Ladakh Checklist: Things to Carry for Ladakh Trip

by Vargis.Khan

When you go to a place like Ladakh, you know that your packing cannot be the same that it would be in case of a short trip to any other hill station. You know that you will be gone for several days to an area known for its harsh weather and challenging terrain; a place where even some of the basic facilities like ATM, mobile connectivity, mechanics, fuel stations, eateries and accommodation can still be scarce. A trip to Ladakh means that your packing has to be comprehensive and concise; so that you do not miss an essential item but also not burden yourself with way too many bags. In short; what you bring should really be all and only essential things to carry for Ladakh trip.

things to carry for Ladakh trip

There is no doubt that not everyone would need or pack in the same manner. For example, what a lady would pack would be way different than what a guy would. Your necessary items in case of a family trip would not be the same as on a solo trip.  What you will pack for a bike trip will be different than if you were flying to Leh. With that being said; there are still a few things that remain applicable in all cases; some general items that will be required in every case. In this article, I will try to list down some of these items; more of a checklist that you can refer to; irrespective of your mode of travel.

Also read: What to see in Ladakh – A Complete List

Ladakh Checklist: Things to Carry for Ladakh Trip

I will list down items in categories and then name a few in each category.

Clothing

What kind of clothes to wear in Ladakh is probably one of the foremost questions asked so I will start with this. Your clothing for Ladakh has to be in carried in layers. What it necessarily means is that you will be wearing one cloth over another; so it is important that you do not pack all heavy and woolens or clothes that are way too tight. In Ladakh, weather is highly unpredictable. Standing in the shade will make you feel cold but you will be warm the moment you step in the sun. Temperature can change rapidly depending on time of the day or the place. So your clothes has to be in a way that you can put one over another if cold; and can take off layers if feeling warm.

Also read: What kind of Clothes should you pack for Ladakh Trip

Pack plenty of your regular cottons like T-Shirts and  Jeans. Carry a couple of pair of thermals, some light woolens followed by a heavy wind and waterproof jacket. If traveling in winter, you will of course have to carry all of your heavy woolens.

Accessories

After clothes come some necessary accessories that you must be carrying with you. Below is a list.

Sunscreen Lotion: Sun is quite harsh in Ladakh, so much that it will not just tan you but may even burn your skin. Carry a good sunscreen lotion with highest SPF that you can find. Lotus is considered among the best brands when it comes to sunblock lotions.

Sunglasses: It is not just your skin that you need to protect against the sun but also your eyes which will get stressed easily due to Ultra violet rays at such high altitude. Carry a good pair of sunglasses which you can put on for longer duration without starting to hurt your face or ears.

Gloves: Woolens gloves are a good idea but if you can, then try to find a waterproof one. If you are into a bit of photography, then you will need to carry two pairs; a thick one and another one that sticks to your skin and would not have to be taken off every time you need to operate your camera.

Cap: Carry a regular cap that you can put on while walking around order to protect your face from the sun. This can be used during day time but for nights, evenings and mornings, find a good monkey cap or Balcalava. It will protect your head, face, ears and neck as well. A muffler would be a good idea as well. If you would however not prefer a monkey cap then ensure that your jacket has a hoodie that you can pull over your head.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh with Children or Infants

Sundries

After clothing and accessories, listed below are a few daily use items that you must pack.

Cold Cream / Lip Balm / Moisturizer: I guess this one goes without saying. You are visiting one of the coldest regions in the country where the dry weather will cause your skin and lips to crack. Carry a good cold cream and lip balm and apply it on regular basis.

Mustard Oil: This falls under the category of one of the best things to carry for Ladakh trip and can be put to multiple use. Apply it to your hair and scalp of course but apart from that, use it for your hands, arms and face as well. It works as a natural moisturizer and will help protect your skin. As a practice, after you apply oil to your hair, just rub it on your hands, arms, face and a little on the inside of your ears and nostrils.

Other toiletries
  • Tooth Brush
  • Tooth Paste
  • Comb
  • Soap (Paper soap if possible)
  • Toilet Paper (Don’t ask me where or why you will need it but you may  :-))
  • Face Wash
  • Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Deodorant, if you use it.

Eatables

Carry a little bit of dry fruits from home; some almonds, raisins and cashews. Things like chips and biscuits are these days available of most routes in Ladakh so it is not really a mandate to pack these but if you can, add a few chocolates to your packing. Dry fruits and chocolates can work as an instant energy giving snack.

If you are a strict vegetarian and cannot even eat in utensils that may have been used to cool non-vegetarian, then you should pack at least one pan and some disposable plates and spoons.

