Planning a trip to Ladakh? We tell you all that you need to know!

Written by
Akanksha Maker for CustomHolidays
August 24, 2021

In the midst of a soul transformation time of my life, couple of years ago, I happened to plan an impromptu trip to Ladakh. Having heard wondrous stories about the place, I was excited and nervous.


Administered in India as a union territory, Ladakh falls under the larger Kashmir region - and it’s no surprise that the latter’s beauty exudes in the former.


Planning a trip to Ladakh is not a regular task, and there are few things you need to know:

The best time to visit Ladakh is between June to September — but the weather is mostly always on the chill side so ensure you pack accordingly. Temperature remains in the early 20 °C and can drop to 6-7 °C in the night.

Getting to Ladakh

There are two options of getting to Ladakh. Depending on your preference, you could either fly in directly or choose to drive to Leh - the capital of Ladakh and the preferred starting point of your trip. A number of airlines like Spicejet, Goair, Vistara and Indigo offer direct flights — some from Mumbai and others from Delhi. If you’re not into insanely long road trips (note: you will be on the road a fair bit in Ladakh), choose to fly into Leh directly.


If you’re a road trip junkie, Ladakh is pretty much your paradise. The trip to your starting point Leh can also be one on the road via a car or bike - depending on your preference.


Starting form Delhi, you can drive through Karnal, Mandi, Manali, Jispa (through Rohtang Pass), Sarchu, Tanglang La, and then reach your destination — Leh. The 1011 km journey can be completed in about 24 hours.


You could also start your journey from Srinagar. Drive 85kms to reach Sonamarg. From Sonmarg you would head towards Drass, via the Zoji La pass, which is another 62kms. After which drive for about 53kms and reach Batalik and then reach Leh via Dah.

Aerial View of mountains of Leh


Acclimatise, Acclimatise,Acclimatise!

 Most of us don't live at altitudes as high as Ladakh. Our bodies are used to certain air pressure at sea-levels and Ladakh’s terrain is much higher, resulting in a physiological change for our bodies when we arrive. But this isn’t something to worry about; the key to this is acclimatisation. Like the word suggests, it’s all about adjusting to the new elevations. The rule is simple allow your body to relax and don't put too much physical exertion on your body.

Another rule is to always sleep at a lower altitude than what was achieved in the day. For this reason, Leh makes the perfect base to explore the surrounding sights. Its lower in altitude so in the day you go to these higher altitudes but at night you return to Leh to sleep at a lower altitude.

This is why a road trip to Leh is actually a better option, it makes you gain height gradually. However if you are short on time or not a fan of long road drives follow the simple rules mentioned above and you will be fine. There is medication that your doctor can prescribe for you to take,a week before your trip. Many hotels in Leh also offer oxygen on arrival to help acclimatize better.

Pick a package that includes a solid vehicle and dedicated chauffeur


I cannot stress enough on the importance of this. Ladakh is essentially a road trip in the paradisiacal mountains of the Himalayas - and one needs a powerful SUV to be comfortable on the mighty terrains of the region along with an experienced driver who is not always dependent on Google maps. Of course, there are adrenaline junkies who take up biking trips in Ladakh, but they are not recommended for first-time visitors.


Your driver and car will become your soul anchor on your sojourn in Ladakh - so it’s important to get accustomed to him/her as well. Insider tip - always try to dig out hidden gems and secrets of the area from them - that only locals know of!

Road with snow mountain in Ladakh


What to see in Leh


The largest town of the Union Territory, Leh is the maximum amount of a “city experience” you will get in Ladakh - and that’s not a bad thing! The Leh market is lined with quaint cafes,restaurants and local artisanal shops selling artefacts and dry fruits. It’s endearing to just soak in the charm of this market place — the central point of Leh. But don’t get me wrong, Leh prides itself on sights that embody classic Tibetan galore as well.


Shanti Stupa, is a domed,hillside Buddhist temple that makes for a good start to your Tibetan-Ladakhi adventure. Built by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, it holds the relics of theBuddha at its base, which have been enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. If you’re not into history and religious aspects, the panoramic views from the Stupa will mesmerise you as well. You can also visit


Sankar Gompa and village — a relatively modern monastery closely associated with the Spituk monastery. It served as the residence of the late head priest-Kushak Bakula.

 white Monastery Leh


Hotels we recommend in Leh:

The Grand Dragon Ladakh  

Best for - Heritage Suite withMountain View and Garden View

Price - Starts at ₹6,500 per night


The Silk Route Ladakh

Best for - Super Deluxe Rooms

Price - Starts at ₹3,500 per night


Hotel Ladakh Palace

Best for - Super Deluxe Rooms

Price - Starts at ₹5,000 per night


Ladakh Sarai

Best for - Well-appointed duplexfamily suite

Price - Starts at ₹3,500 per night


Follow the chaos of order


Once you have acclimatised and feel healthy to drive upwards and onwards into the terrains, handpick monasteries and locales you’d like to visit. There is no dearth of exceptional and spiritual adventures in Ladakh, but here are a few we recommend.


