Ladakh is a place like no other. The beauty of the place can’t be expressed in words. Visiting Leh Ladakh can be a great experience as these places have a bounty of natural beauty. There is a bundle of attractions in Leh Ladakh, that are filled with extreme pristine beauty. Ladakh, with a unique characteristic that is a blend of Indian, Tibetan as well as Buddhism linings, is a place that is worth paying a visit to. So, scroll down to know what all awaits you while you choose from the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh.
Best Places To Visit In Leh Ladakh
Going on a holiday to a charming land like Ladakh is surely an experience of a lifetime. So, why would you want to miss out on anything best there? Monasteries, rivers, valleys, lakes, villages and museums – this place is a confluence of so many popular and awesome things. Here’s a list of the top places to visit in Leh Ladakh for a fantastic vacation.
Without a doubt, Zanskar valley is one of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh and the best Ladakh tourist places. It is amongst the most desolate places in the Himalayan range. The steep terrains covered with snow reflect the heavenly skies. The tributaries of the Zanskar River is one of the most famous places for river rafting in India. The Zanskar, Ladakh places of interest are surely among those must-visit places in Leh Ladakh that you just cannot afford to miss while you’re in Ladakh!
Remember the breathtakingly beautiful lake from 3 Idiots where Kareena Kapoor confessed her love? It’s Pangong Tso, a lake among the popular tourist attractions in Leh Ladakh situated on the Changtang plateau in the eastern Ladakh region. The lake offers an awesome site for camping and is the current hotspot for all people making it one of the best Ladakh tourist places. To avoid the crowd, you can visit this place during the off-season. The lake totally freezes during the winter, making it one of the best places to visit in Leh in January.
A trip to Leh Ladakh is incomplete without a visit to Kargil which is one of the prime tourist places in Ladakh. This is the second largest town in Ladakh, situated on the banks of the Indus River. It is a transit hub with roads leading to Leh, Padum (Zanskar) and Srinagar. Also, it is a haven for adventure enthusiasts as they can enjoy sports such as trekking and mountaineering. Make sure you pack sufficiently to enjoy these activities at one of the most famous places in Leh Ladakh!
Khardungla Pass is a gateway which leads to the Nubra and Shyok valley and is one of the best tourist places in Ladakh. While this might not be a typical tourist attraction in Leh Ladakh, it is definitely among the must-visit places to visit in and around Leh Ladakh for adventure junkies. Managed by the Border Roads Organization, Kardung-la Pass is the gateway to the north and one of the most difficult yet thrilling passes to ride on.
Certainly one of the best places to see in Ladakh, it was featured as one of the top 5 places to visit in Ladakh, Nubra valley, a tri-armed valley towards the northeast. The sand dunes of the Nubra Valley offer tourists Arabian Nights experience. Nubra valley is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Leh Ladakh for its two-humped camels. So, be sure to check out this one while you’re out and about in the scenic land of Leh! One of the famous places here is the Samstanling Monastery, which should definitely be on your list. Panamik village which is famous for hot sulphur springs is another attraction in Nubra Valley.
One of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh is Magnetic Hill. The science behind the phenomenon is unknown but it has been observed that if you leave your vehicle at the base of the hill with the brakes unlocked, it will start moving uphill slowly on its own. Magic? Definitely not. It’s simply the superpowers you get when you reach this place. This makes it really important to be included in your list of places in Leh Ladakh!
Ladakh is known as the land of the monks and monasteries. Spituk is one of the many tourist places to visit in Ladakh and one of the best places to see in Ladakh. This is famous for its beautifully carved location at the top of a hill. The winds at the night, however, may chill you to the bones. Make sure you pack a few extra warm clothes to be comfortably cosy to visit one of the most serene places to go in Leh Ladakh.
If you want to get the best of Ladakh sightseeing, visit the Hemis National Park has the distinction of being the largest national park in South Asia. The park is a protected home for endangered mammals like leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear, and the red fox. For nature lovers and bird watchers, this has to be on your list of places to see in Ladakh. A pollution-free environment and noise-free surroundings make bird watching a joyful experience. Your Leh sightseeing experience stays incomplete without this one in the itinerary.
What better place to invoke some thoughts from within than this? Located on a hill in Chanspa, Leh, the Shanti Stupa is one of the most magnificent and peaceful Buddhist monuments you could possibly see in the extreme north of India for the best of Ladakh sightseeing. Take the steep slights to reach the Stupa which offers beautiful sunrise and sunset views. Also, the panoramic views of the landscape around it make the Shanti Stupa one of the best tourist places in Ladakh.
One of the most famous Buddhist monasteries in India, Hemis Monastery is known for its annual mask festival. This is a two-day spiritual celebration taking place on Tse Chu, the tenth month in the Tibetan calendar. The festival is celebrated in the memory of Guru Padmasambhava, who is believed to be the Gautam Buddha’s reincarnation.
Resembling the essence of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the Royal Leh Palace is situated on a cliff overlooking the charming town of Leh. A prominent symbol of the royal family’s glory living in this town in the old days, this place cannot be missed by any explorer out there! The stunning statue of Buddha at the back of this palace adds more to the charm of this place.
