“The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there”
Updated Rates for 2017
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(Note: A lot has changed since I first wrote this blog. From this year onwards, domestic tourists are also required to acquire Protected Area Permits (PAP) from the DC Office in Leh. The transportation & accommodation costs have also gotten a bit pricey, but never the less Ladakh is still Ladakh and is definitely an incredible place to be at).
❤ Ladakh❤ the mystical land to the world’s highest motorable passes. It’s breath-taking high altitude mountains, cold deserts, saltwater lakes and insane landscapes makes it a spiritual journey for travelers, nature enthusiast, and adventure fanatics.
For all those wanting to travel to Ladakh, this is how you can do it under a budget of 20,000 INR.
This land of wonder had been on my visit list of dreamy places for over 3 years. Considering all the packages I came across on the internet, it took me 3 months of working in a call center to arrange 60,000 INR to make this dream come through.
August 2015, I finally set out solo to the land that was keeping me awake for years. Traveling from flights to buses, cars, and motorbikes, dozing off with a million stars, sleeping in different locations every night and waking up to barren mountains every day, this was indeed a journey of a lifetime.
Renting a Bike in Leh
You can get a Royal Enfield Classic 350 for 1500 INR a day or a 500 cc for 1700 INR (No Deposits Needed). Depending on the model and make of the bike you rent, it is advised you carry extra fuel for those extra miles as reliable petrol pumps are only available in Leh (Note: They are other bikes available for cheaper rent).
Hiring a Taxi in Leh
Just walk across the travel agencies in Leh, they all have notice boards put up for people wanting to share taxis. Below are the estimated return prices for an XUV;
Leh to Tso Pangong (Spangmik) 2000 INR.
Leh to Nubra Valley (Hunder) 2000 INR.
Leh to Tso Moriri & Tso Kar 3000 INR.
(Note – All fares are for a taxi shared by 6 people)
PAP (Protected Area Permits)
As on 2017, even domestic tourists are required PAP’s for visiting Nubra Valley, Tso Pangong, Tso Moriri, etc. The PAP’s will cost INR 700 & INR 1000 per person for India’s & Foreigners, this includes the travel agents fee.
Trip Itinerary from Delhi 14N/15D
Delhi – Manali – Leh – Tso Pangong – (Rafting) – Nubra Valley (Diskit/Hunder) – Tso Moriri & Tso Kar – Leh – Manali – Delhi or Leh – Srinagar – Home Destination
Day 1: Delhi to Manali: You will get an A/c Semi-Sleeper Volvo ranging from INR 1200 to INR 1400.
Day 2: Arrive in Manali: You can easily get a guest house costing around INR 400-500 near Mall Road and Old Manali.
Day 3: Manali to Leh: The Himachal Tourism Bus (Manali to Leh) is the most comfortable way to cover this stretch. The bus departs at 09:00 hrs and arrives Leh at around 19:00 hrs the next day. Costing INR 2700, it proffers a night halt at Keylong that includes your dinner and breakfast as well (accommodation in 4 & 6-bed dorms).
Adding to the advantage pool are those 10 minutes halts at all the major engrossing locations on this stretch.
Manali – Rohtang Pass – Chenab River – Koksar – Keylong – Bara-lacha La Pass – Sarchu – Nakee La Pass – Lachulung La Pass – Pang – Tanglang La Pass – Karu – Leh
Tented Accommodation at Keylong (Altitude 10,100 ft.)
Day 4: Arrive in Leh: You will find many homestays which in my opinion are the best options to stay in Ladakh as they are easy on pockets, beneficial to the locals as well as conveniently accessible, serving almost everywhere in the city. Price for a homestay ranges from 450 INR for single room to 800 INR for double.
My personal favorite home stay in Leh was at Greenland Guest House on Changspa Road, near the Changspa Bridge opposite Cafe de Leh.
Greenland Guest House in Leh
Day 5: Explore Leh. Fall in for a jaunt of exploration with beautiful stopovers like the Leh Palace, Leh Market, Jama Masjid, Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, or maybe just a walk around this lovely town.
The Gorgeous Leh Palace (Altitude 11,500 ft.)
Day 6: Leh to Tso Pangong, approximately 160 km’s via Chang La Pass.
Chang La Pass (Altitude 17,688 ft.)
Tso Pangong: Lukung offers you basic stay options for INR 400-500. Spangmik which is some 8 km’s ahead, offers Homestays for INR 1500 and Luxury Tents for INR 5500 that includes your dinner & breakfast. Embrace yourself for some astonishing fireworks in the sky at night (Note: These are the standard prices, but you can always bargain for better deals).
The Beautiful Tso Pangong (Altitude 14, 270 ft.)
Tso Pangong (Altitude 14, 270 ft.)
Day 7: After breakfast return to Leh, evening at leisure.
The view from Shanti Stupa in Leh (Altitude 11,500 ft.)
Day 8: River Rafting at Indus or Zanskar River will cost around 1600 INR the Rapids might not turn out to be that adventuresome, but the view is totally worth it (Note: Body surfing here is much more fun).
River Rafting at Indus River (Altitude 11,400 ft.)
Day 9: Leh to Nubra Valley (Hunder), approximately 130 km’s via Khardung La.
Independence Day Ride to Khardung La Pass (Altitude 18,380 ft.) August 2015
Nubra Valley: Homestays & Luxury Tents are available at Diskit & Hunder (Note: Carry extra fuel as there’s only one sometimes not functional petrol pump at Diskit).
Yumbuk Homestay at Hunder, Nubra Valley (Altitude 10,000 ft.)
Sand Dunes at Hunder, Nubra Valley (Altitude 10,000 ft.)
Esna Monastery in Diskit, Nubra Valley that is over 250 years old (Altitude 10,000 ft.)
That moment in life when you do not just see shooting stars, but also capture one. Stargazing at Hunder, Nubra Valley
Day 10: After breakfast return to Leh, evening at leisure.
Day 11: Leh to Tso Moriri & Tso Kar, approximately 470 km’s round trip going via Chumathang and returning via Tanglang La.
Tanglang La Pass (Altitude 17,480 ft.)
Tso Moriri – Homestays and Luxury Tents are available at Korzok (Note: Riding here is personally not advised as it’s a remote area and the roads are in a bad shape. It’s also one of the longest journey’s you will be making).
Paradise is right here on Earth. Tso Moriri (Altitude 14,836 ft)
(Note: There’s a state bus from Leh to Tso Moriri on the 10th, 20th & 30th of every month. Cost 370 INR one way)
Day 12: After breakfast return to Leh, evening at leisure.
Day 13: Depart Leh: Check for flight fares from Srinagar to your home destination, if they are cheap you can return via Srinagar. If not, return the same way via Manali (Note: Flying out from Srinagar is way cheaper then compared to flying out from Leh).
A shared taxi to Srinagar will cost around INR 2000-2300. The taxi departs Leh at 17:00 hrs and arrives in Srinagar by 09:00 hrs (Note: A guest house in Srinagar near Dal Lake will cost around INR 300-400, wherein a boat house will cost around INR 800 for a double room).
Day 14: Arrive in Srinagar: Explore Srinagar.
Day 15: Take a flight back to your home destination (Note: If you want to save days, then be wise and book your return tickets from Leh well in advance).
A humble request – Garbage disposal in the region is a major issue. Please carry your trash with you and dispose it at the appropriate place.