Ranging from the Bay of Bengal in the south to the Himalayas in the north, West Bengal houses a wide range of opportunities for trekking. And if we talk about Sandakphu trek, it is a standout amongst the most pleasant treks around Sikkim. The most noteworthy point in West Bengal, the trek offers a phenomenal perspective of the Himalayas. The valley enhances itself, with clear all-encompassing views of snow-topped mountains, as you begin your adventure from Chitrey towards Sandakphu. The fascinating thing is, you traverse India-Nepal border a dozen times because Sandakphu majorly lies between India and Nepal.

Sandakphu, as a town, is prominent on the grounds of West Bengal as it is the most elevated peak in the territory of that region. What makes it all the more astounding is its summit, from where you can see four of the five most elevated tops on the planet — Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, in a sweeping perspective.

flowers sandakphu trek
flowers sandakphu trek

Why is Sandakphu Trek so famous? 

  1. One of the most admirable rhododendron excursions; trek in spring to see the magnificence with your own eyes as you hike to the Sandakphu summit.
  2. Visit the amazing monasteries and stupas around; explore the lively Buddhist culture as you begin your trek from Chitrey town.
  3. Don’t forget to do camping in Singalila National Park as the view from the camp is memorable. Appreciate the outdoors amid North East’s radiance; wake up to dawn on Singalila range to catch a glimpse of blue bamboos in the wilderness.
  4. Nestled on the bank of the river, Tumling lies on the Indo-Nepal outskirt where you can take a stroll to the numerous tea plantation land and also gander at the whole Sandakphu trail from Tumling.
  5. After Tumling, set your eyes on the journey, as you would see the pristine lake, Kalaphokri or Black Lake. Even during harsh winters, it refuses to freeze. The lake is believed to be holy, surrounded by prayer flags, fluttering with the wind.
  6. The magnificent perspective of Sleeping Buddha (Kanchenjunga and sister tops) and a 180 degree perspective of world’s most noteworthy mountains including Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare, Chomolhari and different pinnacles of Annapurna run.
A guest house in Tumling
A guest house in Tumling

How To Reach Sandakphu Through Trekking?

  1. I started to trek from Chitre at a young hour in the morning after having a substantial breakfast. You can easily reach Chitre via a taxi from the railway station. I scaled through perfect pine forests and reached a viewpoint at a decent height. I halted for a 10-minute break to take a gander at the town of Darjeeling below. All along the up-and-down hike, I kept continuing with vigor and simultaneously gaze the snow-peaked crests on my right side in the north. I took some pictures against the stunning background, and then trekked down and crossed two little slopes. Toward the end of this walk, I reached a stunning viewpoint Tonglu/Tumling that lies on the India-Nepal outskirt. I stayed overnight in this beautiful little town.

  2. Desiring to see the ravishing dawn, I woke up at the first light to watch the mesmerizing sun peeping out from Mount Kanchenjunga. Post a delightful breakfast, I left for my adventure and descended till the town of Joebari. From here, the trail was steep, and in around 1.5 hours, I reached border check-post in Gairibans. Post lunch, I proceeded with the trek for around 2.5 hours along a trail that was steep, and achieve the town of Kalapokhari.

  3. Don’t forget to see the reflection of the breath-taking sunrise from Kalapokhri Lake. After a delightful breakfast, I started the trek to Sandakphu, which was around 6 KM from Kalapokhri. Hiking constantly for around 2 KM, I halted at a place called Beekaybhanjan and took a break to breathe the fresh air.

  4. After unwinding at this quiet spot, I resumed the trek to Sandakphu crest. As the climb from here would be sharp, you would need to take breaks at regular intervals. The final route to the peak would be quite difficult and grueling, as the trail keeps changing into a criss-cross pattern. However, when you will reach the top, the awesome view would shoo away all the tiredness of the extreme trek. Take a gander at the perspectives from up here and bear in mind to take photographs.

  5. In the morning I had a tea at the edge of the mountain and took a panoramic vista of the entire sleeping Buddha-range. After a scrumptious breakfast, I took my belongings and started walking towards Samandin Village. Explored the beautiful town and proceeded towards the town of Rammam. Then, I descended towards Srikhola and stayed overnight to retain back my energy. After a good breakfast early in the day, I drive to NJP/Bagdogra airport. Your fabulous trip will finally come to an end here and you will return home with some wonderful memories.

An alternative way to Sandakphu: The Motorable Road

Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu
Sleeping Buddha, Sandakphu

There is also a motorable road, a 33 km track from Maneybhanjung to Sandakphu. The most convenient way to access the road is through a ride in the British-era land rover that adds drama to your journey. You can hire it easily for around 3000 INR. Since the roads are in bad shape, the ride can be quite bumpy. It is utilized by the locals, the carriage of merchandise/supplies, nearby neighborhood travelers and vacationers.

When travelling through road, the journey could be discomfort for many due to acclimatization reasons. It might get you to Sandakphu in 7/8 hours but many individuals might feel sudden altitude gain. Breathing issues, headache and feeling too much cold are general indications. So we suggest you choose trekking as an alternative or take your time to get your body to adjust to the higher elevation.

Information on Permits, Guides and More

You needn’t bother for any permits to do this trek, however having an individual guide (who take about ₹800 every day) is compulsory within the Singalila National Park, which begins after you cross Tumling, towards Sandakphu. Hire one from GTA Tourist Reception Centre or Mane Bhanjhang.

rhododendron-trek sandakphu

Maximum height: 12,000 ft.

Trek Time: 6 Days

Distance Covered: 48 km

Level: Easy

Start/Finish: Chitre and Srikhola

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra airport

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station

Best Time To Trek Sandakphu

A trek to Sandakphu is reachable throughout the year apart from the rainy months. April and October is the best period as during this time the rhododendron flowers add life with a blush shade to the trek. Not only rhododendrons, but you also get the chance to see numerous rare birds and diverse animals.

On the off chance that you luck out, you could even come across the slippery red panda! September, October and November offer clear mountain perspectives to appreciate sublime sights of dawn from Sandakphu and Phalut. If you wish to trek later in winter, the path could be quite challenging, however, the experience of early snow at Sandakphu is impressive!

An extremely glamorous trek, Chadar Trek is one for the adrenaline-junkies that like to go all in or all out. Trekking in Ladakh have gained immense popularity in recent years, and Chadar trek has become a favorite amongst Indians and travelers from other parts of the world. For me, it was 8 years back when I did Chadar Trek for the first time. Down the line, this little gorge now gets 20 times more people than those days. The trek is open for a small window of just 45 to 50 days, usually from 1st of January till 20th of February, depending upon the solid formation of Chadar – the ice carpet.

The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek
The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek

Also, Leh government along with ALTOA, (All Ladakh Tour Operators Association) now have come up with safe operating standards. The trek will run safely as it has been implemented with strict adherence of rules and regulations. Therefore, train your sights below for an on-ground experience of Chadar Trek. Find comprehensive details about the temperature, accommodation, the actual trek, food and some essential pro tips to execute the trek with finesse.

  1. Arrival, acclimatization and permits – 03 Day
  2. Actual trek – 05 Days
  3. Back in Leh and departure – 01 Day

Day 01 – Arrival and rest

Chadar Trek
Chadar Trek

With a group of 8 people including me, we arrived at Leh via an early morning flight from Delhi. From the airport, we took a cab to the guest house on our own (As airport pick up was not part of the package) and reached at around 0830 hrs. Soon after reaching the guest house we were asked to complete the registration process which included insurance form, 3 passport size photo to be given along with a copy of the Identity and Address proof (voter’s card, passport or Aadhar card) and signing the indemnity form.

Post a cup of tea and breakfast, some of us wanted to rest as we were having a slight headache, so we went to our respective rooms. All of us were awoken by 1400 hrs for lunch. We had ordered good vegetarian food from the guest house on extra payment as the food in Leh was not included in the package we opted. My partner and other two guys were having a severe headache along with nausea and they opted out from having lunch. They were given warm water and were asked to take rest.

In the evening, we had to take her to the hospital due to severe hypoxia and AMS symptoms. The hospital was super cozy, clean and highly organized. The doctor admitted her for 2 HRS and administered oxygen and prescribed some medicines. Her health improved drastically after oxygen administration, after which we returned to our guest house by late at night.

Day 02 – Acclimatization walk

chadar trek

After waking up to a fresh morning, all of us were fit with no signs of AMS. Post a scrumptious meal of breakfast, a long and exhaustive briefing was given which comprised important points like

  1. How to acclimatize easily
  2. Protection from elements
  3. Demonstration of cloth layering
  4. Principles of Leave No Trace policy
  5. Women hygiene and safety
  6. A brief idea of what to pack during the trek.

Then we were led to Shanti Stupa for an acclimatization walk. Took some photos there and headed back to Leh market to have lunch and do other purchase. Some of us even had to take photos as they were not carrying one, few went to buy some chocolates and others to get a pair of gumboot. Later, we decided to have our dinner in the guest house and went for a sound sleep.

Day 03 – Permit day

chadar trek

Today’s morning after breakfast we all started our walk to TIC (Tourism Information Center) in Leh. By around 1000 hrs we reached TIC. First, we had to show our boarding pass to the insurance company (ASC 360) along with the 100% accurate and complete insurance form which we had filled on Day01. After verifying and entering all our details into their computer, they gave us a medical form which had to be filled by us, and certified by the doctor and the medical team sitting on the adjacent room. Once in the medical room, we have to pay them Rs. 200/- for the medical check-up.

They will check your BP, and oxygen level first and then once you meet the doctor he will just casually ask a couple of questions regarding your previous health history in a very jolly way. If everything is normal, you are good to go! You get a stamp “APPROVED” on the form. Now with this form, you get back to the insurance office where they issue an insurance card, on the payment of Rs. 2000/- per person. It covers your emergency medical check-ups, emergency evacuation and many more. Now with the insurance card and the list of all the people in your group, you go to the ALTOA desk where they provide you with the following permits after paying the respective fees.

  1. Wildlife
  2. ALTOA fees
  3. Environment fees

Boom! Yes! Now you have got your passport to Chadar trek.

It took us almost a full day to get everything cleared from there even though we were the first group to be there for permits. After receiving the permits we went to the market and had an awesome dinner from a local joint called Darjeeling Corner. After some small shopping like nuts, dried fruits and chocolates for the next day trek, we took a cab and reached the guest house. On reaching, there was an exhaustive briefing on how to and what to pack in a backpack for the trek tomorrow. You can also read our blog that states what should one pack for Chadar Trek.

Actual Trek

Day 04 – Drive and trek to Tso Ma Poldar

chadar-frozen-river-trek

We got ready by 0700 hrs and had our breakfast by 0730 hrs. The vehicles were ready when we came out, it was 02 tempo travelers. We were all packed while the vehicles were loaded with all the ration and equipment needed. After some photo sessions and briefing, we departed from Leh around 0920 hrs. The drive till Chilling was fast, smooth and beautiful. After that, the drive became challenging, treacherous and scarier yet amazing.

The road was wide enough for a tempo traveler to pass through with its tires just inside the road and part of the body overlooking the deep gorges. The adrenaline rush was building in by just seeing the road and the frozen white Zanskar River beneath. By around noon, we reached Tilad Do. We had a quick tasty hot lunch made by our cooks along with hot black tea. Then, it was time to pack and push towards the first campsite. It was a technical walk of around 3 hours and by 1630 HRS we reached the campsite.

chadar trek

Most noteworthy part of the campsite was that the medical camp was placed next to our camps. The medical camp operated by the insurance company ASC360 had two doctors and a few assistants ready 24*7 for any medical support needed. One of the doctors was supposed to travel to the next campsite and luckily he joined us till the next camp.

Talking about the climate and weather, the temperature here drops dramatically after the sunset. The best remedy to curb the cold was the hot soup prepared by the camp chef that helped us keeping ourselves warm. The dinner was just too tasty and fulfilling. We all went to sleep by around 2100 hrs. It was pretty cozy inside the tent compared to the harsh bone-chilling cold outside. The sleeping bags were double layered and we used a hot water bottle for extra warmth.

Day 05 – Trek from Tso Ma Poldar to Tibb

chadar

After a delicious breakfast, we started our trek towards Tibb Cave. It was a long icy walk and by the time we stopped for lunch break, all of us were pretty much comfortable in walking over ice. The landscape was so mesmerizing that sometimes we forgot that we were ice walking over a frozen raging river and water is still flowing beneath at Godspeed. A small mistake can be fatal here.

 

Chadar Trek - Leh Image Credits: planetwayround.com
Chadar Trek – Leh
Image Credits: planetwayround.com

Tibb campsite was comparatively colder than Tso Ma Poldar, but by now we were accustomed to the cold. People who still felt cold were founded by the small fire made by the porters.

Day 06 – Trek from Tibb to Narek Waterfall

chadar trek

Today’s trek is significant as today we are going to witness the much-awaited site, the frozen waterfall in Narek. The trek was long but the enthusiasm and energy in the group were very high. The only aim was to reach Narek falls for the classic group photo with the frozen falls as a backdrop. The place where we stopped for lunch, we saw a few young boys taking a dip in the water. We were tempted to do the same however the initial briefing stopped us from doing anything like that.

The excitement and energy in us went exponentially very high as soon as we saw the frozen falls. It is so majestic and indescribable in just mere words. It looked like somebody just waved a magic wand at the waterfall and it went frozen instantly.

Day 07 – Trek from Narek to Tibb

chadar-trek

After taking some photos of the falls, we started our walk back towards the road head. The walk back felt longer than it actually was before. We reached our campsite a little later than our actual estimated arrival time.

