In this article I will provide all the information you need for planning your trip to Leh Ladakh. I will be covering the article under the following heads:
Leh Ladakh : Quick Info
- Nearest airport : Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport
- Nearest railway station: Jammu Tawi (703 km)
- Delhi to Leh distance: 1,005 km
- Srinagar to Leh distance: 421 km
- Chandigarh to Leh distance: 772 km
- Jammu to Leh distance: 699 km
- Manali to Leh distance: 437 km
How To Reach Leh Ladakh By Air
Ladakh airport is also known as Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. The airport is around 5 km from the main Leh market.
This is one of the highest airports in the world. The airport has direct flights from Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu.
Major flight operators are Air India, GoAir and Jet Airways.
How To Reach Leh Ladakh By Bus
There are two main bus routes to reach Leh Ladakh.
Manali - Rohtang Pass - Keylong - Leh
It takes two to three days to reach Leh from Manali by bus. There are two bus operators HRTC(Himachal Road Transport Corporation) and HPTDC(Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation).
HRTC is a normal bus that locals use to reach Leh. Whereas HPTDC is volvo which is more comfortable but only runs during summers when the road condition is good ie July to September.
Both these busses start early morning from Manali bus stop and reach Keylong in the evening.
You will have to stay at Keylong for night. There are many hotels at Keylong to suit every budget.
Next morning the bus will take you from Keylong to Leh.
Srinagar - Kargil - Leh
The bus takes two days to reach Leh from Srinagar. You can book government as well as private buses in Srinagar for Leh.
You can book luxury, semi deluxe, and ordinary busses depending on your budget.
On first day the bus will start from Srinagar in the morning and halt at Kargil for night.
You will have to book a hotel for night stay at Kargil. There are many hotels in Kargil to suit every budget.
On the next day the bus will take you from Kargil to Leh.
How To Reach Leh Ladakh By Train
There are no railway stations near Leh Ladakh. The nearest railway stations are:
1. Jammu Tawi : 703 km
2. Pathankot : 766 km
3. Chandigarh : 772 km
Reach Srinagar or Manali from these railway stations and catch a bus for Leh Ladakh as explained earlier.
Is it safe to travel to Leh Ladakh?
India China Issue
Although the region is close to Indo Chinese border. But it has emerged as one of the most sort after tourist destinations in the recent years. Thousands of tourists visit Leh Ladakh every year.
The region is peaceful and no Indian – Chinese tension has been reported since last 7 years. In fact if there is slightest of tension you will not be allowed by army to visit Ladakh.
Unrest in Kashmir
You may be planning to visit Ladakh via Jammu and Srinagar. There is no denying the fact that sometimes Srinagar and other major town face unrest and protest by local population. But Ladakh is far from such areas (More than 2 days journey)
It is a secluded place, it is a cold desert the only livelihood of local population is through tourism. You will find that the locals are very friendly and welcoming.
Ladakh is a cold desert and has one of the most harsh climate in India. The average altitude is around 10,000 feets. Oxygen levels are comparatively low. So make sure that you take time to acclimate yourself and avoid overexertion.
During winters the temperature falls below 0 degree celsius. So if you have a chance and if you can compromise on witnessing snowfall visit Ladakh during summers.
At some places the road conditions are bad. Make sure that you have a good driver who has experience in driving in hilly terrain.
Basic amenities like petrol pumps, ATMs, mobile networks and hospitals are scarce. So make sure that you plan your travel well in advance and make booking accordingly.
Also carry sun cream, UV glasses, mustard oil, lip balm, common medicines, refreshments like energy bars etc.
Carry your ID and if you are travelling in your own vehicle carry all the documents. Ladakh taxi union has recently banned taxis from other states in Leh.
But there is no issue in using your private vehicle. If you need to book a taxi I will recommend you to book taxi at Ladakh itself.
For Solo Women Travelers
In the last decade Ladakh has emerged as major family tourist destination in India. It is perfectly safe for solo women travellers.
There is no history of ill treatment of any tourist in Ladakh.
Is Leh and Ladakh same?
Jammu & Kashmir has three major divisions Jammu region, Kashmir region and Ladakh region.
Ladakh is the name of division in Jammu and kashmir and Leh is its capital. Earlier there was only one district in Ladakh and the region was known as Ladakh district.
Recently Ladakh was divided into two districts namely Leh district and Kargil district. Leh district has an area of 45110 msqkm. It is the second largest district in India in terms of area.
But most of the tourists use terms Leh and Ladakh interchangeably.
How to acclimatize yourself for Leh Ladakh high altitude?
Increase the altitude gradually
It is better to travel by road if you want to avoid danger of AMS acute mountain sickness. Because your body will gradually acclimatize itself as you gain height.
Danger of AMS is more if you are reaching Ladakh by air. Because it will be a sudden change for your body.
Make sure that you do not overexert yourself on first 1 or 2 days so that your body can acclimatize.
You should also plan your trip during summers to avoid harsh climate and sub zero temperature of Leh Ladakh.
I have marked all the petrol pumps in the are in the map below:
I have marked all the ATM in the area in the map below:
You can take permit online at http://www.lahdclehpermit.in.
The permit is required if you are visiting places like Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La, Tangyar.
The permit is not required for residents of Jammu and Kashmir and children below 12 years of age.
I have tried to provide all the information that you will need for planning your trip to Leh Ladakh. But still in case if you have any doubt, you can ask your question in the comment section below.
We generally reply within 2 to 4 hours.