Cycling in ladakh is fun!! and we can feel the beautiful lanscape like with no other travel. We cyled for two days. Once we cycled from hemis monaestry to shey palace( you can go upto leh city). and after few days from khardungla top to leh! It was sheer fun and adrenaline rush. The road from Khardungla top to leh was quite rough in the begining and then very steep. It was little risky but a lot of fun. Definitely a must do.
We had a back up vehicle for any emergency. Cycles acn be rented from leh city. Get acllimatised to these cycles before starting ride and ofcourse acclimatised to leh.
The legendary Tsomoriri Lake is some 250 km from Leh; the journey is very rough and takes 6 to 7 hours. The last 60 km is an absolutely rugged drive. We took tents and sleeping bags from Leh and pitched our own tent right at the banks of the lake close to a small mountain river. It was great fun staying in the tent close to the lake with no electricity! We had to find our way to the restaurant at night with the help of flashlights.
Tsomoriri Lake is 28 km long with 7 to 8 km at its widest; the region is a wild life sanctuary. One can spot cranes, wild ducks, some other small birds and marmots. The rodent like marmot (though they are as big as cats) population outnumber humans by 50 to 1. There is a small village in the vicinity so lodging and food in not a problem in the summers; people of sane mind don’t come here in the winters.
in 5 days
you can see like
Day 01 Arrival at Leh airport.full day for acclimatize Overnight Hotel.
Day 02 Leh-Hemis-Shey-Thiksey
Full day of sightseeing, visiting the three most important monasteries of Ladakh
- Hemis Gompa, Thiksey Gompa and Shey Palace. Hemis is one of the largest
and wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh and houses about 150 monks; it also
stages the annual Hemis festival. On the way back to Leh, we visit the superbly
situated, 16th century, Thiksey Gompa, which is perched on a hill top. Last stop
is the ruined Shey Palace, once the summer palace of the pre-Tibetan kings. The
palace monastery houses a large, bronze, blue haired Buddha statue. Back to
Leh hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 03 Leh - Pangong Lake -Leh
Leh to Pangong Lake to. After early Breakfast leave for Pangong Lake (14,500 ft),
through Changla Pass 17,350 ft.,it is the third highest motorable road in the world.
1200 hrs. arrive Pangong,it is the highest salt water Lake in the World, shared by two countries India & China. Enjoy the beauty of the lake on the Banks of pangong while appreciating the changing Colors and fascinating high altitude of the Lake. Drive back to Leh by the same route, Overnight Hotel.
Day 04 Khardong la pass (5359m)
After breakfast drive to Khardong la, the highest motorable road in the world. Return to Leh by afternoon. Hot Lunch at Hotel. After the Lunch drive to visit Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hill and Sangam of Zangskar and Indus River, Overnight Hotel.
Day 05 Tour concludes. ensure a punctual transfer to Domestic Airport
Pangong Lake is a beautiful lake situated at an altitude of 4350 metres. The water is cold and clear and shift in blue and green colours. The lake is surrounded by bare mountains, some with snow on the tops even during the summer months. The water in Pangong Lake is brackish so it makes it the highest situated lake with salt water. Pangong means extensive concavity and it is a 134 kilometre long lake, but it is only 5 kilometres wide at the widest points. More than 60% of the lake is situated in Tibet.
You can arrange for a daytrip to Pangong Lake from most travel companies in Leh. But I had to visit many before I fond one who had other people to share the price with on the same day I wanted to go. As for other tours there is a fixed price for Pangong Lake. There is one price for the first stop by the lake and if you want to go to the village 7km away along the lake it is a bit more expensive. As we were going all the way to the lake we also wanted to go the last 7 kilometres. For that the price of the car with driver was Rs 5398 (July 2010). We were four people sharing so we paid Rs 1350 each.
You need a permit to visit Pangong Lake and that can be arranged at the travel agent. I already had a permit, a one-week permit, which I had arranged at my hotel before going to Nubra Valley. The one-week permit valid for both Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake was Rs 230 (July 2010).
It is a long drive to Pangong Lake. It takes 5h one way so we started early. At 7.00 we were at the office and soon the car came. When we arrived to Karu the driver stopped to eat breakfast. As all others had had breakfast already we waited for him. He drove fast and had his window open. I didn’t like it and when we came to higher altitude it was really cold. I asked him to close the window, but he said he would fall asleep then. Finally he only had half the window open and it was still cold.
