Road Trip to Leh Ladakh
"Every travel with WANDERERS is an experience of a life time."
Day 1 - Delhi to Manali – 540 Kms
About 12 hours drive. We will start night about 11 PM from Delhi and drive towards Manali. This will ensure that we complete more than half of the journey when there is lesser traffic on the road. We will break 3 – 4 times in between for meals and chai breaks at dhabas on the way. We will check into a nice homestay (We are currently in talks with 2 -3 places and will finalize soon) in Manali where we will be able to recharge ourselves post the first long journey. In the evening one can take a stroll down the by lanes of Manali or just sit at one of the cafes. Dinner will be served at the homestay. The idea is to have your dinner early and sleep so that we are ready for next day really early morning.
Day 2 – Manali to Jispa – 6 Hours Call time – 4 AM.
We have to start early to avoid the tourist rush on the Rohtang pass. From Manali onwards, the distance barely matters since the route gets rough and technical in nature. From here on, we will calculate distance in terms of hours only Manali to Jispa is about 5 Hours drive. This is the day when you will cross your first pass – Rohtang Pass and will start getting acclimatized to the surroundings. We will stop at Rohtang pass for a quick breakfast of Maggie \ Parathas and some hot chai. The moving on we will cross Gramphu – Kokhsar – Sissu – Tandi – Keylong and then reach Jispa.
At Jispa, we will search for a suitable camping ground and setup up camps. The support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food. Rest of the day can be spent as per what one wants to do. The idea is to get acclimatized as from here on the climbs will be higher. You can go on short walks around the area. There is Bhaga river that flows here. You can spend sometime around the banks of the river too. The surroundings are too picturesque to even describe. Also this is the last time you will be seeing hills with a green cover .. as in with trees. From here on due to high altitude, the tress will lessen in numbers and it will be taken over by different colored shrubs \ bushes.
Evening snacks and coffee \ tea will be served about 5 PM and dinner menu will be decided at this time.
Jispa to Sarchu – 4 Hours Call time 10 AM
We will start our journey post freshly cooked breakfast from Jispa to Sarchu. The drive from Jispa to Sarchu is really awesome. Every bend of the road will bring us to a new landscape. We will pass some very fertile villages filled with greenery to rocky mountain terrains to lonely desert mountain areas.
On the way to Baralacha La we will cross Darcha and Zingzingbar. While in Darcha we will halt at "Deepak Taal". This is a small lake (considering what you will see in the coming days) with crystal clear water. The colour changes (or so it seems) depending on the sunlight. We can spend sometime here clicking pictures etc .. there is small stall for some tea \ coffee too. Next we will cross the snow clad Baralach la – a pass in the Zanskar mountain ranges outside of Lahual and Spiti. From here we will climb down and enter Bahartpur which generally has about 8 – 10 tents as food stalls \ resting place. We will be able to see vast expanses of green valleys with small colorful flowers in abundance. We will enter Sarchu late afternoon. The support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food. Post the evening Tea we can take a quick ten mins drive to Pang. Pang is a flat land in between two mountain ranges. This is the best place to see the Milky Way with naked eyes. Nothing required .. no camera, no binoculars .. nothing. The sight is breathtaking. Once we have absorbed the sights, we will return back to our original site. Have our dinner and sleep.
Sarchu to Tso Moriri - 4.5 Hours Call time 10 AM
Today's journey will be spectacular as the landscape changes from green to varied colours. At one point in time it looks very Martian to say. Tso moriri is inaccessible by public transport since it is off the route. Tso Moriri is not just a spectacular site but a good place to relax. Only explorers come to this place and hence it remains pretty untouched. Only homestays are available at this place. Tso moriri has been declared as a wetland reserve. A Number of species of birds included bare-headed goose, the great-crested grebe, the Brahmin duck and the brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are abundantly found here. To the south of the 27 km long lake of the Tibetan wild ass, the kiang. On the way to Tso moriri we will also cross the Tso Kar lake. We will enter Tso Moriri late afternoon. The support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs
Tso Moriri to Pangong Tso – 8 hours Call time 6 AM
etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food. You can spend all your time exploring the place and taking pictures. You can visit the nearby gompas and walk around the lake area.
We have to start early today since we have to cover a lot of distance. The route is most scenic with many small lakes and smaller villages coming in between. We will stop at some places to just enjoy the scenery. At an appropriate place we will stop for lunch at one of the small dhabas \ or we can cook our own, depending on the time we have in hand. Although this is the shortest way to reach Pangong from Tso - Moriri, it will take a long time due to the road conditions. There is well laid tarmac until Loma but after that the road condition slowly deteriorates and becomes almost invisible by the end of it. As the tarmac disappears, you can see tracks ahead and we will follow them. There are stacks of stones all along the route to let you know the direction. An hour or two after you cross Chushul, you will be treated to the first glimpses of the mighty Pangong Lake, tracks might disappear around here but you be sure to take a left here at this junction.
