Leh – mountain town located at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level is in our subjective opinion one of the best Indian highlights. This place is a must see, indeed! It’s definitely worth staying here for longer and explore the surroundings or go for trekking for a few days.
In Leh there is no cell coverage (roaming and SIM cards purchased outside of Kashmir do not work), there are problems with the electricity, and the Internet all over the city works sporadically. There are a lot of Tibetan bazaars – the so-called Tibetan Refugee Markets (known for jewelry), placed in the narrow streets, and climate guesthouses and local restaurants, where you can try typical Tibetan dishes including delicious momos (stuffed dumplings). On the streets – in comparison to other Indian cities – it is relatively clean and quiet, and the people are smiling, welcoming, helpful and unselfish – in a word, almost like not India!
When to go?Leh
isn’t affected by monsoon rains. When it’s raining all over India, in Ladakh
it’s dry (and sunny) season, so it’s best to go here in the summer
, season runs from late May to early September, and in October / November it’s also nice and cool, but we can get unexpected snowfalls.
How to get there?
We can reach Leh
in many ways:
- By plane (when buying tickets much in advance, they are not so expensive, for ex. from Delhi to Leh about 200 PLN per person).
- By road from Manali – a journey in one day – about 20 hours – about 900 INR, or in two days with an overnight in Keylong or Sarchu – about 1100 INR (bargained prices). Personally, we recommend ride with an overnight on the way (the trip itself is very tiring) at higher altitude such as Sarchu (4400 m above sea level) in order to acquire acclimatization. The road from Manali, however, may be irreconcilable even for several days (due to heavy rainfall (late monsoon) or snow – Rothang La Pass is usually closed since the beginning of October), so it is worth to ensure that the onward journey is possible before coming to Manali. Important note: due to roadworks Manali-Leh route is closed by security forces on Tuesday.
- By road from Srinagar (a journey in one day by bus – 253 INR for normal seat or 550 INR for semi-sleeper, otherwise by shared taxi – 500 INR per person.
Where to sleep?
In Leh there is plenty of guesthouses. We recommend Atisha guesthouse
, located in the Old Town just behind recommended by Lonely Planet Indus Guest House
(on the same street, about 150m further up). We spent six days in Atisha
, several times leaving a deposit of valuable items before leaving for trekking. It was – until now – our best and most comfortable night for 500 / 600 INR for a double room (neat and tidy, spacious, sunny rooms with large windows, mountain views and a terrace) in India. Near the hostel there is a trekking agency (family business) with a similar name Atisha Travel
) – where we used the free internet (staff provided us with the password for the Wi-Fi). On the outskirts of the city is, however, much cheaper, you can find a double room for 300 INR.
What to see?
there is a lot to explore, you need to see Leh Palace, Palace Gompas, Tsemo fort, Shanti Stupa, Nezer Latho, Sankar Gomp
a. You can also visit the Tibetan gompas in region – the most famous are in Hemnis, Spituk Achi, Lamayuru, Shey, Tsemo, Likir
(you can hire a taxi for touring them or take a bus budgetary – typically there are one or two a day). Local agencies sell popular day or multi-day, active trips – most of them You should be able to organize on your own. There is for example a bicycle downhill from the Khardong La
pass (5602 m above sea level), rafting on the river Zanskar
and other tributaries of the Indus
, a trip to the lake Pangong Tso,
located near the border with Tibet
or drive to Nubra Valley
(a desert valley whereyou can spot hairy camels), and the popular trekking in the valley of Markha
and around the lakes Tso Morriri