This post was last updated on July 1st, 2021
Frozen lakes, snow-blanketed roads, and pure-white sparkling mountain peaks offer the perfect backdrop to the symphony of fluttering prayer flags in Ladakh in December.
The crisp air, powdery snow, and snowflakes enhance the charm of this wonderland. Ladakh offers unique vacation opportunities to travelers in December.
Leh Ladakh transforms into fairyland after the snow showers in December and offers a picture-perfect setting. The region fills with utmost serenity after the snowfall. Ladakh is an amazing blend of Indian and Tibetan characteristics. This unique amalgamation makes the visit worthwhile.
Before planning a trip to Leh Ladakh in December, take a look at this meticulously crafted Leh Ladakh travel guide in December. Check the detailed information of the region and get prepared for this incredible journey.
Why should you visit Ladakh in December?
Ladakh in December is a perfect combination of thrill, adventure, and fantasy. The best time to visit Ladakh depends on the interest of the travelers. It can be visited throughout the year and December is one of the times when adventure enthusiasts love to travel to Ladakh. They can indulge in several adventure activities including snow trek, frozen lake trek, ice skating, and ice climbing.
In December, the region experiences heavy snowfall that transforms the region into never-ending streaks of dream-like frames. The temperature ranges from -11 degrees Celsius to 1 degree Celsius. This season remains an off-season for the tourists due to extreme climatic conditions.
Tourists who wish to experience snowfall and spend some time in the wilderness can travel to Ladakh this month. Check out the reasons below that mention why one should travel to Ladakh in December?
- Monastic Festivals and New Year celebrations in monasteries all over Ladakh with great zeal.
- Ice skating can be enjoyed on the frozen lakes.
- Double-humped Bactrian camel ride in Nubra Valley is an experience of a lifetime.
- Ice hockey can be played over frozen surfaces.
- Trek in Hemis National Park to spot snow Leopard.
- Due to off-season, tourists can find low price accommodation options.
- Chadar Trek is the popular attraction of Ladakh in December.
Read also: Tips and Suggestions for Leh Ladakh Trip
How to Reach?
Leh Ladakh is accessible in December and this may be the best time to visit for adventurous souls. The thrill of traveling on the snow-blanketed routes and high altitude mountain roads in the sub-zero temperature is exceptional! There are two ways to reach Leh Ladakh – by road and by flight.
Here we have mentioned detailed information about how to reach Leh Ladakh in December along with how to travel within Ladakh in this month:
The most convenient way of traveling to Ladakh is by air. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is situated 3 km from the city centre and is the primary airport of Leh. It is well-connected from Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Jammu with direct and connecting flights. The flights remain operational throughout the year. Although, flights can be delayed sometimes in December due to weather conditions.
Manali – Leh route remains closed in December. However, Srinagar – Leh route remains open throughout the year. Generally, it takes two days to reach Leh via Srinagar but due to heavy snowfall at the high altitude passes in December, the roads may get blocked. Always keep buffer days while traveling to Leh in December. Also, get prepared for such extreme climatic conditions if planning to travel by road.
Travel Within Ladakh
To travel within Ladakh in December, tourists can hire a taxi/cab. There are a few government buses that ply in December. The complete information of the bus schedule can be obtained from the Leh bus stand.
Tourists can also board a shared public jeep from Polo Ground in Leh. It is not advisable to travel within Leh by private vehicle as the low temperature along with strong winds is not an ideal climate to ride a bike or car. The chances of getting stuck increase due to heavy snowfall at the high altitude pass such as Khardung La, Chang La, Saser La, Pensi La, and Namik La.
- Due to heavy snowfall on the high mountain passes, the route from Manali to Leh remains closed in December.
- Low-altitude regions of Ladakh also start receiving snowfall this month. The Srinagar to Leh route remains open but due to heavy snowfall at Zoji La Pass, the chances are very high that the roads may get blocked frequently. Although, the Border Road Organization (BRO) clears the snow as soon as possible. It is not recommendable to travel to Leh by road in December.
