How to plan a journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway

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The 434 KM long Srinagar – Leh Highway is almost like a lifeline in the form of road connectivity between Leh – Ladakh and rest of India via Kashmir Valley. Srinagar – Leh Highway also known as National Highway – 1D (NH – 1D) is the most reliable and one of the only two ways to reach Leh – Ladakh by road, the other one being Manali – Leh Highway (Check: Travel Guide for Manali – Leh Highway here). Generally, travelers or adventure lovers from all over world loves or dreams to undertake this road trip of their life time by covering both routes connecting Leh – Ladakh to rest of India i.e. a lifetime experience road trip traversing Srinagar – Leh – Manali Highways. Apart from being famous for its enchanting views, this highway holds a strategic importance for India and being close to LOC, you see the heavy army presence on it when you travel through Srinagar – Leh Highway.

The highway runs along side the Indus River and through some extremely harsh and barren terrain including the three high mountain passes named Zozi La (3528 Mtrs), Namki La (3815 Mtrs) and Fotu La (4108 Mtrs). In any case, Srinagar – Leh highway offers some breathtaking landscapes ornamented by various historical and cultural constructions which are just like a dream treat for any traveler driving/riding through Srinagar – Leh Highway.

Generally, people traveling or flying directly to Leh – Ladakh suffers from acute mountain sickness as Leh (3500 Mtrs) due to sudden disturbance of altitude with which the body is adapted. However, Srinagar – Leh highway provides a gradual ascent to travelers thus helps them fight any chances of acute mountain sickness (AMS) caused due to high altitudes and let them enjoy the beautiful vistas in relaxed manner.

Season to Travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway

The 434 KM long Srinagar Highway generally remains closed for about 6 months in an year starting from November to May due to heavy snowfall on the mountain passes mainly Zozi La pass. Zozi La pass starts receiving snowfall in the month of November and then any day of November (generally 15th November officially) the highway ceases to close officially as it becomes extremely difficult for BRO to clear the snow. Then, again as the winter months resides, the BRO guys begins the snow clearance process in spring season that is in March and repair the damaged roads, bridges and other parts of the highway. Finally, after completing this rigorous job of snow clearance and fixing the roads, bridges etc BRO announces the opening of Srinagar – Leh Highway generally around mid – May or by June first week.

Hence, the best season to travel Srinagar – Leh Highway is between June to October. In May, if the highway gets open then generally the roads are in really bad shape and only improves as the season progress with constant repair work conducted by BRO. By end of June as the road condition stabilizes the monsoon comes to the party in July and creates havoc in lower hills connecting Srinagar to Jammu and further to other parts of India. The landslides are almost inevitable in monsoon season which causes road blockages ever now and then. The Amarnath Yatra being in full flow in July – August, do expect heavy traffic and rush from Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil parts of highway. Even the dominance of armed forces also increase in July – August owing to the security of pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra.

It is almost a nightmare to drive through Zozi La Pass in July – August especially when its raining or has rained previous days but at any day better than Rohtang Pass on Manali – Leh Highway which becomes more than hell during monsoon season. One should always avoid Srinagar – Leh Highway during days alongside Independence Day in India i.e. 15th August which is when the bandhs and strikes gets more active. As the end of August approach, the Amarnath Yatra is over and monsoon starts to reside from Northern India, the conditions improve much more to travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway and in September it could be called as best time to travel but you will not find any snow of course. Even in August and late July snow will be hard to touch except few patches on Zozi La pass.

Since, the other side of Zozila Pass mainly Kargil onwards comes under rain shadow area where only the dry winds of monsoon reach. So, in July – August you need to tackle the monsoon rains and their havoc in lower hills only including Jammu, Srinagar, Zozi La pass i.e. till you reach Kargil where there is very little rain during these months.

Throughout the season, you need to let pass large convoys of army trucks as army also stock up required materials in Leh – Ladakh through Srinagar – Leh road majorly. This may cause delay of few hours every now and then in your entire journey on Srinagar – Leh highway.

Modes of Travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Private Vehicles i.e. Cars and Bikes | Self Drive or Ride to Ladakh

Most people prefer to self drive or self ride to Ladakh by their own car or own bike and some also prefer to self drive or self ride to Ladakh by hiring a bike or car. In any case, hired car/bike or personal car/bike, idea is to live the passion of driving or riding through one of the toughest and adventurous terrains accessible in India. You can take your own or rented, car or bike to Ladakh but one must be careful while driving or riding through slushy roads, snow and water crossing or nallas. Also, it is always handy to learn little maintenance tasks of your vehicle prior to the start of this comparatively less arduous journey than Manali – Leh Highway.

For cars, although an SUV/MUV is good to have and a 4WD SUV will definitely help but I have seen hatchbacks (including Altos and Nano) and sedans doing good enough job on Srinagar – Leh Highway than on Manali – Leh Highway. If you want to try your sedan or hatch back drive to Ladakh then Srinagar – Leh Highway is better bet when compared to taking a sedan or hatch from Manali – Leh Highway. However like on Manali – Leh Highway, with sedans / hatchbacks one must drive with extra care and caution even at Srinagar – Leh Highway and especially around Zozila pass (ascend and descend both).

You get less number of challenges on Srinagar – Leh Highway as compared to Manali – Leh Highway with only major hurdle being Zozila Pass. However even then, whenever you are in doubt, always step out of your car, walk down the path, inspect with your foot and plan the path of exit before crossing a dangerous landslide or water crossing on your vehicle. You can also park aside and see how others are crossing the risky section to plan your route of escape. In deep water crossings try to maintain the momentum without any half clutch measures and complete the entire stretch in one go only. Similarly, in slush stretches do not force the issue rather keep the smooth momentum with required speed to pass you through, without half clutch measures. Do keep an eye on the direction of the vehicle too. If you get stuck in slush then try to back and forth your vehicles to get out of the stuck position. It is always handy to ask your fellow co-travelers to get out of the car and push the vehicle from behind incase the car is struggling to pass through the slush or water crossing stretch.

Basic toolkit, screw driver set, small hammer, puncture repair kit, iron rod, two or three “2 ltr” empty bottles of pepsi / coke / limca etc to carry extra petrol or diesel (jerry cans will leak, cold drink bottles do not leak), funnel, towing rope, spare tube (must for bikes), elfy or fevi quick (2-3 sachets), jump start cables/wires, M-seal to prevent leakage etc. were among the few things which I carried along on my trip to Ladakh. Also, do not forget to get your vehicle (car/bike) serviced about 2-3 weeks before the start of the Ladakh journey. This will ensure that you have proper time in advance to test your serviced vehicle and get fixed any hitches that may have been introduced in that service

Hiring a Private Taxi | Taxi Number or Private Number

All taxis (except Ladakh registration number) having taxi number or tourist permits number plates are only allowed for a drop in Leh – Ladakh. As per the taxi union rules only taxis with Ladakh number are only allowed to roam in the Ladakh region for sightseeing purposes. If you want to travel within Leh – Ladakh in your private taxi hired from a place other than Ladakh then in that case you need to hire a taxi with private number plate only. However, in the latter case be ready for some queries by the local taxi drivers in Ladakh or police constables on your route. You need to ensure everyone interrogating with you that the vehicles is not hired.

