10 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Visit Ladakh

by Vargis.Khan

Go back 10 years and you will hardly find anyone who has been to Ladakh; or wanted to be there. Fast forward to today and Ladakh is probably the most hot favorite tourist destination of our country. Come summer and everyone starts to work on their itineraries; some solo and others with family and friends. If you too fall in that category, have plans to visit Ladakh anytime soon; mentioned below are 10 reasons why you should cancel it all and never visit Ladakh ever. There are a few rare diseases that you may catch there and below is a list.

visit ladakh

Ladakh Syndrome

If you are thinking that you will visit Ladakh this year and be done with it; you are terribly wrong. Ladakh is an addiction; a habit that you will not be able to shake off ever. I visited Ladakh a decade ago for the first time and god knows how it affected me. Now I have been there multiple times; have built up this entire blog and hardly a day goes by when I am not planning my next visit to Ladakh; or answering queries related to Ladakh. You may catch Ladakh Syndrome while you are there and suffer from it for rest of your life; trying to get back there again and again; like an ant crawling up the wall desperately trying to reach the top.

If you go there once, immediately after your return, you will start preparing a list of places that you did not cover and would do so during your trip next year. Trust me it will happen; ask anyone who has been there.

Lake Enchantment

Yes there is black magic too in Ladakh. You may fall under enchantment of the beautiful and mesmerizing lakes here. This spell will leave you with a strong desire to take a dip in these deep blue waters. Do not attempt or do so at your own risk. These lakes are quite deep with freezing cold water. If you take a dip here, your entire body will go numb resulting in you drowning to the bottom. This is the kind of effect these lakes will have on you. You will see the big one, then the smaller one and you will start finding more and more small bodies of water that you could go exploring.

Sky Spell

The skies here are so clear, free of pollution that every star shines as bright as it can. The magnificent nights of Ladakh will present you with a magnificent view of Milky Way and once that happens, the spell will take effect. Each night from there on, you will stand out in the open with your eyes fixated and camera pointed at the sky. Sometimes you will be trying to shoot a pic of the moon or sometimes just the stars. You will be frustrated because nowhere else you will get the view that you got at Ladakh. This spell cannot really be lifted and you won’t rest until you are back in Ladakh with your camera and the Tripod.

Photography Flu

I caught this 10 years ago when I visited Ladakh and am still suffering from it. Until then, camera for me was just a cheap point and shoot. Now I have three different SLRs, several lenses, and I am still thinking which one to buy next. No matter where I go, I start to look for the camera. Everywhere I look, I look for opportunities to click. I find photography moments in simplest of things and regret why I did not have my camera at that time. I have even clicked photographs from a footbridge on a busy road in Delhi, with Tripod mounted, until the cops shooed me away. Everywhere I go, everywhere I look, all I think is “Wow, that would have been a good picture”. This is a very serious illness and you should never visit Ladakh in order to avoid it.

Your family will start to think of you as crazy because even for a small walk, you may just start to pick up your camera; just in case there is a photography moment there.

Taste Disorder

Ladakh is heaven when it comes to food. Trust me, while you are there, it would feel like the entire world has been served on a plate called Ladakh. Indian, Chinese, continental, Kashmiri, vegetarian, non-vegetarian; whatever your interest is; you will find it in plenty in Ladakh and at reasonable prices. The problem however starts to occur when any food that is not from Ladakh feels tasteless. You will come home and no matter what you eat; it will remind you of what you ate in Ladakh. You will crave for that food and it has some really serious implications. You can turn homeless after getting thrown out of your house by your Mom or wife; because you ended up telling them how amazing food in Ladakh was and how their cooking isn’t really up to the mark in comparison.

Nomadic Fever

If your condition worsens, you may end up suffering from Nomadic fever. A trip to Ladakh will inspire the traveler inside you, the explorer that has been in hiding for a long time. You may start trying to find remote places, destination where no one goes. If time or budget is short and you cannot make it to Ladakh; you will travel to some other places but travel you will. Every weekend will start to sound like an invitation to hit the road. You will start to feel lost when home and feel at home when lost heading towards an unknown destination. Staying at comfortable hotels would look dull and in a tent under the blue sky would feel superb. Delicate dishes in shining plates will lose their charm but a bowl of Maggie at a roadside dhaba will grow on you.

