A travel Guide to Ladakh

Ladakh Tourism

Ladakh lies in the Kashmir region of India. Home to several river valleys like the Indus, Shyok, Nubra, Suru, Dras, and Zanskar, it is known to have a charming effect on every traveller that visits the place. Ladakh India is also known as Little Tibet because of its closely-knit culture and history. Some of the most popular Ladakh tourist attractions are the Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake, Royal Leh Palace, Shey Monastery and many more. If you’re an admirer of nature, then there’s no better place than Ladakh. Ladakh tourism welcomes all kinds of travellers from across the world every year and sends them back with an unforgettable experience.

Ladakh Tours are not just about visiting places, it is about staying amidst nature. You can have a splendid view of mountains from your hotel. Make sure to book your hotel in Leh Ladakh well in advance to get the best deals.

Places to visit in Ladakh

1. Pangong Lake

The endorheic Pangong Lake is situated at an elevation of 4350m. An interesting fact about this location is that only 40% of the water body is located in Ladakh, while the rest of it is in parts of the Autonomous Region of Tibet, and China. The main highlight of Pangong Lake which makes it one of the most popular Ladakh attractions is that it changes colour throughout the day from azure to light blue to green which makes it very amusing to see. You need a travel permit authorised by the Ladakh tourism department to visit this place as it lies on the Sino-Indian Actual Line of Control. Another interesting fact about Pangong Lake is that it freezes during the months of winter because it is situated at such a high altitude and the temperature can drop as low as -5?.

2. Khardung La Pass

A mountain pass in Leh Ladakh and gateway between Nubra and Shyok Valley, Khardung La is the highest motorable road in the world at an elevation of 5602m. If you’re someone who is trying to get your adrenaline pumped then Khardung La is the place for you. You can enjoy mountain bike riding up to the top and enjoy scenic views of the Karakoram range and the grand Himalayas. It was built in 1976 and opened to the public in 1988. There are some things you need to know before you take a trip to Khardung La Pass. Firstly, you’ll need an inner line permit from the Ladakh tourism department and the fact that it is shut down in the months of October till May because of heavy rainfall and snowfall.

3. Hemis National Park

It is located at an altitude ranging between 3300m and 6000m above sea level. Hemis National Park has been declared as the highest national park in the world and the second-largest in South Asia. It was established in 1981 and acts as a protective environment for numerous endangered animals like the Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan Wolf, Eurasian Brown Bear, Snow Leopards, and Red Fox. Apart from that, Hemis National Park also provides trekking and hiking options for adventure seekers.

4. Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is one of the most popular and fascinating Ladakh attractions. It is known that if you put your car in neutral in a marked location near the hill, it moves uphill instead of going the other way thus defying the law of gravity. The most accepted explanation about this phenomenon is that the hill emits some magnetic field of energy and that’s why most aircraft divert or speed up when they are flying above this area to prevent accidents. Apart from this, there are some other theories associated with this mystical location that deals with optical illusion and even myths.

5. Kargil

Kargil is one of the prime Ladakh tourist places and any trip is incomplete without making a stop here. It is situated on the banks of the Indus river and is the second largest town in Ladakh. You can visit Kargil on your route to Leh, Zanskar, and Srinagar. It is widely known for its glorious past but apart from it, Kargil is one of the top places in the Ladakh travel guide of adventure seekers as well as architecture admirers. You can indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities like trekking, mountaineering, and skiing. On the other hand, it is also the home to Buddhist Turkish architecture whose history dates back to the 16th century.

6. Diskit Monastery

Deskit Gompa, also known as Diskit Monastery, is the oldest monastery of Ladakh. Located in the Nubra Valley, this holy site is believed to be the home of an Anti-Buddhist Mangolian demon. You can learn more about this story from the locals of the town. The monastery is also the home of a school, run in collaboration with an NGO - The Tibet Support Group where children are taught how to use computers, and science in English. This place receives a lot of tourists during the festival of Dosmoche, where people perform a masked monk dance to eradicate bad luck.

Things to do in Ladakh

Whether you’re here on a family vacation or a soul seeking journey or you want to explore your adventurous side, Ladakh is the one-stop for all. Here are a few things to do in Ladakh.

Chadar Trek

Chadar is translated to ‘blanket’ in Hindi. It is a trek over a thick sheet of ice on the frozen river of Zanskar and is considered to be one of the toughest and adventurous treks. While you’re at it, you’ll be mesmerised by snow-capped mountains on one side and a stream on the other. You get a spectacular view when you lift your head to look around. The best time for this trek is the month of February. This route is also taken by the locals during the months of winter as the roads are blocked and dangerous to travel.

Motorbiking

Biking to Ladakh is one of the upcoming travel options popularised by adventure seekers and is therefore added to the Ladakh travel guide. You can start your journey from Manali through Rohtang Pass, Darcha, Tang Lang La and Baralacha La in the Leh Valley. You can then go ahead to Khardung La Pass and other parts of Ladakh as you enjoy the beautiful weather and scenic view on the journey.

Indus River Rafting

Owing to its topography, river rafting is one of the top adventure sports catered by Ladakh tourism. You can enjoy river rafting in the Indus river which originated from Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. As you’re coming down you pass through the mesmerising Zanskar valley. You can choose a river rafting experience based on the level of difficulty from Grade 1 to 4, season and fitness level.

Camel Safari

Earlier it was the most common mode of transport for trading and now it is one of the most popular Ladakh attractions. You can experience a Bactrian camel safari in the Nubra Valley. These camels have double humps which they use to store fat instead of water, unlike the usual camels. The sand dunes of Nubra Valley is breathtaking, thus making it one of the most significant Ladakh tourist places.

Try the local cuisine

The cuisine of Ladakh is a combination of the Tibetan, Chinese and even Korean cuisines. You should try the local dishes like thukpa, momos and the likes. You can also try their local drinks of tea, coffee, beer and Chang, a traditional alcoholic beverage. You can visit some of the top restaurants like Gesmo, II Forno, Sheldon Garden Park and many more.

Best time to visit Ladakh

The best time to visit Ladakh depends on the kind of holiday you’re planning, if you want a pleasant holiday with gentle weather conditions, then you should visit between the months of April and July. If you’re someone who wants to participate in adventurous activities like the Chadar Trek or wants to indulge in the traditional festivals of Ladakh, then you should visit between the months of November and February. However, for a regular traveller, we can say that summer is the best season to visit Ladakh.

How to reach Ladakh

One need not get confused about how to reach Ladakh. You can travel to Ladakh via flights, trains, buses or private vehicles.

By Air

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee in Leh is the nearest airport to Ladakh. You can take a flight to Leh directly from the major cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi. From Leh, you can take a cab to reach Ladakh.

By Road

You can reach Ladakh via two main highways i.e the Manali-Leh Highway and the Srinagar-Leh Highway. These highways are roughly open from mid-June to November. You can rent a car or travel by buses operated by the Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir State tourism. With an overnight halt, it’ll take you approximately 20 hours to reach Ladakh.

By Railway

You can travel to Jammu Tawi which is the closest railway to Ladakh. From there on you’ll have to hire a cab or take the bus to reach Ladakh.

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