If you are wondering what it is like to enjoy Ladakh alone, we have one word for you, and that word is 'paradise'. In Ladakh, being alone can be addictive too. For it is a different kind of solo travel experience to breathe in the freshness of Ladakh. So if you like exploring things solo, Ladakh is a highly recommended solo travel destination. It is where your thirst for a solo travel experience is served fresh every single time you visit, no matter who many times you go.
If you're an adventure-lover even when you approach life, then a solo trip to Ladakh is filled with infinite possibilities.
Ladakh is also the place to get lost in. For there are places here that take you far away from human civilization. At these uninhabited places, you'll be far from phones and screens too. If you find this to be another interesting prospect the Ladakh is the place for you (especially if you aren't prone to AMS or acute mountain sickness.
So assuming that you've now shortlisted Lakdakh as your next solo travel destination, here is a guide for solo travelers in Ladakh.
Before you pack your bags and head off to Leh, prepare a rough itinerary that guides you in that flow. It's not about the destination, but about the flow. Following a schedule can be stressful for a solo traveler but not following one can be chaotic and could lead to unexpected problems in the more remote places of Ladakh. Hence, taking your time to plan the trip in rough detail is important. Having such a plan also helps you to calculate the approximate costs of the trip.
Take up your solo journey during tourist season time which is between June to September. One reason why traveling in season time is best is that you'll save quite a bit because private taxis are way too expensive during the off-season.
The second reason is the frequency of public transport. During peak season time you'll have more transportation facilities to support your trip, while during the less touristy and dry off-season, public transportation is infrequent. Another reason why transport options are limited during the off-season is because of roadblocks and snowfalls.
You'll especially have to worry about this if you are planning for a beautiful Indian road trip, solo or otherwise because snow is heavy here. If at all you need any help or roadside assistance, the probability of getting help on time is much higher during tourist season time, rather than during the off-season.
Being a solo traveller, you need to pack everything you need to support yourself as there are no backup people. You need to be solely dependent on yourself and so here is a list of things that you should add to your back bag.
- Make sure you have your thermal wear. It gets pretty cold in Ladakh.
- Have a fleece jacket and windproof jacket, in case you get caught in rain or snow.
- Make sure you have woollen clothes to manage the climate conditions there, especially if you intend to climb to high altitudes or experience treks such as the epic Chadar Trek in Ladakh.
- A pair of warm shoes, comfortable jeans, sunglasses, caps etc. are a given when you are travelling of course.
- Your personal medication is a must. Never compromise on carrying a small medical kit in case you need supplies and they are not readily available.
- If you are a solo biker, ensure that you are tripping with proper riding gear, helmets and basic bike parts to self-service your bike in case it is needed.
- Always have your ID proofs ready, make sure you carry your aadhar card or license. Remember that PAN cards will not be accepted as proof of identity at most places here.
- If you are road-tripping on your bike, remember to carry all vehicle documents. Don't miss out on any and ensure that they are all updated.
This is very important, and it is almost a necessary thing. Keep an emergency contact listed both on your phone and written on paper.
Write the name of the person and the number of the person on a couple of papers. Keep one in your bag and the other one, either your wallet or in your pocket.
In case of an emergency, this will guide the person trying to help you. In case if your phone can't be used, at least the contact details on the paper will help.
Since you are on a solo Lakadh trip, you should know of a few do's and don'ts.
Do's on the Trip
- Don't forget to carry a water bottle, make sure you keep yourself hydrated all the time. Make sure you don't run out of drinking water and fill your water bottle frequently. Staying hydrated is important when you travel to high altitudes.
- Be aware of the weather conditions there and plan your daily itinerary accordingly.
- Try to carry dry snacks so you have something to nibble on even when shops are scarce.
- First aid is a must, keep a kit handy.
- If you are prone to altitude sickness, take your medicines beforehand.
- Be an early bird. Go early to the places you wish to visit to avoid crowds and traffic jams.
- Although you are on a solo trip, hang out with a group when you visit Ladakh's attractions because you might get a chance to discover something different with a group.