After eating lunch at Pangong Lake we were going to the village further away along the lake. The driver tried to persuade us not to go but to return to Leh. We insisted to go as we had paid for it and wanted to see more of the lake. It was obvious the driver didn’t like it. Going back to Leh he drove even faster and it took only four hours.
It was a long day and many hours spent in the car, but it was worth it. The scenery is beautiful along the way and so is the lake.
I didn’t have much time so I just went to Pangong Lake on a daytrip. Most people only visit on a daytrip, even if the journey there takes 5h one way. Some tours are a two-day tour though and I think it can be worth staying the night if you have the time. Then you can also see the shifting colours of the lake and surrounding landscape in evening- and morning light.
When you go to Pangong Lake you will go over Chang La, which is a high pass on 5360 metres. Chang La is said to be the third highest motorable pass in the world, but as the Chinese are building roads over several high passes I’m not sure this is true anymore. It is at least one of the highest motorable passes in the world.
At Chang La the Indian army has got first aid facilities and they also serves tea for free.
There is also a temple at Chang La. This temple is dedicated to the sadhu Changla Baba and it is the sadhu the pass is named after.
You should not travel over Chang La and go to Pangong Lake on your first day in Leh. Especially if you have flown in to Leh it is advised to stay in Leh for three days to rest and acclimatise to high altitude. There is a big risk that you get altitude sickness if you travel there without acclimatisation.
Thiksey Gompa (Monastery) is situated 25 kilometres south of Leh. The buildings in white, ochre and red are spread out over a rocky outcrop. It is sometimes called “Mini Potala” as it is constructed in the same style as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, but it is of course much smaller. It is very picturesque and after seeing photos of Thiksey I thought that this is a place I don’t want to miss during my visit to Ladakh. When you have climbed to the top of the 12-story monastery you will have a fantastic view over the Indus Valley and the mountains of Stock Range.
Thiksey monastery was founded in 1433 AD and was part of the original Gelugpa order. In the monastery complex there are ten temples and shrines, a school, a museum, a medical clinic, a restaurant, a hotel and shops. On the slopes below the monastery are the houses of the 120 resident monks. Thiksey monastery is one of the biggest monasteries in Ladakh.
The main temple is open between 6 - 13 and 14 - 18. There is supposed to be an admission but I don‘t know how much. I saw a man selling tickets but he walked away and then I didn’t see him again during my visit. But you can always donate money inside the temples.
It has become popular for tourists to visit very early in the morning to see the monks doing their morning prayer.
It is easy to visit the monastery in Thiksey on your own as the main road passes just below and buses are frequent.
The geography of ladakh means that the winters can get quite cold. Most of the region lies at 12,000 feet/ 3,500 meters or higher... so the tourist season is usually between the months of may and september. Much of Ladakh shuts down for the months beyond that...
However, if you can manage a short trip during the peak winter time, its an experience like no other. The mighty mountains all covered in snow, the frozen lakes/rivers, and a chance to see the place without the usual tourists whizzing by, is well worth the effort.
Also, there is a new hotel in town- the grand dragon- which is centrally heated and quite comfortable, even when its -25 outside!
The day to day shops in Leh stay open, so its possible to get by. Its just the tourism related stuff that shuts down, except for winter related adventure activities...
We did a trek in Ladakh 3 years ago and found it to be a magical place. It is often called "Little Tibet". During our travels we met an orphan boy from the border village of Lamayuru, and we have been sending him to Lamdon boarding school in Leh.
In our experience, Ladakh is one of the safest places in the third world. We found the people to be very honest and friendly. Ladakh does have contested borders with China and Pakistan, but you will probably not go near them, and they are pretty quiet these days.
http://www.volunteerindia.com sounds great but I do not have
any direct experience with it.
Other Ladakh volunteer projects that I found through Google that
you might want to check out include:
You might want to contact the principal at Lamdon school
in Leh directly about volunteer opportunities:
And our excellent guide is now a teacher in the Changthang area of Ladakh
He might be able to give you some suggestions by email
Tell him that Dave and Susie sent you.
Weather is generally cool and dry due to the influenced of the high altitude
Have a great trip!
Alchi is 67 km west of Leh.
The road to Alchi we passs though beautiful landscapes..
Before reaching Nimmu village,On the way we stopped to view the
River Sangam~Zanskar & Indus river.
