Ladakh is the meeting place of Tibet, Kashmir, Pakistan, and India. Located in the northern Jammu and Kashmir region of India, also known as the Land of High Passes from the Tibetan translation, or the Roof the World, Ladakh is an alpine desert touching the Himalayas to the south and the Karakoram mountains to the north, where only the more adventurous traveler ventures.
Belonging to the highest plateau of the region, Ladakh reaches over 9,800 ft and is best known as a harsh and barren land. However, this description barely scratches the surface of what Ladakh, the land, and the people have to offer.
If you’ve got a trip to India planned, don’t leave without taking a trip to this eye-catching region which shows just how surprising this stunning country really can be.
What to See and Do in Ladakh
If the image that springs to mind when you think of India is simply the Taj Mahal, the colors, the spices, the chaos, and the crowds, then think again! Ladakh is the polar opposite of all that. And as one of the coldest places in India, no pun intended!
In true Buddhist style, Ladakh is a tranquil zone where the intense powers of nature can be felt through the barren landscapes and serene alpine lakes that allow for such adventure travel activities as motorcycling expeditions, camel rides, mountain trekking, white water rafting and more.
Many tourists travel here to take part in high adrenaline challenges and to get a thrill from the exciting things to do in Ladakh, while soaking up the breathtaking scenery and experiencing a truly middle-of-nowhere feeling due to the regions disperse populations.
Before heading off for your Indian adventure, remember to get all your papers sorted because you could find yourself traveling a great distance to be turned away at the border if you’re not correctly prepared.
It is vital to make sure you don’t leave home without your valid passport and Indian eVisa for Ladakh, also known as an India eTV which can be applied for directly online.
Remember also to organize your travel insurance before departing and any extra documents that you might need. It’s often advisable to print out copies of your passport, Ladakh eVisa, and travel docs as well as accommodation reservations, etc. just in case.
When to Visit Ladakh
The area of Ladakh has a similar climate to some parts of Europe and North America with a sunny, warm summer from June to September allowing for clear views and relaxed cool evenings to enjoy some of the stunning sights.
There is a monsoon season from October to May which makes traveling to Ladakh nearly impossible for outsiders. Temperatures can reach as low as -20ºC and the area is covered in heavy snowfall.
How to Get to Ladakh
Given the difficult terrain and extreme weather in the region, Ladakh is not always the easiest place to reach and there are certain aspects that must be considered if you’re planning on visiting Ladakh at any time of year.
During the dry months, there are different routes to get to Ladakh by road, either coming from Srinagar or Manali. Various bus companies offer regular or luxury coaches to take travelers to the capital Leh or taxis also offer the service but at a higher cost. Motorbikes can also be commonly seen taking these routes.
In the winter months, the only way to visit the Ladakh region is by air. Often experienced winter trekkers will visit in the colder period.
Due to these conditions, traveling to Ladakh with family in tow can be quite challenging and is not recommended for young children. However, depending on your preferences, Ladakh for a honeymoon could be just what you’re looking for.
Are Leh and Ladakh the same thing?
Ladakh, which translates to "land of high passes", is a region situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh is the biggest city in the region of Ladakh and it was the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh. The city of Leh is at 3, 524 meters and is connected through the National Highway to Srinagar in the southwest and via Leh-Manali it connects to Srinagar. In the year 2010, the city was heavily affected by sudden floods caused by a cloudburst.
Ladakh and Leh are not the same thing but are related to each other. Travelers might want to consider visiting Leh if they wish to travel in the Ladakh region. Leh's old town was added to the World Monuments Funds list of 100 most endangered sites due to increased rainfall from climate change.
Attractions in Leh include the Leh Palace, modeled after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The palace was built in the 16ht century by Senge Namgyal. It is nine stories high. There is also the Namgyal Tsem Monastery or Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, a Buddhist monastery founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh. It is possible to make day trips from Leh to other fascinating locations. It should be considered that the city of Leh is connected to the rest of India by two high-altitude roads that are often subject to landslides which cannot be passed in winter when covered in snow.
How much does a trip to Ladakh cost?
Travelers who wish to explore the rural areas in the Ladakh region probably wonder how much a trip to Ladakh will cost. However, it's important to decide what to see in this vast region. This is not a typical weekend getaway destination, therefore, planning is essential. Travelers who wish to discover Ladakh must bear in mind that they will need a few days to explore the area. The cost of the trip will depend on the places a traveler wishes to visit and the number of days needed.
The cost of a trip to Ladakh will also depend on where the traveler is catching their flight or bus. There are a few agencies that can arrange a complete trip from Mumbai or other cities to Leh. Food can cost up to 900 rupees per person, per day. Transportation in and around Ladakh can cost about 2000 rupees, meanwhile, accommodation can cost a minimum of 800 to 1000 rupees. Before booking a trip to Ladakh it is advised to check the activities a traveler wants to engage in and determine how many days they wish to stay.
Is it permitted to go to Ladakh with an eVisa?
Ladakh is part of India and foreign visitors from eligible countries are required to have a valid eVisa to enter the country. Therefore, those who wish to visit Ladakh are required to have a valid electronic visa along with a valid passport. Foreigners are expected to have their documentation in order upon arrival in India, including an approved eVisa and a passport with two blank pages.
The eVisa for India simplifies the process of obtaining a visa to travel to and within the country. The electronic visa application for India can be completed through an online form and within a few minutes. Once approved, the India eVisa grants a stay of up to 60 consecutive days in the country. An India eVisa holder can visit Ladakh and its main attractions and landmarks.