Ladakh will be exceptional to all the trips you will make.There is lot to see and observe. Hundreds of monasteries, tons of landscapes,millions of colors and lots of people to meet . It will never disappoint you..rather you may disappoint ladakh if at all you take it as yet another tourist destination.
Ladakh as a district has 3 major attraction
- Leh City and nearby places
- Nubra Valley
Must visit places:
- Leh Palace, you will get Leh city view
Shey, Phyang,Spituk,Samkar,Thiksay,Likir.There are many more if you
have time to spare. You can skip few.
- Hall of fame: If you don't plan to visit Drass(Kargil Memorial)
- Magnitic hill: Its on the way(30km from) to Kargil after Gurudwara. Few meters of gravity twist.
- Shanti Stupa
Inner line permit needed, ask our guide to arrange it from DC office or get it done by yourself, hardly an hour job with minor surcharge. Overnight camping is must must do . Pre book your stay. I personally recommend to camp at your own tent next to lake.
Notice the last 30km stretch from Thangtse to Pangong. I bet you will never see such landscapes in India with natural wildlife habitat. You may keep pangong lake waiting and absorb some nature here.
You will hit Khardung la, highest motor-able road in India(18380 ft) , world status needs correction now. Nubra starts on downhill.Diskit Monastery is worth visiting as its on the way to Hunder. Within 60 Km, Snow scenes from Kardung la will convert to sand dunes at Hunder. People usually camp here overnight and enjoy camel ride. If you can stretch another 100Km in valley you can go all the way upto Turtok. Its a village on indo pak border which India took back in 1971 war, Roads are smooth as its less traveled but its a different feeling to be in a village that wasn't with India few decades ago. We managed overnight stay here and avoided Hunder's crowd.
Few Other Places of interest in Ladakh
If time and body permits you can plan more places
- On the way to Kargil:
Kargil war memorial '99 near Drass(250 km from Leh on Srinagar route NH1).
Lamayuru Monastry, 130 km from Leh
Mulberk village for 7th century buddha rock sculpture.
- On the way to Leh from Manali
Surajtal Lake near Bara lacha La, small but second highest lake in India after pangong
Tso Moriri lake offroad from Pang. Mention it in the inner line permission.Carry extra fuel.
- On the way from Shimla , Narkanda, Kaza, Losar: Make a separate trip for this
Spiti Valley awaits you. There are hardly any road on this route.But Nature is best seen in Raw :)
Monasteries at Nako, Tabo much before Puh. Ke , Kibber monasteries near Kaza
Chandratal Lake (40 km from Losar), 13 km trek from Batal as roads are not motorable even for bikes. Overnight stay night be good. We couldn't reach the lake because of roads and short of time to trek 25km overall. Sacristy of people in this region. You will fall in love with Himachal by now, but will beg for roads.
Tips for the trip
- AMS: Acute mountain sickness. Can happen to fittest of being. Keep yourself hydrated all time, deep breath, air is damn fresh get more oxygen. Keep eating. If you have symptoms, give your body a day or two to acclimatise at such heights. Ladakh is the land of high passes.
- Drinks: Be bond at your home.Even ladakhis don't recommend drinks to outsiders as mountain sickness may creep in and can spoil your trip. Keep drinks to celebrate end of remarkable journey.
- Sunburn/Snowbite: Ladakh is the place were you can be gifted both by mother nature. Carry winter clothing to play with snow and some sunscreen.
- Carry Cash: We just found 2 atms in Leh, they are queued up big time. Rest of the places can be imagined.
- Postpaid Mobiles: J & K entertains only postpaid roaming(BSNL, airtel, sometimes vodafone),feel blessed to find landlines STD at some places. Forget signals in mountains. Anyways you are there to enjoy the trip, not to attend meetings..
Tip for Bikers:
- Newtons 4th law will hit you somewhere during the trip. "No matter how much you tie your stuffs, THINGS WILL FALL". Still.. tie nicely. We lost water sippers, Shoes, Bike spares. Got a pair of cramster gloves too ;) It all evens out in long run..
- Rubber Boots:Your Adidas and Reeboks and Nikes and Pumas and Woodlands will be of no use. Get rubber boots, those used by road builders. Hardly 100-300INR but worth for the trip. You will understand this when you hit a Nala/Stream on road. They will protect your ankle, waterproof ,takes 1 min to dry(just put it upside down). Shoe companies should learn from these.
- Keep reserve days. Spiti Valley will consume lot of energy and time. There were patches where we drove just 15km in 1 hr. Definition of motorable roads will change. Keep 150-200Km a day max in mountains. We consumed reserved day at Day4 of our trip, thanks to Spiti. Don't expect roads at any La.
- Follow Tail biking:If in group, somebody will surely lag, some will lead. Follow tail: Every biker keeps his tail biker in side mirror. Help today for you may need help tomorrow. Confusion lead to few members missing from groups all day long. Discuss itinerary for the day before you start.
- Carry Petrol: Bike trip may need petrol cans at some places just to be on safer side. Petrol Pumps are there in Leh city. Other places: Tandi(1km before), Kaza, Diskit(not reliable), Kargil, Manali, Shimla.