Adventure Bug

This is a very serious Bug that bites people in Ladakh; and effects are really grave. You may not have been on an adventure at all, ever in your life but a trip to Ladakh will change that. The challenging nature of the roads, the rough terrain, harsh weather may convert you from a boring nerd to an adventurous daredevil. You would want to try some other dares as well; anything you could find will do. Things you once considered as dangerous and risky will start to attract you. There is really no cure for it. You will just have to sit at home with doors closed, never wander out from the usual home to work route and the effect may just worn off after some time.

Cultural Disorder

So you are a Hindu or a Muslim; or of any other faiths present in India and set in your own ways? Well, unless you are ready for some change, you should never visit Ladakh. The culture here is a mess. There are Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and all are living in perfect harmony. You can never tell who has the majority out here. There will be the soothing Azaan from the loudspeakers of a Masjid, the musical sound of chants from an ancient monastery, purifying sound of bells in a nearby temple, the soul-lifting sound of paath at one of the highest Gurudwaras in India; together, these will split your cultural personality in several. You will become a person of all faiths and you will start visiting all religious places with same amount of respect.

Hospitality Mania

It is not just the place, but people here a menace too. They are so hospitable, always eager to let you in their own homes, greeting and treating you with so much respect. And this particular illness is highly contagious. They will pass on this hospitality mania to you and after you come home, you tool will start reacting in the same manner. You will be humble to everyone and never mistreating anybody. The anger and frustration inside will be all gone and will be replaced by an everlasting respect towards people.

Story Telling Virus

Finally a trip to Ladakh will turn you in to a threat to not just yourself but to the society as well. Ever saw those boring people who love to talk about things they have done, places they have been to; while everyone else is wondering when will the story get over? You will catch this virus in Ladakh. Your family, friends and acquaintances will start avoiding you; because at every chance you get, you will start telling tales of your trip to Ladakh. You will bore them over and over again about how adventurous and fun your trip was; will nag them continuously about how they should too come to Ladakh with you. You will repeat the same story over and over again and still not be done with it. Eventually, people will run at the very sight of you saying “Arrey yaar ye phir Ladakh ke kisse sunayega”.

Never Visit Ladakh

These are some of very serious concerns that you should consider before visiting Ladakh. It is a dangerous life changing place and in my opinion, everyone should stay away and never visit Ladakh in their lives, not even once. I hope my warnings were quite clear and the hidden message underneath was delivered. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our Community Forum and I will be glad to answer. I have been to Ladakh multiple times and I suffer from all of the above mentioned. If you too are such a gone case, please feel free to share your sufferings in comments below.

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70 comments

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saif October 20, 2020 - 10:35 pm

hi.omg alrdy xcited about ladakh..v r like 6 friends travelling from hyd to ladakh.but its a tour of only 5 days.hyd to delhi to ladakh..is it must that v stay in hotel for two days so that v get used to low oxygen level..plzz tell us..wud appreaciate it alott.plzz advice us wat to do..

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Vargis.Khan October 26, 2020 - 1:12 pm

You do not have to if you were feeling ok

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Leong October 25, 2019 - 7:05 am

I was down badly with the same “Ladakh Syndrome” since 10 years ago after visiting the Roof top of the World. the road going up was bad then, it was challenging & adventurous especially end up with a curfew in Kashmir. despite i am a very bad traveller with motion sickness, never regret the trip. never get bored looking again & again at the photos. Your sharing of knowledge & travelling experience is good for people who are planning a trip there. will recommend to friends.Keep up the good job.

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Vargis.Khan October 25, 2019 - 11:42 am

Thank you for sharing your experience Leong

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Sweety June 16, 2019 - 11:52 am

I have one question? Is ladakh not safe for cardiac patients?

