Leh-Ladakh, heaven on earth, is the only synonym that comes to my mind. Everyone should visit this place at least once in their lifetime to experience and witness the miracles of mother nature.
Different shades of mountains (black, brown, green, white), waterfalls, rivers (blue, green, brown), adventure, rafting, the rainbow in rain shadow region, desert, sand dunes, sand storms, and snow – How can every beautiful thing is at the same place?
I used wonder does these mesmerizing places actually looks so beautiful or they are just photoshopped for postcards/movies.
I got all the answers in my first SOLO trip to Leh-Ladakh.
I have been planning to visit Leh-Ladhak for the last 4 years. Well, 2.5 years went into a pandemic- no travel.
So, this year 2022, I was determined to visit this place. I have been after my family and friends to come with me. But none of them showed any interest.
Suddenly, one day an ad on FB popped up, “Women Ladakh Trip,” and I got excited and started asking for quotes, comparing packages, etc. I finalized one group, but they were unsure whether they would take this tour or not, so I got a little sad and dropped the idea of going there.
But I guess my determination was too strong “woh kehte hain a jab koi cheez aap dil se chaho to puri kayanat lag jati hai aapko dene ke liye.” I saw another ad from adventure cave, and that was it, Final.
Let me be honest; I was skeptical of going alone, especially to Leh-Ladakh, a place at such a high altitude, where the oxygen level is less, challenging territory (in terms of water, electricity, weather, etc.), and a group of unknown people.
All my “doubts” were gone when I landed at Leh airport and met the first 3 fellow travelers. Luck was in my favor.
Day 1: Acclimatization at Leh Hotel
The moment we 4 met at the airport for our transfer, we became friends by the time we reached our hotel Naro. By evening I met all the other 8 fabulous ladies. We were a group of 12 in our hotel. That day, we talked and clicked pictures inside the hotel as we were not allowed to step out.
Tip: You may feel dizzy or have a headache as the day progresses if you do not listen and follow instructions. Therefore body acclimatization is extremely important.
Day 2: Leh Local Travel
Shanti Stupa – Ladakh Hall of Fame – Gurudwara Pattar Sahib – Magnetic Hill – Indus Zankar River Confluence (Sham Valley) – Leh Market
The next day we had a local Leh tour on our itinerary. Acclimatizing for 48 hours in Leh is compulsory before going to Ladhak.
After breakfast, we first went to Shanti Stupa. It was nice, and the view from the top was beautiful. Our second halt was the Hall of fame, a museum built to honor the Indian Soldier who lost their lives during the Indo-Pak war.
Next, we went to Gurudwara, we were so lucky, by the time we reached here it was lunchtime, so we ate in the langar.
Then we went to Magnetic hill, where an illusion or magic is created when your vehicle goes upward on its own. I felt this place is overrated; the magnetic part is hardly 10-12 meters.
You can do ATV ride here but I would suggest you do on your way to Nubra. The experience will be better.
Our last stop was Indus Zankar River Confluence (Sham Valley). The two rivers where they meet look beautiful, surrounded by hills. You can do rafting here, but we all skipped looking at the brown water.
Later in the evening, we went to the market as we wanted to eat authentic ladakhi food. I really don’t know how much to and fro we walked in search of a particular restaurant suggested by a co-traveler. All I know is I was super tired in the middle of the shopping street.
Day 3: Nubra Valley
Khardungla Pass – Adventure Sports (Rafting, ATV) – White Sand Dunes (Double Humped Camel)
In the morning, with the sun shining, we were super excited as it was 15th Aug.
We proceeded on our Journey toward Nubra Valley. And our first stop was Khardungla pass. And I don’t think I can be any more proud than this, standing at the world’s highest motorable pass at 18,380 feet, holding India’s flag on Independence day.
After that, we reached our lunch point, where a few people went rafting while we explored the spot.
The next we all went for ATV ride in the sand dune. ATV experience is little different here compared to my previous rides. First you ride on white rough stone and suddenly there are dunes.
