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Old 14th March 2016, 10:42   #1111
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Folks,

Here is my trip plan to Ladakh. I am planning the trip in May as i have some commitments from June onwards.
I know that the roads might not be open. Planning to go and come back via Srinagar. Seeing the news reports, hope the Srinagar route is open in May.
Do let me know your thoughts and comments.
I will be driving my Scorpio 4WD from Bangalore. As of now, i am solo traveller and looking for bhpians who can join me anywhere enroute either in my car or as a convoy.

Thanks,
Sudeep
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Old 14th March 2016, 12:14   #1112
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Default Kargil Vijay Divas : Pune - Kargil

Operation Vijay is commemorated as Kargil Vijay Diwas every year on 26 Jul.

This year, I am thinking it would be a great honour if I can personally attend the ceremony, stand at attention like our Faujis and salute the Tiranga and honour all the brave who gave up their lives for out country. To quote one of my Fauji acquaintances
Quote:
Common citizens can also attend, in fact, they are welcome
  1. Considering the rains in July, is it advisable to drive to Kargil?
  2. If yes, any route recommendations?
  3. Where does one stay when in Kargil?
  4. Anyone else would like to join me on this 'pilgrimage'?

PS. I searched existing topics on the forum, but the one's I found are from 2011. Considering so many things might have changed, inputs regarding the latest recommendations would be most welcome.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 14th March 2016 at 12:27. Reason: Removing the unwanted bits to keep the discussion clean and civil. Thanks!
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Old 15th March 2016, 06:42   #1113
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Default Re: Kargil Vijay Divas : Pune - Kargil

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Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post
Operation Vijay is commemorated
I had travelled to Kargil soon after Kargil Diwas last year. I am not able to recollect exact dates, but I guess we visited Kargil war memorial at 02 of Aug. The memorial is open for visitor's and there is a ten minute guided tour during which you are explained about different battles of the war. It's conducted next to the flag staff, hence I am not sure if the same would be available during the ceremony. Also, there could be some entry restrictions since senior army officers attend the event.
Hence, I am not sure how feasible would it be to visit the memorial during that time.
To answer your other query, memorial is nearer to Drass than Kargil. Though I have not checked out for places, I felt Drass had limited stay options. Kargil has better rooms, we stayed at Hotel Zojilla, they have two property in Kargil and we has stayed in the new one.

Yes, it was raining during that period and we did face issues due to same. You can check the pics of hotels and memorial in my travelogue.
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Old 15th March 2016, 13:47   #1114
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Default Re: Kargil Vijay Divas : Pune - Kargil

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Yes, it was raining during that period and we did face issues due to same. You can check the pics of hotels and memorial in my travelogue.
Thank you! As I had suspected the weather might be a deciding factor. I will check out your travelogues. There is a strong possibility my wife might be accompanying me, so yes, good clean and safe places to stay is a prime priority.
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Old 20th March 2016, 10:05   #1115
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Dear Sudeep,

I have gone to Ladakh twice ; once in April ( flying in from Delhi, which in my view does not really count ) and once driving from Bangalore in my Scorpio 4 WD.

Your route seems fine, but I would suggest you do more long drives on the plains, so you can give yourself time to acclimatise in when you reach Ladakh.

For example, when I drove in July last year, my first stop from Bangalore was Nagpur ( 1000 km ), 2nd was Agra ( about 850+ but lots of traffic & bad roads in UP ). Then Amritsar ( wanted to see Jalian wala Bagh & Golden Temple ), then Patni Top and next Srinagar.

May will still be cold ( when we landed in Leh in April the outside temperature was minus 20 ) ; though the days should be fine.

Likewise while returning, we did fairly long stretches. You have kept stops at Delhi and Agra. The driving time on the expressway is just 2 hours; so unless you want to do sightseeing at both places, 2 stops may be unnecessary.

