Namaste! Welcome to Ladakh!
Planning to tick off Ladakh from your checklist this season? Here's your all purpose travel guide to the Land of the Lama.
1. Before packing your bags -
|Thiksey Monastery, Leh|
> Get physically fit. The first and foremost thing to do before even planning to take a Ladakh trip is to get fit! Don't even think about booking those flight tickets. Atleast 2-3 months before you plan to go, hit the gym/ play a sport/ do yoga/ go jogging or do any other form of exercise which will help your lungs and legs in good shape. I cannot EMPHASISE on this anymore, but this is MUST DO. Ladakh is not your Goa, bag bharo aur nikal pado types adventure. It needs planning and efforts on your part.
Imagine having to climb the foot high stairs of a monastery in an area of rarefied air (meaning having lesser amount of oxygen), at an altitude of 11,500 feet and above.
Get an appointment with your Doctor now if you plan to go this season.
2. While packing your bags -
Things to carry
> The best quality body warmers - full hands t-shirt and full pants.
> Woollen gloves, mufflers, 2-3 pairs of socks, scarfs.
> Diamox tablet- for High Altitude Sickness - take one tablet the night before reaching Leh and one in the morning. Repeat dose for the next 2 days - as told to us by an Army Doctor.
> Good quality shoes (waterproof, if you plan to trek or ride bikes)
> A thick jacket and 1-2 normal ones for day wear.
> Chocolates and energy bars
> Dry fruits (almonds, cashews, dates, etc) for munching on during journeys.
> Dry snacks (Khakra, thepla, chikki, etc) as you never know when you might get stuck in a pass for hours.
> Electric heating pads (Or hot water bags) - much needed at night, especially at Pangong Tso.
> Electral pouches
> Mouth fresheners (you may not want to even brush your teeth in the icy cold waters at Pangong Tso!)
> Hot water flask/ thermal bottle.
> UV Rays proof, good quality glares.
> CAMERA! Of course, you can't forget this one, but take 2 just to be safe. (One of our cameras just refused to work at the high altitude! Suffered from cold, probably. It's working fine now, when back to the sea-level.)
> Extra batteries for the camera. (Batteries run out faster in cold weather. Always charge overnight.)
> A good quality mobile camera will also be pretty handy at times.
> Sunscreen - SPF 40 or more. (The Sun can be quite harsh in the cold desert.)
> Moisturiser - I prefer Vaseline Cocoa butter, best one for extremely dry conditions ( Trust me, you'll need it there, even if you don't normally use one.)
> Petroleum jelly
> Lip balm
> Conditioning shampoo ( Don't stare like that! Your hair tends to get all frizzy and static after wearing the woollens constantly. It needs care too, unless you want to come back with a bald look.)
>Toilet rolls ( For the ladies especially, you won't find toilets everywhere. Even if you do, trust me, you'll need the toilet roll.)
> Hand sanitizer (Considering the above, obviously!)
> Extra small bags or sacks (For the days when you'll be travelling to Kargil or Nubra or Pangong Tso...you can't take your 15kg luggage with you everywhere, can you?)
> And finally, clothes - carry according to the number of days you are travelling ( I took 10 tops and 2 jeans for 11 days, didn't use 2 tops out of those as your clothes don't get spoiled and you will have a bath only at places where there is hot water. Again, don't stare! It's a cold and dry desert, you don't sweat, so no worries.)
That's all for now folks!
Not enough can be written about Ladakh and it's charm. Will be back with another feature soon. Till then,
Thook Jay Shey!
P.S. Do let me know if anything can be added to the above list.