For all of the tourists that are planning their trip to Leh-Ladakh, this guide will cover everything you need to know about hotels, restaurants, activities, and more. Leh Ladakh is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors and is looking for a place that is completely off the beaten path. It’s a beautiful yet rugged region in north-western India, packed with high-altitude lakes, soaring mountains, and lush green valleys. The best time to visit Leh Ladakh is from the month of April to July!!
The Ladakh region has seen a huge uptick of visitors over the last few years, which has led to some negative impacts on both its natural beauty and traditional cultures.
This guide will give you everything you need to know about Ladakh: from attractions, hotels, restaurants, and day trips. Whether you are looking for luxury retreats or a rustic guesthouse, we’ve got you covered.
We curated this list based on the experiences of others and ourselves, so in addition to reviews from our readers and friends (and other visitors), we have also included some of the highlights from our own experiences to make sure that your trip is thoroughly enjoyable.
Planning Your Trip to Leh Ladakh
While Ladakh is a small region, it is quite difficult to travel around, due to its remote location. This is especially true for first-time visitors. Most of the travel and sightseeing options are centered in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, so this should be your first stop. From here you can take short excursions and day trips from Leh to the surrounding region of Zanskar. Because most hotels cater just to foreign tourists, your stay in Leh will be quite comfortable and luxurious, with modern amenities found in most five-star resorts. In most cases, visitors to Ladakh will fly into the tiny airport in Leh. Most of your sightseeing and travel will be done by car, so make sure that you choose a driver or travel companion who knows the roads well. Driving in Ladakh is an experience unto itself, and can be quite daunting for first-time drivers. It is recommended that you get a good night’s sleep before driving at high altitudes; altitude sickness can hit even experienced travelers. The best time to visit Leh Ladakh is from the month of April to July!!
Most of the hotels sell packages for their guests, where everything (including transportation) is kept affordable. In addition, you’ll often find many romantic options for couples in Leh, so you can spend more time exploring the lesser-known corners of this magical region.
Travel Tips for Leh Ladakh
There are several accommodations situated around Leh, including homestays (which can prove to be a cheaper but more authentic option) and hotels catering primarily to tourists. In total there are over 20 hotels located throughout the city, which include luxury resort-like accommodations as well as guest houses that look like traditional houses. Most travelers come to Leh during the summer, but if you are looking for something a little different, the shoulder season (May-June and September-October) can be spectacular; waterfalls are still doing their thing (and not frozen), and it is easier to get a room at hotels and homestays. If you are looking for a bit of luxury in Leh, check out The Snow View or Hotel Tibet. For something more intimate and romantic, check out Himalayan Heights.
Most tourists visit Ladakh in summer when the weather is nice, although it is possible to visit during other times of the year as well. It’s recommended that you check the forecast to find out what season will suit you best. Leh can get quite cold in winter, with snowfall and temperatures falling below zero. Some travelers even suggest visiting Ladakh in May or June, as this is when most of the lakes and rivers will still be full from the spring melt. All of this makes traveling during the summers pretty crowded and can make it difficult to find a room at some accommodations (such as homestays).
For visitors looking for some outdoor action, rafting, paragliding, or trekking are all options for exploring the mountains surrounding Leh. For even more adventure, you can even visit Zanskar, but this will require some rugged trekking and travel. To get to Zanskar from Leh, you’ll have to pass through high mountain passes and cross several rivers. This makes it considerably more difficult for tourists to visit Ladakh in this region for an extended period because of the weather conditions (Zanskar is much colder than Leh). In the summer months, between June and September or October, the days are long but the weather is harsher. For those who are looking for an authentic experience, staying in a homestay is one of the best ways to experience Ladakh.
The Best Places to Visit in Leh Ladakh
Before heading to Leh, you should look at a map of the region and pick out the places you would like to see. This includes all of the points of interest as well as surrounding areas that may be worth exploring on your own. Below are some of our favorite places in Leh Ladakh:
Changtse Monastery – Home to a collection of Buddhist artifacts, this monastery is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. The main complex consists of two parts: a temple and a large prayer hall, which were built in the 14th century. There is also an Information Office inside the monastery that has loads of information about Buddhist culture and religion. In addition, you can view some pieces of art, including a mandala and two statues of the Dalai Lama.
Namgyal Monastery – This monastery hosts monks who are studying in the Nyingmapa tradition. The two-story library has more than 1,000 books stored inside it, while the large assembly hall is used for ceremonial events and concerts. A small museum inside showcases images of Ladakh’s history and culture (including artifacts such as ancient manuscripts). The best time to visit Leh Ladakh is from the month of April to July!!
Shi Monastery – For those with a little more time on their hands, this monastery is worth visiting. It is located near the village of Lho, so it can be easily reached from Leh by car. Much of the monastery is built into the mountain, which is quite beautiful to look at. It also has a large monastery gompa (shrine) for daily practice and chanting. The buildings here have golden roofs and ornate windows, sort of like medieval castles.
Khardung La Pass – This pass sits at an elevation of 16,480 feet, making this one of the highest passes in the world connecting India with Tibet and China. Accessible only in the summer months (when there is no snow or ice), this pass boasts incredible views as you drive up to it.
Leh Ladakh is home to so many interesting places, which means that you will never run out of options when it comes to exploring the region. In addition to all of the religious sites included in this list, there are also plenty of natural wonders such as beautiful waterfalls and stunning mountains all over the region. You’ll never be bored while in Leh, so make a point of taking in what this fascinating region has to offer! Also keep in mind that the best time to visit Leh Ladakh is from the month of April to July!!