Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Leigh Marcos
How to Prepare for a Leh, Ladakh Road Trip
Tourism is booming in Leh, with a 30% annual increase in visitors. However, with a vast and open countryside, it’s not hard to avoid the crowd. One of the best ways to take in this spectacular culture is via a road trip. This will allow you to cover much of the high altitude desert, through the staggering magnificence of the Himalayas, past the palace ruins and Buddhist shrines. Leh is the second most expensive region in India, so a car or motorcycle will allow you to see more in a shorter time period.
Choosing Your Vehicle
All good road trips start with selecting the right vehicle for the job. Leh has a rocky, mountainous and potentially deadly terrain, so you’ll need something rugged enough to handle this environment.Check the value of vehicle first, since you don’t know what damage might occur on the road trip. Be sure to get comprehensive insurance cover too. One of the most popular means of traveling through Leh is by motorcycle. This is a good way to feel the fresh air and connect with the spiritual atmosphere. It also allows you to reach more secluded spots and avoid large potholes.
What Should You Pack?
If going by bike, then you’ll have to pack light. Channel your inner Buddhist and only bring the absolute essentials. This will give you more freedom on the road. You can always stop at a small town and pick up extra supplies if necessary. The altitude means that it will undoubtedly be cold, regardless of the time of year, so plenty of warm clothing is essential. However, there can also be bright sunshine, so pack sunscreen and sunglasses. Rain isn’t uncommon, so bring a decent raincoat and ensure your possessions have a waterproof cover.
When to Go
Between November and March, it will likely be unbearably cold in the region, so avoid the winter months if possible. Between August and September the monsoons are at their worst, meaning a dangerous slippery surface and increased landslide. So the best time to visit would be April, May, late September and early October. Temperatures are at their best and the ground is dry enough to drive on.
What to See
The main sites you’ll pass, which are worth stopping at, are the ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples. Phyang, Thikse, Shanti Stupa, Sankar, Magnetic Hill and Leh Palace are some of the most beautiful and worth visiting. For nature lovers, you have to visit Pangong Lake and Hemis National Park.
A road trip through Leh will be an experience like no other. The spectacular landscape won’t fail to blow you away. Just make sure you are prepared for the cold and potential monsoons and have a vehicle that can handle the rough terrain.
Share about a favorite road trip you’ve been on in the comments!