Best Time to Visit Leh Ladakh

Overview

Leh Ladakh is a mystery in itself. The grand landscape, the spread-out cold desert, and the Lamas with their intriguing ways make Leh Ladakh an object of curiosity. However, one question always remains for a tourist – What is the best time to visit Leh Ladakh to get the best out of my trip?

The best time to visit Leh Ladakh is largely determined by your expectations. Summer would not be a good time to visit Leh Ladakh for the snowfall, would it? So, let’s take it one by one what time you should visit depending upon what you are looking for. 

Ladakh, which is heaven on earth situated at an elevation of 2750-7672 meters. It is blessed with incredible beauty that comprises hills, high-altitude lakes, green landscapes, and snow-covered mountain peaks. Ladakh is one of the unexplored regions in the Himalayas. Adventure junkies from across the globe visit Ladakh as there are many trekking trails and trekking options available.

Apart from trekking, you can also indulge yourself in many other adventure activities such as water rafting, biking, safaris, etc. Ladakh is also known for its rich culture and heritage. 

best time to visit leh ladakh

Leh Ladakh in the Summer  

Summer arrives in Leh Ladakh with a bang. In the Narnia Land of Leh Ladakh, the flowing rivers and unfrozen lakes cast a different kind of light. Summer is mostly preferred by tourists visiting Ladakh due to its pleasant weather and inviting landscape sprinkling spring beautifully in the valleys. Let’s see the Ladakhi weather in summer month by month.

April temperatures in Leh Ladakh range from 10 to -1 degrees Celsius.

Tourists return to Leh Ladakh in April. Snowfall is rare in the month and the leftover snow is seen melting along the way. The frozen lakes are completely thawed by April end however, there is still winter in the shade in April. 

May temperatures in Leh Ladakh range from 16 to 3 degrees Celsius.

The bright sunlight casts a spectacular gleam on Leh Ladakh. Even though the day is pleasant, there is still a chill in the air. In May, the highways to Leh Ladakh open up, and bike trips to Leh are popular.

June temperature in Leh Ladakh ranges from 21 to 7 degrees Celsius.

June is the most popular month to visit Leh Ladakh. The weather is pleasant and warm. The snow has melted. Trekking expeditions are at their peak and rhododendrons are spreading their fragrance everywhere. 

July and August temperatures in Leh Ladakh range from 25 to 12 degrees Celsius.

Nature favors these months in Ladakh opening up all the passes and routes of the region. Ladakh is at its spectacular best in these months. The sun however can be scorching in these months so you should carry your sunscreen with you.

September temperature in Leh Ladakh ranges from 22 to 6 degrees Celsius

Winter starts to wander the valleys in September in Leh. Snowfall can be seen in the higher passes. You might witness a lesser number of tourists in September. 

Temperatures range from 14 to 0 degrees Celsius in October.

The monastery life of Ladakh starts to stir in October and the Diksit festival is celebrated. Snowfall is frequent though it is very wispy and light. During these months, passionate travelers traverse the region to witness the slowly emerging rawness of Leh Ladakh. 


Best time to visit Leh Ladakh in Winter 

Winter starts in Leh in November and sustains its misty veil till March. The snow begins to thaw in March and a sweet spring sets in April. It is a popular opinion that Leh Ladakh is inaccessible in winter and is not a place to be visited due to its unforgiving cold. 

On the contrary, winter is a beautiful season to experience Leh Ladakh in all of its rawness and beauty. Though all highways leading up to Leh Ladakh are blocked in winter and air travel is the only way to reach there. The tourist footfall is very less and the local life can be witnessed in its natural self. Let’s check out the temperature in the winter months in Ladakh to find out a suitable month for us.

November temperatures range from 10 to -3 degrees Celsius.

Lakes freeze in Ladakh in November and electricity is very scarce. Taps might run dry. However, festivals like Thiksey and Padum are celebrated in November. 

December temperatures range from 2 to -20 degrees Celsius.

December is the coldest month in Leh Ladakh, with heavy snowfall. Tourists rarely visit Leh Ladakh in December due to its excruciatingly cold weather. Locals, on the other hand, spend the month celebrating Losar and other festivals.

January temperatures range from -2 to -15 degrees Celsius.

Even though the weather is too cold, January is a popular month for tourists trekking up to Zanskar Lake and going on ski expeditions. 

