India's most loved travel destination - Leh Ladakh, is on everyone's bucket list. Visiting Leh Ladakh - the land of high passes, is the experience of a lifetime. Ladakh is famous for being the only cold desert in India, its pristine natural beauty, magnetic hill, monastries, spectacular mountain views, Umlingla Pass - world's highest motorable road, high mountain passes, frozen river trek, riverside villages, snow leopards, white river rafting adventure, double hump camel rides, Ladakhi bread. While I am listing this, I feel like packing my bags and visit all these places once again.
Words are limited to describe this gem of the nature. Leh Ladakh is a place like no other, blessed with magnificient views, that will make you spellbound. So scroll down and read this list to know about what places to visit in Leh Ladakh. these are the places you should not miss.
1) MAGNETIC HILL
The most talked about attraction is the phenomenal Magnetic hill, a place that defies gravity. If you park your vehicle at the hill's base by keeping the brakes unlocked, the vehicle will start moving upwards without any force. No one knows the science behind this amazing phenomena. To the east of magnetic hills, flows the Sindhu river, making the surroundings delightful for travellers.
2) NUBRA VALLEY
Nubra's unique & spectacular landscape, serene view of snow capped mountains, colorful monasteries attracts adventure tourists from all over the world. Famous places to include in your itenary are Hunder Sand Dunes, Diskit monastery, Panamik village, Samstaling Gompa, Turtuk village. Nubra is also famous for its two humped camel. The sand dunes of Nubra valley, crystal clear skies, serene lakes, will make you feel like staying in this place forever.
3) INDIAN ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY, HANLE
Indian astronomical observatory also known as Hanle observatory, stands atop Saraswati Parbat in the Hanle village of Changthang. Hanle is a quaint peaceful village in the lap of Himalayas & offers you some of the best scenic views. Hanle is definitely one of the best places to visit in Ladakh. Other than Hanle observatory, you can also visit Hanle monastery and do star gazing at night. Hanle is in close proximity to LAC (Line of actual control), so you will need an inner line permit.
4) UMLINGLA PASS
Apart from scenic views, Ladakh is also famous for its dangerous passes & roads. Umlingla Pass, the highest motorable road in the world connects Chimsule & Demchok to Leh. Simply breathtaking & adventurous, a must visit for all the biking enthusiasts from India & abroad.
5) ZANSKAR VALLEY
Zanskar Valley is a heaven on earth. The peaceful & pristine surroundings, snow capped mountains, fresh air, treacherous terrain makes Zanskar valley a must visit destination for adventurous souls. You must have heard about the famous Chadar trek, it is this Zanskar river that freezes during winters and forms a thick sheet of ice (Chadar) and trekkers walk over this frozen river. Zanskar valley is home to Lingshed moastery, Sani monastery, Phuktal monastery, which you can add to your itenary.
6) PANGONG LAKE
Pangong Lake is the world's highest saltwater lake situated at a height of 4350m. This lake is known to change colors from blue to green and red. The majestic beauty of Pangong Lake cannot be described in words alone, you will have to see it, feel it & then absorb it. It is an extraordinary experience & will leave you spellbound.
7) SHANTI STUPA
Shanti Stupa is a buddhist white domed shrine located at the top of Chanspa hill, offers a panaromic view of the surroundings. This stupa was built to mark completion of 2500 years of Buddhism. It is a major tourist attraction in Leh and offers spectacular sunrise & sunset views.
8) THIKSEY MONASTERY
Thiksey monastery is the largest gompa in the central ladakh. The view of the snow capped mountains, the flowing Indus river, soothing & peaceful environment, will make you fall in love with this place. Built on a hill top, this monastery is a marvellous work of nature and craftsmanship and is a must visit if you are in Ladakh.
9) MOUNTAIN PASSES
Ladakh is home to several mountain passes but only some of them are accessible to the travellers, namely- Khardung La, Chang La, Pensi La pass, Taglang La, Lachulang La, Zoji La, Baralacha La Pass. These passes offers breathtaking views and conquering them leaves you with once in a lifetime experience.
10) HEMIS NATIONAL PARK & HEMIS MONASTERY
Nestled in the lap of mountains, Hemis national park is named after the popular 400 year old Hemis monastery. This national park is home to endangered species of animals like snow leopards, himalayan ibex, Eurasian brown bear, Bharal, Tibetan wolf. You will find a very peaceful, pollution free & noise free environment here. Though its not that easy to spot wildlife here as it is a mountainous national park but if you are a nature lover, then this must be on your itenary.
