Most Comprehensive Ladakh Road Trip Itinerary

Most comprehensive Ladakh road trip itinerary from Delhi with complete night halts and interesting sites to see enroute for a fascinating journey
Day 1 : Delhi to Jammu

Route : Delhi – Karnal – Kurukshetra – Ambala – Jallandhar – Pathankot – Jammu

Distance : 550 kms, 10 hr ( add 2 hrs of stoppage, Total 12 hrs ) 

Road Condition : 6 lane highway with tolls 

Start Early morning from Delhi latest by 6 AM. Enjoy numerous mouth watering Dhabhas and other food joints on the way. Route is  For Punjabi Veg Meals, one of finest options is to eat at Haveli .. Haveli has an outlet at Murthal, Just before Ambala, just before Ropar and then near Jalandhar

Day 2 : Jammu to Srinagar 

Route : Udhampur – Banihal – Anantnag – Srinagar 

Distance : 280 kms, 9 hrs ( Add 1 hr of stoppages, total 10 hrs ) 

Road Condition : 2 lane highway ( Chances of road blocks are high ) IMP: Start early morning 

The Drive from Jammu to Srinagar is regular lower hill drive with regular traffic on this route. This highway is renounced for traffic block especially after Anantnag during late afternoon i.e. 4 PM onwards ( The last 100 kms before Srinagar ) … Hence it is important to start as early as possible from Jammu may be at 5.30 AM latest so that you are able to reach Srinagar by evening and enjoy Shikara ride at the lake while the sun setting for a beautiful experience. Khyam Chowk is part of the old city of Srinagar and serves coal grilled kebabs which is favourite with locals (Not recommended for families as it is visited by local men only )

Day 3 : Srinagar to Sonamarg

Route : Srinagar – Ganderbal – Kullan 

Distance : 80 kms, 2 hrs 30 min 

Road Condition : 2 lane highway city traffic chaos 

Drive to Sonamarg along the Sindh River and beautiful villages along the river will provide the glimpse of Kashmir countryside. Enjoy the Sindh river sitting by its side. If you love hiking, Sonamarg offer plenty of day hikes .. Enjoy the glorious setting of Sonamarag. Also, as last 2 days were long and tiring, this day also acts a relaxed day to enjoy the beautiful drive that is yet to follow 

Day 4 : Sonamarg to Kargil

Route : Sonamarg – Ghumri – Drass – Kargil 

Distance : 160 kms, 5 hrs ( 3 hrs of stoppages, total 8 hrs )  

Road Condition : Zojilla Pass can sometime consume full day ( Otherwise smooth roads all the way to Kargil ) 

After Sonamarg, landscape gradually changes and as soon as you cross the Zojilla pass and go on the other side, contrast will be clearly visible. The greens will give way to the brown and barren landscape of Ladakh. An hour or so later, you will reach Drass a beautiful village town with a small market. Just at the end of the town of Drass, there is Vijay War Memorial ( Kargil War heroes ) … On the way to Drass, you will notice all the check post that figured in the Kargil War like Ghumri, Mushko Valley, Tiger Hill, Tololing … Pay respect to the brave soldiers of Indian Army and proceed …  Dhabhas available at Drass

IMP : Zozilla Pass is one way in May & Early June … If you delay start you will be stuck in the traffic at Zozilla so kindly leave as per time. Always check locally the conditions for Zozilla and then leave. From July End / Aug there are no restrictions

Day 5 : Kargil to Leh

Route : Kargil – Mulbekh – Fatu La – Namika La – Lamayuru – Khalsi – Nurla – Uleytokpo – Saspol – Nimmu – Phey – Leh

Distance : 240 kms, 6 hrs ( 4 hrs of stoppages, total 10 hrs )  

Road Condition : Excellent smooth ride all the way to Leh 

Dhabas available at Lamayuru – Khalsi – Nimmu

There is lots to see today so if you start early you can take as much halts on the way and spend more time on the various spots. Start by 8 AM latest. A short drive from Kargil is a small village of Mulbekh, A giant buddha Statue awaits us here. From Mulbekh, its time to cross two passes i.e. Namika La and Fatu La. you will enjoy the ride and the approach to the passes. As you descend from Fatu La you will encounter the beautiful landscape of Lamayuru. One of the oldest monasteries is situated here. you can break our journey in Lamayuru and have tea/snacks. From Lamayuru, you start our drive to Leh. you can also have our meal at Khalsi Or Nimmu which are a short distance away from Lamayuru. At Nimmu there is confuence of Indus and Zanskar River. This is followed by Magnetic Hill and then Gurudwara Pathar Sahib ( The Legend of carved statue in Stone of Guru Nanak Ji – Most revered Sikh Guru ) . Just before Leh, you can see Hall Of Fame An Army museum which is worth visiting .. Once you cover all these spots and the various breaks for scenic beauty you will reach by 5 or 6 AM in Leh .. 

