Now and then I keep getting queries on the budget of Ladakh trip. So I believe a post around it will be helpful for many travelers looking forward to preparing the budget for their upcoming Leh Ladakh trip. To be very frank, the budget for any trip including Leh Ladakh depends a lot upon a person to person and the taste + comfort he/she prefers.
Ladakh is such a place where you can get varied stay options, unlike Spiti depending on your choice of comfort, preference, conditions, and circumstances. The variety may range from Rs 125-150 stay at some Dhabha tents to Rs 300 – 800 stay at low-cost hotels/homestays to Rs 1000 – 1500 at medium-cost hotels to Rs 3000 and above for hotels that offer much more comfort & luxury etc.
The same thing applies to food as well and depends on what you want to eat (Pizza or Dal Bhaat or Roti+Dal Fry or Maggie / Veg. Non-Veg. etc.). More importantly, where you want to eat and drink. But, in any case, I would try to sketch a basic average budget analysis for a Leh Ladakh trip based on the choice of accommodation and food by the majority of people.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
What is the budget of Ladakh Trip?
Given below is a basic itinerary for Leh Ladakh tour from Delhi (without any buffer days) covering all major tourist destinations of Leh Ladakh and followed widely by many travelers including me. We will be analyzing or finding the budget or cost for this Ladakh tour as a part of our exercise on what is the cost of Leh Ladakh trip.
You can roughly guess for yourself that for a similar Ladakh trip or based on your point of interest & preferences of stay, what will be the approximate cost or budget for your custom Leh Ladakh trip?
An example itinerary for Leh Ladakh covering almost all basic tourist places –
- Day 1 | Delhi – Jammu/Patnitop
- Day 2 | Jammu/Patnitop – Srinagar
- Day 3 | Srinagar – Kargil
- Day 4 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
- Day 5 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Rest
- Day 6 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit (Nubra Valley) – Hunder – Diskit
- Day 7 | Hunder/Diskit – Pangong Lake via Shyok route
- Day 8 | Pangong Tso – Hemis – Thicksey – Shey Palace – Leh
- Day 9 | Leh Rest Day or Sham Valley Tour around Leh including Magnetic Hills, Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Alchi, Likir, Basgo, Confluence at Nimmu
- Day 10 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
- Day 11 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Moore Plains (Manali – Leh Highway) – Pang – Sarchu
- Day 12 | Sarchu – Manali
- Day 13 | Manali – Delhi
So, you can see that for our sample Ladakh itinerary, we have taken 13 days (with one rest day in Leh). You can add/remove and modify the days according to your needs. Of course, the budget outcome will depend a bit on that, but I guess that is very much trivial to say.
Also, consider that while traveling alone, the cost of accommodation and transportation is bound to increase. However, while traveling in evenly balanced groups of 3-5 people, the cost of the Ladakh trip will surely decrease. As of now, I will also assume that you guys are two in number so that the budget can be calculated on a twin-sharing basis.
Now, to analyze the budget for the above or any other itinerary, we can categorize the budget into two major parts described below –
Food + Accommodation + Miscellaneous Budget of Ladakh Trip
Let us break down each of these components to understand the break of Ladakh trip cost in detail.
This example trip will need about 12-13 days at the very least, so roughly you will be spending some Rs 12000 – 18000 per person for food, accommodation and other misc. expenditures.
If you are living in an average budget hotel with decent comfort and are traveling in a group (at least 2 in number) then the average cost per day for food, accommodation, and other misc. things like tolls, permit fees, entry fees to monasteries, etc. come to about Rs 1000-1500 per day.
Again, Rs 1000-1500 figure could be a low budget for someone and a little high for others depending upon the choice of stay and food or other activities you plan to do on your Ladakh trip.
For example, if you dine at a dhaba tent, then the cost of the meal would come out to be around Rs 50-70 only per person, and the same meal if you take at a restaurant at Changspa road in Leh then you might pay Rs 150 – Rs 170 per person or maybe more. Furthermore, in some high-end restaurants, the cost of food will go up much more.
Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian also matters with respect to food pricing, so take that factor into account as well.
You should always carry your 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 !! 🙂 🙂
The same thing applies to different activities. Here I have considered what is unavoidable such as toll, permit charges, entry fees, snacks, etc. If you are going paragliding, rafting, shopping, etc.. then that will surely be something additional for you.
Hence, if you are going with a budget hotel or guest house having decent comfort, eating decent quality food, and including only mandatory miscellaneous charges then you may need to shell out Rs 12000 – 18000 per person for your Leh Ladakh itinerary of 12-13 days.
Mode of Transportation Budget of Ladakh Trip
On a trip to Leh Ladakh, the major cost comes out to be for taxis or transportation or fuel depending upon your mode of transport. Using public transport inside Leh – Ladakh is a challenge as the frequency of such vehicles is feeble and based on their schedules you may require 18-20 days to complete the above trip.
So, in Leh Ladakh, travelers mostly commute either by privately hired taxis or shared taxis run by tour operators or by finding travel partners and sharing the cost with them or riding rented bikes or ultimately self-drive on their bikes or cars. All these options will present you with different costs for the trip.
Let’s look at each one of them below to get an idea of the total cost for a Leh Ladakh trip.
Cost of Ladakh trip on Self-Drive Private Vehicle
You will be traveling about 3300-3600 KMs for the above Ladakh trip. So, if your bike gives a mileage of about 25 KMPL on average in mountains + plains, then you are looking for about Rs 13200 – 14400 for fuel roughly. If it gives less, then adjust accordingly. I have assumed average cost of petrol as Rs 100 per litre as of January 2023. In plains, it will be less and in mountains it will be more.
