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
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
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.
Also dont forget to stop at Khardungla pass to admire the views from the highest motorable road in the world.
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.
Where to stay in Ladakh
- Grand Dragon Leh
- Stok Palace
- Nimmu house close to Lamayuru
- Uley resort close to Lamayuru
- Kailash Mansarovar Homestay Guest house Nubra
- Mystic Pangong tents