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Old 2nd August 2009, 17:53   #1
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Default One more tribute to Leh this season...

Thanks to recession, the travel bug bit us when business pressures eased and office became monotonous day by day with more and more team breaks. And it was Arun, the only bachelor in our team, who suggested a trip to Leh. After much deliberation on other places of interest, we finally decided on Leh - the best decision of the year I would say. Next big step for the oldies (not by age but for the marriage status) was to convince respective home ministry on a trip to Leh without family. Yes, we did succeed but not without some non-negotiable restrictions like - do not stand at the edge of the mountain (who is climbing that anyway!); do not get into water (its ice cold anyway!) etc. I think, we should also thank all the influencing skill trainers for empowering us with some of those skills that came handy while the convincing job at home?

We planned for a 10 days trip starting from Bangalore on Friday, 17th Jul evening and reaching back on next Sunday, 26th Jul 09. We could get very good fares on Kingfisher for the BLR-DEL return trip. The onward journey being planned fully by road, the next important decision was on the return journey from Leh - by road or to fly back. We decided to fly back from Leh so that we could do two more trips to destinations around Leh. And I feel that is definitely one of the best decisions we made - we could cover Tso Moriri, Pangog Tso, Nubra valley, Diskit Gonpa, Hemis Gonpa, Hemis Museum and Leh local site seeing all in 7 days.

All flight tickets booked and we were getting ready for the trip, and then started the unfolding of the least expected things. I got chicken pox infection and quarantined with 3 weeks to go from the travel date. We thought we may have to cancel/postpone the trip. I was okay in 2 weeks and we again started dreaming about the trip. Then it was Arun's turn, he was down with fever just 3 days before the trip. It was viral fever season in Bangalore which takes at least 4-5 days for a person to recover. Lucky, its was a normal fever for him and Arun was ready for the trip in time. So there we were off from Bangalore on Friday evening as planned a month ago.

We had arranged for a taxi, with Mr. Sanjay, to pick us up from Delhi airport and drop us at Manali by next day morning. Raju was in time at DEL airport with his innova and we started from airport around 8:30PM to Manali.

