Download GPX file for this article
34.16666666777.583333333Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Leh is one of the two capitals of Ladakh, a union territory of India. Leh is in the Indus River Valley, at a crossroads of the old trading routes from Xinjiang, Tibet and Kashmir. Since 2000, Indian tourists have been visiting Ladakh, with a dramatic increase in 2010 after the film Three Idiots.


There is a pass that links Leh directly to Khotan. The city's importance as a trading town slowed down with the partition of India, and ended with the closure of the border in 1962 during the Sino-Indian War. Since opening to tourists in 1974, it has become a bustling tourist town, with many Kashmiri traders.

It is a small town, so it is easy to get most places on foot. The old town is a compact area of mud brick houses and narrow lanes directly to the east of Main Bazaar. Changspa is the agricultural "suburb" northwest of the centre, with many guesthouses.

The main Bazaar's elevation is approximately 3,555 m (11,490 feet) and Changspa is higher, so take it easy on your first few days there or risk possible altitude sickness. Even those experienced with high altitude might have some trouble.

Winters are very cold and due to the drop in tourism, many shops, hotels and trekking companies will be closed. If you plan to visit during the winter and are an independent traveller, double check all arrangements (call your hotel instead of booking online).

  • 1 District Magistrate Office (DC Office). First destination for tourists to acquire a permit when intending to head into areas of Ladakh close to the Pakistani and Chinese border. See Ladakh#Fees and permits for more information. ₹600.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL IATA) (5 km from the center of Leh). Planes fly year round and are the only option in the winter. Book early and allow at least a few days of flexibility as flights are often delayed due to weather conditions. Air India, SpiceJet, Vistara and IndiGo have daily flights from Delhi. Air India flights are also available from Srinagar, Jammu and Chandigarh, but not daily. Air India, SpiceJet, and IndiGo also have almost daily flights from UAE to Leh, with a stopover in Delhi. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (Q1431870) on Wikidata Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport on Wikipedia

With the bankruptcy of "Go First" in 2023 passengers numbers have apparently plumped by half.

Getting there and away:

  • On foot – From the airport terminal it is just 5 km to the center of Leh, and some accommodation options are even before that. So, you might just decide to walk the distance.
  • By bus – Upon exiting the airport gate, buses running to the centre cost ₹20. Taxi drivers will insist a prepaid taxi is the only way to get into town—don't get tricked! Also the airport website states that there is a public bus. If you don't want to wait for the irregular airport bus, walk along the main road towards the city for about 500 m and around the corner, where many local buses make a u-turn and you can hop-on.
  • By taxi – Only prepaid taxis run from the airport, charging ₹550 to the city centre.

By bus[edit]

  • 2 Leh Bus Terminal. The Leh bus station is chaotic and poorly organised. There are three sections, one for local transportation within range of Leh (as far as Alchi) in the southern part, one for state run national buses (in the western part), and one for private regional and national buses (in the northern part).

The local buses get exceptionally crowded, times of departure fluctuate greatly, and there is no ticket office (just board the bus, and pay to the conductor). When planning a trip to a destination in Ladakh ask around to find when the departure time roughly is, and show up at the station half an hour early; ask people there what bus to take, don't trust the destinations marked on the buses; take a seat and wait for the bus to depart. Then expect to spend at least an hour at the bus station.

Except for local transportation within range of Leh, it is expected that you book your ticket at least one day in advance, even for Nubra Valley. You will want to make sure that you get a seat and that the bus even goes, especially for Srinagar and Manali. The ticket office is at the far end of the bus station and the process is more straight forward and less time-consuming. For regional destinations you can also turn up at departure, but the bus conductor will definitely let you feel that you should have bought a ticket beforehand.

From Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

State buses run from Srinagar and also privately operated deluxe buses. The HRTC bus from Srinagar to Leh cost ₹980 (2023). On the way back, they will leave from Leh at 2PM.

The Srinagar buses run longer that the Manali ones, potentially until mid October.

From Himachal Pradesh[edit]

From Manali, Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) ply the road between June and around 15th September, allowing you to stop in a number of places along the way—costs ₹156 (Manali-Keylong) + ₹539 (Keylong-Leh). Also, private buses stop in Keylong, Darcha or Sarchu—the last alternative (800 m higher than Leh) involving a high incidence of altitude sickness.

