September 6, 2012
Woke up at 4:30 in the morning, had a shower, picked my bags, and walked to the bus stand near the post office. I had booked the front window seat of the HPTDC bus, and had paid Rs. 1500/- for it. A Korean woman was sitting next to me, and there were people from different nationalities accompanying me. The bus took off from Leh at around 5:15 AM. I wanted to sit up and enjoy the beautiful landscapes, but was still too tired and dozed off soon. We stopped for tea in a small town on the way at around 7:00, and after getting back, slept till past 10:00.
When I woke up, I started enjoying the beauty around me and clicked a few pictures. A little after 1:00 PM, we reached the second highest motorable road in the world, Taglangla pass. We stopped here to click a few pictures. It had snowed the previous night, but most of the snow had melt by the time we reached the pass.
We were hoping that the bus would stop for lunch sometime soon, but it was not until after 4:00 PM did he stop. And that too, he had stopped at a location where there was nothing but bun and tea available. Everyone on the bus asked him to move further and instead stop at a better place. At around 6:00, we stopped at a place which had quite a few food stalls. Had a cup of tea, which tasted very much like Hyderabadi tea, and then got back onto the bus.
At around 8:00 PM, we reached the HPTDC guesthouse at Keylong. We were told that we had to share a tent put up outside the guesthouse with few others. There was also an option of renting a room in the guesthouse by paying 300 bucks per person. I decided I was gonna stay in the tent, and was put in one with a Brit, an American, a German and a Swiss. Dinner was served in the guesthouse a while later – there was rice, dal, subzi and roti. Over dinner, I mingled with a lot of people apart from my tent mates. I became friends with a Czech girl who was trekking all by herself near Leh, and an Indian woman from Mumbai, who has taken a number of trips by herself in the recent past. We discussed politics and various other issues before we finally hit the bunk past 11:00 PM.Day 14: Leh (Rafting) Day 16: Keylong – Manali