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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2,562 Comments

  1. Dileep reddy on

    Hello guys. This is dileep from hyderabad. Me and three of my friends are planning to visit Jammu to Leh for 9days. Is it fine to visit such long? Do we have enough places of sightseeing for 9long days? If yes please share what all can we watch. And what about the expenditures of 9 odd days? How do we have to carry to cover in and around Jammu to Leh. We are getting our bikes by train till Jammu from there we will ride ourselves till Leh and return to same Jammu railway station, is this plan fine or do I have to change? And we are a team of photographers and videographers, I would definitely upload our trip video, precautions to be taken, gear and verything related to the trip, once it is done. I hope people will help me out. Thankyou in advance.

  2. Rajnish Kumar on

    Pls suggest, is it good option travelling Leh from Srinagar in second week of June 2017 with family by self driven CIAZ.
    Is road condition good or bad stretches are frequent?
    Thanks

  3. Akshay Mayekar on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Can you recommend some Budget Hotels in Kargil as we are planning to stay one night in Kargil.

    Regards,
    Akshay Mayekar

    • I always stay with Hotel Greenland, They have both economic and deluxe blocks available with them. Very decent place to stay. Else, 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

  4. Looking for TRAVEL COMPANIONS,

    Hi all Me and My friend are travelling to Ladakh and will start our journey from Delhi on 31st May 2017.
    We are travelling by our personal CAR if anyone is interested to come along us let me know.
    We will rent bikes at ladakh. We will be travelling via Kashmir and will return back from Manali.
    You can contact me on this number 9041345393.

    Thanks.
    Paras

  5. sir
    i want to travel from jammu to srinagar -leh -manali through a bullet on september.can you suggest a travel plan for 15 days
    is it advisable to travel solo in a bullet

  6. Hi
    Me and my friend is all set to hit Srinagar-Leh-nubra-pangong lake-Manali road on June first week, ie exactly starting May 31st from Srinagar on our royal Enfield bikes. My questions are

    1. Where i need to take inner line permit ? Srinagar\Kargil or Leh. and what documents required.
    2. Is Leh-Nubra-pangong tso lake-Manali road is open in June first week..?
    3. Only 2 members are travelling in bike..is it make any concern on this region..?

    • Replies below:

      1. The environment fees of Rs 400 & Inner Line Permits (most likely as well) will again be required in Ladakh for Indian Tourists / Nationals with effect from April 1st, 2017. This has been recently announced and is available on official website of Leh administration. It is expected that a public circular should follow soon as well. Hence, like it used to happen before 2014, all Indian Nationals or Indian Tourists WILL need to pay environment fees and may need to also get the inner line permits in Leh – Ladakh region in order to visit the restricted places like Dah, Hanu Villages, Pangong Tso, Man, Merak, Tso Moriri, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Khardung La, Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Digger La, Tangyar (for trekking only).
      For details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link All you want to know about Inner Line Permits for Ladakh

      2. Yes, the routes remain open. Please make sure you have some company to travel in taking the desolated route from Nubra to Pagong tso

      3. Well, challenges will surely be there. Try to read: 5 Tips Ride with Pillion

      • Thank you for the reply, we individuals riding with own bikes, my concern was about safety or in any emergency case.

        • You are at your own Manoj in case of any emergency else in general more or less OK to travel as 1000s of people do these routes now a days.

  7. We r a group of 5 planning our Iternary from Srinagar to Leh to Manali in 7 days. We will reach Srinagar on June 11 and we should catch our flight in Delhi on 18th by 8 PM. Please help me in planning our tour , much appreciated.

    Regards
    Raju.

    • Raju, though you are short on time so I will suggest something like below:

      Day 1 – Srinagar to Kargil
      Day 2 – Kargil – Leh
      Day 3 – Leh Rest day and permits
      Day 4 – Leh – Khardung La day trip
      Day 5 – Leh – Pangong Tso – Tangtse
      Day 6 – Tangtse – Sarchu
      Day 7 – Sarchu – Manali
      Day 8 – Manali – Delhi

  8. Sudeep Joshi on

    Hii,

    We have planned a road trip. on 18th May from Pune, Maharashtra. The first preference for the route was via Manali. But it seems the road might not open by 23-25th May. So we were thinking of going to leh via srinagar -leh highway.
    I just wanted to ask, exactly how safe is srinagar to travel? and We are taking a self drive car, can you please highlight the problem we will face at check points if any.
    Thank you for your help.

  9. Parantap Singh on

    Hey Dheeraj,

    Me and my family are going to Leh-Ladakh in the 2nd week of June. I had a few questions:
    1. As of now, we have decided to take a flight to Srinagar and go to Leh by road. Is there any effect of any political tension in Srinagar-Kashmir area that might cause any problems?
    2. Would you suggest the Manali route as an alternative?
    3. We were thinking of staying overnight by the Pangong Tso lake. We have people in the age group of 55-60, would it be a problem for them ?

