If you’ve ever wondered how to plan Leh Ladakh tour, you’ve come to the right place. In this Leh Ladakh Tour Travel Guide, we will discuss several aspects to help you plan the perfect Leh Ladakh Tour to the treacherous Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Offering unparalleled experiences, Ladakh tour packages are the best way to explore the divine beauty of this region. The Ladakh region has been part of several Bollywood movies, and gives glimpses of the magnificent beauty of raw nature and miles of barren land. We hope this guide will help you understand everything about routes, cost, accommodation options and best time to visit Leh Ladakh.
How to Plan Leh Ladakh Tour?
Leh Ladakh Tour planning starts with the numbers of days you have. We recommend minimum 7 days are required to explore the basics Ladakh. Given the average altitude of Leh Ladakh is around 3400 meters one need to be properly acclimitize to the changed environment. On your next visit to Leh Ladakh, you can explore the beauty of the mesmerizing Himalayan peaks, the serene Pangong Lake and the beautiful banks of Indus and Zanskar rivers. Most people think that amazing landscape is the only good thing about Leh-Ladakh. However, that’s not true. On a Leh Ladakh tour package, you also get to visit vibrant Tibetan monasteries, watch folk dance shows, explore rugged terrain and catch glimpses of an ancient culture. Available for every budget, these tours allow you to witness the true beauty of Leh Ladakh without any hassles.
Things to keep in mind when planning Leh Ladakh Tour
1. There are three options to reach Ladakh directly fly to Leh or by road from Manali or from Srinagar
2. If you are flying directly to Leh then you need to take complete rest on day of arrival
3. Road routes from Manali is little challenging then Srinagar route but are beautiful
4. Most travelers go Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake but you need months to explore entire Ladakh
5. Ladakh is a region and Leh is a city
Days required and Taxi Rates in Ladakh for Popular Places in Ladakh
Leh Ladakh Taxi Rates 2019 – 20
Tourist Route in Leh Ladakh Tour
Taxi Rate (XUV/Innova)
Srinagar – Leh in 2 days
Leh Local Sightseeing
Leh – Nubra Valley in 2 Days (Diskit, Hunder)
Leh – Nubra Valley in 2 Days (Diskit, Hunder, Sumur, Panamik)
Leh – Nubra – Pangong Lake via Shyok in 3 Days
Leh – Pangong Tso (Spangmik) in 2 Days
Leh – Tso Moriri via Mahe Bridge in 2 Days
Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Taglang La – Leh in 2 Days
Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Manali in 3 Days
Leh – Sarchu – Manali in 2 Days
Leh – Pangong Tso 1 Day
Leh – Nubra Valley 1 Day
Once you’ve understood how to plan Leh Ladakh tour, you’ll be able to reach close to the ‘paradise on Earth’. Magnificent landscapes, snow blankets and the usual deafening silence in the valleys gives respite from the hustle and bustle of city lives. For a few days, if not more, you’ll be right in the lap of nature, with amazing attractions to explore and things to do. Whether you’re looking for a family trip, an adventurous vacation or a honeymoon package, you won’t be disappointed as there are plenty of options readily available at reasonable prices.
On visiting Leh Ladakh, you can explore several attractions. While some of them are architectural marvels, others are a reflection of raw nature and its true beauty. Hunder Cold Desert is one of the most popular attractions in Diskit. People visit this place for the Future Buddha and Pangong Tso Lake. With ever-changing colours, it’s a sight that you’ll never forget. It’s included in almost every Ladakh tour package. During your visit, if you’re lucky, you can even spot some rare species of birds, such as Seagulls, Brahmani Ducks and Black-necked Cranes.
The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers is another important attraction in this region. You can also visit Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Magnetic Hill, Moonland, Lamayuru Monastery and several other important places. Alchi Gompa, with its 800-year old paintings, is a must-visit. Crystal-clear lakes, snow-capped mountains, vibrant culture and alpine flora are just a few reasons to visit Leh Ladakh at least once in your lifetime. With a Leh tour package, don’t forget to include the following places/attractions in the itinerary.
Main Attractions Ladakh Tourism
Also called the Lhachen Palkhar, Leh Palace is one of the most visited sites in the region. The ancient look of the building combined with clear-blue skies in the backdrop makes for a delightful watch. In fact, you can catch the beauty of this place from quite a distance. Leh Palace was built by renowned Buddhist Kings in 1553. One of the highest buildings in the world, Leh Palace bears a striking resemblance to Potala Palace in Tibet.