Water

Water in Ladakh can be a little hard on stomach for some people and if that is the case, then ensure that you are carrying packed mineral water with you throughout the travel. Drinking water at regular intervals can also be helpful with AMS so irrespective of how you are traveling; ensure that you are carrying a couple of liters of water and in-taking it regularly.

Also read: A Detailed & Comprehensive Road Map of Ladakh

Medicines

Diamox works as a precautionary measure (not a cure) for acute mountain sickness but please ensure that you are not allergic to sulfur medicines. Best would be to consult a doctor if you are unsure. Apart from Diamox, carry some other basic medicines for headache, upset stomach, fever, cold and cough.

If possible, I will also recommend carrying a small pack of glucose. If the high altitude, long hours of travel and mountain sickness start to take a toll, it can work miracles to keep you going; providing instant energy. In all probability, AMS is bound to kill your appetite as well and some glucose will definitely come to rescue in such a situation.

Electronics

  • Chargers of all your electronic devices
  • Spare Battery for your camera if you are into photography
  • Power Bank if you plan to use your phone camera a lot. Batteries die faster than regular rate in cold environment.
  • Car Charger will be a good idea if you are traveling by your own car or renting a private taxi
  • Spare memory cards if you are a trigger happy person clicking pictures at every turn

Documents

At least one government issued identity card like driver’s license, voter ID, Passport or Aadhar Card. Please ensure that you are carrying both the original and a few photocopies of it.

  • Print out of your itinerary
  • Copies of your flight tickets if traveling by air
  • Hotel reservation slips if booked in advance
  • Write down some of your emergency contacts (name and phone numbers) on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet. I am not talking about saving it as emergency contact in your phone; but to actually write on a paper.
  • Medical insurance if any
  • Multiple copies of your Inner line permit once you have procured it in Leh
  • Passport size photographs

Also read: How to apply for Inner Line Permit for Ladakh

Cash

ATM in Ladakh is still a rare thing. There is one in the town of Leh and that is about it. From Manali side, there is no ATM after Manali and on Srinagar route, the only one available is at Kargil. Sometimes functionality of the ATM and availability of cash too is questionable here. So as a practice, make sure that you are carrying enough cash that can last until you reach the next ATM. There are no ATMs anywhere in Ladakh except for the ones in Leh.

Please also do not rely on credit cards. They may or may not be accepted in Leh but for rest of Ladakh, they will pretty much be just plastic without money.

Phone Connectivity

Only postpaid mobile connections work in Ladakh. You will get reception for almost all networks in Leh city but for rest of Ladakh, only postpaid BSNL connections work. If you cannot stay off the grid and do not mind getting a new connection for the trip, you will have to get a BSNL / MTNL one.

Also read: Mobile Phone Services in Leh and Other Areas of Ladakh

Other Items

A few other items that can be extremely helpful.

  • Rechargeable Torch
  • Extension cord can be helpful if are in a group; or have multiple electronics to recharge; and end up at a place with just one power socket; or a power socked at an odd place.
  • Spare key for your vehicle. Please also make sure that you do not pack it in your bags because if you get locked out of the car, then the spare key too would be useless.
  • Nylon rope and bungee cords if you are traveling by a motorcycle.
  • A notepad and Pen
  • A few safety pins
  • A lighter or matchbox
  • Pain balm or spray like Iodex, Moov or Volini.
  • Few strips of Band Aid
  • A bottle of Dettol
  • An antiseptic cream
  • A crepe bandage
  • Nasal drops can be extremely helpful if end up with a blocked nose after catching cold
  • Sugar free if you do not take regular sugar
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee pouches
  • Fresh Fruit or packed fruit juice or both
  • A few packets of Maggie or Cup Noodles

Photography Gear

If you are a photographer then do not forget to pack your

  • Lenses
  • Filters
  • Tripod
  • Memory cards
  • Rain cover
  • Batteries
  • Charger

Oxygen Cylinder for Ladakh Trip

Whether or not you should carry an Oxygen cylinder; or would you even need one will depend on several factors; which I have covered in a different article. Please read How and Where to Rent an Oxygen Cylinder for Ladakh Trip. Details like when you should rent oxygen and where can you rent it from are covered here.

Things to Carry for your Car or Motorcycle

If you are traveling by your own motorcycle or car, then you will need to get it prepare for the tough trip ahead. You will also need to carry some essential tools and spares to ensure a hassle free trip. I have covered these two aspects in two different articles that provide information on how you can prepare your motorcycles and some tools / spares that you must carry. Please take a look at the articles at the link below. Items mentioned in these two articles will be in addition to the list I provided above.

