The Ladakh Season is upon us and its time start planning your road trip to Ladakh! We bring to you a calculator which considers various factors for you to plan a trip to Ladakh – the land of high passes. Over the years, Ladakh has become a very popular destination for not just Indian travellers but also foreign tourists. However, most travellers are not that confident to plan a trip to Ladakh because of some common assumptions. Well, let’s help you clear them and make this Ladakh trip an epic one.
- Outstation Taxi: Ladakh Taxi Union discourages all outstation taxis from other states including Jammu Kashmir & Himachal. The major assumption here is that your taxi will be parked in Leh and you will have to take another Ladakhi Taxi from Leh.
- Self Drive Cars / Bikes from outside Ladakh: Similar rule as the above applies. Self drive cars need to be parked in Leh. Also, that you will need to take a taxi from Leh.
- Self drive cars in Leh: There are NO self drive cars available in Leh or Ladakh region. You only get rental bikes or taxis.
- Best route decision: While we’ve provided you with a lot of options to see in Ladakh – all may not be possible for you to see. There might be repetitions as well; so choose options carefully else you might end up with a plan which is not feasible.
- Manali Taxi Union: The Manali taxi union does not allow a non state taxi to cross over to Rohtang Jot. So if you take a taxi from Delhi, it will have to return from Manali. You need to take a new taxi in Manali which takes you to Leh via Rohtang. In Leh again, you will have to take another taxi to explore Ladakh.
- Inner Line Permit: An Inner Line Permit is required for Indian Nationals (other than belonging to J&K and Ladakh UTs. The cost comprises of an Environmental fee of INR 300 per person (one time), plus a Red Cross fee of INR 100 per person (one time) and a Wildlife fee of INR 20 per person (per day). The ILP can be obtained from http://www.lahdclehpermit.in/
- Protected Area Permit: Foreign Nationals, in order to visit places in Ladakh, need to get a Protected Area Permit (PAP) which is issued to a group of minimum 2 persons and applied through a registered Travel Agent for a maximum of 7 days.
Now that you have access to the calculator, let us give you a few suggestions on places that you can visit on your Ladakh trip.
1. Pangong Tso
The words “Pangong Tso” mean “high grassland lake” in Tibetan. It is a very wide lake with a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop, and the water changes to various shades of blue and green. The lake is 134 km long, and it is 5 km wide at its maximum breadth.
It is a saline lake and yet freezes over completely in winter. Interestingly, the eastern part of the lake is fresh water, and the western part is highly saline. People often choose to camp near the lakeside, and there are also food stalls present nearby.
This lake is open to visitors from May to September, and you will be required to purchase an Inner Line Permit to visit this lake as it lies on the Line of Actual Control between India and China. Also, 60% of the lake lies in China. This should definitely be part of your itinerary for your Ladakh trip.
The Khardung-la is one of the highest motorable roads in the world – essentially, a road tripper’s dream! It once used to hold the record for the highest motorable road, too.
It is at an altitude of 5359 metres, and is open year round. This probably plays a role in its popularity amongst travelers. The entire road leading to Khardung-la is well maintained and properly paved. It is definitely a must for adventure lovers. It is important to travel carefully here, due to the high altitude and rarefied air. However, be careful, carry first aid, and stay hydrated, and it will go a long way towards making your journey through Khardung-la memorable. The best time to visit is June to September.
Also, you can travel to the Nubra valley from here, for which you will again need an Inner Line permit.
3. Nubra valley
You can enter Nubra valley via the Khardung-la Pass. Your Inner Line permits will be checked here before entry.
Descending from Khardung-la to Nubra is a wonderful experience in itself. From the snowy peaks visible from the pass, to the greenery during the descent, to a sandy desert at the valley itself – these radical changes are a testament to the wondrous nature of this region.
There are also beautiful monasteries like Ensa Gompa that you should surely visit on an excursion to Nubra valley. A profound sense of peace in the midst of nature, and isn’t that a big reason why we travel?
The best time to visit is July to September, as the weather is more pleasant and less cold as compared to the otherwise harsh winters there.
Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh (the first being Leh). It is situated on the banks of the river Indus.
The Kargil War Memorial, also called Vijaypath by Indians, has an epitaph with soldiers’ names on it. There is also a sandstone wall with the names of all the Indian Army personnel who lost their lives in the Kargil war.
As a tribute to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the victory, there is a special Indian flag hoisted there . This giant, majestic flag weights 15 kg, and is a popular tourist attraction which also creates a feeling of pride and patriotism in every visitor.
We hope this curated list would be at the top of your itinerary for your Leh and Ladakh trip. To get the perfect itinerary for your Ladakh trip, Hire a Scout! Also, if there are other places you think we should include, let us know in the comments below!