Category Archives: Ladakh Guide

Ladakh Travel Guide – My bike trip to Ladakh

I did a bike trip to Ladakh in the month of August 2019. I am putting this section together for new riders who want to experience this once in a lifetime trip. All the necessary information related to the Laddakh tour will be in this section. A motorcycle trip to Leh Ladakh can be a little tricky for anyone who is riding for the first time. I did this motorcycle trip to Ladakh from Jaipur. So here it is the Ladakh guide for your reference.

In this section, I will include everything that I experienced during this amazing road trip to the cold desert. Furthermore, I will include routes, permits, and virtually everything that I had to go through to complete this trip. Motorcycle trip to Ladakh from Jaipur can be a little tough as the distance that you need to cover is more as compared to riders who do this motorcycle trip to Leh from Delhi or Chandigarh. I would enclose every little minute detail in my upcoming posts in this category.

I will also keep updating this Leh Ladakh category with new posts in case I have missed to cover anything and also keep my articles fresh with updated information about planning a trip to Ladakh.

Inner Line Permit for Ladakh

How is everybody? I hope good and making travel plans for Ladakh. I visited prohibited areas of Ladakh in the year 2019. You can watch all my videos on my YouTube channel here. However, before you enter these areas you need to have an Inner Line Permit for Ladakh. This permit is also called the ILP for Ladakh in short. This permit covers remote areas of Ladakh. Pangong lake permit & Permit for Khardung la Pass are the same and these places are mentioned in the ILP.

I was first confused as there were a plethora of articles on getting the permits to Ladakh. However, none had accurate information. In fact, we got to know the reality when we got the permits ourselves.

So, without any delay let me guide you in getting this legal document which will take you to your favorite places in Ladakh.

As you would know if you are a keen reader we went to Ladakh from Manali. I wrote an article about the permit from Manali to Leh city.

Also, for the rest of the article, I would refer to this permit as ILP since we all know the full form which is the inner line permit for Ladakh.

A little history of permits in Ladakh

From early April 2017, the government of India made it mandatory to get a permit in order to visit the prohibited areas of Ladakh.

This is applicable to both domestic and foreign tourists. The terms and conditions of this permit differ for both domestic and foreign tourists. There are two most adorable places that everyone wants to go to when they visit Ladakh.

The first one is….. Pangong TSO. Let us see in this article how to get Pangong lake permit.

Beautiful Pangong TSO

I know it’s everyone’s dream to visit this place once. This lake is a protected area however, you can still get the Pangong lake permit. Second is… Khardung La. We will take a look at how to get a permit for Khardung la Pass in this article.

Mesmerizing Khardung La Pass

Khardung La has the highest road in the world. It was my dream to ride to this place which turned into reality in the year 2019. Permit for Khardung la Pass is also covered under ILP.

What is the Inner line permit?

ILP is a document issued by the government of India that allows tourists to visit protected areas in the country. Not just Ladakh but other areas too. In this article, we will talk only about the ILP for Ladakh.

Obtaining ILP for Ladakh is mandatory for everyone who is not a resident of Jammu & Kashmir and intends to visit protected areas in Ladakh.

Let me show you the scanned copy of my permit.

Scanned copy of Inner Line Permit

Now some terms are different for Indians and foreigners. Let us have a look at these terms.

For Indians, the permit is valid for three weeks from the date of issue however, for foreigners, it’s one week. Most noteworthy, there is no limit on how many times you visit a place till the time you have got the required permits.

How much do I have to pay for ILP?

The authorities charge a total of INR 440 per person with the break up as given below. This is applicable to both Indians and foreign tourists.

RED CROSS FUNDSINR 100
ENVIRONMENT FEEINR 300
WILDLIFE FEEINR 40
TOTALINR 440
Fee breakup of the ILP permit

Which areas need an Inner Line Permit for Ladakh?

The scanned copy that I showed has circuits. This means that places are clubbed together for the convenience of the tourists. Below are the places that require ILP.

  • Khardong (Village)
  • Khardung la (Pass)
  • Nubra Valley
  • Tso Moriri
  • Dah
  • Hanu Villages
  • Digger La
  • Tangyar (Trekking Only)
  • Khalsar
  • Trith upto Warsi & Yarma Gonbo
  • Disket
  • Hunder
  • Turtuk
  • Pachathang
  • Tyakshi in Nubra sub-division
  • Kharu
  • Changla
  • Durbuk
  • Tangse
  • Lukhung
  • Spangmik
  • Man-Merag (Pangong lake in Nyoma sub-division)
  • Leh
  • Pangong up to Chushul and Loma bend
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How do I apply for the permit?

Applying for Inner Line Permit for Ladakh is very easy. You need to get to their online portal which is http://lahdclehpermit.in/ and fill out your details.

The online process can get a little confusing for a lot of folks so let me show you the steps you need to follow on the portal.

Online Procedure for Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.

