Zanskar Valley has started coming out to be the next popular adventure destinations in the Himalayas after Leh – Ladakh and Spiti Valley. It is not a surprise as other destinations have been flocked with tourists, adventurists are looking out towards more secluded and peaceful locations in the Himalayas. Hence, nestled in the remote corner of Ladakh district, Zanskar Valley is the appropriate candidate for being popular among adventure loving tourists. As more and more questions have started appearing on Devil On Wheels website for different plans of Zanskar Valley, in this article today, I will share a plan covering Zanskar Valley from Leh in 9 days. This itinerary covers all the major tourist attractions in Zanskar Valley including Rangdum and Padum with local sightseeing.
There is no need for an inner line permit to visit Zanskar Valley. Hence, in case you are not visiting any other sightseeing places in Ladakh, no permit is required for Zanskar Valley. However, you must note that in case you are planning to hire a taxi, Ladakh taxi can only drop you to Kargil where you will have to take a Kargil based taxi to drop you to Padum. Once you reach Padum, you will have to hire a local Padum based taxi which can help you do sightseeing in Zanskar Valley and drop you back to Kargil and Leh. The taxi rules are quite complicated in Zanskar Valley and at times they do allow Kargil based taxi but not always. So, keep this important distinction in mind 😀 …
For the Leh – Ladakh taxi union rate list 2017 – 18 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 more comprehensive List of Taxi Drivers for Ladakh – Srinagar – Leh – Manali with recommendations/reviews for DoW community members.
In case you love to ride the bike and want to rent a bike for Zanskar Valley trip, you can refer Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2017-18. However, I will highly recommend that you plan a bike ride to Zanskar Valley only if you have experience of riding in trans Himalayas on bad dirt roads with bumpy rides. If you have any back pain issues, then please stay away from bike ride.
9 Day Travel Itinerary – Zanskar Valley from Leh
In this itinerary of Zanskar Valley, as you will be flying directly to Leh which is located at an altitude of about 3500 Mtrs, you must acclimatize properly in order to combat acute mountain sickness. It is of utmost importance to rest for at least one day before moving or travel anywhere in Ladakh or towards Zanskar Valley. You are safe to travel down towards Alchi or Kargil on the first day in case you wish but I have taken a conservative approach to rest on the first day. Now, let’s look at the plan in detail:
Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
- Checkin at Hotel. Many hotels provide free pick and drop from Airport. Ask while you book them.
- Take ample of rest as well as water or anything that keep your body hydrated enough. DO NOT OVER HYDRATE. Take ORS Soluted water or ORS – L tetra packs from home.
- Do not over exert your body at any cost. Avoid too much up-down on stairs or avoid it in entirety, if possible.
- After 5-6 Hrs of rest you can visit Leh Palace, Local Leh market, Shankar Gompa.
- If you feel exerted go back to Hotel, have dinner at Hotel and take rest. Avoid any exertion.
- Follow the sunset by stroll at Changspa road and have a nice dinner on varied cuisines offered in-around Changspa road.
- Go back to hotel for overnight stay at Leh.
- Overnight at Leh
Day 2 | Leh – Lamayuru – Kargil
- Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscapes
- On the way you can also see Sham Valley – Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
- Overnight at Kargil
Day 3 | Kargil – Sankoo (42 KMs) – Panikhar (67 KMs) – Parkachik (98 KMs) – Rangdum (138 KMs) – Penzi La (165 KMs) – Padum (255 KMs)
- Have breakfast either at Kargil, preferably packed breakfast from hotel
- It is going to be a long day, hence, leave for sure by 7 AM
- Have lunch at Rangdum, specifically not letting you stay at Rangdum as it a much harsh place than Padum with least facilities. So, better break journey while coming back
- Beautiful Stod River join you after descend from Penzi La
- Will take about 9-11 Hrs
- Overnight stay at Padum
Day 4 | Rest day at Padum or visit to Zongkhul Monastery
- Rest at Padum and enjoy the stay to acclimatize better
- After lunch you can do Padum – Tungri (17 KMs) – Zongkhul (37 KMs)
- Will take about 2-3 Hrs
- Overnight stay at Padum
Day 5 | Padum – Stongde (15 KMs) – Zang La Fort (32 KMs) – Karsha (62 KMs) – Padum (74 KMs)
- Explore local sightseeing in Padum including Sani, Stongdey and Karsha monasteries, Zang La Fort
- An old monastery situated in the nearby village of Tsa-zar, midway between Stongde and Zangla
- Sheela Village Waterfall: You can spend sometime at waterfall at Sheela village while coming back to Padum from Stongde
- Karsha monastery: Evening visit for nice view of Padum village
- Stonge monastery: Morning visit for better views
- Zang La Fort: Ahead of Stongde and offers some scenic wide views
- Will take about 3-4 Hrs
- Overnight stay at Padum
Day 6 | Padum – Penzi La Pass (90 KMs) – Rangdum (117 KMs)
- On the way see and click some lovely pictures of Drang Drung Glacier
- Spot some wildlife including Marmots as well on the way to Penzi La
- Stop by at Statso – Langtso Twin Lakes on the way to Penzi La
- Some time at Penzi La with pictures
- Rangdum Gompa is a MUST DO which is about 2-3 KMs from Rangdum
- Enjoy any left overs while going towards Padum earlier
- Will take about 5 Hrs
- Overnight stay at Rangdum, avoid JKTDC Rest House at Rangdum and prefer a homestay
Day 7 | Rangdum – Parkachik (40 KMs) – Sankoo (96 KMs) – Umba La – Drass (160 KMs)
- Spend some time at beautiful Panikhar village and enjoy the scenic beauty around
- Excellent views of Nun – Kun from Purikutchey
- Trek down to river and relax for a while on the way
- The rock carved Maitrey at Kartse Khar
- Have lunch at Sankoo
- Give a shot at the unexplored Umba La route on the way back
- Will take about 7-8 Hrs
- Overnight stay at Drass
Day 8 | Drass – Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
- Cover Kargil War Memorial
- Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
- On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
- About 9-10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between
- Overnight at Leh
Day 9 | Leh – Delhi By Morning Flight
- Back to Sweet Home
Other Important Links for Zanskar Valley
These are some of the most commonly referenced articles on Zanskar Valley on Devil On Wheels website. Please refer them in case you have any questions regarding these topics.
- Best Time to Travel Ladakh & Zanskar Valley
- How to plan a journey to Zanskar Valley
- How to calculate cost or budget for Zanskar Valley trip?
- How to make a budget trip to Zanskar Valley by public transport?
- Zanskar Valley – Most Common Itinerary
- Local Sightseeing in Padum – Zanskar Valley
- Phugtal Monastery Trek – A Travel Guide
I hope this article helps you planning a trip to Zanskar Valley from Leh. You can always tweak this article in case you are planning to travel within Ladakh or travel down from Manali – Leh Highway instead of flying out or Leh or maybe even come from Srinagar – Leh Highway and travel down to Manali – Leh Highway. I will share those itineraries in next few posts. But, I am sure, if Zanskar Valley from Leh is what you need, this article will really help you in finalizing the plan. If you have any questions about your Zanskar Valley trip, please feel free to post them in the Ask A Question section of this website or using the ASK YOUR TRAVEL QUESTION form available below in the article or post them even in our community forums.
In case you have made a trip to Zanskar Valley and want to share any tips or suggestions with other fellow travelers, please share them in the comments section. If you wish to write a post for Devil On Wheels as a guest author, I can also set up your account to share the experience of your trip to Zanskar Valley. In the end, if you know a friend or family person who is making a trip to Zanskar Valley, please feel free to share this article with them as well 🙂