A land like no other with a superabundance of attractions to visit and fabulous landscapes, amazing people and culture, Ladakh is truly a heaven on Earth.

Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, further it lies between two other ranges, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Ladakh is mystical in all the spheres it covers, from nature, geography, sceneries to the modest cultures that it fosters, to be experienced firsthand, when on your Leh-Ladakh tour package It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.

"India's Own Moonland"

For those of us living in the constant confusion about the difference between these twin locations, Leh-Ladakh, here is something that might help you. Formerly falling in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh was administered a union territory on 31st October 2019. Ladakh is divided into two districts: district Leh, and district Kargil. The former district has a popular town “Leh” and is a great tourist attraction because of its beautiful monasteries, picturesque locations, and interesting markets defining the culture of the place.

Ladakh is an adventure playground for climbing, jeeps tours, rafting and high-altitude trekking, ideal destination for those availing of their Leh-Ladakh adventure tour package. Note that Leh Ladakh is inaccessible by road outside the summer months. The road passes close altogether from around October to May, and the only way to reach, left, is by air. 

Places To Visit In Leh:          

•   Leh Palace

•   Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

•   Shanti Stupa

•   Cho Khang Gompa

•   Chamba Temple

•   Jama Masjid

•   Gurdwara Pathar Sahib

•   Sankar Gompa and village

•   War Museum

•   The Victory Tower

•   Zorawar Fort

•   Ladakh Marathon

•   Datun Sahib

From Leh As Day Trips Or Longer

•   Khardung La

•   Spituk Monastery

•   Stok Palace & Stok Monastery

•   Thikse Monastery

•   Shey Monastery

•   Hemis gompa

•   Basgo

•   Alchi Monastery

•   Magnetic hill

•   Indus River - Zanskar River sangam (confluence)

•   Pangong Tso Lake

•   Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve (Tsomoriri Lake)

•   Hunder Valley

•   Sand Dunes Nubra

•   Siachen Glacier

•   Ti-suru

•   Turtuk

•   Trekking Trails e.g. Markha Valley


Some Of The Must-Visit Places:

1. Pangong Tso Lake

Remember the lake from the movie “3 Idiots”? Well, that’s Pangong Tso Lake in Leh Ladakh. The crystal blue waters of the lake, with the surrounding landscape of bare mountain peaks, is a photographer’s delight.

In winters though, the lake freezes and its surface attracts tourists to the Ice Skating Festival. The lake is breeding ground for migratory birds, and camping around the lake is an exciting activity, both for the adventurers as well as those on a Leh-Ladakh sightseeing tour package.

How To Reach

By road it is 160 km from Leh, which is a  5-hr drive, from Leh.

What To Do

Camping at the banks of the lake, Visit Ice Skating Festival, Bird watching, photography.

2. Shanti Stupa


The strikingly white structure of Shanti Stupa and its dome is the most recognizable landmarks in Leh Ladakh. It was built by Japanese and Ladakhi Buddhists to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote world peace.

The white surface looks magnificent in the daytime, but on full moon nights, it looks even more beautiful when it gets bathed in the soft glow of the moon rays. Tourists can experience the joys of meditation inside the Stupa, and also see the stunning views of sunrise and sunset.

How To Reach

 By road it is 5 km from Leh.

What To Do

 Meditate in the Buddha Hall, Walk around the stupa, photography, shopping for handicrafts.

3. Tso Moriri Lake


A remote lake, compared to the other lakes in Leh-Ladakh, Tso Moriri Lake is the largest alpine lake in India. Fewer tourists visit this lake due to its remote location, harsh climate prevailing here, and rough roads.

The lake is a beauty to behold, with its blue waters, surrounding mountainous landscape, and open sky, making it an ideal location for a couple on their Leh-Ladakh honeymoon package. Camping here, and sleeping under the starry night sky, is a must-do activity near the lake.

How To Reach

By road it is 240 km from Leh, roughly a  6-7 hours drive from Leh.

What To Do

Camping in Korzok village, photography, bird watching, wildlife excursions, fairs and festivals.

4. Leh Palace


Built in the 17th century, Leh Palace is a splendid example of medieval Tibetan architecture and design. The ingenious structure of Leh Palace makes the interior warm in cold days and cools in the scorching summer heat. Inside, there are corridors, spacious halls and chambers.

You can have a good view of the surrounding country from the top. Though it now lies in ruins, it’s the most visited monument in Leh Ladakh.

How To Reach

It is about 5 km from Leh airport, one can take a taxi from there.

What To Do

Visit the museum, see the scenic view from the top, admire the architecture.

