Ladakh Tourism: How to Plan your Leh Ladakh Trip

Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh

Leh Ladakh has always been a dream destination for every traveler. Boasts of snow-clad mountains, scenic landscapes, shimmering lakes, glistening rivers, and ancient monasteries, Ladakh is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in India. And while you are planning to visit this exotic land you might be wondering what could be the best time to visit Leh Ladakh.

Traveling to Leh-Ladakh is one of the most cherished thoughts for many. Enjoy the sights of the vast and desolate expanse of hills and valleys. This along with the thrilling experience of enduring the harsh climate is one of its kind adventures. While some people suggest summers to be the best time to go to Leh Ladakh as the weather is most exciting and amiable. The snow has melted and there is a buzz of activity with the colorful and vibrant Hemis Festival taking place.

On the other hand, according to some, winters are the best season to visit Leh Ladakh as this season has their own charm when only a handful of travelers visit the place. The site is all covered with snow and the views are most breathtaking. This is also the time when one of the most adventurous treks of the world, the Chadar Trek starts. Adventure lovers find it bliss to walk over the majestic and frozen Zanskar River. But nevertheless, each time of the year has its own allure, and deciding the ideal time to visit Leh Ladakh is often confusing.

If this seems to be the case with you then the information below will help you a lot. Check out the following info for Leh Ladakh's best season and plan your trip accordingly.

1. April to Mid-May

April marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ladakh and the place starts to become alive with tourist activities. The maximum temperature becomes 15 degrees Celsius and minimum temperature becomes -1 degree Celsius. The heavy snowfall stops and summertime takes over the place. Restaurants open, hotels and guest houses get ready to welcome guests and various camps at sites such as Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri Lake commence to set up during April month. 

By late April, all the lakes including the Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri begin to melt, uncovering the beautiful colors and fabulous sights. In order to welcome more guests, hotels and guesthouses offer heavy discounts. This benefits all the travelers who happen to be present here around this time. However, both Khardung La and Chang La still remain covered with snow and it’s a memorable experience in itself to pass through them. Usually, by the second week of May, the crucial Srinagar-Leh highway opens up leading to a flurry of tourism energy into Ladakh.

2. Mid May to July

During the Mid-May, only the Srinagar-Leh highway opens up. But during early June, Manali-Leh road opens up along with Rohtang Pass. However, the initial 7-10 days are really not suitable for traveling. As the highway experiences recurring blockages. Meanwhile, just before the monsoons, it is really cool and suitable to travel to Ladakh due to the amazing weather. During June, the adventure junkies start embarking on the Ladakh bike tour.

The roads are flanked by high snow walls around Rohtang and sometimes Baralacha Pass too. June and July are the ideal months to visit Leh Ladakh. There are many other incredible views of pervading snow to enjoy. However, due to rapid melting, the roads and paths are wet with gushing waters, so much so that sometimes it becomes really hard to cross them. During this time, people can visit the famous monasteries of Ladakh namely Shey Monastery, Likir Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Diskit Gompa, etc and delight in the cultural heritage of the region.

3. August to Mid-September

At this time, the monsoons are in full swing. Rivers get a new life and flow with their full might. Traveling during this period can be risky and dangerous as landslides are common. However, the area beyond Zoji La Pass, in the direction of Leh from Srinagar and further from Baralacha Pass, towards Leh from Manali side is a rain shadow area. For this reason, these areas do not receive much rainfall. But definitely, the path won’t be easy up to Baralacha La from the side of Manali and Zojila Pass from the Srinagar side. During the August month, several famous festivals in Ladakh are celebrated and tourists can take part in them and revel in the vibrant beauty of the region.

Nevertheless, even the climate of this rain-shadow area keeps on changing from time to time. Previously, there have been rains in Ladakh too or intermittent overcast conditions. But nothing drastic has happened till now.

4. Mid-September to Mid-October

This is one of the best seasons to visit Leh Ladakh of all for visiting the amazing and picturesque locations of Leh and Ladakh. The entire place is imbued in wonderful colors in all their glory right up through the Srinagar-Leh as well as Manali-Leh roads. Diskit festival is one of the famous festivals which is being celebrated in October. You can explore the Nubra Valley and enjoy the camel ride. After monsoons, the level of the flowing waters recedes too much and the weather is dry with a beginning chill and occasional snowfall.

Moreover, the road conditions are better and the maintenance work is also settled by this time. Various water bodies surrounding the location turn aqua blue and the place starts exuding astonishing beauty. While some camps at the site have packed up and closed some continue to provide facilities still. Overall, to witness the real beauty of the place, this is just the right span to pay a visit.

5. Mid October to Mid-November

By this time the cold has completely taken over the area. The place experiences sub-zero temperatures at all locations above 14,000 ft. Almost all the tourists leave the place with only a few ones remaining to brave the chill. Most of the hotels, guesthouses, restaurants get closed and even locals move back, vacating the place till next summers.

Although Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh highways remain open, it is usually not advisable to travel through them. this is advised in order to avoid the extreme chill. This is done also due to the presence of black-ice which begins to appear towards the end of October and continues till early winters. It gets completely vanished in the winter season. It is advisable to take a flight to reach here. Thiksey and Padum Festival celebrated during November month and tourists can get a chance to enjoy the celebration and savor the delicious local delicacies.

6. Mid-November to March

This is the coldest season of all in Ladakh when the region gets completely cut-off from the rest of India by road. Tourists can reach there by flights. Though roads to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley are kept open even in winters. Passes like Khardung La and Chang La Pass are prone to receive snow anytime. Mid-January to Mid-March is also the time when many adventure tourists arrive in Ladakh for the famous Chadar Trek, involving walking over the frozen Zanskar River.

The cold would have already settled in by this time and there is frequent snowfall which makes survival and acclimatization difficult. The temperature continues to dip further with each passing day. One of the major highlights of your visit is that you get to witness the changing colors of Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri which happens from November to December/mid-January. After this, the Lakes of Ladakh get completely frozen with solid ice and one can even easily walk on them.

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