Thursday, 31 July 2014

A trip to Leh and Ladakh

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at

A trip to Leh and Ladakh

Different people have different preferences for trip vacations. Some like the hustle-bustle of the crowded yet renowned cities like Paris and New York, some prefer the pleasant bucolic scenes and some opt for archaic places of historical importance. But my calling has always been the nature, specially the ice-caped mountains!! So, when I got the much-needed respite from my jam-packed schedule, I decided to make a quick trip to the scenically stunning Leh and Ladakh.

But owing to my sudden decision, I had no time to plan a week’s trip. That’s when a friend of mine suggested Skyscanner. Saying that Skyscanner’s Travel Wizard is good would be an understatement; it is simply the best!

The first step was to book tickets for the family of four. Skyscanner not only made the bookings hassle-free but I even got a great deal saving around 29,000 bucks on the return journey.

After the flight tickets were booked, the staying arrangements were to be done. I had to look no further than Skyscanner for that. It just took me few minutes to shortlist three hotels of my choice and after some more deliberations, I booked Hotel Yasmin for a week.

Lastly I had to look for transportation once we reach there and Skyscanner seemed just the perfect option for that too. My planning was done and dusted with in under an hour and all thanks to Skyscanner!

Trip to the Roof of the world

The commencement

Having already seen the heaven of India(read Kashmir), I had a very high benchmark for a scenery which would impress me beyond imagination. But little did I know that this trip to Leh would inflate those benchmarks to unattainable standards. Even before landing at Leh’s airport I had already finished half of my camera’s memory on the pictures I couldn’t resist clicking from the plane’s window. The eagle’s eye view of Leh was breath-taking. Overall it’s a very small town whose main source of income is tourism. The main tourism season starts around April and continues till late October before the snow sets in. On the journey from airport to the hotel in the cab hired through Skyscanner, I witnessed a number of Buddhist temples with typical prayer bells.


Day 1(local sight-seeing):

After resting for half a day and acclimatizing to the high altitude discomfort, we were raring to out and explore Leh. On the first day we went local sight-seeing. Chiefly, we went to some of the most renowned monasteries in and around Leh. We started with the Hemis monastery, then visited the Thiksey monastery and finally to the yamaluru monastery. While Hemis was the biggest and most elaborated, Yamaluru and Thiksey were humble yet artistic. The monasteries gave a sneak peak to the lives that the monks lead.


Day 2(Pang-gong Lake):

The next day saw us on a day’s trip to the famous Pang-gong lake. The lake is situated at a height of about 14,500 feet above sea level and is land-locked. To reach the lake one has to go through the Changla pass which is at about 17688 ft. high from the mean sea level. The snow covered mountains and the tortuous roads which, I must say, have been nicely maintained by the Border Roads Organization provided scintillating views.


Upon reaching the Pang gong lake we were amused to see the serene blue expanse of water with a flock of seagulls flying over it. The lake seemed an exact and precise reflection of the sky. It looked like the sky and the lake were one only to be separated by the brown mountains


Day 3&4(Nubra valley):

The third day’s places to visit were Nubra valley and Diskit village. I had booked a hotel at the Diskit village for a night’s stay through an agent of the same hotel that I booked through Skyscanner. The route to Nubra valley goes through the highest motorable road in the world- the Khardung-La pass which is at about 18380 ft. above the mean sea level. I even came across the story of origin of Maggi at the pass! The Diskit village of Nubra valley was a welcome change since it was at about 10,000 feet as compared to 13000 ft. altitude of Leh. I was amused to see the ubiquitious greenery after witnessing only snow-clad and dusty mountains till then. One of the main features of Diskit village is the sand dunes. I even rode on the double humped Bactrian camels. It was great fun!! You can even visit the Mahakali Mandir, which is situated at a steep height, and the giant Buddha Statue on the way.




Day 5(Shanti stupa, Sangam, Magnetic Hill):

Our fifth day started with a visit to yet another monastery followed by a visit to the ‘3 Idiots’ school or the Druk White Lotus school. The school was very tourist friendly and gave us a peek of its innovative methods of construction of school buildings. We were also escorted to the famous point where ‘Chatur’ was given the “shock of his life”!

From there on we went to the Shanti Stupa. Set at 14,000 feet , one can witness breathtaking picteresque panorama of the entire horizon. It would be disparaging to describe it view through a mere photograph.

Our next stop was ‘sangam’. It’s the meeting point of two rivers, namely, Indus and Zanskar. Zanskar flows into the indus river and the distinction is widely discernible. You can even enjoy rafting here.

Next on cards was the mysterious Magnetic Hill. It is said that due to magnetic interference the hill is able to pull cars uphill. Though we witnessed it first hand, the guide rightfully informed us about this being an opotical illusion. However it was an uncanny experience of thrill when the car started moving on its own towards the steeper slope. On the way of our return to the hotel, we also went to the Leh palace and the military museum.


Day 6(local marketing):

Its good come back with some physical manifestation of the beautiful memories of the places one has visited. Thus on the last day of the stay we decided to hit the markets. We went to the ‘Tibetan Gol market’, which is quite famous there and bought some mementoes. On the last day we went to a restaurant to have our food and I must say, it was delicious.

Day 7 –

The return journey was again facilitated by Skyscanner. I had booked a cab through SkyScanner and it dropped us to the airport.
Here’s the rough invoice of the journey-

1.     Flight tickets- 40,000INR( I save a great deal of money due to Skyscanner)
2.     Transportation+accomodation+food- 43,000 INR
3.     Personal expenses- 13,000 INR

And I managed to save 4,000 INR!!!! Thank you Skyscanner.

Everyone who has visited Leh and Ladakh would agree that the journey was enthralling yet enchanting at the same time and I’m no different. However, it would not have been possible to plan such a wonderful trip in such a short time period had Skyscanner not come to my rescue. Not only the service was good, but the range of facilities provided was colossal. It’s a complete one-stop solution to all the travel problems.

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