How to prepare your motorcycle for Ladakh

How to prepare your car for Ladakh

I am sure there are other items as well that will be among things to carry for Ladakh trip that I may have missed here. Please do mention it in comments if anything crosses your mind.

Conclusion

I hope the information above was helpful. 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.

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59 comments

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Vivek Agarwal July 8, 2020 - 3:19 pm

Very Helpful…

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2020 - 11:22 am

Thank you !!!

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Somenath Ghosal May 25, 2020 - 1:32 am

Respected sir,
Is UMLING LA open for civilian? Then How to go there from leh?

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Vargis.Khan May 25, 2020 - 3:13 am

No it is not open Mr. Ghosal

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Somnath ghosal May 25, 2020 - 1:30 am

Respected sir,
Is Muling la open for civilian? How to go?

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Biplab dey February 27, 2020 - 7:42 am

Hi Vargis,
We are planning to go leh,nubra and panging in June 2020 do we need heavy woolen ?

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Kaushik Naskar October 16, 2019 - 4:50 pm

Hi Sir,
Your information means a lot to me.. Sir I have a question, is it safe to be in ladakh in July with 2 years old child?

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Vargis.Khan October 17, 2019 - 5:54 am Reply
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Suhail Maini October 13, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Hi Vargis, your blog helped me a lot. Please share your insights on the weather conditions of leh in the first week of November. I am planning to go for 4 nights with a family (5 Adults incl. one Sr. citizen). Anything to take care of, apart from your above mentioned things. Is it safe for elderly people to travel at this time. A normal sports shoes would be enough to travel.

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Vargis.Khan October 13, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Hi Suhail – It is going to be terribly cold so please pack clothes accordingly. Normal sports shoes will do fine.

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Suhail Maini October 15, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Thank you. One more thing. I heard that most of the roads will be blocked like to say, roads going to pangong and nubra valley from the mid of october till feb. or march. So, are we able to visit both the places in the first week of november?

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Vargis.Khan October 17, 2019 - 5:50 am

No, All internal roads in Ladakh remain open throughout the year

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Chaitali Shah June 20, 2019 - 10:37 am

Hello vargis,

it was really nice to read your blog.. you have covered almost everything and it is really helpful.
We will be going in end of July,2019 , do we really have to take thermals along?

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Vargis.Khan June 20, 2019 - 1:01 pm

Thank you Chaitali. No thermals needed in July. Just carry your regular cottons and a couple of jackets.

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Kanjaprava rout June 24, 2019 - 6:03 am

Thanks a ton vargis for your detailed information. It will help us a lot. We are going on July 6th to 12 July.

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Vargis.Khan June 24, 2019 - 5:53 pm

You are welcome Kanjaprava !!!

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Pallavi Gholap July 22, 2019 - 7:26 pm

Hello Vargis,
I am travelling in the first week of August this year to Leh-Ladakh do u recommend to carry woollen clothes & thermals & strong winter proof jackets or cotton T-shirts & a warm jacket is enough.

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Vargis.Khan July 23, 2019 - 11:47 am

Hi Pallavi – Just carry your regular cotton clothes, a couple of light woolens and a warm jacket. That will be enough.

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Ishaan Singh June 6, 2019 - 8:34 am

Hi Vargis, Do I need to apply for inner line permit for leh ladhak trip? As I read somewhere that ILP got revised and now Indian nationals don’t need to apply for same? Is it true?

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Vargis.Khan June 6, 2019 - 4:46 pm

It is still required Ishaan. Please see the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/ladakh-permit-updates-procedure/

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Akshay sharma June 14, 2019 - 1:43 pm

It will be very helpful for me n everyone who travel here at lifetime memorable place.
One thing i want to add that i am thinking if ur bike get punctures what will we do,can we carry a puncture kit also with us, if am right and any suggestion please advise me.

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Vargis.Khan June 14, 2019 - 2:05 pm

Carry a few spare tubes and a foot pump instead. Go to a mechanic and learn how to change tubes. That will be easier.

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ABDUL MAHIN May 22, 2019 - 9:44 am

Hi vargihis bhai..

We 3 bikes from bangalore planning to go to ladakh but till delhi we will be coming by train from thr we will strt bike journey. and we gonna bring our own bikes like unicorn 160,fz,duke..if we are planning how many days we required to go ladakh ..how about travelling to ladakh in the month of december..plzz advice..thank you

MAHIN

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Vargis.Khan May 22, 2019 - 2:24 pm

You cannot go to Ladakh by road in December Abdul Bhai but you can definitely catch a flight there.

