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Ladakhi, written in the Tibetan script, is the main language of Ladakh and Zanskar. If you only learn one word, make it jule (pronounced joo-lay) – meaning ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – derived from the Tibetan greeting tashi-delek.


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To visit the Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and the Rupsu Valley, you need an Inner Line Permit, which can only be obtained through a travel agent in Leh. Most agents can arrange the permits in one working day for around Rs 100, plus a daily visitor tax of Rs 20. Permits are valid for seven days and you’re required to travel in a group of four, though agents can sometimes get around this with creative paperwork. It’s possible to obtain a permit and travel independently, but border police have turned back groups of less than four, even with the proper papers. You’ll have to show your passport and hand over copies of the permit at numerous checkpoints, so carry half a dozen copies.

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