When you think you want to go to a place where you will find peace, monasteries, adventure, mountains, natural beauty, thrill, high current rivers, snow, Maggi at the highest altitude in the world, best black tea, biggest saline water lake, 3 idiots, bike ride, highest motorable roads, double-humped camel and big respect for Indian army for standing and guarding our nation then, you must think of this newly created Union Territory Leh & Ladakh. Leh & Ladakh being an integral part of India geographically and politically as it shares a border with China & Pakistan.
It is now one of the top destinations to visit due to its natural beauty, adventure roads, and bike ride with approx 4lacs visitors annually of which 20% are foreigners. They come here and enjoy watching the beauty of this place and engage in activities like trekking, meditation, and bicycle riding along with regular sightseeings.
This place has a maximum population of Buddhist people who migrated from Tibet post-China invaded Tibet and the Indian government provided them shelter.
People high are too helpful and they are always ready to help. There is a very less crime ratio in Leh Ladakh.
Being located at a high altitude there is a high chance of acute mountain sickness. People suffering from heart disease, breathing problems should take extra care. When traveling here should carry camphor in a handkerchief and inhale at regular intervals, try to acclimatize by following proper sleep patterns, and drink more water.
The best season to visit Leh.
The best season to visit Leh is from Mid April to August Mid when the weather is pleasant and you get awesome breathtaking landscapes. After June it starts raining slightly and which may lead to landslides sometimes as well. All the roads here are managed by Border Road organization which is a part of the Indian Army.
If you want to see frozen Pangong Lake and experience intense winter then you can visit during winters when the temperature goes till -10 C.
How to Reach Leh.
There are 2 ways to reach Leh-Ladakh:
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is one of the highest commercial airports in the world and has regular connectivity from Delhi airport and then with other cities of India.
Leh is connected by road from 2 possible routes :
Through Manali which is enchanting but long and passes through famous Rohtang pass.
Through Srinagar which requires crossing the perilous Zoji La Pass.
However, the road through Srinagar is at a comparatively lower altitude reducing the risk of severe high-altitude mountain sickness. Both these roads close from October/November to May, leaving flying as the only option of reaching Leh Ladakh.
You must need an Inner Line permit to visit all the sightseeing of Leh. Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the concerned state government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain a permit for entering into the protected state.
Which Areas Need an Inner Line Permit?
The Inner line Permit is required for some areas like Nubra valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, etc.
You can obtain the permit by visiting the link online and then make the payment at the TIC office once you reach Leh Ladakh or you can ask our drivers and they will do that for you.
Major sightseeing in Leh.
The major sightseeing in Leh city includes:
Shanti Stupa: This is a Buddhist white-colored dome-shaped stupa( a place for meditation). One of the best places to get peace and do meditation.
Leh Palace: Leh Palace is a formal royal palace built by the then king in the 17th Century. It is a 9-storeyed building which is not in good shape right now and is converted to the Indian archeological conservation organization office.
Stok Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located 15 km from Leh in Stok Village. Besides the monastery is 22mts Gautam Buddha statue and temple.
Rancho School: Druk Padma Karpo School built by great highness Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche which was shown in movie 3 idiots.
Magnetic hills: The layout of the area and surrounding slopes create the optical illusion of a hill. The hill road is actually a downhill road. Objects and cars on the hill road may appear to roll uphill in defiance of gravity when they are, in fact, rolling downhill.
Pathar Sahib Gurudwara is a famous Gurudwara built at the height of 12,000 ft altitude from sea level.
Confluence point and River Rafting: The point where the Indus river and Zanskar river meet and there is also a famous river rafting place nearby which is famous due to the higher current of waves of the river.
Hall of Fame: Hall of Fame is a museum constructed by the Indian Army in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives defending the motherland in the Indo-Pak wars. The Hall of Fame museum is located on the Leh-Kargil Road, about 4km from the city of Leh. This provides information about the war, Leh region, and Siachen glacier region.
Pangong Tso: Often known as Pangong Lake famous because of the shooting of movie 3 idiots is a most popular tourist attraction situated at the height of 4350 meters and approx 6 hours journey on the adventurous roads and awesome landscape. It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet. The color of the lake does not remain blue for the whole day and it changes from green to blue to grey.
The best way to enjoy Pangong Lake is by visiting it on the full moon day and see the lake shining under the lights of the full moon and you can do stargazing as the sky is too clear.
You get very good hotels to stay nearby to Pangong Lake or Tangste area.
Khardungla Pass: This mountain pass is situated at the height of 5359 meters which is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. This is the gateway to the Nubra valley and Siachen glacier base camp. This place is guarded by the Indian Army and a place to have the best Maggi and tea in the whole of India I could say which is available in the army canteen.
