Although I have previously posted my favourite travel apps, I had to dedicate a separate article for the ones I use when I am in Ladakh. Why? Because the internet is almost non-existent in the land of high passes. It’s a real struggle even in Leh as the broadband is centralised in Kashmir, on the other side of the Ladakh range. You might not be able to reach your beloved ones several days in a row but you will still be able to make the most of your time in Ladakh. I got your back with these five must-have apps when travelling to Ladakh.
A trustworthy map: Maps.Me
Maps.Me is my number one travel app hands down. I have been using it everywhere from finding my way in Kuala Lumpur, an ATM in Darjeeling to trekking the Annapurna Circuit. Why is it at the top of this list you may ask. For its amazing off-line feature! You only have to download the area you’re travelling beforehand and then Maps.Me offers all the qualities of a reliable location app. No need to download numerous apps to travel. One to find restaurants, one to locate yourself and design a journey plus one to calculate the change in height. It is all in one! I particularly love the change of hight feature at the bottom. It comes super handy when you’re on a six to eight hours walk and want to predict how much ups and downs are left. I have tried Google Maps Offline but I haven’t been satisfied with it. Moreover, the Maps.Me files are way lighter than the Google Maps Offline ones. So what are you waiting for? You will thank me later.
A Buddhist calendar: Druk Calendar
Ladakh hosts a very well-preserved Tibetan Buddhist tradition and you will have the chance to visit beautiful monasteries. You can’t escape the deep feeling of spirituality when you enter the gompas niched in the silence of the mountains. If you’re lucky you might even witness a puja (prayer) being held on special days or during festivals. But if you want to force a bit fate, I would definitively recommend downloading a Buddhist Calendar to be notified of important religious days. You can then plan your visit accordingly and enjoy an unforgettable experience.
A sky watching app: Sky View
Whenever I got asked, ” What is your favourite thing to do in Ladakh?” my answer is: going on a bike ride at night when the weather is clear. Ladakh has the most amazing sky you will ever see in your lifetime. The stars are countless and the milky way is in all its glory. The past year, I got really interested in the constellations. I wanted to know more about the complicated sky map I was contemplating so obsessively. A friend showed me Sky View and our nights became even more interesting. We would go to some particular places to see everything clearly. We would pick our favourite constellation and try to find it without the app. We actually learnt so much more about the stars.
A way to name all the peaks: Peakfinder RA
This app is the only paid one of this selection but, oh my, it is worth it. If you are a hardcore trekker or if you love to be surrounded by the mountains, you end up by wanting to know a bit more about them. What is its name? How high is it? Just before your departure, don’t forget to download the dedicated file and it will work offline. You only have to activate your GPS location and you’re good to go. It will show in augmented reality, just like Sky View, and give you its name along with your altitude. It is always amusing to debate between trekkers about which peak is which, to try to figure out with your map but Peakfinder always had the final word. I have been using it for all my Himalayan trips and it has never failed me.
All the services at your fingertip: Ladakh Services
Ladakh Services is a brand new app curated by young Ladakhis and dedicated to facilitating the access to services in Leh. It targets both locals and tourists. Even if the layout is not yet the best, it is a great help to find whatever you need. It started with food delivery, you read it well, they also have scooty driver ready to fight the hustle bustle of the small town to bring food to your door. The app was launched last year and was making a promising debut. I really hope, this initiative will expand outside of Leh and become a real game changer for locals and tourists.
Don’t forget to check out my 15 random facts about living in Ladakh to be fully prepared!