Furthermore, Himachal Pradesh Tourist Development Corporation (HPTDC) operates deluxe buses from Manali that stop overnight in Keylong, between June and around 15th September—costs ₹2,700 (August 2017).

It is possible to book direct tickets Delhi-Leh, but the best option is to break off the journey in Manali and at the lower end of Lahaul: Sissu, Keylong (main population centre) or Jispa; all around 3,100 m altitude.

By road[edit]

There are two roads into Leh—both equally spectacular in different ways, and time-consuming with winding, narrow roads and numerous military checkpoints:

  • Manali-Leh Highway – The route from Manali to Leh, covering a distance of 473 km (294 mi), is the one more commonly taken by tourists. It takes two days, normally with an overnight stop either in Keylong (alt. 3,096 m) or in camp accommodation in Sarchu (4,253 m) or Pang (4,500 m). Making the first stop in Keylong drastically reduces the risk of altitude sickness (AMS). It traverses one of the highest road passes in the world and is surrounded by wild, rugged mountains. The scenery is fantastic, though it is definitely not for the fainthearted. This historical trade route was linked to Yarkhand in China, severed by the India-China war in 1962, and later was transformed into a military supply road. Reliable access is limited from June to October, as it is blocked by snow for the rest of the year. There are plenty of inexpensive (₹200-300) camp accommodation along the way and some interesting sights en route, which can invite you to take your time heading up to Leh, like:
  • Spiti Valley – A side tour in the east before Keylong and a destination not to be missed. If hiking is your thing, you may take a shortcut by Chandratal Lake coming out at Baralacha Pass (4,928 m), 45 km before the border with Ladakh.
  • Stingri (3,180 m) – A steep mountain region with many homestays and guest houses.
  • Darcha (3,350 m)– The last green village and a popular mountain village. You can also find cheap camp accommodation along the highway here.
  • Deepak Tal (3,760 m) – A picturesque and popular mountain lake with a PWD tourist rest house nearby.
  • Sarchu (Ladakhi border post, 4,300 m) – Cheer endless inexpensive camps for accommodation.
  • Gata Loops (4,200–4,650 m) – 22 winding loops up a steep mountain.
  • Pang (4,500 m) – A bleak village and rest stop with some accommodation but the interesting Wayland natural wind sculptures right when you enter the canyon towards east on foot.
  • Changthang Western Lakes (from 4,600 m) – Right off the highway, 4 hr before Leh, an impressive lake and hot spring region.
  • Srinagar-Leh Highway – The main advantage of taking the road from Srinagar, covering a distance of 434 km (270 mi), is that it runs at a lower altitude, and thereby reduces the risk and severity of altitude sickness. It is also open longer—normally from the beginning of June to October. It follows the traditional trade route between Ladakh and Kashmir, which passes through many picturesque villages and farmlands. The disadvantage is that it passes through areas of higher risk of militant troubles. It takes two long days, with an overnight stop in Kargil. There are a few interesting places to stop en route:
  • Kargil at 2,693 m, where the buses stop and best choice for altitude acclimatization,
  • Lamayuru, and
  • Alchi that also offer accommodation.

The clearance of snow and opening for public transport is announced at the official website of Leh. Srinagar-Leh news updates are found here, and Manali-Leh here.

By taxi[edit]

The fastest way to get to Leh from Manali is by tempo traveller or taxi van, sometimes by 4WD. Shared taxis do the trip in one long day (of about 14 hr). Keep in mind that all single day rides comes with a risk of being stranded near 5,000 m without being acclimatised, with severe altitude sickness as a result. The journey costs up to ₹3,000 per person. During the high season tickets must be bought in advance of the day of departure and the main street in old Manali is full of ticket touts.

In case of 4WD, it is advised to take a front seat and do not allow yourself to be seated in the boot. These seats (in the boot) are inward facing and sitting on one of those for that long will take all the pleasure out of the trip.

There might also be minibuses and shared taxis that make an overnight stop in Sarchu—this comes with a high incidence of altitude sickness, since Sarchu (also dubbed "The Vomit Hilton") lies more than 700 m higher than Leh, at 4,253 m.

