Tourism season in Ladakh starts with opening of Zoji La, the gateway to Ladakh, on Srinagar Leh Highway and peaks on opening of Leh Manali Highway. There are four routes which are normally followed by tourists for entry to and exit from Ladakh. These are
1. Entry and exit through Srinagar Leh Highway
2. Entry through Srinagar Leh Highway and exit through Leh Manali Highway
3. Entry through Leh Manali Highway and exit through Srinagar Leh Highway
4. Entry and exit through Leh Manali Highway.
First three routes, tourists pass through Kargil once or twice, a large city in Suru Valley of Ladakh on the back of Suru River which also falls on the ancient Silk Route and was an important trade point. It is around 215 Kilometres from Leh and 200 Kilometres from Srinagar which makes it a ideal stop over point for tourists to break the long journey from Srinagar to Leh or vice versa. It is also a preferred stop over point for tourists visiting Zanskar valley.
Though it was used as a stop over by tourists, it is not explored as a full fledged standalone destination by most of the tourists. However in my opinion, Kargil deserves a stay of at least a day instead of an overnight stopover.
The itinerary for exploring Kargil and Suru Valley can be divided into 3 days, 2 nights. I am giving itinerary that can be followed while coming from Srinagar and going to Leh which can be followed in reverse if you are approaching from other direction.