If you can get hold of some taxi driver in Ladakh then hire that taxi only else go to Kargil first and change taxi from there. From Kargil, the Ladakh taxi driver can pick you and you will have the advantage to cover the sightseeing places en-route Leh on Srinagar – Leh Highway like Alchi, Basgo, Likir etc before you reach Leh. If that is not your plan then hire a direct taxi from Srinagar to Leh but with taxi hired with Srinagar number plate you will not be able to do sightseeing en-route especially Sham Valley, as far as I know.

To hire a taxi, go directly to Srinagar taxi stand and bargain hard with the local drivers only, for a drop to Leh. Do not involve any tour operator or hotel staff at any stage. The local taxi drivers will charge about Rs 1200-1500 extra for a planned night halt on the way to Leh. The charges are close to Rs 9000 to Rs 12000 for a drop to Leh from Srinagar with one night halt, depending on your bargaining power, tourist rush and the time of the year you are visiting.

Srinagar – Leh Bus Service, JK SRTC and Others | Economical mode of travel

JK SRTC ply buses on Srinagar – Leh Highway which are available at Srinagar Bus Stand near Lal Chowk and near Polo Ground in Leh. I guess JK SRTC have both standard as well as semi-deluxe buses which run Srinagar – Leh Highway with cost of about Rs 500 – Rs 600 for Standard bus and Rs 600 – Rs 700 for semi-deluxe types. There are also few private bus operators running semi-deluxe buses between Srinagar – Leh who charge about Rs 800 – Rs 900 per seat.

These buses generally stop at Kargil for the night and Sonamarg for tea and snacks. The JK SRTC buses may not be as comfortable though but comfort comes with the price. The buses leaves Srinagar around 5 AM and Leh around 6 AM, I guess.

Shared Taxi | A Cannon ball run

You can also buy yourself a seat in a shared taxi which runs every mid-night from Srinagar and reaches Leh on next evening without any night halt. In the same way, shared taxis are run from Leh to Srinagar as well.

You need to pay about Rs 1200 to Rs 1500 per person for a drop to Leh from Srinagar or a drop to Srinagar from Leh. Of course, since it is shared with 7-8 other people plus the driver and completes the back braking cannon ball run of Srinagar – Leh in 16-18 hours, you can imagine the level of comfort yourself. This one is the second cheapest mode of travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway but mind you, it could be the toughest on the body too 🙂

Also, not staying at Kargil will mean less acclimatization which may make you feel a bit sick in the first few days when you reach Leh.

Other travel modes

You can also get in touch with some travel agent or taxi union in Srinagar who also runs their private buses or Tempo Travelers on Srinagar – Leh Highway.

Planning Night Stay or Accommodation on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Based on my experience, you can opt to plan a journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway in one of the following ways –

Two Day Journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway

The options of stay or accommodation are very limited on Manali – Leh Highway due to the limited civilization but on the Srinagar – Leh Highway you get the respite as there are plenty of civilized places enroute and you get to find accommodation either one or the other place. You will find accommodation option ever 70-80 odd KMs on an average. But still, a two day journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway is the most common among all travelers as you tend to see the beauty in relaxing manner as well as you help your body to accilimatize to the altitude of Leh. Private Taxis and buses run by JK SRTC also cover the Srinagar – Leh Highway in two days with night halt at Kargil. Mostly, people break up the journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway in the following ways over a span of two days –

Srinagar – Kargil / Drass (Day 1) and Kargil / Drass – Leh (Day 2)

This option is mostly preferred by people as it evenly distributes the travel time of the entire journey in two days. However, on the second day, you need to leave early in the morning if you are interested to stop at every other point to take pictures and still reach Leh in time :).

Personally, out of Kargil or Drass you shall prefer to stay at Kargil due to varied options of accommodation available at Kargil. But, many a times finding vegetarian food becomes difficult in Kargil in the late evening and hence, you can opt to stay at Drass which does offer a few accommodation options. The distance between Drass – Kargil is about 60 KMs only which means about 2 hours of more travel time on next day.

If you are a vegetarian then most likely, what you can do is that if you are reaching Drass by about evening then its good to take your dinner there and reach Kargil by the late evening or early night time. May be a tea or coffee with some biscuits will make you feel good for rest of the night. It will surely help rather than sleeping without vegetarian food due its unavailability in Kargil 🙂

One Day Journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway
Srinagar – Leh (Day 1)

This option of completing the journey of Srinagar – Leh in single day is mostly common among local people or people who are in high rush and is least recommended if you want to enjoy your travel. Shared taxis are the preferred way to avail this option. Although, it could be the cheapest or time saving for you but this back braking, cannon ball run of 15-16 Hrs with least stoppages does put a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind of an average traveler. This long journey is extremely tiring and by traversing through the varied amount of altitudes in a single day, you are definitely running a risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or some severe headaches and for initial days spent in Leh. Of course, this is true incase you have not stayed overnight in Gulmarg or Pahalgam or Sonamarg on previous nights of your tour. Doing in a single day, may certainly kill the joy of the journey.

Three Day Journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway
Srinagar –  Kargil/Drass (Day 1) and  Kargil/Drass  – Lamayuru/Alchi (Day 2) and Lamayuru/Alchi – Leh (Day 3)

Well, by extending the journey of Srinagar – Leh Highway in three days, you give yourself a chance to explore the sightseeing places en-route thoroughly. There are many tourist destinations in Ladakh region which are situated on Srinagar – Leh Highway and requires time if you really wish to explore them. Hence, by extending the journey with one day you give your self ample of time to explore these tourist places before you reach Leh. For more details on sightseeing refer section: Sightseeing on Srinagar – Leh Highway, below in the article.

Very few people follow this option due to lack of time and to save money. If these two things have no place for consideration at your grounds then I will say just go with it and you will make your journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway much more than a memorable experience :). I guess the comparison of night halts (Drass/Kargil) is already done in first option, so opt as per your taste.

This option will mostly be available, if you are traveling by your own vehicle. To be very frank, this option is not even available if you are hiring a private Srinagar registered taxi as well because Srinagar registered taxi are not allowed for local sightseeing in Ladakh region especially Sham Valley where all these tourist places are present. In such a case you need to book a taxi to Kargil first from Srinagar and then hire yourself a taxi from Kargil to Leh or you need to hire a Ladakh registered number taxi. Confirm in advance from the driver if he will do sightseeing for Sham Valley before booking it. Then, in next two days after covering all tourist destinations including Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Redzong, Alchi, Likir, Sham Valley etc on the route you can reach Leh.

Staying one night at Alchi, which is lower in altitude than Leh, also make sure that your body is much more acclimatized to the altitude of Leh and you enjoy a lot better conditions once you reach Leh after a stay at Kargil and Alchi on previous nights.

Alternate Route to Leh from Kargil via Batalik and Dah

There exist an alternate route to reach Leh once you reach Kargil which is a bit more scenic than the usual route. The usual route goes like Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Leh and the alternate, less used route goes like Kargil – Batalik – Dah – Skurbuchan – Leh.

Please make a note that the route via Batalik requires you to get the Inner Line Permits from either DC Office Kargil or DC Office Leh. So, I will advise that you go to Leh from Kargil via Lamayuru following the usual route and then you can come back to Kargil via Batalik after getting the permits from Leh DC office at the time you apply permits for Ladakh sightseeing places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso etc. If you are returning via Manali – Leh Highway then you need to take permits from Kargil DC Office to go via Batalik route and thereby miss the usual route to Leh which goes via Lamayuru.

