A Complete Guide On How To Plan A Trip To Ladakh

If you wish to enjoy bike riding amidst the snow-capped peaks and blue skies in Ladakh, then this guide is for you.

Ladakh is undoubtedly on the bucket list of most travelers around the world. Why? Because of the towering barren mountains, blue skies, rich Tibetan culture, vibrant festivals, ancient monasteries, and spellbinding views. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy riding a bike or driving a car with such a beautiful landscape around them? 

Be it any month of the peak season; tourists throng Ladakh in large numbers from across the globe. So if you are planning a trip to Ladakh, here’s a comprehensive guide on ‘How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh’ to help you plan better and more efficiently. 

Here’s a list of things that will come in handy while planning a trip to Ladakh.

Is Ladakh Safe To Visit?

By now, you must know that Ladakh is one of the safest places to visit in the world. Though, the harsh weather conditions, remoteness, high altitude, challenging roads, and rugged terrain sometimes may urge you to think otherwise. But don’t let that ruin your 7 days itinerary for Leh Ladakh.

Anyways, Ladakh is perfectly safe for tourists, and there are no issues as far as security and safety are concerned. You must remember some tips that we will cover further in this blog. So whether you are with your friends, spouse, family, or solo, Ladakh is a safe destination to explore in India.

Weather Conditions

The weather in Ladakh remains pleasant from May to August when this place receives a massive influx of tourists. The highways open up in the last week of April or most probably the first week of May. The temperature, during this time, hovers around 16°C during the day and drops to 3°C at night. However, there’s a chill in the air, so we recommend you pack light, warm clothes. 

In June, the temperature rises to 21°C and 7°C at night. Ladakh tourism is at its peak and is the best time for the Leh Ladakh trip plan by car. Most treks, festivals, and events are celebrated, which gives tourists insights into the local culture of Ladakh

Winters, from December to February, is incredibly harsh. Most highways are closed due to extremely heavy snowfall, making Ladakh inaccessible during winter. The temperature drops below freezing point, forming a thick ice sheet over rivers and lakes. Besides all, Chadar Trek is what keeps adventurers motivated, which happens between January and mid-February.

Best Routes For Leh Ladakh & Petrol Pumps In Between

If you are wondering “how to plan a road trip to Leh Ladakh?”, here’s a guide on the Ladakh routes. Two routes allow you to enter Ladakh. One is Srinagar-Leh Highway, and the other is the Manali-Leh Highway. Other than that, there is no way to visit Ladakh by road. The Leh-Srinagar road opens in April, and the Leh-Manali road opens in June or early July. 

Srinagar-Leh Highway

This route to Ladakh opens in late April or early June. And due to the peak tourist season in Ladakh, you will find congestion at Zojila Pass. To avoid that, check traffic timings before starting your Ladakh trip; otherwise, you will be stuck for hours. This highway is open for six months straight, about 430 km long.

The best time would be late June, the start of July, September, and early October. The road conditions are excellent, the water streams are fewer, and there are fewer chances of roads shutting down.

Petrol Pumps are available in Nagbal, Ganderbal, Khalsi, and Kargil. But there is no guarantee that they will be functioning at the time of your arrival. So keep extra petrol with you.

Manali-Leh Highway

This Ladakh route opens for 5 months a year, and that too depends on how the weather is. Thus, it is best to start planning a trip to Ladakh at the end of June. Also, you can expect the roads to be closed for a day or two.

Traveling in July will make the ride enjoyable and make it less risky. The roads are great. In addition, the campsites are open along with other tourist attractions. However, there’s a rush in Manali, which continues till the Rohtang Pass, so plan accordingly. 

Petrol Pumps aren’t many petrol pumps on this route, so we highly advise you to carry extra fuel. However, Manali has plenty of them, and the nearest on the highway is Tandi, about 110 km from Manali. It is the last one before Leh, and then you can expect them at Pang or Sarchu, but the quality is not guaranteed.

Traveling By Bike 

For the Leh Ladakh trip plan by bike, you must consider the month you are traveling in. Avoid rainy months at the end of July and September as the roads will get slippery, increasing the chances of accidents.

On the other hand, June is considered the best as there aren’t many water streams to cross and the roads are also in excellent condition. Manali Leh Highway is recommended. But if road conditions are not great, you can reach Ladakh by car, which will be a safer option. 

KTM Duke, Royal Enfield Himalayan, Honda CBR 250, Hero Impulse, Bajaj Pulsar, and Bajaj Avenger are great bikes for a Ladakh trip. And if you are wondering, “How many days for a Ladakh trip by bike?” we should tell you to need at least 15 days. 

Traveling By Air

Air is the ideal option to visit Ladakh for a trip if you have senior citizens. Remember, they cannot go to extreme altitudes, or their health will deteriorate. Air travel is a convenient and enjoyable journey. This will also cut down the days of traveling, and you can enjoy the sightseeing of Ladakh attractions. That said, ensure to book flights to Ladakh in advance to avoid last-minute disappointments.

