How to calculate cost or budget for Leh – Ladakh trip

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Every now and then I keep getting queries on the budget for Ladakh trip, so I guess a post around it will be helpful for many looking forward to prepare or analyse the budget of their upcoming Leh – Ladakh trip in 2012 and years to come ;). To be very frank, the budget of any trip including Leh – Ladakh depends a lot upon person to person and the taste + comfort he/she prefers. Leh – Ladakh is such a place where you can get varied stay options depending on your choice of comfort, preference, conditions and circumstances :D. The variety may range from Rs 100 stay at some Dhabha tent to Rs 250-500 stay at low cost hotel/homestay to Rs 700 – 1500 at medium cost hotels to Rs 3000 and above for hotels that offer much more comfort etc.. The same thing applies for food as well and depends what you want to eat (Pizza or Dal Bhat or Roti+Dal Fry or Maggie / Veg. Non-Veg. etc.) and more importantly where you want to eat and drink :)… But, in any case I would try to sketch a basic average budget analysis on Leh – Ladakh trip based on the choice of accommodation and food which majority of people opt.

Interested in making a budget trip to Ladakh?? Go on and read the article: 5 Tips for a Budget Trip to Ladakh
UPDATE from 9th July 2014
Please note that this article is from 2011 and you need to factor in the rates by 10-12% increment every year done by Leh – Ladakh Hotels and Guest Houses. Some prices you will see inline as those hotels, guest houses might have been updated in later years in the list. Same applies to Taxi Prices as well. So, consider about 20% increment of the prices in taxis listed below, till date: July 2014

Given below is a basic itinerary for Leh – Ladakh tour ex. Delhi (without any buffer days) covering all major tourist destinations of Leh – Ladakh and followed widely by many travelers including me :). We will be analyzing or finding the budget or costing for this Leh – Ladakh tour as a part of our exercise… You can roughly guess for yourself that for a similar trip or based on your point of interest, what will be the approximate cost or budget for your custom Leh – Ladakh trip. An example itinerary for Leh – Ladakh covering almost all basic tourist places –

  • Day 1 | Delhi – Jammu/Patnitop
  • Day 2 | Jammu/Patnitop – Srinagar
  • Day 3 | Srinagar – Kargil
  • Day 4 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
  • Day 5 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Inner Line Permits
  • Day 6 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit (Nubra Valley) – Hunder – Diskit
  • Day 7 | Hunder/Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
  • Day 8 | Leh – Hemis – Pangong Tso
  • Day 9 | Pangong Tso – Thicksey – Shey Palace – Leh
  • Day 10 | Leh Rest Day or Sham Valley Tour around Leh including Magnetic Hills, Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Alchi, Likir, Basgo, Confluence at Nimmu
  • Day 11 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
  • Day 12 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Moore Plains (Manali – Leh Highway) – Pang – Sarchu
  • Day 13 | Sarchu – Manali
  • Day 14 | Manali – Delhi

So, you can see for our sample Leh – Ladakh itinerary we have taken 14 days (without any buffer days). You can add/remove modify it according to your needs and of course the budget outcome will depend a bit on that but I guess that is very much trivial to say :). Also, consider that while traveling alone the cost of accommodation and transportation is bound to increase and while traveling in large evenly balanced groups it will surely decrease. As of now, I will also assume that you guys are two in number so that budget can be calculated on twin sharing basis.  Now, to analyze the budget on the above or any other itinerary, we can categorize the budget in two major parts described below –

Food + Accommodation + Miscellaneous

If you are living in an average budget hotel with decent comfort and are traveling in a group (at least 2 in number) then the average cost per day for food, accommodation and other misc. things like toll, permit fees, entry fees to monasteries etc. comes about Rs 500-700 per day. This trip will need about 14 days at the very least, so roughly you will be spending some Rs 7000 – 10000 per person for food, accommodation and other misc. expenditures. Again, 500-700 figure could be low budget for someone and little high for the others depending upon choice of stay and food or other activities you plan to do. Example, if you dine at a dhabha tent then the cost of meal would come out to be around Rs 50-70 only per person and the same meal if you take at a restaurant at Changspa road in Leh then you might pay Rs 150 – Rs 170 per person or may be more 🙂 or furthermore in some high end restaurant the cost will go up much more… Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian also matters with respect to food pricing, so take that too into account. Same thing applies for the miscellaneous activities and here I have considered only which are unavoidable such as toll, permit charges, entry fees, snacks etc. If you are going for paragliding, rafting, shopping etc. then that will surely be something additional for you.

