Last Updated on 14 August 2023 by Poorna & Brinda
The Ladakh trip is once in a lifetime experience! We make it easy for you with this hassle-free and detailed 7 days Ladakh Itinerary 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. This is a long post. Please go through it and you will get all details for your Ladakh trip.
How many days are enough for Leh Ladakh trip?
Which route is best for Leh?
Can we go to Ladakh by Car?
How can I go to Leh Ladakh?
What is the common Ladakh itinerary 7 days?
Which is the best time to go to Ladakh?
How can I plan my Leh Ladakh trip?
What is the best Ladakh trip plan?
What’s the best itinerary for a bike trip in Ladakh?
Is there a good 7 days Ladakh trip itinerary?
The Summary of 7 days Easy Ladakh Trip Itinerary
- 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 Ladakh Trip 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)
- Keep your camera and binoculars ready 15 minutes before arrival.
- If you are coming in a group, make sure many have window seats!
- The flights to Ladakh arrive in 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 how tough it is to even climb the 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
Day 2 – Leh – Alchi – Lamayuru – Mulbekh – Kargil
Distance – 225 km
Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/LXWS9f9Sux42
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 the next few days – a lovely combination of mountains and desert landscape, spectacular green valleys and crystal clear rivers!
- Stop for a few minutes at the Indus Valley viewpoint and enjoy the valley flanked by Ladakh ranges
- Drive for a few kilometres and stop for a gorgeous view of the 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 the next few hours drive along the Indus River. Notice the fantastic colours of the mountains glimmering in the morning light!
- Reach Alchi and get marvelled at the murals in the famous monastery. Have breakfast here
- As you near Lamayuru, get stunned by the spectacular moonscape!
- The setting of Lamayuru monastery is stunning! Spend an hour exploring the monastery.
- Return to the 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 landscapes all around! On reaching Fotu La, stop for a 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 the Buddha monastery at Mulbekh Chamba and get mesmerised by the massive rock-cut Maitreya Buddha statue. Have lunch here.
- Reach Kargil by evening for a night stay.
Day 3 – Kargil – Drass (Kargil War Memorial) – Cave monastery – Patthar Sahib – Leh
Distance – 348 km
Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/agVFacBS2qp
- Depart Kargil at 6 AM. Drive to Drass to visit Kargil War Memorial.
- Check out our detailed post on Kargil War Memorial here
- Kargil War Memorial – Honouring our War Heroes – http://traveltwosome.com/kargil-war-memorial/
- 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. The mountains look different when you drive to Leh now!
- After Hotel Snow Heights on the highway, take a detour to the most fascinating monastery – Cave Monastery!
- After Mulbekh, you are in the desert landscape again. Rugged mountains with snow-capped peaks with colourful villages thrown in welcome 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 kilometres after Lamayuru will treat you to the fascinating landscape of the 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 Nanak ji.
- Reach your place of stay in Leh and relax for the night.
For more details and lovely pictures of this part of the Ladakh road trip from Leh to Kargil, please check out these posts on this blog
- Srinagar to Leh road trip 2 – Surreal and Spectacular!
- Srinagar to Leh road trip 3 – Moonscape & Magical Mountains!
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 winter 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 a company!
On top of the moon? Moonscape before Lamayuru!!!
Lamayuru monastery glimmering in the afternoon sun!
Isn’t this lovely!!! Climb to Fotu La
A colourful village
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
- 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 the sunrise.
- Reach Khardung La after two hours of driving. Stay for a 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 the Fauji canteen. You can pick up some souvenirs as well here.
- Climb down and reach North Pullu. The first few kilometres after Khardung La is not good and 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 a safe place and take pictures.
- On reaching North Pullu, you can have breakfast in a few Dhabhas or Army canteen.
- After breakfast, sit back and enjoy the most beautiful drive in the vast Nubra valley along the Shyok River. Lovely mountains, beautiful valley, gently flowing river, wind-eroded mud walls…….it is a fascinating landscape.
- If you are hungry, you can have lunch at dhabas 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 the sun sets on the horizon.
- Drive to the place of your stay for a night’s 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 trip, please check out these posts on this blog
Here is a quick visual bliss 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 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 km
Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/bdP7EKD69oA2
- This is another fantastic drive along Shyok River and Tangtse Valley. Mountains look different when you drive in the 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 a fairly larger place with a huge presence of the 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 a 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 a lower height and you will feel more comfortable and will not be impacted by altitude sickness.