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Dr Leo Rebello November 29, 2018 - 5:35 pm

Rebello family (God the Father, God the Mother & Holy Son) visited Ladakh in June 2010. From Srinagar, we went by road, to Ladakh, via Sonmarg, Zozi La, Drass, Kargil, Mulbek, Lamayaru to Leh.

Pangong Lake (divided into India and China) is invigorating. Don’t you dare swim in it, unless you are an Eskimo. My son wanted to shake hands with Chinese soldiers, but we were warned not to go beyond a certain point. By the way, 60% Pangong Lake is in Chinese territory.

Leh and Ladakh is still untouched by the hand of urban culture fever. It wins hearts with its simplicity. Largely influenced by Buddhism, this is where Jesus studied in those missing years, at the Hemis Monastery.

To see pure, rugged face of nature, one must visit Ladakh atleast once in lifetime instead of going to Swiss mountain tops. We are thinking of going to Ladakh again next year since last time we could not visit Nubra Valley due to landslide. This time we will go via Manali by Road.

For Air Sickness, Air Hunger, Extreme Cold, take basic precautions and small Homeopathy kit with you.

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Vargis.Khan November 30, 2018 - 1:48 pm

Thanks for sharing the information Dr. Rebello.

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Surbhi agarwal August 18, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Hey! It was an awesome piece of write up! My husband is planning for a trip to ladakh n I also wanna join him..and after reading dis article i m more eager now! But I m afraid to carry my three year old son..is it advisable from your side to take him?

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Pardeep Sharma August 8, 2020 - 12:32 pm

Nothing…u can plan wd ur kid n family…al very nice …only thing is 3 days complete rest in hotel room to adjust ur body to less oxygen there …. rest no problem… we gone by road so we took 24 hrs rest in hotel… plan in the month July to August only
Its really awesome

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shreyasee July 18, 2018 - 8:06 am

I have been bitten by all the bugs mentioned in your blog and suffering frmo the diseases. The only cure seems to be visiting Ladakh again. Only if I had come across this blog before heading for this place beyond paradise !!

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Vargis.Khan July 18, 2018 - 1:27 pm

Thanks Shreyasee 🙂

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hemant July 6, 2018 - 10:47 am

can asthama patient or Epilepsy (Mirgi) patient visit to lah ladhakh???
what precaution should they do???

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Vargis.Khan July 6, 2018 - 3:05 pm

That is really a question for a Doctor Hemant.

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Asha Seth June 28, 2018 - 8:33 am

What a terrific article! I am visiting Ladakh this year with friends and family in first week of October. Quite obviously, I am tearing down the internet for anything and everything I need to know before I start the trip. And here was your article. With shaking fingers, I clicked on the link, well because, come on, I have already booked flights worth 70K. And you took me by surprise. The way it’s planned and worded, simply mesmerising. I wish I could speak to you personally on the phone, perhaps, regarding the trip.

P.S.: I am a blogger too and interactions with someone as established as you in travel writing, will help me learn a lot.

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Nitin Parashar May 31, 2018 - 6:12 am

Hi Vargis,

Your Blogs are always a must read for every traveler. I am also planning a trip in the mid of Jun,18 below is my itinerary. I have limited time and have tried to do plan the best way I could. We are 6 people planning a bike trip. Please check the details and tell if it is doable on bike.

Date Start Destination Kms start time
15-Jun-18 Delhi Jammu 620 11 pm 14th Jun
16-Jun-18 Jammu Sonamarg 360 7:00 AM
17-Jun-18 Sonamarg Kargill 130 9:00 AM
18-Jun-18 Kargill Leh 217 8:00 AM
19-Jun-18 Leh 8:00 AM
20-Jun-18 Leh Nubra 160 8:00 AM
21-Jun-18 Nubra Debring 270 8:00 AM
22-Jun-18 Debring Tso Moriri 120 8:00 AM
23-Jun-18 Tso Moriri Keylong 336 6:00 AM
24-Jun-18 Keylong Ropar 383 6:00 AM
25-Jun-18 Ropar Delhi 276 6:00 AM

Also, we are planning it on 4 RE 350 classic. Please let us know other options in bike which we can consider.
And how many petrol pumps are there on the way and how much we should stock up.

