Last Updated on November 16, 2019 by Audrey Scott
Having fielded numerous questions about trekking in Ladakh — which trek to choose, how to find a trekking agency, when to go, how to get there, what to pack, and more — we’ve created this Ladakh Trekking Beginner’s Guide. We hope it encourages you to make the long journey to Ladakh and explore its stunning mountain landscapes and fascinating Ladahki and Tibetan Buddhist culture and people. You won't be sorry.
Every year we try to go on a big trek, one that takes us far far away and high into the mountains. For us, it's not only a way to exercise our bodies, but to clear and challenge our minds. It’s a way to disconnect from all that is part of our daily life — technology, social media, blogging — and reconnect with nature and ourselves.
Our trek of the Markha Valley in Ladakh in India’s high Himalayas was one of our favorite treks of all time. We had dangerously high expectations, having dreamed of this region for over a decade. Fortunately, what we found in Ladakh and on our trek far exceeded what we had imagined, not only in terms of the stunning landscape but also the Ladakhi people.
Update: This article was originally published in January 2014 and updated in July 2019 with current 2019 prices, a Ladakh trekking packing list and other information.
Update: You can now buy the Ladakh Trekking: A Beginner’s Guide with all the information from this site plus lots of extra details and other goodies (like packing and other preparation) in an easy ebook that you can download and take with you.
Table of Contents
Choosing a trek in Ladakh
There are loads of trekking choices in Ladakh. Your choice will depend on the amount of time you have, how remote you'd like to go, and the difficultly level you seek. Some of the more remote treks require special permits as they may go into sensitive border areas, but trekking agencies can easily take care of this for you within a day or two.
There are endless variations of treks you can take in Ladakh, with many taking you to remote areas and can go up to three weeks. You can find a full list of Ladakh trekking options here.
Some of the more popular treks in Ladakh include:
- Markha Valley Trek (6-7 days): This is the one that we chose because it combined hiking and landscapes with people and culture by incorporating homestays with families in villages along the way. For us, this combination is ideal and resulted in a trekking experience that exceeded our expectations. The Markha Valley Trek is also the most popular Ladakh trek and we’re told it can get crowded in the high season (July and August). If you travel to Ladakh during high season, take this into consideration and perhaps choose a less popular trek to avoid crowded trails and home accommodations.
- Hidden Valleys of Ladakh, Zanskar Range (9-10 days): This trek takes you into the Zanskar range and through small villages throughout the valley area. Camping gear is required as it’s not possible to do homestays for the entire trek.
- Nubra Valley (5-6 days): This can either be done without much trekking for 2-3 days, or it can be a fuller trekking experience with camping, camel rides and more. We’ve heard the area is quite beautiful.
- Kharnak trek (15 days): Begins like the Markha Valley trek but continues further south for another week. A Ladakhi trekking guide told us this is one of his favorite treks.
- Rumtse to Tsomoriri (8-9 days): This was another favorite trek from a guide we spoke to because of the beauty of the lakes and the joy of interaction with shepherds along the way. This trek is on the short list for when we return.
Water is scare in Ladakh, so please be mindful of this and take short showers and reduce your use of this precious resource. In addition, we ask you not to buy bottled water and instead use a refillable water bottle in both Leh and on your trek. This will reduce the plastic bottle waste already piling up in Ladakh, as well as the energy and resources used to transport the water bottles there.
To trek independently or with a guide?
Some treks require a guide due to the difficulty of the trail or local regulations. Other routes like the Markha Valley Trek can be done independently (e.g., without a guide) because the trail is pretty well marked and there are villages to stay in throughout the way. You then have the decision of whether to go on your own or hire a guide. Factors include: budget, your trekking experience, skill at reading trekking maps, and weather. Let's examine these.
Although our Markha Valley trek could have been done without a guide, we were thankful to have one. Having a local guide provided us with the peace of mind that we were always on the right path (as some of you may remember, we have a history of getting lost in mountains).
As luck would have it, we crossed our first Markha Valley trek mountain pass in the middle of a snow storm. Without our guide, we never would have found the correct approach. Two guys trekking independently with us said they would have turned back that day if it weren’t for our guide to help them find the path. Word to the wise: It pays to hitch a ride with Dan and Audrey…if they have a guide!
Our local guide also provided local context and culture (e.g., Ladakhi Buddhist) to the experience. We asked him many questions about his life growing up in a remote village in Ladakh and the changes he’d seen in his short lifetime. He served as an interpreter, providing us the flexibility to have conversations with families we stayed with or ask questions of people we'd met along the way.
