“It’s not the destination that matters it’s the journey.”
Single line can sum it up. Ladakh is exactly as people describe it to be. It’s peaceful and beautiful. After completing my graduation I took a road trip to Ladakh. FYI, Ladakh is a region and Leh is a city in that region.
No. of Days: 9/10 (18th May 2016 to 27th May 2016)
Expected Cost per person: Rs. 12000 (with friends) / Rs. 20000 (with family)
Route: Ropar – Amritsar – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Nubra valley- Pangong lake and return.
Day 1: (Amritsar)
Last day at college. So we decided to end it as we should. One last trip with friends. We took a bus from Ropar to Amritsar. Visited Golden temple in afternoon and had lunch in Langar. After that we went for Jallianwala bagh which is at walking distance from temple. There are many drivers at the gate of bagh who will book your trip for Wagha border. They say ‘gaddi’ but it’s actually a tempo which will take you to wagha border. We left around 3 but we were late. Due to overcrowding, two of us were not allowed inside stadium. After wagha border show we returned back to temple. Golden temple is more beautiful at night. I took a bus to Jammu at night. It takes around 4 hours from there.
Day 2: (Jammu)
There are few options from Jammu to Leh. Cheapest option is bus. Second option is shared taxi which will take Rs.1800 per head and will not stop in between. Such taxis are uncomfortable but very fast. They can cover Jammu to Leh in 25 hours without taking break at Srinagar and Kargil.
I was with my family so we booked a cab for whole tour. You have to bargain there. This tour package will only include Jammu to Leh cab and return. You have to book local taxi in Leh for further sightseeing. It cost us Rs.38000 (Bargained from Rs.60000) for 9 days. And further Rs.12000 for Leh sightseeing. We left around 2 PM and reached Srinagar around 12AM. We booked a hotel room on highway, which will cost around Rs.2000.
We left Srinagar early. You can take an early morning peek at Dal Lake. There are passing timings for Sonmarg gate. So we had our lunch at Sonmarg. You can see nearby springs and beauty of Sonmarg but don’t waste much time there. Ladakh is waiting. From Sonmarg, we went straight to Drass. Condition of road was not good from Sonmarg onwards.
Drass war memorial:
At Drass, army has created a war memorial of Kargil war. You can see all mountains where war was fought. Take a tour of this memorial. It’s really patriotic. After short stop there we went straight to Kargil.
We booked a room for Rs.2000. There was only one decent hotel in Kargil. Kargil is typical Kashmiri village. Situated near river bank. Green and peaceful.
Day 4: (Welcome to Ladakh)
After a little rough patch of road, we finally arrived on straight roads of Ladakh. Long roads and beautiful landscape. This is the second best part of this tour. This part is the reason for the road trip. You will face little breathing problem from here onwards. Nothing serious. I read about oxygen cylinder and all. I think it’s for people who take plane to Leh.
You will pass by magnetic hill point (which is just an illusion and not at all fascinating.) We reached Leh little before 5 PM. Before entering Leh, we took a left turn for Shanti- Stupa. Otherwise local sightseeing tour will charge you extra for this. We visited Shanti stupa (Beautiful) and Zorawar’s fort (boring) and then entered the city. Hall of fame was under maintenance when we visited leh otherwise that was going to be our first point. We booked a room for Rs.1500. It was not a hotel, more like a guest house. We booked a tour package for Rs. 12000. Which included cab for two days, Stay at nubra valley, breakfast and a dinner for 4.
Day 5: (Sand dunes of Nubra valley)
Long drive through ladakh. It was hot but still it was Ladakh. We stopped at Khardungla Top, highest motorable road on earth. 18380 feet. Its hard to breathe there.
Our driver took us to some hot springs but we have seen enough of those. We reached nubra valley by evening. Double hump camel, a river, snow peaks, Sand dunes (desert), Landscape. Nubra valley has everything. We played in sand. Captured lots of pictures and went to our guest house in Hundar village.
Day 6: (Pangong Lake)
This was the best day. Early morning breakfast and drive through ladakh. We met cute marmots just before Pangong Lake. We reached Pangong by noon. Peace. I have no words to describe Pangong lake. They should rename Ladakh to Pangong.
We return back to Leh and reached back by sunset. If you are shopaholic (which is a made up thing) you can visit local market.
Day 7: (Return)
I won’t lie. Breathing problem was an issue. We were happy about Ladakh but we just wanted to return to normal grounds. We drove to Kargil and had to take a break. Land sliding caused road block after Kargil. We stayed (wasted) a day.
Day 8: (patnitop)
Instead of Srinagar, we decided to take stop at Patnitop. It’s a beautiful hill station near Jammu. And it is just a cherry on top.
Day 9: (Jammu)
We reached Jammu. Took a train home with Ladakh in mind and lots of pics to make people jealous.