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Stakna monastery, Ladakh

Places to visit in Ladakh

Places to visit in Ladakh and other things to do

Things you should not miss in Ladakh

When speaking of Ladakh, one can’t help but envision a captivating realm defined by its unparalleled landscapes, ever-shifting skies, a rich and distinct culture, and a mesmerizing night sky that will leave you breathless. Ladakh, often deemed a dream destination by wanderers and adventurers alike, offers a plethora of unmissable experiences that every traveler should embrace when venturing into this pristine cold desert region.

To truly savor the essence of Ladakh, it’s imperative to partake in the following top activities, ensuring an unforgettable journey in what is often referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth.’ Explore these must-dos to make the most of your Ladakh adventure

Enquire now!

Places to visit in Ladakh

Manali to Leh road

Manali to Leh Road

Manali to Leh road
The Moore plains, highway to paradise

Ladakh is not only about being there, it is also about reaching there. At Himalayan Ecotourism we strongly recommend you to reach Ladakh by road. There are three reasons behind this advice.

Firstly it is much better for your acclimatization to the high altitude of Ladakh. Don’t forget that in Ladakh you will be continuously above 3500 m above sea level. And if you visit places like Tso Moriri or other, you will be above 4500 m. Reaching Leh by air doesn’t allow you to acclimatize whereas going by road does the work !

Secondly you feel so much better approaching Ladakh gradually, enjoying smoothly the change of landscape, culture and climate. Not really the case when you are parachuted in Leh.

Thirdly the Manali to Leh road is one of the most beautiful road on earth. It goes through four high passes : Rohtang pass (3975m), Baralacha pass (4890m), Lachungla (5080m) and Tanglangla (5328m).

Manali is still in the “green” part of the Himalayas. There is a sudden change of climate and ecology after crossing the Rohtang pass. There are still some pasture lands, but the forests have almost disappeared from the landscape. Then after crossing Baralacha, you are a very arid environment. Enjoy the extraordinary rock formations of Zanskar and Ladakh.

Do you want to go to Leh by road in the best and safest way ? Enquire now !

Leh – Capital of Ladakh

If you visit Ladakh you will inevitably pass through Leh, the main town and capital of Ladakh. It is the gateway to most of the places in Ladakh e.g. Nubra valley, Zanskar, and the high altitude lakes of Pangong Tso and Tso Kar.

Leh is connected to the rest of the world via the road ‘Manali to Leh’ and the road ‘Srinagar to Leh’. But these roads are only open during the good season e.g. from May to October. During the rest of the year you must reach Ladakh by air via the Leh airport.

Most people drive into Leh via the southern approach from Manali (in Himachal Pradesh) and less via western approach via Srinagar (in Jammu and Kashmir). Either of these journeys take minimum 2 days though we do it in 3 or 4 days to gives time to acclimatize to the high altitude of Leh (3500+m / 11,500+ ft).
Please ask us advice before going to Ladakh via Shrinagar due to the geopolitical situation in Kashmir. There are no such problems reaching Leh from Manali.

Leh itself is a very nice place to stay and to visit. Some of the places to see in Leh are the Shanti (peace) Stupa and the Leh palace. It is also very nice roaming in Leh to enjoy its atmospere, its local food and handicrafts.

Some of the most famous monasteries of Ladakh can be visited in a day trip from Leh. Thiksey monastery for instance is just 18 km away. You can plan one day to visit the monasteries at the East side of Leh and one day to visit the monasteries at the West side of Leh.

During winters Leh is the only place in Ladakh where you will find accommodation facilities. If you plan to travel in winter, please contact us so that we can plan your tour and arrange homestays at the places you want to visit.

Leh Ladakh view from top

Leh Ladakh
The city spreads on the valley that leads to the Khardungla pass

Monasteries of Ladakh

Row of Stupas in Ladakh

A row of stupas in one of the monasteries
In the monasteries you can see the traditional Tibetan architecture.

Ladakh is known for its rich Buddhist Culture, that draws hundreds of travellers from all around the world. Its fascinating architecture, bright and colorful paintings, meditating monks and the spiritual aura of the place will leave you in awe.
When travelling to Ladakh, one must remember that Ladakh’s monasteries are the heart and the people are its heartbeat.

Some of the famous Ladakhi monasteries include Hemis, Thiksey, Alchi, Likir, Diskit, Spituk, Phyang, Stakna and Takthok monasteries.
All of these monasteries, though preach the same culture and religion, are yet different in their own ways and will leave your eyes wide open every time you visit one.

Some monasteries may have a decent entry free while some may be free of cost. Travellers must be careful about where they click photographs as some monasteries may have prohibited photography rights.
The sentiments of the locals and the monks shall be taken under consideration every time one visits these monasteries.

