I have just returned from the top of the world – Ladakh. Two weeks of breathtaking (literally!) scenery, stunning mountains, dramatic views, monasteries and prayer flags. Incredible!
The highlights of the trip are too numerous to mention. We flew into Delhi then transferred up into the Himalayas. The awe-inspiring landscape was ever-changing – as were the temperatures as we made our way up from the heat and humidity of Delhi where it was hovering around 30 degrees centigrade to near freezing in the snowy mountains. Between October and April it drops well below freezing and many of the small villages are blocked from the outside world until Spring.
I fell in love with Leh and could easily have spent a few more days there. It was extremely chilled out. We visited two of the main monasteries on the outskirts of Leh which were wonderful to see and learn about Buddhism and had dinner with a local family in their home. We also visited the donkey sanctuary and brought the donkeys some carrots from the market - although I managed to give many of them away to a wily sheep and cow on the walk up from town! White-water rafting in the Zanskar Valley was a lot of fun and highly recommended.
The scenery had changed from dense green forests to arid mountains with massive valleys. Everywhere was stunning but it was to get even better. We travelled out to Tso Kar Lake where our campsite was in the middle of a wide valley, surrounded by snow capped mountains on all sides. We saw marmots and herds of wild donkeys running right in front of us which was a spectacular sight.
Accommodation ranged from tented camps to simple hotels where we always received a generous welcome and good food. In fact the food throughout was fantastic. As we moved towards the Chinese border the level of heat in the traditional lamb curry certainly intensified!
A fear of heights won’t help, as some of the drops off the side of the “roads” can be 1000m. The roads are in a poor state generally so you need to be prepared for this. One of our vehicles got stuck in the mud and then again on a partly collapsed bridge - the drivers had to wade into the river to pile rocks against the wheels to gain traction.
Any trip to Ladakh is going to be adventurous. You need to be open-minded and be prepared for anything as this is a remote part of the world. Accept that things don’t always go to plan - and try not to over exert yourself as any physical activity at this altitude can feel like hard work!
All in all, the journey of a lifetime – I can’t wait to go back!