Sightseeing on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Well, while traversing this beautiful road of Srinagar – Leh Highway you also give yourself a chance to visit the following places either on the route or with little diversions from the route –

Maitrey at Mulbek, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscape, Redzong / Rizong Monastery,  Alchi Monastery, Likir Monastery, Basgo Palace, Confluence at Nimmu, Magnetic Hills, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Phyang Monastery, Spituk Monastery.

You need to give yourself time to explore these places especially Lamayuru, Alchi and Likir monasteries. Hence, if you plan to cover these sightseeing places either while going towards Leh from Srinagar or towards Srinagar from Leh, then give yourself at least 3 days to cover the entire Srinagar – Leh route.

List of Accommodation or Stay Options on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Srinagar – Leh Highway is much better than Manali – Leh Highway in terms of accommodation options it offers and one can find decent place to stay within 125 odd KMs at max. At some places like Mulbekh, Sonamarg, Drass etc the accommodation options could be very limited and basic guest house / home stay types while places like Kargil, Lamayuru does offer varied amount of accommodation options. So, it always better to break the journey at Kargil or Lamayuru but of course there are not much worries for places of stay on Srinagar – Leh Highway than on Manali – Leh Highway. You can also take diversion to the towns of Alchi / Likir for a stay there as well. Of course you will find basic home stay types of accommodation at both Alchi / Likir but it would be a worthwhile experience in any case. Here is the break up of accommodation options available on Srinagar – Leh Highway with distances –

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg (80 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Sonamarg
  • Sonamarg – Drass (65 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Drass
  • Drass – Kargil (55 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Kargil
  • Kargil – Mulbekh (40 KMs) | Few basic / home stay accommodation options available at Mulbekh
  • Mulbekh – Lamayuru (70 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Lamayuru
  • Lamayuru – Alchi / Likir (55 – 65 KMs / 65 – 75 KMs) | Few basic / home stay accommodation options available at Alchi / Likir
  • Lamayuru – Leh (125 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Leh
  • Alchi / Likir – Leh ( 65 KM / 55 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Leh

Please keep in mind that Alchi and Likir are not exactly on Srinagar – Leh Highway and you need to take diversions near Sasapol, I guess, for either of them. The distance between Alchi – Likir is about 18 – 20 KMs only.

Acclimatization and its importance on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Unlike Manali – Leh Highway, the journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway goes through gradual increase in altitude thereby helping our body to get acclimatized properly for the altitude of Leh. That is why going through Srinagar – Leh Highway is always preferred for road trip to Ladakh than going via Manali – Leh Highway. By going to Leh – Ladakh from Srinagar – Leh Highway, one gives himself a chance to properly acclimatize to the high altitudes there by decreasing the chances of being hit by AMS. In the return leg, you can go via Leh – Manali Highway so that your body is properly acclimatized by the time you under take the varied high altitudes on that route. This helps you enjoy the Manali – Leh highway in a better way as well.

Having said that even on Srinagar – Leh Highway its always good that you take little precautions to further minimize the effects of high altitude  sickness. Here are some tips which will help acclimatizing the body faster

  • Try to cover the Srinagar – Leh journey in two days with a night halt at Kargil most preferably.
  • Keep your body properly hydrated.
  • Avoid sleeping at high altitudes.
  • Avoid over exertion.
  • Avoid tobacco and smoking and alcohol and other depressant drugs.
  • Keep your body warm and eat lots of carbohydrates.
  • Avoid sleep during the day.
  • Sleep in upright position, if possible.
  • Carry preventive medicines for AMS.
  • Immediately descend, if symptoms increase.

For more information on Acute Mountain Sickness and all above acclimatization tips, please refer the following link at least once: Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization

Fuel or Petrol Pumps on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Again, unlike Manali – Leh Highway, it is easy to find fuel or petrol on Srinagar – Leh Highway. One can get fuel or petrol on Srinagar Leh Highway at:  Srinagar, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha,  Khaltsi, Leh

ATMs on Srinagar – Leh Highway

As per my knowledge there are ATMS available at Ganderbal, Drass, Kargil apart from Leh and Srinagar ATMs. I guess you should carry enough cash with you in Ladakh because ATMs at these limited places can run out of money or become un-operational at any day or time.

Places on Srinagar – Leh Highway with their Distances and Altitudes

Generally, the places of on Srinagar – Leh Highway majorly goes like Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil – Mulbekh – Namika La – Fotu La – Lamayuru – Khaltsi – Sasapol – Nimmu – Leh and the approximate distances between these places is shown below briefly –

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg (80 KMs)
  • Sonamarg – Drass (65 KMs)
  • Drass – Kargil (55 KMs)
  • Kargil – Mulbekh (40 KMs)
  • Mulbekh – Lamayuru (70 KMs)
  • Lamayuru – Leh (125 KMs)

Summarized View of Facilities or Amenities on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Facility

Places

Accommodations / Stay Options

Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil (Many options), Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Alchi
Food / Beverages Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil (Many options), Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Alchi
Diesel / Petrol Pumps Mangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha, Khaltsi
Mobile Connectivity
  • Upto Sonamarg both BSNL and Airtel post paid connections work, then in Drass only BSNL, once you reach Kargil you will get the Airtel signal, but then in Mulbekh and Lamayuru only BSNL works, in Nimmu Airtel is restored along with BSNL and once you reach Leh both Airtel and BSNL works.
  • Of course BSNL has more coverage and better connectivity within this range than any other operator. Airtel works in Ladakh but with poor connectivity.
  • SMS does work fine for both BSNL and Airtel.
  • Vodafone did not work after Srinagar and but now works in Leh – Ladakh with Aircel. Surprisingly, Anadi reports recently (June 2013) below that it does not work anymore, may be contract renewal did not happen or what. So, do not rely on Vodafone.
  • Aircel also work in Leh and adjoining areas.
  • Packet data works but only with BSNL that too with EDGE only.
  • Prepaid connections from outside Jammu and Kashmir do not work in Leh – Ladakh. Carry only post-paid.
  • Anadi reports below: Vodafone postpaid still does not work after anywhere after Srinagar on Srinagar-Leh Highway and towns falling on the said highway.(It works in Gulmarg and Pahalgam). It did not work in Sonemarg, Drass, Kargil, Mulbek, Khaltse, Nimmu and Leh. Bsnl was omnipresent. In Leh, Bsnl, Airtel and Aircel were working. Vodafone, Reliance and Idea were not working.
Fixed Phones Ganderbal, Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil, Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Alchi, Nimmu and in between these places as well
Electricity Almost all the towns en-route have electricity and I wonder if there is any town which lacks it.
Medical Facilities Sonamarg, Drass (limited), Kargil, Lamayuru (limited)
ATMs Ganderbal, Drass, Kargil
Mechanic / Puncture Shops Ganderbal, Sonamarg, Kargil, Lamayuru (Puncture), Mulbekh (Puncture), Nimmu (Puncture)
Liquor Shops Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil

Conclusion

Have you ever been to Srinagar – Leh Highway? If yes, please share your view points, suggestions or inputs as comments below, it will help other fellow travelers to plan their own journey on one of the beautiful highways of India. Are you planning to go to Ladakh via Srinagar – Leh Highway? If yes, please feel free to ask any queries or doubts you have regarding the same as comments below. I will be happy to reply and discuss them with you. Looking forward for your responses 🙂

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2,244 Comments

  1. Hello Dheeraj I am Planing to Visit Leh-Ladhakh from 19th Aug to 29th Aug By Air can you please Provide me iterenary for the same so that i can cover Whole Leh-ladhak tourist point. If you can provide me a Iternary including Manali that is fine .

