9 Things To Do In Leh Ladakh For A Thrilling Holiday

The pristine lakes, clear open skies, and towering mountains of Leh Ladakh make it seem like yes, heaven can be a place on earth. There’s no doubt that the region is an enchanting one but like any other holiday, it requires a good deal of planning. We’re certain it’s where you’d need the most help, so read on to see the top 9 things to do in Leh and Ladakh.

9 Things To Do In Leh Ladakh

  1. Visit Various Monasteries
  2. Stroll Around The Leh Palace
  3. Experience Solitude At Beautiful Lakes
  4. Go Trekking
  5. Go Motorbike Riding
  6. Try Wild River Rafting
  7. Indulge In Delicious Tibetan Food
  8. Go Shopping
  9. Visit The Shanti Stupa

1. Visit Various Monasteries

Leh Ladakh is laden with Buddhist monasteries sitting in isolation against magnificent backdrops. They offer a level of tranquility like no other. It’s possible that even your blues will be chased down and given a good beating, owing to the positive energy found here. You simply can’t miss a monastery visit when in Leh Ladakh, so let’s look at the ones you should include in your itinerary:

Spituk Monastery

A serene monastery that lies just 6 km away from the center of Leh, Spituk is easy to reach and you can have an extensive view of Leh from here. You’ll also see several planes land into Ladakh from here. Don’t forget to drop by the museum as you take in the calm views that ambush you here.

Lamayuru Monastery

This is the oldest monastery in Leh and a great place to sit down and meditate. Lamayuru Monastery is called the ‘Moonland of Ladakh’ because of its moonlike landscape. It’s extremely easy to get lost and lose track of time here. You’ll also be happy to know that vehicles can drop you till the entrance point of this monastery (No climbing!)

Thiksey Monastery

Mostly clubbed with a visit to Pangong or Tso Moriri Lake, Thiksey is yet another breathtaking monastery to see. It can take your breath away in the literal sense since you have to climb a good number of stairs to reach here.

But after the huffing and puffing, you’ll be in awe of the colorful 49-feet-high Maitreya Buddha statue. You might want to stay here till sundown to get a glimpse of the setting sun.

Also read: 7 Monasteries In Sikkim To Visit For A Tranquil Holiday

2. Stroll Around Leh Palace

The Leh Palace is a royal heritage site built all the way back in 1600. The nine-storey structure overlooks the old town and you can witness this yourself from the rooftop. Within the palace, you’ll get a glimpse of relics and items used by the royal family. The architectural structure of this palace is similar to Potala Palace in China.

Spend some time finding a window from where you can sit down and fixate your eyes on the surrounding mountains. The silence of the Leh Palace can speak to you, so make sure you’re listening to that internal chatter.

Looking for places to stay in Leh? Check out our curated list of hotels here!

A monastery in Ladakh

3. Experience Magical Solitude At These Lakes

The mirror-like lakes in Leh Ladakh are unlike any other. The crystal clear waters can bring a rush of solitude and if that’s something you want out of your holiday, here are the spots you should make a dash for:

Tso Moriri Lake

The stunning Tso Moriri lake is love at first sight. It’s nothing short of magnificent and you might want to pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream when you reach here. The lake is not as crowded but it’s not the easiest place to reach from Leh. The journey is hardcore and to get here, it can take you roughly 8 hours or so. The lake is 14,836 feet in elevation, so you have to be careful as the oxygen level drops.

Pangong Lake

Pangong is one of the more popular and frequently visited lakes in Leh Ladakh that leaves you spellbound. It’s easy to go nuts over the powerful hues of gold and brown here in the daytime. If you’re a bigger fan of night skies and wish to wish on a shooting star, we highly recommend camping here.

Tso Ltak

Tso Ltak is a magical secret of Ladakh. It’s less visited and mostly missed as people rush to Pangong instead. But if you like having your own space without any people obstructing your frame, then you’d love the passivity of Tso Ltak. The journey to Ltak is similar to that of Pangong. It’s fairly easy to reach from Chang La Pass.

