TOURIST TIPS

Ladakh

Getting to Leh
Most major airlines operate regular flights to Leh from Delhi, Jammu or Srinagar. The Delhi-Leh flight is just an hour long. If you prefer train travel, the closest railhead is Jammu, which is also well-connected to all other cities in India. By road, Leh is accessible from Srinagar between June and November and the Manali-Leh road from June to October. Note that you should ideally register yourself at Drass on the Srinagar-Leh road or at Upshi along the Manali-Leh highway if you do choose to travel by road.

Getting Used to Leh
If you’re flying to Leh (11,000 ft), keep aside the first 48 hours after landing to simply rest and acclimatize to the climate. As you’re travelling to an altitude exceeding 10,000 feet, it’s important to rest so as to avoid developing acute mountain sickness or other high-altitude ailments. Spend a couple of days in Leh before setting off for high-energy activities such as trekking. In case you do experience disturbed sleep, shortness of breath, lethargy, coughing, loss of appetite or nausea, seek medical assistance at once. Leh has a good hospital, the Sonam Norboo Memorial Hospital, which is well-equipped to handle acute mountain sickness and other ailments.

Staying in Leh
The easiest way to arrange accommodation in and around Leh is through travel agents and tour operators. They will just as easily organize treks, camping excursions and jeep safaris. The closest Homestays are about an hour's drive from Leh town.

Zanskar

The journey from Leh to Padum takes about 2 days by road, with the only route being through Kargil. You will drive through the dramatic Suru Valley as you drive south from Kargil, crossing the Pensi-la pass at 4400 meters elevation. You may get a glimpse of the Nun and Kun peaks, each over 7000m, rising from the clouds in the west. The journey is long, and the road is rugged, but the scenery makes it well worth the effort.

There are a number of ways you can reach:

  1. Take a taxi from Leh to Padum, via Kargil. You will have to change taxis in Kargil, due to taxi union rules. Your travel agent can pre-arrange this for you. The one-way taxi fare from Leh to Padum may cost an estimated Rs. 15,000 per taxi.
  2. Take a bus from Leh to Kargil, and a taxi from Kargil to Padum. Your travel agent can arrange this for you. The bus may cost about Rs. 500 per person, and the one way taxi fare from Kargil to Padum may cost Rs. 10,000 per taxi.
  3. Take a bus from Leh to Padum. This bus runs 2-3 times a week, but irregularly, according to demand. It stops in or near Kargil overnight, but may not stop in a location close to overnight accommodations. Thus, be ready to camp out if you choose this option. It will cost an estimated Rs. 700 per person.

Code of Conduct

This code was developed by the Ladakhi women who operate Himalayan Homestays. We ask that you make every effort to follow their requests while staying with Ladakhi families.

Please:

Do not make public displays of affection.
Do not wear revealing clothes such as short skirts and sleeveless tops.
Do not urinate or defecate near water or in the fields.
Do not taste from serving spoons.
Do not stick your finger or spoon in cooking or serving pots.
Do not interfere with cooking.
Do not sit on the Choktse (Ladakhi table).
Do not bargain over the Homestay rates.

Did You Know?

When you stop for a rest during a trek, lean against a tree trunk or a big rock and raise your legs with the help of your rucksack. This helps to regulate your blood circulation.

Dos and Don’ts

Be sure to carry all necessary provisions and fuel from Manali, Leh or Kargil for your trip – you won’t find anything in the interiors.

Do not leave any litter along trekking routes or on camp sites.

Take your shoes off before entering a monastery.

Do not touch the statues or thangkas at monasteries and refrain from smoking on the premises.

Take permission from the local people before photographing them or their property.

Don’t use flash photography inside monasteries – the flash tends to damage the colour of the frescoes inside.

Try and carry purified or boiled fresh water when you go on treks.

Don’t use plastic bags – they are banned in Ladakh.

When visiting national parks, take special care to not disturb the wildlife.

Wear a wide-brimmed sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen at all times, as the sun is extremely sharp at this
high altitude.

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