Leh Ladakh, Land of High Passes
Leh Ladakh Guide | Places to visit, Things to buy, the best time to visit and more
Amidst the epic Himalayas and the rustic, heavenly charm of the mighty mountain with snow-covered on the top, Leh Ladakh became the most popular travel destination in recent times. The windy roads, rugged valley, oddly satisfying scenic views and the cultural life extremely vibrant maintains and adds the charm to the place. The ancient awe-inspiring monasteries to mystical rivers and iconic hills, high passes there are endless possibilities to add fun and excitement to your Leh, Ladakh tourism. The wide opportunities for trekkers and mountaineers majorly attract the adventure seeker travellers to this marvellous beauty. The gorgeousness and vivid perspective of Leh will satiate your soul, enrich your experience and senses. This particular destination continues to be an exceptional location for spiritual admirers, nature lovers, adventure geeks, and mountain vistas.
Formerly falling in the state known as the heaven on earth “Jammu & Kashmir” Ladakh got administered as a Union territory on 31st October 2019. It is divided into 2 districts, Leh and Kargil and the former District Leh is a popular town which witnesses huge visitors because of the monasteries, rivers, picturesque locations and interesting markets that depicts the culture of the place. So pack your back and en route on a journey to Leh Ladakh with us from the highest passes and the thrilling routes, bring back souvenirs of great memories with you.
Why is Leh Ladakh so Important for Bikers and Adventure Lovers?
Leh Ladakh is an adventure land, a playground for those daredevils who can risk it all in the mighty mountains. Whether its a solo trip to this spot or a group outing, Leh, Ladakh ranks in the list for all types of riders. Indeed the bike trip to Leh will leave room for utter leisure, excitement, and horrifying views that will drop your jaw big time but please your soul too. The mighty mountain, windy routes and challenging landscape are one big reason to think of a Leh Ladakh Trip. If you are a bike enthusiast, you will like to ride across the rugged terrain, unpredictable yet exciting circumstances, twists, and turns. It will leave you in immense pleasure to enjoy the vividness of this place. Although it is the most dangerous motorable road in India, it still manages to draw many riders from around the world.
This is because Leh Ladakh has set a benchmark for riders to prove their skills and look forward to becoming a tough challenge-driven rider by heart. Leh is a place that brings out of the box adventure that breaks the monotonous life for everybody. It also brings a new perspective and vision of vacation. Rather than enjoying the luxury, people choose to live like local ladakhi enjoy the traditional cuisine and embark upon the mountainous route to quest their need for wanderlust and adrenaline-seeking streak. This heavenly destination is filled with offbeat places, trekking, and camping sites that offer beyond amazing experiences. And there are destinations extremely rough and challenging to cover yet offers the most scenic view of all time.
How to prepare for the Leh Ladakh Trip?
Once you have decided to explore Ladakh and also figured out when to go, the next thing to question is how to be prepared for the trip? Ladakh is not like any other tourist place where you simply need to pack your bag and head to the destination.
There are a lot of things to consider and plan before you embark upon a journey that is going to give you a lifelong experience. From packing the right kind of clothes to getting the right vehicle all the essential items must be included to ensure you have a stress and hassle-free trip to the land of unexpected adventures.
Tips to Remember
Brace yourself and prepare for the worst before reaching the spot. Do not forget to carry your government-issued identity card or Adhar card, both original and photocopies. This way you will have a seamless experience throughout the journey.
Read about the routes, read about places you wish to visit, and also the duration of your stay.
Ladakh isn’t any normal trip, it requires you to be mentally as well as physically prepared and if you have it balanced, you can witness the greatest time of your life in front of you.
Time Required for Leh Ladakh Trip
This solely depends upon the location you will be coming from and the mode of travel that you select.
For enjoying Leh Ladakh in the most comfortable yet adventuresome manner, it is best to at least plan a minimum of 7 to 14 days of Leh trip.
If you wish to make a road or Ladakh bike trip, 14 days are the minimum duration where you can cover the major attractions and explore the route and passes of Ladakh. You can be sure that your Ladakh trip won’t be in a rush!
If you are planning to come by flight, 7 days can help you see the best spots in the time. For this, carefully draft your itinerary such that you cover popular spots.
If you are genuinely planning to witness Leh Ladakh properly, without missing out on the adventure and spots, you have to take out a good time for this vacation. It will leave you in awe for sure and the time spent here will be worth it.
LOCATION | ALTITUDE | CONDITION
Ladakh is a Himalayan region that is administered as a Union territory by India. It is located on the western side of the Himalayan region of Northern India.
Ladakh gained its significant importance for being the strategic importance of the trade route earlier. But later due to the Chinese authorities closing the border, the international trade has stopped and only tourism ventured.
Leh is the largest town in Ladakh which is located at an altitude of about 3500 meters above sea level. This gorgeous place is a high altitude desert area and most of the people have high altitude sickness here as they arrive in the city.
It is connected via the national highway 1 to Srinagar to the southwest and Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway. It is connected to the rest of India by 2 high altitude roads and neither of the 2 is passable during winters.
Due to the high altitude, only one crop a year can be grown. Ladakh receives a large number of tourists and the jaw-dropping view and iconic landscapes lure the attention of the visitors.
The temperature of this spot can reach a maximum of +26.17 to –20.53 degrees Celsius. Visiting this gorgeous place will open the door of excitement, desire, and a challenge seeking ability that you never thought you could possess.
Earlier it was a destination only meant for risk-taker and adventure geeks. However, now with roads being more accessible, people come with family and on their honeymoon to witness the beauty of mother nature.
BEST TIME TO VISIT LEH LADAKH
It is no hidden that Ladakh is known for its extremely low temperature. The cold can be unbearable that will make you want to leave the spot in no time. Thus there is a specific time when you can visit and witness the place.
