Ladakh Itinerary suggestions - 8n/9D June 2018

I will be in Leh from June 11-June 19 along with my wife and 10-year old daughter.

Here is the tentative itinerary

Day 1 - Leh, stay at resort and relax

Day 2- Visit Alchi monastery,Likir Monastrey,Indus & Zanskar river Sangam, , Pathar Sahib Gurdwara and Magnetic Hil, stay at Leh hotel

Day 3 - Leh to Nubra,Deskit, Hunder Villages and camel Safari, stay at Hundar

Day 4 - NUbra to Leh, evening Leh market etc, Stay at Leh

Day 5- Leh to Pangong, stay at Pangong

Day 6 - Pangong to Leh vis Hmeis monastery, stay at Leh

Day 7 - Leh to Tso Moriri

Day 8 - Tso Moriri to Leh

Day 9 - fly back.

Let me know if the above itinerary looks good.

I can see that 6N are pretty much booked
2 days for Leh including acclimitization
2 days for Leh to Nubra and back
2 days for Leh to Pangong and back

There are some options for the other 2 days
1> Go to Tso Moriri as mentioned above
2> Spend one extra days in Nubra valley and do a day trip to Turtuk, and one day to relax in Leh, skip Tso Moriri
3> Spend 2 nights instead of one in Pangong, and additional day in Leh to relax Skip Tso Moriri
4>Drive to Lamayuru and spend one day in Ule, and one additional day in Leh, skip Tso Moriri
5>Drive directly from Pangong to Tso Moriri (if roads are open), one extra day in Leh to relax.

The main decision I need to take is should I go to Tso Moriri or not. Since I am traveling with family including kid, I am little concerned about the chances of AMS if I spend 2 nights in such high altitude. Also, I am not sure how different the experience in Tso Morii will be compared to Pangong as the pictures look pretty similar. I understand that Pangong is kind of crowded but I think it should be possible to find some camps which are secluded. Also, Pangong probably will have better facilities for accommodation and food. So, is it still worth going all the way to Tso Moriri?

If the answer is NO, what is the best option to spend the additional 2 days. I am interested about Turtuk but not sure what exactly I will be doing there.

Please suggest

Hotels shortlisted -
Ulletopko - Ule Ethnic resort
Leh - Ladakh Sarai/Druk Ladakh
Nubra - Hunder Sarai/Desert Himalaya/Himalayan Eco Resort
Pangong - Pangong Sarai/Martsemik
Tso Moriri - Tso Moriri Camp




Any suggestions regarding itinerary or hotels are welcome.
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Tso Moriri is a smaller yet beautiful lake, and it looks different from Pangong (at least for those who enjoy nature and landscape.) You drive along the Indus River to reach it and while coming back you can visit Tso Kar (much smaller lake) and join the Manali – Leh Highway at Debring (at the end of More Plains) and drive back to Leh via Tanglang La.

If you’re someone who likes landscapes and loves the journey as much as the destination, the choice is fairly simple.

Turtuk can be included in your plan by driving directly from Hunder to Spangmik via Agham – Shyok route (a little rough at places), if it is open.

You can travel from Spangmik to Tso Moriri via Chushul, if all of you are Indian Citizens (no foreigners, NRIs, PIO or OCI holders allowed.)

You can do a day trip to Lamayuru from Leh and en route cover all the places you’re planning to cover on day 2, though it would be a little hectic that way and you might wish to exclude either Alchi or Likir in such a scenario.

Adding a night’s rest in Leh towards the end would be a great idea. It will help you unwind and you can enjoy the cafés there and shop (a must in case of ladies.)

As far as AMS is concerned, Pangong Tso is 750 ft lower in altitude than Tso Moriri and after a night of sleep there, you will have similar or better night at Tso Moriri. In any case, make sure to rent an oxygen cylinder from Leh (with capacity of at least 30 mins) and if possible, buy an oximeter in order to monitor blood oxygen level (high end phones like S9 etc. have one built in.)

As far as hotels are concerned, you have chosen the good ones already. You might want to include Lharisa, Ladakh Residency, Shangrila and The Grand Dragon in your list as well (the first two are cheaper than the last two, which are in their own league.) In case you don’t mind spending extra for a unique experience, then you can stay at the Stok Palace as well (Palace of the current King of Ladakh.)

At Hunder, Rehman bhai (owner of Habib Guest House, 01980-221039 & +91-9469736543) is supposed to launch their luxury hotel this year and it is supposed to have indoor swimming pool. His hospitality in case of Habib Guest House has always been great, though I am not sure how his new venture will turn out.

In case of Pangong Tso, Pangong Sarai is a good bet if you want something relatively quieter and don’t mind traveling on bad road to reach it. Martsemik is at the beginning of the lake, where majority of the day tourists come, but the camp is good and food is great as well (stayed there in June 2015.)

