Ladakh Trip Advisory

Ladakh experiences considerable fluctuations in the day and night temperatures, even during the summer. While the days are pretty warm, sometimes even hot due to the desert effect, the evenings can become chilly, requiring additional clothing. And same is the case when its gets cloudy and sun is not shining. The chill effect is quite sharp and strong. It is, therefore, advisable to keep a pullover and / or an anorak or jacket handy at all times of the year. Visitng Ladakh also involves quite much walking on rough & sandy / stony ground even during sightseeing tours. Hence a pair of sturdy walking shoes with strong rubber / synthetic soles for grip, cotton socks (woolen for late autumn treks or glacier walks) are some of the other items required for the trip.

In view of the peculiar topography and climatic conditions, as well as the high altitude, the visitor to Ladakh has to be specially prepared and we suggest the following steps to be taken / preparations to be made:

Dress / equipment:

  1. Comfortable trousers, preferably of warm material (cotton or wool mix) and / or Jeans.
  2. Thermal undergarments / body warmer & sweat shirts / warm shirts (April-May & Mid September onwards).
  3. A full-sleeved sweater for chilly days and a half-sheaved sweater for normal wear..
  4. Wind proof outer wear / jacket / parka & a sun hat to protect your face from the strong sun rays. A pair of good quality sunglasses with sufficient filter-factor to check the sun's ultraviolet rays is also recommended.
  5. A cap or balaclava (in case the weather turns bad especially in higher places such as Pangong Lake, Tsomo-riri, Khadongla etc.)
  6. Comfortable walking shoes/sneakers with cotton socks (avoid fancy shoes/sandals).
  7. For ladies: Trousers or Shalwar suite (worn over thermal inner or tights during April through May & September-October only), woolen sweaters / cardigans, a windproof jacket or a shawl, walking shoes with comfortable soles / sneakers (avoid sandals).
  8. It is also strongly suggested to carry a flashlight on the tour as there will be power outages or no electricity power after 10 PM in the camps at Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake, Nubra Valley, Serchu and other places outside Leh town.
  9. Miscellaneous:
  1. i) All essential medicines, especially those prescribed by personal physician.
    ii) Sun screen creams, moisturizers, antiseptic creams, etc.
    iii) Medicines for altitude sickness and water purifying tablets, if required.


Acclimatization - If you are traveling by air to Leh (alt: 3505 M / 11505 ft.), you must allow a full day of complete rest for getting used to the high altitude and low level of atmospheric oxygen. High altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a risky condition faced by tourists who do not allow sufficient time for adjustment of the body to the altitude and rarefied air of Ladakh.

High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) and High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACO) are very serious forms of acute mountain sickness and can be contracted by anyone not sufficiently acclimatized to the altitude. These are life-threatening ailments and require immediate medical attention

The most common symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) are: breathlessness; coughing, disturbed sleep, headache, inability to concentrate; lassitude, loss of appetite, nausea etc.

Visitors to Ladakh are strongly advised

  • To take complete rest at least for a day after arrival;
  • To move about slowly and breathe deeply till your body get used to the lower oxygen level.
  • When trekking, do not permit your trekking guide to go any faster than you (and your group) can comfortably move.
  • Remember: You might feel 'normal' upon landing at the Leh airport and even for some time therefater. But that's an illusion as the effect of the altitude and low oxygen level hits slowly. It is important that you do not exert yourself on the very first day, as your body needs time to acclimatize itself. If you neglect to do this, then you might fall sick and spoil your much awaited holiday.
  • Medication: It's generally suggested to take a Diamox tablet a day for 3 days prior to your departure for Leh by air to be better prepared to overcome the effect of high altitude. But remember to consult your doctor and confirm if you can take diuretic medicines like Diamox or Disprin tablets and the dosage thereof.

Visa and Permit - Tourists can visit Ladakh on a normal Indian tourist visa, and there's no need of any special visa or permit for travelling to Leh. However, foreign nationals are required to register themselves at the Foreigners' Registration counter at Leh airport if travelling by air, or at the check-posts at Drass, if travelling into the region by road from Srinagar, and at Rumtse / Upshi if travelling by road form Manali.

Protected Area / Innerline Permits - All tourists, whether domestic or overseas, are required to obtain Protected Area Permit / Innerline permit from the Deputy Commissioner Leh's office for visiting the restricted / protected areas like Tsomoriri, Tsokar, Pangong Lakes, Dah-Hanou, Khardongla & the Nubra Valley. Such permits are to be obtained through registered travel agencies / tour operators.

Non-Local Taxis - Taxis hired from outside Ladakh region are not allowed to conduct any sightseeing or jeep-safari within Ladakh. Such taxis can only be engaged for travelling to Leh or for the return trip out of Ladakh. For sightseeing and jeep safaris in Ladakh local taxis have to be engaged. However, there's no such restriction for traveling in personal vehicles.

Banks / Money Changers - State Bank of India & Jammu & Kashmir Bank has branches with foreign exchange facility at Leh & Kargil. Other banks which have braches at Leh are Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank & Central Bank of India.

ATM - State Bank of India & J&K Bank has ATM points in Leh & Kargil town. Punjab National Bank & HDFC Bank operates ATM points in Leh town only. However, these remain mostly crowded with long queues.

Cash - It is also advisable to carry some quantity of cash for purchase of commodities or souvenirs & services. Credit card charging is uncertain due to frequent connectivity problems. Even ATM's are time-consuming due to the long queues, or shortage of cash in the machines.

Mobile Phone Service - Mobile phones with post-paid connection (with billing / option / address) of BSNL are operational in most parts of Ladakh. In Leh Town area postpaid connections of Airtel & Vodafone & Aircel Networks also work fairly well.

ID card / ID Proof - Remember to carry a valid photo ID card with you. This will be required for a variety of purposes - identification at checkpoint, getting Innerline / Restricted Area Permits, Check-in at airports / hotels etc.

For Trekking / Adventure tours - If you are planning to go on a trek or any related activity, the following items may be carried on the trip:

  1. Ruck Sack: If you intend to go on a trekking or adventure trip, you need to get two rucksacks: a smaller one for carrying your camera, water bottle, lunch box and space for change of clothes / jackets during the day. A bigger or standard sized rucksack is needed for packing your clothes and other accessories. This one should have extra layer of waterproof material for protection from rain etc.
  2. Sleeping Bags: For travelling between June and mid September, light summer sleeping bag is enough. But if you are visiting between mid September through May, you will need winterized sleeping bags. You can also rent good sleeping bags from trekking equipment outlets in Leh.
  3. Shoes: For trekking, you need to bring good quality waterproof shoes with strong sole for walking in the mountains and dirt paths. An extra pair of light shoes or sandals will be required for crossing streams during the treks.

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