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What is the best time/season to visit Leh Ladakh?

Posted: February 08, 2015 by admin

LEH: What is the best time to visit Leh Ladakh? This is question that every traveler wants to ask before planning his visit to Ladakh. However, Ladakh can be visited in all four seasons, 12 months a year, but depending upon the choice and fitness of traveler, one can plan tour based on the seasons.

Seasons in Ladakh:
May to September: Summer season (Peak tourist season)
(Day temperature: 20 to 30 degrees C, Night temperature: 5 to 20 degrees C)
October to November: Light cold (Lean season)
(Day temperature: 5 to 20 degrees C, Night Temperature: 5 degrees C to -5 degrees C)
December to March: Extreme cold (Leanest season)
(Day temperature: -10 degrees C to 12 degrees C, Night Temperature: -10 degrees C to -45 degrees C – Drass region of Ladakh is the coldest place in India and second coldest in world after Siberia)
April: Pleasant days and cold nights (Beginning of summer season)
(Day temperature: 15 to 22 degrees C, Night temperature: -5 to 15 degrees C)

Leh town during winters

Pic credit: Nitin Gera

Hotels, Guest Houses and Camps:
Most of the hotels and guest houses (98%) remain shut during winter season in Ladakh as very few tourists visit this valley during this time period. Hotels remain closed between October and April. While hotels start opening in mid-April when temperature starts rising, the camps (tents) in Nubra valley too start accommodating guests at the same time but Pangong and Tso Moriri (Korzok) being colder than Leh and Nubra invite guests to its tents in May or afterwards. However, depending upon the weather conditions (temperature), sometime tents at Pangong Tso are pitched after April 20.
For general/family sightseeing:
Mid-April to September: Middle of April is the time of onset of summer season in Ladakh valley. This is the perfect time to visit Ladakh for general sightseeing and enjoy both weather and landscapes. This is the time when 95% of the total tourist arrival to Ladakh visits the valley. If you cannot bear the extreme cold of Ladakh, then this is the best time to plan your holiday tour.
For winter photography/snowfall/winter life:
If you want to see snowfall and capture some beautiful snow-clad valley views in your camera and also want to experience the winter life, then December to March is the best time to visit Ladakh. During this period under the extreme cold conditions you can see entirely frozen Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake, Zanskar River and all water sources. Best time for expeditions, Chadar Trek (walking on Frozen Zanskar River), photography, snowfall sighting, some skiing and trekking.

Visiting Ladakh by Flight/Air/Airplane:
One can land in Ladakh by airplane throughout the year. Air service remains open even during extreme winter season i.e. December to February. When both road links (Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh) are blocked following winter snowfall, flight service is the only mode of transport for both local occupants and tourists to reach Leh, the main city of Ladakh.

Visiting Ladakh by road:
Travelling via road to Ladakh has its own charm. A large number of travellers prefer road journey over flight due to beautiful landscapes enroute. If you opting for Delhi-Manali-Leh route, you can visit Manali, Rohtang pass, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Baralacha, Sarchu, More Plains, Taglang la and many more attractions including five high mountain passes. The highway opens anytime in May month. If you are booking Manali-Leh Ladakh jeep safari in advance, then booking it after 31 May is safe. Similarly one can visit Sonamarg, Zojila pass, Drass, Kargil, Lamayuru and more attractions if Srinagar-Leh route is chosen. Srinagar-Leh road generally opens in April month. If making a round trip (Delhi-Manali-Leh-Srinagar or in reverse direction) then June to mid October is the best time. As airfare to Ladakh is very expensive during peak season, some adventure enthusiasts (or families) prefer jeep safari over the flight.

Clearing snow from

Manali-Leh highway

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