Ladakh is an Indian Union Territory situated in India’s northern parts. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, then the first question that popped into your mind would be, how to reach Ladakh? The first-time traveler often finds it challenging to plan a trip to Ladakh, not knowing where exactly is Ladakh and how to reach Ladakh? Well, the answer is not so complicated.

You can reach Ladakh by Road or by Air. However, the quickest and most popular way to reach Ladakh is by Air. Leh airport is just 4 km away from the main market. By means of road, there are two main highways: 1. Srinagar to Leh (420 km). 2. Manali to Leh (430 km).

Road to Ladakh

The road connectivity to Ladakh is not well developed, and the road gets blocked for almost six months. Also, air transport to Ladakh can become quite expensive. However, If you have proper planning and are well prepared, reaching Ladakh on a budget is not a major problem. And that is the purpose of this article, to help you reach Ladakh hassle-free on a budget.

Best way to reach Ladakh

An air route is ideal because the high passes and rugged terrain of Ladakh have made it very difficult to travel by road. So, traveling on a Flight to Leh is the best way to reach Ladakh and enjoy a hassle-free trip. And, once you reach Leh town, you can easily travel to all places in Ladakh.

How to reach Ladakh by flight?

Ladakh is a popular destination, and it is frequented by many tourists who go there in search of adventure. So, major airlines offer transportation service to Leh Ladakh. Direct flights are available to Leh from Delhi, Jammu, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Srinagar.

Ladakh flight
Delhi to Leh Flights

From Delhi to Leh direct flights are available daily.

CarrierFlightDepartArrival
Air IndiaAI4456:45 am8:20 am
SpicejetSG1215:45 am7:20 am
SpicejetSG1239:55 am11:30 am
Go AirG82036:30 am7:45 am
Go AirG83575:30 am6:45 am
Go AirG82258:40 am9:55 am
Go AirG82219:10 am10:25 am
VistaraUK6017:15 am8:45 am
Indigo6E661310:45 am12:10 pm

The flight timings mentioned in the tables subject to change. Please check Google flights for real-time data.

Chandigarh to Leh Flights

From Chandigarh to Leh, direct flights by Air India are available only on Tuesday and Saturday. From May 2021, more direct flights are added by Indigo Airlines from Chandigarh to Leh.

CarrierFlightDepartArrival
Air IndiaAI45810:15 am11:20 am
Indigo6E693511:20 am12:35 am
Jammu to Leh Flights

From Jammu to Leh, direct flights by Air India are available on Monday, Friday, and Sunday.

CarrierFlightDepartArrival
Air IndiaAI45010:15 am11:20 am
Mumbai to Leh Flights

Spicejet has a direct flight from Mumbai to leh.

CarrierFlightDepartArrival
SpiceJetSG74906:50 am09:40 am
Srinagar to Leh Flights

From Srinagar to Leh, direct flights by Air India are available on Wednesday, and Thursday.

CarrierFlightDepartArrival
Air IndiaAI44710:20 am11:20 am
Join one of our groups and get discounted rates on flight tickets to Leh Ladakh. View Ladakh Tour Packages here.
Ladakh

When you are done checking out all the options available to you, the next step is to make sure that you book your flight in advance. Airlines usually run out of budget seats during peak tourist season as they will fill up fast. Remember that even if the airlines’ ticket prices are very high, they may still offer you a cheap flight ticket if you are flexible with your travel dates. So, If you want to ensure a spot on your flight for a meager price, then plan your trip ahead and make your booking at least a month before your actual departure date.

The nearest airport to Ladakh

Leh airport is just a few kilometers away from the main town of Leh. Once you reach Leh, you can easily find many cabs outside the arrival terminal to take you to your hotel in Leh. The taxi fare for Van and Omni ranges from INR. 500 – 600 and the Taxi fare for SUV ranges from INR. 800 – 1000.

Tips on how to book flight tickets to get the best deal
  1. Plan your Ladakh trip a few months ahead.
  2. Be flexible with the dates to get the best possible deals.
  3. Check with the airlines regarding their services and flight dates. Check online so that you can compare the fares for different dates and find the best deals.
  4. If the prices are low, then check on different OTAs for discount prices. And if discounts are available, then book the ticket. Otherwise, you can wait and keep checking on different OTAs for discounts.
  5. If the prices are high for all the dates, then go on Google Flights. Insert the travel dates and subscribe for Google flight alert. Now, if there is a change in prices, Google flights will notify you with an e-mail.

How to reach Ladakh by road?

Road trip to Ladakh is known for its adventure and thrilling nature. You will find several mountain passes on the road to Ladakh. These passes are famous for their scenic beauty and offer a thrilling ride to Leh Ladakh. But these passes get blocked in winter due to heavy snowfall. And, traveling through the road to Ladakh in winter is not possible. So, plan your road trip to Ladakh only in summer.

How to reach Ladakh from Delhi in a Bus?

There are two main routes to reach Ladakh on a bus:

  • Route 1. Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh
  • Route 2. Delhi – Manali – Leh

Route 1. Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh

RouteTravel DurationDistance
1Delhi to Jammu10 – 12 hours592 km
2Jammu to Srinagar9 – 12 hours270 km
3Srinagar to Leh15 – 18 hours430 km
Delhi to Jammu

There are a lot of private buses available from old Delhi to Jammu. The departure time of the buses is after 5:00 pm daily. The travel duration is around 10 to 12 hours. Ticket prices are INR. 500 – 700 for regular seats and INR. 800 -1200 for sleepers.