    Thanks and as always keep up the good work

    Parantap

  10. Hello dheeraj,

    Very informative blog. Thanks for sharing the info. I am planning a trip to Leh Ladakh via Srinagar Leh highway around 15 june via bike. Could you please give me some idea of my total expenditure considering – bike rent, petrol, Leh sight-seeing, staying in Leh, etc (hidden expenditure) and in how many days can I cover this entire journey.

    Thanks in advance.

  11. Harshit Bojra on

    Hello,
    We are 6 friends all males, planning to travel to Leh Ladakh via Srinagar in July
    Are the conditions good enough during that time of the year. Also will monsoon be any barrier to our trip?

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Mithun Yadav on

    I m planning Srinagar to leh bike ride tour in last week of June with my friends.. i want to know can I get bike on rent for one way ride from Srinagar to leh???

    • There are few rentals of the bike in Srinagar but keep in mind after reaching Leh, you will have to again rent the bike from Leh because outside rented bikes are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh.

  13. Hello, Dheeraj

    On the first hand thank you for the every post and itineraries you suggested they are quite helpful. I’m thinking of taking this route of Srinagar-leh-manali including spiti but to have a clear idea can you post a route map of this route please.

    Cheers, Rahul

  14. Akash singha on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Im planning to do the srinagar_leh_manali trip on September on my honda navi which is a 110cc scooty… Do i need to tune my carburetor for high altitude or it will do fine without tuning?? My concern is just the loss of power in high attitude… Even if it loses power but if it keeps on running it should do for me.. Any other suggestions and information will be appreciated…

    To be mentioned here, i have done bhutan trip upto 9_10000ft of altitude without any issues

  15. Sandeep Singh on

    Hi Dheeraj thanks for the advice on this trip.i planning a trip with 3 other people in skoda rapid from shrinagar -Leh-Manali will the car gethrough this road plz suggest me

  16. vinaykreddy23 on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I have planned for Srinagar-Leh -Manali trip starting from June 2nd from Chandigarh. I have booked all the flight tickets and all the planning is done. After going through few comments, I am worried if the Srinagr-Leh-Manali highways will be opened by that time. I planned it early as i wanted to have a glimpse of snow.
    Can you guide me if June 2 to June 18 is fine to travel and the status of these highways as of now?

      • vinaykreddy23 on

        Hello Deeraj,

        Thanks for the regular update about the highway status.

        I want to know what are the good options for stay at Kargil within budget? Can you share some details if you have?

        • I always stay with Hotel Greenland, They have both economic and deluxe blocks available with them. Very decent place to stay. Else, 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

  17. Md Faruk Ahmed on

    Dheeraj bhi ya,
    I’m Bangladeshi a traveller. I want to go to jammu -srinagar – leh as your guiding. Is there need any special permission for me? Would you please tell me about it or any other advice if you wish.
    With best regards
    Faruk

    • You will need to apply for Protected Area Permits once you reach Leh to travel to the Inner Line Areas of Ladakh. You can apply them online as well. Please check the leh.nic.in the website for applying online the Protected Area Permits.

      • Md Faruk Ahmed on

        Thank you dheeraj bhiya. I am alone in this tour. So please bhiya stay with me in this site.
        With best regards
        Faruk
        Bangladesh

        • Md Faruk Ahmed on

          Dheeraj bhiya
          One more question – is it mandatory to involve in tourist operator for leh?
          Thanks
          Faruk
          Bangladesh

        • I am not sure how the online protected area permit works, but you can fill in the details. If it asks for tourist operator then to get the permit it is mandatory as it was earlier but once you have the permit you can travel on your own as most people do.

        • Md Faruk Ahmed on

          Dheeraj bhiya
          At first thanks to you for the great help.
          What’s right time for leh— July or September ?
          With best regards
          Faruk
          Bangladesh

    • Md Faruk Ahmed on

      Dheeraj bhiya
      I may be arrived at Leh on 12 July with a night halt at kargil. I have 10 days to stay there or more some days if I need for best trip . I’m a solo traveler & this is my first time at leh.
      Please you make a tour design for me . And please mention where I should night stay .
      I’m highly inspired by your description. Thanks a lot again to you and DOW community.
      With best regards
      Faruk, Bangladesh.

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

        You can follow the plan from Leh to Manali in the 10 days you have in hand. You are alone and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself.

        • Md Faruk Ahmed on

          Is there any possibility to get accommodation in leh, diskit, hundar, Turtuk, panamik, sumoor, pangong tso etc. Without booking in advance. I have enough time to enjoy leh Ladakh. So above information is very useful to me.
          Thanks to you & DOW.
          With regards
          Faruk Bangladesh

  18. Hello dheeraj sir,we are group of 7-8 person and planning road trip from manali to shrinagar from 09 June to 20th June by motorbike. i am quite confuse ki if we plan our journey ourselves or buk through any travel agency.
    Buking through travel agency seems to be quite expensive,but planning self seems to be troublesome,means hotel buking bike renting,palces to stay,places for sightseeing ect.
    Can you clear my confusion or guide me if we plan ourselves in hotel buking,bike renting,palces to visit ect…
    Thanks a lot

    • Saurabh, if you are OK to read stuff and articles on DoW site, you should be easily able to manage stuff. Else, you can outsource it to the Travel agency which will help you but of course at a premium. You will find everything on this website to plan you trip to Ladakh easily 🙂

      • Thanks for your reply sir….I found everything in your website regarding my leh journey.now i m quite confident to plan my journey by myself…

  19. Hi, I want to know that what could be the charge if we booked a SUV from Srinagar to leh and return back from the same route in the middle of June .I had a initial dission with a guy who charge it 27 k ? Is it ok or I should bargain ?
    Thanks in advance.

