How to Reach Ladakh: By Road, Air, Bike, Bus
Ladakh is a wonderland and one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a trekker’s adventurer’s paradise. This dreamland, nestled at an average altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, is dotted with high altitude lakes, snow-capped mountains, ancient monasteries, mesmerizing valleys, and other natural wonders. Tourists travel through high mountain passes to reach the valley, which is sandwiched between the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. So, if you’re unsure how to get to Ladakh, we’ve listed a few options below.
It is important to remember that Ladakh is not accessible all year. Because the highways leading to Leh Ladakh are submerged in snow for the rest of the year, they are only open from May to October. We’ll tell you how to get to Leh Ladakh in the most efficient way possible.
How to reach Ladakh by Air?
There are several ways to get to Ladakh, but flying is by far the most convenient. Take a peek and learn how to get to Ladakh via plane. Several planes operate in Ladakh both during the peak season and offseason. It should be noted, however, that flight cancellations are not uncommon during the winter months due to the unpredictability of the weather.
The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the closest airport to Leh. It has flights to Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, and Chandigarh, among other major cities. As a military air terminal, this airport is very strict when it comes to security checks. As a result, it is recommended that you print your e-ticket before entering the airport; failing to do so may result in your entry being denied. You can, however, take taxis from the airport to your hotel or resort.
How do you get to Ladakh by Road?
The nearest major cities, Srinagar and Manali, are well-connected by road networks to Ladakh. However, road travel to Ladakh is only possible for 6 months of the year due to snowfall, which closes the roads the rest of the year. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how to get to Ladakh by car.
Riding my jeep is just as much fun and adventure as riding a bike. It’s ideal for groups of friends and families who want a taste of adventure but prefer to travel by car rather than plane. Depending on how much time you have, you can drive to Leh from Srinagar, Manali, or Chandigarh. It should be noted, however, that during the winter, the highways are closed owing to heavy snowfall. Keeping this in mind, the best months to visit Ladakh by jeep are May to September.
The trip’s highlight is traversing the Zoji La Pass, which is over 11,500 feet above sea level. If you are traveling to Ladakh from the Kashmir Valley through Kargil, this is the same pass that you would use. This route crosses across numerous passes, including the Tanglang La Pass, Ladakh’s second-highest motorable pass at 17,480 feet.
Bike travel to Ladakh is something that adventure seekers are looking forward to. After all, bicycling to Ladakh can be a fascinating and adventurous experience. Srinagar and Manali are the two routes that lead to Ladakh: Srinagar to Leh and Manali to Leh, respectively.
Which bike is preferable for a Bike Trip?
It is essential to use Royal Enfield for the best experience and to enjoy every moment of your journey. They work particularly well in Ladakh’s rugged rocky terrain. It is preferable to get a bike with a larger displacement since this will reduce the load on the motor and allow you to go longer distances. You can also choose from various bikes such as the Bajaj Pulsar, Hero Impulse, KTM Duke, Royal Enfield Himalayan, Honda CBR 250, and Bajaj Avenger instead of the splendor.
A bike rental facility is available at various locations in Delhi. So no need to carry a bike from your home town if it’s too far from Ladakh.
Route 1: Srinagar-Leh highway
This is one of the less-traveled paths to Leh. Traveling from Srinagar will require you to travel almost 434 kilometers.
Route: Srinagar – Sonmarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil – Mulbek – Lamayaru – Saspol – Leh Accommodation on Srinagar-Leh highway
If you’re going between Srinagar and Leh, you’ll have plenty of options for lodging. This is because the route passes through several well-known towns. Srinagar, as a prominent tourist destination, provides a wide range of hotels to suit all types of travelers. In Srinagar, you may easily find a hotel or a houseboat. There are hotels within a fair price range in both Sonmarg and Drass. From Kargil to Leh, there are a plethora of hotel possibilities.
The Srinagar-Leh highway is open for another six months, and going down this nearly 430-kilometer stretch is pretty thrilling. Late June, early July, the full month of September, and early October are the finest times to travel this route. The road conditions are great in late June and early July, the number of water streams is small, and the odds of highways being closed are nonexistent.
There is no better month to travel the Srinagar-Leh highway than September. There will be no landslides, water crossings, or other obstacles in your way. During this season, the natural beauty will also be magnificent. The weather and road conditions are very same to September, making this a fantastic time to travel this journey.
There are a few places along the Srinagar-Leh highway where you can find petrol stations. It should be noted, however, that there is no guarantee that these gas stations will be operational when you arrive. As a result, the best thing to do is fill up your tank at the local gas station. Nagbal, Ganderbal, Kargil, and Khalsi are among the towns with petrol stations.
