Ladakh - Facts and Information
Day by Day 2: June 7th to 9th
Two of the highest roads in the world


Leh 1
Leh 2
Thiksey & Hemis
Chang La & Pangong
Khardung La
Nubra Valley
Nubra Monasteries
Alchi Village
Alchi Monastery

June 7
Another early start with breakfast pack to drive to Pangong Lake. Interesting drive up to Chang La gradually climbing above fertile valley. Highest part of road is unsurfaced and rough in places. Pass itself a bit of a shock as is packed with army and has a caff, but quite evocative with fresh snow on ground. Guides adamant we should only spend 20 minutes at that altitude of over 17,000 ft (signs confirmed this). Superb run down to lake with yaks and Tibetan wild ass (car after us actually saw a snow leopard). Left to our own devices to go for a walk, Eleanor soon got puffed, Michael wanted some exercise so went on but realised he ought to slow down a bit more when he felt a bit woozy and saw his finger nails were bright blue. (To be serious he had forgotten the advice given in the Andes to walk very slowly, it is actually quite difficult to realise the effect of the thin air and all too easy to walk at normal pace on the level.) Back to guides for lunch box in tented caff (would have sooner had it in car with a view). Area now heaving as lake was location in a Bollywood movie and Indians crowd up there to stand on the bit of shore that the hero walked on. Drive back held up by traffic jam where a car had lost its steering (very reassuring). Also delayed when Eleanor succumbed to our driver's enthusiastic driving and the rough surfaces and required several stops. (Guides got some motion sickness pills for her that night for Nubra days - Shakti appear to pay for minor medications including antibiotics). Verdict on day was that lake is very pretty but not really worth 10 hour drive, but the drive is worth it for its own sake. Stok Village House. Very quiet setting in village near Leh. Marvellous views across views to mountains. Excellent place and staff with good dinner in atmospheric kitchen.

June 8
Quite a late start by recent standards (which together with jet lag were playing havoc with body clocks) and a leisurely and stylish breakfast in the orchard. Drove to Mathro Gompa (few visitors but worthwhile) which has old and new buildings (new being painted so interesting to see). Full Shakti picnic lunch in shady field near Stok (no toilets/washroom fortunately we always carry hand gel). Then to Druk Pema Karpo School and its nearby nunnery which turned out to be a non-event. Later to Stok Palace which has interesting museum. Michael walked back through village with guide. At house watched milking and spent some time talking with lady of the house about her livestock and its management.

June 9
Six hour drive to Hundar over Khardung La. Road up to the pass climbs quickly with good views back to Leh and Stok Range. Quite a bit of the road over the highest part is unpaved and rough. Pass was busy with many Indians intrigued by snow. Guides gave us prayer flags to tie up. Descent on north side through excellent scenery, although this was marred by cloud and dull weather. Some agriculture around Khardung, below there some impressive badlands. Shyok valley is steep sided with wide, flat bottom of arid land interspersed with isolated patches of irrigated land on outwash fans from side valleys. Impressive scenery. Last part very busy with cars heading in same general direction. Had wander round camp site so Eleanor could inspect vegetation then had long chat with some of the staff. Nubra Organic Retreat, Hundar. A site of large tents on hardstandings scattered around an area of woodland and vegetable plots. Common washroom block (very clean). Good food and very pleasant staff.

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