Ladakh in December

Introduction

Traveling to Ladakh in December is often thought to be an off limit thing. True, it can’t be accessed through any of the roads but once you reach Leh, the internal routes are all cleared. Army people keep clearing the snow from the road, daily. But still, there are a few things you wouldn’t be able to do like enjoying a road trip, you will have to be prepared for extreme winter conditions, you cannot go unplanned, you will have to be very careful while iterating, and there is always an uncertainty during the trip. Except for these, if you plan your trip to Ladakh in December, you can surely take a trip to the land of high passes.

Just like any other traveler, you will have to take a flight to Leh Airport. A lot of adventure enthusiasts visit Leh Ladakh in December for a lot of heart-throbbing activities. Right from trekking to the Chang La pass to one of the most thrilling winter treks- Frozen River Trek or Chadar Trek. This is a complete guide to Ladakh in December covering all the major things you should be concerned about and should cover. If you are planning on this trip, make sure to read all the points so that you don’t put your trip in jeopardy by any means. 

Note: Summers are the peak tourism season for Ladakh and in comparison to that you might face problems in finding eateries and accommodation in certain areas. Therefore this Leh-Ladakh travel guide will help you in planning your trip during December.  

We Have Answered Your Every Question Regarding Traveling to Ladakh in December. Scroll On!

Is Ladakh safe to travel in December?

This is the first thing that pops up in a traveler’s head when they think of traveling to Ladakh in December. But if you are worried about the same then the answer is “yes”. Ladakh is absolutely safe to travel anytime in the year. Though you would have to keep a few things in mind like the clothes, AMS, and pre-planning the trip. 

To know more about how you can plan a comfortable trip to Ladakh in winter, you should read this complete travel guide to Leh- Ladakh. 

How to reach Ladakh in December?

It is true that the two major roads that connect Leh Ladakh with other cities of India remain closed during the winter seasons. From October end to mid-November (depending on the weather) the Leh- Manali Highway as well as the Srinagar- Leh highway remains closed till May. But that shouldn’t be disheartening for you because Leh Airport remains functional throughout the year. Adventure-seeking honeymoon couples and solo travelers constantly keep visiting Ladakh via airways. 

Ladakh By Flight in December

Regular flights are the only ways to reach Ladakh in December. Post that all the major internal routes connecting Pangong, Zanskar, Tso Moriri, Nubra, and other attractions remain open throughout the year.

How will the transportation be in Ladakh in December? 

This is the first thing that should concern you while iterating the entire trip. Although the internal circuits are open throughout the year, it is subject to snowfall. It is true that the army people work hard to clear the roads but one should always be prepared for uncertainty. 

Note: This is the reason why travelers should keep a buffer of a couple of days in their trip.

Travel to Leh Ladakh in January by bike or bus

There are a few bike renting shops that you might find open even in December. Apart from this, you will have to visit the bus station in Leh to know the availability of buses, their routes, and the timings as well. This needs to be done on priority while you reach Leh. Traveling to the top attractions in Leh Ladakh via buses is a budget-friendly option. Although it is not advised to travel on a bike because of the harsh climate, you will still find several avid bikers commuting on bikes.

If you want to enjoy sightseeing and click pictures without going through the hassle of riding or driving, you can easily hire a cab (SUV) from the taxi corner in Leh. It is one of the best ways to travel in Leh-Ladakh during winters. Moreover, when you hire a cab, you get the flexibility to stop by at any place you wish for some photography sessions. Additionally, there are a lot of cab drivers who help travelers in getting decent accommodation at the attraction they want to stay at.

Tip: While traveling to Ladakh in December, keep in mind that the day falls earlier. Arranging for accommodation and food should also be done during day time. Nights are going to be colder.

What are the places that can be visited in Ladakh in December?

The next important thing in your plans should be to know the places that can be visited in Ladakh in December. This will help you in knowing the open places so that you can create an extensive itinerary for your winter trip to Leh-Ladakh. 

Although we have already discussed that the inner circuit of Leh- Ladakh remains open throughout the year, it is still important to know the list. So, here are the places where you can visit on your trip to Ladakh in December. 

  • Nubra Valley
  • Pangong Tso
  • Tso Moriri 
  • Indus Valley
  • Sham Valley
  • Lamayuru
  • Kargil 

Note: Please note that there are chances when you plan to visit any of these attractions, the roads might be closed for a few days due to heavy snowfall. So, as already said, it is better to have buffer days before embarking on your journey.

Khardung La and Chang La are two high-altitude passes where heavy snowfall for days is normal during winters. To visit the other side of Leh, you need to cross these passes and that’s why buffer days are important. 

Changthang, Hanle, and Chushul are a few places that are ‘out of bounds’ during winters because the temperature drops to - 40-degrees at times. 

If you wish to drive or ride on your own, do ensure with the locals about the road conditions and the weather. More or less, the entire trip to Ladakh in December is going to be chilly and daunting. 

What will be the accommodation options in Ladakh in December?

The next concern for you will be finding accommodation at various places. This can be a tricky task for you. Though there won’t be extensive options as that during summers, you will still get a decent number of operational homestays and hotels. For Leh, it is advised to get the bookings done before embarking on the journey. Most hotels and homestays get closed during the winter months. 

Tip: The best place to stay in Leh is in the hotels near Fort Road.