So while trekking Ladakh independently may save you some money and perhaps allow you a little more flexibility, our experience proved to us beyond a doubt that the benefits of having a guide in this region far outweighs the costs.
Ladakh Accommodation and Sleeping Options: Camping or Homestay?
Some treks will give you the option of either camping or homestays (staying with Ladakhi families in villages). Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Camping: The primary advantage of camping (if you are going with an agency) is that it includes a horse to carry your bags so you don’t have to haul your stuff on your back up to 5,000+ meters and back down again. Another bonus: you can sometimes camp closer to passes, making for easier ascents. A perhaps obvious disadvantage of camping: sleeping in a tent when it’s rainy and cold or blowing snow can be unpleasant. In addition, this option is usually more expensive as you'll need your own cook and horse guide in addition to your trekking guide.
Homestays: If the trek you choose offers the option of homestays, we suggest taking it. Staying with Ladakhi families in villages throughout our Markha Valley trek was absolutely one of the highlights and delights of the experience. The people, culture and tradition ground you. Food (see below) is also a fun facet. Not to mention, homestays are typically less expensive than camping.
Note: We recently met the founder of Mountain Homestays, a social enterprise working to empower rural communities through the development of homestays together with local people and families. You can search for unique Ladakh homestays here, including those focused on astronomy where you have access to a powerful telescope to explore the sky in almost perfect high altitude and remote conditions.
What to expect in a Ladakhi homestay:
- Home-cooked meals: All food is vegetarian, which is better and safer for the digestive system, particularly at altitude. Alert the trekking agency, your guide and host families in advance if you have any food allergies. Dinner is often quite hearty and is either a traditional Tibetan/Ladakhi meal like momos (Tibetan dumplings) or temo (twisted bread dumplings) with daal (lentils) or greens from the garden. All our dinners were made freshly for us and were very tasty. Breakfast, a little less remarkable, usually consists of Indian flat bread (chapatis) with butter and jelly, while lunch is some sort of bread with packaged sliced cheese, hard boiled egg and some snacks.
- Sleeping area: Sleeping in homestays usually consists of mattresses on the ground with lots of blankets piled on top. If you’re trekking in the high season you might need to share your room with other trekkers. For us, we had our own room most nights. Take a sleep sack with you. Sheets looked pretty clean, but it was unclear when the last time blankets were cleaned.
- Toilets: Expect bleak. Outhouses or compost toilets are usually attached to the house or just outside. They do the trick, but don’t expect any luxury here. Bring a headlamp so you don't, um, accidentally slip and fall.
- Common room: Some of the best memories at the homestays come from hanging around drinking tea around the traditional stove in the big common room. The bedroom is for sleeping, but this common room is where you should spend most of your time during a homestay.
What to look for in a Ladakhi trekking agency and guide.
Book a tour in advance or on the ground?
We did not make any bookings or inquiries for treks before arriving in Leh. We figured that we would use the two to three days acclimatizing in Leh (absolutely required if you plan to enjoy your trek) to research all our options and book our trek. Since we traveled in shoulder season, this provided plenty of time to make our arrangements.
If you decide to travel during high season (July-August), you may not have the same flexibility. Consider sending a few email inquiries in advance to be certain that agencies are not already at capacity with their guides and tours.
Update: If you are looking for a trek in Ladakh with social impact and purpose we recommend you check out Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE). We recently met the founder, Paras Loomba, and were impressed by him and the work of this social enterprise. Its mission is to electrify villages through solar energy, and one of the ways it does so is through trekking and travel experiences in Ladakh.
This means that its trekking expeditions not only provide travelers with an incredible trekking experience in Ladakh, but they also provide the opportunity to help bring electricity and solar energy to a remote mountain village. GHE also trains local families in hospitality and helps them set up homestays so that they have additional sources of income and employment that help keep people in these remote, rural areas. This not only preserves these villages, but also the unique culture in them that would otherwise die out with migration to bigger towns and cities.
Choosing a trekking agency in Leh
You will see trekking agents everywhere in Leh. Many of them will have signs outside advertising their treks, as well as notices if they are looking for more people to fill treks with specific departure dates. The idea here is that the more people who trek together and share a guide, the lower the per-person cost should be. We originally hoped to join one of these treks, but the timing didn’t work out with our schedule.
