LEH LADAKH ROAD TRIP-THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE

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Leh Ladakh Road Trip is rated as one of the Top 5 Road Trips on Earth ! This ultimate road trip on earth definitely needs an ultimate check list, so that you can make the most out of your trip. After all, Leh Ladakh Road trip is not any Himalayan weekend getaway that a lot of North Indians are used to. You don’t get all the scattered information and experience required for this trip in one blog. Out of decades of experience of Roads Less Travelled’s founders and travellers, we have compiled one Bumper Ultimate Checklist that any Ladakh Traveler must go through. So if you are planning a Leh Ladakh Road Trip for the first time. Here’s your essential travel guide for the road trip to Leh Ladakh.

Leh Ladakh Road Trip Guide In a Nutshell (Infographic)

Leh Ladakh Road Trip Travel Guide Manali Leh Srinagar Leh Ultimate Checklist  Bike Trip

Take the Roads Less Travelled With our Leh Ladakh Road Trips ..!!

Click on the Sub-Headings below to jump to particular section

 

 

  1. Leh Ladakh Road Trip Map
  2. How To Reach Leh Ladakh by Road
  3. Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh
  4. Things to Carry on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  5. Self Drive Essentials for Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  6. Acute Mountain Sickness During Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  7. For Women Travellers on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  8. Places to Visit on Your Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  9. Local Languages on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  10. Hotels on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  11. Photography Points During the Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  12. Essential Utilities on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  13. Mechanics on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  14. Eating Points on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  15. Essential Information and Tips for the Leh Ladakh Road Trip


 

Leh Ladakh Road Trip Map

Ladakh road Map Roads Less travelled
Manali Leh Road Trip Map

Srinagar Leh Road Trip

 

How To Reach Leh Ladakh by Road

Routes

There are two routes to Ladakh and it takes two days for each of these journeys.

  • Manali to Leh (NH3)– 475 km
  • Srinagar to Leh (NH1D)– 422 km
Leh ladakh trip

Credit: Kamaljith

2016 update 

Srinagar – Leh route is expected to open in April 2016

Manali – Leh route is expected to open in May 2016

CLICK HERE for the current status of these two highways.

Sindhu Darshan Festival is between 12-14th June 2016 at Sindhu Ghat near the town of Leh. Do visit it if you are planning your trip in June.

Important Note

If you plan to take the Manali-Leh Highway, start early for Rohtang Pass to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Rani Nallah before Rohtang is a slushy area and needs to be trodden carefully.

Leh ladakh trip

Traffic Jam on Rohtang Pass,  Credit: John Hill

Modes of Transport for the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

By Own Vehicle

  • You can drive your own vehicle to Leh. If you are taking a car, an SUV or MUV would be the best option instead of a hatchback or sedan.

By Bus

  • Himachal Pradesh Tourism and J&K Tourism operate daily deluxe and ordinary buses between Manali and Leh for a two day journey with stopover usually at Keylong.
  • Groups can take, ordinary, Deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J&K SRTC at Srinagar.

By Taxi

  • Taxis (cars and jeeps) are available at Srinagar /Manali for the journey to Ladakh.
Important Note

If you hire a driver, then hire him from a trusted agency only. There are fixed departures by a few companies but take the Leh Ladakh Road Trip travel package from a reputed company only. If you are a solo traveller, then you must join a group as the transport cost is too high.

Stops on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Manali – Leh Route

Keylong (118 km)

Jispa (140 km)

Sarchu (225 km)

Srinagar – Leh Route

Kargil (202 km)

Sarchu

Sarchu

 

Important Passes on the Road Trip to Leh Ladakh

Manali to Leh

  • Rohtang Pass (3978 m) – Crosses Pir Panjal range. Opens in early June. Leave early to avoid traffic. Closed on Tuesdays for maintenance.
  • Bara lacha La (4890 m) – Crosses Great Himalayan range. Opens in April.
  • Tanglang La (5328 m) – Crosses Zanskar range.

Experience The Serene Beauty Of Manali-Leh Road Trip ..!!

Srinagar to Leh

  • Zoji La (3528 m) – Connects Ladakh with Kashmir. Opens by late May or early June.
  • Fotu La (4108 m) – Highest point on the Srinagar-Leh route.

Make This Summer Unforgettable With Srinagar-Leh Road Trip ..!!

 

 

Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh

June-August  is the peak season that attracts a large number of tourists and travellers to visit Ladakh. Roads are open in September and October also, but it gets very cold to stay en route or find places to stay.

Leh ladakh trip

Temperature

Summers (June to September)

Minimum: 5° C, Maximum: 30° C

Winters (October to May)

Minimum: -25° C, Maximum: -1° C

See Our Blog On Best Time To Visit Leh Ladakh ..!!