Privately hired taxis allow the luxury of stopping wherever you like, and allow you to decide on how many people you will travel in your group.

If you are coming from Srinagar, go to #1 taxi stand in town. You can either book direct to Leh or book your seat on sumo taxi to Kargil for ₹500, stay overnight and then book your seat for Leh from Kargil and pay ₹400 upon arrival in Leh but this is a lot of messing around and accommodation in Kargil is often of poor value. Get them to drop you at Fort Road in Kargil, which is the heart of the tourist area and accommodation is close by. Ask for middle seat in the taxi as it's too crowded in the front and too uncomfortable in the back.

By thumb[edit]

Many locals and trucks ply both highways into Leh, some willing to take you the full distance, some just to the next village. Since, there are some sights along the way and to reduce the risk of altitude sickness, especially on the Manali-Leh Highway, it is recommended to have a least one overnight stop at one of the many inexpensive rest stops along the way (₹200–300).

See also #By road for additional information about road conditions and sights along the way.

Those staying longer in Ladakh are likely to find themselves traveling by thumb at some point.

By truck[edit]

It is also possible to travel between Leh and Manali by truck. These trucks ply the route when it opens in summer, and they will be no new sight for anyone who has been in India for even a few days. Making the 450 km journey in the cab of one of these trucks is an experiencenot to miss—they are not as comfortable as taxis, nor do they give as good visibility as taxis or buses. But sleeping in the cab and eating the same food as the locals is worth it.

You don't necessarily have to do the whole distance at once, especially on the Manali-Leh Highway. This way the truck drivers will most likely also not be pressured to charge you for the ride, because many truck drivers will see no reason you should not pay. Some will ask even more than the comparable bus price. However, you are never forced to go with them, so just wait for any indication that this ride will cost and thankfully bow out of the ride.

You can pre-arrange truck drivers (for a few rupees) in Manali by going to the main truck stop in the new town. Here the drivers stop on their way from Delhi to Leh and will be more than happy to give you a ride for about ₹500. Make sure you do not pay before you travel. In Leh, there is a similar truck park. Try to pick a truck with the fewest passengers already, otherwise your trip will be even less comfortable—most drivers are on their own, sometimes going in convoy.

By motorbike[edit]

The Manali-Leh Highway is very popular with Indians to go on a motorbike. Bikes are available for rent at Manali. Note that you will need a bike allowed for driving in Ladakh—you cannot just take a scooter rented in Delhi.

When biking to Leh, it is advisable to travel at a slow pace to allow acclimatization. A suggested itinerary is:

  • Day 1: Manali–Jispa (110 km; 68 mi)
  • Day 2: Jispa–Pang (130 km; 81 mi)
  • Day 3: Pang–Leh (130 km; 81 mi).

Essential supplies include: puncture repair kit, spare clutch cables and some good carriers (to hold luggage). The next bike workshop after Manali is Keylong (110 km; 68 mi) and then at Leh (400 km; 249 mi).

See also #By road for additional information about road conditions and sights along the way.

Get around[edit]

Map of Leh

On foot[edit]

Leh is so small that you can cover enough places with the town by just walking.

By bus[edit]

Also local public buses call at the main bus station of Leh—the airport and close by destinations like Choglamsar or Spituk go for ₹20. Here are some connections (as of Sep 2023):

  • Choglamsar – Every 15-20 min from dawn till dusk
  • Spituk – Every 30 min from dawn till dusk
  • Alchi (government bus) – Leave from Leh at 8AM and 2PM. Leave from Alchi at 10AM and 4PM.
  • Kharu/Sakti (government bus) – Leave from Leh at 8AM and 1PM. Leave from Kharu/Sakti at noon and 4PM.

For Alchi and Kharu it is best to be at the bus station at least 30 min before the departure, daily buses will get full quickly—forget about boarding these buses beyond the bus station.

It seems that private buses (including airport) wait a few minutes (or longer) at the 3 bus stop near Leh Main Gate—catch them there if you don't wanna head down to the bus station first.

By motorbike[edit]

Various places on main Bazaar and Changsp Rd rent motorbikes. But Leh, Phyang and Choglamsar are the only places with petrol stations. Make sure you are adequately insured with third party claims before renting any private vehicle.

