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Old 20th May 2011, 02:07   #31
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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Thanks Dry Ice. I did check out Yatra as well, but in the end went with Makemytrip...
I was a little worried about the photos, to be honest. My friend virtually threw his DSLR at me but I resisted and stuck with the Sony H55 which I think is much simpler to use on the run. Glad that they seem to have come out well.
Thanks for the info noopster. What was the group size that you guys travelled with? Also, the halts at the places were ample or was it a rush-rush affair?

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Dry Ice,
We used Ladakh Safari for the complete trip and they were excellent. We also did Manali - Leh by road which was arranged by them. If you want details look at their website www.ladakhsafari.com and call Deleks Nomgyal who is very helpful.
Thanks Fauji, will be following up with them, seems they have a 'photography tour' coming up too.
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Old 20th May 2011, 07:23   #32
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

As always, great write up noopster! Thanks for sharing the pics and other details.
The best part for me is the Pangong Lake..especially the colours..every Ladakh TL on T-BHP showcase a unique colour of this lake..from Green to Blue to Gray…amazing!
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Old 20th May 2011, 07:29   #33
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Keep the comments pouring in flks- will try to answer as many queries as I can!
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Originally Posted by infotech58 View Post
Wonderful Travelogue and Awesome Photographs. Thanks for sharing your experience. Were there any expenses (apart from shopping) which were not covered in the package cost?
Not too many. The ones I can recall are: room service and pay telephone charges at the hotel, local conveyance for unscheduled trips (e.g. taxis to Leh market), Ladakhi cultural programme (optional), river rafting (optional).

Actually, the "cultural programme" ended up being just one lady arriving at the hotel with traditional costumes that we decked the ladies in and shot photographs! But it was worth it. And May is too early for rafting: the guy said Level 1 and we lost interest. Most of the OOPE was on shopping: apricots, curios, pashmina stoles and shawls.

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Originally Posted by dot View Post
Only one question, how could you ever come back from this place? What kind of vacuum can one feel after taking the return journey flight.
Don't ask, dotty! We feel like we've left a part of us forever in Ladakh! Friend says it takes 6 months to readjust to routine life.

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Originally Posted by mdsaab View Post
@Noopster
You are no longer just a travel writer but now an award winning one!

"Join Noops as he takes you on a winding journey to the magical mountains of Northern India, remember to have your chai nearby as it gets pretty chilly up there"

"Critically Acclaimed travel writer Noops brings out his best ever TL yet, take your time, sit back, Sip that Cuppa and be prepared for a journey of a lifetime!"
I can't tell if you're being serious or not, with that quirky sense of humour of yours! Will acept it as a compliment gracrioucly- thanks you!

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Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
Thanks for the info noopster. What was the group size that you guys travelled with? Also, the halts at the places were ample or was it a rush-rush affair?
Good question: here's how it works. Makemytrip makes groups of about 25-30 people each (about 5 vehicles with 6 pax each). The whole group is assigned a tour guide (local) who travels in the emergency vehicle (stocked with supplies and basic medical aid such as O2 cylinders).
There is no obligation for all the vehicles to stay together so typically they get spread out over the course of the day. This depends pretty much on how much time you want to spend at each attraction versus being in a mad hurry to reach the hotel or next meal stop. No prizes for guessing which vehicle was always last in!!
My suggestion is that you go as a group of 5-6 so that you have a vehicle to yourself: we were blessed to have a bunch who were as enthusiastic as ourselves but it can be a real pain if you're stuck with someone who is only intersted in "touch and go" at the various sites.
Hope this helps!
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Old 20th May 2011, 07:49   #34
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Good question: here's how it works.
..
..
Hope this helps!
That certainly helps! Ladakh is getting popular by the day. I just wish to explore it while the 'wilderness' still remains. More than anything else I want to cover all the lakes, Pangong Tso, Kyun Tso, Tso Moriri etc. Lets see what pans out!

Thanks again!
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Old 20th May 2011, 09:49   #35
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

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Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
That certainly helps! Ladakh is getting popular by the day. I just wish to explore it while the 'wilderness' still remains. More than anything else I want to cover all the lakes, Pangong Tso, Kyun Tso, Tso Moriri etc. Lets see what pans out!

Thanks again!
3 Idiots have spoilt Ladakh.

There is rush in most of the places but it is not as bad as you see in other hill stations as Ladakh is well spread out and not everyting is inside Leh.

The ideal group size is four per vehicle which is comfortable and transport exenses get shared. More than this in a cab will be congested and you will not be able to enjoy the ride and see the scenery. The trick is not to rush and plan well. Always give a buffer of a day when you plan as weather may get fickle sometimes.