Day 08 – Trek from Tibb to Shingra Koma and drive to Leh

Chadar Trek

Today, we started earlier than usual as we had to trek till the road head and drive back to civilization in Leh. It was a very emotional moment for everyone to leave the beautiful Chadar behind. We reached Leh by around 1830 hrs, and had our lunch at the road head in Shingra Koma.

Day 09 – Departure from Leh

We had an early morning flight back to Delhi. The other two trekkers in our group also had the same return flight therefore we decided to tag along with them till Airport. Finally, an amazing memorable nine days came to an end. If you ask me what has changed from my previous visit and this one, I would say a lot has changed.

Pro tips

  • Ensure you carry a well broke in waterproof hiking shoes
  • Gumboots is a savior, but not an alternate for hiking boots
  • Layering is the success mantra
  • We do not recommend to use crampons. It needs a good experience to be used accurately. Alternatively, you can use easily available “microspikes
  • Trekking poles can be very helpful on the slippery ice
  • Do not expect the same level of service as the life is harsh there. People serving you are also humans; they do their best to keep you safe and cosy but don’t expect luxury.
  • It takes an initial two to three days to get adjusted to the prevailing cold conditions. Ensure the right clothing and layering and avoid heaters.

Read our other blog ‘Short Guide to Chadar Trek”.

You often have heard a lot of stories about the challenges of Chadar Trek that hinders you from experiencing this magnificent trek. As said, ” Don’t Listen to what they say, go see for yourself”. This trek is unique, one of its kind, and must be experienced by all the adrenaline seekers. So if you are someone who wants to see something rare and surreal, it’s time for a new adventure.

Soothing and lush greenery of the mountains paired with the fragrance of damp earth marks as an end of the Monsoon and a beginning of the Autumn. Thanks to the showers of the last season. October turns out as a perfect month to surrender yourself in the landscapes of the Himalayas. Witness autumn’s spectacular colors by zipping through the verdant deciduous forests, water bodies, and lush green mountains complimenting the blue skies. There cannot be a better time for trekking the Himalayas than in the month of October. The beautiful shades of sky at dusk and dawn will be an icing on the cake of your trip.

To escape the monotony of everyday life, October hosts certain remarkable treks that will take all your worries at bay. So if you are wondering where to travel this autumn then we have amassed certain Himalayan treks in October that might bring pleasure to your soul.

nag tibba

Nag Tibba

One of the most underrated trail, Nag Tibba trek qualifies as one of the best weekend treks near Delhi. The trek offers some of the best camping sites, scenic routes and majestic panoramic views of the Gangotri group of peaks. The trek is perfectly suitable for beginners as it carries no possible threats in terms with AMS. A 2-day itinerary is enough to take in all the ambience this place has to offer. If you have couple of extra days then the “queen of hills” Mussoorie can be covered too.

Explore Exciting Treks in Uttarakhand

The trek embarks from a rocky ascend following with a trail of oaks and rhododendrons trees. Then at the nightfall, the camping scenarios are blessed with a view of towering peak. Also the clear sky embroidered with billions of sparkling diamonds sparks beauty. The Nag Tibba (Serpent’s peak) trek goes up till a temple devoted to the serpent god, and from there a small hike to the climax of the trek reveals the magnificent vista of the Gangotri group of mountain peaks.

High-angle shot of Sankri village
High-angle shot of Sankri village, Har Ki Doon

Har ki Doon

 Hidden in the Gharwal Himalayas, Har ki doon trek is also known as the hanging valley as the striking beauty of this trek captivates anyone visiting this colorful gorge. Also, known as the valley of gods as the Pandavas in Mahabharata took the stairway to heaven through this route. Alpine forests adorned with the rich diversity of flora and fauna is the best part about this trek. Since a wide-variety of plants and animals thrive in this region, one might spot animals like Black bears, wild boars, languor family, Barasingha, and etc.

Explore Popular Treks in Garhwal Himalayas

Har ki doon’s simple lifestyle has not been affected by the rising modernism in any way. The unspoiled forests, and the valley offers a blissful experience for nature lovers, bird watchers and shutterbugs. The beauty of this place will entice you but also the simplicity will urge you to build a house and live here forever. Learning about their day to day activities will keep you closer to the valley and its people. While on the trek you will witness various horses and cows grazing on the vast meadow. Camping at Har ki Doon is also a must-do thing! Rest and sleep within a pristine region of vast alpine meadows to fulfill your checklist. If you are looking for best treks in October, Har Ki doon is just phenomenal in terms of divine beauty.

kedarkantha_trek__4_

Kedarkantha

A Trekkers delight and a paradise in autumn for every adventurer who loves to visit sparsely-crowded places. Since Kedarkantha trek is widely famous for a winter trek, October is the best month to take this trek if you want to avoid crowd.

Also, during this month the panoramic view of the mountains is unhampered by the clouds. Loaded with breath-taking vistas of Mt. Swargrohini accompanied with the scenic trail of Kedarkantha, the trekking route seems to come straight from a canvas painting.

On your trek, you will also come across myriad species of flowers blooming throughout the trail giving a feeling of new-life to the trekker. The togetherness of nature offers such a fabulous view that it will keep your amazement constant throughout the trek. The hill is also famous for various Shiva temple, as the word Kedarkantha means Shiva throat. Devotees trek this hill in order to find solace within the tranquility of Shiva’s abode.

goecha la

Goechala

 When we converse about the Goechala trek, it beats all of the most winsome treks in Sikkim. You don’t only see one summit — the Kanchenjunga, but also numerous big summits, all standing strong adjacent or opposite to each other. Yet, to see the gigantic mountains you need clear views. It is only in Oct-Nov when the fog is out of the way, you get the best views. The mountains cut-throat sharp peaks whereas the sunrises and sunsets sparks mind-boggling beauty. The rainy season brushes away all the dust and dirt. Then the dramatic and colorful flora of the region adds a kaleidoscopic charisma to the trek.

The dawn are so poetic that when the first shaft of sunlight fall on the silver peaks it turns sublime. The clear-cut shots of snow clad mountains will ensnare you instantly. Mt. Khangchendzonga, Mt. Pandin, Frey’s peak, Mt. Koktang, Mt. Rathong, the Kabru family of peaks, Mt. Tien Chenkhang, and Mt. Jopuno are all spot on in the month September and October.  You might get little patches of snow on the route, however, there are negligible chances of the downpour or snowfall. The weather will be pleasant throughout during this month.

beas-kund-trekking

Beas Kund

As the name indicates, the hike is to the Beas Kund where you can see the origin of the river Beas. But, what makes it more interesting than any other trek? One can see glacier melting away into a tiny brook which then takes the shape of a robust river, the Beas.

It’s not the view of the mountains or river that makes this trek a winner among the other ones. It is the crooked trail and cobblestone pathways that gives you a feeling of absolute bliss. Suitable for beginners and can be easily completed within three days make this trek perfect for people who are longing for a minication.

The best time to traverse this trek is the month of May to October. As during this time the temperatures are ideal enough to hike and also one gets outstanding display of Mother Nature. One of the most popular treks from Manali, the Beas Kund trek offers laid-back mountains, meadows, pristine air and the whispers of whistling river. Such is the gorgeousness of the Beas Kund trek!

Sleeping Buddha or Kanchenjunga Massif, as seen from Sandakphu Trek
Sleeping Buddha or Kanchenjunga Massif, as seen from Sandakphu Trek

Sandakphu

Amassed with joy for trekkers, Sandakphu offers encompassing perspectives of the strong Himalayas including four of the most astounding crests on the planet Kanchenzongda, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Situated in North West of Darjeeling at a height of 11,900 feet, Sandakphu is the most astounding pinnacle of West Bengal State. The trek has everything a trekker wishes for. So if you are fond of Hiking and haven’t done this trek yet, you are missing something.

The sublime feeling of strolling through the forest of rhododendrons, mammoth magnolias, and extensive variety of stunning orchids is something that you will never forget. The trekking course passes through Shilgalila National Park which adds another feather to this trek. The national parks boasts of certain rare species like Red Pandas and Pangolins and birds. The best time to do Sandakphu trek is either in May to June or in mid-August to October.

So hurry up, book a vacation for yourself to the best Himalayan treks in October and appreciate breathing the crisp air in the lap of nature, reviving your body, brain and soul.

When it comes to road trips the ‘Land of High Passes, Leh-Ladakh is the place to be! Extending from the Kunlun mountain range to the Great Himalayas to the south, the mystical region of Leh-Ladakh features jaw-dropping landscapes as far as your eye can go. The emotion of riding to Ladakh irrespective of your gender is so pure that it can be understood only by bike and mountain fanatics. It is often said that road trips are the best vacation of all, and Ladakh is the mother of all road trips. A riding tour of 13 days to the ‘little Tibet’, where you are free from the cluster of the modern world, free from the traffic rules of riding and free from the extensive crowd, Ladakh Bike tour is just the perfect break you need.

motorbike-expeditions-ladakh

Nature beautifully showcases its magnificence in Ladakh, and it is the only place on Earth that has rivers, mountains, lakes, deserts, and snow, all in one region. So to make your trip hassle-free, we thought to give you a guide for Leh Ladakh Bike Trip preparation prior to your journey.

The first and foremost thing to understand about Ladakh is its magnetizing landscape that lures people from all around the globe. The dynamic landscape comprises of snow-filled mountains, drooling sunsets, barren roads hugging high mountains and the most rewarding route for the ride to Khardungla Pass, the Pangong Lake and the Nubra Valley. So to ride in such a territory, one needs to be loaded with some essential tips and tricks.

Temperature Check

Before heading to Ladakh Bike Trip, make sure you have checked the temperature and weather of the location. The place is hot during the day and freezing chilly during the night. The temperature nature shifts drastically, so to have an experience of your life, make sure you carry warm clothes and don’t freeze. Dress in layers so that you can easily remove clothes in case you want to.

motorbike-expedition-ladakh_1439473379

Plan holidays in Advance to avoid price surcharges

Pre-plan your holidays to avoid peak charges of hotels, holiday packages and more. The later you book the more price you will have to pay as a bike tour to Ladakh is one of the most selling packages in May, June, July, and August. Grab early bird offers to make your bookings cheaper, and affordable. Keep up in touch with us on our social media pages for deals and offers.

Safety Gears – For your own betterment

Bike tour ladakh

It is essential for you to wear all the gears important for the riding, as the roads are barren and bumpy, while the wind is fierce, making it difficult for the rider to zoom past the environment without gears. Whether its knee-pads, helmet, or gloves, make sure you are properly dressed. The journey and terrain is quite long and grueling respectively.

Get Your Route Mapped

Know your route before you travel as the journey is lengthy, and it is not possible for the entire group to ride together. So for safety, if anyone loses the track, the rider can refer the map to know on which route the group is riding.

Recheck your Motorbike

It is necessary for you to recheck your motorbike before leaving, and also keep checking it throughout the tour before leaving from any destination. This is to make ensure that your vehicle condition is up to date, in case you face any issue. If you are planning to use your own motorbike, it is important for you to evaluate the health of your motorbike. Make sure you have it serviced, and also carry the basic spare parts, in case something happens.

Get Your Medicine Game Strong

Make sure you carry enough medicines, as you never know what trouble you might get into. People often face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) in which symptoms like headache, nausea, burning of eyes, or fever occurs. To combat these, one must drink loads of water, as due to dehydration you face AMS symptoms. Hence, always keep a bottle of water handy!

Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh
Feel the rage of the winds in Ladakh

Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!

Please do exercise before you leave for the major motorbike tour. Since the oxygen level is less at a higher elevation, you must practice some breathing exercises. Also, cycling and swimming increase your stamina. Sitting on the motorbike for a long run reduces your mobility. Hence it is essential to pull your muscles beforehand.

Give alcohol and smoking a miss!

People tend to get dehydrated easily if water consumption is less at higher altitude. And taking alcohol and smoking will dry you twice more from inside. As the oxygen is already less, consuming these will lead you to AMS symptoms.

Want to Book? Yes! But when?

ladakh bike

The ideal time for Ladakh bike tour is from mid-May to October. The roads get open in mid-May if you go from Srinagar, whereas the Manali route is opened after May. The autumn and summer season is best for a bike tour, or else, you will have to take a flight.

Smile! Whenever you can

Smile at strangers as it won’t cost you a dime. Travelling is not just about exploring, it is also about connecting. The locals, truck drivers, helpers, cooks, smile at them, you never know, you might make someone happy with your gesture. When things go wrong, these people will come forward to rescue you asap.

Fuel Up to keep your Oil Burning

Always make sure your bike fuel is full, as the petroleum stations are less during this route. So whenever you are about to ride, make sure your fuel tank is always full.

What all things you need to carry

Since Ladakh Bike tour is an ultimate adventure of all time, a road-trip to this land should be well-prepared. Whether it’s your bike, clothes, or other essentials, these few things will make sure you have the best time in the mother of all road-trips, Ladakh.

  1. Full Face Helmet with clear Visor: Get a good quality full face helmet for the ride to protect you from the cold winds while riding.
  1. Riding Gloves: Gloves is necessary for the ride, as after a while you might feel cold, and if not it gives a good grip and protect your hands in case you fall down.
  1. Elbow and Knee Guard: If you are not comfortable wearing a riding jacket and riding pants, the least you can do is wear elbow and knee guards.
  2. Riding Shoes: Make sure you wear riding shoes, and if not then gumboots with thermal socks will serve the purpose.
  1. Sunscreen Lotion: UV rays at high altitude keeps getting harsh which is quite damaging to the skin. Carry a plus SPF 30, as you don’t want a bad tan.
  1. Water Bottle: It is necessary to drink 4-5 litres of water at high altitude to avoid dehydration. As it will later might result to AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache and burning of eyes. So keep your body hydrated at all times.
  1. Clothing: Always dress like an onion (dress in layers) at high-altitude, it is better than a thick woollen. Carry at least 2-3 spare shirts, with 1 pair of riding pants, and 1 pair of jeans.
  1. Cap: Carry a cap to keep yourself protected from the harsh winds while riding. It will protect your forehead, ears and even neck.
  1. Driving license: This goes without saying, carry your DL at all times as it required to show at certain checkpoints.

