Ladakh (Leh) Tourism

Ladakh (Leh) Tourism

Ladakh (Leh) Info

  • State: Jammu & Kashmir
  • Famous for/as: Hill
  • Altitude: 2750 m
  • Pincode: 194101
  • District: Leh
  • Language: Urdu
  • STD code: 01982
  • Weather: Summer 5 to 40°C, Winter -14 to 24°C

Ladakh is situated in Jammu & Kashmir and is the highest inhabited region of India. Ladakh, referred by multiple names such as ‘The Last Shangri-la’, ‘Little Tibet’, ‘The Land of Numerous Passes’, ‘The Land of Mystic Lamas’, ‘The Broken Moon’ and ‘Moonscape’ (the Moon Land), is a remote yet popular tourist destination characterised by placid blue lakes, freezing winds, barren landscape and multi-hued mountains.

History of Ladakh

Situated in a high altitude cold desert at about 3500 meters above sea level, Ladakh is tucked in between the world's greatest mountain ranges, Great Himalayas and the Karakoram. It is also traversed by two other parallel ranges, Zanskar and Ladakh. 

As per geological studies, Ladakh was once a submerged portion of a large lake a few million years ago. Powerful tectonic movements pushed up the submerged mass to become the Ladakh of today. This is evident from the drainage basins Tso-moriri, Tsokar, and Pangong-tso, which are situated on the plateaus of Rupshu and Chushul of south-east Ladakh.

Historically, Ladakh had a kingdom of its own towards the 10th century and was ruled by dynasties, which were descendants of the kings of Old Tibet. The Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh reached the summit of its glory during the reign of King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. 

The silk route, which connected the plains of India to Central Asia and West Asia, flourished during this period. Textiles, spices, raw silk, carpets, dyestuffs and narcotics were the goods traded by the merchants during this period. Leh, the capital city of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, gradually became a bustling entry point in this trade route.

Later, the kingdom of Ladakh, along with the neighbouring province of Baltistan, was incorporated with Jammu & Kashmir in the 18th century. Post Independence, Baltistan became a part of Pakistan whereas Ladakh remained with Jammu & Kashmir.

People & Culture of Ladakh

Ladakh is famous for its dramatic landscape and Buddhist heritage. Ladakhi, Purig, Tibetan, Hindi and English are spoken in the region. There are many picturesque hamlets in Ladakh situated on the banks of the Indus River. All these villages have Buddhist monasteries or gompas, which are located atop hillocks in their vicinity.

Buddha Purnima, Dosmoche, Galdan Namchot and Losar are the most celebrated festivals in Ladakh. The Dosmoche Festival is also another of significant festival of the region. The two-day event involves dramatic dance performances by monks and offerings made by them to ward off evil spirits and ill fortune and draws many tourists to the region.

Leh, the principal town of Ladakh, is bordered by Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the west, China in the north & east, Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh in the south-east and Stok mountain range in the south. Today, Leh is an important Buddhist centre and it houses a settlement for Tibetan refugees.

Things to do in Ladakh

Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, Hemis Gompa, Shey Palace, Stok Palace and Museum, Thiksey Gompa, Alchi Choskor and Lamayuru Gompa are chief attractions in Ladakh-Leh. Leh also offers travellers a chance to participate in adventure sports like mountaineering, white water rafting and trekking. For the same, tourists can opt for Ladakh holiday packages

Food & shopping in Ladakh

The region has many small restaurants and pit stops run by locals, which serve traditional Tibetan food such as momos and thukpa. The butter tea served here made with yak’s milk is a must-try. There is not much to shop in Ladakh except souvenirs from local stores. 

Travelling to Ladakh

The best time to visit Ladakh is during summers from the month of June to September. Tourists are advised to carry a lot of woolens, as it tends to get extremely cold even during the summer season. The best way to reach Ladakh is by road. Tourists can drive down from Manali to Leh or also enter the region via Srinagar.  

Travelling within Ladakh

The best way to get around Ladakh is either by hiring a taxi or renting a bike. Tourists visiting the area generally travel to the destination in their own vehicles. Since the terrain is rough and unpredictable, tourists are advised to carry spare parts and other essentials while visiting Ladakh.

Accommodation options in Ladakh

Hotel options in Ladakh include budget, lodges and luxury hotels. Tourists visiting Ladakh can also opt for other accommodation options, ranging from guesthouses to resorts.

