Ladakh opens for tourism sometime in May, when the Srinagar route to Leh is declared open. In early June, the Manali road is also cleared for vehicle movement. In July, the tourist season is in full swing and will remain so for the next three months. Things start to end in October and with the arrival of November, it’s all over for the season. The wait starts again next year; when winter had passed and the valley was accessible by road. Of all these months, if you asked about the best time to visit; chances are that at least 7 out of 10 times you will be advised to visit Leh Ladakh in September.

So, why September For Ladakh?

It is considered the best time to visit Ladakh (at least by people familiar with the terrain), but why? There are several reasons behind this that I will discuss later in this article; along with some other tips on how to plan your trip for the better.

The reason why visiting Leh Ladakh in September is considered a good idea is more convenient and less risky. Convenience is in terms of road conditions, which in September are the best ever. So far, restoration work across the region is almost complete and the roads will be in perfect condition. After September, it is only the harsh winter ahead and the roads will not improve.

If you were in May or June, it would be the opening of the season; and you will come across gravely broken roads; that BRO would have started working. This is also the time when the snow would start to melt and there will be countless water crossings along the way.

However, if you went in the months of July and August, the problems would only increase even more. The monsoon arrives in the Himalayas in July and after that, there is no way to say when and where it can rain. Landslides and explosions of clouds on the hills are common in these two months. Remember the 2010 Ladakh cloud explosion that killed hundreds? This happened in the month of August. Another problem with monsoons is the increased flow of water in the water passages. In July and August, fed by melting snow and rain, these small streams become Nallah monsters and present a great challenge to cross.

That was in terms of security and convenience. But that is not all that involves September. It is probably also the best time in terms of views. Monsoons would disappear long ago in September, but the vegetation did not. You will still be treated by green hills in the valleys of Lahaul and Kashmir. It is the beginning of the fall season and the views en route and in Ladakh will delight you.

Last, but not least, is the tourist crowd. Ladakh recently started to get crowded in the high tourist season. Sometimes people could not find a place to spend the night in Nubra and Pangong; and had to return to the city of Leh. September, on the other hand, is considered the end of the tourist season. Although there are still tourists here, it will not be as crowded as in previous months.

How to plan a trip to Leh Ladakh in September?

And that is why visiting Ladakh in September is considered a better time than other months. How you can plan your trip and what are some of the things you should keep in mind is what I will provide information in this post.

Is Ladakh open in September?

The answer is definitely yes. Ladakh is completely open to tourists in September. Although it is considered the end of the tourist season, all hotels and inns here remain operational until October; as well as other activities related to tourism, such as taxis, bicycle rental, rafting, etc. The entire Ladakh region, including the Nubra valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri, is also accessible by road in September.

Water crossings

There will still be many of them, but the intensity and flow of the water will depend on your travel time. If you are traveling in early September, there will be a lot of water flowing. However, with the progress of September, the climate starts to get colder, reducing the process of melting snow and, therefore, water in streams. If you are traveling towards the end of September, there will only be a few large streams on the way. The minors would already have disappeared.

Black ice

This is more or less related to the point above. As the flow of water slows, some of these flows are reduced to mere puddles; or just a little water flowing down the road. The problem arises when this water freezes at night and forms black ice on the road. This problem is more in the second half of the month than in the first. If you were traveling towards the end of September, it would be best to wait for the sun to rise before starting your journey for the day. That way, at least the black ice would have melted. Of course, there can be no travel involved at night; after dark or before sunrise.

Ladakh in September on Bike

One of my personal favorite moments for cycling to Ladakh. The roads will be smooth, there will be no rain and the views will be fascinating. If you have a minimal interest in photography, you can stop at each step to click on more and more photos. The only word of caution here would be to prepare for the cold. It starts to snow in high altitude passages, like Khardung La and Chang La, towards mid-September. Even on passages like Baralacha La and Zoji La, there can be snow showers at night. This will also be related to the black ice point I mentioned above.

Therefore, when planning a trip to Leh Ladakh in September, make sure that you are carrying adequate piloting equipment that can keep you warm during the tour. This includes thermal clothing, a heavy windproof jacket and good quality gloves. And again, wait for the sun to rise before starting the journey. If there was snow on the road the night before, a little sunlight would ensure it melted.

Keep buffer days on the itinerary

This really applies regardless of the time you are going to Ladakh. You should not be bound by strict deadlines. Keep at least one day as a reservation on your itinerary. That way, if you were stuck somewhere for a day or two, at least you would be able to pay without something going wrong at home in your absence. If your trip went as planned, you could use that day to relax at the end of the trip.