  • Go to http://lahdclehpermit.in/ and when the page loads up click on the half circle that says “Issue”.
  • Next, you need to specify if you are a domestic or foreign tourist, so in our case, we will continue with domestic.
  • Now once you click domestic it will take you to a page where you need to fill in your complete details. This page is elaborate and you will spend quite a time filling this.
  • Click next and then fill out your name, year of travel, your state, and your gender.
  • Once you fill-up the above details you will see a drop-down with different identity proofs listed.
  • Select the ID and then fill in the information from your ID proof. ID’s accepted are Aadhar Card, Driving License, Passport, or Voter ID number.
  • Now mention your complete address.
  • Under the section “Issue permit” select “directly”
  • Now you need to mention your date of arrival in the pop-up calendar when you click on “Date of arrival”
  • The information filling part is over now. You need to make sure that the information is correct as post this step you won’t be able to correct anything.

We’re halfway done folks!

  • If the information is correct click on submit. If there is no error you will get a pop up saying that you have been successfully registered.
  • Now on the page that opens up, you need to decide the circuit for which you want the permit.
  • At the bottom again select your date of arrival and date of departure from Ladakh.
  • Finally, click the “apply” button to complete the process.
  • Once clicked you should get a pop up saying that the circuit has been assigned successfully.
  • A new pop up comes which says “inserted successfully”, click OK.
  • Now you will come to a page where all your details will be mentioned. Details like your name, state, ID, and fee structure.
  • You need to take a print out of it and get a few copies.

How do I pay the permit fee?

Unfortunately, there is no option of paying the fees online at this point in time. You need to take the print out of the form along with a copy of it and get it stamped and signed from the office in Leh city market.

The address is given below.

TIC Office, Opposite J&K Bank Main Market, Leh City

Directions below:

There you go, your permit is ready and now you can visit any place which is mentioned in the document.

Key instructions from the administration for Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.

There are a few things that are specified by the administration to ensure that there is no confusion while applying for the permits. Check these points below.

  • Children below the age of 12 and the resident of Jammu % Kashmir are exempted from the permit, they don’t need one.
  • The applicants are expected to keep enough copies of the permit as they need to submit a copy at each checkpoint where ever they are going.
  • Always follow the instructions of the defense personnel and the police.
  • Follow the health advisory as instructed by the Leh Administration.

So, my fellow travelers, this was all about Permit for Khardung la Pass, Pangong lake permit, or the ILP for Ladakh as we all now know it.

In case you have any questions related to the permit please drop a comment below and I would answer you back. Happy traveling folks!

Before you go check out this video I made about permits for new travelers going to Ladakh.

Everything you need to know about the permits from Manali to Leh city and in protected areas of Ladakh.

Road Permits from Manali to Ladakh

Now, this is actually simple yet tough for the people heading to Ladakh for the first time. I will try to keep this simple but also will be elaborate a little. In this article, I will clear all the doubts related to the permits that you require. Including the Rohtang Pass Permit Fee. Permits from Manali to Ladakh and then the permit from Leh city to move around other Ladakh areas. As you guys know that I recently went to Ladakh on my bike, an online permit for Rohtang is the facility that I opted for. But, do you also know that there is a mobile application for Rohtang permit as well.

Everything that you need to know about the permits in Ladakh

Check out my YouTube channel for my video logs from Ladakh. Now, let’s get to the point here. All tourists traveling to Rohtang and beyond will require a permit. Although, the first checkpoint is at Gulaba. So ideally without a permit, you can go till Marhi. Firstly, you need to get a permit to cross Rohtang. Secondly, you would need an inner line permit to travel around Ladakh.

The NGT (National Green Tribunal) has made it mandatory from April 2017 for all people traveling beyond Rohtang to get permits. If you are wondering that is NGT, well it’s a government body that works for the preservation of the environment.

It seems like a great idea to pose a heavy transit fee, else we humans won’t even leave the mountains alone. The ecosystem here is already in a critical stage.

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Rohtang Pass Permit Fee

S.NoVehicle TypePermit FeeCongestion Charges
1 Motor Bike, Car & Jeep INR 500INR 50
2 MUV’s INR 500INR 50
3 Buses & HMV INR 500INR 100
Fee structure for the permits

When you travel just to Rohtang pass for tourism purposes then you need to pay both the Rohtang pass permit fee and congestion charges. However, if you travel beyond Rohtang La, you just need to pay the congestion charges and not the Rohtang pass permit fee. Let me show you how the permit looks like.

Permit from Manali to Leh city
CUNNING PEOPLE: How about I take the permit for beyond Rohtang in INR 50 and return from Rohtang. This will save me 500 bucks.

Don’t do that. The first checkpoint at Gulaba and the second checkpoint at Kohksar especially check this to avoid misuse of permits. Both checkpoints work on the same permit platforms.

So, the permit gets verified on the same day at Kohksar, they check the system and see if you were cleared from the Gulaba checkpoint.