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Ladakh (Leh) Traveller Reviews

Read 218 destination reviews
with average rating of 6.2/7, 1
out of 1882 Ladakh (Leh) reviews 218
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Sunny Kapoor

  • Scout
  • Sunny Kapoor
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 4 Reviews
  •  7 helpful votes
  •  3088 readers

"Aventure rich destination- biker's paradise"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 1 month ago
The city offers a great destination for bikers. You can rent your bikes and travel to some of the most beautiful places in the India - pristine lakes, desert mountains, world's highest roads etc.

Local food is average though the place has a lot of German and French eating joints. The best way to visit the place is on a bike during June-Aug. One should travel from Manali to Leh and then visit Pangong.

Advice to travelers doing biking is to buy protective gear since roads are very tough.
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  • 7 votes

Sanjay Holani

  • Scout
  • Sanjay Holani
  • Lives in Jaipur
  • 1 Review
  •  9 helpful votes
  •  3134 readers

"It's impossible to bound the beauty of Leh in words"

  • 6/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Leh, it's not a destination, it's a journey. It's a journey on the edge of life, on the curves of hills beyond imagination, facing adverse situation of life, journey of magnetic attraction. It's a experience you can't describe in words. Leh is like a combination of seven colours of rainbow. The beauty who wraps itself in white colour in winter, in summer get dispersed in seven colours. The pride of riding bike on the highest motorable road. It's a game zone of you and life. Here life does not give us second chance, just a single mistake or even bad luck - game(life) is over. But definitely when u reach the venue, you just get energetic. Monastery the place of spirituality and peace of mind. Pangkok lake the blue pearl kept between hills. One can compare it to the heaven on the Earth. Nubra Valley the beauty of white sand dunes just magnifies you. It's impossible to bound the beauty of Leh in words. It's a life time experience, one who loves travelling should definitely visit atleast once in a life.
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  • 9 votes

G p Vishnoi

  • Scout
  • G p Vishnoi
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 4 Reviews
  •  6 helpful votes
  •  3971 readers

"Marvellous Hill Station Holiday Destination with full relaxation"

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Other Hill stations are very small before Leh. It's extreme in adventure tourism and memories will remain lifelong. Nothing special for shopping except Tibetan jewellery and antiques (mostly imitation) items. Plan a visit with minimum 6-7 days and relax in the nature. Don't forget to acclimatize for a day.
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  • 6 votes

Swapna C

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  • Swapna C
  • Lives in Hyderabad
  • 8 Reviews
  •  4 helpful votes
  •  4226 readers

"An unforgettable experience"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Except for shortage of oxygen and dry weather, the view was good. It's an experience which is unforgettable. I definitely want to go back to this place again but with more preparation with respect to health and other precautions.

Eat light and be strong are the two keywords to combat this typical weather.

The people are friendly.

Juley! :)
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  • 4 votes

Sri Arvitha

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  • Sri Arvitha
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 1 Review
  •  6 helpful votes
  •  4391 readers

"Wonderful experience and good place to relax"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
The best trip of my life so far. 15 days on the Great Himalayan terrain- Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Manali with 10 like minded people, most of them strangers when we started the trip, who became best buddies for life!!

Awed by the might and expanse of the Himalayas with the landscape varying from floral-lush green at Kashmir to the snow covered mountains at Gulmarg which slowly changed to brown as we moved ahead via Drass to Kargil, where there was hardly any vegetation and the air was so thin that normal breathing was a task!! Visited the Kargil War Memorial to salute the heroes. And proceeded ahead. Reached Leh after two days of road travel.

At Leh, tried experiencing the might of the waters while rafting on the Nimu River. The adrenaline rush when we reached KhardungLa at 17, 582 ft (one of the highest motor-able passes), the desert valley of Nubra with a camel safari. The tranquil Pangong Lake changing shades from crystal blue to green.. What a sight it was!! Spent the night on the banks of the lake in tents. Watching the densely star studded sky in the cold nights was such a delight! Not to forget the mystic Thiksey monastery, Shanti Stupa.

We drove out of Ladakh through the Zanskar range and stopping by at BaraLacha to play with the snow for a while.. As we reached the Rohtang Pass, the landscape again turned beautiful lush green.. We were driving through the clouds!

