Ladakh Trip with 2 year old
Good to hear about your trip to Leh-Ladakh! You have chosen the perfect time for your trip. But also keep in mind, that this will be the peak tourist season.
Lake reflection (Source: Praveen)
Let me first give help you with the flight details so that you can decide on the exact dates for your trip.
There are only 3 airlines which fly into Leh. Kingfisher, Jet airways and Go. On doing some research, it turns out to be that the flights on 1st and 9th are cheaper as compared to 8th and 16th.
If you start on 1st and return on 9th, The return trip per person will cost you around 8660 Rs. Kingfisher has the cheapest flight. I have given you two options so that you choose according to the timings.
Here are more details:
(Source: Cleartrip )
On the other hand if you start on 8th and return on 16th, then the return trip per person will cost around 10500 Rs.
Since the flights are cheaper on the earlier dates, I would recommend that you travel from 1st to 9th.
The weather in Leh is the best in July. The days are nice and warm but the nights are a little cold because of the high altitudes. I would say that you carry enough warm clothes for the little one and a warm jacket fr the two of you as well.
The months from April to September are the best season and are apt for visiting the city of Leh in Ladakh. The temperature is cool and can go up to 33C. Summers are the ideal time to go to Leh as the skies are clear and offers panoramic views of the mountains. The average day temperature ranges from 20to 30C.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the climate, tourists are advised to carry windcheaters, woolen clothing, thick socks, gloves, scarves, a hat or woolen cap, sturdy boots or walking shoes, sunscreen, lip balm and goggles.
Traveling with Toddlers
People have mixed opinions when it comes to taking infants to Leh-Ladakh. Some say it is perfectly fine to travel with kids if you are flying in and out while the others don't recommend taking infants to such high altitudes.
I took my 2.5 yr old girl to Ladakh last year. We stayed there for 9 days and did all the tourist spots including crossing the high passes. Not even once did my daughter have any problems regarding altitude
1. First day in Leh, make sure you rest. Specially if you planning to fly in. With rest I mean it has to be complete rest. Walking in the market is not included in resting. You have to seriously confine yourself to a room most of the times on first day and just come out for small walks only.
2. Reduce stress and anxiety levels to minimal. Speaking in loud voices, running around like we do in plains, being naughty (for kids) all will invite high altitude sickenss
3. Intake of lots of fluids and proper meal timmings also help.
4. While on day outings in leh, carry some food packed for the kids all the time. Delays are inevitable.
The major problem is the 'Acute Mountain Sickness'. If you yourself have asthma or any other breathing problems, then traveling with the child is not a good idea.
Arriving by air into Leh makes most people feel slightly knocked out, with headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, and disturbed sleep -- all early signs of altitude sickness. It's necessary to stay put and drink lots of fluids for 48 hours to acclimatize before venturing higher into the mountains. Monitor your body and health, and don't ignore worsening symptoms, which could lead to a pulmonary or cerebral edema. In Leh you can get 24-hour medical help for altitude sickness at Sonam Norbu Memorial (SNM) Hospital (tel. 01982/25-2012).
(Source: Planning a Trip in Leh at Frommer's)
The best remedy is to take lots of garlic soup at regular intervals to ensure that you don't face any breathing problems or congestion.
Besides this, get yourself and your child thoroughly examined by a doctor for any such breathing problems. Only then you can decide for the trip. Also, make sure you carry lots of baby food as you might not find it in Leh.
Traveling from Leh to Pangong lake and staying there will be a big problem. Leh to Pangong is about 170 kms. The journey is long and the roads are bad. If you do it in a day it will be very tiring and if you plan to stay for the night, then there are no good accommodation options. You will find just tents to stay near Pangong.
For more such tips and local information, you can read this very detailed write up by Frommers.
Let me now give you an idea of how the itinerary will look like and how many days will you need.
A trip to Leh is incomplete if you don't visit the very beautiful Pangong Tso lake, the untouched Nubra and Zanskar valleys, Khardung La and Alchi. Frommers has this great itinerary suggestion for a week.
You can spend up to a week exploring the town and the numerous Buddhist monuments within a 2- or 3-hour drive of Leh; far better, though, to head off to more remote (and less touristed) monasteries, such as Lamayuru. If you plan properly, you can head over the Khardung-La (the highest motorable pass on earth) into the spectacular Nubra Valley to discover more remote and time-trapped villages and monasteries, set against extraordinary slopes. Adventure-seekers can get caught up in river-rafting on the Zanskar and Indus, high-level mountain-climbing, or treks into remote, barren wilderness regions, which can easily extend your stay by an additional week, or more. The more laid-back traveler will be rewarded by awe-inspiring excursions to high-altitude lakes such as Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri.
However since you are traveling with an infant, I would suggest that you make a plan for atleast 12 days if you want to visit all these places. This is because you'll take some time in getting used to the altitude and the other times, the roads give trouble.
Assuming that you will arrive in Leh on July 1st, here's how you should plan the complete trip:
July 1st: Arrive in Leh and take rest. If you feel alright then you can explore the local markets in the evening.
Hemis Monastery - Festival - Parade (Source: Madhav Pai)
The most imposing of these is the Shanti Stupa, located just outside the town. In the heart of the town, on top of a steep mountain, the 800 year old Kali Mandir houses a fascinating collection of masks. You can stop to spin a huge prayer wheel on your way there. The 17th century Leh Palace, built in traditional Tibetan style, offers a captivating view of town. South of Leh, Thiksey Monastery is the place for seeing amazing sunsets. The Hemis Gompa is the wealthiest, oldest, and most important monastery in Ladakh.
