If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, here are a few travel tips you may find useful:
* Getting there: For best experience, go by road. The drives are some of the most beautiful on this planet. Many airlines operate regular flights all year round. Weather can play spoilsport anytime of the year, and may disrupt plans.
* Climate: Biting cold from November to March with temperatures falling many degrees below normal. Everything is frozen over. The months of June to August are pleasantly warm, while it is comfortably cold during the other months. It is always cold at higher altitudes. Make sure you always carry warm clothes with you in Ladakh at all times.
* Best time to go: June to early-October when roads are open, but dates vary every year. No vehicular movement is possible the rest of the year. You can fly in all other times depending on your capacity to withstand the cold.
* Local transport: There is no restriction on private cars. However, taxis from outside the state are only allowed to drop and pick passengers. You have to hire locals taxis to roam around within Ladakh.
* Vehicles to use: It is best to use SUVs – these need not be 4-wheel powered. But people do use sedans too, but not recommended considering road conditions.
* Permits: No permits are required for the Manali – Leh and the Srinagar – Leh routes. Indians and foreigners require Inner Line Permits for most other areas, and can easily be obtained in Leh.
* Places to stay: There is no dearth of places to stay in Leh for all budgets. But options are limited at all other places. Unless you are planning to camp, it is advisable to book in advance.
* Altitude Sickness can affect even the fittest of all. Basic precautions: (a) Keep sipping water regularly, preferably warm. Keep in flasks, or stops at roadside eateries to request them to warm it for you. (b) Cover your head and ears with something warm when it is cold and windy (c) Don’t push yourself physically too much (d) Don’t stay at high altitude passes for too long – 30 minutes maximum (e) Go easy on yourself for the initial 1-2 days, you should be ok after that.
* Security: There are no security issues in Ladakh, it is very safe. If you are coming by road from Srinagar, stay tuned into the news should any disturbances be taking place. There are no problems coming from Himachal Pradesh via Manali.
* Connectivity: Most mobile networks work in Leh and Kargil, with high speed Internet available. Most other places either have no connectivity or only state run BSNL works.
* Kunzum Route K12 – A Driving Guide to Ladakh: http://kunzum.com/2011/06/19/kunzum-route-k12-driving-in-ladakh-updated-guide
* Suggested itineraries for Ladakh: http://kunzum.com/2009/05/16/itinerary-10-days-in-ladakh-by-road
* What to carry with you when you drive to Ladakh: http://kunzum.com/2009/06/19/what-to-carry-with-you-when-you-drive-to-the-mountains
* Planning for fuel in the mountains: http://kunzum.com/2008/06/11/planning-for-fuel-in-the-mountains
* Hotels in and around Leh: http://kunzum.com/2011/06/17/hotels-in-and-around-leh-ladakh-in-jammu-kashmir
* Nature calling in Ladakh? What a job it can be – http://kunzum.com/2009/03/24/nature-calling-in-ladakh-what-a-job-it-can-be
* Postcards from Ladakh – A pictorial travelogue on Ladakh by Ajay Jain: http://kunzum.com/postcardsfromladakh
* More posts on Ladakh: http://kunzum.com/category/himalayas/ladakh-himalayas
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