And then our last stopover was white sand dunes where you can find double hump camel. You can also do a camel ride here. As soon as we reached here, there was a sandstorm. It was the first time I witnessed a Sandstrom.
The speed of the wind was so high that the door of our traveler broke. It also started raining, and it got so dark that we lost our way to the hotel.
Finally, we reached our beautiful Tents at Dowa Delux. The location is awesome, quite and serene. The food was delicious here and the hot water.
What an adventurous day!
Day 4: Pangong
Diskit Monestary – Shayok River – Pangong Lake
The adventure continued.
The driver somehow managed to get the door repaired at night. We were a bit worried about how we would travel to Pangong with a broken door.
First, we visited Diskit Monastery (which we were supposed to see the day before). The buddha statue here is huge, and the view from the top is beautiful.
Then we proceded to Pangong lake via Shayok river. And it became an unforgetful journey for life.
It took us almost 9-10 hours to reach Pangong from Nubra valley instead of 6-7 hours. The water from the shayok river came on the road, making it challenging to cross.
I have never seen a river with so much current and waves. Shayok means ” the river of death.” And that day, we experienced the river throughout our journey. The river was muddy in color, with heavy currents flowing.
Have you seen pictures of the Kedarnath flood? Muddy water flowing amidst brown mountains, blue clouds, and stunning sun. All I could imagine that time was the amount of disaster it caused. The river looked similar.
The police had stopped all vehicles where the water went on the road. Many cars were getting struck.
Few thoughts did came to my mind to – What if we have to spend the whole day/night on the bus as the river blocked all the roads.”
“what if our traveler also gets stuck in the middle of the water.”
But these thoughts were only for a fraction of a second.
I had a such amazing company that we enjoyed this scary adventure too.
The river was beautiful yet scary, and the landscape around mesmarizing. And the journey became even more magnificent as we finally approached Pangong lake.
The Pangong Lake
Yes, the lake is as beautiful as shown in TV/Movies. It changes its color from Green to blue to white to brown.
Do you know? The Pangong lake is the world’s highest saltwater lake, situated in India at 4,350m. And the lake is 165Km long, and you know only 1/3rd lies in India while 2/3rd is in China.
It looks different every time you want to capture it.
Simply mesmarizing! I am falling short of words to describe its’ beauty.
You have to go here to witness the beauty.
After clicking many pictures at the lake and promoting the 3 idiots movie, we finally returned to our tents White Heaven Cottages.
The tents were really good with all facilities available at such an altitude.
Everything here was so organized. There were notes around the room so that you don’t miss any time. For example, the hot water is available only for half an hour in the morning, like 7-7.30 am; if you miss this time, you have to manage in super cold water. Breakfast/Dinner will be available for specific hours etc.
After our dinner and gossip, we all went to sleep forcefully as all lights were shut after 11 pm. Electricity and water is available here only for a limited time. There is no electricity available during the day.
Tip: Do adhere to timelines with respect to food, water and electricity here.
Day 5: Leh
Changla Pass – 3 Idiots School – Shey Palace and Monestry – Leh Market
Early morning the sun was glowing, and Pangong lake was looking stunning. Though we woke up early and thought of going near the lake early in the morning, we stayed due to hot water and breakfast timings.
The lake seemed near our tents, but it was almost a 2 km walk.
After breakfast, we decided to walk towards the lake to click some more pictures as we had time to leave.
Changala pass was our next stopover point. It is the 3rd highest mountain pass in the world.
The mountain peaks were covered with snow and were looking gorgeous. After a quick photo stop, we proceeded to Leh.
We visited the 3 idiots school, the only movie set and now a tourist spot; the actual school looks different and is not allowed to visit during school hours.
Then we visited Shey Monestry and Palace. Though I was initially confused to climb or not , but it was the right decision I made to visit Shey palace.
I was stunned after seeing the Sakhyamani Buddha statue and couldn’t take my eyes off it, gorgeous.
We were about to come down, and someone pointed out that the palace was upstairs. So we started climbing the adventurous steps (the steps are difficult to climb for elders and if you are not wearing good shoes), and it was amazing to witness a rainbow in a rainshadow region.