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swapniltales May 10, 2019 - 7:04 am

Hi Vargis,
I have read some of your blogs and got impress. Nice to much info through your website.
Really appreciate it as your travel experiences you shared on the web and are available openly. Thanks.

I am planning to go on a road trip on the route ‘Delhi-Spiti-Ladakh-Jammu-Delhi’.
Is this route what I’m planning to do is open in the time of June-19?
Do I need to get any permit for traveling on this road?
I’m planning to do a solo trip on this road and do not want to get stopped for some reason like permission and all.
Can you please give the details so I can have my adventure ride soon.

Thanks in advance.

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Vargis.Khan May 10, 2019 - 3:06 pm

Hi Swapnil – Yes the route will be open in June. You will need permit for sightseeing in Ladakh and can get that from Leh itself.

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vinoth April 12, 2019 - 9:53 pm

Hi Vargis,

first, Your blog really helps me alot to make a plan for riders.

Im planning to make a solo bike trip to leh. i need your suggest to choose the inner permit in leh ladakh. kindly help me to choose the inner permit circuits & let me know, how much they charge for all the permits.

Website: lahdclehpermit.in

CHOOSE THE CIRCUIT:

* There is no reissue option for direct Tourist, kindly select all the circuits that are going to visit at once. 

Id Circuit Name Select
1 Khalsi,Domkhar, Skurbuchan, Hanu, Baima, Dha in Khalsi Sub-Division.
2 Khardong, Khalsar, Trith upto Warsi and Yarma Gonbo, Disket, Hunder, Turtuk, Pachathang, Tyakshi in Nubra Sub-Division.
3 Upshi, TsomoRiRi/Korzok in Nyoma Sub-Division.
4 Upshi, Dipling, Puga, TsomoRiRi/Korzok in Nyoma Sub-Division.
5 Kharu, Changla, Durbuk, Tangtse, Lukhung, Spangmik, Man-merag(Pangong Lake) in Nyoma Sub-Division.
6 Upshi, Chumathang, Mahe, Loma Bend in Nyoma Division.
7 Leh-Kharu-Changla-Durbuk-Tangtse-Lukung-Spangmik-Man Merak (pangong) upto Chushul and Loma Bend.
8 Tangtse-Kargyam-Sato, Barma, Chushul.

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Khan Sananaaz April 9, 2019 - 6:06 pm

Hello sir , Thanks for all d info… sir is it safe to travel in mid week of april to leh via Delhi srinagar highway by road

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Vargis.Khan April 9, 2019 - 10:46 pm

Srinagar to Leh road will not be open in April so no, you cannot travel at this time.

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Selwin April 10, 2019 - 5:49 am

Hi vargis.. please tell me the best route from Agra to leh.

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Vargis.Khan April 10, 2019 - 12:13 pm

When are you planning to go Selwin?

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selwin April 11, 2019 - 5:39 am

Actually my plan is kanyakumari to Leh. after reaching manali which route is best for sight seeing and riding, i saw your leh map too. But, i cant guess the perfect route. help me on this.

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Vargis.Khan April 11, 2019 - 1:29 pm

From Manali it is just one route to Leh.

Manali – Rohtang – Keylong – Sarchu – Pang – Leh

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selwin April 12, 2019 - 5:21 am

oh i dont know about it thats why i have asked. Thanks for your response.

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Vargis.Khan April 12, 2019 - 12:28 pm

You are welcome !!!

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selwin April 30, 2019 - 11:00 am

Hi i need one more information. Is there any permit required for drone camera? please advise on this

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Selwin April 10, 2019 - 5:50 am

Hi please tell me the best route from Agra to leh

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Vargis.Khan April 10, 2019 - 12:12 pm

When are you planning to go?

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Sandeep January 19, 2019 - 7:20 pm

In may 2019 in first week , can I plan to go leh via Srinagar and return route via Manali ??

My travelling plan is approx for 12-15 days .

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Vargis.Khan January 20, 2019 - 1:47 am

Please read the post below. Should help answer your questions.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/leh-ladakh-in-may/

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Hanish Arora September 3, 2018 - 6:45 pm

Hi Vargis,

All your articles are real help. Keep it up, man!
I am riding to leh from Delhi this Friday. Media has been reporting unending landslides and suggests of poor road conditions.