We have often heard that speed has been the fantasy of many individuals across the globe. But there are very few people who are able to frame it in the boundaries of real life experiences. The azure clear waters, serene picturesque lakes and a ruggedly handsome terrain are the constituents of this trip that lends an experience of one-of-its-kind. So, when you get this opportunity, do not restrict your adventure to the slumber of dreams, instead, get ready to recreate the real-life experience that gives you jitters even when the memories of this ride would become myopic.

Nowadays, traveling has become an exit from the mundane life and the desire to explore new, unspoiled, unblemished and natural environment is peaking. But, people still explore places like Ladakh, Goa, Kasol, etc, making these places a tourist cliché. What I mean, is that there are places in India which are worthy of your utmost admiration and exploration. And recently, a place that has caught my eyes is Northeast India. With many scintillating states that beckons travelers, nature buffs and food connoisseurs, Northeast India must be explored once in a lifetime. One such place is Nagaland, called the state of ancient tribes is so colorful and the people are so in high spirits that you will want to visit this place again and again.

But to completely take in the grandeur experience, one must attend the most famous jamboree of Northeast, the Hornbill Festival. The display of celebration in Naga style and the infectious vibes lures people from all around the globe. The Hornbill festival also contributes expressively to the tourism of the state since tourists attend the festival and take joy in knowing the magnificent architecture, rich cultural heritage, and its ethnic cuisine. So make sure you save the date in December, as it is a treasurable month since all the 17 tribes of Nagaland come together to make this event a successful affair.

What to expect at the festival?

Hornbill Festival

  • The festival is held in the first week of December in the Kisama Heritage Village, which is nestled near to Kohima.
  • You will be amazed to see the mélange of 17 different tribes, cultural performances, fairs and the multi-faceted music concerts.
  • Feasting is an important aspect of Northeast festivals. Relish Naga cuisine ranging from spicy delicacies to sweet dishes. You will blown way with flushing flavors of these amazing cuisines.
  • Another thing to notice about the festival is the colorful costumes of the Naga Tribes. The ornaments, feathers, caps and the entire tribal attire is so unique and different from each tribes present at the festival.Chilly eating competition
  • For some fun, participate in games like Naga chilly eating competition, pork eating and other traditional games like archery.
  • Try to interact with the locals, to know some stories and to gain some knowledge about their culture.
  • Get your soul and spirit high with the rock music concert, and enjoy your evening some Blues! Look forward to some scintillating performances by Indian and foreign artists.
  • Don’t forget to get yourself a souvenir from the exhibition of hand crafted items and traditional art.

Why and How is the Hornbill Festival celebrated?

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Named after the bird Hornbill, this festival highlights the bird as a symbol of respect. As per the folklore by the natives, the symbolism is beautifully portrayed in the tribal dance where the tribes wear feathers on head to depict the bird. Initiated by Nagaland Government, the festival agenda is to bring the tribes closer and also to promote the cultural heritage of the region. The mélange of tribal performances, display of ethnic crafts, music concert, food, sports, fairs and games, all together unveils the authenticity of this place and the festival.

When and where is the Hornbill Festival celebrated?

This 10-day long festival enchants people to leave behind their office mails and switch on their enjoyment mode. Held in Kisama Heritage Village, at a distance of 10 km from the state capital, Kohima. The festival daily starts at 9:00 am, with an invocation to the religious deity through tribal dance.

How much is the cost of the festival tickets?

The cost of the festival entry tickets is nearly between Rs 10-50. You also need to pay for camera charges which is around Rs 50- 100, depending upon the type of camera you carry. Tickets are available at the gate entry so you don’t need to get worried about buying the tickets in advance.

How to reach Kohima and Kisama Heritage Village?

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To reach the beautiful village of Kohima, you will have to take the roads. After reaching the airport of Dimapur or the railway station, a 3-4 hour drive will take you to Kohima. From here you will easily find taxis that will take you to Kisama Heritage Village. If you feel to take a road trip, you can also come from Guwahati. The winding roads will keep you hooked throughout the journey.

Tips to do Hornbill Festival the Right Way

  • Kohima will be crowded so expect delays in traffic while getting to the biggest festival.
  • Book your stay in advance as the hotels and guesthouses fill up fast. If you are planning for last minute, make sure you arrange everything for camping. Also, bring your own tent equipment’s as in the festival you will only get rented tent.

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  • The festival is pretty much free. You will need to pay only camera surcharge and for entry tickets that ranges around 10-50 Rs.
  • Make sure you are carrying some warm clothes, as post sunset the temperature drops and it gets freezing.
  • You will be meeting 17 tribes, spend a little time with them to get familiar with their culture. Some of the Naga tribes’ names are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Garo, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru, and Zeliang.b5
  • Bring your own booze as the alcohol is ban since 1989. So you will either get rice beer prepared by the locals, or BYOB.
  • Head to the festival in the morning as the colors lit up during the day. After 2 pm the sunlight goes away, making the environment gloomy, yet rejoicing.
  • If you are a solo traveler, whether male or female, you are safe here. People are really respectful towards females, so don’t worry just enjoy the festival.
  • Photographers must get up early to get the best shots for their Instagram feed.

Trekking in North-east is a growing interest of the young trekkers and the Hornbill festival offers an exclusive opportunity to witness distinct culture, communities located in remote locations however so incredibly beautiful, that it makes the trekking experience wholesome and worth it.

Manali, a resort town is a well-known destination for both summer and winters. Thanks to its pleasant weather, exquisite nature and wonderful people. It is a perfect hill station if you want to get away with the scorching heat of summer. In winters witness the entire city drenched in snowfall, looking just marvelous to your eyes. Not only the place is stunning, but it is also adventure packed attracting all the intrepid travelers. You will be compelled to trek in Manali once you see it with your naked eyes. The symphony of Beas River roars throughout the city, making it great for people who love the amalgamation of a hill station settled by the river.

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Everyone has their own reasons to visit Manali, some go to get away from the monotonous life, some go to seek peace, and some go to experience the craziness this town holds. Yes! I am talking about the invigorating treks of Manali that take travelers to a whole new world where the houses are set next to the river, the trails are explicitly laden with greenery, the people are utterly humble and the experience of nature and self-awareness can be felt in this dreamy town. So to help you plan your Manali vacation more appropriately, here are five amazing treks around Manali for you to consider this summer.

Sar Pass: A Little Paradise in Parvati Valley

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Beating every other trek in Manali, Sar Pass trek has emerge as a win-win choice for people looking to trek within abundance of greenery. The perfect amalgamation of towering peaks, lush green meadows and beautiful valleys with crystal clear streams make Sar Pass a perfect trek for those who wish to experience all the beauty that nature has to offer. Nestled in Parvati valley, at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the trek trail is laden with coniferous trees, rhododendron plants and colorful flowers making this place a fairytale world. Along the majestic views, the simplicity of this place will keep you hooked through the entire trek. You will be delightful to see the much awaited final destination of the trek, Sar Pass where you can spend some quality time to escape from the mundane struggle of your daily life.

Hampta: A Magnificent Cross-over Trek

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A magnificent cross over trek from Manali to Spiti, Hampta Pass trek is ideal for people who are beginners and are exploring their love for trekking. The trek trail is beautifully laden with colorful flower beds making your trek a delightful experience. You will trek till an elevation of 14,000 feet, from where the grandiose views of Spiti deserts will charm you instantly.

The trek might not be that adventurous but the tranquility and beauty of this place will leave you in awe. Usually, it takes for 4 days to complete the trek, however if you have opted for Chandratal, a high altitude alpine lake makes the expedition even more fruitful and interesting. The variations of trails is ginormous; stunning landscapes, meadows, glacial valleys and thrilling crossover pass make this trekking expedition to Hampta Pass an exciting one.

Bhrigu Lake: A Trek with the Nature

Bhrigu lake

 Get respite from the scorching heat of summer, and lose yourself in the ravishing beauty of nature with a trek to Bhrigu Lake. Quite adventurous and perfect for experienced trekkers, the treks draws quite attention from trekkers due to its natural extravaganza and challenging terrains. Nestled at an altitude of 14,000 ft., the Bhrigu Lake trek facilitates fit people. Not only the trek is immensely beautiful, but it also has relations with mythology. According to locals, Sage Bhrig performed strong meditation and rituals on the banks of the lake thousands of years ago. It is believed that numerous gods of Kullu valleys have dipped in the holy waters making it sacred for the devotee. Gushing streams, meandering trails, scenic vistas and lush meadows makes the trekking experience overwhelming.

Beas Kund: Trek to the Source of Beas River

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Sitting royally at an altitude of 12139 ft., Beas Kund trek is an adventurous trek and a perfect choice for beginners because of its short duration. Mesmerizing meadows of Dhundi and Bakarthach will be your camping sites, from where you can also spectacle majestic peaks like Hanuman Tibba, Friendship Peak, Shitidhar, and Seven Sisters. When you reach the final point, you will be able to see the source of Beas River. On the way, you will come across wild strawberries and mushrooms, make sure to pluck it and taste. This trek also has a mythology connection, it is believed that Sage Vyas use to take bath in this lake while he meditated for years.

Pin Parvati Pass: A Trek For An Experienced

Pin Parvati

 Well-known as a tricky pass, Pin Parvati Pass falls on high altitude covered with snow throughout the year. During the trek one come across abundance of greenery and unspoiled nature. The intense alpine forest, attractive landscape, colorful wild flowers, stunning village, gushing waterfalls, in all this trek is the best summer break which will surely tempt every adventure trekkers. Located at a height of 17,054 ft., Pin Parvati Pass spells smashing magnificence one cannot deny. The last two sections of the trek requires strength. On reaching the final destination, you will be able to spectacle striking view of high mountains laden with snow and barren Spiti valley on the other.

So next time if you are planning to visit Manali, make sure to explore its hidden treasures. These treks will take you away from the mundane life to give you that utmost peace. Whether its winter or summer, Manali always welcome travelers for a unique experience.

Life beyond human form is what you feel when you reach Kailash Mansarovar passing through explicit terrains, imperial environments and fascinating vibes. The journey entices one to such a core that the strenuous climb seems a piece of cake if one is in a complete trance state to reach an altitude not achievable by many.

The journey will introduce you to key attractions; a sacred Parikrama around the Mount Kailash and a holy dip in Mansarovar Lake. You will also get a chance to admire the splendorous of the blue lake Pieko-Tso and Yarlung Zangpo. Another major attraction of the yatra is Yama Dwar, the gates of the lord of death. It is a place of great religious and mythological significance. Also, the distinct four sides of Mt Kailash resemble the cardinal points of the compass. Both geography and mythology combine to lend the Mount Kailash, a charm of its own.

Holy Lake Mansarovar
Holy Lake Mansarovar

When we think of Mount Kailash, all that comes to the mind is a spiritual journey to the abode of God Shiva. For sure there is no shrine but you can definitely meet the divine. The place is invariably sacred to Hindus as it is to Jains, Bons and Buddhists. Kailash Mansarovar is to these faiths as Mecca is to Islam. However, one must believe that Kailash is the seat of all spiritual power and if you truly believe it nothing will surpass your devotion.

What’s unique about full moon on Mt. Kailash?

Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity
Mt. Kailash in all its might and divinity

Standing in high spirits at 22,000 feet, Mount Kailash on a full moon night is just majestic. It is said a dip in Lake Mansarovar at the night of new moon washes away the sins of current and past 100 lives. Feel the spiritual powers around while you circumambulate the lake in a ring on full moon night. Wash away sins of seven past lifetimes with a Parikrama while 108 Parikramas provide eternal oblivion or Moksha or Nirvana. Watch the stunning super moon over Mount Kailash and its imagery reflected on the Mansarovar lake; one of the most picturesque view on the yatra.

Many stories revolve around the significance of full phase of moon on the lands of Lord Shiva. The call for Full Moon Kailash Yatra 2019 is to be a part of sheer spiritual energy that the natural surroundings of Kailash region emanate. One such story reveals that Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati come alive on full moon night. Numerous devotees flock to the lake for this magical moment, but only a human of pure heart will be able to see it. Pilgrims who have seen it can’t believe their eyes. As on full moon there is an abundance of energy and spirituality around the lake. It seems as if the moon god itself want to come down and pay tribute to the divine Shiva.

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Lake Mansarovar is considered sacred as Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati are believed to have a bath in his lake. The lake washes away your sins if you believe in the powers of holy water of the sacred lake. The best time to bathe is between 3-5 am as it is the time of gods. On a full moon night many pilgrims have visually seen the god and Goddess taking a holy dip. They have also seen the holy water getting dispersed just like when a human takes a holy dip. The entire night boasts of exceptional beauty that varies from spiritual godly vibes to.

