Travel Essentials for a Ladakh trip
Updated: Mar 11
Ladakh - where nature flows beyond the horizon, where ethnicity preserves the culture and where adventures befriend the mountains. Ladakh is a place which makes you fall in love with the breath-taking view of snow-capped mountains, high altitude monasteries and simplicity of the people with their charming and delightful faces. Ladakh is an awesome combination of snow, desert, rivers, and lakes. The glaciers have their own different beauty. Festivals here aren’t less colourful and musical and the cuisine is simple but healthy.
With the breath-taking beauty, most regions of unexplored and barren. You may not even find a single human being for large distances and hence there are no shops easily available to get stuff that you need for the basic use.
One of the most visited, yet unexplored and unique destinations, Ladakh is famous across the world. Because if its varied yet cold climate conditions and very thinly populated region, one needs to be well prepared before you land in the region. As per my experience travelling a few times to Ladakh, following is a list of some essentials that one must have when on a Ladakh tour.
Water being the most important thing to carry while travelling in Ladakh, you need to carry minimum of 4 litres of water per person for every journey. You need to stay hydrated to avoid further health issues during or after the trip. If you are keen on drinking hot or warm water, you may have to carry a small thermos bottle in your carry-on bag. You can ask the room service people to fill it with warm water before you check-out form the hotel or start your journey. Generally, the water at room temperature also turns cold after some time because of the extremely cold climate. Drink as much water as you can and you can take as many pee breaks as you want.
Note:If you are using plastic bottles for water, try and reuse them as much as you can. Otherwise just throw them ONLY IN THE DUSTBINS when you stop over for a break or at the end of your journey to avoid pollution due to plastic.
2. Medical kit
Carry a medical kit is one another important thing to remember while packing for a trip to Ladakh. If you have any major illness or you are diabetic, or have high blood pressure or low blood pressure, visit your doctor before you start the journey. The doctor might make some changed in your dosage. Carry all the medicines prescribed by the doctor for the particular illness you have. Additionally, taking your doctor’s advice, carry medicines for headache, fever, cold and cough, body pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, loose motions etc. you also need to carry paracetamol, regular pain relief tablet (one that suits your body), pain balm or cream or spray, cough syrup etc. carry bandages, cotton, a pair of scissors, antiseptic liquid and antiseptic cream, Glucose-D, anti-vomiting pill (Domstal), anti-loose motion pills (Norflox-TZ), camphor and Diamox. Diamox will help you acclimatise quickly and easily only if you are not allergic to sulphur.
Carry all the medicines in the air tight container or a bag
It is the most important thing to take the advice of your doctor- regular doctor for any type of medicine you would be carrying on your trip, including Diamox.
Camphor helps in breathing in high altitudes.
Do not take any risk if you are facing any trouble with your health. In case of an extreme condition, come back to your home or to a region with low altitude as soon as possible.
Toiletries are other essential items that you need to carry on your Ladakh trip. You need to carry toiletries like sunscreen, body lotion, tooth brush and tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, facewash, shower gel or soap bar, liquid detergent, lip balm, Vaseline gel, coconut oil or mustard oil. It is better to carry the toiletries in small quantities which you need every day rather than compromising on things that you get in the local markets of some different brand. Being a smalls town even after having an increasing number of tourists every year, it is difficult to find the exact same brans that you prefer using every day. Keep your body moisturised all the time and apply a good amount of lip balm on your lips with regular intervals in order to avoid chapping. Always apply sunscreen when out for sightseeing to protect your skin for the harmful UV rays quite direct at high altitudes every during the hardest and coldest winters.
It is advisable to carry warm and comfortable cloths, woollen sweaters, waterproof jackets, shawls and scarfs, cap, socks, comforters and thermal inner wears, hand gloves, and comfortable inner wears. Try to keep your body, head and especially ears covered as much as possible. Cover your head with a cap or a scarf, ears with ear plugs and your neck with scarfs when it is very cold. Thermal inner wear makes your body comfortable and keeps your body warm. Keep your feet always covered, keep wearing socks all the time. Protect your head and ears to avoid headache and cold. Dressing up in layers would depend on person to person as well as weather conditions. Carry heavy woollen sweaters or jackets and coats to beat the cold. Avoid exposing your body parts as much as possible. Carry a small foldable umbrella to protect yourself from sun as well as rain.
