Travel tips for Ladakh


Here are some travel tips for your trip to Ladakh. This section covers health precautions, weather, transport and other aspects you need to keep in mind before your trip.

health | weather | useful phrases | customs | getting there | getting around


Health

Altitudes over 3,000 metres can be a problem. If you're flying into Ladakh, you'll benefit from a restful couple of days to allow your body to get used to the reduced oxygen. If you notice any early-warning symptoms (headache, nausea, sleeping problems, dizziness, general uneasiness), descend at least 300 to 500 metres and rest.

In your first few days at altitude you should drink at least 3-4 litres of liquids each day and consider asking your GP about medicines such as Diamox (acetazolamide).

Extremes of temperature aren't uncommon. The temperature can rise or fall in a very short space of time. Take plenty of layers in winter - even on hot days, the night-time temperatures can be very low, and be prepared for very hot days during the summer when you're out trekking.

Vaccinations aren't required for Ladakh, but you should ask at your local travel medical centre for up-to-date advice on travel to India. Malaria isn't a problem above 2,000 metres, so you don't need any precautions while you're in Ladakh, but you should take advice from your GP about travelling through other parts of India on your way here.

Dehydration at these high altitudes can be a serious problem, especially while you're acclimatising. Don't assume that you're OK if you aren't thirsty. Drink water or tea regularly and aim for at least 2 litres a day once you have acclimatised.

You should always talk to your GP before making any long-distance journeys, and consider buying a traveller's health book for more detailed advice.

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Weather

You might think that the Himalayas are bathed in snow all year round, but our summers here are wonderfully warm, and spring is incredibly colourful.

To help you plan your trip to Ladakh, here are some average temperatures for Leh:

 
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Max
-3°
12°
17°
21°
24°
24°
21°
14°
Min
-14°
-12°
-7°
-1°
10°
10°
-1°
-7°
-11°

Take a look at today's weather below:




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Useful Phrases

This page isn't going to make you fluent in Ladakhi, but you should be able to get by with the basics. And if you make the effort to learn a few words and phrases, you'll get a great response.

"Jullay" is the universal greeting you'll hear throughout Ladakh. It means hello, good-bye, please, thank you, good morning, good night. If you only learn one word, this is it!

At the guest house
How are you? kamzang? Is there water (tea)? chu du-a-le?
I'm fine kamzang I don't eat meat nga sha za-met
No thank you man jullay Noodle soup tukpa
Mother ama/ama-le Rice das
Father aba/aba-le Morning/evening ngatok/pitok
What's your name? nyerang-i minga chi inle? Yesterday/today/tomorrow dang/dering/tho-re
My name is John nge minga John in-le    

Out and about
What is the name of this village? i-yul-i minga chi inok? Uphill/downhill gyen/thur
How far to Leh? Leh-a tsam-zhig takring yot? How much is this? tsam in-le?
Left/right/straight yoma/yospa/katang    

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Customs

In the house you must always take your shoes off. If you aren't sure where to put them, ask your host or wait for others to enter and follow their lead.

When you're offered food or drink, it's considered polite to refuse with a smile at least once. Handle food only with your right hand.

When you enter a religious building, walk to the left and keep the main part to your right. In Asia, your left hand is unclean so you should keep it as far away from the religious imageries, statues and prayer flags as possible, so the same rule stands for chortens and stupas.

Appropriate dress for men and women is important, not just in monasteries and temples but throughout Ladakh. Our customs are very different to yours and you won't see us wearing what would be acceptable on a beach in the South of France!

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Getting there

Road: The road links are usually open during the summer months (May/June to September/October) and run from either Manali in the south or Srinagar in the west. The recommended road route is by bus from Manali, with an overnight stop on the way. Check the current status of the roads here.

Air: Flying to and from Leh is cheap and easy. Indian Airlines has regular flights via Delhi, Jammu, and Srinagar. Jet Airways flies regularly via Delhi.

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Getting around

You should be able to see everything in Leh travelling by foot. Taxis are available from the taxi stand behind Main Bazaar and buses travel throughout Ladakh from the new bus station at the bottom of the town. Both taxis and buses offer fixed-prices fares.

Oriental Travel and Trekking company also owns a small fleet of cars and can serve you on a taxi basis or arrange dedicated tours around Ladakh. Ask us for more information and for our recommendations.

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