Entry Fee: As applicable at the time of your visit.

5. Khardung La Pass


This mountain pass in Ladakh, used to be part of an ancient caravan route, transporting supplies from Leh to towns in Central Asia. It is the highest motorable road in India, of which  the people have come to know in modern times. Its unique terrain makes it a hotspot for mountain biking expeditions and ideal for those wanting to enjoy a biking expedition while  on their Leh-Ladakh adventure tour package. It is also the most treacherous roads to drive, as heavy traffic falling rocks, melting snow, mud and craters makes it a nightmare for drivers.

How To Reach

It is 39 km from Leh, a drive of approximately an hour.

What To Do

Biking and photography.

Entry Fee: As applicable at the time of visit.

6. Magnetic Hill


Seen on the Discovery channel and even on the Krushna’s OMG show, what one experiences here defies all scientific fundamentals, to say the least. This hill is so called as vehicles seem to defy gravity and move upward on the hill when parked at a marked spot, don’t believe it? Experience it firsthand on your Leh-Ladakh trip package.  Though it is not certain whether it is a reality or an illusion, this hill attracts tourists to watch this unusual spectacle.

How To Reach

It is roughly 30 km, half hour, drive from Leh.

What To Do

 Yak Safari, mountain climbing and  trekking.

7. Nubra Valley

If you want to watch the true splendour of Leh Ladakh and enjoy your Leh-Ladakh Honeymoon package, then Nubra Valley is where you must head to. This fertile valley, nourished by the waters of the Nubra and Shyok Rivers, has pretty apple orchards, scenic landscapes, and colourful Buddhist monasteries. The vast sand dune of the cold desert lends a surreal touch to the landscape.

How To Reach

It is a 121 km drive from Leh via the Khardung La Road.

What To Do

Bactrian Camel Rides, Jeep Safari, Photography,

8. Namgyal Tsemo Gompa


Travelling to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa can be a great spiritual experience and visual treat for tourists. Built in the 15th century, on top of a rocky hill, the monastery offers a stunning view of the snow-capped Zanskar mountain range and the Indus River.

The monastery is famous for the three-storey high golden statue of Maitreya Buddha. The monastery is a beauty to behold, with its Tibetan architecture, frescoes and wall paintings inside the monastery.

How To Reach:

It is a 5 km drive from Leh airport.

What To Do

Photography.

9. Spituk Monastery

The Spituk Monastery, built in the 11th century, is an imposing structure in Leh Ladakh. It has the deity of Lord Buddha, antique paintings, festival masks, and an idol of Goddess Kali.

The Spituk Festival, held annually, is a colourful event, where the idol of Kali is unveiled, and there are masked dances by the monks, followed by prayers, a must visit on your Leh-Ladakh holiday tour package. The monastery offers beautiful views of the Spituk village and the surrounding mountains.

How To Reach

An 8 km drive from Leh. .

What To Do

Photography, Fairs and Festivals.

10. Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary


Visit this sanctuary to see how animals and birds are able to brave the cold and harsh environment to survive and thrive. This sanctuary is a place of rocky terrain, sparse vegetation and bitter cold.

It is the best place to see species that can be found nowhere in India, like the Tibetan Ass, Wild Yak, Tibetan Wolf, Blue Sheep among others. It is also a breeding ground for migratory birds like Brahminy Duck and Bar-headed Goose.

How To Reach

At a distance of 153 km from Leh it takes about 3 hr to reach here via the Keylong-Leh Road.

What To Do

Wildlife, Photography.

Entry Fee: As applicable at the time of your visit which includes the cost of meals and tents

11. Tso Kar Lake

Among the lakes of Leh-Ladakh, Tso-Kar is the smallest and the most tranquil. The lake is perfect for overnight camping. The surrounding area near the lake is home to various nomads, who travel continuously in search of food and shelter.

The marshlands around the lake are visited by many migratory birds like Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked Cranes, and Brahminy Ducks in the summer to breed and lay eggs.

How To Reach

It is a 230 km drive from Leh through the Keylong-Leh Road.

What To Do

Wildlife, Photography, Bird watching.

12. Stok Palace

Built in 1825, Stok Palace is known for its architecture, beautiful gardens, and spectacular views. The palace has a collection of royal clothing, crowns, and other things. It’s located close to Indus River and is easily reachable by jeeps and taxis.

How To Reach

13 km. from Leh via car. Drive of 25 min.

What To Do

History, Culture.

