AsiaIndiaKeylong

Day 15: Bus to Keylong

Keylong Travel Blog

 › entry 16 of 26 › view all entries
Tent camp at Sarchu.

Why do people talk about the 'solidity, the 'still majesty', of mountains? Nothing is more theatrical, more unstable. Each shift of light changes them. You look up; they seem immeasurably distant, about to vanish over the horizon. You look up again; the light has brought them so close you think you could breathe on them.

 

A Journey in Ladakh - Andrew Harvey

 

At 6:00 AM it was wake-up time and fortunately it was a lot less cold then yesterday evening.

On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
I had slept relatively well, regardless of the rock hard mattress. It was also nice to be in a camp site where you could actually sit on your own toilet instead of hovering over a joint hole in the floor. I was quite curious though where the drains of the toilet went and noticed that they ended in a big open hole at the back of the tent!

 

After breakfast in the dinner tent it was back in the bus at 7:15 for our second day in the bus. Our destination for today would be Keylong, the first real town since we left Upshi in Ladakh, all other villages being either army camps or sites with tents. Bharatpur, the first village we passed was such a collection of tents. After this we started climbing the only pass for today, the Baralacha-La (4890 m), arriving there at 8:30.

On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
Although not as high as the ones we passed yesterday the views from were marvellous. The sun was shining for a change and there were countless towers of stacked rocks everywhere around.

After a short delay because of a military patrol coming from the other way we continued southwards. The sight of the mountains was beautiful in this area, enhanced by the sun. A multicoloured landscape with peaks that were sometimes covered in snow and sometimes obscured by clouds. We passed the road workers camp Zingzingbar and the army camp Patseo and slowly the landscape started to change. Mountain slopes were alternating between rocks, sand, rocks and patches of green grass.

 

At 11:15 AM we reached the small village of Darchu, where we opened our packed lunches at a stall by the side of the road, where we ordered some black tea to wash it all down.

On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
After 45 minutes we continued our way to Keylong. Down in the valley where the Bhaga river was being fed by countless streams of melted snow coming from the mountain tops, green fields and trees started to appear. At certain spots the space between the wheels of the bus and the edge of the road was a matter of inches, especially when there were oncoming vehicles. Looking out of the window into the yawning abyss was sometimes scary as hell.

 

At 13:15 we arrived in Keylong and Kirsten went to check out the hotel, asking us to stay in the bus for a couple of minutes. These minutes became an hour and I was starting to lose my patience. When she came back she informed us that owing to some kind of miscommunication between the local agent and the hotel, two rooms were short. Some people therefore had to stay at another hotel.

The weather had changed again and we made our way to the overbooked hotel, which tuned out to be another slightly dodgy affair with worn out carpeting and a stained bathroom.

Baralacha La.
After the shabby hotel in Delhi and the lack of service (clean towels, emptying the waste bins with used toilet paper) in Leh the local agent's choice of hotels was starting to get on my nerves.

 

After writing in our journals on our hotel room Judith and I decided to explore Keylong and see if we could find a cyber cafe. Keylong (3350 m) is the capital of the Lahail province, spread out on one side of the Bhaga Valley. It has had a major economic boom since travellers between Ladakh and Manali started using it as an overnight stop. Still, it is often described as a 'sleepy little town'. Well, not today ... Keylong was preparing itself for the Indian Independence Day that would take place tomorrow, and besides a big stage right next to the hotel there were other preparations of activities buzzing around town.

Field of stone towers at Baralacha La.

 

Keylong has one long main street in which all commercial activity is located, from small grocery stores to specialist craftsmen at the very end. We stocked up on some snacks for tomorrow's journey and found that Internet connections were down in all three cyber cafe's we found. I noticed the remarkable mixture of people from Indian and Tibetan descent in the streets. Clearly, we are in a cross-over region between the two cultures. Since it started raining again we made our way back to the hotel to take a shower before tonight's shared dinner. And of course our boiler was broken ... Just our luck, I had to shower with cold water again.

 

The hotel's buffet dinner was fine and afterwards I had a quick look at the festival that was taking place at the big stage. Various traditional Indian dances accompanied by traditional music were performed. Never having been a bog aficionado of either I decided to go back to the hotel after a couple of minutes and call it another early night. Tomorrow would be another early travel day. Falling asleep proved quite easy despite the rock hard bed and noise from the festival stage next door.

Devika1985 says:
awwww..
Posted on: Aug 19, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Tent camp at Sarchu.
Tent camp at Sarchu.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
Baralacha La.
Baralacha La.
Field of stone towers at Baralacha…
Field of stone towers at Baralach…
View from Baralacha La.
View from Baralacha La.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
On the road from Sarchu to Keylong.
Lunch at Darchu.
Lunch at Darchu.
Keylong Hotels & Accommodations review
Another disappointment
Hotel Dekyid was another disappointing place we stayed at during our trip from Ladakh to Manali. The misery started when our group leader tried to che… read entire review
Keylong
photo by: edsander