While most of the people believe that Ladakh is inaccessible in the winters, this may be the best time to visit Ladakh for the adventurous souls. Winters in Ladakh hardly see any tourists and you can have all of its stunning barrenness to yourself. Visiting Ladakh in winters is a chance to see this magic land as it has existed for centuries.
THINGS TO DO : CHADAR TREK, MARKHA VALLLEY TREK, LOCAL SIGHTSEEING, CYCLING, BIKING TOUR
Winter in Ladakh is very harsh and temperatures can plummet to lesser than -30 degree Celsius at night. So, be prepared for cold (brrr very cold) days and even colder nights. Everything will be frozen and there will be no running water in the taps. The streets look deserted and yet life goes on as usual. If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on the severity of the snow), there is a huge possibility of experiencing snowfall while in Ladakh in the winters. While the aim of this winter travel guide to Ladakh is to help prospective travelers prepare, it is best to prepare yourself for thinking practically and trusting the locals when it comes to dicey situations. Follow this winter guide to Ladakh and it is quite possible to have a holiday to remember and boast about! A warning —if you are someone who is not fond of the cold or cannot bear cold climates, please give up the idea of visiting Ladakh in winter. The biggest battle will be with the cold, and it is more a mind game than anything else. It is better to be prepared for extreme cold conditions before landing at 3300m above sea level.
Although the attractions in Ladakh for summers and winters stay, largely, the same; the drastic change in landscape means it is quite possible to think of Ladakh as an entirely different land. There are frozen waterfalls, crimson coloured trees, towering bare poplars, pristine freezing rivers in the winter—all making it a beautiful and novel experience. It is a good idea to first explore the various sights in Leh, including the Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Tsemo Fort while acclimatizing and also visit the old Jama Masjid while exploring the main market. The important monasteries of Alchi, Likir, Spituk all lie on the route to Kargil and can be clubbed with a visit to Basgo Fort, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, the spectacular confluence of Indus and Zanskar at Nimmo and the optical illusion at Magnetic Hill. Apart from the monasteries at Hemis and Thikse, there are other noteworthy monasteries of Shey, Stok, Matho and Chemrey, where you can experience zen-like bliss in the winters. These monasteries are located in vicinity of Leh. Major attraction in the winters is crossing the 5350 m high Chang La, Khardung La, frozen Pangong Tso , Tso Moriri , Ice Stupa (highest men made ice Stupa in the world ) is also an attraction for the diehard adventurers.
Do not venture into the cold of open air immediately after stepping out of the warmth of a room. Make sure every part of your body is covered well before venturing out in the chill of the winter air. Try not to have a bath during the duration of your stay in Ladakh. If staying at a homestay, remember that the kitchen is the warmest part of the house and it is better to spend more time there. A three-day course of Diamox medicine (to prevent AMS) is recommended, but only after consultation with a doctor.
It is suggested to eat regularly and consume extra food in order to keep yourself warm. Stay hydrated by drinking tea and water at regular intervals. Keep a moisturiser at hand to make sure your skin doesn’t get overtly dry. Eat dark chocolate and nuts for energy. Do not hesitate to ask for help from locals if there is any kind of trouble. keep the fingers guarded while clicking pictures on the phone or camera; it is a good idea to make the settings inside the car, cover the fingers and then get out in the open for photography. Some noteworthy inclusions: Wear sunglasses to protect from the reflection of the snow. Apply sunscreen generously; always carry medicines with you and a flask to keep water warm. Carrying sufficient photocopies of documents and ID proofs are also advised.
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