The top places to visit in Leh Ladakh include the famous Pangong Tso Lake, Zanskar Valley, Nubra Valley, Hemis National Park and many more. Leh-Ladakh is one of the most famous hill stations in India and is a dream trip for every bike lover. Ladakh’s top attractions and the true essence of its history lies in the Ancient Buddhist Monasteries and Royal Palaces. A visit to Ladakh can be a little exhilarating but it’s too good to miss.
Once you are in Ladakh, you can witness the avid shades of purple, brown and green in the long-deserted stretches of mountains. Alternatively, you can have a lifetime experience of seeing white sheets of snow spread over kilometres, glittering by the rays of the sun.
Ikr, Ladakh is just amazing!
HOW TO REACH LADAKH
Ladakh is well linked to all the major cities of India. This implies you can reach Ladakh by road, rail or flight. Here’s how:
By Flight: Leh-Ladakh has an airport perched at an elevation of 3256 m. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport receives flight from almost all major cities of India, thus making it one of the most convenient means to reach.
By Rail: Jammu Tawi is the closest railway station from Ladakh. Distance from this station to Leh is about 700 km and takes 15 hours to reach there by taxi/bus. I won’t really consider it as one of the most convenient modes to reach Ladakh as it can be very tiring.
By Road: The route to Ladakh has some amazing scenic beauty. You can reach Leh Ladakh via two main highways:
- Srinagar – Leh Highway: Open between July to November (Distance: 434 km)
- Manali – Leh Highway: Open between mid-June to Early-October (Distance: 474)
If you are planning a trip from Jaipur to Leh or Delhi to Ladakh, then I would suggest you take a direct flight. It’s the most convenient model to reach there. Plus, you get to witness some amazing ariel views of snow top mountains. However, if you are planning a trip from Manali to Leh, a road trip is what I would recommend!
TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN LADAKH
Visit the sand dunes of Nubra Valley, ranked as the top five places to visit in Ladakh. Nubra Valley is located towards the northeast and it gives you the perfect Arabian nights feel. It is the most famous tourist attractions in Leh Ladakh as it is also home to the unique two-humped camels. You can’t say that you have experienced all of Ladakh’s top activities unless you take a ride on one of these camels.
Driving through the pass will give you chills as it is the ‘highest motorable road in the world’. Thus, making it a must-visit trip for the adrenaline junkies. I won’t say that Khardung-la Pass is a typical tourist attraction but it’s definitely something that you can’t miss when you visit Leh. Khardung-la Pass is the gateway which leads to Nubra and Shyok Valley. It is also listed as one of the most visited tourist attractions in and around Ladakh and is managed by the borders road organisation.
Moreover, you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the Rinchen Cafeteria: the highest cafeteria in the whole world. Having tea, coffee, maggie and momos at the height of 18,360 feet above sea level would definitely be the most thrilling dining experience of your life.
Best time to visit: The summer season between May to September
(QUICK TIP: The locals know their place inside out! Ask your taxi driver to point out all the sightseeing locations. I remember when I visited Ladakh, my taxi driver very generously showed us some key Ladakh sightseeing locations while we were on the way to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso Lake)
PANGONG TSO LAKE
Pangong Tso Lake is one of the top places to visit in Leh Ladakh. It is situated on a plateau in the eastern Ladakh region and is famous for its breathtaking views. Pangong Lake has also been featured in the Bollywood blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’. It’s too good to be missed.
Best time to visit: The lake freezes during winters. So, I suggest you visit Pangong Lake in summers i.e. June to October.
I rank Zanskar Valley amongst the must-visit places in Leh. Here’s why:
- Seasonal white water rafting at Zanskar Valley: You can have a rafting experience unlike any other place in the world
- Zanskar Valley has some spectacular views of snow-covered steep terrains
- And of course, THE VALLEY! It’s too beautiful to be missed
Best time to visit: The roads to the Zanskar Valley gets covered in snow during winters. So, I suggest you visit the valley in summers i.e. June to September
Kargil is the second largest town in Leh-Ladakh and is situated on the banks of River Indus. It acts as a transit hub with several roads leading to Zanskar, Srinagar and Leh. Kargil is also amongst the most visited Ladakh places for adventure enthusiasts as there are several sports relating to trekking and mountaineering.
Best time to visit: The summer season between May to July
HEMIS NATIONAL PARK
Hemis National Park should definitely be on your list of top places for sightseeing in Ladakh. The largest park in South Asia, Hemis National Park, is an adobe for nature lovers and bird watchers. This park is home to endangered mammals like leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear etc.
Best time to visit: The summer season between May to September
Practice your superpowers at the Magnet Hill of Ladakh. It is observed that if you leave your car with breaks unlocked, your car will start moving towards the hill. Seems unreal right? Science can’t explain this, which implies it’s the magic of Leh Ladakh. I definitely recommend you to add this unjustified phenomenon to your list of amazing places to visit in Leh Ladakh.
Find inner peace at one of the most magnificent Buddhist monuments of India. Located at the hill, Shanti Stupa offers a breathtaking panoramic view of sunrise and sunset. Even if you are not a spiritual person, include Shanti Stupa in your list of places to Ladakh.
If you are visiting Ladakh in June, you can miss the famous annual mask festival of Ladakh. It’s a two-day spiritual celebration that takes places on the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. Hemis Monastery ranks as one of the most famous Buddhist Monasteries in India and each year devotees from all over the country come here to celebrate the reincarnation of Gautama Buddha.
Best time to visit: June
MONASTERIES IN LADAKH
Ladakh is also known as the land of monks and monasteries. Spituk Gompa is one of the top places to visit in Leh Ladakh amongst the various Buddhist Ladakh places. Whole Ladakh is home to one of the most sacred Buddhist preaching locations in India. Here is a list of most visited Buddhist attractions of Ladakh:
- Spituk Gompa
- Thiksey Gompa
- Diskit Monastery
- Stakna Monastery
- Phyang Gompa
- Likir Monastery
- Phugtal Monastery
- Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
- Chemrey monastery
ROYAL LEH PALACE
View the charming town of Ladakh from one of the most amazing palaces of India: Royal Leh Palace. This place has loads of interesting historical facts and a very strategically built infrastructure, all portraying the glorious living of the royal family. Moreover, to add to the charm of the place there is a stunning statue of Buddha at the back of the palace.
Some key facts about this place:
- Built-in the 17th century
- Only built of stones, wood, mud and sand
- The walls are specially designed to provide pleasant temperature inside, despite any outside temperature
Best Time To Visit: August
Entry Fee: INR 20 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners
Timings: 07:00 AM to 04:00 PM everyday