Do we need any permits for this trip? if yes how we can get it done in advance please share if you have any contact for the same.

Thanks a ton in advance.

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Ayyappan Nochur May 6, 2018 - 6:32 am

Dear Varghese Khan

I read most of your travelogues and are really impressive.

Please inform whether a Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Nubra Valley- Pangong Lake- Tso Moriri Lake-

Return via Sarchu – Jispa – Keylong – Manali – can be done in a MARUTI 800 car ?

If Not, which is the Best vehicle suitable for just 3 PERSONS ?

THANK YOU

MRS.MALATHY

CHENNAI

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Vargis.Khan May 7, 2018 - 3:16 am

Hello Mrs. Malathy,

The trip can be done in a 800 depending that the person driving is really excellent at it and your car is in a very good condition. On a general note though, 800 is not a car that you would want to bring to Ladakh. Any SUV with high ground clearance will be best for the purpose.

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Monika Rao Singh October 3, 2017 - 7:23 am

I am already regretting that we planned this family trip just for 5 days…..next week . wish I had read this article earlier!
I read your other articles too on planning visit to Leh, They all are so informative. Kudos for doing such a great job!!

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Vargis.Khan October 3, 2017 - 1:58 pm

Thank you for your encouraging words Monika. Do not regret, visit for 5 days this year, leave a few things unexplored and give yourself a reason to visit again next year.

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Deepika August 9, 2017 - 5:02 pm

I have just come back from my trip three weeks back and I vouch for all that you have written …My heart and mind is still there and in think most of my future holiday plans are already set in Ladakh..

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Vargis.Khan August 10, 2017 - 3:18 pm

Thanks Deepika

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Azima Syed August 8, 2017 - 10:40 am

This is truly fantastic
I suppose it’s time for me to plan a trip to Ladakh.

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Vargis.Khan August 8, 2017 - 1:46 pm

Thanks Azima and yes, you must plan a trip.

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Mahesh August 3, 2017 - 12:28 pm

Hello Vargis Bro, Hope you remember..I’m Mahesh from Blore spoke to you last month about road trip to Leh from blore by XUV..We are starting on AUG 12th..Ty v much for making me understand to plan my itenary, Your information was most helpful to us.

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Vargis.Khan August 3, 2017 - 2:34 pm

You are most welcome Mahesh Bhai. Do let me know how your trip went and don’t forget to share some pictures.

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Imran Khan August 3, 2017 - 7:43 am

Bhai dara rahe ho ya uksaa rahe ho??

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Vargis.Khan August 3, 2017 - 2:33 pm

Imran Bhai Irada toh uksane ka tha …

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Fatou August 1, 2017 - 6:33 pm

Visiting this August and we really cannot wait mixed feelings of the departure is already giving us a taste of what to expect!! Thank you! 🙂

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 9:01 pm

You are welcome Fatou. All the best for your trip, do share your experience upon return.

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Jignesh August 1, 2017 - 5:56 am

Vargisbhai, you really nailed it! I have been to Ladakh once and not started planning for next trip 🙂 Most of the points you covered are really true and the execution of the article is awesome. Keep rocking

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 3:10 pm

Thank you for your appreciating words Jignesh Bhai.

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Manas Shah July 31, 2017 - 1:44 pm

#MannKiBaat @VargisKhan Please iska copyright karwalo… Warna mere jaise log isko copy karlenge.. ✌

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 3:17 pm

LOL Manas Bhai, I am glad that you liked it. Thank you for your appreciating words.

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Raj July 30, 2017 - 7:46 pm

Vargis. Jule hi, the simplest & best written experience and description of Ladakh. Just the respect it deserves, even in a funny manner you’ve described it so well. I’ve not been there for two decades now, after visiting it straight from ’84 to ’95 many times over.
You brought back the memories & drew out the spirit of the place quite well. To many more journeys, cheers

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 4:21 pm

Hello Raj – Jule. Thank you for your appreciating words and am glad that you liked the article.

