This is Part 1 of our 5 part series on planning the ultimate road trip to Leh Ladakh in India. We will cover every aspect – itinerary, accommodation, packing, driving – of planning an unforgettable Ladakh road trip:
Read Part 2 – Leh Ladakh Road Trip II (Nubra, Pangong, and Manali) (opens in new tab)
Read Part 3 – Packing for a road trip to Leh and Ladakh (opens in new tab)
Read Part 4 – 10 Dos and Donts for a roadtrip to Leh-Ladakh, India (opens in new tab)
Read Part 5 – Accommodation: Luxury Camping in Ladakh (opens in new tab)
As we make our way to Ladakh, lush meadows, Chinar forests, and apple orchards give way to barren landscapes illuminated by the glimmering sun. Monks are everywhere and monasteries dot the landscape – that’s when you know you’ve arrived in one of the most spectacular places on Earth!!
A road trip to Ladakh is no small feat- it is well and truly the stuff of dreams. Ladakh’s soundlessness, its cobalt blue skies, bright rainbows, and glistening lakes are pure magic. This road trip boasts of iconic landmarks such as the highest motorable road in the world (Khardung La); some of the highest mountain passes in the world such as Zoji La and Tanglang La; splendid scenic drives in remote regions, and some little known gems such as the kaleidoscopic More Plains, Lamayuru, and the hypnotic Gata Loops. It is truly a road trip like no other!!
Before the fun stuff and a day-by-day itinerary of our roadtrip to Ladakh, here’s a quick look at the logistics:
Here’s an overview of the route we followed over the course of 3 weeks. We drove from Delhi to Ladakh via Gulmarg. We drove back from Leh City to Delhi via Manali.
This self-drive road trip is only for experienced drivers who are comfortable driving in India and skilled at driving in the hills. There are dubious roads, bumpy stretches, and unpaved mountain passes by the dozen (all details in the daily breakdown below). Having said that, if you enjoy driving and are fond of road trips, it truly doesn’t get better than this. Look at these panoramas and those crystal clear skies. Don’t forget to read our article on 10 Things to keep in mind while planning a road trip to Leh and Ladakh before embarking on this road trip.
Try to stick to bottled/filtered water while you are in India. Stock up on water and also on non-perishable snacks including dried fruits, nuts, and cookies before the road trip. However there is no need to go overboard as hot food is plentiful, cheap, and easily available in India.
There are hundreds of dhabas (shacks) along the way, most of which cater well to vegetarian and vegan travellers. Expect to find paranthas (stuffed flatbreads) and sandwiches. As you begin to inch closer to Leh, you will start noticing a smattering of mok mok/momos (steamed dumplings), chowmein (an Indian take on traditional stir-fried noodles), and Maggi (Instant noodles) on menus. A meal at a roadside shack will rarely set you back by more than £5 (INR 500). There are also loads of mid-range and some truly exquisite restaurants in the bigger cities you’ll hit during this road trip. We’ve mentioned a couple of our favourites in the itinerary below 🙂
The cumulative expenses depend on the kinds of hotels and restaurants you choose to stay and dine. As with every other country we visit, we chose quaint lil B&Bs for the days when we had to be on the road all day and just needed a place to crash at night and luxury hotels for languorous days that had to be spent in the same city. Besides accommodation and food, expect to spend approximately £120 (INR 12000) on fuel and £40 (INR 4000) on tolls and road taxes if you’re driving a rental car. This sum is a bit lower if you’re driving your own car.
Try renting a 4X4 for your road trip to Ladakh – this isn’t essential but it makes the ride easier. It is easy to rent a car in most major cities in India. As most of you probably know, driving in India is like nowhere else in the world. Roads are chaotic and lane driving is but a myth. Taking these things into consideration, it’s best to rent a car from an Indian rental company. Such companies understand the nuances of the Indian market well.
There are a number of car-rental companies in India. Here are a couple of things we kept in mind while renting a self-drive car in India:
- Make sure you opt for a company that provides unlimited mileage. A lot of companies offer a quote that includes limited mileage. Customers are charged an extortionate amount for every kilometre over the fixed mileage. This is never a good idea if you, like us, love taking detours and discovering offbeat gems along the way.
Keeping these things in mind, we rented a Scorpio from Myles Cars for our self-drive road trip and the experience was seamless. We opted for their personalised service, which included a pick up/drop off at our doorstep (something we’ve seen only in India 🙂 ). Our car was in great shape and didn’t give us trouble as we drove through varied terrains, bumpy roads, and mountain passes. We drove it much more than we anticipated but paid no additional cost (thanks to the unlimited mileage clause!)
