Ladakh or Spiti – what should you choose between the two arid gems of Himalayas? This question is undoubtedly the most frequently discussed question for offbeat travelers. Both regions have their own beautiful stories to tell. Let us understand the top 5 reasons you should pick the Ladakh trip over a Spiti Valley trip.
But, often, and understandably, we are shortchanged when it comes to having time off from day-to-day responsibilities. Also, these journeys are arduous and taxing. And those wanting to experience extreme isolation, unbeatable views, and the pure joy of traveling are faced with this question of choice.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Why travel to Ladakh and not Spiti Valley?
Quick disclaimer – picking between the two is a task not meant for me to solve. For I am forever in love with the hills, I can’t help you decide. Both places will probably play a huge role in shaping your life in very different ways.
The geography and views seem comparable to someone who hasn’t experienced both the places. But, I can assure you that every destination, no matter how similar it might seem, is unique and worth exploring in their way!
Today, I want to talk about the uniqueness of Ladakh and all that it has to offer.
1. Ladakh has better accessibility and infrastructure
Leh has an airport with fairly decent connectivity with the Capital, Delhi. It makes it easier for travelers to pack a lot of punch. Also, since Ladakh has a lot of heavy army movement, the roads are maintained way better. Chances of getting stuck for long are also minimized, given that there is more (relatively speaking) tourism.
If all else fails, the army/truck movement will always be nearby for help. Infrastructure development in Ladakh is far superior to being a strategic location for India. Also, thanks to the popularity it has gained in recent years, Ladakhi villages also provide you with a lot of options.
So, whether it is choosing between accommodation – homestays, camps, luxury hotels, guesthouses, or having food options (especially in Leh) – Ladakh has you covered. And, yes, there is a lack of connectivity in the far-flung locations – but, isn’t that what you want anyway?
2. Bountiful of activities and places to explore – both famous and unknown
Here, you get to complete the Manali – Ladakh – Srinagar circuit and partake excursions to Nubra, Suru and Zanskar valleys. Ladakh will provide you with a lot of opportunities to experience diverse natural beauty. From the lush greenery of Suru Valley to majestic Tso Moriri and high-altitude Hundar Village – you’ll be hard-pressed to imagine anything missing from your adventure.
Most people assume that Ladakh is mostly known and Spiti is still undiscovered – I am here to tell you that there is so much more to see in Ladakh that people are not aware of such places.
From Panamik with its Sulphur hot water springs right before heading on to Siachen to Sumur and Basgo, from Uleytokpo to Turtuk the land of Baltis, from Suru Valley leading up to Zanskar – there is a lot of secrets this region is hiding. Well-meaning folks will tell you that Ladakh has become commercialized.
I can guarantee that certain places (especially Leh) might provide you with a ton of comfort you are used to traveling – Ladakh has so many untouched and pristine spots worth exploring.
3. A plethora of cultures to keep you engrossed
When we say India is a secular land with love and respect, it is the biggest reality in Ladakh. You’ll get to experience the Zen of Buddhism, the faith of Islam, the presence of Hinduism. To experience merging everything into a beautiful explosion of life is indescribable! The acceptance of everyone with open arms is beautiful lived by the Ladakhi people.
Getting to interact with villagers of Turtuk, one will truly capture the struggles of losing and regaining identities and the zeal for life that Ladakhi folk have! It is difficult to survive in such harsh conditions, and Ladakhi folk do it all with a smile.
The people here and the lives they’ve built are a true testimony to abundance rather than a shortage. For them, their biggest belief system is being kind and open. Getting to experience generosity and true warmth will be a memory that will stay with you.
4. Adventures aplomb!
Whether you want to do the Chadar Trek, climb the Stok Kangri, conquer the Markha Valley Trek, experience the stark landscapes of the Kang Yatse – Ladakh will offer you everything. From beautiful national parks to surreal valleys – Ladakh is vast, and a large portion of it remains undiscovered.
Ladakh is a land of contrast. The harshest of mountains with the bluest of blues skies will have your soul engrossed. Every turn of the road provides you with another Oh-Wow-What-Am-I-looking-at feeling! While it might all seem unforgiving, it is strangely also very comforting.
5. Year-round connectivity
You can choose the weather you want to experience in Ladakh. Yes, a lot of off-the-beaten-path places might be closed off due to snow. But, still, Ladakh, in general, remains accessible. You can even plan a winter trip to Ladakh by flying to Leh from Delhi.
There is much more to Ladakh than just Leh, Pangong Tso, and Khardungla. And, you will get to experience the complete isolation here, especially if you choose an off-peak season time.
There is a reason why people say that you MUST visit Ladakh at least once in your life. No list will be able to convince you – you have to visit to experience the true personality of the place.
Ladakh truly leaves its footprint on your soul, and you return from the region a changed person. It is hard to describe the magic hidden in the experience. But, Ladakh will provide you with an unforgettable holiday, revealing the true meaning of life for you.
Staring up at intimidating mountains, navigating routes that seem humanly impossible, helping someone on the road that has been stuck for a while divine-human experiences. Also, getting to Pangong lake and experiencing that first glimpse of its bluest of blues, laughing at yourself for truly losing your physical abilities to AMS – is all a part of the package. The list of visiting Ladakh is one you write for yourself.
If you’ve been dreaming about Ladakh, as most of us do for years before embarking on the trip, then muster up your courage and start packing. It will be a journey that will stay with you forever.