India

Zanskar Valley – Most Common Itinerary

Zanskar Valley, nestled in a remote corner of Ladakh, is a hot topic this season among the adventure lovers who embark on the adrenaline rushing journeys in trans-Himalayas every year.

Looking for a detailed day by day Zanskar Valley Itinerary?

Since I am getting loads of queries related to Zanskar Valley this year, and of course, we had our DoW Mega Meet 2015 in Zanskar Valley only, I thought why not share the most common itinerary for Zanskar Valley and help everyone make an amazing journey filled with full of adventure to this wonderland.

The alternate itinerary also covers Srinagar – Leh Highway and if you have more time on hand, feel free to leave a comment below so that I can help you with a plan to exit Ladakh over Manali – Leh Highway.

Reflections in Twin lakes of Penzi La Pass in Zanskar Valley

Why travel to Zanskar Valley from Srinagar – Kargil side?

I have started from Srinagar side because it gives at least two benefits, if not more. Firstly, the body acclimatizes better due to gradual ascent by the time you reach Padum in Zanskar Valley. Hence, fewer chances of getting stuck with Acute Mountain Sickness or shortly called as AMS.

Secondly, you can travel back to Leh and further over Manali – Leh Highway through Tso Moriri in case you have missed Tso Moriri in your last trip to Ladakh, which most commonly is the case.

For now, these two reasons are good enough to start your road trip to Zanskar Valley from Srinagar side 🙂

Trip to Zanskar Valley in 8 Days – Common Itinerary

The road to Zanskar Valley runs through Suru Valley. Hence, you will be able to cover the Suru Valley, too, while following this itinerary. In case you have already visited Ladakh, I will strongly advise that you do not distract yourself and focus just on Suru Valley and Zanskar Valley over these 8-9 days.

Zanskar is one of the most enchanting and scenic valleys with landscape and culture identical to the rest of Ladakh, at times more beautiful than the Changthang region. The fall or autumn colors are just majestic to witness as those beautiful orangish colors make it no less than a wonderland.

What Zanskar Attractions does it cover?

Besides regular sightseeing of Srinagar – Kargil Highway, you will be witnessing a breathtaking glacier in touch distance, named Drang Drung Glacier while passing over the Penzi La Pass that connects Suru Valley with Zanskar Valley.

Apart from that, you will be visiting the Rangdum Gompa, Zongkhul Monastery, and Zang La Fort near Padum. However, the most amazing thing that you can do apart from these eight days is to explore the unexplored trek of Phugtal Monastery (read more on Phugtal Monastery – Zanskar Valley) which is uniquely located into the cliffside like a honeycomb and considered as one of the remarkable sites in whole Zanskar Valley.

What about Phuktal Monastery?

I will write a detailed travel guide on Phugtal Monastery trek (also called Phuktal Monastery) with all the required details but as of now, you can keep it like if you are beginner it will take about 5 days of the trek at easy pace else you can do it in 4 days if you are intermediate trekker.

In the last, you may give a shot at a road less traveled in Ladakh, the Umba La Pass route that directly connects Sankoo to Drass. Finally, you can end the trip at Srinagar from where you can fly back home after spending a relaxing night in Shikara over Dal Lake 🙂

Sounds Interesting???

So, now where is the plan:

Related Post

Day by Day Plan – Zanskar in 8 Days

Let’s look at this detailed day by day plan of the Zanskar Valley trip in 8-9 days. You will travel from Srinagar Leh Highway and come back home via the same route.

Welcome to Zanskar Valley

Day 1 | Delhi – Srinagar and then Srinagar – Sonamarg (79 KMs) – Zozi La (107 KMs) – Drass (144 KMs) – Kargil (202 KMs)

  • Early morning flight to Srinagar (reach 7 AM) and then by road to Kargil via Zojila pass
  • Kargil War Memorial at Drass
  • Tiger Hill view from a roadside Dhabha while having lunch
  • Arrange permits/bookings for PWD Rest Houses at Rangdum/Parkachik (if possible else be on your own)
  • Will take about 8-9 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Kargil

Day 2 | Kargil – Sankoo (42 KMs) – Panikhar (67 KMs) – Parkachik (98 KMs) – Rangdum (138 KMs) – Penzi La (165 KMs) – Padum (255 KMs)

  • Have breakfast either at Kargil, preferably packed breakfast from the hotel
  • It is going to be a long day, hence, leave for sure by 7 AM
  • Have lunch at Rangdum, specifically not letting you stay at Rangdum as it a much harsh place than Padum with the least facilities. So, better break journey while coming back
  • Beautiful Stod River join you after descending from Penzi La
  • Will take about 9-11 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Padum

Day 3 | Rest day at Padum and Zongkhul Monastery

  • Rest at Padum and enjoy the stay to acclimatize better
  • After lunch, you can do Padum – Tungri (17 KMs) – Zongkhul (37 KMs)
  • Will take about 2-3 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Padum

Day 4 | Padum – Stongde (15 KMs) – Zang La Fort (32 KMs) – Karsha (62 KMs) – Padum (74 KMs)

  • Explore local sightseeing in Padum including Sani, Stongdey, and Karsha monasteries, Zang La Fort
  • An old monastery situated in the nearby village of Tsa-zar, midway between Stongde and Zangla
  • Sheela Village Waterfall: You can spend some time at the waterfall at Sheela village while coming back to Padum from Stongde
  • Karsha monastery: Evening visit for a nice view of Padum village
  • Stongde monastery: Morning visit for better views
  • Zang La Fort: Ahead of Stongde and offers some scenic wide views
  • Will take about 3-4 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Padum