One more tribute to Leh this season...-delhi-manali.jpg <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-raju-driver-tea-stall.jpg <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-saadhu-riding-cycle.jpg <br />
We had already spoken to Mr. Sunil of Himachal Taxi Union and had arranged for a Qualis for Leh drop from Manali. He also helped us with arranging for a hotel room for 2-3 hours where we could get freshened-up before the next leg of journey. We reached Manali next day morning by 10:00AM and directly went to the hotel. We were all ready in next one hour for Manali – Leh leg of the journey. Sonu was ready with his Qualis to take us to Leh.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-keylong-hotel-driver-sonu.jpg <br />
Though, we were delayed a bit in reaching Manali from Delhi, we made up the delay by reaching in time for the clearance of a major traffic jam on Manali - Keylong route. We caught up with a car that started earlier from Manali at 9:00AM but got stuck in the stand still traffic jam despite us starting at 12:00 noon. Manali was picturesque as ever and we kept clicking pictures enroute.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-gatta-loops.jpg <br />
We had decided to stay at Keylong that night and reached the hotel not very late. We made a change in our plan and decided to do Keylong – Leh next day. Earlier we had planned to stay at Saarchu but we changed this plan after reaching Keylong. The road journey from Manali to Leh is one of the best I have experienced so far and I am sure it will stay that way for many years to come. <br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-into-laps-himalays.jpg <br />
A word on AMS – many warned us; we read a lot about it and even checked with a doctor (especially because two of us had just recovered from illness). We decided not to take any medication for AMS early on and decided to do so if it becomes necessary. We did not face any major problems because of AMS during the trip. Yes, I did puke on the way to Manali (I think it was due to the food from a Dhaba after Delhi) and Arun did two rounds on the Manali - Leh route. Also, we felt a bit breathless on ascends while on foot. <br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-blue-sky.jpg
We passed through hills, loops, loose sand planes and some of the high passes including the second highest motorable pass in the world to reach Leh that day evening. We had not booked any accommodation in advance in Leh and went to Jigmeet guest house to see if we could get a room. Jigmeet was full and the next available vacancy was in Aug. The person at Jigmeet (soory, I don’t remember his name) was very helpful and he directed us to his cousin’s hotel The Auspicious near by after confirming room availability. <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-colours-nature.jpg <br />
The Auspicious offered more of homely feeling than a hotel’s. Mr. Namgyal (MD), his Mother; Pandey ji (restaurant) and the boys (Sonu & one more guy) took best care of us throughout our stay for next 8 days. <br />
We were stay put at the hotel on whole of Monday and didn’t do much except for a short stroll through Leh market in the evening. Meanwhile Namgyal helped us with the journey plans till we depart from Leh. We decided to do Tso Moriri first and hit bed early. Next day, we started early with Torjee in his Qualis to Tso Moriri. People in Leh in general were very nice to deal with and Torjee was no exception – he is the best guide and driver I have ever met. The views were amazing and I am short of words in describing it.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-creations-natural-erosion.jpg <br />
Tso Moriri – we reached early evening in the village and started checking for an accommodation for the night. There are multiple options available such as – rooms in locales houses and tents etc. We choose to stay at Nomadic Life Camp close to the lake since the person offered a good deal, much discounted from the rate card. Stay & Food was good at the camp but it became very cold at night. The all rounder of the camp Yo Ming (cook, room boy, care taker…) provided us with as many blankets as we needed to fight the cold. By the way it was the solar eclipse next day and we decided to go to lake to take some photos of the eclipse if we woke up early. The cold night made sure we over slept and missed the eclipse. We spent some more time at the lake side and started the return journey and reached Leh for evening tea.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-reflections-tso-moriri.jpg <br />
Pangog Tso – Next day, we started early to Pangog Tso so that we could reach back Leh by same day late evening. Nazeer was ready with his quails next day morning and we started our journey to the lake. Nazeer told us about the ‘Pagal Naala’ enroute which may affect our travel plan. “Pagal Naala’ is notorious for flash floods and if it happens vehicles will be stuck on either sides and cannot cross over. He said that just two days back he had to go back with his tourist party and stay over night at Pangog Tso because of sudden rush of water in the naala. So he suggested that we cross the naala before 2:00PM on our return journey. The view of the lake was mesmerizing and we spent around 2-3 hours before returning to Leh. We didn’t face any problems crossing the naala on our way back though the water level seemed to be rising. We saw two bikers struggling to cross the naala over to Pangog Tso side and they were being helped by the construction workers. There is a new bridge being constructed at this site over paagal naala. Nazeer told us that on previous two occasions the bridge over the naala was washed away by currents and he just hoped that the new bridge stays. The terrain kept changing as ever and the views were awesome.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-stones-pangog-tso.jpg <br />
Nubra valley – Earlier, we had planned to stay over night at Nubra valley, however, we changed our plan to cover Nubra valley in one day so that we could pack in a trip to Hall of Fame, Hemis gonpa & museum and Tiksy gonpa the next day. We started early with Nazeer and wee were excited as we’ll be crossing Khardung La – the world’s highest motorable pass at 18380 feet - on our way. It was bit cloudy in the morning and as we approached K-top it started snowing lightly. We spent some time at K-top and continued to Numbra valley. We felt that Nubra must have been a vast river some time in the past – again the sheer size makes us feel nothing in front of it. We spent some time at the valley, sand dunes and then started our journey back. One surprise in store for us was the ‘masala dosa’ at Café 125 run by 54 RCC at Nubra valley and all of us did enjoy our dosas made by ‘Shashi chettan’ there.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-nubra-vally.jpg <br />
Hemis; Hall of Fame and Local site seeing – By now, we had already reached the last day of our site seeing at Leh. Tsewong was ready in the morning with his Omni van for the day trip to monasteries and some local sight seeing. I would recommend Hemis Museum to all – a must see. We also made a stop at the Leh main market for some purchases and Tsewong did help us by taking us to some good stores and negotiating prices.<br />
We also spent 2-3 hours at Hall of Fame – gives a perspective of the sacrifices our brave soldiers are making day in and out so that we could go on with our life peacefully. Salute one and all in our forces and I don’t know how to thank them.<br /> <br /> <a href=One more tribute to Leh this season...-prayer-wheels.jpg <br />
Our journey had come to an end and we were to depart Leh next day by morning flight. We thought 10 days would be good enough for the trip but we realized that we have to return some time with more time at hand and explore more of this region. This is one of such trips that will remain in memory for years to come. Here are some more pictures from our collection of 1386 pictures and let me tell you that no picture can rightly convey what we saw and experienced in the Himalayas. The magnificent size; ever changing colours and nature of the terrain are something that takes you off your feet. In my humble opinion it cannot be reproduced in any form. Here are some attempts we made though...enjoy!</div>   <div style=
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One more tribute to Leh this season...-torjee-best-driver-guide-we-had.jpg  

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Old 2nd August 2009, 20:52   #2
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Good Crisp Report, Satesh!
Can you please provide bit more details on the the place you stayed in Leh and Tso moriri and their traiffs and contact details

Cheers
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Old 2nd August 2009, 22:19   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa_kl14 View Post
enjoy!
I sure did. Thanks buddy.