Hence, my cunning friend if you applied for a permit to go beyond Rohtang La and return from Rohtang to Gulaba, then you will be caught at Gulaba checkpoint as there is no exit recorded at Khoksar for your permit. This will incur a penalty and your vehicle will be blacklisted. Bruh…..! Permits from Manali are a little tricky, thanks to the Kullu administration.

Documents required by the authority

You need to carry your vehicle’s registration certificate. Age of vehicle not to be more than 10 yrs, Pollution check is mandatory, without PUC you will not get the permit. You also need a photo ID, I would say keep your driver’s license handy. Aadhar card works, but if you are driving or riding I reckon you will have your license with you. Passport & Visa (For foreigners) is a must. This will be verified at all the checkpoints post-Rohtang pass.

Is there a limit on the number of permits and days in a week?

Of course, there is. They don’t want to flood the mountains with vehicles. Let me share a few pointers on rules and regulations to help you understand better.

  • No Vehicles are allowed on TUESDAY as the day is marked for maintenance of Rohtang Pass.
  • Congestion fees can only be paid for the next 3 days from the current date.
  • Printout is compulsory for all permissions.
  • Vehicles having wrong information on CONGESTION FEES SLIP as compared to valid proofs will not be allowed to cross the barrier.
  • In a week (Tuesday to Monday) only 2 permits can be obtained for each vehicle.
  • Daily permit limit for vehicles. Petrol vehicles: 800 & Diesel vehicles: 400
  • Permits can be obtained in two-time frames. 10:00 HRS (200 Diesel & 400 Petrol) & 16:00 HRS (200 Diesel & 400 Petrol)
  • In a week (Tuesday to Monday) only 3 permits can be obtained for each vehicle.

Getting Permit to Cross Rohtang

So I had two choices to get the first permit to cross Rohtang. Either I get to the SDM office which is at Mall road Manali, or I could get it online. So if you are moving from Manali, there are basically two types of permits from Manali. One permit is the till Rohtang and allows you to return on the same day. The other one is for crossing Rohtang La and head towards Leh city. Now let’s discuss how can you actually get these permits and what are the ways.

  1. The first way is standing in the line at the SDM office at Mall Road Manali.
  2. The most preferred way of getting to Rohtang La and till Leh is applying online. Click here to apply. This permit website is hosted by the Kullu administration.
  3. The second way again is digital. In the year 2018-19 Kullu administration launched a mobile app. You can apply for the permit on this app. This app is available on Play Store and iOS both.
  4. The fourth way is to give money to local tour operators who will get you the permits to Leh without hassle. They of-course will charge you a bit more than the actual permit fee though.

Let me explain this a bit more extensively.

ROHTANG PERMITS FROM SDM OFFICE MANALI

SDM or sub-divisional magistrate office is at Manu market, near Mall Road, Manali. Below is the location.

Till the time you are ok to stand in line and wait for a few hours, please choose this method. You will have to carry proof of ID, vehicle registration certificate, PUC along with your driving licence. You will have to submit the documents along with the fees and then again visit the SDM office after 2 to 3 hours to collect your permits. Yes, it’s not a 5 to 10 minutes job. They will not give you the permits at the same time. Now, since we are talking about the permits to Leh here, let me also include the price associated with these permits.

All vehicles will be required to pay a sum of Rs. 500 as permit fee and Rs. 50 congestion charge, so a total of Rs. 550 per permit. Buses and Heavy motor vehicles will have to pay Rs. 100 for congestion charge so a total of Rs. 600 per permit. These charges are however applicable only for tourism purpose permits. For traveling beyond Rohtang (travel permits), you will only have to pay a congestion charge of Rs. 50. There will no refund if you do not use or try to cancel your permit.

ONLINE PERMIT FOR ROHTANG & BEYOND

This is by far the easiest way of getting the permits. You just need to go on the permit portal which is maintained by the Kullu administration and apply. Once you are on the home page of this portal. It will look like below.

Different permit options on the Kullu permit portal

Once you apply for the permit post the payment you get the link to download the permit page. Download it and make 2 copies, it’s going to be enough for the rest of the route.

You can check the complete procedure by clicking the button below.

PERMITS TO CROSS ROHTANG THROUGH MOBILE APPLICATION

This was recently introduced in the year 2018-19. I mean whoever, thought of this in the Kullu administration is a mere genius. Furthermore, with this app, you can not just apply for a permit. You can check the availability of the permit since there is a capping. You can validate the permit by scanning the barcode. The application screen looks like this.

Mobile application for Rohtang permit

As you can see with this mobile application for Rohtang permit you can check availability, validate the permit by scanning the barcode and keying in the relevant information, you can download the permit & there is a separate section for FAQ. Let me share the important points for this mobile application.

