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What You Should Know More About Jeep Safari in Ladakh
June to September when both Manali to Leh and Srinagar to Leh highways are open are the best time for undertaking a Jeep Safari to Ladakh. The temperature during these months is comfortable. Moreover, the roads, which are often snow blocked, remain open as the snow melts. It is impossible to take the Jeep safari in any other months of the year as the highways are closed due to road blockage.
Yes, Ladakh is extremely safe for Jeep Safari. The crime rate in Ladakh is extremely low and the entire route for the safari has been very well maintained and is secure for tourists. Safaris are very common mode of transport to reach Ladakh these days – a perfect mix of adventure, magnificent views and safe zones.
Ladakh is also known as Land of High Passes, you will get the opportunity to visit quite a few of them. If you are starting from Manali, you will be able to cover 5 passes-
There are 2 routes that you can take-
a. Manali to Leh: this is the most common route taken by the adventure junkies. Here are the details for this route:
Apart from the Inner Line Permits (ILP) that you would need to access certain locations, ensure carrying several photocopies of your valid ID proof, 2-3 passport size photographs. Apart from these documents mentioned above there are also some fees that is needed to be paid at Manali for crossing Rohtang and also environmental fee. You need to carry copy of the receipts. Carry your driving license, pollution control certificate for vehicle if you are taking your own vehicle. If you don’t won’t all these hassle it’s always good to book a tour package.
For avoiding any health issues during your trip, it is a strong recommendation that you start working on your fitness properly before the trip begins. It is advisable to regularly do cardio exercises properly. Since it is a jeep safari, it is also strongly suggested that you polish your driving skills, especially if you are taking your own vehicle. Apart from this, do carry enough bottled waters, medicines, some dry fruits and food items with you. Dress comfortably, and be ready with your camera, as you will be passing by some of the most beautiful places you can ever imagine.
The bookings for Ladakh jeep safari starts 7-8 months in advance. It is recommended to book at least 2-3 months in advance, as Ladakh is high on demand as the go-to place for every adventure junkie. Since there are only 4 moths when you can enjoy the Manali to Leh and Sringar to Leh jeep safari (which are june to September), it is always a good decision to plan ahead. Moreover, the rates will be hiked for last minute bookings.
There are different types of packages available to choose from, like Manali to Leh Jeep safari, Leh to Leh jeep safari, Manali - Leh - Srinagar safari, Srinagar to Leh, women's only jeep safari's.
Manali to Leh Jeep Safari: In this, you will be starting from Manali covering Rohtang pass and a night halt at Sarchu/ Pang. You will cross Manali Town, Rohtang pass / Chandra and Bhaga Rivers, Keylong , Darcha, Baralacha –Pass , Sarchu, Tanglangla – Monasteries – Leh city.
Leh to Leh Jeep Safari: You take a flight to Leh and reach the airport. Thereafter, one will see famous places like Nubra Velley, Pangong lake, monasteries, Magnetic Hill, Khardung La, Shanti Stupa, etc, and tour will end in Leh only.
Srinagar to Leh Jeep Safari: It take 2 days to reach Leh, If you drive via Srinagar then a night halt at Kargil. The places you will cover are as follows Srinagar – Sonamarg – D Zozizla Pass – Drass – Kargil – Lamayuru ad Alchi valley – Sangam – Leh Valley – Nubra – Pangong – Leh
The places that you will cover include Rohtang Pass, Pangong Lake, Khardungla Pass, Tso Moriri Lake, Shanti Stupa, Magnetic Hill, Hall of fame, Kargil, Drass. These places are world famous for the beauty and experience they give you. Pnagong lake, which is also known as Pangong Tso is an extremely beautiful endorheic lake situated in the Himalayas and is 134 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is situated at a height of 4350 m and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country.The beauty and allure of this lake has attracted people from all over the country and beyond.
Khardung La, located at an elevation of 5,359 m (17,582 feet) above the sea level, is a high mountain pass located in the Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Also known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’, the place offers amazing picturesque and attractive views of valleys. You will also visit innumerable beautiful monasteries on your way including Spituk Monastery, Sankar monastery, Phyang monastery and Thikse monastery.
Not counting the 2 days you need for acclimatization, in order to cover the entire area you need a minimum of 15 days to explore Ladakh. This is mainly because all the tourist locations are scattered in the region, and there are a lot of monasteries and villages worth seeing. If you want to trek, you may have to reconsider the number of days. The best advice will be to plan the trip well in advance, and decide which places you wish to see – this will help you come to the number of days it will take you to explore.
It is difficult to say the duration that will be covered per day as the roads and the weather determine these aspects, and these are all very unprecitable. Therefore, the duration will differ from day to day and places to places. It’s always good to check the itinerary of your jeep safari and when and where you will travel, You will always find that there will be approximate travel duration mentioned in the itinerary. Ladakh being land of high passes and you can’t predict hostile environment or what might be waiting for you. Duration can vary any day if any land slide or any other vehicle problems so one need to be ready for these type of situations.
While planning the trip take into consideration the several festivals that happen in Ladakh for a more exotic experience. This will add on to the entire trip being the highlight. Talk and interact with the locals, they are the best guides ever. Go to the places, which the locals recommend, and give up on the luxuries and just take a deep breath, move out of your comfort zone and enjoy the natural beauty at it’s best.
Absolutely! Leh jeep safari is perfectly safe for solo female travelers. Drivers and guides take extra care if there is a solo female traveler in a group. Also, there are women only jeep safari packages, which solo female traveler can join.