From Bangalore to Nagpur takes around 15 hours. If you start early ( 4 am ) , you can have lunch on the ring road circuiting Hyderabad ( 7 hours driving time ), and reach Nagpur by 7 pm.

The road from Bangalore to Nagpur is excellent. So too is the drive through MP. Very good roads and hardly any traffic. The problem stretch is really the last bit before Agra ( 250 km from Jhansi-past Gwalior where the is a lot of local traffic and road construction work ) .

I had bought my Scorpio 4 WD specifically with the intention of doing the drive from from Bangalore to Ladakh and back. Was a bit disappointed that I did not need to engage the 4 wheel drive even once, even though my wife and I happily took it off the road ( there are several off road short cuts between loops while driving through Ladakh , which all the local taxi drivers use ) . One reason for that could have been that I put in a new set of Geo-lander AT ( All terrain ) tyres before I went on the trip . If your tyres need changing then check them out. They are fanatstic and give the scorpio a much smoother ride in the city.

Within Ladakh the roads are superb with very sparse traffic. The drive towards Manali from Tso Moriri was the only place where the road conditions were bad, but since you wont be able to do the return by that route there should be nothing to worry about. Oh yes, get your air filter changed when you get your car serviced before leaving. The thin air makes the climbs to kardungla and Changla a bit awkward ( to move forward after having to stop on an upward slope because on oncoming traffic) . Unfortunately, too many of the drivers either don't know ( or don't care )that conventionally upward moving traffic should always get right of way on a steep slope.

All the best for a safe and enjoyable trip. Drive carefully and slowly in the hills and all will be fine.

Let me know if you need any more specific information.

regards,

RCD







regards,

RCD

Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsyFreak View Post
Folks,

Here is my trip plan to Ladakh. I am planning the trip in May as i have some commitments from June onwards.
I know that the roads might not be open. Planning to go and come back via Srinagar. Seeing the news reports, hope the Srinagar route is open in May.
Do let me know your thoughts and comments.
I will be driving my Scorpio 4WD from Bangalore. As of now, i am solo traveller and looking for bhpians who can join me anywhere enroute either in my car or as a convoy.

Thanks,
Sudeep
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Old 22nd March 2016, 21:02   #1116
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCD View Post
Dear Sudeep,

Your route seems fine, but I would suggest you do more long drives on the plains, so you can give yourself time to acclimatise in when you reach Ladakh.
My initial plan was to visit Amritsar, Delhi and Agra. Hence planned visiting times there. But now, I will skip these visiting places and dedicate time to Ladakh alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCD View Post
I had bought my Scorpio 4 WD specifically with the intention of doing the drive from from Bangalore to Ladakh and back. Was a bit disappointed that I did not need to engage the 4 wheel drive even once, even though my wife and I happily took it off the road ( there are several off road short cuts between loops while driving through Ladakh , which all the local taxi drivers use ) . One reason for that could have been that I put in a new set of Geo-lander AT ( All terrain ) tyres before I went on the trip . If your tyres need changing then check them out. They are fanatstic and give the scorpio a much smoother ride in the city.
I am running 1 year old Michellin LTX AT2 which have done 15K distance, the tyres are in pretty good shape so should be fine for the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCD View Post
Within Ladakh the roads are superb with very sparse traffic. The drive towards Manali from Tso Moriri was the only place where the road conditions were bad, but since you wont be able to do the return by that route there should be nothing to worry about. Oh yes, get your air filter changed when you get your car serviced before leaving. The thin air makes the climbs to kardungla and Changla a bit awkward ( to move forward after having to stop on an upward slope because on oncoming traffic) . Unfortunately, too many of the drivers either don't know ( or don't care )that conventionally upward moving traffic should always get right of way on a steep slope.
Thanks, will replace the air filter replaced. I was thinking of getting it replaced in Srinagar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCD View Post
All the best for a safe and enjoyable trip. Drive carefully and slowly in the hills and all will be fine.

