might well be thwarted so it was removed from our list of places to go. However our intrigue with high places, fostered by time on the Altiplano in Bolivia and Chile, remained and this part of Asia remained in our minds.

A little further thought led to the realisation that in the far north of India we could find an area that was very similar to the Buddhist Tibetan Plateau. That place was Ladakh. Sandwiched between the Himalaya and Karakoram Ranges it is in Jammu and Kashmir and is the only part of that state that the FCO advises as being safe for travellers.

Planning
We turned, as we have for many of our trips, to Audley Travel, whose services we can thoroughly recommend. Initially we had thought of tying Ladakh in with some time in Himachal Pradesh but decided against that for various reasons.

Timing was fairly critical. Ladakh is very dry, has very cold winters and hot summers. Too early would mean mountain passes would not be open, too late would mean the place would be busy and hot. We opted for early June, with the recognition that Delhi (where we would spent overnights between flights) would be unpleasantly hot and humid.

Accommodation would be mixed. Most of our nights would be spent in Shakti Himalaya's village houses. These offer a good standard of simple accommodation with a very high staff presence. Each house is only let to one party so, with just the two of us, this worked out rather expensive but was most enjoyable. A few nights on arrival would be spent in Leh's 'best hotel'; three nights would in basic accommodation.

Flights to and from Delhi take around nine hours and as we did not feel that Business Class could be justified, especially with the return flight being during the day, we opted for Premium Economy. Flights were with Virgin Atlantic and were no more than reasonable.

Recognising that altitude sickness might cause problems in Ladakh we planned to do nothing at all for the first 24 hours. We also shunned alcohol for the entire trip (apart from a few sips of local brew at the end) and drank plenty of water to avoid dehydration. This seemed to work as we had no significant problems, just slight headaches and getting more puffed than usual.

 
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