    • 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.

  20. Hi Dheeraj,

    I’m doing this route and will be starting the journey from Chandigarh. I want to split the journey between Chandigarh and Srinagar in 2 days. My initial plan was to stop at Patnitop. However with the Chenani-Nashri Tunnel opening up, I want to skip Patnitop as it clearly saves 2 hrs of driving time.

    Can you please suggest where can we have a night halt?

    Thanks.

  21. Rutika Jagtap on

    Hello
    I have booked my tickets for srinagar in 1st week of may, and then i planned for leh.
    But now as per news the roads are still closed. So anyone can tell me by 8th of may dose it get open or i should change my schedule??

  22. Brijesh DUBEY on

    Dear Dheeraj

    We are planning a trip to Ladakh in the 3rd week of Aug i.e. 12th Aug to 22nd Aug. Itinerary is as below;
    Day – 1 Arrival at Jammu on 12th Aug
    Day 2 – Jammu to Srinagar – 13th Aug
    Day 3 – Srinagar to Kargil/Drass – 14th Aug
    Day 4 – Kargil/Drass to Leh via Alchi/Lamayuru – 15th Aug
    Day 5 – Leh to Numbra Valley & back – 16th Aug
    Day 6 – Leh to Pangong lake & back – 17th Aug
    Day 7 – Leh to Pang / Sarchu – 18th Aug
    Day 8 – Sarchu to Manali via Rohtang Pass – 19th Aug
    Day 9 – Manali to Chandigarh – 20th Aug
    Day 10 – Chandigarh to Mumbai

    My questions are;
    We are first time riders to Ladakh ( I ride a RE Himalayan n my friend RE 350). Is the route selected ok or its too hectic ?
    Will it make sense to carry our bikes from Mum ?
    We are travelling during the independence day. Should it be a concern in terms of curfews, places closed etc
    Will we be able to cover Spiti Valley by any chance.
    Any other information is most welcome.

    P.S – We have a dearth of holidays and hence the above is the best we can get 😉

    Rgds

    Brijesh

    • Hi Brijesh,

      It is a very hectic itinerary and there are no buffer days in monsoons when road closures are pretty common. So, all you will be going through a rushed days, fatigue and tension to reach Day 9 CHD to catch your flight. Not sure, if that is the idea of the trip well it is doable. You are also not having any rest day in Leh which is required for acclimatization. So, there are high chances of getting hit with AMS at Sarchu.

      • Brijesh DUBEY on

        Thanks Dheeraj

        In that case, what If I skip the return route via CHD and spend more time in Ladakh ?
        Can plan an overnight stay at Pangong and or Nubra Valley.

        We can then take train back to Mumbai from Jammu ? Also what are the chances of rains and road closures as you mentioned ?

        Regards

        Brijesh DUBEY

        • Brijesh DUBEY on

          HI Dheeraj

          I am planning to reach Jammu /Srinagar via train or flight (if cheap). Will transport my bike in train from Mumbai to Jammu.

        • 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.

          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

        • Brijesh DUBEY on

          Also wanted your advice on the chosen dates. I really want to avoid rains and road closures so what do you recommend. Is Aug advisable or I should plan this trip in Jul ?

      • Hey dheeraj
        We also have very hectic schedule first we were planning to go del-keylong- leh and back but due to permit issue and Tuesday permit problem ..and your advice that taking delhi to Srinagar to leh and than leh to keylong to Manali and delhi is better and the Kashmir issue is also not there as per the first hand report posted on your site
        So we have planned to take Delhi – Srinagar – leh route our iternery is as follow

        27th June reach Srinagar night halt there
        28th june morning leave Srinagar early and reach leh by evening night halt at leh
        29th June full day rest and acclimatization and local sightseeing
        30th june morning early to nubra valley and back to leh night halt at leh
        1st July early morning pangong lake and back to leh night halt at leh
        2nd July leave leh for keylong reach keylong by evening and night stay at keylong
        3rd morning leave keylong for Manali and delhi
        Is this iternery feasable because we have less time and all over hotels are booked except in Srinagar
        We are traveling by our own car Scorpio and we are group of 7 males in mid 30
        And 4 are good drivers been to rohtang thrice and Manali 4 times in our own car
        And if halt at kargil as per your preferred iternery than we will not be able to have rest day at leh which is much necessary…
        Please advice as soon as possible so that we can book Srinagar hotels

        • Feasible = YES, Hectic = VERY HECTIC. You may end up sick too, fatigued as there may not be comfort too with 7 people in one car for such a long journey.

  23. Hi Dheeraj,

    Me and three of my friends are planning for SRINAGAR LEH MANALI tour in June.
    I want to know how to reach Leh from Srinagar with halt at Kargil.

