Effectively planning the journey from Srinagar to Leh is almost critical to make a good beginning to your road trip.
Most common errors while planning from Srinagar to Leh is “Doing the journey in one day with no night halt in between”
This makes you very vulnerable for AMS when you reach Leh and it can totally spoil your trip
Never do Srinagar to Leh in one day
The roads are mostly smooth except when ascending Zoji La and then part of road till Drass .. After Drass till Kargil and then to Leh, the roads are wide and well maintained ..
By and large, most common plan for Srinagar to Leh is in 2 days
Day 1: Srinagar to Kargil
Day 2: Kargil to Leh
While if you are short of time, then I don’t think there is anything more that you can do besides enjoying every site on way. If you do have more time or want to tweak this around based on your preference, then continue reading
Zojila Pass Timings
When Zoji LA first opens early in the season ( Generally May ) , it is one way i.e.
In 2015, due to excessive snow, one day traffic was allowed to go from Srinagar to Kargil Side and Next day, the traffic was allowed to go from Kargil to Srinagar side. These changes are not known, till the pass is open and you wont get to know even a month in advance. This change has to be done just a few days before the trip at max.
2016 has seen little snow fall so anticipate less problem this year and Zoji La should be operational early
In all other years, traffic is allowed in slots during the day. Srinagar traffic is allowed to cross Sonamarg check post before 8.30 AM so one must start early morning in May from Srinagar. Post 9 AM till about 1 PM, the traffic is allowed to cross from Kargil side.
Driving your own SUV ?? Check out the following resources …
Day 8 : Nubra Valley to Pangong via Shyok
Route : Hunder – Diskit – Khalsar – Agyam – Shyok – Durbuk – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik
Attractions : Wilderness Drive to Agyam, Drive through Shyok RIver Bed
Distance : 155 kms 6 hrs ( 1 hrs of stoppage time, total 7 hrs )
Road Condition : Bad after Agyam ( Lot of slides , dry river bed , etc If its raining then this section is very tricky 4×4 preferred if not dry )
Food Recommendation : Dhabas are only available near Durbuk ( You wil find an odd tea shop on way before that ) – Khalsar has some Dhabhas ( Pack your food from the camp / hotel in Nubra and then have it at a place of your choice )
Kindly check locally and closer to your travel date about this restriction
From Aug, there is no restriction and you can travel easily right through the day and cross Zoji La anytime during the day
This restrictions has an impact on your planning and hence once should not plan to leave for Kargil immediately on arrival in Srinagar, especially in May / June and part of July
Now that we have handled the uncertainty of Zoji La, its time to plan the night halts and the possible options
The first night halt can either be in Srinagar or Sonamarg.
While Srinagar is more like a city with no scenic beauty but one can relish Kashmiri Cuisine and enjoy the Shikara Ride amidst the setting Sun, which is certainly a worth while thing to do.
If you love being in nature then plan a night halt in Sonamarg. It is about 80 kms from Srinagar and you are away from the town and into the country side of Kashmir. Besides, it is at much higher altitude and the weather is also cooler.
However, please do keep in mind that from mid July to Mid Aug due to Amarnath Yatra, do not plan a night halt in Sonamarg due to heavy rush of pilgrims. There are stay options before Sonamarg and you must stay before Sonamarg to avoid Pilgrim rush.
The next suggested night halt is Kargil but it is a very boring town and nothing to write home about. At least you can find a decent accommodation for good night rest. Kargil is also a doorway to Zanskar Valley and if you are planning to take a detour to Zanskar then this also acts as your base.
At the start of the season, plan for Kargil only ( Zoji La can be unpredictable ). Sometimes it may take even upto 8 hrs to cross Zoji La This happens only when the snow conditions are high
Once the snow settles down usually from July onwards, if you like you can plan a night in Lamayuru. In order to do this, stay for the night halt in Sonamarg. This way you will have sufficient time for beautiful landscape and sites en route to Lamayuru from Sonamarg.
Kargil night halt can be replaced with Lamayuru from July, once the snow melts on Zoji La
Lamayuru is a small village and is home to one of the oldest monastery in Ladakh region. The choice of stay in Lamayuru is basic but clean and if you are looking for any kind of luxury then you will be disappointed. Neat and clean accommodation with simple food service in a peaceful surroundings is what you will get here.
From Lamayuru, when you begin the drive to Leh, there are may interesting detours. Tingmosgang ( from Nurla about 100 kms from Lamayuru ) and Alchi after Ule are your best possible options.
Tingmosgang & Alchi make for an interesting detour on the Srinagar – Leh highway
Both Tingmosgang and Alchi are small village with interesting Monasteries and you can interact with locals and visit the monasteries to explore the local culture besides driving on rural roads of Ladakh in itself a unique experience.