We drove further to Manali and even further upto Chandigarh accompanying the flow of various Himalayan waters all along- scaring us sometimes with the powerful flow and sometimes soothing us down with the calmness!

For me, travel is more about the journey than the destination!! This trip left each one of us longing to visit again.
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  • 6 votes

Nirjhar Basu

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  • Nirjhar Basu
  • 3 Reviews
  •  12 helpful votes
  •  4847 readers

"Ladakh- A life time experience"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Ladakh, the north border region of India, is filled with natural beauty. Two Mountains the Great Himalaya and Karakoram are embracing this region. The pristine roads, rocky mountain, deep blue sky and snow are few adjectives to express this beauty. By the way, one needs to be mentally and physically strong enough to enjoy the tour.

We started the tour from Srinagar. Keeping Shonmarg behind we proceeded through the steep road of Zozilla Pass. Glaciers were scattered here and there beside the road. Zozilla itself is one of the toughest mountain pass, a part of the historic silk route. We took a night halt at Kargil, enjoyed Kargil market in the evening. A number of street shops offer Tandoor foods encouraging taste buds.

Next day we arrived at Leh. The magnetic hill, Indus-Zanskar confluence and Lamayuru monastery come by the road. Still the main attractions are Kargil war memorial and the Drass village. The war memorial reminds the saga of Indian army during operation Vijay, while Drass is the world second most coldly inherited place. Chicken and roti taste quite good to avoid cold in Drass.

Leh is a big city. One can get any branded showroom there. A lane called guest house lane has a number of guest houses available at cheapest cost.

When we reach at Leh, we tried to be relaxed as much as possible to avoid AMS related issues. Travelling by car from Shrinagar helped us a lot for acclimatisation. The persons, who come to Leh by air, should take one day complete bed rest.

Refugee market is a must visit place for shoppers, as it offers Tibetan design mascots and huge collection of winter wear at cheapest price. Bargaining is not so difficult to avail a good deal. Shopping can also include two things Pashmina and yak wool shawl. Recognising original pashmina is not an easy job. Bye the way I bought nothing to avoid over weight.

Next day we visited Leh hall of fame, Thiksey and Hemmis monastery and Leh palace. The two monasteries have two big statue of Lord Buddha. The colourfulness and calmness of the monasteries give mental pleasure and relaxed minds. The Japanese architecture, Shantistupa is a white beauty in the canvas of blue sky.

Next day we crossed Chang la on the way to Pangong Lake. Shortage of oxygen is a huge problem we realised for the first time at Chang la. The best way to overcome it, is to stand beside the road for 2-3 minutes before starting any other activity. I faced difficulty in breathing due to low oxygen level even during taking photographs.

Pangong is a lake of ever changing colours. Such color is missing even at Kanyakumari. The way towards Pangong is even more beautiful. Many local flora and fauna can be seen beside the roads. Cowboy with herd of sheep, Virgin Mountain, green valley and overall blue sky ignite one poetic mind.

We rested at a tent in Pangong. However there is a single hotel with proper wall and some home-stay other than tents. If somebody is afraid of cold air flow, can opt for hotel. Here first time in the trip I used my thermal inner wear. Next day six out of eight of us had nausea and stomach related issues. Preliminarily we suspected the food, but later on after coming down to lower altitude at Leh resolved this problem of AMS.

Next destination Nubra Valley and Hunder was to be travelled through Khardung La the worlds highest motor-able road. As already we attained the altitude of Chang la and knew how to manage low oxygen issue, I personally did not feel any problem.

The Nubra Valley is a single place where you find dessert, river, trees, hot spring, rocky mountain and so many things. It is about 80 Km away from Siachen glacier. We stayed at Organic retreat resort, a costly but nice place to stay. One can have a bath at the hot spring to heal the muscle pain. The double humped camel is available at Hunder, the only place in India. Camel ride is a must do thing.

Our Ladakhi driver invited us to his residence. He served us a black tea and a normal aromatic tea. Those were the best teas, I experienced in life. The hospitality and simplicity of Ladakhi people always fascinates tourists. Of course I was not the exception.

We came back to leh. And next day we left for TSO Moriri. It was raining heavily in Tso Moriri. Only one hotel and some home-stays are available here. The home-stay ceilings are not water proofed properly. Rainwater was coming into the room on both the nights, we spent there. Getting a ground floor room is the best deal.

