Ladakh, ladakh
High-altitude Desert Beauty
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Overview

Ladakh, a union territory in the Kashmir region of India, is a land of stunning Gompas, fluttering prayer flags, and whitewashed stupas, exuding rugged beauty and Buddhist culture. Known as 'Little Tibet' or 'the last Shangri-La', Ladakh is a high-altitude desert cradled by the Karakoram and Great Himalaya ranges. With a culture similar to the Tibetans, the people of Ladakh are friendly and welcoming to tourists. Divided into two districts, Leh and Kargil, Ladakh offers a plethora of attractions, including beautiful monasteries, Shanti Stupa, cafes, and Leh Bazaar. Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy rafting and high-altitude trekking, while the Chadar trek on the frozen Zanskar river takes place from January to the end of February. The region is accessible by air and road, with the Leh Ladakh area being inaccessible by road outside the summer months. Ladakh boasts a rich history as an important trade route on the ancient Silk Road, and is politically claimed by Pakistan but controlled by India as a union territory.
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How to Reach Ladakh

The most convenient way of travelling to Ladakh is by air. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport of Leh is the main airport in Ladakh. It is connected by regular flights to all the major cities in India through New Delhi. The other way of reaching Leh Ladakh is by road. A bike trip to Ladakh is most popular amongst tourists for travelling to Leh Ladakh. There are two road routes for bike trips to Ladakh - Leh Manali Highway - Open from May to September. The 490km long route passes through Rohtang, Gramphu, Kokshar, Darcha, Baralacha La, Gata Loops, Lachulung La, Tanglang La, Gya and Karu.Leh Srinagar Highway - Open from May to October. This route covers Sonmarg, Zozi La, Drass, Kargil, Mulbek, Lamayuru and Saspol and is 434km long. This route is at a comparatively lower altitude reducing the risk of severe high-altitude mountain sickness. On reaching Ladakh, you might be asked to pay an environmental fee of around INR 200-300. You can keep the receipt to present it when applying for permits. The only route accessible to Leh Ladakh in winter is by air, though planes fly all year round. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport of Leh is the primary airport serving the region. Air India and GoAir have daily flights to and from New Delhi. Air India also connects Leh to Jammu and Kashmir. In winter months, the air services are infrequent and the flights often get cancelled due to fog in Delhi and snowfall in Leh. There are two road routes to Leh Ladakh - one through Manali in Himachal Pradesh and the other through Srinagar. To travel to Ladakh by road, first, reach Manali or Srinagar via trains and buses. Both the routes are spectacular and time-consuming with narrow winding roads and military checkpoints. Leh Ladakh is at a very remote location with minimal resources available. So the region does not have a railway station. However, the nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi (700 km from Ladakh) which is well connected with Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. The main bus stand for Leh Ladakh is located 700m south to the main town centre. State buses run from both Srinagar and Manali. The mystic and awe striking region of Ladakh is surrounded with gorgeous scenery and travelling through this region can indeed be a pleasure. There are buses, taxis, motorcycles and bicycles available for getting across Ladakh and you can choose the one that you deem fit.
  • By Air : The most convenient way to travel to Leh Ladakh is by air. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport of Leh is the main airport in Ladakh and is connected by regular flights to all the major cities in India through New Delhi. Air India and GoAir have daily flights to and from New Delhi. Air India also connects Leh to Jammu and Kashmir. In winter months, the air services are infrequent and the flights often get cancelled due to fog in Delhi and snowfall in Leh. Upon arrival, taxis are easily available to travel from the airport to the main town. It is advised to allow one day of rest to acclimatize to the high altitude of Leh Ladakh. The nearest airport is Leh Airport (IXL), located 44 km from Leh Ladakh.
  • By Train : Ladakh is a remote location with minimal resources, and does not have a railway station. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, which is approximately 700 km from Ladakh. Jammu Tawi is well connected with major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. From the Jammu Tawi station, travelers can board a taxi or a JKSRTC (Jammu Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation) bus to reach Leh Ladakh.
  • By Road : The most convenient way of reaching Leh Ladakh by road is through two routes - the Leh Manali Highway and the Leh Srinagar Highway. The 490km long Leh Manali Highway is open from May to September and passes through Rohtang, Gramphu, Kokshar, Darcha, Baralacha La, Gata Loops, Lachulung La, Tanglang La, Gya, and Karu. The 434km long Leh Srinagar Highway is open from May to October, covering Sonmarg, Zozi La, Drass, Kargil, Mulbek, Lamayuru, and Saspol. Both routes offer spectacular views but require time and acclimatization to the high altitude. The fastest way of reaching Leh from Manali is by jeeps, mostly shared, though it poses a high risk of severe altitude sickness. It is also possible to travel to Ladakh by bus, with state buses running from both Srinagar and Manali. However, the direct 24-hour bus from Manali to Leh is not recommended.
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Places to Visit in Ladakh

