Thursday, June 23, 2016

HOW I GOT LEH'ED: DAY1 Do Nothing


CONTENT
Summary
Day1: LEH - Do Nothing
Day2: LEH-Around
Day3-4: LAMAYURU
Day5,6,7: NUBRA - PANGONG TSO
Day8: LEH
Day9: TSO MORIRI

If you love to visit the hill stations… do not go to Ladakh…

…Because once the charm of the land of Chortens mesmerise you, it would be difficult for you to like any other place.


While the photos of Ladakh are tempting, many people are afraid to go there due to the high altitude.

MY TAKE: Unless there are any serious health issues, anybody can visit Ladakh. 

We went with our daughter who is less than 5 years old and my father who is well over 70 years. We had no issues. The key is acclimatisation.

DAY1:

Our trip to Ladakh was for 10 days (mid-June), and we flew from Delhi. The birds-eye view of the wrinkled Himalayas garnished with snow was a pleasure to the eyes. 

View from the flight


video


The landing was steep. Coming from Gurgaon, the deep blue sky felt so good. There was less oxygen in the air, but less pollution too. I will take that any day.




TIPS: Most flights are morning flights. Take the left seat while going to Leh so that the sun is not directly on your eyes. You will get better pictures too.

Once you are in the Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport in Leh the signboards will warn you about AMS, a term you are going to hear a lot when you will be planning your trip. AMS simple means Acute Mountain Sickness. There are other altitude related sickness as well. I do not want to go into details of it, there are plenty of stuff in the internet. The more you read, the more you will be frightened.

MY TAKE: Don’t read too much!

Like I said before, the key is acclimatisation. All you need to do is follow some simple tips.

‘Don’t be Gama in the land of Lama’ - A signboard in Leh

TIPS: 
  1. Rest in the hotel for at least 24 hours, if not 36hrs. Make sure you carry something to keep yourself entertained (Don’t depend on internet), because it is going to be a boring start to your exciting trip. Sleeping is not an option. You are not supposed to sleep in the afternoons! 
  2. No smoking or drinking alcohol.
  3. Do not do a lot of physical activities on the first couple of days, which I was told includes sex. If you are travelling with kids, make sure they do not jump around a lot during the first day. Keep them engaged.
  4. Drink 2-3 litres of water a day. Not less, not more.
  5. Eat lots of carbohydrates. Forget KETO diet.
  6. If you are traveling with heart patients, old persons or small kids it is advisable to consult the family physician before hand.
  7. DIAMOX tablet helps fool the body to take more oxygen. Two tablets a day for 7-days starting one day before the date of travel. Again, consult a doctor.


We pre-booked our car for the entire trip, which was waiting outside the airport. the drivers are very punctual.
Unless you are driving your own car, you have to hire taxi from locals only. It is a monopoly of local taxi union, which makes it expensive too. However, it is a short 4-5 months season. That is the only time these guys earn money, that helps them survive the rest of the harsh winters. When you think about it, it is not that unfair.

MY TAKE: We were lucky to have a polite driver named Rigzin. He has more than 12 years experience, and knows every road in Ladakh by heart. He is also a very skilful driver. His number: +91 95-96-604991. 10 days cost us ~40,000 INR

Rigzin


The car took us directly to our hotel.
There are many hotels in Leh to match all budgets. 

MY TAKE: Stay at The Auspicious Hotel. 
contact: Mr Robin +91 94-19-177864
review: Comfortable hotel with very friendly staff.
Rooms are nice clean and big.
While away from the noise and pollution of the main market, it is just 2-3 minute walk to the market.
Food is good. Non-veg is limited. They serve buffet. Breakfast is complimentary.
Free Wifi (slow connectivity).
Book in advance. They are mostly full in peak seasons.




With Robin
The Auspicious Hotel


Phone connection will be an issue. Only BSNL and Airtel post paid connections work, that also mostly in Leh. Plan accordingly. Forget mobile internet. I was looking desperately for the Airtel girl. It seems the Airtel network only follows her like the hutch puppy. Dogs are supposed to be loyal to only one person anyways. Neither could I find her, nor the 4G. Forget 4G, even 2G is very very slow. You are here to enjoy nature, forget internet for few days. 


Though the outside temperature was around 15C, out in the sun it felt like 40C. Once the sun was down it became cold again very fast. So, pack for both winter and summer.

TIPS: Good idea to take Shades, hats and or umbrellas, sunscreen, few summer clothes.


While having our meals we realised two things: Fish is the beef of Leh and egg is veg. Fish is supposed to be holy, I was told by the chef. So no F-word for dinner. Non-veg was limited in most paces. be prepared to have a lot of noodles, momo  and thuppa. Egg, however, was available in most places; even in the vegetarian restaurants.

Fish in one of the important symbols of Tantric Buddhism


We spent the first day resting, trying not to sleep, eating lots of carb, and drinking lots of water. 

Click for DAY 2


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