Its close resemblance to Moon is the main reason why this beautiful naturally occurring land is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh is hard to miss on your way to Lamayuru. If you wish to visit one of the most stunning unseen places in Leh, this is the place to be. It is best to travel to this place during the time of a full moon since it is believed to be a unique experience altogether with the moonlight reflecting on this kind of surface. Moonland is one of those unique places to visit in Leh Ladakh in April.
A twin to the popular Pangong Tso Lake, Tso Moriri Lake is a lesser-known lake located in the Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary. Its location contributes to the scenic beauty of this lake. Barren hills with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop make the sight simply breathtaking. The attribute of being a “lesser-known” makes this place less crowded so you can be sure of having a place to yourself at the lake. The open sky at Tso Moriri Lake makes it a perfect place for star gazing at night. Moriri Tso, also known as a ‘Mountain Lake’ was declared as a wetland reserve.
How about walking on a frozen lake? Chadar Trek is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ladakh such an unbelievable and exciting experience. ‘Chadar’ refers to a blanket, because in winter the popular Zanskar River in Leh Ladakh freezes into a blanket of ice. Come to witness the transformation of colours of this frozen river while you trek on it. The mild blue colour changes to light yellow when the sun shines directly on it for a few hours in the day. It looks milky white on a moonlit night. The Chadar Trek journey is said to be one of the most adventurous and toughest trek journeys.
Alchi is a busy village located in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, in the valley of the Indus River. The model town of Alchi is home to an ancient Buddhist monastery that dates back to 900 years. The monastery proudly bears the 11th – 12th-century Indo-Tibetan paintings done in bright green, gold, ochre and azure shades. The painted statue of Bodhisattva Maitreya is a major highlight of the monastery. You are suggested to spend a night at Alchi to discover the real Ladakhi village life. You can also enjoy river rafting at the Alchi Nyemo.
Resembling the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, Thiksey is one of the beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh. Snuggled at an altitude of 11,800 feet, this monastery is looked after by the people of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect. It comprises a 12-story building complex and houses more than 500 monks. Thiksey has a large and precious collection of Buddhist books, journals, statues, scripts, stupas, swords, and Thangka paintings.
Located in the beautiful Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery is one of the most beautiful and the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, founded in the 14th century by Changzem Tsera Zangpo. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism and has various Buddha statues, images of other guardian gods, and a huge drum. Owing to the breathtaking location, this one of the famous monasteries in Ladakh offers solemn serenity and inner peace. Situated close to it is Maitreya Buddha, another famous attraction here.
Stakna, locally known as Tiger’s Nose, is a small and serene monastery. It was founded during the reign of King Jamyang Namgyal in 1580. It houses numerous paintings, idols, and Buddhist scriptures, and has many sister monasteries like in Zanskar-Bardan, Stakrimo, and Sani. Located on the left bank of Indus River and perched on a hill, the Stakna monastery in Leh Ladakh offers amazing views of the Indus valley.
Phyang Gompa belongs to the red hat sect of Buddhism and is perhaps the most impressive monastery in Leh Ladakh. It is located on a hilltop and thus offers stunning views of the surrounding. This white and ochre-coloured structure is one of the must-visit monasteries in Ladakh and is an important hub of Digung teachings. The wall paintings at Phyang Gompa depict Buddhist culture and heritage. Make sure to stop by here on a day tour to Ladakh.
Likir Monastery is located 53 km west of Leh in the Likir village in the Indus Valley. Along with taxis, many buses travel between Leh and Likir from 5 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. Popularly known as Likir Gompa, it was founded by Lama Duwang Chosje in the 14th century. According to Buddhist mythology, this is the first construction by the Tibetan monks. The museum located inside the monastery showcases a wide array of Tibetan artefacts and relics.
Phugtal Monastery is constructed around and inside a hollow cave. Its mysterious location and structure make it one of the most fascinating sites for visitors. It is located in the southeast part of the Zanskar region in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. It is an isolated monastery and remains tucked far away from the city. One of the unique features is that the water of the cave remains flowing at the same pace irrespective of the water running outside. The water is also believed to have medicinal powers.
If you love to come across rugged and steep mountains replete with peaceful and spiritual folds, you must visit Namgyal Tsemo Gompa. The monastery is famous for its Buddhist principles and teachings. Travellers from all over the world come here to experience divinity. Experience the distinct mystique that surrounds the place on your visit here.
Situated at a distance of only 15 km, Stok Palace is found in the Stok Village. It is famously known as the summer home to the royal family of Ladakh. Established in the year 1820 by King Tsepal Namgyal. It is a glaring example of the rich history and lifestyle of the royal family. It is also home to Stok Monastery and is equipped with beautiful gardens and a huge library. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel for visitors to come to experience the royalty here.
The 400-year old undiscovered Buddhist Monastery, Chemrey Monastery is located 40 km away, in the east of Leh. One of the most remarkable features of the Monastery is the high statue of Padmasambhava. On your visit, do check out the wide collections of ancient scriptures. These scriptures are emboldened in gold and silver. Capture stunning views of the surrounding areas while you are here.