Hence, if you are going with the budget hotel having decent comfort, taking decent quality food and including only mandatory miscellaneous charges then you may need to shell out Rs 7000 – 10000 per person for the above Leh – Ladakh itinerary of 14 days.

Mode of Transportation

On a trip to Leh – Ladakh, the major cost comes out to be for taxis or transportation or fuel depending upon your mode of transport. Using public transport inside Leh – Ladakh is a challenge as frequency of such vehicles are very poor and based on their schedules you may require 18-20 days to complete the above trip 🙂 … So, in Leh – Ladakh, travellers mostly commute either by private hired taxis or shared taxis run by tour operators or by finding travels partners and sharing the cost with them or riding rented bikes or ultimately self-drive on their personal bikes or cars. All these options will present you different costing of the trip. Let’s look each one of them below to get an idea of the total cost for a Leh – Ladakh trip.

Self-Drive Private Vehicle

You will be traveling about 3300-3600 KMs for above Ladakh trip. So, if your bike gives mileage of about 30 KMPL on an average in hills + plains then you are looking for about Rs 8000 – 9000 for fuel roughly. Similarly, you can calculate if you are driving the car. Just keep in mind that in hills your car will give much lesser mileage than in plains. So, calculate accordingly and divide them among the people traveling in car to calculate per person cost. It is difficult to travel to Ladakh with a pillion on a bike, so cost is calculated singularly above.

Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling to Ladakh by self-drive mode of transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 8000 – 9000) + (Rs 7000 – 10000) = (Rs 15000 – 19000)) as the total cost for the entire trip.

Self-Drive But Rented Vehicle

Here, cost of fuel would be same as for a self-drive private vehicle calculated above but you will be adding the cost of bike/car rent as well. Usually, you get a decent bike in good condition at around Rs 1000 – 1300 per day depending on the make and model of the bike you rent. So, the cost of rent only comes out to be around Rs 13000 – 17000 considering if you get some discount. Adding the fuel cost as calculated above, the cost here becomes approximately about Rs 21000 – 26000.

Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling to Ladakh by self-drive rented bike mode of transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 21000 – 26000) + (Rs 7000 – 10000) = (Rs 28000 – 36000)) as the total cost for the entire trip. If you are interested to know more details or tips on how to hire the bikes in Manali / Leh, kindly check the link here.

Privately Hired Taxi in Leh

The taxis outside the Leh are not allowed to roam in Leh – Ladakh and you are always required to hire taxi that belongs to Leh only. So, I am considering the case when you will be hiring the private taxi in Leh only and to reach Leh you will be using public transport. It may be the case that you are coming in privately hired taxi from outside Leh or may be flying directly to Leh etc. but here I will assume that you have used public transport such as train to reach Jammu, JKSRTC buses to reach Srinagar and then to Leh, HPTDC buses to reach Manali from Leh and further to Delhi. Also, I will assume that on Day 12 you will be going to Leh from Tso Moriri since in public transport you cannot travel directly from Tso Moriri to Manali. This means one extra day being spent in Leh – Ladakh making it 15 day trip. I am again assuming you are 2 in number… I will break down the private taxi cost and other transport cost for the entire trip as below –

Day 1 – Day 4 (Leh – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh) = Rs 2000 – 2500 per person
Day 5 (Leh Local) = Rs 1500 / 2 = Rs 750 per person
Day 6 – Day 7 (Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Leh) = Rs 6931 / 2 = Rs 3465 per person
Day 8 – Day 9 (Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh) = Rs 6757 / 2 = Rs 3378 per peson
Day 10 (Sham Valley) = (Rs 2000 – 2500) / 2 = Rs 1000 – 1250 per person
Day 11 – Day 12 (Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Leh) = Rs 9369 / 2 = Rs 4685 per person
Day 13 – Day 15 (Leh – Keylong – Manali – Delhi) = Rs 3200 per person

Considering about 10-12% discount on the rates of Leh Taxi Union after bargaining, total cost comes out approximately to be Rs 16500 – 17500 per person when traveling two in number. This cost per person will come down if there are more people traveling with you to a maximum of 6. Why 6? Because one Scorpio taxi can accommodate 6 persons with ease :), anything more than that you need to hire two taxis.

Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling by privately hired taxi in Leh and reaching Leh in public/shared transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 16500 – 17500) + (Rs 7000 – 10000) = (Rs 23500 – 27500)) as the total cost for the entire trip including  1 day added to travel between Tso Moriri – Leh.

If by any chance you plan to hire a private taxi to Travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway then the cost will go much more higher because charges for Srinagar – Leh and Manali – Leh in a private taxi are about Rs 10500 and Rs 17000 – 18000 respectively. If you are less in number, like 2 in this example, it is always suggested to travel in public transport such as shared taxi, JKSRTC buses, HPTDC buses on Srinagar – Leh and Manali – Leh Highways 🙂

Wondering if there is any cheap mode of hiring private taxi to Leh – Ladakh from Manali or Srinagar???? I will say Yes as well as No For more details, read the article here: Cheap private taxi to Leh – Ladakh | A Myth or A Reality?

Shared Taxis or Public Transport or Travel Partners (in group)

Assuming that if, instead of hiring private taxi in Leh – Ladakh you plan to travel by shared taxis run by tour operators or join with other travel partners to share the cost or you yourself are about 6 in number then you are looking at about Rs 10000 – 11000 approximately. If you further plan to travel only by public buses then this figure as well will go down further considerably. However, at the same time you may be required to stay for longer period adjusting to the schedule of these public buses which means increase in lodging + food cost.

Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling shared taxis (or public transport or along with travel partners) in Leh and reaching Leh in public/shared transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 10000 – 11000) + (Rs 7000 – 10000) = (Rs 17000 – 21000)) as the total cost for the entire trip.

Conclusion

If I look at above scenarios or example the of course, it may not be the case every time that you will be hiring the bike from Delhi only. There can be cases where you will travel to Leh – Ladakh by bus or public transport and then hire the bike in Leh to ride other places. Similarly, you may travel to Manali in public transport and then hire bike from Manali etc. There could be similar other cases as well like flying directly to Leh etc. I have tried to cover many general cases here and we can surely discuss custom cases in the comments section below, if you like. Otherwise, if you are looking them at individually and day by day then you will be able to calculate the cost estimate for any such custom combination with fair ease 🙂 …

I will look forward for your queries or doubts in the comments section below and to know your perspective/tips of cost analysis for Ladakh trip as well. Kindly share your valuable thoughts/feedback/inputs etc here with many other fellow travelers.

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1,806 Comments

  1. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to Travel from mumbai to leh max 10 days . On 6 aug (2 adults) .
    Can you suggest how to plan it on such a short notice, do i book tour plan from agents or is there any other way?
    also please can you mention the places to visit there?

    thanks,
    komal

  2. TONY K AUGUSTINE on

    Hello Sir, Me and my 5 Friends have a plan to visit Leh -Ladakh on this Pooja holidays( from 8th october). As we all are working we are not having as much of time to spend for the journey.Still we have 8 Days and 8 nights available so we have to plan accordingly. In order to explore maximum days there in Leh Ladakh we prefer our journey via Air.We will start from cochin by on 8th of October and will reach Delhi on the same day itself before noon. From Delhi we are planning to proceed Leh -Ladakh on the same day itself.Can u please please provide a day wise chart for the days to be spend in each places and places to be visited and all..expecting response from your end.

  3. Dear mr dheeraj
    I want to Travel from lucknow to leh max 10 days . On 1st week of agust 2 adults .
    Can you sugges chepest & proper way .
    Thanks& rigards
    Vijay dubey

  4. srikanth saripalli on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    me and my wife are going to ladakh 16/8 to 21/8. 5 nights and 6 days.

    first day local sight seeing.
    taxi to sham valley water rafting,hall of fame, magnetic hill.
    taxi to numbra and return
    taxi to pangong and return.
    taxi to tso marori and return.

    we have quotation from a travel 38k for both in private cab. and 25k in groups.

    i would like to go for private if it is worth for. what do you suggest.
    To go in group and save money or worth to go in private cab of tour agent.