If you spend some time outside the complex, you’re able to catch stunning and breathtaking views of Stok Kangri and Ladakh mountain ranges. With several centuries-old paintings and ornaments, Leh Palace lets you explore the beauty of ceremonial dresses, jewelry and crowns displayed on every wall in the premises.
Pangong Tso Lake
Without a doubt, Pangong Tso Lake is one of the most beautiful places in Leh Ladakh. Whether you’re going on a Ladakh solo trip or wish to take your family and friends along, be sure to include this nature’s wonder in your tour plan. Camping, photography, mountain biking, bird-watching, and sightseeing are just a few reasons to visit Pangong Tso. During winter months, the lake freezes, and you can indulge in trekking and ice skating.
At a distance of 150 km from Leh, Nubra Valley is visited by people from around the world. Khardung La Pass (highest motorable road in the world), Diskit Monastery, Ensa Gompa, Diskit Town and Siachen River are some of the popular attractions in the region. You can indulge in several adventure activities, such as trekking, biking safari, and even a bath in hot springs. Nubra Valley is also the right place for wildlife lovers to spot alpine birds and Bactrian Camels.
Shanti Stupa, Leh
This famous monument was built to celebrate 2,500 years of Buddhism. Since then, it has been considered a symbol of peace and prosperity. Since it’s only 5 km from the airport, people leaving Leh via flight visit this attraction on their way back home. The 500 steps in the complex aren’t for the faint-hearted. With a steep climb, the complex houses a beautiful image of Lord Buddha and the Dharmachakra.
The highest motorable road in the world, a visit to Ladakh isn’t complete without clicking a picture at the Khardung La Pass. The pass is open between May and October. Every year, thousands of tourists visit Khardung La Pass from all parts of the world. During summer months, you can even book a horse safari.
Just 27 km from Leh, Magnetic Hill is one of the most famous optical illusions in the world. Until now, researchers haven’t been able to give a clear explanation about what causes the phenomenon. When water pours down on the ground, it seems to be attracted towards the hill. Even vehicles seem as if they’re moving uphill while going straight on the road. On your visit to Leh-Ladakh, Magnetic Hill should definitely be a part of your itinerary.
Dotted with several colorful monasteries, several places in Ladakh depict the legacies of ancient and Buddhist kings. Tibetan culture is prevalent in the valley, and its influence can be noted in cuisine, buildings, handicrafts, and everywhere else.
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Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh
Every season in Leh Ladakh feels different. During summer months, you can explore the region to soak in the stunning beauty of several attractions. On the other hand, winter months allow you to absorb deafening silence and peace. Glimpses of vibrant culture and amazing views are prevalent in every season. Thus, most people are confused about the best time to visit Leh Ladakh.
April to June – From April to June, you can probably visit Ladakh only via flight. In these months, roads are covered with snow, and you can’t drive through tough conditions. In fact, miles of barren land looks like a blanket of snow. With the glistening sunlight every morning, the buildings, lakes, and clear skies come to life. This is probably a good time for honeymooners to make the trip. Restaurants and cafes start opening up, and don’t see much crowd. Taxis are also available. During these month, the temperature stays below 15 degree celsius.
From the first week of May, the snow starts melting. This opens up the Leh-Srinagar highway. On the other hand, Manali-Leh highway opens only after June. Most travellers consider the month of June to be the best time to visit Leh-Ladakh via road. Temperatures remain comfortable, and you’re able to enjoy the journey even more.
During this period, several lakes, including Pangong Tso Lake, turn from sheets of ice to crystal-clear waters. The reflecting sunlight, changing colours, and snow-capped peaks in the backdrop make for the perfect holiday. During these months, you can also travel through Khardung La and Chang La Passes.
Travellers from around the world plan a trip in June to witness the vibrant, colourful, and fun Hemis festival. June is also a great period to plan a trekking expedition in Leh-Ladakh. Post this period, rains hit hard and it gets difficult to avoid landslides. Markha and Zanskar treks are also organised during these months.
In the month of June, you can also participate or simply watch the famous Himalayan Car Rally. If you wonder when and how to plan Leh Ladakh tour, a clear idea about the best time to visit will definitely help with some answers. Since direct sunlight can be an issue during this period, carry a lot of sunscreen and moisturizer.