Now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s head to the fun stuff. Here’s a day by day breakdown of a road trip to Ladakh:
Day 1: Driving from Delhi to Patnitop
The first day’s drive through bustling Indian towns and cities and plains is perfect to acquaint oneself with driving in India. The drive from Delhi to Patnitop, a small hill-station in Jammu and Kashmir is long. It can take about 16 hours (although Google says 10 ;-)), so you might consider breaking it if you don’t enjoy long days on the road. In any case, always take frequent breaks especially if you are the only one driving.
Start early – we left Delhi at 4.30 am. We took the following route: Delhi-Karnal-Ambala-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Pathankot-Udhampur-Patnitop. This drive isn’t particularly scenic and there are frequent toll booths along the way. However the first 7-8 hours boast of great roads. Also, there are lots of service stations and public toilets along the way.
There is no shortage of restaurants. International chains – McDonald, KFC, Subway – seem to be extremely popular in the area. But if the weather’s conducive, we’d suggest taking a pitstop at a traditional Indian dhaba (shack) for some North Indian grub.
Fight the impulse to follow your GPS blindly and try to stay on the highway as much as possible. For eg. our GPS took us through ‘shortcuts’ towards Gurdashpur and Binanagar. Instead of following the highway and driving towards Pathankot, we obeyed the GPS. This was the worst idea ever as roads were bad and in horrible condition. We ended up wasting 2 hours on an already long day!
Patnitop is a small hilltop town that makes for a perfect pitstop for the night. There are a few hotels and resorts in the area. We chose to spend the night at Vardaan Resorts because it was recommended by a couple of locals. Rooms are clean but dated and food is fresh. The view however is enviable. Waking up to this view made us really excited about the panoramas that lay ahead.
Day 2: Driving from Patnitop to Gulmarg
This is when the fun begins in real ernest. Almost as soon as you leave Patnitop, you will start spotting lush forests, meadows, glistening waterfalls, and blue skies. Apple farms start making an appearance and Kashmir’s sun-drenched panoramas put visitors in a good mood. At one point you’ll cross Jawahar tunnel and the moment you come out on the other side, you’ll be greeted to the first glimpse of the beautiful Kashmir valley.
The winding hilly drive from Patnitop to Gulmarg takes over 8 hours. Expect to make loads of stops along the way – rainbows play hide and seeks with red-cheeked kids in the countryside and Kashmir. Glowing and throbbing nature is at its best and most magical here in Kashmir.
Make sure your fuel is topped up when you leave Patnitop as gas stations start getting scarce at this point.
You could choose a hotel in Srinagar or Gulmarg. We chose to stay in a slightly secluded spot in Gulmarg – The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa was recommended to us by a reader and we’re so glad we chose it for our stay in Gulmarg. It’s a magical property, nothing short of splendid. Decadent rooms overlook snow-capped peaks and coniferous forests. On sharing a photo on our Facebook page, we found out dozens of our readers have stayed there in the past and all of them gush about it – so glad we aren’t the only ones! 🙂
Days 3-5: Gulmarg & surroundings
We spent 3 nights at The Khyber Himalayan Resort as we explored Gulmarg and its surroundings. It provided the perfect break from all that driving. Nature is extravagantly beautiful in this part of Kashmir.
You could just pick up your car, pack a picnic basket, and find an idyllic picnic spot just about anywhere. Alternatively you could go for a hike, one that’s as easy or strenuous as you want it to be, through Gulmarg’s magical woodlands. Don’t forget to hop on the Gulmarg Gondola, one of the highest operating cable cars in the world. The first level of the gondola ride is passable but the views of the Himalayas from the second level are splendid. Highly recommended. Tickets cost £16 (INR 1600). Go prepared for LONG queues 🙂
Day 6: Driving from Gulmarg to Kargil
Finally it was time to leave the serene environs of Gulmarg and head to faraway hills. The drive from Gulmarg to Leh cannot be covered in 1 day, so it’s best to cover it over 2-3 days. Kargil is the perfect pitstop if you decide to do this stretch over 2 days.