    I estimated 32k for taxi alone if i hire my self in leh for 5 days. and for 5 nights stay and food would pay 10k.

    i was suggested not to stay night at pangong because of cold there and can manage to see sun set ?
    do taxi’s start from pan-gong to leh after sun set on the same day return taxi ?

    Thank you

    • Well, your plan is too much to do in too little time. You should only plan two day trip to Nubra Valley and one day trip to Pangong Tso. Not more than that. For this the taxi should be around 20-23K including the local sightseeing.

  5. Hi Dheeraj

    I am Suriya and I am from Chennai. I planned to ride my bike SOLO from Jammu to Leh. Now the problem is as I am from south state so basically I don’t know Hindi. Is this create any problem in finding room or getting permission in check post. Can local people understand English ? My poor English?

  6. vineet gupta on

    i am from Lucknow and planning to go Leh via Srinagar , can we go in eartiga with 4 adult and 3 child.

  7. Vikram Gadhavi on

    Hi Dheeraj
    Please give advise about this tour
    15/8/16 to 3/7/16
    Ahmedabad – bokaner – amritsar – srinagar – kargil – leh – manali – delhi – ahmedabad

    • Shared vehicles are available all around ladakh for sightseeing. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip.

  8. Jainik Shah on

    Hi Dheraj,

    I am planning to do a bike trip from Tuesday 9th august for 8 days. I am from UK and will be coming to India foe 3 weeks from 5th august to 27th August. So I really want to do a roadtrip to ladakh for 8 days. I have friends in delhi so we will be taking overnight bus on Monday night to arrive to manali. Planning to do 8 days trip from manali to manali. But struggling to workout budget per person. Can you help me out with budget calculations and the travel plan for 8 days and how to cover the most places in those days. I know you would recommend from Srinagar but we want to do it from Manali as we are going to hire the bike from there. we will be in group of around 3-4 people. can you give the budget for each person including bike rent, food, and hotel stay for 8 days. my friends in india wants to know the price per person so they can plan their finances. And can you advise me the permits I need as a foreign traveller and what tips would you give me about this trip.

  9. We are a group of 3 girls who are planning a leh ladhak trip in mid september and we have been getting varying info on local hired taxis.. ur itinerary has been of great help, and I also went through ur budget calculation too, but since that is from 2011, cud u plz help with a budget for 2016?

    Our plan is to travel to Srinagar via flight. So we need help with the approximate budget for a 7 day trip (17-24 Sep) starting from and back to Srinagar.

    • Hello Kavya,

      Things have not changed much you can increase around 200-300 per day for food + stay. Currently, it should not cost you more than 1000-1200 per day per person for food + stay in case you are staying with guest houses and mid budget camps. As per the taxi union rates of year 2016-17 (http://devilonwheels.com/leh-ladakh-taxi-rates-2016-17/) following is the break up

      Srinagar – Leh in 2 days = 18400
      Leh Local sightseeing = 2500-3000
      Leh – Nubra Valley 2 Day = 10566
      Leh – Pangong Tso 2 Day = 10301
      Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Manali 2-3 days = 29056
      Leh – Manali 2 Days = 21588
      Leh – Pangong Tso 1 Day = 8653
      Leh – Nubra Valley 1 Day = 8053

      You can usually get about 10-15% discount on these taxi rates after getting in touch with the driver directly.

  10. Hi Dheeraj,

    I have a couple of queries.
    – How widely is Credit card accepted in Leh area?
    – Do the shared taxis traveling from Srinagar to Leh stop at the war memorial near Drass?

    Thanks,
    Suhas

    • No Suhas, they are not. Do carry cash but now there are many ATMs too in Leh town. Still, will advise you to carry some cash for sure. No, the shared taxis are meant for locals who dont have much interest in tourist places. They wont be stopping for any sightseeing.

      • Thanks Dheeraj. So there is no way I can do sight seeing unless I am in a private taxi or bike?
        And I have not booked any hotel for Kargil stay. Can I get a decent one for single accommodation for 800-1000 rs., Can I find it once I arrive there?

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