  2. Jitesh bairagi on

    Hello Dheeraj,

    I am planning to visit a tour to Srinagar-Leh-Manali In August. I will reached at Srinagar on 11th of Aug in evening. Now then i want to proceed to Leh/Ladhakh & want to return from Leh-Manali Route. I want to reach at Manali on 18th of August.
    We are 3 person, from Srinagar to Leh we will take private vehicle & in Leh we planning to take bikes and again for rest of journey we will take private vehicle to complete the rest of journey.
    Kindly suggest me the itinerary for this route & also inform me where i need permit to visit a place.

    • Hi Jitesh, you do not need any permit to do this trip. You can follow the below plan:

      12: Srinagar – Kargil
      13: Kargil – Leh
      14: Leh rest and acclimatize
      15: Leh – Nubra/Khardung La day trip
      16: Leh – Pangong Tso day trip
      17: Leh – Sarchu/Jispa
      18: Sarchu/Jispa – Manali

  3. Hi Nikhil,

    A few queries.
    I have a Scross and I have to make a 12 day program starting from Jammu to Leh and back.
    Plan –
    day 1 – Jammu – Sonmarg
    day 2 – Sonmarg to Kargil.
    day 3 – Kargil to Leh
    day 4&5 – Leh
    day 6 – Leh to Nubra Valley and BAse Camp of Siachen. Ni Halt ?
    day 7 – Halt? – Turtuk & Back to Leh
    day 8 – Leh to PsongSo & Ni Halt?
    day 9 – Ni Halt to Leh via Chushul
    day 10 – Leh to Drass via Batalik
    day 11 – Drass to Batote/ Patnitop
    day 12 – Patnitop to Jammu

    Suggest changes, if I have to?
    Will Scross go over to all these places?
    Plan is from 3 – 14 Sep 2016.

  4. Hello Dheeraj

    I found your site very informative and a great guide for planning road trips. I was hoping you could help us out as well. We are a group of 2/3, planning to drive to Leh-Ladhakh probably via Srinagar. Our starting point would be Chandigarh. We will be hiring a Scorpio (4WD) and driving it ourselves till Leh and thereafter hire a cab for further exploration. Our intended date of departure from Chandigarh is 24/9/2016, early morning. We have around 10 days in hand to make the trip and back of which the detailed itinerary is below :

    Day 1 – Chandigarh to Patnitop
    Day 2 – Patnitop to Kargil
    Day 3 – Kargil to Leh
    Day 4 – Leh rest
    Day 5 – Leh touring
    Day 6 – Nubra valley overnight camp
    Day 7 – Pangong Lake overnight camp
    Day 8 – Tso Kar lake, hunder dunes, Hanle if camp option available
    Day 9 – Leh
    Day 10 – Return journey via Srinagar.

    We would appreciate it if you would address the following concerns for us :

    1. Is our day 1-3 target achievable bearing in mind the road conditions, can we try to do it in 2 days so as to have more time for sightseeing? We wish to avoid staying in Srinagar as we are not sure how the political climate will be at any given time.

    2. We will be hiring/renting a car so what are the points to be kept in mind? We were thinking of a Scorpio 4 x 4. We’ve gone through your following posts and feel it amost covers everything but still have few concerns below and would like some confirmation:

    http://devilonwheels.com/index.php/how-to-plan-a-journey-on-srinagar-leh-highway/
    http://devilonwheels.com/index.php/7-useful-tips-for-a-self-drive-to-leh-ladakh/
    http://devilonwheels.com/index.php/list-of-things-to-carry-when-you-go-on-trip/

    3. Any other important things regarding permits etc we need to keep in mind so as to have a smooth journey?

    4. Any decent pit stops or must visit pit stops ?

    5. How to get an update regarding the road conditions at the time of our departure?

    If we missed out on anything, please feel free to add/recommend in your reply.

    Kindly let us know as soon as is possible for you.

    Looking forward to the trip.

    Thank you in advance.
    ​​

    • Hi Nikhil,

      1. You should do it like below
      Day 1 – Chandigarh – Srinagar (12 Hr)
      Day 2 – Srinagar – Kargil
      Day 3 – Kargil – Leh
      Day 4 – Leh Rest day
      Day 5 – Leh – Nubra Valley
      Day 6 – Nubra valley – Leh
      Day 7 – Leh – Pangong Tso
      Day 8 – Pangong Tso – Leh
      Day 9 – Leh – Sarchu
      Day 10 – Sarchu – Manali

      2. You should be good with these items. You car is perfect for this trip.
      3. No permit will be required on above route
      4. Refer Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh for day wise details of above plan along with sightseeing places from point to point
      5. Well, you can check thread in Road Conditions forum in DoW.

  5. Hi Dheeraj ji,

    Could you please help me with a accommodation suggestion for Kargil?

    I am planning my trip from 30th August to 11th September and on 31st I will be staying at kargil.

    • Apart from my one stop Greenland hotel, few readers/members of DoW have suggested below options:

      Aaman Guest House (just 3-4 kms after entering Kargil check post), it was a homestay and stay and food was awesome.
      Daspa Guest House (confused it with other) near bypass bridge. Name: Mr. Gulam Mohammed; Mob: 09469730240. 
      Paradise Guest House in Kargil is a decent place to stay

  6. Hey Dheeraj,

    Given the recent disturbances in Kashmir which we see in News, is it advisable to take road trip from Srinagar to Leh in current month or August ?

    Thanks,
    Sandeep

    • I will suggest to have a word with some hotel guy in Srinagar and then take a call to go from Manali side. These things are dependent from person to person judgement call and what a person feels is OK to him or her given the circumstances. So, best is to talk to a local hotel guy in Srinagar and confirm about the ground situation in tourist places and Srinagar – Leh route. Having being stuck in riots/curfews myself at times, my personal suggestion will be to avoid unless unrest is over and take the Manali route.

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    We had planned to go Leh from Srinagar because we did not want any AMS issues. But due to the current situation in Srinagar, will there be any bus operating to Leh. I mean not now, but in next few weeks? Security is a big concern in Srinagar too.

    • I will suggest to have a word with some hotel guy in Srinagar and then take a call to go from Manali side. These things are dependent from person to person judgement call and what a person feels is OK to him or her given the circumstances. So, best is to talk to a local hotel guy in Srinagar and confirm about the ground situation in tourist places and Srinagar – Leh route. Having being stuck in riots/curfews myself at times, my personal suggestion will be to avoid unless unrest is over and take the Manali route.

  8. Avijit Saha on

    we are start from kolkata to srinagar (1 day)via flight and manali to kolkata via kalka mail(2 day), then we have 6 to 7 days for complete the journey from srinagar to leh to manali. please suggest.

