Stairway to Heaven : A Journey to Ladakh
Shafts of sunlight wake you up from a much needed slumber that was brought upon by a crazy work schedule and the vanishing weekends in between. You look outside, and are momentarily stymied by this…
…the sight of hundreds of snow capped peaks, stretching as far as the eye can see. The Mountain Kingdom awaits, and you catch your breath, only to lose it again as you land in the pleasantly cold Kushok Bakula Rinpoche airport. That’s how my ten day tryst with Ladakh began.
We arrived at the lovely Hotel Gawaling International, a proud and quiet oasis in the little town of Leh, with an impressive backdrop of majestic mountains and a little creek that in the mornings almost dry, gushed forth in the evenings. Little hotels may lack fancy accouterments, but they make up for it with unabashedly warm service, and an enthusiasm we soon discovered was characteristic of the Ladakhi soul.
The rest of the day was spent acclimatizing; if that’s what you call mimicking a sloth bear before hibernation. On a serious note, most of Ladakh averages a height of about 12000 feet above sea level (carry altitude sickness tablets with you) and the overzealous traveler would do well to spend the first day in bed. Prepare to have little to no cellphone coverage at all. No complaints though, not when you have soup, momos and Jenga blocks for company.
Enroute to Khardung La
The northern frontier is best seen in the summer months of June and July, when there is enough sun to take a dip in the Indus and traipse around the monasteries that dot this land, but also enough Jack Frost in the air to keep some chilly winds and snow flakes swirling around you as you climb higher and higher, searching for those treacherous high passes the land is named after ( La Dakh, land of high passes).
Khardung La, easily one of the world’s highest motorable roads, is a must, even if you do get snowed in for four hours (we did). In such times, take comfort in the stories your amiable driver will tell you. Better yet, ask your travel guide his story, and he will tell you how he is actually saving up to go to France someday. Let him chip into your conversation about the meaning of life and all the while, know that you are high above most people anywhere in the world(literally).
Head back to Leh after your adventures, for this charming town has much culture and love to offer. Shanti Stupa is the Buddhist answer to a stress buster. Instead of letting your hair down and sipping cosmos, let the winds caress your tresses as you scarf down some Tibetan butter tea. Walk into the Leh palace, and let the ageing paint, wood, and dust stir a feeling of deep seated imperialism in you. Buy turquoise jewelry, pashmina shawls or apricots if you’re a keen shopper. Visit a monastery, spin the prayer wheels of dharma, and let your sins escape into the mountains. If you’re lucky, you will sight little Llamas, boy monks robed in maroon that are schooled on the temple grounds.
Wheels of Dharma
Shanti Stupa, an Indo Japanese token for peace
Speaking of schools, trivia alert: the school featured in the 3 Idiots movie is worth a quick look – Drukpa White Lotus School in Ladakh is famous all over the world, for its award winning sustainable and eco friendly design. Besides, who wouldn’t want to play basketball in a playground encircled by the Himalayas? This place is witnessing quite the wave of education and reform. A dear friend swears by an educational NGO called SECMOL in the village of Phey, some twenty kilometers from Leh, so if you have the luxury of time, you might want to investigate, if only to applaud the spirit of the little pink faced cherubs in these schools.
If you have a day to spare, make for the camping grounds in Nubra Valley. The journey alone is enchanting. I’ve always loved wild landscapes, and the ride didn’t disappoint. Sudden sandstorms chase your heels, rogue waterfalls beckon, and amidst bare stone, there is that sudden emerald lagoon, blazing trails of green. Keep your windows rolled down, and if you squint hard enough, you can spot some native wildlife-gorgeous horses, furry marmuks, even Bactrian camels. These camels once carried trade along the historic Silk Route from Central Asia into India. They now ship tourist upstarts like yours truly and indulge in the occasional photoshoot.
Nubra Valley from afar
Mystique Meadows, one of the camps at the Valley.
I’ve saved the best for the last – a slice of heaven the locals call Pangong Tso. Nestled in land that is both India and China, the lake is exquisite, almost something out of Tolkien’s world. When the wind and clouds are just right, it is a mirror, with the endless skies reflected to create a heady view. Lofty mountains stand guard over this precious pool, their peaks at once chocolate, beige, sawdust, and every other color you can think of. This is my favorite thing about the trip-that I could throw my head back anywhere, and the skyline would be anything but buildings and neon signs.
When I was there, I sought refuge in the lakeside Martsemik Camp for the night so I could get me some more shutterbug time in the morning, when the light is just right. Resigned to hiding under layers of sweaters and chaddars, I was more than surprised when the staff braved their way to my tent, armed with heating pads for my bed. It is the little things, truly, that count. Why then, should we indulge the giant hotel chains that threaten to quash these thriving tourism industries with all their monstrous commercialism? Why indeed.
