The mesmeric Ladakh is a dream destination for many avid travellers. It is a wonderful mix of adventure activities and leisure experiences, making it ideal for all kinds of tourists. Nestled amid the lap of the mighty Himalayas, at an altitude of 3542 meters above sea level, it has been blessed with abundantly likeable scenery. It is dotted with wonderful monasteries, high-altitude passes, glacial lakes, splendid palaces and many other attractions.

Here are 20 reasons to plan a trip to Ladakh:

  • Pangong Lake

Lying at an altitude of 4350 m on the Indo-China border, Pangong Lake is one of the Asia’s largest salt water lakes. Covering an area of 100 km, while two—third of it is in Tibet, one-third lies in the eastern Ladakh region. Ice skating, bird watching, and camping are popular activities here. Inner Line Permit has to be taken from the office of deputy commissioner of Leh.

  • Drass War Memorial

Also known as the Vijaypath, Drass War Memorial was commissioned by the Indian Army, in the foothills of the Tololing Hill.  On the Srinagar-Leh National Highway 1D, it has been built in the memory of soldiers who laid their lives during the Kargil War against Pakistan. The sandstone wall here has the names of those Indian army personnel. The views from here are stunning.

  • Hall of Fame

Positioned near the Leh Airfield, Hall of Fame is a museum-cum-memorial that that was erected and is maintained by the Indian Army in the memory of the martyrs of the Indo-Pak wars. The building as two floor. While the ground floor has information about the brave soldiers and a souvenir shop, the first floor has artefacts of wars like weapons important documents.

  • Thiksey Monastry

The largest monastery of Ladakh’s central region, Thiksey monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism. A replica of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, this 12-storey structure complex is atop a hill on the banks of River Indus. It has a nunnery, a number of other shrines, and several Buddhist displays. The main attractions here are 49 feet high statue of Maitreya Buddha and the annual Gustor Festival.

  • Sand Dunes Leisure Park

Sand Dunes Leisure Park in Sumoor Nubra is a high-altitude white sand desert where you can get awed by the beauty of surrounding scenery. Enveloped by mountains, this artificial park has sprawling lush vegetation. One can enjoy a camel ride here and partake in a number of other exciting activities like mountain biking, mountain climbing, trekking, camping and so on.

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  • Tso Moriri Lake

One of the most famous tourist attractions in Ladakh, the unspoiled Tso Moriri Lake is located at an isolated spot amid the greater Himalayan ranges. At an altitude of over 15000 feet above the sea level, it is the largest alpine lake in India. The shadow of the surrounding natural scenery can be seen in the clear placid lake waters. The ambiance is peaceful and surreal. Enjoy camping in the nearby Korzok village.

  • Zanskar the Virgin Valley

Surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, the virgin Zanskar Valley is placed in a remote corner of Ladakh.  The prime charms for the tourists here are Buddhist culture, splendid Tibetan-style monasteries, and panoramic topography. Visit the two small alpine lakes in the valley. Savour the wonderful views of the Drang-Drung Glacier. Placed on the borders of Suru Valley, Panikhar Fort is another must-visit attraction. Enjoy camping, river rafting and monastery visit here.

  • Diskit Monastry

Founded in the 14th century, Diskit monastery is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Ladakh. Picturesque views of the Nubra Valley can be enjoyed from the gompa complex. A lookalike of the Tashilhunpo Gompa of Tibet, it has amazing paintings on the walls and the ceilings. Admire the statue of Jampa Buddha, inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 2010. The best time to visit Ladakh is during the Dosmoche festival, organized here annually in February.

Ladakh is one of the best places to visit in India during monsoon.

  • Shanti Stupa

Lying on a hilltop in Chanspa, around 5 km away from Leh, Shanti Stupa is a white-domed Chorten, which is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh. It was built between 1983 and 1991 by Japanese monks on the completion of 2500 years of Buddhism. Gilded wall panels are a depiction of Buddha’s life. One can meditate at the Buddha hall, enjoy stunning views, and circumambulate around the stupa.

  • Alchi Monastry

Built between 958 and 1055 by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo, Alchi Monastery complex has a huge Buddha statue, gTsug-lag-Khang (main temple), Dukhang (assembly hall), and Jam-dpal lHa-Khang (Manjushri temple). There are various miniature paintings on the wall, depicting teachings of Buddhism, and life of the former rulers. Around 70 km away from Leh, it is positioned on the left banks of River Indus. It has also been the shooting location of a number of Bollywood movies.

  • Leh Royal Palace

The former residence of the royal family of Leh, Leh Palace is placed atop the deserted Tsemo Hill, and was built in 1553 AD. Although smaller in size, it bears a resemblance to the Potala Palace of Lhasa. The palace is made of wood, sand, mud, and stones. This 9-storied structure is also called Lhachen Palkhar and comprises of a museum, which houses belongings of the royal family including costumers, murals etc. Today, it is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

  • Magnetic Hill

Built approximately 30 km from Leh, Magnetic Hill or basically a gravity hill is located on the Leh-Kargil-Baltik national highway. This road is believed to possess such magnetic properties that it can pull a neutral car, uphill. This hill-road is placed at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level. Nevertheless, experts say that this power is just an optical illusion, but is worth experiencing. Do visit the nearby Gurudwara, taken care of by the Indian Army.

