Based on our vast experience in Ladakh these are a few useful suggestions.
Best time to visit:
Ladakh is open for tourist throughout the year, while the best period for tour and trek is from June to October. Most of the trekking routes are closed after November due to heavy snowfall at high passes except the Liker to Kahltsey (Sham) trek. The best period for Chadar trek is from January to Mid-March.
Permit and Passport:
Tourist don't require permit for Leh; however, all foreigners are required to register at Drass, Rumtse and Sarchu if they are traveling by road. Those traveling by air get themselves registered at the airport. The tourist are required to get a permit for restricted areas like Tsomoriri, Tsokar, Pangong Lakes, Dhahanu and Nubra Valley, which can be obtain through registered travel agencies. Make it sure to carry six photocopies of the permit while traveling, to submit at the Checking points.
Credit Cards are not accepted by most of the hotels and restaurants except some antique shops.
On Jeep Safari:
Never leave your vehicle except in designated areas. Keep noise levels to a minimum and encourage others to do so. Use this time to keep your eyes and ears open, soaking in all the charm and character of the areas. Take permission before you click a photograph of anyone. Don't take photo if they ask for money.
Summits and treks:
Depending on the level of difficulty and height of trek please pack carefully and accordingly. Before any trip we will provide a complete checklist of useful items you must carry. Equipment, tents etc are all provided by us and on request we can also organize high altitude clothing so you may travel lighter. All treks are fully escorted.
As resources are limited, please use as little water and power as possible. Do not leave litter lying around and carry all rubbish away with you. Apart from defacing the scenery it can also cause injury or poison the local fauna of the area. Put all campfires out thoroughly. Common sense and courtesy should prevail in all your actions.
First Aid and Medical Treatment:
Always seek expert advice when in doubt. It is sensible to carry with you a small first aid kit with essentials like anti septic cream, bandages, insect repellent, paracetemol etc. All our guides are trained in first aid and carry their own kits. All camps also keep first aid kits with managers having done their first aid courses.
Most hotels and lodges offer laundry service, which is usually the same day service and cheap. However clothes will be vigorously washed and so it might be better for you to wash delicate items yourself.
Leh and kargil towns have worldwide direct dial facility, besides a General Post Office and a Central Telegraph Office. The J & K Tourism Department has installed its own wireless radiophone network linking interconnected field stations with its offices at Leh, Kargil and Padum and base stations in the Tourist Office at Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar. The field stations are supplemented with mobile sets used to bring remote locations and mountain bases within the ambit of the communications network during the tourist season. The facility is mainly used to monitor the movement and welfare of tourists in the State; it is especially useful in ensuring timely rescue arrangements for tourists falling ill or meeting with accidents.
There is a small charge for still cameras at all wildlife sanctuaries, and a larger one for video cameras. Color films are widely available but please check expiry date, storage conditions etc before buying. More specialized supplies should be brought with you and as you will be driving on dusty trails inside the parks, lens cleaning materials are invaluable.
The Indian Rupee is the only currency accepted in Ladakh. A mixture of cash and travelers cheque provides the best degree of security and flexibility. US Dollars and Pound Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange with American express, Thomas Cook and Visa being the most accepted travelers cheque. All your valuables, passports etc can be left at your lodge or hotel for safekeeping.
Souvenirs and gifts:
As is in most countries the prices offered to you will not be fixed and higher then the actual value. Most parks have agents aggressively wanting to sell their products. It is best to consult your guide or lodge before making any purchase so we may be able to get you the right price and direct you to genuine suppliers with quality products instead of hawkers selling cheaper imitations. Most Lodges have their own souvenir shops with genuine and fixed prices.