Summer in Leh Ladakh (March-June)
The Leh Ladakh best time to visit is during the Summer months which is from April to July. During this duration, the temperature is mostly between 15 to 30 degrees. Summers are beautiful and the temperature is moderate, you can bear the cold and the heat isn’t too scorching.
Moreover, it is during the summer where you can enjoy your trip the way you wanted. Camping opportunities are lump sum along with trekking options as the mountains aren’t covered with snow.
It is a dream destination in the Summer and being the peak season you get various accommodation facilities. The alluring valleys and colour-changing rivers can also be witnessed well.
Monsoon in Ladakh (July-August)
Monsoon in Ladakh is pretty harsh and it’s as unbearable as harsh winters are. One thing great is the Monsoon doesn’t last long and the air usually is pleasing.
The period of May to October is when you can go for trekking, monsoon invites pleasing weather which is pretty enjoyable in its way.
Monsoon invites many festivals to witness in Leh Ladakh like Karsha Gustor, Phyang Tsedup, and a few others too.
If travelling during the monsoon, it is advisable to pack clothing that is light in weight, easily get dried up, and wear waterproof ones.
Winters in Ladakh (September-February)
The land of Ladakh has its beauty and charm in the winters. The winters are pretty long here and it is from September to February.
It is undeniably the most amazing experience to witness white beauty covered entirely as Ladakh is blanketed with snow.
One can also witness the frozen river which is a vivid approach to visiting the place. Also, trekking is done on the frozen river bed, giving adventure seekers a new and unique approach to enjoying the land of mountains.
People also visit Ladakh in the winter, but these are people who hold the ability to bear the harsh winter times. During winter accommodation facilities are extremely less, few guest houses are opened for tourists.
You can not enjoy or feel complete joy while witnessing the place in winter. Most of the roads will be blocked due to snow blocking. The unbearable temperature will leave you in no joy, mostly you will be found resting in a room.
HOW TO REACH LEH LADAKH
Ladakh earlier was a mystery, and only a few people could achieve the possibility of reaching such a great height. We have seen Leh Ladakh in pictures to date, but now through connected routes and roads, travelling to the spot has become much easier.
Travelling By Air
One best way to travel Ladakh is by flight. During the peak season, there are many ways you can prefer flying to Ladakh but the flight duration can fluctuate during the Winters.
The main airport in the area is Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. This is the closest airport to Leh which is well connected by Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu, Chandigarh, and few other urban areas in India.
Travelling by Bike
There are many of you waiting for an ideal bike trip to Leh Ladakh. It is said and, indeed, Ladakh is best enjoyed through a road trip.
Riding through the oddly satisfying valleys, scenic route is something that you will cherish throughout your life. You can pick any of the 2 routes to Ladakh, one that starts from Srinagar and other that starts from Manali.
Experience the best of all your Leh bike trip and have fun with an ultimate adventure that will leave you remarked by the beauty.
Let’s know in detail the 2 road routes:
Riding from this route will give you a lifetime experience. You will cover many places on the route. One suggested and the preferable route can be:
Route: Manali – Gramphu – Khokhsar – Sissu – Keylong – Jispa – ZingZing Bar – Sarchu – Pang – Tanglang La – Miru – Upshi – Karu – Leh.
Riding along this route covers 490 km and the scenery, passes that will come across your way are incredible. You will say “Incredible India” once you witness the beauty of Leh Ladakh.
The permit through this route will be required. You must ensure permit work is done before time so there is no last-minute hassle.
The highly acclaimed and landslide-prone dangerous Rohtang Pass also falls on the route. Make sure you are driving with a good ground clearance vehicle and if it’s a bike, a Himalayan friendly bike is a must.
Rugged and sharp cuts are quite common on the route. Although it is scenic, the horrifying deepness of the valley and changing in altitude can pretty much trouble you. Be prepared mentally as well as physically and fuel your petrol full
If you are looking to take another route, probably because you have already covered the above route. Or you wish to explore Srinagar first. This is the second most ideal route to prefer, that provides an equally gorgeous landscape view to experience.
You will be passing through the scenic spots of the Himalayas that will leave you in awe. The road conditions are pretty rough, few patches are hard to cover. There are river crossings and the possible danger of landslides in a few areas.
The route is: Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zoji La – Drass – Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Saspol – Leh
This road is pretty convenient for riders as the connectivity from the route is better than the Manali route. You will also pass from the so-called “ world’s highest motorable pass” Khardung La as well as the Kashmir Valley.
High altitude can result in acute mountain sickness which can cause certain health problems. So be prepared and brace yourself, sleep enough before you embark upon the journey.
Where to Stay
In recent times, Ladakh has seen a great boost in its tourism. Ladakh tourism has eventually escalated over the years and this is because people have started adding thrill and adventure too in their travel plans.
After the release of the movie 3 idiots, Ladakh gained huge popularity. And that being said, the remote location could not remain cut off since then. Before reaching Leh Ladakh, one must be aware of the accommodation facilities they can prefer here.
It will be a crucial choice to evaluate in your itinerary as the night stay will have the impact of your overall trip and tiredness.
Hotels & Resorts
There are numerous hotels in Leh which you can pick for your stay in Leh Ladakh. However, these hotels range from cheap, affordable to pricey depending upon the comforts provided.
During the peak season, hotels are mostly full, but you need not worry because the peak season brings vast accommodation options.
The hotel’s and resorts’ ratings range from 3 to 5 stars as well as the food options can be included if you wish to add. Some hotels offer great scenic views, some have spa facilities. Choosing the one ideal for you is completely in your hand.
Most of the adventure seekers that witness the place by bike or through road journey, solely prefer staying at tents and camping. This is itself a very unique approach to living in Ladakh.
You will have a great time stargazing and in the peak season, campings are done to a great extent. There are so many options you can pick as the tents differ based on the pricing.