Similarly, you can calculate if you are driving the car. Just keep in mind that in hills, your car or bike will give much lesser mileage than in plains. So, calculate accordingly and divide them among the people traveling in the car to calculate the per-person cost. It is difficult/uncomfortable to travel to Ladakh with a pillion on a bike, so the cost is calculated singularly above.
Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling to Ladakh by self-drive mode of transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 12000 – 18000) + (Rs 13200 – 14400) = (Rs 25200 – 32400)) as the total cost for the entire Leh Ladakh trip.
Self-Drive But Rented Vehicle
Here, the cost of fuel would be the same as for a self-drive private vehicle calculated above, but you will be adding the cost of bike/car rental as well. Usually, you get a decent bike in good condition at around Rs 1400 – 1500 per day depending on the make and model of the bike you rent.
So, the cost of bike rent only from Delhi to Delhi Ladakh trip comes out to be around Rs 20,000 – 24,000 considering if you get a discount. Adding the fuel cost as calculated above, the cost here becomes approximately Rs 33,200 – 38,400.
This is a solo Ladakh ride cost. So, if you have a pillion then divide by two here.
Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling to Ladakh by self-drive rented bike mode of transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 33,200 – 38,400) + (Rs 12000 – 18000) = (Rs 45,200 – 56,400)) as the total cost for the entire trip.
Privately Hired Taxi in Leh
The taxis outside the Leh are not allowed to roam in Leh – Ladakh, and you are always required to hire a taxi that belongs to Leh only. So, I am considering the case when you will be hiring a private taxi in Leh only and to reach Leh you will be using public transport.
It may be the case that you are coming in a privately hired taxi from outside Leh. Or you may be flying directly to Leh etc. but here I will assume that you have used public transport such as the train to reach Jammu, JKSRTC buses to reach Srinagar, and then to Leh, HPTDC buses to reach Manali from Leh and further to Delhi.
Also, I will assume that on Day 11 you will be going to Leh from Tso Moriri since in public transport you cannot travel directly from Tso Moriri to Manali. Traveling in this way means one extra day being spent in Leh Ladakh, making it a 13-day trip. I am again assuming you are 4 in number.
I will break down the private taxi cost and the other transport cost for the entire trip as below –
- Day 1 – Day 4 (Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh) = Rs 3000 per person
- Day 5 (Leh Local) = Rs 2400 / 4 = Rs 600 per person
- Day 6 – Day 8 (Leh – Khardung La – Nubra – Pangong – Leh) = Rs 22000 / 4 = Rs 5500 per person
- Day 9 – Day 10 (Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Leh) = Rs 14000 / 4 = Rs 3500 per person
- Day 11 – Day 13 (Leh – Keylong – Manali – Delhi) = Rs 4000 per person
Considering a 10-12% discount on the rates of Leh Taxi Union after bargaining, the total cost comes out approximately to Rs 16,000 – 17,000 per person when traveling two in number.
This cost of a taxi in Ladakh per person will come down if there are more people traveling with you to a maximum of 6.
Why only 6? Because one Scorpio taxi can accommodate 6 persons with ease :), anything more than that you need to hire two taxis.
However, I recommend that 5 people in one taxi are the optimum number to share the cost of a taxi.
Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling by privately hired taxi in Leh and reaching Leh in public/shared transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 16000 – 17000) + (Rs 13000 – 19500) = (Rs 29000 – 36500)) as the total cost for the entire trip including 1 day added to travel between Tso Moriri – Leh.
If by any chance you plan to hire a private taxi to travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway then the cost will go much higher because charges for Srinagar – Leh, and Manali – Leh in a private taxi are about Rs 20000 and Rs 25000 respectively as per rates in 2023.
If you are less in number, like 2 in this example, it is always suggested to travel by public transport such as shared taxis, JKSRTC buses, HPTDC buses on Srinagar – Leh, and Manali – Leh Highways in Himachal.
Wondering if there is any cheap mode of hiring a private taxi to Leh Ladakh from Manali or Srinagar. I shall say Yes as well as No, as you can find the details in my article on Cheap private taxi to Leh – Ladakh | A Myth or A Reality?
Shared Taxis or Public Transport or Travel Partners (in a group)
Assuming that instead of hiring a private taxi in Leh Ladakh you plan to travel by shared taxis run by tour operators or join with other travel partners to share the cost or you are about 5 in number then you are looking at about Rs 13000 – 14000 approximately.
If you further plan to travel in Ladakh by public buses then this figure as well will go down further considerably. However, at the same time, you may be required to stay for a longer period adjusting to the schedule of these public buses which means an increase in lodging + food costs.
Finally, taking food + accommodation into account, traveling shared taxis (or public transport or along with travel partners) in Leh and reaching Leh in public/shared transport, you are looking at about ((Rs 13000 – 14000) + (Rs 12000 – 18000) = (Rs 25000 – 32000)) as the total cost for the entire trip.
If I look at the above scenarios or examples, then, of course, it may not be the case every time. Sometimes you will be hiring the bike from Delhi only and sometimes partially. There can be cases where you will travel to Leh Ladakh by bus or public transport and then hire a bike in Leh to ride to only a few places.
DO NO forget to check the top 15 tips on Responsible Travel in the Himalayas.
Similarly, you may travel to Manali on public transport and then hire a bike from Manali, etc. There could be similar other cases as well as flying directly to Leh etc. I have tried to cover many general cases here, and we can surely discuss custom cases in the comments section below if you like or have any difficulties.
Otherwise, if you are looking at them individually or day by day then you will be able to calculate the cost estimate of your Leh Ladakh trip for any such custom combination with fair ease.
I will look forward to your queries or doubts in the comments section below and know your perspective/tips of cost or budget analysis for the Ladakh trip as well. Kindly share your valuable thoughts/feedback/inputs etc. here with many other fellow travelers.