Destinations - India Ladakh Mountains

How to Plan your Ladakh trip in 7 Days

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Last updated on September 15th, 2021 at 03:52 pm

Do you want an awesome Ladakh trip experience but did not know how to plan one? We make it easy for you with this hassle free and detailed 7 days plan which will cover important places in the region and inspire you to return back again for more!

We hope to answer these questions you always had on your mind while planning a Ladakh trip.
  1. How many days are enough for Leh Ladakh trip?
  2. Which route is best for Leh?
  3. Can we go to Ladakh by Car?
  4. How can I go to Leh Ladakh?
  5. What is the common itinerary for Ladakh trip?
  6. Which is the best time to go to Ladakh?
  7. How can I plan my Leh Ladakh trip?
  8. What is the best Ladakh trip plan?
  9. What’s the best itinerary for a bike trip in Ladakh?
  10. Is there a good 7 days Ladakh trip itinerary?

The Summary of 7 days Easy Ladakh Trip Plan

  • Circuit – Leh – Lamayuru – Alchi – Kargil – Leh – Hunder/Diskit (Via Khardunng La & Nubra Valley)  – Pangong Tso – Tangtse – Leh
  • Total Distance – 890 KMs
  • Total number of Days – 7 days. Departure on 8th Day.
  • Google map – https://goo.gl/maps/BW3EZyYfF9q

Day wise itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Leh

  • Book your flight to Leh. Make sure you get a window seat! Ladakh from Sky is awesome! (Please click on the pictures in this post to see them in larger size)

Easy Ladakh Trip Itinerary by Air & Road for 7 days with daily plan!

Easy Ladakh Trip Itinerary by Air & Road for 7 days with daily plan!

Easy Ladakh Trip Itinerary by Air & Road for 7 days with daily plan!

  • Keep your camera and binoculars ready 15 minutes before arrival.
  • If you are coming in group, make sure many have window seats!
  • The flights to Ladakh arrive into Leh in the morning. This gives you enough time to get acclimatised.
  • On arrival, drive straight to your place of stay
  • On this day, just relax. It is very essential not to exert yourself today. You will feel it how tough it is to even climb first floor! Don’t worry. If you are well acclimatised, you will feel good gradually.
  • In the evening, take a leisurely stroll in Leh bazar.

More pictures of Ladakh from the sky can be seen in this post on this blog 

  Ladakh from the Sky – Mesmerising Mountainscape!

Day 2 – Leh – Alchi – Lamayuru – Mulbekh – Kargil

Distance – 225 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/LXWS9f9Sux42

Itinerary

  • Today is the first day of your Ladakh Trip Itinerary. You will go for a lovely drive to Kargil. This will not only help you get acclimatised well but also help you appreciate mesmerising landscape of Ladakh.
  • Leave at 6 AM
  • The drive to Kargil is a fascinating mix of desert and greenery!
  • As you leave Leh, you climb towards Nimmu and here is your first glimpse of what will be in store for next few days – lovely combination of mountains and desert landscape, spectacular green valleys and crystal clear rivers!
  • Stop for few minutes at Indus Valley view point and enjoy the valley flanked by Ladakh ranges
  • Drive for few kilometres and stop for a gorgeous view of Indus and Zanskar confluence.
  • As you cross Gurudwara Pathar Saheb, keep looking for the signage “Magnetic Hill”. This is a geographic marvel! Check it yourself.
  • For next few hours drive along Indus river. Notice the fantastic colours of the mountains glimmering in morning light!
  • Reach Alchi and get marvelled at the murals in the famous monastery. Have breakfast here
  • As you near Lamayuru, get stunned by spectacular moonscape!
  • The setting of Lamayuru monastery is stunning! Spend an hour exploring the monastery.
  • Return to highway and start climbing to Fotu La the highest mountain pass on this stretch at 11,500 feet. This is an interesting stretch of the road looping all the way up with stunning landscape all around! On reaching Fotu La, stop for few minutes to absorb 360 degree views!
  • Driving down from Fotu La presents you stunning desert landscape with weather worn mud structures looking surreal!
  • Continue your journey on the highway and stop at Mulbekh Chamba on the highway.
  • Visit Buddha monastery at Mulbekh Chamba and get mesmerised by the massive rock-cut Maitreya Buddha statue. Have lunch here.
  • Reach Kargil by evening for night stay.

