From sparkling lakes to echoing valleys, the alluring charm of Ladakh, India will leave you spellbound.
Don your explorer's hat and head to the valley of Ladakh – the ‘Land of High Passes’ – for an adventurous escape. Discover the area’s exotic wildlife on treks and breathe crisp mountain air as you take in awe-inspiring views of famous lakes. Stop at the beautiful monasteries and learn the monk way of living, then sip hot kehwa as you warm yourself next to
Read on for our top pick of things to do in Ladakh.
Wondering where to stay? Check out Stok Palace Leh.
Head to Shanti Stupa for the best views of Leh
One of the most famous monuments in the city of Leh, the Shanti Stupa is a white dome-shaped marvel you cannot miss. Built by a Japanese Buddhist, the architectural wonder shines bright when hit by milky moonlight, painting a surreal picture. Embrace the spirituality and catch breathtaking views of the Leh valley and Changspa Village from the two-level edifice. The best time to visit is between July and September. For stunning vistas of sunrises and sunsets painting the valley golden, Shanti Stupa is the place to be in Ladakh.
Visiting time: 5am to 9pm
Discover Leh Palace
Turn the wheels of time and witness medieval Tibetan architecture at the nine-storey Leh Palace. Made of wood, mud and stones, the walls feature fascinating murals that showcase stories of the past. Set on top of a secluded hill, the palace was once home to the royal family of Leh. From the top, sweeping views of Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges await. You can also visit the Victory Tower beside the palace, which was built in commemoration of Ladakhi soldiers.
Visiting time: 7am to 4pm
Learn about the culture and beliefs of the locals by visiting the ancient monasteries of the valley. Hemis Monastery is one of the largest and most popular monasteries in the valley, and wows with a gorgeous copper statue of Buddha and paintings, Stupas and Thangkas that depict various aspects of Buddhist culture. To see Tibetan artefacts and relics, make a stop at Likir Monastery. A visit to Stakna Monastery will give you access to stunning views of the Indus Valley and various paintings, idols and Buddhist scriptures.
Shop at Leh Bazaar
Take back souvenirs from the Leh Bazaar to remember your time in the gorgeous valley. Find local handicrafts carved with intricate designs by the Ladakhis, the region’s famous pashminas, Buddha statues, singing bowls, prayer wheels, carpets and so much more, allowing you to take a piece of Ladakh back home with you. Tired from all that shopping? Fuel up with some delicious momos (Ladakh dumplings) and don’t forget to pick up a bottle of chhang – a famous local alcoholic drink.
Visit the famous Pangong Lake
Featured in various Bollywood movies, Pangong Lake is a must-visit in Ladakh. Crystal-clear blue waters, snowcapped mountains and open skies transport you to utopia. The world’s highest saltwater lake, it is 5km wide and 134km long, with one-third of the lake in India and two-thirds in China. At 328 feet deep, the lake is a spot loved by honeymooners and bikers for its stunning views. Click away with your camera or camp on the shore while watching the ducks paddling.
Retrace the Silk Route in Nubra Valley
Sand dunes, serene monasteries and lush orchards await in the beautiful Nubra Valley. We highly recommend a visit to the Valley of Flowers in Nubra, best enjoyed while riding on the back of a camel. Explore Panamik village, connected to the well-known Silk Route, once used for trading with Tibet, and enjoy the therapeutic hot springs. Close to Siachen glacier, the sand dunes of Hunder village are a sight you wouldn’t want to miss while exploring the valley.
Spot snow leopards at Hemis National Park
Visit Hemis National Park and enjoy a rendezvous with beautiful snow leopards. While you are busy admiring the spotted creatures don’t miss out on the wonderful Himalayan wolves. You can also indulge in bird-watching, with rare species found all over the park, and learn about the vast flora and fauna covering the beautiful terrain. You can even go on a safari here – but only on foot. The best time to visit the park is between May and October.
Dig into delicious Ladakhi cuisine
Foodies will be delighted with the unique blend of flavours Ladakh has to offer. From soft and spicy momos to steamy stews and piping hot kehwa, the area is a gastronomical delight. A must-try is thukpa, a nutritious noodle soup made with locally sourced ingredients. Tingmo – a kind of fluffy bun – is usually served with vegetables, meat and dal, and is an absolute delight to devour in the cold weather of Ladakh.
Best time to visit Ladakh: April–July.
Where to stay: Stok Palace Leh
Standing on a peaceful hill overlooking the beautiful Indus Valley, the 200-year-old Stok Palace Leh is a royal paradise that will treat you in true Ladakhi style. Intricately designed by Ladakhi craftsmen, this ancient palace was once the royal abode of the Namgyal dynasty and has opened its doors for guests to experience its regal legacy.
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