In my previous post about how to prepare for Ladakh I talked about how Ladakh was one of the most extreme places and the things you should know before visiting Ladakh. I had also mentioned that of all the ‘dangers’ that pose a threat to someone visiting Ladakh, Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS is the one thing you really should know well about before visiting Ladakh, or any high-altitude destination for that matter. The topic of how to avoid altitude sickness is a big one but I will try to be precise here. So buckle-up and be rest assured that by the time you are on the other side, you will have a clear idea about how to have a safe and wonderful trip to Ladakh.
Ladakh is a land of many extremes. The cold there can freeze you to death and you run the risk of suffering a sun-stroke as well. An old Ladakhi saying perfectly sums up Ladakh in one line, “The Land is so barren and the passes so high that only our fiercest enemies or Our best friends would want to visit us“. What it also means to someone who wants to visit Ladakh for the first time in practical terms is, you cannot do an impromptu visit to Ladakh. In order to enjoy your trip to this magical land in the laps of the Himalayas, you should have some idea about how to prepare for Ladakh before you actually embark on your trip.
Ever since I came back from my maiden ride to Ladakh on motorcycle a little more than three years back, I have been asked many times by friends, friends of friends and many others about a lot of different aspects about visiting Ladakh. What to see..where to go… how to go etc but if there has been one question I have been asked the maximum number of times, it was (and still is); ‘Can I ride to ladakh on my bike? or Do I need a bullet to go to ladakh?‘or some other version of the same question.
This is the time when the roads across high mountain passes of mighty Himalayas open up and the holy grail of biking, Ladakh, becomes accessible by road.
CBR 250 on Rohtang la
This window of four-five months (May / June through September / October) every year is the time when bikers from across the country and beyond come to ride in Ladakh crossing some of the toughest terrains and facing extreme biking conditions.… continue reading
Even though the travel bug bit me a tad bit late, I have traveled my share of places in India in the past few years. Places some of which amazed me, some didn’t. Some I liked so much more while others did not impress me enough to remember much about them after a short while.
Vast mountains and the magical Pangong
Out of all the trips I have done till now, my maiden trip to Ladakh sits right on top of the list as the best and most enriching trip ever. It has been close to three years since I have been there and to put it very mildly, I can only say that I am yet to come back from Ladakh!
Now is that time of the year when snow in the high mountain passes melts, making way for people heading to the magical land of Ladakh and this is the time I miss Ladakh even more, want to go and get lost in its vastness and beauty, leaving behind the monotonous life I live.… continue reading
From the last 2-3 days back, I have been in constant touch with Top Singh ji to keep track of road conditions of Rohtang and the news that was coming in was not that good. There was slush and lot of it as it had been raining from the past 3 days. This made me bit sceptical about the journey ahead but after giving it some thought, we finally decided to take things as they come.
We begin our return tomorrow early morning.
We left Leh early in the morning without having our breakfast. It was wonderful riding parallel to the Indus.
Each moment of this stretch was magical. After a quick but heavy breakfast of aloo-parathas just out of Leh, we resumed our journey.
Finally the day has come. Today we visit the magical pangong lake. I was EXCITED. The ride ahead was a long one today and a tougher one at that. The mighty Chang-la has to be crossed.
So, with only the ‘important’ things from the luggage we head of to face the mighty Chang-la, to be finally rewarded by the magical views of Pangong Tso. Had a quick break-fast of croissants & coffee and in no time, we were on the Leh-Manali highway. After sometime on the beautiful Leh-Manali highway, we took the diversion towards Pangong. I was really enjoying the ride, everything about it.
Beautiful, small villages sandwiched between majestic mountains came and went. One thing that was different today, compared to other days was, the inclines were steeper. I had expected some snow today but that was not to be :(, at-least not until we were climbing the mighty Chang-la.… continue reading
We finally reached Leh yesterday after it was almost dark and as suggested by Narender bhaiya, headed straight to Changspa and settled in a guest-house.
Today was a day of no hurry and hence, we woke-up bit late, at about 8 in the morning. It was a wonderful, bright morning but cold nonetheless!! Breathing in that freshhh air was something I have hardly experienced. We had the whole day to ourselves today, just Khardung-la to be visited and nothing else! In an hour or so, we headed out to get some good breakfast and then head to the DC office for permits.
The breakfast I had, came as a wonderful surprise to be as I had never actually expected all that I found there. I am one who prefers burgers and fries over paratha, anyday so finding so much of western food in Leh was the best that could have happened to me, in terms of food :).… continue reading
Woke up to a bright and beautiful morning at about. Our room being on the terrace, gave a wonderful view of the valley below. Destination today was LEH. Finally I was going to ‘be’ there, this realization in itself was enough to make me wrap up the daily rituals quickly and get back on the saddle. At about 8, we all were at the tea stall just below the Guest House, where we had parked our bikes. As we were having wonderful lemon tea, I saw an Yamaha parked which was broken from all over. On a closer look, I found a map that was stuck in his carrier according to which, this guy have started riding all the way from Switzerland and have entered India from Afganistan and Pakistan. Some 80 thousand kilomertes till that time.… continue reading