Ladakh

How to make a budget trip to Ladakh by Public Transport in 2021?

One of the most frequently asked questions by readers/members of Devil on Wheels Travel community is, “Can I make a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport in 2021?”. I know the budget is an integral part of any trip but becomes critical when we make a trip to Ladakh because of a higher number of days required to make even a basic trip.

How to plan a budget Ladakh trip using public transport?

This means the cost of the stay as well as having food while on the Ladakh trip increases proportionally to the number of days you have planned your trip. Combined with the fact that the self-drive cars are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh, most people are left to opt taxis whose rates are considerably high due to rough terrain, bad roads and a short tourist season window in Ladakh.

So, a question like, if I can make a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport is not surprisingly the topmost among the other frequently asked questions for a Ladakh trip.

Let me help you plan your upcoming Himalayan sojourn on a budget.

Planning a budget trip to Ladakh by Public Transport?

Trip to Ladakh by Public Transport

In the past, I shared an article about getting an idea of the overall budget of a Ladakh trip. However, today, in this article, I will share the tips and tricks with an example of how you can make a budget Ladakh trip by public transport. I am sure this article will be helpful to all those who are planning a solo Ladakh trip using public transport.

Can I travel solo on a budget Ladakh trip?

If you are alone/couple 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 that people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh.

Even travel agents organize such shared taxis trips as well but charge a little higher, about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost when you share with other tourists. So, in the worst case, you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meeting new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip.

I will outline an example which will be a mix and match approach of using public transport in Ladakh as well as the shared tourist/public taxis and also try to share the other available options in different legs.

Choose your public transport in Ladakh wisely !!

Ladakh Trip by Bus – Day by Day Plan

In order to outline the budget and cover all places of sightseeing in Ladakh, let’s consider our Leh Ladakh most common travel plan as an example that covers the entire circuit as Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh – Manali.

Now, let’s take a look at this Ladakh itinerary day by day, including the options of travel on these days, the cost of travel and cost of stay + food (twin sharing basis) at these places.

Also, I am assuming that since you are on a budget Ladakh trip, you will be finding the places of stay on the spot and not pre-booking them 🙂 🙂

Day 1 | Delhi – Jammu

  • Options of travel: There are buses available between Delhi – Jammu that cost around Rs 700 as well as between Delhi – Srinagar (Sleeper costs around Rs 1900, non-sleeper costs around Rs 1700). However, the most economical way to travel from Delhi to Jammu is by train. You need to pay around Rs 450 for sleeper class in train and around Rs 1100 for the third AC.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 450 by sleeper class in the train.
  • Cost of stay: You will find many budget guesthouses and stays near the bus stand at Jammu ranging from Rs 800 to 1500. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Jammu.

Hence, at the end of Day 1, the total cost spent on transport & accommodation on your budget trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 850 – 950 (Rs 450 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 2 | Jammu – Patnitop – Srinagar

  • Options of travel: There are plenty of buses running between Jammu and Srinagar. The cost ranges from Rs 750 (tempo travelers, deluxe) to semi-deluxe around Rs 600 to ordinary state transport 52 seater including Marcopolo at around Rs 550. Finding shared taxis from Jammu to Srinagar is easy from the Gumat taxi stand. These shared taxis charge around Rs 1000 per person for a shared taxi.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 550 by state transport bus.
  • Cost of stay: You will find many budget guesthouses and stays near Nageen lake or Dal lake or at the backside of Dal lake ranging from Rs 900 to 1200. So, you can consider Rs 450 – 500 for a stay in Srinagar.

Hence, at the end of Day 2, the total transport & accommodation cost on your Ladakh budget trip using public transport is Rs 1850 – 2000 ((Rs 850 – 950) + Rs 550 + Rs 450 – 500).

Day 3 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil

  • Options of travel: Plenty of shared taxis and daily buses of JKSRTC run between Srinagar and Kargil. Shared taxis to Leh from Srinagar cost around Rs 1800 with a night stop at Kargil. However, there is a direct semi-deluxe bus as well that runs from Srinagar to Leh which costs just about Rs 800 and deluxe bus costs around Rs 1400.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 800 for Srinagar to Leh by semi-deluxe bus.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house in Kargil ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Kargil.

Hence, at the end of Day 3, the total expenses for transport & accommodation on your Ladakh trip using public transport is Rs 3050 – 3300 ((Rs 1850 – 2000) + Rs 800 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 4 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh

  • Options of travel: Plenty of shared taxis and daily buses of JKSRTC run between Kargil and Leh. Shared taxis to Leh from Srinagar cost around Rs 1800 with a night stop at Kargil. However, there is a direct semi-deluxe bus as well that runs from Srinagar to Leh which costs just Rs 800 and deluxe bus costs around Rs 1400. You may miss the visit to the Lamayuru monastery when traveling by bus.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 3 for a drop till Leh from Srinagar.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Leh ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Leh.

Hence, at the end of Day 4, the total cost of travel & stay on your trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 3450 – 3800 ((Rs 3050 – 3300) + Rs 0 + Rs 400 – 500).