We walked around Leh for an afternoon visiting various agencies asking questions about trek options, costs, departure dates and flexibility to add on stops. Most of the trekking agencies gave us a similar price range so our decision was made based on the feeling we got from the agency (e.g., did the agency feel like a middleman or were they actually responsible for their own guides and tours), their patience, and their flexibility to accommodate special requests.
We chose Ecological Footprint in the end because we liked how the owner, Stanzin, explained all our options and was flexible to work with us to create a trek that met our needs, not just one that fit into a prepackaged box. In addition, Stanzin is Ladakhi and know the community well. All the tours he operates use local people and aim to invest back into the communities. So while the tour was slightly more expensive than what some of the other tour agencies were offering, we felt that the price was worth it for the quality of the experience. We believed that our money was well spent.
We can also highly recommend our guide from Ecological Footprint, Dorjee Tondup. He is young but wise beyond his years and dispenses bits of perspective and peace everywhere he goes. His respectful approach to local people opened doors for us everywhere. His approach to everyone he met served as a lesson for life. He guides on all the major Ladakh trekking routes.
Choosing a guide
Although you may or may not have the option to choose a specific Ladakh trekking guide, we offer a few questions and suggestions to help you find a good match.
Ask to meet the guide before you leave on your trek.
This is something we usually do before any trek to give us peace of mind that we’ll get along well with our guide. We’ve never had to change guides, but if you do think that the guide assigned to you will be problematic then ask for a change. Remember, it’s a long journey. It will be particularly long if you must spend it with someone who rubs you the wrong way. Not to mention, you'll want someone you feel comfortable with and trust in the case that weather or health turn south. We know this firsthand because a guide from another agency who trekked alongside us in Ladakh annoyed absolutely everyone, including his own client. We spent energy trying to avoid him.
Ask for a Ladakhi guide.
During high season in Ladakh, demand for guides is high and so people come from all over India to guide for the summer. We don’t want to discriminate, but we feel that you'll have a better experience with someone who is a Ladakhi guide because of the knowledge of local culture and language. Our trekking companions had an Indian guide, and while he knew the mountain trails, he didn't know the families running the homestays or the Ladakhi language and culture.
Explain any special needs to the guide.
This goes for medical needs, as well as any other idiosyncrasies you might have. For example, we take a lot of photos so we stop a lot on the trail and slow things down. Alerting the guide in advance of this behavior lets the guide know not to worry when it takes us a while to go from point A to B. He can adjust his pace accordingly. One of the women trekking at the same time as us had back issues, so her guide would often carry one of her bags for her when her back ached. The idea: help your guide help you.
Estimated Costs for Markha Valley Trek
The updated price for our Markha Valley Trek (6 nights/7 days) including a guide, accommodation (homestay), food and transport to/from the trek is around 20,000 rupees per person. This also included a stop at Hemis Monastery on the way back to Leh. (Not all trekking agencies offer this, so ask about it. We really enjoyed the additional stop on the return and recommend it.)
This was slightly cheaper than some of the other trekking agencies while others offered bare bone prices at 1,600-2,000 rupees per person per day. Understand that you typically get what you pay for.
Homestay costs on Markha Valley Trek (Updated 2019)
If you do decide to do the Markha Valley Trek independently, find out in Leh what the official rate is for homestays that year. The official rate is a standard amount set every year by the homestay association so that the families all charge the same amount and don’t try to underbid each other (thereby causing tensions in the community).
Updated homestay prices, July 2019: The the standard Markha Valley homestay rate is 1,200 Rs ($17.50) per night per person. This includes dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch. A tent at Nimiling is 1,400 Rs ($20.50).
When to Trek in Ladakh?
The trekking season in Ladakh really begins to take off early-to-mid June and runs until September. The high season is July and August with August being the busiest month. Rains usually start late August to September. If you can time it, we recommend going early in the shoulder season in June. Note that weather is always the wild card, however.
Our trek was mid-June and there was hardly anyone (6 people) along our entire Markha Valley route. This meant that the homestays were not crowded and there were no traffic jams on the paths. We experienced a surprise snowstorm on our second morning at the first pass, but that just added to the excitement and meant that all the mountains around us sported a beautiful covering of snow.
Acclimatization and Accommodation in Leh before Trekking
No matter which trek you choose, be sure to spend at least two days acclimatizing in Leh (or wherever the setting off point of your Ladakh trek happens to be). Take a walk through the old town up to Leh Palace and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa. This helps get the blood pumping and the legs moving. It also gives you some experience climbing hills at altitude.
