Ladakh has always been on the “Places to Visit before I Die” list. I planned the trip when another plan didn’t take off as expected and within two weeks I had decided to visit Ladakh.
What I had planned was a solo trip of solitude, tranquility, quietness and absolutely serenity. The need to connect with nature in all its true glory is important to me and it was time for me for a vacation. A break from the routine, the madness, the fatigue and all the chaos.
What the trip turned out to be was more than what I had planned. Meeting with interesting people, observing a new culture, exchanging stories with people I’ve just met and sharing a bond of friendship that was tied together by the love of the place we were in- the beautiful and magnificent Ladakh.
Through this blog post, it is my aim to help you with ticking off the items that you should be carrying while traveling to Ladakh.
Being a high altitude place, altitude sickness is very common. You may want to consider carrying the following medicines after consulting with your family doctor. These are mere suggestions by me as per my experiences. Please do consult a doctor before consuming any medicine.
Do not plan any activities within the first six hours of your arrival in Ladakh. Your body needs to get acclimatize to the weather and the altitude.
Below are the medicines that I carried with myself. They helped a few fellow travelers as well.
- Diamox – One or two days before traveling and on the days you travel to other high altitude places
- Vicks VapoRub
- Vicks Cough Drops
- Vicks Inhaler Stick
For people from Mumbai, Ladakh can be VERY cold. It’s important to carry the following. It’s important to keep yourself warm. Some places are colder than the rest so it’s important to stock your bag with enough clothes. In case the temperature increases, you can always discard a few items of clothing. Covering your ears with scarves helps in cutting wind noise and warms the ears.
- Two sets of thermal inner wear
- Woolen socks
- Sport shoes
- Sweat shirt
- Beanie Cap
Other essential items
Ladakh is cold but also very sunny. Any exposed skin is prone to either sunburn or wind chill. Which means your skin can either tan or get very dry and may develop rashes. To protect your skin, can a good amount of sunscreen for your skin directly exposed to sunlight and body lotion to moisturize your body.
- Sun glasses
- Soft Tissues
- Wet Wipes
- Toilet Paper Roll
- Hand Sanitizer
- Cold Cream
- Body Lotion
- Lip Balm
- Thermal Flask
For women travelers
Traveling for several days continuously doesn’t mean carrying endless supplies of inner wear. A friend suggested that I use panty liners which ensures that inner wear doesn’t stain and can be reused for a couple of days.
Some things to be kept in mind
- Chat with the driver who is taking care of your transport in Ladakh- he will offer good advice and suggest places that you may have never considered before
- Food served is not spicy and doesn’t have the same flavours as we are used to in metro cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Some may find it bereft of enough salt (I personally prefer less salt in my food)
- Always go for simple food items- they are nutritious and tasty
- Don’t over eat
- Drink plenty of water
- Meat is not very readily available. Very few eateries on popular routes offer non-vegetarian food
- Milk tea is usually prepared with Milkmaid. So you’ll always find the tea less sweet (I found the tea perfect to my taste as I prefer “kam shakkar wali chai”) Not many eateries or food stalls offer sugar simply because they don’t have it. However I noticed a lot of eateries storing sugar in separate containers that allows you to add more sweetness to your tea
- Do try Ladakhi food at least once- The Thukpa, Butter Tea and Chhutagi are my favourite
- Julley means Thank You and Bye. You’ll often seen locals addressing each other with a Jully. Even the roads have huge signs with JULLEY written across
- Tourists are not treated as tourists but as guests of Ladakh
- You’ll meet lots of kids at different tea-stalls and eateries. Sharing a toffee or a candy can bring a smile to their faces
- Don’t forget to sit back, relax and enjoy your Ladakh moment. Clicking pictures of all the places you’ve visited is important but being in the moment, grasping the true beauty of the place is far more valuable than any image that you can capture in your digital device
Every place that I visited, these were my thoughts, in no particular order:
- Is this India?
- Can I stay here forever
- This weather is killing me
- I am going to die here. I can’t breath
While trying to adjust to the new climate, I was enjoying the beauty of the place. In my short 9 day trip, I hope to have captured a slice of the Ladakhi life.