Route 2: Manali-Leh highway
Tourists prefer the Manali to Leh route not only for its ease but also for the incredible scenic opportunities it offers. This journey has a total distance of around 490 kilometers. Along the trip, you’ll be treated to the region’s breathtaking splendor.
Route: Manali – Rohtang – Gramphu – Kokhsar – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Zingzingbar – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang – Tanglang La – Gya –Upshi – Karu – Leh
Tourists and visitors are also concerned about finding lodging along the Manali-Leh highway. Although there are various hotels along the Manali-Leh highway, as you cross Jispa and go closer to Leh, you won’t find any more. Campgrounds are another option for lodging along the Manali-Leh route. They’re strewn about the roads at regular intervals. The food, while not particularly special, is adequate and in line with the standards, one would expect at such elevations. It’s worth noting that some of these campgrounds have attached washrooms, while others have shared washrooms.
The Manali-Leh roadway is open for 5 months of the year, although the ideal months to travel are July, August, and September. Traveling this route in July presents its own set of challenges without putting you in danger. During this time, the road conditions are favorable, and the campgrounds and other places to stay are completely operational. During this month, however, there is a tourist surge in Manali, which lasts till the Rohtang Pass.
The road conditions are especially ideal in August, which is also peak tourist season. Rain is a regular issue during this time. However, such fears are baseless because this region is located in a rain shadow. Rain will only fall until you reach Rohtang La, after which it will be pure vegetation and natural splendor.
September is often regarded as the ideal month for traveling along the Manali-Leh highway. The road conditions are excellent, and even the problematic portions are only a short distance apart. The tourist season is also finished at this time, so there isn’t much of a rush. During this month, there are a lot of places to stay.
The availability of petrol pumps is a common worry for vehicles traveling the Manali-Leh highway. Because there are few petrol stations along the Manali-Leh highway, drivers should bring extra fuel in a jerry-can. This is highly recommended. Aside from that, Manali has a lot of gas stations, and the next one on the Manali-Leh route is at Tandi, which is around 110 kilometers away from Manali. This is a good place to refuel. Tandi also happens to be the last petrol station before Leh. Fuel is also available in Pang and Sarchu, but the quality cannot be assured.
How to Reach Ladakh By Bus
The journey to Ladakh by bus might be extremely bumpy. Roads connect Ladakh with Srinagar and Jammu. There are two routes to Ladakh: one from Srinagar via the Zoji La Pass and the other from Manali via the Rohtang Pass. However, if you are up for it, there is also a direct bus connection from Delhi. The bus will go over 1,203 kilometers in total.
How to reach Ladakh by Train
Ladakh does not yet have its train station, thus getting there by train is not an option. You’ll have to divide your journey into several sections. In this instance, Chandigarh or Jammu will be the closest railway stations to Ladakh. You will need to book a train ticket to either Jammu or Chandigarh first, depending on your origin and itinerary, and then proceed to Ladakh.
When you arrive in Jammu via train, I recommend that you spend the day there. You have three options for your journey to Srinagar the next morning. You can take the bus, a shared taxi, or the rail. If you want to take a bus from Jammu to Srinagar, you can either head to the Main Bus Stand in Jammu or to a spot named Raghunath temple nearby. Buses from the train station only run to intercity destinations like as Katra, Banihal, and so on; you will not be able to catch a bus to Srinagar from there.
During the first half of the day, shared cabs depart from the General bus station towards Srinagar. The ticket would be between Rs. 700 and Rs. 1000 per person, and it is the most cost-effective mode of transportation. The only time luxury buses depart is at night, making the entire journey to Srinagar a night journey. You’ll need to book your ticket with one of the private bus companies near the General bus stop. You can also take a JKSRTC bus from Jammu to Srinagar, which departs from the same bus stop.
Another option is to travel from Jammu to Banihal Railway Station. For roughly Rs. 50 per person, you can take a DMU from Banihal to Srinagar. A shared taxi from Jammu to Banihal costs roughly 400-500 rupees per person. So, for Rs. 750, you may take a shared cab all the way to Srinagar. Alternatively, you can take a shared cab for Rs. 400–500 to Banihal Railway Station and then board a train for Rs. 50 to Srinagar. From Srinagar, take the bus to Ladakh as described above, or take a shared cab from TRC Srinagar or the bus station.
Is it safe to visit Leh?
It is entirely safe for travelers to visit Leh every year, and you will not encounter any difficulties in terms of tourist security and safety. Always keep medications, sunscreen creams, glucose, and other food products on hand. Dry fruits are very delicious. The most important thing to do when you get in Leh is to acclimate to the weather so you don’t get AMS (altitude mountain sickness).