Most Common Itinerary for Leh Ladakh

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On request of some many avid readers of the blog and so many like minded travellers seeking guidance for their tour to Leh – Ldakh, I would like to sketch below one of the most common itinerary followed by many of Leh – Ladakh lovers including me which covers all three major tourist destinations of Ladakh including Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso Lake and Tso Moriri Lake. The itinerary also covers Srinagar – Leh Highway as well as Manali – Leh Highway, so it is apt for those looking forward to cover the entire circuit.

I have started from Srinagar side because it gives at least two benefits, if not more. First, the body gets better acclimatized due to gradual ascent by the time you reach Leh and when you return via Manali – Leh Highway, hence less chances of getting stuck with Acute Mountain Sickness (more info on AMS here) and more enjoyment of views on Manali – Leh Highway. If you start via Manali – Leh Highway then most of the terrain runs over 4000 Mtrs of altitude and by the time you reach such altitude your body is not properly acclimatized. Hence, many people fall sick on Manali – Leh Highway despite covering in 25:75 ratio (Manali – Keylong, Keylong – Leh) in terms of distance. Secondly, you save one day as Tso Moriri and Tso Kar Lakes can be adjusted once you start towards Manali from Leh. This way you are not required to return to Leh from Tso Moriri to go towards Kargil or Srinagar. For now, these two reasons are good enough to start your journey from Srinagar side 🙂 …

14 Days Itinerary for Leh Ladakh
Day 1 | Delhi – Jammu / Patnitop
  • Overnight at Jammu or Patnitop
  • About 12-13 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 2 | Jammu / Patnitop – Srinagar
  • Enjoy walk around Dal lake and may be Shikara ride as well
  • Overnight at Srinagar
  • About 8-9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 3 | 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
  • About 8 Hrs drive, depend upon the traffic movement at Zozila and breaks you take in between
Day 4 | 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
  • About 9-10 Hrs drive, , depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 5 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Inner Line Permits
  • To know the about the places to visit in/around Leh, check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
  • For more details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link here Inner Line Permits are not required for these places for Indian Nationals, starting May 2014.
  • Overnight at Leh
Day 6 | 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
  • About 5-6 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between and at Khardung La
Day 7 | 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
  • About 7-9 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 8 | 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)
  • About 5-6 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 9 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh
  • Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh
  • Overnight at Leh
  • About 5-6 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 10 | Rest day at Leh to enjoy local culture and some shopping or you can do tour to Sham Valley
  • Sham Valley include Alchi, Likir, Basgo Palace, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu, Gurudwara Pather Sahib
  • Overnight at Leh
Day 11 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
  • Cover Karzok Monastery
  • Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
  • About 7-8 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 12 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Moore Plains – Pang / Sarchu
  • Try to start early in the day so that you reach Sarchu where the accommodation options are better than Pang
  • Overnight at Sarchu or Pang
  • About 11-12 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 13 | Pang / Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
  • On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the road sides only
  • Overnight at Manali
  • About 11-12 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between and of course the mess at Rohtang Pass
Day 14 | Manali – Delhi
  • Return Home
  • About 13-14 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
Day 15 + 16

| Buffer days to be kept incase of road closure due to landslides or snowfall or perhaps you want to enjoy more.

Additional Points
  • Instead of coming back to Leh from Nubra Valley, you can head towards Pangong Tso via Wari La route. This will give you an additional day which can be spent in Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso or Leh. If you are riding then you need to carry sufficient fuel for it.
  • In Srinagar you can also visit Floating market > Shalimar Garden.
  • For cheap and moderate budget accommodation or hotels in Leh – Ladakh you can refer the links here and here respectively.
  • Any doubts related to budget of the trip?? Don’t worry, check: How to calculate cost or budget for Leh – Ladakh trip
Request everyone that instead of putting up the queries on travel plan below, please start an itinerary advice thread in the forums so that it can be replied in more structured manner as well as more people can get benefit from the replies by reading existing threads.

