Uleytokpo – Facts and Complete Travel Guide

Uleytokpo is a small village located around 70 km west of Leh, Ladakh. It lies on the Leh to Srinagar Highway at an altitude of 10,000ft (3048m). For a fabulous holiday in Ladakh, Uleytokpo is an ideal stopover for acclimatizing to the challenging weather and altitude.

Uleytokpo is one of the most enchanting and beautiful villages in Ladakh. It is famously known as the base for treks and camping in Ladakh. Camping and hiking in Uleytokpo are considered one of the most thrilling activities in Ladakh, amidst the snow-bound mountains. Trekkers often take a tour in Uleytokpo to enjoy nature and climb the barren mountain ranges. The offbeat town of Uleytokpo seems like a dreamland lacking no beauty with tranquil surroundings and ancient monasteries nearby.

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Why should you visit Uleytokpo?

  • The serene atmosphere of Uleytokpo is what attracts thousands of visitors to visit this beautiful village. 
  • While the tranquillity and the natural beauty of Uleytokpo is the perfect setting for a marvelous trip, there is also much more to see and do. 
  • Also, trekking to the rugged trails in Ladakh begins from here as many people treat the village as a base camp.  
  • It is the paradise you are looking to escape the chaos and bustle of cities. 
  • You can spend some leisure time with nature at Uleytokpo before you begin your ultimate Ladakh adventure.

Festivals in Uleytokpo

The unique location of Uleytokpo is the reason why it celebrates no carnivals and festivals. Yuru Kabgyat is the most popular of the celebrations in the Lamayuru village near Uleytokpo and it lasts for two days. Similarly, the Cham Dance is a masked dance involving the mythological tales and the local legends of Buddhism. It highlights the tradition of monastery fairs and festivals in Ladakh

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Uleytokpo is from May to September as the roads to Ladakh are open for visitors. The Srinagar-Leh highway is open in summer as the snow melts and continues until the onset of winter. Breathtaking scenery along with traditional Buddhist festivals can be witnessed during these months.

How to reach Uleytokpo?

The easiest way to reach Uleytokpo is to fly to Leh airport and then hire a cab to Uleytokpo. Uleytokpo lies on Leh-Srinagar Highway. So, you can visit Uleytokpo on the way from Srinagar to Leh by road. You can also explore the village on two wheels as motorcycle tours give the perfect option to get to the village. However, the ultimate challenge is the spine-tingling bike tour from Manali to Leh.

Read how to reach Leh Ladakh.

Accommodation

The accommodation in Uleytokpo ranges from romantic cottages to adventure-filled camps. The resorts are exquisitely designed and offer a comfortable stay for tourists. Some of the famous resorts in Uleytokpo are Uley Eco Resort and Uley Ethnic Resort. They offer all the possible amenities to the guests while offering a pleasurable stay in their lodge.

Additionally, the local villagers may host visitors if you choose to spend some quality time with them. 

Homestays are also a favorite choice for tourists to experience the true Ladakhi lifestyle, culture, food, and hospitality of the native people. They provide you a clean, cozy room furnished in Ladakhi style, traditional Ladakhi meals, cooked hygienically using eco-friendly methods, boiled spring water to drink, and local guides to guide you during your trip.

If you’re looking for a quiet place in the natural atmosphere, then Uleytokpo is the perfect place to visit. You can relax and enjoy yourself in your own private space with the sound of the gushing Indus river beneath you and get nourished with healthy, organic, and locally grown vegetarian foods.

My tour experience of Uleytokpo

The arrival

After one and half hour drive from Leh, we reached Uleytokpo at around 11 am. We headed towards our resort, where we had booked a room for our stay at Uleytokpo. On our way to the resort, we could not take our eyes off the serene blue waters of the Indus river, the surreal panoramic views of the mountain desert, and the spectacular landscape of Ladakh. Although the drive over the winding roads to Uleytokpo was a bit exhausting, it offered mind-blowing and picturesque views of the clear blue skies.

Our resort

We rested for a while and noticed that it was pretty cozy and warm inside the cottage, and hot water was also available throughout the day. Since the body needs to get acclimatized to the high altitudes of Ladakh, so we relaxed for some time and did not do very much at all. After that, we decided to have lunch in the restaurant which was inside the resort. The staff served us delicious meals, and the food quality was exceptional as it was grown organically at the local farms of Uleytokpo. Also, a significant portion of fruits and some milk used to prepare food were sourced directly from the local orchards, gardens, and farms. The food at the resort ranged from traditional to multicuisine, and the menu consisted of both Indian and Ladakhi dishes, so we opted for non-spicy food because we were not used to it.

The apple and apricot orchard in Uleytokpo

After having lunch, we stepped out in the orchard and found some apple, almond, and apricot trees. The apricot juice from homegrown apricots tasted heavenly, and we could not stop drinking it. After some time, we went along the path to get down to the river bank and enjoyed the fantastic views of the Indus river with mountains on all sides of the valley. The sound of the flowing water in the backdrop was intensely relieving. We strolled across the banks of the Indus river and returned to our cottage. After having dinner, we returned to our cottage for a good night’s sleep.

