Leh Local Sightseeing – A Complete Travel Guide

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Leh local sightseeing was the pending topic in my series of articles on completing the comprehensive travel guide for Leh Ladakh. Today, I will introduce you to the places to see around that comes under Leh local sightseeing.

It is almost inevitable (at least for people flying directly to Leh) to skip the local sightseeing of Leh town, so it becomes essential to know what all places are there, either in Leh or nearby Leh town so that you can spend a day or two easily without getting bored and utilize them effectively.

Travel Guide of Leh Local Sightseeing
Travel Guide of Leh Local Sightseeing

As you reach in Leh, you will be spending some part of the day getting the permits for places in Ladakh that you will be visiting as a part of your Ladakh trip itinerary. However, still, you will have about a day and an evening to spend in Leh. So, the question becomes what shall you visit near Leh in a day and how?

Leh Local Sightseeing Guide

I have mentioned briefly about places to see in Leh town in my most recommended Ladakh trip itinerary already. However, in this article, let’s deep dive into the places that you see around Leh town and spend your time relishing them as a part of the day dedicated to Leh local sightseeing.

The Khar – Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle, Namgyal Gompa

The Khar is the so-called landmark of Leh almost since the 17th century. Being in Leh and the missing sight of this mega structure (almost and comparatively), seems something has horribly gone wrong with your planning, or you were somewhere else in Ladakh but not in Leh 😉 …

It houses the Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle and Namgyal Gompa on the same hills which houses this complex. The museum houses collection of ornaments, jewelry, thangkas and paintings about 450-year-old but still looks as new as it can.

Leh Palace in Leh - Ladakh
Leh Palace in Leh – Ladakh
Tsemo Castle in Leh - Ladakh
Tsemo Castle in Leh… A Distant View…

Shanti Stupa

Built on a hilltop in Changspa region of Leh at an altitude of about 14K feet (4267 Mtrs), Shanti Stupa was built in 1999. It is one of the most favorite tourist destinations among other places in Leh local sightseeing plan. The visit to Shanti Stupa would greet you with a wide panoramic view of entire Leh town in the foreground and with breath-taking landscapes in the background.

You can reach it using a drivable road all the way almost to top, or you can choose to ascend about 500-600 stairs. I will not advise stairs if you just landed a day or two back. After 7-8 days, you may give a try to fatigue using those stairs otherwise avoid them to let your body acclimatize properly.

Shanti Stupa - Leh Local Sightseeing
Shanti Stupa – Leh Local Sightseeing

Hall of Fame

Worth a visit for every Indian to get a feeling of undue respect and salute the spirit of heroes of the Kargil War, especially if you have not been to Kargil War Memorial on Srinagar Leh Highway. In the other section, you can see and get an idea of various things that form the rough life of our brave soldiers at Siachen viz. the shoes used by soldiers, the food they eat and how they heat them using Hexamycin tablets, etc.

You will walk out of with a different feeling if you respect those brave souls, a feeling that can help you co-relate their rough life with yours, which we keep cribbing over either some official matters or daily homely issues. Next time you do that think of these soldiers posted here for us, to protect our motherland and think how they get the strength to keep going in their lives 🙂 …

My heart was full of emotions when I walked out first ever from Kargil War Memorial…

Hall of Fame in Leh - Ladakh
Hall of Fame in Leh

Leh Main Bazaar / Leh Main Market

The most attractive place of Leh is Leh main bazaar where you can have finest of cuisines and even shop for a variety of accessories for your mother/sister/wife/girlfriend or woolens for yourself and family or contact some travel agents for money exchange or planning your tours/treks, etc.

In fact, this is the only place where you will find most of the hustle-bustle along with Changspa road of life in Leh Ladakh and maybe the busiest part of Ladakh 🙂 …

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Leh Main Market
Leh Main Market

Sankar Gompa / Monastery

It is about an easy half-hour walk from Leh towards the road leading to Khardung La pass. They light it up in the evening, and because visiting hours are only limited to morning and evening, I will say going in there for a short walk in the evening is not at all a bad idea 🙂 …

Zorawar Fort

If you happen to have some interest in history and ancient culture, then you can visit Zorawar fort, which is about 30-40 mins walk/hike from Leh main market and jeepable too if you are not interested in hiking. General Zorawar Singh owned this fort and is remembered here for the struggle with Chinese. Europeans even termed him little Napolean of India.

Datun Sahib

Datun Sahib is a Meswak tree that is located close to Leh Palace or just behind the Jama Masjid in the Leh Main Baazar and holds quite religious significance for the whole Leh Ladakh region. It is said to be the first-ever tree planted by Guru Nanak Ji, who blessed the town by planting it.

Sindhu Ghat

A peaceful place where you can enjoy the river banks of Indus and relax amidst beautiful surroundings. The music of the river relaxes all the nerves you get after reaching this place. If you want to spend a lazing afternoon, go and be there at Sindhu Ghaat and relax 🙂

Sindhu Ghaat in Leh - Ladakh
Sindhu Ghaat near Leh

Spituk Monastery

About 8 km from Leh, at an altitude of 3300 Mtrs was built way back in the 11th century and can be a good addition to your Leh local sightseeing tour. The monastery houses about 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which is unveiled at the annual Gustor festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar.

Phyang Monastery

About 16 km west of Leh towards Srinagar was built back in the 15th century. It houses a 900-year-old museum that has an extensive collection of idols including several fine Kashmiri bronzes probably dating to the 14th century, thangkas, Chinese, Tibetan, and Mongolian firearms and weapons.

The Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival is held annually from the 17th day to the 19th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. On the 2nd and 3rd day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar, Phyang serves as a venue for sacred dances.

Sham Valley Tour

Not exactly a part of Leh local sightseeing but west of Leh towards Srinagar on Srinagar Leh Highway, Sham Valley tour includes a day trip to Sham Valley that consists of (in order from Leh) Gurdwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Zanskar, and Indus River Confluence at Nimmu, Ruins of Basgo Palace and Basgo Plains, Alchi Monastery and Likir Monastery I will say it is a must-do trip for anyone visiting Leh – Ladakh.

Of course, if you are interested in detail you can refer my detailed travel guide of Sham Valley.

Monastery Tour

When you travel east of Leh towards the most adventurous Manali – Leh Highway, you should be able to cover some of the popular monasteries in Ladakh, viz. Shey Palace, Thicksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery, and Stakna Monastery.

Depending upon the time at hand and your interest, you can also choose to visit Matho Monastery and Stok Palace a bit ahead of Stakna Monastery and complete the circuit while exiting towards Leh from Stok.

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Conclusion

I hope you find the above information useful for planning your day for Leh local sightseeing on the Ladakh trip. If you have any questions or doubts, please feel free to post them under the comments section of this article.

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

If you like this article, do not forget to share it with your family and friends who are interested to know about the places nearby Leh town in Ladakh. In the end, in case you know about a place near Leh that you think I have missed, please do share it with fellow travelers.

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268 Comments

  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there !!

  2. Anshuman Sen on

    Hi Deepak,

    First of all hats off to the very important information you are sharing with us through this site. I m coming to leh on 9th september by flight and will return back on 15th september. Can you give me a 7 day trip schedule so that i cover major spots of leh ladakh like Pangong lake, nubra valley etc. and main local sites of leh..Also please tell which sites which we can cover via travelling to Nubra valley and Pengong lake.. We will hire a bike for 6 days.

    Thanks,
    Anshuman.

  3. connectingsouls on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I would like to thank you such a wonderful effort. I had no clue about Leh but this website has given relevant, detailed information on various topics.

    I am reaching Leh on 18 Sept 2015 from Delhi by flight and return on 28 Sept 2015. I have seen the “most common itinerary for Leh” and would like to cover that. I am traveling alone and looking for people to share taxi cost. I have contacted some tour operators to plan a budget trip but they have given me quotes like Rs 100,000. Can you suggest me homestays which are safe for a single female to stay and how to go about searching for taxis. SInce my flight tickets are booked, the dates are not flexible. I am just wondering whether to come or just cancel my ticket.

    Regards
    connectingsouls

    • Thank you 🙂 … You are alone 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 which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in 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 meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

  4. Anjalee Agarwal on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to visit Leh Ladakh in first 2 weeks of October.
    q.1. Is the road for Manali Leh open in first week of October.If not, which road is better to self drive Manali-Leh or Srinagar-Leh as we have a Maruti Esteem car to drive till Leh? Which is a highway road with stoppages and hotels in between to stay and a non -SUV can be driven ?
    q.2 What is the suggested itineray that covers all places around Leh and Ladakh in 14-15 days?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Kind Regards,
    Anjalee Agarwal

  5. Hey Dheeraj.. Did a lil blunder.. Forgot the camera memory card at home :(.. And realised after reaching Leh.
    Is there any place I can purchase it here at Leh? (Just praying answer is not a no.. )
    Thx
    Rahul

  6. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am Tanmoy Roy from Kolkata, I have gone through your website a couple of times and have concluded, that such a precious website is not available over the internet. The website is simply priceless and the information that you have have shared are the best. I have gone through many websites like Yatra, HolidayIQ etc but your website is amazing.

    I am planning for my Honeymoon in the month of May 2016 to Leh-Ladakh. There are few concerns which I would like to discuss with an expert like you. First, I would like to ask you (as I do not have any idea), if the place is safe for couples going there all alone ? (I do not want to seek the guidance of any travel agencies or any package tour).