  • Mobile application for Rohtang permit is available for android and iOS both.
  • Check the permit validity by scanning the bar code on the permit, alternatively, you can also use the permit number.
  • The permits to cross Rohtang have to be applied within the same time slots as mentioned before. 10:00 HRS and 16:00 HRS.
  • You can directly download the permit from this application.
  • Once the permit is issued it can not be canceled. Please be cautious as there is a cap limit. If you are unable to go please cancel your permit as other tourists might get delayed.
  • Most noteworthy is that you can apply for a Rohtang permitted only twice a week per IP address. If using a Hotel WiFi you might get a notice saying quota full, this is because other guests in the hotel might have used the same WiFi for getting the permits.

GETTING PERMIT VIA TOUR OPERATORS

If you are lazy to the core and do not like technology, you can opt for this method. A lot of people do this who do not have any clue about how the permit system works online or from the SDM office in Manali. However, be cautious as they might charge you extra for this. Somewhere from 50 bucks to 100 bucks. Although it is not worth paying this money when you can do this yourself. My friends who were not aware of this went through a tour operator and that guy cost them 400 per permit till Leh. Can you imagine a 350 RS margin on each permit?

Summing Up

With the new technological advancements, the move of creating a mobile application for Rohtang permits and an online permit portal is a welcome move for all travelers. A big thanks to the Kullu administration and SDM office Manali. These methods are helping travelers to be sufficient rather than being dependent on others. Also, with the Rohtang pass permit fee explained clearly on their permit portal, people now know what they have to pay to get permits to cross Rohtang without tour operators taking advantage of these travelers. This was a pretty extensive article, I hope I have answered all your questions. In case there is a question, please leave it in the comments and I would try to get back to you ASAP.

Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Standard Review – Post Ladakh trip!

I recently purchased Royal Enfield Bullet 350 Standard for my bike trip to Ladakh. I am a die-hard fan of this brand when it comes to motorcycles. I had a bullet 350 before unfortunately had to sell it off. I was eyeing this particular model for a long time, finally got hold of it. Thanks to my blogging business which is going quite good now. You can also start your own blog and start earning through it. Now before I tell you more about my experience on my new Bullet 350, check this video. I uploaded this video on my YouTube channel and went through some basic features.

Why Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the best bike in Royal Enfield line up?

This bike lacks self-start and rear disc brake. Still this the most preferred bike for old Enfield lovers. It has a retro look and sure can turn few heads around. Let me list down the reason why this bike such an iconic bike in RE line up.

  • The name is enough. This is the flagship bike of Royal Enfield. They have recently induced modern features like electric start, disc brakes, etc. But there is nothing like kick-starting a Bullet 350 Standard. The feel is different and it surely makes you a bike connoisseur rather than a biker.
  • This bike is very comfortable for long rides. The saddle is good, your bums don’t hurt and with little handle adjustment, it is comfortable for your hands. Some people advise to change the thin tyre at back with a little thick tyre, however, let me tell you I had no issues with thin tyre in Laddakh.
  • This bike is more stable than other models like classic 350. The reason being is’ heavier crank. Most noteworthy, that because of heavier crank this motorcycle has the old thump and driving slow in high gears is easy.
  • Now, remember, this is a cruiser bike and not a racing bike. I went little over 130+ km/hour on the freeway, but slowly and gradually. You cannot expect this bike to go from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds. (No fast and furious bro)

Let’s talk about issues now.

There were a couple of issues I could identify in the bike.

  • Before the first service, I took this bike from Jaipur to Pushkar (140km and back). Unfortunately, the silencer bolts came out and silencer was hanging without the bolt support. When inquired, I got to know that this was the dealer’s fault. They did not get my bike ready in a proper way before delivery. Ideally, they need to check every screw and bolt. This was not the case with me.
  • I tested this bike to the core on my trip to Ladakh. While riding at high altitude the pick up of Bullet 350 Standard dies. I know there is less oxygen and fuel must not be burning properly, but the pickup and performance are like literally poor. I had my bike serviced recently and the technician advised that this would not happen as he made certain adjustments. I am yet to test this, probably next year when I return to the mountains again.

Summing up

Above were the only two issues that I found on my trip to Ladakh this year. I made a few videos as well on my YouTube channel, hope you like them.

Even though I went with a group which had Bullet 350 and Himalayan, in the mountains, I did not find significant difference in 350 and bullet 500. However, Himalayan does have an edge as it’s 650cc. However, with the investment on around 1.4 lacs, bullet 350 still rules.

If you have any questions about my trip of the bike, please leave them in the comment section below. I would love to answer them.

Health Advisory – Mountain Sickness

Welcome to another article on my Ladakh tour guide. In this article, I would explain from travellers perspective about mountain sickness. What is AMS? How to deal with it. Do’s and don’ts and common myth about mountain sickness. Leh district is situated at an altitude that ranges between 3000 to 5486 meters. On the contrary to popular belief that everyone suffers AMS, actually there are very few. Often people with active lifestyle won’t have this issue. However, let’s talk about the tourist who actually suffers from AMS. There are different altitude-related disorders like Acute mountain sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and conditions of Hyper-coagulation. High altitude sickness can happen to anybody. Most noteworthy to people travelling above 8000 ft (2440 meters). Proper medical precautions should be taken to counteract these. If you follow simple rules, this will not happen to you.