11) SANGAM POINT
Sangam, the confluence of Indus & Zanskar river in Shyam valley is one of the nature's finest creation. Both the rivers are of different colors & their merger is a beautiful sight to view. Its a great spot for rafting during summers & definitely a must visit on your Ladakh trip.
12) GURUDWARA PATHAR SAHIB
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is constructed in the memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, where he conquered a demon. It is now maintained by the Indian army. It is a very pious & peaceful place located admist the mountains. Don't forget to have langar here and also make sure to read the whole story behind this Gurudwara.
13) TSO MORIRI LAKE
Tso Moriri lake is located in the Chanthang plateau of Ladakh region, is known for its sheer natural beauty. While Pangong Tso is more popular & commercialized but Tso Moriri is secluded and is breathtakingly beautiful. On the western bank of Tso Moriri is the 400 years Korzok monastery. Tso Moriri lake is very close to LAC (Line Of Actual Control) & you will need an inner line permit to visit this lake.
14) ZORAWAR FORT
General Zorawar Singh Fort is located near the Leh main market. Wazir Zorawar Singh Kahluria was a general of Maharaja Gulab Singh. He was a military genious & excelled in mountain warfare and extended the northern boundaries of India. This fort was built in 1836 as a military post for Dogra soldiers and is now maintained by Indian army. The main attraction here is the Zorawar museum, artefacts room, history room, war room & the light and sound show. Zorawar fort is one of the best places to visit in your Ladakh trip.
15) TIGER HILL
Tiger Hill located in the Drass Kargil sector, is one of the highest peak to visit in Ladakh. Tiger hill was the battleground for Kargil 1999 war. The view from the top of the Tiger hill is magnificient. This indeed is one of the most important place to visit in Leh Ladakh.
16) SHYOK RIVER
Shyok river is a tributary of the Indus river originating in the Rimo glacier of Siachen in the Karakorams. Crystal clear water & breathtaking scenery invites travellers and adventure enthusiasts from across the globe to visit the shyok river. You can also plan trekking in the Shyok valley.
17) MARKHA VALLEY
Markha valley is a remote valley of Ladakh that is famous for its trekking trails. With a national park, two high mountain passes - Gandala La & Kongmaru La, stunning views of the valley, Markha village, monastries, Markha valley trek will be an experience that will not disappoint you.
18) HALL OF FAME
Hall of Fame is a museum where you come to know about the stories of the bravehearts. Maintained & operated by Indian Army, Hall of fame has everything that we a citizens of India should know. The jawans explained us about the Leh culture & the war chronology. You should not miss visiting Hall of Fame museum during your Ladakh trip.
19) DRAS VALLEY, KARGIL
Dras, the coldest hill station in India, is nestled admist the snow covered peaks on the Leh Kargil national highway. Dras became popular after 1999 Kargil war, however what will make you fall in love with this place is its immense beauty which is soothing to the eyes. Dras is blessed by mother nature & offers stunning sunset views. Sightseeing includes Kargil war memorial, Tiger Hill (which I have covered separetely), BHIM stone at Bhembet, Stagsboo, Drupati Kund, Mushko valley, Ningoor Masjid.
Uleytokpo is a small village in Ladakh famous for camping & hiking admist the Indus river & snow covered mountains. If you are looking for a peaceful stay in the lap of Himalayas, then Uleytokpo should be a place in your Ladakh trip itenary. Place to visit near Uleytokpo are Rizong Gompa, Alchi monastery, Likir Monastery, Bsgo Gompa.
Some frequently asked questions about Ladakh
1) Why is Ladakh very famous ?
Ladakh is famous for being the only cold desert in India, its pristine natural beauty, magnetic hill, old buddhist monastries, spectacular mountain views, Umlingla Pass - world's highest motorable road & other high mountain passes, frozen river trek, riverside villages, snow leopards, white river rafting adventure, double hump camel rides.
2) What is the best time to visit Ladakh on a bike trip ?
The best time to visit Ladakh on a bike trip is between May to September.
3) What are the essential things to carry for Leh Ladakh trip ?
- Cotton clothes, sweatshirts & woollen (Ladakh's weather is unpredictable)
- Comfotable jeans, joggers
- Socks ( both cotton & woollen)
- Medical kit
- Night Torch
- Muffler, gloves, caps
- Lip balm
4) How many days are enough for Leh Ladakh trip ?
9-10 days trip is enough for Leh Ladakh