Also Read: 8 Beautiful Lakes In Ladakh That You Must Visit

4. Challenge Yourself To A Trek

Now when you like traveling slowly and really immersing yourself with the landscape of Leh, then what better way than to trek this mystical land? We get that trekking can also be intimidating but if you’re up for it, here are the top places to consider:

Markha Valley Trek

A trek that’s otherworldly and also challenging, Markha Valley is a favorite for many. You would need to dedicate at least 8 to 10 nights for this trek. The highlight is that you cross the Zanskar River, pass varied landscapes and get up close and personal with the locals.

Want to learn about the Zanskar Valley Trek? Click here to find out!

Nubra Valley Trek

Nubra is also known to be the Valley of Flowers. This trek might actually make you feel as though you’ve been teleported into an oil painting by Bob Ross. It’s nothing short of picturesque! Besides the flowers, the sand dunes of Nubra Valley are what attracts tourists to it. The difficulty level is similar to Markha and you’d require a minimum of 6 nights.

Spituk To Stok

This is your best option for when you want to go on a short trek. You’ll need to take out just 3 nights to complete this venture. It’s simple, you get the hike-like adventure and the bonus is that it’s way less tedious. So even though it’s short, the Spituk to Stok trek is a fulfilling experience.

A lake in Leh

5. Go Motorbike Riding In Leh

When you’re tired of exploring Leh by foot, it’s a sign that it’s time to shift to modes to a two-wheeler. Although maneuvering on the landscape of Leh Ladakh on a bike won’t be a piece of cake, the scenery surrounding you cheers you on. It’s one of the best things to do in Leh Ladakh. Here are the top routes for a bike trip to Leh Ladakh:

Leh To Khardung La Pass

The Khardung La mountain pass is claimed to be the highest motorable road in the world and an exhilarating journey for a motorist. The pass is just 40 km away from Leh city which makes it fairly easy to reach. It should take you an hour or so to get here from Leh. You can also carry on your bike journey to visit Shyok and Nubra Valley as it’s 3.5 hours away from Khardung La Pass.

Leh To Chang La Pass

Your ride to Chang La Pass can easily be clubbed with your visit to the famous Pangong Lake. This mountain pass falls en route and sits at an elevation of 17,688 feet above sea level. The mighty mountains and tiny villages you see on your way here will keep you hooked throughout your ride.

Leh To Zanskar Valley

Now the distance between Leh and Zanskar Valley is approximately 462 km, making it one of those bike journeys that aren’t for the faint of heart. It is hardcore as Zanskar lies in a remote corner and you’ll need more than a day to explore the place. On the plus side, you get to see a less touristy perspective of Ladakh by exploring its small villages like Padum and Rangdum.

6. Go Wild River Rafting 

Leh Ladakh is an adventurous destination and if you’re a water baby, you’d really be tempted to go wild water rafting in Leh. For a proper adrenaline rush, you can enjoy this adventure at the Zanskar or Indus rivers.

These are the spots at which this activity is properly planned for visitors. There are pre-decided routes at both these rivers and depending on the water levels, the organizer will suggest which one is ideal. Anytime between April to July are great times for river rafting in Leh.

Also Read: 9 Things To Do In Leh Ladakh For A Thrilling Holiday

Go motorbike riding in Ladakh

7. Try The Yummylicious Tibetan Food

When you visit Leh, alongside the mountains another aspect that wins you over can most certainly be the meals. As the region has a Tibetan influence, you’ll find classic dishes like momos, thukpa (a rich soup), skyu (warm stew) and Tingmo (a type of bread).

Yak cheese, butter tea and Chhaang (local beer) are other things you’ll see on the menu often and are the must-try foods in Leh. Some of the top restaurants to hit in the city for scrumptious meals are:

The Tibetan Kitchen - An iconic restaurant to step into for traditional Tibetan meals. A must-try here is the Gyako (a type of hotpot).