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, or Leh Airport, is connected to Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, and other cities in India via regular flights. The airport is a military air terminal, so expect a strict security checkup. Moreover, take a printout of your e-ticket, and if you fail to do so, you may get denied entry into the airport. To know more about how to reach Ladakh, click here.

Public Transportation In Ladakh

Leh has buses and shared taxis that are easily available on a daily basis and are affordable. But when you come to Ladakh and wish to rent a bike from Manali or Srinagar, you can use it in Leh only. Once you arrive at your hotel, leave the bike and rent another in Leh for local sightseeing like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. Be careful because if the authorities catch you, you will be sent back to the hotel.

Local Transport

Buses are available to Leh from Srinagar, along with HRTC buses from Manali. To explore Ladakh, buses and shared taxis will be available. 

Permits For Ladakh

You don’t need a permit to visit most areas in Ladakh, including Leh and Kargil. However, for places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, the Durbuk Block (north of Changla Pass), Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, the Indus River east of Upshi, and Dha-hanu, you need an Inner Line Permit. 

Foreign nationals cannot get permits to go too far off places that are closer to the border or Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan and China. However, they can visit the edge of Pangong Lake Maan Merak Villages, and a few other places. Also, there are no open border crossings to the Tibet Autonomous Region, Xinxiang (China), and Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan).

Places To Visit In Ladakh

Just like the beautiful landscapes of Ladakh, the tourist attractions are also stunning. Plus, they are ancient, which makes them more attractive. You can add the popular ones and visit the remote ones on your Leh Ladakh tour plan. Make sure you have extra days if you wish to see Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh and mountain passes in Ladakh. Here are some of the famous places to visit on your Ladakh trip. 

Things To Do In Ladakh

Indulge in the most exciting adventure activities of all time on your trip to Ladakh. Adventure seekers will have a great time as Ladakh has the most diverse activities. Here are some of the top ones that will keep you engaged – 

Festivals Celebrated 

As you know by now, Ladakh has a vibrant culture that people from all around the world visit to learn about. So here are some festivals in Ladakh you can attend for an enriching experience – 

  • Saka Dawa
  • Sindhu Darshan Festival
  • Yuru Kabgyat
  • Hemis Tsechu
  • Sachukul Gustor
  • Silk Route Festival                                          

Where To Stay

Ladakh has a good selection of hotels, camps, and guesthouses. You can reserve a room as per your needs and budget before visiting. For camping in Ladakh, Sarchu and Pang are the best places. There are other places, too, on the Manali-Leh route.

Clothes To Pack

Clothing depends on the time of the year you are visiting. Generally, keep warm clothes with you as it gets chilly at night. On the other hand, days are pleasant so cotton T-shirts will be fine. The temperature remains around 15°C during the day and dips  to 5°C at night. If kids are with you, then you have to pack extra carefully. Consider this list of what to pack for the Ladakh trip –

  • Windproof and waterproof jacket
  • Cotton T-shirts and shirts
  • Light woolens for night 
  • Light gloves
  • Woolen cap
  • Good pair of sports shoes
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion
  • Cold cream and lip balm
  • Toiletries
  • Pain relief spray
  • First aid kit
  • Essential medicines for fever, cold, and cough

Tips For Traveling To Leh Ladakh

Keep these few tips for Leh Ladakh in mind while planning a trip – 

  • AMS, or Acute Motion Sickness, is quite common in Ladakh. It happens when you move from plains to high altitudes in a short amount of time. Therefore, acclimatization in the lower part of Ladakh before entering is crucial. 
  • In medical emergencies, you will only get help in Leh or Kargil. There are no hospitals in Nubra, Pangong, or other places. But if the condition is critical, find the nearest Indian Army post.
  • Get a postpaid number, as the prepaid ones do not work here. Leh is the nearest place to get them.
  • High altitude leads to lower oxygen levels. This will cause altitude sickness in most tourists. Get familiar with what AMS is and the remedies to prevent it. 
  • For families visiting Ladakh, take extra care of your health to avoid uninvited issues.
  • The best place to see snow is atop Khardung La. 
  • Honeymooners can find hotels easily.
  • Keep extra days, especially if you are visiting in early May, July, or late September, as the roads will be slippery or covered in snow.

We hope this “How to plan Leh Ladakh trip” guide has informed you about things you may not already know! If yes, comment below and tell us. We would really appreciate it.

Besides, take all the necessary measures on your Leh Ladakh trip from Delhi to ensure a memorable and safe journey. If you are considering traveling here, we offer affordable Ladakh tour packages, which are customizable. Meals, accommodation, sightseeing tours, and transfers in private vehicles are included, so you don’t have to worry about booking everything separately. For more information about Ladakh trip costs, connect with travel experts at Indian Holiday!

Manmeet Kaur

A writer by profession and a storyteller by heart, Manmeet has a passion for traveling and treating her taste buds to different cuisines. Besides, she loves to binge-watch movies and series every now and then. She is also an avid reader, which keeps her engaged.