This drive is one of the most scenic drives so far. Expect glacier views at Sonmarg, little streams at Drass, herds, cheery shepherds, flocks of sheep, and seductive stretches of countryside. At Zoji La (Zojila Pass), one of the bottlenecks along the way, roads are dubious but stunning views abound. Snow-laden panoramas are everywhere to be seen so it’s hard to get annoyed at the bad roads or traffic jams.
Start early. The drive from Gulmarg to Kargil is just 250 kilometres long but it took us 12 hours because the mighty Zojila Pass is always jam-packed and the roads on this stretch are in bad shape. To add that, there was a protest in one of the villages on our way and the villagers had blocked all traffic for a couple of hours. Always stay prepared for things like these when driving in India 🙂
It being peak season we were unable to find any hotel in Kargil for the night. Finally, after over 2 hours of first pulling into Kargil, we found a dingy room at a local guesthouse. We were grateful for the beds at the end of a long day but we can’t recommend the place. I won’t get into the nitty-gritties but let’s just say we were very glad to get out of there next morning! 😉
Day 7: Driving from Kargil to Leh City
The military presence in this area can’t be glazed over. You will spot soldiers everywhere – this is because of the volatile political situation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Scenery wise, this stretch of road is spectacular! In fact, it is so scenic you will want to stop every 5 minutes especially as you inch closer to Leh. As we made our way to Ladakh, we could see lush meadows, and Chinar forests giving way to barren landscapes illuminated by the glimmering sun. Monks could be seen everywhere and monastries dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see – that’s when we knew we had arrived in Leh!!
Some of the places that are worth stopping on the way are Lamayuru village (mid-way between Kargil and Leh), Alchi, and the famous (and much hyped) magnetic hill.
Start early with lots of time on hand and stop to absorb the scenery every 20 minutes 🙂 Have lunch at Lamayuru to break your journey and enjoy the peaceful vibe at the monastery.
Leh City has loads of guesthouses and hotels to suit every budget. Choose one that gels with your travelling style – just make sure the hotel offers parking (as you will need to leave your rental car here while exploring Nubra Valley & Pangong Lake), rooms are heated, and it has oxygen supplies should you need them.
Since we had to spend quite a few days in Leh city, we chose the luxurious Chamba Camp Thiksey. It overlooks the gorgeous Thiksey Monastery, far from hustle-bustle of Leh City. Glamping is the only way to stay next to some of the most remote panoramas of the world in such luxury. We’ve been glamping in loads of places around the world but I’ll say this – nowhere has it been more decadent or scenic that in India. We loved waking up in our decadent tent at The Ultimate Travelling Camp, nestled amidst snow-capped mountains and spending languorous days absorbing Leh’s natural beauty, with cappuccino on call 🙂
Days 8-10: Explore Leh City and surroundings
There are loads of things to see in Leh City.
- Explore Shanti Stupa, a Buddhist stupa located on a hilltop
- The Old Town of Leh also makes for a fascinating self-guided walk – explore its crumbling houses, the buzy marketplace, and Leh Palace
- Leh Palace offers great views of Leh City but for truly spectacular views of Leh City, head to the neighbouring Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
- Outside the city, Thiksey Monastery and Hemis Monastery offer an insight into the Buddhist way of life. It’s easy to spend hours at each monastery – exploring rooms, marvelling at staircases, and talking to monks. Don’t miss the early morning call to prayer and prayer ceremony at Thiksey Monastery.
All these historical and cultural sites draw visitors. However here in Leh City, the landscape is the real draw – you could stop just about anywhere and be treated to a special view.
Take it easy on your first day in Leh City and give your body time to acclimatize to the altitude. If you’re on a road trip, chances are you will adjust pretty quickly because the ascent to such high altitudes has been gradual. However the difference in altitude might hit you harder if you’ve flown straight to Leh City. In any case, refrain from consuming spicy/heavy food or alcohol for the first couple of days. Have loads of water and keep yourself well hydrated.
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131 thoughts on “Leh Ladakh Road Trip: An Unbelievable Drive In India”
This is Amazing and extremely helpful. Thank you for the detailed post .
Thanks Ananya – so glad you found it useful 🙂 We wanted to pen EVERYTHING that could potentially help someone planning a trip to the area! 🙂
More than just a tour guide, its extremely helpful for people like me who are planning a trip to Ladakh.
Thanks Suyash – it took us SO long to put all this information about a roadtrip to Ladakh together in one post but your comment just made it all worth it 🙂
I have been following your page from quite a while now. I love to read your experiences and struggles in a trip. I have been struggling from last few months to plan my honeymoon trip from April 20th.
