Ladakh Tourism

7-Day Ladakh Itinerary

Acclimatization Day

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.

Day 1:

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.

Heritage Sightseeing

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: Best Area To Book your Hotel in Ladakh

Day 2:

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.

Day 3:

Check-out Leh; Check-in Nubra Valley

11:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Mode of Transport: Rent a cab, preferably an SUV or MUV, to cover the Leh-Nubra-Pangong-Leh circuit.

Reserve this day for travel. The distance between Leh and Nubra Valley is 120 km and there are a couple of check posts at South Pullu and North Pullu where you have to present your documents and submit permits. Permits and document verification take time. Hence the whole journey ends up being 5 – 6 hours.

Make sure to get your permits on time from the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Leh and keep 8 – 10 copies of them. If applying online for permits, keep 8 – 10 copies of the receipt. For more info visit www.lahdclehpermit.in

Khardung La Pass lies on the way to Nubra Valley.

Nubra Valley is at a higher altitude than Leh, you should not exert and stretch your days. Check-in at your hotel at Nubra Valley and crash for rest of the day.

Day 4:

A Cold Desert

08:00 AM – 01:00 PM

Diskit Gompa is the largest and the oldest monastery in Nubra Valley.

The monastery opens at 07:00 AM in the morning and again at 02:00 PM. The most attractive aspect of the structure of Diskit Gompa is the statue of Maitreya Buddha. The statue of Buddha can be spotted from some distance.

Time duration: 45 min – 1 hour

Nubra Valley is famous for its picturesque landscape of cold desert and Hunder Sand Dunes.

Hunder sand dunes is a place for photograph enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure and peace seekers. A ride on the back of a Bactrian camel in the cold desert is something you would cherish. There are a couple of spots where you can take part in ATV bike rides.

Time duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

There are local restaurants in Nubra Valley where you can take your meals. You won’t find any popular food joints.

An Oasis in the Cold Desert

02:00 PM – 06:00 PM

Post lunch, head towards Sumur Village, 45 km from Hunder Village.

Sumur Village is not frequently visited by tourists. En route to Sumur village you come across the confluence of Shyok and Nubra rivers.

Samstanglin Gompa is the prime attraction in Sumur Village.

Time duration: 3 – 4 hours

After this, return to your accommodation and call it a day.

Also read: Best Time to Visit Ladakh

Day 5:

Offbeat Ladakh

09:00 AM – 05:00 PM

There are two villages that are almost 70 – 80 km from Nubra Valley and you must plan to visit pay a visit to at least one of them.

1. Turtuk Village

2. Panamik Village

Turtuk is the last settlement of India’s Ladakh. Beyond this marks the beginning of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The border village has an intriguing history. The residents of Turtuk live in a house made of stones like the ancient era. You feel as if you have traveled back in time. Turtuk takes 2 hours to reach Nubra Valley.

In the news: The Hindu

Panamik village is famous for its hot springs and also this is the last point where civilians are allowed. Beyond Panamik village begins Siachen base camp. Siachen glacier is the highest battlefield in the world. It takes 90 min to get here from Nubra Valley.

Day 6:

Check-out Nubra Valley; Check-in Pangong

08:00 AM – 05:00 PM

Another day you must reserve exclusively for travel. The distance between Nubra Valley and Pangong is 250 km. Although the journey is breath-taking and scenic, the road is dangerous. Highly recommended not to self-drive. The total journey takes close to 6 hours.

Begin your journey as early as possible to witness the stunning views of the Pangong Tso Lake at sunset. There is a check post at Tangtse where you have to present your documents and submit permits.

Make sure to get your permits on time from the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Leh. If applying online for permits, visit www.lahdclehpermit.in

Arrangements are available for a night stay in Pangong in form of camps around the lake. There are a couple of homestays and guesthouses available in nearby villages and Tangtse.

Day 7:

Final Destinations

10:00 AM – 06:00 PM

In the last leg of your Ladakh trip, you travel from Pangong Lake to Leh and cover three prime attractions on the way.

Changla Pass: The second highest pass after Khardungla Pass, Changla Pass is challenging terrain to pass through. No concrete road, water crossings, and narrow lanes make it mandatory for every passer-by to take caution. It takes more than 2 hours to get here from Pangnon Tso Lake.

Thikse Gompa: 60 km from Changla Pass, Thikse Monastery is the largest Tibetan monastery in Ladakh. The 12-storey complex houses multiple stupas and Buddhist artifacts. A must-visit place to take a short layover from a long journey.

Shey Palace: Just 10 km south of the capital city of Leh, Shey Palace is a 16th-century monument that houses the largest stupa in Leh.

Stay in Leh for the night and the next day begin your journey back to your home.

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