Ladakh- The land of high passes is situated in the Jammu & Kashmir state of India. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh region.
One can reach Leh by flight from Delhi, Srinagar, and Jammu and reach Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL). Located at an altitude of 11,000+ feet above sea level, it is one of the highest airports in the world.
Traveling by road is another alternative option, this would probably be one of the most adventurous journeys of your life. July to September are the Best months to visit Ladakh.
The below list of places are my personal favorites:
1. Turtuk Village:
It is located in the Nubra Valley and is 205 kms from Leh town. If you have ever watched the movie “The Hobbit” and wondered if those locations were for real, I would say Turtuk village can easily be the closest match.
It is just perfect in all possible ways. There are the mighty Himalayan mountains in the backdrop, a beautiful stream flowing and a wooden bridge over it. If you cross this bridge you will be transported to an entirely new world which you would have probably never been in your life.
There are lush green farms, which are generally a rare sight in Ladakh region, multi-storied stone houses (total height of the building would not exceed 12 feet, I still wonder how they managed two floors with that height), beautiful school with loads and loads of cute looking kids, couple of homestays and cafes, which serves very delicious food. It was the last village on Indian border until recently.
This is more of an offbeat location not many tourists would visit this place, However, if you have about half a day extra, I would strongly recommend a visit to this village.
2. River rafting at Zanskar:
Zanskar means Copper place. River Zanskar is one of the biggest tributaries of the mighty river Indus. Zanskar meets Indus at a place called Nimmu.
There are a couple of adventure camps which organize river rafting. We did ours with splashladakh.com
It was the month of August when we went and the water was freezing cold, wet bodysuits is a total must, which is mostly part of the rafting package. The rapids are of Level 2.
I bet you are up for a once in a lifetime experience. Since we were all set to get wet in the water, I was not carrying my camera and have very few pictures to share.
3. Khardung la pass:
It’s not that every day you will come across world’s highest motorable road, which is at a height of 18,730 feet above sea level. So why miss the chance when to visit this pass when you are around? Few pointers to remember:
a) Everyone likes to have a picture with the board which reads “You are at world’s highest motorable road”, so please be quick. After all its about live and let live.
b) I asked you to be quick because I don’t want you to black out due to lack of oxygen. Yes, you read it right, at such a high altitude, breathing could be really challenging, so would recommend not hanging around here for not more than 20 mins.
c) Just to be on safer side, carry a small oxygen can. It’s widely available in Leh town.
d) Have your camera gears ready so that you won’t waste any time in setting it up.
All said and done, its one of the beautiful places I have ever been. I’m quite sure you will agree with me if you have been to Khardung la pass.
The message is loud and clear. Yet there are people like me.
And you will have to face the consequences if you don’t follow the instructions.
4. Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake:
Your expedition to Ladakh would be incomplete if you don’t pay your visit to Pangong lake. It’s just too beautiful to be true. However, reaching Pangong might be little challenging if you are not well prepared.
We rode there in Royal Enfield 350cc, which we had hired at Leh town, that made the entire journey even more adventurous. You will have to cross few high passes to reach here.
I would suggest you start your day early from Leh so that you will reach Pangong much before sunset. Once you reach, there are many small shacks which sell most delicious Maggi, do treat yourself with it.
Click as many pictures as you want, every single picture will be beautiful. It’s a dead lake, you won’t see any vegetation in it. If the sky is clear, you will see the reflection of the sky in water and water will look pristine blue.
Happy me 🙂
5. Nubra Valley:
Diskit is the capital of Nubra which is around 150 kms from Leh town. This is at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level. Nubra valley gets its name because of the Nubra river that flows there.
You can also see the glimpse of Shyok river en route to Nubra valley. While journey itself is beautiful there are quite a few tourist attractions. Diskit monastery tops the list. Sand dunes of Hunder make you wonder where did this sand come from in the middle of high mountains.
There are multiple waterfalls and streams on your way. Overall Nubra is one region in Ladakh where you get to see greenery, water, sand and of course mountains. By the way, you have to pass Nubra Valley to reach Turtuk.
Other than the above list there are many other places which might interest you, as mentioned earlier above ones are my personal favorites. You might want to explore other places as well. Takthok Monastery, Chemrey monastery, Hemis monastery, Thiksey monastery, Hall of Fame, magnetic hill Leh, Leh Palace, Shanti stupa to name a few.
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