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Ladakh Itinerary

Ladakh Itinerary for 11 Days : How to Travel & What to See http://vargiskhan.com/log/ladakh-itinerary-for-11-days/

9 to 11 days is always considered as a good enough time for a trip to Ladakh. For people flying into Leh City, it allows ample time for sightseeing but in terms of a road trip, it may very well be called as minimum time required. 11 days is in fact the most common time that I have come across to with people visiting Ladakh. It will ensure that you are able to cover all major tourist areas without traveling too much on any given day. How can you best plan your Ladakh itinerary for 11 days to ensure that you cover as much as you can and make the most out of your time is what I will be talking about in this post.

In case you did not know, Ladakh happens to be the second largest district in India; after Kutch in Gujarat. Put this together with Manali Leh and Srinagar Leh highways (both of which are about 500 kilometers long) and you have a fairly huge area to cover in a matter of 11 days. The entire journey will present you with astounding sights at every turn of the road. On top of it the list of tourist attractions or places to visit too is quite enormous. How do you squeeze it all in a limited time frame thus can be a bit tricky but hopefully after reading this article, you will have an idea on how to do it.

Ladakh Itinerary for 11 Days

Like previous itinerary articles, in this one too, I will present three different set of itineraries. First one for people traveling by their own vehicle; second for people traveling by public transport; and third for people catching a flight to Ladakh.

Ladakh Itinerary for 11 Days
For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are starting your trip from Delhi. If you were however coming from a different city, then only the journey for first and last day is going to be different. Rest of the details for rest of the days will still apply.

I will first suggest and itinerary that I recommend; follow by a few alternate versions of the same journey.

Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
Kargil to Leh – Day 4
Leh – Day 5
Leh to Diskit – Day 6
Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 7
Pangong to Leh – Day 8
Leh to Sarchu – Day 9
Sarchu to Manali – Day 10
Manali to Delhi – Day 11

Before I go on detailing the itinerary above, let me first explain why I am recommending traveling this way. Most of the people would prefer to reach Ladakh via Manali and come back via Srinagar. Even I did that the first time I went to Ladakh. But now, after being there a few times and per the recent conditions, I would recommend that you take the Srinagar route to get to Leh; and come back via Manali. Below is why.

Acute Mountain Sickness
Also known as altitude sickness; or simply as AMS in short; Acute Mountain Sickness is the first thing that people worry about while going to Ladakh. Slow gain in altitude and plenty of rest is the key towards avoiding AMS which doesn’t really happen in case of Manali Leh route. Out here, elevation rises tremendously and a bit too fast for our bodies to handle. One day you are at home in plains reaching Manali by evening; and the very next day you climb up to Rohtang at almost 4,000 meters. This is the reason why most of the people going to Ladakh via Manali end up suffering from mountain sickness at either Sarchu, Pang or at any of the high altitude passes on the way.

On the other hand, if you went via Srinagar, the the rise in altitude is a little more relaxed and allows more time for our bodies to acclimatize. If you were traveling with your family, I will highly recommend taking the Srinagar route to approach Ladakh.

For more details on what AMS is and what can you do about it, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.

Rohtang Permits
If you wanted to go to Ladakh from Manali, you will of course have to cross over Rohtang Pass. In order to cross Rohtang, you will first have to get a permit either online or from DM office Manali. This permit is limited in number and has a maximum per day cap. Then there is also the fact that the number of tourists visiting Manali and Rohtang rises each year. Due to all these factors, getting this permit is either a hassle or waste of time in Manali. Why? Because it gets sold out fast.

During peak tourist season, the online window remains open just for a short while; and mostly the permits remain sold out for days in advance. If you wanted to try getting it in person, then it would mean wasting an entire day in Manali. Either way you look at it, it just means another task that you will need to get taken care of before your trip.

Fun factor is that the permit is needed only if climb Rohtang from Manali side. It is not required if you were coming from the other side of the pass and climbing down to Manali. So taking the Srinagar Highway first means that you came back via Manali and hence the entire hassle of Rohtang permit would null and void.