What will you call such stories, a complete myth or faith? Whatever it is if you want to see heaven while on earth, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on a full Moon night will make you believe you lived a day in heaven. “If you can really be with Kailash even for a few moments, life will never again be the same for you. It is a phenomenon beyond all human imagination.” – Sadhguru

Nestled close to the border between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Har Ki Doon natural beauty is like a pleasure to the mind as well as to the eyes. Well-known as a trekker’s paradise, Har Ki Doon trail brags of charismatic scenes and villages, exhilarating ascents and descents, majestic spectacle of Mt. Swarogihini, pilgrim spots, gushing brooks and splashing river alongside the heavenly camping sites and abundance of lush-greenery throughout the journey. If there’s any trek in Uttarakhand; unspoiled, unadulterated and also sparsely crowded, look no further than Har Ki Doon. So to sway you completely, we have encompassed reasons why one should go to Har Ki Doon at least once.

Experience rural life at Osla Village

trekking-har_ki-doon_1476363721_kcjqcmWith traditions dating back to Mahabharata era, Osla village can be reached by a trek to Har Ki Doon valley. People of this village worship the defamed character of Mahabharata, named Duryodhan. As per the theories, it is believed Duryodhan might have been a boon for these people during that era, hence the temple was built for him. Till date the villagers only preach to Duryodhan and no other god.

The village follows a king rule, who visit it once in a month. When the king comes, a big Pooja is done for the entire village. The village follows its own set of rules and regulation, abide by them when you visit it. Do not touch any of their temples or other religious things. They consider themselves superior than any outsider, but they are also equally warm in their hospitality if you are thinking to stay back in the village.

village_in_himalaya__pczwm har ki doonThe attire of these villagers clearly depicts their attachment to their roots; traditions and customs. Most of the villagers earn their bread and butter through agriculture. They grow rajma, potato and rice for living while the others weave their own wool to make jackets and coats. You can buy from them directly as it will help them to earn more.

Postcard-like Campsites

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Staying within the nature is a fantasy of many nature enthusiasts and when we talk about Har Ki Doon, it has numerous pretty campsites that will make your stay memorable. Pitching the tents near the river, or midst the valley, under billions of stars is what every trekker desires. And if lady luck is with you, you might see one of the most beautiful sunrise of this earth. The hues of orange and red in the backdrop of Himalayas steals the show and will be the best experience of this trek.

Discover wide-variety of Flora and Fauna

meadows-at-hata-beyond-har-ki-dun-you-will-surely-not-want-to-leave-this-placeWhen you trek from Osla to Sankri, you see varieties of trees, plants, animals and birds, this is due to its location in Govind Wildlife Sanctuary. Varied range of fauna like, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Snow Cock, Golden Eagle, Koklas Pheasant, Bearded Vulture, Parakeets, and range of flora like Blue Poppy, Orchids, Lilies, Primulas, Potentillas and Anemonies can be found here which will definitely be a thrill for trekkers.

Spectacle Majestic Mountain Views

har-ki-doonDid you know Pandavas from Mahabharata took the very same route to ascend to heaven via Mt Swargarohini, which also dominates the sky of Har Ki Doon valley! The mountain views on this trek is just stupendous, with Swargarohini – I, II, III, Bandarpoonch and Blackpeak. You can also see the Ruinsara peaks from here. To summarize it beautifully, no other trek steeped in mythology justifies the title of “Valley of Gods”.

Isolation from the bustling world

En route Har ki Doon Trek

Nestled deep in the mountains, this unexplored trek allows one to admire the beauty of this Himalayan region all alone. The trail takes you back in time, where the unspoiled environment makes the trek divine for anyone who visits it. Walking through alpine meadows, moraine ridges, glacier basins and pine forests takes one in trance state. Populated with over 3000 years old villages, trekkers can also taste lifestyle of rural people.

Trekking has always been my idea of an escape from the tediousness of daily life as I always feel close to the hills. I believe in not just ticking off destinations from my bucket-list, but also in having phenomenal experiences which will leave memories that last a lifetime. Being a mountain aficionado, Annapurna Base Camp trek promised to be just the kind of adventure I was looking for.

Known for its towering peaks, unspoiled beauty and narrow slopes, Nepal has always been on my mind ever since I started trekking, and I was finally able to travel there this March. It is a very popular trek among trekkers due to its unfathomable beauty that blows you away in amazement. Essentially a moderate tea-house trek that features the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massif along with panoramic views of Machapuchare, this is one of the most staggering journeys you will ever take.

Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp
Walk though the grassland of Annapurna Base Camp

Trek Details:

Maximum Height: 5,415 m
Trek Time: 11 Days
Distance Covered: 34.4 km
Level: Moderate
Start/Finish: Pokhara
Nearest Airport: Pokhara Airport
ATM Point: Lake Side Pokhara

Highlights of Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp
  • Nestled at 1,400 m with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Pokhara valley serves as the starting and ending point to the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
  • As you journey through the hills, you will be fascinated with the lifestyle, culture and hospitality of the Magar, Thakali and Gurung people.
  • For resting, you can easily find guest houses and tea points throughout the trek.
  • Communicating with the locals won’t be problematic as the residents are quite friendly and are very helpful with tourists.
  • Don’t forget to watch the gorgeous sunrise and sunset on each day, as the exquisiteness of the different shades of the sky will take your breath away.
  • Experience the wilderness of this unspoiled region and revel in the diversity of flora and fauna species.
  • Relax your tired muscles at a hot spring in Jhinu Danda.

My Experience – Annapurna Base Camp Trek

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Pokhara

Arriving in Pokhara: I took a flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, and after completing all airport formalities, hailed a taxi to reach my hotel. The next morning, I took a tourist bus to Pokhara , and checked into a hotel as soon as I arrived. After resting for a while, I headed out to the nearby market to explore the city. Settled on a lake, Pokhara boasts of numerous exciting adventures, entertainment zones, various restaurants and buzzing markets. The city is also the starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp.

Permits to trek ABC: In order to trek to Annapurna Base Camp, you need a TIMs card and a permit (ACAP Entry). These are available at Pokhara, located at a short walk from the tourist bus station. Whether you are trekking solo or with the group, you need to have both the permits as you will be required to show it to the authorities at various check-posts during the trek. Keep the permits somewhere safe from rain, don’t get it wet.
Some trekking companies take care of the permits for you to save you the hassle of doing it yourself. This is what I did when I booked my trek.

Best Route that led me to Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna - Nepal Himalayas
Annapurna – Nepal Himalayas

My trekking journey started from Pokhara, from where I took a public transport (bus) to Nayapul. You can also hire a jeep/taxi, but I suggest you to take the public transport as it would be cheap if you are travelling solo. The scenic countryside route adorned with curvy bends and turns from Pokhara to Nayapul would take around 1.5 hours. From Nayapul, I climbed uphill following the Burgundi River upstream for a steady 4-5 hours before reaching Tikhedhunga, which is a small charming village with a number of lodges to spend the night in.

After another early morning, I left the beautiful village of Ghandruk and started to trek to Sinuwa where the mesmerizing sunrise was a kick start to my day. Following the Modi River, I ascend for some time and crossed the bridge over the Kimrong River. Then, climbed a steep trail that took me the staggering village of Gurung people, Chhomrong where the nature excellence left me awestruck with its enchanting beauty.

From Chhomrong, as I walked up and down the hill, I came across a scenic route that led me to the Chomrong Khola River where the encompassed view of bamboo, rhododendron and oak forest will enthral anyone crossing this path, and from there I hiked up to Sinuwa. I stayed overnight at Sinuwa while enjoying the breathtaking view of river and the lush green forests.

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Then in the morning, I travelled through the rich species of flora and fauna on my way to Hinku Cave and then finally to Deurali. From Sinuwa, I trekked till Bamboo passing the Kuldhigar onto the steep staircase to Dobhan and then crossed a suspension bridge. On reaching Sinuwa, I spend the night in a lodge and took rest after a gruelling trek of 6-7 hours.

As the morning unfolded, I continued my journey to Annapurna Base Camp. The route from Deurali to Machapuchare requires you to be tough and cautious as it is known to be the avalanche prone area. On reaching Machapuchare Base Camp, the valley opens up wide and features beautiful snow peaks. Then, after few hours of climb I entered the Annapurna Base Camp and enjoyed the magnificent vista of mighty Mountains. I stayed overnight at the camp and thoroughly cherished my triumph over the highland. Got up in the middle of the night to spectacle the Milky Way galaxy that illuminated the entire sky; I had goosebumps!

After absorbing the beautiful sunrise at Annapurna, I descend

till Bamboo, and followed the same route to Jhindu danda. On reaching Jhindu Danda, I settled my luggage and proceeded to relax in hot springs. Uh! It was so relaxing, it gave my sore muscles a soothing caress. I stayed overnight at Jhindu Danda. In the morning, I descended through the same route and reached Nayapul, from where I took a bus to Pokhara.

Which is the best season to plan your trek to ABC?

Annapurna Base Camp is accessible throughout the year apart from the late winters and monsoon season. Slippery and muddy monsoon trails, and winters trail laden with heavy snowfall makes both the season difficult to trek. The best season to trek this wonderland is during spring (April, May) and autumn (September to November). During this time the climate is not harsh, visibility is clear and the routes are uncomplicated and trouble-free.

Important Information

Camping in the Annapurna Sanctuary
Camping in the Annapurna

Annapurna trek requires medium-level fitness as you need to hike daily for 6-7 hours. At an altitude of 5,000 m, the oxygen levels will be low, and you might face breathing issues. You need to start exercising a month before your planned trip to increase your stamina. You need to carry medication in case you face AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Some must-have items to include on your trek are:

Trekking shoes
Trekking pole
Warm clothes and an extra pair of woolen socks
LED flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, lip balm and mosquito repellent
Water bottles, energy drinks and bars
Emergency medical kit

“Trekking to the Himalayas of Nepal is an experience to be treasured. The picturesque valleys, startling rivers and towering peaks embellished with fluttering Himalayan flags everywhere, is definitely a treat to any traveller’s eyes. To sum up, a trek with nature in Nepal will give you far more happiness and peace than you will ever seek.”

Sultry jungles, with roaring waterfalls, diverse terrains, abandoned huts reclaimed by nature, ancient civilizations, elusive wildlife and Mountain landscapes…there’s so much on our Earth to discover once you decide to get out and go for a walk! And since trekking in 2018 was the most popular adventure, we thought to share some basic etiquette of hiking a mountain. Try to abide by the rules of trekking eco-friendly as it will help to keep our environs clean and green.

Do give uphill trekkers the right of way

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Give way to uphill trekkers if you are descending. An uphill trekker is climbing against the gravity, hence he has a narrow field of vision as compared to a downhill trekker who has a broader perspective on their side that allows them to easily see what’s ahead. Hence, if you are descending please give way to the upward hikers.

Leave No Trace

Follow a ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’ policy for taking a dump on the mountains. Whenever you feel like pooping, find a spot that is far away from the campsite. The smell of faeces attracts wild animals to the campsite. Also, the spot must be far from water streams, as the bacteria in it will pollute the water. Lastly, carry a small shovel to dig a 6 cm hole and cover it after you are done. Place a heavy stone, so that no other trekker can dig it.

Use wet wipes to clean and take them along with you via a zip-lock bag. Do not throw the tissue papers or wet wipes, as it takes longer to decompose due to low temperatures. Pro Tip: Find a spot that has direct sun rays on it, this is because the sunbeams quicken the decomposition process of the poop.

No Littering At Any Cost

The primary rule is no littering on the mountain terrains because it gets really difficult to clean at such an altitude. So make sure you do not detriment it in the first place. Please carry portable dustbin along with you when you go on a hike. Wrappers of your quick snacks, plastic water bottles, wet-wipes and etc., please dump it all in a dustbin.

Smokers must not litter the beautiful terrains of mountains with cigarettes buds everywhere. And for women on periods, please use biodegradable pads/menstrual cups on a trek, as you might not get dustbin to throw sanitary pads/tampons if you can’t carry it along.

Respect The Other Trekkers

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Whether you are an experienced trekker or a rookie, it is important to respect and take care of your teammates. Respect them, if they walk slowly, if they get tired easily, if they get scared, if they don’t have knowledge about gears or if they get sick. Don’t be a jerk, because you might have done trekking a couple of times, but the other person might be experiencing it for the first time. Just follow HYOH (Hike your own hike). If you want to help them, try to make their hike a prosperous journey so that they come back for more.

Walk and Talk

By this phrase, ‘walk and talk’ I don’t mean you must talk to the trekkers while hiking.  What I meant is that, you must introduce yourself at least once because at times of emergency the trekkers will be your immediate saviour. Be friendly, talk about the beauty of mountains, share your travel stories or if you can’t do that be courteous, friendly and polite to each other. Who knows you might find a trekking buddy!

Abide by the tent rules

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Sharing tents with another person have their own sets of rules. Keep your shoes and socks outside the tent, as they make the entire tent stink. If it is moist outside, keep your shoes in a plastic bag and keep outside. Do not dry clothes over the tent, it looks awful. Carry a thin rope, tie it with poles and then dry your clothes. Keep your belongings in an organized mess, do not just keep taking out the entire stuff every time you need something from your bag, so pack accordingly (keep stuff required for the following day at the top).

Change your socks every two days if it is a long trek. At night when you sleep, the bacteria on your socks attaches itself to the sleeping bags, making it stinky for the other trekkers who might use it after you go. Keep yourself and the tent clean and hygienic at all times.

Do Not Eat Food of Other Trekkers

Please! Please! Please! DO NOT eat food snacks of other trekkers without asking them. It is really immoral because hikers are generally hungry all the time. The snacks like chocolates, protein bars, chips etc might be their drive force to trek upwards. Eat only when the person offers you, or ask can I have a bite? It’s that simple!

