How to Travel From Srinagar to Leh
A paradise for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers, Ladakh is a dream destination for avid travelers. Leh is the capital of Ladakh where you can reach from Manali and Srinagar. Here you can get detailed information about how to reach Leh from Srinagar, the routes, the best time to visit, and permits requirements.
Leh-Srinagar Highway also known as National Highway 1D runs through some extremely treacherous terrains. You have to cross three high-altitude mountain passes namely Zoji La Pass, Namik La, and Photu La Pass to reach Leh from Srinagar. All the basic facilities are available en route like accommodation, eateries, and petrol pumps along with the mobile networks are also better on this route as compared to Manali - Leh route. There are several modes of transportation for traveling from Srinagar to Leh. You can travel by your own car and motorcycle. Also, hire a private taxi and you can board government buses, which ply on this route regularly.
Take a look at this Srinagar to Leh travel guide to gather information about the best and the most convenient way to travel. This article will help you to plan a hassle-free journey on this route.
How to reach Leh from Srinagar
Tourists traveling from Srinagar to Leh have to travel on the National Highway 1D, which is well-constructed and is managed by Border Road Organization (BRO). There are a plethora of places to visit en route and several things to do. Tourists can stay at popular places and explore tourist attractions. Here is the information about the route:
Route: Srinagar - Sonamarg - Zojila - Drass - Kargil - Khalsi - Alchi - Nimoo - Leh
Distance: 419 km
Travel Time: 9 hours 40 minutes (approx.)
Places to visit en route Leh
- Dal Lake
- Zojila Pass
- Namik La
- Photu La
- Thajiwas Glacier
- Gangabal Lake
- Baltal Valley
- Kargil War Memorial
- Lamayuru Monastery
- Alchi Monastery
- Likir Monastery
- Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
- Mulbekh Monastery
- Magnetic Hill
Places to eat en route Leh
- Easton Grand, Hari Pora
- Delhi Darbar Dhaba, Ganderbal
- Hill View Hotel & Restaurant, Drass
- Zeenat Ice Cream, Balti Bazaar, Kargil
- Tibetan Foods, Chanchick, Kargil
- Rakesh Vaishno Punjabi Dhaba, Kargil
- Samyas Garden, Khalsi
- Cafe de Saspol, Saspul
- Sangam Restaurant, Spituk – Zinchen Rd.
Places to stay en route Leh
- Hotel Village Walk
- Hotel Rah Villas
- Hotel Imperial Resorts
- The Highland Mountain Resort and Spa Kargil
- Bete Guest House
- Maitreya Guest House Mulbeak
- Trespone Valley Resort
- The Kargil
- Hotel Rangyul Kargil
- Hotel Grand Moonland
- The Himalayan Abode
- Namra Hotel and Camps
Petrol Pumps en route Leh
There are several petrol pumps on the Srinagar – Leh highway. However, it is advisable to carry a few liters of fuel just in case the next petrol pump is out of service. Once you start from Srinagar, you will get fuel pumps at Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, and Khalsi. After Khalsi, the next petrol pump is in Leh 95 km away. The petrol pumps en route Srinagar to Leh:
- Nagbal Filling Station, Ganderbal
- Bharat Petroleum Station, Ganderbal
- Shaheed Showkat Filling Station, Ganderbal
- IndianOil Ganderbal Filling Station, Ganderbal
- Kashmir Fuel Centre, Ganderbal
- Wasan Filling Station, Hari Pora
- IndianOil Filling Station, Wussan
- HP Petrol Pump, Kargil
- IndianOil Petrol Pump, Khalsi
Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by Car
This is one of the most convenient and easier ways to reach Leh from Srinagar. Although it has its own set of difficulties and major issue is the rough terrains. The hairpin bends and rugged roads are not easy to drive on. It requires an experienced driver who has enough experience to drive on this type of route. The first hurdle is crossing the Zoji La Pass, which is among the dangerous passes in the world. In the summer and winter seasons, you may come across areas covered with snow, especially towards the top of the mountain passes. In the monsoon season, you will have to manage your car through slush and water streams at a lot of places. It is advisable to travel in a car that has good ground clearance and the vehicle is in good condition. The best car for this terrain will be a 4WD SUV however even a 2 wheel drive SUV will do the job equally well.