Day 5 | Padum – Penzi La Pass (90 KMs) – Rangdum (117 KMs)

  • On the way see and click some lovely pictures of Drang Drung Glacier
  • Spot some wildlife including Marmots as well on the way to Penzi La
  • Stop by at Statso – Langtso Twin Lakes on the way to Penzi La
  • Some time at Penzi La with pictures
  • Rangdum Gompa is a MUST DO which is about 2-3 KMs from Rangdum
  • Enjoy any leftovers while going towards Padum earlier
  • Will take about 5 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Rangdum, avoid JKTDC Rest House at Rangdum and prefer a homestay

Day 6 | Rangdum – Parkachik (40 KMs) – Sankoo (96 KMs) – Umba La – Drass (160 KMs)

  • Spend some time at beautiful Panikhar village and enjoy the scenic beauty around
  • Excellent views of Nun – Kun from Purikutchey
  • Trek down to the river and relax for a while on the way
  • The rock-carved Maitreya at Kartse Khar
  • Have lunch at Sankoo
  • Give a shot at the unexplored Umba La route on the way back
  • Will take about 7-8 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Drass

Travel Tip: If you are driving yourself to Zanskar, you must check 40 must-have things to carry on a self-drive road trip to Zanskar Valley.

Day 7 | Drass – Zozi La (37 KMs) – Sonamarg (65 KMs) – Srinagar (144 KMs)

  • Enjoy the ride in Dal Lake and sleepover in Shikara
  • Will take about 5-6 Hrs
  • Overnight stay at Srinagar

Day 8 | Srinagar – Delhi By Morning Flight

  • Back to Sweet Home
And it meets into Zanskar river

Itinerary for Srinagar – Zanskar – Leh Trip

In case you want to include Leh local sightseeing as well to complete the journey of Srinagar – Leh Highway, you follow the below plan. Traveling on this route you can fly to Srinagar, cover Zanskar Valley and then fly out of Leh.

Day 7 | Drass – Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh

  • Cover Mulbekh Maitreya, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscapes
  • On the way, you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
  • Overnight at Leh
  • About 9-10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

Day 8 | Leh – Delhi By Morning Flight

  • Back to Sweet Home

Itinerary for Srinagar – Zanskar – Tso Moriri – Manali – Leh Highway

Finally, in this travel plan option, you can cover Tso Moriri and Manali Leh Highway as well. It will only be possible if you have the luxury of more days in hand.

Many people on their first trip to Ladakh only cover Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley. Hence, the chances of leaving the Tso Moriri lake are very high. Now that you are making a trip to Zanskar Valley, you may want to cover Manali – Leh Highway and Tso Moriri lake too.

If that is the case, then you can follow this itinerary for Zanskar Valley trip:

Day 7 | Drass – Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh

  • Cover Mulbekh Maitreya, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscapes
  • On the way, you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu in Sham Valley region
  • Overnight at Leh
  • About 9-10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

Day 8 | Rest day at Leh to enjoy local culture and some shopping or move to Chumathang

  • Overnight at Leh/Chumathang

Day 9 | Leh/Chumathang – Tso Moriri via Chumathang

  • There are chances of AMS, hence it is better that you stay the previous night at Chumathang
  • Cover Karzok Monastery
  • Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
  • About 7-8 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

Day 10 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Moore Plains – Pang / Sarchu

  • Try to start early in the day so that you reach Sarchu where the accommodation options are better than Pang
  • Overnight at Sarchu or Pang
  • About 9-10 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

Zanskar Travel Guide: If you want to deep dive into the detailed planning of your trip, you should refer my comprehensive travel guide of Kargil – Padum road trip.

Day 11 | Pang / Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali

  • On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the roadsides only
  • Overnight at Manali
  • About 11-12 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between and of course the mess at Rohtang Pass

Day 12 | Manali – Delhi

  • Return Home
  • About 13-14 Hrs drive, depending upon the breaks you take in between

Zanskar Valley via Darcha – Shingo La Route

As of 2019 September, only one car was able to reach Padum from Darcha – Shingo La route. In the coming years, I expect to see this route from Manali – Darcha – Padum getting more attraction from the tourists.

Once it is fully operational and safe for travel, I will share more details on this route itinerary as well.

Other Zanskar Itineraries: You can also refer a 9-day travel itinerary for Leh – Zanskar – Leh.

Magical Rangdum Village

Zanskar Road Trip – FAQs

When is the best time to visit Zanskar Valley?

The best time to visit Zanskar Valley is from June – July and then September month when monsoon rains reside from Northern India. It is not recommended at all to plan a trip to Zanskar in August or monsoon season. Even though it lies in the rain-shadow region, you will have to traverse the lower hills to reach Padum. You can check out my detailed article on the best time to travel to Ladakh & Zanskar Valley.

Can I make a trip to Zanskar using public transport?

Yes, you can make a trip to Zanskar using public transport. Kargil is well connected with JKSRTC buses with Srinagar as well as Leh. Once you reach Kargil, you can travel to Padum using infrequent buses or shared taxis running on Kargil – Padum road.

Conclusion

I hope this common of the itinerary for Zanskar Valley will be useful for travelers planning their journey at least for the first time to this hidden wonderland. Like I said before, you must give time to Zanskar Valley alone. Avoid mixing it up and cramping it in fewer days. You will not be able to appreciate the real beauty of this trans-Himalayan heaven.

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

I will look forward to any queries or doubts or valuable suggestions and inputs you have and would love to discuss your custom plan as well in the comments section.

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

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