How To Plan Your Trip To Leh Ladakh – Ultimate Guide

plan to leh ladakh in gypsy

Leh Ladakh is called paradise on earth because of its breath taking beauty, stunning landscapes covered with snow, calm and serene lakes, lush green pastures and barren deserts. Its raw beauty makes one fall in love with this place. It’s a trekker’s paradise and photographer’s dream. Leh- Ladakh is dream destination for many which can make you forget the world. It has something to offer to everybody. For adventure lovers, there are lots of fun activities like trekking, paragliding, river rafting etc to experience the adrenaline rush and excitement. For nature lovers, it’s the best place to see the nature in its best and raw form. It’s a true visual treat. This place offers the panaromic views of stunning and beautiful landscapes.

For spiritual people, it gives calmness and peace. It also offers wonderful opportunities to visit different Monasteries and Gompas and experience its rich culture and traditions. Here one can feel the closeness with God and enrich their souls. People here are simple, warm and very friendly. A smile on every face and “Julay” greeting on every lip.  Here you can see the stunning beauty as well as the harshness of nature. Its snow capped mountains, surreal and raw beauty will blow your mind and at the same time you may also experience the chill cold air and extreme weather conditions at certain places at certain time. It will sometime push you out of your comfort zone but at the end you will feel enriched with beautiful and unforgettable experience. It’s the only way to experience heaven without dying. Let’s explore some of the amazing and most beautiful places you should always visit on your Leh Ladakh trip.

Best Time To Visit Leh Ladakh

leh city

People will give you long verdicts on best time to visit Leh Ladakh without any proper conclusion. They will give you different periods of the year suggesting importance of each time period. But if you ask me I would say that best time to visit this amazing place is when the routes to Leh Ladakh are open from Rohtang pass after the clearance of snow

Rohtang pass is a connecting pass between Kullu district and Lahaul-spiti district this pass remain close for half of the year due to heavy snowfall in the region cutting the link between Kullu and Lahaul. So when the months of April and May arrives BRO waits for melting of snow and stat clearing the way. In 2016 the Rohtang pass was opened during 5th of May and in 2017 Rohtang pass was opened during 25th of May.

So if you are planning to visit Leh Ladakh then according to me the best time is as soon as roads are opened from Rohtang pass. You have to also check various other passes like Baralacha La before heading towards Leh Ladakh.

  • Time period is marked with pleasant and clear skies
  • one can feel the coolness of snow at Rohtang and Baralacha la pass
  • In order to welcome more guests, hotels and guesthouses offer heavy discounts, benefitting all the travelers who happens to be present here around this time. However, both Khardung La and Chang La passes are still under the snow and it’s a memorable experience in itself to pass through them.

 

1.Nubra valley

nubra valley sightseeing

Nubra valley is a beautiful valley located to the north east of Ladakh. It is about 150 km from Leh town.The Shyok river meets the Nubra or Siachin river to form the valley, that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram ranges. Here one can see the 32 meters high Maitreya Buddhist statue which is maintained by Diskit Monastery. To reach Nubra valley, one has to cross Khardung La Pass, crossing Khardung La Pass is an experience in itself. The journey makes a life time experience and the scenic beauty is amazing. Nubra Valley is basically high altitude cold desert and one of the most fertile land in comparison to all other valleys. This valley is covered by thick grass during summers and you know what is the condition during the winters. Agriculture is the main occupation of people in this region, One can find Apricots, apples, walnuts and more things.To visit this place, Foreign citizens should have “Protected Area Pass”and Indian citizens should have “Inner Line Permit”. You can also enjoy the double hump (Bactarian )camel ride at evenings and watch the beautiful sunset. So if you are planning a trip to Leh Ladakh then Nubra valley should always be among the top places to visit here.

2.Leh Market

moti market leh

Good food and good shopping is what one looks for, when they visit new place and Leh does not disappoint you in these aspects. Here you can shop to your heart content and also enjoy the local delicacies. Leh is the second largest district in the country.This beautiful place with snow covered mountains and clear blue sky makes a perfect tourist spot. Markets of Leh has its own charm.You can find many Tibetan products here.You can shop for Turquoise and silver jewellery, that comes from Tibet and china. Shops are filled with Ladakhi carpets, rugs, shawls,Thangka paintings, small prayer wheels, music bowels etc. Most famous item in Leh is Pashmina shawls and other Pashmina wool garments which is made from the soft wool of Pashmina goats. It’s very light in weight. Its elegance look is because of craftsman ship that goes into making of each shawl. Most of the products found here are handmade which adds to its perfect beauty and elegance.

