Ladakh-where the beauty does the talking
If you are a class comfort traveller who likes to take it slow, relax in the pool, sip your wine and are happy in the comforts of five star resort room, then this is not for you.
On the contrary, if thrills are what let your adrenaline pumping, over the top adventures mark your trips then this would make a perfect trip for you. An experience that no money can buy, no words can describe and surely not for the faint hearted…welcome to Ladakh, the land where they say “the land is so barren and the passes so high that only your fiercest enemies or our best friends would want to visit us”.
Best time to visit
If you plan for a road trip at this time of the year, May end to mid-September the Manali-Leh route are open and the Srinagar-Leh route is open till the beginning of November but if you are flying in then the flights operate round the year.
Essentials you can’t miss
You will need to take a lot of permits at lot of places so do carry your driving license or passport or any other documents, also carrying passport size photographs might come handy.
If travelling by bike, then a good quality helmet, boots, gloves and other riding wear is a must to keep you safe.
The temperature goes way below zero degrees and you do not get more than one blanket in the tents. Do carry your thermal innerwear and other accessories like woolen gloves, socks, scarf and the likes.
Carry an extra pair of shoes or flip flops as your riding boots would mostly be wet.
The tents are not equipped with charging points so carrying a travel charger would come in handy.
Lastly, don’t forget a good picture camera to capture all those beautiful moments for a lifetime memory.
Twists, turns and all things bumpy
With no network for your cell phones, living in a tent and sometimes surviving only on noodles, when you are driving at 13,000 feet above sea level, expect anything.
There might be times when you would feel you are lost and not reaching your destination, will have to drive continuously without any human in sight or face the continuous adversities of low visibility, landslides, rains or thin air. But then at this altitude what else you expect?
The driving begins
The adventure begins once you approach Manali, the turns, the traffic and the not so easy going truck drivers. Sometimes you’ll be driving on sand or slush. It would be a little challenging but then it comes with the territory and adds to the adventure.
One advice that you should strictly follow is not to be in a hurry to overtake. The need for speed has to be kept in check especially on these roads.
The scenic beauty throughout the drive is amazing and your day would be lost in marveling over these picturesque places.
But what about the night
The night sky is full of stars and their trails. You can even see the Milky Way especially at Tsokar, a high altitude salt water lake. The beauty of this place simply takes the breath away (so does the altitude).
Get ready for some adrenaline rush as you cross the water bodies that are sometimes so harsh with the flow that it can push your mightiest vehicle to the other side. The water is so chilly that it sends shivers down your spine.
As the bikers call it, the brotherhood, a group of bikers you will find around such crossings waiting to help you out in such situations.
Don’t have high expectations when it comes to food as there are limited items on the food menu. You have to choose from Rogan Josh, momos, thupka, dum aaloo and korma saag.
Though the food choices are limited but the enjoyment is not and digging in to your food at such a place makes up for everything else.
Just thinking about it makes it unreal but you have to go out there to feel it. You will surely bring back memories for a lifetime and a new attitude towards life.