    And will the leh manali highway open up in June?

    • Manali Leh will open by second week of June. So, plan to start from Srinagar by 15th June and you should have routes opened. You need to catch the Srinagar – Leh Highway via Zojila pass – Drass – Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh.

      • Thank You for your prompt reply.
        We will take the tour in second week of June.
        We will be flying to Srinagar and spend a night there. I want to know where to get the tickets for BUS to Leh (Kargil halt) the next morning.
        I have read all your articles. I wanted to know what woud be the average cost per head after we reach LEH (minimum as well as maximum) assuming we follow your itinerary given in one of your article

        Regards

  24. Hi Dheeraj,
    we are couples planning a bike (rent) trip to Leh from Srinagar on 1st week of june 2017 i have some doubt to clear please help me
    1. we are planning to get a bike from Srinagar so please recommend some good bike rental team
    2. can we use this bike in Leh for site visit ? if no
    3. which are all the place we can visit in Leh with rented bike from Srinagar?
    4. where we can park our rented bike safely if we cant use it in Leh?
    5. what will be the climate condition during June?

    • Hi Sheril,

      1,2,3. Outside rented bikes are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh, so, better rent the bike in Ladakh only.
      4. In the hotel ad sometimes rental guys also provide parking space.
      5. Within Leh and around it will be cool and pleasant, one the passes and lakes it will be cold.

  25. Vaibhav Pandya on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    We are 12-14of us planning our trip to srinigar kargil and leh ladakh
    From 8th July to 16th july
    Day 1: Arrive in Srinagar, local sightseeing, overnight stay in houseboat on dal lake
    Day 2: Srinagar to kargil, sonmarg and some passes on the way, Overnight stay at Kargil.
    Day 3: Kargil to Leh, local shopping in leh, rest afternoon onwards and overnight stay at leh.
    Day 4: Leh to Nubra via Diskit-Hunder via Khardung La on the way locations.
    Day 5: Nubra to leh.
    Day 6: Leh to Pangong via chang la on the way locations.
    Day 7: Panpong to Leh.
    Day 8: Rafting at Indus Zankar river first half, local sightseeing (hall of fame, magnetic hills etc) in leh second half
    Day 9 : Morning return to Delhi.

    Wanted to know whether this is a good itenary and should we take tempo traveller or innova which would be better?

    • You should make your Day 8 as Day 4 to acclimatize and take rest a bit before going over to Nubra Valley. To save cost Tempo will be good else you may need 3 Innovas for 12-14 people.

      • Vaibhav Pandya on

        I also wanted to know whether Tempo Traveller adds up to many more hours for each journey? Whether it is time killing on cost of saving some money?
        Or it would be an good experience for a group of 12-14 to stay together for entire journey.
        As we are really confused between the mode of transport we should select for a comfortable as well as memorable trip!

        • It will surely be less speedy than cars but it will not add hours may be an hr or so. But, that extra hr you will be saving money as well as travelling with whole group together. Keep in mind there will be no comparison of comfort with 3 Innovas against a single tempo traveller

  26. Dilip Bahety on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    This side Dilip Bahety from Raipur, we are 2 friends planning Leh Ladakh Trip from 1st of May to 15th of May.

    Please help me in clearing below doubts

    1)Which route to prefer either Srinagar to Leh or Manali to Leh.?
    2)Is this ideal time to plan up trip in 1st week of May.. where routes will be open or not
    3)Is it possible to start from Srinagar covering Kargil and reach Leh post covering Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake then we come down by Manali route..??
    But the problem is we took bike from Srinagar and if we reach manali then how we will return the bike..Is there any option that we take bike from Srinagar and it can be returned in Manali.
    4)Which is better option to plan up the trip by own or we come up in group which is organised by many event partners.

    Please help us on above points.

    • Hello Dilip,

      1. Only possible route that may (read May) be open during that time wil be Srinagar – Leh. Manali – Leh will open by first/second week of June.
      2. No, better plan for mid June to mid July or in September
      3. No, You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.
      Outside Leh rented bikes will not be allowed for sightseeing within Ladakh.

      4. Always best to plan your own trip.

  27. Is it safe to travel from Srinagar to Leh in Mid of June? This is in terms of Security situation wise. Parents are bit worried 🙂 🙁

  28. Sagar Kulkarni on

    Hi Dheeraj, booked flight tickets to Srinagar, to travel to Leh on May 28th. Will Srinagar – Leh highway be open? Also we have 7 days from Sunday, 28th May to Saturday, 3rd June, to travel to Leh from Srinagar and be back. To save traveling time from Srinagar – Leh and do it in 1 day, 8 people, traveling in a Tata Winger or Tempo Traveler, if we leave Srinagar very early morning, around 4-5 am maybe, we can reach Leh by night? Is it possible?

    • Sagar, Srinagar – Leh road will be open by end of May. It is not recommended that you do such a thing as you will not be acclimatized to reach Leh and spend time. One of you may fall ill/sick due to AMS. Best is to break the journey at Kargil to acclimatize before reaching Leh. Then, you can basically come back in one day to Srinagar to save that day while coming back.