September to October – Since monsoon causes havoc in the region, landslides and other issues are a common occurrence. Most travellers avoid visiting Leh-Ladakh from July to September. Post September, skies start getting clear, but temperatures drop. However, it’s still considered to be a great period for honeymooners. Roads are clear, cafes/restaurants start opening up and owing to less crowds you get to explore the region at your own pace. Since nights can be cold, it’s highly recommended to carry thermals and jackets to keep you warm.
During this period, locals prepare to shut everything down for the winter season. Due to this, cafes and restaurants aren’t packed with tourists, and you’re able to unwind and relax. Every year, the Ladakh Festival is organised between 1st and 15th September. It gives you a chance to soak in Ladakh’s culture and heritage.
November to March – Due to the cold weather, winter is considered to be the off-season in Leh-Ladakh. During this period, adventure enthusiasts from around the world visit the region to indulge in several activities and explore the beauty of raw nature. Though most hotels and restaurants shut down, you can stay in a local guesthouse and cherish Ladakh’s delicious cuisine. Most motorable passes, including Khardung La Pass, also remain open.
Due to Chadar trek (over a frozen river), January is considered to be a good month to visit Leh-Ladakh. It’s an experience like no other. It’s worth mentioning that during winter months, you can travel to Leh-Ladakh only via flight. Highways and roads are shut down due to heavy snow. During winter months, you can indulge in an annual tournament organised at the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink, celebrate Losar festival and catch a glimpse of the wandering Snow Leopards.
How to Plan Leh Ladakh Tour Route Options
Every traveller dreams of a road trip to Ladakh, but more often than not, doesn’t know how to plan Leh Ladakh tour. Travelling via road allows you to take halts for sightseeing, explore the scenic beauty, and enjoy Ladakh’s cuisine at your own pace. Though flights are available from all major cities, such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar etc., most travellers make Delhi the starting point for a road trip. The more common route is Manali-Leh highway, while the Srinagar-Leh highway seems better to those taking a flight to the capital city of Jammu & Kashmir.
Srinagar to Leh – You can easily take a flight to Srinagar from all major cities in the country. If you’re travelling from Delhi, buses for Srinagar are readily available. However, a bus journey on this route can be tiring and long. If you take a bus to Srinagar, rest for a couple of days and explore the beauty of the city.
On this journey, you can explore some scenic locations, visit small villages set on the banks of river Indus, and check out the green fields of Sonmarg. It’s the perfect opportunity to breathe fresh air and soak in the beauty of raw nature. Leh is about 450 km from Srinagar, and the highway stays open between May and October.
Manali to Leh – The distance between Leh and Manali is about 500 km. From Delhi, buses for Manali are available on a daily basis. It takes about 13 hours to reach Manali, where you can rest for a couple of days to explore Old Manali and Kullu Valley. Tibetan culture, delicious cuisine, scenic landscape, and smiling faces make the stop worth your time.
On the second leg of the journey, you pass through various loops, high mountain passes, sharp bends, and scenic valleys to reach Leh. If you’re interested in panoramic photography, this route will be a great choice. You’ll be able to get a first-hand experience of simplistic mountain lifestyle, which gives a divine feeling close to nature. If you’re planning to take this route, June to September will be the best time to make the journey.
Travelling via flight allows you to visit Leh-Ladakh even during winter months. Daily flights are available from major cities, such as Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar etc. While taking a flight to Leh, you’re able to enjoy more comfort and convenience. It also allows you to shorten the itinerary, cut Leh Ladakh tour cost, and still explore the region at your own pace.
Fastest Mode of Transport – Though it sounds obvious, it’s a very important point to note for travelling in a rugged region like Leh-Ladakh. When you take a flight, you’re able to explore the region without any delay. With one day of acclimatization, you can start visiting scenic attractions. On a road trip, you need at least 3 days to reach Leh, with multiple stopovers in Jispa and Manali.
The overall duration of the journey is even longer via Srinagar highway. You need to stop in Kargil, Jammu, and even Srinagar. On a road trip, almost a week of the journey is spent managing tough, tiring, and strenuous road conditions. On a flight, you can land in Leh in about two hours. That speaks for itself.
Explore More – As mentioned earlier, taking a flight means you’re able to reduce the time taken for acclimatization. If you take the road, you’ll reach Leh in at least 3 days. On the other hand, taking a flight means you can rest to acclimatize for a couple of days, and still save time to explore the region even more.
