Ladakh makes 48-hour acclimatisation mandatory for all tourists

Putting safety first against acute mountain sickness, the Ladakh administration has rolled out an order making acclimitisation for 48 hours compulsory for all arrivals.
Acclimitisation in ladakh
The union territory makes 48-hour acclimitisation compulsory. Image: Shutterstock/DR MITALI BARUAH.

Planning a trip to Ladakh this season? Be ready to spend two days acclimitising in your hotel room as a precautionary measure! The union territory’s administration has now made 48-hour acclimitisation mandatory for all tourists before they can step out to explore the cold desert region. The decision has been taken in the wake of preventing acute high altitude sickness among tourists.

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a result of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Your chances of getting AMS increase if you ascend to higher altitudes fast. This is why health experts around the world advise to attain to such great heights in a gradual manner.

Acclimitisation in ladakh
Ladakh is home to many remote, high-altitude settlements. Image: Shutterstock/SilvioFasler.

Ladakh draws several thousand tourists every year, many of whom don’t practice acclimitisation and develop mountain sickness only to end up on hospital beds. It typically occurs at or above 2,400 metres, above sea level. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath are a few symptoms of this condition. Most instances of AMS are mild and heal quickly. However, in rare cases, it can turn severe and cause complications with the lungs or brain, and at times, can even result in coma or death!

Leh (Ladakh) is located at an altitude of 3,500 metres above sea level, and the problem of acute mountain sickness is common among tourists, especially those who arrive by air. Hence, the authorities in Leh decided to get a solution for the problem in a meeting held by Tashi Gyalson, chairman cum chief executive councillor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC).

The Ladakh administration is training local stakeholders from the travel and tourism industry on how to tackle medical casualties. The officials also discussed several issues in the meeting, which included the requirement for upgrading health facilities to deal with medical emergencies, especially at popular tourist hotspots located at higher altitudes in the district.

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