    I have planned to spend there for 8 days and 7 nights. I have looked for the best itinerary that I could get from various website and have found a few of them, However, it would be best if you kindly tell me which one would be the best for us or if you can sketch out an itinerary.

    I have already taken the phone numbers of the drivers that you have uploaded, also the taxi charges.

    I am planning to go in the month of May, the only reason is for the summer vacation as, my wife is a school teacher.

    Would be grateful, if you kindly answer my quarries.

    • Tanmoy, safety wise Ladakh is totally safe, one of the most safest place i have ever been too. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh by Air followed by many travelers including me at the link here for 9 days: Leh – Ladakh | Most Common Itinerary by Air.

      If you just follow what is up there, talk to drivers, you will have wonderful time up there in ladakh, no need to book any package

      • Thanks for the reply. I also have another question, will a budget of 60,000-70,000 INR enough for the itinerary you recommended. Or we need more ? Also, can we get snow in Leh in the month of May ?

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to spend one day for Leh sight seeing when I reach there next week. What are the must see places that I should plan that can be covered in a day?

    Thanks,
    Ranjith

  8. Hi,
    We are planning to go to Leh by our own vehicle.From manali to delhi we will be driving.
    From manali to leh we need driver who is well aware of the road and terrain.
    Kindly guide us for hiring good driver.

    Thanks & Regards
    Aditya

  9. Hello Dhiraj,

    We are planing to visit Ladakh from 4th April,2016 to 8th April,2016. We will reach Leh by flight.

    Please guide me the entire places of interest for very short trip and arrange best itinerary

    Another query is there any good tour operator? Please inform me.

    If you don’t mind please email me your contact number.

    • You can follow below as 5 day trip:

      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. Else continue and,
      — 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.
       
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing. To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh
       
      Day 3 | 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

      Day 4 | 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

      Day 5 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      — Do not plan to stay overnight at Pangong Tso as you will not be acclimatized and may fall sick. So, make a day trip only.
      — Overnight at Leh

      • Thank you for reply. I wanted to know is there any tour operator which have above itinerary or i need to set up above itinerary by myself.

        Kindly inform me

  10. Hi Dheeraj,

    Are taxis/buses available if I want to travel in and around Nubra valley, i.e Panamik, Sunmur, Turtuk village and then to Pangong lake directly from Diskit?

  11. sobin chandran on

    Hi .. thanks for such a great wonderful blog. Me & 4 friends planning a trip to leh in september.we r starting from delhi to srinagar via flight. from there , plans to hire taxi to cargil.then to leh.our primary aim is to visit panong lake, nubra valley n hunder , magnetic hills.planning return directly from leh to delhi via flight. Is it possible in 5 days?? If yes , then can u pls tell a good itinerary for us.

    • Sobin, it will take two days to reach Leh from Srinagar. Then one day of rest in Leh is mandatory for acclimatization. Then you can make a day trip to Khardung La or if body allows to Nubra Valley and then next last day make a day trip to Pangong Tso.

  12. Hello Dhiraj,
    I’m a student and planning on travelling alone to leh for only 2 days (27th-29th may) with a budget of 5-6K, i’d like your advise on what places to visit and about the accomadation n transport service.
    Is it possoble for me to visit Pangong Lake as well as Nubra Vally?
    Thanks.

    • I’ll be taking a bus from manali on 26th may and need to reach back to Seobagh on 31st morning for Chanderkani pass trekking expedition. Can you help me with a plan?
      Reply ASAP!

        • Hello Dhiraj
          Thanks for the information about the manali-leh highway, but i still need a little help from you

          I’m going on a trip as follows :
          17th-20th May – Rishkesh
          21st-23nd May – Dehradun , Massurie
          24th-25th May – Kasol
          26th May -Manali

          After which my friends will return back to Jaipur and I have to report to the Seobagh base camp for Chanderkhanni Himalaya Trekking Expedition on 31st May, earlier i was planning a trip from 27th-30th May to Leh but now as you mentioned the Manali-Leh hihgway is closed. Can you suggest any nearby places i can visit from 27th-30th May, i’d love to explore new places.
          Help me out here brother.

        • Kanishk, you can explore Tirthan valley and great Himalayan National Park around Manali or you can go towards Mandi region then go over to Prashar Lake and Barot Valley to explore these two places in 3 days you have in hand.

      • I was thinking to take the bus to reach leh, so are there any other alternates to reach leh? N Was hoping to reach on 27th & will depart on 29th which gives me 2days

        • Bus service will not start by that time. Also, Manali – Leh Road as per latest update from today from BRO is expected to open by mid June.

  13. MUKESH KHERA on

    Dear Dheeraj Ji & Dow Community,

    I am very sorry for posting my views In capital(BOLD) letters. I apologies with my heart.

  14. MUKESH KHERA on

    DEAR DHEERAJ JI, NAMASKAR,

    I AM VERY MUCH THANKFUL FOR REPLYING. YOU SAID THAT THE TAXI SERVICE IS AT VERY HIGH RATE. BUT I HAD TOLD THAT WE WILL GO BY OUR OWN CAR. TELL ME THAT IF OWN CARS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN LEH. IF OWN CARS NOT ALLOWED THAN I HAVE TO THINK AGAIN. I SHALL BE VERY THANKFUL FOR GIVING GOOD ADVICE. SIR I AM FOLLOWING YOUR ARTICLES FOR THE LAST 20-25 DAYS THEN I SEARCHED FROM YOUR BLOGS & DECIDED TO GO LEH. LAST YEAR I HAVE BEEN TO KASHMIR & VISITED PAHALGAM-SRINAGAR-GULMARG, BY RAIL & ROAD. BUT NOW I HAVE DECIDED TO GO BY ROAD ALL THE WAY. PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT SAME AT THE EARLIEST. IF WE WILL GO BY OUR CAR EVERYWHERE THAN I THINK THE BUDGET IS POSSIBLE ONE.

  15. MUKESH KHERA on

    DEAR DHEERAJ JI, NAMASKAR,

    I HAVE MADE A ROUTE PLAN. IT IS A 15 TO 16 DAYS PLAN. STARTS FROM DELHI-PATNITOP-VERINAG-MARTAND TEMPLE-PAHALGAM-GULMARG-BARAMULLAH-SRINAGAR-KARGIL-CAVE-LAMAYURU-ALCHI-LIKIR-PATHAR SAHIB-SPITUK-LEH-NUBRA VALLEY-DISKIT-HUNDER-SUMUR-PANAMIK-TURTUK-LEH-PANGONG-TSOMORIRI-MANALI-DELHI.IF THIS IS OK OR SOMETHING TO BE ADDED IN THIS TOUR.

    I WISH SOMEONE OR ANY GROUP WILL JOIN ME IN THIS T OUR. I ESTIMATED THE COST OF THIS TOUR. IN A CAR-IN BUDGET HOTELS AND SIMPLE DHABAS, IT MAY COST RS.18-20 THOUSAND PER PERSON. IF INETERSED CAN CONTACT ME VIA E-MAIL OR PHONE-8010715545.

    • Mukesh ji, plan looks OK though I am not sure how many days where you staying. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      Regarding cost I am little doubtful as taxis are quite costly, so not sure if that price tag is good.

  16. Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all I would like to thank you for such an effort to help making travel plans.

    We will be visiting Ladakh in june ,2015. We are going in a group of 9-10 people(all college friends).
    Our trip details is – arriving Srinagar on 4th June. Return flight from Leh to Delhi on 14th June.
    Can you please help to give a plan for this trip? We would like to do rafting in Zanskar. Is that possible during this time? We would like to inclide Pangong,Tso Moriri,Nubra valley.
    Is it better to have 2 SUV’s or a 14 seater traveller?
    Should I book hotels in advance for Leh?Can you please point to some budget homestays?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Arghya,

      In case you guys are OK to travel in groups, it is always comfortable to have two cars but that is more or less about 60% of taxi cost more when compared to having a tempo traveller. Regarding the plan, you can follow something like below:

      4: Rest in Srinagar
      5: Srinagar – Kargil
      6: Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
      7: Leh Rest day and acclimatization
      8: Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley (Hunder/deskit)
      9: Nubra Valley – Leh, start early from Nubra Valley and do rafting after coming back to Leh in Zanskar River
      10: Leh – Pangong Tso covering Hemis
      11: Pangong Tso – Leh covering Shey, Thickey
      12: Leh – Tso Moriri via Mahe bridge
      13: Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Leh over Taglang La Pass
      14: Fly out

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        Can you please point me some contacts of drivers running tempo traveler?
        Also the rate chart of traveler?

        Thanks,
        Arghya

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        Is there any budget homestay option in Leh? Or some budget hotel options in leh would suffice.Should I book hotels in Leh early?

        What are the staying options in other places where we are going to stay overnight?

        I want to visit Turtuk during Nubra valley visit. Is it possible within 2 days?My plan is like–
        Leh- Khardung La- Diskit-Hunder-turtuk (stay at Hunder/Diskit) ( Back to Hunder/Diskit)
        Is it possible in 1 day?Also where should we stay in Nubra valley if we want to cover these places?

        • You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

          Turtuk is possible in 2 days but will be quite long journey both days. For coverving Turtuk, you need to go directly and stay at Turtuk. Then come next day and by starting early morning, cover Hunder and Deskit on the way back to Leh.

      • Should we book hotels for Kargil,Turtuk,Pangong,Tso Moriri before or on spot booking should be available in June 1st week?