      • Sagar Kulkarni on

        Cool! Thank you Dheeraj… any contacts or links regarding stays in Srinagar, Leh, Nubra and Pangong ? Also please share economical transport vehicle contact numbers. Tata Wingers / Tempo Travelers in Srinagar & Leh.

        • 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

          For the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2016 – 17 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 12-15% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more. You can call the local drivers directly to connect with them and check the comprehensive List of Taxi Drivers for Ladakh – Srinagar – Leh – Manali with recommendations/reviews for DoW community members.

        • Sagar Kulkarni on

          Please advice on guest houses / home stay bookings for duration from May 29 to June 2 in Leh when traveling with family. Should I book in advance now over phone without actually seeing the rooms? or should I visit and then book on the spot? will they be available at that time ?

        • Hello Sagar,

          It is season time and it depends upon if you can search few places to see how they are and are not too particular about stays, then you should be OK else book them in advance especially in Leh or if you dont have the vehicle.

  29. Ashish Soni on

    Hello Dheeraj, we in group of 4 couples planning to visit Ladakh by hired taxi from Srinagar, proposed itinerary will be:
    5 June: Jammu to Srinagar
    6 June: Srinagar to Kargil/Drass
    7 June: Kargil/Drass to Leh
    8-9 June: Leh-Pyangong-Nubra Valley-Leh
    10-11 June: Leh to Manali
    11 June: Returns back

    I want to ask if this will be good plan, also in two days can we visit these places in Leh or we have to give more time in Leh. Since we are coming from east UP we are having less time for Leh as more time consumed in reaching & returning to Leh.
    Thanks

  30. Ghanshyam Jani on

    Sir,
    I am planning a bike trip with my brother in the first week of july. We intend to rent bikes from manali and then travel to srinagar via Dharamshala and Pathankot. A night stay in Srinagar.Next day, reach kargil, and next reach leh.
    Then visit leh ladakh areas like khardung la , pangong tso and tso moriri.
    And then return to manali.
    I wanted to ask
    1. can we visit tso moriri and tso kar from leh manali highway by taking a diversion from Pang.
    2. Is it safe for us to stay in srinagar hotel as last year the srinagar valley was not peaceful and there was curfew.(we are from rajasthan)
    3. Which bike will be good for the trip.
    4. What are the documents we will require for travelling on this route.?

    It will be helpful if u guide

    • Hello Ghanshyam,

      1. Well, since you will be in Leh, you can first go to Tso Moriri and then exit from Tso Moriri to Tso Kar route. The main challenge will be to negotiate with bike union guys as you will have outside rented bike with you.
      2. Only time can tell how things will be in Srinagar this year. Based on current situation, it should be safe
      3. The bike which you are comfortable with riding and controlling.
      4. You do not need any special permit being Indians but please ensure to carry some photo id proof always.

      • Ghanshyam Jani on

        Sir, Thank You for your advice.
        I also wanted to ask one more thing….
        Since we will be arriving leh from srinagar side on outside rental bikes, can we visit sham valley, magnetic hill, gurudwara sahib which are nearby to srinagar leh highway in those bikes or should we come back from leh with leh rental bikes.?

  31. Greetings Dheeraj!

    Me and 2 more of my friends from Malaysia are planning to take the Srinagar-Leh Highway on the 27th of April. However, transportation seems to be a problem. Could you recommend a cheap driver to bring us from srinagar – sonamarg – drass – alchi – Leh and then around ladakh to places like pangong, nubra , khardung la? We do not need a tour guide, just a driver because we are students and our budget is quite tight.

    Thank you!

    • Joseph, it is highly unlikely that Srinagar to Leh road will be open by that time f the year. This year there has been plenty of snowfall and I believe Srinagar Leh will open by end of first week of May.

  32. Dear Dheeraj,

    i asked question about Leh-Tso-Moriri-Keylong – Manali before and appreciated your great advice. Now i have another question about the beginning part.

    We will arrive at Srinagar on 2 July evening time.
    2 July – Srinagar, arrives at 6pm
    3 July – Srinagar full day
    4 July – Srinagar full day
    5 July – Srinagar to Sonamarg ?
    6 July – Sonamarg to Lamayuru ?
    7 July- Lamayuru to Leh ?
    8 July -Leh

    I don’t really see normal planning for my 5th – 7 July itinerary – do you think this is doable IF we are getting private shared-taxi? I see your post mentioned the Srinagar – Kargil – Leh is common for private shared -taxi. Or i should do a day tour to Sonamarg from Srinagar and do the normal Srinagar – Kargil – Leh? When we use private shared-taxi, they will stop at the view points en-route at each place right?

    If this is doable, the taxi we hired from Srinagar won’t be able to stop us at each en-route viewpoints after entering Ladakh region right? So, we should take one way private shared taxi from Srinagar to Sonamarg, then change another local driver to Lamayuru, and to Leh?

    Thank you and look forward to your reply.