Lakes of Ladakh

The very high elevation of Ladakh makes everything special, especially when it comes to natural beauties.
The lakes of Ladakh are among these wonders that you shouldn’t miss to see.

There are four main lakes that you can visit : Tso Moriri, Tso Kiagar, Tso Kar and Pangong Tso. As you guessed, Tso means lake in Tibetan and Ladakhi languages.

All of them are accessible from Leh. Even if it is possible to visit one lake in a day, we recommend you to spend a night near the lake. Reaching any of these lakes involves a several hours journey. And so you will not only spend most of your day in a vehicle, but you may also miss the best time of the day to see the lakes i.e. either in the morning or in the evening.

You can also plan your trip to visit Tso Moriri and Tso Kar while travelling from Manali to Leh by diverting out of the main way on the Moore plains.

Tso Kar Lake in Ladakh

Tso Kar
A unique high altitude salt water lake

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley in Ladakh

Nubra Valley
On the northern side of Ladakh, at the border with China and Pakistan.

Nubra valley located in the Northernmost part of Ladakh, was once on the trading route that connected eastern Tibet with Turkistan via the famous Karakoram Pass.

This nearly forgotten Shangri-La is accessible from the city of Leh and requires you to reach Diskit, the main village of the valley via the highway that connects from the Highest Motorable Road of the World and is a five-hour journey.
If you are an adventure junky, you can propose to go down from the pass on mountain bikes, and that in itself is an unforgettable experience.

The valley is irrigated by the water coming from the Karakoram Glacier and the sediments of these largest continental glaciers of the world have formed sand dunes, home to the rare double-humped camels.
Some of the popular activities organized by Himalayan Ecotourism in Nubra Valley include Double-humped camel rides, Camping in the Sand Dunes and visit to some more picturesque monasteries.

Zanskar

Zanskar a place less known amongst the tourists, is nothing but magical.
It is the name of the southern mountain range of Ladakh spreading from Kargil to the Changthang plateau of Tibet.
It is characterized by arid mountains and valleys whose altitude ranges from 3500 to above 6000 m. The popluation density is extremely low. People live from agriculture in tiny villages near the rivers. The waters of the mountain streams are diverted to irrigate the fields and orchards.

Like in other parts of Ladakh, the people follow the Tibetan Buddhism tradition. Hence, in Zanskar you can visit some of the most incredible monasteries of Ladakh. Many of them are located far from any road, and so you need to trek t reach them.
These monasteries are often established in small villages. Photoksar and Lingshed for instance are among these very pictoresque places that you can visit on trek.

In the Zanskar Valley, you will get to experience long hiking days, ample of alone time and unforgettable encounters with the local community. The exceptional flora and fauna of the region will leave you in awe. And just when you think that is it, you will witness so much more in the mighty Himalayas – The glaciers, high peaks, raging rivers and canyons.

When on a trek in the Zanskar Valley, your entire journey will be full of adventures. On your way, you will be greeted by herds of yaks, the mythical animals who are known to share their lives with the locals.
You can expect to spot a rich wildlife on your visit to Zanskar. Our guide will always be there to help you identify the beautiful and rare wild animals such as the Ibex, the Blue Sheep, the Tibetan Wild Ass or perhaps some endangered species like the Snow Leopard.

Nun Kun Mountain in Zanskar, Ladakh

Zanskar, Ladakh
The most secluded range in Ladakh with the most scenic mountains.

Things to do in Ladakh

Trekking in Ladakh

Trekking in Majestic Ladakh on the top

Trekking in Ladakh
Trekking will allow you to reach incredible places

There are endless possibilities for trekking in Ladakh.

The treks ranges from two to fifteen days in duration.
The easier treks involve a few hours of walking per day at an average altitude of 3300 to 4000 metres. You can spend your night in homestay which will allow you to enjoy the hospitality of the Ladakhi.

However, the most challenging treks require walking 7 to 8 hours per day and climbing above 5000 m to cross high passes. You will then need to sleep under tents with our support team.

See some of the treks we operate here.

Spiritual tour in ladakh

Travelling to Ladakh is a unique opportunity for those who want to discover and learn many different aspects of the Tibetan spirituality.
Ladakh is the only Tibetan region that was spared from the Chinese invasion. Hence, the culture and spirituality are still vivid.

We can organize customized spiritual tour for groups. In the tour, we can include the following activities :

  • Introduction to meditation with our experienced Yogi.
  • Introduction to Tibetan Shamanism by meeting a Lhamo and having spiritual experiences in a magical environment.
  • Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism in a monastery or in a teaching center.
  • Discovering and learning about the traditional Tibetan medicine by a local Amchi (Tibetan healer).
  • Visiting places of a high spiritual value.