Weather in Leh Ladakh in september

The weather in Ladakh starts to get cold in September; but it will not be unbearably cold. In the first half of the month, it would still be pleasant; the days will be moderately hot, but the temperature will drop at night. In mid-September, it begins to snow at the top of Khardung La and Chang La, which brings cold winds even in lower areas, such as the city of Leh and the Nubra valley. Snow is often accompanied by rain. Therefore, when it is snowing at the top of the passages, the lower areas can witness a little rain. The frequency, however, will not be as good and will be more at the end of September.

Clothes to wear in Leh Ladakh in September

Continuing from the above point, a trip to Ladakh in September means that you would have to bring your winter clothes. It doesn’t matter if you were coming by motorcycle, car or flight; your packaging should include a pair of thermal clothing, wool, good quality gloves, if possible, warm socks and a good windproof jacket. Make sure your coat has a hood to protect your head, face, ears and neck. Otherwise, please bring a muffler too.

Snow in Leh Ladakh in September

Does it snow in Ladakh in September? The answer is yes, but as I mentioned above, just at the top of the peaks. The chances of snowfall in the city of Leh or in other places like Diskit or Hunder are much less. There will be no snow in Leh in September or October. In the lower areas, it starts to snow only in November or December.

Hotels in Ladakh in September

It is still the tourist season, so all hotels and inns will remain operational in September. Only after the first week of October do they begin to end the season. In recent years, Ladakh has started to get a little crowded and finding a hotel from June to August can be a challenge. However, this is not the case in September. At this point, the number of tourists starts to decrease and you can easily find a place to stay. In fact, hotels in Leh in September will cost slightly less than the other months.

With that said, many people still chose to book in advance and you can do this for your peace of mind. For those traveling on a budget, I recommend that you arrive at your destination; find a hotel to your liking; and negotiate a deal on the spot.

Manali to Ladakh in September

You can definitely plan a trip on the Manali Leh Highway in September. It is only after the beginning of October that traveling on the Manali route becomes a little risky. The road remains open until mid-October; and then it is declared closed after it starts snowing in Baralacha La. So going from Manali to Leh by road in September is perfectly safe. However, remember that the longer you delay it, the colder it will become. If possible, plan your journey early in the month. As I mentioned earlier, it starts to snow in Ladakh in September. Between Manali and Ladakh, there are 5 high altitude passes and it may well snow on top of any of them. If it is not heavy, a light snow shower is definitely possible.

Srinagar to Leh in September

The road from Srinagar Leh remains open for a little longer than the road from Manali Leh. In 2017, the road was open until early December, so there should be no problem traveling from Srinagar to Leh by road in September. But yes, there is a high chance of snowfall here as well. It will not snow in lower areas, but it is definitely possible to take a light snow shower on top of passages like Zoji La.

Places to visit in Ladakh in September

All of this and the time it allows. The entire region remains open to tourists in September and the only restriction will be the number of days you have. Later in this article, I suggested an itinerary that you can follow, including all the main tourist sites to see.

Ladakh in september

So, to sum it all up, here’s a description of what Ladakh would look like in that part of September.

Ladakh in September in the first week:

This is the best time to visit. Lots of vegetation on the way on the Manali – Leh and Srinagar – Leh highways. If you like photography a little, this is the time when you should plan a trip.

Leh Ladakh in mid-September

at this point, it will start to get a little cold and the chances of snowfall at the top of the passes will increase. The number of tourists in Ladakh would start to decrease and you will be able to get better deals on hotels.

Ladakh in late September

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh in September last week, make sure you are bringing a lot of wool, thermal clothes and a heavy windproof jacket. It would have snowed on top of high altitude passages by now. The temperature during the night would definitely drop close to 0 ° C.

Ladakh from September to October

If your trip was the way you were traveling last week in September and the first week in October, it would be better to go on the Manali Leh road and return via Srinagar.

Suggested Itinerary

I think that covers everything there is to know about visiting Ladakh in September. Finally, below is an example itinerary that you can follow. For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are traveling from Delhi. If your starting point was different, only the first and last day’s journey will be changed; the rest of the details will still be applied.

  • 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 Turtuk to Panamik – Day 7
  • Panamik to Pangong via Shyok – Day 8
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 9
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 10
  • Karzok to Pang – Day 11
  • Pang to Jispa – Day 12
  • Jispa to Manali – Day 13
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 14