Places to visit in Leh Ladakh

Leh Ladakh is such a dream destination that every traveller desires to go there once in his lifetime. It’s a Buddhist kingdom, with palaces, gompas and monasteries rising high over the stark landscape of Ladakh. It’s a place of unique landscapes, that can never be found anywhere in India. The first thing you need to know if the places to visit in Leh Ladakh.

Tourists go there with a promise to seek adventure, explore Tibetan culture, breathe the unpolluted air, and experience the heavenly bliss that can be found everywhere in Ladakh.

We’ve come up with a list of places to visit in Leh Ladakh, including its top attractions and the best tourist landmarks that should be visited on your trip to Leh Ladakh.

Places to Visit in Leh Ladakh

1. Shanti Stupa, Ladakh

Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa

The strikingly white structure of Shanti Stupa and its dome is the most recognizable landmarks in Leh Ladakh. It was built by Japanese and Ladakhi Buddhists to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote world peace.

The white surface looks magnificent in the daytime, but on full moon nights, it looks even more beautiful when it gets bathed in the soft glow of the moon rays. Tourists can experience the joys of meditation inside the Stupa, and also see the stunning views of sunrise and sunset.

  • How to reach: 5 km from Leh via car.
  • What to do: Meditate in the Buddha Hall, Walk around the stupa, photography, shopping for handicrafts.
  • Entry Fee: NA

2. Leh Palace, Ladakh

Leh Palace

Built in the 17th century, Leh Palace is a splendid example of medieval Tibetan architecture and design. The ingenious structure of Leh Palace makes the interior warm in cold days and cools in the scorching summer heat. Inside, there are corridors, spacious halls and chambers.

You can have a good view of the surrounding country from the top. Though it now lies in ruins, it’s the most visited monument in Leh Ladakh.

  • How to reach: 5 km from Leh airport via car.
  • What to do:  Visit the museum, see the scenic view from the top, admire the architecture.
  • Entry Fee: INR 15 per person (Indian citizens), INR 100 (Foreigner nationals).

3. Khardung La Pass, Ladakh

Khardung La Pass LADAKH
Khardung La Pass

This mountain pass in Ladakh is the highest motorable roads in India. Though people have come to know of Khardung La Pass in modern times, it used to be part of an ancient caravan route, transporting supplies from Leh to towns in Central Asia.

Its unique terrain makes it a hotspot for mountain biking expeditions. It is also the most treacherous roads to drive, as heavy traffic falling rocks, melting snow, mud and craters makes it a nightmare for drivers.

  • How to reach: 39 km from Leh. Drive of 1 hr 9 min
  • What to do:  Biking, photography.
  • Entry Fee: Rs.20/- per person, per day.

4. Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh

Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh

Remember the lake from the movie “3 Idiots”? Well, that’s Pangong Tso Lake in Leh Ladakh. The crystal blue waters of the lake, with the surrounding landscape of bare mountain peaks, is a photographer’s delight.

In winters though, the lake freezes and its surface attracts tourists to the Ice Skating Festival. The lake is breeding ground for migratory birds, and camping around the lake is an exciting activity.

  • How to reach: 160 km from Leh. A 5-hr drive from Leh.
  • What to do: Camping at the banks of the lake, Visit Ice Skating Festival, Bird watching, photography.
  • Entry Fee: NA
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5. Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley, Ladakh

If you want to watch the true splendour of Leh Ladakh, then Nubra Valley is where you must head to. This fertile valley, nourished by the waters of the Nubra and Shyok Rivers, has pretty apple orchards, scenic landscapes, and colourful Buddhist monasteries. The vast sand dune of the cold desert lends a surreal touch to the landscape.

  • How to reach: 121 km from Leh. Drive of 4 hr 48 min via Khardung La Road.
  • What to do:  Bactrian Camel Rides, Jeep Safari, Photography,
  • Entry Fee: NA

6. Magnetic Hill, Ladakh

Magnetic Hill, Ladakh

The hill is so called as vehicles seem to defy gravity and move upward on the hill when parked at a marked spot. Though it is not certain that it is a reality or an illusion, this hill attracts tourists to watch this unusual spectacle.

  • How to reach: 30 km from Leh. Drive of 38 min.
  • What to do:  Yak Safari, mountain climbing, trekking.
  • Entry Fee: NA

7. Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Ladakh

Travelling to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa can be a great spiritual experience and visual treat for tourists. Built in the 15th century, on top of a rocky hill, the monastery offers a stunning view of the snow-capped Zanskar mountain range and the Indus River.