It would be great if you can help us with some inputs. We are planning a road trip to Ladakh from Manali. Is it a good option for honeymoon purpose, as we both like road trips, that’s why we thought this could be a good option. We are planning a 10 days trip from Manali to Leh and vice-versa.
Plz share your inputs also if you have any other suggestions than Ladakh, we are open for suggestions.
Plz help in the same, we are planning a decent honeymoon trip within India as we are not interested in Maldives, rest most of the countries have not opened there borders yet.
Waiting for your reply.
Hey Shivani – if you choose nice accommodation Ladakh can make for a good honeymoon 🙂 If you want someplace warmer with nice honeymoon-friendly hotels you can also choose Kerala
Such a awesome journey it look like .. I been there many a times but seems like life got refreshed after reading your words with awesome pictures … Much useful link .. In august I am Going again . Will Try all the places which U guys mentioned . Thanks 4 the post .
Thanks a ton Harkaran – so glad you enjoyed our guide to driving in Ladakh 🙂 We’re not surprised you keep going back to Ladakh – Have fun in August & don’t forget to send us photos
Stunning pictures. After reading this post, I am so looking forward to my trip to Ladakh! <3
Thanks Deepika – we hope you have an amazing time in Ladakh. Do try to check off some of the lesser known sites (Lamayuru, More Plains etc) too 🙂
Hi guys.. Wonderful writing & you guys make my mind to go & see such a beautiful place in India.. Photos are amazing. Hope you had great time there
Hey Manoj – it’s awesome that we managed to persuade you to go and drive around Ladakh. We promise you you’ll love it 🙂
I was 4 when I was left behind due to my acute asthma in 1986 by mom and Bro to joindad in Ladhak serving the Indian army.At this time this little gem wasn’t known to the world.But I grew up on stories from the valley and have been wanting to go there since I was 4. Last year after a lot of convincing my husband took me upto Srinagar, Sonamarg and Zozilla pass. I had to call dad then to salute him to serve the nation at the toughest battlefield and also assure him my asthma was doing just fine. I have been holding up Leh because I wanna drive up there and not fly so I acclimatise well.Your post is just what was needed. Thank You ?
Hey Kamakshi – you’re welcome. As we mentioned, Savi’s bronchitis held up well in Ladakh. We’re sure you’ll be fine and would love it 🙂 Just make sure you book a hotel with oxygen supplies and don’t try to pack in too much in your schedule. Hugs from us
Awesome blog, have been on two treks in Ladakh (personally count it among my favourite destinations, though obviously there is a lot of world left to explore) but your snaps are brilliant and a road trip looks like a pretty interesting prospect for a 3rd visit. Do visit the Tso Moriri if you ever go again. Long drive but personally thought it was way better than Pangong…
Thanks Uday – you should definitely try driving to Ladakh. We’ll be back for Tso Moriri but thought we’d recommend it to our readers anyway – we heard SUCH great things about it 🙂
Stunning pictures, great writing and truck load of information. Thanks for such a detailed post. Definitely bookmarking this series for our future leh travel plan. I have to ask, do you guys had any issue with self-driving in and around kashmir and ladakh? I keep hearing there are lot of taxi union issues, any comments.
Thanks a ton – glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 Driving in Kashmir and Leh City isn’t a problem but the taxi union is quite strong in Ladakh – we’ve written all about it (and how we dealt with it( in days 11 -15 of our itinerary here: https://www.bruisedpassports.com/india/epic-road-trip-leh-ladakh
Guys, it seems like an awesome journey! I’m just speechless. 🙂 The views like those make it all worth it. I’ve been wanting to go to Leh since forever. I think this post will help a lot! 🙂
Thanks a ton Ramya – hope you make it there super super soon. A roadtrip to Ladakh is truly dreamy 🙂
Absolutely stunning views and informative blog post. Can I just ask what camera you’ve used for these pictures?
Keep doing what you are doing!
Thanks a ton Harshitha 🙂 We use a Nikon D610 for all our photographs – we’ve written a detailed post on our travel and photography essentials: https://www.bruisedpassports.com/featured/travel-photography-essentials
Thanks v much Savi! Really appreciate your response, it’s been really helpful.
Btw, i just turned on notifications on your insta account! Great pictures you guys ?
