Tripping to Leh Ladakh is an adventure of a lifetime as a journey to these heavens will make your travel itinerary filled with adventure as well as serenity! The panoramas of Leh Ladakh are charmingly attractive plus you can also head to Ladakh on your bikes and experience a roadie adventure soaking in the beautiful aura of Ladakh. So, if you are planning your next trip to Ladakh, it is important to find the right time of the year when you can take a hassle-free journey to this place and immerse in its amazing vibes! To help you experience the best time in Ladakh, here is a complete guide on the best time to visit Leh Ladakh including the weather and climate conditions of Ladakh all around the year.
Planning the Trip to Leh Ladakh
How to decide the best time to visit Leh? You just need to ask yourself a few questions.
- Do you want to see the lakes or do you want to enjoy the snow?
- Can you survive in really cold weather? Cold means really COLD!
- Are you on an adventure trip or going to enjoy family time?
- Do you enjoy a crowded place full of tourists or do you enjoy silent places and your own company?
- When are the main events and festival happening?
- Which are the monastery to visit during season time?
Answering these small-small questions will decide the moto of your trip. Don’t worry, we will certainly guide you with tips which will help you answer these questions.
Best time for an extreme adventurer to visit Leh Ladakh
The trip to Ladakh during the winter season is a treat to the adventurers and all Bear Grylls fans in India! In the really cold place when the temperature goes around – 7-degree Celsius. It is very difficult to survive in such extreme conditions. The chilled water stops the sensations sometimes, you have to use dry pits for the toilet. Running water is not available as everything is frozen. Most importantly you have to be medically and physically fit to survive in these conditions.
Adventurers always are in search of this kind of condition. They really enjoy the hard-hitting chills. The extreme conditions invite them on the ride to spectacular valleys! They enjoy being challenged and getting stuck in the journey so that they can take mesmerizing memories after reaching the ultimate destination.
Therefore, October to March is the best time when the condition of Leh starts to turn difficult than the pleasant summers. You will have to choose the only airway at this time as roads are closed.
All the areas you will visit will be deserted and no facilities are available. They even might be inaccessible due to snow in high mountain passes. Surprisingly almost all monastery remains open in winters. Few of them even get disconnected to the city area but locals do visit these remote monasteries. Major trekking routes also get closed as all the passes are blocked and becomes impossible to trek in winter time.
In January and February, there is a famous trek that is rated as the top 10 dangerous treks in the world. In the Zanskar Valley, the temperatures go below -15 degrees centigrade and the beautiful River Zanskar freezes. Adventure enthusiasts from across the globe gather to take this trek on the frozen Zanskar river popularly known as Chadar Trek.
The dangerous part is that the ice sheet which forms on top of the river might be weak or breaks at various places. Therefore any small mistake is fatal. This trek is done along with highly experienced tour guides. A notification is also given to the army for any emergency evacuations to be done immediately.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh for a family trip
When you are with family then certain restrictions of safety, security, health, and basic amenities are part of your travel. But when you are with family these things are actually not a restriction but care for your family. Family trips are supposed to enjoy the time with your loved ones.
On family trips, you want to do sightseeing, interact with local people, know their culture, try out local food, and many other fun things. You can enjoy such moments only in summer season. The season starts in May and ends by the end of September. June to September is the period which makes your journey beautiful. All the roads and airways are open at this time and there are lots of events happening across the Ladakh region including festival, traditional sports, and games.
You can visit Nubra, Pangong and Tso Moriri during your journey. Nubra valley is the most travelled destination which also covers Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world. There is a route from Shyok valley which connects Nubra valley to Pangong. It is safe to travel from this valley but you should be careful during the rainy season. Sometimes due to heavy rainfall, the Shyok river gets flooded and flow gets tremendously increased. There are events where even the roads got washed away and tourists got stuck for 1-2 days.
Let’s have a look at month-wise conditions of Leh to find out the best time to visit Ladakh.
1. Mid October to March
By the end of October, the temperatures fall down drastically which results in freezing weather in the state. The restaurants, guest houses, and hotels are closed and locals migrate to warmer areas leaving Leh city almost in a deserted area. So, it is not advised to explore Ladakh during the wintertime.
Moving further to Mid-November, the weather still remains cold and chilly but the frozen lakes and colorful hues of Pangong Tso Lake and Tso Morori lake attract many tourist to Ladakh. You can take a flight during this time if you want to amaze yourself with the astonishing snow-white heaven that Ladakh transforms into!