The monastery is famous for the three-storey high golden statue of Maitreya Buddha. The monastery is a beauty to behold, with its Tibetan architecture, frescoes and wall paintings inside the monastery.

How to reach: 5 km from Leh airport.
What to do: Photography.
Entry Fee: INR 20 per person
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Ladakh

Travelling to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa can be a great spiritual experience and visual treat for tourists. Built in the 15th century, on top of a rocky hill, the monastery offers a stunning view of the snow-capped Zanskar mountain range and the Indus River.

The monastery is famous for the three-storey high golden statue of Maitreya Buddha. The monastery is a beauty to behold, with its Tibetan architecture, frescoes and wall paintings inside the monastery.

  • How to reach: 5 km from Leh airport.
  • What to do: Photography.
  • Entry Fee: INR 20 per person

8. Spituk Monastery, Ladakh

Spituk Monastery

The Spituk Monastery, built in the 11th century, is an imposing structure in Leh Ladakh. It has the deity of Lord Buddha, antique paintings, festival masks, and an idol of Goddess Kali.

The Spituk Festival, held annually, is a colourful event, where the idol of Kali is unveiled, and there are masked dances by the monks, followed by prayers. The monastery offers beautiful views of the Spituk village and the surrounding mountains.

  • How to reach: 8 km from Leh via car.
  • What to do: Photography, Fairs and Festivals.
  • Entry Fee: INR 20 per person

9. Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary, Ladakh

Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary
Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary (Source)

Visit this sanctuary to see how animals and birds are able to brave the cold and harsh environment to survive and thrive. This sanctuary is a place of rocky terrain, sparse vegetation and bitter cold.

It is the best place to see species that can be found nowhere in India, like the Tibetan Ass, Wild Yak, Tibetan Wolf, Blue Sheep among others. It is also a breeding ground for migratory birds like Brahminy Duck and Bar-headed Goose.

  • How to reach: 153 km from Leh via car. 3 hr 23 min through Keylong-Leh Road.
  • What to do: Wildlife, Photography.
  • Entry Fee: Rs.5,900/- pp (includes meals, tents)

10. Hall of Fame Museum, Ladakh

Hall of Fame Museum ladakh
Hall of Fame Museum

The Hall of Fame Museum was built in memory of the soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan wars of Kargil and Siachen glaciers.

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The museum is maintained by the Indian Army and contains seized arms and ammunition, biographies of brave soldiers, uniforms, and other objects related to the Indian Army. One can also get to know the Ladakhi culture and wildlife of this region, besides many other things.

  • How to reach: 4 km from Leh via car.
  • What to do: History, Photography
  • Entry Fee: INR 10 per person for Indians, INR 50 per person for foreign tourists.

11. Stok Palace, Ladakh

Stok Palace

Built in 1825, Stok Palace is known for its architecture, beautiful gardens, and spectacular views. The palace has a collection of royal clothing, crowns, and other things. It’s located close to Indus River and is easily reachable by jeeps and taxis.

  • How to reach: 13 km. from Leh via car. Drive of 25 min.
  • What to do: History, Culture.
  • Entry Fee: INR 50 per person

12. Tso Moriri Lake, Ladakh

Tso Moriri Lake
Tso Moriri Lake

A remote lake, compared to the other lakes in Leh-Ladakh, Tso Moriri Lake is the largest alpine lake in India. Fewer tourists visit this lake due to its remote location, harsh climate prevailing here, and rough roads.

The lake is a beauty to behold, with its blue waters, surrounding mountainous landscape, and open sky. Camping here, and sleeping under the starry night sky, is a must-do activity near the lake.

  • How to reach: 240 km from Leh. 6-7 hours drive from Leh.
  • What to do: Camping in Korzok village, photography, bird watching, wildlife excursions, fairs and festivals.
  • Entry Fee: NA

13. Tso Kar Lake, Ladakh

Among the lakes of Leh-Ladakh, Tso-Kar is the smallest and the most tranquil. The lake is perfect for overnight camping. The surrounding area near the lake is home to various nomads, who travel continuously in search of food and shelter.

The marshlands around the lake are visited by many migratory birds like Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked Cranes, and Brahminy Ducks in the summer to breed and lay eggs.

How to reach: 230 km from Leh via car. 3 hr 53 min through the Keylong-Leh Road.
What to do: Wildlife, Photography, Bird watching.
Entry Fee: NA
Tso Kar Lake

Among the lakes of Leh-Ladakh, Tso-Kar is the smallest and the most tranquil. The lake is perfect for overnight camping. The surrounding area near the lake is home to various nomads, who travel continuously in search of food and shelter.