Bon Appétit - Great for pizza and continental food items like pasta and salads. The ambiance is to die for.

Alchi Kitchen - You can head to Alchi Kitchen to take Ladakhi food classes and also try authentic homemade meals. The kitchen is famous for its walnut and apricot platters as well.

Sky Wok Restaurant - Known for its extraordinary variety in cuisine, Sky Wok is another of the popularly visited restaurants in Leh. We highly recommend trying their Thai cuisine here as that’s one of their specialties. 

Il Forno - Il Forno is a rooftop restaurant known for its wood fire pizzas and non-traditional meals.

Namza Café - A small boutique restaurant where you can find warmth in the food prepared. Do try the Yarkandi pulao which is a century-old meal that is made at this restaurant.

Also Read: 8 Foods In Leh Ladakh That You Must Try!

8. Take Yourself Shopping

Besides the pictures and memories, take a little bit of Ladakh back home with you by going on a shopping spree. There’s plenty of things to buy in Leh Ladakh, but here are the most unique items that you should scour for in the market:

  • Trinkets
  • Pashmina shawls
  • Rugs and carpets 
  • Tibetan handicrafts such as prayer flags, paintings, bells, and tea churners

Some of the key markets to hit are Ladakh Art Palace and Tibetan Handicraft Emporium on the Main Bazaar Road, Ecology Centre in Changspa, and Moti Bazaar.

9. Meet With The Stars At Shanti Stupa

The Shanti Stupa is a symbol of peace and unity that lies just 5 km away from Leh city center. You’d have to climb 500 steps to reach the top but after all the heavy breathing, you’d be happy to see a clean 360 view of Leh.

You’ll also get to capture an unobstructed view of the open sky from here. This makes it a beautiful point to gaze at a sky full of bright twinkling stars.

Another more majestic view of the night sky of Leh Ladakh can be seen at the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Hanle village. This is one of the world’s highest optical telescope observatories.

The skies are spectacular from here but you’d have to ride at least 6 hours from Leh to get here. When you reach, you’ll truly be starstruck (pun intended!).

Summing Up

In the top 9 things to do in Leh Ladakh, there are few things that are more tedious to do than the others. Our final tip to you is to pick the locations that match your travel pace to truly enjoy the stunning scenery of Ladakh and have a holiday to remember!

FAQs

What Are The Major Activities In Ladakh?

Ladakh is a place for those who love adventure. Trekking, camping under the stars, motorbiking, and river rafting are some of the best activities to try in Ladakh.

How Many Days Are Enough For Leh Ladakh?

To do justice to the region and leave a few days for acclimatization, you should ideally plan a trip to Leh Ladakh for a minimum of 14 days.

Which Month Is Best To Visit Leh Ladakh?

The summer months from April to July are best to visit Leh Ladakh. In summers, expect the temperature to be between 15°C to 30°C. Many tourists avoid planning their visit in winter because of the extreme level to which the temperature drops.

Is It Worth Visiting Leh Ladakh?

In terms of landscape, the region of Leh Ladakh is extremely mesmerizing. You’ll see larger-than-life Himalayan mountain ranges dominating the view, open clear skies, and blue lakes that mirror the sky.

Can We Take A Bath In Pangong Lake?

Ladakh is known for its extremely low temperatures and this makes it not feasible to bathe in Pangong Lake. The water is known to be freezing cold so you might go numb if you attempt to take a dip. This is why it’s best to avoid bathing in any of the lakes.

Why Are Leh Ladakh Famous?

Leh Ladakh is famous for its turquoise blue lakes, beige landscapes, clear skies, winding mountain trails and numerous beautiful monasteries. 

How Far Is Ladakh From Manali?

The road distance between Ladakh and Manali 472 kms and it takes about 11 hours by road to reach Manali.

What Language Is Spoken In Ladakh?

The Ladakhi language which is a dialect of the Tibetan language is spoken widely across Ladakh.