Julay!!! Places to visit in Ladakh would be our second post for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We hope that you have read and enjoyed Places to Visit in Kashmir. In this post, we will cover the Ladakh region. Before we start with our journey through Ladhak and look at Places to visit in Ladakh it is imperative that we accustom ourselves with the geography of this beautiful heaven. Ladhak is a desert due to the Himalayas creating a rain shadow over the region and also it is the highest plateau in India with an average elevation of 9800 feet which makes the air thinner than at sea level and lacks oxygen. The desert part of it may not be much of a concern but the elevation is something to be taken into account for sure, especially if you have flown into Leh, the largest town in Ladakh.
The newfound paradise of India, Ladakh, the eastern frontier of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, had gained popularity over the past few years and attracts more tourists compared to the region of Kashmir. People have started to prefer Ladakh as their winter destination over Kashmir due to the negative publicity gained by Kashmir because of its political sensitivity.
Things to remember before your Ladakh Road Trip:
On your way to your homestay or hotel, you may notice locals playing football in the community grounds and think for yourself, what’s the big deal with low oxygen? But all you will need to do to convince yourself with low oxygen levels is a just take a flight of stairs at your hotel after you check-in.
Hence, more than a recommendation, consider it a necessity to acclimatise to the climate in Leh for a minimum of two days, unless you want to feel nauseous and faint on the very first day of your travelling. As a best practice, hydrate frequently with glucose water and sniff on to eucalyptus oil to awaken your senses whenever you feel sick. Keep these things handy and you shall have a hassle-free trip as you visit the best places in Ladakh.
Best Season to Visit Leh Ladakh:
April to June is the best time to visit Leh Ladakh. July and August Ladak receives rainfalls which often lead to landslides thanks to the mountainous terrain and September marks the beginning of winter not making favourable for tourist or even locals for that matter to move around freely. Locals, after September, move out of Ladakh as the temperatures can go as low as -40º Celcius.
Leh Ladak sightseeing places:
While you relax and acclimatise for the first two days, ask your tour operator or hire a local taxi to visit the temple Gurudwara Shri Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill Zanskar and Indus River meet point for the first day ( if you are travelling from Kashmir you will see this Leh Ladakh tourist places on the way) and the historic Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa and Leh Market for the second day. These places are a very short drive from one another and have no physical activity involved.
Places to visit in Ladakh let the Leh Ladakh Tour begin.
On the third day, we start our real journey out of Leh city and head towards Numbra Valley, a valley civilisation approximately 160km/100 miles north of the city of Leh. The distance may not seem a lot but the drive would easily last over 5 hours due to the mountainous terrain. But first, let’s make a stop at Khardung La top.
Khardungla pass claims the top spot for the highest motorable road in the world, the top being at an elevation of 18,380 feet, plays a crucial role in connecting Leh city to the civilizations at Numbra valley. Though this place is a mere 42km/26 miles away from Leh city, the drive could take over 2 hours, firstly due to the terrain and secondly due to the high military movement which halts civilian traffic without any notices. Still, a must-stop for a great photo opportunity and then continue through the scenic drive to Numbra Valley. Bear in mind, it’s common to experience motion sickness through the windy roads especially due to the lack of oxygen at that altitude. All you need to do is sniff eucalyptus oil and hydrate yourself with glucose water.
After a fairly long drive, you will reach your stay accommodation. It is okay to take the rest of the day easy. However, if you have some energy left after the long drive, you may choose to do the two-humped camel safari or attend the cultural dance show. The next day can be spent visiting the Diskit Gompa, a Buddhist monastery featuring a huge Buddha statue on a plateau which offers superb panoramic views of the Numbra valley. Depending on your itinerary, you may choose to spend another day at Numbra valley and soak into the relaxing natural beauty or continue your drive towards Pangong Tso.
Pangong Tso is a stunningly beautiful solid blue colour lake amid the majestic Himalayas. If driven straight from Leh city, the drive will cover a distance of 150km/94 miles heading east could last around 4 hours one way, but if your itinerary is like ours, the drive from Numbra valley would cover a distance of approximately 200km/124 miles heading south-east and would last around 6 hours. This route is highly untouched but also doable if you are on a Leh Ladakh Bike Trip. (bear in mind the roads are unpaved for approximately 50 kilometres.)
This lake gained huge popularity after the Bollywood movie “3 Idiots” and had ever since been a must-visit spot for tourists travelling to Ladhak. This lake is one of the Best Places to Visit in Ladakh. The colour of the lake is mesmerising as it stands out among the surrounding barren mountains. Stay facilities here are catered by camp stays which are set up and maintained by locals around the region. We highly recommend an overnight stay here to witness the sunrise which cannot be described in words. However, there are plenty of day trips to Pangong Tso from Leh city for people who do not want to make an overnight stay. An interesting fact about Pangong Tso is that more than two-thirds of the lake extends into Chinese territory.
Depending on how much time people have, they choose to return to Leh city from Pangong Tso through Chang La pass which claims the spot for the second-highest motorable road in the world or continue to visit another beautiful lake in the middle of the mountains named Tso Moriri.
The drive to Tso Moriri lake will continue to mesmerize you but the road condition can be a bit of a concern as almost half of the road from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri is unpaved and is better tackled by a 4×4 vehicle. Covering a distance of 290 km/180 miles southbound, the drive to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso lake could last up to 7 hours, again thanks to the terrain. This lake is not as spread out as Pangong Tso which extends into the Chinese territory but is no less beautiful. It is always suggestible to spend the night at accommodation as at this point you are very far from any nearby civilisation.
At this point, you would have covered the Best Places to Visit in Ladhak region and should be returning to Leh city. As you would have missed Chang La pass, you may visit that by adding another 85 km/3 hours roundtrip to your journey from the junction at Karu on your way back to Leh city.
We hope that this article helped you plan your itinerary at this stunningly beautiful and culturally rich mountain desert.
- Make sure you give your self 2 days to acclimatise in Leh. Acclimatization is gradual if you are travelling from Srinagar. But if you land in Leh we cannot emphasise enough on how much you should take it easy.
- Make sure you stay hydrated and carry eucalyptus oil. Look out for Glucose D which is easy to find in any Indian Supermarket or Pharmacy. Tiger Balm, Vicks Inhaler anything that has eucalyptus should do the trick.
- Enjoy Having Maggi and Momos.
- Visit The Buddist Monastries.
- Carry warm clothes and sturdy shoes.
- Visit all the above-listed Places in Ladakh.
- 10 days Trip for 2 people approximate cost USD 1500.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this post on Places to Visit in Ladakh. Look out for the Kashmir post (link attached at the beginning of this post.) Please do remember to share like and subscribe to any of our social media links. Leave us a comment on how you find this post. If you need the number of the Tour Guide who customises my trip leave a comment below and email me on email@example.com. Safe Travels
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