        • Arghya, if you do not have anything particular in mind and can search a bit here and there after reaching the place, you will get some or the other place to stay for sure. Only very unlucky day, you may run out of options 🙂 … If you are particular about stay options and need a well organized trip then only go ahead with prior bookings.

  17. Pingback: Leh - Ladakh in Winters | Most Common Itinerary

  18. Could you forward me few local guide numbers in LEH, for trekking purpose? Thanks

  19. Hi Dheeraj, You have such a wealth of knowledge on this region. Thanks for sharing it widely and help folks like myself in planning our vacations.
    Me and my husband are planning a trip to Leh next weekend (18th to 26th). We plan to arrive by flight. Please advise
    1) Would is the weather like at this time of the year? Is it too cold to enjoy the place
    2) What would be suitable 9 day itinerary that we can get through at a relaxed but not slow pace that also ensures we dont miss out on what Leh has to truly offer.
    Thanks for all your advise and guidance.

    • Hi…Just saw one of your olders post with the 8 day itinerary so you dont need to respond to this query. Please let us know if the weather will be conducive or not at this time.
      Thanks!

      • Thank you Meghna for all the good words and sorry for the delay in replying was burdened in all directions 🙂

        As long as you can beat the cold up there in October, it should be fine to travel during this time window. Avoid Manali – Leh Highway at any cost.

  20. Mr Dheeraj sharma,

    we r planning to visit ladakh from 31/08 to 06/09. We want to reach manali by 06/09 by bike from leh.

    Please suggest me suitable tour plan. Further, whether the biking route is okay for couple during this season.

    thanks

      • Pritam Pattnaik on

        Dear Mr.Dheeraj we r a group of six adults reaching leh on 8th sep 2014 and will be there till 16th. pls help me out which will the best vehicle for us to travel in ladakh, I called one driver named zakhir he told me that a Innova or a xylo might be uncomfortable for the persons sitting at the back seat. pls suggest.
        Regards
        Pritam Pattnaik

  21. Maulik Joshi on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Due to some last moment schedule changes, we will be reaching directly to Leh instead of travelling from Srinagar, we will have to spend 3 complete days in Leh only and wait for our friends to join us for onwards journey(Numbra, Pangong, etc). We (me and my partner) wish to utilize this time as much as we can. Though, I have gone through most of the pages from DOW, could you please suggest some rare places in surrounding to Leh, kind of untouched or merely visited that you know? So that we can hire a bike there and visit those places(except regular sightseeing places) to make our long stay in Leh a most memorable?
    🙂

    • Since, you will be flying directly to Leh, first two days will be spent only in acclimatization. Hence, first two days are gone from three. In one spare day, you can actually travel to any of the above places or cover monasteries such as Matho, Stok, Stakna which are covered by less people and also a ride to Chilling from Nimmu is quite enchanting as well.

      • Hi Dheeraj,
        Thanks a lot for the suggestions. As you suggested we will try to cover as many monasteries as we can. We searched a lot on Chilling but couldn’t find much of the information. The way you mentioned, it seems it’s quite a fascinating place. 🙂
        Could you please give some more details about this place? Thanks in advance.

  22. Koustav Mondal on

    Well Dheeraj, I read a lot about what you gave on here…brilliant info. Me and my Would be wife actually decided to go through with a Leh Trip for our Honeymoon. We are thinking of by-passing the usual Travel packages and such and make our own roads. We were interested in Biking from Manali to Leh but it seems that the road may get a bit treacherous. So what we are planning basically in a nutshell is Fly to Leh, Get into a hotel, Hire a Bike and go visit Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri and have an overnight stay there. Is that achievable? Is in-line Permit an easy thing to obtain or is it hard? Any other places you would like to suggest? We would like to stay at Leh for around 5-6 days. So we would love to hear from you.

    • Hi Koustav,

      First of all, frankly speaking, Leh is not a honeymoon destination, so please be very aware of it. It is harsh and sometime unforgiving too. So, take a calculative risk before finalizing it as honeymoon and make sure your better half understands it so that you are not blamed for whole life 😀 😀

      If you both are Indians, you do not need Inner Line Permits now for visiting Nubra, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri by normal routes. First two days when you fly, you need to be at complete rest for acclimatization and no exertion with plenty of fluids intake. Then, visit Nubra for couple of days, then pangong tso and if you have time then couple of days to Tso Moriri.

  23. VIkas Jain on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to travel from Srinagar to Leh on 17th August and My Return flight from Srinagar is on 24th Morning. Can u please suggest effective tour plan in leh

    • Vikas, you can follow something like below:

      1: Srinagar – Sonamarg – Drass – Kargil
      2: Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
      3: Leh Local Sightseeing and Rest
      4: Day trip to Khardung La
      5: Day trip to Pangong Tso
      6: Leh – Kargil
      7: Kargil – Srinagar
      8: Take flight back

  24. Lovely Mehrotra on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    Could you please help me with planning my Leh trip. Arrival date: 18/08/2014
    De4p date: 25/08/2014
    Places planning to cover: Local Leh, Nubra, Panamik village, sumur village, diskit, hunder, uley, alchi, layamuru, Pangong etc. If you think any other giid places i have missed please mention that as well.
    We are 2 person (couple) would it be safe to travel alone in bike or should we take any package? Please suggest. We are very confused and we dont want ruin this trip.
    Thanks a lot in advance 🙂

    • Lovely, I see you have just 8 days in hand? It will take 3 days to reach Leh from Delhi via Manali side and 4 days to come back to Delhi from Leh via Srinagar side. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. You have about 8 days. 1 Day can be used as Day trip to Pangong Tso OR as day trip to Nubra Valley or just Khardung La pass.

      I will say, opt to go via Manali – Leh Highway and I will suggest that you refer the thread: Manali – Leh – Ladakh – Manali | Itinerary for 9 Days in DoW – Himalayan Travel Community and try to cut short it by 1 day in Ladakh as you have 8 days in hand.

      • Ejazul Hakeem on

        Hi dheeraj plz give me some details about hiring bike in ladakh i want to see sites on bike we are 2 persons so is that possible plzzz help me. plz give me contact no. if u hav any. Thankx in advnc 🙂

        • For renting bikes in Leh – Ladakh along with current Bike Union Prices, you can check the DoW Community thread: Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2014 – 15 & Reliable Shops

  25. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are group of 5 people travelling to Srinagar on Aug. 16th afternoon around 2 pm. From there we are planning a road trip to Leh..could you please suggest the options for travelling to Leh and also the sight seeing plan for us.We have our return tickets booked from Srinagar as well on 24th Aug afternoon.So 16th-24th is our day span. Thanks

    • Ankit, effectively you have just 7 days in hand. Out of these, you need 2 days to reach Leh from Srinagar and 2 days to reach back Srinagar. 1 Day of acclimatization and rest is a must in Leh. Hence, just two days remain to you where you can make a day trip to first Khardung La or Nubra Valley and then one day trip to Pangong Tso lake before starting the return back to Srinagar with overnight halt at Kargil.

  26. Hi Dheeraj,
    Could you please say how to book tickets for bus from ladakh/leh to srinagar.
    How much time would it take?
    Can we do the journey in 1 day?

    Regards
    Vinay

    • Vinay, you need to be there at the bus stand of Leh a day before of your departure to book tickets of bus from Leh to Srinagar. Single day journey in bus is not possible AFAIK. You can take shared jeeps/taxis that run between Leh to Srinagar in a single day. They take about 16+ Hrs to do this trip, so be mentally prepared.

  27. Hello Dheeraj,
    Excellent presentation.
    Pl. enlighten whether it is feasible to visit the site seeing places by bus or local siteseeing coducted tours or any other means.
    Taxi fare is very high and I am travelling alone.
    Guide me how I can loally travel mon leh without spending much amount.
    Send me email : abr13539gmail.com

    Aniruddha Roy

    • AB, you can hire a private taxi for local sightseeing for the day else check for flyers up there in restaurants/dine ins or other places who can arrange local sightseeing in groups for you.

  28. Can you suggest a rafting route (intermediate level – 3/3+) and a rafting organizer?

  29. Valliappan on

    Planning to visit leh from 15 th to 19 th july self driving ..kindly confirm the climate situations..

    • Weather in general in Leh is pleasant in July. Lower hills might have rains but once you reach Ladakh region, it is more or less rain shadow.

      • valliappan on

        Hi, Dheeraj thnks for quick reply….Kindly tell me the main places which i can see in 4 days….and confirm me whether can i do self driving for those places..and the road condition.. I am bringing my scoripio..

  30. hi . dheeraj ! i m plannning to travel in month of sept. . should i be able to feel snow . . and it sounds strange but can i travel with my activa , like mumbai to jammu on train will transfer my bike to jammu and from there on activa, is it possible . .if not what difficulties we will face and what documents we need for the bike . . and we are 3 people travelling on 2 activa is it possible .. pls help . . .

    • No, September is mostly devoid of snow unless it snows during that time only as in late September snow starts to fall on high mountain passes in Ladakh.

    • Well, few people have done it on Activa but mind you it will be very strenuous and tough. You will need to drag it at few places. Also, going through physical exercise on high altitude is not that straight forward task. So, take a wise decision and calculated risk.