Let me know if you need any more specific information.
Thanks will connect with you if needed.
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Old 23rd March 2016, 19:43   #1117
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

I plan to do the trip in September 2nd week this year and am inclined to take the Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi route. My partner in crime would be my life partner who can only drive on plains and hence all hill driving would be done by me. Have a few doubts which I would like to get an opinion on.


1. For 1st timers September is supposed to be the perfect time and hence 2nd week was chosen for the same. My apprehensions are about the land slides which can get common post rains. Monsoons do extend till late August so would it be a good idea to travel in Sept?


2. I have 2 cars in considerations and still not decided which one would be a better bet. 2012 Alto Lx and 2011 Dzire VDI.


a. Pros for Alto(F8D engine) :
I have being driving M800 since 1998 and Alto seems like an extension of my body now. I precisely know how it would respond to my inputs and personally feel its engine would fare better on hills.
Technically Alto has less ground clearance than Dzire VDI but from experience I have had much fewer underbody scrapes on it as compared to its “big brother”.
Being much lighter, we would have the option of pushing it single handedly in case we get stuck.
My personal belief in its reliability.


b. Cons for Alto(F8D engine) :
No power steering.
Petrol engine as compared to frugal diesel of its big brother.
Lower torque/power(technically). How important this would be in real world conditions?
Overall build much lighter.
Less space for luggage as no boot.
Would get tiring on such long drives.


c. Pros for Dzire VDI:
Much powerful diesel engine. Would it be of much advantage?
Better space for self and luggage.
More comfortable.
Low fuel costs and much higher run on a single tank full.
Better looking. Who doesn’t click their ride on Leh roadripJ


d. Cons for Dzire VDI :
Much heavier. In case its gets stuck lesser chances of its recovery by the 2 of us.
DDIS engine seems to have a heart of its own and behaves rather differently on different inclines. Sometimes there is absolute power loss which is scary. Hasn’t happened in my Alto ever.
A complex engine/suspension setup might be more prone to failure than a simple one.
2nd week of september can be cold. Diesel engine might have starting issues.

I know some of you might be thinking that why am I even considering the Alto when I have the tried and tested diesel king in its segment but these thoughts keep coming back and I do feel quite tempted to take the Alto just because of its simplicity and reliability.

Last edited by .anshuman : 7th April 2016 at 11:07. Reason: Note for Mods removed. Thanks
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Old 27th March 2016, 01:42   #1118
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Maverick,

Either vehicle will be fine for this trip. From Srinagar to Leh is mostly good roads. Plenty of Altos ply in that region and they are the favoured choice for reasons you mention and due to its low cost. Also bear in mind that you may spend lots of time in traffic jams on narrow roads where the Alto will be easier to navigate.

So if you're inclined to take the Alto, do so with confidence!

Also September is a very good month to travel to that region with lesser traffic and fair weather. I did it in late September/ early October and it was much better than my next which was in July. Lesser chances of slush near Rohtang too.
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Old 6th April 2016, 20:40   #1119
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Question Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Hello All. Need help with the itinerary for the Hyd - Srinagar - Leh - Manali - Hyd trip which I have planned in the early fourth week of July 2016.

I am planning to do it in my 8 year old Tata Safari Dicor 2.2 with my parents and 3 friends. However we friends are still not understanding if we need to get my friend's Hyundai Elite as the second vehicle or rent a Bike from Delhi/ Jammu for the trip.

I read quite a few blogs, travel guides and the maps. I made a rough itinerary and I have few queries. I would be very happy to have your suggestions on the same.

The list of places which I have zeroed down are as follows:-

1. Drass
2. Kargil
3. Leh
4. Hunder
5. Pangong Tso
6. Karzok
7. Manali

Please find the attachment for the day wise itinery.

Following are few of the queries and I would be very grateful for your replies.

1. Most importantly I am doing this trip with my parents and few friends. My father is 63 years old and my mother is 52 years old. They will fly from Hyd to Srinagar and join me there. While returning, they will take a flight from Chandigarh to Hyd. I want to know if they can really make it to those places I have mentioned in the Itinerary keeping in mind of their age?

