My Leh Ladakh trip was the most awaited trip of this year. Finally after a long waiting time I got an opportunity to travel to one of my dream destinations and that too a Road trip. Yippee!! 🙂 🙂
Ladakh is a region of Indian state Jammu and Kashmir. It is best known for it amazing landscapes, diversity, culture and outstanding environments. Being surrounded by the world’s best mountain ranges of Himalayas and Karakoram make Ladakh a perfect destination for travel adventure.
Planning for such epic trip was a bit pain since we were 20 travelers. After long hours of research and recommendations, we opted to get a customized tour package and luckily we got a good deal with Himalyan Escape.
Himalyan Escapes is one of the leading e-travel services company based in Srinagar and it provides travel related services to tourists. So our tour cost includes accommodations in hotels or tents, breakfast and dinners, all transport arrangements, sightseeing and inner line permits. And on complement to it Royal Enfield bikes from Leh to Nubra.
Well, Travelling to Ladakh is just not like visiting a tourist place, but it is an experience for a lifetime. No doubt, this trip has given me all those travel experiences that every traveler craves in any travel.
Ladakh is rightly called as ‘”The Land of Endless Discoveries”. And I promise, no one can ever get disappointed by visiting it. Those 11 days on the road were amazing in terms of all the travel experiences.
So here we go; I am sharing my day by day Ladakh travel itinerary with you guys. I hope it will help you in planning your next trip to Ladakh.
Day 1 – Mumbai to Delhi (Air travel)
Night Stay – Kuldeep Guest House, Pahar Ganj
Day 1 started with arriving on the capital of India, Delhi. Delhi is famous for its History, Culture, Shopping Markets, Food, Temples and UNESCO heritage sites. We booked our accommodation online at Kuldeep Guest House in Pahar Ganj, which I will not recommend to for stay. Personally I did not like the rooms and the way it was maintain. But fortunately we did not have to stay there for a long time. We dumped our luggage in the room and then we stared roaming around on the streets in search of a good hotel. Being a big time foodie, I always wanted to eat Delhi’s food, which I have heard lots about specially Aloo Parathas and Chicken Momos. And as expected, I had both items and those were actually good. Later, we visited some of the famous tourist destinations in Delhi like Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate. Unfortunately, I did not get chance to see famous Akshardham Temple because by the time we reached there it was already closed. Travelling in Delhi metro was a good, but a bit tiring experience. It is just like travelling in Mumbai locals.
Red Fort, Delhi
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Day 2 – Delhi to Srinagar (Air Travel)
Night Stay – Deluxe Houseboat, Dal Lake
Early morning we reached Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir and we moved to Dal Lake for House Boat night stay. Dal Lake is famous for its beautiful houseboat stays and Shikara Rides. At Dal Lake, we have got a warm welcome from our house boat hosts followed by hot cup of tea. There were numbers of House Boats lined up in Dal Lake and each houseboat was beautiful and unique. The lake is surrounded by mostly hills. Watching sunset from Shikara was the one of the best experiences. The sellers where wandering around house boats on their Shikara. After delicious lunch in House Boat, we started roaming around in Shikara Ride. We visited Shalimar Garden, the famous Mughal Garden and dry fruits market on Shikara. While enjoying evening Shikara ride we also had a cup of Kashmiri ‘Kahwa Tea’. The Night time was spent with gazing stars, long hour’s talks and Kashmiri Food in dinner.
Day 3 – Srinagar to Sonmarg (By Road)
Night Stay – Hotel Glaciers Heights, Songmarg
After spending a beautiful day at Dal Lake, our next destination was Sonmarg. Sonmarg is called as ‘The meadows of gold’. The place is just like a paradise due to its cold climate, valleys and snowy mountains. We trekked “Glaciers of Thajwas” in afternoon, which is one of the best experiences I had in my trip. I saw Snow Mountains and frozen river for a first time. Glacier Trek was optional in our tour package. We made extra payment to visit glacier. Trekking till glacier was exhaustive but you can easily opt for ponies if do not want to trek or walk. Sonmarg is paradise and good place to spend some time with nature.
Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers
Day 4 – Sonmarg to Leh via Kargil (By Road)
Night Stay – Dawa Guest House, Leh
Sonmarg to Leh road journey is considered as one of the best routes in India and Indeed, I loved it. The landscape, views and the roads are breathtaking. On the way we visited Zojila Pass and Kargil War Memorial. At Kargil war memorial, we met a few solders from Indian Army. Soldiers were practicing for March-Past for upcoming event. It was so proud moment to see them and realizing how much hard work they do for our county. On the way to Leh we came a crossed ‘Magnetic Hill’ which also known as ‘Gravity Hill’ what is believed that magnetic force is so strong in this region it can pull cars towards hills. We stopped there and tried observing such phenomena as intrusions mentioned on the board, but we did not feel anything magnetic there. In fact Magnetic Hill is basically an optical illusion in which a slight downhill appears to be an uphill slope. Late in the evening we reached Dawa Guest House in Leh.
