The journey of extreme altitudes, extreme roads, extreme vehicle and extreme people…..One of the life’s goal – crossing the highest motorable pass Khardung La riding bullet accomplished, crossed ‘Chang La’ – the third highest pass, drove for long 6-8 hours. Stamina and endurance tested successfully ;).
You don’t need to book in advance by an agent go there find a good hotel, there is a lot scope of bargain. Find some local travelers or agents book there and then believe me you will save lots of money.
I am not writing long paragraphs about the beauty of the place as anyone who is looking for this is already convinced and aware of the fact. But in Ladakh, one thing be sure about is get ready to be surprised; it doesn’t look a part of our own earth. It’s a completely different landscape. The drive from Manali to Sarchu after Keylong will amaze you. It looks like a piece from Mars. The route starts with greenery and snow from Manali and you can’t resist stopping multiple times just to admire. So be prepared for it and take good time in hand start early morning. One stop should be along Keylong, near Jispa valley, next on Sarchu.
Sarchu is a stay with very high altitude and before getting excited about the sceneries surrounding camps first acclimatize yourself with the place. Walk slowly, breathe deeply and be calm. Most of the people could not sleep at Sarchu and it’s quite common, my friends also started having hallucinations due to low oxygen. So all you need to do is rest and be calm.
Leh is a quite developed city, so you will enjoy the culture, places restaurants and monasteries. Locals are very helpful and you can enjoy a little chit-chat here and there. Book a nice hotel, enquire about the bike rentals or shared cars, which can help you to explore Ladakh. Most recommended tours are:
- Pangong Lake, camps passing Chang La: This place is very cold and only one military camp is on the way where you can have some refreshments. Army people are quite friendly and helpful.
- Tso Moriri Lake and home stay.
- Nubra Valley tour from Khardung La: This is an absolute biking pleasure. You will never forget the road trip here and it’s kind of cold desert where you will find two-humped camels (bactrian camels). Camel rides are also available in the sand dunes of the cold desert.
Besides, these is a place called Magnetic Hill with a wonderful natural illusion, which make you believe that your bike/car is moving uphill with ignition off. Amazing monasteries are another great attraction which you will find in the land of landscapes and high passes. Hemis Monastery is one such name which is quite famous for being the biggest of all in the region. Drive to monasteries from Leh is also spectacular. This is going to be your lifetime trip. So go with open mind.
Note: Ladakh is not only about spectacular views, culture and people. It’s going to be a tough trip, not recommended if you are looking for relaxing and chilling. The place is no doubt peaceful, but you will have your own challenges and stories along the way. It’s not easy for first timers at all. We had many challenges; my friend fainted at Baralacha La. Others suffered from constant headache. Fortunately, I had no problems, except for some constipation. But be prepared to be sleepless and restless.