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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1,938 Comments

  1. Great website and has critical information for travelers. I will be going to Ladakh for a month from Mid August to Mid September. I was wondering what a cheap meal would cost in Leh, as I need to budget. If anyone can provide me some numbers would be really grateful.

  2. Hi Dheeraj,

    I’ve been going through your articles and they are extremely informative.

    I’m planning a trip across India with my friend who’s a US citizen starting first week of October which looks something like this. I need your inputs because you have so much experience.

    Delhi-Leh-Sringar-Guwahati-Shillong-Cherrapunji-Guwahati-Bangalore-Puducherry-Kanyakumari-Kerela-Karnataka-Goa-Mumbai-Udaipur-Jaisalmer-Amritsar-Delhi

    All this has to be done in 28 days. Plus it’s a budget trip Rs 75K for the complete trip.

    Now, I’m planning to be in Leh for 6 days maximum. For this, I was thinking of flying to Leh (Rs 3000 per person), renting a bike there and spending 4 days in Leh (Nubra Valley and Pangong and acclimatization, Rs 8-10k for 2 people) and then taking a bus ride to Srinagar (2 days – Rs 1500) and flying to Guwahati from Srinagar. Will there be buses plying in the first week of October and also, do we get to see everything in a bus ride?

    I was thinking of flying to Srinagar first and renting a bike from Srinagar to Srinagar but that would throw off the budget completely and also I don’t think I can fit that in 6-7 days. What do you think about it? Do you have any suggestions or comments? And what about the permits since their is a foreign national with me?

    Also I’m flying from Srinagar because there is a huge difference between flights to Guwahati from Leh and Srinagar.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thanks in advance
    Sahil

  3. Hi,
    Myself and a friend if mine are planning for ladakh bike trip in september. We are planning to bring our bullets to delhi and start riding from there. I would like to go throught srinagar and come back from manali. We are riding for the first time to ladakh, so i would like to go without packages, need to know whether it is advisable to go without packages. I have seen this from one of the forums(New delhi, amritsar, wagah border, srinagar, kargil, padum, kargil, leh, khardung la, turtuk, leh, karu, changla, pangong tso, chushuk, tangtse, karu, tso moriri, pang, sarchu, keylong, manali, ambala, new delhi) please advice main places of attraction in this route,
    To complete the following areas how much days are reccomended ? Where all should we take a halt at night ?
    Please provide us an itinerary. In case if the route i have written here is not a good option.. You could suggest me with some better options

  4. HI Team,

    please advice me.. we are a team of 10 members from hyderabad we are willing to travel to leh-ladak on the dates from august 11-15th would that be possible time to visit it and can you tell me the expenditure for 4days.

  5. Manish Sharma on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Firstly, thanks for being so wonderfully helpful to all leh-ladakh aspires, hard to find someone with so much enthusiasm, numerous answers to tonnes of queries, wow. finally its my turn…BTW, i have taken lot of notes from your posts on Acclimatization and Acute Mountain Sickness.

    I along with 5 other friends are travelling to Leh via Manali in Aug.(11th Aug to 19th Aug) i.e. we will land in chandigarh on 11th evening. Honestly speaking, that is the only plan finalized till now. there is whole lot of confusion over whether to take bike or hire cab. confusion majorly is over whether we will be able to cover up the entire tour on bike as none of us has done beyond 100kms at one stretch on bike. Thus, everyone is considering cab that atleast we will be able to atleast complete tour on time. I personally along with one other friend is keen on doing it on bike, hope the weather remains firm….also, I hope 9 days will be enough, still googling around lot of itinerary to ensure tour ends on time.

    Thanks..

    • It will take 4 days to reach Leh from Srinagar side starting from Delhi with stop overs at Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil and 3 days to come back from Leh from Manali side to Delhi with stopovers at Sarchu, Manali. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization.

      Opt to go via Manali – Leh Highway and I will suggest that you refer the thread for more details on the route and night halts though it is of 9 days: Manali – Leh – Ladakh – Manali | Itinerary for 9 Days. You can fit in plan I suggested in above para in this plan

  6. Hi dhreraj
    I’m Huda, I have plan solo trip ladhak from 10 to 20 August 2017 aprox 9 days
    Night I will arrive to new dehli and flight to leh 11 August 2017 if 1 day is required for acclimatization in Leh is enough??
    i wanna to go pangong lake, nubra valley tso moriri

    help me to describe how long need to acclimatization in there???

    thanks..

    • Plan itin start form i got 8 days from leh
      New Dehli – Leh By Air
      ekslpore Leh (pangong lake, nubra valley, tso moriri) By Public Tranportation
      Back to New Dehli via (Manali or srinagar) by Public Tranportation (By Bus)

      help me to suggest my itinary

    • Hi Huda,

      You can plan the trip as below assuming you will be taking the fly in to Leh and fly out of Leh options:

      Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
      — Checkin at Hotel. Many hotels provide free pick and drop from Airport. Ask while you book them.
      — Take ample of rest as well as water or anything that keep your body hydrated enough. DO NOT OVER HYDRATE. Take ORS Soluted water or ORS – L tetra packs from home.
      — Do not over exert your body at any cost. Avoid too much up-down on stairs or avoid it in entirety, if possible.
      — After 5-6 Hrs of rest you can visit Leh Palace, Local Leh market, Shankar Gompa .
      — If you feel exerted go back to Hotel, have dinner at Hotel and take rest. Avoid any exertion. Else continue and,
      — Follow the sunset by stroll at Changspa road and have a nice dinner on varied cuisines offered in-around Changspa road.
      — Go back to hotel for overnight stay at Leh.
       
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Acclimatization
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing. To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh
       
      Day 3 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder
      — Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
      — On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
      — Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari
       
      Day 4 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
      — Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs
      — Overnight at Leh
       
      Day 5 | Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake
      — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on the go towards Pangong Tso
      — Overnight at Pangong Tso (Spangmik or Lukung)
       
      Day 6 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh
      — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 7 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
      — Cover Karzok Monastery
      — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
       
      Day 8 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh
      — Come back via Tso Kar and Manali – Leh Highway to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      • OR

        Day 7 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
        — Cover Karzok Monastery
        — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
         
        Day 8 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Moore Plains – Pang / Sarchu
        — Try to start early in the day so that you reach Sarchu where the accommodation options are better than Pang
        — Overnight at Sarchu or Pang
         
        Day 9 | Pang / Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
        — On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the road sides only
        — Overnight at Manali

        • Nuke Huda Setiawan on

          Waw… Thanks very much

          but on Day 7 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
          — Cover Karzok Monastery
          — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri

          any public tranportation go there because just 10th 20th n 30tn bus go to there??

          this is day from day my itinary adjust schedule public tranportation go there

          9 Tuesday flight to Delhi
          10 Wednesday Flight to leh rest
          11 Thursday leh to Hunder/Diskit
          12 Friday Hunder/Diskit to Leh
          13 Saturday Leh to Pangong Tso (There is a bus to Pangong from Leh every Saturday)
          14 Monday Pangong Tso to Leh (The bus from Saturday returns on Sunday)
          15 Sunday Leh to Kargil
          16 Tuesday Kargil to Srinagar
          17 Wednesday Srinagar to dehli
          18 Thursday Delhi ke KL

        • I wil suggest two days of complete rest after landing Leh and then move to Nubra and Pangong Tso. Also, you should rely on shared taxis and not on buses for Nubra and Pangong tso unless the bus is available when you are traveling to Pangong Tso.

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