About a decade ago, Ladakh was a name people only knew because they read about it in books or in a newspaper; like a distant land somewhere near the border. Many would not have related this name to tourism, and those who did were just motorcycle enthusiasts or foreign hippies. When I first visited here, there was almost no information available about visiting Ladakh anywhere. How to get to Ladakh, where to stay and what to see were questions to which I received answers while traveling. Twice on my initial trips to Ladakh, I ended up making a wrong turn while traveling in Ladakh and spent the night on the road because of the lack of information and remoteness from the region. Fortunately, this is no longer the situation.
The tourism landscape in Ladakh has evolved rapidly in recent years and is still progressing. Now Ladakh serves thousands of tourists every year and from all groups. Accommodation options are growing; connectivity is improving and the availability of public facilities is also improving. So, yes, getting to Ladakh is now much more convenient than it was a few years ago. If you were planning a trip soon and were wondering how best to get to Ladakh, the ones listed below in this article are several options currently available.
How to get to Ladakh by road
By road, there are only 2 routes connecting Ladakh to the rest of the country. The first is by Srinagar, known as Srinagar Leh Highway, and the second by Manali, known as Manali Leh Highway. Both roads are almost the same in distance and travel time. From Srinagar, Leh is about 420 kilometers and from Manali, the distance increases to 470 kilometers. The trip can be easily completed in 2 days, on both sides, with a night stop in Kargil if passing by Srinagar; and in Keylong or Sarchu, if passing through Manali. Travel time, to be more precise, is 18 to 20 hours; so if you want to complete the journey in a single day, you have to start at 4 am.
How to get to Ladakh by Bus
The details I provided above were for anyone traveling by car, car or motorcycle. Now let’s see how you can get to Ladakh by public transportation. In terms of the route, you will travel again via Manali or Srinagar and both are well connected to Ladakh by regular bus service.
How to get to Ladakh by Train
Ladakh does not have a train station yet, so you cannot reach Ladakh by train alone. You will have to divide your journey into several parts. The closest railway station to Ladakh in this case will be in Chandigarh or Jammu. Depending on where you came from and your itinerary, you will have to book a train ticket to Jammu or Chandigarh first and then continue to Ladakh by road.
How to get to Ladakh by plane
Leh has its own airport, which remains operational for all 12 months. Several major airlines like Air India, Vistara, Spicejet and GoAir have regular flights in and out of Leh. This is one of the highest commercial airports in the world and is directly connected to Mumbai and Delhi. For people coming from other cities, you can search for a direct flight available, otherwise you will first have to fly to Delhi and then to Leh. After disembarking in Leh, you can easily take a taxi from the airport to drop you at your hotel.
If you are thinking about how to get to Leh Ladakh by plane, it is not a problem to get there. You can easily book a flight, but your biggest concern would be Altitude disease. People flying directly to Leh are more prone to AMS because you suddenly lift your body to an altitude you have never been to before. At least on the first day of the journey, you will probably experience some symptoms of AMS; The severity will be different for each person.
How to get to Ladakh by car
Can you reach Ladakh by car? The answer is yes you can, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, it is the type of car you have chosen. Your vehicle does not have to be a 4×4, but a good ground clearance is a must. This would be useful for dealing with bad stretches of roads and crossing waterways.
The ideal ground clearance would be at least 200MM or more, but you can end up with 180MM as long as you drive carefully. Anything below 180MM and you risk your vehicle getting stuck in places and your belly hitting the floor. You will have to be really good at the wheel if you plan on visiting Ladakh in cars like Maruti Swift. Planning a trip in Sedans like Honda City, Amaze or other similar cars is a complete no.