Monday, 19 May 2014

Plan a trip to Ladakh in April

Selecting Pre-Season for your trip

We wanted to visit Ladakh since long but somehow it never got materialized. Ladakh as a tourist destination through out the year. What it offers in off-season, pre-season and peak-season is different and can cater to different themes of vacation. 

Our trip in April ( which is just a month before the start of the season) offered us breathtaking views of snow clad mountains and sub zero temperatures. Adequate clothing would get you through comfortably. Sub zero temperatures were a-first for many of us in the group and had the first-time-experience charm attached to it.

There are many advantages of travelling at this time of the year. The drive at Chang La and Khardung La is stuff from the fantasies.While the pictures in the blog would give you a hint, they do not capture the scale of the view that you would see when you are actually there!!!

Another advantage is the crowd is lesser than what you would see in the season and you would also be saving deep holes in your pockets.

In addition to the snow there are some other sight that are unique to this time of the year like the river confluence - Zanskar and Nubra. This confluence is much more apealing at this time of the year as the Zanskar is still in its pristine blue. ( It would be muddy as you get deeper into the summer)

Having said this, Ladakh deserves a visit in all the seasons. The summer would be a fantastic trip as well with its bright blue sky and lakes like Pangong in its full glory.In winters one can go for trek like chadar treks etc.

Reaching Leh

There are direct flights from Delhi to Leh everyday.If you planning a trip in June or July you might get expensive tickets but April is pre-season so we got reasonable tickets as well. All road routes may not be open at this time; especially the one from Manali to Leh are open only form May to August.
Air travel is also a good option if you have limited time in your hand. What more the view from the flight as you approach Leh is gorgeous.

View from the flight
Places to Visit

Our trip was aided by a  friend's suggestion of a good tour and travels. We did our booking a week in advance.We stayed for 6 nights.We visited the Nubra Valley (overnight stay in Hunder) , Pangong (overnight stay in Tangtse) and sights around Leh.

When you travel in Ladakh, every sight is going to demand a second look- it is that beautiful! So to say that i visited x, y z places in Ladakh is so inaccurate because you just see it all & remember it all. The journey itself so incredible that hours on the road would pass by without you noticing.

We travelled to all these places by making an overnight stays. This allowed us to travel at our own pace and enjoy the journey so much more. While we stayed in all army accommodations in Leh, Hunder and Tangste village.There are lot of hotels and home stay options available as well..

Suggestion: We suggest that you give minimum 6 nights to the look around Leh (maximum is uncapped :)). Try to not rush through a check list of places you have planned to visit. Journey on the road will take you along some breathtaking views of mountains, plains, rivers, gorges etc. Stop at these places and soak it all in. The views are unmatched in beauty. 

Preparing for the weather and altitude
The temperature in leh in April varies from -4 to 8 degrees Celsius.But the temperature drops even more if you to higher altitudes like Changla or Khardungla. 
We bought woolen inners,woolen socks,caps,jackets,gloves and sweaters.We all are wearing min 3 layers on top and 2 layers bottom clothing.Sometimes you might need more as well :P

Keep medicines like anti-emetics, cold medicines etc just in case you need them.

Word of Caution:Take it easy on the first day of your visit. Allow your body to acclimatize. The altitude and temperature have varied effect on people, you do not want to ruin your trip by not appreciating the need of your body to get used to this change. 

Our Experience
We ate most of our meals at the army mess and enjoyed them all.The food was homely and amazing.We also had a Ladakhi meal at our Guide's place.

There was so many unique experiences in our trip. The vast frozen lakes, snowfalls, scenery of overwhelming scale, sand dunes, river, snow drives the list goes on. 

If you get mesmerized by the Swiss mountains in Yash Raj movies take a trip to Ladakh at this time. If you like the scale of scenery when you see images of Grand Canyon, you should visit Ladakh. If you wish you were the only person on a edge of a mountain overlooking stunning scenery you should visit Ladakh. if you wanted to know how nature can spell-bind you with its beauty you should visit Ladakh.

This place leaves you speechless.