Ladakh- Cold Desert| A Complete Travel Guide

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Have you ever thought of waking up in your dream world? Well, for me Leh-Ladakh is the dream world. I believe this cold desert is a dream destination for everyone, whether you are a solo adventure junkie or planning to visit with your group/family or you are a couple, doesn’t matter. So, do you want to be a witness of bone-dry mountains in the magical Buddhist Kingdom?

This land of high passes is not just a place to visit but a lifetime experience. At an average elevation of over 11,000 ft. Ladakh is the best hypnotic place with its majestic views, colorful Gompas, and much more beyond your expectations. So here I have compiled some pointers in my Ladakh travel guide which you might find helpful.

How To Reach

Stretch yourself out and lie down in the lap of this wonderland, it would be a lifetime investment. So, if you are planning to go to Ladakh from Delhi, there are simply 3 ways to reach out to this mystical scenery.

By Air

Take a direct flight to Leh (Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport) from Delhi Airport as there are several flights throughout the year and it will take approx. 1 hour and 30 min.

By Bike

Ladakh is a head trip destination for all the smart ass nomads. Every adventurer eagerly waits to open the passage of high passes so that they can off-load their gears and go to that thrilling route. Fly high on the highway route of Ladakh is the dream of every rider.

If you have your bike in good condition, I am not suggesting to buy a new one but yes the roads are in bad conditions so you need to be careful; then it will cut down your extra costs. If you think you cannot use your own bike, don’t worry, you can also rent the bike from Manali or Srinagar at the best possible amount. To get the detailed information for rental bikes read this.

You can choose any of the routes as there are two ways to follow, else you can complete the circuit of the route. You can start your journey from Srinagar- Leh Highway and complete it from Leh- Manali route. Here, you can take the call on your own.

By Bus

I would not recommend traveling via bus as the roads are very uneven and ruffled. So if you are up for it, direct buses from Delhi are available as the road is well connected only when the high passes are not closed.

Also, you will get the bus to Ladakh from Srinagar or Manali.

Delhi – Manali – Leh:- Delhi – Chandigarh – Manali – Rohtang – Kokhsar – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Baralacha La – Sarchu – Lachulung La – Pang – Tanglang La – Upshi – Karu – Leh

Delhi – Srinagar – Leh:- Delhi – Ambala – Jammu – Srinagar – Sonmarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil – Mulbek – Lamayaru – Saspol – Leh

No matter which vehicle you are traveling by; car, or by bike you will have to take the permit to cross the Rohtang Pass. Also, once you enter Leh in Ladakh you need to take the Inner Line permit to visit places around Leh.

You can take the same route if you are planning the car trip, depending upon the condition and choice of your car. Though, I completed my whole journey in Wagon R, sounds funny! Yes, even for me considering the fact that we were five people.

I have mentioned most of the places in this Ladakh travel guide but for my complete journey from Delhi to Leh click here.

Best Time To Travel Ladakh

First thing you should keep in mind that the roads are closed for six months, you can only plan a road trip to Ladakh when the passes are open.

  • Flights are available throughout the year if you can bear the extreme conditions do visit Ladakh beauty in winter.
  • The best time to travel is in mid-may, early July, the entire month of September and early October because the road conditions are excellent and you can visit the raw beauty of this place.
  • Between May to October, adventure activities like river rafting in Zanskar river can be done. Also, several festivals are held in the region.
  • July & August are less preferably, or I would say you can just avoid traveling in these months due to monsoon as landslides make them too risky at this time.
  • However, the winter months are extremely challenging due to below zero degrees temperature as the valley is fully covered with snow that cuts it from the rest of the country.

Tourist Attractions In Ladakh

Ladakh is a very beautiful place, which cannot be put in a few words. This place is full of adventure, different colors, eye-catching views of mountains, and much more. Monks wrapped in scarlet, rolling wheels of monasteries, snow-capped mountains all around, sheer cliffs, crystal clear water of the lakes, and the purity of air fill your heart with divine memories. There are an endless number of places in Ladakh and I have picked out a few for your delight.

Places To Visit In Leh

Here is a list of places that you can visit in Leh. To get a detailed review you can also read; Tourist places in Leh

  • Leh market
  • Leh Palace
  • Shanti Stupa
  • Hall Of Fame
  • Magnetic Hill Road
  • Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
  • Spituk Monastery
  • Tsemo Castle
  • Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
  • Sankar Monastery
  • General Zorawar Fort
  • Jama Masjid

Places To Visit Around Leh

  • Alchi Monastery
  • Zanskar Valley
  • Khardung La
  • Diskit Monastery
  • Nubra Valley
  • Thiksey Monastery
  • Hemis Monastery
  • Pangong Tso
  • Shey Palace
  • Stakna Monastery
  • Matho Monastery
  • Stok Palace
  • Stok Monastery
  • Phyang Monastery
  • Sindhu Ghat
  • Basgo Palace / Monastery

Other Services


Only postpaid connections are working in the Ladakh region and the best mobile network here is BSNL, undoubtedly you will get the far-ranging networks in most of the places.

The second preference would be Airtel as it will give a scopic range of networks in many places. Since, the phone connectivity is very less so most of the time you will be out of the network coverage, so better to make up your mind in advance and enjoy the destination.

You can also check the availability in the Leh market if you can get the SIM card till the time you spend time in the region.


You will find the ATMs in Leh city and Leh market, but I would recommend carrying enough cash with yourself. As you drive through the remote areas you will hardly find a single ATM on the route. There is only one ATM which is considered to be the “World’s Highest ATM” on the way to Nubra Valley.


The place is remote yet there are numbers of accessible petrol-pumps on Srinagar- Leh highway. However on Manali- Leh route; crossing Manali, you can fill your tanks in Tandi after a distance of about 110 km and during the long journey of 365 km from Tandi to Karu there is no petrol pump so you need to carry extra fuel in jerrycans.

Please keep in mind, there will no mechanic on the highway route so be prepared with some basic knowledge to repair your vehicle. You would be able to find only one or two shops in the city areas.

Safety & Precautions

Ladakh can also become a tough journey for you if your preparation is not right. So please check everything before you start your journey. Here, I am sharing some safety points from my experience that can be helpful for you.

  • To avoid AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) drink lots of water in sips, lukewarm water can help you more.
  • Carry Diamox to treat any signs of high altitude sickness.
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol because it may cause respiratory problems at this altitude.
  • Make sure you spend 3 days minimum to get acclimatized properly before you head out to visit places around Ladakh because Oxygen and air pressure are extremely low.
  • Do not forget to carry a proper medical kit with yourself.
  • Carry your original documents (Driving Licence and government IDs) with yourself along with the photocopies.
  • Your vehicle should be checked properly and get the service done before you start the journey.
  • It is very important to take the ILP (inner line permit) for all the tourists out of Jammu & Kashmir state. Also, Beyond Rohtang Pass permit is mandatory to reach Leh from Manali-Leh highway.
  • Instead of wearing one thick jacket, I would prefer to do layerings of clothes and fleece jackets are must wear as they keep you warm in high altitudes.
  • Keep some dry-fruits, chocolates, and packed food with yourself.
  • If you are traveling by bike, apply sunscreen, and cover your face throughout the journey to avoid chapped skin.

Hope so you found this Ladakh travel guide informative and useful. If you have nay queries please feel free to contact us and leave a comment below.

Happy Travelling !!

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