The marshlands around the lake are visited by many migratory birds like Bar-headed Geese, Black-necked Cranes, and Brahminy Ducks in the summer to breed and lay eggs.

  • How to reach: 230 km from Leh via car. 3 hr 53 min through the Keylong-Leh Road.
  • What to do: Wildlife, Photography, Bird watching.
  • Entry Fee: NA

14. Zanskar Valley, Ladakh

Zanskar Valley, Ladakh
Zanskar Valley, Ladakh

Among the most beautiful places in Leh-Ladakh, Zanskar Valley is well-known for its captivating views and adventure sports. It is a paradise for trekking, river rafting, and paragliding. There are beautiful cave monasteries such as ‘Lingshed’ and ‘Phuktal’. The valley is closed in the winter months due to snow-covered roads, bad weather and treacherous conditions.

  • How to reach: 462 km from Leh via car. 10 hr 36 min via NH1 and NH301
  • What to do: Trekking, Monastery Festivals, River Rafting.
  • Entry Fee: NA

15. Hemis National Park, Ladakh

Hemis National Park
Hemis National Park

This national park is the only protected area having the maximum number of Snow Leopards found anywhere in the world. It is the largest national park in India, where you can spot such endangered animals like the Snow Leopard, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan Wolf, and the Red Fox. It’s one of the most scenic national parks where you can spot Golden Eagle, Himalayan Griffon Vulture and other birds.

  • How to reach: 10 km from Leh via car.
  • What to do: Wildlife, Trekking, Bird Watching, Photography
  • Entry Fee: INR 20 for Indian; INR 100 for foreigners.
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16. Kargil, Ladakh

Kargil
Kargil

Kargil, located along the banks of the Indus River, is the place of conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999. Kargil War Memorial was built by the Indian Army to commemorate the sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers.

The names of these soldiers can be found engraved on a huge sandstone wall. Many adventure sports like mountaineering, trekking, river rafting, archery, hiking, camping, and jeep safaris can be done in Kargil.

  • How to reach: 216 km from Leh via car. 4 hr 49 min via NH1.
  • What to do: Heritage.
  • Entry Fee: Rs.500/- per person.

17. Hemis Monastery, Ladakh

Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery

A visit to Ladakh is incomplete without visiting the Hemis Monastery. It is the largest monastery in Leh-Ladakh located amidst surrounding mountains. The fluttering prayer flags all around the monastery, beautiful architecture, paintings of Buddha, along with murals, Buddhist scriptures, and Stupas make the monastery an icon of Leh-Ladakh.

The Hemis Festival, held in the month of June-July, is a major event here when the whole region is coloured in festivities, from music, mask dance and local cuisine.

  • How to reach: 41 km from Leh. 59 min via Keylong-Leh Road
  • What to do: Culture, Temple tour
  • Entry Fee: NA

18. Moonland, Lamayuru Ladakh

Moonland, Lamayuru Ladakh

Lamayuru is a small hamlet in Ladakh. It is famous for its moon-like topography and craggy terrain, which inspires photographers to capture the amazing photos in their cameras. Lamayuru has the oldest monastery in Ladakh, the Lamayuru Monastery. It has murals, Buddhist paintings, and frescoes on the walls. In the midst of the unusual terrain, the monastery looks beautiful and is a visual delight.

  • How to reach: 100 km from Leh via car. 2 h 32 min via NH1.
  • What to do: Temple tour, photography.
  • Entry Fee: NA

19. Tiger Hill, Ladakh

Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill

One of the highest peaks of the Kargil sector, Tiger Hill became famous during the Indo-Pak war of 1999. Indian forces captured Tiger Hill and its conquest was actually a turning point in the war. Since then, Tiger Hill has become famous as a tourist attraction of Leh-Ladakh. The towering hill is a magnificent sight to behold and reminds us of the harsh environment in which Indian soldiers fight to save the country.

  • How to reach: Drive on Leh-Srinagar Hwy. 2 hrs from Dras Valley
  • What to do: Photography, Trekking.
  • Entry Fee: NA

20. Stakna Gompa, Ladakh

Stakna-Gompa

Located on the River Indus, Stakna Gompa is a beauty to behold. It is built on the top of a cliff and surrounded by mountains. The monastery has coloured walls, paintings of Buddha, a figure of Lord Buddha, and a prayer hall. The monastery commands a scenic view of the surrounding country.

  • How to reach: 25 km from Leh via car. 36 min via Keylong-Leh Road
  • What to do: Temple tour, photography.
  • Entry Fee: NA

With such awesome places, we are sure that your next trip will be to Leh Ladakh. If you have been to these places, do let us know of your experiences, so as to inform others too. Drop your email [email protected]

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