Believe me, we endure all the night rainfalls, severe cold etc. But never grumble, because of sheer beauty of the place. The deep blue but transparent water of Tso Moriri, the view of the Korzok village at the bottom of the mountain and snowy peaks of hills mesmerise the eyes.

We were also lucky to experience Korzok festival in the monastery including the famous mask dance.

The way back to Leh included the TSO Kar Lake and Thanglang La, worlds second highest motor-able road (claimed). This is the best road in the Ladakh region. Show was scattered in the black pitch roads. We spent lot of time by playing with snow.

Next day was end of trip. While coming back to Mumbai by flight from Leh Airport the view of the mountain range is breath-taking.

Must take: Good winter wear which can stop strong wind, gloves, woolen shocks, thermal wear, Sunscreen lotion, Diamox medicine etc.

Must Do: Photography (Wide angle lens is must for capturing landscape view may be the best in India).

Must taste: Momo, Thukpa, Ladakhi Cuisine, Lamb.

Cost: 45, 000 per person-With moderate stay and heavy food including airfare. (Group of 8 persons).
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  • 10 votes

Pallavi Warunjikar

  • Scout
  • Pallavi Warunjikar
  • Lives in Ratnagiri
  • 1 Review
  •  14 helpful votes
  •  5313 readers

"Little tibet"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Ladakh - the land of high passes - is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It is sometimes called "Little Tibet" as it has been strongly influenced by Tibetan culture.

Best time to visit - from Mid-May until September, Ladakh experiences summer during this time with warm and sunny weather, spectacularly gigantic landscapes, beautiful gushing water bodies, giving one an experience of unparalleled paradise on earth.

Places to be visited - Hall of fame, Pangong lake, Magnetic hill, Nubra Valley, Shey Palace, Confluence point of Indus and Zanskar river, Thiksey monastery (gompa they call it), Lamayuru monastery, Spituk monastery, Pathar sahib gurudwara, Shanti Stupa, Chang la Pass, Rohtang Pass, Khardungla Pass, etc.

Local food and shopping - Lamayuru Cafe for veg, German Bakery, Leh market, small shop at Hall of Fame, try maggi, chicken momos, italian food and desserts.

What to shop - Semi dried apricots from organic shop, apricot jam, apricot oil, saffron, colorful prayer flags, Shawls, scarves, pashmina wool sweaters, mufflers, gloves, Embroidered T shirts - Please bargain.

Activities - river rafting, rope way, paragliding, biking, etc

Advice - Must is 3-4 litres of water daily, diamox tablet, good sunscreen lotion, thermal wear/ woolens to keep you warm, a good pair light weight shoes that shouldn't get wet in ice, moisturizer, CAMERA, power banks for charging mobile phone/camera.
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  • 14 votes

Abhijit Sarkar

  • Scout
  • Abhijit Sarkar
  • 4 Reviews
  •  8 helpful votes
  •  7545 readers

"High altitude desert - the land of high passes"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Must visit place for people who loves nature and not concrete jungles. One of the most beautiful place on earth one can dream of changing colors each time one turns from one side to another. This was a dream destination which we planned a long time ago with no regrets as the cost of travel is higher compared to any destination one can plan in India or South East Asian countries. To share our experience lets start with the hype of Health concern which crops initially before planning. Lot of advice are available on websites / blogs but too make it clear it's one's gut feeling to stay fit by simply following the local's advice right from the car driver who picks you from Airport. Our Visit was planned for 7N/8D wherein we flew in and out via Leh Airport.

(Road trips from Manali or Srinagar will have better acclimatization time)

1. Plan the trip with 1st day complete rest in hotel as soon as you reach. Not any exertion inside your room. Simply lie down and watch TV. Walk slowly inside the room. Don't sleep too much in day time. Do not skip any meals. Prefer hotels with Lift or camps which do not require to climb up & down. Most hotel have sitting arrangement on every floor landing. Use it in case one has to climb up.

2. Day 2 plan a short visit to Leh city itself - few monastery can be visited. Here one needs to climb but one can try with slight rest in between.

3. Keep drinking water (small sips) after every 1/2 hour intervals. Do not skip urination in case you feel too. Discarding your body fluid helps in faster acclimatization.