Here is the link: DoW – Himalayan Travel Community | Ladakh Itinerary Advice

Conclusion

I hope this plan of itinerary for Leh – Ladakh will be useful for travelers planning their journey at least for the first time. I will look forward for any queries or doubts or valuable suggestions and inputs you have and would love to discuss about your custom plan as well in comments section.

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2,361 Comments

  1. Shreya Chakraborty on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Your posts are extremely informative for first-timers. So first of all, I owe you a big thank you!

    I will be going to Leh-Ladakh late September and my itinerary goes as follows:

    Day 1: Morning flight to Srinagar. Srinagar to Kargil. Night stay there.
    Day 2: Kargil-Drokhpa region-Kargil
    Day 3: Kargil-Padum
    Day 4: Sight-seeing around Padum. Night stay there
    Day 5: Padum-Kargil
    Day 6: Kargil-Leh
    Day 7: Sight-seeing around Leh
    Day 8: Leh-Nubra Valley
    Day 9: Nubra Valley-Pangong Tso
    Day 10: Pangong Tso-Tso Moriri
    Day 11: Tso Moriri-Tso Kar-Leh
    Day 12: Buffer
    Day 13: Fly out of Leh

    1. I wanted to know if Day 9 and Day 10 back-to-back will be too hectic, and if we should return to Leh from Pangong. Also, how long is the journey from Nubra to Pangong, because I really want to spend some time in Pangong.

    Some of us will be flying out on Day 13 itself, so if it’s not a big deal, we want to complete the trip within Day 12.

    2. Can I include Hanle in the buffer day (in case you advice me to not travel directly to Tso Moriri) as : Pangong Tso-Hanle, and then Hanle-Tso Moriri on the following day? Also, what are the procedures for getting the permit at Hanle?

    3. What are the places I can cover around Leh and Padum in the limited time that I have? (I prefer to travel on the roads less traveled, so feel free to suggest non-touristy places)

    Thank you in advance!

    • There is no point going for the Padum in just two days at hand, it will put you through treacherous journey just to sleep one night and come back again. Rather best you can do is Kargil – Rangdum (cover Penzi la), Rangdum – Lamayuru, Lamayuru – Drokpa region – Leh. The extra day now you have got is to be used to visit Hanle like Leh – Nubra Valley, Nubra Valley to Pangong tso, Pangong tso to Hanle, Hanle to Tso Moriri.

      • Shreya Chakraborty on

        Thank you so much for the feedback.

        In one of your blogs, I read that the conditions are more harsh at Rangdum and hence I opted to stay at Padum.

        If it’s not too inconvenient for you, can you share the places I can visit if I choose to stay at Rangdum and follow the route you suggested?

        Also, is it feasible to go from Pangong to Hanle to Tso Moriri in a day?

        We will be booking a cab for ourselves, so you can advice accordingly.

        • Yes, that is true but it does make sense if you have days in hand but for just 2 days going another 5 Hrs of a bumpy ride in a day is not advisable. LA Himalaya home stay has attached toilets too now at Rangdum, so facilities have improved there. When you stay at Rangdum, you can visit Penzi La Pass and the two lakes that comes on the way to it. Plus it is the nature and the journey which is enjoyable to Rangdum. Of course, Rangdum monastery too offers very nice views.

          Pangong tso to Hanle = Day 1 and Hanle to Tso Moriri – Day 2.

        • Shreya Chakraborty on

          I am thinking of extending the stay at Padum to 2 days. Then what are the possible places I can explore?

          Also, if I have to choose between going to Tso Moriri or Hanle, which one will you advise?

          Again, thank you and my apologies for bothering you so much!

  2. Hi Dheeraj,

    I’ve gone through the recent notification given by the bikers union. We are hiring delhi registered bikes for our ladakh trip. Will this be a problem?