For more details on this permit, read How to Obtain a Permit for Rohtang Pass.

Traffic at Rohtang
After the introduction of Rohtang Permit, a check post was also set up at Gulaba where you are required to submit your pass before proceeding further. Average wait time at this check post can be as much as 2 to 3 hours. Number of tourists traveling on this road too is increasing each year due to which, even after you get past the check post; you can still run into a traffic jam on the 50 kilometers long stretch between Manali and Rohtang top. This is another situation that can be avoided by using Srinagar route to reach Ladakh.

Managing Fuel
Fuel was a problem during Ladakh trip until 5 years ago but not anymore really. Agreed that the petrol pump in the entire district is still limited to just the one in Leh city but after the recent boom in tourism here, the locals have started to sell it in black at an increased price. You can find Petrol and Diesel at the local small shops and chadar tents for as much as Rs. 120 to Rs. 130 per liter. Quality of this fuel too is however questionable. So if you can manage to bring enough fuel that can last you from one gas station to another; then please carry some in spare. If not then you have no other choice but to buy from the locals in black.

For more details, please read Fuel During Ladakh Trip – How to Manage.

Buffer Day
If you can, then add another day to the trip as buffer. The itinerary I suggested above is for 11 days but when you plan the trip, do it in a manner that if you had to extend the journey by a day more, you can afford to do so. There will be always an uncertainty factor during Ladakh trip and you may be forced to stay at any of the places en route if the road ahead was blocked. If all went well, then you will return home on Day 11. If not then at least you would be prepared for it.

Now getting back to our itinerary, let me give a day by day run down of the journey.

Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
Get an early start from Delhi
Distance traveled will be about 600 kilometers
Travel time of 12 to 13 hours
Roads are mostly good with a few bad patches between Pathankot and Jammu.
Lot of tolls in between
Overnight stay at Jammu
Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
Traffic delays and jams are common on this route so start early again
Overnight stay at Srinagar
Distance traveled will be about 270 kilometers
Travel time of 11 to 12 hours
Either stay at a hotel in Srinagar or a houseboat. Read Hotel Grand Valley Inn – A Great Place to stay in Srinagar.
You can also take the alternate route via Mughal Road to reach Srinagar. For more details, read How to Plan a Journey on Mughal Road.
Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
Enjoy the beautiful vistas of Kashmir Valley all day long
Scenery will transform slowly from lush green of Kashmir to barren brown of Ladakh
Overnight stay at Kargil
Distance traveled will be about 200 kilometers
Travel time of 8 to 9 hours
Cross Zoji La and see Kargil War Memorial at Drass
Kargil to Leh – Day 4
Distance traveled will be about 220 Kilometers
Travel Time of 7 to 8 Hours.
There are a lot of places to see on this stretch including Magnetic Hill, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Mulbekh Maitreya, Indus Zanskar Confluence etc. For more details read What to See on Srinagar Leh Highway – A Complete List.
Overnight stay in Leh
Better to book in advance during peak tourist season.
Leh – Day 5
Spend the day in Leh City
Arrange permit for journey ahead. Read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh for details.
Visit local attraction in Leh city like Leh palace, local market, Shanti Stoopa etc. Read Tourist Places in Leh City for details.
Leh to Diskit – Day 6
Start early from Leh
Cross Khardung La and reach Nubra Valley
Overnight stay in Diskit
Total Distance of 120 kilometers
Total Travel time of 6 to 7 hours
See Bactrian Camel, Diskit Monastery, Hunder Sand Dunes. Read Tourist Places in Nubra Valley for complete list.
Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 7
From Diskit, reach Back Khalsar and take Agham Shyok road to reach Pangong
Total 190 kilometers to be covered
Travel time of 6 to 7 hours
Also Read A Complete and Comprehensive Road Map of Ladakh
You may also first want to take a detour to Panamik from Khalsar before proceeding to Pangong.
Pangong to Leh – Day 8
Journey back to Leh today but via a different route.
From Pangong, drive back to Durbuk and take the road towards Chang La.
Road is mostly good with a really bad patch around Chang La top.
Overnight stay in Leh
Distance traveled will be about 160 kilometers
Travel time of 8 to 9 hours
Also Read How to Plan a Trip to Pangong Lake
Leh to Sarchu – Day 9
Start your return journey home and cover Manali Leh highway
Cross the high altitude pass of Tanglang La and drive across More Plains
Overnight stay at Sarchu
Distance traveled will be about 250 Kilometers
Travel time of 7 to 8 hours
Also read How to Plan a Journey on Manali Leh highway.
Sarchu to Manali – Day 10
Reach Manali while crossing the 4 high altitude passes of Nakee La, Lachulung La, Baralacha La and Rohtang La
Overnight in Manali
Total distance of 220 kilometers from Sarchu
Travel time of 9 to 10 hours
Expect traffic jam at Rohtang
Travel time from Rohtang top to Manali itself is about 3 hours.
Manali to Delhi – Day 11
Drive back home via Chandigarh
Total distance of 550 kilometers
Travel time of 14 to 15 hours
Buffer Day / Additional Day
If you are able to add just one more day to the trip then you will be able to cover a lot more. From Pangong, on Day 8, you can go straight to Hanle and reach Tso Moriri (Karzok) on Day 9. From Karzok then, you will travel to Pang or Sarchu on Day 10, to Manali on Day 11 and Delhi on Day 12. Thus, with just an addition of 1 day, you will be able to cover the entire Changthang Valley, Hanle, Tso Moriri and More plains.