It is not advisable to take children below 6-7 years on the jeep safari, as the journey can get very rigorous. The roads are not always smooth, and often there is hardly a road. You will be treading some difficult path, so if you have small children consider taking a direct flight to Leh. However, ensure that you get your medical clearance from a doctor before you set out to visit high altitude regions in Ladakh.
Yes, you will have a tour Guide/Manager during the trip. Most of the packages come with tour guide accompanying group. Also, it depends on the package you have selected. It’s always advisable to check before booking jeep safari weather a tour guide will accompany you for the trip or not. Sometime your driver can be your guide as well. Therefore, to reduce any confusions it is advisable to ensure checking all these points before booking.
Before you leave on this trip, make sure you get your vehicle serviced properly. Change the engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter and air-filter. If the tyres are worn, get them changed before the trip, as the rough road conditions can shred worn tyres. Change your brake pads as well if they are due for a change anytime soon. Also, make sure your battery is in a suitable condition, especially for a diesel vehicle, as older diesels can take time to start in the cold temperatures. If you have a car with especially low ground clearance, it is advisable to get an aluminum plate or shield installed under the engine sump and gearbox to prevent any sort of rock damage.
Apart from this, carry enough bottled waters, medicines, some dry fruits and food items with you. Dress comfortably, and be ready with your camera as you will be passing by some of the most beautiful places you can ever imagine. However, if you wish to be risk-free and tension-free it is recommended that you opt for the jeep safari packages. The packages ensure safety and well-trained professional will manage it all. Therefore, you will not have to worry about any of the hassles that come with taking your own car.
The main center for health care in Ladakh is situated in Leh, that is, the SNM Hospital. It is well equipped and staffed by specialists to handle all kind of possible problems that may arise. Elsewhere in the region, there are certain sub-district hospitals at block headquarters and medical dispensaries in major villages, which are staffed by qualified and reliable doctors. In addition, services of the private clinics and associated facilities are also available in Leh. Additionally, the Army’s General Hospital at Leh also extends its superior facilities to the tourists in case of emergencies.
Indians do not need any particular vaccination to visit Ladakh. However, the Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required if a tourist is coming from the Yellow Fever endemic countries. This certificate conforms to the International Health Regulation. It is highly recommended to get a cautionary measure vaccination against Hepatitis B, if you plan to stay longer in Ladakh.
Ladakh is situated at an altitude of 3514 Meters above sea level and this is one the highest habitable places in the world. Ladakh is a cold desert, and therefore the temperatures are in extreme – the summers can get a little harsh with direct sunlight falling at such a high altitude and winters can be really cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing point. The best time to visit Ladakh will be during summers that is in the months of June to September.
During the day you will need the general summer cloths you wear – jeans, tops, shorts, etc. however, after sundown the weather gets chilly so always keep handy a pullover and a jacket. Rain and snowfall may take place in June and July and therefore wind cheaters and raincoats come in handy.
You will get mineral water in Leh and other towns and villages. Carry mineral water for the travelling period as tap water is not safe to drink in Leh. In remote areas of Leh there is not civilization so you won’t get water easily. It’s always wise to carry lot of water bottles from Leh city when travelling far from the main city. For food, it is advisable to carry dry fruits, energy bars, cookies and biscuits for the journey.
It is advisable to drink mineral water only. The water in the hotels can be used for cleaning the tooth and body, but avoid it for drinking purposes. Do not drink the water from streams, lakes and rivers. You may want to carry some dry fruits, chocolates and biscuits along if you are a picky eater. Buy fresh fruits before starting your journey.
Do not forget trying the local Ladkahi cuisine and the famous butter tea and qahwa. The following items must be on your list to try:
Some common symptoms of high altitude sickness are giddiness, loss of appetite, lack of sleep and difficulty in breathing. The best way to get acclimatize in Ladakh is a natural rest for at least 48 hours before starting to explore and travel.
As is the case with India, the public facilities are rarely good. They are usually doable, but score low on hygiene. You will find public toilets easily. You will find Western style toilets in all the standard hotels and restaurants. In some places, there may be a row of stalls with Indian-style “squat” toilets and one that is Western style. Keep toilet paper or tissues, paper soaps or liquid soaps and hand sanitizers with you for convenience.
The most important thing that you have to keep in mind is that only postpaid connections work in Leh Ladakh, limited to BSNL, Airtel and MTNL only. BSNL has the widest coverage followed by Airtel. Moreover, only some places like Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso (Lukung, Tangste 34 KMs before Pangong Tso), and Chumathang; and recently on the list, Hanle will have any connectivity and it will be erratic mostly. It will be a good idea to keep your friends and family informed in advance about your whereabouts.
Yes, Leh has ATM’s owned by Axis Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India. It is strongly recommended to carry enough cash because ATM’s can be non-functional sometime due to heavy demand. Also, there are no ATM’s available on the highways and places outside the Leh town, hence, it is highly recommended that you carry sufficient cash as even credit/ debit card acceptance will be an issue and most of these locations do not have this facility.
Yes, most restaurants and hotels accept cards. However, a 2% service tax is levied. It is recommended to carry enough cash with you though, because most small places do not have this facility and they use cash as the sole medium for transaction.
Usually there are no restrictions for photography in Ladakh. Ladakh offers some of the best photographing options and it is a haven for photographers because of the natural beauty and the perfect natural lighting. However, in some of the tourist locations you may have to pay the fees for the photography. At some of the locations photography is not allowed, where we strongly recommend going with the rules. Do check if photography is allowed in the monasteries. Do not take pictures before ensuring it is allowed. Also, do not take pictures of monks without taking their permission.
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