Things to Carry on Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Luggage and Bags

  • Carry waterproof backpacks and handbags for day hikes.
  • Avoid strolleys and heavy suitcases.

Toiletry and Medical Supplies

  • You must  be prepared for a great tan since you will be travelling under the scorching heat of the bright sun. Therefore you must carry high SPF sunscreen (UV40+), moisturisers, lip balm
  • Pain relievers-Moov, Volini spray/balm, camphor (helps in breathing at high altitudes)
  • Analgesics, Aspirin, Advil or Tylenol – for headaches etc. (NOT Codeine based pain killers) prescribed by your doctor along with your regular medications.
  • Insect repellent, antiseptic cream
  • Re-hydration salts (oral)- 6-8 sachets/Gatorade type electrolyte.
  • Iodine based water purification tablets
  • Start taking Diamox 24 hours before Manali but after consulting a physician as it gives tingling sensations on fingers and irritation on face.

Clothing and Footwear

  • Good, heavy,waterproof shoes for trekking and walking
  • Extra pair of socks (esp. for bikers as you will have number of water drains and streams to cross)
  • Carry proper woollen clothes (esp. for the months of April-July & October-November)- Jackets, Sweaters, Comforters, Shawls etc. You will need layers of clothes in the cold and airy weather of Ladakh. However in the months of August & early September you will NOT need much woollens.
  • Sometimes there are unexpected showers of  rain/snow. Therefore you will need Rain Jackets or raincoats and umbrellas.

Things to carry to your road trip to Ladakh

Electronic Devices

  • A good quality camera will ensure you capture the scenic and magnificent views throughout your journey.
  • Memory cards of a considerable size are advised.
  • Carry fully charged batteries and chargers along, as the batteries tend to lose their charge quickly at higher altitudes.
  • Some electrical  devices (Cameras, I-pods, etc.) may behave differently (work improperly/stop working) at higher altitudes.

Accessories

  • Wide brim hat/scarf
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Lightweight gloves/mittens
  • Small Wash/Hand towel
  • Multi-tool knife
  • Large plastic bags(for keeping items dry inside trek  bag)

 

Self Drive Essentials for Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Important Tips

  • Make sure your vehicle has a high ground clearance. A vehicle which is 4×4, SUV or MUV is more suitable than a sedan (Honda City/Verna) or a hatchback (Santro,Wagon-R etc.)
  • Get your vehicle properly serviced before the trip.
  • Carry a spare tire and a mechanical tool-kit – you may need it during the journey on the rocky and uneven terrain.
  • It is advisable to carry a large container for fuel as there are only a few fuel pumps on the way.
  • Even if your fuel tank is full, pick fuel from Tandi as the next petrol pump is available only at Upshi, 365 km away from Tandi.
  • Start early in the morning for all journeys as you will reach your destination on time and not miss the view enroute.
 Driving on the Leh ladakh Road Trip

Photo Credit- Tamagna Ghosh /500 px

Permit

  • Out of State Vehicles (only 4 wheelers) need a permit to travel from Manali to Rohtang Pass which is issued by the Office of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Manali.
  • Permit Office Timing are 10 Am to 5 Pm from Monday to Saturday (barring Second Saturday, Sundays and Government Holidays)
Views of the Mountains on a Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Photo Credit- Capricious Mind/ 500 px

Road Update – Expected Bad Road Patches 2015 as Per Last Year’s Experiences

Manali – Leh Route

  • Rani Nallah between Marhi and Rohtang Pass. Though it is being imporved.
  • Patches between Rohtang Pass and Khoksar
  • A couple of streams and slushy patches to watch out for near Rohtang.
  • Stretches where road has not been made- Mo0re Plains
  • Near Tanglang la top where the road is being broadened

Experience The Serene Beauty Of Manali-Leh Road Trip ..!!

Credit: Ramblinggears via Blogspot

Credit: Ramblinggears via Blogspot

Srinagar – Leh Route

  •  A couple of patches to look out for before Drass.
  • A few bad patches for the first 15 -20kms from Kargil towards Leh.
  • Kargil- Zanskar the only region with very bad roads/absence of roads. You will find good roads till Sankoo after which you would encounter many streams.
    Remember to leave early and cross the streams before 11 am – 12 noon after which the water level starts rising.
  • Leh-Khardung La – Nubra (Panamik and Turtuk as well) around 25 km of bad stretch towards the Khardung La top.

Keep following the blog for updates on bad roads in 2015.

Make This Summer Unforgettable With Srinagar-Leh Road Trip ..!!