Hey, check out my YouTube channel with all my Ladakh videos.

Why does Mountain Sickness happen?

Low pressure & rarefied air in Leh results in low barometric pressure of the ambient air. As a result of this lungs are able to pump less oxygen in the body. Tourists encountering sudden altitude bump is more susceptible to mountain sickness. This is the reason I do not prefer taking a flight to Leh. I prefer road trips to mountain places. This way your body has plenty of time to adapt to altitude change and combat mountain sickness. Going to the mountain is not a race so give your body time to acclimatize. If somehow to get mountain sickness then get yourself treated and take precautions. Furthermore, if precautions are not taken then acute mountain sickness can further escalate to HAPE and HACE and can lead to possible fatality.

Symptoms of High Altitude Sickness

  • Headache which I encountered at Khadungla Pass
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fever and weakness with loss of sleep and appetite
  • Disorientation, dizziness and loss of co-ordination
  • Memory loss and features related to the psychotic imbalance
  • Coughing and spitting blood with sputum and with lips, nails and tongue turning blue.

Do’s & Don’ts in High Altitude Mountain Sickness

First, let’s take a look at the “Do’s”

1. Follow this procedure to Acclimatize
  • Always remember the rate of acclimatization is different for different people. It depends on the lifestyle they have.
  • Once you arrive at high altitude, take rest for a day. If you are going to sumits then It is advisable to take a complete 24 hours rest before climbs.
  • Do not smoke or consume alcohol. This is a big NO!
  • Carry Diamox with you, this is a common drug for speeding up acclimatization. However, before taking this consult your doctor. Even if you take Diamox, do not take it more than 250 mg. On the contrary, there is no substitute for natural acclimatization.
  • I would also recommend exercising a little every day.
2. Plan Your Trip – This way there is less chance of getting acute mountain sickness
  • I always prefer to reach Leh from Srinagar and not from Manali. In other words, the altitude increase is gradual from Srinagar and not from Manali.
  • When you reach Leh try to be in the city for a day and then make plans for Khardungla, Nubra Valley and Pangong TSO or Moriri TSO.
  • Older folks are advised to consult their doctors before going to the places above.
3. Take Proper Diet
  • Drink lots of warm water. If you were to ask me to quantify it, at least 5 litres a day. Take more oral fluids like juices to avoid dehydration.
  • I also recommend taking a diet which is rich in carbohydrates.
4. Proper Clothing
  • Clothing should be comfortable. In addition to being comfortable clothes should be windproof, well insulated and waterproof. Bikers are advised to wear biker jacket with all three layers inside.
  • Carry spare socks, gloves and a pair of shoes with you. I did this mistake and did not carry an extra pair of shoes. Had to ride in wet shoes.
  • Use dark snow goggles when in snow areas. If you do not wear dark glasses your eyes are going to hurt looking at the ice around. This can also cause partial blindness.
  • Change clothes periodically, especially if they are wet. Gloves, socks and shoes are to be immediately changed if they get wet.

Now let’s take a look at the “Don’ts”

  • Avoid any kind of stressful exercise in the first 24 hours of reaching high altitude places. Basically just avoid exertion.
  • Do not skip meals
  • Try not to bunk at places above 13000 ft during the night. Rules of the mountain say that you climb high and rest low.
  • Do not stay at high altitude passes for a long time. Like I spent 15 minutes at Khardungla and 15 minutes around in Changla.
  • Weat protective clothes do not get exposed to high wind velocity for long. This is the reason why I like biker jackets.
  • Do not take sleeping pills or any drug prescribed. If it is mandatory please consult your doctor.
  • Please do not disregard any signs of mountain sickness. It can Acute mountain sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Edema or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. You never know!

What to do in case of Mountain Sickness?

  • Consult a doctor immediately.
  • In case if the doctor is not available, there are plenty of oxygen points at every tourist spot. Administer oxygen from cylinders.
  • Immediately descend to a lower altitude, this will help you a lot.
  • Follow the army rule. Never leave anyone behind. In no condition do not leave the affected person behind. Help each other in the mountains. Good deed comes back.

Mentioning Emergency Contact Numbers for Leh below.

  • Sonam Norbu Memorial Hospital: 01982-252014/253629 (They help with the emergency cases)
  • Office of chief medical officer Leh: 01982-252012
  • 24 hours emergency number: 102, 01982-253629

Summing Up

Mountain sickness like Acute mountain sickness, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) & High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) can happen to anyone. This sickness can happen at any time. The idea is to be safe, do not panic, follow proper procedures and take precautions as suggested above.

Planning Ladakh Itinerary By Flight

Planning an itinerary for Ladakh when you are taking a flight can be tricky. Furthermore, if you have less time to take this trip, like 7 to 8 days, it requires proper planning. Leh by air is tough as your body had to cope up with the pressure of sudden altitude jump. This is my third article on Ladakh guide. Check out my earlier articles about how to reach Leh & about days needed for Ladakh travel. Let me shed more light on Leh by flight and it’s Pros & Con’s.

