There is a constant debate on when is the best time to visit Ladakh in the summers. By summer, we mean May because this is the time when Srinagar-Leh Highway gets open for tourists. It is the only route to reach Ladakh by road. The advent of May means fewer crowds in Ladakh and the chance to witness the high snow walls on both sides of the roads. For those who want to taste a bit of adventure, May is the perfect time to go! May month in Ladakh is one of the best times to plan vacations amidst the snowy Himalayas and virgin green valleys.
Upon carefully knowing all the aspects of traveling to Ladakh in May, you will be guaranteed to enjoy the best of Ladakh more than anyone else. In this guide to traveling Ladakh in May 2021, we will throw a light on all the possibilities and questions which you have in your mind regarding Ladakh. We will try to be as apt as possible and only talk about traveling to Ladakh in May 2021. Take your coffee or tea with you because the information will be long but worthy enough to trigger the action seeker in you!
Factors That Contributes to the Decision of Ladakh Travel in May 2021
Ever wondered what constitutes a destination that makes tourists make their mind to plan their holidays in that particular location? It is the weather, temperature, transportation options, including highway status, things to know before you go, and similar. This holds so true for the land of high passes, Ladakh. The land of cold desert, Ladakh beacons tourists for all age groups to arrive and spend some time amidst the tranquility and find peace within. But when a destination invites you to bask in its glory, there is a certain thing to know about it!
Ladakh Explained: Briefly in All Three Seasons
The terrain of Ladakh challenges thrill-seekers in winters, lush green lovers in monsoon, and family holiday lovers in summers. It entirely depends on the tourists' travel theme which month or season they choose to visit Ladakh. We will dig deep into every possibility of traveling to Ladakh in May 2021, including motorbike, car, air, public transportation, things to carry, information on accommodation, etc.
You are allowed to jump to any section that interest you:
- Is May A Good Time to Visit Ladakh?
- How Many Routes Are There to Reach Ladakh in May?
- What About the Manali Leh Highway Status in May 2021?
- Is It a Good Option to Arrive Leh Ladakh in May By Bike Over A Car?
- Is It a Good Option to Arrive in Ladakh By Air in May?
- How Would The Availability of Public Transportation to Reach Leh Ladakh in May?
- Is Public Transportation Within Leh in May Smooth?
- How About the Weather and Temperature in Ladakh in May 2021?
- Are There Any Specific Clothes to Wear in Ladakh in May 2021?
- Can I Witness Snow in Ladakh in May 2021?
- Must Try Experiences in Ladakh in May 2021
Is May A Good Time to Visit Ladakh?
Yes! May is the beautiful month to visit Leh Ladakh in 2021. It is the time when Ladakh's terrain is on the verge of becoming green. Snow can be seen at high altitude passes like Khardung La. Weather in Ladakh in May marks the summer season, and not a lot of tourist flock. You can consider Ladakh in May month a shoulder season which delightfully results in lower accommodation prices and less tourist crowd.
How Many Routes Are There to Reach Ladakh in May?
Although, there are two highways to reach Leh Ladakh; Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh. But you can reach Ladakh in May via Srinagar-Leh Highway only! Manali-Leh Highway remains shut till June.
What About the Srinagar-Leh Highway Status in May 2021?
Srinagar-Leh Highway is the only highway that gets open in early May or the end of May for tourists and vehicular movements. The total stretch of this highway is 434 kilometers (approx.). However, Border Road of Organization officials use to perform snow clearing tasks as fast as they can. But for the extra layer of assurance, it is best you must take the Srinagar-Leh route after 15th May. It will not cause any hindrance in your travel plan except a few road challenges due to water streams and still snow. You can return back from the same highway to your hometown in May.
What About the Manali Leh Highway Status in May 2021?
Usually, the Manali Leh Highway definitely remains close during May, and it opens up in early/mid-June for vehicular movement. But for the first time in history, Border Roads of Organization officials say that BRO is cleaning the snow early in 2021 to ensure the Manali Leh Highway gets open in the middle of April 2021. The snow cleaning operation is in process.