Wherever you are in whichever part of the world, make sure you follow these etiquette if you are planning to trek on the mountains. Following these basic rules will not only keep the environment safe, but it will also set an example for the other trekkers who might not follow it. Lastly, keep climbing and may you reach the summit of every mountain you hike!

Highlights of this exhilarating expedition

  • The scenic route along the Paro Valley will be your first encounter with the stunning natural landscape of Bhutan.
  • Monasteries, temples, scenic spots, local food shops, and the famous Taktsang Dzong are one of the most majestic, mesmerising and memorable places you will ever see; these places altogether give Paro Valley a significant mention.
  • A short hike to Chimi Lhakhang monastery, also known as the Temple of Fertility, in Punakha.
  • An overnight stay in the capital city of Bhutan is amazing in its own way. The local markets, handicrafts, tantalising local food and the small little cafes will make your stay wonderful.
  • A Ride to Phobjikha, which is the winter nesting grounds of the endangered Black Necked Cranes. Catching a glimpse of this stunning species is a must-do on your trip.

img_20180917_154737As I entered the mystical land of Bhutan, it seemed the old traditions and customs were still preserved like the olden times. The unspoiled terrain made me wonder on the existence of such a place in this contemporary era. If you are in the mood for a road trip, here’s a tip – the Kingdom of Bhutan is best experienced from the seat of a motorbike. I drove past vibrant monasteries and unique houses, surreal panorama, and stopped for lip-smacking local food. As I reached the high mountains it enveloped me in all its loftiness.

Bhutan Himalayas
Bhutan Himalayas

I embarked on my journey to the Mystical Land of the Thunder Dragon from West Bengal, and entered the scenic territory of Bhutan. I planned the trip with two of my best buddies. Brimming with excitement, we booked a flight to Siliguri, and on reaching, checked-in at our hotel to get freshened up after our journey. Soon after, we set out to try some of the delicious local cuisine. There were so many dishes we wanted to try, but narrowed it down to Kewa datshi, which is a dish made of thin slices of potato fried in cheese and lots of butter, and Jasha maru – a delightful chicken curry which has the distinct taste of ginger. All this was eaten with Himalayan red rice, making up a simple, mouth watering feast! With full stomachs, we settled in for the night.

The next day, we started our Bhutan bike expedition and got ready to leave behind all our worries in the dust.

paro
Paro Valley

We crossed the international border of India on the way to Phuentsholing. Leaving behind the plains and riding towards the mountains made us feel great. The many scenic tea gardens and a couple of wildlife sanctuaries kept us hooked throughout the journey. After some hours of riding on pin-bend roads, we reached Jaigaon in the evening to complete the migration formalities. After the green signal from the verification authorities, we crossed the border and reached the hotel to check-in. And then went for a little exploration of the town. With a late dinner at night and some chit-chat, we dozed off by 11 to wake up fresh for the next day’s adventure.

tigers-nest
Taktsang Palphug

In the morning, after a scrumptious breakfast, we left for the beautiful Paro Valley. The charming town spelled beauty with its colourfully painted and antiquated-wooden shop fronts, restaurants, and numerous monasteries and museums. With two-three halt points for tea breaks, we reach the valley and checked-in at our hotel. After keeping our belongings we rushed out to explore the town. We went to Taktsang Monastery and to the national museum of Bhutan. As we were exploring the museum, I saw one of my friends talking to the guide about the history of Bhutan. My other friend, a die-hard foodie, wanted to try the local cuisine. So, we went to Sonam Trophel restaurant located in the heart of the city and ordered three bowls of hot and steamy Thukpa and a plate of dumplings.

Comfort FoodThe next morning, we left for the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu, followed by Punakha the same day. The nation’s largest city, Thimphu boasts of city-like vibe laden with modern infrastructure and new-lined streets. After a bike check-up in the capital city, we zoomed towards the valley of Punakha. In the afternoon, after lunch, we hiked towards the Chimi Lhakhang monastery, also known as the temple of fertility. Impressed by the beauty of this nation, Bhutan’s hospitality radiate purity and peace. Now we know why it is called the Land of Happiness!

bhutanAs soon as the morning unfolded, we drove around 80 km towards Phobijkha Valley post breakfast. The valley is quite famous for Trongsa Dzong, which is the largest Dzong Fortress of Bhutan. It played an important role during the 17th and 19th century in regards to the unity of the nation. Then we went to Ta Dzong, which has been converted into a museum. The wilderness of flora and fauna at the Phobijkha valley was phenomenal. As we rode towards the valley, we could see countless birds and animals on our way.

bhutan mountainsWell, after taking this surreal road trip, there is one thing I can say – no blog, or for that matter even this blog, cannot describe the glory and the contentment the Kingdom of Bhutan offers. One has to take the Thunder Dragon Motorbike Tour to see what a gem of a place this country is and why everyone falls in love with this mystical land.

Tips and Tricks to Venture the Bhutan Thunder Dragon

  • Other than Indians, Maldivians and Bangladeshis, all nationalities must have a pre-planned itinerary and also have to pay $200 to $250 for Visa, depending upon the season you are travelling. Peak seasons (March-May and September-November) and non-peak seasons (December-February and June-August). Indians, Maldivians and Bangladeshis can easily venture into Bhutan solo, as a couple or in a group, with their passport or identity card that has 6-months of validity left.
  • The best time to visit Bhutan is during spring (March-May) and fall (September-November). If you’re planning to visit Bhutan in March, April, October and November, you must book the tour package and flight tickets at least three months before.
  • If you are planning to go alone or as a couple,  take note of the surcharges that you have to pay. Solo traveler- US $40 per night, group of 2 travelers- US $30 per person/per night, group of 3 travelers or more- no surcharge. So gather two of your friends to save money for your tour.
  • The best time to visit the land of Bhutanese and experience their traditions and customs performed during the festivals. Popular festivals are Paro and Thimphu Tshechu that happen during peak season. If you are seeking for more intimate experience, festivals like Royal Highlander Festival, Ura Matsutake Mushroom Festival, Rhododendron Festival, Black Necked Crane Festival, and Haa Summer Festival should be on your to-do list.
  • Pack only the necessary stuff. Do not forget to carry warm clothes as the temperature goes down at night while the weather can change drastically. Also, pack certain emergency medicines for motion sickness as you would be driving on curvy mountain roads for long duration.

“When we talk about a country that truly favors happiness in all manners, it is undoubtedly Bhutan. A country that lags far behind the modern world, giving travelers and riders a taste of what unspoiled nature looks like. The beauty of the emerald mountains, glimmering and gushing rivers, exhilarating roads and happy faces; a ride in such a country will be a blissful experience for each traveler who plans a trip to Bhutan.”

Mount Everest is the epitome that every adventurous trekker around the world hopes to reach. The highest mountain on earth makes one wonder – how does the world look from that incredible roof? But reaching the summit is a herculean task; you require an arduous amount of mental and physical strength in order to reach that lofty height. Trekking to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp, however, is doable, and is an incredible adventure in itself , although you will still have to fight to reach a soaring height of 17,600 ft. To prepare you better to make the climb, here are some tips that will allow you to reach the Foothills of the Highest Mountain in the World.

1) Buy your equipment in Kathmandu

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Trekking poles, gloves, socks, hats etc., all these gears come at rock-bottom prices when bought locally from Kathmandu. The market is a one-stop-destination for every mountaineer who comes to Nepal to trekking up to the Everest Base Camp(EBC). If by chance you need something or have forgotten it, the market in Kathmandu has it all.

2) Bring candies, quick snacks and protein bars

While trekking in the mountain you lose a great amount of energy as you will be walking daily for around 6-7 hours. So, to give your body a shoot up of instant energy, protein bars and chocolates do wonders. These quick snacks are also available on the trek, but you have to spend a lot of money every time you have hunger pangs.

3) Pack Tang

To avoid high altitude sickness, you need to be hydrated and require at least 2-litres of water every day. To be honest, it gets boring after a while, so mixing Tang in your water will help you drink more water and it will also not taste bad or boring.

4) Get purification tablets

Help your pocket and the environment by getting water purification tablets, or you can carry SteriPens as well. Simply fill your bottle for free from anywhere and add the purification tablets. SteriPens also work great, using ultraviolet light to purify water in 30 seconds.

5) Pack a book

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Trekking to EBC takes a lot of time and sometimes it gets pretty boring when you are relaxing at the campsite. You can indulge in some good read to pass time and trust you will love reading midst the high mountains. Tip: You can buy books at Namche Bazar or Kathmandu as well.

6) Get handi-wipes

You won’t be showering for good 15-20 days, as in -10 degree Celsius it gets quite daunting to take a bath. So wet-wipes come to your rescue and shoo away the bad body odor. Carry sanitizers too as you will be trekking in dirt going up and down, on bumpy paths, so sanitizers are the best way to keep your hands clean. Also, do not litter around the used wipes, please carry portable dustbin. Keep the Himalayas clean and green.

7) Give Yaks and Sherpa’s way at all time

While trekking, if you see yaks or Sherpas coming your way, stand aside and give them way. You don’t want to be thrown down from a cliff. Also, the Sherpas and the porters work very hard to supply food and other stuff to the every base camp. Do your bit by helping them in making the route clear and free from obstacles as they carry loads of kilograms on their back.

8) Keep batteries close to your body

Whenever, you are trekking keep the batteries close to your body. Keep it in the inner pocket or wherever you feel safe because at high altitude the batteries drain faster and you don’t want to come back with no pictures at all. You can charge your batteries at some halt points, but you will have to pay loads of money (Rs 350 approx.) per hour to do so. Also, remember to keep your batteries in your sleeping bags as the temperature dips very quickly at night. Carry extra batteries if you want to be on safe side.

9) The best views comes at early morning

Spend a day or two in Namche Bazar; acclimatize while having fun exploring really popular tourist spots!

Try to wake up early in the morning to get the perfect views of the lofty mountains. At noon, the clouds comes as an obstacle to your view. You can see Mt. Everest at very few points, Namche Bazaar and Tengboche gives the best views of the mighty mountain. Take photos to make it a memory for a lifetime.

10) It is not a race, take your time

everest

Get acclimatize to the altitude, take extra day if you need, walk slow and drink plenty of water. Nobody will ask you how long you took to reach EBC. They are going to be happy and amazed that you reached the base. Walk at your own pace, enjoy each moment because this adventure will be the best of all.

11) Carry a good first-aid kit

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We always recommend that our trekkers carry their personal first-aid box, containing any medicines they might require, because there is no guarantee that you will get the right kind of medicine in an emergency. Make sure to have pain relievers, lip balm and sunscreen. Diamox is another necessary medicine for avoiding high-mountain sickness. Many people take it before the trek, but we don’t recommend it unless the trek leader or the doctor on site advice it.

12) Pack well but less in weight

Keep it light!
Keep it light!

It is necessary for you to pack well that leads in less kilograms. Pack only those things that are really required on the trek. Try packing a few times before your trek and make sure the weight do not exceed to more than 15 kg. It will be great if you pack till 10 kg, because it is only you who will have to carry it all to the base camp. Porters are there to carry your other belongings. Tips: You can climb upstairs with your 10-15 kg backpack a few times to let your body adjust to the weight.

13) Useful tips for women

Girls, please make sure you tie your hair, do not leave it open. You will be trekking in dirt and you also won’t be able to take a bath. So if you leave your hair open, by the end of the trek you will have dreadlocks and you might have to cut your hair. So make a braid or tie it in a pony or a bun, choose whatever you feel comfortable in. Same goes for men if they have long hair.

Another tip for Women – please carry period pain tablets, and make sure you carry biodegradable pads or tampons if you are not comfortable using menstrual cups. At high-altitudes, you may get periods prior to your date. Also, make sure you discard the used pads in dustbin, if not, the biodegradable pads are preferable due to unavailability of dustbin at some locations.

14) Best views of Everest on the flight to Lukla

Lukla

Make sure you book your seat either at the front or back of the plane on the left-hand side to get amazing views of the highest mountain in the world. You can glimpse Mount Everest even before your trek, and the views from the plane will get you charged up for the upcoming adventure.

15) Relish each moment

everest-from-base-camp

You are one of the few lucky people in the world that gets to experience this, enjoy every moment and appreciate every moment you can. You might suffer, you might get tired but the rewarding views at Everest Base Camp is just worthy for each of your effort.

Ask any motorbike fanatic for a destination for a road trip, and without a second thought, it will be Ladakh. The next time when wanderlust itches, take a motorbike trip to Ladakh and surrender yourself to the beauty of the Land of High Passes. Tough terrains, barren lands, pristine blue lakes, gigantic mountains and patches of greenery urge you to take the untraveled path. The exorbitant charisma of this scenic land is branched into several places that make road trip a splendid one. If you also have been bitten by the travel bug and you need to feed your wanderlust, travel to Ladakh!

For the sweeping scenic beauty of Ladakh Treks and Passes

ladakh bike trip

The stark blue sky paired with snow-laden mountains, lush vegetation and unspoiled blue lakes together form a surreal scene that every rider wishes to have a view of. The beautiful and robust roads meandering through the bleak mountains will let you ride some of the highest motorable mountain passes in the world. An expedition through Khardung La to Nubra Valley and the road through Leh to Srinagar are some of the best routes in Ladakh region where you can zip through the mountainscapes.

Known as the roof of the world, Ladakh also houses some of the best treks, many of which are on the bucket-list of an enthusiastic trekker. Enclosed between the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, Ladakh’s stark beauty will make you want to stay here forever. The landscapes wear the colors of nature which make the entire landscape a picture-perfect shot for anyone who loves to do nature photography. Some of the most prominent treks of Ladakh are Chadar trek, Markha valley trek and Tso-moriri Lake trek.

