Travel Tips For Backpackers for a Road Journey To Leh Ladakh

Important To Dos

  • Always reach 30 minutes before scheduled time for all activities reduces stress(Better early than late, better sure than sorry).
  • Keep photo ids, tickets in places where you can reach them easily.
  • Don’t make the baggage too heavy; maximum one backpack and one handbag (day pack). Don’t carry items not require or more quantity than required.
  • Airport security check-in. Pack all  Liquids, paste tubes, shaving kit; scissors; any sharp objects in check-in luggage; pressurized bottles etc..
Read More: Travel Tips For Trekkers on their First Trekking Trip

Here is a list of must haves that you just cannot afford to forget:

  • A valid photo identification card
  • Enough Money especially as ATMs are very few and far between. In fact  if you are taking a road trip via Manali, the last ATM is in Manali!
  • Itinerary Print Out with emergency contact numbers
Emergency food and water if you are out trekking

Photo-IDs

Original + Copy (Options)
1) Passport (Preferred)
2) Aadhar Card (Preferred)
3) Driving License ID + Election ID-Card
4) Driving License + PAN Card
(at least 5 copies of photographs and photo ids; this will be required for permits at certain locations).

 

 Clothes

While you need to travel light, it cannot be at the expense of layered clothing, depending on the season when you are visiting of course. Leh Ladakh has a lot of play of light and shade; you could be feeling absolutely warm one moment and then as you step into shade, you could feel the need for an added layer of clothing. Also layered clothing works well as you are gaining altitude to keep yourself warm.

Here are some absolute essentials:

Quantity of Clothes to pack on a Ladakh Trip

  • Pack few full sleeves t-shirts (full sleeves help you protect against harsh sun as-well-as harsh cold.) – 3 to 5 Pairs (Depending upon duration of your journey)
  • Carry shorts/tights/dry fits and full sleeves t-shirt for River Rafting (You may an opportunity) Track pants, Lite Cotton Khakis, Tights etc (Wear trousers that are made of light material, Comfortable and have stretch)
  • Two pair  of thermal inner Spare Undergarments (Plenty).  Normal Socks – two to three pairs Woolen Socks – two pairs
  • Personal Towel Light Jacket (Winter Jacket)
  • Muffler / Monkey Cap
  • Poncho (Rain-wear)
  • Woolen gloves (One pair) / Snow Gloves (One Pair)

 

General Instructions on Clothing

Wear clothes in layers. i.e. Multiple layers of thin clothes. (Avoid bulky T-Shirts, Bulk Jacket, Bulky Sweater absolute no no).
In Ladakh during summer at one moment you may be sweating at 25 to 35 degree centigrade and in next hour you may be at Freezing Temperatures any below zero to -15 degree centigrade with altitudes varying from 10,000 feet to 18,500 feet at “Road Level”.. All three highest motor-able roads in the world are in Ladakh Region.
So at 10,000 feet you may be wearing just an inner and a t-shirt and as your gain altitude you can keep adding layers.. Sweeter, Jacket, Muffler, Gloves etc.. and as you descend keep removing layers..
Always wear clothes in layers.
Layer 1 – Starting with inner thermals
Layer 2 – full sleeves t-shirt and track pants; Woolen Socks (One double woven woolen socks with one warm nylon or normal woolen socks inside). Carry enough spare socks and other undergarments.
Layer 3 –  Woolen Sweater or Fleece Jacket.
Good thick Woolen Monkey Cap or Balaclava with woolen Muffler
Layer 4 – Wind Proof Winter Jackets with a wind proof hood.
(down jackets or Snow Jackets meant for extreme cold weather if you are going to Ladakh during Ladakh Winter).
A Pair of good snow gloves
Good Pair of Sun Glasses with Good UV Protection.
For Winters (Those who are too sensitive to cold can also carry personal pocket size warmers. Available on most adventure sport gear shops)

 

 Toiletries

While your make up kit can take a well-deserved break as you pamper your adventurous side, here is a list of must have toiletries:
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Face Wash
  • High SPF (40+) Sun Block Cream as the sun can be scorching
  • Soap and Shampoo
  • Moisturizer/Cold Cream/Lip Balm
  • Contact Lens solution if you intend to wear contacts else glasses are a handy option
  • Tissues/ Hand Towel/ Toilet Roll

 

Medical Kit

 

 It is best to be equipped with any prescription medicines that you may be taking. It is also prudent to carry a stock of medicines for any pains, aches and allergies. Here is a checklist:
  • Medicines for motion sickness as prescribed by your doctor
  • Altitude sickness medication as recommended
  • A small oxygen cylinder in case the high altitude renders you uneasy.
  • A cough and cold medication
  • Dettol, band aid, bandage and cotton
  • Antiseptic skin cream
  • Velbet Skin cream
  • Asprin / Anti-vomit
  • chlorivate
  • food poisoning medicine -diarrhea  can be an unpleasant experience while trekking
  • bandages and cotton
  • generic antihistamine for allergy attacks
  • Food poisoning – Norfolk
  • generic painkiller
  • Any other personal medication
  • Camphor  (smelling camphor is helpful when you feel giddy)

 

Miscellaneous but ever so necessary items

 If you are a book lover who cannot sleep without turning a few pages or someone whose feet just have to be kept warm, there is no forgetting this list:
  • Foot warmers
  • A gripping book
  • An Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • A great camera for all those photo ops
  • Mobile Phone with extra batteries
  • Flash Light
  • Camping gear if you have camping on your mind
  • Flash light and Spare Batteries
  • padlock + chain for the train travel
  • Small mirror
  • Comb
  • Ziploc bags for cameras with water proof pouch.
  • Camera with spare battery and memory  matches / lighter
  • Spike Guard – for mobile / camera charging (We may have only one socket per room in hotels, so kindly carry spike guard with multiple sockets)
  • spare cells for Mobile Phone and Cameras (Cells discharge faster in extreme colds)..
Pack all these essentials in a sturdy bag. It will be helpful to have a small backpack for daily travel.

