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Car in Ladakh

How to Prepare for Road Trip to Ladakh by Car

Road trip to Ladakh by car is the most challenging and toughest journey felt by many travellers, and this is also the reason why many adventure loving people wanted to visit Ladakh by road. The journey is full of un-expectations whether it is road conditions, climatic conditions, accommodation or food availability, all this adds to the risk inherent in this journey. However proper planning not only helps in overcoming the risk, but also makes the journey more thrilling and memorable.

Here i am giving some important tips for making this wonderful Road journey to Ladakh by car more enjoyable and memorable.

Lalchungla Pass
High Altitute Mountain Pass

Selection of period of visit:

Summer is the best time to visit Ladakh. May-June is the period when most mountain passes are covered with snow where driving is tough even with SUVs. July-August is the slightly safe period as most of the route is cleared and snow is seen only on side mountains. Select your journey period according to your capacity of facing challenges. July-August is ideal if you have female and young members.

Frozen Ice on leh road
Frozen Ice on road in the month of July

Selection of vehicle:

SUVs are the ideal vehicle for this journey, but people have travelled on hatch back, sedan or even on a Tata Nano car. Therefore skilled driving is more important than  the type of vehicle used. SUVs have advantage of high ground clearance and riding comfort which is very much required in the journey. Main issue with any vehicle is similar to as with humans in high altitude, and that is ‘oxygen’. Less oxygen in high altitude causes less power developed by vehicle, therefore it is important to carry optimum load for your vehicle. Whatever vehicle one use, a set of important tools has to be carried,  below is the list for those.

Ladakh Roads
Clear routes in the month of July

Important Tools & accessories to be kept in vehicle:

The following tools are important to carry apart from vehicle’s tool kit during journey:

  • Punchture kit with air pump
  • A high powered Torch
  • Towing rope
  • Wooden plank and rod to be used during stuck tyre.
  • A set of screw drivers and spanners
  • Knife and scissors.
  • Cello Tape
  • M-seal
  • Keep at least 30 liters of Fuel as your reserve in case of emergency. use Jerry cans or narrow lid canisters.
important tools
important tools
puncture kit and towing rope
puncture kit and towing rope




Advice for drivers:

  • Always care for your vehicle, without it you cannot enjoy the journey. Keep an eye on every sound or beep its electronic gives.
  • Don’t be in hurry, step out and check for road conditions before moving ahead in the case of damaged or narrow road.
  • Move slowly while descending a mountain pass, narrow water stream across the road may damage your vehicle’s bumper.
  • Check your Tyre periodically for any damage or puncture.
  • Do not accelerate high in case of stuck Tyre, use wooden plank or stones for more friction. High acceleration can damage your vehicle’s clutch plate.
  • Drink more water or glucose frequently do not dehydrate your body.
Tandi Petrol Bunk
Filling station at Tandi

How to acclimatize your body:

Travelling to high altitude has inherent problem of low Oxygen, it can cause nausea, vomiting and headache which can be dangerous if not given oxygen mask immediately. Therefore body needs to acclimatize before facing low oxygen conditions.

Here i am giving some important tips to face these situations.

  • Drink more and more waters even if you are not feeling thirsty.
  • Occasionally Inhale and exhale high amount of air like pranayam.
  • Do not sleep and make boring journey, always talk and try to enjoy the trip.
  • Do not spend much time in top of mountain passes.
  • Do not extremely tired yourself while in journey always take time to relax and drink water.
  • Carry portable Oxygen Cylinder for female members.
  • Keep Good amount of Diamox Tablet, take one every morning if some one is very prone to less Oxygen.
  • Use camphor, wear camphor pendant. Wrap camphor in cotton clothes to make a pendant.
Portable Oxygen cylinder
Portable Oxygen cylinder

Clothing and other accessories:

Ladakh climate is unpredictable it changes in seconds therefore warm cloths are necessary. There is little to no vegetation in Ladakh region therefore you won’t find rain here but frequent water streams on the way can wet your shoes.

  • Keep extra pair of shoes and more sets of socks
  • Hand gloves and warm Jackets are must in the month of May-June, while July-August becomes comfortable and a light Jacket can do well.
  • Keep extra sets of undergarments if you love hygiene.
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
bharatpur dhabas
Dhabas at Bharatpur

Food and eatables:

Temporary Dhabas are built at some low altitude places (Keylong ,Jispa, Bharatpur, Sarchu) which can serves you with Noodles, Parathas and Tea & biscuits etc. It is better to keep some home made food.

  • Keep home made snacks which can last long. Chocolates, biscuits and other snacks.
  • Keep Packed Juices, Glucose and any home made health drinks.
  • Carry Packaged drinking waters bottles as many as you can after Manali and Sonmarg.
  • Do not try to fire and cook on the way in high altitude. It burns oxygen of surrounding area.
Ladakhs tents
Tented Accomodation

Other accessories:

  • Cameras, DSLR, mobile phones for taking pictures videos.
  • Back up memory cards for your DSLR, cameras.
  • Tripod if you are a photo lovers
  • Accessories to fix your camera on bike/cars hood to take videos of your memorable journey.
  • Tents
  • Torches
  • iPad, pen drives loaded with songs that you enjoy.



Authored by Ramesh kumar

i am an engineer by profession and an avid traveler from past 5 years. I have keen interest on food, culture other than scenic beauty of places

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