Drive to Alchi and visit Magnetic Hill (objects and cars on the hill road seem to roll uphill in defiance of gravity when they are, in fact, rolling downhill), Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, and the spectacular confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers,where you will be spellbound by the magical and colourful mix of two iconic rivers.


On the eastern side of Ladakh, there are a few other gompas (districts) and monasteries you must visit. This includes the the Lamaruyu, a charming village that houses the Lamaruyu Monastery (means Eternal Monastery in Tibetan) which offers stunning vistas of the surrounding snow-capped Himalayan mountains. The place is known for its moonscape like terrains which are quite unparalleled and can teleport you to an lunar-like experience.


Around 40km from Leh is also the village of Hemis - that must be in your list of places to see. The village is close to Hemis National Park - which is home to the endangered and gorgeous snow leopard. The village also houses the Hemis Monastery that dates back to 1672 AD. Around Hemis, you could also visit Gotsang Gompa and Stakna Monastery.


Also located in the Leh Tehsil and another village that you should consider visiting is Thiksey. The village is known for the absolutely stunning Thiksey Monastery that is a massive 12-storey complex, and adorned with Buddhist art, statues and iconic antique items of history. The highlight of the monastery is the two-storey high statue of Maitreya Buddha, the largest such statue in Ladakh - a sculpture to behold and capture on your camera.


You should also visit - or perhaps even stay - at the village of Stok. The village is home to a 19th century palace, which is home to the current royal family of Ladakh and also encompasses a museum containing the shrine, crown, ceremonial dress and jewellery of the Ladakhi king.

Stok Palace Leh


If you wish to stay somewhere except for Leh - here are few hotels you could consider:

 Stok Palace

Best for - Living with monks, the higher floor is a working monastery.

Price - Starts at ₹7,500 per night

Chulli Bagh Villas

Best for -Beautiful villas set in a fruit orchard right next to Stok Palace.

Price - Starts at ₹7,000 per night

The Ultimate Travelling Camp,Chamba Camp Thiksey

Best for - Luxury camps with high-endamenities

Price - Contact us for Special Deals


Himalayan Luxury Bivouacs

Best for - Camps with luxuryamenities

Price - Starts at ₹2,800 per night



Next on the agenda, I recommend driving to Nubra Valley via Khardungla pass - the world’s highest motor-able road. If you’d like to indulge in your inner tourist, stop here for spellbinding photos of the valley- or drive forward and stop at lesser crowded areas for some alternative Gram worthy shots. Depending on the time of your visit, you may be lucky enough to see snow (or even snowfall!).


The drive onwards is absolutely spellbinding — winding roads bordered with gushing water bodies that lead you onwards. If there’s one thing you should know - it’s that the colours of the mountains in Ladakh are absolutely unlike you may have ever seen in your life.It almost feels like an otherworldly experience when greens and yellows mix with pinks and purple hues in the colossal Himalayan range. What’s also incredible is that you can observe different types of terrains being in the same spot - with sand dunes on one side, flowing water bodies on another side and daunting mountains an another side.


Spend a couple of days in Nubra Valley and take in vistas of nature’s grandeur around. The valley is also known for its wilderness of actual deserts that are surrounded by mountains — an ironic magic of nature that one must not miss in this lifetime.

Luxury Tent Glamping


Hotels we recommend in Nubra Valley


Stone Hedge Hotel Ladakh

Best for - Family room that can accommodate upto 6 people

Price - Starts at ₹5,500 per night


Lchang Nang Retreat

Best for - Camps with luxury amenities

Price - Starts at ₹6,500 per night


Nubra Ecolodge

Best for - Safari tents with mesmerising views

Price - Starts at ₹5,800 per night

Chamba Camp Diskit - A Nubra Valley Camp

Best for - Its location in the tranquil yet thriving village of Diskit.

Price - Contact us for Special Deals


Next on the list is the commercial yet beautiful Pangong Lake which is everything and more than what you may have seen in Bollywood films. If you manage to get away from the crowds here, time spent at the sometimes turquoise, sometimes deep blue Pangong Lake,with the grand mountains at the background can be spiritually uplifting. Since this is a relatively high elevation in Ladakh (14,000), it’s important to camp here for at least one night.

blue lake brown mountain colorful flags


So that’s that! If you’re looking to plan an adventure in Ladakh, get in touch with CustomHolidays and be sure of an absolutely seamless and effortless trip that’ll connect you even more deeply with the mountains, monasteries and magic Ladakh. #TravelBetter

Ladkah, Leh, Nubra Valley, Stok Palkace, TUTC, Pangong Lake.
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