For the excellence of starry nights and Pristine Blue Lakes

A starry night in Ladakh
A starry night in Ladakh

The extensive lakes of Ladakh are marvelous in terms of beauty and elegance. The perfect amalgamation of blue sky and water makes the lake a picturesque spot for shutterbugs and nature adorers. Pangong Lake is lately popular among the tourists (thanks to the movie 3 idiots) due to its unparalleled beauty and the dramatic blue color of the water. In winter, every year a gala festival over the frozen lake is organized for ice- skating enthusiasts.

 

The many colors of Pangong Tso
The many colors of Pangong Tso

The feeling of camping alongside the Pangong Lake and coming out of the tent to such a breath-taking view every time, cannot be expressed in mere words. The starry nights near the campsite are so mesmerizing, it will totally bewitched you into its sheer glory. So if you are planning a trip to Ladakh, make sure to visit Pangong Lake. It will surely leave you awestruck with its charming landscapes that will be imprinted in your heart forever.

For the colorful Festivals of Ladakh and its monasteries

celebration at hemis festival
Hemis Festival in Ladakh

The warm culture and vibrant festivals Losar, Hemis and Naro Nasjal will definitely be a pleasure to anyone visiting Ladakh. The festivals are celebrated as a win over the evil, and the rituals follow a procession of troupes dressed in colorful costumes. And singing, dancing and listening to traditional music brings out peace and prosperity within them. The traveler spirit in you will find a deep connection if you let your soul delve in the trance state. And if you could not connect, enjoy the drama performance and click pictures of the colorful surrounding around you.

 The majestic Key Monastery with the magical views of the stars in the background
The majestic Key Monastery with the magical views of the stars in the background

Do not miss a visit to the historic monasteries to have an insight about customs and traditions of the Ladakhi people. The carving and wall paintings of the monasteries depict tenets of Buddhism and Buddha. Some of the monasteries you can explore are Shey, Thiksey, Matho, Phyang and Key Monasteries.

To savor the lip-smacking cuisine of Indo-Tibetans

Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa
Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa

You must have tried momos and thukkpa of various places, but the authentic flavor of Ladakh is just spectacular to the taste senses. The exotic chilly flavor in the thukkpa and the crunchiness of the fresh vegetables makes it a delightful slurp. And each bite of the freshly prepared momos will make you crave for more and more. The difference in the taste of Indo-Tibetan cuisine is the mystical spice hidden in the valley. It gives their thukkpa and momos a distinct flavor. Also, at many places you will be served with Timok, which is a bread much like an alternative to roti. To combat the freezing temperature, Ladakhi people eat chilies to keep their body warm and ready for harsh winters.

The pull of Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill Ladakh
Magnetic Hill Ladakh

Located 30 kilometers from Leh, Magnetic Hill is one of the most desired spots to visit in Leh. The strong magnetic properties of the hill pull cars uphill. The signboard at the Magnetic Hill invites you to stop your car, switch it off and leave it in neutral. As soon as you do this, your car starts moving uphill at a speed of 10-20 km per hour. People coming to this place make sure to experience this strange phenomenon once in a lifetime.

For bikers, their only love is to get on their bikes and snake up through the barren mountains of the region while enjoying the spellbinding scenic view. Well, I don’t think any biker will want to miss such a heavenly place. So gear up guys, pack up your bags and plan the next trip to Ladakh!

Winters adventures in India draws millions of intrepid travelers who love to explore the wilderness in its true form. Winter in northern India is filled with an abundance of activities, and is also the perfect time to experience some adventure in the South. If words like snowfall, coffee and snuggling appeal more to you, then head North, and to get some warmth, the southern regions welcome you with open arms. So this winter if your wanderlust feet are itching, it is time for you to take one of the winter adventures to make sure you have spent this season right.

Skiing: Slithering on snowy-slopes

Skiing
Skiing in Gulmarg is only for the gallant and the gusty

Snow-capped gigantic mountains surround India’s North, which also serves as a great spot for skiing. Snaking through the white-powdered snow, while taking in a panoramic view of the entire snow-dressed region makes up for an astounding thrill. You can fulfil your search for snow in Gulmarg(Jammu and Kashmir), Auli(Uttarakhand), and Manali(Himachal Pradesh). Gliding on snow laden slopes will give you memories you can treasure forever. Plus the skiing gear looks quite cool!

Gulmarg-ski-resortAn ultimate postcard location, Gulmarg looks so blissful in winters that you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. Snow settles so perfectly and delicately on the houses, meadows and trees that the entire city looks out of this world. Slide on the shimmering snow while taking in the entire perspective of the snow-covered Pir Panjal mountain range. This place experiences snowfall from December to March, so make your winters exhilarating. To better convince you, hit movies like Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Haider have been shot here, owing to its immense natural beauty.

skiing in Auli

Nestled in Garhwal Himalayas, 250 km from Rishikesh, skiing in Auli is gaining a lot attention among skiers, and snow lovers. Due to its good variation in the slopes, skiers get a great amount of thrill while skiing. What is better than a slide from 3 km high-rise slopes? Isn’t it an adrenaline you wish to experience? And with a drop in elevation of 500 m from peak-high altitudes, Auli is one of the best skiing grounds in the world.

Hot Air Ballooning: Talking to the air

Hot air Ballooning Goa

Rising above the clouds, taking in the marvellous spectacle of the horizon, and peeking through the clouds to see little patches of land; hot air ballooning gives a grandeur perspective of the entire world one lives in. If you always wanted to see the earth from a bird-eye-view, you must take this exhilarating ride to meet the sky. India is a land of diverse locations, culture, people and terrains. A ride from the above will be just spectacular due to the variety in terrains India boasts of.

Jaipur Hot Air Ballooning
Jaipur Hot Air Ballooning

Hot air ballooning in Goa is an additional  perk to the bag of thrills that this beach paradise boasts of. What a sight it would be! Hovering over the sparkling azure sea with the golden shores. If you have less time, and still want to explore the city of sunlit beaches, take the amazing balloon ride and you will thank yourself for the awesome choice. And to add more winter adventure to your bucket-list, you can choose to do hot air ballooning ride in Jaipur, Pushkar, Lonavala and Neemrana.

Paragliding: Flying like a bird

Paragliding

Have you ever thought what it would be like to soar high in the sky and experience a bird’s eye view of the world? If you do, plan your next trip adventurous and give Tandem Paragliding at Bir-Billing a try. The best way to feel like you’re flying without dying is through a jump from the second highest Paragliding site in the world. It will take your senses to next level, which is why Bir-Billing is one of the best gliding sites in the world. Jumping off from an edge and rising high in a second gives you an adrenaline rush you will love, which is what winter adventures are all about! You can experience this insane thrill at Kamshet in Maharashtra as well.

Scuba Diving: A peek into the underwater world

Magical underwater world!
Magical underwater world!

Feel like you are a part of the ocean as you swim through the rainbow of colorful marine life and reef fish at the top, and that amazing wall of white soft corals. Explore the world under the surface of the oceanic water in Goa and Netrani Island. Leave your stress at the surface, and plunge deep into the water to discover a world existing into our own world. Before you attempt Scuba Diving in Goa, you will be trained by experienced divers, who will impart some basic, but important skills required to do it.

India is enriched with bewitching landscapes and cities, and to experience the diverse nation, what is better than these adventures? Choose whatever suits you best, because when it comes to an adventure, India has tonnes of exhilarating activities which makes this country an ideal getaway destination for adrenaline seekers. Make your holiday awesome!

Have you ever wondered that you need something more than oxygen to go on? This special air, not found in posh housing complexes of a metropolitan or in tall offices, the kind that puts you in a trance and fills you up on the inside, the refreshing kind, the rejuvenating breath of fresh air-only found high up, way up in the invigorating lap of nature. Where, you ask? In Ladakh, of course! Were you expecting any other answer from me?

Experience Ladakh In a ‘Never Before’ Way
There can be several ways to experience the magical beauty of Ladakh, however, trekking in Ladakh is an adventure at its best. The blessed beauty of the incandescent mountain and the longing valleys of Ladakh have never failed to beckon travellers across the globe. Apart from being the land of dream, it is a popular destination for thrilling activities. The challenging and unique topography of this place lends it a charm of its own when compared to other popular trekking destinations. From the desert to blue waters, burning sun to freezing winds, and from glaciers to sand dunes, Ladakh resembles a paradox of nature. It is home to many trekking trails that can bring one face to face with surreal landscapes while providing an adrenaline rush like never before. Ladakh is a place that ensures that whether the trek is strenuous or easy, at the end you will always a have a great adventure experience by your side.


Chadar Trek:

Altitude: 3850 m
Approx. Duration: 10-21 days
Best Time to Go: Mid January – End February
Difficulty Level: High

chadar

Chadar trek is one of the popular treks that offers an opportunity to register a memorable experience by trekking on the frozen river, Chadar. It is also known as Chadar frozen river trek as the Zanskar River transforms into a sheet of frozen ice during sub-zero temperatures in the winter season. The Chadar trek route is the traditional way out for people to traverse in winters as others ways used to get blocked due to heavy snow in Ladakh. There are several prominent places that the trail to Chadar covers; however, Zanskar is a place of great significance. Being one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet, Zanskar reflects esoteric nature of Buddhism. It is home to around ten thousand inhabitants who are preserving and perpetuating their cultural identity. The Chadar trek provides a chance to penetrate the isolation of this place.

Moreover, the route taken by the trail connects several villages in the Zanskar valley. Chilling and Lingshed are the only sizable villages that it covers during the journey. The quaint charm and picturesque surroundings of the Lingshed village set it apart from other villages. One of the major attractions of this village is the Lingshed monastery that houses temples, stupas, statues, murals and manuscripts. It also gives an insight into the religious influence on Ladakh. The ancient monastic establishments of Karsha and Zangla are the important places that bear testament to the mysteries related to a land and culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskar Mountains, the Shangrila.

Though Chadar trek provides a fascinating experience, it is important to remain cautious of the challenges that it throws. Walking on the river seems to be easy but it involves the risk of sliding on ice. However, the beautiful sights offered by this frozen sheet, Chadar, and the chilly surroundings create a captivating effect on the mind.


Stok Kangri:

Altitude: 6000 m
Approx. Duration: 11 days
Best Time to Go: Mid July-Mid September
Difficulty Level: High

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Stok Kangri is one of the fascinating trekking options in Ladakh. Situated in the Stok range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region, it is home to several remote places which cannot be explored otherwise. The deserted surroundings, blissful landscapes, trail with plenty of ridges combine together to make the experience of Stok Kangri trekking all the more exciting. Apart from resembling a unique blend of natural exquisiteness and cultural beauty, Stok Kangri trekking expedition involves a thrill-invoking climb to such high altitude.

The astounding views of the Zanskar valley, Indus Valley and lofty mountains in the Himalayas lend immense popularity to the Stok Kangri trek. There is no other such trek that offers the company of peace and tranquillity in such an inspirational and beautified profound manner. Stok village is one of the key attractions of the Stok Kangri trek. Besides being an exotic location, it reflects a unique blend of traditional and contemporary architectural styles of Ladakh. The panoramic views offered by the Stok Palace and Stok Museum can leave anyone amazed. A 360-degree view of the Saser Kangri and the splendid views of Karakoram Range add a special hue in the trekking expedition to Stok Kangri.

It is essential to know a hack of dealing with the weather conditions that can deteriorate on Stok Kangri trek. To trek in the sinking snow and the situation where you might find your legs sinking up to your knees are the problems that require immediate help and extra caution. However, the risk is worth it, as an adventure speaks hollow unless and until the wire of risk charges it with some thrill.

So, if one feels enchanted and thrilled to scale a tough yet an amazing summit, then Stok Kangri trekking expedition is an ideal choice to explore the mighty Himalayan range with a wider lens of perspective.


Markha Valley Trek:

Altitude: 3700 m
Approx. Duration: 8 days
Best Time to Go: June to September
Difficulty Level: Medium

markha

Being the central valley of Ladakh, Markha Valley one of the prominent locations of the region. And so, the trekking expedition to Markha Valley is among the top trek routes of Ladakh. Markha Valley Trek proceed along Markha River through an area which is one of one of the world’s highest inhabited plateaus region, little Tibet in Ladakh. The region provides a clear and stunning view of the Great Himalayan, Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. These views serve are truly exemplar of nature’s beauty and its creativity.

Crossing through three passes of Stok, Stok La and Kongmaru at high altitudes is what adds to the popularity of the Markha valley trek. Apart from giving an opportunity to discover the places that nature has designed with a variety of hues, it offers a chance to experience camping at the base of Kang Yutze peak of Nimaling. To have an interaction with one’s own self under that star-studded sky serves as a therapy for the mind, which hardly gets time to express its own concerns. In that state of introspection, even body seems to recover from the clutches of the war that we constantly wage with the daily struggles of life.

On this trekking trail, trekkers would witness the scenic splendor of the landscape in abundance. They would also come across the willow groves, patches of wild roses, nomadic families inhabiting the region with their herds of yaks and pastel canyons decorated with multi-hued prayer flags furling with winds. Also, one cannot miss the accommodations which have been constructed as parachute tents at most of the village’s en-route. Renowned for its amazing biodiversity, the Hemis National Park is a must-visit during the trek. So, experience the contrasting colours of nature as there is no scope of regret on the trekking expedition to Markha valley. It offers a complete package of fun, excitement and adventure without posing an extreme risk to the safety of the individuals.


Also,

Minimize your impact in culturally and ecologically sensitive areas by being as self-sufficient as possible, especially with food and fuel. Buying provisions along the way puts unnecessary burden on the villages’ subsistence-oriented economies. It also encourages hordes of temporary ‘tea shops’ (usually run by outsiders), to sprout along the trails.