If you are a snow fan and want to experience it live, this is the time you should visit. Snowfall starts in December and continues till March/April. Here the snowfall is just like in foreign countries in Europe. It is light and extremely soft.
2. April to Mid-May
April is the time of the year when most of the tourist start coming to Ladakh and the whole region lights up with a vibrant aura. The restaurants and hotels are opened and camping sites are also set up near famous lakes. Moreover, by late April, the popular lakes of Ladakh start thawing which makes them just perfect to plan a picnic to and spend a whole day and night gazing over the stunning landscape of this state! The Srinagar-Leh Highway is also opened along with the Khardung La and Chang La Passes in their complete snowy beauty are availed for travelers to explore! Through these passes, you can visit popular destinations like Nubra, etc.
Even in April and May, if you are lucky, you can experience heavy snowfall in the region. This is just perfect as after a snowfall the bright sun makes you feel its presence and the importance of the sun in cold months.
3. Mid May to July
Here comes the favorite summer in which tourist season starts. May is a good time to discover Ladakh because of the pleasant weather of the region but the landslides and blockages on the roads can be an issue in your traveling. So, you can fly to Leh and then head to explore the place which will be a better option rather than getting stuck amidst the landslide. Further by the end of May and the coming June and July, the roads get clearer and the weather is lovely to take a trip all around Ladakh. In June, there is a famous festival known as the Hemis festival. It happens in the Hemis monastery and is a must-visit for cultural enthusiasts including Indian and foreign nationals.
June is the best time to visit as people get respite from harsh summer time across India. There is no fear of rains and you also get to see snow at high mountain passes. But June is also filled with tourist and vehicles. As per Leh administration number of tourist arrivals increase tremendously in June. Also, snow starts to melt at various places en route on Manali and Srinagar highways which leads to a water crossing. This becomes challenging for cyclists, Bike and other vehicles to cross at some choke points.
4. August to Mid-September
Monsoon season enters Leh Ladakh from August and the roads get trickier for traveling. There are areas like Zojila Pass and Baralacha Pass which receive less rainfall but the other areas for entering Ladakh are prone to heavy rainfall which can pose hassles to your trip. So, this phase is apparently not recommended for traveling but if you love monsoons and you are lucky enough to get a flight, you can still enjoy the amazing rainfalls of Ladakh and soak in the cool vibes!
However, in the monsoon season, the Indus River and Zanskar river changes its color from blue to brown. This change is amazing to experience and the rivers gather more flow which makes it perfect for river rafting. Tourist can visit Sangam (just after magnetic hill) which is a confluence of Indus river and Zanskar river. You can book river rafting packages here.
5. Mid-September to Mid-October
This is actually the best time other than April to visit Ladakh. After the monsoon seasons, the landscape shines in bright light with the sapphire-colored lakes and clear skies. These months are the ideal ones if you want to see Ladakh in its best hues and the roads are in good condition to assist you in traveling safely.
Tso Moriri Lake, Pangong Lake, and Nubra valley becomes extremely beautiful and photogenic. The roads are perfect as they are freshly made. Traveling to other tourist places is much more convenient as there are no traffic jams anymore. In mid-September, a major event is the Ladakh festival. It attracts many foreigners as this is a congruence of Ladakhi culture and traditions. Many women from far-flung villages come to sell handmade woolen clothes. They also sell traditional food including momos and Thukpa.
Best time to visit Leh by road
The road journey is the best part when you decide to go to Ladakh. But, you cannot go to Leh by road in certain months. Almost 6 months the roads are closed. Srinagar to Leh highway opens in May and closes by November. Hence if you are planning for a road trip, plan in advance and get detailed information.
The road journey from Manali, which is in Himachal Pradesh, is also another road that you can opt for! From June end to Mid-September is a great time to plan your road trip.
Best time to visit Ladakh on Bike
We would suggest going to Ladakh on the bike by the end of June to September end. The roads to Leh Ladakh are risky and especially in the winter when this place takes the blanket of snow. Even after the winter, the roads get broken. Ride on a good bike so that bad roads won’t affect you. If you like to get wet in the rain while riding then monsoon is the best season for you to ride. You should avoid riding by September end as the weather starts getting close. The roads open by the end of May.
Best time to visit Ladakh by Car
The car journey is a cozy and private journey with your loved ones. But not all the cars would run well on the roads to Ladakh. The landslides, rain and bad road conditions are the challenges for a car journey. The best time to visit Ladakh by car in September.
