Do you want to visit a place where four mountain ranges, three cultures, and two rivers meet? That’s Leh Ladakh for you. With bright blue skies and changing terrains, Leh Ladakh never disappoints.
Ladakh is a slice of heaven we’re proud to have in India. This beautiful place is surrounded by four mountain ranges – the Himalayas, The Zanskar, Ladakh, and the Karakoram. Ladakh is a plateau that has an altitude of around 9800 ft. With the air getting thin and mountains all around – breathtaking views are guaranteed! Ladakh has a lot of places one must visit and explore, but depending on your trip’s time constraints, you may not be able to visit all of them. So we’ve narrowed down 10 places you have to visit in Ladakh!
You simply cannot miss this bright blue wonder when you visit Ladakh. In fact, it is one of the most popular spots for tourists in Ladakh now. This serene lake is said to change colors – from a bright blue to a deep red! And although Pangong Tso is a saline lake, it completely freezes over in the winters. And did we mention, its waters are the remnants of the ancient Tethys sea? Whatever you do, do not miss out on this wonder.
You are required to obtain an Inner Line Permit to visit Pangong Lake. Privately owned vehicles are allowed, but if you are traveling by a hired vehicle, it must belong to Leh. Rented Vehicles from anywhere else is not permitted. Check out my experience at Pangong Lake here.
Ladakh showcases the merging of elements from three different cultures – India, Tibetian, and Buddhists. This is seen within their history, culture, and architecture as well. This Stupa is also one such symbol of many cultures coming together. A Japanese monk to mark 2500 years of Buddhism built the Shanti Stupa in Ladakh. It is a peaceful monument located on a hill. One can view beautiful sunrises and sunsets here too. The Stupa is said to have important Buddhist relics inside. Visitors can book cabs/taxis within Leh to go sightseeing.
This one is for all the adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers. Khardung La pass is the world’s highest motor-able pass. This means you can drive/ride a vehicle at an altitude of 17,582 ft! Riding through this pass is a pretty good feeling. The roads might be narrow and winding, but they are ultimately very rewarding. The Border Roads Organisation is the one who makes and maintains this road that is the Gateway to the Nubra and Shyok valleys in Ladakh. We recommend you visit this spot for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus, the views while on the road are simply amazing. You will require an inner line permit to visit the Khardung La Pass.
The royal family ruled Ladakh in the olden times, and this palace was a symbol of the power they wielded. However today, it is in ruins and is being restored by the Archeological Survey of India. The palace gives you a sense of what Old Ladakh was like, and the views from the Palace are certainly worth the visit! You can book cabs/taxis from Leh to go sightseeing.
The Magnetic Hill is a phenomenon, which tourists flock to, in large numbers. Its popularity, however, is quite valid. Magnetic hill has specified spots at the base of the hill where you’re supposed to park your vehicle with the brakes unlocked. Your vehicle is said to start moving uphill on its own slowly. Quite mysterious, don’t you think? You can check for yourself during a trip!
Who would’ve thought one could have a desert holiday in the middle of bare, snowcapped mountains? Nubra valley is just proof that Ladakh won’t stop surprising you. Nubra Valley is a desert between Ladakh’s mountainous terrains. This place has many attractions like a hot spring and two-humped camels, which were once used for, trade on the silk route. Nubra seems like an out of place wonderland – a desert among the mountains. We’d highly recommend it!
Tanglang La is another mountain pass located at a high altitude. This one is situated at an altitude of 17,480 ft above sea level. These passes are adventurous. They’re located at a considerable height and have great views for one to witness. On the other hand, these roads are challenging too. It is highly advised to stay safe while crossing these roads.
Ladakh isn’t called the Land of Monasteries for nothing! The Thiksey Monastery is located in Leh, and is situated at the height of 11,800 ft! Nurture your spiritual side in this beautiful monastery and educate yourself about Buddhism as well!
If you loved Pangong Lake, you will love this as well! Although Leh Ladakh sees a good influx of tourists, there are still some lesser-known spots. The Tso Moriri lake has bare brown snowcapped mountains in the background, against its bright blue waters which makes it a beautiful sight to behold. You will spot many animals and birds like Himalayan Hares or the beautiful Bhraminy Duck here. Make sure you don’t miss out on this spot!
Ladakh is a place of amalgamation. Here, elements of different cultures come together, four different sets of mountain ranges run together, and various kinds of terrains live in harmony. So it’s no wonder that a beautiful sight such as the confluence of two rivers should happen in such a valley. At Sangam, the Indus and Zanskar rivers come together. The beautiful view is visible right from the Srinagar-Leh Highway! There’s no way you’ll miss this!
The best time to visit Ladakh is from May or June, when the snow is cleared, to mid-October. For the remaining part of the year, the roads are covered with snow and you would not be able to access a lot of places.
There are several ways to get to Ladakh. Although Ladakh is accessible only through road, there are still options available. One can travel till Manali by air, bus, or trains and then begin the journey to Ladakh using the Manali-Leh Highway. However, this highway is seasonal and is open for around four and a half months a year – from May or June, when the snow is cleared, to mid-October. You can also choose to travel through Srinagar using the NH1, which is the alternative route, and most used. You can also take a direct flight to Leh and travel to places from there.
Planning a trip to Ladakh might get tiring. There’s simply so much to think about! Using the experience from my Ladakh trip, we created a 12 day Ladakh itinerary to help you plan a fun-filled Ladakh trip that has plenty of adventure just like us!