The Journey so far-

Day 5 | 4th, August 2010 | Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley

Juley Ladakh… was the first words at 6 AM in the morning when I woke up without any alarm :D… Juley means Hello in Ladakhi Language and this was going to be the word we would be using considerably for the next few days… It was purely anxiety to see the beauty of Ladakh which left me sleepless almost entire night. Today it was the big day as we were supposed to visit the Khardung La, world’s highest motorable Pass. We all were very excited to for it and the plan was to reach Nubra Valley after we get the Inner Line permits. Yes, it was because the inner line permits everybody else was sleeping. The office opens at 9 AM and one needs permits to visit inner line areas of Ladakh.

Rose from Ladakh…

Flowers of Ladakh

The rough sketch for Ladakh was to get the permits, book taxi and reach Nubra Valley today via Khardung La. After spending the night leave for Pangong Tso (Tso mean Lake in Ladakhi :)) next day from Nubra and spend night at Pangong Tso. Third day leave from Pangong to reach Leh in the evening and start back the journey back to home on fourth day from now.

This meant very little or no time to explore Leh city 🙁 … This was the driving force which woke me up early as I wanted to visit the Shanti Stupa at least in the Leh city before we start the actual itinerary. The day lost when we failed to get our car up Rohtang was now beginning to play its role. But, anyways I had woke up and raring to go for a long morning walk after getting myself and camera ready. As I walked out :cry:… It was drizzling and weather was very murky but I got out of Hotel hoping that Shanti Stupa would be at walking distance. But as I walked down one lane towards Changspa Road yesterday, the drizzle started to get a bit heavier and one young men asked me to go back to hotel else I may get up the cold. But, for me the concern was my camera :(… I didn’t wanted to take a chance with it and since the clouds were also dark which meant very little opportunity for photography.

I went back to Hotel and sat in the garden to enjoy the rich feeling of amazing environment. Then suddenly I though why not take this opportunity to click some flowers although due to bleak weather the colors will not be vivid but of course the droplets on the flowers will provide the much needed freshness. Here is what I could capture…

Flowers from Ladakh…

Flowers of Ladakh
Flowers of Ladakh
Flowers of Ladakh
Flowers of Ladakh

Garden at Hotel Chubie…

Garden at Hotel Chubie Leh - Ladakh
Garden at Hotel Chubie Leh - Ladakh

After relaxing in the garden of the Hotel a bit I asked everyone to wake up and get ready. We had already less number of days and didn’t wanted to waste anytime lazing out. Neeraj and me quickly ordered breakfast to save a little time but everyone was in relaxing mood today. We enjoyed the meal as if it was our last meal life… 😆

Dinning Hall at Hotel Chubie…

Dinning Hall at Hotel Chubie Leh - Ladakh

Drink with Breakfast… He drinks a lot 😉 …

Dinning Hall at Hotel Chubie Leh - Ladakh

It was already 9.30 AM we were at the hotel only and since we had no vehicle to commute that meant lot’s of walk first to DC office to get the Ladakh inner line permits and then to taxi stand to arrange the taxi. Without wasting any further time I asked the guys to step out after collection all the required documents, ID proofs for the Ladakh inner line permit formalities.

There is no local transport in Leh apart from private taxi 😯 … No rickshaw, auto rickshaw etc. so other than foot it’s only taxi or your own vehicle you can use commute in Leh. Well, for us it was an opportunity to explore a little of Leh town as well as we walk through the Main Market and then took a back road through the big ground to reach Leh DC office. We asked for the form, they said they don’t have it and we need to get it from a nearby Photostat shop  :confused:… I was surprised to know that they don’t keep the application forms, very strange.

Distant View of Shanti Stupa…

View of Shanti Stupa in Leh - Ladakh

Leh Main Bazaar (Market)…

Main Bazaar or Mani Market in Leh - Ladakh

Big ground just before Leh DC Office…

View of big ground just before DC Office in Leh - Ladakh
View of big ground just before DC Office in Leh - Ladakh

The Photostat shop was no easy to find even by the directions given and finally we need to ask at each turn behind the DC office where is the way to reach that shop. Finally after juggling through many roads we managed to spot one shop. The girl at the shop was very supporting in letting us fill the form and asked to write an application for LEH DC as well which requests the grant of permits. She stapled all our documents together and guided us the rest of the steps.

Monastery at the Top… View from DC office…

View of Monastery at top of hill from DC Office in Leh - Ladakh

We went back to DC office where while verifying the man asked us to get the form refilled as we had written many places and we just need to write Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. He told us that if at any police checkpost any one objects about the non-understanding of the places then we need to come back. :cry:… Walking so much at such height and physically exerting was taking a little toll on us. We went back again to the Photostat shop, asked for a new form, got it filled, paid Rs 2 and went back to the same men. He charged Rs 40 (Rs 10 per person) from us as Red Cross fund. He handed over the documents to the person sitting next to him, who charged  Rs 320 (Rs 20 per person per day) from us as Inner Line Permit fees.

