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.
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.
would be mixed. Most of our
nights would be spent in Shakti Himalaya's village houses. These offer
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
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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