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Things to do in Ladakh

Things to do in Ladakh

10 May 2024

Top 15 Unforgettable Things to Do in Ladakh

 

Ladakh — the land of breathtaking landscapes and endless adventure!  Today, it’s emerging as one of the best holiday destinations, offering unforgettable experiences. Nestled in the majestic Himalayas, its unique geography of barren mountains, deep valleys, and colourful lakes, creates a surreal and captivating environment.

 

Whether you're camping under the stars in Nubra Valley, riding a motorcycle through cool breezes, trekking on the frozen Zanskar River, or exploring the stunning Leh Palace, there's no shortage of fascinating things to do in Ladakh.

 

From ancient monasteries perched on rugged cliffs to serene lakes reflecting snow-capped peaks, Ladakh attractions will captivate you. Be it the spectacular Leh Palace or the stunning Pangong Tso Lake, the historic Hemis Monastery, or the mysterious Magnetic Hill, you will never feel short of finding awesome places to visit in Ladakh. 

 

Read on to discover the interesting things to do in Ladakh, where every moment is an adventure waiting to be discovered.



CONTENTS:

Here’s the list of the best things to do in Ladakh. 

 

1. Visit Leh Palace

2. Find Peace at Shanti Stupa

3. Enjoy Thrilling Motorbike Rides

4. Camp by Pangong Tso Lake

5. Trek to Zanskar Valley

6. Enjoy Rafting on the Zanskar River

7. Go for Chadar Frozen Trek

8. Visit the Hemis Monastery

9. Drive to Moonland

10. Explore Tso Moriri Lake

11. Stargaze at Nubra Valley

12. Try Camel Safari in Nubra Valley

13. Explore Spiritual Serenity at Alchi Monastery

14. Visit Thiksey Monastery

15. Savour Ladakhi Cuisine

Planning a Trip to Ladakh?

 

1. Visit Leh Palace

 

Begin your trip to Ladakh with a visit to the famous Leh Palace, also called Lachen Palkar Palace. It’s one of the best places to visit in Ladakh. Built-in 1600 as a royal residence, this nine-storey Tibetan architecture has a sandy color that adds a unique look.

 

From the top of the palace, you can witness the breathtaking views of Leh. The palace holds a large collection of ancient artifacts and paintings, providing an opportunity to learn about Ladakh's royal past.


Entry Fee: INR 15
Timings: 7 am to 4 pm
Trip Duration: 1-2 hours

2. Find Peace at Shanti Stupa

 

Set atop a hill in Changspa, at an elevation of over 4000 meters above Leh, Shanti Stupa is another popular tourist place in Ladakh. To reach the white-domed stupa, you’ll need to climb 500 steps.  It’s not just known for its religious significance but also for its stunning surroundings. 

 

Also known as Chantis Stupa, Shanti Stupa is known for its breathtaking sunrise and sunset views over the city, with the surrounding snow-capped Himalayas adding to its beauty. You can see it from anywhere in Leh. At night, lights are kept on, creating a mesmerizing sight that’s hard to miss.

 

Entry Fee: Free
Timings: 5 am to 9 pm
Trip Duration: 1-2 hours

3. Enjoy Thrilling Motorbike Rides 

 

If you're up for adventurous things to do in Ladakh, nothing beats the thrill of a motorcycle expedition through its rugged terrains. It’s much more exciting than it sounds! If you're a fan of bike trips, set out from the streets of Manali and head towards Leh, for a thrilling expedition. Along the way, you'll cross high-altitude passes like Khardung La—one of the world’s highest motorable roads. 

 

Don't forget to make a stop at the famous Magnetic Hill, where an optical illusion might make it seem like your bike is moving uphill with the engine off—a truly exhilarating experience. Riding on two wheels amidst spectacular valleys, lakes, and mountainous terrains is an unforgettable adventure you won't want to miss!