Which route would you suggest for us to take in these conditions? We are struggling a bit at the moment reaching to a concrete route plan.

Thanks
Hunny

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Vargis.Khan September 5, 2018 - 12:38 am

Hi Hanish – Thank you for your kind words. Yes it is indeed raining around Manali but not at all around Srinagar. So a better choice would be to go via Srinagar and return via Manali, allowing some time for monsoon to subside.

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darshan August 19, 2018 - 10:15 am

how is the weather now in august end . And should i need to carry boots or sports shoes is enough .

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Ani August 19, 2018 - 7:17 am

What are the filters that I should carry? CPL is enough or I do need ND? I am travelling on September..

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Sammy August 12, 2018 - 2:41 pm

Hello Sir, I am planning to visit to leh trip in the month of 18 Aug, do any issue of monsoon generally in that time.. .What should I need to know more for safe and enjoyable trip.
Regards
Sammy

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vishal kumawat July 17, 2018 - 7:36 am

HEY SIR. I”M GOING TO MANALI TO LEH BY BULLET ON 22NG JULY..?? IS THIS TIME IS GOOD.. ??

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Vargis.Khan July 17, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Hi Vishal – Time is OK but please make sure you are prepared to handle monsoon.

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Rajendra Singh July 6, 2018 - 7:36 am

Hello,

Vargis bhai,

First of all thanks to you for your helpful and important articles and suggestions.

I am planning a trip to Leh with 2 of my friends in last week of Sep, 2018. I want to know that if Permits also issued on Sat & Sun from DC office in Leh. if not, Can we seek permits in advance from Agents in Leh.

further, It is very helpful if you can provide some agents contacts who can issue and stamped permits on our behalf on charge basis.

Waiting for your reply.

Thanks..!!
Rajendra Singh
9818703547

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Vargis.Khan July 6, 2018 - 3:11 pm

Rajendra Bhai,

1. Yes you can get permit in first half of Saturday but not Sunday.
2. Yes you can contact travel agents to arrange permits for you.
3. Best thing to do would be to contact a hotel in Leh. Ask them to arrange your permits and if they agree, book your stay in Leh with them. That way you can just reach the hotel and your permits too will be waiting for you there.

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Saroj Kant Rajput June 26, 2018 - 6:44 am

Hello Sir Can we do Tso Moriri direct from Manali and then Leh…..??
Cause we have registered our self on online website of inner line permit an have print copy of the same?
or do we have to go Leh first to deposit the fees and getting the print copy stamped and then visit Tso moriri???

Please guide us sir?

and one more thing can we do Nubra valley direct from pangong tso without going Leh first?

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Vargis.Khan June 26, 2018 - 12:40 pm

Tso Moriri from Manali – No because you will have to reach Leh city first to get your permits stamped.
Pangong from Nubra – Yes you can by Shyok road. See the article below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/agham-shyok-road/

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Ravichandra June 18, 2018 - 12:49 pm

Hi Sir,

Thanks a lot for your Info. We are 9 people planning for Manali – Leh road trip in the month of July. My only doubt is, can we visit pangong with HP registered bikes? We are clear that we can not visit Nubra Valley with HP registered bikes, but how about Pangong?

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Vargis.Khan June 18, 2018 - 1:48 pm

If you mean bikes rented outside Ladakh then yes, you cannot bring them to Pangong as well. If those are your own bikes and registered in your own name, then you can get those to both Nubra and Pangong.

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Y June 13, 2018 - 3:25 pm

I am planning to go to Ladakh from 7 th June from Delhi via Srinagar and return through Manali.
Could you please give a detailed information of your recent trip

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Vargis.Khan June 13, 2018 - 3:49 pm

I have not been on any recent trips.

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Jayachandran May 4, 2018 - 5:08 pm

Sir,
Oxygen cylinder is an essential item to carry. You should have mentioned that.
Last week we visited Leh. Our reference was your site. We faced some difficulty during our trip throufh Khardung La.
Kindly include sufficient information about oxygen cylinder.

Thank you

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Vargis.Khan May 5, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Thanks for pointing that out Mr. Jayachandran. I have actually covered the Oxygen aspect of the trip at a different article but have provided a link to that page here as well now. Thank you for bringing this to notice. I should have mentioned it here.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/rent-oxygen-cylinder-for-ladakh-trip/

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Chaitanya May 8, 2018 - 4:48 pm

Hi Jayachandran,

I am planning to go to Ladakh from May 20th to May 29th from Delhi via Srinagar and return through Manali.
Could you please give a detailed information of your recent trip

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