Jammu to Srinagar to Leh.

JK-SRTC bus travels from Jammu to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Leh. The bus departs from the Jammu bus stand in the morning from 7:00 am. The bus fare is INR. 400 – 500. It takes around 10 to 12 hours to reach Srinagar. 

From Srinagar, the bus departs to Leh in the morning after 6:00 am. The bus fare from Srinagar to Leh is INR. 1300 -1500. The Srinagar to Leh route is open from April to November.

Route 2. Delhi – Manali – Leh

After the development of the Atal tunnel, this route is becoming more popular. Earlier, the road from Manali to Leh used to open from June to October. Now it’s open from April to November.

RouteTravel DurationDistance
1Delhi to Manali11 – 15 hours533 km
2Manali to Leh12 – 16 hours420 km
Delhi to Manali

Buses are easily available from Delhi to Manali. Every day several buses depart from Delhi. The departure time of the buses is after 5:00 pm. The travel duration is 12 to 16 hours approximately. Ticket prices are INR. 600 – 800 for regular seats and INR. 900 -1200 for AC semi-sleepers.

Manali to Leh

HRTC bus travels from Manali to Leh. The bus departs early in the morning after 4:00 am. The bus fare is INR. 800 – 1000. It would take around 16 to 18 hours to arrive. Also, you can rest a night in Keylong and then travel to Leh.

How to reach Ladakh by train?

There are no railway lines connected to Ladakh so, there is no direct train to Ladakh. However, you can travel by train up to Jammu Tawi Railway Station. Once you reach Jammu on a train, you can reach Ladakh in a bus, tempo, or shared taxi. Also, you can hire a taxi from Jammu to Leh, but hiring a taxi might be expensive, so it’s best to travel in a shared taxi or tempo. You can also make a stop in Srinagar to make your journey more comfortable.

How to reach Ladakh in a car?

Self-driving to Ladakh in a car is also a preferred way to enjoy a fantastic road trip to Ladakh. You can reach Ladakh self-driving via two routes:

  • Manali – Jispa – Leh
  • Jammu – Srinagar Leh
Route1 – Manali – Jispa- Leh
RouteTravel TimeDistance
1Manali to Jispa2 hr90 km
2Jispa to Leh9 hr336 km
Route 2 – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh
RouteTravel TimeDistance
1Jammu to Srinagar6 to 8 hours260
2Srinagar to Leh8 to 12 hours430

The same route should be taken while driving a motorcyle to Ladakh.

Tips on self-driving a car to Ladakh
  • SUVs are the best vehicles for self-drive to Ladakh
  • The number plate registration and other car documents should be in your name, your wife’s, or your father’s.
  • Google Map is working perfectly in Ladakh. But there might be connectivity issues at some remote places. Download an offline map of the entire Ladakh to get directions from Google for your whole trip.
  • The car should have no mechanical issues.
  • The ground clearance of the car should be 180 mm or more.
  • Fuel stations are at great distances, so it would be best to have Large fuel tanks in your vehicle.
  • Check the air filters to be in good condition.
  • Reliable electrical system and cooling system
  • On the way to Ladakh, nights are freezing even in summer. So, make sure the car has an excellent cold-start capability. And it can start quickly in the morning, even after lying idle overnight in the cold.
  • The car should be fully fitted with the necessary safety gadgets and fuelled to capacity during the Leh Ladakh trip.
  • Have an extra car battery as the extreme cold weather condition can overwhelm the car, and it is safe to have a proper backup.
  • The vehicle can stall and get stuck in messy situations, and it is good to foresee and prepare to have a rope and other tools that can help you out of the problem.
  • The car should have all the necessary tools in case of any emergency breakdown. Tools including Jack and Spanner, Air Compressor, Hydraulic Jack, Spare Tyre, Puncture Repair Kit, Screwdriver Set, Jump Start Cables, Jerry Cans to fill spare fuel, Funnel to pour fuel in the car, Extra Coolant and Engine Oil

How to reach famous tourist attractions in Ladakh from Leh?

Leh is the center of Ladakh from where you should start your Ladakh trip. Once you reach Leh, it would be easy to reach all the tourist attractions in Ladakh. You can hire a taxi to reach these locations or you can also join one of our groups for a shared taxi to save some bucks.

The table below shows the distance and estimated time of arrival from Leh to famous tourist attractions in Ladakh.

PlaceDistanceETA
Leh Palace1 km5 mins
Shanti Stupa4 km5 mins
Magnetic Hill35 km30 mins
Khardung La Pass38 km1 hour
Pangong Lake224 km5-6 hours
Nubra Valley158 km4-5 hours
Zanskar Valley464 km10-12 hours
Kargil218 km4-6 hours
Lamayuru116 km2-3 hours
Tso Moriri Lake222 km5-6 hours

Sum up

From the information given above it is obvious that there are two ways to reach this wonderful place. You have the option of either going on a road trip to Ladakh or fly directly to Leh. And all these ways of reaching Ladakh will take you through amazing places and you will get to see some of the most spectacular views on the way to Ladakh. You will find several sights that will make your trip unforgettable. 

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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