2. Does my itinerary seems to be doable? Or is it far away from reality keeping in mind of the road conditions and weather.?

3. Out of the Night stays I have planned, are there any places where there are no decent hotels available and only tents available? Because I need decent hotels at every night stay I have planned mainly because I want my parents to rest properly. I will do an advance booking prior going.

4. No offense to the Hyundai I 20 owners but I want to know if the vehicle can do the entire circuit? I am concerned as the vehicle is very new.

5. I am leaving Hunder and returning to Leh instead of going to Sumur just to save few days. How is Sumur? Is it worth it?

6. How are the road conditions to Karzok from Pangong Tso? Is it worth it with my parents? How are the accommodation facilities in Karzok?

7. Can we hire bikes from Srinagar? If not then can you all tell me the closest place to Srinagar that good bikes can be hired for the trip. Can I get few contacts of the people who rent out good bikes for the trip.

8. Finally the itinerary seems to be slightly longer. If I need to cut it down then suggest me which place can I give a miss keeping in mind of all the factors like road conditions, stay facilities and ofcourse the beauty.?

9. Just read a blog on this forum which states taxi mafia is now demanding that the Private vehicles as well as rental bikes may be banned. Now I am very skeptical about the whole thing especially with my parents with me and one of the three friends being a girl.

Thank you all. :-)
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Old 7th April 2016, 11:32   #1120
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick Avi View Post
I plan to do the trip in September 2nd week this year and am inclined to take the Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi route. My partner in crime would be my life partner who can only drive on plains and hence all hill driving would be done by me. Have a few doubts which I would like to get an opinion on.
...
...
I have been in such a confusion in 2012, Punto vs Laura. If I were at your place I would pick the Dzire. Here is why-

-You are going to spend a lot of time in the car, Dzire's seating is much more comfortable.

-You might end up spending days on no roads, the extra cushioning from suspension make it a much comfortable experience.

-Turbocharged engines perform better at higher Altitudes, plus the extra Diesel torque will make the journey much more enjoyable. Be warned, at altitude the turbo lag will be amplified, be prepared to keep the engine in 2000-3000rpm.

-The extra luggage space will be a boon.


Also, when going gets tough try to slip the clutch as little as possible, else you'll shred it in minutes. No harm in driving the car in lower gears than slipping the clutch.

In a low slung sedan, when going over obstacles placement of tires is the most important thing, you cannot just drive over everything. You should also know the underbody well, sometimes a hit/scrape will be inevitable knowing vulnerable portions is important.

Get the car thoroughly inspected before the trip.
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Old 7th April 2016, 11:53   #1121
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

A few of my close friends are planning to explore the entire Ladakh region on their motorcycles this year, September 2016. They wish to visit the Pangi Valley, Zanskar Valley, Nubra Valley, Suru Valley, Chumathang & Hanle sector as well.

Need inputs from the Ladakh travel gurus about the following itinerary:

Day 1: Delhi - Dalhousie/Kalatop
Day 2: Dalhousie - Sach Pass - Killar
Day 3: Killar - Kishtwar
Day 4: Kishtwar - Inshan - Daksum
Day 5: Daksum - Srinagar - Sonamarg - Rangdum
Day 6: Rangdum - Padum
Day 7: Padum - Drangdrung Glacier (Camping)
Day 8: Drangdrung Glacier - Kargil
Day 9: Kargil - Leh
Day 10: Rest Day
Day 11: Leh - Khardung La - Diskit
Day 12: Diskit - Turtuk - Panamik
Day 13: Panamik - Agham - Shyok - Pangong Tso (or Wari La route)
Day 14: Pangong Tso - Marsimik La - Spangmik - Merak
Day 15: Merak - Chushul - Tsaga La - Hanle
Day 16: Hanle - Loma - Dungti - Tsaga La - Chushul
Day 17: Chushul - Kakasang La - Nyoma
Day 18: Nyoma - Chumur - Tso Moriri
Day 19: Tso Moriri - Mahe - Chumathang
Day 20: Chumathang - Startspuk Tso - Tso Kar
Day 21: Tso Kar - Jispa
Day 22: Jispa - Phugtal Gompa - Jispa
Day 23: Jispa - Manali
Day 24: Manali - Delhi

Thereafter a few buffer days in hand specially for Zanskar Valley and Hanle sector.