    Regards
    Louise

    • Hi Louise,

      I will recommend Srinagar to Kargil and then Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh. You may spend night at Sonamarg on 4th July if required. If you have private tourist shared taxi, it should be OK to travel Srinagar – Kargil with stopover for sometime at Sonamarg which should be sufficient enough. Else you can do Srinagar – Sonamarg – Kargil in private taxi for about 7000 and then take shared taxi from Kargil to Leh by per seat basis to save cost. It will make more sense rather making day trip from Sonamarg and will be easy on body.

      Your Srinagar taxi should be able to take you anywhere on Srinagar – Leh road including Lamayuru. Don’t worry on that front.

      • Dear Dheeraj,

        Thank you!!!!!!! So we will do

        2 July – Srinagar, arrives at 6pm
        3 July – Srinagar full day
        4 July – Srinagar full day
        5 July – Srinagar to Kargil, stop over at Sonamarg by private taxi
        6 July – Sonamarg to Lamayuru, shared taxi
        7 July- Lamayuru to Leh, shared taxi
        8 July -Leh

        Thank you for your great details and advice, all of them are so helpful for us to plan the trip to Ladakh!

        Regards
        Louise

        • We are reaching on 1st July 2017. at Srinagar . I have to reach on 4th July at Leh. I am with family. Will u accompanied with us?

  33. Hi Deeraj, Well written article. Thank you for the brief info. I will be travel from chennai to leh in june 1st week by motorcycle ( 400 CC ).. Chennai to Delhi, Delhi to srinagar, Srinagar to Leh, Leh to Manali, manali to delhi , delhi to chennai is my route plan as of now. 22 days of expansive trip for me i hope. Can you me with the tips for stay and safety measures while traveling to leh by bike. Can have some tent nights with sleeping bags instead of hotels or arranged stay.. how safe it is to stay in self tents through out the journey. It would be if you could give a rough idea.

  34. Hi Dheeraj,

    4 people (Me and my husband,one more couple) are planning for Leh trip. we have booked flight tickets from delhi to Leh and Leh to delhi. we were not sure about roads from srinagar to lah or vice versa. Can you suggest how can we plan out trip.we have plans to visit from 13th may to 20th may.

    Also is it feasible to visit on our own and arranging stay at the time we reach Leh or should be planned before?

    Thanks,
    Vandana

  35. Pooja Rathod on

    Hello Dheeraj,
    Your post really helps alot. We are 3 couples planning our trip to Leh through srinagar. We will be reaching Srinagar on 30th of may and then planning to go bike riding from srinagar to leh. Once we reach leh the rest trip we will take by car. Our itinerary goes as follows
    DAY 01: ARRIVAL AT SRINAGAR
    Upon Arrival at Srinagar Airport, transfer to Hotel or Houseboat for Check in. In the afternoon take a shikara ride on Dal Lake. Dinner and overnight in Hotel or Houseboat.

    DAY 02: SRINAGAR TO KARGIL (VIA SONMARG & DRASS) – 204 KMS
    Post breakfast we ride to Leh via Sonmarg, from Srinagar. Upon arrival in Kargil we check in at our hotel for overnight stay.

    DAY 03: KARGIL TO SHAM VALLEY (VIA LAMAYURU)
    Post breakfast we ride to Uleytokpo / Tingmosgang enroute visiting Lamayuru, Belongs to Dripung Kagyu (Red Hat) like Phyang. The oldest structure in Lamayuru is the Singey Lhakhang built by the founder of Alchi Lotsava Rinchen bzangpo in 11th century. After visiting Lamayuru we proceed further to Uleytokpo enrote visiting Ridzong Gompa, known as the paradise for Meditation. Upon arrival in Uleytokpo or Tingmosgang. We check in at our Hotel/Camp for overnight Stay.

    DAY 04: SHAM VALLEY TO LEH
    Post breakfast we check out from the Camp & Visit Alchi, Ladakh’s most loved monastery and ride to Leh enroute visiting Likir Gompa situated atop a windy cliff top overlooking the beautiful village of Likir andConfluence of The Indus And Zanskar River just after 4 from Nimmu and further to Magnetic Hill which defies the law of gravity and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib Nestled deep in the Himalayas, which was built by the Lamas of Leh in 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev. Upon arrival check in at hotel for overnight stay

    DAY 05: LEH–NUBRA VALLEY VIA KHARDUNG LA 18,390 FT. (120 KMS / 4 – 5 HRS)
    Post breakfast we drive to Nubra Valley. The road journey from Leh to Nubra Valley passes over Khardung La (The Highest Motorable Road In The World) at 5,602 Mtrs / 18,390 Ft, around 39 km from Leh. From the pass, one can see all the way south over the Indus valley to seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser massif. Upon arrival in Nubra we check in at Camp / Hotel in Hunder for Overnight stay. Overnight Stay at the Camp or Hotel.