There are in the tent toilet added that charges a little more than tents that don’t have one. If you wish to include meals, the price differs, but camping is a very affordable option to say in Leh Ladakh.
Camping here also ranges from Luxurious tents to affordable best budget options. If you are trying to have a closer perspective of Ladakh and live like a Ladakhi, you can try the affordable tent that makes you feel closer to nature.
Make sure you pack warm clothes as tents can get pretty cold in the night and it is quite unbearable if you are not prepared well to welcome the cold.
There are ample of guest houses these are houses of Local Ladakhi people. They give their room to tourists for a stay as a guest. This is quite an affordable option plus you get to enjoy the culture and tradition of the place in a closer view.
The food being cooked is a typical traditional Ladakh style by the locals. You will have experience of living life like Ladakhi plus eating their traditional food is a cherry on the cake.
Guesthouses are affordable, clean, and spacious. You are going to feel like you are in the comfort of your home. This is how they make tourists feel!
Where to Eat
In Ladakh, do not expect fancy restaurants or any fast-food chain. This is the speciality of Ladakh, it brings to you closer to nature and is pretty raw and natural.
Relish the time when you used to visit your village and enjoy the culture and people, having a lifestyle so simple yet so interesting. This is exactly how you will feel in Leh Ladakh.
Most of the time you will find yourself eating in a food joint. Not too fancy, but typical traditional Ladakh style. If not, the accommodation that you have chosen for a night stay can offer you meals too.
In guest houses, the people that offer you room for stay cooks traditional Ladakh cuisine that you can taste. It is lip-smacking and pretty spicy, the flavours are amazing. You will fall in love with their food.
If you have opted for camp stay, they also organize meals for tourists. Overall, you have quite a lot of places to eat food and suffice your stomach.
Point to Remember:
One major thing to remember is, do not eat too much while you are travelling and exploring the place. This will affect your trip as acclimatization takes a certain time. You may face acute mountain sickness and vomiting if you overeat.
Things to See and do:
There are so many things to do and see in Leh Ladakh. You will be spoilt with choices and places to explore and it is going to be fun fullied trips. Let’s see what we can expect from this mountainous spot.
Places for Shopping
Shopping in Ladakh makes one explore items like Tibetan Handicraft and Wares, Silver and stone jewellery as well as Pashmina and woollen shawls.
Also, you can explore a little costly but worth buying items like Kashmiri Rugs and Carpets. Enjoy the yummy taste of dried and freshly harvested apricot, jams, and oil.
As the name depicts, it is the main street lined with multiple shops and stalls. This place gains huge visitors from tourists and locals and ample of things to shop from.
You can buy Tibetan handicrafts, souvenirs, antiques, woollens and also there are traditional Ladakh jewels that you can buy.
Pashmina shawls are very antique, rich, and original which is available at affordable prices here.
Leh is filled with numerous and fascinating handicraft shops that draw a lot of attention from the tourists.
These shops are run by Tibetan refugees and so you are going to get great access to Tibetan clothing, jewels, and other stuff. If you wish to buy authentic Ladakhi jewellery, you are going to simply adore this place.
Although the quality here is great, you will be charged a little higher here as compared to the main bazaar.
Ladakh might be a place situated far away from civilization, however, this didn’t stop the people from being fashionable.
If you don’t wish to buy traditional Ladakhi stuff, this place is the best spot to shop at. You will have an array of choices for products, clothing, and artefacts that are stylish, super fashionable, and also at affordable rates.
All the items are a quality-wise fantastic plus if you spend a little extra buck you have the most natural woollen shawl ever here!
It is a quaint, antique, and pretty small shop located in the primary market area of Leh. The speciality of this place is, they not only sell amazing quality woollen clothes but you can great antiques, souvenirs, and figurines here.
This shop is not only popular among locals but tourists as well as adores the spot for buying things.
If you wish to make good investment buying leather products, you can get one here that offers immensely amazing quality. Silver jewellery in Ladakhi s pretty famously and it is a must-buy item while shopping in Ladakh.
The responsibility for the sale of goods at this particular spot is given to the local artisan to promote their craftwork and help them sustain their living.
This is a charitable trust that promotes the work of local people’s art and craftwork. The beauty of this spot is simply the loving nature of local people selling amazing shawls, woollen clothes, artefacts, and handicrafts with reasonable pricing.
You should appreciate the work of the artists of Ladakh and shop some from them as well. Famous Monasteries to witness:
It is the most visited monastery in Ladakh located on the riverbank of Indus, hardly 70km west of Leh. This particular monastery gains huge visitors because of its renowned old Buddhist learning centre.
The Jamie Lhakhang temple of Manjushri is something you must visit to explore the paintings, sculptures, and gompas built by the translator Rinchen Zangpo.
Adorned for its vividness of colours, Lord Buddha statue, and gained the popularity after the movie Dil Se and Tashan was shot here.
Amidst the naturalness of Nubra Valley lies the oldest and the largest monastery of Leh Ladakh. It is admired for being the white beauty that shines like marble. The Dosmoche festival is also hosted here, which gains a huge religious crowd during Feb.
It was founded by Changzem Sherab Zangpo, and one can also witness the gorgeous statue of Crown Buddha. Rich and unique Lord Buddha statue collection is pretty admired here along with an interior so mesmerizing you will fall in love for sure.
This one has located about 127km from Leh and is said to be the oldest most gorgeous monastery founded by Mahasiddha Acharya Naropa. It is situated at a peak that houses many monks and different gompas.
If you wish to connect yourself spiritually, you must visit this place as there is no place better and relaxing than this.
During the festival that is conducted on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month in the Tibetan calendar., a holy mask dance is a performance that draws and lures the attention of many tourists.
Located at the Hundur village is a beautiful Buddhist monastery which is a small yet soul-satisfying location to witness in Leh Ladakh.