Landscape View on your Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Photo Credit: Fluviyo Spada/ Flickr

 

 

Acute Mountain Sickness During Leh Ladakh Road Trip

AMS symptons on High Alititude in Ladakh

 

Important Tips to Avoid AMS on Leh Ladakh Road Trip

  • Start taking Diamox 24 hours before Manali after consulting a physician as it has certain side effects like irritation etc.
  • You can also take coca which is also taken for high altitude mountaineering.
  • Take chocolates, chewing gums etc. Due to low oxygen levels you will feel tired easily, that’s when chocolates and energy bars will come to your rescue.
  • Have garlic as it increases oxygen capacity.
  • Take ginger water.
  •  Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids (NOT alcohol). Acclimatization causes fluid loss, so drink at least 4 to 5 litres of water per day.
  • Eat your food regardless of not being hungry, for high altitude acclimatization. However, eat light.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, sleeping pills and other depressant drugs.

Oxygen Cylinder

  • Carry small, portable Oxygen cylinders (5-6) which last for a few minutes. These are easily available at known chemists in Metro cities.
  • Oxygen cylinder costs approximately Rs 400. Carry  beforehand as you might not find them in Manali due to their being out of stock.
Variety Of Oxygen Cylinders on ROad Trip to Ladakh

Photo Credit- Sunsethcs

 

For Women Travellers on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Since there are NO toilets on the way (only available in camps etc.), it is normal to make a group and go behind rocks. DO NOT avoid drinking water due to this reason. It’s important for acclimatization!

If you are a solo woman traveller then join RLT’s signature All Women Tour of Ladakh .

Women-Ladakh-trip

Places to Visit on Your Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Visit Many Beautiful Places Of Ladakh At Flat Rs 4500 OFF. Call 9810368865 To BOOK NOW

Manali

Vashisht Hot Pools, Hadimba Temple, Naggar, Jagatsukh

Hadimba Temple

Hadimba Temple

Srinagar

Dal Lake, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal

Dal Lake

Dal Lake

Leh

The Main Market, Hemis Monastery, Shanti Stupa

Shati Stupa in Leh

Shanti Stupa, Credit:Koshyk via Flickr

 

Ladakh

Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, Lamayuru, Dha Hanu, Thiksey Monastery

Pangong Tso, Credit: Irumge via Flickr

Inner Line Permits Required

  • According to a government guideline of 2014, Indian tourists no more require permits to visit inner line areas like Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley and Dha Hanu etc.
  • Only photo identity proofs issued by the government of India like Passport, Driving License, Voter Id, PAN card etc  are needed.
  • Foreign tourists however still need to obtain permits for these areas.
  • Permits can be obtained through registered travel agencies in Leh or from the DC office in Leh. You could ask your tour operator / hotel manager to arrange this for you.
  • Remember to carry 6 photocopies of the permit while travelling, to submit at the Checking points along with your ID proof.
  • You can take out a day to spend in Leh and get your permit. Remember to download the application form for the permit online and fill it in advance.
  • The timings for the DC (District Collectorate) office in Leh are from 10 am-5 pm, and the office is closed on Sundays. It is advisable to visit the office during early hours (before 12)

PLACES TO VISIT

 

 

Local Languages on the Road Trip to Leh Ladakh

Languages Spoken In Different Regions

  • Himachal Pradesh– Hindi, Pahadi
  • Leh– Ladakhi
  • Nubra– Balti
  • Chogalam Sar– Tibetan
  • Kargil– Purik, Shina

Credit: travelblog.org

Commonly Used Local Ladakhi Words

  • Hello, goodbye, thank you : Julley
  • How are you? : Khamzang le?
  • I am well : Khamzang in le
  • What is your name? : Nyerangi ming chi in le?
  • My name is: Nge ming le
  • Where do you come from? : Nyerang kane in le?
  • I come from Delhi: Nga Delhi ne in le
  • I understand: Hago le!
  • Do you understand? : Hago a
  • I do not understand: Hamago le

 

 

Hotels on Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Hotels and Guesthouses

You can stay in hotels and guesthouses in Manali and Srinagar. Leh too offers a wide array of hotels ranging from expensive ones like Grand Dragon to budget guest houses.