Its magnificent view,watching both rives joining,both river
water are different colour,you can easily see the joining ponit.
It is at an altitude of 10,823 ft.
From the top road one can have good view...
One can drive down to near to the river ,can touch to feel the chill water.
Its 160m from Leh,one
has to pass third highest pass in the world Changla (17800 ft)
Here you see one small temple and lots of prayer flag..
Summer also you can see snow peaked mountain here,so freezing chill..
160m it looks very small,but it took 6hr drive from Leh...One day trip will both tiredsome.
so better stay there night camp and come back next day.
The road to Pangong one never forget,its steep road and bends,
some place melting ice makes sleppery road...
Pangong is plargest salt-water lake in Asia ,its 150m 50 km inside India,100km lies China..
Its very beautiful &awesome lake....Its altitude of 14500 ft
Winter it will be frozen lake..
when I reach late afternoon,I was welcome by group Seagull bird sitting on the small island sand of Lake..
As if they are waiting for me welcome this awesome place..I did shoot them with my 70-200mm.
Its really diffrent view of the Lake on Seagull on foreground..
Its clear blue water ,when light change its change its colour blue-green, mauve, deep blue..
Its awesome to see this Lake,and sitting on the Lake bank ,its very facinating to watch the water changing colours .
The place was so so beautiful,serene and calm.
I spend night at camp....Got early morning,could see dark blue in morning and sunlight reflecting the mouintain ...
Its breathtakeing view.
To visit Pangong one should get permisson at Leh.
Its 10th century monastery ,Lamayuru monastery is about 125 kms. west of Leh.
One of the oldest one.Now its mostely in ruins,only main hall is there.
The Yundrung Kabgyad festival is held during summer on the 28th and 29th
days of the 2nd Tibetan month.
Other things to see few interesting caves ,inside the mountain.
The day I visited to see& shoot annual festival.
Every year the Lamayur gompa celeberates a tsechu,
a monastic festival,which celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
Masked monks dressed in rich brocade robes used to dance.
This annual affair,all local ppl came to watch the festival dance,they assembled infront of the main monastery ground.
Its good to see Ladaki old ppl wearing there tradison dress..
around 9am,the Monk started coming out ,there colourful costume,started performing dances,in open ground.
Its June,and already hot summer..
This main attraction for forign tousit and Indian travellers.
Interesting to see sunglass wearing monks :)..
Ladaki ppl are friendly,for new ppl also they will say "Julley! ",
its good to see there smile. when u reply them "julley" too..
The road to Lamayaru is so steep and view on the way is breathtaking....
Way to Lamayuru you can mountain scape it lookd like MOONLAND,they call moonland..
When you drive down to Alchi,you will find beautiful Alchi valley..
It is at an altitude of 10,928 ft,ots 67km from Leh.
Here the main thing to see ,five temples&Alchi Gompa..
Main thing to see is thousands of miniature sized pictures of the Buddha display.
Sadly inside no photograph is allowed..Its quite dark too.
I stayed Alchi that day,next day early morning ,we started to Lamayaru Monastery
Thisis white impressive Stuba, 3km at fort road in Leh.
Steep set of steps leads to Stupa,the view from here is beautiful.
Sunrise and sunset from here is spectacular..
From here Valley view also very nice..
I went to see Sunset,its was very beauitful,
to see the mountain range in evening golden
light makes the mountain peaks to sparkling.
The Shanti Stupa was built by a Japanese order
and was opened by the Dalai Lama in 1985.
Shey was once before royal palace, from Leh its 15 km....
It was build by by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Palgyigon.
The main thing is see here is 12 ft,copper build Shakyamuni Buddha..
Its largest in this region,was build by y Deldan Namgyal in 1633.
Stone carving and many chortens are scattered around this Monastery.
On the way to Shey & around Shey you will see white "chortens" sacred palces in Buddhist religion.You can see interesting small stone carvings, its written the letters buddasit saying "Om Mani padme Hum:.
Hemis Gompa is 45 km south of Leh..
one of the oldest in Ladakh,was built in 1630.
Its really surounded by mountain range..
As other monastery arechiture once you enter the front courtyard you will see prayer wheels right side....Left side walls paintings...
Inside the main hall you see many small budda figurs,hall walls paintings .
Outside Leh the way to Hemis you will see beauitful landscape,
and blue sky&clouds,the scenery changes very offten...
You coun't stop yourself stopping along the way to shoot beautiful landscape...