Nubra Valley: Located at around 120 km from the Leh city famous for the double-humped camel rides and the white sand dunes surrounded by mountains on the bank of Shyok river.
The best way to stay in Nubra Valley is to book Tents which have almost all the facilities within.
Diskit and Hunder are the major villages of Nubra Valley.
Turtuk Village: This beautiful village is located at approx 160 km from Nubra valley towards India- Pak border. It was after the 1971 Indo-Pak war which India won and was acquired by us.
You will find a mixed culture with people belonging to both India and Pakistan.
This place is very beautiful with one river dividing the whole village into two parts. There are many homestays available to stay if you want to stay longer over here.
Tso Moriri: A lake pretty similar to Pangong Lake located at an altitude of 4595 meters and ending in the Tibet region famously known as mountain lake situated nearby to the line of actual control. This place, roads, and the border are heavily guarded by Indo Tibetian border police.
This place doesn’t have any fancy hotels or tents to stay like Pangong Tso.
Itinerary that we followed
Day 1: Arrive at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh and transfer to a hotel in Leh.
Check-in and freshen up and take this day to acclimatize with higher altitude. In the evening we will proceed for a visit to Shanti Stupa and the local city. Overnight stay in Leh.
Day 2: After breakfast, we proceed to visit the Shey Palace, Thiksey monastery, Stok Monastery, Leh Palace, Magnetic hill, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara and Hall of Fame War memorial as a part of local city tour and then enjoy local food like Momos, Thukpa- noodles soup in dinner and then overnight stay in Leh.
Day 3: After breakfast and an early checkout we can proceed to Nubra Valley via Khardung la pass and enjoy the picturesque location and breathtaking mountain range views covered with snow, trees, and stones and reach Nubra Valley. Enjoy the time playing in white sand dunes and taking camel rides which are unique experience and then overnight stay in swiss tents in one of the campsites at Nubra valley where you will find campfires done regularly so people can accommodate and enjoy their night.
Day 4: After early breakfast, we proceed to the newly acquired village after winning the battle against Pakistan in 1971. The road to Turtuk is filled with Army check posts, bridges made over the Shyok river, small streams of the river where you can go down, and take a bath if you can as water is always too cold. The village as seen in the pictures above is very beautiful and must-visit places if you have enough time. Come back to Nubra valley and overnight stay at Nubra valley.
Day 5: After early breakfast, we proceed to the place which was made famous by Bollywood movie “3 Idiots” in their last scene. Here you can click a picture with the scooter that Kareena Kapoor Khan uses. It will take around 6-7 hours for you to reach Pangong Lake. I planned my journey in a way so that I can reach Pangong lake on Full Moon day and I didn’t take a hotel to stay but slept in a car to see how beautiful Pangong lake looks at night.
Once you reach you will see one color of the lake and then after some time you may see different colors of the lake water.
You can also go to the middle of the lake as seen in the movie.
You can hear voices the same as a jet plane when the wind touches the mountains. This is the best place to click n-number of photos with a clear sky, clear brown mountains, and clear waters in the backdrop.
Overnight stay at Pangong Tso.
Day 6: Early Breakfast and checkout from hotel and travel to Tso Moriri( this is not the must-visit place I wanted to cover the maximum Leh region so I went here) via the Chushul area and you will visit the Rezang la war museum on the way. The road from Pangong to Tso Moriri roads are filled with sand and no proper roads can be found as this is parallel to Line of Actual Control with China. Enjoy the sunset over Tso Moriri and click pictures nearby to the lake where you can find different types of birds. Overnight stay in TsoMoriri.
Day 7: After early breakfast and checkout from the hotel we move back towards Leh city and on the way visit Hemis monastery and then visit the local market for shopping.
Overnight stay at Leh.
Day 8: Proceed to the airport for the onward journey back to the home as per flight timings.
We followed this itinerary but you can anytime customize your plan as per your requirements. When you book with TravelOTrek you get personalized help, support, service, and guidance in terms of planning your trip.
Must do things:
Visit Turtuk and take a picture on the bridge
Visit Hall of Fame
Enjoy White Sand dunes
Stay in Tent for at least 1 night
Click a picture on 3 Idiots scooter
Visit Rancho School.
Mandatory things to be carried:
Carry more amount of food packets and snacks
First Aid & medicines
Sunscreen & Moisturizers
So I would suggest you visit this place to experience the totally different culture, thrill, and feeling nature so closely. Leh Ladakh has much more to offer than what is offering right now. The government must think of upscaling the development of Leh Ladakh in terms of infrastructure to increase the rate of tourism in the coming days. But still whatever we have right now is also a masterpiece and must-visit place in India.