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Geetanjali July 30, 2017 - 6:05 pm

Very innovative way of creating strong urge of visiting ladakh… ☺

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 4:21 pm

Thank you Geetanjali for taking the time to drop an appreciating note.

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Mahfuza July 30, 2017 - 1:08 am

I am planning to visit Ladakh. I read your article that make me mad. I am from Bangladesh and planning to visit Ladakh. I will take bus from Manali on 6th September. Do I need to book ticket in advance? How I will get permission to visit Nubra valley and other places? Please suggest Hotel in Nubra and Panglong lake.
Regards
Mahfuza

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Hello, You do not need to book ticket in advance, you can buy it a day before from Manali itself. For hotels in Nubra valley and at Pangong, please see the articles below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/accommodation-nubra-valley/

https://vargiskhan.com/log/accommodation-at-pangong-tso/

For obtaining permit, please read the below article.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/obtaining-ladakh-protected-area-permit/

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Mahfuza August 1, 2017 - 7:57 pm

Thanks. Khan, you made me crazy. It is budget trip. We are five women. I am 62 years old other are around 50 /55. I have seen your form. Hopefully there will be no problem to get permission. I will choose oone from your suggested accommodation. We will try to get bus if it match with our date otherwise we will take share transport. We will reach Leh on 7 September
8 we will do sightseeing and do work for permission.9&10 September for Nubra valley Diskit
11 & 12 September Panglong and Tso moriri
13 and 14 need your help and suggestions

Please help me to do my itinerary

15 September we will back to Kolkata

Regards
Mahfuza

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 8:59 pm

Are you landing in Leh directly or Srinagar? And where is your return flight from?

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Mahfuza August 2, 2017 - 2:29 am

I am coming from Manali and going back from Leh Kolkata flight.

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Vargis.Khan August 2, 2017 - 3:23 pm

Hello Ma’m – You can plan your trip in the following manner.

7th – Leh
8th – Leh, arrange permits and local sightseeing
9th – Leh to Diskit, take bus if not, take the shared taxi from Leh bus stand. There are daily sahred taxis from Leh to Diskit starting early in the morning at about 7-8 AM. Fare is about 300 – 400 per person.
10th – Diskit to Leh
11th – Leh to Pangong – If you can find a bus, board it or else take a shared cab
12th – Pangong to Leh
13th – Leh to Tso Moriri – Shared cab or bus again
14th – Tso Moriri to Leh

Problem is that there is no shared cab or bus available on direct routes from Nubra to Pangong or Pangong to Tso Moriri so you will have to return to Leh. If you can find some kind of transport that can take you to Pangong Tso from Nubra directly than you can take that or else you have no other choice but to either return to Leh or hire a private taxi.

To be quite honest, I will highly recommend hiring a private cab for safety and comfort.

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Mahfiza August 2, 2017 - 6:01 pm

Hi Vargis
Thanks for you help. If I need help I will let you know. Thanks again
Regards
Mahfuza

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Vargis.Khan August 2, 2017 - 9:22 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Bhawana July 20, 2017 - 10:20 am

Is August 15-30 good time and safe to travel, Vargis Bhai ?? I am planning to travel aong with my husband in XUV (Manali-Leh route) – we are bit concerned about rains?

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Vargis.Khan July 20, 2017 - 2:44 pm

Hello Bhawana Ji – August 15-30 will be Ok to travel but avoid the Srinagar route around 15th. Go via Manali and return via Srinagar around 30th.

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Kaustubh Kale July 12, 2017 - 3:35 pm

Vargisbhai, one honest question, how many times have you visited Ladakh? 🙂

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Vargis.Khan July 12, 2017 - 8:00 pm

Kaustubh Bhai I have been there 7 times in last 10 years.

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Kaustubh Kale July 13, 2017 - 5:21 am

Fantastic.

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Kaustubh Kale July 8, 2017 - 4:47 am

Vargisbhai, do you know anyone who can arrange Inner Line Permits for me in advance?