Another option you can explore is Alpine huts, which is in the middle of Lukung and Spangmik, so a little away from everything. It looks superb, though at least when I checked it out in July 2016, some of the steps of the cottage I checked, were in need of repair.
 
Thanks for your detailed reply. Your knowledge of Ladakh is amazing to say the least.

About TsoMoriri, if I had been traveling alone, it would have been a no-brainer. However, I am a little concerned as I am traveling with family.

I have a few more questions. It will be great if you can clarify.
1> Is there any advantage in having a day's gap between Pangong and Tso Moriri with regards to AMS?
2> Travel times. My understanding is as follows, please confirm
Leh- Nubra = 5 hours
Leh-Pangong = 6 hours
leh - Tso Moriri =7-8 hours
Pangong - Tso Moriri = 8-9 hours, not sure??
Nubra valley - Turtuk??
3> About hotels, I checked with Grand Dragon but it is above my budget. Reviews for Shangrila are not that great. However, I will check with Lharisa and Ladakh residency. Which one would you suggest between Ladakh residency/Druk/Ladakh Sarai/Lharisa if my budget permits
4>For Tso Moriri, I shortlisted Tso Moriri camp. Any other suggestion? I am guessing the hotels/camps shortlisted for Pangong and Nubra are fine
5> For Turtuk, are you suggesting to directly go to Turtuk from Leh and stay at the night at Nubra? In Turtuk, are there any major attractions or it's more about going around the village?
6> Monasteries - I am not a huge fan of monasteries as such but I would like to experience the culture, tradition, history. Also, been to Bhutan recently where the main attractions are the monasteries. Which monasteries in Ladakh should be top on my agenda - Alchi,Likir, Hemis,Shey, Thiksey etc? Which all can be covered during the travel to Nubra/Pangong/Tso Moriri etc?

I will form my itinerary based on your replies.
Thanks again
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
1> Is there any advantage in having a day's gap between Pangong and Tso Moriri with regards to AMS?
Not really. Though it can give you a break if you had a rough night at Pangong Tso. That is where the oxygen cylinder comes in. 10 mins of oxygen can go a long way in easing things down and taking a load off the body.

Make sure to keep hydrated at all times, especially in case of the ladies, who have a tendency of not drinking a lot of water due to paucity of toilets en route. Clean toilets can be found at Tsoltak Check Post and South Pullu (Tanglang La and Khardung La have dirty toilets) and then at various villages en route. Despite this, ladies traveling with me, have had to go by the side of the road, so just make sure they are mentally ready for it and not compromising on their health, in order to avoid the embarrassment.

2> Travel times. My understanding is as follows, please confirm

Leh- Nubra = 5 hours

Leh-Pangong = 6 hours

leh - Tso Moriri =7-8 hours

Pangong - Tso Moriri = 8-9 hours, not sure??

Nubra valley - Turtuk??
These are just about right, though Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri is more like 10-11 hours with sightseeing en route. At the end of the day everything comes down to jams, slowdown due to road work and army convoys and stops. Also in case of Nubra, you might want to visit Sumur (monastery) and Panamik (hot spring) first, before heading to Hunder. This will increase your travel time by 2-3 hours, but is worth it.

General rule of thumb is to start early in the morning after breakfast or get it packed, so that even in case of any delays en route, you can still reach your destination by nightfall.

3> About hotels, I checked with Grand Dragon but it is above my budget. Reviews for Shangrila are not that great. However, I will check with Lharisa and Ladakh residency. Which one would you suggest between Ladakh residency/Druk/Ladakh Sarai/Lharisa if my budget permits
I have spent a night at Lharisa and loved it, be it service, room or the food. The only issue with it is the fact that it is away from everything. So you have to either walk a long distance to reach the market or hire a taxi. Same also holds true for The Druk and Ladakh Sarai.

So if you’re looking for a hotel which is located near the cafes (Changspa and Fort Road) and the Main Market, out of the above, Ladakh Residency makes more sense. Of course, it won’t be as quiet as other places. And my friend, who stayed there, was raving about their food.

4>For Tso Moriri, I shortlisted Tso Moriri camp. Any other suggestion? I am guessing the hotels/camps shortlisted for Pangong and Nubra are fine?
It should be fine. Though if you prefer hotel over camps, then Lake View is worth considering.

5> For Turtuk, are you suggesting to directly go to Turtuk from Leh and stay at the night at Nubra? In Turtuk, are there any major attractions or it's more about going around the village?
Village and its people are the main attraction. Plus the journey is beautiful as well. Turtuk is a part of Nubra Valley as well. My suggestion would be to spend 2 nights at Hunder. Do Sumur and Panamik en route to Hunder, then visit Turtuk and come back for the night. Next day head to Pangong Tso.

