Here Is Your Guide For Planning A Trip To Ladakh

Your guide to plan trip to Ladakh
Your guide to plan trip to Ladakh

Adding yet another place into our travel genre, Today let’s talk about one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, the territory of Ladakh. Situated in Jammu & Kashmir, The land comprises of Himalayan and Karakoram range which are two most gigantic mountain ranges in the world. Ladakh is covered in snow throughout the winters with temperature going down to almost -20°C. But after these cold six months, it’s that perfect time of the year to visit the land of highest passes. People who are consumed with wanderlust always include ‘Ladakh’ in their list. Every time we see the scenic beauty of Ladakh in the pictures our heart melts a little, That is the magic of the beautiful and ‘one of a kind’ landscape of Ladakh. Here is your ultimate guide to planning trip to Ladakh covering all the aspects.

Ladakh is largely inhabited by Tibetan people, therefore, their festivals and other events, which takes place during the season time, are a treat to attend. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh then we recommend you to experience all the aspects of this place. Cherish the rich culture of the people of Ladakh to know more about them. You will find a lot of Monasteries and temples in Ladakh.

You will notice the presence of a large number of Army men in the region as Ladakh lies in the J&K state and shares border with Pakistan and China.

If you are planning to visit Ladakh then here is a little guide for you to prepare your trip because even though visiting Ladakh can be very adventurous and can be the best trip of your life but it is not an easy trip at all (but totally worth it).

MUST VISIT PLACES IN LADAKH

The month of July is usually regarded as the best time to visit Ladakh as there are many ethnic festivals that place during this time in Ladakh. Other than the festivals, in the month of July and August, you can get access to all the nearby places which you should explore on your trip. Here are some of the must-visit places in Ladakh.

– Pangong Tso Lake
Also known as Pangong Lake, Everyone is aware of this lush blue serene lake from the movie ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. The crystal clear water of the lake gives the whole landscape a perfect view. The lake is situated at an altitude of 4,350m. The 134-km long lake is located at the Indo-China border with 60% of the lake inside the Chinese territory.

Pangong Tso Lake
Pangong Tso Lake

– Magnetic Hill
This is one phenomenal place which you need to visit to experience it. It’s a one of a kind thing which doesn’t exist anywhere else in India. When you park your vehicle in a certain marked area, you will notice that your ride is moving automatically towards the peak side of the mountain, defying the laws of physics.

People experiencing the magnetic hill phenomenon
People experiencing the magnetic hill phenomenon

– Shanti Stupa
Its a temple constructed by Japanese in 1991. Due to its location on the top of a hill, you can relish a beautiful panoramic view of Leh from the temple area. It attracts a lot of tourists due to the religious significance. The temple is open for tourists from 5 am to 9 pm. It is situated at an altitude of 3,609m.

Shanti Stupa temple in Leh
Shanti Stupa temple in Leh

– Khardung la
Imagine yourself driving at the highest motorable road in the world, sounds surreal right. That’s what makes this pass special. Khardung La pass is situated at an altitude of 18,830 ft and it is a must-visit place which makes you feel like on the top of the world.

Khardung La Pass
Khardung La Pass

– Leh Palace
A nine-storeyed palace situated in Leh is also quite famous among the tourists. This royal palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. The panoramic view of the town from the palace is a treat for eyes. There is a museum inside the palace which displays the collection of rare pieces of jewellery, ornaments, dresses from that time and paintings on the wall are around 450 years old.

Leh Palace
Leh Palace

– Zanskar
Containing the highest peaks of Himachal in its range, Zanskar is a must-visit place if you visit Ladakh. The Zanskar valley is comprised of mostly Buddhists. The valley derived its name from the Zanskar River which flows through the middle of the valley. The average height of the mountains in Zanskar range is about 6,000m.

Zanskar Valley
Zanskar Valley

– Kargil
Once a battleground, This Valley has seen its worst days during the Kargil war of 1999 between India and Pakistan. But turned out to be a must-visit place after India retained its reign over the region. The war memorial in Kargil is a must-visit place which displays the Army dresses, weapons, artillery used during the war. Kargil lies in Dras region which is the second coldest region in the world.

War Memorial in Kargil
War Memorial in Kargil

WAYS TO REACH LADAKH

If we talk about the road trip, then there are two routes which are generally opted by travellers to reach Ladakh. One is via Manali and the other is via Srinagar. It is often advised by the experts that visiting Ladakh can be more fun if you take one route to reach there and take the other one while coming back. The roads open for travellers in the month of April when the snow starts to melt but the Srinagar-Leh route opens after mid-May. July-September is often considered as the best time to visit Ladakh.

Leh is the largest town in Ladakh. The distance from Delhi – Leh is about 1020 kms but due to the hilly routes, it takes around 3 days to travel on road from Delhi to Leh. So one has to keep the traveling days aside other than the days which you will spend there visiting the ‘must-visit’ places of the region.

Please Note: To roam around in Ladakh region, you need a permit which you can get from the local SDM office in Manali, Leh or Srinagar. Without a permit, you won’t be able to pass Rohtang pass, Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley and many other places as well. The permit costs about Rs 600-700 per person and requires a day to get issued. If you have an agent who is planning your trip then it is his duty to get the permits issued for you. You need to submit a photocopy of your govt. ID proof to get the permit.

