Day 5 Kargil to Basgo (180 kms)
The next morning luggage was rearranged as we were now entering the very cold territories of the Himalayas. A few clicks later we set on to reach Leh (230 kms) that evening. It was important to maintain a steady pace to make up some lost time. The roads until Kargil were very well maintained by the Border Road Organization. However as we progressed further towards Namika la (12139 ft) and Fotu la (13478 ft) these changed into a nightmare. The roads improve as we enter Lamayuru. We stopped for lunch at Lamayuru, which gave Himanshu, Amit James & Sabya the opportunity to discover the Lamayuru Monastry.
After a 75 kms ride, we halted for a tea break at Basgo (which is 40 odd kms before Leh). This turned out to be a very descent guest house managed by a local Ladakhi family. So we decided to stay back and enjoy the serene peace of this laid back village. After a hearty meal, a good few hours were spent star gazing. The clear skies of the Basgo offered us excellent views of some famous stars, constellations and galaxies. Manmade satellites were as easy to spot as choppers in day light.
As we were only a stone’s throw away from Leh, riders enjoyed an extended sleep session in the morning. We bid good bye to our host at the Chamba view guest house after a very nice breakfast and progressed to Leh.
Day 6 Basgo to Leh (44 kms)
Leh gives one a feeling of being in a cosmopolitan city, due to the presence of all kinds of nationalities. It is a very busy town at this time of the year as tourism is at its peak, thanks to its well managed airport.
We straight away checked in SNM district hospital to get medical advice for our stay and precautions for our onwards journey. The doctors were very accommodating in answering our questions.
Next few minutes were spent to find a nice centrally located accommodation, and we came to know that most of these were located on the Changspa road, leading to Shanti Stupa, a major landmark in Leh.
We checked in Otsal guest house, which was managed by a very knowledgeable ex Army service man Sonam Tenzin, his son Otsal and their family. After resting for a few hours we decided to do some local site seeing of the famous Shanti Stupa, which provides a great bird’s eye view of the entire Leh city and its glorious historic reminiscent.
Later that evening Dinner was planned at a nearby restaurant Wonderland, which served cuisines from all parts of the world and manages to tickle all kinds of taste buds. This would be our destination for all major meals for next few days.