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.
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)
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