A newly-minted Union Territory in India, Ladakh is a dream travel destination for many- both Indians and foreigners. And rightly so! With an average elevation of more than 3500 meters above sea level, Ladakh resides in one of the most scenic regions of India, in the lap of the Himalayan mountains.
The climate of this region is classified as cold desert climate, and it is characterized by long, dry and cold winters. However, during the slightly warmer summer months, when Leh witnesses an influx of tourists, mornings can get quite hot and get some amount of rainfall too.
A trip to Leh has always been on our mind. Maybe sometime this year we will finally make it. Who knows? So to give us a headstart, I have already started curating a packing list for Leh. (It’s never too early for me to start planning 😛 ) This will ensure that we are well geared up to face the wrath of the mountains 😉
Things to pack for a trip to Ladakh
Backpacks and a trip to Leh kind of go hand-in-hand. You could either go for a traditional suitcase or a big (60 litres) waterproof backpack as your primary luggage. This is to fit in all your clothes, shoes and other essential items for the entire tour. Irrespective of what you prefer, it is advisable to carry a smaller backpack for your daily travels (preferably waterproof). This is what you will be carrying around with the basic stuff like passport/other important documents, water, jackets etc. So choosing the right luggage is literally the foundation to getting your packing list for Leh right. Check out some of our favourite backpacks and suitcases below to get packing!
Any traveller with experience of high altitude travel will tell you that you must wear multiple layers of clothing instead of one thick, fat layer. And that is exactly what you should keep in mind when packing for your trip to Leh! Multiple layers not only help you keep warm, but also give you the flexibility to take off or put on more layers as needed.
Make sure you definitely have the following layers in your packing list for Ladakh:
- Full sleeve t-shirts/sweatshirts
- Woolen socks and gloves
- Track pants
- Woolen sweaters/jackets
- Comfortable outdoor shoes
Given all the changes your body will be undergoing once you land in Leh, you are bound to feel some amount of uneasiness. Some people experience it in the form of altitude sickness or just a general feeling of nausea and dizziness. To be on the safer side, we think it’s best to take the advice of your doctor before you head out, to get an idea of the kind of medication you can take to combat these symptoms. But whether you take medication or not, always take it easy on your first day in Ladakh and avoid any intense physical activity. Take rest, keep yourself hydrated and gear up for the next days.
Food & Drinks
A trip to Ladakh involves a lot of travel to remote locations, with limited or no access to food or water. Keeping that in mind, it is always a good idea to carry some munchies and snackable food in that backpack of yours to fight random hunger pangs. It is also important to keep yourself well hydrated at such high altitudes. Always carry a refillable water bottle with you that can be used multiple times. You can easily refill your bottles with drinking water in your hotel or in several local shops in Leh that offer this facility. Carrying your own bottle not only saves you a ton of money but also helps reduce plastic waste in the fragile environment of Ladakh. In addition to water, carry a few packs of glucose powder that can be mixed in water for a quick boost of energy.
Apart from your own choice of personal toiletries, do not forget to carry a good sun protection cream or lotion. The cold weather aside, the sun in Leh and its surrounding areas can get really hot during the day. So layer on some sunscreen before you step out for the day.
Travelling around in Ladakh with shared taxis
Since the cost of transport is not cheap in Ladakh, the best way to minimize expenses is to use shared taxis so that you can split the fare with other passengers and more importantly, it’s better for the environment too! Shared taxis for the Leh-Manali road trip as well as for various other tours in Ladakh (Nubra valley, Pangong lake, Sham, etc.) can be booked online in advance. This is especially useful for solo or couple travellers who can easily share a cab ride a few other people in the same car travelling on the route they wish to take.
As you can see, we can’t wait to get going! This packing list for Ladakh should be a good starting point for you to plan that long-awaited trip to the mountains.