A complete guide to plan your Leh-Ladakh road trip
Leh-Ladakh welcomes travellers for unlimited adventure and unparallel beauty of region. A beautiful Union territory of India welcomes Indians and foreign tourists to Land of high passes. It delights it’s visitors with nature beauty and adventure activities. Voyagers will get astonished with frequent changing landscapes, mountains, snow covered mountains, meadows and cold desert simultaneously. Leh as a capital is worth visiting for deep blue lakes, enchanting landscapes, beautiful monasteries, quaint villages and scenic road journeys.
Breathtaking and mesmerizing view of Ladakh is best for photography tour in India that offers a chance to revel in the joy of open skies and dramatical landscape.
In this Leh-Ladakh travel guide, we bring all the information you need to know prior to plan for Leh-Ladakh road trip.
How to reach Ladakh
Geographical location of Ladakh is in the Western Himalayas of Northern India. It is connected extremely well by roads with two neighbouring states of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Ladakh is well connected via road with Kashmir and Leh-Manali Highway through NH1. Leh-ladakh is quite lengthy route from Delhi via road transport although travellers dream for this fascinating route. Here we are giving Manali to Leh route.
Manali - Jispa - Sarchu - Tanglang La - Leh
Travellers from New Delhi can take direct flight to Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh from New Delhi airport. This can save time of travel.
Best time to visit Ladakh
The best time to visit ladakh depends on tourist choices and preferences. Ladakh has mainly two seasons: summer and winter. Monsoon is observed very less here that makes it perfect for sightseeing in august and September months. Summer and winter are very much preferred as per your motive of visit. Best travel months are from May to September. Tourists will experience extreme winter season with heavy rainfall in months of October to February. Some places face very harsh snowing makes them impossible to visit. Winter season is preferred for popular trek experiences like Chadar trek.
Top travel Destinations in Ladakh
Leh-Ladakh overwhelms you with wide options of sightseeing as monasteries, hills, museums treks, Lakes, valleys, and markets.
Monasteries in ladakh represents Buddha culture and many of them boasts rare collections of Thangka paintings, murals, Buddhist scriptures, Buddha paintings and stupas made of gold and silver.
Golden statue of Shakyamuni in Dukhang Barpa, museum
Manjushri Temple or Jampe Lhakhang, Wall paintings
The giant statue of Kali, Annual Gustor Festival, museum
400-year old Thangkas, museum
Arya Avalokitesvara statue, Murals and Paintings
|Maitreya Buddha, Tara temple|
Moon like terrain, view of moonscapes around it
A white-domed monument situated on steep hill and facing snow capped mountain peaks is symbol of peace. Here you can see golden statue of Buddha and his death and birth photographs. It is a must visit place in Leh with quaint beauty of valley and magical sunrise & sunset.
Leh palace-made of stones, wood, mud and sand is situated on top of the hill represents one of the best examples of medieval Tibetan architecture. The walls of the palace are designed by architects keeping weather conditions in mind.
The interiors are adorned with crowns, ceremonial dresses, jewellery and artistic paintings. Some as old as 450 years and made from colors derived from powdered stones and gems. Murals etched on the walls, surrounding mountain range and valley view is spectacular for viewers. That’s why it is counted as must visit destination in Ladakh.
Khardunga La Pass
Khardung La pass-World’s highest mototable road, lies on the way to Nubra valley which is a popular destination in Ladakh. It’s located at an astounding height of approx 18,300 feet.
Take a stop here for tea and admire the surreal snow covered landscape all around. Enjoy the snow everywhere and feel like staying in a winter wonderland.
The steep and rugged terrain, winding roads, and unpredictable weather means you are going to experience something very different. It belongs to one of the top places to visit in Ladakh for bikers, cyclists and travel junkies.
Staying here for more than 15 minutes is not suggested as oxygen level is very low.
Sand Dunes at Hunder
Do you want to experience star gazing by lying on cold desert in sand dunes of Ladkah? Sand Dunes at Hunder are most amazing adventure. Ladakh is actually a high altitude cold desert and Hunder is a remote village located in Nubra valley.