If you like you can plan a night halt at either of these places before you head to Leh or just head straight straight to Leh if monasteries is not your thing Or don’t have enough number of days at hand
Thanks Sunil for arranging a wonderful trip. Everything went well and we were in good hands with friendly and competent drivers. Accommodation was good and tents were comfortable beyond our expectations. We didn't have problem with food choices. It was a totally rejuvenating vacation and experience for us. Thanks from us in Singapore!
We had an amazing 9-day from Manali to Leh. Serene, breathless and picturesque. High altitude sickness was a big issue for us but we were in good hands. Unwind Outdoor was superb in arranging and coordinating the trip. Taking care of all arrangements and checking-in on us. Kudos to Sunil and his team.
Just done with 18 days bike trip with unwind outdoor ... wat i can say about the arrangement made by mr.sunil ... its just truely amazing and wonderful ... the guides and the Accommodation provided was really great .... mr sunil really showed his professionalism when he all the way keep in touch with alot of ideas and tips for us along our rides .... Unwind Outdoor is surely a name u would not regret choosing for any of our trip plan ....
Few things command more respect than dedication, integrity and ability to follow through. These were few things among many that we experienced in our journey to Leh-Ladakh. It's not easy to travel for a fortnight without exhaustion taking a toll on your body but surprisingly the arrangements made by Unwind outdoor made us feel that it ended too soon. Every hotel and tent booked were excellent and refreshed us for the next day. When my group started this journey, we knew this was a one time deal and had certain expectations but i am pleased to say that our experience was way above what we thought possible. We did encounter some difficulties as every trip does at some point or another but needless to say Sunil and his team took care of it. Selecting a travel agency is tiresome but i cannot recommend this agency enough and i will be doing the same no matter how many times i visit.
Dear Mr. Sunil Kapur, Thank you very much to you and your team for arranging this fantastic tour. One of the best pick from this tour was your meticulous planning and promptness of service. All arrangements were fantastic, be it a delivery of vehicle at Chandigarh airport, hotels particularly at Chandigarh, Leh, Nubra, Pangong. However the best was at Jispa, Kargil and Srinagar for different reasons. Jispa was simple but authentic with very tasty food. Location of property at Kargil was outstanding with very clean and well furnished rooms. And Hospitality of Mr. Shamim at Srinagar won our hearts in addition to quality of their property. Travel from Jispa to Leh was breathtaking with Himalaya showing us variety of rocks in different colours and sheds. It was strong and rustic. Later on seemed wear a lush green gown of all bright coloured ornaments. Transforming the Himalaya into a Romantic heroism. In contrast experience to war memorial at Kargil was heart wrenching. Making you humble to feel “मुझे तोड लेना, वनमाली, उस पथ में देना तुम फेंक, मातृभूमि पर शीश चढाने, जिस पथ जाएॅ वीर अनेक!” Assurance given by Naresh, your person who gave vehicle at Chandigarh, on behalf of Unwind Outdoors for getting any type of help at any place during the tour boosted our confidence. The best part was the way each of your associates respect you, speaks volume about your genuineness and professionalism. We wish to thank you once again for the services provided and also wish all the best to you and your team!
We are back to our busy life but thank you so much for arranging this wonderful flawless trip for us. We were not sure what to expect from this trip but everything was just perfect , hotels /tents/ vehicles/Permits everything, we were not bothered about anything, Unwind took care of everything.All the information provided by unwind was very useful, appreciate their prompt response whenever contacted. Waiting for our next trip, hope it comes soon and needless to say will contact unwind either for another Ladakh or Spiti trip. Wish you all the best !! hope you provide packages for other exotic places as well!
Sunil had planned our trip to Lahaul and spiti very meticulously. Every day was different and our stays very memorable. A trip that is unforgettable.
We are back to our busy life and we want to say thank you for such an amazing trip. All the arrangements including tents, meals and tour guides were awesome. We had a very good time there. And we’d like to share some beautiful moments with you.... Once again, thank you for organizing everything professionally. Best regards, Team Natasha Enterprises. See more
Sunil had planned a self driven trip for us from Delhi to Leh in June 2017. It was very well planned and was perfect!! Sunil had multiple discussions with us to understand what our interests are and changed the itinerary accordingly. We had a great time and made some nice memories. Definitely looking forward for my next trip with Unwind outdoor.
Sunil we enjoyed a lot . thankyou for nice memories ...
Sunil is the best in business.. Planning is spot on and execution is even better. Nothing can beat his recommendations, be it for tourist spots or food outlets. Right from the moment we got our car in Srinagar to the drop at Delhi airport, everything was just perfect. Everything was so seamless that helped us to enjoy the beauty of Leh/Ladakh even more. Due to road blockage, we had to adjust our itinerary and at a single phone call Sunil made it look so easy to change the accommodations. Thanks for helping us create beautiful memories for a lifetime.. Looking forward to the next trip with them.
We had a self drive from Delhi to Spiti Valley in August 2017...and it was an amazing experience. Special thanks to Unwind and Sunil for making this happened. All the arrangements including Car and Hotels were superb. Also the instruction call by Sunil just before the tour was very much helpful. Looking forward for the next trip with Unwind....
