All about my Ladakh journey | Must visit places in Ladakh | Leh Ladakh road trip
Leh Ladakh has been on my list for about 3 years now! You know how you are scrolling through Instagram and stumble about absolutely breathtaking landscapes and immediately add that place to your bucket list? Yep, that was Ladakh for me. But honestly, I had never imagined I would have this much fun and I would get to see Ladakh the way I did and frankly, the way it’s supposed to be seen.
Credit where it’s rightfully due: All thanks to ADD Ventures Unlimited for organizing by far one of the smoothest road trips I have been to. I mean it guys, one must always travel with people who are passionate about travel and now that I look back, I feel that’s why this trip was so perfect. Because the ADD guys are so so passionate that they know the inside out of the places where they organize trips and hence we saw Ladakh in a way that not many do.
Let me take you through it allll!!
So Ladakh has many districts, the most famous ones being Leh and Pangong.
There are however other districts and some remote villages which are so so beautiful that for a second you’ll feel like you’re in a Swiss countryside.
Needless to say, Ladakh is hardly about the destination. It’s really about the journey, one that ‘ll take you through a magnificent, never ending landscape of barren mountains, with river flowing at the valley and clear blue skies adorned with clouds that look infinite.
Most people do Leh-----Pangong-----leh.
Others who wish to explore more of Ladakh do Leh----Nubra ---- Pangong ---- Leh ----- Lama yuru ---- Srinagar.
We opted for the second, longer, harder and prettier journey. Now that I think about it, I wana give myself a pat on the back haha
Day 1: Arrived in Leh
As soon as you arrive in Leh, you feel like you’re in a different world. The landscapes you stalked for hours on Instagram finally coming real right before your eyes is truly surreal! I landed at 7 in the morning and as soon as I got off the plane, I knew I was in love with Leh.
So dramatic, jeez haha but true!
It’s always advisable to rest it out for a few hours before you become all adventurous and set out to explore the town because for some people it takes a while to adjust to the low level of oxygen there.
Ganesh, the organizer of the trip who for the rest of my Ladakh story I will call G (Totally justified since this human got upgraded to a kickass friend), took me out on a bike ride to the biggest festival in Leh. We drove about 35-40 km crossing absolutely breath-taking landscapes and I was so ecstatic to be ticking off such a huge thing off my bucket list.
We arrived at the Hemis Tsecu festival where the locals danced to traditional ladakhi music. Other than that, there’s not much to do there honestly: there are 1-2 cafes there that don’t serve very delicious food tbh so I didn’t take back much from the festival but the ride to the festival still goes down as one of the best rides of my life!
Do it for the ride!
Once we got back we spent the rest of the evening in our hotel which had a very cute rooftop café overlooking the mountains.
Day 2: Leh to Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is known for its Hunder sand dunes set right in front of the quintessential Ladakh landscape of the mountains and the blue skies. You will really feel like you’re in the deserts of Dubai!
Leh to Nubra is about 160km but we went via khardungla which is the highest motorable road in the world and is at a height of 18,380ft.
Everybody who visits Ladakh definitely goes here for the thrill, and I found another reason when I had the best momos in the whole of Ladakh there haha!
If you aren’t one for car rides in the hills, then I’d suggest skipping this one because the breathing gets a tad bit difficult and the road is hardly a road.
But you are going to Ladakh and nobody said it’d be easy, so make sure to check this out! If you’re lucky, you might even catch snowfall.
Nubra Valley on the other hand, in my opinion is a must visit! I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful the landscape is. The ADD ventures people made us stay in beautiful camps situated right in front of the sand dunes and imagine waking up to a view like that!
Day 3: Nubra Valley to Pangong
Next morning, we set out for the famous Pangong Lake which is about 160km from Nubra Valley.
The ride to Pangong is one of the most beautiful rides in the whole of Ladakh: you’ll see possibly everything from mountains, to streams, snow, huge green fields and great roads.
Pangong is a district which is famous for its lake which, like most of you know is a 160km long lake. The view is everything G, Moh & I expected! G made us stay in the best possible luxury camps one can imagine. Right in front of the lake, one had to literally walk just two steps to reach the Pangong lake. The backside landscape was that of the mountains and at night, one can see the WHOLE MILKY WAY on days when it is not cloudy and when it is, the full moon sitting bright and pretty above the lake and the white camps will totally be worth it. The ONLY downside of such a magnificent view and experience is that there is no network in Pangong. Usually only Airtel or BSNL work in Ladakh but even they don’t in Pangong. Looks like Pangong really wants you to live in the moment
We literally did nothing, just played our music, danced, I read my book and we caught a beautiful sunset.
Day 4 & 5: Pangong to Leh to Srinagar
I woke up the next morning to such a serene view of the lake and a certain calm in the air.. it was beautiful! Well that, and terribly home sick because I am not used to living without my phone and I hadn’t spoken to the people I love and crave daily haha.
The journey from Pangong to Srinagar is about 400-450km long and goes via Leh. Day 4 was road tripping back to Leh, resting it out so that we were fresh for Srinagar the next day. I will never forget this day for two reasons: So it was Moh’s birthday the following day, the day we were to reach Srinagar and that night in Leh, G tricked us into believing that he won’t accompany us for the rest of the trip. Moh and I were SO SAD because we are both emotional idiots who get attached to people in a jiffy haha! (Will you believe me if I say, Moh and I placed bets on this cards game that G taught us called
Kabo”. The bet was if we won, he’ll have to accompany us and we kept playing till we won)
So the next day, not only did G break the awesome news to us but he also took us to the outskirts of Leh to a village called Hemis Shukpachan, which is nothing short of Switzerland. We met a lady there who G calls her grandmom and she served us her traditional butter tea. You guys, believe me when I say this, I got so so overwhelmed by her kindness and innocence, that I stepped out of her house crying my heart out. There is still so much goodness in this world, it’s amazing!
I have been to Srinagar earlier too, it was Moh’s birthday and our last day so we decided to go for a Shikara ride. For those of you who don’t know what that is, on Dal lake, a mini boat takes you through the lake and its major spots: houseboats, the lotus garden and the floating market. I lived up to my expectations and dragged Moh out of the boat for shopping. Some of the shops sell really nice traditional Kashmiri handlooms.
This was a great trip for me because it was totally out of my comfort zone since we were travelling daily for 6-7hours in the hills (but it was so worth it), I FINALLY got to tick Leh off my bucket list and I made a great friend:’)
You can check out ADD Ventures here.
They genuinely custom make the BEST travel packages for you.
Enjoy the pictures xx