Every year, this place is visited by thousands of travelers, who come to witness sand dunes wrapped around by golden brown mountains. Trekkers love this place and stay in tents to enjoy the stargazing in pellucid sky.
Experience rides on the back of rare species of the double-humped bactrian camel, visit to forests of sea-buckthorn found only in this region of Ladakh.
Another village in Nubra valley, Turtuk shares borders with Pakistan. Tourists need permit to visit there. The landscape is abundant with apricot and peach fields that get converted from barren land to lush green area with change of weather conditions. It is one of the top offbeat places to visit in Ladakh with its serene ambience and scenic vistas. Enjoy the trekking and soak up in the beauty undisturbed by tourist crowds.
Tso Kar Lake
Located in scenic Ladakh valley, Tso kar Lake is popular as white lake owing to its white salt deposits. It is an attractive place for varied flora and fauna, bird species as Brahmin Ducks, bar-headed geese and black necked crane. You can view few monasteries, yak shelters and nomadic families nearby. Spending night with stargazing can be and stunning experience.
Pangong Lake is the most popular tourist attraction for its unique feature of changing water colour. Lake water is azure blue which doesn’t remain blue always; it changes colors from green to grey. It is 134 kilometres long and extends upto Tibet. 40% of the lake lies in India while rest flows in China/Tibet. With a valid permission and tour guide, you can stay here in camps.
Hemis National Park
Known as the largest national park in India, the Hemis National Park is home to rare snow leopards and one of the best reviewed places by visitors in Ladakh. Here you will not find very rich flora while fauna includes snow Leopards, Great Tibetan sheep, blue sheep, Ladakhi Urial, brown bear and red fox. The best time to spot snow leopards is in the end of the winter season. You can enjoy the trekking to roam around the park.
A fascinating trek over the frozen sheets of ice amidst mountains enveloped with snow. It is Chadar Trek, frozen river trek, one of the most challenging and unique treks of India. Trekkers must be ready physically and mentally for this trek. In this trek you have not to climb mountains but walking on ice in climate of extreme cold is most difficult comparatively.
Want to experience the reverse drive over the hills? Then must visit Magnetic Hills where vehicles go against the force of gravity and move upwards from the noted location. There are many myths and stories about this place. The hill is at approx 14000 feet with pristine surroundings and 30 km from town of Leh. Enjoy the visit to the place boasting with mysterious beauty.
Zanskar valley is a must visit captivating place located in the Kargil district. Known for beautiful landscapes and flanked with snow-topped mountains, clean streams of gushing rivers, the valley is accessebile in winter months after a challenging Chadar Trek. Top attractions over here are Zansakr river, Drang Drung Glacier, Phugtal Monastery.
Fairs & Festivals in Ladakh
If you want to know about local culture and life of people in Leh-Ladakh, must join the fair and festivals organized in several months. Festivals of Ladakh gives a different idea about the cultural diversity of Ladakh. Festivals in Ladakh attracts Indian as well as international tourists for its grand celebrations & exclusive rituals. Losar festival, Hemis Tsechu, harvest festival, Saka Dawa festival are some important names of festivals celebrated.
You can end your curiosity about their lifestyle by attending fairs. Locals of Ladakh wear traditional attires and ornaments that speak about cultural and traditional peculiarities of a community. Most famous attire is woolen Goncha, Tipi, Lokpa wore in a unique style. Their main income source is agriculture and tourism. They are proud of their rich culture and enjoy their peaceful calm life with enthusiasm.
If you are an adventure lover, a motorcycle trip to Leh-Ladakh pushes you to confront new amazing things and adventures. You can enjoy the awesome road trip by car. Most people visit Ladakh to do trekking and experience one of the best things in their life span.
Points to consider while planning an awesome Leh-Ladakh Road Trip:
- Choose the right time to travel as per your travel motive
- Wear top quality protective gear
- Wear a top-quality face mask or utilize a piece of precise attire to cover your mouth while riding in very high heights
Drink a lot of water, eat properly, and keep your eating stuff handy.