We had the most wonderful time on our trip and we have you to thank for that. You really made this leh ladakh self drive road trip, it’s sights and history, come alive and be very meaningful for each of us. We really enjoyed every moment, even when there were tensions in J&K. 🙂 We appreciate your knowledge, expertise, kindness and sense of humor. The arrangements made from your end were extremely perfect and in timely manner. This trip has become a life time memory for us. We all friends are thankful to you.
Thank you Sunil for the lovely trip you arranged for us and our family....everything was well organised and according to the plan....we loved the cars and the hotels given to us..There were no delays and Every thing went smoothly.
Had one of the most memorable and wonderful Leh to Srinagar trip organized by Sunil and team. All intricate details were well taken care of to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Right from the choice of hotels to the vehicle quality and the warmthness of the drivers, everything was top-notch. Strongly recommended. Looking forward for the next one. Cheers! 😀
We did a road trip in June 2017 covering Delhi- Srinagar-Kargil-Leh- Nubra- Pangong- tso moriri-Sarchu-Manali-Narkanda-Sangla-Delhi, completely planned and organized by Sunil. With Amazing stays and a great vehicle we completed the trip with mesmerising memories and Awe by the Nature. We shall definitely return to Unwind outdoor for more trips in future.
My family and I vacationed in Ladakh with Unwind Outdoor in May 2017. It was a magical experience. Sunil's arrangements were excellent and the memories will last for a lifetime. We flew to Leh and visited Nubra , TsoMoriri and Pangong. Firstly, the driver for our trip, Namgyal was super. Very safe and totally professional. The accommodation organized in Leh, Pangong , Nubra and TsoMoriri was very good - with exceptional service and often very good food. Also, Sunil prepared us well for potential altitude sickness. Of course, Ladakh itself is pristine and not overly commercialized yet. We have traveled on vacations across the globe and this trip was undoubtedly one of the best . Thanks to Unwind Outdoors for facilitating this
Unwind Outdoor has helped us to realize our dream !! Like anybody we were little skeptical in the beginning with the whole Leh ladakh plan but Sunil ensured it to be as perfect as it could be. It was a 12 Day road trip from Delh to Delhi( via Manali-Jispa-Leh-Nubra Valley-Pangong tso- leh-tsomoriri-sarchu- manali- chandigarh) on Scorpio 4X4 S4+. The itinerary which he provided had all the required information including the journey time, places to eat and visit . Also the vehicle was in very good condition. Sunil was constantly in touch with us and made sure that we have comfortable & memorable trip. Looking forward to have another road-trip next year with Unwind Outdoor. 🙂
Sunil is a spectacular trip planner. Given the uncertainty that generally prevails during a Leh trip, Unwind takes care of all last minute modifications with panache. There is no better way for you to enjoy Leh than with Unwind. And after all the excellent service, their pricing is still very competitive. Thank you unwind for that spectacular trip.
Sunil, after I ran 21k Marathon I bragged about it for years. The same is being repeated again, with my ambition to drive across the Himalayas, which was almost faded with Srinagar under curfew. You and Chetan were the spark to our fire that we could do this drive and without a single trouble. Driving is a passion but driving thru places where there are no roads is trouble, but your breakup of program and awesome car condition helped us actually sail thru. Three cheers and five stars.
Hi Sunil; The trip for 11days was life time memorable. Thanks a ton for adjusting the last moment changes. You are the best. Do keep up the good work.
hi Sunil you made our trip memorable after chaos of srinagar and specially for me you are really a perfect for Travel Industry where people see Dreams and you Really convert them in to Reality Sunil i am also from travel industry but i learnt a lot from you during our entire booking your patience and your solutions outstanding you have selected all the hotel camps were fantastic and gave us a real adventurous fill specially in sarchu camp with 1 degree cold and really thank ful to you and all my friends for me it was ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA EXPERIENCE Diving from raft in 3 degree chilling water amazing Thanks once again .......... any query to me for adventure you are only in my list. cheers Sunil..
We leveraged on unwind outdoors for our Leh self drive trip. Extremely good experience. Due to Srinagar situation, we changed our plans just 1 day before travel date and Sunil accommodate perfectly. All the location stays were par excellence with breathtaking view. Best choice of hotels and camps. Simply wonderful.
Sunil Kapoor is one of the best person i met in travel industry. We had booked our tour of self drive cars from Srinagar to Leh - Manali - Chandigarh of 11 days, just one day before we came to know about unrest in Srinagar, and we thought it would cancel our trip, but to our surprise Sunil Kapoor changed our whole itenery with all hotel bookings, and gave the cars from Delhi. We had paid the full amount to Sunil then also he changed the route and the hotel bookings, no other travel agent would do and that also in Delhi it truly surprising. Sunil has full knowledge of the route and the hotels he selected was also the best in that place. I highly recommend Sunil Kapoor & Unwind Outdoor tours to all my Friends, Regards, Shalin Gandhi