Day 6 : Leh and Around

Attractions : Stok Palace, Thicksey Monastery, Leh Market & Sunset at Shanti Stupa

Distance : 35 kms max 

Road Condition : Excellent all around Leh ( Traffic and parking issues near Leh markets of Fort Road / Changspa / Main Bazaar ) 

Food Recommendation : Cloud 9 is an excellent place for lunch / La Pizzata for wood fired Pizza / Grand Dragon for fine dining Restaurant & for a glass of beer in the open 

After a relaxed breakfast, visit the Stok Palace .. this is followed by visit to Thicksey Monastery. .. Cafe Cloud near Thicksey should be choice for lunch so plan the site seeing accordingly. Will come back to the hotel and then take some rest. We will explore the Leh town in the evening followed by Sunset at Shanti Stupa is a must

Day 7 : Leh to Nubra Valley

Route : Leh – Khardung La – Khalsar – Diskit – Hunder

Attractions : Khardung La, Giant Buddha Statue @ Diskit , Sand Dunes @ Hunder Village 

Distance : 125 kms 4 hrs ( 3 hrs of stoppage time, total 7 hrs )  

Road Condition : Bad Around Khardung La ( Rest smooth 2 lane, road construction work is still in progress 2016 summer ) 

Food Recommendation : Dhabas available at North Pullu – Khardung Village – Khalsar – Diskit 

Khardung La is the highest motorable road in the world at 18,500 ft. you will begin our ascend to this acclaimed pass and take it slow .. The views around are incredible .. If we pay attention, we can spot a frozen water fall as well …It can snow at anytime of the year in Khardung La, so if you keep our fingers crossed, you can encounter fresh snow fall. Once you cross over then the views are awesome. You can start after breakfast by 9 or 10 AM and have your lunch once you reach Khardung Village, there is Mid Way resort there with nice meal options. If you like to eat local food, then there is a small Dhabha on the right side of the road where locals eat. There is a beautiful Giant Budha statue just as you approach Diskit, do visit it as well. But you must make it to a point to reach the sand dunes when the sun is setting, it is absolutely divine to walk on the sand dunes in the evening.

Tip: Find your own private sand dune and spend the evening till it gets dark here ( You may have to walk a little ) 

Imp : On a clear day in July and Aug, the Sun Rays are pretty strong in the afternoon. Kindly plan in such a way that we reach Diskit / Hunder only by 4 PM

Imp : Fuel is now easily available at Diskit Petrol Pump, so no need to carry extra fuel if you are just visiting Nubra & Pangong ) 

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 ) 

Do remember to soak in the serenity early morning at the sand dunes .. It is absolutely divine to go for an early morning walk at the sand dunes … To listen to the gurgling sound of the stream and enjoy the crisp morning air … Today you will drive via Shyok to reach the greatest lake of Ladakh .. if you like to maximise our experience of the Pangong lake then again it is recommended that you start latest by 9 AM

You can have a meal at Tangste main market. Simple meals are provided here. 3 Idiots crew stayed in Tangste . Along the way you can find tea / Maggi / some snacks… Its magical to see the changing hues of Pangong Lake with the variation in the Sun intensity … Listen to the waves lapping the shores, watch the migratory birds and see the sun fade away at the horizon .. Whether it is a moon lit night or star studded night … The night sky is brilliant in Pangong .. One can spend hours looking at the sky …  ( Loose Fuel Available in the market ) 

Day 9 : Pangong to Leh

Route : Spangmik – Lukung – Tangste – Durbuk – Chang La – Zingral – Shakti – Karu – Leh

Attractions : Chang La @ 17,500 ft 

Distance : 155 kms 5 hrs ( 1 hrs of stoppage time, total 6 hrs )  

Road Condition : Bad around Chang La 

Food Recommendation : Have your meal at Cloud 9 or in Leh ( No point anywhere on way ) 

Enjoy the morning sunrise and walk along the lake shore. See the changing hues of the Grand Lake and get mesmerized by its beauty. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and at your own pace head back to Leh. Evening you can either head to the market or just enjoy a relaxed evening at the hotel. Route is  ( Dhabhas available at Tangste / Chang La / Karu ) Or Lunch at Cafe Cloud near Thicksey

You will really enjoy a relaxed day in Leh here before you begin the Manali Section – If you can afford the time do it 

Day 10 : Leh to Tso Moriri 

Route : Leh – Upshi – ( Take Manali Highway from Upshi ) Tanglung La – Debring – Tso Kar – Sumdo – Korzok ( Tso Moriri )

Attractions : Tanglung La , Moreh Plains, Tso Kar 

Distance : 240 kms 8 hrs ( 3 hrs of stoppage time, total 11 hrs )  

Road Condition : Mostly Good ( From Debring Dirt road begins all the way till Tso Moriri ) 

Food Recommendation : Have your meal at Debring Or Best get it packed at Upshi or from your hotel and have it at a place of your choice 

After breakfast from Leh recommended start time 8 AM. We begin our drive to Manali but we go via the lakes of Ladakh. We first will head to Tso Moriri via Tanglung La and once you reach Debring which is marked by a cluster of Parachute dhabhas, take the dirt track to Tso Kar on your left .. This section is the begining of Moreh Plains and you will merge back here only on your return from Tso Moriri … The dirt tracks are quite clearly marked and you will not be lost … The first point is Upshi where you will find some Dhabhas ..