    • 2 days are required to reach Leh from Srinagar, 1 day acclimatization in Leh, 2 days to reach Manali from Leh. So, you have 1 day left in which you can make a trip to Nubra or Khardung La

  9. Nidhi Sharma on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thanks for all the great and helpful information.

    Are there any restrictions on the Sonmarg to Kargil highway. I j=have heard that traffic from Sonmarg towards Kargil is allowed only after 1100 AM?

    Is this true

    Thanks
    Nidhi

    • Nidhi, that is usually when the road is just opened. Teh restrictions for light vehicles have been lifted by now as the snow has melted on zojila and there is enough space to pass two light vehicles at a time.

  10. Rajan Salvi on

    Thanks for giving your valulable time and invaluable inputs. My son is doing the trip and I was a bit worried. He followed the route Amritsar – Mandi- Bhuntar – Rohtang- Kehlong – Pang – Leh. Today Nubra valley and from there Pangon Lake. After reading this article , i am breathing a sigh of relief that the worst part of the journey seems to be over as he will be coming by Kargil route. Your article has eased my tension. Thank you very much.

      • Rajan Salvi on

        Thanks for your reply. One concern over , another started . Unrest in Kashmir so he cannot come by Kargil route.

        • Yeah, I will suggest to have a word with some hotel guy in Srinagar and then take a call to go from Manali side. These things are dependent from person to person judgement call and what a person feels is OK to him or her given the circumstances. So, best is to talk to a local hotel guy in Srinagar and confirm about the ground situation in tourist places and Srinagar – Leh route. Having being stuck in riots/curfews myself at times, my personal suggestion will be to avoid unless unrest is over and take the Manali route.

  11. Hi Deeraj,

    Need your suggestion on the itinerary which i have planned.We would be visiting Srinagar on 28th July and would be traveling to Leh.(3 members)

    1)28th July after by 1:00 AM reaching Srinagar – Planning to Visit Dal Lake, Tulip Garden, Hazratbal Dargah Sharif, Nigeen Lake, Nasim Bagh(When i searched these all places was nearby, is it possible to vist them?, if you have timings information of tourists place, please share).
    2)Either 28th Night or 29th early morning start to leh.(Have plans to stay at kargil and move on to Leh)
    30th after noon reach Leh.
    3)31st Local sight seeing, Till 6th Engaged with Stok Kangri trek.
    4)7th early morning leave to Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake(Stay near lake).
    5)8th Morning Cover either of Hemis, Thiksey and Shey on return to Leh.
    6)9th early morning Leh to Khardung La, Nubra valley, and planning for Zankar river rafting, magnetic hill.(Is it feasible)Planning to leave evening or night to Sonamarg or next day early morning based on time.
    7)10th Leh to Sonamarg and stay at sonamarg.
    11)Early morning from Sonamarg or Srinagar to gulmarg(Optional).Having flight from Srinagar around 2:00 in afternoon.
    =========
    Waiting for your valuable feedback.

    Thanks,
    Ranjit.C

      • Avijit Saha on

        ok zansker cancel,but srinagar-leh-manali by road and staying at budget hotel but travel in a car like scorpion or something like that. We are 6 to 10 people looking for your opinion for budget and tour plan.we have only 10 days leave . please suggest.

        • 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. You have about 10 days. 1 Day can be used as Day trip to Pangong Tso and other day can be used as day trip to Nubra Valley or just Khardung La pass.

          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.

  12. Hi dheeraj we r planning a trip to ladakh in August this year.we r 4 friends.I want to know can we do this trip in August..? And also can
    we do turtuk /hunder / agham via shyok river to pangong so to tso moriri…..?

      • Thanks dheeraj….just one more help can we expect to see tourist in August..? This is our first ladakh trip so family r concern about visiting it in agusut… I hope we r not the only ones there in August…. Is it still peak tourist season there..? Tnx in advance

  13. Ravikiran on

    Hello dheeraj
    Am Ravikiran if we want travel on our own bike in following route that is delhi-srinagar- kargil- leh-manali- Delhi

    We want to cover these sightseeing places in our bikes only

    So is there any objections from taxi unions because you mentioned local taxi people not allowed to sightseeing other than their taxi

    And to do this kind of round trip which will be the perfect time…

    Thanks in advance

    Reply will be appreciated

  14. Hi dheeraj. Thanx for sharing so valuable imformation. M planning to visit leh on 15 th july. M an former anxiety sufferer but now m absolutely ok. I get panic sometime when my heart rate goes up but it returns to normal and i also do joggings normally n m fine. But m afraid of altitude sickness as i googled and they day it may be life threatning. So kindly tell me if its safe to visit leh? And m planning to stay at drass or kargil before reaching leh.. So can it be helpful? My soul wants me to be there but m afraid that altitude sickness may put me in serious trouble.. Hope u reply.. Thanx in adv..

  15. Sunil Gupta on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Really appreciable the blog you are doing, thanks a lot for giving that valuable information .
    We are 4 people and planning to start from Srinagar to Leh and then back to manali by my car Maruti Ciaz. Please suggest that ciaz is enough capable to do leh or not.
    I would like to know that can I get a driver only who can drive us to Leh from Srinagar in my car, . If yes, then at what charges he will be available

  16. msingh0091 on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Really appreciable the blog you are doing,it has helped a lot fellow travellers like us to plan our trip in a better way.
    I have done trip to spiti valley also this year in May was a very good experience, had a real good time exploring some remote areas of spiti valley and enjoying the beauty of the wonderful spiti valley.
    So, this time around me and my friend are planning trip to leh from delhi via srinagar-leh-manali on ertiga, we will be self driving.
    We are planning from 12 August to 21 august.

    We are planning as follows:
    12 August: Delhi to patnitop(Stay at patnitop)
    13 Aug: Patnitop to Kargil(stay at Kargil)
    14 Aug: Kargil to leh(with sight seeing on the way to leh).
    15 Aug: Rest, acclimatize and local sight seeing.
    16 Aug: Leh to nubra valley (stay at nubra valley).
    17 Aug: Nubra valley to pangong Tso(Stay at Pangong Tso).
    18 Aug: Pangong Tso to Tso moriri(Stay at Tso moriri).
    19 Aug: Tso moriri to kharu to fuel up and want to visit Tanglang la and back same day and stay at jispa/sarchu.
    20 Aug: Sarchu/jispa to mandi/manali(Stay at mandi/manali),covering Chandertal en route).
    21 Aug: En route to Delhi.

    Will ertiga be a good option?
    Is the itinerary good.Any change would be appreciated.
    Whats the condition of road from nubra valley to pangong Tso and Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri. Is it doable.
    Is any permit required for visiting Tso moririr from Pangong or inner areas of ladakh(like hanle)?.

    • Hello Manmeet,

      Sorry for delayed reply, 13th August seems very very hectic. You should try for only Sonamarg at max and then may be to Leh with 14 Hrs drive back to back in two days. egarding Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso route, in order to take Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Shyok village, you need not need any permits. However, with such a small distance it appears tempting to be done BUT just to analyze the difficulty I will strongly suggest that you read:Trip Report | Nubra – Shyok Village – Pangong Tso Route. The report is from couple of year back in June & in July/August, most likely the route is washed away. Similar, reports are there from last year as well. So better confirm first, analyze the high risk involved and then only attempt it or better avoid it unless very much sure.

