Ladakh is a region of Northern India where nature and mountains are incredibly beautiful. Leh is the capital of Ladakh and it is located at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level. If you are a travel freak, then you should try to visit this erstwhile Himalayan kingdom with a unique culture at least once in your life.
In this article, we have compiled the best places that tourists should visit in Leh-Ladakh, including various Buddhist monasteries, mesmerizing lakes and hidden valleys. Ladakh is a vast region and you will be driving on rough mountain roads. Therefore, it is advised to plan your trip in advance so that your itinerary can be fully optimized. This article to help you planning your next adventure in the Himalayas.
Pangong Tso Lake
If you have already started searching about Ladakh on the internet, you have most likely already seen pictures of the most well-known lake in Ladakh and one of the main attractions in the region. Indeed, a visit to Pangong Tso Lake is on every traveller’s list. This place became very famous in 2009 because the final scene of the famous Bollywood movie “3 idiots” was shot at this mesmerizing place.
Located at an altitude of 4,250 meters on the Changthang plateau, Pangong Tso is considered as one of the most beautiful lakes in Asia. The deep blue colour of the water surrounded by towering mountains is a memorable sight. The lake is 134 kilometres long; it stretches across the borders of two neighbouring countries, India and Tibet. The brackish water in the lake is also known to generate various light effects when the sun hits it. One-third of the lake lies within India, while two-thirds are part of Tibet, which is currently controlled by China.
From Leh, it takes 4 to 5 hours to reach Pangong Lake by car. A taxi for the return trip from Leh costs approximately 15,000 Indian rupees. The best option is to spend a night at the lake to have the time to truly enjoy this amazing place. On the way from Leh city to Pangong Lake, the road crosses Chang La pass, one of the highest road in the world at 5,300 meters altitude.
The Nubra Valley is located north of Leh, at the border with Pakistan. To visit the Nubra Valley, you need to cross the Khardung La pass, the highest motorable road in the world situated at 5,600 metres altitude. A sightseeing tour to the Nubra valley is usually done over 2 or 3 days. Indeed, there are many places to explore in this valley.
One of the best places in the Nubra Valley is Hunder, which is famous for its beautiful sand dunes. Here, you could even go for a camel safari in the middle of the Himalayas! The Bactrian camels found in Hunder are a reminder of the past, when the Nubra Valley was on the Old Silk Route going from China to India.
Just 10 kilometres from Hunder is the village of Diskit, the largest village in the valley. Here, you can visit the impressive Diskit monastery (that is also called “Diskit Gompa”) perched on a rocky hill above the village. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, founded during the 14th century. Inside, you can see beautiful Buddhist statues and paintings. Approximately 100 monks reside at the monastery.
The Sham valley is located along the Indus River, directly West of Leh city. It is very easy to reach and there are many villages and interesting monasteries to visit in this part of Ladakh. The most famous monasteries are found in Likir, Alchi and Lamayuru.
Another famous spot in this area that you should not miss is known as “Sangam”. This is the confluence of the Indus River and the Zanskar River. It is one of the best place for photography, and people can also do river rafting here, an adventure that you will never forget!