It's quite.....adventurous......for the journey that only have mountains and us 12 people.... We share the same dream of visiting this land, the sky, mountains, and lakes. We are going to Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, India. It is the dreamed land for us. We've seen reviews and countless photos that inspired us so much to must visit this land!!! Then, we 12 people gather together, we come from different place with different background but we all share the same dream of wanted to visit Leh.
Let me give you guys some introduction. This trip (15-26 July 2016) is such a fun trip because everyone has different days off and each book the flight ticket differently depends on each person availability. Anyhow, there're several days that we all can travel together. Our trip get changed until the date of our journey but we have no interest in changing our minds as we are coming this far, how can we change our minds so easily, right? haha.
Our original plan was to take the flight from Delhi to Srinagar and then take the bus to stay overnight at Kargil and go to Leh the next day. This means that we would spend 2 days on the road. On the way back, we would come back the same route except we would also stop for a visit at Zanskar. But due to the protest and curfew at Srinagar, we needed to change our plan which was only 5 days ahead to our journey. What to do now??? The best way we could think of was to take the bus from Delhi to Manali and spend a night at Keylong. Then, we would reach Leh within 3 days 2 nights. Well, do we like this plan? I have to say, we love this plan and totally agree with this plan!
Let's talk about cancelling the flight from Delhi to Srinagar which is quite chaotic. Some of us book the Indigo airline, some goes with GoAir and some with Air India. Now we only have 5 days to cancel the flight and book the flight from Leh back to Delhi again. Due to the protest news, it's quite difficult and dangerous traveling to Srinagar. We use this reason writing email to the airline to cancel the flight and we get a full refund. We are so lucky. Oh, I must mention that most of us travel from Bangkok to Delhi with Thai Airways and only one of us go there by Indigo which offers a cheaper price but you need to transfer at Calcutta. We plan to meet everyone at Delhi airport. Then, 10 of us choose to take bus to go Leh from Delhi and the other 2 choose to fly to Leh and enjoy slow life, sipping beer waiting for us there. We choose to reach there differently, please stay in tuned for our upcoming story, hehe.
Enough for long explanation, it's time to start our journey......
Smiling and waiting :)
Since we travel to Leh during the summer, we don't have to pack lots of clothes. A Lowe alpine backpack is enough for 11 days stay. I also have another bag for putting daily used things that needed along the way and a camera. It might look small but I can keep quite lots of things inside (I also have another bag for food). Winter jacket, sunglasses, sunblock, raincoat, tripod are all there as the weather forecast said we might face all kinds of weather and we will stay on a highland, about 3,000-5,000 m above the sea level. More importantly, if you are afraid of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), we can take Diamox or herbs but it's advised to consult with pharmacist or physician first because each of us have different physical conditions. But if you have highland experience and was ok with it, please do not be worry as you will be alright after getting down. I used to go up at 4,600 m and only got a headache while sleeping. Anyhow, we need to make sure that we are healthy, eat enough and rest in full. One of the reasons that we choose to go by bus is because we could eventually adjust our body before going up to Leh.
This team is the first group to wait at baggage belt at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport ^^
Here, let's take a look at another friend (Rada) who chooses to transfer at Calcutta and meet up with us at Delhi airport in order to take the bus to Manali. For those who take a direct flight with Thai Airways, we will land at Terminal 3. But Rada takes domestic flight so she lands at Terminal 1 which is quite far away. Anyhow, there's a shuttle bus between the terminal. Before leaving Thailand, we only said that let's meet up at the baggage belt but we didn't specify which terminal it is. It'd be fun now, haha. I hope that we can connect to the WiFi. Finally, we could use it to gather everyone. To use the WiFi at Delhi airport, we need to fill in our phone number for them to send us OTP (One Time Password). Since we didn't open the roaming service, we couldn't receive OTP message so we asked the Indians to help. We asked the staff at the coffee shop or whoever looks kind to help us put their phone numbers and receive the OTP for us so we can connect to the WiFi.
Then, we all meet. We 10 people take 2 vans to spend a night at Manali. It's 15 hours drive with more than 600 km distance. We see rice fields, mountains, rivers, dams along the way. And it rains on and off along the way. We also sleep and get up on and off depends on the beautiful view along the way.
We leave Delhi at noon and reach Manali at 02.00 a.m. Let's get some sleep now.
The next morning, we continue our journey. When seeing this view from the hotel, I feel all fresh and ready to take more ride, hehe.