4. Sun screen / Hat with good shade to your face is recommended as UV rays are too strong to bear when bright sunshine.

5. Day 3 plan for High Altitude climb but drop down to lower altitude than Leh for night stay. Will feel little easy (Deskit/Nubra/Turtuk side) - Some tour operators take to Alchi/Ule a lower altitude place which is Ok

6. Advice: At the highest point don't stop for more than 10min as the after effects start after sometimes when one descends down with severe headache/nausea. Cover your head with cap (pref woolen) to refrain from catching cold as u always find little snow & cold climate on top.

7. Once you have covered this Part - Nubra Valley then most of the health issues can be forgone.

8. Advice on 3rd day don't plan a place where in you have to spend night on higher altitude then Leh - Pangong is the place which tour operators plan on 3rd day.

9. 4th Day return back to Leh or move ahead

10. 5th Day Plan Pangong Lake

11. 6th Day return back to Leh

12. 7th Day fly out of Leh

-We didn't face any health issues and didn't take any medicine as many advice. If persons have vomiting tendency during high terrain journey must be careful or take medical attention.

-People with severe back pain has to be careful as roads are tough to drive or ride.

-Avoid sitting in last row of the vehicle as it's painful (4 / vehicle is advised) as many families put kids on the back row which creates problem later as they don't feel the effect.

- Felt Xylo is better than Innova as its ground clearance is more as many places slush / water logging/ stones across the road needs to be crossed.

Places of interest nearby Leh:

- Shey Monastery
- Thiksey Monastery
- Leh Palace
- Rancho school
- Stok village
- Sangam (Indus & Zanskar)
- War memory
- Magnetic Hill road / Gurudwara on the way to Sangam
- Shanti Stupa
- Alchi Monastery - (The best)
- Nubra valley (via Khardungla Pass)
- Deskit / Hunder Sand dunes
- Turtuk
- Pangong Lake- The Janaat of earth
- Leh Market

Well one who dares can make it. Riders / Bikers Paradise. Weak hearts please avoid or take medical advice before travel. But hats off to many retired people as tourist at Leh so don't hesitate only build one's mind to make it.

People are very nice and hospitality is too good. Military has provided Medical service at strategic locations.

Thanks to Border Road Organization for maintaining the roads and making it accessible. Also thanks to 54 RCC & 51 RCC - Road Construction Coy of Military to see that roads are open round the clock as they feel their brothers at top of the peaks(Siachen) always need them at ground.

One can be very near to LOC (Pak Side) or LOC (China).

With one line I can say that no European/Asian destination can match this place. Do visit once. And enjoy the colors of nature which keeps changing from time to time.

If you're enthusiastic biker than one can hire and ride the highest motorable road of the world.

Best season seems to be June / July as the snow melts lot of water flows down and creates a panic / wash out roads which we faced once and had to forgo one destination visit.

If returning by Air from Leh be little early (min 2 hrs) at airport as it's total chaos with end number of checks. Can u believe boarding passes issued 15min prior to departure. It happens here and its regular. One good thing they will not leave you behind once you enter the airport.
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  • 6 votes

Yasha Deshpande

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  • Yasha Deshpande
  • Lives in Raipur
  • 5 Reviews
  •  13 helpful votes
  •  11219 readers

"Snowy Desert - Leh"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
Amazingly awesome and adventures Trip to Leh. Snow capped mountains with road on them to ride to the peak took us to a different world. Biking is most thrilling party of the whole vacation. Explored entire Leh on Royal Enfield bike felt bone freezing Temp -15 Degree it was a experience of life time. Beauty of Pangong lake is mesmerizing.
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Yasha Deshpande

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  • Yasha Deshpande
  • Lives in Raipur
  • 5 Reviews
  •  13 helpful votes
  •  11219 readers

"Land of monasteries"

  • 7/7
  • Posted 3 months ago
Amazing place full of adventure. Snow capped mountains with roads to ride on them takes you to a different world, we explored entire Leh on Royal Enfield which actually added flavor of adventure in our trip. Magnetic hill, Hall of Fame, Pongong Lake, Shanti Stupa and many more monasteries are main attraction of Leh. One should really go Leh once in lifetime it's a place worth exploring.

Local people of Leh are very supportive & Loyal. Do take weather report before starting your day in Leh because it changes very fast.
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