Refuse should be packed up, not disposed of along the route, no matter how far from the nearest roadbed you are. Plastics should be retained for recycling at the Ecology Centre in Leh.

Even when you know that you have to return to shoulder the same old burden, what comes as inspiration from the journey is the courage to start over anew. The trip is an analogy of the lesson that life teaches that it’s all about how you perceive. Though life has not given us the freedom to do away with the struggle altogether, it has given us the choice to find beauty and discover our own sunshine. Somebody has rightly pointed out that amidst the fury of life’s noise; there lies a soulful and an innocent harp that rings deep within all of us.

Landlocked between Tibet and India, Nepal is one of the most stunning and serene countries in Southern Asia. It is known for housing eight of the highest summits in the world, including the gigantic Mt. Everest, which is said to be bordered with the birthplace of the creator of Buddhism, Lord Gautama Buddha. Remarkably, the spectacular spiky mountains, swaddled in the Kingdom of Gorkha, spread the magic in the region along with the lively shades of Buddhist culture and traditions.

Trekking in the High Mountains of Nepal
Upon entering Nepal, one could easily feel the magnificence of the land which is home to the legendary mountaineers such as Tenzing Norgay and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa. Over the years, Nepal has become an idyllic destination for mountaineers and nature lovers. The trekking adventure amidst the breathtaking mountain scenery offers a chance to explore the lifestyle of Nepalese and the hidden gems of nature, simultaneously.

Some of the Himalaya’s most stunning and accessible trekking destinations with jagged trails include Upper Mustang, Gokyo Lakes, Everest, Dhaulagiri Circuit, Nar Phu Valley and Annapurna. But the two treks that have gained attention and reputation among the hikers are the classic Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp(ABC). For adventure enthusiasts, these treks are a must-try to gain the ultimate Himalayan experience.

EVEREST BASE CAMP: The Ultimate Adventure!
EBC is the place where the most thrilling and daring dreams turn into reality. The grand Mount Everest lies in the abode of splendid nature and it wholeheartedly welcomes adventure lovers from across the globe to scale its height. A journey through dense forests, glacial pools and Sherpa villages is truly an incredible experience.

everest-base-camp-trek_1439798387

The exclusive Everest Base Camp trek is known for providing the impressive views of the world’s highest snow-clad mountains. The trail accompanied by the beautiful Himalayan ranges begins from the beautiful town of Lukla and it takes you to EBC through terraced landscapes and striking river valleys, Namche Bazaar, pine forests and suspension bridges. Moreover, you will come across the several wonderful Everest high passes, gushing River Dudhkoshi, tranquil Imja Tse Valley and stunning Buddhist monasteries.

Nevertheless, the experience of reaching EBC is as exciting and adventurous as accomplishing the Mt. Everest summit which is considered as the mother of all the adventures.  

Maximum Height: 5642 m
Trek Time: 14 Days
Distance Covered: 97 km
Level: Easy to Moderate
Start/Finish: Lukla/Lukla
Trek Style: Tea House
Nearest Airport: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
ATM Point:
Namche Bazaar

Kathmandu>Lukla> Phakding>Namche Bazaar >Tengboche >Lobuche>Gorakshep>Everest Base Camp>Kala Patthar>Namche Bazaar>Lukla>Kathmandu

everest-from-base-camp

  • Witness the stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains of the Everest, Thamserku, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, etc.
  • Walk through the forests of pine and cedar along the River Dudh Kosi
  • Explore the lifestyle of the people residing in Thame and Khumjung villages
  • Hiking the peaks like Imja Khola, Chhukung and Nangkartshang
  • Spend a night on a hilltop surrounded by the Khumbu glacier
  • Enjoy a splendid view of sunrise against the Everest from Kala Patthar

everest-base-camp

What is the best time to trek to EBC? 
Due to extreme height, the weather in EBC remains harsh and cold throughout the year. The best time to undertake the trekking expedition is either from March to May or September to December.

March to May: The weather during this period remains pleasant and it is considered as the perfect time to head on the trek. The course is also less slippery since snow starts melting in the spring season. This is the primary reason why this place gets overcrowded by the trekkers at this time around. Notably, you can enjoy clear-crystal views of mountains. The average temperature ranges from 8°C to 18°C during the daytime. At night, it ranges from -15°C to 4°C.   

September to December: Ardent trekkers undertake the journey during this time of the year as it is the most challenging. Notably, hiking during this time is considered tough due to snowy and slippery trails, and tricky slopes. Also, very few trekkers can be found during the journey and the temperature falls below the freezing point at night and in the daytime, it remains between 12°C and 18°C.  


ANNAPURNA TREK: A Thrilling Journey Through The Deepest Gorges!
Known for its high passes, deep gorges, stunning hills and narrow slopes, the Annapurna trek is very popular among the young trekkers. The trek which starts from the picturesque village of Besisahar ends at a certain point in the striking Annapurna range. The trail goes along with the River Marshyangdi and takes you to the beautiful lake town of Pokhara from where you can enjoy exceptional views of the Annapurna and Machapuchare ranges. The maximum altitude that you will hit on this trekking expedition is 5,415 m at Thorong La. Notably, the French duo Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal made history when they scaled the Annapurna range at a height of 8000 m in 1950.

The blended one! - in Nepal

You have to cross various suspension bridges, rivers, waterfalls and tea houses. On this expedition, you will come across exotic flora and fauna that will lend some of the most beautiful views to your camera.

Maximum Height: 5415 m
Trek Time: 15 Days
Distance Covered: 82 km
Level: Moderate to Difficult
Start/Finish: Kathmandu
Trek Style: Tea House
Nearest Airport: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
ATM Point: Besisahar and Jomsom

Kathmandu>Besisahar>Bhulbhule>Jagat>Dharapani>Chame>Pisang>Manang>Yak Kharka>Thorong Phedi>Muktinath>Jomsom>Pokhara>Kathmandu

Lake Gangapurna (3500 m) is one of the most amazing places. Just half hour away from Manang, you can reach the lake on the 5th day of Annapurna Circuit trek.
Lake Gangapurna (3500 m) is one of the most amazing places. Just half hour away from Manang, you can reach the lake on the 5th day of Annapurna trek.
  • Reaching the source of River Marsyandi, Tilicho Lake, which is situated at an altitude of 4919 m
  • Crossing Thorang La Pass and arriving at Phulchoki Valley is a unique experience in itself
  • The views of upper Mustang and lush green landscape of Manang are a feast to eyes
  • Explore the local markets and buy amazing souvenirs at decent prices
  • A sacred bath in the steaming pond of the most famous temples of Hindus, Muktinath, which is believed to vanish all the sins of pilgrims
  • Crossing the deep gorge and river of Kali Gandaki gives you a spine-chilling experience
  • Meeting and knowing about the lifestyle of warm-hearted locals gives you immense pleasure
Trekking around Annapurna Circuit
Trekking around Annapurna

Gear Up: The Best Time To Take This Adventure
October and November are the months when a number of adventure enthusiasts undertake this trek. Notably, the valley experiences heavy snowfall except December to April. Mid-April to May is another time to head on this trek as a trekker can enjoy the perfect picturesque views of Annapurna and Dhauladhar ranges.

October and November: The average temperature ranges from 10°C to 18°C during the daytime. And at night, it ranges from -12°C to 4°C.   

Mid-April to May: The average temperature ranges from 12°C to 20°C during the daytime. And at night, it ranges from -5°C to 8°C.   


Check Your Fitness Levels! Both EBC and Annapurna treks require moderate physical fitness as you have to climb at altitudes higher than 5,000 m and that too for 6-7 hours daily. Also, due to lack of oxygen at height, a trekker is likely to face breathing issues. Thus, mental and physical fitness is a must to undertake the trek.

It is advised to start exercising at least a month prior to the trek. You should increase your walking speed and stamina. Notably, you have to carry a medical certificate to ensure your physical fitness levels, and a disclaimer certificate stating that you’re voluntarily undertaking the trek.

Check The List: Trekking Essentials

  • Trekking shoes/trekking pole
  • Warm clothes/extra pair of woollen socks
  • LED flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries
  • Camera/raincoat/gloves
  • Sunscreen lotion/sunglasses/lip balm/mosquito repellent
  • Water bottles/energy drinks and bars
  • Emergency medical kit

How to Reach Kathmandu?
The mighty Annapurna and Everest Base Camp treks start from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. It is well-connected to India by air. Notably, most of the flights are being operated from the major cities like Mumbai and New Delhi. However, the availability of flights completely relies on the weather and season.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport
Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport

You can also travel to Kathmandu by train. To avail the train you have to reach Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Also, Delhi Transport Corporation has been operating a direct bus service from Delhi to Kathmandu since 2014.  Further, a luxury Volvo bus is available on daily basis and it departs at 10 am from Ambedkar Stadium Bus Terminal at Delhi Gate. In order to reach Nepal, it covers a distance of 686 km in 30 hours via Agra, Kanpur, and the Sunauli border in Uttar Pradesh.

For a traveller’s eyes, nothing could be more fascinating than enjoying a sight of the stunning temples and striking gompas, consisting of multi-coloured prayer wheels and fluttering flags against the regal Himalayas in Nepal. Also, on these trekking expeditions, you will get an opportunity to explore the charming rustic hamlets, snowy landscape, magnificent glaciers, and a wide variety of wildlife. After completing these treks, you will surely come back with a whole new experience that will remain entrenched in your heart for a lifetime!

A lot has been written about the frozen river Chadar trek. Every year, in the months of January and February, headstrong trekkers dare to attempt the trek i.e., walk over the frozen Zanskar river that is the only route for locals to reach Leh. However, it is best explained in a series of photos. After all, a photo is worth a thousand words.

So without further ado, here’s what’s so special about Chadar Trek and why it should be on your travel wish-list for 2019:

chadarThe temperature here drops to around -30 degree Celsius and is the most suitable for being tread on in the winter months, hence.

webp-net-compress-image-23Trekkers start this exploration from Chilling and hike further up to Naerak(they can return from this point itself) and then Lingshed. The entire ice trail is about 105 kms long and trekkers walk about 15 kms each day

webp-net-compress-image-22A road between Zanskar and Leh is under construction which will make it easier for the locals to commute. However, it poses a great threat for the wildlife including snow leopards in the area.

chadarFrozen Naerak falls.

chadarThe fluctuating temperature in the valley makes and breaks the ice in the river. So, trekkers are to use extreme caution in a terrain such as this.

shutterstock_1113151_cf8ceThe gigantic brown mountains that outline the frozen river present a great visual.

chadar trekLocals cook food here in caves and it is served in caves. How dreamlike!

webp-net-compress-image-21Impeccable trekking gear should be made use of while carrying out this trek. The ice sheets thin down over different times of the day.

shutterstock_7977997_tjn49Camping is an absolute delight on this trek! Enjoy incredible starry nights. Star-gazing is definitely something you should check off your list when you’re here.


What are you waiting for?
Pack your bags and set out for this dreamland! Chadar trek can be undertaken by experienced trekkers each January-February. This is a perfect trek for your travel goal list. 

An Experience Like Never Before 

The Chadar trek is a must for all those people who are living in cities and have been seeking an opportunity to have freedom from their hard-working lives for a short while. After completing it, one will realise the immense beauty of pristine nature and why it needs to be protected. The Chadar trek is a completely different trek as it involves walking on a frozen Zanskar river at an altitude of 13,000 ft for days in sub-zero temperatures at around -25 degree Celsius. The experience of trekking on an aqua blue ice trail between calm brown mountains along with cold breeze is an experience within itself. This trek has been categorised under the major difficulty level trek, as it requires a heavy amount of exertion. One is also required to have a proper guidance before beginning this trek. The trail of this trek is approximately 105 km and on an average, a trekker will be walking a distance of 15 to 17 km per day.

During winter, this frozen lake route of Chadar is one and only route that connects Zanskar Valley and Ladakh.

Special Treats: MAJOR VILLAGES EN ROUTE
Villages falling in the trail of Chadar trek are Nerak and Lingshed. Trekkers will be coming across these two villages on different days during the trek.

NERAKIt is one of the two villages where the trekkers will be taking their stoppages. The views of the sunset from this point are worth witnessing. Travellers should definitely click some pictures from this point. Trekkers will be reaching towards this village after witnessing the captivating frozen waterfall and the massive Tibb Cave. This village serves as a major base camp of the Chadar trek. In order to reach Nerak Village, trekkers will be climbing a steep mountain trail. This village houses facilities such as a rudimentary health dispensary and a solar plant. There is also a residential school at this village where students study till the elementary level. All the basic essential goods including ration are bought for an entire year and are brought in this village from a small settlement of Wonla, which is located at a great distance and is situated across the Zing La pass. Only the Chadar trek trail connects the Nerak Village with the outside world. This village is home to around 30 families.

LINGSHEDTrekkers will be arriving at the village of Lingshed. Trekker arriving in Lingshed will be delighted to know that this village is known as one of the oldest villages in Ladakh. This village is filled with an ample amount of nature’s beauty. It is also home to the Lingshed Monastery, which is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. This monastery is a famous tourist attraction. By now, the trekkers would have visited popular tourist spots such as Gyalpo and Dibyokma. Gyalpo is an enchanting campsite which is located in a meadow in the Zanskar River. At this region, travelers will discover imposing peaks and large natural rocks which are naturally sculpted in abstract shapes. Dibyokma is another stoppage point during the Chadar trek. From this point, travelers can enjoy a breath-taking view of the Himalayas, it is also known as the most peaceful point of the trek.


