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How To Reach Leh Ladakh

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:

  • Quick info about Leh Ladakh
  • Where is Leh Ladakh located
  • How to reach Leh Ladakh by flight
  • How to reach Leh Ladakh by bus
  • How to reach Leh Ladakh by train
  • Frequently asked questions

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

Where Is Leh Ladakh Located

Leh Ladakh is located in Jammu and Kashmir state in North India. Ladakh is one of the three division of Jammu and Kashmir and Leh is district in Ladakh division.

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

  • Time: 2 days
  • Distance: 473 km
  • Night halt at: Keylong
  • Months: July to September
  • Bus service operators: HRTC(Himachal Road Transport Corporation) and HPTDC(Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation)
  • Type of bus: HRTC - normal local bus, HPTDC - luxury tourist bus
  • Bus timings HRTC: 4am, 1pm(Manali to Keylong) 5am(Keylong to Leh)
  • Bus timings HPTDC: 10am (Manali to Keylong) 5am(Keylong to Leh) every alternate day
  • Booking: HRTC(on spot at bus stand), HPTDC( online at http://www.booking.hptdc.in/ or HPTDC office Manali)
  • Address of Leh Office : Himachal Pradesh Tourism Dev. Corp. Ltd., Booking office, Fort Road, Opposite Hotel Yak Tale, Leh-Ladakh Contact No. 09418691215
  • Address of Manali Office: Himachal Pradesh Tourism Dev. Corp Ltd, Marketing Office, The Mall Manali Contact No. 01902-252116 & 01902-253147

If you want to know how you can reach Manali click on the button below.

You will have to cross Rohtang Pass if you want to visit Leh from this route. Rohtang Pass remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall. Hence you can use this route only when Rohtang Pass is open.

when rohtang pass opens

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.

You can book HRTC bus on the spot at Manali. Whereas HPTDC bus can booked on spot at Manali HPTDC office and online at http://www.booking.hptdc.in/.

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

  • Time: 2 days
  • Distance: 421 km
  • Night halt at: Kargil
  • High altitude passes: Zoji La, Namika La and Fotu La.
  • Bus service operators: JKSRTC(Government busses) and Private bus operators
  • Type of bus: JKSRTC - normal, deluxe, luxury, semi deluxe, local bus, Private operators - Semi deluxe mini bus
  • Bus timings: 8am( from Dal lake - Srinagar to Kargil) 6am(Kargil to Leh)
  • Booking: online booking not available, book one day in advance by visiting office at Srinagar

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.

FAQs

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.

Visit Ladakh via ManaliRohtang Pass – Keylong or by flight if you feel that there are chances of unrest in Srinagar or Jammu.

Harsh Climate

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.

Roads

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

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.

Taxi Union

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?

Ladakh

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.

Leh

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.

Avoid overexertion

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.

Petrol Pumps

I have marked all the petrol pumps in the are in the map below:

ATMs

I have marked all the ATM in the area in the map below:

Permits

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.

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