By taxi[edit]

They have fixed prices (updated every 2 years) and can be arranged from the taxi stand along Fort Rd. When available, you may also purchase a copy of the fare-booklet for ₹20.

By tour[edit]

Many travel agents in Leh will offer several day tours to the nearby tourists sites, stating in their shop windows that they just need one or two more people to get the car full. That is BS and a way to lull you in, just to sell you an overpriced tour that is simply a taxi ride around the region. Don't think that these travel agents offer any value.

You are better off organising a private taxi yourself, in case you are two or three people. This way you can determine what the trip will look like—the taxi driver should only be interested in the distance and when he will be back. But don't trust the taxi drivers either and only (full) pay in the end.

If you are on your own, rely on buses and hitchhiking—they are the best way to explore Ladakh.


Sankar Monastery is a half hour's walk from Leh

For such a historic site and popular tourist destination, Leh has surprisingly few tourist sights (though a great number more are accessible as day trips):

  • 1 Donkey Sanctuary (Home for helpless donkeys). Just off the road leading to Khardung-La. The public is encouraged to visit the sanctuary and friendly signs will direct you to the sanctuary from the centre of Leh. It is no more than a pleasant 5 to 10 minute stroll from the main road to the Sanctuary and the artistic surprise awaiting you is well worth the effort. It is open to the public throughout the day and donations and juicy carrots are most welcome and used exclusively for improving the lives and welfare of these wonderful animals. Free.
  • 2 Shanti Stupa (the entrance fee can be avoided if you take the stairs). Built by a Japanese Buddhist group. This modern stupa is somewhat kitschy, but still worth a visit. ₹30. Shanti Stupa (Q2090440) on Wikidata Shanti Stupa on Wikipedia
  • 3 Leh Palace. Very notably it thrones above the city. ₹25. Leh Palace (Q3043543) on Wikidata Leh Palace on Wikipedia

Monasteries and temples[edit]

Many use Leh as a base to visit the numerous gompas, the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh.

  • 4 Karma Dupgyud Choeling. Monastery in the Karma Kagyu tradition. Not much to see here, unless you are interested in Buddhism, but it is opposite the street of one of the Dalai Lama residencies.
  • 5 Namgyal Tsemo Gompa (Namgyal Tsemo Gompa). 7–9AM during the morning puja. Above the Palace, built 1430. ₹20. Namgyal Tsemo Monastery (Q4312749) on Wikidata Namgyal Tsemo Monastery on Wikipedia
  • 6 Soma Monastery (Soma Gompa). Just around the corner from Main Bazaar, it's a large modern gompa. It's also the location of the Ladakhi Buddhist Association, a conservative political organisation with ties to Hindutva groups.


  • 7 Hall Of Fame (War Museum). Fascinating place run by the Indian Army showcasing the history, glory and the equipment related to army operations in some of the most hostile terrain in the world. It also has a fascinating display on the Siachen battlefield, the highest and one of the more arduous battlefield in the world. Hall of Fame (Q114143670) on Wikidata
  • 8 Central Asian Museum. Central Asian Museum (Q113992455) on Wikidata

Further afield[edit]

