DAY 1: ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh, India
After 5 hours and 50 minutes on a Jet Airways plane from Hong Kong, we arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 16:30 local time. The next connecting flight to our final destination Leh was scheduled to depart at 5:40 the next morning. We decided to spend the night at Delhi Airport, where armed security guards were presence 24 hours. Dealing with money exchange, dropping by an eatery to taste our first chicken biryani, chilling out at Costa Coffee in the arrival hall, lounging on the chairs in the departure lounge among other local travelers, and reading magazines that we brought along, the 13-hour layover in Delhi Airport seemed passing quickly. At around 2:30 in the morning, we joined the queue for domestic transfer check-in, hoping that the weather up on the mountains would be fine and our flight would depart on time. The boarding gate of our flight was at the far end of a deserted waiting area. It was a long walk but we had plenty of time. As boarding time approached, more travelers arrived at the gate, most were local travelers except a few Western tourists.
This short-haul flight from New Delhi to Leh is considered by many one of the finest flights for mountain scenery. Although we were seating on the side with windows facing the morning sun, the glare didn’t diminish our excitement over the views of the mountains and occasional glaciers passing below us. For about 15 minutes the plane cruised through the Indian Himalayas. Before landing, the plane meandered through the Indus River Valley and made the final turn over the Tibetan monastery (Spituk Gompa) on a rocky mount at the end of the runway.
Our flight, Jet Airways 2368, landed on the runway of Leh Airport at around 7:05am, a little earlier than scheduled. We stepped out of the aircraft, breathed in the crisp air and alighted the air-stairs with great excitement. After roughly twenty hours from leaving Hong Kong, we finally made it to Leh, the central hub of Ladakh at the altitude of 3600m. On the runway, we could clearly see the distant mountains, different shades of brown in this arid world. After picking up our backpacks from the luggage belt, we headed out of the small Leh Airport and immediately spotted a driver holding up a sign with our names. Sooner than we thought our taxi had sped through the winding and bumpy roads of Leh and reached the poplar-lined driveway of our guesthouse Hotel Ladakh Greens.
Feature decorations at the passenger arrival hall in Delhi Airport.
The small eatery at the arrival hall of Delhi Airport where we had our first Indian meal.
15 minutes of mountainous landscape before reaching Leh.
Not much snow was presence because of the summer season.
The sky wasn’t particularly clear when our plane approached Leh.
Mountain view from the runway of Leh Airport.
Outside Leh Airport.
Poplar lined driveway into our guesthouse – Hotel Ladakh Greens .
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Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi