The accompanying staff consists of several people (guide, cook, porters, boatmen, drivers…). Depending on the number of participants, provide for all the accompanying staff. There is a hierarchy to respect: the guide takes 50%, the cook 30% and the porters 20% : - Group of 1 to 4 people : approximately 250 INR / day / participant. - Group of 5 to 8 people : approximately 200 INR / day / participant. - Group of more than 9 people : approximately 150 INR / day / participant. Of course, this is not a fixed rule. Everyone is free to do as they please. Tipping is not mandatory, but it’s a noble gesture of showing your appreciation.
Suitable equipment is a key component to a successful trip! Travel light and it will be less strenuous on the porters: try carrying below 15 kilos. BAGS: -Duffle bag (with plastic bags to protect the contents) or a large rucksack without an external metal frame. You can lock it with a padlock. This bag will be transported during the trek by mules. -A bag cover (optional) -Don't forget to attach a label before you leave, mentioning your address and Shanti Travel’s address. -Small 30 liters back pack to serve as a day bag to carry your rain clothes, water bottle, packed lunch, camera etc) SLEEPING BAG: - Very warm sleeping bag (-10 comfort, suitable for high altitudes) - Sheet sleeping bag liner (optional) - Emergency blanket - For added comfort, you can bring a foam mattress in order to supplement the local mattres CLOTHES AND PERSONAL EQUIPMENT: (You will be able to wash your clothes every day during the trek) For the head: - Hat, sunhat or scarf - Sunglasses with high protection For the body: - T-shirts (long and short sleeves) - Gortex or warm jacket - Warm sweater -Hiking or cotton trousers (avoid shorts and tank tops, especially for women: cropped trousers are acceptable) For the feet: - Socks - Walking Shoes (trekking) are essential + a pair of tennis shoes -Sandals (very useful for crossing fords) Miscellaneous: - 1 liter water bottle + water purifying tablets - Toiletry kit - Towel - Torch or headlamp (+ batteries) - Knife or penknife - Walking poles - Toilet paper and lighter - Paper, card games, books and travel guide, MP3 player - Snacks, cereal bars and biscuits are always appreciated during the trekking breaks Travel documents: - Passport + Visa - Vaccination record - Duplicate of the insurance contract (SPECIAL MOUNTAIN!) Remember to protect your documents / valuables in a plastic bag.
- Sunscreen with High SPF - Lip balm - Broad spectrum antibiotics - Aspirin - Immodium + Intetrix - Elastoplasts - Acetazolamide tablets for altitude sickness (Diamox) - Skin disinfectant - Bandages - Second skin dressings (for blisters) There are also special mountain first aid kits which are very helpful.
Shanti Travel is insured with SECURED LIFE professional liability (145,347 N). However Shanti Travel is not a substitute for individual civil liability which each participant must hold. On arrival in India, we ask you to complete and sign a letter releasing Shanti Travel from responsibility for the same and confirming (repatriation insurance). Travel Insurance: The agency does not offer this service and it is your responsibility to take out repatriation insurance (and mountain rescue for trekking and mountaineering tours). In any case remember to take with you when you travel the copy of your contract (with contact and other details of your personal insurance) as you are responsible for declaring any losses to the insurance company (our guides and local staff will of course help with this).
Guide Books: - Ladakh – Zanskar, Ed. Olizane. - Ladakh (and the western Indian Himalaya), P. Kaplanian, Ed. Guides People of the World. - Himalayan, Hugh Swift, Ed. Apsara. - Trekking in the Indian Himalayas (in English) Ed. Lonely Planet. Beautiful books: - A Marvel of Buddhist Art in Ladakh, L. Fournier, Ravi Kumar, Palisades Editions. - Monographic book devoted to paintings of Alchi (11th century), the most beautiful monastery in the valley of Leh which is desecrated today, but open to visitors. - Si près des dieux, si loin des hommes, O.FÖLLMI, Ed. La Martinière - Offrandes 365 Pensées de maîtres Bouddhistes, O. et D. Föllmi (La Martinière). - Himalaya, E. Valli (La Martiniere). Travelogues: - Over the High Passes: A Year in the Himalayas by Christina Noble. Ed Glasgow, Collins, 1987 (in English) - Very good description of the life of Gaddis shepherds. - End of the Inhabitable World, (in English) by Penelope Chetwood.
Yes, you can find in Leh, all the equipments required for your excursions and treks. Don’t hesitate to ask us, we have a few shops that we can recommend and where the rates are more competitive than in western countries.
Cooking during a trek cannot be improvised, it is an art. Our chefs are recruited according to their recommendations, their experience and they will ensure that you do not miss anything during your trip. Even in an isolated valley, our teams will always ensure they offer a high quality service. The days of walking, with the combined effects of the cold and the fatigue, people eat more than usual, so the quantities available will always suffice. Here are some examples : Breakfast Porridge, Cornflakes, Muesli, Toast, Jam, Honey, Butter, Pancake, Rice milk, Omelette, Tea and Coffee. Lunch (Stop for a picnic during the day's walk) Sandwiches, boiled egg, potatoes, Fruit Juice, Chocolate Bars, Cookies and peanut candies. Tea Time (On arrival at the camp and after setting up the tents) Instant noodles, tea, coffee, biscuit. Dinner Soup, rice, curry (vegetables, paneer or lentils),Pasta (Thukpa & Chowmein), Momos (Tibetan dumplings)... et a cream desert ot fruit salad. Note: All the dishes mentioned above are prepared differently every day and are subject to change based on availability in the market. It is also possible on rare occasions to find meat in some villages.
On the first day, consider getting a water bottle. Every evening, the cook will boil water. You can of course add Micropur tablets. However once the spring water is boiled spring it is safe to drink. During the trek, are there any fords to cross? Yes, not all the rivers are protected by a bridge. You must therefore carefully follow the instructions of the guide who knows exactly where to pass safely.
At the New Delhi airport, just after your arrival and baggage claim, you will find exchange counters offering an attractive rate. Feel free to check with different counter offers best rates. In Leh, there are a few exchange offices and two ATMs (beware of long queues!)
Generally the voltage in India is 220 volts. The outlets are typically European style, but for some less modern hotels it is essential to bring an adapter. Beware though that power cuts can be frequent. Except in Leh, it will be difficult to charge batteries. The only possible solutions: take enough batteries (and do not forget to take the used ones back with you) or have a solar charger.
Tibetan food is basically vegetarian. Here are some specialities : Momo : steamed or fried dumplings. Chang : local beer made from barley. You can also find a variety of vegetables which is surprising in such an arid environment. Tibetan salted butter tea. Chai : tea made of water, milk and spices.
The trekking season begins early May (or end of May for the passes above 4500m) ending mid-November (or mid-October for the passes) with a peak season from July to August. For those who do not feel the cold that much, winter is idealistic even though it is extremely severe. There are many festivals in the monasteries in the Indus Valley and one can cross the legendary Chadar: the Zanskar River covered with ice, the frozen river is accessible for a few months during the coldest months (January-Febraury).
Winter is extremely severe. The mercury level comes down to -35°C (both the roads connecting Ladakh go through passes located at more than 4000 m altitude). In the summer temperatures are cool, from 0°C at night to +35°C in the daytime, and it is extremely dry as the monsoons are obstructed in the south by the Himalayas.