The period of 9 to 11 days is always considered a good enough period for a trip to Ladakh. For people flying to the city of Leh, this allows enough time for sightseeing, but in terms of travel, it can be called the minimum time required. 11 days is, in fact, the most common moment I have met with people visiting Ladakh. This will ensure that you can cover all major tourist areas without traveling a lot on any given day. How you can better plan your Ladakh itinerary for 11 days to ensure that you cover as much as you can and make the most of your time is what I will talk about in this post.

In case you didn’t know, Ladakh is India’s second largest district; after Kutch in Gujarat. Put this on the Manali Leh and Srinagar Leh roads (both about 500 km long) and you will have a fairly large area to cover in a matter of 11 days. The entire journey will have impressive views at every turn of the road. In addition, the list of tourist attractions or places to visit is also huge. As you squeeze it all in a limited amount of time, it can be a little tricky, but hopefully after reading this article, you will have an idea of ​​how to do it.

As previous itinerary articles, in this one I will also present three different sets of itineraries. First for people traveling by car; second for people traveling by public transport; and third for people taking a flight to Ladakh.

Ladakh itinerary for 11 days

For the purpose of this article, I will assume that you are starting your journey from Delhi. However, if you were coming from a different city, only the journey for the first and the last day will be different. The rest of the details for the rest of the days will still be applied.

First I will suggest and recommend an itinerary; follow some alternative versions of the same journey.

  • Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
  • Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
  • Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
  • Kargil to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 6
  • Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 7
  • Pangong to Leh – Day 8
  • Leh to Sarchu – Day 9
  • Sarchu to Manali – Day 10
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 11

Before continuing to detail the itinerary above, let me first explain why I recommend traveling this way. Most people prefer to reach Ladakh via Manali and return to Srinagar. Even I did it the first time I went to Ladakh. But now, after being there a few times and according to recent conditions, I would recommend that you follow the Srinagar route to get to Leh; and go back via Manali. Below is why.

Acute mountain disease

Also known as altitude sickness; or simply as AMS in short; Acute mountain sickness is the first thing people worry about when they go to Ladakh. The slow gain in altitude and a lot of rest is the key to avoiding AMS, which does not really happen in the case of the Manali Leh route. Here, the elevation increases tremendously and a little too fast for our body to cope. One day you are at home on the plains that reach Manali at night; and the next day you go up to Rohtang at almost 4,000 meters. This is the reason why most people who travel to Ladakh via Manali end up suffering from mountain sickness in Sarchu, Pang or any of the altitudes that pass along the way.

On the other hand, if you went through Srinagar, the increase in altitude is a little more relaxed and allows more time for our body to get used to it. If you were traveling with your family, I recommend the Srinagar route to get closer to Ladakh.

Rohtang licenses

If you want to go to Ladakh from Manali, you will of course need to cross the Rohtang Pass. To cross Rohtang, you must first obtain permission online or at the DM office in Manali. This license is limited in number and has a maximum limit per day. Then there is also the fact that the number of tourists who visit Manali and Rohtang increases every year. Due to all these factors, obtaining this permission is an annoyance or a waste of time in Manali. Why? Because it is sold quickly.

During the high tourist season, the online window remains open for a short time; and mainly the licenses remain exhausted for days in advance. If you wanted to try it in person, it would mean wasting an entire day in Manali. Either way, you look at it, it just means another task that you will need to take care of before your trip.

The fun factor is that permission is only required if you climb Rohtang on the side of Manali. It is not necessary if you were coming from the other side of the passage and going down to Manali. Therefore, taking Srinagar Highway first means that you have returned via Manali and therefore all the hassle of Rohtang’s permission would be void.

Traffic in Rohtang

After the introduction of Rohtang Permit, a checkpoint was also created in Gulaba, where you must submit your pass before proceeding. The average waiting time at this checkpoint can be 2 to 3 hours. The number of tourists traveling on this road is also increasing each year, due to which, even after you pass the checkpoint; you can still find a traffic jam on the 50 km stretch between Manali and Rohtang. This is another situation that can be avoided by using the Srinagar route to reach Ladakh.

