How to Reach Ladakh by Road?
Routes for Leh Ladakh road trip
There are two routes to Ladakh and it takes two days for each of these journeys.
Manali to Leh (NH3) – 475 km
Srinagar to Leh (NH1D) – 422 km
Sindhu Darshan Festival is between 12-14th June 2016 at Sindhu Ghat near the
town of Leh. Do visit it if you are planning your trip in June.
If you plan to take the Manali-Leh Highway, start early for Rohtang Pass to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Rani Nallah before Rohtang is a slushy area and needs to be tread carefully.
Modes of Transport for the Road Trip
By Own Vehicle
You can drive your own vehicle to Leh. If you are taking a car, an SUV or MUV would be the best option instead of a hatchback or sedan.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism and J&K Tourism operate daily deluxe and ordinary buses between Manali and Leh for a two-day journey with stopover usually at Keylong.
Groups can take ordinary, deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J&K SRTC at Srinagar.
Taxis (cars and jeeps) are available at Srinagar /Manali for the journey to Leh.
If you hire a driver, then hire him from a trusted agency only. There are fixed departures by a few companies but take the Leh Ladakh Road Trip travel package from a reputed company only. If you are a solo traveler, then you must join a group as the transport cost is too high.
Stops on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip:
Manali – Leh Route
Keylong (118 km)
Jispa (140 km)
Sarchu (225 km)
Srinagar – Leh Route
Kargil (202 km)
Important Passes on the Road Trip to Leh Ladakh
Manali to Leh
Rohtang Pass (3978 m) – Crosses Pir Panjal range. Opens in early June. Leave early to avoid traffic. Closed on Tuesdays for maintenance.
Bara lacha La (4890 m) – Crosses Great Himalayan range. Opens in April.
Tanglang La (5328 m) – Crosses Zanskar range.
Srinagar to Leh
Zoji La (3528 m) – Connects Ladakh with Kashmir. Opens by late May or early June.
Fotu La (4108 m) – Highest point on the Srinagar-Leh route.
Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh:
June-August is the peak season that attracts a large number of tourists and travelers to visit Ladakh. Roads are open in September and October also, but it gets very cold to stay en route or find places to stay.
Temperature: Summers (June to September)
Minimum: 5° C, Maximum: 30° C
Winters (October to May)
Minimum: -25° C, Maximum: -1° C
Things to Carry on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
Carry waterproof backpacks and handbags for day hikes.
Avoid trolleys and heavy suitcases.
Toiletry and Medical Supplies
You must be prepared for a great tan since you will be traveling under the scorching heat of the bright sun. Therefore you must carry high SPF sunscreen (UV40+), moisturizers, lip balm
Pain relievers- spray/balm, camphor (helps in breathing at high altitudes)
Insect repellent, antiseptic cream.
Re-hydration salts (oral) – 6-8 sachets/Gatorade type electrolyte.
Iodine based water purification tablets.
Clothing and Footwear
Good, heavy, waterproof shoes for trekking and walking
Extra pair of socks (esp. for bikers as you will have number of water drains and streams to cross)
Carry proper woolen clothes (esp. for the months of April-July & October-November) – Jackets, Sweaters, Comforters, Shawls etc. You will need layers of clothes in the cold and airy weather of Ladakh. However, in the months of August & early September, you will NOT need many woolens.
Sometimes there are unexpected showers of rain/snow. Therefore you will need Rain Jackets or raincoats and umbrellas.
This ultimate road trip on earth definitely needs an ultimate checklist, so that you can make the most out of your trip. You don’t get all the scattered information and experience required for this trip in one blog. Out of decades of experience of Roads Less Traveled and travelers, we have compiled one Checklist that any Ladakh Traveler must go through. So if you are planning a Leh Ladakh Road Trip for the first time. Here’s your essential travel guide for the road trip.
- A good quality camera will ensure you capture the scenic and magnificent views throughout your journey
- Memory cards of a considerable size are advised.
- Carry fully charged batteries and chargers along, e batteries tend to lose their charge quickly higher altitudes.
- Some electrical devices (Cameras, I-pods, etc. behave differently (work improperly/stop working) at higher altitudes.
- Wide brim hat/scarf
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Lightweight gloves/mittens
- Small Wash/Hand Towel
- Multi-tool knife
- Large plastic bags(for keeping items dry inside trek bag)
- Out of State Vehicles (only 4 wheelers) need a permit to travel from Manali to Rohtang Pass which is issued by the Office of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Manali.
- Permit Office Timing is 10 Am to 5 Pm from Monday to Saturday (barring Second Saturday, Sundays, and Government Holidays)
Important Tips to Avoid AMS on Leh Ladakh Road Trip
- You can also take coca which is also taken for high altitude mountaineering.
- Take chocolates, chewing gums etc. Due to low oxygen levels, you will feel tired easily, that’s when chocolates and energy bars will come to your rescue.
- Have garlic as it increases oxygen capacity.
- Take ginger water.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids (NOT alcohol). Acclimatization causes fluid loss, so
- drink at least 4 to 5 liters of water per day.
- Eat your food regardless of not being hungry, for high altitude
- acclimatization. However, eat light.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, sleeping pills and other depressant drugs.
- Carry small, portable Oxygen cylinders (5-6) which last for a few minutes.These are easily available at known chemists in Metro cities.
- Oxygen cylinder costs approximately Rs 400. Carry beforehand as you might not find them in Manali due to a lot of demand.
Women Travelers on the Leh Ladakh Road Trip: Since there are NO toilets on the
way (only available in camps etc.), it is normal to make a group and go behind rocks. DO NOT avoid drinking water due to this reason. It’s important for acclimatization!
Commonly Used Local Ladakhi Words
- How are you? : Khamzang le?
- Hello, goodbye, thank you: Julley
- I am well: Khamzang in Le
- What is your name? : Nyerangi ming chi in le?
- My name is: Nge ming le
- Where do you come from? : Nyerang kane in le?
- I come from Delhi: Nga Delhi ne in le
- I understand: Hago le!
- Do you understand? : Hago a
- I do not understand: Hamago le
Fuel Points Manali – Leh
- Tandi ( 113 km)
- Upshi (365 km)
- Srinagar – Leh
- Kargil (203 km)
Medical Aid Hospitals
Manali, Keylong, Leh, Tangste, Diksit, Kargil, Srinagar
You can find medical aid at army camps at Pang and Sarchu.
Mobile and Telephone Network Connectivity In and Around Leh
Only BSNL, Aircel and Airtel have their networks in Leh. Tourists with post-paid mobile connections from these operators can use mobile phones in this region.
- NOT many places have the facility of Credit/Debit cards, so it is advisable to carry cash with you.
- There are SBI/ J&K/ HDFC/ PNB/ AXIS bank’s ATM available in Leh. However, due to huge tourist movements in the season, they are usually jam-packed or out of order.
- At various places you can/ will have to stay at Campsites, so carrying your own tents, sleeping bags etc. would be a good idea. Packed food and water too would be needed at such places.
- Inform your family that there will be no network in Ladakh and thus you will be unable to communicate properly for a few days.
- See your doctor before going to Ladakh – especially if you suffer from any heart-related problem or asthma.
- Carry snacks, biscuits etc. with you. Landslides/road blocks can happen unexpectedly on your way and you would not want to stay hungry at such times.
- Please avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts, blouses, tops, undershirts etc. in public and especially in Monasteries, Mosques, Temples, Gurudwaras, and Churches.
- Ladakh is a “no polyethene” zone. Kindly respect this and please carry back all the plastic you take with you. DO NOT litter around.