Ladakh is considered one of the most beautiful cold desert in the world. Beautiful lakes, highest motorable passes and photo-perfect landscape made this region quite famous among the tourists & travelers. Almost every year thousands of foreigner and lakhs of Indian visit this place to just fulfill their adventure goals. Riders across the globe wait for the season so that they can ride to places in this region. Today, in this Ladakh Trip complete guide, we will discuss all the famous spots in this region except local sightseeing along with accommodations and food, also we will chalk out some itineraries to cover places.
Leh is a town in Ladakh region, to be more precise in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir state. Jammu and Kashmir are one of the most beautiful states of the country where you can see the diversity of barren lands, snow top mountains, lush greenery, and deserts. Due to some border-related issues these state always been in news. Although this does not affect tourism in J&K rather everyone seems always excited to be here.
There are tons of information available on the internet about Leh-Ladakh and obviously, this post is not different then why this Ladakh Trip Complete Guide is exceptional? Because it is brief but complete.
Leh Palace – Leh Palace is a former royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh. Mountain range view from the roof is spectacular. Entry fee for Indian INR 15 and foreigner INR 100. Parking available for free.
Shanti Stupa – This complete white Buddhist stupa is located at the outskirt of Leh town and the terrace provide a panoramic view of surroundings. Visit the stupa once in the evening to witness how lighting makes the stupa even more beautiful. Parking available for free.
Thikse Monastery – Thikse monastery is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings, and swords. At a distance of approximately 20 kilometers from Leh, this is must visit the place, entry fees INR 20. Parking available for free.
Shey Palace – Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh in the past and place was made for the retreat by Kings of Ladakh. The view is pretty good from here. Parking available for free.
Hemis Monastery – Hemis Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries, located at a distance of 45 kilometers from Leh. Parking available for free
Rancho School or Druk White Lotus School – This school got famous due to the movie “3 Idiots”, you can visit designated areas with guides and there is a cafe inside the premises, coffee & sandwich were Yummy. Parking available for free.
Magnetic Hill – Magnetic hill is famous because of a phenomenon that here gravity does not work. Drivers put their cars in neutral and the car starts to move uphill. You can ride an ADV bike for the adrenaline rush.
Few more places like Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Leh War memorial, Zorawar fort, Alchi Monastery, Likir Monastery, etc.
High Altitude Passes on the way:
Khardung La (18,379 ft), Chang La (17,590 ft), Fotu La (13,478 ft), Namik La (12,200 ft), Zoji La (11,575 ft), Tanglang La (17,480 ft), Nakee La (15,547 ft), Lachung La (16,616 ft), Baralacha La (16,040 ft), Rohtang La (13,050 ft).
Leh-Ladakh is called Riders paradise, hence every rider is well known about this famous pass, at an altitude of 18379 ft, this was the world’s highest motorable pass until Umling La (19,300 ft) was conquered. The craze to conquer the top spread across all the tourist over time. This pass is almost 40 kilometers away from the Leh city and takes almost 2 hours to reach. All the tourist need an inner line permit to reach the top and beyond. You can have tea, coffee or snacks in south pullu cafeteria or K-Top cafeteria. Because of high altitude, staying more than 15 minutes may cause breathing problem or a mild headache, in that case, descend either north pullu side (towards Dikit/Nubra valley) or south pullu side (towards Leh). Don’t forget to visit the souvenir shop and click a selfie before the K-Top board.
We all know, Ladakh is a cold desert, here you can experience double hump camel ride in Hunder sand dunes. Being in a lower altitude, greenery is more hence you will not face AMS here. You got to see Diskit Monastery and a Buddha statue there, the view from the terrace looks stunning, barren land, shyok river, and mountains all of these in a single frame.
This is the last village on Diskit side, approximately at a distance of kilometers, Turtuk is getting sheer popularity among the tourists. You may experience the village by spending a night or do sightseeing from Diskit/Hunder.
At an altitude of 14,270 ft, this lake is one of the highest altitude lakes in India. It is famous for an unmatched beauty throughout the day, the color of the lake keeps changing almost every hour due to sunlight reflection. This lake is 134 kilometers long and shares 60 percent of its presence in China territory. The lake water is saline and crystal clear to see everything underwater. During the extreme winter, this lake freeze, few local and adventure seeker people visit to experience riding and walking on the frozen lake. During the season the surroundings reach sub-zero frequently and the wind coming from the lake make that even colder. There are plenty of tent options available now although many of the tents were demolished to maintain the ecosystem here, a good option could be to stay in Merak, still, it comes under offbeat spot.
Hanle is famous for the observatory, the sky looks very clear at nights even Milky Way, galaxies can be seen from here. Spend some time here at night and I promised you will never forget the sky in your life. Many tourists avoid this place for being so remote that getting accommodation for a stay would not be a difficult task despite having limited options. I suggest to book prior to your visit or ask your driver to book on behalf to avoid any time waste.
Tso Moriri & Tso Kar:
Tso means Lake in Ladakh language, while the first one is more popular for the dimensional beauty in the middle of mountains and barren land, the second is kind of smaller but nowhere lacks to mesmerize visitors. Fact is Tso Moriri is the largest high altitude lakes in India and both of the lakes are located at an average altitude of 14,800 ft. You have options to stay here, but I would rather prefer to stay back in Leh or Sarchu/Pang.
