There are two types of travellers – one who have visited Ladakh and the other who haven’t! Ladakh is a magical place. All those who have visited Ladakh cannot get enough it. And there are others who are still in two minds about visiting this enchanting land. And I don’t blame them. And this Ladakh Travel Guide is for all those planning their trips to Ladakh.
Nestled between the Himalayan, Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges, Ladakh seems to be quite isolated and cut-off from the rest of India. Infact, Leh is accessible by roads only during a certain time of the year (between June to October) when the Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh Highways are not blocked due to snow. Ladakh stands at an altitude between 10000 to 15000 ft ASL and experiences extremes of temperature between 25 degrees to -30 degrees!
But visiting this wonderland is not that difficult. Ladakh offers a variety of options to the tourists. From its magnificent monasteries to the azure blue lakes and the cold deserts, the eternal beauty that lies hidden between those layers of mountains, Ladakh will steal your heart. Here is a 6 days Ladakh Travel Guide that will answer almost all your questions and will allay your fears.
We had visited Ladakh after our trip from Amarnath Yatra. We could not actually decide between travelling to Ladakh or exploring the Kashmir region. Kashmir is equally beautiful and we had been looking into Kashmir Tour Packages as well. Somehow, Ladakh won and Kashmir was kept for sometime later!
Day 1 – Rest and Acclimatisation:
As you arrive at Leh, don’t just rush with your tour. The first day should be kept for acclimatisation. You are arriving at a much lower height to a height of 11000 ft. your body needs time to adjust. Use this day to roam around Leh. Visit the Shanti Stupa in the afternoon and stay till the evening. You can also visit the colourful local markets of Leh. Take a look at the junk jewellery and the colourful funky dresses. Experience the colour and flavour of Leh to the full.
Day 2 – Pangong Blues:
Visit the famous Pangong Lake today. Start early in the morning. Pangong Tso (Tso means lake) is 160 km from Leh and you have to cross the world’s 3rd highest motorable Pass, the Chang La (17586 ft). After you pass Chang La, the barren landscape will change into beautiful meadows with streams flowing by. You can see yaks and the cute marmots on the road. You will reach Pangong by noon. Stay overnight by the lakeside at tents. See the changing colours of the lake at a different time of the day.
Start from Pangong towards Leh. On the way back, visit the Hemis Monastery, Thicksey Monastery, Shey Palace, Rancho’s School (Rancho from the movie 3 Idiots) and the Sindhu Ghat. Hemis Monastery is one of the largest and oldest monasteries of Leh. You can realise the grandeur of the monasteries only after you visit them.
Day 4 – Monastery Hopping:
Keep this day for Monastery hopping. Start early to visit the famous Lamayuru Monastery. Lamayuru is 120 km from Leh town. Lamayuru is also called the moon land. The view of the monastery from the road is simply breathtaking. While returning from Lamayuru, visit the Alchi, Likir and Spituk Monastery and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. Also, visit the Magnetic Hills. On this particular stretch of Srinagar-Leh Highway, you can see the road going uphill. Yet if you turned off the engine of the car and let it stand neutral, it will slowly start moving!
Day 5 – Nubra Valley:
Head towards the mystical Nubra Valley today. While going, you have to cross world’s highest motorable pass, the Khardung La (17580 ft). you can stop at the Pass and to take proud photographs and also have tea at the Army Canteen.
As you will reach Hunder, you will see stretches of sands. Just imagine your car running through pitch-black road with soft yellow sands on both sides. Will it not look like straight out of a picture? At Hunder, ride on the double-humped back camel. Visit the Distik Monastery beside the Shyok River. Stay at Hunder this night and star gaze at the clear night skies.
Return from Nubra Valley to Leh. Spend this day at Leh exploring the town and local market. You will also need the much deserved rest after so much travel.
Return from Leh the next day.
Your Ladakh trip of 6 days is completed. If you manage to add a couple of days, then you can also visit the Tso Moriri and Hanu Dha. This is the most basic tour of Ladakh. It has other adventure options also. There are many trek routes here. The famous Chadar Frozen River Trek is done in the months of January and February. Bike trip to Ladakh is also a good option for all the adventure seekers.
Some important tips for the Ladakh Travel Guide:
- Altitude: Leh is at a height of 11480 ft
- Best Time to visit: June to September
- The best way to visit Leh by road is to enter by the Srinagar-Leh Highway and return by the Leh – Manali highway. This also helps in proper acclimatisation. Or else, you can book a flight.
- During June to September, the weather remains pleasant. In the day, you will need light clothes while at night, you might need a light sweater.
- Since Ladakh is at a greater height and if you have breathing problems, it is better to consult your doctor before visiting. Usually, there is nothing to fear. Most people manage very well even at such heights.
- We did the trip by hiring a private car. You can also check out various Leh Ladakh Tour Packages and choose according to the number of days you have.
- Please keep Ladakh clean and do not litter. Travel well and responsibly.