If not for its cold desert-like climate, Ladakh would have been all the more accessible to tourists. The climate in Ladakh varies from pleasant to extremely challenging. The summers can get a little harsh with direct sunlight falling at such a high altitude. On the other hand, Winters can be really cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing point. Read our month-on-month breakdown of weather in Ladakh and infer yourself the best time to visit Ladakh.
December to February
Ladakh undergoes the wrath of the winters during these months. Starting from December onwards, the temperature rarely goes above the freezing point. The nights are chilling and temperatures hover around -20°C. Days are still bearable with 2°C as average temperature. January is also the month of maximum snowfall and it is not uncommon to see 6” plus thick ice sheet formations over rivers and lakes.
Majority of highways are closed and Ladakh remains practically inaccessible during these months. But still, some adventure junkies flies to the area for the much-awaited Chadar Trek on the frozen Zanskar River. Frostbites are common and most locals develop scales and cracks on their skins. February is when locals get only a little respite from the cold and one may find a few shops open for business.
[ If Interested? Check-out our Chadar Trekking Tour Itinerary ]
March to April
Although relatively better than December, January and February, it is still too cold to resume a normal routine in the months of March and April. Obviously, March is colder than April. Temperatures hover between 6°C in the day and -5°C at night. April is still better and the Tempreture goes up as much as 12°C in the day. There is still an occasional snowfall that further dips the mercury down.
May to August
This is when Ladakh receives the bulk of its tourists annually. Most highways open up in the last week of April or the first week of May. The actual action starts in May. The weather clears up and one can enjoy their Ladakh sojourn “sunny side up”. temperatures are pleasant and remain around 16°C during the day. It becomes barely manageable at around 3°C or 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the night. The breeze still carries the winter chill and one may feel the bite if sitting in shade for too long.
June is the month when the mercury really kicks up and temperatures soar up to 21°C (day). You still can’t manage without a blanket at night when it’s 7°C. This is when tourism is at its peak and Ladakh is buzzing with visitors, mostly on month-long treks and pan-Ladakh expeditions. This is also when most events and local festivals are celebrated.
The days are blessed with plenty of sunshine, sometimes a little too harsh. Direct exposure to sunlight for long can leave you sunburnt and tanned, definitely not in a good way. July is arguably the warmest month of the year. The day and night temperatures are 25°C and 10°C respectively.
Although a rain shadow area but Leh looks absolutely stunning during the monsoon season. Surprisingly monsoon arrives in Leh from the end of June and runs till September. This is when Ladakh receives the odd rain, otherwise, the weather remains pleasant and inviting. August is when it starts to get chilly once again and the extra quilts have to be pulled out. If you happen to be traveling during August, make sure you’re packing a lot of extra woolens. The breeze becomes gustier.
September to November
It’s already cold, by now. At elevations higher than 3000 meters, there aren’t too many days you won't feel cold. All through September, the weather is somewhat similar to that in May. The days are lovely with temperature lying between 20 and 22°C. The entire wonderland enjoys ample sunshine. The nights are back to being bitterly cold and you would need a desi angeethi to warm things up inside. But it’s during the months of October and November that Ladakh goes back to its gloomy self.
Since temperatures start dropping below 0°C on a lot more regular basis once again, all interstate roads and passes are closed again for 5-6 months.