It's raining along the way once we leave Manali. The road is mountainous and curvy. Sometimes, the traffic is there. Today, we are going to take another 6 hours ride with approximately 100 km distance.
Here are the Indian guys....
The bikers are happy and the rain could do nothing to them....
We stop for lunch. The main food in India is Japati dough which must be there in every meal. Sometimes, we regard it as rice. Another must have item on the table is tea. This warm tea helps ease the cold too.
Along the way....
When seeing this incredible view, we can't resist but stop. I have to say that this route is breathtakingly beautiful and I just love it so much.
When zooming in close, we see the glaciers are melting into the waterfall.
The gas station is on the way but without any roof.
This sign tells us that there's more gas station ahead.
Now, we arrive at Keylong. We arrive here early and it's not dark yet so we still have sometimes to roam around. The weather is quite cold with some rain along the way. If you feel uneasy, please take the medicine in advance.
Local people are very friendly and lovely.
The children are also very cute.
I find this map on the wall. Tomorrow, we are going to take the ride of about 264 km which is said to be more than 10 hours ride. The view will also differ from what we have seen and it's going to be very beautiful.....Wow, this is going to be a long ride, but I'm ready!
We leave early morning at 06.00 a.m. on the third morning as we need to spare some time for photography. Along the way, there's a check point to check our documents as well as restaurants. When the driver said tea time, it means it's time to stop for some milk tea and snack.
Whenever we find any beautiful spot, we ask our driver to stop. I have to say also that it's very cold that we must quickly take photos and get back on the van.
Here we are at the resting area. The driver enjoys his tea time while we get down to take photos and use restroom.
But wait....is this a restroom?
Good weather and clear sky
We are 8 angles and 2 bodyguards in our colorful jackets to prevent us from the rain, the cold, and the sun, hehe.
It's time to move on. The rain is gone, the sky is clear, and the road is dusty so do not forget to cover your mouth and nose.
The landscape is now changing from green to brown, grey, red, and dark yellow.
Here, we reach another check point which we have to wait quite long due to landslide. We then have more time for taking photos. The Indian bikers approach us and ask to take photos with us.
Here is the restroom ^^
Continue to search for photography angle....
We have so much free time and find nothing to do so we go pose on top of the bus :)
Such a fun time, taking group photos together ^__^
After waiting for nearly 2 hours, it's finally time to move on.
Beautiful design on mountains...
We keep going up mountains until we reach another resting point. Here, Rada realizes that her GoPro as well as selfie stick and remote has gone. Oh no! She thinks that it could have been gone since the check point where the landslide occurred. Now, 3 hours have already passed. She got paranoid for a while and soon resumed to enjoy mode. I wish someone keeps it and tries to find the owner.
The show must go on. Let's continue our journey. We still have several cameras for taking photos.
We take the ride and go up to mountains. It's very fun and we didn't feel car sick due to the view is so beautiful and we enjoy it so much.
Now that we keep stopping, when we will reach Leh!? haha.
The road is so empty.
I'm not sure where this place is called as I can't read the sign T_T
Leh is 150 km more, ok, let's go!
Manali-Leh road is on a high land on the average of 4,000 m above the sea level. The highest part is Taglang La Pass which is located at the 5,328 m or 17,582 feet above the sea level. It is the second highest pass.
I'm so happy (though I have some symptoms of high land attitude but I enjoy the photography more, hehe).
At this point, many of us start to feel headache, dizzy, and vomit so they didn't get off from the car. For me, I just feel a bit dizzy so I can go down and quickly take photos before hurriedly getting back on due to the dizziness. Then, we ask the driver to go down. There, I feel better.
Continue going up mountains, I feel dizzy and a bit hungry.
Now, I see the sign telling us the distance to reach Leh.
It's not that far anymore, it's just about an hour from here and we will reach Leh. Tonight, we need to have a good rest so tomorrow we can start roaming around (actually we are already roaming but more as a road trip).
Our travel plan from now on is Nubra Valley - Pangong Tso - Leh - Moriri Tso - Leh - Lamaruyu - Leh.
Now, we arrive at Leh. Our destination is just started, please stay in tuned for our journey. Coming soon!
P.S. Thank you so much everyone for reading until this line. I'd like to share my journey in case it's beneficial for someone who also would like to travel here.
Story by: Ling Ple | LingPle Mayuree :
Photo by : Ling Ple | LingPle Mayuree , Ting Tawbud, Rada Paphloen (รดา พาเพลิน)
IG : lingple