  31. Satnam Singh on

    Dear Dheeraj,
    I would be arriving in Leh by air most probably on 9th July 14 with my wife two kids(6 and 8yrs). I have two options either of staying for 4 days or 7 days. Kindly design an itinerary which would be suitable to me and let know where should I stay, which routes to prefer, what to avoid and what would it cost? Thanks a lot

    • Satnam, You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh by Air followed by many travelers including me at the link here for 8 days: Leh – Ladakh | Most Common Itinerary by Air.

      Instead of doing 2 day trip to Tso MOriri, you can do drop it from the above plan and do two day trip to Pangong Tso lake for your 7 day trip. Also, make sure to book all your hotels in advance because at that time it is Kaalchakra festival and you will not get bookings of stay on the spot.

  32. Hey Dheeraj hi again…. In your trip you have not mentioned about Druk White Lotus School (the 3 Idiot school) isn’t it worth a visit.

    • Vivek, any school is like that only bro in remote areas of Ladakh !! They have polished it after the film and if you are interested to see the scenes or points where the movie was shot you can visit it. I did not feel any reason to put it here. Better visit other schools and donate some stationary and books which do not get such attention. You will feel much better and connected seeing those smiles around you.

      You can check more details about Dow Causes: [url=https://devilonwheels.com/india/responsible-travel-f38/dow-causes-step-towards-responsible-travel-t358.html]DoW – Causes | A Step Towards Responsible Travel[/url]

  33. Ershad Sayyed on

    Hello Dheeraj,
    we are planning for a trip to ladakh in the month of june . Can you please email you contac5 number so we can talk about it in details.
    thanks

  34. Shrikant Mudliar on

    Some time backbi had stumbled onto a page on dow where dheeraj had put up the scanned copies of the official taxi fares in leh and contact info of some reliable drivers in leh. Im not able to find that page. Could somebody please post the link to that page and guide me to it.
    Thanks

      • hey can you tell me how much you were charged?? And did you take the taxi for the entire trip??

        • Akanksha, for the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2014 – 15 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 10-12% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

    • Shrikant, I hope you get the link shared by Jags. You can also use the Search feature of the website in the right hand side section.

  35. Hi

    I am travelling to Leh ON 22 OCTOBER 2013 VIA AIR.
    MY RETURN IS ON 27 EARLY MORNING.
    Kindly suggest the itinerary and advice for the trip.

    • Ashish, first, you should understand that it will be very cold. Secondly, you are going there for a very short period and you need atleast two days to acclimatize. Then you can make a two day trip to Nubra Valley and finally a day trip to Pangong Tso. Most of the restaurants started getting close and even hotels too.

      If you can really adjust to cold, OK with basic food & stays then I feel you can make the trip to Ladakh at this time of the year.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

      • Ejazul Hakeem on

        Hi Dheeraj plz help me regarding contacts to make local sightseeing in laddakh i am ariving on 10th of August 2014.

        • What contacts do you need? Looking for taxi drivers? If yes, check the thread: here. You can get about 10-12% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

  36. Hi All,
    Could you please answer the following questions, if you can?

    I am flying to Srinagar on 24 Aug 2013 & planning to hire a taxi from Srinagar to Leh (2 days travel, Aug25-26). How/where can I hire a taxi? I have the following options, as for as I know. Which is the best option?

    1. Contact the hotel guys in Srinagar to arrange a taxi (as I don’t have much time to explore Srinagar, I have only half a day.

    2. Going to the taxi stand on 24th Aug & arranging a taxi ( I will be staying within 3km of taxi stand in Srinagar)

    3. Contact a Ladakh hotel owner/driver to arrange a Ladakh taxi. In this case the driver has to come from Leh to Srinagar on 24th Aug & pick me next morning. I guess I will be having advantages if I hire a Ladakh taxi a) I can visit places like Likhir/ Alchi on the way, if possible b) I can hire the same taxi for my Nubra valley/ Pangkong lake trip.

      • deepak patel on

        hi! dheeraj
        gone thrugh ur blogs very thoroughly,remove the prints outs of sringr-leh-manali itnery, hotels at leh,nubra,pongong lake,tsomiriri etc, just need sme stay option fr leh- manali highway.
        leaving tomorrow fr delhi by air & then connecting flight to sringar, ny journe w ll start on 19th morning
        thanks a lot dheeraj, grt job frm ur side.if in ny case need ny assistance while travelling hw to cotact u?

  37. Hi Dheeraj,
    thanx for your suggestion. we all are adult ( TWO FAMILIES OF 4 EACH )ranging from 18 yrs to 56 years & travelled Shela pass in Arunachal @ 14000ft on 25th Dec amid snow fall & Gurudongmar @ 18000 FT during 1st week of October TOGETHER . Of course this is different terrain altogether.As we shall meet at MANALI like to start our LEH trip together from there on road & return by AIR from LEH for Delhi. now please suggest your preferred itenerary to suit our dates.

    • Deb, in that case for 8 days that you have in hand, you can follow the below itinerary:

      Day 1 | Delhi – Manali/Solang Valley
      — Better stay at Solang Valley and avoid Manali as sleeping at Solang Valley does help in acclimatization
      — If going by own car, get the permit made in advance to drive on Manali – Rohtang Pass road through hotel/travel agent in Manali
      — Overnight at Manali/Solang Valley

      Day 2 | Manali/Solang Valley – Keylong/Jispa
      — It is always better to stay either at Keylong/Jispa so that you do not feel sick or hit by AMS.
      — Avoid sleeping at Sarchu at any cost while going to Leh from Manali because your body will not be acclimatized by the time you reach there.
      — I prefer staying at Jispa more because Keylong gives the feeling of a town while Jispa is more closer to nature having Bhaga river running just aside the Manali – Leh Highway at Jispa.
      — Overnight at Keylong/Jispa

      Day 3 | Keylong/Jispa – Leh
      — Leave Keylong/Jispa early next morning, say by 4/5 AM types, so that you reach Leh in the evening.
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 4 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Inner Line Permits
      — To know the about the places to visit 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
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 5 | 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
       
      Day 6 | 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

      Day 7 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      — Make a Day trip to Pangong Tso
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 8 | FLy Back OR Rest day at Leh to enjoy local culture and some shopping OR Monastery tour
      — Overnight at Leh
      — Monastery tour may include Hemis, Thicksey and Shey monasteries. They come on the route of Pangong Tso but as you will be doing day trip, it will be a bit hectic to include them on that day only.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  38. Nagesh Shenoy. on

    Hi Dheeraj ,

    Only 2 ques…

    1) Sia la or Kidar….?
    2) Mobile operators in Leh, Prepaid or Postpaid…?

    Thanks in Advance

    Regards
    Nagesh Shenoy.

    • Hi Nagesh,

      1. Both are good, still will say go with Kidar 🙂
      2. Only PostPaid. BSNL has widest coverage followed by Airtel. Then, all are similar like Idea, Vodafone, Aircel who share network by Aircel only AFAIK and are limited to vicinity of Leh only.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  39. Ketna Nilesh Vira on

    Hi Dheeraj .Felt great of U when I read your answers to queries.Thanks for your advise put on Net.We(2+1)are starting from bombay on 25MAY-2013 BY TRAIN AND PLAN TO REACH LEH FROM SRINAGAR AND WANT TO END THE TOUR AT MANALI ON 9-JUN-2013.OUR DOUBTS ARE REGARDING OPENING OF THE ROAD FROM LEH-MANALI ON 7JUN-2013.PLEASE CONVEY YOUR OPINION AND ADVISE HOW TO TOUR LEH. WHETHER SHARING IN VEHICLE POSSIBLE ?

    • Hello Ketna,

      Manali – Leh Highway might get open by first or second week of June if weather holds good. You will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in 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 meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂

      I hope this helps. Please let me know in case you have any queries or doubts.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      PS: Sorry for the delayed response, I was traveling to Spiti Valley for past 10 days.

  40. VIKAS TOMAR on

    Hi, Mr. Dheeraj

    1st of all u r doing a great job…

    Now Please go through my schedule n i need some editing and help from ur side.

    Route 1: 19th July to 29th July
    19-7 : Mumbai to Chandigarh (Train)
    20-7 : Chandigarh to Manali (Bus)
    21-7 : Manali to Leh (Bus) (Overnight stay at Keylong)
    22-7 : Rest day at leh (As reaching late)
    23-7 : Local sightseeing & Permit work
    24-7 : Leh to Pangong lake (Back to leh same day)
    25-7 : Leh to Nubra Valley (Back to leh same day)
    26-7 : Leh to Moriri lake
    27-7 : Moriri lake to Leh
    28-7 : Leh to Srinagar (Bus) (Overnight stay at Kargil)
    29-7 : Srinagar to Mumbai (Flight)

    Route 2: 19th July to 29th July
    19-7 : Mumbai to Srinagar (Flight)
    20-7 : Srinagar to Leh (Bus) (Overnight stay at Kargil)
    21-7 : Rest day at leh (As reaching late)
    22-7 : Local sightseeing & Permit work
    23-7 : Leh to Pangong lake (Back to leh same day)
    24-7 : Leh to Nubra Valley (Back to leh same day)
    25-7 : Leh to Moriri lake
    26-7 : Moriri lake to Leh
    27-7 : Leh to Manali (Bus) (Overnight stay at Keylong)
    28-7 : Manali to Chandigarh
    29-7 : Chandigarh to Mumbai (Train)

    Now the things I would like to know from you are:
    If taking ROUTE 1:
    Is it true that bus ply from manali to leh are only on even days ?
    Can we book the seats in advance (Manali leh route)?
    Is it advisable to hire a bike from manali to leh, If yes then do u know any1 in manali who has the bike shop with good condition of the bike n also he must not ask a deposit.
    If manali leh route is not advisable then anyhow we thought of hiring a bike on leh for the remaining 5 days we spent.
    Any idea what a per day rent cost of bike.
    We are completing PANGONG & NUBRA VALLEY on same day, Is it ok?
    Also can MORIRI lake be covered in a single day and back to leh.
    Also as manali leh route bus ply on every even day from manali, Is it the same with Leh Srinagar route, if yes then on which days?

