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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1,330 Comments

  1. A G K Murty on

    Sir
    We are a group of 4 families which include three 60 year old persons and one 5 year old. We are flying from Visakhapatnam to Delhi on 19th May and will fly to Leh on 20th May. Our friend suggested Hotel Laser Mo in Leh for accommodation. We are okay with Rs 4000-5000 per night hotels if they are good. Our planned itinerary is
    Rest on 20th May
    21st -local sight seing
    22nd- Nubra Valley with night halt at Hundar
    23 rd -Nubra with night halt at Panamik
    24 th-return to Leh
    25th-Pangong Lake with night halt
    26ht-return to Leh
    27th- fly to Delhi and then to Visakhapatnam
    Please sugget if this is okay? Shall we look for another hotel?
    Regards
    Murty

    • Hello Murty ji,

      On 23 instead of tour to Panamik, it is much much better to go to Turtuk as day trip and come back and stay again in Hunder or Deskit. Regarding night stay at Pangong Tso, it will be very very cold, so go prepared, prefer wooden cottages over camps during that time of the year at Pangong Tso.

      In case you looking for direct bookings yourself, you can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

      Regarding hotels, in case you looking for pre-bookings, I will may be you can get in touch with info@offbeatescapes.com / http://www.offbeatescapes.com … You can refer DoW or my name to them in case required. They have got very good feedback from many readers in the past two years, especially in terms of transparent policies, transparent cost split ups as well as being there to help out people all the time when required on their trips. Worth checking the quote from there too. They should be able to help you out with much better hotels within your budget and VFM.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • A G K Murty on

        Thanks Dheeraj ji for your advice. I don’t want to stay in Pangong but thought instead of going back to Leh on the same day ,want to stay somewhere.My friend advised me not to cross Changla on the same day twice! You can suggest place to stay after visiting Pangong.
        Regarding hotels does 5500 rupees per night fall in budget category? what is your advice? Or the one suggested by my friend overpriced? We want a cozy holiday with hot water and other facilities.
        Regards
        Murty

        • Murty ji, the budget should be fine. That is fine, but go with wooden cottages so that it helps you prevent from cold. Or else stay at Tangste which is 34 Kms from Pangong Tso and have couple of guest houses in budget. Offbeat guys might have more better options for you within that budget better than lasermo, try mail them and get a quote, else I have suggested a link which enlists some decent hotels that will come under within budget of yours though not at extreme luxury.

  2. Dear Dheeraj
    please suggest . can I cover all sights by car ?( ford figo /fiat punto diesel ) ground clearance 165 each.

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