Exploring the natural beauty of Uleytokpo

The next day, when we woke up, we could see the breathtakingly beautiful scenic views from our room with the Indus river gushing below our resort room. We had some breakfast and headed towards Lamayuru, popularly known as “Moonland of Ladakh.” On our way to Lamayuru, we crossed a colossal bridge and drove on a traffic-free road that ran parallel to the opposite bank of the Indus river. We drove up to the viewpoints to get magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and valleys with green vegetation. After a one-hour drive, we reached Lamayuru and saw the fascinating landscape, which was quite similar to the lunar territory. The lunar landscape was a sight to behold with its uniquely odd geological formations. The stunning beauty of the surreal moonscape left us mesmerized.

After spending some time there, we headed towards Lamayuru village, the home of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. On our way to the monastery, our driver recounted many stories and legends associated with it. The monastery was located along the foothills of the mountains, and most of its structure was in ruins. There was a small cave inside the monastery, which was called “Cave Monastery.” We looked at the sophisticated wood carvings of the monastery, impressed by the exceptional craftsmanship. At the same time, a look at the statue of Lord Buddha brought a wave of serenity to our hearts. As we reached the top of the monastery, we witnessed the incredible beauty of the majestic lunar landscapes. We were utterly amazed by the magnificent view of the Zanskar ranges as it offered us a truly memorable experience of Ladakh.

Later, we returned to Uleytokpo and enjoyed the evening in the orchard of our resort. We had our dinner and went for a light walk along the Indus river. As we followed the path, we were completely taken aback by the clear night sky and thousands of twinkling stars blinking back at us. We sat for a while, and when it got too chilly there, we then walked back to our cottage.

Nearby hills

On the following day, we woke up with sunlight filtering in our room through the curtains and the sweet chirping of exotic birds to start a perfect day. We were ready to trek to Sumdo-Yangtang and other nearby hills. We visited the Likir Gompa and also visited the Sumdo village. We rested for a short time to regain our breath, had our lunch while enjoying an exciting conversation with the native people of the town. The women welcomed us into their kitchen with warm hearts, and we watched them doing their daily chores like cleaning, cooking, and knitting. We sat there amazed by the village and its people that get cut off from the rest of the world in winters. We were pretty much mystified by how the locals had organized their living and survival style with ample storage and self-sufficient measures. After a while, we walked to Yangtang through the Chagatse La pass (37320m) and descended along the stream of Wuleh Tokpo till we reach Uleytokpo.

On the third day, we drove to the Mangyu village and started our trek to Mangyu La (4140m). After crossing the Manyu La pass, we descended to the Hipti village while crossing the Hipti bridge on the Leh-Srinagar highway. As we were highly exhausted, we arranged transport to Skindyang village and continued to trek for a few more hours while overlooking the mighty Indus. Finally, we returned to Uleytokpo via Rizong.

The last day in Uleytokpo

On the fourth day, we, for the first time, enjoyed the White Water Rafting arranged by the resort staff. The rafting guides were exceptionally well-trained and professional, well aware of safety, emergency, and fun as well. Later on, we went for Snow Leopard sighting, where we came across such raw natural beauty that urbanites can only dream of. In addition to the hitchhike, we also spotted a Red Fox and birds such as Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan griffon, and Lammergeier eagle. Hours later, we kept looking for the sight of a snow leopard, and we were fortunate enough to spot one on the peak of the mountains quite far away from our location.

Our holiday at Uleytokpo was a pandora’s box of experiences, most of which were unforgettable. Also, the lovely views from the porch of our classic but spacious room at once inspired the adventurer in us to put on our backpack and wander around the mountain village of Uleytokpo. We were pretty much mystified by how the locals had organized their living and survival style with abundant storage and self-sufficient measures.

Conclusion

If you are planning a relaxed and serene vacation with your family or friends, then Uleytokpo is the perfect destination for you. It is also a preferred stop for trekking groups and people looking to stay in a peaceful ambiance of the Himalayas. There are quite a few eateries and cafes that fulfill the basic needs of passersby. This village also has few homestays where one can stay within the pleasant surroundings of the great Himalayas. The beautiful and colorful houses amidst a mesmerizing backdrop of valleys and snow-clad mountain peaks will surely refresh you.

Nearby attractions from Uleytokpo

There are a lot of attractions on the way to Uleytokpo, where you can halt for some sightseeing. Find the nearby attractions below:

AttractionDistanceTravel
Time
Rizong Gompa0.9 km5 min
Alchi Monastery11 km15 min
Likir Monastery24 km30 min
Basgo Gompa28 km34 min
Sangam Point40 km43 min
Magnetic Hill42 km45 min
Lamayuru Monastery46 km55 min

Navigate to Uleytokpo on Google Map.

Insider tips for travelers

  • Uleytokpo is a great place for acclimatization in Ladakh. So, if you are visiting Leh from Srinagar, you should stay in Uleytokpo for a couple of days.
  • Sunrays are of high intensity in Ladakh during summer, so if you are visiting Ladakh in summer, wear sunglasses and use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Check the weather prediction report before visiting Uleytokpo.
  • Only postpaid SIM of other states works in Ladakh. So, subscribe for a BSNL, Airtel, or Jio postpaid SIM card before visiting Ladakh.
  • Google flights have this fantastic feature of the flight price alert system. So, find your flight on google flights and then subscribe for the alert on Google flights.
  • If you are traveling to Uleytokpo from October to May, carry some warm clothes and a jacket.

Please read the World health organisation’s travel advice, before travelling anywhere.

Read Indian Government travel guidelines.

About the author

Sam K. Pandepa is a certified travel agent of Ladakh. He completed his MBA in 2012 and has worked as a tourist guide up to 2015. After that, he is working as a travel agent.
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