Day 3 – Kargil – Drass (Kargil War Memorial) – Cave monastery – Patthar Sahib – Leh

Distance – 348 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/agVFacBS2qp

Itinerary

  • Depart Kargil at 6 AM. Drive to Drass to visit Kargil War Memorial.
  • Check out our detailed post on Kargil War Memorial here
  • After 45 minutes in War Memorial, have breakfast at Drass which is close by.
  • Drive back to Leh along Drass and Wakha rivers. The Wakha valley is beautiful with mountains on either side. Mountains look different when you drive to Leh now!
  • After Hotel Snow heights on the highway, take a detour to most fascinating monastery – Cave Monastery!
  • After Mulbekh, you are in desert landscape again. Rugged mountains with snow-capped peaks with colourful villages thrown in welcomes you.
  • Climb up to Fotu La pass and enjoy the view from the pass.
  • Driving down from the pass is a fascinating one. The curvy roads will lead up to Lamayuru.
  • Notice the colourful mountains as you drive towards Lamayuru.
  • The few kilometers after Lamayuru will treat you the fascinating landscape of moonscape!
  • After Lamayuru, you will be joined by Indus. Continue to get fascinated by the landscape.
  • Stop over at Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, one of the holy shrines of Sikhs and take blessings of Guru Nanakji.
  • Reach your place of stay in Leh and relax for the night.

For more details and lovely pictures of this part of Ladakh road trip from Leh to Kargil, please check out these posts on this blog

Here is a quick glimpse of this journey from Leh to Kargil.

Spituk Gompa in the morning

Panoramic view of Indus Valley from the view-point

Confluence of Indus and Zanskar. In winters Chaddar trek starts here.

Lovely view as you enter Nimmoo

Notice the colours of the mountains as you drive along Indus!

This is a lovely stretch of Tarmac!!

A Fauji convoy on the highway with Indus as company!

On top of the moon? Moonscape before Lamayuru!!!

Lamayuru monastery glimmering in afternoon sun!

Isn’t this lovely!!! Climb to Fotu La

A colourful village

Cave Monastery

Rock forms at Mulbekh. Surreal!!

Rock cut statue of Maitreya Buddha, Mulbekh

A bird’s eye view of Kargil town

Kargil war memorial 

Gurudwara Pathar sahib 

Day 4 – Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Diskit/Hunder

Distance – 114 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/dBX7mrShX6o

Itinerary

  • Start from Leh at Dawn.
  • Enjoy the drive up to Khardung La on the winding road. Savour the sight of Stok Kangri and other peaks of Ladakh ranges simmering in sunrise.
  • Reach Khardung La after two hours of drive. Stay for few minutes – not more than ten minutes as warned by boards placed there. Click pictures for keepsake. Don’t run around and exert too much.
  • Drink lovely tea and savour some light snacks in Fauji canteen. You can pick up some souvenir as well here.
  • Climb down and reach North Pullu. First few kilometers after Khardung La is not good and being avalanche prone area is slippery. Drive carefully on this stretch.
  • You may find ice walls on this stretch for a kilometre. You can stop at safe place and take pictures.
  • On reaching North Pullu, you can have breakfast in few Dhabhas or Army canteen.
  • After breakfast, sit back and enjoy the most beautiful drive in the vast Nubra valley along Shyok river. Lovely mountains, beautiful valleys, gentle flowing river, wind eroded mud walls…….it is a fascinating landscape.
  • If you are hungry, you can have lunch at dhabhas on the highway or in Khalsar. If not eat in Diskit.
  • After lunch visit Diskit monastery and the beautiful statue of Avalokiteshwara. Enjoy the panoramic view of Shyok valley from here.
  • Drive to Hunder after visiting the monastery. On the way enjoy the sight of sand dunes on one side and mighty mountains on the other!
  • Reach the place where people go for camel riding. Book a camel and go for a ride in the dunes. Walk around in the dunes and click some nice pictures even as sun sets in the horizon.
  • Drive to the place of your stay for night halt. We recommend you to stay in Diskit town which has better options than staying in Hunder.

For more details and lovely pictures of this part of Ladakh road trip, please check out these posts on this blog

Here is a quick glimpse of the beautiful journey!

Shanti Stupa as seen from Khardung La road

The road to Khardung la is a sheer climb!

The spectacular landscape opens up after Khardung village after driving down from Khardung La. Notice for lovely canyon like structures all long till you join the road which goes along Shyok river.

You will also see lovely villages in the valley covered by mighty mountains

The mesmerising landscape as you turn towards Diskit. The Start of sand dunes!

White sand dunes and colourful mountains give you company as you climb up to Diskit Monastery and the grand statue of Avalokiteshwara

Panoramic view of Diskit monastery

Camel ride on the dunes!