Best time for a bike tour in Ladakh: May to September
Trip Duration: 1-2 days

 

4. Camp by Pangong Tso Lake 

 

No visit to Ladakh is complete without seeing the stunning Pangong Tso Lake. This stunning lake, known for its ever-changing colors, stretches across India (one-third) and Tibet (two-thirds). Sitting at an elevation of 4,225 meters, it's one of the world's highest saltwater lakes. 

 

The lake's blue water contrasts beautifully with the white snow-covered mountains in the background. Camp in deluxe tents around the lake and admire its beauty and the surrounding landscape with your loved ones. It’s among the best attractions in Ladakh for casual camera capture. 

 

Entry Fee: Free (environmental fee INR 400)
Timings: Throughout the day

 

5. Trek to Zanskar Valley 

 

Looking for adventurous things to do in Ladakh? Gear up for the challenging trek through Zanskar Valley. It's remote, beautiful, and offers a glimpse into the raw nature of Ladakh. 

 

With challenging trails and breathtaking views of the Trans-Himalayan region, trekking through this unexplored valley is truly exhilarating. Along the way, you may encounter monasteries, campsites, grasslands, villages, and abundant wildlife and wildflowers. A journey through this surprising trek will etch to your memories forever.  


Best time for trekking: May to September
Trek Duration: 7 - 10 days

Difficulty level: Difficult

 

6. Enjoy Rafting on the Zanskar River 

 

Right in the Zanskar region along the Leh-Kargil route lies the Zanskar River, a tributary of the Indus River and one of the world's highest rafting rivers. If you are into thrilling activities, do try white-water rafting here. 

 

The river runs through dramatic gorges and rugged landscapes, offering an adrenaline-pumping experience. Plus, it boasts many rapids and a whirlpool to get your heart racing. Remember to follow your guide’s instructions before adventuring into this ice-cold water adventure.

 

Cost of Zanskar River rafting: INR 1500 - INR 3000
Timings: 9:30 am to 5:30 am
Trip Duration: 2-3 hours

 

7. Go for Chadar Frozen Trek

 

In winter, the entire Zanskar River freezes, and you will get to experience an amazing adventure what's known as Chadar Frozen Trek. This unique adventure takes you along the frozen river, where you'll walk on a thick blanket of ice, surrounded by breathtaking, snow-covered cliffs. 

 

Walking on the crystal-clear ice amidst the tranquil Ladakhi landscape is truly a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Despite temperatures dropping to -30 degrees Celsius, the freezing environment adds to the sense of thrill and resilience. It's one of the best things to do in Ladakh if you are looking for cold winds, personal challenges, and the serene beauty of nature in its purest form. 


Best time to visit: December to January
Trek Duration: 8 days

Difficulty level: Difficult

 

8. Visit the Hemis Monastery 

 

Explore Hemis Monastery, the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, situated on the banks of the Indus River. This monastery boasts a rich collection of ancient relics, including Buddha statues and gold and silver stupas. Here, you'll also discover an extensive collection of thangkas and artifacts in a museum. 

 

Plan your visit to the monastery during the Hemis Festival and you can witness the entire region come alive with vibrant colors and dances. Held over three days during the fifth lunar month (July), this festival celebrates the birthday of Guru Rinpoche. Masked choreographed dances and cultural performances are the highlights of this festival.

 

Entry Fee: INR 50 per adult
Timings: 6 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm
Trip Duration: 1-2 hours

 

9. Drive to Moonland 

 

Visit Lamayuru, a small village you will come across when traveling from Kargil to Leh. This village is popularly known as Moonland thanks to its lunar-like landscapes. It is believed that once there was a lake that dried up and today this village is situated in the same place. 

 

Its unique geographical formations will leave you spellbound. And you'll be mesmerized by the otherworldly scenery, feeling as though you've stepped onto the surface of the moon. Don't miss the Lamayuru Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, which adds to the charm of this enchanting destination.

 

Entry Fee: Free
Timings for Lamayuru Monastery: 7 am to 7 pm
Trip Duration: 3 to 4 hours

 

ALSO READ: Offbeat places to visit in Sikkim

 

10. Explore Tso Moriri Lake 

 

Here is another stunning tourist place in Ladakh, nestled within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary – the lesser-known Tso Moriri Lake. As the largest high-altitude lake in India, it offers a serene and untouched natural environment. 

