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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Top 6 Day Trip Ideas from Leh, Ladakh

The Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh has a lot to offer for all kinds of travelers. It simply doesn’t matter whether you a motorcycling enthusiast, holidaying family, adventure traveler, photographer or out on a simple vacation, Ladakh has a lot to ensure you always stay captivated with its beauty. I have been to Ladakh many times and in different seasons and here is a list of the best day trip ideas from Leh that should help you enjoy your Ladakh holiday to the fullest.

1) Khardung La
Khardungla - one of the highest motorable road in the world. The Highest in India is Marsimek La
Khardungla is like a mecca for motorcycling enthusiasts. To ride up to 18,380 feet and stand on one of the highest motorable roads in the world is no mean feat. Khardungla is about 60-80 minutes one way from Leh if you drive without any stops. You can stay for a maximum of 30 minutes on the top and explore the slopes on either side for magnificent panoramas. If you want a longer day trip, then you can continue towards Nubra valley, which is located on the other side.

Note of caution: Acclimatize well before going to Khardung La

Planning: Get you permits in advance from Leh

2) Nubra Valley and Khardung La
Partially frozen river at Hundar
Nubra valley is perfect for the nature loving traveler. It’s sand dunes at Hundar, its monasteries at Diskit, it’s Nubra and Shyok river views and its double humped bactrian camels will ensure that you have a fabulous day trip. And the best part is that you can also do Khardung La as a pit stop. But, the point to keep in mind is that this will be a long day.with lots of travel in it. To reach Leh from the rest of the country, one can take the Go Air, Jetlite or other flights that operate daily from Delhi.

Note of caution: Acclimatize well before going to Khardung La

Planning: Get you permits in advance from Leh

3) Lamayuru Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Sangam and Magnetic Hill
Lamayuru town and Lamyuru Monastery
This is one of the more popular day trips around Leh as it will allow to see the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers, see the pulling effect of the magnetic hill and soak in the beauty of Ladakh’s two old Buddhist monasteries, each on either side of the Indus river at Lamayuru and at Alchi. Since this is a very easy trip with minimal walking, it is ideal for all kinds of travelers.

4) Hemis Monastery and Hemis High Altitude National Park
The houses of the monks next to the Hemis Moanstery
Hemis is the place where the richest monastery of Ladakh exists. Since Hemis is located primarily in the shadows of the mighty Himalayas, it is always colder than the rest of the places. Apart from the monastery, one can explore the neighboring Hemis High Altitude National Park, which is known for its snow leopards and its beautiful treks.

5) Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso - This was where the final scene of the Bollywood Movie '3 Idiots' was shot
Pangong Tso is one of Ladakh’s prettiest lakes and can be visited on a day trip from Leh, though there will be lots of travel in the day. This is where the last scene of the ‘3 Idiots’ bollywood movie was shot. The place is so serene and beautiful that one can spend hours admiring its beauty. The plus points of this trip is that you can visit the high altitude Chang La pass and also see the Changthang cold desert up close.

Note of caution: Acclimatize well before going to Chang La and Pangong Tso

Planning:
Get you permits in advance from Leh

6) Chilling (Zanskar Valley)
Road from Nimmu to Chilling, runs parallel to the Zanskar river
The Zanskar valley as such demands a longer duration to explore, but if you need to get a flavor of the place and get to see its beauty in a day, then Chilling is the place to visit. The trip will allow you to see to see the picturesque Zanskar valley and the fast flowing blue river and explore one of Ladakh’s most remote regions.

There are additional options for a day trip, namely the astronomical observatory at Hanle and the Tso Moriri Lake, but both these places would mean lots of traveling and hence I have not put them in my list here, though they will make ideal 2-day trips.



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