Ladakh is a land of mystery and intrigue which never ceases to amaze travellers with its towering peaks and snow-capped Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, the rapidly-flowing Indus and Zanskar rivers and numerous streams carrying the glaciers from the mountains tucked amidst lush green valleys, all conjure a travellers dream.
Indeed, a travellers visit to India is never complete without a tour to Ladakh. It is not only a trekker’s paradise, but a delight to every traveller as it offers serenity and tranquillity amidst picturesque and scenic views of nature.
Leh is a paradise on earth with its mesmerizing scenic beauty and is blessed with majestic snow laden Himalayan ranges, lush green landscape, sparkling blue waters and deep gorges.
This is the place which makes you enter a whole new world where you can relax, rejuvenate and give a treat to your senses. It attracts millions of tourists not only from India but from the across the world because of its incomparable, breathtaking natural beauty.
It is serene, calm and an ideal place for spending your vacations away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Adventure enthusiasts will fall in love with Leh because it has some of the best trekking trails on which one can have incredible trekking experience.
Besides its magnificent beauty, it has a spiritual value because it houses some of the most royal ancient monasteries like Raisi fort, Royal palace, Phyang, Likir, Spituk and Thiksey.
In and Around
Places to see in Leh
Pangong lake is one of the most popular places to visit in Leh and is located just 160 kilometers away from Ladakh. The drive to Pangong lake is an exciting experience offering scenic views. It is a beautiful lake with crystal blue waters blessed with pleasant weather throughout the year.Black necked Siberian can be spotted near the Mahe marshes, the only breeding place for these rare migratory birds.
Tso Moriri Lake
Drive to the beautiful Tsomoriri lake from Leh taking around 6-7 hours is a thrilling and adventurous experience as the last 60 Kilometer journey is on rugged paths. It is beautifully placed in the secluded Rupshu valley.
It is the most ancient, royal and interesting located at a distance of 125 kilometers from leh. It is picturesquely enveloped by the rugged, dusty mountains and is beautifully carved out of the badland area. It comes in your way when you move towards Kargil from Leh. Drive on the road towards Lamayuru is an excellent way to explore the scenic snow capped mountains of the region.
One of the places to visit in Leh is the Gravity hill having strong magnetic properties which can pull cars uphill and make Aircrafts go higher in terms of altitude so that they could bypass magnetic interference. Due to this amazing effect, millions of people from all over the world are attracted towards this place.
Trekking on the rocky, colossal trails of this valley is a truly exciting experience as it is situated near the banks of the pure nubra river. The valley is named as “the valley of flowers” and it has some of the most beautiful, vibrant and colourful flowers set amidst lush green landscape. This place is popular because of its serene and tranquil ambience.
It is the most ancient and largest gompa located near the Nubra valley. The golden Buddha statue which is 32 meters tall is worth seeing. It is located 120 kilometers away from Leh.
It is a white domed sacred shrine situated on a hammock in Leh. It is indeed a masterpiece of royal, ancient beauty. The astonishing Buddha statues, holy books and holy relics are sealed here for future generations. It was built as a monument to celebrate 2500 years of Buddhism.
Shey monastery is famous because of the magnificent metal statue of Buddha and one of the places to visit in leh , the second largest statue in Ladakh. It is located 15 kilometers south of Leh. It was built in the year 1655 by Ladakh’s king Deldan Namgyal. The royal kings of Ladakh used to stay here during summers.
The Ladakh district lies near LOC having Kashmir valley towards south and Gilgit-baltistan towards west. It is situated 234 kilometers west of Leh. It is a perfect place for camping at night before moving forward your journey to explore other attractive places around Leh.
Situated at an altitude of 5359 meters, it is the second highest motorable pass in the district of Leh. The drive from Leh towards this pass is a fun-filled experience yet scenic experience. The word Khardungla signifies the “pass of lower castle”. The above ten were some of the best places to visit in Leh.
Activities to do in Leh
Visit to Ancient Monasteries
The monasteries talk about the rich culture and history of Ladakh. Some of the most beautiful statues of Lord Buddha are present here. The Gompas are a sacred place for the Buddhists and are worth visiting.
Camel safari is a great way of traversing the colossal valleys of Ladakh wrapped up in the lap of nature surrounded by the magnificent hills and green landscape, this should be included in list of things to do in Leh.
An enthralling jeep safari on the scenic landscape of Ladakh is absolutely fun and exciting. If you have to travel several miles, then the best way is to hire a Jeep which will make your journey relaxing and comfortable.
Popularly called as the “Gateway of Ladakh”, it is the second coldest destination around the world that is inhabited. Keep your sweaters, gloves and jackets ready before you visit this beautiful chilling place.