Day 5 – Diskit – Tangste – Pangong Tso – Tangtse

Distance – 190 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/bdP7EKD69oA2

Itinerary

  • This is another fantastic drive along Shyok river and Tangtse Valley. Mountains look different when you drive in opposite direction!
  • Leave at 6.30 AM and have breakfast at Khalsar on the way.
  • Drive along Shyok river and take the deviation to Shyok village after Khalsar and drive along the river.
  • Enjoy the landscape of Dubruk valley and reach Tangtse for lunch. Tangste is fairly larger place with huge presence of army. If you are not hungry, drive on and have lunch in Pangong.
  • Climb up to Pangong Tso. Don’t miss the wow moment of seeing the first view of the lake!
  • Reach the lake. Park your vehicle and spend an hour and half exploring the beauty of this mighty lake which stretches into China!
  • Drive back to Tangste and stay for the night. We advise you to stay in Tangtse than Pangong because Tangtse is at lower height and you will feel more comfortable and will not be impacted by altitude sickness.

The road from Diskit to Tangste huge Shyok river all along with some spectacular views!

Crossing a bridge…..

Tangtse to Pangong is a spectacular drive of mountains of different colours!! See next two pics!

The Wow moment! The first sight of Pangong Lake! 

Colours of Pangong Lake! The lake changes its hues of blues and green through the day. It is best seen at mid day.

Day 6 – Tangtse – Leh

Distance – 113 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/5iWj4fGPKT52

Itinerary

  • The drive to Leh from Tangtse is a dream drive! The mountains are so spectacular that you will be glued to the window! You will cross Chang La, which is the third highest road in the world!
  • Leave around 6.30 AM. You can have breakfast in Chang La cafe.
  • Drive through beautiful landscape and arrive in Leh.
  • In the evening go around Leh bazar.
  • Night halt in Leh.

For more details and lovely pictures of this part of Ladakh road trip, please check out this post on this blog

 Spectacular drive to Pangong Lake from Leh

Here is a glimpse of the dazzling drive!

Spectacular colours of mountains!

A frozen lake

Chang La. The third highest road in the world!

Day 7 – Leh and Surroundings

Today explore Leh and surroundings. Leh is a lovely town and it is a pleasure to explore it.

Places to be seen

  • Army Museum and War memorial
  • Thiksey Monastery
  • Leh Palace
  • Shey Palace
  • Sindhu Darshan
  • Shanti Stupa.

For more details on exploring Leh town as part of your Ladakh trip itinerary, please see this post on this blog 

Shanti Stupa

Stok Palace

Thiksey monastery

Maitreya Buddha in Thiksey Monastery

Sindhu Darshan

Army war memorial and museum

In the evening, you can do some shopping. There are few antique shops and you can pick up nice thakhas, Masks or other Ladakhi handicrafts. You may also have a gourmet experience in any of these restaurants in Leh!

 10 Exciting eating places in Leh! 

Day 8 – Fly back to your home

Normally the flights from Leh take off in the morning. Make sure you have a window seat to enjoy the vistas of mountains one last time!

Here, we end the 7 days plan for Ladakh. However if you have time, we suggest that you can explore these extensions which are awesome and spectacular.

2 Extensions to your awesome Ladakh Road trip

These extensions are possible to your 7 days Ladakh trip itinerary if you have additional time and willing to rough it out on the roads.

Extension 1 – Diskit/Hunder – Turtuk – Diskit/Hunder

Distance – 181 KMs

Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/U9eG4yVqqW12

Itinerary

  • You need to stay an extra day in Hunder. Turtuk can be done as a comfortable one day road trip from Hunder. We strongly suggest you to do this which will also get a chance to see last Indian village – Thanng – and also the India – Pakistan border.
  • This is a fantastic drive along the Shyok river. The landscape is awesome with colourful mountains on one side and wide river on the other side
  • Leave after breakfast. A three-hour drive will take you toe the small town of Turtuk. You are now in Baltistan which is spread between India and Pakistan!
  • This is the last Indian town before Pakistan border. Explore the beautiful town and have lunch. Drive upto the last village of Thang and get an opportunity to see the India – Pakistan border with good briefing y Army team there .
  • After lunch Return to Diskit.
  • Night stay in Diskit
  • Check out all details about Turtuk in this detailed post in this blog

Colours of Shyok river

A bridge on Shyok river

A lovely view of Turtuk Village

On the way to the border. One can see the last village Thang – Green patch!

In front of the view point!

