Ladakh, the land of high passes, is the newly formed union territory carved out of Jammu & Kashmir in India. It shares its borders with both Pakistan and China and hence it is one of the most disputed parts of the country. Due to this reason, we see a high number of Indian Army personnel deployed in the country.
Historically this region has played a very important role in the Old Silk Route carrying silk from China to Central Asian and European countries.
- Before you head to Ladakh trip, you should completely understand the weather conditions, day and night temperatures. Will help you to pack.
- Do acclimatize to the high altitude for at least 24 hours. Do nothing and take rest on the first day as soon as you reach Leh. High altitudes have low oxygen availability. Your respiratory system should get used to this less oxygen.
- You will be dehydrated at high altitudes. So always carry a bottle (avoid plastic bottles) of water with you and refill it wherever required.
- Do wear cotton, light woolen and sunglasses. It is advisable to have a sunscreen and moisturizer to keep your skin protected.
- First Aid kit and all necessary medicines should be carried as well.
- Always carry extra batteries for your camera and other electronic items. Electricity in Ladakh will be an issue.
- Many of the places in Ladakh need Inner Line Permits. I will mention this in detail later. Do ensure that you have all documents and permits required for certain attractions.
- Avoid wearing shorts or skirts or sleeveless in Ladakh especially in monasteries as you might hurt their sentiments. Also the place is too cold to wear such clothing.
- Avoid consuming alcohol or smoking as soon as you reach the place. Like I have said earlier due to low oxygen levels it is not advisable.
- Plastic bags are officially banned in Ladakh. Do keep this mind while you pack for the trip.
- Ladakh is rich in flora and fauna. You will find few of them unique to this place. Do not disturb them while you roam around.
Hiring a very good local tour operator will help you cover most of the points mentioned. But to find a good one takes some time to research and talk to them.
Since Ladakh lies between the disputed borders of Pakistan and China, Indian government has made it compulsory to get permits even for Indian citizens to visit border places like Pangong Lake, Hanle, Hunder etc. At each of these places your ILPs (In-Line Permits) will be checked by Indian Army or Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP).
Follow these mentioned above for your Ladakh Holiday and enjoy your time there. I am sure you will fall in love with the place and people there.