In fact transport costs are very high in Ladakh and the costs are managed by Ladakh Taxi Association - smilar to what they do in Sikkim.
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Old 20th May 2011, 10:23   #36
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

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Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Not recommend for kids less than 10 years? I am going to Leh in July first week with my 4.5 year old daughter.
Hi Mayank.
Many years back, when my sister was only 6 years old, she suffered severe breathing problems on Sela Pass(14k feet - Arunachal). We had to rapidly lose height so that she could come back to normal. Do take a docs consultation and precautions. Also do ensure that she doesn't exert too much at high altitude.
Note: I was going up and down Zozila pass in a bus multiple times before i was even 5 (Fauji kid ) so its not an absolute no-no.
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Old 20th May 2011, 11:57   #37
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Absolutely serious Buddy. That is one travelogue that truly deserves and award. Where is that Award button?
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Old 20th May 2011, 12:57   #38
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

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Originally Posted by Mik View Post
Hi Mayank.
Many years back, when my sister was only 6 years old, she suffered severe breathing problems on Sela Pass(14k feet - Arunachal). We had to rapidly lose height so that she could come back to normal. Do take a docs consultation and precautions. Also do ensure that she doesn't exert too much at high altitude.
Note: I was going up and down Zozila pass in a bus multiple times before i was even 5 (Fauji kid ) so its not an absolute no-no.
Acclimitisation is key when you are doing Ladakh trip and there is no concession on this. It is not the question of how fit you are in plains but mountains will kill the fittest of people if not properly acclimitised. I have seen fittest faujis suffering when they are posted in high altitude.

If one has a history of breathing problems like asthma etc, they should consult doctor pior to coming to Ladakh. Having said this, i do not see any reason why cant you take your child if she is healthy. For first 24 hours do not exert and take it really easy.

I have noticed myself - i consider myself fit - feeling exhausted climbing the Leh palace a day after we reached Leh. This was after our Manali - Leh road trip which had helped us to acclinmitise well. At Khardungla, it is advised to visitors not to stay for more than 10 minutes due to rarified atmosphere.

Yes, only way to help those who feel breathless on high altitude is to come down to lower altitude.

Take care and you will have trip of your life!!!
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Old 20th May 2011, 13:15   #39
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Acclimitisation is key when you are doing Ladakh trip and there is no concession on this. It is not the question of how fit you are in plains but mountains will kill the fittest of people if not properly acclimitised. I have seen fittest faujis suffering when they are posted in high altitude.

(...)Yes, only way to help those who feel breathless on high altitude is to come down to lower altitude.
True. Two of our party suffered from mild AMS at Khardung-la. This was probably brought on by too much exertion: we were playing in the snow and the lady who was affected (not my wife) had climbed to an extremely high point where she suddenly, in her own words, "felt like the life had gone out of her." She let herself roll down to where the rest of us were and we immediately sensed something was wrong.

The experienced drivers in our midst immediately advised us to head to lower altitudes. We set off for South Pullu immediately which is at around 16,000 feet. By this time she was feeling much worse. We pulled into the army medical station where an army doctor and a couple of others immediately attended to us: the girl was asked to lie down while the rest of us stood/sat around. They checked our pulses, administered a Diamox each to the girl and me (I had been having AMS symptoms as well, including breathlessness and mild dizziness, above 16000 feet- nothing severe though). Also advised is to sip lots of warm water (I drank 3 glasses full at the South Pullu camp alone). After that we were fine.

The reason we even needed is that we foolishly decided to skip the Diamox dose after the first day because it made us want to pee. Take one (or two if you're affected badly) every day that you're heading into the high alts and you should be fine.

My respect for the armed forces and their doctors in particular went up no end after this incident. The doctor told us that every time they returned from time off in the plains, they would need to acclimatise in Leh (11,000 feet) for a minimum of a week. Understandable, since they have a much more strenuous routine than the average tourist.

Needless to say I cannot thank my stars enough that we live in moderate climes. Living in cold, high-altitude areas is hard!

Last edited by noopster : 20th May 2011 at 13:17.
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Old 20th May 2011, 13:32   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
True. Two of our party suffered from mild AMS at Khardung-la. This was probably brought on by too much exertion: we were playing in the snow and the lady who was affected (not my wife) had climbed to an extremely high point where she suddenly, in her own words, "felt like the life had gone out of her." She let herself roll down to where the rest of us were and we immediately sensed something was wrong.