The serene filled throughout the view that this ancient temple holds is breathtaking. You will be mesmerized with the beauty and also the peace of mind that you need can be provided nowhere else but here.
This place is pretty popular for encouraged Buddhism learning, and for years these preachings have been conducted.
If you spot a shiny, shimmering monastery in Ladakh, which is alongside a stupa dipped with pure gold and silver, it is the Hemis monastery. Located only about 45 km south of Leh it has become one of the largest monasteries in the region.
This is located on a hilltop and gives a mesmerizing view of the Leh town that will leave you speechless. Witness a panoramic view that will simply blow your mind and give your soul the much-needed peace.
At the Hemis festival, the celebration is so amazing where monks are seen dancing and enjoying their time of life.
The brown barren land and the soothing surrounding is where you get to explore the most unique and typical Tibetan architectural styled Hanle monastery.
The design and styling are influenced by India and China both, plus it is a sacred spot that houses 10 monks.
You will have a great time connecting yourself spiritually also enjoying Leh view in a prestigious manner.
The monastery gained huge visitors because of the serene filled location where it is situated and the peace offered here which is commendable.
To enjoy the surreal, clear, and breathtaking ambience with blue water, there is no lake better than Pangong Lake. At an elevation of 14,270 feet is the gorgeous crystal clear lake that has gained its popularity after 3 Idiot scene was shot here.
The special part about this spot is the colour-changing ability of the lake, which reflects into orange, blue, green, and red, throughout the day due to the sun.
Around 225km from Leh, this divine location is where you can enjoy great photoshoot, bird watching, and exploring the scenic beauty around.
This is said to be a mountain lake that can manage to skip your heartbeat, the moment you witness the first sight of it. The glorifying lake has got everything just a little too special.
Situated 4595 meters above sea level and around 220 km from Leh this mesmerizing lake will help you see the migratory birds. The changing colour hues will give you great experience.
You can also enjoy camping here, surrounded by surreal beauty. Mountain, such a pleasant sight to behold. One can say that it is an ideal offbeat destination for sure.
Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso together called chilling Tso are quite popular, shimmering blue lakes situated at an elevation of about 5000 meters.
The sight is so satisfying as they are nestled in the lapse of the hills, thus you can also witness snow-capped mountains, divine blue sky, so unrealistic yet real.
The journey to this destination is pretty challenging but worth it. This gorgeous and heavenly lake is sure to add great memories in your Leh Ladakh trip.
It is a small lake, with a sparkling texture that lies on the way to Pangong Lake. Due to the lesser crowd, the place has maintained the charm till date and is said to be one of the gorgeous lakes in Leh Ladakh.
It is a natural art, made by God, and the uncompromisable view will leave your heart and mind blown.
If you are looking for peace and relaxation, you should witness this secret lake and find your inner self. The Chagar Tso is going to give you a lifetime of experience for sure.
Tso Kar is a divine, attractive, and saline lake situated in the south of Ladakh in the Valley of Rupshu. For the depth, attractiveness and amazing beauty, this lake will have everything for everyone.
If you want to enjoy Ladakh in a thrillful manner, the routes to the lake will give you one. If you wish to find peace and serene this lake will offer you the same.
One interesting part here is, the western part of the lake is saline, while the other part is freshwater. This is because a small lake is connected to it called Startsapuk at the southwest end. Thus it is also called Twin lake.
Give your eyes the treat and your soul the peace, connect yourself spiritually to this holy lake of Leh Ladakh, Yarab Tso. The stillness, serene, tranquillity, and fragrance of the mountain and the wind is so soothing.
The steep mountain cliff and the peaks are perfect to adore sight here. Plus the blue water will make you want to stay closer to it and experience calmness.
Although the challenge to reach this lake is pretty hard, you will be required to cover hard and rugged roads as it is one of the highest akes in Leh Ladakh.
All the roads and passes in Ladakh are in control and be in charge under the category of the Himank project of BRO (Border Road Organisation)
Undoubtedly, this is the most famous, challenging, and the highest motorable pass in the world. It is located merely 40km from the north of Leh and the challenging pass offers horrifyingly deep valley views.
The view will give you chills for a lifetime and it is located at a height of about 18,380 ft above sea level. The mighty mountain and bone-chilling windy breeze is something that will leave you speechless.
This pass is quite important to India as it carries the supplies to the Siachen glacier and it is maintained carefully by BRO.
On the way to reaching Pangong lake lies the highest pass in Leh Ladakh, Changla Pass and it is situated at an altitude of 17,590 ft, which is 5360 meters above sea level.
Sadhu Changla Baba is the one to whom the name of this pass is kept. The roads are pretty broad, wide and the route is very scenic. You will love the cool mountain breeze touching your cheeks and the wind so pleasant that will leave you in awe.
Have you ever felt stomach pain while on a roller coaster? If yes! This pass will make you experience one like such. You can witness yak rides, soak some fresh mountain air, and also sip tea from the army tea stall.
Situated at the Zanskar range is a great yet horrifying pass in Leh Ladakh, the Baralacha La pass. The view offered here is surreal, a panoramic landscape of Ladakh to treat your eyes. The peace and stillness offered here are pretty convincing.
At a height of about at 16,600ft (5,059m), the mind wrecking and stomach twisting turns can blow your soul and mind completely.
People have indeed suffered breathlessness due to the steep and high altitude height it has. Precautions need to be taken in case you are not sure how good you are with heights.
It lies on the Srinagar Leh highway and is proven to be a magnificent trip for the bike adventure enthusiasts. The routes here couldn’t be compared to any other routes.
It gives you a surreal experience of both Ladakh and Kashmir, like a heaven on earth. Leh Ladakh is special for its majestic views and mystical treks and you will have a combination of both at Fotu La pass.
Although this one stands at an elevation of about 13,478ft (4,108m), the view is worth watching and you’d wish to stop by to sip some coffee and tea here.