13. Zanskar Valley

Among the most beautiful places in Leh-Ladakh, Zanskar Valley is well-known for its captivating views and adventure sports. It is a paradise for trekking, river rafting, and paragliding an ideal location for the adventure-hungry on their Leh-Ladakh adventure tour package. There are beautiful cave monasteries such as ‘Lingshed’ and ‘Phuktal’. The valley is closed in the winter months due to snow-covered roads, bad weather and treacherous conditions.

How To Reach

It takes a 10hour drive to cover 462 km from Leh to reach here via NH1 and NH301

What To Do

Trekking, Monastery Festivals, River Rafting.

14. Kargil

Kargil, located along the banks of the Indus River, is the place of conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999. Kargil War Memorial was built by the Indian Army to commemorate the sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers.

The names of these soldiers can be found engraved on a huge sandstone wall. Many adventure sports like mountaineering, trekking, river rafting, archery, hiking, camping, and jeep safaris can be done in Kargil, again an adventurers paradise wanting to let loose his hunger for the adventure sports here while on their Leh-Ladakh Adventure or trip package.

How To Reach

It is a 216 km drive from Leh along the NH1.

What To Do

Heritage and adventure sports

15. Hemis National Park

This national park is the only protected area having the maximum number of Snow Leopards found anywhere in the world. It is the largest national park in India, where you can spot such endangered species like the Snow Leopard, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan Wolf, and the Red Fox.

It’s one of the most scenic national parks where you can spot the Golden Eagle, Himalayan Griffon Vulture and other birds, on your Leh-Ladakh sightseeing tour package.

How To Reach

It is 10 km from Leh

What To Do

Wildlife, Trekking, Bird Watching, Photography

16. Hemis Monastery

A visit to Ladakh is incomplete without visiting the Hemis Monastery. It is the largest monastery in Leh-Ladakh located amidst surrounding mountains. The fluttering prayer flags all around the monastery, beautiful architecture, paintings of Buddha, along with murals, Buddhist scriptures, and Stupas make the monastery an icon of Leh-Ladakh.

The Hemis Festival, held in the month of June-July, is a major event here when the whole region is coloured in festivities, from music, mask dance and local cuisine.

How To Reach

41 kms from Leh. via the Keylong-Leh Road

What To Do

Culture, Temple tour

17. Stakna Gompa

Located on the River Indus, Stakna Gompa is a beauty to behold. It is built on the top of a cliff and surrounded by mountains. The monastery has coloured walls, paintings of Buddha, a figure of Lord Buddha, and a prayer hall. The monastery commands a scenic view of the surrounding countryside

How To Reach

 25 kms from Leh via Keylong-Leh Road

What To Do

Temple tour, photography.

18. Tiger Hill

One of the highest peaks of the Kargil sector, Tiger Hill became famous during the Indo-Pak war of 1999. Indian forces captured Tiger Hill and its conquest was actually a turning point in the war. Since then, Tiger Hill has become famous as a tourist attraction of Leh-Ladakh. The towering hill is a magnificent sight to behold and reminds us of the harsh environment in which Indian soldiers fight to save the country.

How To Reach:

Drive on Leh-Srinagar Hwy. 2 hrs from Dras Valley

What To Do

Photography, Trekking.

19. Chadar Trek: The Unique Frozen River Trek

Imagine walking across frozen sheets of ice, with mountains enveloped by snow on one side and a stream, slowly freezing or melting right on the other, as you walk alongside it.

And while that seems fascinating, look up, ahead and around; to witness surreal beauty for as far as you can see. This is the Chadar Trek , the Frozen River Trek, only multiplied a hundred-fold.

The Chadar Trek or The Frozen River Expedition is one of the most unique and challenging treks in India. The chadar trek across the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place during the latter part of January till end of February or sometimes even in the first week of March, depending on the weather.

The locals or Zanskaris as they are popularly known, usually take a road from to the Zanskar to Nerak and further for work which mostly consists of trading goods in the summers. During winters, the road is blocked and dangerous to travel so the locals tread along the Zanskar river which is frozen at this time.

The thick blanket of ice that the Zanskar river forms resemblances a white blanket which in the local language is called “Chadar”. Hence the trek along the frozen Zanskar River is known as the Chadar Trek.

Though, it seems a challenging trek, it isn't the most difficult; as it is basically a flat walk along the Chadar with minimal amounts of climbing. If you can walk for a couple of hours without much strain, you are good to go.

With such awesome places, we are sure that your next trip will be to Leh Ladakh, and do let us know of your experiences there so that they can be shared with others wanting to go there on their various Leh-Ladakh Packages.

"This article originally appeared in Tikku's Travel Thon."