The experienced drivers in our midst immediately advised us to head to lower altitudes. We set off for South Pullu immediately which is at around 16,000 feet. By this time she was feeling much worse. We pulled into the army medical station where an army doctor and a couple of others immediately attended to us: the girl was asked to lie down while the rest of us stood/sat around. They checked our pulses, administered a Diamox each to the girl and me (I had been having AMS symptoms as well, including breathlessness and mild dizziness, above 16000 feet- nothing severe though). Also advised is to sip lots of warm water (I drank 3 glasses full at the South Pullu camp alone). After that we were fine.

The reason we even needed is that we foolishly decided to skip the Diamox dose after the first day because it made us want to pee. Take one (or two if you're affected badly) every day that you're heading into the high alts and you should be fine.

My respect for the armed forces and their doctors in particular went up no end after this incident. The doctor told us that every time they returned from time off in the plains, they would need to acclimatise in Leh (11,000 feet) for a minimum of a week. Understandable, since they have a much more strenuous routine than the average tourist.

Needless to say I cannot thank my stars enough that we live in moderate climes. Living in cold, high-altitude areas is hard!
OMG!!! You guys are lucky to see the lady recover and of course thanks to Army doc. On a sadder note, one of my friend's brother died in Sarchu on manali - Leh road last year due to AMS and breathing related complications while he was being air lifted in Army chopper.

I am not sure Diamox is really helpful and i have read different views on it. It may be of some help. Base Camp MD - Guide to High Altitude Medicine

What is importanat as the army doc rightly said is natural and gradual acclimitisation and less exertion. We were all forced to do this while i was serving in Fauj in high altitude.

Normally, AMS hits visitors who land in Leh directly from Delhi and start visiting places without heeding to the local agent to take rest and relax on day one. Mind you, Delhi flight lands in Leh in morning and most of tourists do not want to waste a day resting. That is where the problem is.
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Old 20th May 2011, 13:55   #41
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Lovely pics Noopster. I guess yours is the 1st Leh travelogue for this season on the forum .

How much did your package cost per person? my bad if its already been answered.
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Old 20th May 2011, 14:10   #42
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Let's move on to a lighter, if "wilder" topic. Ladakh is pretty much a desert so flora and fauna are not exactly abundant, but we had a fun time shooting whatever animals we could spot. My poor wife kept gripping the camera and kept her eyes peeled for a snow leopard, but those are rare as heck and apparently have NEVER been spotted by a tourist. Still she managed to spot a fox (probably a Tibetan sand fox?) in the deserts ajoiing Pangong-Tso that ran off so quickly that we couldn't photograph it. We also saw a wolf at Khardung-la (debate raged on endlessly with half the car's occupants claiming it was just a dog- well if it was, it was a handsome one!)

Some of the dogs we shot (Ladakhi animals are furrier than you normally see, for evolutionary reasons, and these canines were no exception):Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02511.jpg
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02512.jpg
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02514.jpg
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02562.jpg


A couple of Bactrian Camels from Nubra Valley:
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02925.jpg
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc02926.jpg

A hard-to-capture (on film) marmot, a desert rodent common in Ladakh, especially near the Pangong Lake:
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No Ladakh trip is complete without the Yak spottings. Surprisingly we found very few, probably because of the time of year:
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc03102.jpg
Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue-dsc03103.jpg

Edit: @supertinu: thanks! This is the package we booked- only difference being we had an additional Bom-Del-Bom air sector and the hotel was different. Itinerary is identical.

Last edited by noopster : 20th May 2011 at 14:17.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:22   #43
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Hi Noopster,

This was one of the most well written Travelogue that I have come across here. You have done a really good job in describing the beauty of this place, even though, there are not enough adjectives for this heaven.

Please provide more information about the total cost of this tour and what all was included in this package. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics, my favorite is the last one with the Tricolor, literally gave me goose bumps. Giving my first ever 5 star rating. Truly deserving.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:33   #44
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Amazing images as usual Noopster. Thanks for sharing. This has made Ladakh one of my must visit destinations. Also, a remote dream that I will drive there some day.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:57   #45
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Default Re: Last-minute Ladakh: My early summer travelogue

Hi Noops,
Quietly slipped away eh ?
Delightful travelogue, amazing snaps...made for a wonderful read !
Only piece missing was that you didn't drive to that place in Fraulein. (Ai yayi yayeee - that sentence doesn't quite seem right !)

Will naturally have a few Q's to ask - all in good time though - as have been planning a dream drive in my vehicle for the last couple of years - almost went there in 2009. Missed the group driving there by a whisker thanks to silly things in life like work !

Bravo dear chap !

PS: The thread truly deserves the rating I gave it - 5* !

Last edited by Guderian : 20th May 2011 at 16:00.
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