AMS / driving / Leh
I now that AMS has been discussed many a times, but how bad is it when drives to Leh from Mnali. Is it lesser than flying into Leh ?. We are driving to Leh all the way from Delhi and i have been assured that we wont notice or get affected ny AMS that much...any truth?? would love to hear frm IM's who have driven to Leh...
I haven't been, but the usual advice seems to be that if you want to fly one way, fly into Leh and take the bus out, as the road from Manali to Leh (itself at 3500 meters) climbs to 5300 meters so you'll suffer less from it after having acclimatised in Leh. The road from Srinagar seems to be less taxing as it climbs to "just" 3500 meters. Either way you may feel (very) uncomfortable in Leh for the first few days it seems.
Let's see what experienced folks have to say about it after a gentle bump :)
People respond differently to changes in altitude and it seems that some people are more prone to AMS than others.
If you are travelling by vehicle from Manali to Leh you sleep as low as possible and this is where the tented camps are. You are only really high when crossing the passes and normally people don't stop on the high passes for very long. You may notice a slight light headedness or nausea but this will pass as you descend.
I've travelled the Manali - Leh road twice now and felt fine after arriving in Leh but I took things easy for the first day or so there.
At least the bus trip gives you a bit of a chance to acclimatise. Well, more of a chance than just stepping off a plane at 3500 metres does, at least. The other benefit of the bus is that you're 'climbing high, sleeping low' as Alan says.
If you've got a bit of time, you could aid the acclimatisation by staying in Manali for a bit and climbing a few of the hills or having a trip up to the Rohtang Pass.
I took the bus from Srinigar to Leh--when you still could and before all the "problems" there, in the 1980s. It was a grueling 2 day trip but fun in one of those little mountain buses spewing diesel smoke. [cry]
I guess I had a bit of an altitude problem during the week I was there, nothing serious. A bad headache and waking up all night feeling like I couldn't breath! [shock] And of course losing my breathe every few minutes! Still, it was wonderful to be there (in August). But I also did get a head cold, and felt much too bad to take the return trip by bus, so with a lot of daily trips to someone we managed to get a flight out. That was almost more terrifying than the bus ride in since the plane could only take off 1/2 full due to the altitude and the monastary at the end of the tarmac makes a sharp turn necessary!
Well, maybe they've changed that runway since it's become more tourist oriented since I was there!
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