Fuel management

Fuel was a problem during Ladakh’s journey up to 5 years ago, but not anymore. They agreed that the gas station pump across the district is still limited to just that of the city of Leh, but after the recent tourism boom here, residents have started selling it in black at an increased price. You can find gasoline and diesel at small local stores and tents for up to Rs. 120 to Rs. 130 per liter. The quality of this fuel is also questionable. So, if you can bring enough fuel that can last from one gas station to another; please take a little left. Otherwise, you have no choice but to buy from black locations.

Buffer Day

If you can, add another day to the trip as a buffer. The itinerary I suggested above is 11 days, but when you plan your trip, do it in a way that, if you have to extend the journey for another day, you can do it. There will always be an uncertainty factor when traveling to Ladakh and you may be forced to stay anywhere on the path if the road ahead is blocked. If all goes well, you will return home on the 11th. If not, then at least you will be prepared for it.

Now, going back to our itinerary, let me give you a day to day journey.

Delhi to Jammu – Day 1

  • Get an early start from Delhi
  • Distance traveled will be about 600 kilometers
  • Travel time of 12 to 13 hours
  • Roads are mostly good with a few bad patches between Pathankot and Jammu.
  • Lot of tolls in between
  • Overnight stay at Jammu

Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2

  • Traffic delays and jams are common on this route so start early again
  • Overnight stay at Srinagar
  • Distance traveled will be about 270 kilometers
  • Travel time of 11 to 12 hours
  • Either stay at a hotel in Srinagar or a houseboat. Read Hotel Grand Valley Inn – A Great Place to stay in Srinagar.

You can also take the alternate route via Mughal Road to reach Srinagar. For more details, read How to Plan a Journey on Mughal Road.

Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3

  • Enjoy the beautiful vistas of Kashmir Valley all day long
  • Scenery will transform slowly from lush green of Kashmir to barren brown of Ladakh
  • Overnight stay at Kargil
  • Distance traveled will be about 200 kilometers
  • Travel time of 8 to 9 hours
  • Cross Zoji La and see Kargil War Memorial at Drass

Kargil to Leh – Day 4

  • Distance traveled will be about 220 Kilometers
  • Travel Time of 7 to 8 Hours.
  • There are a lot of places to see on this stretch including Magnetic Hill, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Mulbekh Maitreya, Indus Zanskar Confluence etc. For more details read What to See on Srinagar Leh Highway – A Complete List.
  • Overnight stay in Leh

Leh – Day 5

  • Spend the day in Leh City
  • Arrange permit for journey ahead. Read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh for details.
  • Visit local attraction in Leh city like Leh palace, local market, Shanti Stoopa etc. Read Tourist Places in Leh City for details.

Leh to Diskit – Day 6

  • Start early from Leh
  • Cross Khardung La and reach Nubra Valley
  • Overnight stay in Diskit
  • Total Distance of 120 kilometers
  • Total Travel time of 6 to 7 hours

Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 7

  • From Diskit, reach Back Khalsar and take Agham Shyok road to reach Pangong
    • Total 190 kilometers to be covered
    • Travel time of 6 to 7 hours

You may also first want to take a detour to Panamik from Khalsar before proceeding to Pangong.

Pangong to Leh – Day 8

  • Journey back to Leh today but via a different route.
  • From Pangong, drive back to Durbuk and take the road towards Chang La.
  • Road is mostly good with a really bad patch around Chang La top.
  • Overnight stay in Leh
  • Distance traveled will be about 160 kilometers
  • Travel time of 8 to 9 hours
  • Also Read How to Plan a Trip to Pangong Lake
  • Leh to Sarchu – Day 9
  • Start your return journey home and cover Manali Leh highway
  • Cross the high altitude pass of Tanglang La and drive across More Plains
  • Overnight stay at Sarchu
  • Distance traveled will be about 250 Kilometers
  • Travel time of 7 to 8 hours

Sarchu to Manali – Day 10

  • Reach Manali while crossing the 4 high altitude passes of Nakee La, Lachulung La, Baralacha La and Rohtang La
  • Overnight in Manali
  • Total distance of 220 kilometers from Sarchu
  • Travel time of 9 to 10 hours
  • Expect traffic jam at Rohtang
  • Travel time from Rohtang top to Manali itself is about 3 hours.
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 11
  • Drive back home via Chandigarh
  • Total distance of 550 kilometers
  • Travel time of 14 to 15 hours