Ladakh is in the Jammu and Kashmir region of India. That state has had many troubles and many times it is unsafe to travel there, but luckily Ladakh never really sees those troubles and is safe to travel to. Leh is the capital of the region and when our plane started descending into Leh I noticed how barren the area looked, it seemed like it was too high up for any plants to grow. It was a bit scary landing in Leh as there are many mountains around and it seemed like the airport was just surrounded by them.
One of the first things that we noticed about Leh was the lack of pushiness from the taxi drivers. When we exited the airport a man asked if we wanted a taxi and as we were used to the Indian way we declined and he just said okay. At that second we knew we were going to like it here! Ladakhi people are very friendly people and many of them came from Tibet for refuge.
|Walking around the backstreets of Leh|
About a year before we began this trip I was looking through a friends photos on Facebook. He had been to Ladakh and after seeing those photos, especially of Pangong Tso Lake, I vowed that I had to go there some day. So here we were now in Leh, looking around at various agents with trips to Pangong Tso leaving every day. I was so excited!
We found one travel agent that had a couple that wanted to leave within the next couple of days and wanted to find people to share a jeep with. After chatting to the man inside we decided to go with them as he seemed very genuine and friendly. We met the lovely Dutch couple and were excited for our upcoming trip. Unfortunately the weather was quite cloudy the first couple of days so we decided to wait a couple of more days, both for the sky to clear and to hopefully find two more people to join the trip and make it cheaper for all of us.
We got lucky on both counts as a couple of days later a couple from Australia and Canada joined us and the clouds cleared. We had planned on driving the six or so hours to the lake and then spend a night there as people say that the lake changes its look at the different times of the day.
That day before going to the lake we decided to change guesthouses and had a walk outside of town in a wonderful country area but only 20 minutes away from the center of town. We found The Oriental Guesthouse and were amazed at how wonderfully relaxing it was, the owners were so nice too that we ended up spending a couple of weeks there!
|The Oriental Guesthouse|
|The views from our bedroom.|
|Amazing views on the way to the lake!|
|Driving on one of the many mountain passes in Ladakh.|
|One of the sweet mountain dogs...Willy wouldn't last a day!|
|Pangong Tso Lake.|
But anyway enough talk of s*it, after a nice lunch together it was time to find our home for the night. Most people that go to Pangong Tso lake usually go on a day trip, we had read that the lakes colours constantly change during the different times of the day so decided to stay overnight. There wasn't a huge amount of accommodation but we found a place right on the shore line. It was a family home and quite old but they provided a lot of blankets for us (because we were up in the Himalayas it got pretty cold in the evenings).
|Another photo of the beautiful lake|
|...and again, but Jason is in this one :)|
|The random toilets and sinks next to the lake.|
|Some prayer stones by the lake.|
|Just to make us remember that we were still in India!|
|Drinking hot choco in the Yurt.|
|Pangong Tso at sunset.|
|Early morning Pangong Tso.|
|Me and the lake.|
|This was the amazing backdrop when you turned your back to the lake!|
Getting there and away:
This is probably the toughest part about Ladakh is getting there. There is only 1 option for 9 months of the year and that is flying which can be quite expensive. During June, July and August the snow is cleared on the mountain passes which makes driving possible. It's a long journey that took us about 26 hours on our way home. We had heard that many jeeps take 2 days to do the journey which we would have preferred but there was nobody offering this option when we were trying to book our way out of Leh.
We flew up from Delhi and then drove back down.
For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the travel agent that we used to book our trips while in Ladakh. He was a really nice man and genuinely seemed interested in keeping costs down for us. His shop was on the main street and right by the delicious bakery/restaurant that everyone frequents while in Leh. (I hope that helps a little) He organized a jeep to and from the Nubra valley and Pangong Tso lake for us.
Where we stayed:
Oriental Guesthouse: We moved to here after leaving our ice box of a room at the previous guesthouse. We had seen that this place had excellent reviews on tripadvisor. We definitely weren't disappointed! For the same price as the other place we had a beautiful room that had the most wonderful views of the mountains. It was about 15 minutes walk away from the main area of Leh, but this walk was down wonderful small streets with beauty all around. I 100% recommend staying in this part of town, it was an amazing experience!
|More views from our guesthouse.|
|The incredible drive|
|Jason napping during the drive.|
|Twas a bit windy during the day!|