      Next possible way is to attempt Wari La route, which is also a bit desolated but doable enough. If your driver agrees to travel on this route then take the Wari La route to Pangong Tso. Remember that any help required on both these routes will be HARD to find in miles of distance. If you have couple of vehicles then only take this route otherwise best is to avoid it.

      Regarding Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri route or Pangong Tso to Hanle, the permits to Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga or remote Changthang routes are being given by DC office in Leh at ON and OFF basis, so keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best if they start issuing the permits by the time you visit or issue you on your lucky day. Also, even if the permits are given then as well there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to cross Chusul Post or not because since last year several such incidents happened and people with permits also had to return via same route. The story is same this year too and only handful of people have passed through Chusul this year too on their lucky days. Then this is completely a dirt track all the way with quite a bumpy ride upto Tsaga. That churns most things in your stomach 😀 … Finally, totally isolated with no one around you in miles. All this will mean that you will have to risk it for at least a day getting wasted if you are not allowed because there will be no guarantee until you cross Chusul and Tsaga post. Otherwise, you have to take the traditional routes only via Upshi – Chumathang.

  17. Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all thanks a lot for giving valuable information for all fellow travellers, this information helps lots of people to make there experience better.

    We 4 people are planning to start Srinagar to Leh and then back to Srinagar due to our flight schedule.
    We would be arriving Srinagar on 14th August 2016 Noon and would like to be again back to Srinagar on 20th August 2016 Noon.

    Request you to please help on following queries:
    1) Can we travel from Srinagar to Leh and then again back to Srinagar in given timeframe without getting stressed too much because of travel, please suggest

    2) We are planning to book taxi for whole trip, what would be the best way to do so

    3) Also we have not booked any hotels, as many people suggested that hotel booking wont be problem

    4) Above blog says this independence day time period would be crowded and rainy too, is it safe to take up the trip by security and climate wise during this period

    5) What would be the reasonable budget, we thought it would something around 15K to 20K per person

    Thanks in Advance Dheeraj !

    • Hi Sandeep,

      1. You just have 5 days brother to make this trip. Best I can suggest is below and monsoons for sure will be having little trouble in store for you.
      2. You can get connected with the Ladakh drivers listed under the Taxi rate article who will be there for the whole trip.
      3. Do not book them, by searching few places you will get some.
      4. For sure unless you cross Kargil, there may be rain trouble
      5. Yeah, 20K is decent for such a duration trip.

      14: Reach Sonamarg by evening and sleep
      15: Sonamarg to Leh, leave by 5 AM
      16: Leh rest day and acclimatize
      17: Leh – Nubra Valley
      18: Nubra Valley – Leh
      19: Leh – Sonamarg
      20: Catch the flight.

      Instead of two day trip to Nubra, you can do one day trip to Khardung La and one day trip to Pangong Tso

      • HI Dheeraj thanks a lot for suggestion, as suggested we have readjusted the dates, to 12th August to 21st August.

        We would arrive on Srinagar on 12th August noon and would be returning on 21st August noon from Srinagar.

        Request you to please suggest the iternary so that we can make most of the time an visit must visit places.

        Thanks in Advance !

        • Sandeep, you can follow below plan:

          Day 12 | Reach Srinagar
          — Enjoy walk around Dal lake and may be Shikara ride as well
          — If you have time then check out, floating market, Shalimar Garden.
          — Overnight at Srinagar

          Day 13 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
          — Enjoy the vistas enroute
          — Have late drunch meal at Drass is you are a vegetarian as sometimes it gets difficult to find veg. food at Kargil
          — Overnight at Kargil

          Day 14 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
          — Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
          — On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 15 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
          — To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 16 | 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 17 | 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 18 | 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 19 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh
          — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 20 | Leh – Lamayuru – Kargil – Drass – Zozi La – Sonamarg
          Day 21 | Leave early from Sonamarg for Srinagar airport and catch the flight.

  18. Hi Dhreej I am planning to Leh via baltal by my car in ertica we total five friends are planning to go via Kargil drass n come back via manali so plz tell me that We can go by ertica. It run on Leh highway e

  19. Hi Dheeraj,
    We will be doing Manali to Leh from 11th july to 19th july. Everything related to itenary is set. Thanks to Team DoW.
    We will be starting from Leh to Kargil on 20th july morning. As of now we have no idea of places to be covered and spots not to be missed. we have a return flight to Mumbai from Srinagar on 23rd July
    Option 1 : Night stay at Kargil and reach Srinagar next day.
    Option 2 : Leh to Srinagar direct without night stay and enjoy srinagar more better.
    Also, shall we consider tips from “Srinagar to Leh” article for the opposite direction i.e. “Leh to Srinagar”
    Please suggest.
    TIA

    • You can do it like below:

      Day 1 | Leh – Lamayuru – Kargil
      — Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
      — On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
      — Overnight at Kargil

      Day 2 | Kargil – Drass – Zozi La – Sonamarg – Srinagar
      — Enjoy the vistas enroute
      — Have late drunch meal at Sonamarg
      — Overnight at Srinagar

  20. Hi,

    Is srinagar to Leh can be done in 1 day? what are the downsides?
    Thank you very much for your help.

  21. Hi Dheeraj,
    great insight and info . I am planning to travel to srinigar from leh on the 18th or the 19th of august. What i douubt is the comfort while travelling because of my parents along with me (6 people).

    1) will there be no problem to acccess after the 15th of august just over. will there be brobable problems for travel as in security risks?

    2) how good is it to travel if it rains during this time of the year ( 18th aug)

    3) is it necessary to halt over at kargil for better and comfort travel or non stop?

    4) what are the available luxury sedans or suv’s available / and if you can also the rate of hiring such a car? from leh to srinagar . ?

    lastly is it best if i book flight tickets from delhi to leh as soon as possible or to wait for fares to drop for the first week of august (9th august)

    thank you ,

  22. First of all Thank you Dheeraj for all the valuable information. I had a quick question. Should I book accommodation in advance for Kargil, Dras, Sarchu etc. Or can i book it when i reach there? I will be traveling from 3rd July to 17th and wanted to make sure accommodations are available as it is the peak season. If yes then how can i go about booking the same. Are there any contact info you can provide ?

    • Shail, if you are OK on searching 4-5 places after reaching there or not traveling in a large group, then there isn’t any issue and you should be able to find one unless you are extremely unlucky on that day.

  23. Hi Dheeraj,

    Thanks so much for the detailed information in this article. We are planning to travel to Leh between 13th – 21st August’16. Have a few queries if you could please answer :
    1. Can we get a open jeep on rent to self-drive from Srinagar to Leh ?
    2. As this period is close to Independence day, will there be any restriction on road travel ?
    3. If we take a bike on rent from Srinagar to Leh, is there a way we could transport our luggage from Srinagar to leh separately ?

    • Hi Radhika,

      1. No self drive cars are avaiilable in Srinagar or Leh
      2. If you stick to highways, mostly it is safe. Most bandhs are declared up front so you can leave town in early morning hours
      3. No, there isn’t you have to either hire a backup vehicle or take it on the bike

  24. rajat pannu on

    Hello sir , i am planning a tour from haryana to leh via sirinagar . Sugesst me the sight seeing locations and stoppage for nights in the journey . We will be leaving on 26 of this month

  25. Arihant Jain on

    Hello
    Is it possible to cover the Lamayuru monastery, the confluence of the rivers and the magnetic hills on the same day while going from Kargil to Leh?
    Will it be too hectic?
    Waiting for your reply.

