If you come across arid jagged mountains kissing the skies, you know its Ladakh. Here, the dry winds seem to carry spiritual messages with them. The ancient gompas (Tibetan monasteries), with their whitewashed walls, are repositories of solitude and knowledge. The pristine waters of the lakes here create a perfect impression of the encompassing surroundings.
Once in Ladakh, there is so much to see, so much to explore. From pure blue freshwater lakes to picturesque passes, from dreamy valleys to frozen rivers. One must prepare oneself for a kaleidoscope of experiences here. Have you recently decided to take a trip to Ladakh? This blog brings you the 25 amazing things to do in Ladakh.
1. Sunrise at Pangong Tso Lake!
Witnessing the sky streaked red by the morning sun can be an exhilarating experience. Doing the same by Pangong Tso Lake embellishes the experience further. This spectacular lake made its appearance in the movie “3 Idiots.” Apart from that, it’s a highly coveted spot for late night camping.
2. Biking on World’s Highest Motorable Road!
Imagine biking at Khardung La – one of the world’s highest motorable road with a height of 18,380ft. You can plan a bike trip to this place from any city of India, or arrive at Leh, and book a bike there. There are several holiday packages for Ladakh trip. Choose any one of your linking.
3. Camping delights!
Another way of absorbing the alluring beauty of Ladakh is going camping. Some of the best camping sites are found at Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. Camping by the lakes here is the best way of exploring the surrounding landscapes and carrying home some great memories.
4. Go Trekking
One of the best manner of exploring the scenic landscapes of Ladakh is trekking. Be it the winter season or the summer season, trekking provides you an outstanding experience. Some of the most popular trekking routes here are, Chadar, Stok Kangri, Tso Moriri and Markha Valley.
5. Go river rafting!
Struggling against the forceful rapids always gives you that ultimate adrenaline rush. No wonder then that river rafting is a favorite amongst tourists to Ladakh. Nothing is more adventurous than fighting your way against the freezing waters of Zanskar River. Along the way, you are treated to magnificent sights of hilltop monasteries, hillside villages and glimpses of the unique wildlife.
6. Take the Ride on Double Bactrian camel!
The thrill of taking a ride on a double humped Bactrian camel is simply indescribable. The place to do this would be the Nubra Valley, located at 12,000ft above sea level. This wonderful wobbly ride takes you through the various landscapes of the region. This is the ride of a lifetime!
7. Look, a snow leopard!
Spotting a snow leopard is a real privilege. These magnificent beasts, sporting a white fur, camouflage themselves with the environs as they patiently wait for their prey. One of the best places to view these lovely creatures is the Hemis National Park. This park is home to more than 200 snow leopards, and is best visited during winters.
8. Explore the Buddhist Monasteries!
The various monasteries in Ladakh are some of the most ancient ones in the world. As such, they are a repertoire of knowledge and wisdom. One of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh is the Spituk Monastery. It also enjoys a fabulous location, and offers panoramic views of the surroundings. Another monastery worth checking out is Hemis Monastery. Besides being the biggest in all of Ladakh, it also hosts the famous Hemis Festival in June every year.
9. The Royal side of Ladakh!
The magnificent Leh Palace lies in a dilapidated state in this day and age. However, its grandeur is still reflected in its wood and stone ruins. It is often visited by history and architecture enthusiasts. Built by King Namgyal in the 17th century, this building is nine stories high. One can get panoramic views of the Zanskar and Stok Kangri ranges that traverse the Indus Valley.
10. Opt for a homestay!
A great way to get acquainted with the culture of Ladakh is opting for a homestay. Try to get in touch with a local family. The warm-hearted people will host you with great zeal and enthusiasm. Enjoy a drink of butter tea, taste some delicious momos (dumplings) and have a great time.
11. Gaze at the starlit sky!
When it comes to certified stargazing in India, nothing beats Ladakh! Engaging in stargazing here transports you to the world of stars and comets. The infinite sky, glistening with stars, casts a magical spell on the onlooker. In Ladakh, the best place to do this is the Nubra Valley.
12. The Mysterious Magnetic Hill!
Ever heard of a car ascending without any external force being applied to it? Don’t be shocked, defying the laws of physics is a common experience here. The Magnetic Hill, as it’s commonly referred to, pulls a car or a bike towards the peak. The reasons behind this occurrence are as yet unknown. However, it’s worth giving it a try!