One must famous pass in Ladakh lies in the Zanskar region, at a height of 16,600ft (5,059m) is the Lachulung La Pass.
The hills and steep valley is an attractive thing to cherish. And it is located on the Leh Manali highway but it is not too hard to drive or ride on. This is said to be the easiest and satisfying pass to unravel.
The wanderlust and travel enthusiast would love to explore such pass because it gives relaxation to the mind, although being at a great height. Vivid and soul happening views are going to be offered to you on either side.
Only daredevil and risk-taker would love to go through this pass called Umling La pass. The routes are so horrifying, dangerous, and heart wrecking but the unless land will leave you in Awe!
Driving and riding on the pass is an experience unique and crazy in itself and very few plans to achieve it.
It is claimed that the pass has taken over the title from KhardungLa as the highest motorable pass.
You will have your toes up and your face will get overcome here. Achieving through this challenging, rugged, and steep pass will make you feel proud for sure.
Trekking options in Ladakh:
If you are just a newbie or starting your trekking for the first time, you can start with this simple yet scenic trek in Leh Ladakh.
This trek can take probably 4 to 5 hours and will take you through barren land, greenfield, and mountain topped with snow.
Plenty of mountains surrounding you with gorgeous flora and fauna will simply boost your mind and motivate you to cover the trek easily. The narrow valley and rocky patterns are sure to cross your way while the descendent of the trekking occurs.
The Markha trek in Hemis national park, Leh Ladakh has gained huge popularity over the years. The best part is the Indus river that runs parallel to the valley and wedges between snow-clad mountains.
During the trek, you will have a look through the mountains, sceneries, wild animals as well but at a distance.
The green barley field will give you a green treat and villages surrounded by the valley is just simple yet scenic to watch.
You can reach the valley from Spituk or Chilling and the opportunity to stay the homestays in the villages is possible here.
The easy to cover nature of the trek calls it the baby trek, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth your time!
The picturesque view and landscape offered here are uncomparable. The best part is, tourists can do it throughout the year and even kids accompanied or family vacation can enjoy the trekking at Sham Valley.
It will take you through small villages, stay at homestays, and enjoy the tradition of Leh Ladakh in a simple yet interesting manner.
The western part of Leh Ladakh is pretty famous for the old, rustic, and highly old and back in the centuries monasteries. However, it is also famous for the trek of Lamayuru to Achi.
Tough passes to cover will push your limits and you may have to come out of the shell to show your riding or driving skills. But you will be rewarded with a few for a lifetime.
Ladakh is gorgeous and heavenly, however, some places are such that you wouldn’t want to leave it anyhow. Local culture can be closely observed if you stay at any homestay here in the village.
Famous Sanctuaries and Parks:
Located in the eastern Ladakh region is the gorgeous Hemis national park that got famed for a big reason.
Many tourists have claimed to witness the most beautiful snow leopards here and this is the reason it became a popular national park in Leh Ladakh.
This high altitude national park is so different and scenic that you would not want to leave the sight but the protection and care are given properly for the maintenance as it is notified protected area in India.
Many endangered species and animals reside in the park and have got a great natural habitat. Surrounded by the bank of river Indus, the geographical location and condition are commendable.
The place isn’t just famous in India but worldwide people adore to witness the species. The mountain to witness here are of various shapes, sizes and the area in the fewer section is covered with rocks.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, you will love to visit such a remote, isolated, and gorgeous landscape on the Earth. This is located in the Changthang plateau in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The area for this particular wildlife desert is about 1600 sq feet. It is definitely worth a visit for nature lovers and is considered as the reserves after the Northern Greenland National park.
Due to the high elevation, Ladakh temperature is very cold so make sure you have an arrangement of woollen garments.
The wildlife and flora, as well as fauna, are protected very dearly of this place because they are endangered and rare. Also, it is one of the few places that is a home to Kiang or Tibetan wild ass.
More than 200 species of wild plants grow here and these wild plants are said to be the food for animals that have made a habitat here.
Famous Museums to visit a must:
It is a place of honour made for all the Indians and is the museum in Leh Ladakh that represents the courageous Indian navy wars that have been fought for centuries.
There are letters in the museum that were written by the brave people of that time that can make anyone emotional.
The memorial and cemeteries of the armies can be well recognized as well as appreciated here.
The timing of the museum is around 9 am to 7 pm. The selflessness of the soldier who fought the war will make us proud and is the best army force in the world.
It has a lot to offer to the tourist, the information covers the history, geography, and the tradition, fauna flora of the place in a precise manner.
Stok palace museum is a palace of a banished royal family of Ladakh that later converted into a museum. You can have a divine look and display of the rich collection of ornaments, jewels, Thangkas that will steal your eyes completely.
It also houses the ceremonial dresses, crowns and other century-old collections that reflect the style, heritage, and culture of Ladakh during the Royal times. The history of this particular palace will be very clearly visible in the belongings that have been preserved to date in the museum.
You can also witness the Chinese Thangkas the soothing, mesmerizing paintings that last for about 450 years old, but while you see it, you won’t believe that they belong to history so hold. They look fresh and charming to date which is a thing exceptional in itself.
Also, talking about the architecture and the design of the museum, you will find yourself lost in the magical and mystical colourful charm of this palace. It shows the designs that are eye-soothing and reminisces the art that was used back then to portray their love for interior decor.
Hardly a 15 minutes walk from Leh market to the main Tukcha road will lead you to the Raku House. It is a 3 story small yet quite interesting structure nestled in the laps of Himalayas.
The amazing part here is, this Old raku house was built about 150 years ago. This abandoned house is one of the view heritage of Leh Ladakhi that still holds the charm Ladakh had earlier.
One look at the architecture, style, ornate prayer room, traditional granary, and the stove lying and other things that are unchanged. It is a place that attracts the youth quite a lot.