- Make sure you are not wearing revealing dresses when you are visiting monasteries or gompas. Be mindful of local sentiments.
- Don't carry or enjoy intoxicating substances while you are on the trip, especially since you are traveling alone.
- Don't forget that there is a ban on plastics in Ladakh. Don't carry plastic bags, rather carry reusable bags of some other material.
- Finally, don't litter on your trail. Ensure that you leave the place you've visited, just as clean as your found it.
Ladakh provides enough accommodation options such as hotels and homestays, but you still have to decide where you want to rest.
Staying in hotels in Ladakh can be exciting as most hotels here have alluring views from the windows and balconies. But if you are concerned about the cost of your hotel room here, then opting for a hostel will also do.
A PG or a hostel setup will reduce your lodging cost and at the same time, you get to meet new people with similar travel tastes as yours.
You can try and savour the local food of Ladak in the restaurants near you or you can walk down your local street to taste the street snacks.
If you are a chai lover, do not miss the opportunity to taste the Tibetan tea served on the way to Pangong Lake.
If you wish to take something home, then you have shops selling shawls that are a speciality in Ladakh. Apart from that you also have some Tibetan curio shops.
Your Ladakh solo trip is not just about the adventure but also about exploring the natural beauty of the place.
Nature seems to have handcrafted Ladalh with incredible natural beauty that makes for stunning visuals in your solo travel photos. As a solo traveler, plan a Ladakh itinerary in a manner that you have ample time to explore the following:
This heavenly beauty requires some effort to get to but the view when you finally get there is worth every bit of your effort. The pristine lake that features in almost every Ladakh tourism photo, can be reached by following a trail that runs about 20km from Nubra valley. Though it is quite a hike, you're immediately arrested by the beauty of your surroundings once you do get there.
On the other side of this gorgeous lake lies China and the volatile border is not too far from here.
Though it has such problems, the view is great and the experience is bliss. As you hike to Pangong Lake, you can take a breather at Merak Village which thankfully enjoys an uninterrupted power supply. In fact, you can also choose to stay here overnight and you'll have a great staying experience for a phenomenal Ladakh experience.
Dominated by its spiritual aura, Ladakh is definitely a place to explore Buddhist monasteries.
Diskit monastery is one of the oldest and most famous of Ladakh monasteries located in the Nubra valley. This monastery belongs to the yellow hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was established by Changzeb Tserab Zangpo in the 14th century. There are also other temples and monasteries around this place, which you can also explore if you have the time.
Filled with spirituality, the mystic ambience you feel when you visit this monastery lets you revive your soul and feel the peace deep to the depth of your soul.
Nubra Valley is another breathtaking piece of beauty that nature has blessed Ladakh with. The pass to Nubra valley passes through the Khardung La Pass, a mountain pass at an elevation of 18,000ft. The snow-filled mountains nearby make it a spectacular experience with a variety of rides. Also, there are contrasting sand dunes that contribute and add to the beauty of this stunning landscape.
Leh, a not-so-crowded town in Ladakh, is where you can roam around and explore every corner. Walking through the streets is a totally different experience here. The local markets here do offer bikes that you can rent for a day, and the cost ranges from 1000 to 1500 INR per day. Leh, Ladakh is especially colourful during festivals like Diksit Gustor or Thiksey Gustor and if you get the chance to visit it during one such festival, do not miss the opportunity.
The Khardung La pass is the highest mountain pass in Ladakh and it is located at an elevation of 18000 ft above sea level. As you drive through the pass, you get restriction-free views of snow-capped mountains and breathtaking valleys.
The beauty of Ladakh can't be explained away by mentioning a few tourist spots though, for it's beyond that; much beyond that. Exploring Ladakh by yourself, as a solo traveler, is the only real way to know the experience first-hand.
Take your time exploring Ladakh. Don't rush it. You wouldn't regret it even if you spent some more time here than you originally planned. Because every experience here becomes a lifelong memory. In the years to come, you'll sit back and cherish the memories that Ladakh gave you while you were there. Because once you're here, a little bit of Ladakh always leaves with you in your backpack.