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Leh is a dream destination for many travellers in India and even for those who are visiting from overseas. It is not just a destination for solo travellers but has so much to offer to young travellers, families and couples alike. Leh is famous for its high altitudes and numerous passes connecting various locations in this difficult terrain. To explore the best tourist places in Leh, one must visit this frozen paradise to explore its secrets and admire its breath-taking beauty.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
The situation related to permits in Ladakh seems to be developing for worst only. There was recently a lot of fuss about Hanle and Umling La getting off limits for the travelers. As a matter of fact, the entire Chushul route is being removed from the list of tourist places. Shyok road too may be impacted by this. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh this year, then below is some information that I am sure can be of help in planning your trip for better.
Umling La came into a lot of limelight in last few months as the highest motor able road in the world. People assumed it as another Khardung La where they were free to travel to which was not really the case. The lack of information on traveler’s side; and necessary steps missing on authorities end caused a lot of confusion; and some riders ventured into places that were not ought to. They were caught and detained by Indian Army and this is what started the entire ruckus which still is developing; and there is still no saying which way the camel will sit.
Arrive Leh and transfer to the hotel. After welcome drinks / breakfast, take complete rest for acclimatization to the high altitude. In the late afternoon, visit the city centre and take leisurely walk through the main market for general orientation. Wind up the tour with a visit to the Shanti Stupa, a prominent landmark perched upon a hillock commanding panoramic views of Leh City and the valley. Overnight at Leh
After breakfast drive to visit the dramatically located Thiksey Monastery, a major Gelukpa foundation dating from the 16th century. Returning from Thiksey to Shey you may walk up the hill to visit Shey Palace where the main attractions are the two gigantic copper-gilt statues of the Buddha installed during the 17th century. Thereafter, you may drive to visit the Druk Padma School which was featured in the famous Hindi Film “The Three Idiots” as Rancho School, if interested.
Post lunch, drive to visit the Sangam (confluence of Indus & Zanskar Rivers). Thereafter drive back to Leh, en-route stopping to check the unique magnetic effect on vehicles at Magnetic Point, visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and then spend time exploring the Hall of Fame (museum of military heritage & War Memorial). Overnight at Leh.
After breakfast leave for Nubra Valley, driving across Khardong-la (alt: 18,380 ft.), highest motorable pass in the world. Nubra Valley lies to the north of Leh, between the Karakoram & Ladakh ranges, at an average altitude of 10,000 ft. Till closure of the trans-Karakoram trade route by the Chinese in 1949, Nubra Valley was a busy trade corridor on the Central Asian trade route.
Reach Deskit / Hunder in the afternoon and explore the area and the white Sand Dunes where you can also take a short camel Safari on the double-humped Bactrian camel found here (optional service – direct payment). Overnight at a deluxe camp or hotel.
After breakfast, explore Deskit (headquarters of Nubra valley) and visit the gigantic image of Maitreya Buddha (32 mtrs) seated out on a hillock which was installed in 2010. Thereafter drive up the hillside to visit the 15th century Deskit Monastery dramatically located on a rock promontory overlooking the valley. Later drive back to Leh via Khardongla, reaching in the afternoon. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the markets. Overnight at Leh.
After breakfast, leave for Pangong Lake, via the Chang-la pass, 3rd highest motorable pass in the world (alt: 17370 ft. / 5486 meters). Pangong Lake (alt: 14,500 ft.), largest brackish water lake of Asia, is about 4-5 kms wide and about 135 kms long, of which some two-third portion lies on the other side of the Indo-China border. Spend rest of the day sightseeing around the lake. Later check into a nearby deluxe camp for overnight stay.
After breakfast, leave Pangong Lake and retrace the road to Leh via Chang-la pass. Upon reaching Karu, take a short trip across the Indus to visit the 17th century Hemis Monastery, biggest monastery and principal centre of the Drukpa-Kargyut monastic order in the Ladakh region. A museum set up recently in the complex displays some of the rare art treasure built up through the centuries and is well worth exploring. Later drive back to Leh, reaching in the late afternoon. Overnight at Leh.
Early morning transfer to the airport for taking the flight back home.