Ladakh in January


How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh in January - Everything you need to know!

High altitude, challenging terrains, and extreme weather conditions already make Ladakh, not the “ideal” holiday destination. And January being the peak winter season makes it even more challenging. If you cannot handle the cold, then January is not the month for you. But if you still want to visit, you need to be extremely careful. If the question ‘Can I visit Ladakh in January?’ stuck in your mind, then the answer is a definite yes.

Leh Ladakh in January is not the most favorable season and thus, you have to keep in mind the challenges you might face on your Ladakh trip. For a safe winter Ladakh tour, we have compiled this comprehensive Ladakh travel guide to help you plan your trip to Ladakh in January conveniently.

To know everything in detail, scroll down to know the weather in Ladakh in January, the things you can do, places open to visit, where to stay, clothes to pack, and some useful travel tips.

Is Ladakh open in January?

Yes, you can plan a Ladakh trip in January, however, it is not the tourist season and you will find many places shut. For instance, the Manali-Leh Highway and Srinagar-Leh Highway, which get closed in January due to heavy snowfall. However, the interconnecting roads in Ladakh leading to tourist attractions like Pangong and Nubra Valley remain open even in the freezing climate of Ladakh in January. 

Is it safe to visit Ladakh in January?

Yes, it is safe to visit Ladakh in January. But with that being said, keep in mind the heavy snowfall at high altitude passes. You might visit a place and get stuck due to the snow blockage on the roads leading back to Leh. Avalanches are also a high possibility during this time of the year, so you need to be really careful.

Additionally, you already know that Ladakh is close to international borders. So, as long as you do not go near them, break any rules or explore alone at night, Ladakh is completely safe for tourists in January.

How’s the weather and temperature in Ladakh in January?

Ladakh’s weather in January is not favorable for everybody. You need to be tough mentally and physically to be able to stand the freezing nights, fall sick quickly or often, or work around cold. Plus, if you have Asthma, heart disease, or cold-related ailments, it will only add to your problems and make your Ladakh trip unpleasant.

Cold winds are extremely harsh, so you need to be completely covered up at all times. Even when the sun is out, the weather does not spare you and you can still get sunburn. The temperature in Leh and Nubra hovers around 0°C and as the night falls, it drops down to even -10°C, making it bitterly cold. At places like Tso Moriri and Pangong, the temperature drops to -25°C or even lower. During the day, the temperature at passes like Khardung La and Chang La remains under 0°C. Cover yourself up and you are all good to explore this winter wonderland in January.

Which route is better for a Ladakh Trip in January?

Both Manali to Leh and Srinagar to Leh routes remain closed in January. Snow covers the entire route and you need to find alternatives to reach Ladakh. Below mentioned are the conditions that the Ladakh routes are in during January -

Manali Leh Highway in January

Unfortunately, you can witness the scenic beauty of Manali Leh Highway in January. There is snow (a lot of it!) that starts falling by September end or early October and thus, gets closed for vehicles. This highway gets covered by 50 feet of snow, making it impossible for any vehicle to pass through. From Manali, you can only reach Gulaba by Rohtang road. And by Atal Tunnel, you can only get to Jispa and not beyond that.

Srinagar Leh Highway in January

The Srinagar to Leh route is also closed during the winter months and you cannot plan a trip from Srinagar Leh Highway in January. It gets shut sometime in November and remains so until April. So, from Srinagar, you can only get to Gagangir and not be able to even reach Sonamarg. 

How to reach Ladakh in January

How to Plan Leh Ladakh Trip in January in Flight

Flights are the only option to reach Ladakh in January. Flights to Leh are operated during January and you can book a flight to Leh from major Indian cities and reach the destination of your dreams. Remember to book the flight a few months in advance to save some extra pennies. Also, keep in mind that flights to Ladakh are more prone to cancellation in the winter months.

How to Travel to Leh Ladakh in January by Local Transportation

The only way to explore this beautiful place is through cabs. If you were thinking of a bike trip to Ladakh, then January is not the best time. Black ice is the major threat during this time. Hiring a cab is the way to explore places in Ladakh as you will be an experienced driver who knows how to handle the roads.

Places to Visit in Ladakh in January

Snow is the major concern in January. You must think that all the places are covered in snow, but that is not completely true. The routes to Ladakh remain shut but the internal roads to Nubra Valley and Pangong remain open at this time. So, as long as the internal roads are not blocked by snow, here are a few places to visit in Ladakh in January –

  • Nubra Valley
  • Pangong Lake
  • Tso Moriri
  • Chunsul Route and Hanle Village
  • Lamayuru
  • Zanskar Valley

Things to do in Ladakh in January

It is not unknown the Ladakh is an adventurer’s paradise, and being so cold and bitter in January, here are thrilling things to do in January in Ladakh –

  • Chadar Trek
  • Visit the magical Magnetic Hill.
  • Witness the beauty of the Indus-Zanskar confluence.
  • Pray for peace at Shanti Stupa.
  • Pay your respects at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.
  • Ice-hockey and Skiing

Where to stay in Ladakh in January?

As you know now that January is not the best month to visit Ladakh, hence, you will find it difficult to find places to stay in Leh in January. Most of the hotels and guesthouses do not operate during the winter months.

Some of the hotels in Ladakh remain open throughout the year and offer a comfortable stay with decent amenities. But remember to not expect a luxurious treatment. As January is off-season, not many people travel here, so guesthouses and paying guests do not entertain their guests with the best services.

They also have to prepare for the guests before they arrive. Also, you do not want to run into a situation when you arrive at the hotel and find it to be closed. So, simply call in advance and book your accommodation in Ladakh in January.

Also Read:

What clothes to carry for the Leh Ladakh trip in January?

Now that you know how extreme the temperatures can get in January, here are clothes you must carry for the Leh Ladakh tour –

  • Thermals and thick woolens
  • Heavy windproof jacket
  • Good quality warm & waterproof gloves
  • Woolen socks
  • Cap/muffler
  • Good pair of sturdy shoes

Some essentials you must carry to Ladakh in January –

  • Sunscreen lotion
  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Medicine kit
  • Cold cream & lip balm
  • Pain relief spray
  • Other toiletries

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

Visiting Leh Ladakh in January? Follow these Travel Tips

  • It is best to avoid visiting Ladakh in January as the weather is not suitable for everybody. If you can handle the tough weather, freezing nights, and are okay to work around snow, only then plan your Leh Ladakh tour in January.
  • Book your flights in advance as they are more prone to cancellation in the winter months.
  • Drop the plan of a bike tour to Ladakh. The road blockage may hinder your bike journey.
  • As Ladakh is located close to international borders, you need to get an Inner Line Permit from the Office of District Magistrate.
  • High altitude and extreme climatic conditions in January may lower your oxygen levels leading to AMS or Acute Motion Sickness. You need to be very careful and if you see any symptoms, take necessary precautions immediately and remedies to handle AMS in Ladakh.
  • Check places that are open in January before visiting.
  • BSNL network works great in Ladakh even in the most remote areas. Airtel and Jio work fine in Leh and Nubra Valley with 4G data speed. To know more about mobile network connectivity in Ladakh visit here!
  • Hospitals are located in Leh. So, for emergencies, visit Leh.
  • Cabs are available in Ladakh in January. However, they are expensive. So, if you are planning a budget trip to Ladakh, skip January and wait for the summer months.
  • Book accommodation in advance to avoid the last-minute hassle.

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