Thanks a ton Harshitha 😀
I have been waiting for this post, so that I can make notes before I leave for my trip:)
Loved the post and the pictures are incredible as always:)
Thanks for taking out time to answer all my queries with regard to the accommodation at Leh, Nubra and Pangong. I have made bookings at the same stays at all 3 locations 🙂
Leaving on 17th July, so excited.
Thank you so much 🙂
Hey Chinar – that’s awesome. You MUST send us photos when you visit Leh & Ladakh. We’d love to share them with our readers 🙂 Hope you found all the information you wanted – feel free to drop us an email if you need anything else
finally , the itinerary is out. Covers all bases , but just wanted to ask for someone not going by car to leh , what all can be done using motorbikes and what will need a taxi? was planning to take taxi for Nubra valley and Pangong and Motorbike for Leh local??
Hey Gaurav – you can refer to days 11-15 to see what we did but I think what you have in mind is great. In fact you can even cover Nubra and Pangong by bike but do be warned, the roads are really steep and in bad shape. However we did see a few bikers covering the route themselves 🙂
Thanks , taking lots of cues from u guys , hope we end up as much fun as u guys.
Awesome Gaurav. Have fun and send us photos from you trip to Ladakh 🙂
Best post of yours till date.. such detailed write up and envious pictures to match up with it..3 weeks in Heaven i should say.. keep rocking guys..
Thanks a ton Madhu – so glad to hear you found it useful 🙂
just wat i needed, have been waiting since the day ur first post abt Ladakh came uo… its just my dream destination. Being suffering from chronic disorder its just scares me out listening the stories abt the place but the moment i see any pic of leh ladakh it seems this is wat i wanna do. And ur pictures, they motivate me to the T. they just scream out saying “Come fall in love with me”…just get goose bums seeing god’s beautiful creation and to witness it would be something else. great job guys love love love you. BIG HUGS AND KISSES TO U.. stay blessed and KEEP LIVING.
Thanks a million Prachi – It’s easy to get medical attention, especially in Leh City. You should make a short trip just to test the waters 🙂
Yup this is on my top priority list now. And next to top is meeting you guys. you truly are big time INSPIRATION. just WAITING FOR MY BIG FAN MOMENT. 🙂
Aww thanks Prachi – I hope our paths cross somewhere around the globe super soon 🙂
What time of the year did you take this trip? Want to plan one in April, advisable?
Hey Vamshika – we went in July. In April some roads are still snowed under, so do check before going. Or you could fly to Leh City and you’ll explore it from there 🙂
You guys are lucky to have made it just before the ban on self driving cars in Ladakh region.
Hey Sam – we didn’t. We drove to Ladakh and back from Ladakh but rented a taxi to explore Ladakh while we were there. Please see days 11-15 for this!
Great post, even greater pics! Surely gonna use this if and when I plan an epic road trip to Ladakh.
Btw, you guys look amazing in all of the pics!
@Vid: If possible, could you write a post on your photography workflow? How you manage the RAW files, what softwares you use etc? I have read about your travel photography gear but was curious about the workflow.
Thanks for the tonne of info already 🙂
Hey Anu – thanks a million 🙂 Sure I’ll definitely pen a post on that. I have a few huge HDDs (couple of TBs each) to store RAW files and I use Lightroom to edit photographs
Omg!! My husbanhuhas always been dying to be here and I have been researching the areafor quite some time now but reading all of your series I am also desperately wanting to be there. So beautiful described! This is definitely on top of my list now! Thanks for the traveling goals..
Hey Sneha – so happy to hear you enjoyed reading about our roadtrip in Ladakh 🙂 Hope the two of you make it there soon 🙂
It’s so beautifully written that sitting on my bed feels like driving on the panoramic Leh and Ladakh road.You two are inspiration for me!!
Thanks for that Upasana – this took so much time to put together but your comment just made it all seem worthwhile 🙂
Wow..I mean wow..Reading this was like traveling to Kashmir .
And the pictures are so beautiful. Loved reading !
Sorry for all the exclamation marks but I am awed.
Thanks Khushboo – so happy to hear you enjoyed both the text and words- yay 🙂
Great travelogue. I haven’t seen northern India but now I won’t be able to stay away. Thanks!
This was our first road trip to The Himalayas and it did not disappoint 🙂 You should definitely head over!
Thanks for such detailed and helpful posts and for not saying that driving in India is too crazy to attempt – I drive here everyday and love it! I think once you understand the culture and drive like an Indian it’s not too unsafe. I’d love to try this road trip on a car or a bike. Thanks for the self drive car hire tips and stunning photos too!