While I was on my trip to Ladakh, one of my close friends called me up. He wanted to visit Leh but he had no time. I advised him to take a flight from Delhi to Leh. Since he had limited time, coming to Ladakh by air was the only option. However, he was sceptical about timing, AMS and the places he can cover in 7 to 8 days. So decided to put together this custom itinerary for travellers coming to Leh by flight.

Hey did you check out my YouTube channel? My Ladakh videos are there!

Ladakh Itinerary by flight – Day wise

Before I share the itinerary, let me stress the fact that Delhi is a mere 227 meters above sea level. On the other hand, Leh is at 3524 meters above sea level. You need to take proper rest, keep yourself warm and drink warm fluids to combat mountain sickness. I would also advise carrying Diamox. This medicine is helpful in combating mountain sickness. Let start….!

Day – 1 Rest and arrange permits.

There are a number of Delhi to Leh flights. You can find cheap deals on booking.com below.

Booking.com

Ok, so in one hour and 30 minutes, you will climb to an altitude of 3524 from Delhi. An altitude bump of 3297 meters. The first day relax. Take rest, stay in your hotel for a day, drink plenty of warm water. I would recommend not to sleep in the day time. If you want you can go for a stroll at the local market. Check out Tibetian Kitchen which is in the main market. They serve some pretty good sizzlers.

Avoid smoking and alcohol at every cost, especially if you are going there for the first time. Now since you are taking rest for half of the day, I would advise getting the inner line permits. This permit allows you to get to Khardungla, Nubra Valley and Pangong TSO. This is easy and can be done online. I gave my hotel guy the money and he got it for me. Eat light in the night and go to sleep as you need to wake up early.

Day – 2 Shanti Stupa, Hall of fame & Tsemo Gompa

Spend the second day around Leh. Go visit Shanti Stupa which is one of the magnificent Tibetan structures that has ever been built. The architecture and the beauty of this place are unexplainable. Shanti Stupa is a white-dome structure dedicated to Buddhism. The second place that you should visit is the hall of fame. Hall of Fame is a museum constructed by the Indian Army in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives defending the motherland in the Indo-Pak wars. The third and final place for today is Tsemo castle or Tsemo Gompa. This gompa was founded by King Tashi Namgyal in 1430 AD who was a big follower of Buddhism. As a mark of his respect to Buddhism, the king built the monastery above his palace. Situated at the cliff of Namgyal hill, its architecture is impressive.

All the above places are in 45 km range. So a day is enough to visit all these tourist attractions.

Day – 3 Khardungla Pass, Diskit Gompa & tea at Khalsar

Now on the third day when you have your inner line permit, you can explore more beyond Leh’s boundary. I would advise to wake up early in the month and head to Khadungla pass. The road is good to Khardungla so it should not take you more than 1 hour and 45 minutes. There are a few bad patches in the middle where BRO is constructing roads. But they are few and small patches. have breakfast at Khungla, there is an amazing cafe up top.

After breakfast head to Diskit Gompa which is around 75 KM from Khadungla pass. The main and unique attraction of Diskit monastery is a gigantic statue of Lord Buddha on the top of it. This popular monastery is located in the Nubra valley of Ladakh. While coming back to Leh, you can stop at Khalsar village for a cup of tea. This is the least populated village in Nubra valley.

Day – 4 Pangong lake & Hemis Monastery

Pangong lake is beautiful and so is the Hemis monastery. If you like extreme off-roading you can take a road to Pangong lake via Nubra Valley. However, if you want no bumpy roads then take the road from Karu to Pangong. Enjoy tea and lunch at Chang La pass, amazing cafe over there. Pangong lake is around 170 km from Leh. Take a night stop there. There are many camps around the lake.

Day – 5 Adios Pangong lake welcome Thiksey & Shey

Spend the morning at the lake. Have your breakfast in the camps and then start heading towards Leh. On your way back I would recommend to stop and visit Thiksey Monastery and Shey Palace. Thiksay Gompa, Thiksey Monastery or Thiksay Monastery is a gompa of Tibetan Buddhism religion. It is located on the top of the hill. Shey Palace Leh is a royal residence of the Ladakh monarchs and it is the main attractions of Shey. Reach Leh by evening, have your dinner and relive all the memories. I am sure by this time you will have enough pictures and videos. Take a night rest in Leh.

Day – 6 Sham Valley Tour

Reserve this day for Sham Valley tour. Also known as the “Apricot valley”, this valley has villages which are beautiful. The sham valley is a little ahead of the village of Likir, towards Khaltse. If you had ample time it would take around 3 days just to cover Sham valley. However, since we are short on time I would advise visiting major attractions of Sham valley. This includes Magnetic hill which is 26 km from Leh. Likir gompa which is around 50 km from Leh. Now it depends on how time you are spending at each place. You should have enough time to cover Indus and Zanskar Rivers Confluence. Further ahead from Magnetic hill and a little before Nimmu village is the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers. Indus river flows in from Tibet, originating in the vicinity of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, while Zanskar river originates in Zanskar valley before both of them merge together here.