  • 9 Confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. This is easy to find, as the water of Zanskar is brown, whilst that of the Indus is a little pink.
  • 10 Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. This Gurudwara houses a rock with the imprint of a Sikh that supposedly prayed here and was supposed to be crushed by the rock, but miraculously survived.
  • 11 Hemis Monastery, Hemis. Supposedly, the largest monastery of Ladakh with at least 150 lamas, but it doesn't look that way. Also notable for a huge painting of the Buddha, which is displayed to the public only once every 12 years - next time will be 2028. The entrance is probably mostly for the museum, but the monastary itself is not special and does not allow for any spectacular pictures. It feels more like a tourist trap, considering the amount of taxis with tourists that ply here—probably their way of paying tribute (and cash) to this monastery.
    If you are already here anyway and still don't want to go empty-handed, take the service road around the Hemis monastery (avoiding the ticket stand), and head up to Gotsang Monastery in the hills behind—it is a steep 2 km walk.
    ₹100. Hemis Monastery (Q4497698) on Wikidata Hemis Monastery on Wikipedia
  • 12 Magnetic Hill (stopping on the way to Alchi could be a good idea, or just hitchhike). A supposed optical illusion, where it seems cars rolling down the hill but actually go up. It might not be as impressive as hyped. Magnetic Hill (Q4274077) on Wikidata Magnetic Hill (India) on Wikipedia
  • 13 Palace of the King of Ladakh (former royal palace), Stok. The palace is the most noticeable building in Leh district; built in the 17th century, and now undergoing restoration. There's not much to see inside the palace, but there are good views outside. ₹100. Palace of Stok (Q1582929) on Wikidata
  • 14 Phyang Monastery, Phyang. It contains numerous sacred shrines inside the monastery, frescoes dating from the royal period. Phyang Monastery (Q4347714) on Wikidata Phyang Monastery on Wikipedia
  • 15 Shey Palace and Monastery (Shey Gompa), Shey (15 km south-east of Leh). Shey was once the ancient capital of Ladakh and is now just a rural village. The village is surrounded by spectacular mountains, a breathtaking view by day, and a great place to experience Ladakh. A 500 m walk up from the village to the palace will be rewarded with a fantastic view of one of the most beautiful landscapes of Ladakh. Shey Monastery (Q4521832) on Wikidata Shey Monastery on Wikipedia
    Shey Gompa
  • 16 Stok Monastery (Stok Gompa), Stok (15 km south of Leh). A pleasant village across the Indus with this monastery well worth visiting. Stok Monastery (Q26211257) on Wikidata Stok Monastery on Wikipedia
  • 17 Thiksey Monastery (Thiksey Gompa), Thiksey (the stairs from the lower parking near the highway will let you in for free). Much more worth it than Hemis, this is an excellent place to visit, a well maintained, active and interesting Geluk (the sect headed by the Dali Lama) Monastery. The two-storey-tall Matreya statue is stunning. ₹50. Thikse Monastery (Q867066) on Wikidata Thikse Monastery on Wikipedia


  • White-water rafting – On the Zaskar and Indus rivers, and their steep gorges. The Indus rafting route from Nimmu towards the Pakistani border has rapids of increasing severity of grades of 4, 4+, and 5; the latter two grades being not for the faint of heart.
  • Yak and Camel safari – Explore the town and its surroundings.
  • Skiing and Cycling – On routes such as Panikhar to Kanji.


Trekking in Ladakh offers a huge number of trekking opportunities with prices for low comfort camps in Markha Valley of ₹2,000 not uncommon.

From Leh itself there are some interesting half-day or 2 day hikes, in case you are not into several days treks with lot of equipment requirements.

  • 1 Chhamkang Ri (4,133 m). A 2-hr hike (3 km) with a great view of Leh and the valley. The trail starts in the very north of Leh.
  • 2 Unnamed Peak (4,050 m). Another 2-hr hike, which give you a view of the airport of Leh, the valley, and the Stok mountain and its range around. The trail starts east of Leh center, slightly north.
  • 3 Phyang-Leh (Gyamche La Pass, 4,810 m). If you take an early morning bus (8AM?) to Phyang village (3,600 m) in the parallel valley west of Leh, this trail leads you by the Gyamche La Pass and back into Leh from the north. This is a proper full day hike of 20 km, and considering its 1,200 m altitude gain, it will require some time. On the way, you can also visit Phyang Monastery.

Nearby Stok also offers some interesting trails, even a proper mountain:

  • 4 Stok Gompa Hike. This is an easy full day hike of 12 km (loop) going from 3,500–3,950 m just west of Stok.
  • 5 Stok La (pass) (4,846 m). 12.5 km (one-way), 1,200 m altitude gain—it's the pass that leads to Markha Valley. You might be able to do it in one day from Stok if you are fit, otherwise you might have to camp along the way. Note, people say that this is proper mountaineering and you will need some experience.
  • 6 Stok Kangri (6,140 m). A proper mountain for a 2-3 days hike from Stok. You should have some mountaineerinh experience if you do this peak. Since the peak is officially closed (for commercial tours), there are no camps along the way and you will have to bring your own tent and food. In case anyone asks, just say you are heading to Stok La. Stok Kangri (Q1507962) on Wikidata Stok Kangri on Wikipedia


  • Buddhism – There are several places in and around Leh where visitors are welcome to study the Buddha Dharma, either privately or in a class environment. The Mahabodi Society on Changspa Lane is one of the most active.