A little more wanderlust will lead you to the Indus Zanskar confluence in central Ladakh, where you can ride the rapids. Pick a route and a grade (Beginner to challenger) and before you know it, you’re riding through valleys and little hamlets singing some Denver while you drift. Jump out of the raft and into the river during the last leg, and swim along…even if it leaves you with chattering teeth and aching muscles, the adrenaline will have been worth it.
Is Ladakh an easy trip to make? Surely not, but the locals will shell out some Zen wisdom ,tell you to let go of inhibition, and let Nature lead the way. As for me, it was my Indian Winterfell summer, and by Jove, I’d love to do it all again sometime.
Cheapest place to buy a house abroad
Buying a house or making investments in development projects was always a great way to access a better life. This can be seen in foreign lands, where families and investors find great opportunities to live or invest —and profit of—. The dominican republic real estate is one of the best ways to do so.
Buying property oversea
Nowadays, many people find that the best way to invest in the real estate business is to look oversea; there are incredible countries and opportunities to get our money’s worth. Between the best places, we can mention the Caribbean shore and, in Europe, the Spanish peninsula —between many others—. These places are beautiful and the respective real estate markets are strong.
Nevertheless, the people who have most success in this area recommend getting a great assessor in property law & investment from the country in which we want to make our investment. The cost of doing so is marginal, but it can help us to avoid any inconvenient or delay in the process.
Which are the best options to buy abroad?
According to the specialists, Spain can be one of the most attractive places to live and invest. There, the opportunities are bigger and more lucrative, as this country contains some of the most exclusive cultural and historical sites in the world, and is one of the most selected destinations because of his great landscapes and beaches.
The real estate law is especially hard, and requires the listing of a professional that can resolve the different aspects of the purchase. Even more, if we want to invest in an urban project, they bring comfort and security to the process —they are guaranties of the success of our investment—.
Even though the spain real estate business can be complex and overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know the law —many taxes must be pay and there’s an abundance of documentation that must be presented to avoid any inconvenient—, it remains one of the best options to buy abroad.
The Caribbean shores and Dominican Republic
Across the Atlantic, one of the most lucrative and safer investments out there remain in the Caribbean shores; in the Dominican Republic real estate business. If we want to buy a house to live in or if we want to put our savings in a safe and profitable financial instrument, there’s no better place.
Effectively, this country is much cheaper than Spain. This is one of the most important reasons why so many people choose to live there. In the Caribbean, we can find many affordable properties and developments of ever-growing performance in a market of great demand.
There, we can find many properties close to the most incredible shores in the whole continent; even more, the prospect of growth in this market, over the years, will give us a profit over our investment that can’t be match.
Many specialists recommend investing in the Dominican Republic real estate. Then also indicate the benefits of hiring a property law advisor that can provide knowledge and experience in the matter. The cost of doing so is relatively low, and it betters our chances to buy a cheap house abroad.
Yacht charter in Barcelona, the comfort and privacy you can’t get on land
Traveling the coast of Barcelona in a luxury yacht is an unforgettable experience that everyone should experience sometime in their lives. It is the perfect trip for those who want to get away from the city and its noises, to relax in a peaceful atmosphere that can only be reached at sea.
Barcelona, located on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the most visited cities in Spain, even in Europe. It is the perfect place to enjoy the architectural, artistic, cultural and gastronomic diversity of the country, making it one of the favorite tourist destinations for millions of people around the world.
Among all the many attributes that the city of Barcelona has, one of the most outstanding is its beaches. Years ago the American magazine National Geographic named Barcelona as the best coastal city in the world.
There are 4 kilometers of sand in the Catalan capital available for the fans of maritime landscapes, finding beaches for any activity you could wish for during your holidays, either to relax, practice water sports and more.
Among all the activities that have been on the rise in this paradise is the rental of luxury yachts. And nothing can compare to sailing along the beautiful coasts of Barcelona in one of these majestic vessels, which are at your disposal to discover the most beautiful landscapes.
Undoubtedly, touring these paradisiacal landscapes aboard Barcelona charters is the best way to get away from the noise of the city and just enjoy the feeling of freedom and calm that can only be achieved on the high seas.
Imagine living the pleasure of riding on a modern motor yacht with capacity for a dozen people traveling at speeds up to 25 knots; it would be, without a doubt, a unique experience!
In the city of Barcelona there are prestigious agencies that rent these fast and elegant luxury boats for periods ranging from one hour to the whole day and even the weekend.
These services are aimed at VIP clients and can be used for all kinds of events, such as corporate events, meetings and romantic dinners, including unforgettable tours along the coast of Barcelona and the Maresme. There is also the option of buying drinks on the boat and catering service. There are a lot of possibilities, and companies will always provide alternatives to suit the client’s needs.
Learn a little more about these boats
Luxury yachts fascinate those who seek privacy and comfort in its maximum expression, which is sometimes difficult to achieve on land. It is a pleasant way to get away from the world.