Day – 7 Hot water springs

The tour is incomplete if you do not visit Chhumathang. Chhumathang hot spring located about 40 km north of Puga, Ladakh. to provide heat directly. This is called the direct use of geothermal energy.  From Leh, it is 138 km approx. You can experience the hot water bath for a nominal price of 50 INR. They have separate rooms for women and men folks. This is one of those places where you would not have too much of a crowd. You will reach Leh by late evening. Now you have two options, either you can take a flight in the night or else take night rest at Leh. Party a little hard, but make sure not too much of intoxication else you will miss your morning flight to Delhi.

Videos from my Ladakh road trip.

Summing Up

Few tips before I sign off and write another article for you.

  • Consumption of alcohol is not advised, try to avoid it.
  • Stay warm and hydrated at all times.
  • Be very cautious while driving, stay away from Indian Oil Tankers, please.
  • Start early morning and sleep latest by 9 PM, unless you want to party
  • I could find fuel pumps from Manali to Leh only at Tandi, Leh, Karu, Diskit and Nubra Valley
  • BRO warning signboards are funny yet packed with important messages. Obey them!
  • Keep mountains clean for god sake. No Littering!!
  • Do not buy water bottles, instead keep refilling the same bottle which you have.
  • Carry a trash bag and try to bring your trash back with you.

Leh by flight

If you have any questions please leave in the comments below. I would love to answer them.

Mountains are calling!
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Ladakh Tour Guide – How many days do I need?

This is my second article on Ladakh tour guide. Read the first article here in which I covered how you can get to Leh. Let’s consider the ideal scenario for the above question. If you want to visit Leh from Srinagar Leh Highway, it will take around 4 days. If you take the route from Manali it takes 2 days to reach Leh. I covered 495 Km to Leh in two days with a stop at Sarchu. The duration of your tour depends on what route you want to take and what places do you want to cover around Leh. However, it comes to approx 12 to 14 days. Let us dig down more deeper and see how much time is required when we take different routes and cover places around Leh.

There are two road routes by which you can reach Leh. First one and the most preferred by bikers is the Srinagar Leh highway and the second one is Manali Leh Route. We will talk about the trip duration when taking a flight to Leh separately in this Ladakh tour guide article.

Dear Readers,

I would be adding one extra day for acclimatization on all the routes. The idea is to travel safe and healthy.

Please carry acclimatization drugs in case of emergency like Dimox.

Srinagar Leh Highway

Now if you want to enjoy the breathtaking view of Srinagar Leh Highway, I would recommend making stops at Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil. These places are beautiful and worth spending a night. So on the fourth day, you will reach Leh. Furthermore, this means that it takes 3 days to reach Leh from Srinagar. Now you would need a day to roam around Leh city. You can visit the Khardungla top on the same day. The second day can be kept for Nubra valley and then finally Pyongyang TSO. So it would take around 11 days for Ladakh when you go and come via Srinagar Leh Highway. Acclimatization should not necessary as from Srinagar its a gradual climb. However, I recommend to stay in Leh for a day and relax. Go to the Tibetian Kitchen and have amazing sizzlers.

Srinagar Leh Manali Circuit

Most of the bikers prefer to do this. When you do this circuit you cover almost all major attractions right from Srinagar to Leh and then Manali. The route will be like Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil, Leh, Nubra Valley, Pyongyang TSO, Sarchu, Jispa, Keylong & finally Manali. This is a long stop itinerary. So this would again take 11 days approx in total. However, when I did Manali to Leh and then back to Manali, I did not stop on my way back at Jispa or Keylong. I just stopped at Sarchu for a night and next evening I was in Manali.

Manali to Leh & back to Manali

Do this route if you are short on time, but you want to cover Leh by road. A most noteworthy thing to remember is that when you start the climb from Manali towards Leh, it will be a steep incline. If you are not acclimatized, you might encounter breathing issues and dizziness. So make sure that you do some simple treks around Manali and stay in Manali for a day. I love Vashisht, so every time when I go to Manali, first place I head to is Jugni waterfalls. So 2 days to reach Leh, one day in Leh, One day for Nubra Valley, one day for Pyongyang TSO and 2 days back to Manali. So in total this way you can do the trip in a total of 8 days. (One day for acclimatization in Manali)

Watch this playlist on my YouTube Channel for all my videos of my Ladakh trip.

Reaching Leh by Flight

Now if you have a scarcity of time and if you want to do this trip in a week, take a flight. I won’t recommend this though. If you are heading towards mountains make sure you have ample time. It’s a vacay for christ sake, not a marathon. But if you are hell bound to do this, then one day of acclimatization at Leh and 2 days to cover Nubra valley and Pyongyang TSO. So from Delhi and back covering all the major tourist spots in Leh can be done in 7 days, a week.

