The day you arrive in Ladakh, the first thing to do is to acclimatize yourself to conditions at such a high altitude. It is recommended not to venture out for sightseeing on your day of arrival. If you have breathing issues you must carry your medicines. If staying for a short period of time, it is better to hire a cab for sightseeing and not self-drive. If planning to stay for a month or so, then you can rent a bike or explore on your own vehicle. You will get helpline numbers on www.lahdclehpermit.in/helplines/
Inner Line Permits (ILP)
Permits are mandatory to explore some restricted areas in Ladakh. These permits to tourists are authorized by the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Leh. It takes 24 hours to process your request after submitting your application. The validity of these permits is 3 weeks for Indian nationals. You can also apply for ILP online. For more info visit www.lahdclehpermit.in
You must keep at least 8 – 10 copies of your permits.
Mode of Transport: Taxis are easily available in Leh. Public transport is not an option for tourists. Hire a cab to cover tourist attractions in Leh. You can also rent bikes.
08:00 AM – 01:00 PM
After completing all the necessities and formalities, you begin your Ladakh trip at one of the oldest establishments of the region, Spituk Monastery.
Spituk Monastery is also called Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa. The most astonishing aspect of this monastery is its structure. The monastery sits on top of a barren hill and is home to more than a hundred monks. Tourists are allowed till 01:00 PM.
Time duration: 45 min – 1 hour
After indulging in Buddhist culture, your next stop will be at the famous Hall of Fame and Zorawar Fort.
Just 3 km from Spituk Gompa, the Hall of Fame is a museum which not only showcases the valiant achievements of our brave hearts but also pays tribute to those who lost their lives. The museum has a unique collection of the machinery, armors, and heroic acts of the Indian Army along with the weapons that were seized from the Pakistan Army after the wars. The light and sound show in the evening is something to watch and endure.
4 km from the Hall of Fame is Zorawar Fort. The 19th-century fort built on the orders of Zorawar Singh is now a museum dedicated to Ladakhi and Dogra warriors.
Ticket price at the Hall of Fame includes entry to the museum, entry to Zorawar Fort, and Light and sound show.
Time duration: 2.5 – 3 hours.
If feeling hungry, then head towards Fort Road or the Main Market area. Fort Road and nearby areas offer plenty of popular restaurants and cafes for tourists to relish Chinese, Tibetan, Ladakhi cuisines.
Leh Town Exploration
02:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Post lunch head towards the city center and pay a visit to the Leh Palace.
The Leh Palace has been in existence for more than 450 years. It was the residence of the royal family of King Sengge Namgyal. There are nine storeys in the palace which has been converted to a museum and a prayer room. You get to see the landscape of Leh town from the roof of this palace. The altitude of this location is around 17500 feet. Leh Palace is a primary tourist attraction.
Time duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
After exploring a historical site, head towards Shanti Stupa.
Shanti Stupa is also known as Peace Pagoda was built under Japanese guidance with the sole purpose of spreading unity. The white architecture is very unique and easily captures your attention. With the barren mountains and blue sky in the backdrop, Shanti Stupa reflects the essence of peace.
Time duration: 45 min – 1 hour.
In the evening take a stroll in and around Leh Main Market to shop for local artifacts, handicrafts, and souvenirs.
You can end your day with the Beating Retreat at the Hall of Fame.
Also read: Nubra Valley Itinerary
Mode of Transport: Taxis are easily available in Leh. You can also rent bikes. Public transport is not an option for tourists.
Beyond Leh Sightseeing
10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
On the second day, you should cover some of the well-known and off-beat attractions on the Leh-Kargil Highway aka NH1.
Mode of Transport: Hire a cab for the day or rent a bike.
Things to see on Leh-Kargil highway are 30 – 35 km away from Leh. A round trip would easily take 5 – 6 hours.
Gurudwara Pather Sahib: This gurudwara is dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev. According to the folklore, Guru Nanak Dev was settled at this spot. The rock inside the premise of gurudwara is believed to be touched by Guru Nanak Dev. Travelers on this road do stop by to pay homage and seek blessings.
Time duration: 45 min – 1 hour.
Magnetic Hill: Probably the most picturesque road you will ever witness. It is said that the formation of mountains in this area is such that the magnetic forces nullify the gravitational forces. Some say that the formation of these mountains creates an optical illusion. Whatever may be the case, Magnetic Hill is definitely an Instagramable place in Ladakh.
Time duration: 30 – 45 min
Sangam Point: As the name suggests, this is the spot where you get to see the confluence of the Zanskar River and the Indus River. This place is on the bucket list of many travelers. A place you cannot afford to miss when in Ladakh.
Time duration: 1.5 – 2 hours.