Things to Carry
- Jack and Spanner
- Air Compressor
- Foot Pump
- Puncture Repair Kit
- Spare Tire
- Spare Tube
- Hydraulic Jack
- Jump Start Cables
- Spare Headlight Bulbs
- Coolant and Engine Oil
- Spare Clutch Cable and Accelerator Cable
- Spare Fuses
- Fuel Pipe
- Electrical Tape and Fevi Quick
- Fire Extinguisher
- Nuts and Bolts
- Extra Car Keys
Tips Srinagar to Leh by Car
- The car should have good ground clearance
- It must have a powerful engine
- It should be comfortable as the journey is long
Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by Taxi
You can travel to Leh from Srinagar by taxi and there are two options - either hire a private taxi or travel in the shared taxi that ply from Srinagar regularly. It is a good option, however, if you hire a private taxi from Srinagar then you can only travel till Leh and no further. The taxi unions in Ladakh have strictly banned the movement of outside taxis for local sightseeing. In that case, you have to hire another taxi from Leh if you wish to travel to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Panamik, Shyok Valley, and other tourist places in Ladakh. You cannot even travel to Zanskar Valley and Sham Valley in the Srinagar registered taxis. If you wish to visit Zanskar Valley, which is situated en route Leh, then you have to hire another taxi from Kargil and explore the tourist places of Zanskar Valley. You can choose this option but make sure you will consider the fact that you have to straight visit Leh as you are not allowed to visit any tourist place of Ladakh in the private taxi of Jammu and Kashmir registered number.
Srinagar to Leh taxi fare:
The cost of hiring a private taxi from Srinagar to Leh will be anywhere between INR 10,000 to INR 15,000. You can negotiate the fare at the Srinagar taxi stand. Apart from that, you will have to pay the driver an additional INR 1500 – INR 2000 for a night halt. The fare in the shared taxi is near about INR 1,800 to INR 2,00, however, it depends on the type of vehicle.
Things to Carry
- Neck pillow
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes while traveling
- Carry your photo identity proof and keep it handy
- Dry fruits, chocolates, and biscuits
- You can negotiate the cost by visiting the Srinagar Taxi Stand.
- Choose this option if you wish to visit Leh directly from Srinagar.
- Make sure you will take a night halt en route in order to get acclimatized.
Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by Bus
Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by bus is the cheapest mode of travel. However, the bus service from Srinagar to Leh remains available for a limited time of the year from the end of May to early November. The government-operated bus of Jammu and Kashmir State Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) ply regularly from Srinagar to Leh for a 2 day journey. It starts at 8 AM from Srinagar with a night halt at Kargil. The fare for government buses from Srinagar to Leh is INR 1050 per person for deluxe and INR 650 per person for semi deluxe.
The fare of ordinary buses is around INR 450 per person. You can also take a halt at Kargil and explore the nearby attractions then board another bus from here. In that case, board a bus till Kargil. The fare for the ordinary bus from Srinagar to Kargil is INR 250 and the deluxe is INR 300.
Also, there is usually just one bus ply from Srinagar to Leh but depending on the number of passengers and bookings, there could be a second bus for the day as well. You have to book the bus ticket from the bus stand as there is no online booking system available. The bus departs from the Tourist Reception Center near Dal Lake and Srinagar Bus Stand near Lal Chowk.
Things to Carry Srinagar to Leh by Bus
- Photo identity proof
- Keep cash handy
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Carry dry eatables in handbag
Tips Srinagar to Leh by Bus
- Book tickets from tourist centers and bus stands. Online ticket booking is not available.
- If you are traveling in a group then you can also book a tempo traveler.
- Make sure you will take a night halt at Kargil to get acclimatized.
Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by Motorcycle
For adventure enthusiasts and thrill seekers, a bike trip from Srinagar to Leh is the best way to explore the unparalleled beauty of this wonderland. Riding a motorcycle on the enthralling highway of Srinagar to Leh is altogether a different experience. Make a pit stop and enjoy the scenic vistas en route. Make sure you really need to be confident of your riding skills and your motorcycle as well. You can rent a motorcycle or ride your own bike. Make sure that the bike is not too old, not nearing the end of engine life, has no performance issues, and has been well maintained.
If you are looking for the best motorcycle for the Ladakh trip then it depends on a lot of factors like how much luggage are you carrying and do you have a pillion or not. For the Ladakh trip, you need a reliable, powerful, and comfortable bike that has good ground clearance and long-travel suspension.