Quote:
Can you please provide bit more details on the the place you stayed in Leh and Tso moriri and their traiffs and contact details
x1. It will be helpful for others planning their trip.

OT, Leh seems to be the hottest destination in T-BHP nowadays.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 13:13   #4
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I'll add the details on hotels in the evening. Thanks.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 15:49   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa_kl14 View Post
I'll add the details on hotels in the evening. Thanks.
  • And a little elaboration on the road conditions please - especially the bad stretches that you've seen.
  • Also, can you please advise how much did you pay for the Qualis from Manali to Leh?
  • If you retained the Qualis all 7 days whilst you were in Ladakh how much did you pay (including fuel/driver charges,etc)?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 3rd August 2009, 16:31   #6
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Excellent. But mate please post the break up costs for your trip.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 21:09   #7
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Captions for photographs would have been nice...
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Old 3rd August 2009, 21:37   #8
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Friends,

Below are the details of hotels we stayed and costs including that for travel. Please note that the costs are for 3 people on share basis.

Travel
------
DEL - MAN (Innova) = Rs.13,000/-
MAN - LEH (Qualis) = Rs.11,000/- (with night halt at Keylong or Kelong and Saarchu)
LEH - Tso Moriri - LEH (Qualis) = Rs.7500 (with night halt at Tso Moriri)
LEH - Pangog Tso - LEH (Qualis) = Rs.5200 (one day)
LEH - Nubra valley - LEH (Qualis) = Rs.5000 (one day)
LEH Local (Omni) = Rs.2500 (one day) (incl. Hemis, Tiksey, Hall Of Fame, Market etc.)

Boarding
--------
Manali - Sorry, don't remember the hotel name = Rs. 300 (2-3 hours to freshen up)
Keylong - Hotel Valley View = Rs.300 (night halt)
Leh - The Auspicious Hotel (Highly recommend this place) = Rs. 900 per night. Meet Mr. Namgyal (MD) Mob: +91 94191 77864
Tso Moriri - Nomadic Life Camp = Rs. 1000 (swiss tent for three)

We booked all travel in Leh through the hotel and Namgyal got us very good rates. The vehicles were good and the guide cum drivers were among the best.

All inclusive epxenditure per person for the trip was Rs.33,000/- excluding personal shopping (but inclusive of flights / lodging / permits / tips and other expenses).

Tip: Save Rs. 10,000/- (on total) by travelling from DEL to Manali by HMTC Volvo. Please note that all buses leave DEL between 5:00PM to 6:00PM so be sure to reach Delhi airport by at least 2:30PM - we goofed up on this in our planning but no regrets as the journey by car was very comfortable and left us with enough streangth for Manali - LEH.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 21:49   #9
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  • And a little elaboration on the road conditions please - especially the bad stretches that you've seen.
Road conditions vary from 'very good' to 'okay/bumpy' to 'no roads' to 'make your own way'. Some places are hard to negotiate if your are self driving and not familiar with driving in such terrain.

I just admire those people who drove to Leh and salute those dare devils who did on two wheelers.
  • Also, can you please advise how much did you pay for the Qualis from Manali to Leh?
Please see my post with cost break-up
  • If you retained the Qualis all 7 days whilst you were in Ladakh how much did you pay (including fuel/driver charges,etc)?
Sorry, I do not know what it would cost. The only info I have is that outside J&K taxis have to pay to J&K Taxi union if they have to ply there.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 21:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Captions for photographs would have been nice...
Thank you sir - will surely try to better it next time.
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Old 4th August 2009, 12:39   #11
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Nice set of pictures. But the write up was missing in parts. Can you add photos of the places where you stayed?
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Old 9th August 2009, 12:36   #12
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Sorry for the delay in posting pictures of the places of stay. Please find them attached.
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One more tribute to Leh this season...-nomadic-camp-tso-moriri.jpg  

One more tribute to Leh this season...-swiss-tent-nomadic-camp-tso-moriri.jpg  

One more tribute to Leh this season...-auspicious-hotel-leh.jpg  

One more tribute to Leh this season...-auspicious-hotel-leh-1.jpg  

One more tribute to Leh this season...-auspicious-hotel-leh-2.jpg  

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