  26. Hi Dheeraj, Thanks for providing the information. I am traveling alone from Leh to Lamayuru. Please suggest bus timings from Leh to Lamayuru on Day 1 and Lamayuru to Leh on Day 2. Further, would you suggest going on bike or bus? As I am planning to leave for Khalsar / Disksit on Day2. Thanks.

  27. Gaurav Sharma on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I really appreciate the way you describes each and every essential information about this phenomenal trip. I must say keep doing the great job 🙂
    Well, i would like to know, as we are travelling my our private car from delhi to Leh via srinagar.
    A) What kind of permits we required through out the journey ?
    B) Are these permits available online ?
    C) Is there any destination via srinagar where vehicles have been stop overnight by Army or other Govt. Spocs

      • Gaurav sharma on

        Hi Dheeraj

        Thx for your reply, well I have one more question if you can help me with that. We are planning to carry some liquor along with us. Do u have any idea that how much would be the maximum we can carry as per 1 vehicle and 4 passengers. Although, we will get the bill for that purchasing but still interstate might vary the rules.

  28. chetan verma on

    Sir,
    I AM going to Amarnath Yatra this year and returning I will go to Leh via Kargil…My question is ,in Amarnat Yatra the camera (DSLR) is not allowed so how can i manage this because i need my camera for leh trip and i can not leave my camra on Jammu or Pahalgam because I get down in Baltal for Kargil..
    Kindly suggest …matter urgent.

  29. Abdul Rehman on

    Hi dheeraj, I am planning to do Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Manali – Delhi mid july this year. Planning to hire a bullet from delhi. Will be following the common itenerary suggested by you. Can you suggest reliable rental places in delhi. Also i heard rental bikes are not allowed from manali side. Are there any restrictions from srinagar side or while returning from manali

  30. Hi dheeraj

    Thanks a ton for all information

    So we are 2 adults and have planned our trip with all the information on your website !

    Below is our program

    12 Aug – Srinagar (arriving 4pm)
    13 Aug – Srinagar – explore
    14 Aug – Srinagar to Kargil – will bus be possible on this day? As it’s close to independence day
    15 Aug – Kargil to Leh – relax
    16 Aug – Leh – little sightseeing
    17 Aug – Leh to Nubra Valley
    18 Aug – Leh
    19 Aug – Leh – visit places near Leh
    20 Aug – Leh to Pangong Lake
    21 Aug – Back to Leh
    22 Aug – Depart from Leh

    Our flights are already booked.
    First query about the bus possibility around independence day
    Second query – can I fit Tso Moriri in above plan?

    Awaiting your reply ! Thanxx

    Regards
    Danny

      • Hi ! thanks for replying.

        so we have shortened the day in Srinagar in order to fit in Tso Moriri.

        Below will be the program now:
        12 Aug – Srinagar (arriving 4pm)
        13 Aug – Srinagar to Kargil
        14 Aug – Kargil to Leh – relax
        15 Aug – Leh – little sightseeing
        16 Aug – Leh to Nubra Valley
        17 Aug- Back to Leh
        18 Aug – Leh to Pangong Lake
        19 Aug – Back to Leh
        20 Aug – Leh to Tso Moriri Lake
        21 Aug – Back to Leh
        22 Aug – Depart from Leh

        From Srinagar to Leh – we will be taking a shared taxi.
        -Regarding Tso Moriri – you have mentioned in one of your links that there is a bus on 20th of the month…does this normally get full in advance?
        -How much duration is the bike ride to Nubra? We are currently deciding whether to take a shared taxi or take a bike.

        Regards,
        Danny

  31. Hello DoW,
    Glad to get so much info from your website, it really helped a lot with our trip planning.
    We are a group of 4, two guys & two girls planning a Srinagar to Chandigarh trip spread over 15 days.
    Below is our itinerary
    Day 1 : Flight to Srinagar
    Day 2 : Srinagar to Kargil (Innova)
    Day 3 : Kargil to Leh (Innova)
    Day 4 : Leh to Nubra (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 5 : Nubra to Leh (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 6 ; Leh Sightseeing
    Day 7 : Leh to Pangong (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 8 : Pangong to Hemis (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 9 : Hemis to Hanle (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 10: Stay in Hanle
    Day 11 : Hanle to Tso Moriri (2 no. bullet for 4 ppl)
    Day 12 : Tso Moriri to Sarchu (Bullet will be exchanged with Innova at Pang and onward journey will be in Innova to Sarchu)
    Day 13 : Sarchu to Manali (Innova)
    Day 14 : Manali local sightseeing,start to chandigarh at night
    Day 15 : Flight from Chandigarh

    Can you pls give any suggestions on our itinerary ?

  32. Hi Dheeraj,

    Your website is as good as the Himalayas. The knowledge and information you have put here is soo soo wealthy. God bless you for all your hardwork.

    We are four travelling on 6th August from Srinagar and we will be there in Leh till 13th August and we have referred to the most common itinerary from Srinagar on DOW. We haven’t yet decided if we are coming back via Manali or Srinagar. The tickets are booked from Bangalore, but wondering that time of August is a good time to visit?

    We have called the most preferred Taxi owner RigZin. Like you said speaking F2F is better than call, he said he will be available. Since we plan to halt at Kargil on Day 1, what taxi option we should prefer from Srinagar? Should we take taxi till Kargil? or from Leh the drivers will come to Srinagar, considering the cost too.

    I haven’t checked the DOW App yet, is it available on APP Store?

    Thank you for all the good work Dheeraj!

    • Hello Sims,

      Thank you for the kind words. It is monsoon time in general up there in North and at some parts of Manali – Leh Highway (like before Baralacha La) and Srinagar – Leh Highway (like before Kargil) you might need to face monsoon hassles but once you get closer to Ladakh, then Ladakh being rain shadow region is least affected by monsoon rains, though rains does reach Ladakh now but to minimum and mostly it might remains overcast conditions. There is no thumb rule of certainty about weather conditions but above is generally common pictures seen over last few years except ugly 2010 …

      Talk to Rigzin about the present situation from where they are allowed to pick up tourists. If it is from Srinagar, then get him engaged from Day 1 else it is better off to take taxi up to Kargil or drop point below Fotula and from there Rigzin can come and pick you.

      Yes, DoW App is available at both Apple iOS Store as well as Android store.

      • Wow, you work on your toes here Dheeraj. Thank you so much for the information. Hope rains won’t bother us much, fingers crossed. We will have to talk to RigZin about the plan, we’ve shared him our iterinary to him. I’ll soon download the DOW app. Thumbs Up!!

        • In a great dilemma about the return Dheeraj. We have booked flight from Dehradun and I’m worried if the monsoon will be terrific? What do you suggest, should we go ahead with the plan or change immediately?

  33. Hey, i was going through your blog and it is really nice and helpful. Thank you for writing such an informative article.
    In your above line you have mentioned ” avoid Srinagar – Leh Highway during days alongside Independence Day in India i.e. 15th August” can you please explain why so any particular reason, as we have planned during 15th august only because of holidays. we are 4 of friends and will be travelling from srinagar to leh on 15th august 2016 only.
    Please guide us for this. will really appreciate a prompt reply.