If you are susceptible to altitude sickness, consider taking even more time to acclimatize in Leh. Your hike will be more enjoyable and successful for it.
As for where to stay in Leh, there are a lot of guesthouses and hotels for every budget. You can search here to see which hotels are available during your visit and compare prices.
The owner of Ecological Footprints, the trekking agency we used, has recently opened up a guesthouse called EcoResidency. We haven't stayed there yet, but it looks quite nice and quiet.
Food recommendations in Leh
Summer Harvest: Best momos in town. We feel confident in this statement as we sampled momos in four different restaurants and kitchens in town. Be sure to ask for the homemade hot sauce. We never ventured beyond momos (they were that good), but other dishes emerging from the kitchen looked tasty as well.
German bakeries: Don’t ask me why, but Leh is bursting with German bakeries. They don’t all have their own ovens, so it seems like they get their baked goods from a central German bakery source. If you’re craving a cinnamon roll or some quasi European pastries, stop by one of these and enjoy with a chai. Quality is mixed, but when you consider how remote you are, you'll be grateful.
Lassi guy: In the alleyway just to the right of the mosque on Leh Bazaar is a tiny place with this friendly guy making and selling yogurt and paneer (Indian cheese). For a few rupees he’ll create a fresh sweet or salty lassi for you and invite you in to enjoy a seat while he explains how he makes it all. Highly recommended.
Monasteries and Other Sites in Ladakh
On our return journey from Leh to Srinigar we hired a driver from Leh to take us to visit a few monasteries on the way to Lamayuru, where we dropped us off and then picked up in the evening (pre-arranged) by a driver/shared jeep en route to Srinigar for the overnight drive.
Update: There is now an online shared taxi service in Ladakh to find other travelers going to the same monasteries, villages or trailheads. This not only shares the cost of the taxi or jeep, but more people in the same vehicle also reduces the carbon footprint of your travel and makes it more environmentally sound.
While traveling, we often find ourselves focused on the present. This is a good thing. Then, something helps us appreciate the history, the roots of where we happen to be. This too, is useful because it provides perspective.
Likir Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh, at almost 1,000 years old, is one of those places.
For much of our visit to Likir Monastery we were alone, save a sole monk who tidied up and made sure visitors took their shoes off before entering the temples. We enjoyed it all in peace and found ourselves stepping back, literally and figuratively, just trying to imagine how monks had gathered in those spaces for centuries — chanting, meditating, praying.
Built in the 10th to 11th century, Alchi Monastery is made up of three major shrines. It's located not far from Leh, so it's an easy to visit on a day trip or en route to Lamayuru (like we did).
Lamayuru is one of the small towns in Ladakh, named after the famous Lamayuru Monastery perched high above the town. It's a nice walk up to the monastery with a view of the town below, interesting chortens in this high desert landscape, and intimate temples.
Transport: How to get to Ladakh
Unless you have your own set of wheels (or wings) there are three main routes to get to and from Ladakh.
By Bus or Shared Taxi to Leh:
Taking the public or regular bus is the cheapest option and certainly delivers an experience, but it is often the slowest option. To book a shared taxi or jeep to/from Ladakh consider using this newly developed Ladakh shared taxi booking system to help you find other travelers to share the cost and space. This not only saves you money, but with more people in each jeep it also reduces the environmental footprint.
Srinigar to Leh: You have the option to take a two-day “Super Deluxe” bus (overnight in Kargil) or a 12-hour shared ride in a private jeep (with 6 other passengers). Both leave from the same area in Srinagar. Please note that the roads are only open for a short period each year, usually from May – September.
We flew from Mumbai to Srinagar and then took the bus up to Leh and a shared jeep for the return leg to Srinagar. If you have more time, consider taking the train from wherever you are in India to Jammu and pepper in a few strategic visits and stops along the way to Srinagar.
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to the bus and jeep. While the bus ride from Srinagar to Leh is long and not particularly comfortable, you are able to take a lot of photos out the window, as the pace is glacial, snail-like for much of the way. It's also an experience to travel with locals (e.g., Buddhist monks hopping on and off) and fellow adventurous travelers. Suggestion: try not to focus on the missing guardrails along the way. A dose of fatalism may also help.
Bus and Shared Jeep Costs from Srinagar to Leh (Updated 2019): Bus tickets = 1,399 Rs/person. Jeep price depends on your negotiation skills, but usually costs between 2,300-2,700 Rs/person depending upon which seat you have (i.e., back seats are cheaper).