Camps

Pangong, Tso Moriri, Sarchu, Jispa, Tso Kar, Hunder have mainly camps. Pangong has Whispering Waves, the camp where Shahrukh, Anushka Sharma and Yash Chopra stayed during the filming of Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Top Camps in Leh ladakh trip

Base Camp,Sarchu
Photo Credits:Enygmatic-Halycon/Flickr

 

 

Photography Points During the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Manali – Jispa Photography Points

Waterfall at Sissu (88 km)

Confluence of Chandra and Bhaga at Tandi (113 km)

Sissu Waterfall Photo Credits: Anks/Flickr

Sissu Waterfall
Photo Credits: Anks/Flickr

Jispa – Leh Photography Points

Suraj Tal near Barlacha la (190 km)

21 Hair Pin Bends – Gata Loops (249 km)

Natural Archs at Pang (301 km)

Nomads and Wildlife (Wild Asses, Marmots etc.) at Moore Plains (313 km)

Natual Rock Sculptures

Moore Plains, Credit: Sanju via Flickr

Moore Plains, Credit: Sanju via Flickr

Leh – Nubra Valley Photography Points

Khardung La (world’s highest motorable road) (40 km)

Diskit Monastery (116 km)

Maitrey Buddha

Sand dunes of Hunder (128 km)

Double humped camels.

Camel Ride at Nubra Valley

Credit: Pankaj Batra

Leh – Pangong Tso Photography Points

Chang La (76 km)

Sunrise at Pangong Tso (225 km)

Migratory Birds

Birds at pangong

Leh – Kargil Photography Points

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib (23 km)

Nimoo (Indus – Zanskar confluence) (28 km)

Basgo (33 km)

Lamayuru (109 km)

Fotu-la (123 km)

Lamayuru Moonscape

Kargil – Srinagar Photography Points

Drass (64 km)

Zoji La (97 km)

Sonmarg (123 km)

On the Way to Sonmarg
Credit: Akash Nigam

 

Essential Utilities on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Leh ladakh trip

Fuel Points

Manali – Leh

  • Manali
  • Tandi ( 113 km)
  • Upshi (365 km)

Srinagar – Leh

  • Srinagar
  • Kargil (203 km)

Medical Aid

Hospitals

Manali, Keylong, Leh, Tangste, Diksit, Kargil, Srinagar

Army Camps

You can find medical aid at army camps at Pang and Sarchu.

 

1812015181534213

 

 

Mobile and Telephone Network Connectivity

In and Around Leh

Only BSNL, Aircel and Airtel have their networks in Leh. Tourists with post-paid mobile connections from these operators can use mobile phones in this region.

Mobile connectivity on your road trip to Ladakh

Other Places

  • Nubra valley: Phone booth in Diskit, BSNL works in Diskit, Hunder & Sumur.
  • Tso Moriri: No connectivity. However, there is mobile network in Chumathang (60 kms before Tso Moriri)
  • PangongTso: No mobile connectivity near Pangong Tso lake. However, Tangste (15 kms towards Pangong) has a Satellite phone booth and  weak BSNL connectivity.
  • Zanskar: Has mobile connectivity (BSNL) in some parts.
  • Internet and email services are available in Leh only.
  • Telephone, Fax and post facilities are available in Leh, Padum, Kargil and Nubra valley.
  • The call rate is Rs.2-5/minute at the phone booths.

 

Mechanics on Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Manali – Leh

Manali, Keylong

Srinagar – Leh

Srinagar, Kargil

 

Eating Points on Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Manali – Leh

Marhi, Khoksar, Sissu, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Zingzingbar, Bharatpur, Sarchu, Pang, Rumtse, Lato, Upshi

Srinagar – Leh

Sonmarg, Drass, Kargil, Mulbekh, Lamayuru

 

Essential Information and Tips for the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

 

Sleeping Bags for the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

Sleeping Bags for the Leh Ladakh Road Trip

  • NOT many places have the facility of Credit/Debit cards, so it  is advisable to carry cash with you.
  • There are  SBI/ J&K/ HDFC/ PNB/ AXIS bank’s ATM available in Leh. However due to huge tourist movements in the season, they are usually jam-packed or out of order.
  • At various places you can/ will have to stay at Campsites, so carrying your own tents, sleeping bags etc. would be a good idea. Packed food and water too would be needed at such places.
  • Inform your family that there will be no network in Ladakh and thus you will be unable to communicate properly for a few days.
  • See your doctor before going to Ladakh – especially if you suffer from any heart related problem or asthma.
  • Carry snacks, biscuits etc. with you. Landslides/road blocks can happen unexpectedly on your way and you would not want to stay hungry at such times.
  •  Please avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts, blouses, tops, undershirts etc. in public and especially in Monasteries, Mosques, Temples, Gurudwaras, and Churches.
  • Ladakh is a “no polythene” zone. Kindly respect this and please carry back all the plastic you take with you. DO NOT litter around.

 

Experience The Mesmerizing Beauty in our Ladakh Packages 2015..!!

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