After two years of planning & cancelling, I finally made it to Ladakh. I always saw some really beautiful pictures of the place from friends who had already visited & I couldn’t wait to set foot in the mystical land of the Ladakh valley. The place is so much more than the photographs I’ve seen. Infact, my excitement & happiness only grew when I took this road trip from Manali to Leh. The varying landscapes, the million waterfalls enroute, the winds & heat, small momo & Maggie stalls on the way- all of this & more make up the journey called Ladakh. It was one hell of an action-packed journey for me. It isn’t an exaggeration when people keep lamenting about the beauty that is – Ladakh. Like me even you will be left spell bound with the surreal magnificence of the place. Many of you may have already visited the place, thanks to ‘3 Idiots’ for making it a popular destination among Indians. But those of you who haven’t been there, here are a few things that you must carry with you if you plan to take the road less travelled between Manali – Leh. It is definitely not an easy journey due to the underdeveloped & winding roads. And those of you who have road sickness, pay heed.
Food – Very very important to carry some munchies with you as you may not find food stalls at regular intervals. It is good to munch of something every two hours rather than going on a binge at meal time. This helps keep you light throughout your travel. Carry anything that is light & easy to fill you up. Theplas (for all the gujjus in the house), energy bars, chocolates, anything.
Water – Carry at least 2 ltrs of water per person. Keeping your body hydrated at such high altitudes is the best bet to stay away from altitude sickness & headaches.
Jackets & sweatshirts – Since roads upto Leh are open only between May & September every year, chances are you will not experience cold weather throughout the journey but fluctuating weather enroute. You may experience sultry weathers in some pockets while some places will be extremely cold with chilly winds (like Sarchu) and if you’re lucky you’ll also witness snowfall in places like Chang-La & Khardungla pass (we did). So, advisable to carry light jackets & fleece jackets to shield you from the winds & weather.
Pair of walking shoes – Most comfortable form of footwear if you like exploring new places by taking a good stroll around. It also acts as a protecting gear from the cold winds
Monkey cap / stole – Though it may not be very cold during the season, but the winds are cold and it can hit your ears. To protect from the winds & any infection that it may cause, it is advisable to cover your ears with either a stole (for girls) or monkey caps.
Basic first aid kit & Diamox – We all carry certain basic medicines that we take for headaches, fever, etc. But if you’re travelling at altitudes of 14000 ft. plus, you should also take a course of Diamox. But advisable to take pills only & only if uncomfortable. I personally avoid popping any pills at all.
Stick to these basic ‘to dos’ while travelling & you’re bound to have an awesome road trip without any hiccups. So go & enjoy all that you can on your next roadtrip to Ladakh.