A common belief about Ladakh is that it is just a summer place; and to be completed alone in winter. I would not really deny that completely, because Ladakh lies under several meters of snow for half the year; and most areas here remain inaccessible for several months. However, the fact is that it remains open for tourists all year round. Several people, if not thousands, come here even in the height of winter.
Best time to visit Ladakh
Ladakh has a different color in each season. Every month brings its own set of surprises, own set of delights. It has a little for everyone; from adventurers, photographers, people looking for a bit of solitude and even families looking for a fun vacation. It is that mysterious forbidden land that opens its doors to visitors only for a few months and then disappears under a thick white layer of snow. Deciding on the best time to visit Ladakh can be a little confusing, so let me detail it month by month.
Ladakh in April
In April, everyone planning a trip to Ladakh that year begins to get anxious, waiting for the roads to open. Snowfall stops and summer begins to come. BRO continues to work to clear snow, and the two roads remain closed for most of April. It is at the end of April that the Srinagar Leh highway is declared open, but this is not really a guarantee either, and sometimes the date may even reach the beginning of May. Hotels and inns are beginning to prepare for the tourist season. The only way to get to Ladakh in April is by air and it is not really an ideal time to travel.
You can’t see snow, but the weather is cold, you’ll have trouble finding a hotel or guest house, you’ll end up paying more for accommodations, and most of all, you’ll miss the Manali Leh or Srinagar Leh highways. By the end of April, all lakes, including Pangong and Moriri, completely melted to their natural blue. Roads towards Nubra and Pangong are open, however, this month, but may be closed temporarily if it snows in Khardung La or Chang La.
Ladakh in May
May marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ladakh, after the Srinagar Leh highways open in late April or early May. Several hotels and inns are operational, however, there is still a lot of snow, especially towards the top of the peaks. The roads are also in a very bad situation when BRO starts restoration work. Visiting Ladakh this time would mean flying there or taking Srinagar Leh Road to get to Ladakh and return home.
Ladakh in June
The tourist station is in full swing with the opening of the Manali Leh road in early June. All hotels and inns are fully functional. This is the time to go if you also want to catch some snow on the Manali Leh road passes. The roads, however, are not yet completely restored and you may find many uneven stretches along the way. You will also find many streams of water along the way when the snow begins to melt.
Ladakh in July
This is one of the perfect months for the trip to Ladakh, if you can do it in the first half before Monsoon hits the Himalayan region. The roads are in perfect condition and all of Ladakh is open for visitors, including some of the internal roads, such as the Wari La route. Whole Ladakh at this time is full of tourists and the valleys will present great views around.
Ladakh in August
If vegetation is on your mind, then it is time to leave. You may find rain; however, it will be limited to areas around Kullu, Manali; Srinagar and Sonamarg, while Ladakh experiences very little rain (except for the unfortunate incident of cloud explosion). After crossing Baralacha La on the Manali Leh route and Zoji La on the Srinagar Leh road; You enter a rain-shaded area where there is very little or no rain. Traveling at this time will feature verdant valleys; however, be ready for lots of mud, mudslides, puddles and possibly also roadblocks and even traffic jams.
Ladakh in September
September is the perfect time to visit Ladakh. The monsoon is gone, but the vegetation is still everywhere, Ladakh is blooming with color everywhere, hotels and inns are all functional and the roads are almost in perfect condition. Whole Ladakh overflows with amazing beauty at this moment. The only boring part of traveling right now is the Himalayan Raid rally, which in my opinion is a disturbance for everyone except the participants.
Ladakh in October and November
October marks the beginning of winters and the cold begins to settle everywhere. High altitude regions are already beginning to experience temperatures of zero degrees at night and there is a good chance of snow at any time. Most hotels and guest houses would have closed by the end of October, and the tops of the almost high-altitude passages would have received snow. In November, Srinagar Leh Road closes and Ladakh is completely isolated by road and accessible only by air. Read the link below for more details about Ladakh in October.
Ladakh from December to March
Winter is at its peak and the temperature at night can drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius. January and February are the best time to plan a trip to visit Ladakh in winter. All lakes, including Pangong and Moriri, are completely frozen at this time. Chadar’s famous walk also happens at this time. You cannot camp in Pangong at this time and will have to return to Leh after taking a day trip to the lake. Running water will not be available anywhere as the water in the taps freezes too much. Hot water will be presented to you, but in buckets. Electricity is also limited to just a few hours of the day. This is not the ideal time to go unless you are able to handle the extreme cold.
Best time to visit Ladakh by Road
The Srinagar Leh highway opens sometime in early May and closes in mid-November. Manali to Ladakh opens in early June and closes in mid-October. The first weeks of this period will feature highly damaged roads that may even be temporarily closed.