February temperature in Leh Ladakh range from – 2 to -15 degrees Celsius

Weather conditions are similar to January in February. In February, the sun shines brightly, making it easier for tourists to return to Leh Ladakh.

March temperatures range from 6 to -6 degrees Celsius.

The sun shines hotly in Leh in March. The snow begins to melt though not too visibly. The weather becomes tolerable and pleasant during the day. However, it is still too cold compared to the general subcontinent. March witnesses heavy footfall compared to other winter months. 

The best months to visit Leh Ladakh in winter to enjoy the outdoors while still experiencing winter are November or March. December, January, and February are very cold months but if that is what you are looking for, they might be the best ones.


Best time to visit Leh Ladakh by Road 

Tourists can visit Leh Ladakh at any time of year. However, natural conditions do not permit such visits. If you are looking to travel to the area by air, you can visit any month. However, if you are planning to travel by road or planning a bike trip to Ladakh, you might have to think about it. The best time to visit Leh Ladakh by road is always the summer.  

● Manali Leh Highway

From the end of October, the Manali Leh highway witnesses restrictions for civilian travel to the area. The highway closes completely in November and is inaccessible until April.

● Srinagar Leh highway

This highway remains open until Mid-November. However, the dates are changed according to the weather conditions. However, the highway is closed from November to the end of April.

So, if you are planning a road trip to Leh Ladakh, the best time would be from May to October. The highways remain open and there is no risk of slipping on the roads due to snowfall.  


Best time to visit Leh Ladakh for Snowfall

Snowfall can be seen all year in the high altitudes of Leh Ladakh. However, in tourist spots, snowfall starts in November and ends in February. The most suitable month to witness snowfall in Leh Ladakh is January when snow falls in a good amount. However, January is a very cold month and can be cruel to tourists.  


Best places to visit Leh Ladakh

In the winter, some places in Leh Ladakh have their allure. A winter trip to these places is said to be a detoxifying experience. 

Pangong Lake: This is one of the major tourist attractions to visit in Leh Ladakh. The Lake is extended from India to Tibet. Almost 60% of the Lake lies in the Tibetan region. This is the location where the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots was shooted. The color of the Lake does not remain blue throughout the year but it changes color from blue to grey and green too. It is one of the famous sightseeing places in Ladakh. Foreign nationals need to permit from the tourist Leh office to visit there. The temperature ranges from -5 degrees to 10 degrees Celsius. The lake remains frozen during the winter season. 

Nubra Valley: Nubra Valley is situated at a distance of 140 kilometers from Leh. The valley is full of beautiful monasteries and arid mountains in its backdrop. In Nubra Valley, one can do many activities such as camel rides, ziplining, and ATV rides. It is one of the most beautiful attractions to visit when you were in Ladakh. You can also go to the most popular, Diskit monastery which is known for its 32-meter Maitreya Buddha Statue. Many tourists come to Nubra Valley from Khardung La. 

Tso Moriri Lake: Tso Moriri is one of the highest altitude lakes in India at an elevation of 4599 meters. It is one of the most scenic and peaceful places in Ladakh. The magnificent Lake can only be visited in the summer month from April to September. The Lake remains completely frozen and inaccessible during winter months from December to March. You cannot pitch a tent or construct anything near the Lake because the site is declared a Ramsar site. One can also spot many birds here in Moriri. The lake is also termed the mountain lake because it is surrounded by high mountain passes. 

Hall Of Fame Leh: Situated only 4 kilometers from the leh. The Hall of Fame is a museum, that was built in memory of the Indian soldier who lost their lives during the Indo-Pakistan war. It is maintained by the Indian Army, it showcases the seized arms and amenities of the Pakistani Army. Apart from this, you can also spot the items of Ladakhi culture, vegetation, wildlife, and History.

Magnetic Hills: Nestled at an altitude of 14000 meters above sea level. It is 30 kilometers from the stunning town of Leh with picturesque Himalayan Ranges on its backdrop. The magnetic hills are an optical illusion because of the rising and descending terrains. It has mysterious magnetic properties that attract tourists from across the globe. It is one of the major tourist attractions to visit in Leh Ladakh. 

Zanskar Valley: Zanskar Valley is one of the most beautiful in Leh Ladakh. It is located in the Kargil district of Ladakh around 105 kilometers. This beautiful place is covered with snow-covered mountains and gushing rivers along with a wide range of flora and fauna. The Valley remains cut off for almost 9 months because of heavy snowfall. The best way to reach Zanskar Valley is from Kargil through Suru Valley. The valley is known for trekking, river rafting, and raw landscape. In the winter season, you can reach Zanskar through the challenging Chader Trek. 