The road from Diskit to Tangste – Shyok river all along with some spectacular views!
Crossing a bridge…..
Tangtse to Pangong is a spectacular drive of mountains of different colours!! See the next two pics!
The Wow moment! The first sight of Pangong Lake!
Colours of Pangong Lake! The lake changes its hues of blue and green throughout the day. It is best seen at midday.
Day 6 – Tangtse – Leh
Distance – 113 km
Route map – https://goo.gl/maps/5iWj4fGPKT52
- 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 the 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 the Ladakh trip, please check out this post on this blog
Here is a glimpse visual spectacle 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 its 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
Maitreya Buddha in Thiksey Monastery
Army war memorial and Museum
In the evening, you can do some shopping. There are a few antique shops and you can pick up nice thankhas, Masks or other Ladakhi handicrafts. You may also have a gourmet experience in any of these restaurants 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 the 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 are 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
- 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 do this which will also get a chance to see the 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 a wide river on the other side
- Leave after breakfast. A three-hour drive will take you to the small town of Turtuk. You are now in Baltistan which is spread between India and Pakistan!
- This is the last Indian town before the Pakistan border. Explore the beautiful town and have lunch. Drive up to the last village of Thang and get an opportunity to see the India – Pakistan border with a good briefing from the Army team there.
- After lunch Return to Diskit.
- Night stay in Diskit
- Check out all details about Turtuk in this detailed post on 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 viewpoint!
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 for Ladakh Trip
- This is the Easy 7 days Ladakh trip itinerary which will give you once in a lifetime experience.
- Stay options – Ladakh and Leh have excellent options to stay suiting all budgets. Our choice has been a lovely homestay known as Raku Guest House.
- 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!!
- A Travel forum like HVK Forum – details later on this page – will be helpful (See link – https://www.facebook.com/groups/hvkumar/ ) If you want a “No Worries Ladakh Trip” we strongly suggest going with “Chalo Ladakh” Package curated by doyen of Road trips in India H V Kumar
- 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 the 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 an 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/
- Acclimatization is the key to the 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, and sleeplessness. For more details please check this http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000133.htm
- Driving in hills takes more time and speeds are drastically reduced as road conditions may not be good. Always have buffer time to allow delays due to landslides and flooding of roads.
- Taxi charges are fixed by the Taxi drivers union of Ladakh every year. Just follow it.
- Motorcycles can be hired in Leh or Manali.
- We have not given any details of stay options in different places as there are numerous options available depending upon one’s budget.
- Follow the golden rule of hill driving. Start early and reach early!
- Carry enough memory cards for your pictures. There is so much to click that you will regret if you haven’t had these chips.
- Eat less and don’t overfill yourself while driving in the hills. Drink lot of water.
- Carry a good medicine kit. Talk to your family doctor and take the necessary medicines. If you have a medical condition, please get advice from your doctor before starting the trip. If you are asthmatic or have any breathing issues, we suggest carrying a portable oxygen cylinder.
- Avoid alcohol. Drink a lot of water and be hydrated always.
- The mountain sun is scorching. Wear a good sunscreen lotion and cover yourself with a good hat and sunglasses.
- Mountain weather is fickle. It may look sunny but cold. It may suddenly start snowing and temperatures may go down. Carry thick jackets, gloves, and woollen caps with you wherever you are travelling.
- Do not exert and run around in high altitudes. Oxygen content in the atmosphere is 30 – 40 per cent lesser in these areas and will make you tired and sick. Do not stay for more than 10 minutes in passes above 15000 ft.
- Carry good Binoculars.
- Pack your long johns and woollens. If you have a sleeping bag, carry it. Mountain weather is fickle.
- Ensure that you have the complete vehicle accessories and kit. If self-driving, practice troubleshooting techniques and become confident. Carry a good map of the area.
- Dal/Rajma – Chawal , Maggi and omelette are staple food you get in dhabas on the highways in Ladakh. Don’t expect anything more! Always carry some eatables like biscuits in the car.
- If possible try to plan your drive during the full moon day period. You will possibly see the brightest moon ever in these rarefied and unpolluted areas at night.
- 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.
- Do not sleep on the journey. You will regret having missed some of the outstanding scenery in the world.
- While driving up to Khardung La and also to Pangong Tso, you will get a chance to see Yaks and Marmots!
- 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!!
- Be a responsible traveller. Don’t leave any plastic or any other trash. 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.
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