5. Important Documents
It is very important to carry your Government Identity proofs along with you on your Ladakh trip. Also carry a couple of photocopies of each Government Identity proof and preferably keep one photocopy in each bag. Your identity proof is required for applying for internal permits and at certain check points.
Along with the Government Identity proofs carry a hard copy of the map of Ladakh, print out of your travel itinerary and emergency contact numbers, copy of medical insurance (if you have bought any), print out of your tickets (flight, bus, train) and hotel reservation details.
Because of low network connectivity or unavailability of continuous electricity to charge your phone, it is advisable to carry a hard copy of all important contact details like the emergency contact numbers, hotel and flight details and other important documents and details.
6. Food and snacks
Carry little food and snacks that you would like to munch during your trip. Carry some chocolates, energy bars and dry fruits is a good idea as these provide an instant energy as well as they are easy to carry. Carry food and snacks that does not occupy much space in your luggage or make it heavy. Carry ready to make food like upma, noodles, cup noodles which would not need anything more than warm water to cook and eat.
Also carry a couple packs of Glucose C/D as it helps to get instant energy after long hours of travel. It is the best and most refreshing drink especially at high altitudes. You can also donate some biscuits, chocolates and other food and snacks to the local kids. The smiles on their faced would be really worth it.
Take along a god camera which has rechargeable battery to capture the most beautiful memories of your journey. Don’t forget to carry extra batteries and memory card for the camera because everything is so magnificent that you don’t want to miss capturing anything in your camera. Along with these, carry charger of your camera batteries, other chords, solar chargers (if you have), camera cleaning kit. Spare batteries are important to carry as the battery drains quite quickly in the cold weather.
For your mobile, don’t forget to carry the charging cords and battery bank to charge your phone or other devices to keep them running throughout the day.
Remember to keep all the devises in a water proof pouch or box and add a small silicon packets in this pouch or box to avoid moisture. Carry some 3 pin plugs/sockets for three different devices. Carry a pen-drive of 16-32 GB or a hard drive to copy your images in it when your camera’s memory card is full.
It is advised to carry enough cash along with you to avoid wasting time in withdrawing cash from the AMT. generally, being a small town and a famous tourist destination, ATMs are available only in the main cities like Srinagar, Kargil, Ladakh, Manali etc. and you would find long queues outside ATMs. Also, card swiping machines are also rarely available at the shops. To avoid borrowing money from your friends or co-travellers, carry enough cash to shop things that you like or even to buy essential items required during the travel like snacks, water or toiletries.
If you are quite enthusiastic to document your journey on paper, don’t forget to pack a small pocket diary and a pair of pens or pencils in your bag. You might also want to write some important facts that your tour guide would tell you during the trip. You can also buy some stationery like pens, pencils, books, notebooks, crayons, colours etc. at the local shop to donate to the local kids. The local kids would be really happy with the small gifts you give them.
If you are a book worm and like reading during travel, carry a quick read book to that you may read during the long drive hours or while relaxing in the hotel room.
10. Mobile connectivity
Post-paid connections from other states of India only work in Ladakh. Also, only the BSNL/MTNL post-paid connects work beyond Leh. So, in order to stay connected to your close ones while on the trip, carry a BSML/MTNL post-paid connection card along with you if you don’t want to depend upon STD booths. Also, these STD booths are not easily available everywhere in Ladakh.
Take along a pair polaroid sunglasses to protect your eyes from the strong UV rays. Take a long some wet wipes, tissue papers, to use them when on a long drive. Carry some large plastic bags to collect all the litter in one place when you are on a drive from one place to another and be a responsible traveller.
If you are planning to go for a trek in Ladakh, carry good trekking equipment.
Take along a torch/flashlight, especially when you are planning t stay in the tented accommodation.
Don’t forget to make a list of essentials you want to carry on the trip and carry all the things listed there. Experience heaven none other than Ladakh.
When an urge to escape to the end of the earth strikes you, visit Ladakh.