Hehe Anna – driving in India is a different ballgame altogether but it’s definitely doable and a lot of fun. Would love to hear from you after you attempt a roadtrip to Ladakh – have a feeling you’ll love it 🙂
Your post reminded me of my CEAT tyres sales trips in punjab and jammu. Gt road and beyond. 20 yrs back.
Extremely beautiful Photoes…
Thanks a ton Hardik 🙂
Amezing clicks! Which month u did it? how was weather? any rain?
We went in June and the weather was amazing. We didn’t encounter any rain 🙂
You guys r just superb!!..
Seeing u travel makes me leave everythng nd jst go by d flow lyk u guys do
U both are such full of positivity nd full of lyf dat it makes us believe all d more in everything u do
Dear Anubhuti, you are too kind and generous in your appreciation. We are really humbled by your words.Thanks so much and we hope you also get a chance to travel around the globe and explore everything for your self 🙂
You Guys Are Doing Awesome Work.
Thanks a ton Meet 🙂
I heard you could do go through Ladakh by road these days. Walked from Lamayaru to Darcha (took almost a month) and then bus to Manali 30 years ago! Memories. Time to go back.
Hey Steven – Walking from Lamayaru to Darcha sounds like one incredible adventure. Love the sound of it. You should definitely re-visit Ladakh – you’ll be surprised at just how much things have changed 🙂
I just checked the route – been trying to match my old photos to Google maps! We walked quite a bit further, over the Shingo La (I remember that) into Himachal Pradesh and we must have hit the road at Keylong. It appears many of the gompas are still only accessible by foot – Photoskar, Lingshed, Lingshot, and some others. There is now a new gravel road up to Phuktal north off the Manali road. Did you get up there? That is a truly incredible and memorable place, thousands of years old. I also remember as it was an easy 40 mile river valley walk from Padum, so on a road trip could be done from Padum in a couple of days. Lamayaru to Padum was about 2 weeks of daily mountain climbs – still walking only.
Which month did u travel?..Love the season colors..
Hey we travelled during summer (June)
I really wanted to know about the weather there in May.We are planning in last week of May this year.there will three kids in the group. TIA
May is a great time but sometimes the snow hasn’t melted and many roads are not open. So check for updates before leaving
It is a very advantageous post for me. I’ve enjoyed reading the post. It is very supportive and useful post. I would like to visit the post once more its valuable content. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!
We are a group of 3 engineering students from Mumbai and we have been dreaming of going to Leh Laddakh since our freshmen year! Thanks to your blog we are finally planning a bike trip to Leh from Delhi and back this year. Kudos to you guys for inspiring people like us. We shall make full use of your suggestions. Keep up the great work and wish you luck for your future endeavors.
thanks a lot for your message. Hope you guys had a great road trip to Leh Ladakh – do share photos with us if you get a chance 🙂
Hey there !
Every time I surf thru https://www.bruisedpassports.com, I’m in awe of you both.
Cheers guys !
Now coming on to the important point, how much did it cost for the entire trip.
Plus would like to have your advice on the following route we intend / plan to take – delhi to Srinagar (via flight) to leh ladakh to manali / Jammu (via road) and fly out of delhi. Would we be doing justice to the scenic beauty of Leh Ladakh.
Secondly, what time of the year does it opens for civilians, which month onwards
Yes your itinerary will be doing justice to the beauty of Leh Ladakh. Costs will vary as you’ll have to hire a cab from Srinagar to Leh to Manali/Delhi. We rented a car and drove from Delhi back to Delhi. You will be taking flights. So it’s difficult for us to tell you the estimated cost for your trip 🙂
It usually opens May onwards but that varies year on year so best to check that closer to your trip
Hi Guys . We are planning to do a road trip from Delhi to Leh , but i am hearing all scary stories that a rental Car ( yellow/black board) should be avoided as the locals don’t let u pass after a certain point ? Is this true ? Most of the folks are advising us to take flight to Leh . What do you suggest?
Hey you can only drive till your hotel in Leh in a rental car. Beyond that, (say for Nubra / Pangong etc.) you have to take a local taxi. Nothing to worry about. Taking a flight to Leh is also not a bad idea – to be honest Delhi – Patnitop drive was quite bleh and I’d rather skip that. That said, Kargil – Leh and Leh – Jispa are some of the most stunning drives so if you fly to Leh and back you’ll be missing those 🙂
Loved your post. Is the road trip doable with kids?