Once you’ve acclimatized, you can visit Khardung La Pass, Leh Palace, Main Market, and other popular tourist attractions in Leh-Ladakh. When you take a flight, you’re simply able to explore more with extra time. It also gives you the time to relax, which is extremely important in a scenic region like Leh-Ladakh.
Less Health Concerns – A lot of travellers feel confident about visiting Leh-Ladakh because they’ve visited other mountainous regions before. However, the terrain in Leh-Ladakh is like no other. Altitude sickness is common, and you may even suffer from other health concerns. With a flight, you’re not in a rush to explore the region.
If you plan a road trip, it doesn’t give you a chance to acclimatize properly. Most part of the journey is spent 14,000 feet above sea level. When you book a Ladakh tour package with a flight, you’re able to avoid these concerns, and reach Leh within a couple of hours. This gives you ample time to manage acclimatization and other health concerns.
Amazing Views – An aerial view of Leh-Ladakh is something that will be engraved in your memory forever. From a flight, you can witness miles of barren land, pure and scenic in form. You can also witness the beauty of Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, which make every second you spend in the flight worth the effort.
Ladakh Tour Cost – Accommodation, Food and Other Expenses
With plenty of Leh Ladakh accommodation options, you’ll be able to find something in your budget. The average cost for a 10-15 day stay in a budget hotel or guesthouse is approximately INR 1,000 per day. However, you also need to add other expenses, such as entry tickets, permit fees, meal expenses, and tolls. With a clear idea about your budget, it becomes easier to plan the perfect trip to Leh-Ladakh.
The total cost of the trip also depends on the number of co-travellers, since they’ll be sharing expenses. From accommodation options to meal preferences, the overall Leh Ladakh tour cost depends on your choices. For instance, you can cherish a meal from a roadside dhaba for about INR 50-100, while a meal in a good restaurant will cost you around INR 300-500.
Mode of Transportation – While travelling in Leh-Ladakh, accommodation and transportation make for the major share of expenses. Transportation options are difficult and scarce in the region. At times, you need to settle with something sub-standard. The frequency of buses and taxis isn’t up to the mark. To explore the region properly, you can’t solely rely on public transport.
Therefore, most travellers prefer commuting via taxis, which can be shared or privately hired. People also visit Ladakh on self-driven vehicles. The budget for each option is different. The choice depends on your budget, comfort, convenience, itinerary, and other such factors.
1) Self-Driven Vehicle – For a round-trip to Leh-Ladakh, you need to drive approximately 3,500 km. Most cars give a mileage of around 25 KMPL. Hence, you can expect to spend somewhere between INR 10,000 – INR 15,000 in a self-driven vehicle.
These days, you can even rent self-driven vehicles from Myles, Zoomcar, and other such companies. Considering the duration of the trip to be around 10-15 days, you may have to shed an additional INR 15,000 – INR 20,000 as the rental cost.
Hence, the total cost for a self-driven vehicle (rental) may be around INR 25,000 – INR 30,000. Even if you’re travelling in your own vehicle, you need to consider the maintenance and repair cost. With tour packages, you don’t have to worry about these expenses.
2) Private Taxi – On reaching Leh, unless you’re a seasoned driver, you need to rent a taxi certified by the region’s Taxi Union. If you’re travelling alone, this may cost somewhere around INR 20,000 – INR 25,000. In a larger group, you can easily divide that cost.
Most taxis in Leh-Ladakh accommodate around 5-6 people. It’s always better to travel in a car with 4 other passengers, which allows you to divide the cost, while also leaving room for luggage.
3) Shared Taxi – More often than not, a shared taxi is the preferred choice of travellers. You can easily contact a tour operator, and request to arrange a shared taxi for your journey. While travelling in a shared taxi, you may have to spend somewhere between INR 10,000 – INR 15,000, which is divided among passengers.
Taking everything into account, such as transportation options, accommodation, meals etc., you can expect to spend somewhere between INR 30,000 – INR 40,000 for a 10-15 day Leh-Ladakh trip.
