The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)!

Tripoto
25th May 2018
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil

If Leh Ladakh road trip is in your mind from a long time or if its the next biggest plan you have in your life, then you have landed in the right page.

We, group of 5 friends, planned this trip of our life for many years and fortunately we all could manage 2 weeks off from our respective offices. This trip is not simple as it looks like or sound like, it needs a lot of preparation (finalizing the itinerary, getting all the required food/drinks/medicines, preparing to beat the cold etc.) In this article, I will share the day wise itinerary of our road trip. I won't include much about the sight seeing or USP of the places, that I will cover in separate articles.

While we were finalizing our trip, we were little confused about the route to follow. Whether we should travel via Kashmir or via Manali and I am sure most of the people have the same question. We read many articles and blogs about the same. Then we realized that Kashmir route should be preferred and the main reason for taking this route is to acclimatize well. By 6th day we entered the Leh region and we were very well acclimatized and didn't face any issue like nausea, sleeplessness, breathing issue etc. So, I would highly recommend people to follow Kashmir route and come back via Manali. There is a gradual increase in the altitude and you would better enjoy the places and less changes of fall sick. Also, when you start your trip via Kashmir, you will be energized and excited to see the unbelievably beautiful place and that's a great start to your long road trip.

On a Friday night at around 11:00pm, we started our trip to Patnipot. Delhi to Patnipot is close to 650km and travel time is 12 hours with 2 halts for dinner and breakfast. This is a long route, so plan well and leave early if possible. The rest of the places won't take so much time. We reached Patnipot at around 3:00pm in the afternoon. We choose to stay in a Govt resort named Alpine resort, which is before the Patnipot main market. Do take rest and sleep well because the coming 15-16 days are crucial and proper rest and sleep is needed so that you can drive in the terrain.

Photo of Patnitop by Jil
Photo of Patnitop by Jil
Photo of Patnitop by Jil
Day 2

Early in the morning at around 6:00am, we started our journey to Srinagar. We had made the itinerary in such a way that we leave early each morning and reach the destination by afternoon so that in the evening we can see/explore the place. Patnitop to Srinagar is a short drive of just 190km and it took almost 7-8 hours. The roads are very smooth and the drive is really beautiful. We planned to stay in a houseboat in Srinagar. There are lot of options, from luxury to medium priced. We took an entire house boat for just 1700 per night for 2 nights for 5 pax (thanks to our Kashmiri friend). The houseboat owners will quote a very high price, which you can bring down to half. Our house boat was very well maintained, clean and it had a beautiful living room, lobby, 2 bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms which well equipped with bathtubs etc.

Photo of Srinagar by Jil
Photo of Srinagar by Jil
Photo of Srinagar by Jil
Photo of Srinagar by Jil
Photo of Srinagar by Jil
Day 3

Today we took a drive to Gulmarg, what a beautiful place it is! Kashmir is truly heaven, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful snow capped mountains, lush greenery, beautiful meadows and small stream of water flowing by. Plan an early drive so that you get more time to explore the place.

Note - Don't follow the GPS blindly while travelling in Kaskmir as it may show you some interior roads which may be unsafe.

Photo of Gulmarg by Jil
Day 4

We started our journey to Sonmarg today, the drive from Srinagar to Sonmarg is spellbound. This place is truly mesmerizing. We stopped our car at many places while driving, spent some time at Sonmarg center, clicked a few pics and headed towards Zojila Pass. Srinagar to Sonmarg took 2 hours and Sonmarg to Zojila pass is just 24kms. Try to leave early for Zojila and cross the pass. This is the place where there is always too much of traffic and also landslides happen here very often. Many a times people even get stuck for 1-2 day's time. We were also stuck but luckily only for 2 hours.

From Zojila pass we were targeting to reach Dras and stay there. Zojila to Dras is just 40km however, we took 4 hours to reach as we got stuck at the Zojila pass. We reached Dras by the evening and visited the war memorial. Then we realized that as roads are good we can easily drive down to Kargil.

Kargil is another 1.5 hours drive. We entered Kargil at around 7:00pm. There are lot of options of hotels at Kargil. While you enter Kargil, you will see many hotel people standing by the roadside and willing to offer rooms. We fortunately got a newly built hotel, which was outside the city and towards Leh bypass.

Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Photo of Kargil by Jil
Day 5

Today we headed to Leh , around 220kms, and drive took more than 5 hours. The roads were smooth, very well maintained and it was picturesque. The beautiful Indus river added more beauty to the places. While travelling we stopped at a few places where we visited the Indus river bank, Lamayuru, Zanskar Sangam, Pather Sahib. Reached Leh by afternoon 4:00pm.

Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Day 6

Leh is quite commercial, we took a hotel in the center. We paid 740 per pax for all the permits for visiting Nubra valley, Pangong and Tso Moriri in a local travel store. You can take permits from the Govt office directly as well and that will cost you 540 per pax.

Note - The locals may ask you questions related to car you are driving and may scare you with their stories of driving private number cars in the valley, please avoid such discussions. We were driving a private car of a friend, who wasn't travelling with us, so the locals were telling that we won't be allowed to move forward beyond the check gate. But nothing of that sort happened.

Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Photo of Leh by Jil
Day 7

These days the roads and connectivity in the Leh and Ladakh region is very good. Earlier people used to go to places like Hunder/Pangong and then come back to Leh and then again go to Tso Moriri or any other places. However, we changed our itinerary a little and planned to visit Leh to Hunder then Hunder to Turtuk, Turtuk to Hunder, Hunder to Pangong and then Pangong to Tso Moriri. This is the best route which you can follow without any worry.

We reached Hunder in the evening. Booked a hotel and crashed. Leh to Hunder is 5 hours drive. Eat light in the morning and stay hydrated as you would be covering the high altitude place in this route. Always keep your medicines handy.

Photo of Khardung La by Jil
Photo of Khardung La by Jil
Photo of Khardung La by Jil
Photo of Khardung La by Jil
Photo of Khardung La by Jil
Day 8

From Hunder we went to Turtuk, we did a day trip. Drive is beautiful, untouched beauty and uncommercial. Carry your snacks and water bottles. Hunder to Turtuk is 84kms and took 2.5 hours

Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil
Photo of Turtuk by Jil

After coming back from Turtuk we went for the Desert safari and local sight seeing. Hunder is know for the sand dunes. There is a petrol pump as well in Hunder, there are no other petrol pumps nearby. The next petrol pump you will get is in Keylong. So, we had additional 10 liters petrol cans and we filled it from Hunder.

Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil
Photo of Hunder by Jil

Hunder to Pangong is a long drive of 7 hours, beautiful roads, few hotels you will find in between for lunch. It's a total drive of 7 hours. We stayed for 2 nights and 3 days at Pangong. We wanted to relax and have some rest.

Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Photo of The Ultimate Road trip (Leh Ladakh)! by Jil
Day 11

After our 2 days stay, we headed to Tso Moriri. This is another longest distance to cover. Tso Moriri is 320kms from Pangong. The roads are bumpy and not great. You may get confused while as there are no directions written, so try to follow some local drivers. 

Road is safe but you can't spot any people, shops, village etc. You would be driving near the China border. Carry water bottles and some food like biscuits, namkeens, chocolates etc. You will find one restaurant during your drive which is Rezang La. Here you can eat and even buy petrol. The guy is genuine and he has got some contacts, thus, he sells petrol at a nominal rate.

Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Photo of Tso Moriri by Jil
Day 12

We stayed in a camp at Tso Moriri, got it for 5000 for 2 nights for 5 pax. We didnt do any pre booking anywhere. We got some amazing deals on the spot. Tso Moriri is beautiful and uncommercial. Somehow we decided to stay for 2 nights here.

Day 14

Early in the morning we started our drive to Sarchu, it's a 5-6 hours drive crossing Moore plains. However, we reached Sarchu little early, so we decided to drive to Jispa from Sarchu. Jispa is close to 90km and you have to cross Baralacha Pass, Zing zing bar to reach Jispa. My suggestion is to stay at Sarchu, cross the main market and drive towards Baralacha. There are no. of tents/camps options.

Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Jispa, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Day 15

Next day we drove to Old Manali crossing Lahaul district. Rohtang was very much crowded and we were stuck in the jam. Finally we reached old Manali after 5 hours of drive. Old Manali is just 85kms from Sarchu. We stayed in old Manali for another 2 days.

Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Photo of Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Jil
Day 17

With heavy heart after 16 days we started our journey back to Delhi. It was 13-14 hours drive i.e. close to 550kms.

I hope my itinerary will help you in planning your trip. If you have any further questions or queries, do let me know. I would be happy to help :)

Be the first one to comment
Related to this article
Things to Do in India,Places to Stay in India,Places to Visit in India,India Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Patnitop,Places to Visit in Patnitop,Places to Stay in Patnitop,Things to Do in Patnitop,Patnitop Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Srinagar,Places to Visit in Srinagar,Places to Stay in Srinagar,Things to Do in Srinagar,Srinagar Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Gulmarg,Places to Visit in Gulmarg,Places to Stay in Gulmarg,Things to Do in Gulmarg,Gulmarg Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Sonamarg,Places to Visit in Sonamarg,Places to Stay in Sonamarg,Things to Do in Sonamarg,Sonamarg Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Forest block,Places to Visit in Forest block,Things to Do in Forest block,Forest block Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kargil,Places to Visit in Kargil,Places to Stay in Kargil,Things to Do in Kargil,Kargil Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Leh,Places to Visit in Leh,Places to Stay in Leh,Things to Do in Leh,Leh Travel Guide,Places to Stay in Turtuk,Weekend Getaways from Turtuk,Places to Visit in Turtuk,Things to Do in Turtuk,Turtuk Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Hunder,Places to Visit in Hunder,Places to Stay in Hunder,Things to Do in Hunder,Hunder Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Jispa,Places to Stay in Jispa,Places to Visit in Jispa,Things to Do in Jispa,Jispa Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Lahaul and spiti,Places to Visit in Lahaul and spiti,Places to Stay in Lahaul and spiti,Things to Do in Lahaul and spiti,Lahaul and spiti Travel Guide,Places to Visit in Himachal pradesh,Places to Stay in Himachal pradesh,Things to Do in Himachal pradesh,Himachal pradesh Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Manali,Places to Stay in Manali,Places to Visit in Manali,Things to Do in Manali,Manali Travel Guide,Weekend Getaways from Kullu,Places to Visit in Kullu,Places to Stay in Kullu,Things to Do in Kullu,Kullu Travel Guide,