A budget stay that you can use on your trip to Ladakh by public transport

Day 5 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatisation

  • Options of travel: Here you are not left with many options but either get a scooter or a bike costing around Rs 1000 – 1200 on rent to ride or hire a local tourist shared taxi that might cost you around Rs 700 per seat. It is important to rest in the day to avoid AMS.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 700 for a shared tourist taxi.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Leh ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Leh.

Hence, at the end of Day 5, the total cost spent on transport & accommodation on your budget trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 4550 – 5000 ((Rs 3450 – 3800) + Rs 700 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 6 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Nubra Valley costing around Rs 2000 for a two-day trip. You can find the details in the third paragraph of the article on how to get a tourist shared taxi in Leh. You will also get a public shared-taxi as well for Nubra Valley near polo ground in Leh for Rs 600, so the return would cost you around Rs 1200 by public shared taxis. Within Nubra Valley, you can travel by shared taxis for around Rs 400, but it will be a bit inconvenient if you want to cover many places. Also, if you are lucky, you can get the JKSRTC state transport bus to Deskit for Rs 250, which means Rs 500 for return. However, it depends on if the bus is running that day or not.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 1600 considering you will opt for public shared taxis to Nubra Valley and within Nubra Valley for getting to Hunder, Sumur, Panamik.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Nubra Valley (Hunder, Deskit) ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Nubra Valley.

Hence, at the end of Day 6, the total transport & accommodation cost on your Ladakh budget trip using public transport is Rs 6550 – 7000 ((Rs 4550 – 5000) + Rs 1600 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 7 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 6
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 6 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Leh ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Leh.

Hence, at the end of Day 7, the total expenses for transport & accommodation on your Ladakh trip using public transport is Rs 6950 – 7500 ((Rs 6550 – 7000) + Rs 0 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 8 | Leh – Pangong Tso Lake (Saturday)

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Pangong Tso costing around Rs 2000 for a two-day trip. You can find the details in the third paragraph of the article on how to get a tourist shared taxi in Leh. However, assuming you started your trip on Friday evening from Delhi, it will be Saturday on this day. Hence, you can also get a JKSRTC bus at Rs 600 for return from Pangong Tso (Spangmik).
  • Cost of travel: Rs 600 for a return considering you get the JKSRTC bus to Pangong Tso, Tangtse scheduled on Saturday.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a homestay or dormitory tents at Pangong Tso in Leh ranging from Rs 500-600 per person per day. So, you can consider Rs 500 for a stay in Pangong Tso. Of course, the cost will be high in case you plan to stay in tents with toilets and better guest houses with attached bathrooms. But, I am assuming you are on a budget trip to Ladakh.

Hence, at the end of Day 8, the total cost of travel & stay on your trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 8050 – 8600 ((Rs 6950 – 7500) + Rs 600 + Rs 500).

Rent a bike for a day in Ladakh

Day 9 | Pangong Tso Lake – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 8
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 8 for a drop till Leh from Pangong Tso.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Leh ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Leh.

Hence, at the end of Day 9, the total cost spent on transport & accommodation on your budget trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 8450 – 9100 ((Rs 8050 – 8600) + Rs 0 + Rs 400 – 500).

Related Post

Day 10 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Tso Moriri costing around Rs 2800 for a two-day trip. Details are mentioned in the third paragraph of the article on how to get a tourist shared taxi in Leh. There is a JKSRTC bus that runs on every 10th, 20th and 30th of the month from Leh to Tso Moriri and cost about Rs 800 for a return ticket. If you are lucky enough and dates clash on these days, you can consider saving about Rs 1200 for the trip.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 2800 considering you will be taking a shared taxi in case your dates are not matching the dates on which JKSRTC buses to Tso Moriri runs.
  • Cost of stay: You can find a guesthouse or homestay in Tso Moriri ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Tso Moriri at homestays. Of course, the cost of tented accommodation with attached washrooms are much higher in comparison to homestays.

Hence, at the end of Day 10, the total transport & accommodation cost on your Ladakh budget trip using public transport is Rs 11650 – 12400 ((Rs 8450 – 9100) + Rs 2800 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 11 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 10
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 10 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Leh ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Leh.

Hence, at the end of Day 11, the total expenses for transport & accommodation on your Ladakh trip using public transport is Rs 12050 – 12900 ((Rs 11650 – 12400) + Rs 0 + Rs 400 – 500).

Day 12 | Leh – Taglang La – Pang – Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong

  • Options of travel: Daily HRTC buses available to travel to Keylong on the first day and the second day to Manali and third day to Delhi. However, there is a direct bus to Delhi from Leh by HRTC which costs Rs 1400 and covers the journey in two days with an overnight halt at Keylong. The buses are also available just up to Keylong and Manali as well. Also, there is an HPTDC tourist bus that is available for tourists halts which stops overnight at Keylong and then goes to Manali the next day. Lots of shared taxis option are also available both local as well as tourist shared taxis. We will consider direct HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh via Keylong – Manali.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 1400 for direct HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or homestay in Keylong ranging from Rs 800 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 400 – 500 for a stay in Keylong.