6> Monasteries - I am not a huge fan of monasteries as such but I would like to experience the culture, tradition, history. Also, been to Bhutan recently where the main attractions are the monasteries. Which monasteries in Ladakh should be top on my agenda - Alchi,Likir, Hemis,Shey, Thiksey etc? Which all can be covered during the travel to Nubra/Pangong/Tso Moriri etc?
Lamayuru, Hemis and Alchi are the famous of the lot.

I prefer Likir, Tingmosgang, Phyang, Sumur, Thiksey and Spituk (you can watch planes land and take off from their parking lot) for their friendly monks and surrounding scenic beauty. Shanti Stupa is a must visit as well (especially for sunrise) while the Tsemo Monastery has panoramic views of Leh (especially at sunset.)
 

gkapoor

Super User
You have a well laid out plan with ample number of days so as to relax as well. Go by what YS has suggested and you should have a great trip.
I would also suggest you to visit Sumur-Panamik. It is much secluded even in the season since people generally go to hunder diskit and come back. Turtuk does not have anything to see except the villlage itself and apricots. Its just that it has been recently opened to tourists.

I like Tso MOriri more than pangong, but you can decice that only after you've seen both :D Keep it in your plan and go there if you feel like after stay at pangong. Dont write it off yet.

As for monasteries, Thiksey, Spituk, Stakna, Lamayuru are great. Do visit Shanti stupa as well.
 
I am still a bit confused.
Writing all possible options to clear my mind and seek opinion.
I have spoken to a few hotels and also taxi operators/travel agents and according to them, direct route from Nubra to Pangong not possible.
Also, the route from Pangong to Tso Moriri through Chushul might also be closed. In that case, you have to come back a long way toward Leh to go from Pangong to Tso Moriri, so it might be better to stay the night at Leh and start to Tso Moriri next day.

So, here are the options. Option A and B cover most of the places.
Option C skips Turtuk while option D skips Tso Moriri

Option A
Leh,Nubra,TurtukPangong,Tso Moriri - 2 nights at Nubra, 1 night at Pangong, 1 night at Tso Moriri
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Turtuk day trip, night at Hundar
Day5- Nubra to Leh, evening shopping etc, night at Leh
Day6 - Leh to Pangong, night at Pangong
Day7 - Pangong to Tso Moriri,night at Tso Moriri
Day 8-Tso Moriri to Leh
Day9- fly back

Option B
Leh,Nubra,Turtuk,Pangong,Tso Moriri - 2 nights at Nubra, Pangong day trip, 1 night at Tso Moriri

Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Turtuk day trip, night at Hundar
Day5- Nubra to Leh, evening shopping etc, night at Leh
Day6 - Pangong day trip from Leh, night at Leh
Day7 - Leh to Tso moriri, night at Tso moriri
Day 8-Tso Moriri to Leh, night at Leh
Day9- fly back

Option C.1

Leh,Nubra,Pangong,Tso Moriri - 1 nights at Nubra, 1 night at Pangong, 1 night at Tso Moriri (skip Turtuk)
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Leh, night at Leh
Day5 - Leh to Pangong, night at Pangong
Day6 - Pangong to Leh, night at Leh
Day7 - Leh to Tso moriri, night at Tso moriri
Day 8-Tso Moriri to Leh, night at Leh
Day9- fly back

Option C.2 - variation of Plan B if Pangong to Tso Moriri route is open
Leh,Nubra,Pangong,Tso Moriri - 1 nights at Nubra, 1 night at Pangong, 1 night at Tso Moriri (skip Turtuk)
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Leh, night at Leh
Day5 - Leh to Pangong, night at Pangong
Day6 - Pangong to Tso Moriri,night at Tso Moriri
Day 7-Tso Moriri to Leh, night at Leh
Day8 - Leh local sightseeing, shopping, night at Leh
Day9- fly back


Option D.1
Leh,Nubra,Turtuk,Pangong -2 nights at Nubra, 1 night at Pangong (skip Tso Moriri)
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Turtuk day trip, night at Hundar
Day5- Nubra to Leh, evening shopping etc, night at Leh
Day6 - Leh to Pangong, night at Pangong
Day7 - Pangong to Leh, night at Leh
Day8 - Leh local sightseeing, shopping, night at Leh
Day9- fly back

Option D.2 - variation of Plan D with night stay at Ule
Leh,Nubra,Turtuk,Pangong -2 nights at Nubra, 1 night at Pangong, 1 night at Ule (skip Tso Moriri)
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - drive to Lamayuru, cover sham valley, Alchi monastery on the way, night at Ule
Day3- Ule to Leh, Leh local, shopping, night at Leh
Day 4 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, night at hundar
Day5- Nubra to Turtuk day trip, night at Hundar
Day6- Nubra to Leh, evening shopping etc, night at Leh
Day7 - Leh to Pangong, night at Pangong
Day8 - Pangong to Leh, night at Leh
Day9- fly back
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Get in touch with Inder (+919906971501), I have hired him multiple times and he is a friend now. Knows all the routes and has Innova and other vehicles (Innova is expensive, but the most comfortable of the lot.)