Is It a Good Option to Arrive Leh Ladakh in May By Bike Over A Car?
Yes! It is a good option to arrive at Leh Ladakh in May by bike over a car. Remember that you can only travel via Srinagar-Leh Highway in May, and the roads will still be in treacherous conditions, including water crossing. Crossing and overcoming the slush at Zojila, Khardung La, and Chang La will get easier to manage if you will be on a two-wheeler. However, it does not signify that car travel to Leh Ladakh is not possible in May. We are talking about an instance where we assumed you are visiting in the first week of May. If you travel to Leh Ladakh at the end of May, you can consider the car transportation option.
Is It A Good Option to Arrive Ladakh By Air in May?
Yes! Arriving Ladakh by air is the best option if you are traveling with your family. Moreover, this approach will remove all the ifs and buts and assure you that your trip will not get canceled at any cost. If you are short on time, follow the rule of thumb and fly to Ladakh via a flight. Reaching Ladakh by air gives you the assurance that you can spend more time in the hamlets of Ladakh because a road trip to Ladakh is supposed to be 9 days (approx.) or more! We suggest you book your flight ticket a few months in advance before you go to snag the affordable deals on airfares.
Advice: The only challenge to reach Ladakh by flight is Acute Mountain Sickness. To overcome it, take time to acclimatize yourself for at least 1-2 days in the lower altitude regions in Leh Ladakh.
How Would The Availability of Public Transportation to Reach Leh Ladakh in May?
Well, we will bluntly say that if you want to reach Ladakh by public transport in May from the Manali route, you should skip the idea. The buses run by HRTC from Manali to Leh commence in the first week of June. On the flip side, the second half of June is the time when the HPTDC bus operates. If you are coming to Leh straightaway from Delhi, the bus service starts at the end of June. Talking about the Srinagar route, the bus service that connects Srinagar to Leh starts at the end of May or early June.
Is Public Transportation Within Leh in May Smooth?
Yes! Once you reach Leh, you will find public transportation easily at several routes, including Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. There are bus stands from where you can hire shared/private cabs and commute within Leh. Remember, buses frequently run in the morning for the commute. In a very rare case, you will find less availability of buses. You will easily find Sumo or Bolero for commuting within Leh and its famous attractions for the safer side. However, the price of private taxis/cabs is higher than public transportation like buses.
How About the Weather and Temperature in Ladakh in May 2021?
The weather in Ladakh in May 2021 would be tropical for basking in the sun while enjoying sightseeing. You will feel like winters have not gone up in Ladakh as the chilliness is in the air. The sun shines brightly in the daytime with an average temperature of 15°C to 20°C (approx.), and nights turn pleasantly cold compared to cities in summers. Overnight temperature drops by 5°C (approx). If you are lucky, you will see snowfall at the top of the Khardung La. However, such sight is rare to behold!
Are There Any Specific Clothes to Wear in Ladakh in May 2021?
Yes! Windproof jackets, light woolens, thermals, and regular cotton clothes are must-take clothes in Ladakh in May. It is because, at such a high altitude, the weather is unpredictable and tricky. By this, we mean to say that within the Leh, you will find several different elevations where the temperature hovers down. There is a huge difference in weather when you are in the capital, Leh, and at Nubra Valley or Pangong Lake. You need to pack all sorts of clothes you can wear comfortably while taking the Leh Market hopping tour and overnight camping in Pangong Tso Lake. During the nights, the temperature would be cold at high altitude regions like Stok Kangri.
Can I Witness Snow in Ladakh in May 2021?
Yes! You can witness snow in Ladakh in May 2021 at Chang La Pass, Rohtang Pass, Zoji La, and Baralacha La Pass. Most of the snow would have melted away during May. But yes, you can witness the snow walls on both sides. You will not see snowfall in Ladakh in May but can find hard snow at high altitude places. If you are a shutterbug, you must not miss this opportunity.