Kargil War Memorial
Kargil War Memorial
Leh City View
Day 5 – Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass (By Road)
Night Stay – Sand Dune Guest House, Nubra Valley
Leh to Nubra valley journey via Khardungla Pass is the most scenic well as the most challenging road journey for us. The elevation of Khardungla Pass is 18350 feet by surface, which makes it ‘The highest motarable pass in the world’. When we reached Khardungla, temperature suddenly dropped and snow started falling making climate extreme cold for us. It was my first time that I have experienced snow fall. Few of our fellow travelers faced medical issues like low blood pressure or breathing problems due to high altitude, but emergency medical camps handles by army medical officers made it easy for us. Those who were facing issues due to altitude problems were treated on the spot. Well, fortunately I was fine and excited; I was totally engrossed in my first snow fall experience. After crossing adventure trail of Khardungla Pass, I experienced the beauty of valley on the motor bike journey till Nubra Valley. Nubra Valley is surrounds by mountains and has desert in between. On arrival in Nubra Valley, we directly went to see desert sand dunes. I saw double humped camels for the first time and it was amazing experience to see the beauty of desert and sand dunes on double hump camel safari. Desert was extremely cold during night time, but it was ideal for stargazing. We had stayed in tents nearby Desert with basic amenities.
Khardung La Pass
Our Camp in Nubra
Day 6 – Nubra to Leh via Khardungla Pass (By Road)
Night Stay – Dawa Guest House, Leh
After breakfast, we started our journey back to Leh. On the way, we visited “Diskit Monastery” . It is also called as “Diskit Gompa”, which is oldest monastery in Nubra. I also rode ATV in desert followed by lots of photo sessions on the road. We did not face issue at Khardungla while returning may be because we all were well acclimatized. In evening we visited Leh local market and purchased Ladakh special souvenirs.
Buddha Statue, Diskit
Day 7 – Leh to Pangong via Chang-la Pass (By Road)
Night Stay – Pangong Delight Camp, Pangong
Leh to Pangong was almost a journey of 7-8 hours. The road is the most picturesque road; it is mostly surrounded by barren valleys and mountains. We visited Shey Palace and Thikse Monastery on the way; both the places are main tourist attractions of Leh. Shey Palace is mostly the ruins of old palace which was once king‘s place. I loved all the old praying wheels that are placed a crossed the Shey palace. Thikse Monastery is the one of the best Ladakhi architectures. This monastery is 12 storeys complex structure mainly of houses of monks and stupas. The best to see is the statue of Maitreya Buddha which is two storeys tall. After Visiting Shey Palace and Thikse Monastery we continued our journey till our tents accommodation nearby Pangong Lake. In night, climate was so cold and we all were literally shivering but then also we managed to go lake side in midnight. The view of moonlight, the lake and the shadows on mountains on were just breathtaking. Later, in night we did some night star gazing followed by mid night chats.
Monks in Monastery
Sunrise at Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake View
Day 8 – Pangong to Tso-moriri (By Road)
Night Stay – Yak Camps, Tso-moriri.
Early morning at 5.30 we woke up and directly headed towards the Pangong Lake to witness the most beautiful sunrise ever. The sunrise was worth of watching even in such uncomfortable low temperature environment. The barren mountains, clouds, sky and blue shades lake were all amazing to see. Well, Pangong Lake is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. The must visit place in Ladakh trip. After watching sunrise, we started our journey toward Tso-moriri. On the way, we came a crossed such wonderful landscapes. I just wanted to capture each and every landscape in my memories. I felt like I was living my dream at that time. On the interval of 5 minutes, each and every landscape was changing. Pangong to Tso-moriri Road was the best part of journey. We arrived at our camp in Korzok near by Tso-moriri Lake in evening. Korzok is the only village and one of the most high altitude settlements in Ladakh. Another evening we spent by Lake side in extreme cold climate.
Day 9 – Tso-moriri to Sarchu (By Road)
Night Stay – Dorje Camps
After breakfast, we started our journey towards Sarchu via Tanglang La Pass (17,585ft) which is world’s second highest motarable road after Khardungla pass. Sarchu was our overnight halt point on the Leh- Manali highway. The climate in the night was extreme cold. I have never experienced such cold in my life before. We did bonfire in our camp to beat the low temperature and star gazing.
Day 10 – Sarchu to Manali (By Road)
Night Stay – Hotel Trishul, Manali
Well, our trip was about to finish here and I was nostalgic. Early in the morning we started for Manali. Manali, Located in the most charming and beautiful Kullu valley. We crossed Baralacha Pass (4890m), Keylong (3350 m), & Rohtang Pass (3978 m). Manali is a famous tourist destination among Indian Travelers and one of the famous destinations in India for Honeymoon. We visited Manali Market in night and mostly spend time eating on the food items which we all were missing in Ladakh. Night time was the party time to celebrate last day of trip.
Day 11 – Manali to Chandigarh (By Road)
Day 11 officially the last day of trip. After breakfast we started from Manali Hotel to Chandigarh Airport. The journey was long and hectic. Each and every one of us was tired but satisfied after such epic and amazing road trip. I was never so delighted at end of my trip; all I had was good travel memories and an experience for a lifetime.
Did you travel to Ladakh before? Was it a life changing and unforgettable experience?