Extension 2 – Hunder/Diskit to Siachen Base camp

This is another spectacular extension to 7 days Ladakh Trip Itinerary is a trip to Siachen base Camp from Diskit. You need to stay another night in Hunder/Diskit for this. The Army is not allowing this now as they are on high alert. Here is our detailed drive to Siachen Base camp

Siachen Base Camp – A Spectacular drive to salute snow warriors! http://traveltwosome.com/ladakh-diaries-siachen-base-camp/

Few pictures from this trip

Travel Tips

  1. This is the Easy 7 days Ladakh trip itinerary which will give you once in a life time experience.
  2. Stay options – Ladakh and Leh has excellent options to stay suiting all budgets. Our choice has been lovely homestay known as Raku Guest House.
  3. The Ladakh road trip is not for faint hearted. You really need to rough it out on the treacherous roads. So be prepared mentally and physically!!
  4. Please check out local COVID restrictions and requirements before you travel. A Travel forum like HVK Forum – details later in this page – will be helpful (See link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/hvkumar/ )
  5. If you want a “No Worries Ladakh Trip” we strongly suggest to go with “Chalo Ladakh” Package curated by doyen of Road trips in India H V Kumar
  6. Ladakh Inner Line Permits are not required for Indian Tourists anymore from August 2021. However, Ladakh Protected Area Permits (PAP) are required for foreigners. These permits are required in Ladakh in order to visit the inner line places like Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La, Tangyar. Both Protected Area Permits (PAP) and Inner Line Permits (ILP) are available online from the official website www.lahdclehpermit.in of Leh administration. All tourists can go through the website to obtain the inner line permits. You need to pay an Environment fee of Rs 300, Red Cross Fund fee of Rs 100 and inner line permit fee of Rs 20 per day per person to get these permits. You need to provide a valid photo ID proof to apply for these Inner Line Permits in Ladakh. More details can be seen in this lovely link https://devilonwheels.com/how-to-get-ladakh-inner-line-permits-online/
  7. Acclimatization is the key to success of this 7 days Ladakh Trip Itinerary. Else, AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude Sickness – is likely to hit you at these heights. Most of the cases will be mild and result in nausea, headaches, sleeplessness. For more details please check this  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000133.htm
  8. Driving in hills takes more time and speeds are drastically reduced as road condition may not good. Always have buffer time to allow delays due to landslides and flooding of roads.
  9. Taxi charges are fixed by Taxi drivers union of Ladakh every year. Just follow it.
  10. Motorcycles can be hired in Leh or Manali.
  11. We have not given any details of stay options in different places as there are numerous options available depending upon one’s budget.
  12. Follow the golden rule of hill driving. Start early and reach early!
  13. Carry enough memory cards for your pictures. There is so much to click that you will regret if you haven’t had these chips.
  14. Eat less and don’t overfill yourself while driving in hills. Drink lot of water.
  15. Carry a good medicine kit. Talk to your family doctor and take necessary medicines. If you have a medical condition, please get an advise from your doctor before starting the trip. If you are asthmatic or having any breathing issues, we suggest to carry a portable oxygen cylinder.
  16. Avoid alcohol. Drink lot of water and be hydrated always.
  17. The mountain sun is scorching. Wear a good sun screen lotion and cover yourself with a good hat and sun glasses.
  18. Mountain weather is fickle. It may look sunny but cold. It may suddenly start snowing and temperatures may go down. Carry thick jackets, gloves, woollen cap with you wherever you are travelling.
  19. Do not exert and run around in high altitude. Oxygen content in atmosphere is 30 – 40 percent lesser in these areas and will make you tired and sick. Do not stay for more than 10 minutes in passes above 15000 ft.
  20. Carry a good Binocular.
  21. Pack your long johns and woollens. If you have a sleeping bag, carry it. Mountain weather is fickle.
  22. Ensure that you have the complete vehicle accessories and kit. If self driving, practice trouble shooting techniques and become confident. Carry a good map of the area.
  23. Dal/Rajma – Chawal , Maggi and omelette are staple food you get in dhabhas on the highways in Ladakh. Don’t expect anything more! Always carry some eatables like biscuits in the car.
  24. If possible try to plan your drive during full moon day period. You will possibly see the brightest moon ever in these rarefied and unpolluted areas at night.
  25. Do not rely too much on your cell phone. It may not work most of the time. Prepaid connections don’t work in Jammu & Kashmir state. Take post paid connections.
  26. Do not sleep on the journey. You will regret having missed on some of the outstanding scenery in the world.
  27. While driving up to Khardung La and also to Pangong Tso, you will get a chance to see Yaks and Marmots!
  28. Lastly, if you get stuck up anywhere and find an army camp close by, go in and take their help. These great guys will never say NO. Poorna can vouch for it having served in Indian Army!!
  29. Be a responsible traveller. Don’t leave any plastic or any other thrash. Take it back with you. Enjoy the tranquillity of the lake and surroundings. Don’t spoil it with loud music. This is not a place for partying.

Thank You!

We thank you for stopping by Travel Twosome.

We hope this post on how to plan awesome Ladakh trip was useful to you and you enjoyed reading it. May we request you to share it among your firmed and inspire them to go on aLadakh Trip?

We would love to hear from you. Please share your Ladakh trip  experience in the comments section below.

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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