Ever wondered of going on a Leh backpacking trip? Well, you should head to Leh this coming holiday season, and feel enchanted amidst the majestic Himalayas. Leh is a serene and calm location in the lap of astonishing mountains and valleys. No pictures or words will ever do justice to its beauty. Visiting Leh is something you will remember forever.
Going on a Leh backpacking trip is on the bucket list of most Indian travelers. In recent years, thousands of foreign nationals are also visiting this part of the world owing to the beauty and serenity of Ladakh. As somebody who has recently backpacked to Leh, I can tell you that you will have the time of your life here. All you need is a proper itinerary and some budget saving hacks. The earlier you plan your Leh backpacking trip, the better it will prove for you.
Leh is a lovely travel destination. From the warm welcome from your guesthouse managers with a cup of butter tea to tall mountains and snow you see around, use the word Juleh carefree. Juleh, pronounced "joo-lay", is a magic word, just like the magical aura of Leh itself. Say juleh when you want to say hello, goodbye, thank you, how are you, nice to meet you and you're welcome. This coming holiday season, plan for an exciting Leh backpacking trip just as I did a while ago.
Leh Backpacking Trip: An Overview
Ladakh is one of the most sought after travel destinations in India and rightly so. With rugged mountains, crystal blue skies and unique terrain, Ladakh is truly mesmerising.
Before I proceed into the details of how to plan a successful Leh Backpacking trip, here are a few things that you need to know about Leh as a travel destination.
Is it Possible to Make the Leh Backpacking Trip Cost-Effective?
Budget travel, food and stay in Leh are all possible if you looking in the right places. From taking the local bus from Manali or Srinagar to staying in guest houses, Leh can be easily travelled on a budget.
For food, wander around the market streets and you can easily find small kitchens that serve hot delicious lunch and dinners at nominal costs.
The local market is a really big place to shop for things for self. Many shops sell jewellery, warm clothes, pashmina shawls, and various souvenirs. Try exploring shops other than those in the main market for the cost-effectiveness of your budget. Read the detailed blog on where and what to buy in Ladakh.
Ideal Visiting Time and Weather Conditions for Pursuing the Leh Backpacking Trip
The temperature in Leh varies around the visiting seasons. Therefore, you need to pack things for your Leh Trip accordingly. During October to November, and March to May, the temperature goes to a minimum of - 1°C and 15°C maximum. However, temperatures at Khardungla and Pangong lake can go as low as - 10°C. Between late May and early October, the weather conditions are warmer, as the snow starts to melt and the green starts to come back.
If you are interested in snowfall and really cold weather, October-November, and March-May are the best months to visit. Also, the traffic is limited, so Leh backpacking trip can be pursued.
Special Advisory for Leh Backpacking Trip
During March-May, the road routes from Manali to Leh and Srinagar to Leh is closed. The only mode of travel will be via Air from Delhi or Srinagar. This might add up as an extra travel cost to Leh.
Nominal Accommodation Options for Leh Backpacking Trip
Accommodation in Leh is easy to find and can suit everyone's pocket. There is one luxury hotel in Leh -The Grand Dragon. However, this isn't a convenient place for backpackers.
For budget travellers, there is nothing better than homestays and guesthouses. When I say homestay, don't picture a hostel room or dorms. All homestays in Leh have furniture for all your needs. The hosts usually live downstairs and the guest area and accommodation is upstairs.
The prices of the rooms are negotiable. Rooms can be booked in advance. These homestays or guesthouses also offer food on demand in case you prefer it.
Facilities Available for the Recommended Accommodation Options
Based on my own travel experience in Leh multiple times, I'd suggest you stay in any of the following places. I'm enlisting the facilities available. Also, the distance from Leh airport has been mentioned for your convenience. Almost all the accommodation places in Leh keep changing prices as per the season. So, make sure to book in advance. It'll help you save money for your Leh backpacking trip.
The following guest houses and homestays will keep your Leh backpacking trip budget-friendly.
Quite a delightful place comprising spacious rooms and comfortable beds. The Gangs Shun Homestay is reasonably close to the main town of Leh and so, is accessible by all. The owner will help you with anything you need.
Located slightly on the outskirts of the main town of Leh, the Druk is a comfortable place to stay during your trip. Rooms are clean and equipped well.
Leh can be accessed via various routes and transport options.
How to Reach Leh from Outside India?
For visiting Leh from outside India, it is important to reach New Delhi first.
Best deals on Flights and Accommodation
In case you're planning to take the Leh backpacking trip during peak season, the average prices are bound to scale up. However, you can avail various budget deals in case your timing is correct.
Explore the following for the best deals on flights and accommodation not just for Leh backpacking trip but for a nominal trip around the world. The subsequent 3 booking websites are being suggested to you because I've experienced the services of all for my various trips to North India.
My Top Transport Tips for Leh Backpacking Trip
Transportation can form a major part of a travel plan and also the total travel costs. In order to have a successful trip and keep your budget under check, you need to take care of the following things while travelling to Leh.
Inner Line Permit: Must have Document for a Successful Leh Backpacking Trip
Inner Line Permit (ILP) is a travel document issued by the Government of India. It allows visitors to travel to a protected area for a limited period of time.
Obtaining the ILP is essential for all the citizens, who do not belong to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Foreigners travelling to Ladakh are required to obtain the Ladakh Protected Area Permit (PAP).
The PAP is required for visiting areas like Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La etc.
What in My View are the Must Visit Places on your Leh Backpacking Trip?
Leh has lots of natural beauty and is full of palaces, monasteries, lakes and beautiful valleys. One can visit Kargil, Alchi, Magnetic Hill, and various passes on the way.
Khardung La and Chang La are two most visited passes in Leh and are crossed while visiting Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso respectively. Hunder in Nubra valley has two-humped camels. The magical Magnetic Hill is a place of its own significance.
Leh also has various national parks like Hemis National Park. All these places are under 200 km from Leh, and regular buses or personal taxis can be hired. The Leh Palace, Hall of Fame, and Shanti Stupa are around the main city of Leh.
What Lakes to Visit on your Leh Backpacking Trip?
Leh is blessed with naturally formed magnificent lakes. While some like the Pangong are well known, there are many other lesser-known lakes in Leh- Ladakh.