 

Emergency Food and Water

  • 1 small Can of Food for emergency
  • Biscuits / Chocolates / Salad items (can be bought from local market)
  • 2 litres water bottle or hydration pack

 

Bags

Carry one Backpack – 60 Liters (as main bag)
Carry one Daypack – 30 to 40 liters (to carry during the day for camera, sweater, jackets, poto-ids, water bottle, flash light, personal medical kit etc)
A Waist Pouch can help too.

 

Packing

  • All items are to be wrapped in plastic or poly bags or waterproof nylon pouches..
  • Carry an additional smaller backpack (for 1 day trip kind of) where you can leave your heavy baggage at the camp and travel with lighter bags if needed.
  • Pack bulky and light stuff at bottom and top. All heavy stuff towards the center of the bag and towards your body.
  • Use Compression straps if you have them in your bags, these will help you keep all items in place.
  • Keep all handy stuff in day pack (Photo IDs, Tickets, Woolens, Camera, Personal Medicines, Money etc).

 

Telecom

Most of the remote places only BSNL mobile is available (Leh / Kashmir most networks are available). In some places no network will be available. So you can inform your when you are at places like Sarchu, Pangong Lake, Pso-Moriri, Nubra Valley etc you will not have phone signals most of the time.

 

Precautions (For high altitude)

It’s advised that for first couple of days to minimize exertion as you may be rapidly gaining altitude (over 10,000 feet), so that your body has enough time to get acclimatized to the thin atmosphere.

Prevention   

  • First 2 to 3 days of your journey take is EASY . Literally let your body adapt to high altitude. Especially those who land in Leh directly should take total rest the first day and keep second day only for light trip. Drink plenty of water, eat even if you are not hungry.
  • Some of you may face symptoms of High altitude sickness like  headache ; some may have vomiting tendencies; mostly this condition should go in a day or two.
  • You may take Dimox tables or equivalent a day or two before (kindly consult your Doctors on the medicines)
  • Sniffing Camphor is also helpful for those getting headache.
  • We have to carry Asprin tables.
  • We are also be carrying emergency oxygen bottles as extra precaution.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic); this will also help.

 

(Ladakh Altitudes of few locations) 

In Ladakh Safari is one of those trip where Journey may be as important if not more important thatn the destinations, Kashmir (Stay and Enjoy Kashmiri Hospitality in Luxury House Boat) – Shikara Ride – Sonmarg – Gumra (11,250 feet) – Sonmarg – Experience thrill of crossing Zoji La Pass (11,250 feet) – Baltal – Zoji La Pass (11,200 feet) Landscapes changes from Green Medows to Ladakh Arid Zone – Gumra (11,250 feet) – Drass (Second coldest habitat place in Planet Earth) –  Cross over to Kargil under enemy observation – 45 km from Kargil Mulbek (10,600 ft) 30 feet statue of Maitreya Budha carved on cliff – Namkila Pass (12,204 ft) – Bodh Karbu (10,890 ft) – Heniskot (11,640 ft) – Fatu La (13,479) Highest pass between Leh and Kashmir – Camp at UlheyTopko – River Rafting in Indus and Zanskar Sangam – Herigate and Culture (Alchi, Pathar Sahib, Likir),  Exhotic ( Magnetic Hill, Pangong Lake, Camping at UlheyTolpko, Camping in Wilderness on way to Tsomoriri lake, Camping at Tsomoriri Lake, Camping at Sarchu, Exhotica Keylong (in Lahaul Spiti Valley), Cross Rohtan La also to Manali, Also experience Baralachala (4892 m) – Lachung La (5065 m), Pang, Debring (4500 m), TanglangLa – Morrey Plains – Manali to Delhi – Mumbai. There are lots of opportunities for Camping, make most of it.
Important Note: To make most of Ladakh Adventure, go there with an open mind. Don’t have preconceived expectations. Be Bold, be adventurous.

 

Physical Pre-preparation for high altitude trip

  • One to two hour walk or any other cardio exercise every day at least 4 days a week
  • Breathing exercise
  • Stretching exercise
  • Drink plenty of fluid; especially during last week and on the trip
  • Avoid Alcohol / minimize smoking if possible avoid it totally
  • Eat good food (Add plenty of vegetables; salads; fruits to your diet).
Read More: Risks and Safety Arrangements for River Rafting you should know

 

 

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About the Author

Ankit Vasisht
Along with being a freelance Travel Writer, Motivational Blogger, Speaker and Founder of 100 Percent Travel Blog, I am interested in the history and cultures of the world. A Travel and Tourism Professional with years of experience in Tourism Industry, I try to be true to myself. I believe nothing can beat words and they mean everything to me. I welcome the traveller blogger community to join hands with me and my team to make travel 100% Easier and 100% Rewarding.
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