3. Tso Moriri lake

Tso Moriri salt lake

Tso Moriri lake is astonishing beautiful mountain lake with green and blue waters. It is situated in Ladakhi part of Chantang Plateau in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the largest of high altitude lakes in India. This lake has its own beauty with crystal clear water where you can see the mirror images of mountains, clouds and sky. It’s a paradise for bird lovers.Here one can find lots of birds in the delta formed by small rivulet.You might be able to see black neck cranes here or near.You may also get to see Yaks, wild horses and antelopes, If you are lucky enough.It’s a 7 hours drive from Leh and the route along with Indus river is Amazing.

Read: How to plan trip to Spiti Valley

4.Spituk Gompa

Spituk Gompa leh

Monasteries are an  integral part of Leh and Ladakh. People come here to take blessings of God and seek spiritual peace. Spituk Gompa was a famous Buddhist Monastery in Leh district of Ladakh. 8 kilometers from Leh, this Monastery was found by Od- de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub od in the 11 th century.The meaning of Spituk was exemplary. It contains big statue of Buddha and Amaityas, it’s also abode of fierce deity – the Vajra Bhairava.There is also Durga Temple at the top of the hill, where you can find the huge statue of Goddess Kali. It is also home to 100 monks. Every year, Gustor Festival is held at Spituk during the eleventh month of Tibetan calendar. From the top of the Monastery ,one can have the beautiful views of landscapes. From here one can watch the amazing views of Sunrise and Sunset.

5. Hemis Monastery

hemis monastry leh

Hemis Monastery is one of the beautiful and popular Monastery in Ladakh. It is also one of the major tourist attraction .It is situated 45 kms from Leh. This Monastery was build by under the reigns of king Singe Namgyal in 1672 A.D. This Tibetan Buddhist Monastery has statue of Buddha and many beautiful paintings.It also hosts, the annual Hemis festival honouring Lord Padmasambhava.

Hemis Festival – Hemis festival is held in Hemis Monastery. It is celebrated in the month of July. The Hemis festival is celebrated on the  10th day {Tse Chu} of the Tibetan lunar month as the birthday of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. It attracts tourists and local people from all over Ladakh and other parts of the world. The Hemis Monasteries has many big and small temples dedicated to Buddhist divinities. The Lamas of Monastery perform sacred monastic dance drama  and end with sacrificial offering on last day.

6.Shanti Stupa

Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa.

Shanti Stupa is one of the popular tourist attraction. It is situated at the height of 3,609metres(11,841ft). The Stupa is located 5 km from Leh on a steep hill facing the Leh palace. It is white Dome Stupa(chorten) built on Changspa, a steep hill. Shanti Stupa was built both by Indian and Japanese Buddhists. It was build to promote world peace and harmony also to propogate the wise teachings of Buddha. It is part of Peace Pagoda  Mission. Shanti Stupa holds the relics of Buddha at its base It has Lord Buddha Statue which is very beautiful. A central golden Buddha image sits on a platform depicting the turning wheel of Dharma(Dharmachakra). The other striking aspect of this place is, at the roof top one can get the 360 degree view of Leh valley.

7.Hemis national park

hemis national park snow leopard

Hemis National park is the favorite destination of wild life lovers. It is the largest National Park of south Asia. Hemis National Park gained its popularity because of variability of large number of Snow Leopards. It’s a high altitude national park in the Eastern Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.This park was found in 1981 and it is known that park houses about 200 snow leopards especially in Rumbuk catchment area. Winter is the best season to spot the snow leopards.Other mammals here include Bharal, argali, Asiatic Ibex, brown bear, Tibetan wolf etc. Its trekking route is also one of the major attraction for tourists. It’s also a delightful place for Bird watchers. One can spot varieties of species of birds here like Golden Eagle, Lammergier vulture, Himalayan Griffon vulture , chukar, Himalayan Snowcock and many other Interesting birds. It also houses the 400 year old Hemis Monastery. It’s a place with scenic and beautiful surroundings.