Thank you 🙂
I believe it’s best to take a doctor’s advice on that as many people suffer from altitude sickness in Leh and it might not be good for kids
Your post is great.. Its detailed and covers all the bases.. I have read and heard that self-driven cars from Myles and the like are not allowed beyond a point in ladakh as the local car hires do not allow you to use ur rented vehicle. I am planning for a similar trip in July by renting a car from one of these app based rental services. Need your input on this. Should I go for it or look out for other options?
Yes, you’ll only be allowed to take the car to Leh. For Khardung-La, Nubra, Pangong lake etc., you will have to hire a local car.
Can we plan a trip in July ion leh?
Yes in fact July is one of the most popular months to do a road trip to Leh Ladakh 🙂
Hi we are planning to visit leh ladakh during aug.. wanted your suggestion on where should we stay- at nubra valley or at diskit because i’ve heard all monastriea are closer to diskit but dunes are closer to nubra.. bit of confused over there. Also, have been reading articles about altitude sickness at leh. I’ve never felt any such sickness before while travelling to hill stations..should I be worried this time?
Hey one can never predict altitude sickness, so we can’t say anything. You’ll just have to wait and watch. As a precaution, do spend 1-2 days getting acclimatised to the altitude before starting to explore. We’d say Diksit is a better option 🙂
The photofeature of the Manali-Leh Ladakh road trip is just mesmerizing. Definitely have to give it a try.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh would probably be like in mid-December and Jan starts it is one of the most charming places to see I have visited there for like 3 days and 4 nights, food is also delicious. thanks for the wonderful article.
Yes we’d love to visit Leh Ladakh in winter months 🙂
Excellent blog writing with beautiful photography enjoy reading such a nice blog. Thank you for sharing.
I have read this article this is such an amazing place for hill lover. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for your detailed report!
Would you recommend doing this trip in July?
We are a European couple who loves roadtrips and I have seen so many beautiful videos of this region but I don’t know if it’s not too dangerous to drive the roads?
Hey there – would’nt recommend driving yourself if you haven’t driven extensively in India before this 🙂
Hey Savi and Vid,
Amazing Post and beautiful pictures!!!
I was planning on visiting Leh-Ladakh end of June and this article is undoubtedly the best one I have come across. Could you please let me know when (which month) did you visit?
We drove to Leh Ladakh at the end of May / beginning of June 🙂
Ladakh is a standout amongst the most attractive tourist destinations on the planet. It has amazing natural magnificence and beautiful scenes which impress visitors. Thanks for the amazing post with a great picture.
What an amazing experience you had in this road trip. I am eagerly waiting for mine, and yes your 10 Tips for planning trip to leh ladakh would be so helpful to us. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
Great – enjoy your road trip to Ladakh 🙂
We are family of 3. Myself, my husband and our 3 year old daughter. Could you pls tell me which is the best time of the year to visit Leh Ladakh. We plan to make a road trip.
We went in May/June and it was great. You do have to check the road conditions though as they vary from year to year. July/August is better but also more crowded and risk of high rains.
Hello Vid and Savy,
Your article is awesome and the photos are just incredible, that’s the best pictures I’ve ever seen of Ladakh! I’m travelling to Ladakh next year with my girlfriend, I can’t wait to be there 🙂
We are motivated to follow a similar itinerary as yours, renting a car from Delhi. However, we are wondering if this still possible. First because of the situation in Kashmir, could there be additional restrictions for foreigners? We are also unsure if it’s possible to drive a rental cat in Ladakh. On this website (https://www.leh-ladakh-taxi-booking.com/contact-us) it says that tourists are not allowed to drive in Ladakh and that it is compulsory to have a driver. Is it true? Is there a difference between foreigners and Indian tourists when travelling in Ladakh? Where to find the official rules?
Thank you in advance for your help!
Damien from France
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. In general, self-drive rental cars can be driven to get to Leh (capital), but you can’t drive rental cars to get to say Nubra valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri etc. To get to these places you need to hire a local driver.
Have you driven in India before this? It can be a very challenging experience for someone who has never driven in India. Also, as you pointed out, the current situation in Kashmir might not be favourable for a road trip via the Srinagar route.
There is a difference between foreign tourists and Indian tourists when in Ladakh e.g. you will need to get additional permits to visit Nubra/Pangong/Tso Moriri. There was a website http://www.lahdclehpermit.in/ for issuing permits online but I just noticed (June 2020) it’s not issuing permits online (this might change as they must be revising rules etc. after the situation in Kashmir last year)
Do keep us updated. It’d be interesting to see what you do. Any other questions, just mention them here.