Leh and the surrounding regions in Ladakh is a haven for mountain climbers with its unique charm and natural beauty. Hiring a local guide or sherpa is highly recommended before venturing out to conquer the mountains.
Cycling on the rocky trails of this beautiful place is a unique experience which you will remember throughout your life. Thrillophilia has organized a number of cycling tours in this region which takes cyclists along scenic paths.
Hire a bike and hit the road of Leh and explore the surrounding regions. Riding around this region is a truly hair raising experience.
Talking about adventure activities in Leh ladakh, you can’t afford to miss trekking on the rocky and arduous slopes of the Himalayan ranges enclosed by thick dense forests and lush green landscapes. Thrillophilia organizes a number of treks in Leh from June to February every year. This is one of the things to do in leh , that would make your trip a splendid one.
Enjoy Ice Skiing on the high and long snowy slopes of the Himalayan mountain ranges and make your vacations truly memorable.
Fall free with the cool breeze blowing across your hair, experience the view of the clear sky, the snow capped peaks and the huge green landscape adorned by rivers. This region offers some of the best views for those thinking of paragliding in Leh. Paragliding shows you the best of beautiful Leh, hence including this in your things to do in Leh becomes inevitable.
Places to visit in Ladakh
Royal Leh Palace
Built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century the Royal Palace of Leh is a nine-storey high structure which offers a grand panoramic view of the town of Leh, Stok Kangri and the Indus river. It has a museum which displays rare collections of ceremonial crowns, dresses, jewelleries, ornaments etc.
Zanskar valley is one of the most isolated places to visit in Ladakh where about 14,000 people comprising of mainly Buddhists live. The valley is sandwiched between the Great Himalayan ranges and the Zanskar mountain ranges. The Zansker river which has lent its name to the valley flows through the valley. Zanskar valley surrounded by lofty mountains and deep gorges is closed for about eight months in a year due to heavy snowfall in the region.
At a height of 18,380 ft. Khardung La pass is the highest motorable road in the world. The pass lies on the trail from Leh to Nubra valley. In summer the weather conditions can change suddenly while in winter the pass receives heavy snowfall with temperature going below -400 C. The pass is about 40 Kms from Leh.
This is perhaps the only monastery in Ladakh which is located on a flat ground and not on a hill top like others. The Indus river flows by the monastery. Some wall painting purported to be 11/12 centuries old are quite beautiful and also well-preserved. The Indian influence on the paintings is quite discernible. The monastery provides a few guest houses with the basic facilities.
Shey monastery about 15 Km from Leh was earlier the summer residence of the royal family. This is located on the banks of the river Indus and is adorned with a number of shrines and stupas. The monastery has the statue of blue-haired Maitreya Buddha which is 17.5 metre high and made of copper and brass.
The Diskit monastery in the Diskit village of Nubra valley is a 14th century structure and is considered to be the oldest monastery in the Nubra valley. There is a huge 106 ft tall statue of Maitreya Buddha in the prayer hall of the monastery. There is also a 32 metre high statue of golden Buddha out in the open just opposite the monastery on another hill.
The town of Hemis is famous for its monastery is the largest monastic organisation in the Ladakh district. The Hemis monastery is considered to be the one of the richest monasteries in India with some very rare and exquisite antique collections like the copper statue of Buddha, inctricately carved gold and silver stupas and some exotic Thangkas. The Tibetan style architecture within the monastery is very bright and colourful in contrast to the surrounding landscape. An added attractions is the Hemis National Park is located close to the monastery and is home to the several endangered and rare aniumals such as Snow leopards.
The Thiksey monastery is situated in the Indus valley and is just 18 kms away from leh. The 12-storey monastery contains ten temples with an assembly hall and living quarters for the monks and also a nunnery. The 40 foot. high statue of Maitreya Buddha is the prime attraction here and is dedicated to the Goddess Tara. Other than these one can also see some rare, precious stupas, wall paintings, statues and swords in the monastery.
Activities to do in Ladakh
Yaks or Dong as the local people call the animal is huge in size measuring about 6 ft in height and close to 1000 Kg in weight. Yak safari in the desert lands of Ladakh is a memorable experience as you get to enjoy the pristine beauty of the nature, the serene blue lakes, the sprawling green valleys, and regal snow-peaked mountains standing tall on all sides. The Yaks are natural-born animals of this rugged terrain and can withstand the arduousness of such safari easily.
Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame near Leh is actually a museum dedicated to the Indian army’s heroic struggles during the war in Kargil and Siachen sectors. It’s a very interesting museum displaying the weapons employed during the Kargil war and belongings of the enemy soldiers including their outfits found after the Kargil war. Also, on display are the different outfits of the heroic soldiers with multi-layered shoes to protect them from frostbite, their frozen foods which they warm with balls of Hexamycin tablets before dinner. Due to the excessive cold in the region with temperature hovering between -300 C to -500 C it is difficult to strike a fire. This is also the reason why there were so many deaths of our heroic soldiers during the Siachen war.
Indus River Rafting
The Indus river originating from Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake in Tibet runs across the desert region of Ladakh. While rafting in this river you get to enjoy some fascinating beauty of nature as the river takes you through the gorges in the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. This river has mainly rapids of Grade I and Grade II and at some places of Grade III. There are different sections in the river where the difficulty levels vary. However, there is no denying the fact this gives you tremendous pumping of your adrenalin along with a mesmerising panorama of the places around the river banks.
Kayaking in the Zanskar river in Ladakh also offers a lot of stimulation and thrilling adventure because of the steep gorges.
Other activities that can be done in Ldakh are camel safari,Cycling, Motor Biking, Skiing and Paragliding.
Shopping in Leh-Ladakh
The bazaars of Leh have their own charm and you can spend hours just browsing through the curios and souvenirs available here. The hottest selling souvenir in Leh is the pashmina shawl. Other pashmina wool garments such as sweaters, caps, gloves and socks are also worth a look. The Tibetan influence on Ladakh is apparent in the number of shops and stalls selling handicrafts such as prayer wheels, choktse (Tibetan tables) and Buddhist masks. Beautiful thangka paintings on silk with delicate embroidery make great gifts. Tibetan silver jewellery is also worth buying as is the turquoise jewellery commonly worn by Ladakhi women. Other souvenirs that you can pick up in Ladakh are beautiful hand-woven carpets and rugs. Traditionally woven with floral or geometric designs, these also make nice wall hangings. The dragon motif is very popular and can add a dash of colour and drama to any room.
Where to Shop
Leh’s main Bazaar Road is lined with shops and stalls selling these products. Ladakh Art Palace is a good place to start looking for Tibetan handicrafts and jewellery. The Buddhist Thangka House has a variety of thangkas as well as other items such as Ladakhi hats and jewellery. The Tibetan Handicraft Emporium on Bazaar Road and the Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom in Choglamsar are other places where you can buy souvenirs. Be warned that these shops have fixed prices that are somewhat inflated at times. If you are looking for bargains, head to the open markets – Tibetan Market (off Old Leh Road) for clothes and antiques (genuine and otherwise!) and Moti Market (near Leh bus stand) for handicrafts, semi-precious stones and jewellery. Running parallel to Bazaar Road is the Shar Market where you can buy traditional Ladakhi dresses. Since apricots grow aplenty in the region, they make for great gifts to purchase from Ladakh. Ladag Apricot Store is your best bet for buying fresh apricots, jams, apricot oil as well as other organic products.
April to June is one of the best times of the year to visit Leh and Ladakh.
How to Reach
Airline service operates regular scheduled flights to Leh from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar. From Jammu there are two flights in week and from Srinagar one in a week.
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi (700 km from Ladakh) which is well connected with Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. You can hire a cab or board a JKSRTC bus to reach Ladakh.
Srinagar to Leh
The 434-km Srinagar-Leh road. Srinagar-Leh road is the main route with an over night halt at Kargil. The road is open between mid May and November. Ordinary and deluxe buses of the J&K state road transport corporation regularly ply on this route. Taxis, cars and jeeps are also available at Srinagar for the journey. Groups can charter deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J and K SRTC at Srinagar.
Manali to Leh
The 473-km Manali-Leh. The Manali-Leh Highway – This is a spectacular journey with an overnight halt at tented camps at Sarchu or Pang. This journey can be undertaken by the deluxe and ordinary bus services operated by the Himachal Pradesh tourism, HP SRTC and the J&K SRTC or by jeep from either Manali or Leh.Kargil – On the main highway between Srinagar and Leh.
Srinagar-Leh 434 Km
Manali-Leh 473 Km
Srinagar-Kargil 204 Km
Delhi-Leh 1047 Kms
Leh-Kargil 234 Km
Kargil-Padum (Zanskar) 240 Km
Leh-Deskit (Nubra Valley) 118 Kms.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Hotel Caravan Centre
Skara, Ladakh, Near Petrol Pump,
Leh, Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Changspa Road , Leh Ladakh, Leh,
Jammu and Kashmir 194101
The Grand Dragon Ladakh
Old Road, Sheynam, Leh Ladakh,
Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Where to Eat
Leh, Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Leh, Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Wonderland Restaurant & Coffee House
Changspa Road، Leh 12342