8. Turtuk Village

Turtuk village last village of LOC India and 12KM to Pakistan

Turtuk village is a remote village located on the banks of Shylok river in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir.It lies at 205 km from the Leh town.This place is dominated by Balti culture.It’s basically a Muslim village but still you can find Buddhist Gompas here.It’s the last village of Nubra valley. It’s a very photogenic place with stone housing,steep paths and lots of poplar and willow trees and Apricot trees with ripe fruits.Turtuk is on the gateway to Siachin Glacier.For accommodation ,one has to depend on home stays and guesthouses.Local people here are very friendly and hospitable,they will provide you ,neat and clean accommodation with delicious Ladakhi food.Turtuk village also offers panoramic and beautiful views of Shylok valley. It is extremely joyful experience to take a walk around this beautiful and picturesque village.It’s a village worth visit. So if you are planning a trip then you should definitely visit this place in Leh Ladakh.

9. Khardung La

khardungla top

Khardung La (Pass) is the gateway to the Shylok and Nubra valleys. It is situated at an elevation of 5,359 m (17,582) feet above sea level. It is a high mountain Pass in the Ladakh Region. It’s one of the Highest Mot arable road Passes of the world. Khardung La is 39 km by road from Leh. It is the most favorite spot of adventure bikers.This is the Highest Pass to cross for reaching Nubra valley. It makes a memorable ride with surroundings covered by snow. It also has Temple of Lord Shiva and an Army canteen. It is said not to stay more than 15 minutes at this altitude. People should also take care of breathlessness one experience here. It’s a beautiful Pass with stunning views. It makes memorable experience one can cherish lifelong. So if you are planning a trip to Leh ladakh then this place should always be on your wish list to visit.

10.Hall of Fame

hall of fame leh

Hall of fame, Leh is another must visit place. It’s a museum constructed in the the memory of brave Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during Indo-Pak war.This museum is constructed and maintained by Indian Army. The Building consists of two floors. In ground floor, there is detail descriptions about the martyr soldiers, their struggle during the war. It also has a souvenir shop. In first floor where you can see interesting things like weapons, letters and documents used in the war. It also throws light on Ladakhi history and culture. It is sure to raise patriotic feelings in you. It also shows a 99 minutes film depicting Kargil war.

So if you are planning a trip to Leh Ladakh you should plan in such a way that you won’t miss a single destination mentioned above

How to Reach Spiti Valley

There are two ways of accessing Leh Ladakh. One is through Manali- Keylong- Jispa- Leh  and other one is through Pathankot- Jammu-kashmir-kargil-Leh

 Jammu- Leh highway is open through out the year. But the only thing you need to check is the peace status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Manali- Leh highway remain close for half of the year due to the heavy snowfall at Baralacha la pass and Rohtang Pass. And the expected time for the opening of Rohtang pass varies from May to June.

Buses From Kashmir

The bus from Leh to Srinagar starts 2 PM and runs non-stop 7.30 AM in Srinagar. Deluxe bus charges about 1058 per person and semi deluxe charges Rs 670 per person. Normal buses charge around Rs 470 per person. The private bus operators charges about Rs 800-900 per person.

Buses From Manali

On Leh – Manali route, there are two bus services that run as HRTC Buses and HPTDC Semi Deluxe Tourist buses (non-ac). HRTC ones are normal public transport buses which do not stop for sightseeing on the way except mandatory stops of food + daily routines while HPTDC is a semi deluxe bus that is run for tourists only from 1st July to 15th September every season and does all the sightseeing on the Manali – Leh Highway.

Best Option To Reach

bike expedition to Leh

If you ask me personally the best option to Travel to Leh Ladakh, then for me it is The Bike Expedition. The roads to Leh -Ladakh are muddy, rugged, slippery and believe me guys its an amazing feeling to drive a Royal Enfield on these roads. I remember my last trip where me and my friends hired bikes from Bhuntar and planned a expedition following the route Bhuntar- Manali- Rohtang- Sissu- Keylong – Jispa -Leh. Spiti is isolated with no human population. There will be no mobile signals so the only thing you need is to drive safe whether its your car or your bike.

There are number of Bike renting options in Manali. But due to peak season, prices in Manali could be very high. So I would prefer you to rent a bike from Bhuntar.

Renting a Bike from Bhuntar is always a great idea as you can also plan a small trip to Mini Israel of India – Kasol, Kheerganga, Tosh, Malana.

Read: How to Rent Bikes From Bhuntar

 

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