    TIA

  3. Hello dheeraj!
    Some great work out here.. Solid info
    We’ve been planning ladakh since two years, we’ve already booked flight tickets so now working with itinerary
    We are transporting our own bikes to jammu and back from mandi and are a group of 8.. Please check the itinerary and comment!
    1) july14 hyd to jammu
    2) 15 jammu srinagar – sonamarg
    3) 16 sonamarg to Kargil
    4) 17 kargil to leh
    5) 18 leh
    6) 19 leh to nubra
    7)20 nubra to Pangong
    8) 21 Pangong to leh
    9) 22 leh to tso moriri
    10) 23 tso moriri to sarchu /jispa or keylong
    11) 24 sarchu to manali /kasol
    12) 25 buffer day
    13) 26 kasol malana rest
    14)27 Solang Valley manali rest
    15) 28 manali to mandi – bikes transport – delhi at Nyt
    16)29 delhi to hyd

  4. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are planning to hire a Private vehicle(White Number Plate) in Delhi(The driver is the owner) for our ladakh trip. Will there be any problem with the taxi unions in LEH if we do so.

    TIA.

    • Jitesh, as long as you all can share the same story in case someone talks about that whose car is it, who owns it and is he a friend or not, it should be fine.

  5. Kruthi Bhat on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Have read almost all your blogs which are beautifully written and has helped us a lot in planning our trip to Ladakh. A big thank you 🙂

    We are 7 members arriving afternoon at Leh by air on 26th August and leaving Leh morning by air on 4th September. We have planned the trip as follows:

    Day1, 26th aug: acclimatization/local sightseeing plus permits
    Day2, 27th aug: Leh sightseeing
    Day3, 28th aug: Leh to Nubra Valley, stay at Hunder/Diskit
    Day 4, 29th aug: Nubra to Leh
    Day5, 30th aug: Leh to Pangong, stay at Pangong
    Day 6, 31st aug: Pangong tso to tso Moriri
    Day 7, 1st sept: tso Moriri to Leh
    Day 8, 2nd sept: Leh to Sham valley
    Day 9, 3rd sept: Not Yet planned
    Day10, 4th sept: Return home with great memories

    We plan to rent bikes for Leh sight seeing and sham valley tour. For rest we plan to hire a cab. I need your advice on following:

    1.Does this itinerary looks fine and how will it be in August end weather wise?

    2. Do cab drivers be ready to take the direct route to Pangong to tso Moriri? You have mentioned 2 routes in your earlier posts which are short distance wise and more scenic but has some problems and 1 which is longer(via Upshi). So could you please advise us on which is the best route to take.

    3. Can sham valley be covered on 2nd day if and only if we feel good? Or is it a risk? Because 3 of us will be leaving early i.e. on the 8th day, 2nd sept.

    4. We have one day which we haven’t planned yet so could you please suggest us places or activities that can be done..

    5. We read about Zanskar river rafting.. Is it worth experiencing during our visit time?

    Again thanks in advance. Happy travelling 🙂

    • Thank you Kruthi for warm words, glad these articles are helpful.
      My replies below
      1. Ladakh is rain shadow region and since you are flying in, it is fine. The plan should include Hanle from Pangong tso which will help break the journey and next day you can reach Tso Moriri.
      2. Yes, cab drivers will be ready
      3. If you sleep well, on Day 1, attempt Sham Valley on Day else keep it as is to relax.
      4. Hanle it should be.
      5. If you want to try rafting, then yes that is fine and can be clubbed with Sham Valley tour

      • Kruthi Bhat on

        Thank you Dheeraj for a prompt reply.

        As i mentioned earlier 3 of us will be returning home on Day8, 2nd sept.. So returning to leh on Day7, 1st sept becomes necessary.. So if we include Hanle in the existing plan, can Hanle-tso moriri – leh be done on one day(Day7) ? Or should we drop tso moriri? 🙁

        Also are there any nearby places apart from these which we could cover on bikes for the rest who will be staying back.

        Hope I am not confusing you with this query 🙂

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