One week Itinerary for Ladakh

Lamayuru Monk

One week Itinerary for Ladakh

Ladakh is part of Kashmir which borders with Tibetan China.It is perhaps the most beautiful mountainous part of India and is only 1.5 hours away from Delhi by air.

Why go to Ladakh?

First of all, go to Ladakh only if you are in good health and not prone to acute mountain sickness or severely asthmatic. This is a trip of a lifetime for most people and no one really asks why go to Ladakh, but here it is:

  • Go if you like mountains. Leh is one of the only alpine deserts in the world. Its strikingly beautiful.
  • It has camels at 10,000 feet above sea level. Its vegetation is extraordinary. Its valleys are vast and trekkable.
  • Its at an average height of 10,000 ft and has the top two highest motorable roads in the world at 17,000ft above sea level. This means you can get to a 3rd of the height of Mount Everest in a car!
  • The night sky is amazing. The Buddhist mountain monastaries are beautiful, quiet and their prayer ceremonies are hypnotic.
  • You can raft on the Zanskar river. You can camp on Pangong lake, which is on the Indo China border and as remote as it can get.
  • One of the most remarkable treks in the world is called the “Chadar trek” where local guides make you trek across the frozen lake in the harsh winter months of January to March.

Leh is the central stop for Ladakh. Roads to Nubra valley, Pangong and Lamayuru radiate in different directions from Leh. So make that your central stop and stay in a nice hotel here. You will need to be able to relax after 6 hour drives on narrow mountainous roads.

Temperatures fall down to -21C/-5F in the winters. Average temperatures can be found on https://www.worldweatheronline.com/lang/en-in/leh-weather-averages/jammu-and-kashmir/in.aspx

How to get an innerline permit to visit Ladakh

Everyone needs to get an innerline permit to see important areas in Leh.

You can apply for a permit online at http://www.lahdclehpermit.in/ and then pay when you get to Leh. Just fill out a simple form with your name, age, passport number, your travel date and areas you wish to visit and you are done.

The Inner line Permit is only required for some areas like Nubra valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La, Tangyar (for trekking only). These are great places to see so get the Inner Line Permit.

You can also get the Inner Line Permit form from the stationary shop behind the Leh DC office. The office is open from 9AM - 3PM. Once all your documents are approved carry copies of your Inner Line Permits with you as there are chances that you might have to submit them at check posts of the military personnel. Self attested photocopies of valid nationality proof, Photo-IDs are necessary to procure Inner Line Permits. ILP for foreigners are only valid for a week.

One week itineary in Ladakh

Day 1 Arrive in Leh and rest
Arrive in Leh by air and relax for at least 24 hours. Your body will need to get used to the rarified air and its low oxygen level. It is very important that you do this or you will be at the hospital with a headache.
Day 2 Relax in Leh
Relax in Leh or take the 2.5 hour drive to Uley to see the Monastaries of Lama Yuru. Raft the Zanskar river at Nimoo if weather permits it
Day 3 Drive to Nubra Valley
Drive to Nubra across the Khardung La pass at 18,630 feet. It will take 5 hours. Spend two night here to rest and enjoy the valley.
Day 4- Nubra
See the monastaries and the camels in Nubra
Day 5 - Drive back to Leh
Drive the ATVs in Nubra and then drive to Leh
Day 6 - Drive to Pangong Lake
Drive to Pangong Lake crossing the Chang La pass at 17,688 feet.
Day 7 - Drive back to Leh
Enjoy Pangong in the morning and then drive back to Leh
Day 8 - See the Leh monasteries and fly out
See the Shey and Thiksey monastaries close to Leh before you fly out to Delhi.

How to get to Ladakh

Ladhakh is a short 1.5 hour flight from Delhi. We suggest flying and resting for 24 hours so that you can acclimatise and avoid acute mountain sickness. Adventure seekers rent motorcycles from Manali and ride to Leh over a 2-3 day period. Its a difficult ride. The roads and treacherous and not always well maintained. The roads snow out in the winters so bikes are a summertime option only. 

How not to get acute mountain sickness in Ladakh

Take Diamox 2 days BEFORE you go to Leh –Take it as a preventive medicine and not once you start feeling AMS.
Suggested Quantity – 2-4 mg after every 6 hours
Oxygen Cylinders – One must carry portable oxygen cylinders easily available at the chemist shop to avoid AMS.

Disclaimer: Consult a doctor before taking Diamox

What to see in Leh, Ladakh

Lets start with Leh. Leh is crowded and I advise to get out of there as soon as you have gotten acclimated. The Shey and Thikse monasteries are nice to visit and can be done on the way to Pangong Lake on Day 6. The Thikse monastery looks over Leh and is a great vantage point from where to see the area.  You can also visit the Leh palace. Its in ruins but still a good climb and has good views. 

Be sure to raft at Nimmoo on the way to Lamayuru if you travel to Leh in the summer months. 

What to see in Lamayuru

Monastery door lock in leh
Monastery door lock in leh

Lamayuru prayer ceremony
Lamayuru prayer ceremony
Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru - Buddhist prayer wheels
Lamayuru - Buddhist prayer wheels

What to do in Lamayuru

To me Lamayuru was amazing. The prayer ceremony was spell binding. 

Try to get there early and watch the ceremony. 

What to do in Nubra Valley

Nubra valley is beautiful and expansive. Its like it was carved out of a fast flowing river millions of years ago and just the scale of it, when viewed from the Diksit Monastery is unimaginable. 

Nubra Dust Storm
Nubra Dust Storm
Nubra Valley is vast
Nubra Valley is vast

Nubra Valley Flags in the wind
Nubra Valley Flags in the wind
 
Nubra Relaxation
Nubra Relaxation
Diksit Monastery
Diksit Monastery
 
 
Nubra Camels
Nubra Camels
Nubra Bactarian Camels
Nubra Bactarian Camels
Nubra Bactarian Camel
Nubra Bactarian Camel

Also dont forget to stop at Khardungla pass to admire the views from the highest motorable road in the world.

Khardungla Pass 2
Khardungla Pass 2
Khardungla Pass
Khardungla Pass
Khargundla pass - valley
Khargundla pass - valley

What to do in Pangong Lake

The drive from Leh to Pangong will take you over the Chang La pass. Its only 1000 ft lower than Khardungla pass and has amazing views too. 

The drive to Pangong lake will also take you through the alpine desert areas in leh where there is nothing but sand. The majestic Pangong lake will come into view after a turn in the road. Its as blue as it can get and untouched. You are only allowed to camp there. Permanent structures are not allowed.

Pangong Lake Tents at night
Pangong Lake Tents at night

 

Where to stay in Ladakh

 



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