There are many NGOs in Ladakh who are based in Leh doing important work, many of them take on volunteers for a few months.

Since Ladakh was featured in the popular film 3 Idiots in 2010, domestic tourists have flocked to the city.


The Main Bazaar and the surrounding streets have numerous shops selling souvenirs, mostly Tibetan antiques or replicas. The Tibetan market is a good place to buy jewellery, souvenirs, and various other items such as Pashmina shawls (about ₹4,500–7,000). Be extremely wary when buying pashmina as half the shops in the city will falsely claim their products are pashmina.

There are half a dozen good book shops with an excellent range of books on the Himalayas, including novels, guidebooks, phrasebooks, books on history and on Buddhism.

People needing some warm clothing should consider the second hand clothing bazaar near the terrain vehicle stand. Good used clothing from first world countries is cheap, which is handy if you are only in the cooler climate for a little while.

Leh also has the best selection in the area of food for trekking albeit not all that different from normal instant noodles, dried fruits, nuts, biscuits, powdered milk and chocolate that's available anywhere around the Main Bazaar.


Main Bazaar has a few sweet shops selling samosas, chana dhal with puri, and other Indian food in addition to the sweets. However, they are ridiculously overpriced, as are the German bakeries, which sell stale pastries.

The shopping areas of the old town and the area around the bus station are good for Tibetan styled restaurants, although few offer more than thukpa (noodle soup) and momos (dumplings).

There are several Punjabi thali shops in the "old city bazar" on the corner of the main bazar where you can get thali for around ₹100.


Budget places are mostly located in the back alleys of the center.

  • 1 Zomsa Restaurant. Inexpensive mutton chowmein, tupka and momos. No chai, just coffee.
  • 2 National Restaurant. Another mutton place popular with locals serving thali style dishes and chai.
  • 3 Gurudwara (just north of the Main Bazaar). As everywhere in India, the Gurudwara serves mostly rice and dal throughout the day, but often chai is served as well. Donation.

Further afield[edit]

  • 4 Dosa Point by Indian Army - Highest Dosa Point, Kharu. Besides what the name of the place indicates, this is one of the most delicious and inexpensive dosa places, probably in the whole of India. If visiting Hemis or are on the way to Pangong Lake, you must have a stop here. Masala dosa ₹50, onion masala dosa ₹70.
  • 5 Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. This Gurudwara has one of the better Langars in India, delicious curry with Pakora or tofu. And outside you can enjoy chai watching the bustle with tourists, army and truckers alike. Donation, but probably not necessary since it is run by the army.

Mid-range and Splurge[edit]

Main Bazar has a decent selection of all-prices Tibetan-style and international restaurants, popular with tourists and locals. In the summer numerous garden restaurants spring up in Changspa serving Tibetan, Western and Indian dishes.


There is little in the way of nightlife in Leh. You can have a beer at many of the restaurants, but they close fairly early. For a more adventurous alternative, ask around the old town (or your guest house owner) for Chang the local home brewed beer, which costs about ₹15 for a litre; bring your own bottle.

Being a mountain area, clean water (not boiled) is available in restaurants and accommodations. There are a few springs scattered around Leh that provide a natural and plastic free alternative to using bottled water.

The amount of tea stall east of the main bazaar in notable, try the following:

  • 1 Tololing Tea Stall. His chai (milk tea) has a special delicious taste, try finding out why.



This whole chapter has been reviewed in 2023. We hope it will be helpful to you. In case of any comments or update suggestions, please give us your feedback on the Discussion page.

Leh has a large selection of mid-range accommodation, with some offering decent value. Most of the guest houses are located in Leh's northern suburbs in Changspa, Karzoo and surrounding areas, a 5–30-min walk from the centre. Many of the houses in Changspa have been converted to guest houses, which, surrounded by farmers' fields and often with excellent views, make wonderful places to stay.