Cars like Hatchback or Sedan are best for September. This is the safest month for a road journey as no natural obstacle would stop your way. SUV cars give you the advantage to go to the journey anytime between June and September.
Best time to visit Ladakh traveling by public transport
June to September is the best time to travel for you to Ladakh if you are planning for a mode of public transport. Most of the tourist visits during this time hence, shared taxies are available within your budget. Since this is the peak season you will not have to wait for the bus or taxi for more than a few minutes.
The route becomes accessible from Manali once the Rohtang pass and Baralachla pass opens to the public. So public transport including state transport bus, private tempo travelers, and shared taxis starts to ply on Leh Manali highway. Similarly, the Srinagar highway opens in May and public transport starts via ZojiLa, Sonamarg, and Kargil.
Best time to visit Leh by Air
This is the only way that is open throughout the year. It is a very convenient way of traveling. This saves your time if you are coming from the east, west, or southern part of India or abroad. Ladakh looks beautiful from the sky hence you should visit Ladakh by Air once in a lifetime. Both in summer and winter, the views are extremely special and uniquely beautiful. All the flights fly over Stok Kangri, Khardung La pass, Hemis, Thiksey, and few other locations.
Best time to visit Ladakh for photography
Do you like green or white background as a photographer? If greenery is on your favorite landscape then August is the best time. In the monsoon, the valleys invite to lie down on the greenery as well as capture the green beauty of nature in the camera. September is also one of the best times to visit Ladakh for a photographer.
This month you see different shades of nature. The greens grass, the orange-reddish leaves and the blue lakes & skies, every color beautifully paints Ladakh at its best! The canvas of color makes it easy for you to get the best clicks of your life. If you are an adventurer, a risk-taker and snow lover then December to March is the best period to capture the snowy mountains.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh for honeymoon
This is a new trend that has started recently when newly married couples have started visiting Leh Ladakh on their honeymoon. These people must be nature lovers or trend followers. The best time to visit for honeymoon is September if the couple just wants to enjoy a regular honeymoon destination. But if the couple loves the adventure then they can even go between July to October.
Best time to visit Ladakh via Manali
Manali highway opens by May end or in early June, hence July to mid-October is the good time to travel to Leh by this road. Though the roads open in June the condition of the roads is terrible hence we advise you to simply avoid it. Temporary shutdowns, landslide or extremely cold conditions start in mid-October.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh via Srinagar
It is almost the same condition as the Manali highway. This road opens a month before Manali to Leh. From Mid-May to September the roads are open. If you want to get drenched in the rain then July end and August is the best time to visit Leh. We advise you not to travel in rains as sometimes the weather can get worse and you might have to face the consequences.
Best season to visit Ladakh
The best season to visit Leh Ladakh is Fall. In September you will get to see lots of color in the sky, on the ground, and in the lakes. The leaves start changing the color, the skies are clear, the reflection of the sky looks beautiful the lakes and the mountains add its own beauty. The weather is pleasant in this season. The hotels and restaurants are open and this is the tourist season in which they get most of the clicks on their camera.
The best month to visit Ladakh
September! Yes, this is the month where most of the tourists visit Ladakh and should visit as this month is a celebration for the travelers. Apart from that Mid-June to Mid-July is also a good time to visit Leh Ladakh.
Recent studies have shown that 45% of the tourists love to visit in June. Around 23% of the tourists visit Leh Ladakh in September. In July its around 16% while in all other months the traveler’s percentage is around 1 to 5%. In October, November, December, March, and April it is lowest at around 1-2%.
Also, the reasons attributed to the liking of travelers in June month were studied. Almost 40% of the travelers said that clear weather is the primary reason followed by lots of snow to see and ease of travel.
Surprisingly, 6% of travelers also said that June is not the best month. The sudden influx of thousands of tourists only in a month leads to extreme pressure on natural resources. This, in any way, is not sustainable tourism and will lead to much like other hill destinations. Besides July and September, it is also liked by lots of travelers due to better photography and clear weather.
The above mentioned are details of Ladakh all around the year and how you can make the best of your time here during these months. Now, it’s your time to decide when and how to plan your journey. Make sure to keep all the travel essentials and warm clothes along with important photo ids and identity proofs for a safe and lovely journey in the striking vistas of Ladakh!
Bikamp has a campsite in Leh named Bikamp At Leh Camp. We also organise Leh Ladakh Bike Trip for groups and offer customised Ladakh tour for couples, groups, families, and friends. If you are planning for an offbeat and adventurous experience, you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +91 – 9818824450 / 9549919666
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