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Fact File

Area: Leh with an area of 45110 Sq Km makes it largest district in the country in terms of area. It lies between 32 to 36 degree North latitude and 75 degree to 80 degree East longitude.

  • Population: Approx. 2.80 lakh in the 2 districts of Leh & Kargil.
  • Languages: Ladakhi including Balti / Purgi, Shina or Dardic, Urdu / Hindi.
  • People: Mongoloid/Tibetan, Dardic and assorted Indo-Aryan elements.
  • Winter: -5 Deg C -25 Deg C
  • Altitude: Leh 3505 m, Kargil 2750 m
  • Ideal Season: May to September
  • Temperature: Maximum Minimum
  • Summer: 25 Deg C 8 Deg C

Acclimatization and altitude sickness

Ladakh is a high altitude cold desert with a low level of atmospheric oxygen. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that visitors reaching Leh from the plains of India by air, give themselves sufficient time for acclimatization before engaging in any physical activity. The rarefied atmosphere may cause high altitude ailments like Acute Mountain Sickness, necessitating instant evacuation of visitors who are unable to get acclimatized.

Anyone travelling to altitudes above 10,000 ft (2,700 m) is liable to suffer from acute mountain sickness (AMS) unless properly acclimatized. The most common symptoms of acute mountain sickness are headache, disturbed sleep and loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lassitude and lack of concentration. If you are reaching Leh by air, it is important to take complete rest for the first 24 hours after arrival. Any kind of physical exertion is to be avoided. Smoking and drinking should also be avoided till you are fully acclimatized. The symptoms of acute mountain sickness generally develop during the first 36 hours, and not immediately upon arrival. Your body should get used to the lower oxygen level of Ladakh after 2 or 3 days if you have taken complete rest for the first 24 hours and as much rest as possible during the next 12 hours.

High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO) and High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACO) are very serious forms of acute mountain sickness. These are life-threatening ailments and warrant immediate medical attention. As a preventive measure, Tab Diamox 250 mg should be taken at the rate of 1 tablet twice a day for 3 days, at least 2 days before coming to Ladakh or any high altitude area.

General Info

Packing: What to take?

Sun Protection: A Sunhat that protects the back as well as the front of your head, sunscreen (SPF 50) and sunglasses which offers 100% UV protection are necessary to combat the strong sunlight during the day.
Light Jacket or sweater: Once the sun sets, it gets chilly even in summer. So a light jacket is must. You will need warm clothing at higher altitudes.
Heavy woolen: In case if you are travelling in autumn, spring or winter.
Footwear: Good walking shoes are a must in Ladakh. If you are trekking, footwear is of crucial; you should have sturdy, lightweight, thick soled trekking shoes that have enough tough room so you don’t have problem descending.
Torch: It’s advisable to carry a torch

Where to eat?

With an overwhelming foreign and domestic tourist visiting Ladakh, Leh is full of Restaurants serving western, Indian, Tibetan, and other dishes. Some of the popular ones are Bon Appétit, Karakoram Restaurant (Kazu Pond), Summer Harvest, Neha Snacks, Tibetan Kitchen, Chopsticks, Gesmo Bakery, Lamayuru etc.
ATM’s: There are two ATM’s of State Bank of India, two of J&K Bank, HDFC, Axis and one of Punjab National Bank in the main market. The queue gets generally longer during the day. It is advisable to have alternate arrangements ready.
Credit Cards- Rarely work
Mobile Phone Service- Only Post Paid from other states work here.
Shopping: There are numerous shopping attractions of Leh Ladakh that entice the tourists. Leh is full of Souvenir shops selling thangkas, Buddhist prayer flags, carpets, pashmina shawls, embroidered T-shirts, silver ornaments, decorative pieces and much more.

Some of the good places to shop are

  • LEDeG Karzoo centre (Ecology Centre)
  • Ladakh Art Palace on the Main Bazaar Road
  • Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom in Choglamsar
  • Tibetan Handicraft Emporium on the Main Bazaar Road
  • Ladakh Environment and Health Organization on the Main Bazaar Road
  • Handicrafts Opp Sabzi Mandi
  • Women's Alliance in Chubi
  • Moti Market near old bus stand
  • Dzomsa (All Ladakhi dry fruits, Apricot Jam & Home backed Ladakhi bread, bottled distilled water)