Learn more about Spiritual tours in Ladakh.

Buddha Statue in Ladakh

Buddha Statue
In the Thiksey monastery near Leh.

Homestay in Ladakh

Homestay in Ladakh

Homestay in Ladakh
Homestays are available across Ladakh, one such rustic homestay.

The Himalayan Ecotourism’s favorite way of travelling !

Planning to visit Ladakh while closely experiencing the culture and the local way of living?
It’s time to ditch hotels and live in homestays instead. As more and more people these days have started to seek a more culturally rich experience of the mountains, many families have established their homestays for travellers.

Today, a number of options are available for everyone when it comes to living with the natives of Ladakh.
Just let us know your budget, your preferences and we will find you your best fit while making sure you experience the truest form of living the local way.

Homestays are available on many trek. But there are also many homestays available in villages accessible by road, so you don’t need to trek to experience homestay.
Staying at the home of Ladakhi is a lifetime experience but you must be aware that the comfort level is quite rudimentary. Most of the time, bathrooms are common and not attached to the bedrooms.
We heartily encourage you to experience homestay !

Wildlife tours in Ladakh

Despite its very arid environement and its harsh winter conditions Ladakh does have very interesting wildlife.
A true lover of nature may come here not just to seek themselves, but also for the pleasure it gives them when witnessing a rare and beautiful species. With Himalayan Ecotourism, you get a chance to go wildlife spotting with one of our best guides that will help you at every step of the way.

Aa far as the mammals are concerned, the most noteworthy are the Blue Sheep, The Ibex, the Wild Yak, the Kiang (Wild Ass), the Brown Bear, the Ladak Pika, the Himalaya Stoat, Wolfs, Lynx, the Snow Leopard and the Tibetan Argali. The two last are listed on the IUCN Red list as their population has been decreasing drastically due to poaching and decrease of their habitat, among others causes.
Please note that the best season to observe the Snow Leopard is in winter !

The list of birds in Ladakh is much longer of course as 225 species of birds have been identified. The birdwatchers will enjoy spotting beautiful birds near the high altitude lakes or on the banks of the Indus river. The most interesting birds are the Black-Necked Crane, the Tibetan Sandgrouse, the Black-winged Snowfinch, the Robin Accentor, the Bar Headed Goose, the Yellow Wagtail and the Snow Partridge.

Hemis National Park in Ladakh

Hemis National Park
The National Park is home to the Snow Leoard

Motorcycling in Ladakh

Royal Enfields group tour in Ladakh

Motorcycling in Ladakh
Roads of Ladakh are paradise for adventurous bikers.

In the late sixties many Hippies travelled from Europe to India and Nepal. Besides hitchhiking and cheap public transportation their favourite mode of transport was riding the legendary Royal Enfield.

The English have stopped the production of the Royal Enfield but the Indian factories continued the production and are still producing today.
The legend is alive !
Throughout the Himalayas bikers continue to pace up and down the mountain roads. And Ladakh is one of the favourite destination.

We can organize your bike tour to Ladakh starting from Manali. You can come back to Manali on your motorcycle or you can even leave your bike in Leh and get back to the plain by air.

As travelling on a motorcycle increase your carbon footprint, we recommend you to compensate your emissions by supporting our tree plantation project in the Himalayas.
More info about carbon offset here.

Enquire now for your bike tour to Ladakh

Volunteering in Ladakh

Our dedicated volunteers have the unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the breathtaking region of Ladakh through their involvement in various crucial projects. Ladakh, nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, faces several challenges related to water management, education, and women’s empowerment, and your contribution can truly make a difference.

In Ladakh, education is a vital area where volunteers can have a lasting impact. Ladakh faces unique educational challenges due to its remote location and harsh climate. As a volunteer, you can assist in setting up educational programs, improving school infrastructure, and offering valuable educational support to local students. By doing so, you empower these young minds with knowledge and skills, opening doors to brighter futures.

Furthermore, our commitment to women’s empowerment in Ladakh is unwavering. Volunteers have the opportunity to collaborate with local women’s groups, providing training and resources that enable women to become self-reliant and active participants in their communities. Through skill-building workshops, entrepreneurship programs, and advocacy efforts, you can contribute to advancing gender equality and empowering women in Ladakh.

To explore the current volunteer opportunities in Ladakh and join us in these impactful projects, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Your involvement can play a crucial role in addressing these pressing issues and bringing positive change to the stunning landscapes and resilient communities of Ladakh. Together, we can make a lasting difference
Enquire with us to know more about volunteering opportunities

Traditional Festivals of Ladakh

Experience the culture as you volunteer for the community
Enquire with us to know the current opportunities for volunteers.

Contact us for booking your adventure in Ladakh

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