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
- Kaushikee P Pal
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
- Vinutha Nagarajaiah
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.
- Hiren Thakkar
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.
- Karanraj Churiwala
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! 😀
7/10/2017Arvind M Gowda
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
- Aditya Kiran
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.
- Pius Noronha
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..
7/29/2016Suyog T Saraiya
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.
- Shalin Gandhi
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
7/28/2016Jignesh C Patel
Wow. wow, wow. What a experience! We took the route of Delhi - Jammu - Srinagar - Leh - Sarchu - Manali - Delhi. Sunil Kapoor gave us excellent service which includes his next to new 4WD in immaculate condition and all hotels were top class. Coming from Australia, we were bit nervous in start but when we met Sunil, we had full trust and all went very positive. Sunil gave us perfect instructions and everything was according to plan.I would very highly recommend Sunil's Unwind Outdoor to any tour you are planning to go with.His company's website unwindoutdoor dot com is very good with so much information that you don't have to go anywhere else.Thank you Sunil and your team for our one of the best experience in life you have provided us. Looking forward to send many people through your company.Cheers.
It was a great 10 day itinerary for Chandigarh-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Srinagar stretch. We soaked in the beauty of Kashmir and the Himalayas all along the way. Great tips on must-to-visit places. Sunil gave us meticulous instructions on vehicle, trip preparation and risk management. The lake boat stay at Srinagar was a pleasant surprise to top it off! Those who visit Leh should try to read and know more about the place before visiting. Plan your "Hall of Fame" visit at Leh early, if you don't do this preparation 😉 ! Had a great Leh Ladakh experience with friends. Loads of thoughts and memories along the way. Thanks to Unwind Outdoor for a well managed tour!
- Rajiv Rao
We had a wonderful 8 day trip from Srinagar--> Kargil --> Leh --> Nubra --> Pangong --> Leh arranged by Sunil. All the arrangements were executed flawlessly. Sunil managed a few last minute changes which is well appreciated. I had no hesitation in suggesting Sunil to folks we met during our vacation and colleagues in office.This is a "must do" trip one should experience in their lifetime.
I would like to thank Mr.Sunil for arranging our Chopta trip and the bonus of Auli.Our family had a great experience living one with nature.We were well taken care of and pampered by great food.Looking forward to other trips that Unwind Outdoor has to offer.
We are sure if it was not with Unwind Outdoor, our trip might not have happened. Living overseas we have been planning this journey for some time but never got the right contact until we came across Sunil. I was able to relive the memories of my first encounter with this landscape 19 years ago. The whole journey from Jammu to Leh and beyond is a weird concoction of feelings. There is chaos, isolation, excitement, calm, mood swings(due to AMS).....nevertheless this is one place which every Indian must have on their bucket list. Having said that I would also emphasize on preparing yourself for this trip. It is not just any other hill station but this can give you an experience of a different world altogether (If you were stuck like we did at 18000 feet high K-top for almost 5 hours due to an avalanche. Mind you.. recommended stay is not more than 20-25 minutes). So prepare well and be safe. Sunil will be there to look after you. Good on you Sunil. You will hear from us again...soon.