Hence, at the end of Day 12, the total cost of travel & stay on your trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 13850 – 14800 ((Rs 12050 – 12900) + Rs 1400 + Rs 400 – 500).

Enjoy the endless beauty of Manali – Leh Highway

Day 13 | Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali

  • Options of travel: Leh – Keylong – Manali, daily HRTC buses available to travel to Keylong on the first day and then the second day to Manali. Also, there is an HPTDC tourist bus that is available for tourists halts at Keylong and then goes to Manali. Lots of shared taxis are also available both local as well as tourist shared taxis.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 12 for a drop till Delhi by HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: Rs 0 as the direct bus to Delhi from Leh does not overnight stop at Manali.

Hence, at the end of Day 13, the total cost spent on transport & accommodation on your budget trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 13850 – 14800 ((Rs 13850 – 14800) + Rs 0 + Rs 0).

Day 14 | Manali – Delhi

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 12. Also, there are plenty of HRTC, HPTDC local, deluxe, Volvo buses available which you can take as per comfort, convenience and budget in case you are not taking the direct bus to Delhi from Leh. However, in this example, we are only considering the HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 12 for a drop till Delhi by HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: Rs 0 as you reach sweet home.

Finally, at the end this itinerary, the total cost of transport & accommodation on your trip to Ladakh by public transport is Rs 13850 – 14800 ((Rs 13850 – 14800) + Rs 0 + Rs 0).

Eating out at dhabha at Sarchu

Cost of Food for 14 Days budget Ladakh trip by Public Transport

The food all over Ladakh is quite economic unless you wish to lavishly spend in restaurants in Leh and hotels. If you eat at regular dhabas where the buses or shared taxis stop and do not wish to go into the high-end restaurants in Leh or Manali, you will not be spending more than Rs 300 – 350 per day on food.

DO NOT forget to check the top 15 tips on Responsible Travel in the Himalayas.

Taking this factor into account, the above nine-day road trip to Ladakh may not cost you more than Rs 4200 – 4900 for the food.

You should always carry your own water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂

Hence, the total cost of your Ladakh trip by public transport comes out to be (Rs 13850 – 14800) + (Rs 4200 – 4900) = Rs 18050 – 19700.

More Budget Travel Tips

If you are really lucky and you get the public transport buses within Ladakh as well for Tso Moriri, you may consider saving about a couple of 1000 more making a budget trip to Ladakh possible in approximately Rs 15000 only 🙂 🙂 …

In case, you drop Tso Moriri from the plan and only travel to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, then as well you can very much make a Ladakh trip by public transport possible on a budget of Rs 15000.

Hence, you can see that if you plan to make a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport and plan it properly as described above, you can easily make your Ladakh trip covering Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri within a budget of Rs 18050 – 19700.

You can also check this less than a 3-minute video on DevilOnWheels YouTube Channel on these essential tips for making a budget trip to Leh Ladakh. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

Tips on making a budget trip to Leh Ladakh

LAST UPDATED: Jan 2021
This article has been updated with the latest information about making a budget trip to Ladakh by Public Transport. It is kept up to date every season to reflect the current status. Feel free to suggest any further updates you deem fit that I may have missed.

Conclusion

I hope the above article helps you evaluate the cost of travel for your trip to Ladakh by public transport. This example will help you fit your customized plan to give a general idea of the budget to expect out of it. You may skip the places you are not visiting on your Ladakh trip.

I am sure now you will have the confidence that yes you can make a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport around Rs 18000 budget 🙂 🙂

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel to ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram or comments on my YouTube videos.

Feel free to share any tips or updates you have to make it more helpful for the other fellow travelers looking to make a trip to Ladakh. I will be happy to update the article with your inputs in the comments.

Feel free to share this article with your friends or family who you know will be going on a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport. And of course, if you have any questions shoot them up in the comments section of the article.

This post was last modified on Mar 31, 2021 23:14

Recent Posts

  • Travel Guides

Gushaini – the MOST COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE

Himachal Pradesh is as scenic as it gets. There is a reason why so many… Read More

1 month ago
  • India

Sethan Valley – the MOST COMPLETE GUIDE

Sethan Valley – so close yet so far! This tiny little unknown hamlet lies ridiculously… Read More

2 months ago
  • India

7 Top Most Offbeat Places in Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley is an offbeat destination. There are no questions about it. The younger sibling… Read More

3 months ago
  • Travel Tips

Miyar Valley – the MOST COMPLETE guide

Miyar Valley, unknown to many – even in the most ardent Himalaya lovers’ circle, is… Read More

3 months ago
  • Zanskar

New Route: Manali – Leh, Via Zanskar – the MOST COMPLETE GUIDE

You might have heard a lot of seasoned lovers of Ladakh complain that the earlier… Read More

4 months ago
  • India

How to calculate the cost or budget of Lahaul Trip in 2021?

Lahaul valley is the newest entrant to the Himachali travel scene. Not only is it… Read More

4 months ago

This website uses cookies.