    DAY 06: NUBRA VALLEY – LEH (120 KMS / 4 – 5 HRS)
    After an early breakfast we check out from the Camp and drive to Hunder where you have opportunity to ride on a bacterian camel (double humped) amidst the sand dunes of this high altitude desert with snow capped mountains on the horizon. Between Hunder and Diskit you come across sand dunes besides the road. Seen in isolation you could well be amongst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. On the return stop at Diskit which is the headquarter town of Nubra Valley. Later we drive back to Leh in the late afternoon via Khardungla Top. On arrival at Leh check in to your Hotel. Evening Visit to Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa & Leh Market Dinner & Overnight at Hotel

    DAY 07: LEH TO PANGONG LAKE (140 KMS / 4 – 5 HRS – ONE WAY)
    After an early breakfast we leave for Pangong Lake enroute visiting Shey Palace, The ancient capital of Ladakh & 3 Idiots Rancho School& further 5 Kms Driving through a picturesque landscape we reach Thikseyan impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. After visiting above two monasteries we drive further towards Changla Pass 5486 Mtrs. The long easy ascent takes you to Changla pass through its winding roads passing through Sakti Village. Stop at the Changla Pass for a quick photograph session and drive down to the village of Tangtse, where you can relax for a cup of tea. Leaving Tangtse for Pangong you pass through few small villages of Changthang and finally you can have a sudden view of the Pangong lake situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m). This famous blue brackish Lake of Pangong is 5/6 Kms wide and over 133 Kms long with half of its running the other side of the “Indo China Border”.Upon arrival we check in at our Camp Near Pangong lake. Dinner & Overnight at the Camp.

    DAY 08: PANGONG LAKE TO LEH (140 KMS / 6 HRS)
    Morning at leisure to explore the beauty of lake and later we drive back to leh enroute visiting Hemis Gompa, the largest monastic foundation of Drukpa Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Drive further to Leh and check in at our hotel for Overnight

    DAY 09: DEPART LEH (FLY OUT)
    Tour concludes. catch the flight for our onward Destination.

    Is the itinetary fine enough?? Please suggest

    • Pooja, your plan looks OK to me but how are you going to ride from Leh to Srinagar. Where will you get the bike and return them? It will be about 10-12K for just pickup of the bike.

      • Greetings Dheeraj Sharma,

        To extend Pooja Rathod question and your answer;

        My plan is similarly like Pooja, fly in Srinagar>fly out Leh and to traverse in between with motorcycle (renting).

        It is possible? What do you suggesting?

        Thanks in advance.

        • You should fly to Srinagar and then travel to Leh by some other means than the rented bike. Then once in Leh you can get the bike on rent to roam around in Ladakh, then return that bike in Leh to start the journey back. It is the most recommended way to plan it given outside rented bikes are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh

  36. Hello Dheeraj

    My husband and I are planning a trip from Srinagar to Leh/Ladakh from 16th June to 25th June and we have the following itinerary in mind:

    Day 1 – arrive Srinagar from Delhi
    Day 2 & 3 – Bus from Srinagar to Kargil
    Day 4 – Bus from Kargil to Leh
    Day 5 – Acclimatization to Leh
    Day 6 – Visit Nubra Valley, Kahrdungla, Diskit and Hunder
    Day 7 – Visit Hunder, Panamik, Sumur and back to Leh
    Day 8 – Taxi to Pangong Tso Lake, Thicksey Monsatery, Shey Palace and back to Leh
    Day 9 – Bus from Leh to Sarchu
    Day 10 – Bus from Sarchu to Manali
    Day 11 – Back to Delhi

    Wanted to know if the above plan is feasible and any suggestions to the itinerary are welcome :).

    Many thanks.

    • Hey Sonam, yes the plan looks fine to me. I believe you are staying one more day in Srinagar because Srinagar to Kargil don’t need two days. You can perhaps use the day 2 with Day 8 to make a two day trip to Pangong Tso rather just one day. Also, you need to rely upon shared taxis on Leh to Manali journey as bus might not have started by then on Manali – Leh road.

      • Thanks Dheeraj. I changed my itinerary to make it 1 day between Srinagar and Kargil. I had a follow up question. If we chose to go by a private taxi from Srinagar to Leh (2 days), then would the private taxi generally cover Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Zanskar, Lamayuru Monastery and Magnetic Hills? Or would we need to do all these places on a separate trip?

        • Yes, since all there places fall on the route of Srinagar to Leh itself, they should not be any problem. At some odd times, while going from Srinagar to Leh, you might need to work out few things if there have been some tensions in taxi unions of Kargil and Leh. In order to settle it out, what they do is that they make a transit point just before Fotu La while going to Leh from Kargil. All Leh taxis stop there and kargil taxis too. They exchange passengers and move back in respective directions. Leh taxis take passengers to Leh coming from Srinagar/Kargil and Kargil guys take passengers to Srinagar/kargil coming from Leh

  37. Siddhesh Pawar on

    Hello Dheeraj,

    We are planing to come to ladakh in Aug to Sept, as we are planing for a bike trip we are group of 4. But we dont want to spend too much days we need to cover as much as we can. can you please suggest us the best itinerary from srinagar to manali or manali to manali.

    • Hi Siddhesh,

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

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

      If you have less days, 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.

