What to do in Leh Ladakh
What to Do
Trekking : Leh is the place to prepare for a trekking in Ladakh, which offers a huge number of possible trekking routes.
White-water rafting : on the Zaskar and Indus rivers is also organised from Leh. Please be advised that the Indus rafting route from Nimmu towards the Pakistani border has rapids of increasing severity which run along the grades of 4, 4+, and 5; the latter two grades being not for the very faint of heart.
Camping is possible at Pangong Lake and on the sand dunes of Nubra Valley. Several mid and high end camps are available at both these places in the peak season from mid April to mid October.
Home Stays are possible at various locations in Ladakh and can be arranged by a travel agent. It is a great way to explore local culture and interact with the villagers. A good pace to do home-stays is Turtuk in Nubra Valley which has been recently opened to tourists.
Cycling – Various cycling tours are organised by travel agents and you can also hire a bicycle and go cycling individual
Carpet Workshop – A free carpet and pashmina workshop is offered daily at 6pm at Hazara Arts, Shanti Stupe Road near KC Restaurant, a few minutes from the center of town, walking towards Shanti Stupa, in the first right bend of Changspa road. We discuss history of carpets, analyze different traditional designs and techniques of production and learn how to differentiate various qualities of carpets and other textiles. Free tea may also be offered to participants.
Festivals of Leh
Hemis Festival : Hemis festival is celebrated during June/July to celebrate the birth of guru Padmasambhava.
Losar Festival : Losar festival is celebrated in 11th month of Tibetan calender.
Ladakh Festival : This colourful festival held in the month of September.
What to See
Leh Ladakh is a region where every hill and turn gives you something exciting to experience. We can’t really list them all here, but belew are some of the main and must visit places in Leh Ladakh.
In and Around Leh city
- Spituk Monastery
- Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
- Leh Palace
- Shanti Stupa
- Magnetic Hill
- Shey Palace
- 3 Idiots School
- Thiksey Monastery
- Hemis Monastery
- Stok Palace
- Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
- Hall of Fame
- Sangam (Confluence of River Indus and River Zanskar)
- Rock and Minerals Museum
- Donkey Sanctuary
- Old Town below Leh palace
- Stakna Monastery
- Matho Monastery
- Phyang Monastery
- Phey Monastery
- Jama Masjid
- Sindhu Ghat
- Khardung La (World’s Highest Motorable pass)
- Khardung Village
- Deskit Monastery and Budha statue
- Hunder Sand Dunes
- Panamik Hot springs
- Pangong Tso Lake
- Chang La (World’s 2nd Highest Motorable pass)
- Marsemik La
- Man Village
- Merak Village
- Chushul (permits required)
- Tso Moriri Lake
- Karzok Monastery
- Hanle Observatory (permits required)
- Ukdungle (permits required) (Southern most part of Ladakh)
- Ryul Lake
- Kyagar Tso
- Yaye Tso
- Mirpal Tso
- Tso Kar
- Chumathang Hot Springs
Where to Eat
There are plethora of options in Leh city to eat. Some of the renowned and famous options are:
- Chopstics Noodle Bar (Chinese)
- Tibetan Kitchen (Tibetan)
- Gesmo Restuarant (Indian, Continental, Chinese)
- Lamayuru Restuarant (Indian, Continental, Chinese)
- Bon Apetit (Italian, European, India)
- Neha Snacks (Indian)
- Wonderland (Indian, Continental, Chinese)
- Bob’s Cafe
- KC Garden Restuarant (Indian, Chinese)
- Open Hand Expresso Bar and Bistro
- Pumpernickel German Bakery (Bakery)
- New Wazwan Planet (Kashmiri, Indian)
You should also try these below local foods if you are able to get some hands on it.
- Cheese from Yak’s milk (also called Chhupri)
- Tingmo (pronounced Teemo)
- Butter Tea
- Thukpa or Thenkthuk or Skyu
- Seabuckthorn Juice (Leh Berry Juice)
- Dried Apricots
How to Reach
By Own Vehicle
- By Cycles and Motorcycles – Leh Ladakh is known as mecca for Bikers and lot of riders come alongwith their own motorcycles or rental ones. The riding spirit starts from Manali and spreads all across Leh Ladakh region. Choice of motorcycles depends upon each and everybody’s personal preference. There is nothing called the best bike to ride to Ladakh. It boils down to your own choice. We have seen enthusiasts riding scooters, cycles, motorcycles of all types and cc’s.
- If you are taking a car, an SUV or MUV would be the best option instead of a hatchback or sedan.
- 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. There is also a bus service which started operating from Delhi itself.
- Groups can take, ordinary, Deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J&K SRTC at Srinagar.
- Taxis (cars and jeeps) are available at Srinagar /Manali for the journey to Ladakh.
- Flights from service providers Air India, Jet Airways and Go Air operates from Delhi / Mumbai / Srinagar.
Things to Carry
Luggage and Bags
- Carry waterproof backpacks and handbags for day hikes.
- Avoid strolleys and heavy suitcases.
- Remember less is good but carry essentials.
Toiletry and Medical Supplies
- You must be prepared for a great tan since you will be traveling under the burning heat of the bright sun. Therefore you must carry high SPF sunscreen (UV40+), moisturisers, lip balm etc.
- Pain relievers like Moov, Volini spray/balm, camphor (helps in breathing at high altitudes)
- Analgesics, Aspirin – for headaches etc.
- Insect repellent, antiseptic cream
- Re-hydration salts (oral)- 1-2 sachets/ ORAL-B type electrolyte.
- Start taking Diamox 24 hours before Manali but after consulting a physician as it has some side effects and gives tingling sensations on fingers and irritation on face.
- Crocin, Avomine (for motion sickness) and other general medicines.
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 nalas and streams to cross)
- Carry proper woolen clothes (esp. for the months of April-July & October-November)- Jackets, Sweaters, Comforters, Shawls, Caps, Gloves 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 woolens.
- Sometimes there are unexpected showers of rain/snow. Therefore you will need Rain Jackets or raincoats and umbrellas.
- A good quality camera will ensure you capture the scenic and magnificent views throughout your journey. Go Pro cameras work really well in these conditions.
- Memory cards of a considerable size are advised.
- Carry spare and 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.
- 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)