Also known as Moonland of Ladakh, is a beautiful place to be, some people suggest to spend a full moon night here. Once you reach the Lamayuru Monastery you will definitely be surprised to see the golden mountain everywhere, these are nothing but made of Multani Mitti. The egg biriyani in Hotel Niranjana, adjacent to the monastery was different but very tasty.
- Sonamarg – Hotel Barzman sonamarg
- Kargil – Silk Route Inn
- Lamayuru – Hotel Niranjana
- Leh – Hotel Ladakh Heaven
- Diskit – Hotel Olthang
- Turtuk – Ashoor Guest House & Restaurant
- Sumur – Hotel Namgyal Villa
- Pangong Lake – Pangong lake View Camp
- Hanle – Hanle House
- Tso Moriri – Tsomoriri Camp And Resort
- Keylong – Hotel Dupchen Inn
I have personally stayed at Kargil, Leh, Diskit, Pangong Lake, other hotels are shortlisted based on location and review.
You will get food of almost every cuisine, not all but most of the dishes in nearby restaurants. Generally, we would recommend to try out momos, thukpas, noodles, and parathas. Food is little costly compared to other places in India which are quite normal because of transportation cost.
You can either take a flight and reach Leh or take a Road trip from Srinagar or Manali. There are bus services as well for solo travelers but that become too hectic. For sightseeing, you have to either rent a car/motorcycle or share Force Traveller, as per your budget. As we traveled by our own motorcycle we are not sure about the transportation charges.
Best time to Visit:
Nowadays people are likely to visit Leh throughout the year, even if the Leh-Manali and Leh-Srinagar are closed, people fly there and enjoy the winter Ladakh. For a road trip of complete Srinagar – Leh – Manali circuit, you need to plan in between June and mid-October. June to Mid July – Snow on road in places melt and become slush. Beauty remains on whiteout side, in a word mesmerizing. Mid-July to August – Road becomes cleaner, the weather gets brighter and sharper. This is the time maximum tourist visit Ladakh. September to mid-October – Weather starts becoming cold and dry, a clear and vibrant vista of surroundings. Occasional snowfall and rain may happen. These are the perfect time for photographers.
We will discuss below topics on a different post shortly.
- Srinagar and surroundings
- Kargil and Zanskar Valley Section.
- Himachal Pradesh Section
- How to get a permit for self-driven car or motorcycle.
Itinerary 1 (Shorter Duration):
- Day 1: Reach Leh, take rest to acclimatize
- Day 2: Leh Local Sightseeing
- Day 3: Leh to Nubra Via Khardungla
- Day 4: Turtuk Sightseeing
- Day 5: Nubra to Pangong Lake
- Day 6: Pangong Lake to Hanle
- Day 7: Hanle to Tso Moriri
- Day 8: Tso Moriri to Leh.
- Day 9: Leh Sightseeing.
Itinerary 2 (Moderate Duration):
- Day 1: Reach Leh, take rest to acclimatize
- Day 2: Leh Local Sightseeing (War memorial, Zorawar fort, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace)
- Day 3: Leh to Nubra Via Khardungla (Khardungla Top, Diskit Monastery, Double Hump Camel Ride)
- Day 4: Nubra to Pangong Lake (Sky at night)
- Day 5: Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri
- Day 7: Leh Sightseeing (Thikse Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Shey Palace, Rancho School, Moti Market)
Itinerary 3 (Explore all except Dah & Hanu & Zanskar):
- Day 1: Reach Srinagar, stay at Sonamarg (via Dal Lake)
- Day 2: Sonamarg to Lamayuru (via Zero Point, Drass war memorial, Zanskar and Indus River confluence, Namik La, Fotu La)
- Day 3: Lamayuru to Leh (via Alchi & Likir Monastery, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill)
- Day 4: Leh Sightseeing (War memorial, Zorawar fort, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace)
- Day 5: Leh Sightseeing (Thikse Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Shey Palace, Rancho School, Moti Market)
- Day 6: Leh to Nubra Via Khardungla (Khardungla Top, Diskit Monastery)
- Day 7: Nubra to Turtuk (Double Hump Camel Ride)
- Day 8: Turtuk to Panamik/Sumur
- Day 9: Panamik/Sumur to Pangong lake via Agham-Shyok Road (Sky at night)
- Day 10: Pangong Lake to Hanle (magnificent Pangong, hanle observatory, the sky at night)
- Day 11: Hanle to Tso Moriri
- Day 12: Tso Moriri to Pang/Sarchu.
- Day 13: Pang/Sarchu to Keylong
- Day 14: Keylong to Manali
Next updated version of itineraries will have Zanskar Valley included.
Being a remote place, visiting Ladakh needs lots of preparation to be it mentally, physically. Just check out below links to make this trip successful, I am sure you will never regret.
- How to prepare for Ladakh
- Things to Carry in Ladakh
- Medicines needed in Ladakh
- Mobile Network Connectivity in Ladakh
- Inner Line Permit Procedure for Ladakh
This posts are for both riders and non-riders, hope these make your trip successful and memorable, get Leh’ed soon.
If you are doing a road trip to Ladakh, you may find my Kolkata – Ladakh – Kolkata on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 journey helpful. Link to all the posts is mentioned below.
How was this Ladakh Trip Complete Guide, is it complete? Do share your thoughts in the comment box. Please share, if you find this content helpful. Thank You! 😃😃😃
Click to follow our Social Media Handles to get the latest updates
We are in a process to queue up next post shortly, till then do subscribe to Rider Escaped Newsletter to get future updates.
If you loved the content, share this with your buddies. In case I missed anything do let me know in the comment section, I will include in the post.