Ladakh Itinerary a few questions..

Discussion in 'Itinerary' started by sid surana, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. sid surana

    sid surana New Member

    I've been to Ladakh in 2008 (with friends on motorbike), and now plan to go along with family. We have kids and will be traveling in a four-wheeler this time. This is how I've planned to move:
    upload_2017-8-7_18-18-3.png

    Basically want to cover three major routes Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Lamayuru (en-route Srinagar).
    It's bit of squeeze since I'm assuming covering Nubra to Pangong in a day. I read up about the direct route via Wari La but it may not be very accessible. Would you recommend it? It is possible to reach from Pangong to Nubra via Leh (normal route) if we start early?
    Alternatively, we'll have to do Pangong to Kargil in a day, while stopping at Lamayuru for a min. time (we're ok skipping the monastery altogether)
    Lastly, our flight from Srinagar to Mumbai is at 3.30 PM, so have to reach airport by 2 PM. Is it possible to reach from Kargil to SXR airport by 2 PM if we start say at 5 PM? Alternatively we'll have to stay the night at Sonmarg/Drass.
    Do you see any other way to better desgin the itinerary from start to finish?
     
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hello Sid - Last I heard, both the direct routes from Nubra to Pangong were closed so you may not be able to cover those. If the road is open at the time of your arrival, you may do it or else you will have to return to do Leh - Nubra - Leh on the same day. You cannot do Pangong to Kargil on the same day, way too long. Your flight is on 21st itself at 2 PM?
     
  3. sid surana

    sid surana New Member

    Hi Vargis, thank you for your reply. Sorry, just got busy after returning and could not reply earlier. I had no access to internet, my network on phone wasn't working and I took this opportunity to get cut-off from the web for w while so didn't use hotel WiFi or cyber cafe etc. You know what we actually did Pangong to Srinagar in one and a half days. As Wari-La was close (there's another less treacheous route from Nubra to Pangong directly meeting the Pangong Lake road at Durbuk, even that was closed), so we couldn't have gone direct from Nubra to Pangong Tso. Only option was to try for Pangong to Kargil in a day, and then hope for making it to Srinagar airport in time the next day. I asked Tundup, the taxi owner and Konchok the champion driver if we can take a chance, they said we can but it's going to be tiring and hectic. Not willing to let go a chance to stay overnight at Pangong, I took the gamble. We started from our camp at Man village at Pangong Lake at about 7.30 AM and reached Kargil at 8 PM including a short visit to Gurudwara Patthar Sahib and Mulbek as well as the time lost in negotiating with the taxi driver in Kargil and trans-shipment. Just 1-2 days back, a turf war had broken out between the Leh and Kargil taxi unions and they wouldn't allow vehicles from the other side to enter their 'territory'. It seems an annual thing, as the flow of tourists dries up in lean season. We skipped Lamayuru monastery alright as the kids in the group had enough of them already :)

    Next day we started from Kargil at 5.30 AM and after stop-overs at Dras war memorial and breakfast at Sonamarg, we reached Srinagar airport by 1 PM. There wasn't much traffic on NH-1 except the customary congestion on the valley side of the Zoji-La pass. The most painful part was heat, dust and traffic jam of Srinagar having spent the last 8 days in 'paradise'.
    All in all I'd say Pangong to Srinagar in 30 hours is doable but not advisable, as its really tiring and so many things have to go right for it to go your way. We were lucky to have no untoward incidents barring one kid or the other throwing-up or feeling nauseated (yes, we had four kids between 6 and 11 in the group).

    Look forward to my next visit, hopefully within a couple of years' time. Thank you again, keep in touch!
     
  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hello Sid Bhai - I am glad to know that your trip went well. The less treacherous route was the Agham Shyok route which as I mentioned in my reply was closed as well. If you do not mind, would you mind sharing numbers of the drivers you mentioned? I can add them to the blog if you recommend those guys. Where did you stay in Kargil?
     
  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Also, how did the kids behave during rest of the journey? Any tips you want to share for others who plan to travel with children?
     
  6. sid surana

    sid surana New Member

    Hi Vargis, yes I see you mentioned both the routes in your reply. You're very up-to-date in your information and doing a great work. I'd highly recommend Tundup Tsering the taxi owner whose firm goes by the name of 'Journey to Ladakh', he's become good friend and would sure remember me whenever one calls him on 9419888788 with my reference. I'd not like to share the driver's no., if the traveler negotiate directly with driver, the taxi owners will be denied their tiny margin and I believe we should let them earn it for the services they provide. Also, with drivers moving out and about in the season time, they're rarely contactable and it's better to contact the owner who's based in Leh. Tundup also helped me finding a decent place in Hunder as well as an excellent camp just on the edge of Pangong lake (though I personally feel that this uncontrolled growth of camps etc in Pangong needs to be checked, especially so close to the Lake). Good part is he just suggests the place and never pushes for it, you are free to bargain with the property owner or even move on to another one. He owns a place in Wakha but suggested we should stay the night in Kargil or Drass to be closer to SXR. In Kargil, we stayed at a place called City Palace or something like that, its near Lal Chowk and actually a budget type acco. We just had to crash for the night, so I didn't bother taking down the number. A remarkable thing is that they have a large room which can easily accommodate 7-8 people.

    As for kids, they fared ok, in fact they were very active and playing the whole even when in the hotel. Only one or the other of them throwing up once in a while on the road. We used the portable oxygen at a couple of places like Tanglang La and Khardug La just to relax them from the lack of O2. One advise would be to not feed them too much on hotel breakfast before starting the day's journey. More often than not, they'll feel like vomiting in 1-2 hours. Instead they should keep eating something or the other at short intervals through the day. And yes lot of water, juices etc to keep them hydrated in the dry land. Dinner is the time when you should push for extra calories and if you can get, some milk. Sitting too long in the vehicle also takes its toll, so make the kids walk a little wherever you stop. Also, for kids and elders alike its very important to put on your jacket etc and cover the head BEFORE getting down the Vehicle. It's chilly and windy at the higher altitudes and you can catch cold/headache without even realizing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you Sid Bhai. This is great information, will be of help to others. The camps at Pangong, it is getting crazy by each passing year. Would you believe that about a decade ago when I first visited Ladakh, there was nothing at Pangong and we struggled big time to find a place stay for the night then finally stayed at a villager's house.

    Do share some pics whenever you get time. If you can maybe start a new thread in travelogue section and post a few pics, I would love to see some.
     

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