    Regards
    Neha

    • Regarding security issues, in general the tourist areas remain safe there but bandhs can affect the traffic movement. It is advised always that you leave the city in the early morning hours in such cases. Usually these bandhs are pre-declared and hence you can leave the city in early morning hours judging the situation around before the bandh gets active. As long as you can stick to main highway and tourist areas, there is in general no issues.
      If you are really concerned about it more then probably you can skip the stay at Srinagar and move to Sonamarg the same day you reach Srinagar.

  34. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am visiting with my wife and few friends this August. The air tickets are booked. My Itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1 Srinagar Airport Pick up + City Tour
    Day 2 Srinagar City to Leh via Kargil Day 1
    Day 3 Srinagar City to Leh via Kargil Day 2
    Day 4 Leh-Nubra-Leh with Sumoor Day 1
    Day 5 Leh-Nubra-Leh with Sumoor Day 2
    Day 6 Leh-Pangong Day 1
    Day 7 Leh-Pangong Day 2
    Day 8 Drop to Leh Airport
    I have spoken to couple of travel agents in and around Leh for the complete package tour. They have given me few promising quotes(traveling on budget). I am little concerned as to how to trust to pay them in advance. Few asks 25% in advance while other say 50-100%. Any idea?

    Thanks for your help!

  35. Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all it is really nice of you to guide people about these trips with your experiences and tips. Can you please advise me on my plan.
    I wanted to know if you could tell me how the weather can be in the month of September as we a group of 8 are reaching Srinagar on the 15th September (just an overall idea as its of course unpredictable).
    To just give you an idea about our itinerary,
    15th Reach Srinagar and drive to Sonmarg (overnight Sonmarg)
    16th Leave for KArgil/Mulbekh/Alchi (where should we possibly stay overnight to get a local experience
    17th Leave for Leh (overnight at Leh)
    18th Leave for Nubra valley (overnight there)
    19th Leave for Pangong lake via Leh (to not waste a night in Leh)
    OR 19th Stay in LEH (if this is advised then the whole plan will shift by 1 day)
    20th Leave for Tso-moriri from Pangong
    21st Back to Leh and just spend time there
    22nd Possibly visit Turtuk village
    23rd just explore local markets and etc.
    24th fly back from LEH.
    Also we are really keen on experiencing bike rides to Pangong and Tso-moriri from Leh, can we rent 3 bikes and go with a mechanic support with us? Not too sure about the fuel pumps and road conditions.

    If you could advise me about the DO’s and DONT’s on the above itinerary. Or if you suggest something different to this.

  36. Hi Dheeraj,

    I really appreciate the effort you had putted so far to bring DOW at this level.
    It greatly helps a lot to plan the trips for first timers.
    I wonder if you have contact details about some taxis plying from Srinagar to Kargil.
    I learnt it from your articles only that only Srinagar vehicles are allowed in Zanskar valley.
    We want to hire a taxi from Srinagar who can take us to Kargil and then to zanskar valley and finally drop us to Kargil. Please do share the Contact numbers and an idea about the cost, if you have any.

  37. manoj valluri on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Immensely well detailed blog !!! Loved it.

    We are a group of 10 guys going to Ladakh trip during June 25th to July 3rd and booked flight tickets from Hyderabad to Srinagar. We will be in Srinagar by 25th Afternoon 12 Pm and return tickets on 3rd July afternoon at 2.00pm from Srinagar .

    Please suggest us Which route will be the best to cover most of the ladakh sceneric beauties between Srinagar-Leh. Also can you please chalk out an itenary for us to follow, that would be really helpful.

    Waiting for you reply. Thanks in advance.

    • Well Manoj, it is a tricky situation here is what I see. You have just 9 days, literraly 7 days because you have to reach back Srinagar and dont left to go over too. I will suggest something like below:

      Day 1 | Srinagar rest
      Day 2 | Srinagar – Kargil
      Day 3 | Kargil – Leh
      Day 4 | Leh acclimatization
      Day 5 | Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley
      Day 6 | Nubra Valley – Leh
      Day 7 | Day trip to Pangong Tso
      Day 8 | Leh – Kargil – Sonamarg
      Day 9 | Leave early to get the noon flight from Srinagar

  38. VALLBH NAIK on

    HY DHEERAJ;
    WE ARE PLANNING TO LEAVE FROM PUNE TO LEH -LADAKH IN SUV ON 15TH JUNE TO 3RD JULY BY ROAD. SUV IS IN THE NAME OF MY ELDER BROTHER WHO IS NOT ACCOMPANING US IN TOUR. IS THIS ALLOWED AT SHRINAGAR LEH? OR I HAVE TO GO BY MY OWN CAR ONLY.
    PLEASE GUIDE ME AS DEFFERENT OPINIONS RECIEVED FROM DIFFERENT PERSONS

  39. Hi Dheeraj,

    Again, I had drafted out my itenaries and would love to have your comment regarding it, below will be the plan.

    15 June – reach delhi by night
    16 June – fly to srinagar early morning, from srinagar take a taxi to kargil
    17 June – kargil to leh
    18 June – sight seeing in leh,
    19 June – leh to nubra valley
    20 June – nubra valley to leh
    21 June – leh to tao pangong and back
    22 June – leh to tso morari
    23 June – tao morari to sarchu
    24 June – sarchu to manali
    25 June – visit around manali
    26 June – manali to delhi
    27 June – delhi day trip to taj mahal night flight back at 11pm night

    questions
    1. wil the check in process takes time in delhi airport? izzit sufficient to arrive 2 hours before flight time to check in? for domestic as well as international.
    2. will my journey along leh-manali being too rush? will it be too tired to do so?
    3. sorry for out of topic but will it be alrite to do a day trip to taj mahal? will it be too rush?

    thank you in advance..

  40. Hey Dheeraj,

    Thanks for this very valuable information you shared. I am also planning the same road trip. I will be departing from Chandigarh on 11th June with 3-4 friends on private SUV. Route would be from Chandigarh–Srinagar–Leh–Manali–Chandigarh. Plan is like:
    11th June stay at Patnitop
    12th June stay at Srinagar
    13th June stay at Kargil
    14th June at Leh

    I need to reach back to Chandigarh on 19th June. Could you please help me in planning rest of the Itinerary after reaching Leh. Is visiting Nubra Valley worth? Should we have a night stay at Pangong Lake or not? Enroute Leh-Manali, where can we have the night halt?

    Thanks

  41. I just bought a bike in Varanasi, and plan to travel around Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and of course J&K with my Indian visa expiring in mid September. After reading a fair bit of info on this site as well as other sources, i’ve also decided to do the Ladakh tour in a clockwise direction (Srinagar > Leh > Manali). Given that I can travel through Uttarakhand now as I’m close, or can do it towards the end of the trip as I plan to cross overland to Nepal, when do you think the best time to try tackle the Srinagar-Leh and Leh-Manali Highways are? Should I head up now and try beat the monsoons or is it worth taking my time to enjoy the ride towards Srinagar, stopping in at a few places and then finishing off what I did not get to see after coming back down from Leh?

    Basically, if I spend a few weeks in Leh, my options for the two highways (Srinagar-Leh & Leh-Manali) are June & July, July & August or August & September. Everything else can be worked around this anyway I guess.

    Thanks,
    Sean

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