A complete guide: Road Trip to Ladakh

Leh-Ladakh, whenever you hear this name, the only thing comes to your mind is a road trip to Ladakh. It is on the to-do list of almost everyone who likes to travel solo or in a group. Ladakh-a scenic beauty, along with Nubra valley which covers most part of Indo-Pak border is a delight for any rider. There are plenty of ways to explore Leh-Ladakh. Let me divide it into 3 categories based on different requirements for different travelers. But, before that let me tell you some of the main interest to visit when in Ladakh as this can also help you decide the duration of days you would want to plan the trip for.


road trip to Leh Ladakh

Points of Interest:

  1.  Leh city: Leh city is great to explore Thikse Monastery, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Stok Monastery and Druk Padma Karpo School mainly famous as Rancho’s School (3 Idiots – Bollywood movie). It is also great if you want to wander through the local markets and devour some delicious local food.  You need at least one day to explore these at Leh City.
  2. Pangong Lake: 134 km long lake situated at 150 km from Leh will keep you captivated for a very long time. You can easily find accommodation nearby in summer. I would suggest you spend one night there and experience the majestic sunrise for it is mesmerizing.

    Road trip to panong lake
    Picture by @bruisedpassports
  3. Nubra Valley: Nubra valley covers Siachan border, Diskit Monastery and some beautiful villages like Hunder where you can easily find accommodation. Mainly famous among travellers for Star Gazing, Nubra will show you the whole galaxy. Double humped Camels would be interesting to watch in the white desert of Nubra. You have to cross some high altitude passes in the world to reach Nubra Valley.
    Road trip to Leh Ladakh - Nubra Valley
  4. Apart from that, Phyang Monastery, Central Asian Museum, Spituk Gompa and Mangnetic Hils are the rest points of interests.Now let’s talk about the rest 3 categories I have mentioned above:a) Based on how many days you have in your bucket.If you ask me, I would recommend 15 days to explore Ladakh and Nubra valley, along with you can explore Kashmir valley as well. Many of us can’t spare this much time as most of us well work.
  • So if you have 6-8 days, take a flight to Leh from Delhi. You can reach Delhi from any famous city in India.  Hire a local vehicle for rent and you can explore all the points of interest mentioned above in 6-8 days. But don’t go out the very first day you land in Leh. Leh is at 3500 m. altitude so your body will take time to acclimatize.
  • If you have 10 days you have to rush a little bit, either you have 4 wheeler or 2 wheeler, traveling this long would be tiring, you won’t be resting much. You can choose between the famous two routes- Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh or Delhi-Manali-Jispa-Sarchu-leh.
  • If you have more than 10 days and as I recommended doing 15 days, take a 200cc or more bike if you’re riding solo, Ride from Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh and come back from Leh-Sarachu-Jispa-Manali-Delhi. There is also an alternative route to cover this in fewer days which many solo travelers do. They start their ride from Delhi then Mandi-Keylong-Leh. This is way more tiring and requires a lot of precision with timings. Weather can also be a big risk factor. As I always say to my friends “Mountains are beautiful and mesmerizing but they are no friend to anyone”.
  1. b) Based on the vehicle you choose (two-wheeler or four-wheeler)In terms of choosing a Vehicle, I always prefer a two-wheeler for mountains but you can’t really get out randomly. It really needs strength; mentally more than physically. You will encounter many problems while you are there, but never give up. And if you decide to stay in Sarchu, be prepared for Mild headaches as this is on the highest altitude side, 4290 m. to be precise.c)  Based on which month you wish to explore.Now the most important point to consider is the weather, best time to visit Leh-Ladakh is Mid of May until mid of September. Mostly touring companies prefer mid of June until the end of August but you can visit in the month of September as well. Weather will start to cool down in this month and you can expect snowfall in October at some high altitude passes. Many have shown a desire to visit in March when it’s bittering cold in Ladakh, but the only way to reach at that time is via Flight from Delhi to Leh and back.Advice time: Don’t ride in the dark, as water flow increases mainly at night and this makes the crossing over the water more difficult. You can’t predict the weather, riding in sunlight gives you an edge over whether to not mess with your plans.

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A complete guide: Road Trip to Ladakh