Here are some of the best bikes for the Ladakh trip:
- Royal Enfield Himalayan
- Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
- Royal Enfield Bullet 350/ Classic 350
- KTM Duke
- Bajaj Dominar
- Bajaj Avenger
Things to Carry during Srinagar to Leh Journey by Motorcycle
- Clutch and accelerator wire
- Puncture repair kit
- Engine oil
- Electrical Tape and M Seal
- Funnel to pour fuel
- Brake and clutch lever
- Chain Spray
- Chain Lock
- Bungee Cord
- Nylon Rope
Tips Srinagar to Leh by BIke
- Make sure you carry a good helmet with an unscratched visor
- Wear the jacket with inner elbow guard
- Wear pants with inner knee guards
- Wear riding boots
- Carry biking gloves and riding goggles
- Luggage Net
- Always make sure you will carry an extra bike key
Best Time To Visit Leh Ladakh
The summer season and the start of the winter months are considered as the best time to visit Leh Ladakh. April to July and from mid-September to October are considered as the ideal time to visit Leh Ladakh.
In these months, the availability of basic facilities including services of food, repair, fuel, and accommodation is easily available. The roads in Leh Ladakh come under Border Road Organizations (BRO). As per the BRO, Srinagar to Leh highway is open from late May to mid-November.
During these months the route is in good condition and the weather remains pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor activities. During the winter season, the route is mostly covered with snow, and the region experiences unbearably cold weather. The high altitude passes en route Leh from Srinagar covered with snow and makes the Ladakh inaccessible due to blockage.
Things to Carry during Srinagar to Leh Journey
- Extra fuel
- Sturdy and comfortable shoes
- Important Documents like photo id proof, accommodation tickets, and permits
- First aid kit
- Essential and prescribed medicines
- Heavy woolens in winter and light woolens in summer
- Umbrella and windcheater Waterproof jackets in monsoon
- Waterproof backpack
- Camera, charger, memory cards, card reader
- Laptop, tripod, torch
- Battery bank
- 3 socket Belkin Surge Protector
- Water bottle
- Lighter or matchbox
- Goggles (for protection from sun rays)
- Sunscreen Lotion with high SPF (50 or above)
- Mustard Oil (for applying on legs, arms, and face as they can become dry due to cold winds)
ATM Facility of Srinagar Leh Highway
There are ATM services available in the town of Kargil but sometimes, the ATMs are out of cash. A safer bet is to withdraw cash at Srinagar enough to last till Leh. The fuel pumps in Kargil do not accept payment by credit or debit cards and hotels on this route also accept only cash.
Permit Requirement for Leh Ladakh
You do not require a permit to travel to Srinagar from Leh. However, you require a permit to visit the restricted or protected areas of Ladakh. There are two types of permits:
Inner Liner Permit (ILP)
Indian citizens require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit protected and restricted areas. There are two modes of applying for an inner line permit (ILP) – online and offline mode. You can apply for the permit on the official website of LAHDC (Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council) http://lahdclehpermit.in/. After applying for a permit, take the print out and then you have to visit the DC Office in Leh to get the permits stamped in person. Otherwise, you can apply for the permit by offline mode. You can directly go to the DC Office, fill the forms, pay the fees, and get the permit stamped. The person is required to provide valid identity proof at the DC Office. The Inner Line Permit is mandatory for those who wish to visit the restricted areas of Ladakh including Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri, Nubra Valley, Chushul, Nyoma, Khardung La, and Hanle.
Read complete detail: Innerline Permits in Ladakh
Protected Area Permit/ Restricted Area Permit (PAP/RAP)
This type of permit is required for the foreign nationals to visit the restricted areas. However, foreign nationals are not allowed to visit areas that are falling between the ‘Inner Line’ that is defined by the government and the International Border of the state that is declared as the Protected Area. To promote tourism the government notified some areas that can be visited by the foreign nationals after obtaining the necessary permit.
The Protected Area Permit/ Restricted Area Permit is valid for a group of foreign tourists consisting of two or more persons. To obtain the permit, it is also mandatory to go through a registered travel agent. Solo travelers are not eligible to obtain the permit. In that case, the agent will also help you to group together with others so that your permit can be issued without hassle. (You don't need to travel in the same group or with the same travel agent mentioned in the permit.) The permit is valid for a specific tourist circuit with the exact entry and exit points. They are not allowed to visit areas other than the ones indicated in the permit. The foreign tourists are not even allowed to stay in the restricted and protected area after the expiry of the permit.
The foreign nationals that are coming as group tourists can submit an application for the grant of Protected and Restricted Area Permit to the Indian Mission in their country before coming to India. And the foreign nationals that are already in the country and desire to visit any restricted area as group tourists then they are required to submit a required application to any of the authorities whom the powers to issue such a special permit have been delegated. The Protected Area Permit is issued for a maximum of seven days.
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