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Vargis.Khan July 8, 2017 - 11:51 pm

Kaustubh Bhai I only got it done once and have not been in touch with at person after that. If you want, I can still give you the name and number.

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 4:01 am

Oh fantastic! This is good stuff. So I dont need to give them an exact itinerary. Only mentioning the name of places and rough dates is okay right like say 28 July to 6 August. 10 days aise. Great. Can I mention the following names of places – Diskit and Panamik, Nubra Valley, Spangmik, Pangong Lake, Karzok/Korzok, Tso Moriri. Does this sound okay? yes i have seen your form and application letter. I am anyways travelling alone.
Also, the hotel that you mentioned, I can consider it, can you share the name? I can get the contact number anyhow. Just that, I am unsure if I will be staying there. I don’t mind staying in that hotel if it is in budget (less than 500 bucks) for me. Solo.
Also, I found an agency online that does this ILP thing, but is charging me a bomb of 950 per person.

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 4:46 pm

Correct Kaustubh Bhai. Just the name of the places and an overall time frame of a week or 10 days per you plan. That hotel is a bit on the expensive side, not 500. Hotel’s name is Hotel Tsomo-Ri and number is 01982 253 622. The person you spoke to, is he asking Rs. 950 apart from the charges for permits? Or overall including everything?

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MANOJ July 7, 2017 - 8:50 am

I clicked on this to see some medical advise for someone who is a heart patient and PTC have done last march’16. But when start to read this, couldn’t stop myself till it ended. And my wish make more stronger to visit this place. I have planned my visit to Leh from 3rd sept’17. I m 42 yrs healthy male(?? may be ?? as per my current health report). What would you suggest?? Should I search a companion or book a package thru any tour operator??

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Vargis.Khan July 7, 2017 - 6:02 pm

Thanks Manoj. I would advise against tour operators. Find a travel partner and if you can’t then just travel solo. A lot of people do that.

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RAHUL RAJ July 3, 2017 - 8:58 am

This is just amazing….!!!.
Thanks man for sharing such great observations….!!!! 🙂

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Vargis.Khan July 3, 2017 - 4:40 pm

Thanks Rahul 🙂

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Rachit Roshyan July 1, 2017 - 4:46 pm

Couldn’t agree more…cheers

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Vargis.Khan July 1, 2017 - 5:44 pm

Thanks Rachit

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Neeta Brid July 1, 2017 - 8:49 am

Sounds splendid!!
You’ve got us flu-ed (read floored)
Neeta Brid

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Vargis.Khan July 1, 2017 - 5:44 pm

Thanks Neeta

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Kaustubh Kale July 1, 2017 - 5:30 am

Fantastic write up Vargisbhai! Super stuff. I initially felt scared looking at the title. But this was awesome stuff! More power to you. Positivity in this form is enchanting.

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Vargis.Khan July 1, 2017 - 5:45 pm

Thank you so much Kaustubh Bhai

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Nikheel July 1, 2017 - 2:04 am

Nice write up Vargis

Regards

Nikheel

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Vargis.Khan July 1, 2017 - 5:46 pm

Thanks Nikheel Bhai

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Nikheel July 31, 2017 - 2:37 am

Just competed a Goa -Manali- Jispa-Leh-Turtuk-Diskit – Pangong -Leh-Kargil-Srinagar -Goa road trip in our SUV. A memorable experience . Lot of tips from various blogs including written by Vargis came in handy.

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Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 4:19 pm

Thank you Nikheel. I am glad that the information was useful. Do share some pics of your travel.

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Melissa Nguyen August 13, 2019 - 4:12 pm

Hi. I just went to Ladakh in July (I’m a Vietnamese from the Netherlands) and happened to catch the Ladakh syndrome hard. Now I’m frantically trying to fit a Ladakh trip in any possible opening in my agenda. I just want to say that I love your writing about Ladakh and will go through them all.

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Vargis.Khan August 14, 2019 - 1:45 pm

Thank you so much for taking the time to drop a note Melissa !!!

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