Leh/Ladakh: 8 High Altitude Travel Tips

Before I went to Leh, I was so mesmerised by the landscape and didn’t really pay much attention to the fact that we were travelling to such a high altitude. Because I have asthma, I do have to really pay attention to changes in environment so I thought I would compile a list of things to consider before travelling to Ladakh. We flew straight from Delhi to an altitude of 5000 ft so we had to be more careful than people who gradually ascend.
1. Rest- once you reach the high elevation allow your body time to acclimatise and catch up with your quick ascent. We were told by friends who didn’t rest that the next few days were not fun as they suffered from altitude sickness. We decided to learn from this and spent 24 hours just resting in our accomodation. Not only did we rest, we really restricted our movement and didn’t do much more than Netflix.
2. Hydrate- at such a high altitude, it gets quite cool so you don’t really feel the need to drink water. However, you need to force yourself to drink much more than you would back on a normal altitude. We drank 3 litres a day and found that staying hydrate gave us a lot more energy.
3. Eat carbs- this was a great excuse for me to load up on carbs as I usually try and avoid them. It is essential that the body gets an easily convertible source of energy in the form of carbs. You should also try and have 5-6 meals to ensure that your energy levels don’t drop. It was very hard for me to eat meals in Leh as I lost my appetite but I ensured that I was constantly snacking on chips and biscuits.
4. Plan you days- everything will slow down including your pace, your talking speed and your breath, makes sure you consider this while planning your day and don’t plan to do too much in a day. Give yourself enough time to explore each place.
5. Restrooms- this one is more for the ladies. What makes Leh so beautiful is the fact that it is predominantly untouched, however, this means that restroom facilities are also under developed. A public restroom in Leh essentially means a hole in the ground with no flushing facilities. It was quite a horrible experience having to use one so I suggest taking your own toilet paper and just being mentally prepared for the situation. It’s quite difficult especially since staying hydrated is essential.
6. Rugged terrain- most of Ladakh is undeveloped and the roads are rocky and dusty. Make sure you take comfortable walking shoes that cover your whole foot. I tool these old white canvas pair that I was prepared to part ways with if required.
7. Sun is harsh- the sun is always more harsh in mountainous areas. I was blinded if I didn’t have my sunglasses on. Even though I was fully covered, I ensure that I had sunscreen on my face and all the exposed areas of my body.
8. Medication- as a precaution, many people start taking a medicine called Diamox, a few days before their scheduled trip. I avoided this medicine as it is not good for asthmatics. I was lucky enough not to get sick. My fiancee took the medicine and it worked for him. It is essentially a blood thinner so take cautiously.

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