    If taking ROUTE 2:
    Bus timing from Srinagar to leh n also is there any specific day the bus ply (Odd/Even)
    Is KARGIL is advisable for night out ?
    Same hiring bike from Srinagar to leh.
    Other then these 2 routes I would also like to know which route u prefer for us. Also which bike u recommended for the 5 days we will be there at LEH, Also can we covered all these places in a day considered as local sightseeing, Places are Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, Sankar Gompa, Zorawar Fort, Datun Sahib, Sindhu Ghaat, Spituk Monastery, Phyang Monastery, Sham Valley, Monastery Tour. All these places along with the time spend for the WORK PERMIT.
    If not then the most advisable places in the above list.

    Also the last things along with white sand camel safari, Is there any time adventurous to offer like RIVER RAFTING, TREKKING, Etc…
    I hope I am not missing anything, If so please advice.

    Please help me out

    • Hi Vikas,

      Please find my answers below:

      If taking ROUTE 1:
      Is it true that bus ply from manali to leh are only on even days ?
      — Yes
      Can we book the seats in advance (Manali leh route)?
      — Yes, check HPTDC website.
      Is it advisable to hire a bike from manali to leh, If yes then do u know any1 in manali who has the bike shop with good condition of the bike n also he must not ask a deposit.
      — Better go with bus if you are on budget trip
      If manali leh route is not advisable then anyhow we thought of hiring a bike on leh for the remaining 5 days we spent.
      — Yes, Fort road is full of bike rentals. Hire bike when you reach Leh
      Any idea what a per day rent cost of bike.
      — They are available from 800-1200 depending upon make and condition of the bike
      We are completing PANGONG & NUBRA VALLEY on same day, Is it ok?
      — It is OK to do so, but better spend atleast one night at each of them.
      Also can MORIRI lake be covered in a single day and back to leh.
      — No, you need two days for Tso Moriri lake
      Also as manali leh route bus ply on every even day from manali, Is it the same with Leh Srinagar route, if yes then on which days?
      — No, there is ply everyday AFAIK, though not 100% sure.

      If taking ROUTE 2:
      Bus timing from Srinagar to leh n also is there any specific day the bus ply (Odd/Even)
      — Not sure about time, sorry.
      Is KARGIL is advisable for night out ?
      — Yes, very much advisable.
      Same hiring bike from Srinagar to leh.
      — You do not have any bike rentals in Srinagar

      Other then these 2 routes I would also like to know which route u prefer for us. Also which bike u recommended for the 5 days we will be there at LEH, Also can we covered all these places in a day considered as local sightseeing, Places are Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, Sankar Gompa, Zorawar Fort, Datun Sahib, Sindhu Ghaat, Spituk Monastery, Phyang Monastery, Sham Valley, Monastery Tour. All these places along with the time spend for the WORK PERMIT.
      If not then the most advisable places in the above list.
      — I will prefer Srinagar – Leh over Manali – Leh due to acclimatization but since you going with HPTDC then it shall be fine enough.

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  41. Pingback: Leh - Ladakh | Most Common Itinerary by Air - DeViL on WheeLs

  42. Nagesh Shenoy. on

    Hi Dheeraj..

    Congrats on such a wonderful Blog..

    I will be travelling alone to Leh in the second half of June. My query is
    1) Is it easy to get a share taxi to explore various places in and around Leh – Ladakh.I plan to stay for atleast 10 days.
    2) When it comes to AMS while travelling to Leh how different it is from travelling to CHAR DHAM.I have travelled to Char Dham twice before, i wanted to know any particular precautions i need to take as i am travelling alone.
    3)Also please mention important places in Leh – Ladakh region one should not miss so that i can plan in that direction.

    Thanks.

    • Hello Nagesh,

      Thanks alot. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in 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 meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are :).

      It is all together a different ball game of AMS in Ladakh as compared to Leh. Are you planning a trip by road or flying directly? To know more about the places that should not be missed on the first visit, you can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travelers including me at the link here for 14-15 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      For accommodation, check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate and cheap budget hotels as well in the series of articles starting on the link here

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  43. Vishal Kanv on

    Leh-Ladakh
    The very next day I came back from Churdhar, while I was surfing the internet I came across a link “Spectacular Ladakh”.I started having a look at the photos and the decision was taken.
    I called on “The Gang” and told them what I had planned, as always everybody had their own thoughts and suggestions. There were a lot of obstacles, but after a long fight and clearing all the obstacles I came out victorious.

    Day1: Chandigarh: Bilaspur: Manali
    The day was 11th Aug 2012 and we (Brad, Bawa and I) started for Bilaspur where we usually meet “The Gang”. It was around 12 that we met them. I parked my car and started off the journey together with “The Gang” and our all- time favorite driver “Pankaj Bhai”.
    We never plan instead just take an insight of the place and the whereabouts. The reason of not planning is “If we would have been organized, we would have been dangerous” and I do not want us to be dangerous.
    Then started what we call as “shots”, though not tequilla shots but the hangovers of these shots are life long and no one can escape them. As we crossed kullu the excitement started to increase and finally we had realized that we were going to experience a lifetime in those 6-7 days.
    As we approached Manali we were all hungry and decided to stop somewhere, Bawa as always wanted the best place and he calls it as “chuss jageh”. Pankaj convinced us that he knows such a place and we decided to stop there. It was really a “chuss” place with river flowing between the mountains and we seated next to it. The beauty of the place was hard to sink in but with time we realized that and we stopped clicking photographs and thought to order food. Drinks were on and food was served. Though the food was all eaten up drinks were still on. That was when we decided to leave that place else we would have emptied the “theka” next to the dhaba.
    Reached manali at night and got rooms in Chandan Hotel courtesy Pankaj Bhai. Had a stroll on the famous Mall Road and took the feel of being in manali. Only Bhagra and Aman had been to Manali before. I bought glares and a head band. Interestingly guruG bought the same head band from the same shop that I had bought from but we both did it separately. One thing was sure that we all have very similar taste. After all we are friends.
    At night a small dinner party and mind one thing in our parties it’s only us and no one else. No one matches the frequency of our thoughts. (Details of the party are classified.)
    Day2: Manali: Rohtang-La: Keylong
    We had decided to leave early but as always we got late and that too because of nothing. Bawa went to get the gas burner repaired, and by that time Brad, gruruG, bhagra and I went to a Buddhist temple nearby. It had a prolific statue of Buddha and few photos of Dalai Lama. A large prayer wheel was in a separate room. Buddhists have a belief that by rotating that wheel they reduce or cut short the sins of life. One after another we started rotating it and reciting the mantra ”Om mane padme hun”.By the time we got free from there all was set to have breakfast and then head to Hadimba temple. As soon as we reached the temple parking an old lady came towards us with a rabbit in her hand. The rabbit was no ordinary it was a model rabbit and a single flick with it would cost us 10Rs .This was the second day of the trip and we were rich so we all got photos clicked and obliged the old lady. Seeing this, a yak owner came towards us but none of us were interested to get photos clicked with a yak so we went to the temple.
    The temple had a large walk way towards the shrine and it was all wooden. Photography was not allowed inside the temple, it had a small “pindi” kind as we call it in local language. There was nothing much of our interest there so we left the temple early. As soon as we got out of the gate we saw roadside vendors with the traditional kullu dresses. We hired them and got few flicks clicked. It was now that we realized we were already late for Rohtang, so we left immediately but after a few minutes realized that tough we had got the burner repaired we didn’t had any utensils and grocery so an another stop was required to buy those things. Aman did all the shopping, screwed the shop keeper and got us a huge discount of Rs 50. After this we finally left for Rohtang-La.
    The road was good till “marhi” and then started to get bad and then worst. There was a stretch of around a kilometer that was as a swamp. We all got down of the cab and started to walk as we could see two overloaded trucks stuck. After a lot of effort people got that truck out of that swamp.
    As soon as we crossed the Rohtang-La it was altogether a new world. I had realized then and there that we were going to have a rocking trip. After traveling for around 2 hours or so we stopped for food because after that we would have got food only in Keylong. It was a small dhaba run by an elderly couple. Momo’s, noodles, maggi, soup and kari chawal exclusively for brad was our order. Drinks were compulsory. Aunty and Uncle prepared an awesome diet for us with the “homely touch”. Re fuelling ourselves we left the dhaba on a high and continued our journey towards Keylong. Travelling for another 2-3 hrs made us to reach ”tandi” the place which had the last fuel station before leh and leh was still 365 kms away so we got the cab’s tank full. After another half hour drive and we reached Keylong.
    A small and sleepy town, sleepy I would say because it was only 8 and it was as black as soot. Bhagra arranged for the rooms and we were all set for the stay. I as always had started feeling uneasy and had to find a doctor. We enquired and got to know that the place had a government hospital and which surprisingly has a doctor available 24 hrs. I had to visit the hospital, met the doctor he prescribed me nebulization with asthalin. Got that done and went back, had food in the hotel and slept. The day ended for me then and there but not for the people in the other room. Aman, guruG and bhagra got high and let keylong know that we guys were here, singing and dancing until the owner came and requested them to sleep. The day ended for all of us then.