Manali to Leh: This route from the south also features the option of a 2-day bus trip vs. 16-20 hours in a shared jeep. We didn’t take this route so can’t speak to it firsthand, but we met several people who did. The roads seem to be in worse shape than the Srinagar route, but you go over four large mountain passes which are supposed to be stunning. If you’re coming from Delhi, this is the more direct route. The roads are usually open for a few months of the year, again from June – September.
Bus and Shared Jeep Costs from Manali to Leh (Updated 2019): Bus tickets = from 900 Rs/person for the standard HRTC bus to 2,700 Rs/person for the more comfortable Volvo Bus. Jeep price between 3,700 – 4,100 Rs/person depending upon which seat you have (i.e., back seats are cheaper).
Update: We have heard that recent road improvements have shortened the length of this journey and have made it more safe.
By Plane to Ladakh
Flying into Leh is certainly more expedient, but you'll miss the beauty and adventure of the roads. The views from the skies in the mountains are supposed to pretty spectacular, however. Be sure to leave buffer days in your travel schedule if you fly as flights are frequently canceled due to bad weather.
Most planes fly from either Delhi, Srinagar and Mumbai (new in 2016). Try to book your tickets early as prices go up very quickly. Begin your flight search with Skyscanner as it includes all low-cost airlines in its listings.
Ladakh Trekking Packing List
Much of what we include in our How to Pack for a Trek article applies to trekking in Ladakh. However, we offer a customized Markha Valley trek packing list to ensure you have all you need to enjoy the mountains yet don’t overpack.
Since we chose the Markha Valley trek with homestays this meant that we didn't need to worry about tents, sleeping gear or food. We carried our own gear (mostly clothes) in a small backpack. The goal is to be sure you have all the layers you need to be comfortable in Ladakh's varied weather, but to not carry too much so as to struggle with your backpack's weight on the high mountain passes.
If you are doing another trek in Ladakh that includes camping instead of homestays then you'll need to bring (or rent) sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and other camping gear.
Recommended women's backpack: Deuter ACT Trail Pro 32 SL Backpack – Very light and comfortable to carry. Includes all sorts of great functionality like a built-in rain cover, water bladder compatibility, wide waist belt for stability, and more. Love this backpack. Buy on Amazon | Buy on REI (28-liter)
Recommended men's hiking backpack: Osprey Packs Exos 38 Backpack – This backpack comes in several sizes, and the Large version is well-suited for tall people. Light, comfortable, and durable. The walking stick holder is a little janky, but the rest of the backpack is well-designed. Buy on Amazon | Buy on REI (48-liter)
Trekking Clothes and Shoes
You don’t need a lot of different clothes. Don’t worry about wearing the same thing every day. Everyone does it. It's more about having the proper layers since temperatures may rise and fall dramatically between day and night as Ladakh is a high desert. Here are the trekking clothes we suggest for a Ladakh trek.
- 1 set of hiking clothes: T-shirt (preferably quick dry), long-sleeved hiking shirt (his and hers)) or pullover, shorts or trekking pants, hiking socks.
- 1 set of sleeping clothes: T-shirt, pajama bottoms (or yoga pants), socks. To ensure these remain dry, pack them in a plastic bag or other impermeable container inside your backpack.
- Ski hat and gloves: This may not be necessary later in the season, but by early to mid-June we were very thankful to have these as we were stuck in a snowstorm on our 2nd day.
- Hat and sunglasses: The sun's rays are exceptionally powerful at this altitude and you'll find yourself especially exposed when there isn't a cloud in the sky. Be sure to wear a hat at all times to protect your face and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Hiking shoes: Low-rise hiking shoes are fine, but if you have weak ankles consider bringing full support shoes. We both recently shifted to wearing Oboz Sawtooth hiking boots. The insoles and support for your feet are really good, and the shoes are sturdy and can stand up to some tough terrain. In addition, Oboz plants a tree for every pair of shoes sold so you can feel good that your purchase is going towards reforestation and environmental projects.Men's Obuz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes: Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon. Women's Obuz Sawtooth Hiking Shoes: Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon
- Extra t-shirt: Just in case.
- Underwear for every day of your trek: With an extra pair thrown in for good measure, if you like. Recommended his and hers
- Extra pair of socks: Just in case you want to switch out or it's freezing and you need an extra layer to stay warm in your sleeping bag.
- Fleece or other shell jacket: For cool nights or sleeping.