You will see students visiting the place, especially artists with a paper and brushes sketching the house. The aesthetic vibes here are exceptional which you will understand when you visit.
Only a small section of the house is converted into a museum, it houses the beautiful heritage of the place and the utensils and other stuff.
On the rooftop is an open cafe that serves you great snacks, Kashmiri styled kawa, and other traditional Ladakhi beverages you must try.
One very popular and quite interesting festival in Leh Ladakh is Losar, that welcomes new year with joy, celebration, and a lot of prayers and rituals to follow and enjoy.
It lasts for about 2 weeks and is said to be a socio-cultural event, where people of Leh Ladakh visit their relatives and friends and celebrate it together.
It is when God, animals, and relatives are fed, cultural slogans are chanted to keep the evil away and people of all ages take part with full zest and will.
Some performances and rituals are a sight to behold. This festival occurs 2 months before the Tibetan New year.
This Ladakh festival lasts for about 3 days in June month. It is celebrated at Shay Manila that lies 8km away from Leh town. This festival gives significant importance to the glorifying River Indus.
Also being a local festival, this day is given importance to the soldiers who gave their life for us and to bring Peace and Harmony. The river Indus is said to be the birthplace of Indian civilization.
Artists in various fields of Leh Ladakh come together, unite at the spot and celebrate the festival with full enthusiasm. You will also witness traditional dance and cultural performances.
This festival brings a bright, colourful, and highly different sort of energy amongst the locals, and it is the much-awaited festival amongst all.
The series of mask dances, different performances will depict the history of Ladakh that will be portrayed well in the event. The colourful mask dance is the highlight of the event with silk costumes being worn.
To celebrate the birthday of Padmasambhava, who founded the Tibetan Buddhism, this festival does have significant importance in the heart of Leh Ladakhis.
It is a Ladakh harvest festival where one can witness the true colours and real side of Ladakh in the most amazing manner. People from all over the corner in Ladakh come together and show interest in celebrating it.
Archery competition, polo matches, masked dances, are few of the activities that one can do as a tourist. You will see many locals accompanying you and enjoying it together.
For weeks, Ladakh is changed to a completely new setup of colours, pretty houses, and smiling people around you.
It is a festival celebrated in Leh, Diskit, and Hemis monasteries. It is a popular, most widely accepted festival in Ladakh that goes for 2 days on Feb 21st & 22nd.
In the presence of hundreds of monks, they make thread crosses that are believed to have the power to keep evil spirits away. The main reason for this festival is to protect the land of Ladakh from evil and encourage cultivation.
Shopping during this festival will invite for buying masks, traditional ornaments, and other belongings. Play games and witness the joy-filled in Leh Ladakh like never before during the festival.
This is again the most popular festival that lasts for 3 days and is celebrated on 1st June that ends on the 3rd of June.
The venue for this festival is Shay Manila, situated at a distance of 8km only from the Leh town.
This particular festival comes with the motive of embarking upon the gorgeous, holy, and glorifying river Indus.
Along with that, the Ladakhi also promote and pay respect to the soldiers who have contributed their bits to encouraging peace and harmony, and those who have sacrificed their lives for India.
It is an extravagant, most colourful, and energy-filled festival that is celebrated with full enthusiasm and craze by the locals. It brings vivid energy and fun that continues to stay for 2 days.
Mask dances, performances, and other interesting activities are performed by the locals, depicting the culture and life of Ladakhi.
Dancers wear silk costume, and the main purpose of this event is to celebrate the birth of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), who is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
Ladakh festival is a sort of a harvest festival that gives high importance to the culture and tradition of the place.
There are so many games played like archery, masked dance, polo, concerns that you can be a part of. This festival takes place during September, mostly 22nd to 25th.
It lasts for about 2 weeks and photography lovers can enjoy clicking ample pictures here that depict the life of Ladakh.
Adventurous Activities in Leh Ladakh
River rafting in Ladakh takes you through gorgeous destinations with mesmerizing views. Crossing the river with views like snow-capped mountains, bright blue sky, valleys, and greenery.
The fundamental and most visited ones are Indus stream boating and Zanskar river rafting. In Indus stream boating you can choose Spituk and Nimu or Saspol as they are greatly visited for the view and the entertainment they provide.
Best White water rafting experiences:
Hemis – Choglamsar
Kharu – Spituk
Nimmu – Phey
Phey – Saspol
Upshi – Kharu route
Phey – Nimmo route
Saspol – Khaltsey
Zanskar River rafting energizes your soul, seeks your adventure side out, and gives you a lifetime of experience. Although it comes with a challenge, you will see something different than usual.
Only thrill-seekers must explore this section, as it involves your daredevil spirit and the enthusiasm to nail your mountain biking skills.
Located between the Karakoram and Zanskar mountain ranges, it is known not just for the natural beauty that is provided to your eyes. But the heart-wrenching activities to do here.
You will not only get to cross the highest passes here, but the breathtaking sights will simply leave you awestruck. Halt at a few destinations and witness the beauty of Ladakh is the most amazing manner like never before.
Plus, there are so many monasteries and religious places that will get your attention. It is simply a sight to behold that is incomparable and the mountain biking experience is incomparably the best experience filled with excitement and a lot of fun.
It is truly outstanding to enjoy camel safari on cold high altitude desert areas with a view remarkably gorgeous. It is one of the must tried activities in Ladakh that people of all ages enjoy the most.
The delightful scenes and landscapes will simply steal your eyes, plus a shaky and notorious ride on the camels will leave you in awe.
Diskit and Hunder valley have many Camel safaris to enjoy, you can pick your convenient location and enjoy the view.
The captivating dunes, ridges, and alcoves are a few things that you will witness, which probably won’t let you experience.
Jeep Safaris have profoundly become a well-known activity amongst the tourists and now nothing seems to be more promising or exciting than a Jeep Safari.
