25 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ladakh?

Rocky terrain, crystal lakes, high altitude passes, momos, bikers at every other corner and lots of winding roads. But that doesn't even cover half of it. Ladakh has great history attributed to its name, it has finger licking Ladakhi food, uncountable stupas which give us its immensely rich culture, it has fresh orchard fruits if you know where to find them, and it has scenery which will make every single one of you out there, turn into bloggers overnight.

Let's take a virtual trip through my most loved spots in Ladakh, and look out for some insider secrets which I suddenly discovered, and which made it all the more memorable.

1) Alchi Monastery

Photo of Alchi Monastery - Choskhor, Alchi by Sakshi kulkarni

Alchi is a one hour drive from the main city of Leh, and this drive is absolutely worth it. Alchi Monastery has a great significance to the history and cultural heritage of Ladakh, and very rightly so, it's one of the most visited Monasteries. Here, you can buy traditional Buddhist meditational bowls and can induge in traditional food at Alchi's Kitchen ( One of the lesser known places, but serves authentic Ladakhi food).

Check out Kanika's experience at Alchi Monastery.

2) Lamayuru Monastery

Photo of The Lamayuru Monastery, Leh by Sakshi kulkarni

Just 30 minutes from Alchi, we reach Lamayuru. Lamayuru Monastery is again one of the very well know monasteries in Ladakh, and it's accessible from Srinagar as well as the city of Leh. You can spend an hour being awe struck at the rocky terrain on which this monastery is standing today, marvel at the simple yet intricate architecture of the monastery.

Well, I got something for you here too, On the road from Alchi to Lamayuru, you'll find a lot of fruit vendors selling mini apples fresh from the orchards especially in the months of August- September.

Check out Arunabha's experience in Lamayuru.

3) Gurudwara Pathar Sahab

Photo of Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Phey by Sakshi kulkarni

This place holds immense cultural importance, in the land of Buddhist monasteries we have a Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev. This experience was extremely dear to my heart. Before we entered, we get the Khada prasad and as soon as we enter the Gurudwara, there is warm water kept to wash your feet.

There is a very interesting tale behind the legacy of this Gurudwara, and I'll let you all find that out when you go to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.

4) Shanti Stupa

Photo of Shanti Stupa, Leh by Sakshi kulkarni

The Shanti Stupa is a unique symbol of culture and long lasting ties between Japan and the people of India. It's a white marble color monument located 5 kms away from Leh, but you can see it clearly from the main city.

This towering monument is a symbol of peace and inner consciousness, and it offer a panoramic view of Leh.

It's best to go this monument on your first day in Leh, as you won't be able to travel too much due to the sudden air pressure difference.

5) Sangam Point

Photo of Indus & Zanskar River Sangam, Nimmoo by Sakshi kulkarni

The Sangam point quite literally means 'merging' , here it refers to the confluence of the two mighty rivers of India, The Indus and the Zanskar.

It is truly an extraordinary sight to behold, I personally could see the different colored waters of the two river mix to form an entire new color.

You can get a hot cup of tea, and sit and look at the waters for as long as it takes for you to soak it all in.

6) Hemis Monastery

Photo of Hemis Monastery Museum, Hemis by Sakshi kulkarni

Hemis is one of the main monasteries of Ladakh, all the other monasteries are registered here and it holds the record for one of the worlds highest settlements, and the best part?

It's located inside the Hemis National Park. Here, you can see Buddhist monks chanting, but ask ahead, as there are only certain time slots, usually very early in the morning or very late in the evenings.

7) Thiksey Monastery

Photo of Thiksey Monastery, Thiksey by Sakshi kulkarni

This imposing structure of architectural magnificence, is one of Ladakh's most prized travelers spot. It is a 12 story high construction, with several prayer rooms, residences, stupas and small shrines.

The first look you get of this significant structure, is the best place to get photos with it. Enjoy and feast your eyes at something you'll only find in Ladakh.

You can read about Riyanka's experience of finding a hidden gem, here!

8) Shey Palace

Photo of Shey Palace, Shey by Sakshi kulkarni

The Shey Palace was used by the Maharaj of Ladakh during the summer times and has been constructed in the traditional Ladakhi style, made mostly of wood with lots of windows giving ventilation.