- Rain jacket (optional): Just in case it rains. We used ours as an extra layer to stay warm at night. I recently upgraded to a NorthFace Climatech technology waterproof jacket and I love it. It not only provided protection against the rain and cold, but the jacket material is very breathable so it didn't feel like a sauna inside when trekking in it. Highly recommended. Buy at REI | Buy on Amazon.
- Thermal underwear (top/bottom): If you're trekking either early or late in the season, consider bringing along some silk long johns as they are warm, comfy and take up almost no room at all.
- River shoes or flip flops: At the end of a long day of walking you may want to take off your hiking shoes and give your feet a rest. But you'll still need something on your feet to go to and from the outhouse or nearest bush. That's where flip flops or river shoes worn with socks (yes, ignore the fashion police) are perfect.Buy on Amazon (Women's) | Men's River Shoes
Other Recommended Trekking Gear
- Waterproof backpack cover: You never know when a rainstorm will hit, so it’s essential to keep a rain cover for your backpack close at hand.
- Camera bag: If you are carrying a separate DSLR or mirrorless camera I suggest a camera bag that you can wear on your waist so that your trekking backpack rests on top. I really like the ThinkTank Sling Camera Bag which fits a mirrorless camera body and two lenses. It is comfortable for hiking as it sits right on my hips and I can still wear a backpack or daypack that rests on top of it.
- Reusable water bottle: We carry a reusable liter water bottle on us and refill along the way. A CamelBak water bladder in the backpack also works really well. Homestays (and some tea houses) will be able to provide you with purified water so just refill your bottle each time you have access to clean water. Even if the trek does sell bottled water, please don't purchase it. Plastic bottle waste is an enormous problem at elevation and in villages that have no options for garbage disposal.
- Water Purification: Although the homestays will provide you with clean water it's good to carry some purification or sterilization drops in case you need additional water from
a mountain stream or non-purified village tap.
- Walking stick: Highly recommended, especially for downhill sections to help with balance and to take some of the pressure off your joints. Two walking sticks or one, you ask? That's a personal preference. We usually share a walking stick set of two so each of us uses one stick.
- Quick-dry travel towel: To dry off your hands or face.
- Sleep sack: To provide a clean layer between you and blankets provided at the homestays.
- Headlamp: Some of the homestays do not have electricity or lights. Carry your own headlamp to find your way to the outhouse or to sort through your stuff at night.
Toiletries and Health Kit
- Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss: You know, the basics. And don't laugh at us that we put dental floss as a basic.
- Sunscreen: The higher the SPF of the sunscreen, the better. The sun is very powerful at this high altitude.
- Sunglasses: Necessary. That sun is darn strong.
- Hand sanitizer: To be on the safe side.
- Pack of tissues or roll of toilet paper: Always a good idea to carry your own, just in case.
- Blister care: Duct tape is remarkably effective for hot spots and blisters on your feet if you address them when you first feel them. Compeed is magic when you already have blisters as it essentially covers your blisters with a protective later which allows them to heal below.
- Medical Kit (for emergencies): Band-Aids, anti-bacterial gel (for cuts), rehydration packets, ciprofloxacin/azithromycin (or another medication against stomach bacteria), Tylenol (anti-headache/aches), Immodium (or some sort of “stopper” if you get diarrhea). Note: All this can be easily and inexpensively purchased at local pharmacies, including in Leh.
Electricity and Charging Batteries
Although some homestays may have solar energy that you can use to charge your smartphone it's best to be prepared in case you don't have any access to electricity during your trek. Some tips to handle this and further your battery power.
- Put your smartphone on airplane mode. There is no connectivity along the trek anyhow, so don't waste your phone’s battery power trying to find a network.
- Consider buying a phone case that doubles as an extra battery. Here’s an example for our iPhone X battery case. Alternatively, you could carry a Mophie charger. They all provide another 1-1.5 charges.
- Take an extra camera battery or two.
- Don’t spend time reviewing your images on your phone or in the camera viewfinder, as this will quickly consume battery power. Unless you are reviewing images to determine whether you’ve captured a specific shot, there will be time enough for photo review when your trek is finished.
- Solar-Powered Energy Bank: If you really are concerned about charging your phone and gear along the way, consider bringing a solar powered power bank.
Still have questions about Ladakh and trekking there? Ask away in the comments below!
Update: You can now buy the Ladakh Trekking: A Beginner’s Guide with all the information from this site plus extra details and other goodies (like packing and other preparation) in an easy ebook that you can download and take with you.