( Just before Upshi roughly 70kms from Leh, please remember to pay the J&K Tax which is very important, applicable for Self Drive Rented vehicles only from Zoom / Myles / Voler / etc )

Imp : Carry a an extra can of fuel from Leh on this section of the trip : No Fuel Available till your reach Tandi ( Must for Scorpio / not required for XUV / Fortuner / Must for Bikes )

Day 11 : Tso Moriri to Sarchu

Route : Tso Moriri – Sumdo – Tso Kar – Debring – Moreh Plains – Pang – Sarchu

Attractions : Tanglung La , Moreh Plains, Tso Kar 

Distance : 240 kms 8 hrs ( 2 hrs of stoppage time, total 10 hrs )  

Road Condition : Good and Bad (Pang to Sarchu is bad, Moreh Plains is excellent ) 

Food Recommendation :  At Pang or just before Sarchu ( Choose a clean Dhabha and eat ) 

You need to start after an early breakfast by 7 AM, our destination is Sarchu, A high altitude plains at 15,000 ft. The route will take us through Tanglung La and into Moreh Plains. This is arguably the most beautiful part of the drive. Moreh Plains is incredibly beautiful with over 50 kms of flat land at 14,000 ft is beyond imagination …Just as you cross Moreh Plains, you will descend into Pang ( characterized by clusters of Dhabha ) You can have a tea/lunch break here .. Just you begin the drive from Pang, you will enter the sculpted gorges which is then followed by ascend to Lachung La, Nakee La. Once you cross the two passes you will encouter the famous Gata Loops, a 21 hair pin bends descending into plains of Sarchu. Numerous photo opportunities will exist on this day … Sarchu plains @ 15,000 ft is another marvel of nature. If you are a photography lover, then take extra buffer in your hand and start at 5 AM. Do enjoy a late night walk at Sarchu Plains, if you reach early while it is still day take a walk towards the river . 

Day 12 : Sarchu to Manali

Route : Sarchu – Baralacha La – Zing Zing Bar – Darcha – Jispa – Keylong – Tandi ( Fuel Available) – Koksar – Sissu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi – Kothi – Solang

Attractions : Barlacha La, Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal, Rohtang Pass 

Distance : 225 kms 9 hrs ( 2 hrs of stoppage time, total 11 hrs )  

Road Condition : Good and Bad (Sarchu to Jispa really bad, good after that except near Koskhar for 20 kms, final construction work happening 2016 status ) 

Food Recommendation :  At Jispa or Keylong : Koksar Dhabhas are not hygienic / Dabhas at Marhi is your next choice 

Drive from Sarchu to Manali should be covered in 10 hours So you need to start after an early breakfast. Recommended time of start 7 AM. It is a beautiful drive through the most beautiful of the high passes the Baralacha La. Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal and then Jispa are all incredibly beautiful …. The final ascend is to Rohtang Pass,which is our last of the high altitude passes before you descend into Manali. Meals can be had at Keylong or even Kokshar. If you want proper meals, then you need head to the market in Keylong. Till June add 3 hrs to the drive time due to traffic Jam in Rohtang. From July, the traffic jams at Rohtang disappear

Day 13 : Manali to Chandigarh

Route : Now your GPS will work , so don’t ask ..

Attractions : Pandoh Dam 

Distance : 330 kms 9 hrs ( 2 hrs of stoppage time, total 11 hrs )  

Road Condition :  Bad around Barmana – Traffic till you reach Kiratpur, Smooth after that 

Food Recommendation :  At Visco Resort Mandi for a decent meal 

Manali to Chandigarh is mostly hill drive. From Barmana to Kiratpur is painful due to ACC cement factory and truck movement. Apart from this 80 kms stretch, rest of the highway is fine. Till June End, leave early as there are traffic snarls caused due to heavy tourish rush. From July onwards, you can have a relaxed start.

Day 14 : Chandigarh to Delhi

Route : Now your GPS will work , so don’t ask ..

Attractions :  Punjabi Dhabhas 

Distance : 250 kms 4 hrs ( 1 hrs of stoppage time, total 5 hrs )  

Road Condition :  Smooth 6 lane highway ( Generally no traffic jams ) 

Food Recommendation :  Haveli near Murthal Or Best enjoy a meal in Delhi 

Smooth Drive to Delhi from Chandigarh, mostly a 4 lane highway. If you are planning to go to Airport directly then please add 1 hr more to cross Delhi. Also, do keep in mind that office traffic is at its peak in the evening and this can add more time, so avoid evening traffic time and plan to reach in Delhi by 4 or 5 PM latest

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