Is the plan feasible on motorcycles, CBR250, Duke 390 and Classic 500?

Major concern is will these motorcycles scale up the Marsimik La. How bad are the roads?

The same group has done Srinagar - Leh - Khardung La - Pangong Tso - Manali on their bikes so they have a fair idea about the terrain. This time, with the extra days in hand, they wish to explore the lesser known places in the region.

Awaiting inputs in anticipation.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 7th April 2016, 12:50   #1122
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Got this mailer , I have no experience with these guys - choice of hotels looks good and schedule is very easy going , can someone share views on this. I am planning to book with them.
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Last edited by Turbanator : 7th April 2016 at 13:12.
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Old 7th April 2016, 14:11   #1123
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Got this mailer , I have no experience with these guys - choice of hotels looks good and schedule is very easy going , can someone share views on this. I am planning to book with them.
Hi Turbanator, Why not enjoy the drive at own pace and on your own? I do not enjoy such group drives with people I do not know. All these hotels/camps listed are available for walk-in customers as well, and I bet at a much lower prices.

Everything is so well documented on page 1, you do not need a motorsport company/tour operator to guide you through. Keep the plan open with a few more extra days, spend more time at places you like. Just my perspective.
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Old 7th April 2016, 14:21   #1124
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Quote:
Why not enjoy the drive at own pace and on your own? I do not enjoy such group drives with people I do not know.
hello Anshuman, Thanks for your answer. I think travelling with strangers in a group vs alone - both have pros and cons. Have done this route partially on my own in past that included changing burst tyre right at Rohtang somewhere around 2 in Morning :( Not sure if I have the same energy left besides haggling with hotels and all that. Oberoi alone costs 25 K per night these days , I am sure these guys must have negotiated something competitive and its ok to pay some premium for all the extras they are providing, I have personally witnessed my friend rushing back from K-LA to Leh hospital for oxygen when his 8 Year daughter fainted at top - they had to abandon vehicle at Leh and come back on flight . Agreed on pace though - doing Manali - Leh in 3 days is bit too much. Are you aware of this company or heard about them ?
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Old 7th April 2016, 14:34   #1125
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
hello Anshuman, Thanks for your answer. I think travelling with strangers in a group vs alone - both have pros and cons. Have done this route partially on my own in past that included changing burst tyre right at Rohtang somewhere around 2 in Morning :( Not sure if I have the same energy left besides haggling with hotels and all that. Oberoi alone costs 25 K per night these days , I am sure these guys must have negotiated something competitive and its ok to pay some premium for all the extras they are providing, I have personally witnessed my friend rushing back from K-LA to Leh hospital for oxygen when his 8 Year daughter fainted at top - they had to abandon vehicle at Leh and come back on flight . Agreed on pace though - doing Manali - Leh in 3 days is bit too much. Are you aware of this company or heard about them ?
Hi,
I have no personal experience with Cougar Motorsport, however I have read a lot of reports on events organised by them, they have a good reputation.

Not much negotiation is required for Hotels/Camps in Ladakh region, the pricing anyways is reasonable. Medical facilities by Army are available at most places.

Last time I was driving in 2013 on Manali-Leh highway, I had a headache, I visited the army camp in Pang, they checked my Blood Oxygen level, gave a pill and even offered me a bed to have a quick nap. I took a quick hour long nap in my car on Moreh plains and drove on to Leh.
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