Dreamlike Chadar Trek: Enjoy Camping Under Starlit Skies 

The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek
The thrilling Chadar Frozen River Trek


During the night, the travelers will also get the opportunity to see a vibrant sky full of stars. The Chadar trek is known for its rough camping conditions and fluctuating temperature, there will be several instances where trekkers would be required to manoeuvre through difficult terrain of the trek and climb cold boulders of ice and rock.

chadar

The wide frozen aqua blue ice trail formed by Zanskar River in winters between massive, calm, golden brown mountains is the prime factor which makes Chadar Trek a special trek.

Lifesaver Tips: Exercising Precaution While Treading On The Frozen River 

  • It is suggested that one should share his or her schedule to go on Chadar Trek with at least one friend or family member. This will ensure that he or she has someone for help in case of an emergency.
  • It is advised to carry warm clothes as there is a high probability of temperature to drop extremely low.
  • Travelers are suggested to carry ample quantity of edible food and water with them, as there might be a shortage of food and water during the trek.
  • One should not forget to carry a first-aid kit and medicines, as the travellers will be involved in activities which will require a lot of exertion and will be often getting minor bruises and cuts during the trek.
  • One should ensure that the trail of the trek stays clean and they should not pollute the trail or dump anything during the trek. Travellers are also advised not to use shampoos and soaps at any of the waterfalls.
  • One should respect all religious faiths and the calmness of all the shrines that fall en route.
  • One should not disobey or disregard any of the instructions and tips given by the guide.
  • Avid skipping any of the meals during the trek as the intense terrain of Chadar trek will require trekkers to have a high amount of energy.

The best time to go on Chadar Trek is considered to be the winter season between the months of January and February. At this time, the Zanskar River is considered safe and is suitable for walking.

One of the most adrenaline-pinching, risque, thrilling explorations organised in the winter months(January-February) of every year is a trek on the frozen Zanskar river-Chadar Trek. The ice trail is a bold exploit even for the most advanced trekkers. Fluctuating and harsh weather over a frozen trail between ginormous golden mountains, this one is for the truly headstrong.

But it isn’t impossible! Far from it. The wild undertaking is carried out successfully by hundreds of trekkers every season. Through Naerak and Lingshed, the venturous make their way to the frozen river.  Couple months of preparation and reliable information about the trek beforehand are their only friends. Of course, having a presence of mind and trekking gear in perfect shape are absolutely non-negotiable.

Walking on the frozen Zanskar River
Walking on the frozen Zanskar River

Before we go on to discuss what truly makes this trek so challenging, here’s what you should at least pack for the trip:

  • Trekkers are also suggested to carry a pair of open-toe slippers, which one can wear around the campsite without wetting their socks
  • Proper trekking shoes with high-rise ankle, waterproofing and insulation
  • One size large pair of gumboots – a kind of boots for the purpose of wading through icy water
  • Open toe slippers for casual wearing around the camp
  • Two synthetic trek pants
  • One windcheater
  • Two pairs of upper and lower body thermal wears
  • Two warm pants
  • Two full sleeved collar t-shirts
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 3 pairs of merino trekking socks
  • Four pairs of undergarments
  • 1 complete body raincoat
  • Woollen gloves and synthetic waterproof gloves
  • Woollen cap that covers the ears
  • Woollen socks for sleeping in the night
  • Woollen stole or balaclava to wrap around the neck.
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold cream
  • Toothpaste
  • UV protection sunglasses to prevent snow blindness
  • Trekking pole
  • Head torch
  • Daypack
  • Rucksack with a capacity of 50 to 60 litres
  • Medicine kit
  • Insulated water bottle and thermos flask
  • Utensils
  • Packaged refreshments
  • Plastic sealable polythene bags, which can keep items dry and safe

Chadar Trek

Know It All: The Multi-fold Challenges of Chadar Trek 
One will always face the mind-blowing challenge of walking on a thin ice sheet which may break at any time and thrust you in the icy cold water at around -25 degree Celsius temperature. Apart from this challenge, there are some other challenges as well that one may have to face:

  • Acute Mountain Sickness: According to a report, around 15 trekkers are reported to have been hospitalized in 2018, due to symptoms of AMS such as nausea, vomiting and breathlessness. During Chadar trek, trekkers can trek up to 11,123 feet. This sudden change in altitude may affect one’s body, thus failing him from accomplishing the trek. In order to prevent such as thing, trekkers are advised to first stay in Ladakh for a few days before starting the trek. This will enable one’s lungs to adjust according to the change in altitude. This time can be fruitfully used by taking acclimatization walks by trekkers.

  • Constant change in trekking trail: As a major portion of Chadar trek is covered over the frozen icy path formed by Zanskar River, the slightest of change in temperature has an extreme impact on the frozen trail of Chadar trek. It is highly suggested that travelers should pay attention to all the commands and instructions of the team leader and trek on only sledge routes. During an average day, the frozen river undergoes a constant process, which involves the formation of new ice sheets, melting of old ice and irregular breaking of ice blocks. During Chadar trek, travelers will always find the frozen river in a different condition. At times, the whole river will be completely frozen and its surface will be suitable to walk. At other times, the frozen stream of ice will completely melt from the center portion, thus leaving only narrow side trails of ice to walk on. There will also be times when the river would completely melt and the trekkers would have to leave the melted stretch of the river and climb the mountains. When there won’t be an option to climb the rocks, trekkers would also have to wade through the cold slushy stream of the river. It is suggested that trekkers should walk in small packs comprising of 6 to 7 people along with a person, who has all the necessary equipment including rope, carbines, harnesses, slings, a throw bag, sleeping bag and is ready to handle any kind of worst-case scenario. In case a trekker falls into the deeper portion of a running stream, he or she should prevent flowing along the stream. In such a case, a leader would throw a throw bag end, so that the drowning person may grab hold of it and get saved. In order to prevent such a situation, trekkers can opt to get anchored with the leader, who will be attaching all the trekkers by rope to his or her anchor.
  • Extreme cold conditions: The excessive cold conditions during Chadar trek often result in causing hypothermia to trekkers. Hypothermia occurs due to lack of warmth within one’s body. Usually, during a trek, hypothermia sets into one’s body after he or she has worn wet clothes for a long duration or even during the sleeping hours. People having weak bones should refrain from opting to go on this trek as the slippery icy terrain leads one to fall numerous times. Also, people with any kind of serious heart condition are also prone to hypothermia. The cold weather during the trek shrinks the blood vessels in one’s body, thus causing an immense pressure within the heart and leading to hypothermia in people with serious heart conditions. In order to tackle the issue of hypothermia, a trekker is required to be constantly active and warm during the Chadar trek. During the day, trekkers should constantly keep their body in motion, which will help in keeping themselves warm. It is suggested that trekkers at camping site should perform activities such as exploring campsite, interacting with locals or even playing some sports on the icy field. Trekkers are required to bring warm clothes which may protect them from snow blizzards and avalanches.
Chadar Trek - Leh Image Credits: planetwayround.com
Chadar Trek – Leh
Image Credits: planetwayround.com

IN THE UNLIKELY SCENARIO OF A DROWNING: 

  1. Shout at your loudest to attract attention.
  2. Seek hold of the bank and staying glued to it.
  3. In the case of getting dragged away, travelers can hold on to their bags and place it above their chests as it will help them stay afloat.
  4. If a drowning traveler in a running current of the river is unable to reach the surface, he or she should look for a whirlpool in the river.
  5. Once the traveler gets rescued from the river, it is necessary to remove all wet clothes at once.
  6. In case a traveller gets hypothermia, he or she can try to get warmth from sleeping bags and hot water bottles.
  7. In case a traveler is in a serious case, the support staff should set up a tent and arrange warm stoves for warmth.

Are you still reading?
You have already won half the battle if you are well equipped with information because now you know what to expect. And come on, all this risk is what makes Chadar trek an absolute thrill! If you play by the rules, you will never forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Almost all mountaineers wish to scale the mighty Everest on some lucky day of their hiking career. And why not? The feeling of touching the roof of the world, world’s highest mountain-the magnificent Mt. Everest (8,848 m), the sheer magnitude of which makes everything else feel puny and irrelevant: the feeling of having accomplished a feat like this is an ultimate life goal for trekkers worldwide. Many mountaineers prepare all their lives for it and yet a small percentage really ever makes it. Isn’t that alone so chilling to comprehend? EBC or Everest Base Camp trek is a stepping stone for many trekkers that wish to someday conquer this ginormous mountain.

everest-base-camp

For some trekkers, EBC trek alone is a huge travel goal! Rigorous training, honing patience levels, developing sustainable trekking stratagem, investing in reliable trekking gear are the many tasks on the to-do list when you are planning for an EBC trek. Add to that, the project of finding qualified trekking guide teams and trusting the uncertain weather. Discussing with professionals and booking early will take away half of those troubles and yet a few loopholes will still remain.

Naturally, when the achievement is so humongous, the stakes are higher. Sometimes, life threatening even. You can do best by putting some faith in your luck and winging it or you can know what to do if you face some serious problem on your EBC trek, the possibility of which remains significant. Here’s a complete guide to knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned on your EBC trek: 

mount-everest-climbing

Mt. Everest being in a very remote region and at a very high altitude doubles the risk factor. However, the chances of getting medical aid get scarcer as we go up. A mishap like a simple leg injury; life-threatening high altitude sickness like AMS (Acute Motion Sickness), HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) or HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema); natural disasters like earthquakes, avalanches, and rock-falls can prove fatal. At such an altitude, one has to be rescued with the help of a helicopter and escorted to the nearest medical facility. An emergency evacuation via helicopter could cost more than US$10,000!

Next, never self-diagnose!

  • The symptoms of altitude sickness can vary with each body type. One should never self-diagnose, chances are you will be wrong and will worsen your condition further. Medicine delayed is medicine denied.
  • Update your guide regularly. Believe you, they have been doing it for years and know this like the back of the hand. Trusting their advice is not only recommended, it is necessary.
  • Eating garlic, drinking plenty of water, and sufficient rest can reduce the symptoms but ultimately descending is the only cure.

Reaching Lukla
Lukla is a small airfield with a very short landing strip. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous airfields in the world. Being a small airfield, only small aircrafts like Dornier 228 having short take-off and landing capabilities, are operated. These aircrafts do not have the ability to operate in bad weather and very low visibility. That means it can get cancelled or delayed for safety reasons if there is a bad weather condition. Always take a few grace days after your return to Kathmandu so that this does not affect you flight back home. In case you reach Kathmandu on time as per your schedule you can spend the free days to explore this colorful city of Kathmandu for its rich culture.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport
Tenzing-Hillary Airport or Lukla Airport

Different options you can choose from, in case your Lukla flights get cancelled are:

1. Wait and try again the next day
When we wait we are be given the last priority as others have already booked for the scheduled date. Therefore, when flight gets cancelled, we reschedule it for the next day. And this means that sometimes we don’t get them at the earliest. However, we try our best.

2. Pay for an expensive helicopter to get in or out
There are choppers available for this very case. But the catch is that they offer expensive rides to get in to Lukla or return back to Kathmandu. This is totally not in our hand. Sometime they offer less and sometime the price they offer is really high. There aren’t any fixed prices for the choppers so far and is totally dependent up on the situation. Chopper to Kathmandu is an option. Another option is a chopper to Phaplu from Lukla which may cost USD 800 (per chopper). Note: A chopper can carry 6 people. Add to that, 12 hours sharing jeep drive to Kathmandu.

helicopter viewed on the way to helicopter

3. Hike to Phaplu + Drive to Kathmandu(Cheaper Alternative)
It is a 2 days hike to reach Phaplu from Lukla and then it take 12 hours sharing jeep to Kathmandu. This is a way cheaper option for getting out to Kathmandu in the worst case scenario. Meant for those who do not want to pay for expensive helicopter or cannot wait for next day’s regular flights.

WATER RESOURCES-Staying hydrated is essential!
There are many natural sources of water all along the trail. It is advised to carry some water purification tablets and a good reusable wide mouth water bottle. You can get bottles water all the way till EBC but it gets more and more expensive as it gets closer to the EBC. Also, the bottled water is NOT a good idea as every other bottle means more and more garbage created.

Responsible eco-toursim means one is not encouraged to leave behind anything other than their footprints. 

trekking to EBC

REMEMBER, REMEMBER

  • There aren’t any ATMs located on the EBC trail. Remember to carry cash from Kathmandu itself. Currency exchanges on the trail offer especially inflated rates so it is advised to keep enough local currency with you i.e., Nepali Rupees.
  • Do not worry about food at all. Plenty of tea houses line up the trail and typically, all kinds of nutritious or sugary food is available all the way right to the top. Dal-bhat(dal and rice), chowmein and spaghetti are easy finds.
  • You will get sufficient data if you are in possession of a local sim. Most lodges will offer Everest Link and you can buy a Wi-Fi data pack to go with it. The wi-fi is slow, generally. You are likely to remain unavailable to your friends and family.
  • Even though helicopters are constantly hurrying up and down this vast network of mountains, it is extremely costly to be used for supplying materials. This is exactly why you will find everything priced pretty heavily, the further up you trek.

INSURANCE is a must in a trek like Everest Base Camp. Any insurance you go for should at least cover the following:

  1. Altitude cap should be at least 5,700 m
  2. Emergency evacuation by air in case of an accident, illness or natural disaster.
  3. Trip cancellation and delays
  4. Flight cancellations and delays including the internal flights to Lukla
  5. Baggage Loss
  6. All the countries you intend to visit during the trip
  7. All the adventure activity one intends to do during the course of the trip