Informational Content for Leh – Ladakh…

Information at DC Office in Leh - Ladakh

We asked them we wanted to go to Turtuk but they said that Nubra Valley would suffice that and when we said alot of tourists have been returned from the post next to Hunder, he asked us to write that down as well and get it signed by DC and submit it to the Madam sitting at the front desk. We asked pen from that lady to write Turtuk and she said “SORRY” shrewdly.:roll:… We laughed loudly and went to ADC office and there was a lady who was sitting in the room and signed the documents with a pleasant smile and wishing us good luck for the trip. She also asked us to drink water and keep ourselves hydrated, we thanked her and got out of the office to submit the documents to that shrewd lady. She kept all the documents and handed over the signed application form. This was our permit and it took around 1 Hour to get the permits with lot of time being wasted in round trips to Photostat shop. Now we need to get the copies of our permit which will be required for submission at every police checkpost. This time we decided to walk ahead towards main taxi stand and get the copies done in between. As we walked down and the market started we managed to get the 10 copies done for us.

Now it was time to explore the taxi and we reached a taxi stand near the Leh entrance gate. But, that taxi stand was only for local Leh taxis and they asked us to go to the taxi stand of Main Bazaar where we can find the taxi for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso lake. We went on to that taxi stand and in between took few pictures of the Leh entrance gate and city.

Gateway to Heaven or Leh…

Entrance gate in Leh - Ladakh
Entrance gate in Leh - Ladakh

After reaching the taxi stand we got this guys Seywank having a Scorpio and told him our plan. He took us to his head their named Dorjiyo who told us the rates for doing Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso would be 13500. Since we didn’t have anytime to visit the entire Nubra Valley, we asked him to drop Panamik and he decreased the amount to 12500. We kept bargaining and finally managed to get a deal at Rs 10,500  for three days including the stay one night stay at Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso each, spanning three days.

Our driver Seywank told us that he needs to pick the diesel from his home and took us to the Saboo village where his home was present. The village reminds you of the Aladdin home village and this is how it looked…

Aladdin’s House is Somewhere Here…

Saboo village in Leh - Ladakh

After getting the diesel we wanted to get some money from the ATM, so he took us to the Main Bazaar to J & K Bank ATM. Three of us went down and got in the long queue at the ATM :(… We left Deepak in the taxi and asked him to keep an eye on the Cameras and other stuff. It took almost 30 minutes to get the money out and that too when I had to take the Debit cards for all of us at once, because the lady was letting one male and one female alternately. When we came back to the spot where our taxi was we were shocked to see its absence :shock:. We searched everywhere and couldn’t find it for next 10 minutes. Deepak, didn’t  have the phone and we didn’t have the driver’s number either. But, we had the number of Dorjiyo who fixed the deal with us, so I called him to ask the number of our driver. He was behaving strangely too refusing to give driver’s number but ultimately asked us to wait as he was coming there too. As he came, we found Deepak coming from the other direction and I asked him where is the taxi and he was like he don’t know. We said what??? Where are all the cameras??? He told in the taxi 😯 but then said they went to see some friend of Seyvank. Moment of jinx was over and we asked Seyvank to head for the hotel Chubie from where we can pick the luggage.

We reached hotel, stuffed our bags in the Taxi and off we went. We slowly started to rise towards the Khardung La and feeling was getting better and better. All of us were pretty excited as started the ascend towards the mighty pass. We handed over the first copy of our inner line permits at South Pullu post.

As we enter South Pullu…

South Pullu checkpost in Leh - Ladakh

As we moved ahead there was a stoppage of about 30 minutes as BRO guys were laying a water seepage pipe so that nullahs are not formed. We moved ahead and there came the Siachin gate, India Gate etc. as told by Seyvank. These gates are marking for the Indian Army when the mountains are covered by Snow in winters. Just as we about to approach India gate an as****** went down like crazy bull with his truck, we almost had to push and stop hard right besides the chasm to avoid collision :roll:… Scary moment… Adding to the agony was truck driver refused to reverse even coming down and started shouting “No body gives us pass when we climb, I will not give you too. Manage yourself!!” 😡 … Then some exchange of helping verbs between driver, his helper and all of us but the driver was an a********… There was a very very little space even for me to get down, a small mistake in placing the foot I am all gone :shock:… The other side was completely blocked by the truck. But, I managed to get down, come front and guided our driver to move ahead and then some strong helping words to driver to move ahead and finally the mad men moved creating a little space for our taxi to sneak through. But, all is well now and we can reach the Khardung La top with ease.