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Leh Palacestar-img4.3 (8,946)
Perched majestically in Leh, the Leh Palace, also known as 'Lhachen Palkhar,' is a 17th-century former royal palace built by King Sengge Namgyal. This nine-storey dun-colored palace, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, now houses a museum and a prayer room, offering a glimpse into the history...
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Hall of Fame, Lehstar-img4.7 (8,816)
The Hall of Fame, located approximately 4 km from Leh on the Leh-Kargil Road, is a museum built in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting for India during the Indo-Pakistan war. Maintained by the Indian Army, it showcases seized arms and amenities of the Pakistani Army, along wit...
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Pangong Lake, Ladakhstar-img4.8 (7,080)
Pangong Lake, also known as Pangong Tso, is the most popular tourist attraction in Ladakh, situated at 4350 meters above sea level. This endorheic lake stretches 12 kilometers from India into Tibet, with 60% of its expanse lying in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. What makes Pangong Lake truly unique ...
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Shanti Stupa, Lehstar-img4.7 (5,752)
Perched on a steep hilltop at an elevation of 11,841 feet, the Shanti Stupa in Leh is a magnificent white-domed Buddhist monument with a rich history. Constructed between 1983 and 1991 by Japanese monks to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism and promote world peace, it holds the relics of Buddha con...
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Thiksey Monasterystar-img4.7 (4,950)
Perched on a hill 20km south of Leh along the Leh-Manali highway, Thiksey Monastery is a stunning Tibetan-style monastery offering breathtaking views of the town and the Indus valley. The twelve-story monastery, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, is home to the impressive 15-meter high Maitr...
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Things to do in Ladakh

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Capture the Stellar Beauty of Ladakh's Night Skies
Embark on a photography adventure in Leh-Ladakh, a must-visit destination for photography enthusiasts, especially those passionate about astrophotography. Ladakh's clear night skies, free from city pollution, provide the perfect backdrop to capture the stellar beauty of the universe, complementing t...
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Explore Chemrey Monastery
Embark on a journey to the 400-year-old Chemrey Monastery, a hidden gem located approximately 40 kilometers east of Leh in northern India. This Buddhist monastery is renowned for its magnificent statue of Padmasambhava and a collection of ancient scriptures adorned with gold and silver lettering. Be...
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Visit Shanti Stupa in Leh
Perched atop a steep hill at 11,841 feet, the Shanti Stupa in Leh is a magnificent white-domed Buddhist monument believed to have been constructed between 1983 and 1991 by Japanese monks to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism. It holds the relics of Buddha, sanctified by the 14th Dalai Lama, and off...
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Explore Tso Kar Lake
Embark on a journey to Tso Kar Lake, situated 50 kms from Tso Moriri and at a height of 15,280 feet in Ladakh. This fluctuating salt lake, also known as the White Lake due to its white salt deposits, is nestled in the picturesque Rupshu Plateau. Tso Kar Lake, the smallest of the three high-altitude ...
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Explore Puga Valley
Venture to the stunning Puga Valley, located in the Changthang Valley in the south-eastern part of Ladakh, a mere 22 km from Salt Lake Valley. This area is renowned for its natural beauty and geothermal activities, with hot sulphur springs being a major attraction. The region boasts significant geot...
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Best Time to Visit Ladakh

The best time to visit Ladakh is from May end to the middle of July, when the roads are open and there is a good amount of snow, especially on the Leh Manali highway. Another favorable time is from the middle of September to October, when the region is at its most beautiful and the lesser number of tourists allows for potential discounts. It is advisable to avoid visiting Ladakh during the monsoon from July end to August, as the region is prone to landslides and sludgy roads. Read Less

FAQs on Ladakh

How is the weather of Ladakh in peak season?
The weather of Ladakh in peak season is characterized by chilly winds and medium to heavy rainfall during monsoons. It means you can easily plan a trip in this season for maximum fun.
What are the best places to visit in Ladakh?
The most loved attractions in Ladakh are Pangong Tso, Diskit Monastery, and Thiksey Gompa.
What are the popular things to explore in Ladakh?
The most loved tourist places to explore in Ladakh are Pangong Tso, Diskit Monastery, and Thiksey Gompa. You will have an amazing time exploring these places and come back home with a bag full of memories.
What is the best time to visit Ladakh?
The best time to visit Ladakh is in Summer (April - June) when the climate is pleasant here - the snow from winter having thawed. The Frozen River Trek, one of the most famous treks here, is organized in the months of December and January along river Zanskar.
What is the local food in Ladakh?
Leh is a multicuisine city serving Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and even Korean. The cuisine here exhibits tints of these foreign influences. Visitors must try out the local dishes such as Thukpa, Tsampa, and Skyu, as well as the very popular and delicious Momos. Drinks include Tea, coffee, beer, and Chang.
What is the best way to reach Ladakh?
Being a remote area, Ladakh is only traversable by air or road. The Leh city does not have any railway station of its own. However, there is an airport for the city and a highway too, that leads to Leh.
How much does a package cost for Ladakh?
The packages for Ladakh start at INR 8000 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type, and customizations.
What are the top hotels in Ladakh?
Ladakh offers a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. Popular choices include TIH New Antelope, Sangaylay Palace, Leh Stumpa, Shakspo House, and LONPO GUEST HOUSE.
What are the things to do in Ladakh?
Some top things to do in Ladakh include visiting Pangong Lake, Magnetic Hill, Leh Palace, Chadar Trek, Tso Moriri, and Zanskar Valley.
What are the places near Ladakh?
The top places near to Ladakh are Hemis, Manali, Mcleodganj, Dalhousie, and Kasol, offering diverse experiences for travelers to explore.
Do foreigners need a permit to visit Ladakh?
Both domestic and foreign travelers must have a tourist permission to enter Ladakh, including an Inner Line Permit for certain regions such as Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.
Who should visit Ladakh?
Ladakh is a superb destination for adventure enthusiasts, bike riders, and groups of friends seeking active experiences and adventure.
What is not so good about Ladakh?
Climatic conditions and travel can be rough in Ladakh. Visitors should be aware that infants, older people, and those unaccustomed to high altitudes may experience breathing difficulties.
What is famous about Ladakh?
Ladakh is known as an adventure destination, offering snow-clad mountains throughout the year with beautiful scenery in the backdrop.

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