Why I wrote this article in my Ladakh tour guide series?

I started “Ladakh Tour Guide” section in my blog because I have always felt a strong connection towards mountains. However, when I was thinking of taking a Royal Enfield trip to Leh, I was not sure of the route, stops and the time needed. I consulted a lot of my friends and everyone had a different tailored tour plan for Leh. Even though I have covered all major possibilities for a custom tour plan, an actual tour plan depends on a lot of factors. Controlled factors like where and for how much time you want to stop at a particular place. Un-controlled factors like unpredictable weather, body acclimatization speed and landslides etc. Take the recent case of 370 in J&K. I so wanted to return back from Srinagar but couldn’t. let’s leave this for next year, shall we?

So I hope you liked this article, if you have any questions please drop in the comments below. I would try to answer them ASAP.

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”

Greg Child

How to reach Leh Ladakh? By Air, By Bus, By Bike or By Train!!

The first question which comes to a traveler’s mind is how to reach Leh Ladakh? There are various means by which you can reach this beautiful paradise. First, let me tell you why is this place is so famous among travelers. I call this place as the adventure capital of India. Ladakh is one of the very few destinations in the world where the entertainment starts the moment you begin your travel towards it. This place somehow pumps the adrenaline in your body once you start thinking about it. The place is equipped with scenic routes. Furthermore, the place is bestowed with valleys, snowfall, frozen lakes, trekking routes and much more. Let me tell you the ways by which you can reach Leh Ladakh. Let us start with the most preferred way. Reaching Leh Ladakh by Air. Second would be my favorite which is a bike ride to Leh.

Taking a flight to Leh

Taking a flight to Leh is preferred by travelers who are short on time. It’s true, taking a flight is the easiest way to travel. Leh is connected with Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar airports by direct flights. Delhi to Leh there is a daily direct flight service offered by many airlines. The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport which is located in Leh. The airport is basically a military terminal and thus, the security is a bit strangling. It is advisable to have all your documents ready when you enter Ladakh via the airport. It is better to have a hard copy of your e-ticket. So if you are short on time reaching Leh Ladakh by air is most favorable.

Taking a bus to Leh

There are private buses and government buses from Manali and Srinagar. These two being the nearest and important towns you will get plenty of buses. Most of these buses are early in the morning. If you catch a bus from Manali you will have to go via Rohtang Pass. On the other hand, if you take a bus from Srinagar to Leh, you will go via Zoji La pass. The routes from Manali are open from early June to September. Furthermore, from Srinagar, the routes are open from June to October. Personally I would advise taking the Srinagar route. Reason: It helps you to acclimatize slowly to rising altitude and secondly the route is more scenic from Srinagar.

Bike ride to Leh

If you are an adventure lover and love to ride your bike, this is the best way for you to reach Leh. I have seen in my visit to Leh, that most of the travelers prefer this mode of commute. I went for a solo ride to Khardungla from Jaipur. Luckily I met a few friends at a hostel in Manali. A guy from Holland and a Turkish couple. They were going to Leh bu bus, but after looking at my Royal Enfield, they decided to do a bike ride to Leh. This place has the world’s top three highest mountain passes. Biking along the mountain passes and stopping for a steaming cup of coffee, tea & maggie is something I did every few hours on my ride.

Now, as mentioned in the above paragraph about the routes you can do any of them. However, I would like to be on a record of saying that Srinagar to Leh route is much better and scenic then Manali to Leh.

Train to Leh? Is it possible?

First of all, good news for all the train lovers. Indian railways are laying down train tracks from Bilaspur to Manali to Leh. Imagine being able to travel to the scenic Leh by train, that too on the world’s highest railway line! The proposed Indian Railways line is scheduled to become operational by the year 2022.  However, as if now the nearest train station is Tawi which is 700+ km from Leh. Above all, even if you take a train to Tawi, you will have to catch a bus or take a bike ride to Leh. So till the time the train track from Bilaspur to Leh is open, this will be the most NOT preferred way of reaching Leh.

Hire a Taxi for Leh

This is by far the most expensive way of getting to Leh. More expensive than reaching Leh Ladakh by air. Unless of course you are in a sharing Taxi. Price ranges from as low as 12,000 INR to 45,000 INR depending on which month you go. I find taxi drivers in Manali not too friendly. Unless you have a local friend, which thankfully I have. A couple of years back I went on a solo backpacking trip and inquired the price to till JUST Rohtang. To my amazement, the driver told me it was 30,000 for an SUV from Manali and return. Imagine paying 30 grand for 100 km. However, if money is not a constraint, then you can keep this option open.

Note: Please keep in mind that an HP number plate vehicle is not allowed past Leh. Like if you want to go to Khardungla, Pyongyang or Nubra Valley, you cannot take your Manali rental bikes. All personal registered bikes are allowed through. There is some issue between the two tour unions of J&K and HP. Either you take your personal bike or you rent a bike from Leh again with a JK number plate. This sucks though!

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

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