Leh-Ladakh / Travel

5 points to remember about traveling to Leh-Ladakh!

With summer only a couple of months away, traveling season to Ladakh is about to begin and already there are a lot of people planning out itineraries and looking for partners to travel to travel to Ladakh with.

So here are 5 basic points you should know, if you are planning to travel to Ladakh:

1. Roads connecting Leh and Ladakh with rest of India are open from June to the middle of October. And while road opening is completely dependent on weather and at times roads do open up by the middle of May and stay open even till the middle of November, it is more of an exception than a norm and usually such extended periods are plagued by traffic disruptions due to landslides and avalanches.

Add to that, Srinagar – Leh highway not only opens up earlier than the Manali route, it also stays open for longer than the Manali route and usually has fewer disruptions and closures during the season.

2. Ladakh is situated at an extremely high altitude and thus those traveling to it (whether by road or air) are susceptible to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which occurs due to lack of oxygen at high altitude and can at times be fatal!

So if you are planning to travel to Ladakh, then make sure to read about AMS, carry and take medicine like Diamox (check with your doctor first), keep yourself hydrated at all times and in case of severe discomfort, contact the nearest health center or army base (they usually have qualified doctors willing to help travelers in need).

Another thing to keep in mind is that Manali – Leh highway is at a higher altitude than Srinagar – Leh highway and thus traveling to Ladakh via the Srinagar route should ensure more gradual acclimatization than traveling via Manali route.

Those flying in to Leh should spend at least couple of nights in Leh, before heading out to high altitude passes and places like Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri etc..

3. Travelers need Inner Line Permit to travel to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Marsimik La, Tso Moriri, Dah-Hanu Villages etc.. Inner Line Permit is issued by the DC office in Leh on working days and all Indians can obtain by filling out the necessary form and attaching photocopy of a government issued photo identity card. Inner Line Permit can also be arranged through guest house or travel agents in Leh.

Foreigners and NRIs need Restricted Area Permit, for which they need to go through a travel agent. Furthermore, they cannot travel to areas along the LAC eg. Chushul, Hanle, Chumur etc.

4. Due to security reasons, only postpaid connections from outside J&K work in Ladakh, with BSNL providing the widest connectivity.

5. Taxis from outside Leh aren’t allowed on the tourist circuit of Ladakh i.e. if you are taking a taxi from another state or even Srinagar, it won’t be able to take you to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri etc. and you would need to hire a taxi from the Leh Taxi Union. Add to that, in order to travel to Zanskar Valley, one needs to hire a Kargil Taxi Union Taxi from Kargil and then hire a Padum Taxi Union taxi for local sightseeing and return to Kargil!

In case you are traveling in your own vehicle, then the above tip is redundant for you, hence here is point no. 5 for all those traveling in their own vehicles:

5. Fuel availability in Ladakh is sketchy at best and although you can find fuel in black in majority of the towns, it is best to tank up at Leh, since places like Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri do not have any fuel pumps and even the petrol pump at Diskit is often out of fuel!

12 Comments

  1. Nice useful thoughts for all those going to Ladakh, Yogesh. Just with your passion for Ladakh, it went to six I guess 🙂

  2. Ather Ansari says:

    yogesh bhai aap hum bhatkey hue musafiro ke liye asha ki jyot hai 🙂
    shukriya janab.

    ather/saudi arabia

  3. hey Yogesh,
    How far is it feasible to travel to ladakh during the month of november?? I plan to take a train from Bangalore. Please help.

  4. Land routes will likely be closed or on the verge of being closed. So it would be best to fly in and out of Leh. Once in Leh, there is no issue whatsoever in visiting Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Changthang, Sham Valley, Kargil etc.

  5. Thanks a lot yogesh.:) One day I will travel with you to ladakh on my GS150.

  6. dear yogesh,we are planning to go Tso moriri in coming august

    our planning is like this
    ——————————————————————
    14th august- night from delhi to manali (car)

    15th august- stay at manali or keylong??

    16th august- morning manali to sarchu 243 km, ( 11 hour) or keylong to sarchu 114 km (6 hour)

    16th august- stay night at sarchu

    17th august- morning sarchu to Tsomoriri (200 Kms, (6 hour)

    17th august- stay night at tso moriri

    18th august- morning tso moriri to keylong (314 kms (12 hour) is it possible??

    18th august- stay night at keylong

    19th august- morning keylong to new delhi

    20th august- at home
    ——————————————————————
    we have only 6 days in hand (15 aug to 20 aug)

    my query is, is the above plan is possible or not.if not then please suggest a correct one.

    2nd query is, can we arrange the inner line permit for Tso moriri in Manali or keylong.because we have not that much time to go leh & take the inner line permit.

    Please give the mob no who can arrange the permit for us.

    thank you

    • Soumya, please keep in mind that you will be spending night at very high altitude (Sarchu is around 14,200ft, while Tso Moriri is around 15,000ft) and this can cause a severe case of AMS (recently a biker died at Pang due to AMS). By stating this I am not trying to scare you, but just telling you the ground reality, that you need to know, before heading out.

      Having said that, if you are ready to take the risk, then yes, your plan is certainly doable and as far as permit for Tso Moriri is concerned, you can get them made through travel agent in Leh, who can then email or fax you the permit. You can find contact details of one such individual here, http://www.bcmtouring.com/forum/articles-f20/ladakh-inner-line-permit-t50559-2/#post822823

      Another thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that there are no petrol pumps beyond Tandi, so you need to have enough fuel for at least 750km, in order to do this trip or buy the fuel in black from Sumdo, Pang or Sarchu. In which case you will pay at least 30-50% more and quality of fuel might be bad.

      You will also require permit for Rohtang Jot, which as per the latest reports, are being issued at the green tax barrier now or you can get them made through a hotel in Manali.

      You can of course visit Lahaul or Spiti during the same time period as well, which are quite beautiful as well (in case you are looking for alternatives).

  7. Sagar Bhirange says:

    Hi
    Yogesh
    your all blogs are very useful. We are planning to leh & Ladakh upto Turtuk. Our date is 15th May 2017. can you share your guidance for the same.

    Sagar Bhirange

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