DC Office at Leh is planning to introduce permits for Agham – Shyok route as well as other routes (read Hanle, Umling La & Chushul now off limits for civilians?), and until then, they have been closed temporarily. The decision is expected soon, so it shouldn’t impact your plan.

In case there is a landslide on the Agham – Shyok route and Wari La (longer but scenic route to Pangong) is closed as well, then you can skip Tso Moriri.

Even if you’re turned back from Chushul (provided you get the permit) due to some reason and thus have to skip Tso Moriri, you will still get to travel along the Pangong Tso and that is extremely fun.

Having said that, I would advise you to skip Tso Moriri for an extra night in Leh and cover it in your next trip (you will be back.) Here is what I would suggest:

Day 1: Arrive in Leh and rest, evening at the main market or at cafes (avoid Shanti Stupa, it requires a steep walk. If you have to watch the sunset, go to Tsemo Monastery, you can watch the sunset from its parking lot.)

Day 2: Hall of Fame, Magnetic Hill, Likir Monastery, Alchi Monastery (have lunch at Alchi Restaurant at the beginning of market), sunset at Indus and Zanskar Confluence (that is when most tourists leave and it is relatively peaceful), visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib en route to Leh if you want to visit it in the morning.

Day 3: Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardung La, visit Panamik Hot Springs (you can take a bath there, there are separate bathrooms available for ladies and gents. Water comes through pipes, so nothing to see there. However, it does have a panoramic view from the parking lot), Sumur Monastery (beautiful and peaceful place) and after that head to Hunder for night stay.

Day 4: Sunrise at the Hunder Sand Dunes (or you can watch the sunset, your choice) and then head to Turtuk, come back to Hunder.

Day 5: Nubra to Pangong via Agham Shyok or Wari La or head back to Leh. En route visit the Maitreya Statue at Diskit Monastery (monastery requires a long walk, the statue is easily accessible. Great point for sunrise and that is when few people are around.)

Day 6: Pangong Tso to Leh (before that drive till Merak Village) or Leh to Pangong Tso based on whether or not you were able to take the direct route from Nubra Valley.

Day 7: Visit Shanti Stupa in the morning to watch the sunrise, then head to Spituk Monastery to watch the planes land. After breakfast head on the Leh – Manali Highway and visit the Hemis, Thiksey and Shey Monasteries. Evening at Leh. Alternatively, you can head to Indus and Zanskar Confluence and do white water rafting.
 

gkapoor

Super User
Since there are multiple routes to destinations in Ladakh, everyone tells different things about the routes depending on their own preference and source of info(which might be outdated!).
This is what I also experienced during the first trip. It seems too confusing, but after 5 trips, I just plan things on the go and decide myself then and there.
Dont take opinions from too many people. YS has given you one reliable taxi persons contact, I will add another one to that, later.

We cannot predict about route status months in advance but for the Agham Shyok route I can tell you current status- its open and allowed for travel as of last week. With permit or without, not known.
There are taxi drivers who hesitate to take off beat routes so they tend to tell you that routes are closed/not allowed etc. As YS said if permit is going to be issued soon you can take the route.
Another reliable taxi owner/driver contact - Sewang (9469200545, 9797474303). I have been travelling with him for 5 trips now. You can give my reference- Gaurav from Delhi. He will take you to any route you ask (with permits).

You can be turned back from any checkpost even with permits so go with an open mind; plans change on the go so dont worry too much about it.
 
Understood. :)
I think I will keep the first 4 days as follows
Day1 -LEH - rest, local market, Shanti stupa,
Day2 - Sham valley - alchi/likir monastery, sangam, Gurudwara, magnetic hill etc, night at Leh
Day 3 - Leh to Nubra - diskit, camel safari, will try to accommodate Sumr,night at hundar
Day4 - Nubra to Turtuk day trip, night at Hundar

Post that, depending on road conditions and permissions, I will decide the rest.
Would like to cover both Pangong and Tso Moriri.
If Nubra to Pangong road is open, will go to Pangong on Day 5.
else come back to Leh and go to Pangong.

Spend one night in Pangong, and if we feel good and the road is open, will try to go to TsoMoriri.
Else, come back to Leh and spend the last day shopping and going around monasteries.

Basically, shoot for option A, fallback to option D.1 based on the condiions

Thanks everyone.
 
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