Must Try Experiences in Ladakh in May 2021
Make your Ladakh trip in May 2021 an affair to remember with the best experiences like strolling Buddhist monasteries, trekking the Himalayas, meeting with heartwarming locals, and satiating your dream of mountain biking across Ladakh’s criss-cross terrain.
Enjoy the Thrill of Mountain Biking Across Khardung La
Wrapped by both sides with a thick sheet of snow, Khardung La Pass needs no big introduction for mountain biking lovers. If you seriously want to satiate your hunger for wanderlust, you should land or arrive at Leh, rent a motorbike and go on a day trip to Khardung La Pass. It is just 40 kilometers (approx.) from Leh. You will find lots of nooks and corners that are photogenic. There are several roadside eateries selling mountain tea and Maggie. Devour the lip-smacking food while gazing at the breathtaking snow-capped vistas. Khardungla Pass is the paradise for snow lovers in India in May and throughout the year!
Explore the Monasteries That Stood the Test of Time
Follow the dress code and respect the cultural beliefs of Tibetan Buddhists at monasteries in Ladakh. By doing this, you will get access to the centuries ago monasteries like Shey, Thiksey, Alchi, Hemis, Stok, and Spituk. Leh Ladakh monasteries in May 1st week shed the white gold snow . This experience is a sight to behold for the people who want to witness snow in Ladakh in May 2021.
Witness the Emperor of Himalayas - Snow Leopard
Don’t miss to witness wildlife in Hemis National Park in Leh Ladakh in May 2021. It is where you will get the opportunity to photograph the emperor of the Himalayas, Snow Leopard. Going on a guided trip means you will increase your chances of spotting the Himalayan Beast. If you are lucky, you might see Snow Leopard chasing a mountain goat in Hemis National Park in May 2021. Hemis National Park is an animal cruelty-free zone, and thus, wildlife-vehicle safaris are not available. The only way to explore the park is via foot safari. Isn’t it a worth cherishing experience in Ladakh to indulge in 2021?
Note: The entry fee for Indians is 20 INR (approx.) and 100 INR (approx.) for foreigners. You should avoid night trekking because Hemis National Park is a hunting playground for Himalayan animals.
Advice: Keep the map of Hemis National Park with you!
Get Bewitched With the Partially Frozen Pangong Tso Lake
You will have the option to marvel at the Pangong Tso Lake serenity. The pristine Pangong Lake looks like an artist's fantasy. The uniqueness of this lake is Pangong Tso stretches from Ladakh to Tibet and while you stay overnight at the camping here, get ready to watch the different moods of Pangong Tso Lake the next morning to evening! This lake is a heaven on earth for wandering nomads and has been featured in many travel magazines due to its connection with Bollywood’s famous “3 Idiots.” The average distance from Leh to Pangong Tso is 225 kilometers (approx.).
Note: Inner Lines and Outer Line Permit is required to visit the Pangong Tso Lake and regions like Nubra Valley and Turtuk Village. The reason behind this is the Indian Armed Forces presence in these regions due to national security purposes.
Watch the Textures and Colors of Nubra Valley
Located 160 kilometers (approx.) from Leh, Nubra Valley is a beautiful place where you can see textures of nature dipped in various colors. At some places, you will find patchy green hills; at some, there is a cold desert, and rocky in some. Nubra Valley itself is a reason to visit Ladakh. Particularly in May, Srinagar Leh Highway gets open, and so does tourism in Nubra Valley. Don't miss to enjoy the double-humped Bactrian camel safari. When you go from Diskit to Hunder village in Nubra Valley, don't get surprised by the ever-shifting sand dunes. You would require an Inner Line Permit to enter into Nubra Valley.
I hope this ultimate guide to travel Ladakh in May 2021 makes you realize that a Ladakh trip is possible after ending April. Depending on the travel interest and comfort, you can choose to visit Ladakh either by road or airways. Make sure you need to acclimate yourself to the changing environment in Ladakh to avoid Acute Mountain Sickness. Renting a bike option is available in Leh town.