    Day3: Keylong: Sarchu: Pang: Rumtse
    A quick knock at the door woke us up. We had to get ready and head towards sarchu as per our initial plan, but the owner of the hotel/dhaba convinced us that if we hurry up we can make up to leh the same day. The plan looked good as we would save one day which could be utilized later for site seeing.
    We all had a quick breakfast and bid adieu to Keylong and started our journey to Sarchu. The vegetation started to die slowly as we climbed up and in turn was replaced with red sand kind lowlands. We were driving on the pass between the mountains with a never ending road in front of us. Road was good and we drove well. By the time we reached Sarchu half of the day had already passed and with the fuel reserve we had we all were in speculation that if we fall short of fuel then we would be badly stuck with no help available. We stopped at Sarchu camps to have lunch. In these kinds of journeys the traveler has no options but to have food where ever available. We choose a nepali dhaba to have our meals. An elderly couple with the help of their daughter (mere guess) ran that place. The food was served on diet basis, which meant, we could take as many serving as we want in 75Rs.The food was awesome according to the place it was served at. As we had refueled ourselves we were worried about refueling our car, and then just out of the blue one of us asked the nepali owner if he had some diesel or could arrange it for us. The head shook in acceptance, which led us to breathe a sigh of relief. By the time our car was being refueled I decided to take a quick stroll in the mountains and started walking on the main road towards Pang.
    As we left Sarchu we were unsure of making to leh because we had already surpassed the time to reach sarchu from keylong that people told us at keylong. These thoughts were not bothering us as off now because we were approaching “The Gata Loops” these were 21 hair pin curves which took us from 4150m to 4667m.We all had the feeling of being on the top of the world as this was the highest point of the journey till now. Once we left sarchu the red sand lowlands slowly started changing to first light brown and then to dark brown. The scenic beauty just cannot be jotted down you have to be there to experience it. We continued to Pang with the hope of making it to leh and by the time we reached Pang it was 6 in the evening. Then all brains started to exercise, no one was of the opinion to stay there as it would increase the chances to suffer from AMS. People at Pang also bucked us up and told us that we would easily make up to leh by 11-11:30. We had decided before starting the journey that we would not travel at night at any cost but locals told us that the road was in good condition except 10-12 km and that there was no problem traveling at night.
    With god’s blessings and courage of locals we started towards leh. It was I who was driving now. Everyone in the group had travelled with me a lot but I don’t know why everyone was afraid. Even I was driving very cautiously. After driving for around half an hour I was bit relaxed. We were travelling on the best road of the trip, an open, lonely never ending road with mountain and barren muddy lands on both the sides. With the night approaching it was just being in heaven and driving. As the pucca road ended I got bit lost as there was no specific road I was just driving on the tracks of cars which would have drove through it. Gradually everyone else realized that I should hand over the car to the driver as I seemed to be a bit lost and they assumed I was just not on the right way. I did that but that hardly helped even the driver seemed to be lost but bit less than I was and finally we could identify the road which would have lead us to leh. It was the “Tanglang la” we were driving at a height above 17000 feet. We were quite late and decided to stay at were ever we would find a habitat and not travel to leh. We drove for around 20 odd kms and got accommodation at Rumtse for 100Rs per person.
    Nobody had called at home and we all wanted to make that call as it would ease our parents who would have been under great stress by now. Requested a shop owner to open his shop as he had already closed it by offering him to charge any amount for the call but just let us call home. He did that and then we all called home some were scolded some were not but all were stress relived. We had our food in form of maggi and dal rice and without any further delay ended our third day at Rumtse with a sound sleep. {No Party at Rumtse as we suffered from AMS and we got to know that the next morning.}
    Day4: Rumtse: Upshi: Leh
    We had planned to get up and start early for Leh so that we could save some time and complete the local sight-seeing at least. As always we got up leisurely, took a nice feel of Rumste. Everyone started talking about the head ache we experienced the previous night but none of us could figure out the exact reason, just then I took out the map to have a look at the places which would come in our way to Leh and suddenly read “Tanglang La- 17550 feet” we had crossed this pass last night and we all suffered from AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness) It was then I told everyone that it was AMS that had caught our head and this would be fine once we start approaching Leh. Bawa gifted the smirnoff bottle to “lambu”- at whose place we stayed. He just took the bottle and tried quenching his thirst with vodka unaware of the fact that he needs to dilute it with juice or something else. He had it un diluted and innocently said”bhaiya yeh to juice hai na”. His mother was preparing “Rakshi”- local liquor and even offered us but we didn’t had it.
    By now we all were ready and left Rumtse for Leh. The only stop we had towards Leh was at Upshi- A small town ship were you could see lot of toll taxes barriers and small market with road side dhabas. We were very hungry and the mere sight of momo’s made us more. We stopped there for a quick brunch. The dhaba was commanded by a lady, it was good to see her independent and working at a small place like upshi. We shared our table with some foreigners; though we didn’t talked but I could make out they were talking about us and were quite happy to see us.
    We left Upshi and started the journey of last 41 kms. As we approached Leh random thoughts started coming to my mind. I was quite nervous. Then finally we made it and reached Leh. We decided to book the room and then book the cab for today and rest of the days. As we stopped at the market and were looking around randomly so that we could find an economical place to stay, an elderly man came in and asked us if we were looking for rooms. We said yes and then he took us to his cottage. It was quite nice and after rigorous bargaining we managed him at 1200Rs for two rooms and a dining hall.
    So now we had got a place to stay, we went to the market so that we can get the best deal for the cab and I was interested to hire a bike. I came across a shop which looked descent so I went in to enquire about the cab, the guy said that could be done later do you guys have permits from the D.C office. I had no clue of this, why would we need permit in our own land. Instead of arguing I asked him if he could get those permit for us. He said yes but while looking at his wrist watch he said ”I can only help if you all can give me your Id’s in 10 mins as the office will close at 4 and tomorrow is Sunday and then Independence day so the office would be closed”. I looked at the clock behind him it was 3:50 pm. I was just “shun”, haphazardly called everyone to get there Id’s and ask them to reach this shop. Everyone got on time and somehow that guy helped us to get those permits for 400Rs per head.
    The prices of this guy seemed a bit high to us so we decided to go to the main market and inquire there if we could get a better deal. We all went for the hunt but could not get either cab or bike as everyone said they could only confirm the availability and price by 8 pm, once the cars and bikes return. So we thought that why to waste time loitering around and why not go and visit the “Sanchi Stupa”.
    Sanchi Stupa was right at the top of a hill. A pure white tomb with beautiful carving from the life cycle, on which the Buddhism is based, enriched the structure. A panoramic view awaited us from the top; the city which appeared as if guarded by the strong mountains was visible. The cool breeze with bit of sunlight just added to all this. After clicking few photographs we took the stairs and went back to the city as we had not booked the cab or bike yet. I went straight to the bikes shop and easily got a “Royal Enfield-Machismo” had a test ride. It seemed ok and I hired it for one grand per day. That very moment got a call from others that they had booked an Eeco van too. So the work for the day was done.
    Now, we were short of liquor as bawa had gifted the last bottle of smirnoff to lambu in Rumtse. To add to our worries it was 14th August, one day before the Independence Day supposedly a dry day with all the liquor stored shut down. But as it is said where there is will there is a way. The owner of the cab which we hired helped us getting a bottle of army rum. Got our food packed and rushed to our cottage for the celebrations. {Details of the party our classified.}