If you consider Leh too busy and need tranquillity, head over to Stok village, which is similar to Changspa, but much less busy, of course lacking all the amenities of a large city. There is one hostel in Stok.


  • 1 Eagle Guest House, Changspa, +91 1982 253074. A very friendly atmosphere.
  • 2 Ecology Hostel, +91 9906189166. Quite a different place built for sustainability. They only have double rooms, which can be kind of nice compared to regular hostels. Toilets and restaurant are in different buildings, and the place gets quite hot and dry (literally) during the day. ₹400.
  • 3 Himalayan Bunker, +91 9541473878. An inexpensive, clean and recommended hostel, a little off the center though, but great location for exploring places outside of Leh. From ₹350.
  • 4 Himalayan Retreat Guesthouse, Changspa, +91 1982 251-130, . Home stay in beautiful surroundings.
  • 5 Hitchhikers Hostel, +91 7051163632. A clean hostel with proper facilities very far away from the center, but great for getting out of Leh. From ₹450.
  • 6 Old Ladakh Guest House (hidden in an alley in Old Leh), +91 9469466539. Often full.
  • 7 Oriental Guesthouse, Changspa, +91 1982 250-516, +91 1982 253-153, . Run by a very hospitable Ladakhi family. Quiet place with a nice courtyard. Food is made of fresh vegetables, grown in the courtyard garden.
  • 8 Solpon Guest House, Upper Changspa, +91 1982 253-067, . A little ahead of Zeepata Guest House, Most rooms have a great view either of the Shanti Stupa or of the Leh Palace and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa. 24 hr hot water, Good value for money.
  • 9 Zeepata Guest House, Upper Changspa, +91 1982 250-747, . Run by a very friendly Ladakhi family, some rooms with good views of Shanti Stupa and offers tasty homemade food and desserts. 24 hrs hot water, Good value for money.



  • 11 Hotel Golden Dragon. One of the few hotels open during winter. Has reliable, satellite backed WiFi, even when snowfall brings down the LTE and overland connections. ₹18,500.

Further afield[edit]

  • 12 Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. The Gurudwara also offers a free sleeping hall, in case you want to try this unique experience. It is a good idea in case you want to head to Alchi or further west in the morning and not just want to torture yourself getting out of Leh first.


Leh is well connected to the rest of India by LTE. However, regular pre-paid SIM cards bought in the rest of India do not work in Ladakh. You will need a postpaid card, either by buying a new one (which can be burdensome for a foreigner) or by registering your prepaid SIM for postpaid, which however takes up to 18 days. Having said that, most accommodations have working WiFi and you could probably abstain from mobile reception in Ladakh while you are here.


  • Kargil Number is a widely available local newspaper.

Stay safe[edit]

Leh is one of the safest places in India.

Carry a torch at night, as there is next to no street lighting, and there are some very deep drainage ditches. Beware of the stray dogs which rule streets during the night, especially in the inner alleys and around eateries.


Ladakh was struck with serious floods and mud slides in August 2010. The airport was operational within days, and the major roads and bridges after a few weeks, and Manali-Leh was re-routed temporarily, until October after Rumtse, making it more than a hundred kilometres longer. The road was fully operational in October 2010.

Go next[edit]

Many sights around Leh can be explored on day tours, even Alchi.

  • Alchi – A small village with a gompa or Buddhist monastic complex, 4 km off the road to Kargil.
  • Lamayuru – A small village with a Buddhist gompa, beyond Alchi and still on the way to Kargil.
  • Nubra Valley – An impressive river valley of the Sytok and Nubra rivers, villages of apricot and apple trees, sand dunes, monasteries and many more.
  • Pangong Lake – A very popular 64 km long soda lake of picturesque colours situated between India and China.
  • Hemis National Park – Inhabited by a number of snow leopards, Hemis National Park is home to many rare and endangered species. Also, one of the entry/exit point into Markha Valley, popular with experienced hikers and trekkers.
  • Tso Moriri – An impressive lake region close to the border with China and a convenient side tour from the Leh-Manali Highway. Probably best to visit when entering or leaving Ladakh via Manali.
  • Zanskar – One of the remotest areas in Ladakh, only accessible through high passes.
This city travel guide to Leh is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.