These boats can be quite amazing in terms of all the luxury features they offer. Specialized blogs have even made rankings of the 10 most expensive yachts in the world, which are a privilege that is only reserved for a very exclusive elite.
These yachts are considered by many as titans of floating vehicles. They are jewels of engineering equipped with the latest technology and elements for maximum comfort.
The top 10 most expensive yachts are as follows:
1.- History Supreme ($4.8 billion).
2.- Eclipse ($1.5 billion).
3.- Streets of Monaco (1.1 billion dollars).
4.- Topaz (527 million dollars).
5.- Motor Yacht A ($440 million).
6.- Dubai (350 million dollars).
Sailing Yacht A (US$323 million).
8.- Al Said (300 million dollars).
9.- Dilbar (256 million dollars).
10.- Lady Moura (210 million dollars).
We encourage you to review the features of these amazing vessels in specialized portals, among which we can mention, heated swimming pools, heliports, basketball courts, concert halls and more. The wealthy owners of these “mega yachts” spare no expenses to make these vehicles with all the comforts that anyone could imagine.
Planning to Travel? Here Are the Do’s to Observe
Traveling abroad isn’t just a matter of packing and leaving; there several significant aspects of your journey that you need to be on top of before you embark on your journey. For a safe, peaceful, and enjoyable stay at your travel destination, your health should top the list from your travel plans.
It would be best to consider a thorough health checkup for vital health concerns like vaccination, blood test, malaria, urine test, and dental checkup.
Why Is a Dental Checkup Important?
If you plan to have an extended stay, you should tend to broken fillings, decayed teeth, or any dental issues to minimize dental emergencies. It’s prudent to also have the necessary treatment before leaving.
The standards of dental care worldwide vary widely and the certainty of getting dental supplies from a trusted and certified dental supplier isn’t assured. The cost may also become cumbersome given that your destination of choice may not have dental care coverage for kids.
Depending on where you’re traveling, either in developing, developed, or remote areas, leaving your dental health to chance can be uncomfortable if not dangerous. Your chosen destination may lack the resources, dental supplies, and equipment to cater to your dental needs.
Air travel causes specific pressure changes, affecting your root canal, causing pain and potential infections. Therefore, it’s advisable to ensure that you complete all your treatment before traveling or consider paste filling to minimize the risks.
Pericoronitis is an infection caused by food trapped through the flesh covering your teeth. The condition can spread to parts of your neck and head; to avoid this outcome, consider removing lower wisdom teeth that are partially exposed.
The other thing you should look out for is if you have gum (periodontal) disease, it’s essential to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist or a dentist.
Checklist Before Travel
As stated earlier, the most vital thing is you and your health, so here are some things you should consider.
Probably, the health care insurance coverage that you have at the moment will not cover the scope of international travel. After you’ve assessed the situation keenly, consider opting for emergency medical insurance and medical evacuation.
The majority of options and plans offered by travel insurance providers occasionally cover trip cancellation, lost luggage, plus medical emergency and evacuation.
Get the Right Visa
Do thorough research on the kind of visa you need. This is a critical but overlooked aspect by many travelers. Any mixup can turn your trip into a disaster, as this little mistake could mean you’ll get turned away from the said country.
To make matters worse, you won’t even be allowed to leave the airport, which should serve as a motivation to be extra keen. Find out the visa you qualify for and apply early in advance.
You wouldn’t want to deal with the stressors involved in getting an instant spot without prior arrangements. Start on the right foot by booking a one-night accommodation in advance, ensuring you aren’t anxious through your journey.
You can have a fun-filled day exploring the area after a comfortable night’s sleep. To prepare for any eventualities, ensure that you also have a hard copy of your accommodation reservation besides having a soft copy.
Before you decide your destination, it’s vital to cross-reference through the government state department website to see if the country you wish to travel to poses a threat (short or long term) to travelers. You’ll find a list of countries with a travel warning. This is critical because travel insurance does not cover countries under a travel warning.
Scour through to find the health information of the country you’ll be traveling to and whether you’ll need to be vaccinated. Finding out nations that pose a risk to your health are highlighted on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
This mainly applies if you’re traveling to third-world countries and the vaccination may vary, including yellow fever, Zika virus, malaria, cholera, etc. Also, get enough supplements to last you the entire trip if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to supplement your fill abroad.
To avoid security hiccups, find out which drug prescriptions are not illegal in your destination or countries you’ll pass through. It’s essential to bring along photocopies of your prescription and always carry the medicine in its prescribed bottle.
Suppose your medical condition requires you to have syringes, relay the information before security checks. Take your vaccination six weeks before departure, as vaccines take a couple of weeks before they can kick in.
Enjoy Your Stay
We didn’t delve deeper into aspects including culture shock, travel deals, packaging, payment methods, etc., adhering to those mentioned above essential will keep your mind at ease. What remains is to enjoy your exploration.
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