One of the most peaceful places in the world, the intriguing Ladakh is a dreamy place for many. The vibrant villages around Leh, the fragrant Himalayan cuisine and the beautiful monasteries await you for your Himalayan holiday. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh for a perfect trip that you are bound to remember years after it has ended!
1. Greet The Gold Buddha
How would you like to greet a huge statue of Lord Buddha made of pure gold? Semo Gompa is one of the most interesting places to visit in Ladakh. It is a short climb that will take you to the hill of the statue. The majestic statue is simply amazing to look at and the entire area surrounding the statue is picturesque and peaceful. Therefore, if you ever find yourself in Ladakh, this is one place that you simply have to visit to get an essence of spirituality practiced in Ladakh.
2. Visit Xi Math
This monastery is a sacred place in Ladakh and is the perfect place to spend some time with friends and family amidst intricate carvings. It is possible to get lost in the history of the place as you visit the complex and keep an eye on Buddhist inscriptions. History buffs will have a grand time at this monastery, learning about its vast history and how it was built.
3. Drink Soup
You cannot really visit Ladakh and not have soup. There is nothing better than soup for the Ladakh season. Thukpa is basically a soup made from a mixture of herbs and local spices which gives it a unique taste. Therefore, you should definitely try some Thukpa at Leh’s Chopsticks Noodle Bar or the Tibetan Kitchen for a magnificent culinary experience that will delight your taste buds and will give you a warm feeling in the chilly weather of Ladakh.
4. Chadar Trek
If you are an adventure lover, visit the Drang-Drung Glacier. It is a part of the Zanskar range. This icy rock looks like a long-frozen river and is situated in Ladakh’s Kargil district. It is also the biggest glacier in Ladakh. Trekking at this place will definitely be a very adventurous activity that you will remember for as long as you live. This trek is also known as the frozen river expedition for obvious reasons. This place offers such surreal beauty that you will feel as if you are living a dream. That said, this is also one of the toughest and most challenging treks in the country. It is also the most unique and you are bound to be spellbound throughout the journey to the frozen lake.
5. Explore A Cave Monastery
Lingskade, a stellar cave monastery located in the Zanskar Valley, is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh. It is beautifully carved out of rock and has weathered many storms. Nevertheless, it is still strong and attracts thousands of tourists year after year.
6. Leh Palace
Take your family to a terrifyingly majestic scene at Leh Palace or Lhachen Palkhar. It has been beautifully crafted and designed. Moreover, this palace features magnificent artifacts and ancient inscriptions. One of the best things about this palace is its sheer size and majesty that is bound to leave you spellbound. This is a great place to visit for kids and adults alike. This historically rich edifice can be found in the quaint town of Leh. King Sengge Namgyal built this grand structure in the 17th century as a royal palace. It is also fascinating to note that during its time, it was regarded as the tallest edifice with nine stories. In addition to that, the castle offers panoramic views that are designed to take your breath away. You will be able to see the entire town of Leh from up there with extraordinary scenes of sunrise and sunset. What more could you possibly ask for from a holiday!
7. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
The beautifully designed Gurudwara Patthar Sahib has impressive langar. The taste and sweet treats of Rajma rice will warm your heart. Each day, the yatrias around the gurdwara have food at the langar. Furthermore, the kitchens of the gurdwara provide truly amazing food that will add to your experience. Therefore, you can pray and eat delicious langar when at the gurdwara.
8. Northern Animals
The Ladakh Peaks are a truly favorable location for some elusive animals such as wild marmots, snow leopards and blue sheep. Visit any snowy mountain like Skuru or Khalsar trek on the map of Ladakh and you can see the Tibetan fox in their natural habitat. It cannot be disputed that Ladakh is well-known for its flora and fauna. Therefore, when visiting this fantastic place, you should definitely spend some time in the company of these rare animals.
9. The Freezing Zanskar River
If you want adventure, the Zanskar Valley should come first on your list of places to visit in Ladakh. Fast rapids and cool water will offer you a great adventure and you will be left wanting more. Kids, in particular, will love this trip to the Zanskar River. You can opt for a rafting expedition with your loved ones in the Zanskar River which is also sometimes known as the Grand Canyon of India. At certain places, you will also be able to see high cliff-like gorges. This rafting expedition can easily be regarded as one of the best in the world.
10. Butter Tea
A distinctive feature of the region, butter tea is something you can drink in Leh. This tea is the highlight and the signature tea of Ladakh. It is a special brew that you drink with milk, salt and yak butter. It cannot be disputed that butter tea is an integral part of the Ladakhi cuisine and an experience that you can definitely not miss.
11. Ride A Yak In Leh
Have you ever wished to ride a yak? If yes and if you ever find yourself in Leh, you must ride it and experience the thrill at least once in your life. It is a very different experience than riding a horse or a camel and is something that you are definitely going to enjoy doing.