  • Nubra Valley

The tri-armed paradisiacal Nubra Valley, is one of the most popular places to visit in Ladakh. The valley was various wonders including white sand desert that can be explored by riding Bactrian camels that have double-humps. Explore the nearby monasteries, and villages, visit the orchards, and savour the stunning views. The valley is placed an altitude of 3048 m above the sea level and is around 150 km north-eastwards of Leh.

  • Khardung La

Referred to as the ‘Gateway to Nubra and Shryok Valleys’, Khardung La is just 40 km from Leh. It is known to be one of the world’s highest motorable roads. Driving on this pass is one of the best things to do in Ladakh. Refreshment and tea is available at the Army canteen. Surrounding views are mesmerizing. Get hands on some memorabilia from the souvenir shop. The colourful fluttering Tibetan prayer flags look charming.

  • Lamayuru Monastry

Also known as Yung-Drung, Lamayuru Monastery offers shelter to more than 150 monks of Red-Hat sect of Buddhism. It was founded way back in the 11th century. Do not miss out visiting the varied displays including statues, an eye-catching image of 11-headed, 1000 -eyed Chenzing, Thangkas, wall paintings and other Buddhist artefacts. The best time to visit Ladakh is during the monastery’s annual festival, Yuru Kabgyat, with amazing masked dance performance.

  • Shey Monastery

Just 15 km from Leh, Shey Monastery is placed on the Leh – Manali Road. It is known to have been built in the 16th century AD, along with the splendid Shey Palace. The main shrine here is the Du Khang, which houses 10 meter high gilder copper statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. This 2-storied structure is known to have wonderful frescoes on its walls. There two main festivals here are Shey Doo Lhoo and Shey Rupla.

  • Hemis National Park

Spread in an area of 3350 square km on the western bank of the River Indus, Hemis National Park is one of the best tourist attractions in Ladakh. It was founded in 1981 for the protection of Snow Leopards. One can also spot other 16 species of animals and 73 species of birds. 400-year-old Hemis monastery lies within its boundaries. During the winter season, the whole place gets covered with snow. There are 6 villages in its boundaries- Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, U. rutse and Chilling, home to around 1600 people.

  • Chadar Trek

Covering a distance of around 105 km, the Chadar Trek on River Zanskar in Zanskar Valley, varied with altitude of 12,000 to 13,000 feet, with a high difficulty level. The best season of this trek is from January to February. Every day, around 15 km of distance is covered and night stay is in cave camps. This trek basically is a walk on the frozen river and is quite popular amid trekking enthusiasts from across the world. This river is the only connecting way between Leh and Zanskar.

  • River Rafting in Indus River

One of the best things to do in Ladakh, River rafting in Indus River, which flows across Ladakh, The best time for rafting here is between June and August. While experiencing the challenging waters, the rafters relish views of huge mountains, tiny hamlets, and Buddhist monasteries. The rapids vary from grade one to five. The most common rafting routes are Phey-Nimo route, Phey-Saspol, Saspol-Khaltsey, Upshi-Kharu and Alchi-Khaltsey.

  • Hemis Monastery

One of the best places to visit in Ladakh, Hemis monastery is the richest and the largest gompa in Ladakh. It is around 40 km south-eastwards of Leh. It is the headquarters of all Ladakhi monasteries and of Red Hat Drukpa order. It enjoys patronage from the royal family of the region. It is the place where all young lamas are given training. Be a part of the annual event of the popular Hemis Festival.

Published in Adventure, Asia, Destination
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16 Comments
  1. Wow! Ladakh seems to be really interesting and worth visiting! The landscapes, and especially the sanddunes look breathtaking! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures.

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Ladakh is indeed a wonderful travel destination and one of the best adventure travel destinations in India.

  2. Karla 3 weeks ago

    You seriously are making me want to plan a trip to Ladakh. These are all beautiful pictures.

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Karla, you must plan your trip to Ladakh. It is literally a beautiful place where you can perform adventure activities as well.

  3. Fiona 3 weeks ago

    What an amazing looking place. Where is the best place to fly to if you want to visit Ladakh? There are some astonishing things to see!

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Hi Fiona,

      You may arrive at Delhi or Mumbai from where you can easily get flights for Leh.

  4. Adelina 3 weeks ago

    You have me convinced. The scenery is absolutely stunning and those monasteries look so cool perched so high up.

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Hey Adelina,

      Thanks for your kind words. You must visit Ladakh to explore its natural beauty, adventure options and Buddhist culture.

  5. sherianne 3 weeks ago

    You had me at the first image and it just kept getting better! I need to add this to my ever growing list

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      You must add Ladakh in your bucket list sherianne. 🙂

  6. Tamara 3 weeks ago

    Just stunning- what great photos you captured! I had an opportunity to go here a couple years ago and unfortunately had to turn it down- totally regret it still!

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Thanks Tamara for your kind words, you can even plan your trip this year as well because June and July is the best time to visit Ladakh.

  7. Lois Alter Mark 3 weeks ago

    My husband and son hiked the Himalayas and I’m going to have to ask them if they visited Ladakh. The scenery is beautiful and I know they would have liked to have seen those monasteries. I love the snow leopard!

    • Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
      Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

      Sure Lois, you must plan an adventurous trip to Ladakh with your family.

  8. Ladakh is definitely a place I want to visit. Thanks for sharing all those amazing reasons to inspire starting planning this trip even sooner, I hope.

  9. Profile photo of Rekha Bisht Author
    Rekha Bisht 2 weeks ago

    Hi Bilyana,

    Thanks for your praise. I am happy that my post is informative for you. You must visit Ladakh once to come back here again and again. 🙂

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