Earlier it was only hiking or trekking which gained importance amongst young travellers, but now Jeep Safaris are also enjoyed to the core.
There are some extraordinary places in Leh Ladakh where people enjoy and become voyagers, exploring Ladakh from the roots and celebrating life like never before.
Some other places to Enjoy Jeep Safari is :
– Manali to Leh
– Tsomoriri Lake
– Suru Valley
These Jeep safaris are intended to take you to scenes like Pangong Lake and Tsomoriri Lake, Zanskar valley, and Nubra Valley too.
Do you ever wish to fly like a bird? Ladakh will make you fly and fulfil your dream. Above the tall mighty Himalayan mountain and the snowy peak, in the blue sky with a heavenly view lying right in front of your eyes.
A paragliding experience in Leh Ladakh will simply be the best adventure sports activities to try.
So many people will arrange such experiences for you. Ultimately, all the hectic and stress will be kept aside once you are in the air.
Opting for adventure sports like this will give you an experience beyond words, only you can feel.
Chirping birds around you and the top view of Leh Ladakh is like visiting an alien land filled with natural charisma and charm.
A favourite adventurous activity in Ladakh is Quad Biking, this is solely for those thrill-seekers who are here to witness the adventure side of Ladakh and themselves.
You can also enjoy ATVs which are fun to do on dunes and it is the best way to explore Leh Ladakh. Also, riding on the beast with the chilly wind hitting your face is an experience in itself.
There are 2 places where you can enjoy Quad biking
– Nubra Valley
– Magnetic Hill
Navigate through the challenging rugged, and extremely hard to cover terrain which is an amazing activity to do in Leh Ladakh. The cold desert welcomes so many opportunities and activities.
Rental Options for Bike and Car. Find Rate card Image and add in the Doc file.
There hasn’t been a big change in the price of the rental of bikes. The bike rental rate by the Ladakh motorbike rental association did not decide to change for the year 2020-21.
Almost every adventure lover is waiting for the tour of Leh Ladakh, the open road calls for some excitement, fun, and a lifetime of memories.
As not everyone has the luxury to own a bike, you still have a great scope of riding and exploring the ins and out of Ladakh through these Ladakh bike rental associations. Each year, people wait for Ladakh motorbike Rental association to put up rates. Here are the rates:
Things to Carry
Leh Ladakh is a land with highly unpredictable weather fluctuations. There are a few roads with barren land and no human civilizations. Some roads will give you a near-death experience.
It is not about reaching the destination, it is about the whole travelling experience to reach the destination.
The trip to Leh Ladakh is not like any other vacation plan that you choose to go to. You have to be mentally as well as physically prepared before en routing to this thrillful gorgeous destination.
Here are a few of the most important things that one must carry without fail while embarking upon a journey that is going to fill your life with surprises.
Wearable Products to carry:
What kind of clothes work best in Ladakh is a very common question. You need to carry layered clothes to keep yourself warm in the chilling. You should pack heavy and woollen clothes as much as possible as night can be windy.
Weather is highly unpredictable, so cotton shirts and tops will make sense. Do carry thermal wear if you can’t bear cold a lot.
Toiletries to carry a must:
If you are planning to stay at tents and camps, you are probably going to run short of these basic toiletries.
If you are planning a trip to Ladakh on your bike, you are going to be physically strong and active throughout the journey.
In this case, it is best to pack items that are adding to your energy. You will notice that suddenly your appetite will reduce and this will be due to AMS.
Ladakh is a place full of surprises. It is always better to pre-plan the best and the worst so you won’t be shocked later during your Leh Ladakh Journey. There are some tips and advice that can help you prepare yourself for the trip. Here’s we go:
Although it is best if you stock up the required medical supplies before you leave. If you are on medication currently, make sure you carry extra medicines with you. As there are chances that the medicine you consume may not be available in Ladakh.
There are many hospitals in Leh Ladakh also Consultations are available. You get doctors for all kinds of problems. Plus, there are medical stores too, if you wish to purchase anything, you can buy easily in Leh.
Only in a few remote and isolated areas, you might not get medical supplies easily. So you should take up before you step out on the journey.
Mobile Connectivity and Internet
Thousands of people travel to Leh Ladakh by road and through the flight. And the most common query every traveller has is, how to be connected with family? Being a remote location, connectivity to the outer world may seem to be a challenge.
In Ladakh, postpaid connections are the only connections that work. Therefore a sim card is a must to use the internet and make calls. You will find yourself mostly out of phone coverage as few places offer phone connectivity.
It is always better to share your itinerary with your family so they can keep track of where you will be. Some remote villages where homestays are available often have satellite phones.
They charge certain rupees to make emergency calls, which you can make use of in a time where you have no other option.
BSNL mobile coverage is spread to the maximum of Leh Ladakh, offering good connectivity options here. BSNL is followed by Airtel which is making connections here and Reliance Jio is also making its potential in Leh Ladakh.
In major areas, data connectivity is available, however, it is limited to mostly 2G. 3G connectivity is very rare, depending upon your luck. There is WIFI at some cafes and spots, but the Internet isn’t too good here.
Coming to Leh Ladakh, make sure you come with a mentality of being highly not connected to the rest of the world. It is where you find your soul and peace back into places. So be sure to have a plan to visit Leh Ladakh that only connects you to nature.
Petrol Pump & ATM
Until some time ago, probably 4 to 5 years back, the only problem travellers used to face was fuel availability in Leh Ladakh.
Those were the times when Ladakh wasn’t too popular amongst the normal crowd. It was a thrill destination for bike adventure enthusiasts. Roads were not in proper condition and only locals or few travellers used to traverse the route.
Now, everything has lately changed and Ladakh has evolved for better and greater travelling experience to the tourists of all kinds.
There are petrol pumps in Leh, irrespective of when you arrive, you will find it available. There is one Karu petrol pump located 35km from Leh city.