    Day5: Leh: Pangong Lake: Leh
    After the party last night we had a sound sleep and we were all fresh in the morning. Though most of us had set their alarms, we woke up when the cab driver came. He came in and started talking in bit high pitched voice,”Bhaji abhi tak utha nai” “Utho” “Late ho jaiga ” this guy was everywhere in the room, kind of yelling. Every time he said “der ho rha hai” I was getting pissed off. He was so casual that while we were getting ready he lied down on the bed and started smoking, I asked bawa to tell him not to smoke, and then the dialogue of the tour came, “Quick Quick Quick”. That guy was making me go crazy but anyhow we all got ready, five of us went with him in the cab and brad and I took our royal Enfield and started the journey.
    On our way was the world third highest motor able road the “Chang La”. We started off well and he being a local cab driver was difficult to catch and soon disappeared. Brad and I continued our journey bit slowly as we took our own sweet time to get acquainted with the road and the bike. It was a lovely straight road, but curvaceous at times with open ground on both the sides and then the mountains. The dark brown colored mountains. I don’t know about others but I was mesmerized with the beauty. As soon as the straight road ended we had to start climbing the hill. It was a single lane road with no side pits. A single mistake would take us down the shortest cut and then go high up again. We prayed and started our journey. As soon as we started going up I could feel that the bike was not comfortable, the chain set had some issues. We never bothered much and just thought that these hired bikes runs a lot so there might be some knocking noise, that’s it. We continued and the view from above was just stunning. The clouds were just above us, felt like we can jump and touch them. The open valley which we had crossed few hours back and the blue sky behind the mountains was just stunning, we stopped there for a while and then started again. Now the bends were getting more curved and then the hair pin bends came I don’t know how many but a lot of them.
    While we were going uphill suddenly the chain set broke and bike refused to move ahead. We were stuck in between. Without wasting much time we decided to go back 12 km as there was an Army post “Zigraal” and thought of asking them if they could allow us to keep our bike there and then we would take lift and go to Pangong Lake. We moved back and talked with the CO, he allowed us to keep our bike there. Now the bike was safe so we thought of taking lift. No cars were coming this way as it was around 12 noon. We tried stopping every car that came this way and in the end managed to get lift by a monk. That guy was kind enough to take us through the “Chang La”. We stopped at the “Chang la” and clicked few photos and then continued our journey. We stopped for tea at a nomad’s, had yak cheese and tea made up of yak milk. The taste was different but it was ok.
    After having that we continued to Pangong and after travelling for another 2 hrs we reached the majestic lake. The lake is 1/3rd in India and 2/3rd in China. It was very beautiful. The color of the water changed from green to light blue and then to dark blue. We took a stroll by the side of the lake and clicked lot of photos. Bawa and Pankaj went crazy and started clicking every inch of the place. A quick and short shower brought down the temperature tremendously. We had a cup of coffee as that “Quick” “Quick” “Quick” was in a hurry. Bhagra even lost his temper and argued with him but bawa measured and brought the situation to normal.
    On our way back we saw a rainbow. We stopped quickly and captured it. We reached Zigral, brad was in no mood to accompany me on the bike back to Leh so Bawa came in. We took the bike and rode it very cautiously and finally it broke down just 4 km behind the Leh city. I had to call the bike owner and tell him about the situation. That guy was kind enough to come in soon and take us to Leh city. We didn’t want the bike for next 2 days. The amount was paid in advance but there was no hassle and he gave us back the remaining amount.
    Neither the cab was required nor the bike. The owner of our hotel helped us get a new cab for Nubra Valley. We all were very tired so just had a quick party and slept.{Details of the party are classified}

    Day:6 : Leh: Nubra Valley: Leh
    Just like the previous day we had to get up early and leave for Nubra Valley. We got up and left on time. As soon as we left leh the road leading to “Khardung La”, the highest motor able road was in a bad condition and full of hair pin bends. It took us around 2 hrs to cover 32km, so it is well imaginable that how the road was. When we reached K-Top as it is said, my head was heavy with MS. Then I saw a Lord Shiva temple, went there and asked for strength. It was a very beautiful site and more wonderful a feeling. It just felt like to be on the top of the world. Clicked few photos and then started for Nubra Valley.
    The road to Nubra was metaled and quite, without any traffic. As we started approaching the valley the view started to change. One of the most beautiful sites I have ever been to. There was nothing much of monumental to see except a 17th century temple. There was a large Buddha statue right in the middle of the valley and just opposite to the monastery. We went to the statue. It didn’t have any historic significance and was just build for tourist attraction. The statue was around 100 feet tall and painted with typical Buddhist style of painting. After clicking few photos there we went to the main temple.
    A series of flight of stairs took us to the main shrine. It was all wooden with photos of Dalai Lama and Karmappa all along the place with statue of Buddha. In another room they had idols of many gods and goddess which were covered and veiled. The lama there told us that they uncover these idols only once a year for a week’s time. Photography was not allowed in this room.
    After a quick visit to the temple we started for hunder village. This village had double humped camels and white sand dunes which are found in only two places across the globe, in ladakh and in morocco. When we reached hunder we could not see any camels, so we enquired and were told that it was lunch time and they had gone to graze. We all were hungry too so we went to the army canteen just next to the safari. After spending around an hour eating dosa’s and uttapams, we went back for the safari. The camels were really strange looking with two humps. It was 150Rs for 15 mins ride per camel. Though it was expensive we all went for the ride. As we started our safari on the white sand dunes, it looked like we all were “kabile wale”. It was sand all over the place surrounded by mountains and blue sky above. The best site till now, it was just awesome.
    After the 15 min safari we had nothing more to see, so we just clicked few photos and started our journey back. Though it was a quite journey it was very tiring. We reached leh, as it was our last night there so we planned to have our dinner out. We looked for quite a few places and finally settled at a place called “Chop Sticks”. As always, the details of the party are classified.

    The condition of the cab was not good and nor was that of the road through which we had traveled. So after a lot of brainstorming we decided to go back via Kashmir. Now we would tread back through Kargil-Drass-Sonmarg-Srinagar-Udhampur-Bilaspur.

    Day:7 : Leh: Kargil
    It was a good sunny day and no one was in a hurry as there was no obligation on the time we would have to get up in the morning. We all got up leisurely and got ready at our own sweet pace. We thought of having our breakfast at the hotel itself as it would save us some time. So we ordered bread jam, bread butter and bread omelet. One thing for sure, the best bread I had ever had was there at that dining table.
    After stuffing ourselves we left leh with lot of sweet memories.
    We took the highway for kargil, though the distance to be covered was around 200km more, the road was in good condition. We had hardly travelled for 20-25km, there it was the “Pathar Sahib” gurudwara.
    The legend says that a demon envious of Guru Nanak Dev ji wanted to kill him. In order to do that he rolled a big rock/boulder downhill to hit the guru who was sitting there and meditating. But, something unusual happened, the rock turned into a wax kind substance and took the shape of guru’s back and did not hurt him. In anger the demon came down to confirm if the guru was dead but to his surprise the guru was still unhurt and meditating. The demon then realized that Guru Nanak was a saint and asked for forgiveness. The great guru forgave the demon and asked him to live a civilized life after this.
    The gurudwara was being managed by the Indian Army. After visiting the shrine and having guru ka langar, (rajmah and chawal) we continued our journey to kargil. After travelling for not more than 20 mins we were at the “Magnetic Hill”. It is said that a car pulls off itself at a certain point with the engine being switched off. Though we experienced that, few of us were convinced with this and few were not.
    We took few stoppages but continued our journey to kargil. Though we had thought of reaching Sonmarg but because of time constraints we decided to stay at Kargil. While on our way to kargil we saw a huge rock carved, full body statue of Lord Buddha. It was not a monastery nor a temple but something very delightful to see.
    By the time we reached Kargil it was quite late, we tried to get some accommodation but it was too expensive for what was being offered. It was looking like we were in “lahore” all eyes popped out and gazing us in the car. Honestly I started feeling something unusual and asked everyone to leave. We just bought some eatable stuff and left the place without wasting any more time. All petrified by the place and the response sat quietly in the car. While travelling towards drass we saw a small dhaba with calendar of lord shiva and mata durga and immediately decided to stop for food and esquire about the safety if we traveled to drass. To our relief the owner greeted us well and asked us not to be afraid.
    Satisfied with the place we had food and decided that whoever wanted to take a nap can sleep coz the road from drass would only open by 4 am and it was only 12 am so there was no point travelling. Few slept early and few slept late but in the end we all slept and that was a big relief.
    It was all travel for the next day as we did not stopped anywhere and just continued to “Srinagar” and then stayed at “Udhampur”. It was raining cats and dogs in Udhampur and we were all very tired. No one was much interested in dinner so slept without it.
    Next day we started from Udhampur and traveled all the way to Bilaspur. The condition of road was not good as it had rained all night. At many places the hill had slide down and came on road. We continued our way back and stopped at Jawalamukhi. Some to pay obeisance and I to get steroid injected. We traveled to Bilaspur and from there bawa, brad and I traveled to Chandigarh and rest of the team to Shimla.

    • Awesome experience. Thanks for sharing with us. I know what the feeling might be at DC office when you got to know about permits process and just 10 minutes in hand 😀

  44. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are planning to enter from Srinagar side and exit form Manali side. We will reach Jammu on 2-Jun-13 6 AM and proceed to Srinagar. Next Kargil and following night Leh.

    While exiting, we have kept one full day at Manali as a reserve/rest.

    Q1) I found that the Chusul permit is not being given. Is there any other option we can reach from Pangong to Tso Moriri in a day? Note that we are a group of 14 adults (7 couples) and 8 kids (4yr-14yr).

    Q2) For a group like us, we are thinking of 2 x 12-seater Force Travellers. Do we need to pre-book such cars? Or we can book them once we are at Leh?

    Q3) We are so far thinking that we will only book Leh accommodations for 1st 2 nights. Rest of it, we will keep it open, as we are not sure how our team members will react. Do you think for June week1 & week2, it is okay or you recommend prior booking during that time?

    Rgds..

    • Hi Indranil,

      1. It is a blessing in disguise brother. Those are some of the too too remotest of remote places and may be I may not recommend any family with kids going on that route. It is too long and full of fatigue for such cases. I will suggest you to take it easy and go via traditional routes. Also, if you really want then do day trip to pangong tso and then to Tso Moriri from Leh and finaly exit to Manali – Leh Highway.

      2. Better do it on spot itself, you will get better deals.

      3. Seems to be a nice option and would suggest to go with it. Not necessarily required for any pre-bookings unless you really want to stay at some specific property.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • Thank you Dheeraj. We were thinking of pre-booking only to ensure that we get 7-8 rooms in the same property, we do not have any specific property in mind.

        Could you please have a look at the itinerary below and suggest if it can be tweaked in a different way?

        We like to keep the reserve/rest at Manali, and don’t want to rush through Nubra valley, hence 2 nights at Hunder. If the Wari La route is open (Jun wk 2), what time it could take to drive from Hunder to Pangong via Wari La? This could give us one extra day which we can then spend at Tso Moriri.

