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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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1,480 Comments

  1. connectingsouls on

    Hi ,

    What will be approximate cost for a solo traveller for 10 nights (standard single room/homestay) and shared taxi (if possible) in the month of Sept (18-28)
    Regards
    connectingsouls

  2. shubham bansal on

    hi dheeraj, we are 4 friend and thinking to visit spiti valley and manali…our budget is near about 20k for 5-7 days ..is it good enough for this visit??

  3. Sudhir Mishra on

    Hi Dhiraj,
    I have planned to visit leh ladakh in first week of october for which i have already booked the air tickets. I will arrive at leh on 3rd oct and leave ob 9th oct. I want to know how can i get a good package for 7 days/6 nights stay n sight seeing package. My budget is 15-20k apart from airfare. Pls help me thanx.

  4. Hi
    I wanna see northern India which place is more beautiful laddakh or srinagar for September month. I mean I can visit either srinagar or laddakh.so which place is more beautiful and better for natural sightseeing

  5. Hey dhiraj!! Ur articles have really excited me n I have to make this trip… We r two ladies. We are on a budget and r hoping to get the most out of 25k for approx 10 days. Wud 25k suffice for two people. We just want to visit Tso moriri and a few monasteries. Is this doable?

    • Shruti, in case you saying about 25K each for both of you then it is decent budget. You are two and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. 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. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are :)

  6. binny sharma on

    hi dheeraj
    your page is a great help to actually feel the journey to leh. i am planig to go there in mid september. i have maruti swift petrol….which have done 50,000 km till date..have new tyres…my place hoshiarpur(punjab) is 289 km form manali and 458 km from srinagar….so what you suggest ..which route should i take by keeping view of distance…if i go by srinagar, do i have to get registration or any other formalities? is maruti swift a safe bet….thanks

    • Hello Binny,

      Firstly, I will suggest you that please plan it in other direction as going via Srinagar – Leh Highway will be much much easier on your body and help you acclimatize to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Also, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of Manali – Leh by splitting the journey almost evenly in two days which is very difficult in the other direction. Thirdly, it will allow you to fit Tso Moriri lake into the itinerary in better way. You can read more reasons on the link here

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway Or Spiti Valley via Manali Or Ladakh, please refer the link: FAQ | Can I do Leh – Ladakh / Spiti / Manali – Leh trip in Hatchback or Sedan? for more details.

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are group of around 5-6 friends planning to travel in the last week of september. One of the package we agreed on is Srinagar-Leh-Srinagar. The total amount from mumbai including flights is 33k per person. Is it good enough? your suggestions are welcome..

  8. Hello Sir,
    I am planning trip to leh on 1st week of sept 2015 with a pillon rider(my friend(male)) . I am planning to rent bike from Manali . As we are both boys we don’t want to spend much on accommodation . I am wondering if 25k budget is enough for per head?

  9. RAJESH REDDY on

    Hi All / Dheeraj,

    have already planned for LEH trip starting from july 31 2015 – August 18 2015.
    Departing from mumbai on july 31 2015 and reaching jammu on Aug 1 2015 in the afternoon by swaraj express. we are two people travelling and need to reach LEH on 3rd at any circumstances since we are going for cycling (youth hostel association) . So i want to know the travelling route and schedule for the same.

    1. What type of transport should i opt to travel srinagar from Jammu after reaching Jammu on august 1 2015 by 3 pm ?
    2.What is the travel time between jammu and srinagar if we go for share taxi ? when would we reach srinagar if we catch taxi from jammu in the evening (august 1 2015)
    3. Are these share taxi available all day ? and from where they can be hired? any specific location? and what would be the cost ? Hoping that i will reach srinagar on august 2 i.e the next day
    4.Travel time between srinagar to leh in order to reach by august 3 .
    Are these share taxi available all day ? and from where they can be hired? any specific location? and what would be the cost ?
    5. Also planning to rent bullets for three days after finishing cycling trek on august 11 and tents for one day to stay at pangong . So what would be the cost of the bullet for single day and tent ?

    Please find my schedule and let me know whether this plan can be achived .

    August 3 – August 11 : Cycling trek (Trek ends on August 11 by 9 am)
    August 11 – August 13 : For other places aroung LEH
    August 14 – August 16 : travelling starts from LEH to Jammu
    August 17 – August 18 : Borading train from Jammu and reaching mumbai on august 18

    We have decided to visit few places in these three days.
    Places to visit between the dates August 11 – August 13
    Please advise whether all can be covered in these three days and what needs to be removed from the below list of places.

    From G.H Road , Skara, Leh- Ladakh 194101(J&K) Nearest Landmark: Kartse Gompa.

    1.khardung la pass – 40.3 kms 1.5 hours
    2.magnetic hill – 27 kms 1 hour
    3.thikse gompa – 19.5 kms 45 mins
    4.namgyal tsemo monastery – 4.6 mns 10 mins
    5.gurdwara pathar sahib – 23.2 kms 30 mins
    6.leh palace – 2.5 km 30 mins
    7.shanti stupa – 5.4 km 30 mins
    8.spituk gompa
    9.sankar gompa
    10.phyang gompa
    11.shey monastrey – 12.4 km 30 mins
    12.diskit gompa – 118 kms 3.5 hours
    13.pangong lake – 149 km 3.5 hours
    14.nubra valley – 115 kms 3.5 hours

    Please assist . Since i have only 4 days left to start the trip . My email id is reddyraj1789@gmail.com

    • Hi Rajesh,

      1. Check in case there are any shared taxis leaving by evening from Jammu or night, I am sure there should be some.
      2. Jammu to Srinagar is around 7-9 Hrs depending upon traffic.
      3. Answered above
      4. Again either go by JKSRTC buses or go by shared taxis. There are single day and two days taxis both available. Prefered is one night stop at Kargil
      5. Tent not sure, bullets are around 1200-1500 depending upon model and make.

      Your plan seems fine to me. In three days in hand you can actually do a day trip to Khardung La and two day trip to Pangong Tso where you can camp in the village

      Regards
      Dheeraj

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