(Source: Leh Ladakh Adventure Travel Guide)
July 4th: Leh to Alchi. The distance of about 65 kms can be covered in 2-3 hours. You have a choice of spending the night there or coming back to Leh. I would recommend coming back so that the travel next day becomes easier.
The verdant greenery of the village is testimony to its miraculous survival. Moving out of the parking lot, one sees smiling faces framed in low-slung mud brick houses. Apricot trees dot the winding path leading down to the centre of the village. Mules laden with wares and building material mill around, being coaxed through narrow alleys. Little children in bright school uniforms complete the morning picture. The hub of the village is its 11th century gompa temple complex. Near it, tea shops and lodges have created attractive outdoor cafes where one may stay the night or dine, read a book over a hot beverage or simply exchange notes with other visitors.
(Source: DiscoverIndia Alchi)
Thicksey Gompa (Source: Thicksey Gompa)
July 5th and 6th: Nubra Valley. Nubra valley is about 130 kms from Leh and it takes almost 6 hrs to reach there. One needs special permits to visit the Nubra Valley. You can get the same from the municipal office in Leh. You will need two days for Nubra valley. This includes the travel back and forth and a one night stay in the valley. You can stay at the Silk Route Cottages.
drive to Nubra Valley leads through Khardung - la - pass (the highest motorable road in the world) at 18,390 ft, around 39kms from Leh. Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldorma or the valley of flowers. It is situated to the North of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. Arrive Sumur or Hunder by afternoon and rest of the day at leisure to explore beautiful village of Sumur & Hunder with a Visit to Diskit Monastery.
The next day visit the Sand Dunes to enjoy a camel safari and then drive to Leh by same route over Khardung La.
(Source: Nubra Valley - Pangong)
Camel ride (Source: Karunakar Rayker)
July 7th and 8th: Pangong Tso. The lake is about 150 kms from Leh and can be reached in 5-6 hours. You can stay the night at Pangong. There are two accommodation options: Pangong Resort and Camp Watermark. Come back to Leh by 8th evening.
For Pangong Lake enroute visiting Shey Palace, The ancient capital of Ladakh & Thiksey an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village and carryon further towards Pangong through Changla pass 5486 Mtrs. Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m). A long narrow basin of inland drainage, hardly six to seven kilometer at its widest point and over 130km long, it is bisected by the international border between India and China. A few years back the government decided to open it to tourists though the lake and its surrounding is under army surveillance.
Enjoy the landscape in the back drop of the Lake. One rarely feels so close to nature and environment and the scenery is unforgettable
(Source: Ladakh Itinerary )
Pangong Tso (Source: Bappaditya Dasgupta)
Now you have two options. Either fly back to Delhi on 9th or stay over and visit Zanskar. Visiting Zanskar with kids is not a very good idea because its a long journey, the roads are not paved and there is nothing much to do other than adventure activities. Moreover, the roads don't open before mid July.
Travelling to Zanskar is certainly not for the frail heart. Zansakar is located in the interior of Leh Ladakh region and is considered best destination for rafting, trekking and mountaineering.
The road between Kargil and Padum is open from July to early October.
(Source: Zanskar Leh Lanskar)
Due to all these reasons, I would recommend that you drop the idea of visiting Zanskar. However, if you still wish to visit , let me know and I shall give you more information about the route and accommodation.
I have planned the itinerary for 9 days assuming that no roads are blocked and everything goes smoothly. However, keep a day or two extra because you never know when the roads get closed due to landslides.
Though there are quite a few hotels when it comes to Leh, I have suggested the two best hotels keeping in mind that you are traveling with a kid. Also, there are good deals on these hotels for the duration of your stay.
Changspa, Leh, India
Omasila is a very beautiful hotel located just about 15 mins from the airport and very close to the main market. It is known for its beautiful rooms and great stuff.
Here's what I found on TripAdvisor:
We stayed there only for couple of days. It was another pleasant surprise. The staff was truly kind and attentive. The rooms were clean and many had a splendid view on the Leh mountain. The restaurant serve a good and generous north Indian/ Ladahki cooking. Maybe everything is not perfect, but what to expect in Leh ? The main point is the pure beauty of the landscape and the great soul of Ladahki people. We found the both in Omasila, why ask for more ?
Makemytrip has some deals for the time of your stay.
Hotel Omasila Details (Source: Hotel Omasila Details)
For more details on the tariff for rooms and suites, visit the tariffs page.
Old Road, Leh 194101, India
A classic example of the Ladakhi architecture, the hotel is located in the main town and has easy access to the main market and taxi stand. The hotel has standard rooms as well as suites.
Here's a review from a previous traveler:
We stayed in this hotel on our family vacation and we were very happy with this place.
They have a very comfortable hotel with a great staff.
The food in the hotel is also of very good quality.
But the one thing which will make me come back to this hotel is their staff. Everyone from the front desk to their drivers are exceptional. They make sure that your trip is comfortable.
We were stuck in a snow storm one night and their driver ensured that we were put up in some comfortable accomodation in a small village and they did not even charge us for that one night!
I found some deals for the rooms and suites. makemytrip is offering discounted prices for these hotels at the time of your stay. Here's the deal for a standard room:
Spic-n-Span Details (Source: Spic-n-Span Details)
In your budget, you can even choose to stay in a suite. The deal:
Spic-n-Span Details (Source: Spic-n-Span Details)
Hope the above information helps you in deciding the dates of your travel and the complete itinerary as well.
You will have to do a lot of road travel for visiting these places from Leh and the only way to do it is by renting a car. Although there are many options available but at the same time its not easy to figure out the best operators and deals. For more information on taxi rentals, please do write back and we'll help you with the best options.
Till then, Happy Planning!
P.S. Here's a photo tour of Leh-Ladakh. Sit back and enjoy!
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