Pangong today is a different story altogether. After Aamir Khan showed the world what a heavenly lake could mean, the repercussions were kind of disappointing to say the least. Hordes of tourists, a million tents/rooms and a gazillion tourists. Whining apart, Pangong still remains a work of art, beautiful and wonderful by all means.
As soon as we reach, the support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food.
You can spend all your time exploring the place and taking pictures.
Pangong Tso to Leh – 5 hours Call time 10 AM
Today will be the day of passing mighty passes. The drive is adventurous to say the least. For most part ascent is steep and initially roads are in good condition. When we start our journey it will be a tarmac road and we will cruze through. Once we reach Tanksey, we will start with the accent to Chang La. As you approach the final few kms of the ascent to Chang La, road conditions start to deteriorate and steepness increase, making the affair of reaching the summit of Chang La more challenging and memorable. Of all the passes one encounters in Ladakh (barring Marsimik La), Chang La is the steepest and due to bad roads at the final ascent it is also the toughest, no wonder it is called "The Mighty Chang La". Once you come down from Chang la, it will be another hour drive to Leh.
As Leh, we will stay at a hotel (Ya Rab Tso or similar) which will be reserved for all of us. Once you check in and get fresh we can go for local sightseeing etc in the Leh town. Tonite we will enjoy dinner outside and will pool in.
Leh to Nubra Valley – 5 Hours. Call time 8 AM
This route is the most known, popular, easiest and quickest one. At the top of Khardung La is an army base and small cafeteria, which offers free tea, without milk however. So if you don't mind sipping down black tea, it is good place to sit with a cup in your hand and beautiful Himalayan peaks all around you. Take photos next to several signboards reading "Khardung La, 18,380 ft, Highest Motorable Road in the world. There is also an Army souvenir shop selling hats, caps, t-shirts and kitchenware noted "Khardung La" in case you want to buy something that would remind you of the visit. Roads from Khardung till Khalsar are smooth so it wont take us long to cover these. Road after Sumur and through-out Nubra Valley remains in good condition. Few Kilometers after Khalsar, you will come across a bifurcation. Road on your right goes to Sumur, Panamik and Warshi while the one on the left leads to Diskit.As we continue on the one to the right and shortly you will realize why Nubra Valley is so famous. Greenery will start coming more in the picture of a cold desert and it would start looking like an oasis. From Diskit on a moderate road and amidst fruit orchids is the village of Hunder famous for its sand dunes. If you staying at Diskit for the night, and if you are lucky enough for this to be a full moon night, do not miss the sight that these sand dunes present under a full moon.
Another amazing thing you will get to see at Hunder is the Bactrian Camel, or commonly known as two humped camels. Yes, that's right. Unlike the regular camels, this one has two humps on its backs. You can even get a ride on this camel at Hunder if you are willing to pay. As soon as we reach, the support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food.
You can spend all your time exploring the place and taking pictures.
Nubra Valley to Leh – 5 hours Call time 8 AM
We will take the same route back and enjoy the scenery all the way back. In the middle if time permits we will visit the Diskit Monastery as well.
Once in Leh, this time we will camp at Thiksey monastery or nearby place. As soon as we reach, the support staff will pitch tents along with table \ chairs etc so that all of us can relax. With the travelling kitchen at our beck and call, we will decide on a menu for lunch and the chef will start preparing the food. You can spend all your time exploring the place and taking pictures.
Leh to Kargil – 5 hours Call time 10 AM.
As we start driving towards Kargil the rocky mountains start making an appearance in a very grand fashion. Every time you look back, you'll see snake like roads mapped on brown mountains. The route is beautiful and we will cross some small villages on the way. Stopover for a plate of magi is almost a ritual. Once we reach Kargil and the staff prepares for night halt, you can visit the various monasteries. Major attractions of the Kargil region include Sani, Rangdum, Zongkhul, Stonday and Mulbekh monastery. Built under the patronage of king Kanishka of the Kushan dynasty during the 1st century, Sani monastery is one of the oldest sites in Ladakh.
Kargil to Srinagar – 8 hours Call time 6 AM
As we leave Kargil, the rocky terrains are replaced with more and more greenery all around. The route is a steady decent from the height of Leh. We will go through a lot military bases on both sides and at some points we will be not be allowed to stop. More and more greenery will take over the landscape. We will have lunch in the middle at one of the dhabas.
Once we reach Srinagar, we will check into a hotel which will be close to the Dal Lake so that we can enjoy scenery. Depending on the time in hand we can visit other places as well.
Srinagar to Pathankot – 8 Hours. Call time 6 AM
We will drive from Srinagar as early as possible. We will stay at a hotel in Pathankot. Once we check in, every one is free to check out the place.
Pathankot to Delhi – 8 Hours. Call time 6 AM Back to Delhi.
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