The Shey Palace is a marvel of architecture, and gives the visitors a good exercise of climbing up flights of rocky stairs.

It also has great spots for photography, and prayer rooms which you can visit and witness grand statues of Buddha.

9) Hall Of Fame

Photo of Hall of Fame, Leh by Sakshi kulkarni

Hall of fame is an experience dedicated to the Indian army. It has various equipment displayed, which have been used by the Indian army or captured by them.

To experience this more than just visualize it, attending the night show is an absolute must. it will end your night with goosebumps and make it a night you'll never forget.

10) Khardung La Pass

Photo of Khardungla Pass, Khardung by Sakshi kulkarni

Khardung la pass has become an increasing famous point for every traveler when they visit Leh, Ladakh. It is one of the highest motorable passes, but definitely not the highest which few people claim it to be. While travelling from Leh city to Nubra valley, we have to go through the Khardung La.

It's one of the most picturesque passes, but due to the high altitude, it's advisable not to stop here for more than 15 mins.

11) Nubra Valley

Photo of Nubra Valley by Sakshi kulkarni

Nubra Valley is a must visit destination with lots of hidden activities apart from the camel and ATV bike rides. The stay options at Nubra Valley are pretty good as it's a well connected place.

There is a cultural dance show in the sand dunes of Nubra Valley, it's best to ask the locals about the timings and the place. Near the dance tents, you also can indulge in some pahadi maggi and chai.

12) Panamik Hot Water Springs

Photo of Panamik Hot Spring, Panamik by Sakshi kulkarni

One of the best places to go especially in the cold months. Panamik Hot Springs is located 30 mins from the main area of Nubra Valley and is easily accessible. It dervies it's name from the natural hot springs located in the Panamik region.

Hre you can chill in hot tubs marked separately for men and women, you can rent towels here, but I'd suggest carrying your own. You can also take a short hike to see the origin of the spring.

13) Turtuk Village

Photo of Turtuk by Sakshi kulkarni

Turtuk is one of the last villages before the LOC, and if you ask right you can see tents of the two armies pitched high on the mountains. Here, you get to know of a new language called 'Bali', which is a mix of Persian and Turkish.

In Turtuk, there's an age old dynasty of kings, and if your are lucky, you can meet the old monarch who walks with an eagle hilted cane and pluck apricots from his orchard.

14) Chang La Pass

Photo of Chang La Pass by Sakshi kulkarni

Chang La is one of the highest passes in the world, and you cross it when heading from Pangong Tso to Leh. This pass is higher than the mighty Khardung La, and hence, be well prepared to brave the cold winds. It's best to now wait for more than 10 mins, as the huge difference in altitude can affect many people.

So cozy up and enjoy the chilly weather.

15) Pangong Tso

Photo of Pangong Tso by Sakshi kulkarni

This is the last place that needs any description to all the readers. There's a high possibility that most of you are heading to Leh, to visit the world famous Pangong Tso Lake. The road to Pangong is one of the most scenic routes you can ever choose to take, with sprawling grasslands, grazing yaks and sheeps, and the ever intimidating rocky terrain.

Due to the high altitude that this lake claims, it gets very cold during the night, hence, it's best to get a cottage instead of tents. And do not forget to get up at 3 am and watch the milky way playing with colors in the sky.

PRO TIP: Stay as warm as you can and do not litter the area around the lake.

16) Tso Moriri

Photo of Tso Moriri by Sakshi kulkarni

Tso Moriri is so well known as it's the highest altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian territory, apart from this, its a pristine, calm emerald lake, that attracts many travelers because of it's sheer natural beauty and untouched landscape.

The wetlands surrounding this lake is also the breeding grounds for many species of birds and animals.

So, take a trip to this immensely beautiful high altitude lake when visiting Ladakh.

17) Hemis National Park

Photo of Hemis National Park, India by Sakshi kulkarni

Hemis National Park, is a world famous destination for all wildlife lovers, especially the thrill seekers on a quest to find the ever elusive snow leopard. It's one of the few parks situated at such a high altitude. It got it's name from the well known Hemis Gompa.

Keep ticking off the animals you never even heard of: Blue sheep, Argali, Ladakhi urial, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan wolf,

So, get out your lenses and head to the Hemis National Park.