A few weeks after closing, there will always be a risk of snowfall at the top of passages, which may close the roads again. Therefore, by road, you should choose a time when the roads are stable and can cover both highways. Start from Manali or Srinagar and finish the trip at another location; thus concluding the Ladakh circuit. Anytime from mid-June to mid-September would be good enough for a trip. How you can reduce this time more accurately is explained later in the article.
Best time to visit Ladakh on a Budget
If you are planning a cheap trip to Ladakh, the best time to travel is between July and September. All hotels are open during this time and you have a greater chance of finding accommodation within your price range. Public transit services are also operational and you can easily find a shared bus or taxi to any desired destination. Go sooner or later than this and you may have difficulty finding affordable accommodation and transportation.
Best time to visit Ladakh for photography
It actually depends on what you are interested in shooting. If vegetation is in your midst, your best bet would be August during the monsoons, when the valley around Manali and Rohtang is in full bloom. Also, the best time to visit Ladakh for Photography, in my opinion, would be September. The monsoons would have just left the valley, but you’ll still find plenty of green around Manali. Go to the Suru and Zanskar Valleys and you will have grass and leaves changing color from green to orange and even red as autumn progresses. The same goes for the Nubra Valley as you head towards Turtuk. September in Ladakh means various colors around under a deep blue sky, and you will love what you shoot at the moment.
Best time to visit Ladakh by bike
Whether you are traveling by bike or by regular bike, the end of June, the beginning of July and September will probably be the best time to travel. Before that, you will fight on broken roads. In August, you will be drenched in rain as the monsoons are in full swing, which also means more furious water crossings. After September, it will be too cold to ride a motorcycle to Ladakh.
Best time to visit Ladakh by car
It depends on what you mean by car and what you prefer. If your car is a sedan or hatchback; don’t even consider taking it another month except September. At this point, there is no chance of rain or landslides; the waterways are not as furious or deep, and the road conditions are the best this month. If you are in a 4×4 or SUV, you can go anytime between June and September. If you wish to unload and drive on rough roads, do so in May, after Srinagar Leh Highway opens or in early June, as soon as Manali Leh Highway is declared open.
Best season to visit Ladakh
Autumn is the best time to visit Ladakh. Go there in September and witness the grayscale colors of a cold desert under a deep blue sky. And it is not only the trees, leaves and flowers that you will find colors, but also in the mountains.
Best time to visit Ladakh with family
If you are traveling by plane and hiring a taxi in Ladakh with family; Any month between July and September is the ideal time to go. If you plan to drive on your own, do so in September. Of course you really don’t want your hearts beating fast as you drive the car through a stream of running water; or mud on a narrow road or get stuck somewhere after the road is closed due to a recent landslide.
Best time to visit Ladakh by plane
This is open for a long debate, of course. Going by plane comes down to what you are looking for and when you can go. Ladakh is accessible by air all year round and you always have the option to hire a taxi for local sightseeing. In the snow is what you want, visit in January or February. Otherwise from June to mid October it will be ideal to be in Ladakh.
Best time to visit Ladakh by public transport
If you plan to travel by public transportation; then you must visit Ladakh in july; August or early September. This is the moment when the whole valley is full of tourists; and you have the best chance of boarding a shared taxi within your budget. There will be much less waiting time anywhere; And even if you can’t find a bus or taxi, you’ll have the option of hitchhiking.
Best time to visit Ladakh via Manali
The Manali Leh highway opens in early June; therefore, between June 15 and July 15 and September, it is best to travel on this road. The first two weeks of June put him on bad roads, with the possibility of temporary shutdown due to restoration work. In August, you will be drenched in rain and may even encounter a landslide. From October you will find extreme cold with a high chance of snowfall in Baralacha La.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh via Srinagar
Pretty much the same deal as the Manali Leh road. The only difference is that this road opens a month earlier and closes a month later. An ideal time for Srinagar would be between mid May and early July and September. for the same reasons I mentioned on the Manali Leh road. Rain can wreak havoc on Zoji La, so it is best to avoid late July and August.
Best Time To Visit Leh Ladakh For Honeymoon
Yes, I never imagined that I would add this here, but I decided to do so after five emails I’ve received so far. Ladakh, in my opinion, is not really a honeymoon destination. The sun is very harsh and the weather is very hostile, but if you still want to go there for honeymoon; go anytime between June and mid-October if you are taking a flight; September if you want a trip with a lot less adventure; or from July to September, if your spouse is as adventurous as you.
Best month to visit Ladakh
As you probably have guessed from the article by now, September is, in my opinion, the best time to visit Ladakh. Other ideal times would be from mid-June to mid-July.