However, the journey is strenuous, and managing everything on your own becomes a hassle. Therefore, most travellers prefer to book a tour with a reputed travel agent to simply relax and enjoy their time in one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
Benefits of Hiring Ladakh Tour Operators
For a journey through the rugged terrain of Leh-Ladakh, you should know how to plan Leh Ladakh tour. Thus, it’s always better to consult a reputed tour operator to book a package. It provides you with the freedom to indulge in a wide range of activities, while skipping extensive planning stages that may keep you from having a good time. Moreover, it also ensures that seasoned trekkers and guides are available to manage any emergencies or safety issues. If you wonder how to plan Leh Ladakh tour, booking a package will be a good choice.
Blend In – When you’re travelling to an unfamiliar destination, you get a lot of attention from locals. Sometimes, this can be very frustrating, and it can even attract touts and scammers. In a scenic, calm, and peaceful destination like Ladakh, you don’t want such nuisances. When you travel in a group, you’re in the company of like-minded people. It not only allows you to blend in, but also helps you avoid any sort of harassment. Tour operators also assign a seasoned guide and a support staff to help you understand local culture and traditions.
Meet People from Different Parts of the World – Meeting people from different parts of the world is one of the biggest advantages of a tour package. When you travel in a group, it allows you to have a new perspective. You need to adjust with other people, while they get used to your way of living. It can be a refreshing and an enlightening experience. Moreover, in case of emergencies, someone will be there to have your back.
Still Get Your Space and Time – A lot of people think that travelling in a group doesn’t allow them to enjoy private space. But, this is a misconception. While travelling in a group, you’re required to follow an itinerary. This helps you get a structured tour plan to avoid extensive planning at your end. However, it’s not mandatory to follow the group or a certain itinerary. Even while enjoying the benefits of travelling in a group, you can enjoy some private space and explore the region in your own time.
Less Responsibility – Sometimes, a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders can take the fun out of the journey. While travelling in a group, you’re in the company of seasoned trekkers and guides. You can have a great time on the trip, while responsibilities are managed by the people assigned. Moreover, you get a detailed itinerary to ensure you have a good understanding of the region’s landscape, culture, traditions, cuisine etc.
Comfort and Convenience – While travelling in a group, you enjoy more convenience and comfort. Moreover, you’re in the company of several like-minded travellers. When you’re travelling in a group, everyone tries to help each other. This is not only convenient, but often turns out to be a great learning and bonding experience.
Low Cost – In rugged terrain like Ladakh, it’s always better to share costs. Thus, travelling in a group turns out to be more economical. A Leh Ladakh tour can also be booked with discounts and deals, depending on the season, availability, and other such factors. If you’re planning to visit Leh-Ladakh on a strict budget, a group tour will be an ideal choice.
Offbeat Trails – While travelling on your own, it can be risky and dangerous to explore offbeat trails, especially when you’re visiting Leh-Ladakh, one of the most rugged terrains in the world. Bad weather, road conditions, and lack of training can cause some serious problems. On the other hand, travelling in a group gives you the liberty to benefit from other people’s experience and expertise. It allows you to follow adventure enthusiasts to explore offbeat trails.
Get Familiar with Local Culture – Travelling in a group not only allows you to meet people from different backgrounds, but also gives you a better understanding of the local culture. With an experienced guide, seasoned trekkers, and support staff, you can get all your questions answered. It’s a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with Ladakh’s culture, traditions, and cuisine.
Shop Easy – At times, a Leh Ladakh tour package includes a trip to the main market. Even if that’s not the case, you’ll definitely find someone in the group who’s also interested in shopping. With other people, you can also make bulk purchases to save a good amount of money. Moreover, bargaining also becomes easier when you’re purchasing products while travelling in a group.
Local Specialties – As mentioned earlier, a guide and support staff are assigned to every group. This allows you to explore the hidden gems of Leh-Ladakh. Your guide will always be available to answer your questions. He or she can take you to authentic routes, while ensuring your safety and comfort. Most importantly, in the company of experienced trekkers, you’re able to avoid touts and scammers.
If you were wondering how to plan Leh Ladakh tour, we hope that this guide was able to give you better understanding and insights. As mentioned throughout, visiting Leh-Ladakh isn’t like any other trip. It requires endurance, stamina, diligence, and several other qualities to complete the trip.
Therefore, consulting a reputed tour operator about how to plan Leh Ladakh tour or to make a booking is always a good choice. If you’re planning to visit Leh-Ladakh soon, get in touch with our team. We have been conducting tours to Ladakh and several other parts of the country for quite some time. To reach out, please click here.