– Two wheelers: You have often seen people with the fetish of visiting Ladakh on their motorcycles. It is a one of a kind trip but requires a lot of knowledge about the technicalities of your ride. Make sure your ride is in perfect condition to travel. Get the brakes and clutch checked and tested before commencing your trip. Any kind of trouble with your ride during the trip and there is a possibility that you will find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere. Nowadays, visiting Ladakh on a bike has become quite a trend. It has become a dream tour for Wanderers. For a bike trip to Ladakh, you can use your own ride or you can rent them from Delhi, Manali or Srinagar.

Cost (7 nights 8 days)
Rs 18,000-Rs 23,000
(your own ride), Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 (rental ride)
Includes – Accommodation, fuel, meals, adventure activities, exploring nearby places.
Cost can vary on the number of days and route of your preference.
You can easily locate a place to rent rides in Delhi, Manali or Srinagar.

Two wheelers in Ladakh
Two wheelers in Ladakh

– Four wheelers: For visiting Ladakh it is often recommended that one should take out enough days to travel by road to relish the real beauty of the place because the road to Ladakh is an equal treat. If you opt to travel by flight then you will miss the amazing picturesque on the way to Ladakh. The beauty is so surreal that everyone tends to park their ride aside from the road and take pictures of the landscape. For planning a road trip, you should prepare a proper itinerary. This one also needs proper knowledge about technicalities of a car in case you are planning to drive your own. You can also opt to rent a taxi which you can easily get from Delhi, Manali or Srinagar. Although any car is capable of doing the Ladakh road trip it is recommended that you should prefer an SUV or any car with enough ground clearance. High power torque plays a big role on this trip. On the way, you will cross some of the highest passes in the world and there are also chances that you might have to cross some glaciers or waterfalls as well.

Cost (7 nights 8 days)
Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 
(your own ride), Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 (rental ride)
includes – Accommodation, meals, fuel, activities, exploring nearby places.
Cost can vary on the number of days and route of your preference.
You can easily locate a place to rent rides in Delhi, Manali or Srinagar.

Four wheelers in Ladakh
Four wheelers in Ladakh

FlightFor those who are not fond of travelling for days on road can opt for flight. There is an airport in Leh which operates flights from Delhi-Leh every day. There are also flights available from Chandigarh-Leh but they do not operate every day and will cost you more compared to the Delhi-Leh flights. You can reach Leh via flight then rent a taxi to visit places around Leh.

Ticket price
Rs 6,000-Rs 16,000 (Delhi – Leh) 

Rs 11,000-Rs 21,000 (Chandigarh – Leh)
Price difference depends on different airlines

Leh airport
Leh airport

– Bus: If you cannot bring your own vehicle to Ladakh or you want to cut the cost of travelling then you can always consider to travel in a bus. You can board a bus to Leh from Delhi, Srinagar or Manali. The service is provided by HRTC. The distance covered from Delhi to Leh is about 1100 kms and it is a journey of 52 hours with some halts in between. The bus service starts from the first week of July and is available till the mid of September. There are no such buses from which operate directly from Chandigarh-Leh but you can reach Manali and Srinagar from Chandigarh and then change your bus to continue your journey further. Once you reach Leh, there are local buses which operate to the nearby places which you can take for exploring the places. If you plan to travel solo then this mode of transport can be the best for you.

Ticket price
Rs 1300-1400 (Delhi-Leh)
You have to visit HRTC counter at ISBT Delhi to book your ticket. Online booking is not available.

Bus service to Ladakh
Bus service to Ladakh

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO CARRY FOR LADAKH TRIP
– 
ID proof documents
– Woolen clothes
– First-aid kit
– Carry 3-4 litres of fuel along with your luggage if you are bringing your own ride
– Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
– Enough water, Small meals and energy drinks
– Personal belongings
– Trekking accessories (if you want to do it)
– Sunscreen
– Torch with extra batteries
– Moderate cash in the pocket as ATM will be available in only Manali, Leh and Srinagar.
– Full bike riders kit if you are considering the two-wheeler mode of transport.
– Sleeping mat and small tents
– Personal toilet kits
– Vehicle certificates (insurance, registration and pollution control is a must)

ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh then you should not ignore this. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) happens when you go to high altitude and experience problems in breathing. It is always advised that you should keep the first two days to rest and take natural sleep in order to avoid any health issues. AMS tends to hit people at an altitude of 8,000 ft or above. The natural symptoms of AMS are muscle ache, dizziness, loss of appetite, insomnia, swelling, nausea and fast heartbeat. If you experience any of these signs then you should hit the hospital without a second thought. You should also keep medicines for AMS. Acetazolamide and Aspirin are general prescriptions to cure AMS. People traveling to Ladakh often experience AMS due to high altitude but if you take rest for the first two days then you don’t need to worry about it.

We hope that this article helped you to plan all the aspects of your Ladakh trip. For any more queries regarding this, you can leave a comment so we can get back to you.

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