  38. Shakunt Shah on

    Hello Dheeraj

    My wife are planning a trip from Srinagar to Leh/Ladakh in early September and we have the following itinerary in mind:

    Day 1 – arrive Srinagar (from Delhi), stay 3 nights and do local sightseeing.
    Day 2 & 3 – Srinagar
    Day 4 – Drive to Kargil via Sonamarg
    Day 5 – Drive to Leh and visit Lamayuru and Alchi enroute
    Day 6 – Leh and visit Shanti Stupa
    Day 7 – Drive to Nubra, stay 2 nights
    Day 8 – Nubra and visit Diskit Monastery
    Day 9 – Back to Leh
    Day 10 – Drive to Pangong and visit Shey & Thiksey Monastery
    Day 11 – Back to Leh, visiting Hemis Monastery
    Day 12 – Fly back to Delhi

    Would welcome your comments on the above and also we would like to hire a good driver/guide (and a good car of course) for our trip, so how do you suggest we do that (we live in the UK).

    Many thanks.

      • Shakunt Shah on

        Dear Dheeraj

        Happy Holi and many thanks.

        Just wanted to check whether we have to change cars and driver at Kargil.

        Also, are the local taxi drivers able to also converse in English as we can understand Hindi but not fluent speakers.

        Regards

        • Happy Holi Sahkunt, well, there is no need to change cars or drivers at Kargil, the srinagar or kargil taxi both can drop you to Leh or in case in Ladakh taxi, there is no issue at all.

          Sometimes While going from Srinagar to Leh, you might need to work out few things in case there have been some tensions in taxi unions at that time and to settle it out what they do is that they have a transit point just before Fotu La while going to Leh from Kargil. All Leh taxis stop there and kargil taxis too. They exchange passengers and move back in respective directions. Leh taxis take passengers to Leh coming from Srinagar/Kargil and Kargil guys take passengers to Srinagar/kargil coming from Leh

        • Shakunt Shah on

          Thank you Dheeraj

          Also, do we need any kind of travel/tour permits to travel within the area (Srinagar, Kargil, Leh/Ladakh). We have OCI as well.

  39. Hello Dheeraj!
    Me and 2 of my friends are coming to India from Malaysia to explore ladakh. We have a flight from Delhi to Srinagar on the 27th of April.
    – Do you think the srinagar-leh highway will be open by then?
    – Is it possible for foreigners to drive rented cars on the highway, or do we need an indian driving license or permit or something?

    • Hi Joseph

      There is a slim chance of Srinagar to Leh road open in April this year due to record snowfall in all over in Himalayas. I am not sure about the rule of a foreginer driving the car in India but I have seen 1000s of people doing that may be because it is allowed to drive with English License for some defined time or you may need an International Driving PErmit done from Malaysia.

  40. Gaurav Mehta on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Want to get your input on feasibility of my ladakh trip I am planning during 10-18 Jun (9D8N). We are 3 couples travelling in 2 Innova.

    Day 1 : Srinagar (by flight) Srinagar – Local sightseeing (50 Kms)
    Day 2: Srinagar – Sonmarg – Kargil (205 kms)
    Day 3 :Kargil – Leh (235 kms) via Lamayuru
    Day 4:Leh – A day for leisure .
    Day 5.Leh /Nubra Valley via Khardongla. 125km.
    Day 6 .Hunder /Diskit/ Pangong via Shayok
    Day 7 : Pangong to Tsomoriri via Tsagala
    Day 08 :TSOMORIRI/KORZOK / PUGA / TSOKAR/TANGLANGLA/LEH
    Day 9 :Leh – Delhi

    Thanks

    • Hi Gaurav,

      Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri is about 12+ Hrs of long drive. Also, the route from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso is a bit desolated, so please take a call only if there are more vehicles to travel and accompany you guys on that route.

      • Gaurav Mehta on

        Thanks for your quick response.
        1) Out tour guy is saying 7-8 hours for Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri, still as per ur exp can we cover it in 1 day?
        2) I have read your article for Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri & there is requirement of permit to cross Chusul check post. I have left this part to be taken care by our tour operator, do you know how much is the cost for permit/px. He is saying 500/px
        3) For Nubra to Pangong we have 2 Innovas with 6 ppl to accomodate so we can carry extra fuel if that’s the worry. What do u think

        • Hey Gaurav

          1. He must be flying you to Tso Moriri or may be he has never been to Ladakh. It will take 3.5-4 Hrs to Chusul, then about 2-3 Hrs to cross Mahe and then another 3 Hrs to reach Tso Moriri from Mahe. You will break for photos and pictures as well and for lunch too. So, it will easily end up around 12 Hrs plus the road is bumpy ride. But yes, you can make it in a day.

          2. For inner line permits process and cost: Ladakh Inner Line Permit Updates on Process & Download Form

          3. That shall be fine if you have two vehicles because if one gets an issue other is there to rescue.

  41. Vineet kakani on

    Hi Dheeraj

    I am planning for a road trip in second half of June month for around 11 days with my wife and kid who is 5 year old

    Can you suggest itinerary from srinagar to leh and places of interest at leh. Also should we take flight back to Mumbai from ladhakh or come back to sringr.
    You can email to me at vineetkakani@gmail.com

    Thanks
    Vineet kakani

    • Hi Vineet,

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

      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

      For the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2016 – 17 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 12-15% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

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