Ladakh had identified that camping was the most popular attraction for tourists. From 2009 onwards, the administration started setting up many facilities for the same. The best part is, if you carry your own camping gear, you can pretty much camp anywhere you like. Except for some spots, (like Tso Moriri and Pangong Lakes, which are considered a wetland reserve and camping close to the river banks is forbidden by the law) other than these, there is almost no restriction on camping.
Ladakh is almost like a barren wasteland stretch and for miles together you won't find any soul so there are no restrictions. However, with all this freedom we do not recommend that you try camping just about anywhere. Roam around a bit and find a nearby campsite, a dhaba, or a nearby village. The benefit is, for some payment, everyone will allow you to use their washrooms.
Tourists seldom want to cook and these nearby options very well do the needful and you get cooked food and all is there to do is to enjoy. Just remember, Ladakh is not densely populated and everyone is willing to help the tourists on exchange of some small convenience fee.
Camping on Lake Banks
Ladakh has too many beautiful lakes but the locals recommend not to camp too close to the banks, for these following reasons:
1. If by chance the water level rises, you won't have enough time to react. Also, make sure you see there are no past signs of flash floods up there. Try to choose a place where you will be least hit by the wind.
2. Little rains in Ladakh when coupled with winds can uproot your tenting equipment if not setup properly. Hence, make sure you properly put up all the hooks and fasten the camp properly. Please ensure that you have checked the weather and most of the days seems clear just to ensure you have a fearless sleep.
Carry All the
Essentials while arriving in Ladakh for camping
It is always better to carry the following:
first aid, hand sanitizer, regular medicines, a torch, a flint, a camping knife and mosquito repellent. Not to miss, and most important need: you should have enough food with few buffer days including dry fruits. Lot of ORS packets for oral rehydration and supply of minerals. Never forget to carry at least a bottle or two of drinking water.
4. Another reason of course is your own safety. No one can envisage that some animals may land near your camp and trouble you. This also tells you that you need to clean up, so that animals should not catch any food scent and attack you.
5. In case, you want to setup a camp fire please ensure that you DO
NOT light up at places where there are thatched roofs in the vicinity. Do also
ensure that you put it off completely before you leave the place.
Some tourists prefer keeping fire burning at night to keep animals away. When doing so, try to see that embers don't fly away and reach your tent. Also, when leaving, extinguish the embers and clean the place thoroughly.
6. Next, try identifying a place which is not far from any campsite or dhaba or village so that in case of emergency, you can always shout and attract their attention.
7. Lastly, keep some empty utensil in your luggage so that when beaten it can create big noise, scaring the animal away and attract attention of anyone nearby.
8. Last but not the least, PLEASE, DO NOT LITTER in the Himalayas and take some efforts not to disturb the flora and fauna up there in Himalayas. Please, we request you to take all non-biodegradable waste back with you and leave nothing but footprints.
Different Type of Camping in Ladakh
Efficient Handling of Camp sites in Ladakh with contact information
Tourists like contacting every campsite before arriving but we recommend against doing it. It is best to just walk in and strike a deal. It would come quite cheap because if you book in advance, despite a lull in tourist arrival, you won't be able to negotiate and find you have paid an enormous amount. When you decide to look at current situation, you always have the option of approaching any competitor and get best rates.
Some of the known campsites are as follows:
Campsites on Manali – Leh highway are:
Padma Lodge & Camp – Jispa
Adventure Camp – Sarchu
Drilbu Retreat – Keylong (Tandi)
Special Facilities at Campsites / Resorts
Up-to-date medical Facility
Some campsites and resorts also provide up-to-date medical facilities especially for those newcomers who may suffer from high altitude sickness and those who need portable oxygen cylinders etc. The staff is knowledgeable and often offer helpful tips to anyone who needs it. If the tourists are visiting in large number, learning these small tips can help anyone in emergency.
Some Popular Camping Sites
Movies play a huge role in popularising any and every tourist spot. People are attracted towards Ladakh and the movie 3 Idiots has a big hand in bringing tourists here. The campsite Pangong Tso is one such site which attracts tourists in hordes.
1. Pangong Tso: As mentioned above, 3 Idiots movie has made this spot popular. Finding a spot is very difficult so it is better to continue driving till you find a vacant spot and camp there. This way, you can have your own way of camping and also contact the campsite owners for washroom and food.
2. Tso Moriri: You will find plenty of camp sites, hotels and chadar tents here as well. Villagers own most of the land and if you are carrying your own gear, you should speak to the locals first before setting up your camp.
You can set up the camp outside the village but be warned that Tso Moriri is a sweet water lake and attracts lots of wild life. You should not wander alone and always carry a stick or some empty vessel to make noise and keep these animals away. We recommend you to stay within the village as animals seldom venture there. Also, BEWARE of the stray dogs.
3. Nubra Valley: Speak to the locals before setting a camp as mostly you will be alone and it is like endangering your life. Wild animals and dogs often scourge sites for food and attack loners. Stay close to the villages. At night, especially always carry a torch, an empty vessel and do not move in single numbers.
4. Changtang Valley (This one is en route Pangong to Tso Moriri)
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