Leh: 5 things you need to know!

If you ever got the chance to visit Northern India, do it! It was my overall favorite place in India. You need to know a few things before you leave during wintertime!

1. The hotels

In winter, 90% of hotels are closed because of the cold. One a few stay open during these freezing times to harvest the handful of brave travellers. Just consider one thing. The hotel rooms are not fit for these conditions. 

For example, there will be no running water and only a small heater which works only half of the time. In other words, your room will be freezing cold.  We stayed here for 4 nights and it's quit fun now looking back at how we needed to wash our hair in a bucket of boiled water and sleep very close to each other wearing full thermal underwear. So that was definitely a cosy experience. 

Our host at the hotel (the blue stone) was so kind. He felt guilty for the weather. Therefore we got free breakfast and a fireplace were we could drink free tea and whisky to make it all a bit more bearable. 

If you don't want to have this chilly experience, you can go to 'the grand dragon hotel'. It is pricy, but they have running water and heated rooms! 

2. The restaurants

Leh has a few good restaurants. Chopstick noodle bar or The Tibetan kitchen for example. Too bad there are only a couple of restaurants open during winter. Don't let this scare you. We found a very good restaurant that's open year-round. 'Summer Harvest', they have plenty of choice on the menu. We ate here almost every evening and I would do it again! (: 

3. The road

In the summer, you can rent a car or a bike and drive around. The roads will be in good condition. During wintertime they're covered in snow and rock debris. This will make it difficult to drive and the rental companies don't like to rent cars to unexperienced mountain drivers. In the valleys the roads are often flushed away by floods. You can easily get a flat tire, with no help in miles around. Sometimes it's that bad the army has to make the road clear with a bulldozer. Long story short, hire a driver! He's got some tricks up his sleeve to get you out of these bad situations.

4. Get acclimatized

Maybe you're already familiar with it, but it was my hardest struggle. The only way to reach Leh in winter is by plane. Which means you arrive immediately at 3500 meters above sea level. The only tip I can give you is to drink enough water and take it slow, very slow. Stay in Leh at least one day or even two before going on a long trip.

5. The Weather

You never know what's coming in the Himalayas. We got lucky, the sun was out. But two days before our arrival, there was a snow storm. Keep in mind that flights can be rescheduled or even cancelled .  

There is something positive about this cold weather. Nobody is traveling here. We only met one German hiker, that's it. So you have all the beautiful landscapes for yourself and of course the ones you take with!