Stok Kangri view with floating clouds

View of Stok Kangri range in Leh - Ladakh

We will touch the clouds soon…

View of Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Whooo… Gang of 4 again on the road to Khardung La…

Dheeraj Sharma on the road to Khardung La in Leh - Ladakh

View of India Gate…

India Gate on the road to Khardung La in Leh - Ladakh

More than 10 KMs of uphill road was in tatters towards the Khardung La top with rocks, boulders, craters and what not 😀 …But we enjoyed to completely and reached the top. Deepak was still not feeling well and was in all sought of trouble as we reached Khardung La top. He again refused to come out of the car :shock:, working so hard to see this and he refuses to come out for a click even. I was having a mild headache but that was not bothering me much. The feeling to reach the top was amazing, being on the highest motorable road was an experience no words can explain or describe. I am not sure in my whole life I would be feel that again 🙁 …

Volcanic Clouds…

View from Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Khardung La Top…

Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Oops I am shooting something… 🙂

View from Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Yeah… I shot something…although not pretty 😉 …

Views from Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

He He He… Neeraj comes into frame…

Dheeraj Sharma clicking Neeraj at Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

But, the spotlight was stolen by a exuberant spirit of determination, a marvel of motivation for anyone, a one legged man on Khardung La top on his bicycle :roll:… This guy was the limelight of the Khardung La that day and full credit to him. Hats off to the this soul and his determination… He was in the Hotel other night with us and we had no clue that he would ride his bicycle to the Khardung La top. I must tell you that even the cars struggle to conquer the road to Khardung La but this guy not only did on the bicycle but did it with one leg too I am sure this would go into some record books and full credit to him. The glimpse of this soul of high spirit and courage…

Marvel of Motivation… One leg men riding bicycle to Khardung La Top…

One leg men on bicycle at Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Salute to the spirit of sport of this men…

One leg men on bicycle at Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Waves the victory of his life as he ride downhill…

One leg men on bicycle at Khardung La top in Leh - Ladakh

Soon to follow the downhill ride from Khardung La to Diskit, Nubra Valley… Keep glued to the story…


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


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  2. Hi Dheeraj,
    We are planning to visit Ladakh in 2nd week of August.I am going with my family.(6 people).Can you plz suggest a itineary for the trip.I will be reaching Leh on morning 10th Aug and leaving on 17th morning.I want to cover Sham valley,Nubra valley,Pangong Lake & Tsomiri Lake.If any other good place we can cover plz let me know.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Gagan,

      For 7 days in Leh, you can do the following:

      Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
      — Checkin at Hotel. Many hotels provide free pick and drop from Airport. Ask while you book them.
      — Take ample of rest as well as water or anything that keep your body hydrated enough. DO NOT OVER HYDRATE. Take ORS Soluted water or ORS – L tetra packs from home.
      — Do not over exert your body at any cost. Avoid too much up-down on stairs or avoid it in entirety, if possible.
      — After 5-6 Hrs of rest you can visit Leh Palace, Local Leh market, Shankar Gompa .
      — If you feel exerted go back to Hotel, have dinner at Hotel and take rest. Avoid any exertion. Else continue and,
      — Follow the sunset by stroll at Changspa road and have a nice dinner on varied cuisines offered in-around Changspa road.
      — Go back to hotel for overnight stay at Leh.
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Inner Line Permits
      — For more details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link here
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing include Namgyal Gompa, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Shankar Gompa, Main Market, Hall of Fame, Spituk Gompa, Changspa Road Stroll in evening
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh
      Day 3 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder
      — Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
      — On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
      — Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari
      Day 4 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
      — Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 5 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      — Make a Day trip to Pangong Tso
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 6 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
      — Cover Karzok Monastery
      — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
      Day 7 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh
      — Come back via Tso Kar and Manali – Leh Highway to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 8 | Fly back home

      It would be more relaxing if you remove number of sight seeing places, like remove Tso Moriri and do 2 day trip to Pangong Tso and the other day can be used for Sham Valley tour. The above itinerary is slightly hectic I will say but based on the max. number of places you wanted to cover.

      I hope this helps. Let me know incase you need more info. or have any queries or doubts.

      Dheeraj Sharma

  3. Nitin Anand on

    sharing the link of complete story with friends, i agree, its like reading a super interesting novel. i'm not a reading person but i'm glued to this 🙂 well done

    • Thanks alot Nitin, it is pleasure and unbelievable that you are reading each and every article on trot. I am sure you would be glued soon to my current April 2012 Ladakh story which in progress on the blog as well 😉 … Glad to hear such words, a great start to boring morning 🙂

      Dheeraj Sharma

  4. Deepak Mehta on

    Again Gr8 work again by Dheeraj, keep it up and make some plans for future Mr. BUSY

    • Thanks so much Deepak. Well busy nhn rahunga to How would I post our Ladakh Journey ;)… Even I am not able to get the duplicate keys from you. We are planning a drive to Spiti Valley again, let me know if you are interested

  5. Geetika setia on

    More…Whenever I read your blog, I feel as if I'm reading a novel & its pages are yet to be printed. Waiting anxiously for the next write up. Shared your travelogue with some friends who enthralled through the similar Ladakh experience & all appreciated this effort of yours…Good work Dheeraj & keep writing!!!!!

    • Thanks alot Geetika!!! Its my pleasure that you like my Novel which is yet to be printed. I dream of writing a book on travel but its just a dream right now, may be in future I could write up some nice book useful for travelers to India. You will get the complimentary copy for sure, thanks to such appreciation. Also, I am glad that you shared my Ladakh journey with your friends and they liked it too. The words in my Ladakh travelogue does not justify experience which we had in there but serve a bit to feel it again. The pictures of Ladakh reminds me of each moment and help me relive those again. Keep coming back and keep sharing… I am damn sure you will like the next three parts of this travelogue for sure….