        Our plans are as below:
        0. Fri – Start from Howrah
        1. Sat – Change Train at Delhi
        2. Sun – reach Srinagar from Jammu (JAT arrival 5:40)
        3. Mon – Srinagar – Drass – Kargil
        4. Tue – Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
        5. Wed – Permits/sightseeing at Leh
        6. Thu – Leh – Diskit-Hunder
        7. Fri – Turtuk-Hunder
        8. Sat – Hunder – Leh
        9. Sun – Leh-Pangong
        10. Mon – Pangong – Leh
        11. Tue – Leh – Sarchu
        12. Wed – Sarchu – Manali
        13. Thu – Manali rest/reserve
        14. Fri – Manali – Chandigarh (board late night train)
        16. Sun – Reach Howrah

        • Instead of choosing Wari La route, again with so many people including kids, better do it like below:

          9. Sun – Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
          — Can be done easily without much fatigue and you get to witness both sunrise and sunset at Tso Moriri
          10. Mon – Leh – Tso Moriri
          — Stay at Tso Moriri
          11. Tue – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu
          12. Wed – Sarchu – Manali

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

  45. Pingback: Most Common Itinerary for Leh Ladakh - DeViL on WheeLs...

  46. Hi Dheeraj,
    We are planning trip to Leh from 8th June to 19th June.
    We are flying form Mumbai to Srinagar on 8th & return flight is on 19th from Leh.
    We are travelling with our 7yrs old daughter, hope this trip will be fine for her
    Pls guide me the entire places of interest and we would love to complete all. Kindly guide us with good hotels as well for family.

    • Sorry Ketal, I missed your comment in between and just saw it. You have about 12 days and you can follow the below itinerary in such a case:

      Day 1 | Srinagar, rest and do some local sightseeing or dal lake shikara rides
      Day 2 | 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

      Day 3 | 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

      Day 4 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Inner Line Permits
      — Local sightseeing include Namgyal Gompa, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Shankar Gompa, Main Market, Hall of Fame, Spituk Gompa, Changspa Road Stroll in evening
      –For more details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link here
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 5 | 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

      Day 6 | 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

      Day 7 | 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)

      Day 8 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh
      — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 9 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
      — Cover Karzok Monastery
      — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri

      Day 10 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh– Come back via Tso Kar and Manali – Leh Highway to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 11 | Rest day at Leh to enjoy local culture and some shopping OR Monastery tour OR you can do tour to Sham Valley
      — Monastery tour may include Hemis, Thicksey, Stakna and Shey monasteries. They come on the route of Pangong Tso but as you will be doing day trip, it will be a bit hectic to include them on that day only.
      — Sham Valley include Alchi, Likir, Basgo Palace, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu, , Gurudwara Pather Sahib
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 12 | Fly back

      I hope this helps. Please let me know incase you need any further info. or have any doubt.

      Regards
      Dheeraj sharma

  47. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are 4 friends in our mid 20s from odisha, planning to visit Kasmir in June’ 2013.
    Which is a better option between the following two…We we can mannage maximum 15 days for the entire trip…So practically 10 days for Kashmir.

    1)Odisha-Delhi-Vaishno Devi-Srinagar including Gulmarg,Pahalgam, sonamarg-Delhi-Odisha

    2)Odisha-Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi-Odisha

    • Well, any day if you ask me I will vote for Ladakh ahead of Kashmir but yes it depends upon individual tastes too. Check some pictures of both Kashmir and Ladakh and vote for it. I will vote for the Ladakh (2nd one) 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj sharma

  48. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planning to visit thiksey monastery and shey palace while going to Pangong Tso will be staying at pangong and while coming back to Leh next day would be visiting Hemis. Can you tell me by what time I have to leave hotel in Leh to do so and also time may require to visit these places from photography point of view?

    • Hi Sanket,

      It takes about 6-7 Hrs for Leh to Pangong Tso and vice-versa with decent amount of breaks in between for photography. Now, time you spend at Hemis and Thicksey shall be included too. So, better start early say by 7 AM in the morning to cover them as well as sunset at Pangong Tso well before so that you can choose your spot to take pictures too at the time of golden hour.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  49. Hi Dheeraj,

    You are doing a wonderful job in educating travellers like me on Ladakh. It is after I have gone through your posts that I am dying to visit the place.

    Hope I will get back to you soon about my Leh-Ladakh tour plans and ask for your valuable suggestions and/or recommendations.

    Keep smiling 🙂

    Cheers!

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        Thanks for your assurance.

        I have drafted an initial sketch of travel itinerary to Leh in July 2013. However, I do feel it requires some corrections and/or additional inputs.

        If it is possible can you please provide me your Gmail id so that I can share the doc with you?

        Keep smiling brother 🙂

        Cheers!

        • Jags, you must be getting email from my ID when I am replying. We can converse on that ID. Otherwise, you can get in touch at dheeraj at devilonwheels.com

          Regards
          dheeraj sharma

  50. Hey Dheeraj,

    Planning to visit Leh in first week of June. We are a group of 4 and we plan to visit Leh in from 2nd June to 7th June, 2013. And we will be starting from mumbai & doing a flight directly either Mumbai- Delhi-Leh or Leh-Del-Mum. Please suggest a)if its a good time to be there b) Is Rohtang and Khardunga pass open during that time? c) Is the time enough? d) we hope to come to srinagar then srinagar-kargil-leh… is it a good choice? e)What should the iternary be ?

    Cheers,
    Priyesh

    • Hi Priyesh,

      Yes, June is a good time to visit Leh. You have about 5 days in Leh and I will advice the following itinerary for you:

      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. Else continue and,
      — 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.
       
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Inner Line Permits
      — For more details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link here
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing include Namgyal Gompa, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Shankar Gompa, Main Market, Hall of Fame, Spituk Gompa, Changspa Road Stroll in evening
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh
       
      Day 3 | 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
       
      Day 4 | 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

      Day 5 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 6 | Fly back

      I hope this helps. Please let me know in case you have any query or doubt.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        We had drafted the following plan for 1st to 7th June. Do let us know if this works out.

        Day 1:
        We will take a Morning flight from Mumbai to Srinagar. We will reach Srinagar by around 1:30 p.m.
        Visit local places of Srinagar/Dal Lake and overnight stay on Houseboats – Srinagar.

        Day 2:
        Start early morning for Leh via Srinagar – Kargil- Leh highway.
        Visit Sonamarg and reach zojila before 4.00 pm
        Overnight stay at Kargil

        Day 3:
        Start early morning for Leh. Visit local areas in Leh including Leh palace, shanti stupa, etc.
        Overnight stay at Leh

        Day 4:
        Leave early morning for Pangong Lake and travel back to Leh.

        Day 5:
        Start early morning for Nubra valley & we take the following route Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder.
        Stay overnight at Nubra Valley.

        Day 6:
        Return back to Leh. Visit Market area etc.

        Day 7:
        Fly back.

        Also, we have few queries regarding the same as well. Please advice:

        1)We would also like to cover Zanskar valley let us know if it is possible to accomadate it.
        2)Is Chadar worth visiting in June?
        3)Also is there any daily passing restriction at Zojila pass?
        4)Is kargil worth a stay? Or can we do shimla-Leh directly at one stretch?

        Regards,
        Priyesh

        • Priyesh, You will not be able to do Leh Local on Day 3. On day 4 you have to arange permits and not recommended to visit Pangong Tso first. First visit Nubra Valley and then Pangong Tso on Day 6.

          1. You cannot cover Zanskar Valley in these days.
          2. There is no Chadar in summers because Chadar is called frozen Zanskar river. You will be seeing the confluence of Zanskar Indus on the way to Leh from Kargil
          3. Not really for light vehicles but earlier in season there could be, not certain though.
          4. Yes, you will have to stay to equally divide the distance of travel. Very nice views ahead of Zozi La once the minamarg starts. Guess, you mean Srinagar here not Shimla. Better do it in 2 days with night halt at Kargil. You will enjoy more in this way.

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        Sorry to bother you again and again.

        We are planning trip to Leh from 1st May to 12th May.

        Kindly arrange best itinerary.

        Want to see and feel lots of snow.

        Pls guide me the entire places of interest and we would love to complete all.

        Also provide your contact details if you dont mind.

        • Hello Raj,

          No issues!! Well, I hope you are planning to take a flight? Roads might be closed by that time. May be Srinagar – Leh highway might open but 50:50 chances. Let me know if you plan to fly-in and fly out of Leh and I will advice the itinerary accordingly. I will email you my contact number.

          Regards
          Dheeraj Sharma

  51. Nishant Jha on

    Please complete the “Datun Saahib” text and let me know if youw ant a “Hall of Fame” from the outside and Sindhu Ghat pic; I have a very recent one 🙂 or post yours – I am sure you would have these in your repertoire!

    It is always great to represent such cult places with Pics 🙂

    And I think that Thiksey Monastery also deserves a separate paragraph!

    Cheers,
    Che

    • Hey Nishant,

      Thank you so much. Yes, please provide the pics, will upload them, for these two places (Hall of Fame and Sindhu Ghat) as I did not get a chance to take them as I visited them always when I was stuck there due to some or the other issue 😉 …

      For thicksey, hemis, stakna, shey, matho, stok a separate post is dedicated not just paragraph 😉 and similarly a separate one for whole sham valley. Will be completed in coming weeks 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj sharma


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