Nice coverage of the place. I really like to this article its very interesting and informative. Thanks for your amazing travel guide and your photos are mind-blowing.
This is really a lot helpful. Me and my friends are planning a trip soon. Is Maruti Suzuki XL6 a good choice to drive for the trip? Plz reply
Yes it should be a decent choice for driving in Ladakh 🙂
Thanks for sharing very nice planning.
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Thank you so much for this content. You discussed very interesting things in this blog. I also have a great experience on Delhi to Leh trip. Checkout my content, hope you like it.
Amazing clicks Savi. The narration is really flowing, made me relive the journey. Thank you!
Nice blog post with wonderful pictures. I’m from ladakh and I really enjoyed your blog post like watching your trip on the screen like a movie. Your stay in Kashmir was very short..there are other great tourist attractions in Kashmir.
Your Delhi to a leh-Ladakh road trip is so Amazing. Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure you this would be beneficial for most people.
Super excellent blog writing with beautiful photography enjoy reading such a pleasant blog. many thanks for sharing.
Brilliantly scripted, well presented with the right balance of information and story telling and of course, your landscape photographs have taken this narrative to a different orbit altogether. Thank you guys for sharing your experiences in such a wonderful manner. I am sure there will be a lot fence sitters falling on the side of doing ” Life mein ek Bhar ” trip. A small clarification though, You mention that this trip was in End May / early June. May i know which year?.
Very informative for our journey. What you provided is very vibrant if somebody wants to take a digital tour at the destination. The pictures are mesmerizing and could easily grasp anybody’s interest towards the destination. You had covered all popular places in Ladakh but I’m a little bit eager to know about the off-beat destinations in Ladakh which would be very fascinating for me. Your content is much initiating towards any traveler who is planning for Ladakh trip. I’m convinced that this Ladakh itinerary can brought up anyone’s interest. Keep on travelling.
OMG… What a trip you had guys… it’s amazing… Fabulous… fantabulous … am just dying to follow the same path you did during your entire Ladakh tour from Delhi and the pictures… are just awesome, mind-blowing boss… Thank you guys for this lovely travel guide to Ladakh. Kudos …
Your article was very good, and you have given very good information in this article. I regularly read all the articles on your website
Wow! Such a wonderful article with beautiful pictures, everything is described in detail. The entire article is full off valuable information
& tips which will definitely help and encourage all the fellow travelers to plan it more efficiently. Leh Ladakh is one of my dream destinations . I am planning to visit there since long but due to this pandemic it has been delayed. Your article has again increased my passion and I am more excited to feel the breath taking beauty of Ladakh region with my own bare eyes. The Hotels and accommodation you have suggested will surely help me to plan my trip more efficiently. Thank you for sharing your experience and depth knowledge on the sector.
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I really enjoyed reading your post. This is a very nice article for traveling and It was an amazing blog I really like it, all pics are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing this article.
Ladakh is a standout amongst the most attractive tourist destinations on the planet. It has amazing natural magnificence and beautiful scenes which impress visitors. Thanks for the amazing post with a great picture.
While reading your post I was virtually on a Ladakh trip. You explained each and everything day to day very beautifully. It is very informative, could you please explain the exact cost breakup of the rented car to and fro Delhi.
It was roughly around 3K per day (unlimited kms) and we had to pay the state road tax ourselves when crossing different states
The blog you shared has helped me to plan a trip with my friends, the images you have shared are so much tempting. Ladakh is a wonderful beauty. I am planning for a Ladakh Motorcycle Tours with friends, hope it turns out as planned.
Thank you for sharing the information, just loved it!
You’ve accomplished a great job. I’ll definitely share it with my friends and suggest it to my acquaintances. I’m certain that they’ll benefit from this website.
Waoo, well written …keep it up, I also did Chadar Trek
Hey, loved reading the blog! Can you also tell which month you went? Or any suggestion on best time to visit Leh Ladakh?
HEy we’ve been in both summer and winter and it’s beautiful. But if it’s your first time, we would suggest June-July
welldone. i will go there next year.
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Can you recommend a good driver for 19 June-6 July 2023 for me and my wife. I have detailed itinerary with hotels booked. Cannot find a driver with an email address, so that all intinerary can be sent and proce quoted.
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