7 Nights (5 N Leh , 1 N Nubra Valley, 1 N Pangong Lake)
I decided to travel to Ladakh with my wife in August 2018. We both were very excited, because this holiday would be a thrilling adventure. The best part of Ladakh is the road journeys. We packed our bags, after having made a detailed list of specific belongings such as jackets, rain coats, thermal wear, medicines, riding gloves and other ordinary things. It gives me immense pleasure to share the glimpses of this trip and cherish memories of this beautiful experience.
Day 1 New Delhi to Leh, Shanti Stupa, Leh Main Bazaar
We flew from Delhi at 7.30 am. On our flight to Leh, we were blessed with panoramic views of mountains, lakes and valleys. We landed in Leh at 8.30 am. It is highly recommended to reach Leh in the morning hours, because it requires almost an entire day to rest and adjust with the altitude and weather. Our hotel manager had arranged a pick up for us at a price of 350 Rs. We reached Hotel La Buddha at 9 am and rested in our room till 5 pm in the evening. I hired a Royal Enfield 500 CC, it costs upto 1300 Rs for a day. We visited Shanti Stupa at 6 pm. Shanti Stupa is located at the top of Changspa Road and is famous for its picturesque location and meditation Hall. We enjoyed the view from Shanti Stupa. We meditated there for about an hour, it was a blessed feeling of peace and joy. We left from Shanti Stupa at 6.30 pm and headed towards Leh Main Bazaar. We visited a restaurant called “Friends Cafe.” This place serves delicious momos. We headed back to our hotel at 8 pm. We were served great food and had a peaceful sleep.
Day 2 Magnetic Hill, Sangam(Confluence of Indus and Zanskar River), Ride to Alchi, Spituk Monastery and Thiksey Monastery
We headed towards Magnetic Hill at 9.30 am. The fact that a vehicle automatically moves ahead on an uphill road is the main excitement at Magnetic Hill. The distance is about 40 kms from Leh. The ride to Magnetic Hill has extremely beautiful hills. The road condition is very good since its the NH1 highway to Srinagar. We continued our ride towards Sangam. Sangam is the place where the two rivers Indus and Zanskar meet. Sangam also provides river rafting experience for tourists. We continued our ride along the stream water of Sangam for about another 20 kms. This ride is very beautiful with a view of hills and the river.
At 12 pm we decided to head back towards Leh and visit Spituk Monastery. This place provides a magnificent view of Leh and the Airport. After having lunch in Leh at 3 pm, we began our ride towards Thiksey Monastery. Thiksey Monastery has a giant statue of Lord Buddha. The statue is about 40 feet tall. The monastery also provides a breathtaking view of valleys and hills. We headed back towards Leh at 5 pm and reached our hotel by 6 pm.
Day 3 Leh to Hunder (Nubra Valley), Khardungla Top, Hunder Sand Dunes
We hired a car to travel to Nubra Valley. The drive is 150 kms and takes about 6 hours. We left from Leh at 10 am. As soon as we left the city, we could see mountain passes of the great Himalayas. We reached Khardungla top at 12 pm. It is the highest motorable road in the world. It’s located at a height of 18000 ft above sea level. We stopped there for sometime. However, some people could experience altitude sickness and lack of oxygen at Khardungla Pass. It is recommended to leave from there within 15 to 20 minutes. We continued our jouney towards Nubra Valley. There are small cafes for food on the way. We had a Tibetan Dish called Thukpa, and it was yummy. We reached Hunder Sand Dunes at 4.30 pm. We enjoyed the Double Humped Camel ride in this beautiful desert. We stayed overnight in a tent at Hunder village. “Double Humped Camp” was the name of the tent house. This tent stay was a thrilling and adventurous experience. It was similar to staying in a forest.
Day 4 Nubra Valley to Leh, Diskit Monastery
We headed back towards Leh at 10 am. We visited Diskit Monastery on the way to Leh. Diskit Monastery is famous for a huge statue of Lord Buddha. It’s a famous spot for tourists. We reached Leh at 3 pm. We had lunch at a good restaurant called “Foods Corner.” This place serves delicious thukpa and momos. We headed back to Hotel La Buddha after lunch, and relaxed for the rest of the day.
Day 5 Leh to Spangmik(Pangong Lake), Changla Top
We started our journey to Pangong Lake at 10 am. This drive is very similar to the Nubra Valley drive. The distance is 200 kms and the time required is 6 hours. The route has steep ghats and mountain passes. We reached Chnagla top at 12 pm. This pass is the second highest after Khardungla Pass. It’s located at a height of about 17000 ft above sea level. We halted there for 15 mins, and then resumed our journey. At about 2 pm, we stopped for food at a small cafe. There are many small cafes on all the routes in Ladakh. We reached Pangong Lake at 3.30 pm. Pangong Lake can be described as adorable beyond imagination. This lake has a unique nature of changing it’s colour. We sat at the lake till sunset and could actually see different colours as dusk was approaching. We had booked our stay at a tent house in Spangmik Village called “Pangong Delight Camp.” There are about 100 tents opposite Pangong Lake. The concept of having so may tents opposite a lake exceeded my expectations and made this place even more happening. The tent stay was comfortable and they served good food.
Day 6 Spangmik(Pangong Lake) to Leh
Early morning view of Pangong Lake was amazing. We spent some time at the lake and headed back to Leh at 8.30 am. We reached Leh at 3 pm. We had lunch and then proceeded to our accommodation. This time I stayed at a private room in a hostel. The place is called “Zostel.” This place is highly recommended for youngsters. The private rooms and the beds in the dormitory are very comfortable. It is located very close to the Main Bazaar of Leh. This place has a rooftop cafe which has a very good ambience and view. You can see Shanti Stupa and many other places from the cafe. We spent the rest of the day in our room and at the rooftop cafe.
Day 7 Hemis Monastery & Museum, Leh Palace, Leh Main Bazaar
We hired a Royal Enfield 500 CC. We began our ride towards Hemis Monastery at 12 PM. This ride was equally beautiful and adventurous. The distance is 40 kms and the time required is 45 mins. We reached Hemis Monastery by 1 pm. Hemis Monastery is famous for it’s museum. The museum has an extensive variety of religious treasures, tiger and snow leopard skins, swords, utensils, pictures of Tibetan Gods and Goddesses etc..No photography is allowed inside the museum. The monastery has a good restaurant and so we had lunch there. We left from Hemis towards Leh at 3 pm. We visited Leh Palace at 4 pm. This palace is located at the top of the city of Leh. You could capture a good image with the city as your background. We visited Leh Main Bazaar in the evening and purchased some antique products.
Day 8 Leh to Delhi
We had our flight at 10 am from Leh to Delhi. I had arranged for a cab to the airport. The cab drive costed about 500 Rs.
Ladakh is truly an experience that I will cherish for my lifetime. I have never seen this sort of natural beauty at any other place. The people are very friendly and genuine. The food here is very simple and healthy. August is a very good time to visit Ladakh. The best place for me was Pangong Lake.
Important Information for Tourists
1. Carry 2 Post Paid Sim Cards (Airtel & BSNL), it is not easy to get a prepaid sim in Leh
2. Download Offline Google Maps, you will face network issues in Ladakh.
3. Hire a 500 CC Enfield, 350 CC is not advisable.
4. Bike Rental for 500 CC is 1300 Rs per day.
5. You need an Entry Pass to travel to Nubra Valley & Pangong, speak to your hotel manager and he will arrange your pass.