There are petrol pumps in Nubra Valley, Zanskar valley, and near Pangong Lake, on shoyk road, also on Chusul and Chumathang route too.
Things are getting better and effective in Leh Ladakh. It is going to be great anytime soon with all the much-needed facilities for tourists to enjoy their stay here.
Ladakh is politically very delicate also it’s unstable. TOurism has started relatively new here and thus require cooperation from the tourist to maintain and follow the rules and regulations strictly.
Henceforth, for tourist licenses and permits, are crucially needed to enter certain restricted and protected areas. Going to the Inner line district required Inner line permits, and these licenses can be accessible from the Ladakh specialist.
For both Indians and foreigners, Inner line permit and protected area permits are required respectively to access to several tourist destinations, but not all.
To make your Ladakh trip highly hassle-free and enjoyable, planning to seek permits is ideally great.
Permits Needed for Indian Nationals
Places that require ILP:
Which is the best time to visit Leh Ladakh?
The best season to visit this gorgeous, heaven on earth destination is during the summer. This lies in April to July, when the temperature lies between 15 to 30 Degree Celsius. Ladakh is highly popular for low temperatures, and during the night times in Summer, you can expect the temperature going below minus.
Is Leh different from Ladakh?
Leh is Ladakh capital city and the largest district amongst all of Ladakh. Leh Ladakh is probably the same, they form together as the most famous destination. Leh is quite popular with modern facilities for tourists and is a part of Ladakh province.
Is it safe to travel to Leh Ladakh?
Considering the hype created by the media, Ladakh is very much safe for the tourists. Earlier it was a challenge to visit the spot, but now tourist visiting has evolved. Even during the Chinese incursion, the Leh Ladakh tourism was far away from where the Chinese camps were set up.
Which is the coldest month of Leh?
January is where you will have to bear extreme and hard winter. It is the coldest month with an average high-temperature of -2°C. The average low-temperature is only of -14.4°C. Tourism during this month is quite uncommon.
What is the religion in Ladakh?
With contrast to the Jammu and Kashmir neighbouring Ladakh, Leh Ladakh has a non-Muslims majority. The main religious groups here are Muslims mostly Shia 46%, Buddhism 40% and rest 12 % is Hindu, leaving the remaining 2% others. One can see vividness in religion and culture in this beautiful spot.
Is there an Oxygen problem in Ladakh?
Leh is located at a great height with high altitude which is nearly 10,000 feet above the sea level. The more you climb higher, the amount of oxygen at height begins to reduce. There is less oxygen in Leh as compared to the other plain areas.
What is Ladakh famous for?
Ladakh gained high popularity for its mountains, valleys, high altitude desserts all of it together makes it an ideal adventure getaway destination. Tourists for trekking and camping are high in numbers and mostly explore places like Tso moriri, Chadar, and Markha valley.
Is Leh dangerous?
Altitude sickness and Acute mountain sickness is far common amongst tourists. It is very important to take proper medications and precautions before embarking upon a journey to Leh Ladakh. The dangerous route and extreme weather conditions are also a challenge in itself.
How do I plan a trip to Ladakh?
Your trip to Ladakh requires careful planning and no rush. Allow yourself physically and mentally to get prepared for a challenging yet fun and adventuresome trip. You should always reserve your first 2 days in Ladakh getting familiar with the high altitude.
Why people go to Ladakh?
Ladakh gained its popularity for housing a few of the most iconic Buddhist monasteries, gompas, and the spiritual connection between the Lord Buddha and towards Buddhism. The vibrant colours, festivals, and strange rituals do grab a lot of attention and are one of the things to cherish.
Is Ladakh expensive?
It depends upon the choice of stay you pick, the mode of transport you prefer and the choice of food, activities that you plan for your trip. Along with that, toll, permit fees, the entry fees for monasteries, etc comes mandatory while visiting and exploring Ladakh.
Is a passport required for Ladakh?
Travellers visiting from Nepal or Bhutan doesn’t require to show a passport. But permits to visit certain areas in Ladakh is required. If you belong to any other country around the world, you will need a passport and a valid visa to India alongside the permit.
Is there snowfall in Leh?
Winters are from November to February when there is too cold with snowfall being the common sight. During this month, it is very inhospitable for tourists to witness the white Ladakh. However, snow lovers who can bear the cold can enjoy the trip during this season.
What food do they eat in Ladakh?
A typical traditional Ladakhi food compromises of Momos without a doubt, Thukpa, Skyu soup, Chhutagi, Tingmo, Chhurpe, Chhang, and Butter tea which is a must.
What is the language spoken in Ladakh?
Ladakhi’s typical language is Tibetan, Urdu, and Balti. These are the official languages you will find local people communicating in, However, Tibetan is very common amongst all.
What should I buy in Ladakh?
Tibetan Handicraft, Silver Jewels, Apricot, jams, oil and pashmina shawls, woollen garments. These are a must to buy items that hold a very rich, prominent, and pure quality.
Plan your Ideal Trip To Leh Ladakh
When in Ladakh stick your hands while passing through a group of school children, they would love it. Ladakh surprisingly has gained huge popularity over time and has now become a hot spot amongst tourists of all Kinds.
The vividness, culture, colours, festivities, people, and places everything seems to be contributing a bit to the glorifying Ladakh. Hope this detailed Leh Ladakh travel guide has given you a glance at what you must expect in your trip.
So be mentally and physically prepared and brace yourself while embarking upon the route that is going to give you chills, thrills, and excitement.
If you have been to Ladakh, we would love to know which of the high passes gave you thrill? Which places did you enjoy the most? And which monastery connected your soul spiritually? Don’t forget to share your views in the comment section.
If you have any queries or concerns regarding the Leh Ladakh trip, make sure you drop it in the comment section and we will sort it out for you, so you get a seamless trip to the uncovered lands.Share this tour
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