- The roads to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso from Leh remain open throughout the year. However, due to heavy snowfall, tourists shouldn’t travel to these places by their personal vehicles. It is highly recommended to hire a private taxi/cab from Leh, driven by the local professionals.
Places to Visit
Ladakh receives heavy snowfall in December and the region is covered with fluffy white snow. This winter wonderland is all about snow-coated mountain peaks, ice-covered lakes, and dream-like scenery. The high altitude regions and mountain passes of Ladakh give the feeling of being transported into the ice age. There are a plethora of places to visit in Leh Ladakh in December where tourists can have priceless experiences. Here is the list of the best places:
- Nubra Valley
- Pangong Lake
- Tso Moriri
- Leh Palace
- Shanti Stupa
- Magnetic Hill
- Hall of Fame
- Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
- Khardung La Pass
- Sham Valley
Things to Do
- Chadar Trek
- Snow Leopard Trek
- Ice Skating
- Ice Climbing
Winter is off-season in Leh-Ladakh and most of the hotels, guesthouses, and homestays are closed. Here are a few options that you can consider while traveling to Leh-Ladakh.
- At Pangong Tso
Tourists can opt for homestays at Spangmik, Man, and Merak near the lake. The local families that live near the lake will be more than happy to provide food and stay at minimal prices.
- At Tso Moriri and Changthang
Korzok and Chumathang are possible places where tourists can get accommodation easily. Hanle also has a homestay, which is open throughout the year.
- At Nubra Valley
Due to its lower altitude, Nubra Valley is not bitterly cold. The Olthang Guest House in Diskit offers great services for travelers. There are a few options in Hunder and Turtuk as well.
- At Sham Valley
Check out homestay options in the villages of Yangthang, Hemis Shukpachan, and Temisgam.
Things to Carry
Ladakh experiences extreme cold in December and due to heavy snowfall temperature dips much below the freezing point. Hence, tourists should be prepared with proper clothing. The most important things to carry during the Ladakh trip in December include –
- Inner thermal wear
- Insulated boots or trekking shoes
- Heavy windproof or woolen jacket
- Monkey cap
- Fleece or windcheater jacket
- Woolen socks
- Warm gloves
Ladakh is not only famous for its scenic vistas, although, it is also renowned for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant festivals. The distinct traditions add charm to the breathtaking beauty of Leh Ladakh. The traditional celebrations and festivals of Ladakh are surely a must to experience for travelers. Festivals celebrated in December with which the region becomes lively are:
Ladakh is among the best places for travelers to pamper their taste buds. It is a heaven for foodies. Ladakhi cuisines originate from the culinary traditions of Tibet and are not spicy like Indian cuisines. Barley flour is also called Tsampa is the staple food of Ladakh. The best dishes of Ladakh are:
- Thukpa (soup with vegetables and noodles)
- Skyu (traditional soup-based Ladakhi dish)
- Tingmo (steamed Tibetan bread is eaten with dal, cooked vegetables, or meat)
- Chutagi (a pasta-like dish with a rich vegetable-based sauce)
- Chhurpi (Yak Cheese)
- Khambir (traditional wheat-based bread)
- Apricot Jam
Do’s and Don’ts
During Ladakh vacation in December, there are few things that need to be remembered. Here are the certain do’s and don’ts for tourists:
- Check weather conditions beforehand.
- Always carry a water bottle and dry food. It is important to stay hydrated at high altitudes.
- Carry extra batteries for digital products and to keep mobile phones charged.
- Carry a first-aid box and proper medicines for headache, fever, and vomiting also.
- Make sure the car has good ground clearance and is in good condition, if planning to travel by own car.
- It is advisable not to travel solo on a bike in December as the roads become slippery and sometimes get blocked due to heavy snowfall.
- Dress modestly while visiting monasteries.
- Do not plan a sightseeing tour on the day of arrival in Leh. It is important to get acclimatized.
- Ladakh is a ‘no polythene zone’. If someone carries plastic, then make sure to carry it back.
- Without the permission of monks, do not click their pictures.