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Ladakh by Road: Essential Travel Tips

10 essential tips to help you plan your Ladakh Trip
Planning your trip to Ladakh is very vital. There are a few things like inner line permits, acclimatization and road trip which have important role in your successful trip to Ladakh.

Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh by Road
Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh by Road
One of the most sought after destination in India for summer and Monson travel is Ladakh region in Kashmir. Ladakh is favored as tourist destination in monsoon because of the almost negligible rainfall. But same could not be said for the road which leads you to Ladakh.

You may also want to check out the one page handbook on things to do in Ladakh.

Here’s how to ensure that you have a perfect holiday in Ladakh by keeping these travel and packing tips in mind.

Know what Inner line permits are
Inner line permits are required to travel to interior places in Ladakh region which include Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. You need to apply for inner line permits at Leh DC office or you may have them arranged by a local tour operator. If you are a resident of India traveling on your own then you may personally apply for the permits and get it the same day. But if you are an overseas traveler then you need to apply for your permit through a government recognized agent. 

Find more information on inner line permits in Ladakh here.

This is of paramount importance if you want to enjoy your trip to Ladakh. Acclimatization refers to getting used to the high altitude air pressure and low oxygen level conditions. For that you need to spend first 2 days upon your arrival in Leh itself. You could utilize that time for local sightseeing and only after day 2 should you head for higher up tourist places like Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri or Nubra Valley.

You could find more on acclimatization in Leh Ladakh here.

Check Road Status
Monsoon often causes landslides in the mountain road in Himachal if the route you are taking is the Leh-Manali highway especially at Rohtang Pass. If you are taking this route and make sure that the pass is open for traffic before you leave from Manali towards Leh by road.

You should do the same for Zoji La Pass which you need to cross on Leh-Srinagar highway as rain could cause road to be blocked sometimes for more than a day.

Have extra time up your sleeve
Since Ladakh is the land of high mountain passes, even if you have arrived in Leh, you might find road blocks at passes which might delay your travel plans by hours. Landslides at Chang La (On your way to Pangong from Leh) and Khardung La (which you need to cross to go to Nubra Valley) often causes traffic snarls and road blocks which could prolong your travel time by many hours.

Pack accordingly
A mosquito net or mosquito repellent cream often comes handy while traveling in India but same is not true for Ladakh. Although staying in good hotels would make the nets redundant, but the cream comes handy when you travel or even during extended sightseeing tours. In Ladakh packing essentials include warm clothes.

Stay on top of technology
Since Ladakh region is a remote high altitude area as well as sensitive owing to proximity with Chinese and Pakistani Border, you’d hardly find mobile signals in most of the inner areas. For foreign travelers, it is all the more harder as only the Airtel and BSNL post piad network works in Kashmir which won’t be issued to them.
To stay connected, use internet available in some places in Nubra Valley and Leh Town. There are STD/ISD phone booths too from where you could call up your near and dear ones. Another trick is to befriend your hotel staff and pay him (get his mobile recharged) to make your calls which also happens to be the most handy solution in Ladakh region.

Carry warm clothes
Ladakh region is situated in high altitude Greater Himalayan Region and is quite chilly after sunset. It is advisable that you carry pullovers, scarves, sweaters and jackets to beat the cold. Wearing full shoes are also recommended.

Carry the Extra pair
It’s always wise to carry that extra pair of clothes as weather condition causes them loner to get dry.

Sunscreen lotion/sunglasses
Due to high altitude, it is always wise to apply sunscreen lotion and carry sunglasses for eye protection in Ladakh to avoid the ill effect of sun rays.

Come with an open mind
Lonely Planet travel guide describes India as Bamboozling. Although Ladakh Region also known as “The Little Tibet” is very much different from rest of the India, it is nice to arrive with an open mind and you are sure to have a wonderful time.

If you are traveling to Ladakh and wondering which are the most popular tourist destinations in the region then you may also want to check out 5 Most Popular Places to visit Leh Ladakh.

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