13. River of opportunity!
One of the top things to do in Ladakh is watching the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers. The frozen Zanskar River presents tremendous trekking opportunities during winters. Also known as Chadar Trek, it’s a favorite among adventure seekers. The surreal beauty of the icy world enveloping you throughout the trek leaves you overwhelmed.
14. Sipping Tea at World’s highest Cafeteria
A board stating the benefits of drinking black tea welcome you at Rinchen Cafeteria. Located at an altitude of 18,380ft, momos and Maggi are also served along with tea. This wonderful cafe has been named after Col. Rinchen for seizing Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Once here, check out the various stories, paintings and quotes by the Army.
15. Piping hot Maggie at High Altitude!
Nothing beats the taste of piping hot Maggi at high altitudes. After a tiresome journey which leaves you exhausted, this humble meal comes as a blessing. One of the best place to experience this treat is Khardung La. Here, not only do you enjoy the meal, but discover a fascinating history associated with it.
16. Participate in Mask Festival!
Hemis Mask Dance Festival is one of the famous festivals in Ladakh. This colorful and vibrant festival is held every year at Hemis Gompa, the biggest monastery in Ladakh. The main attractions are the mask parade and the “Chaam” dance. Here, the Lamas put on a spectacle with their burgundy and mustard yellow attires
17. Attend a Ladakhi Wedding!
A wedding in Ladakh is a quite solemn affair. However, the various rituals associated with it are every bit as interesting. The couple wears ceremonial dresses while the guests, seated on small tables, are served butter tea. Traditional songs are played and dance goes on for hours. “Chang”, the local alcohol is served and everyone joins in the festivities.
18. Ladakh’s local delicacies!
Ladakh’s cuisine is the result of an innovative twist to Kashmiri cuisine. One of them is the delicious stew which contains a wonderful combination of ingredients like rice, noodles, momos, thukpa etc. One should also try the Yak Cheese and the Yak Cheese momos here. Of course, no meal is complete without trying the local butter tea.
19. Meditate by the famous lakes!
Lakes in Ladakh enchant the visitors with their breathtaking beauty. They are known as “Tso.” Pangong Tso, which means “long and narrow lake,” is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Tso Kar and Tso Moriri are two famous lakes. Mirpal Tso attracts travelers with its sandy bed and turquoise waters.
20. Pleasures of bird watching!
The enormous and arid landscape of Ladakh is a haven for diverse avifauna. This region is visited by various species of birds, many of them endangered. The amazing solitude makes bird watching in Ladakh a perfectly blissful activity. Bird watching is popular in Suru Valley, Rizong Monastery and Nubra Valley, besides others.
21. Pray Some, Spin Some!
Ladakh is dotted with several monasteries that are as charming as they are fascinating. A visit to any of them is sure to leave you with great memories. One of the prime activities to do in a monastery is spin a prayer well. Spinning the prayer wheel, according to Buddhist traditions, ushers in good luck. So, when in Ladakh, spin that wheel!
22. Mingle with monks!
One of the great attractions of visiting the monasteries is mingling with the monks. Saffron clad and bald, they possess a wealth of knowledge, with a good dose of humor. Request them humbly, and you may just be in for a session of fascinating tales and stories.
23. Make-a-wish stones
Since the beginning of history, stone stacking has been followed by wish making. During earlier ages, they served the roles of messengers, signs and landmarks. The locals however believe that stacking stones brings good luck to travelers. Stack some stones, make a wish! Your work is done.
24. Shop in the Local Markets to Carry Memories of Ladakh Trip!
Shopping takes an exciting turn in the markets of Ladakh. It’s the best pace for mingling with the locals and learning various aspects about their culture. The streets here are lined with numerous stalls which display exotic items. From hand-woven rugs, wall hangings and wicker baskets to woolen bags, one finds it all here!
25. Visit Leh City after sunset!
Sunsets in Leh City are unlike any other you may have come across. Here, the sun takes its own time to leisurely paint the sky red. One of the best places to witness the sunset here is Shanti Stupa. Bring your camera along, and capture some great shots.