Home Off Beat Planning a Ladakh trip in your bike? All the essentials you need to know!

Planning a Ladakh trip in your bike? All the essentials you need to know!

by Meghashree Das

Are you planning on visiting Ladakh, but not sure what to pack? Read this short article for a list of essentials for your Ladakh trip!

  1. Passport
  2. Travel Insurance Policy
  3. Clothes: Pack 3 days worth of clothes in a carry-on size suitcase – we recommend a mix of quick dry garments that can be hand-washed and dried quickly if needed. You don’t want to be stuck with dirty clothes for the duration of your trip!
  4. Toiletries: Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, deodorant, etc.

Beginner checklist for Ladakh:

-A large duffel bag (or any other bag organizer)
-Layers of clothing (multiple tops, bottoms, and a jacket)
-Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap…)
-First aid kit… and don’t forget your usual medications!
Advanced checklist: Add to the list from above as well as the following. These things may not be necessary but can really come in handy while you are traveling! They are listed in order of importance. So consider what is most important to you in order to get the best use out of your luggage space.

You will need to go to Ladakh:

1) Tent – it’s best to bring a tent instead of trying to find places to stay in villages. You can buy them in Leh or hire one from Pangong. You may also opt to rent tents from the trekking company you are going with, but be careful that the tents are well-maintained and don’t spring any leaks.

2) Sleeping bag – as we said before, there are few hotels outside Leh so it’s best you just go prepared with a sleeping bag. Make sure it’s warm as Ladakh is cold!
3) Water bottle – although there are plenty of sources of fresh water, it is a good idea to carry your own.
4) Shoes – sturdy trekking shoes will be a great companion on this remote and exotic journey. Walking shoes with ankle support are a good choice, but take care not to wear your new designer shoes!
5) Snacks – dry fruits and imported cheese biscuits will be your best friends when the shops in Leh are closed. You can also buy them from Pangong where there is more variety.
6) Torch – it’s best to pack one as Ladakh gets dark very fast. Sometimes it is also cold in the nights so a thick jacket and gloves will be much appreciated.
7) First Aid Kit – Ladakh has no pharmacies so pack some iodine, bandage and whatever else you think may be a necessity.
8) Camera & films – although you can buy film from Leh, bring your camera because there are many photo opportunities not just in the villages but also in Pangong Tso.
9) Money – it is always better to be safe than sorry. You won’t have much use for your cash in Leh but you will in Pangong. There is only one shop there so make sure to bring enough money!
10) A well-loved book – there’s long hours of travelling so pack a book.
11) Water-resistant jacket – this could be an overkill, but Ladakh has unpredictable weather and may suddenly get cold or rainy.

Financials for visiting anytime at Ladakh

A) Budget for travelling
Cost Average : For a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children), the budget would be around Rs. 12,000 for about 2 weeks. This includes accommodation and travel, but not food. Accommodation in Pangong is Rs. 150 per night and transportation to and from Leh is at Rs. 200 per person per day. So if you are looking at visiting Pangong as well, the minimum budget should be about Rs 6500 since accommodation is more expensive there than in Leh. Transportation can be between 2000-3000 depending on the number of days you want to trek and the journey you plan on taking (i.e direct vs via Srinagar).

Food Budget : Rs. 500 per day. This is the bare minimum, excluding souvenirs and entertainment.

B) Permits and Entry Fees
The only place you need a permit is the Nubra Valley. You will need a Protected Area Permit ( Rs. 350 ) and Inner Line Permit ( Rs. 600 ) to enter the Nubra Valley. However, if you are coming from Leh, don’t ask for a PAP because they are not given there so don’t waste your time and money! Renz continues to ask people who have come from Leh for PAPs, but don’t be duped! It also might be easier to obtain these permits at Leh rather than at Kashgar in Xingjian where all foreigners need to go through an interrogation process before a permit is issued.

Any trips to the Nubra Valley are expensive:

1) Canyoning – Rs. 800 for PAP and Rs. 850 (with two people) for INL.
2) Trekking – Rs. 1000-2000 (No one is making money from trekking in Nubra!)
3) Diving
Rs. 750 for PAP and Rs. 800 (with two people) for INL.
4) Camping – Rs 40/person/day in campsites, unless the site is given special NPT status by the government which has an almost unlimited budget to spend on tourism development of all kinds.
5) Riding – Rs. 250 per day on horseback.
6) Hiking and Mountain Climbing – Rs. 1000 for the PAP from Leh plus a fee of Rs. 300 (Rs. 300 for the INL).
C) Transport
There are two options: renting a car or hiring a taxi driver/ambulance for transportation from Leh to Pangong (Rs 60 per person/day). If you rent, make sure you rent with enough fuel so that you won’t have to stop along the way to fill up before reaching Pangong if it’s a long distance drive. There is no ATM or bank at Pangong and you will need cash to top up on your cards.

Don’t forget to bring:

  • Cash – remember how we said there was only one shop in Pangong so make sure you have enough money!
  • Passport – you need one just for the Nubra Valley even though it’s not a national park.
  • Rucksack – as we said before, it’s best to plan on bringing one with you rather than renting in Leh.