12. Experience The Natural Wonders Of Nubra Valley
You simply cannot imagine leaving Ladakh without a visit to the magnificent Nubra Valley. There is a calm desert on one side of the valley and lush pastures on the other. This is essentially why it is called the tri-armed valley of Ladakh. This place is absolutely mesmerizing and is going to make you fall in love with Ladakh all over again. The valley is located on the Silk Route and also has some of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh. Currently, this region is under military supervision as this road leads to the world’s highest battlefield. Still, if you are an Indian national, all you need is an Inner Line permit in order to enter the valley. Foreign nationals, on the other hand, will need to obtain a protected area permit. In any case, it will definitely be worth it!
Ladakh food welcomes travelers with open arms. Do not forget to eat Himalayan momos in restaurants such as Lamayuru or Gismo in Leh. Spicy dumplings and momos are the main culinary attraction of Ladakh tourism and are definitely going to leave your taste buds tingling and asking for more.
14. Spituk Gompa
Situated high among the recommended places to visit in Ladakh, you should visit Spituk Gompa for fascinating art antiques, architecture, and traditional festivals. Check out the grand statue of Goddess Kali as she only appears once in the beginning of the year. The idol is displayed once during a local festival. So, you should visit here at the right time to participate in the festival and witness the majesty of the statue of Goddess Kali. This place is also highly recommended for religiously-inclined people as they can pray and experience immense calm and serenity at Spituk Gompa.
15. Ladakhi Fast
You should also enjoy the tradition of hosting the legendary Ladakh festival when you find yourself there. Plan your holiday during the Spituk festival and there is also Sheru Rupala, which is a celebration that attracts a lot of tourists every year. Moreover, you must keep your eyes open for the impressive jig that is performed by people wearing tiger-like attire.
16. Find Peace At Pangong Lake
The most spectacular area of the Himalayan Mountains is the peaceful Pangong Lake which is a place of introspection and serenity. Shiny blue water and sweet mountains make Pangong Lake a must-visit place for all those people who are looking to find some peace and quiet time with themselves amidst the lap of nature. If you are in Leh, you just need to drive for 5 hours to reach Pangong Lake. You will definitely find yourself enchanted and fascinated with the sheer expanse of the backdrop and the sparkling color of the massive lake.
17. Meditation With The Monks
Monasteries like Thiksey are one of the best places to visit in Ladakh as they give you a unique experience. Apart from the stunning construction and peaceful vibe, you will also be able to breathe in an aura of peace around these places. Just take a moment from your itinerary to explore these architectural wonders within the Himalayas. You can even join the monks and chant ‘Om Mani Padmi Hum’ with them to feel the songs echoing in the mountains and in your heart.
18. Learn The Roots Of Buddhism
If you are influenced by theology, then a visit to Matho Gompa is a must. It gives you a glimpse of the various rites as well as cultural practices in Buddhism. This is essentially a Tibetan Buddhist monastery opposite the Thiksey Monastery. It is bound to teach you some amazing things about Buddhism that you probably did not know.
19. Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill is another popular place in Ladakh that is a definite must-visit. It is also India’s only magnetic hill, which is why it attracts a lot of tourists from far and wide. This hill is said to have an anti-gravitational effect where vehicles completely defy the gravitational force. This means that when they are parked at a specific marked location, they start moving upwards. Thanks to its mysterious magnetic properties, the place attracts countless tourists from across the world year after year. Therefore, this hill is a nice place to visit on your trip as you won’t get to visit such a mysterious place anywhere else in the country.
20. Phugtal Monastery
The Phugtal Monastery, also known as Phuktal is a monastery that is pretty isolated in the south-east region of Zanskar in Ladakh. This monastery owes its entire legacy to renowned scholars and preachers who, legend has it, used to live in this cave. Ever since those days, this place has been synonymous with education, enjoyment, and meditation. The word “Phuk” in the Zanskari dialect essentially means “cave.” “Tal” literally means “at leisure.” The Phugtal monastery was a very famous retreat once upon a time. Now, it looks more like a honeycomb when viewed from a distance, which gives it its name. It is also noteworthy that the monastery is 2250 years old and you can only reach it on foot. Therefore, this is an ideal place to visit for trek lovers as you are bound to find a lot of enchanting sounds, sights, and adventures on this trip.
Leh Ladakh is one of the most picturesque and breathtaking places in India. Although there are a lot of hill stations in the country, this is one place that never ceases to amaze travelers. The ambiance, the culture, the food and the people, everything just adds to the experience and is absolutely lovely. In addition to that, this is one of those places in India that has something to offer to everyone. This holds particularly true if you are looking for some quiet time in the lap of nature. So, when are you visiting Ladakh?