If you have been to Ladakh before and wanted to cover only Zanskar this time then plan like this.

Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
Kargil to Padum – Day 4
Padum – Day 5
Padum to Kargil – Day 6
Kargil to Sonamarg – Day 7
Sonamarg to Srinagar – Day 8
Srinagar to Gulmarg to Srinagar – Day 9
Srinagar to Jammu via Mughal Road – Day 10
Jammu to Delhi – Day 11
Srinagar Leh Ladakh Tour Itinerary for 10 Nights 11 Days
Now since we are talking about covering a little bit of Kashmir as well, let me also suggest a few itineraries in that manner. The itinerary above is by road but a better way would be to plan it by air; that is to fly into Leh city and fly out of Srinagar. This will give you time to explore both Ladakh and Kashmir.

Leh – Day 1
Leh to Diskit – Day 2
Diskit to Pangong – Day 3
Pangong to Leh – Day 4
Leh to Kargil – Day 5
Kargil to Srinagar – Day 6
Srinagar Sightseeing – Day 7
Srinagar to Gulmarg – Day 8
Gulmarg to Pahalgam – Day 9
Pahalgam to Srinagar – Day 10
Fly Out of Srinagar – Day 11
You will land into Leh, rent a private taxi for Ladakh sightseeing and journey to Srinagar; do some sightseeing in Kashmir and then fly out of Srinagar airport. Keep in mind that for visiting places in Kashmir, your Ladakh registered cab will not do and you will have to rent another cab in Srinagar.

Ladakh Trip in 11 Days
Another way you can plan the journey is like this.

Leh – Day 1
Leh to Diskit – Day 2
Diskit to Pangong – Day 3
Pangong to Leh – Day 4
Leh to Kargil – Day 5
Kargil to Sonamarg – Day 6
Sonamarg to Srinagar – Day 7
Srinagar to Gulmarg – Day 8
Gulmarg to Pahalgam – Day 9
Pahalgam to Srinagar – Day 10
Fly Out of Srinagar – Day 11
Leh Ladakh Itinerary for 11 Days – Conclusion
The examples above are just a few of numerous other ways that this journey can be completed in. 11 Days is sufficient time for your to explore and visit almost all the major tourist attractions. I hope the information above on Leh Ladakh Itinerary for 11 Days was of help. If you have any other questions; or need any further details; please feel free to ask @ [email protected]
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Credits to this post goes to Mr. Vargis Khan (One of the finest blogger for tour Itineraries)

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