Our day ended with last-minute souvenir shopping at the Leh market.
Leh-Ladakh is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. It is absolutely difficult to describe its beauty in words.
The union territory is so beautiful that you either experience its beauty or keep clicking pictures and videos. It was like, “what and how much to capture- kya click karein.” Eventually, I stopped taking a single picture and decided only to feel and experience the place.
As I said before, capturing Leh-Ladakh’s beauty on camera is impossible.
So all I am doing is writing down my experience so that it stays with me forever.
Things that made our Leh-Ladakh trip really exciting, funny, special, thrilling, adventurous, and memorable.
The Ladoos || Entertaining Bags || The Luggage || Joy Ride || Jannat Dance || Thailand’s famous Tupka || Boys (-) || Stop in the Middle of Nowhere || Jhalo || Search for Biker Boyfriend || Ladies Night || The Famous Leh Anthem Pink-Pink-Pink-Pink———Pink-Pink-Pink-Pink-Pink Pink-Pink———–Pink-Pink
(Shhhhh! I really can’t elaborate; otherwise, this will surely be my last blog 🙂 )
Girls, each one of you is incredible and beautiful in your own way.
Thanks for being there and making my trip a memorable one.
PC: all the girls. I have tried to include as many pic as I could but its impossible to capture Leh-Ladakh beauty in pictures.
And it would be incomplete without thanking our guide Jigmet, our traveler driver, and the travel company adventure cave that brought all of us together.
I went for a solo adventure with adventure.cave and got the most thrilling experience of my life.
Do you get all facilities here in Leh-Ladakh?
Yes, tourism has become so friendly. You get all facilities here – food, water, proper sanitization, rooms to stay in, what more you want.
Is the problem real, like everyone says in Leh-Ladakh– lack of oxygen, mountain sickness, etc.?
If you acclimatize your body properly, you will be able to enjoy the rest of your stay comfortably. And if you think nothing will happen to you and you exert yourself, you will face the consequences like severe headache, nausea, dizziness, breathing issue, etc.
People having medical conditions should consult a doctor before visiting this place.
What do you need to enjoy a place like Leh-Ladakh?
You need good company and good health to enjoy here. Rest all will fall in place.
Is Leh-Ladakh safe to travel solo, especially for women?
Yes, the place is absolutely safe for solo travelers. Ensure that you follow the instruction to acclimatize, and nothing can stop you from enjoying this magnificent place.
Which all medicine you should carry?
Suggested basic medicine which you should carry:
Diamox – Mountain Sickness
Stemetil – Motion Sickness/Nausea/Vomiting
Bifilic – Motion Sickness
Crocin – Fever
ENO/Razo D – Acidity
Other – Cough Syrup, Cold (vicks), Bandage, Moov, Dettol, Odomos
Carry Camphor (kapur). It is very useful in case of nose block, if feeling uneasy, difficulty in smelling things.
*Do check with your doctor if you are on specific medication or allergic to certain medicines.
Can senior citizen travel if they are healthy?
Anyone can travel here if your body is able to acclimatize properly. Do not exert yourself (especially first 2 days), and you will be able to enjoy.
Can kids travel here?
In my opinion you should avoid bringing kids if they are below 10 years. Most of your attention would be on kids, rather than enjoying the place. Also, kids of this age will not be able to appreciate the beauty, and uniqueness this place offers.
What type of clothes should I carry?
During summer, keep light jacket and cap handy. It is hot during day time. But it gets cold in the evening. On passes like Khardungla or Chagala it is cold during day also. Carry woolen caps and jackets. Other than that, carry comfortable clothes and shoes.
What is the best time to travel Ladakh?
Summers is the best time to travel. During this time you can see the real beauty of ladhak. Vivid colours, lakes, shades of mountain, which you cannot see during winters. In my opinion Jul-Aug-Sep are best months to travel here. The day is sunny which makes it perfect to roam around and evenings are pleasant.
If you have any queries, please ask in the comment section below. I will try to answer them in my best capacity.