Your Ultimate Winter Itinerary For Ladakh

Waquar Habib


Ladakh, nestled in the Indian Himalayas, offers a surreal winter escape with snow-capped peaks, frozen lakes, and ancient monasteries. It's a haven for adventure enthusiasts, with challenging treks, high-altitude passes, and unique cultural experiences.

Liker Gompa Monastery, Ladakh | Shutterstock

Day 0: Acclimatisation

Acclimatisation is the process by which the body adjusts to the low-oxygen environment at high altitudes. Tourists going to Ladakh are advised to pave their way for a great trip and acclimatise thoroughly to avoid any health hazards. Avoid drinking and smoking while giving your body enough rest and hydration.

Mountain road of Ladakh | Shutterstock

Day 1


Take it easy on the first day and take short walks to get to know the region. The city is known for its beautiful scenery, Buddhist temples, and pristine environment.

A view of Leh | Shutterstock


Visit Shanti Stupa, a Buddhist white-domed stupa built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. The stupa houses the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. To reach the stupa, you must climb 500 steps.

Shanti Stupa | Shutterstock


Stroll through Leh Market, where you can get everything from jewellery to clothes, groceries to local street food. Try some traditional Ladakhi cuisine at a local restaurant.

Buddhist monks at the Leh Market | Shutterstock

Day 2


Visit Thiksey Monastery, known for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Built in 1430 AD, the monastery is the largest in central Ladakh and is affiliated with the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Thiksey Monastery | Shutterstock


Head to Hemis Monastery, the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh featuring a blend of Tibetan architecture and Buddhist traditions. Nestled in a secluded hill, the monastery is home to prayer rooms and a museum.

Hemis Monastery | Shutterstock


Take some time to visit Shey Palace or Gompa, once Ladakh's summer capital. The palace, originally constructed by Lhachen Palgyigon, the king of Ladakh, in the 10th century, is now in ruins and situated near the Shey village.

Stairs leading up to Shey Palace | Shutterstock

Day 3


Start your journey to Pangong Lake early in the morning. It is one of the world's highest brackish water lakes, and is known for its striking blue colour. The beautiful lake featured in the film "3 Idiots."

Pangong Lake | Shutterstock


Reach Pangong Lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and spend some time around the lake amid the breathtaking views. The lake is said to change color due to sky colour changes and refraction at high altitudes.

The views from Pangong Lake | Shutterstock


Stay overnight at a lakeside camp. You will find many options to choose from like Camp Redstart, Royal Camp, High Lake Retreat and Camp Pangong. Don't miss out on capturing the sunset over the frozen lake.

Camping at Pangong Lake | Shutterstock

Day 4


Drive to Khardung La, one of the highest motorable passes in the world. It is located at an elevation of 18,380 feet and is considered the world's highest motorable pass.

A view of the Khardung La | Shutterstock


Enjoy the snow-capped peaks and take in the mesmerising views at the Pass. It is a part of the Himalayas and connects the Indus and Shyok River valleys while also serving as the gateway to the Nubra Valley, which leads to the Siachen Glacier.

Shyok River | Shutterstock


Return to Leh and relax. You may want to visit the local market again or try a different restaurant for dinner. Do not forget to savour indigenous cuisines like Thukpa, Skyu, Gundruk, and Po Cha.

Traditional Ladakhi Thukpa | Shutterstock

Day 5


Explore the stunning Leh Palace, also known as Lachen Palkar Palace. It has stunning architecture, is 250 feet long, seven stories tall, and offers a breathtaking view of Leh City from its rooftop.

The main entrance to Leh Palace | Shutterstock


Head to the Central Asian Museum, a four-story stone tower in the center of Leh. It's located on the 18,000 sq ft Tsas-Soma complex. Later, experience a traditional Ladakhi lunch with a local family.

Central Asian Museum | Shutterstock


Attend a cultural show or festival if available. The Losar festival celebrated in December is a great way to be exposed to Ladakhi culture. Alternatively, visit a local monastery for evening prayers.

A cultural dancer on a festival | Shutterstock

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