18) Chadar Trek

Photo of Chadar trek - Trekking In Ladakh - Frozen River Trekking In Ladakh by Sakshi kulkarni

This is one of the most sought after treks in India, Pumped up for the adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies, this trek takes you through the frozen waterfalls and the frozen path of the Zanska river, gaze at the majestic mountain summits and you go through innumerous gorges.

So bundle up and grab your gang to accompany you for this trek that'll leave you breathless.

19) Gata Loops

Photo of Gata Loops , After Sarchu by Sakshi kulkarni

Gata Loops is a series of 21 hairpin bends, and ends near one of the highest passes in Ladakh. The hairpin bends will leave you winded, but it's definitely worth the experience, espeically when you get to descending the curves.

There is a local legend that talks about a mysterious ghost that resides in these hairpins, and people end up paying tribute the ghost by giving mineral water and cigarettes.

Yes, you heard right, the mysterious ghost likes smoking.

20) Atal Tunnel

Photo of Atal Tunnel, Burwa by Sakshi kulkarni

Atal Tunnel reduces the time of travel from Manali to Leh, and is an experience in itself. It's one of the world's longest tunnels situated on such a high altitude.

The Atal tunnel is one of the most well maintained tunnel passes of India, having being inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself.

21) Apricot Blossom Festival

Photo of Leh Ladakh - लेह लदाख, Ladakh, India, Leh by Sakshi kulkarni

Apricot Blossom festival in held in Ladakh from the 13th of April till the 22nd of April, Ever year the host districts shuffle, so in different years you can enjoy the apricot blossom in different parts of Ladakh. During this time, travelers can view the mesmerizing blossom of apricot trees and buy from a variety of freshly blossomed apricots kept on display.

This year Kargil, Sanjak and Karkichu hosted this festival.

22) Stok

Photo of Stok Palace, Stok by Sakshi kulkarni

Stok is a picturesque village located in the Leh district of Ladakh. This place holds immense significance as the current royal family of Ladakh resides at the 19th century palace located in Stok.

It also appeals to the cultural and historical background of Ladakh, as it hosts the 14th century Stok Monastery which has a 22m statue of a seated Gautam Buddha.

While in Ladakh, this place construes an impossible to resist atmosphere and offer peace to all the travelers.

23) Kargil War Memorial

Photo of Kargil War Memorial by Sakshi kulkarni

A huge dedication to the utter grit and perseverance of our Indian army is the Kargil War Memorial. It has engraved the names of all the brave warriors who were martyred during the 1999 Kargil War between India and Pakistan.

From this memorial, you can see the point of conflict, where most of the fighting took place, namely, Tololing, Tiger Hill, and Point 4875.

When in Ladakh, the rocky terrain that seems intimidating to us, is where our soldiers climbed and fought, visit this memorial to pay homage and tribute to our soldiers.

Find the best budget hotels in Ladakh, here.

24) Mulbek Chamba

Photo of Mulbekh Chamba Statue མུལ་བེཁ ཅམ་བ །, Mulbekh by Sakshi kulkarni

Mulbek Chamba is a complete off beat place in Ladakh, and it is well known for not being very well known, ironical isn't it?

Mulbek Chamba is a rock cut statue of Maitreya Buddha. The immense architectural precision is commendable. Maitreya Buddha is the future Buddha or the Buddha to come, hence, while constructing the statue, the sculptors left several holes, so that the future sculptors could sculpt the precise beautiful face of Lord Buddha on the statue.

25) Suru Valley

Photo of Suru Valley by Sakshi kulkarni

Suru Valley is known for being the greenest valley in the Greater Himalayas, but also hosts towering red mountain peaks, making it a paradise for trekkers and seasoned Mountain climbers. The best time for visiting Suru Valley is between April and September, the winter months are unimaginably harsh, hence should be avoided.

Suru valley looks like a farmland with immense greenery and a charm of mountains, and gives all travelers sunrises and sunsets they'd never forget.

Ladakh is one of the gems that India can host with pride. We have maintained the monuments, the culture, the history and the raw scenic beauty as best as we could.

A small plea to all those keen to rev their bike engines on rocky terrains: keep the pristine beauty as it has always been. One of the main charms of Ladakh is how beautiful everything is, and I'd urge all travelers to keep it that way.

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