20 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Ladakh

Before you travel to Ladakh, you should ensure that you are completely prepared for the rough weather, high altitude, and poor mobile connection. Just making sure of certain things, will turn your Leh Ladakh road trip into the most memorable trip ever. It involves a lot of planning and research. But with our article, you can skip all that because we have 20 things you must know before visiting Ladakh that will help you in planning your trip effortlessly. 

Let’s take a look at them:

1. Carry a good amount of cash with you
Most restaurants and shops in Ladakh don’t accept credit or debit cards, so it is safe to carry a large amount of cash with you. If you are travelling with a large group, divide the possible expenses between them and ask them to keep a set amount in their bags. The Leh market has several ATMs where you can remove cash including Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and State Bank of India ATMs. 

If you want to save money during your Leh Ladakh trip, travel to Ladakh before the official season. Food and other costs are lower. Some restaurants charge a premium for simple things, so ask the cost before you order food. 

2. Get a postpaid connection for your trip
Most prepaid phones don’t work in Ladakh, so purchase a BSNL postpaid connection for your Leh Ladakh packages trip, as it is the only network that works there. Even then, the reception is going to be weak but you will get to talk to friends and family back home. You will not get any connection in certain places including Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso, so make all calls and messages before travelling there. You will find a few PCO booths in Leh market, which you can use to make emergency calls. 

3. Always book an early flight

Ladakh is all about its beautiful nature and to make sure you catch it at its best hour, book an early flight. If you live in Mumbai, board 1 or 2 am flight because by the time you reach, it will be sunrise and you’ll get to see a multitude of colours gracing the sky. It is the best hour for clicking photos of the snow-dusted mountains and the vast landscape. If you are travelling from Delhi, board a 4.30 am flight. 

4. Take a day’s rest after reaching Ladakh
Ladakh’s altitude and weather conditions are vastly different from that of metropolitan cities or the plains. On the day you reach Ladakh, spend it to adjust to the changes. You might experience heavy head but that’s just because of the change in the attitude. Plan your journey in such a way that you reach Ladakh by afternoon, so you have your lunch there and take an afternoon nap. In the evening, go on walks in nearby markets and meet locals.

5. Stick to local food

Home-cooked, local food is less oily and less spicy. In most parts of Ladakh from Jammu & Kashmir to Leh, you will find only non-vegetarian foods, so if you are a vegetarian, carry instant noodle packets with you. A few restaurants do offer vegetarian foods but they aren’t pure vegetarian restaurants. 

6. Always tip at restaurants and your cab drivers 
Tip 10 percent of the total bill at any restaurant you eat. It takes a lot to bring raw ingredients and spices up to the region, so consider it as a sign of gratitude. Cab drivers don’t ask for a tip, but it is always good to give a tip. It can be any amount you wish to give. 

Suggested Read: - Top 10 Best Restaurants in Ladakh

7. Accept the slow Wi-Fi connectivity
Wi-Fi speed is painstakingly slow in the entire of Ladakh, so say goodbye to your favourite social media platform for all the days you are in the region. Ladakh is all about enjoying the nature at its finest and finding yourself again, so Wi-Fi connectivity shouldn’t concern you. 

8. Carry dry snacks with you everywhere
At high altitudes, you tend to burn calories at a faster rate, so carry a bag of dry snacks and a bottle of water everywhere you go. Some things you can carry include chocolates, glucose biscuits, nuts, and wafers with you. All these things are sold at a higher price than the MRP, so carry as much as you can from your city. You can also carry pickle with you because the food is bland in Ladakh. 

9. Keep a toilet paper in your bag 
Ladakh is all about simple living. Tourist locations are located far away from each other. The turns and twists make the distance even longer. You won’t find any public washrooms or restaurants on your way where you can relieve yourself, so you will have to do that out in the nature. Carry toilet paper and sanitizer in your bag for when you want to take a pee. 

10. Prepare a special medical kit for Ladakh 
Keep your medical kit simple, so it isn’t too heavy to carry about. Medicines and other things you should include in it are Iodex, Savlon or Dettol, headache medicine, body pain medicine, nausea medicine, Disprin, medicine to help you breathe better, band-aids, imodium, Diamox, and stomach pain medicine. 

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11. Don’t forget the essentials 
We have made a list of things you should carry but often forget to on your Leh Ladakh bike trip. These include map of Ladakh, medical insurance ID or receipt, phone chargers, a note of all important and emergency contact numbers, extra camera batteries, and a surge protector.

12. Pack all the warm clothes you have 

Pack five pairs of t-shirts and pants, five pairs of undergarments, and three to four jackets in your bag. Stock up on woolen socks, mufflers, hand gloves, and ear plugs as they act as added layers of protection. 

13. Carry photocopies of your identification documents 
If you are not an Indian citizen, carry photocopies of your passport and the permit you received from the government to travel to Ladakh. If you are in Indian citizen, carry photocopies of your passport, PAN card, AADHAR card, and voter id, if you have one. For bikers, there are a few more documents including vehicle registration papers, vehicle insurance, PUC, and driving license. 

14. Carry a plastic bag to hold wrappers and other waste
Don’t litter the gorgeous surroundings around you and carry a big plastic bag to collect all the waste. At the end of the day when you reach your hotel or camp, dump it into the trash can. 

15. Coffee will keep heavy head at bay 
During the first three days of your visit you will experience a heavy head because of the change in altitude. It won’t let you enjoy the trip and make you feel irritated at all times. It can elevate when you are travelling during the days and the continuous change in altitude can affect your health. Coffee will be your best friend and keep you happy throughout the first few days. You will see an instant change in your mood. 

16. Avoid drinking alcohol
Ladakh doesn’t have any prohibitory drinking rules but it is best to avoid drinking alcohol. If you plan to, make sure to not consume too much as it is a diuretic and can lead to dehydration. The effects are more serious at higher altitudes. You can consume peg to maintain body heat.

17. Note down the district hospitals in Ladakh
Medical care isn’t the best in Ladakh, so you need to find facilities that offer the best among those available. The district hospital in Kargil is the most advanced out of all and has a number of good doctors. You will find some clinics in Trespone, Panikhar, Padum, Mulbek, and Sankoo. 

18. Carry extra memory cards
We know you don’t want to miss capturing even a single moment of your Leh Ladakh bike trip. Carry extra phone and camera memory cards with you. Whenever you fill one of them, write on them with a marker the days of content it contains. It will be easier for you to organise the photos and videos when you are back home. 

19. Plan the trip during moonless nights
Ladakh is the most beautiful on moonless nights as the stars shine the brightest. The star-studded sky will completely blow your mind and will make you just keep staring at the galaxy. Check for the moon phase calendar on Google before making all the bookings. 

20. Respect the nature and the locals 
Last but not the least, it is your responsibility to treat the nature and the locals with respect. They will have a different mindset and you don’t have to argue with them about their beliefs and thoughts. Hire a local guide because you definitely don’t want to miss the amazing local stories they have in store for you. When you visit national parks, don’t go too close to the animals as it can scare them. Don’t pluck flowers and maintain the region’s beauty. 

Start planning your Ladakh trip and tick one destination off your bucket list. 
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