 

The mesmerizing blue shades of the lake complemented by white and brown mountains in the surroundings, create a scene of unparalleled beauty. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife you can spot here, including many migratory birds and the elusive Tibetan wolves.

 

Entry Fee: Free
Timings: Throughout the day
Trip Duration: 1 hour

 

11. Stargaze at Nubra Valley

 

One of the most unforgettable things to do in Ladakh is stargazing in Nubra Valley. With minimal light pollution, this place offers a perfect view of the Milky Way Galaxy at night. The clear skies reveal constellations and celestial events in a spectacle you’ll rarely see in urban areas. 

 

The natural beauty of Nubra Valley only adds to this stunning sight. Once a stopover on the ancient Silk Route, the valley boasts the Shayok and Siachen rivers flowing through it. With flowers and mountains adorning its landscape, Nubra Valley is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Ladakh.


Best time for stargazing in Ladakh: April - June and September - October

 

12. Try Camel Safari in Nubra Valley 

 

Another fun thing to do in Ladakh in the Nubra Valley region is Camel safari. Here you’ll find a unique double-humped Bactrian camel, critically endangered and found only in this region in India. 

 

Enjoy a memorable ride amidst the scenic sand dunes of Hunder, exploring lush apricot fields and remote villages. On your way, stop by and admire serene monasteries, stunning hot springs, and the desert landscape of Ladakh. And, don’t forget to trace the historic Silk Route, adding a touch of ancient flavour to your adventure.

 

Cost of Camel Safari: INR 500
Best time for Camel Safari in Ladakh: June to September
Trip Duration: 30 minutes

 

13. Explore Spiritual Serenity at Alchi Monastery

 

Alchi is one of Ladakh's oldest and most treasured Buddhist monasteries. Nestled by the banks of the Indus River, this sacred site offers a tranquil escape from the outside world. 

 

Admire its exquisite murals and wood carvings that date back to the 10th century, each telling stories of spiritual teachings and ancient traditions. One of the top highlights of the monastery is its wall paintings depicting a mix of Buddhist style with Kashmiri artistic details.

 

Entry Fee: INR 25
Timings: 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm
Trip Duration: 1 hour

 

ALSO READ: Adventure activities in Meghalaya

 

14. Visit Thiksey Monastery

 

Take some time off your Ladakh trip to visit Thiksey Monastery, a gem of Ladakhi architecture and spirituality that mirrors the Potala Palace in Lhasa. This 12-story complex made with red, ochre, and white colors is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Ladakh. 

 

This monastery houses an impressive collection of Buddhist art, including statues, stupas, and thangkas. Sitting atop a small hilltop, Thiksey Monastery offers panoramic views of the Indus Valley below.

 

Entry Fee: INR 20
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
Trip Duration: 1 hour

 

15. Savour Ladakhi Cuisine 

 

No trip to Ladakh is complete without savoring local delicacies like Thukpa, Momos, and the energizing butter tea. Hop to local eateries and guesthouses and try authentic Ladakhi meals that are both hearty and heartwarming. 

 

Ladakhi cuisine, deeply influenced by Tibetan flavors, is known for its simplicity and health benefits. Don't miss trying Sakyu (soup) and chhurpe (dried yak cheese) for their distinctive flavors. You can even enjoy a glass of the local beer chhang on a beautiful evening.

 

ALSO READ: Must try dishes in Lakshadweep

 

Planning a Trip to Ladakh?

 

Ladakh is beautiful in every corner. Whether it's monasteries with beautiful architecture and serene ambiance, stunning lakes, or unexplored roads and valleys, attractions in Ladakh are beyond imagination. 


Book a Ladakh tour package and experience its unparalleled beauty firsthand. Explore adventurous activities and witness sights you've never seen before. It's the perfect destination to escape the scorching heat of summer and enjoy some memorable time in nature.

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