Shanti Stupa: Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist monument situated at a height of 11,841. It is one of the popular religious places for Buddhists. It looks beautiful during the full moon night because it is naturally illuminated by the moonlight at this time. It is the perfect place for those who are looking for peace and offering prayers to God. 

Thiksey Monastery: Thiksey Monastery is a 12-story monastery located on the top of the hill which offers travelers a magnificent view of the mountains and towns of the Indus Valley. The monastery has 10 temples which are home to 100 monks. Maitreya temple is the major highlight of Thiksey Monastery. 


Things To Do In Leh Ladakh

Ladakh offers plenty of activities to do. Below are the activities that are performed in Ladakh.

Chader Trek: This is one of the thrilling adventurous activities in Ladakh. The Chader trek is one of the most challenging treks in India. It is also called the frozen river expedition because it is a trek over a frozen river It is the glamorous trek in the Himalayas. The temperature during the day is -10 degrees and the night temperature falls to -20 and -25. The scenery, atmosphere, campsite, and temperature all are unique. During winter time, it is risky to go there, because the roads are closed and the river is also frozen at this time.

Try Local Food: Leh Ladakh is a multicuisine region that serves Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and Korean. Visitors must try the local cuisine of Ladakh which include Thukpa, Noodle soup, and Skyu which are the popular dishes of Leh Ladakh. You can also try the steamed momos stuffed with vegetables and meat. Leh Ladakh is also famous for its rich heritage ad culture.

Camel Safari:  Camel Safari is also one of the best activities to do. The camel ride starts from Hander to Turtuk Valley. The timing of the ride is 9 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm. The best time to visit Ladakh for this activity is from July to September. These Hunder Cames not only carry 1 person, but they can also carry 3 people at one time. Camel Safari is one of the exotic activities to do here in Ladakh.

Witness Tibetan Culture: Namgyal Monastery is a Buddhist monastery that is well known for its Tibetan culture. It offers mesmerizing views from its vicinity. You can also see the scriptures and artistic paintings. The monastery showcases the golden statue of a futuristic Buddha. Witnessing the Tibetan culture is also one of the best activities to do.

River Rafting: River Rafting in the Indus River is one of the most thrilling adventurous activities to do. The best time for river rafting in Ladakh is from May to August because the water levels of the river are extremely high during this time. For river rafting in Ladakh, you will find grade 3 and grade 4 levels of river rafting here in Ladakh.


How To Reach Leh Ladakh  

To reach Leh Ladakh, you have multiple options which include trains, roads, and flights. 

By Air: The most comfortable way to reach Leh Ladakh is by flight. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main airport in Ladakh which is well connected to major cities of India such as Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi etc. From the airport, book a cab/taxi to reach the final destination. 

By Road: Ladakh is well connected to many road networks such as Srinagar and Manali. One can travel through the road only for 6 months and the rest of the year the road is blocked due to heavy snowfall. There are two different routes to reach Leh Ladakh one from Srinagar and the other is Manali.

By Train: Jammu Tawi Station is the main railway head to reach Leh Ladakh. It is located at a distance of 700 kilometers from Ladakh. The railway head is also very well connected to major cities in India. From Jammu Tawi station, arrangements can be made to reach Leh Ladakh. 

FAQ's

From May to October, roads are largely devoid of snow and bike trips are favorable in the area. The weather is pleasant so there is less danger of catching a cold.
Sports like Mountain biking at Khardung La Pass, rafting at Zanskar River, Ice skating at Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso lake, and Trekking to the higher passes and lakes are popular adventure activities in the area.
The oxygen level in Leh Ladakh is half that of the plains. The altitude might leave you gasping for air and even exposed to acute mountain sickness. To avoid that, tourists should acclimate themselves to the climate for some time before moving on to higher areas.
You need a minimum of 4 days to explore Leh Ladakh after acclimating yourself. If you are planning a trek expedition, you would require at least 8-10 days.
From October winter season starts in Ladakh and continues till March. During this time, the whole region receives heavy snowfall and you can see enjoy snowfall in these months.
The cost of a Ladakh trip starts from 15000 and you can visit to major attractions of the Ladakh. The trip to Ladakh depends on how many days you want to stay.
8-10 days are enough to explore the entire Ladakh. You will be able to see a lot of places in Leh Ladakh.

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