Looking at Ladakh?
Geringer Global Travel is pleased to announce the second interview with Susan Farewell, Editor-in-Chief of Farewell Travels. Each month, she will interview Susan Geringer on a specific aspect of travel to India or Asia. The questions and answers are designed to provide you, the traveler, with the information you need to plan your travels. We believe you'll find them very useful.
It seems anyone who has visited this “land of high passes” inevitably is at a loss for words in describing just how beautiful it is. In fact, the word we’ve heard when asked what they thought was simply: WOW. Lying between the Kunlun Mountains in the north and the Himalayas to the south, Ladakh is the northernmost state of India.
FarewellTravels: Ladakh has been called "Little Tibet." Why is that?
Susan Geringer: I think one should go with an open mind to learn about the Buddhist culture. The monasteries are filled with beautiful and interesting Thanka paintings and many Buddha statues. Do note that upon entering a monastery, you must take off your shoes and always walk clockwise inside.
FarewellTravels: What kind of active diversions are there in Ladakh?
Susan Geringer: Besides its monasteries and palaces, Ladakh is a great destination for adventure-seekers—those who are very adventurous (rock climbing and such) and those who just like to get out and explore. Treks, which include camping in tents, can be planned for many days or weeks, but one can also just hike for several hours or for the day. There’s also white-water rafting and mountain biking. One can also take a Jeep safari to see birds and other wildlife.
FarewellTravels: Does one have to be super fit to hike in Ladakh?
Susan Geringer: No. There are all levels of hikes. But it is very important to acclimatize to the low oxygen levels. We flew from Delhi to Leh and were told to hang out at our hotel until the next morning so we would not have problems with altitude sickness. Diamox may be suggested by your doctor.
FarewellTravels: Would you recommend a trip to this part of the world for a family with teens?
FarewellTravels: What is the food like and are there any specialties you think we shouldn't miss?
Susan Geringer: Thupka (noodle soup) and momos (vegetarian dumplings) are Ladakh specialties. We ate Maggie noodles and momos at Rinchen Cafeteria at Khardung La pass at 18, 380 ft. Somehow, Maggie noodles never tasted better than at this altitude.
FarewellTravels: We know that the famous Snow Leopard lives in Ladakh. Is it possible to see one?
Susan Geringer: It is extremely rare..you’d be extremely lucky to see one.
FarewellTravels: What else is there to see and do in Ladakh?
Susan Geringer: Another interesting experience is a hosted family dinner or a home stay. These are provided by locals for foreigners and provide a real window into the life in Ladakh.
FarewellTravels: When is the best time of the year to visit Ladakh?
FarewellTravels: How much time should we plan on staying there and is there another Indian destination you would recommend combining it with?
Susan Geringer: I would say 7 to 10 nights. For the first time visitor to India, I would combine Ladakh with Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur.
Photo credits: All photographs by Susan Geringer.
Going to India for the first time? See India 101: For First-Time Visitors.
Check back next month for more information on planning your trip to India.