Accommodation options in Leh in December

If you are struggling to find accommodation in Leh during your winter trip, then here are a few options. These hotels have all the facilities including toiletries. 

  • Hotel Tso Kar
  • Padma Hotel
  • Shanti Hotel
  • Oriental Guesthouse

Check out: A Complete list of Popular Hotels in Leh for a cosy stay

Accommodation options around Pangong Tso in December

Finding a place to stay in the camp colony is very unlikely. The best shot to stay near the lake is to book a room at the homestays at Merak, Spangmik, and Man. These are the nearest staying options around Pangong Lake in December. You will find a few families staying here and they gladly give a room or two to the travelers. They will charge a small fee and also provide you with the meals. If the temperature becomes unbearable for you at these places, you can go to Tangtse. It would be a better place for you in such situations.  

Accommodation options around Tso Moriri in December

Tso Moriri is another top-notch attraction in Ladakh that is visited by a lot of travelers throughout the year. Even the adverse climate conditions haven’t stopped them from visiting here. Finding travelers during December is also a usual sight now. So, if you are planning on visiting Ladakh in December and staying around Tso Moriri, then the best place for you is to stay at Korzok. There are several homestays available here because the villagers live here around the year. 

An alternative for you is Chumathang, where you can comfortably get a place to sleep. This place is also known as the hot spring town and you can find a centrally-heated resort at this place. To know more about the hotels near Tso Moriri visit here!

Accommodation options in Nubra Valley in December

A prime destination where travelers love to visit is the Nubra Valley. This valley is at a lower altitude as compared to Leh. Therefore, the temperature is a bit generous here. If you are traveling to Ladakh in December then Nubra Valley can be an ideal place to stay. You would find extensive options (most in numbers in winters.) Apart from Diskit, you can also find homestays at Turtuk and Hunder. To know more about the hotels in Nubra valley visit here!

Accommodation options around the Indus Valley Region in December

Finding accommodation in Indus Valley is quite easy even in winters. There are a number of guesthouses and homestays offered by villagers in Domkhar, Khaltse, and Garkone. Also, finding a place at Alchi, Kargil, Likir, and Lamayuru will not be at all difficult for you.

Accommodation options around Sham Valley in December

For those travelers, who are planning to stay at Sham Valley, can look for accommodation at Hemis Skupachan, Yanthang, and Timisgam. There are few homestays at these places that are open for tourists throughout the year. Villagers do live here and you can ask for help from them. They will charge you a small amount and also provide meals.

Major attractions to visit in Ladakh in December

Although the major inner circuit of Ladakh is open even in December, you still need to iterate the attractions properly. Here are some top places where you can enjoy during your trip. 

  • Shanti Stupa
  • old Jama Masjid
  • Leh Palace
  • Tsemo Fort
  • Alchi
  • Likir
  • Spituk
  • Kargil
  • Basgo Fort
  • Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
  • Nimmo
  • Magnetic Hill
  • Hemis Monastery 
  • Thikse Monastery
  • Shey Monastery
  • Stok Monastery
  • Matho Monastery
  • Chemrey Monastery

What should be packed when visiting Ladakh in December

Dressing is an important factor that cannot be compromised or neglected at any cost. You might have heard about layered dressing in Ladakh? That’s going to be a vital thing in winters. The temperature and climate can drastically change in Ladakh and that’s the reason why layered dressing is important and the key to a comfortable trip. Apart from this, there are other important things that you should not forget while packing your bags.

Jackets

Having a down jacket in your backpack before leaving for Ladakh is going to be a life savior. It is ideally made to withstand a temperature of - 20-degrees. It will keep you in your comfort zone for most of your trip.

Lower

While most people focus on covering the upper body, you do not have to neglect the same for your lower body. Wearing a lower that will keep you warm and insulated from cold is of utmost importance. 

Trekking shoes

You don’t necessarily have to buy snow trekking shoes because your normal trekking shoes can also work fine. Just an extra pair of socks. Wearing two layers of woolen socks is ideally recommended. 

Gloves and caps

Covering your palms and head is also important so make sure that you have warm gloves and caps. Covering these body parts is important because you have to reduce the leaving of warmth from your body. 

Sunglasses and moisturizer

Your skin can get really dry in Ladakh during winters so carrying a moisturizer is also important. Protecting your eyes from the sunlight is also vital, so wearing sunglasses (polaroids) can help you. 

Also Read: Things to Carry for Your Ladakh Winter Trip 2021: A Complete Guide

Chadar Trek in December

Majority of adventure enthusiasts who travel to Ladakh in December have one thing in mind and that’s enjoying the Chadar Trek. The biggest attraction of Ladakh in Zanskar Valley is this winter trek that steers people to enjoy their time here.  This trek attracts a lot of adventure enthusiasts from around the world. People walk on the frozen river and enjoy the thrill. 

General tips you need to keep in mind while traveling in December

  •  Preplan everything so that you know what has to be done next. Being clueless can be dangerous unlike during the summer season.
  • AMS is also important so make sure you acclimatize well before leaving to other attractions.
  • Keep yourself hydrated throughout the trip so that you enjoy it completely.
  • Keep some snacks in your bag so that you can eat small portions every now and then.
  • You will be going to a higher altitude so keeping a dark chocolate bar in your pocket will also be helpful.
  • The networks will also be a problem throughout the territory. BSNL and Airtel have some connectivity.

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