Ladakh is a fabulous holiday destination, especially if you love the great outdoors and wide expansive vistas of blue skies and unending winding roads. For adventure enthusiasts, there’s much to do here. Ladakh’s unique location, nestled between two great mountain ranges, the Himalaya and the Karakoram, makes it unforgettable. Come here and look around and you will be amazed at the number of sights here and the numerous interesting things to do in Ladakh. Whether you’re looking to do some Ladakh sightseeing or you want to have the bike adventure of a lifetime, you won’t be disappointed when you visit. Here’s a look at some of the things to do in Leh Ladakh.
Ever wondered how it would be to visit a desert in Jammu and Kashmir? As contrary as the idea sounds, Ladakh makes it possible. Nubra Valley’s gently undulating sand dunes are gorgeous, and you might also be interested in observing the two-humped camels which are found here.
The Leh Palace might be in ruins now, but there’s a deep sense of history here. So, visiting this old palace is certainly one of the recommended things to do in Leh Ladakh. Built in the 16th century, this 9-storeyed palace, built of wood and stone, is a glorious Leh Ladakh sightseeing spot. Photography inside the palace is not permitted. But you can click photographs after taking permission from Archeological Survey of India (ASI), which manages the palace.
The Hemis festival takes place in the Hemis Monastery which is decorated beautifully at this time. Usually, this two-day festival occurs on the 10th day of the Tse-Chu, Lunar month of the Tibetan calendar. You’ll be treated to several gorgeous sights such as the colourful handicrafts that are done in the area. People also dress up in their traditional clothes and come together in the courtyard of the monastery. The highlight of the festival is when the Lamas perform the Chham dance, a masked dance that shows the triumph of good over evil. Attending this festival is certainly one of the best things to do in Leh Ladakh.
Hot tea is the best antidote to chilling winds. But ever tried hot butter tea? The tea here is boiled with salt and baking soda. Then a large lump of butter made from yak milk is added. This salted tea is certainly something different and it can warm you as you sip it and watch the world go by. Some of the best butter tea can be had at the Hemis monastery, do don’t forget to try it when you visit there. It’s definitely one of the things to do in Leh Ladakh.
Made eternally famous by the Bollywood film, 3 Idiots, Pangog Tso’s charm draws people who visit Ladakh, without fail. The unending lush blue of the lake extends from India to Bhutan. This gorgeous lake is a popular camping site and it’s certainly one of those Leh Ladakh sightseeing spots that you must visit. Boating is not allowed on Pangong Tso lake. But when the lake freezes over during winter, you could try to do a bit of ice skating around the banks if you’re adventurous enough.
Spituk is one of the many monasteries in Ladakh. It is located on top of a hill. The views from here are rather magnificent but do remember that the winds can get extremely chilly at night. The monastery is surrounded by towering mountains which will fill you with a sense of wonder. This is certainly one of the Ladakh sightseeing spots you should not miss.
One of the things to do in Ladakh would be to trek through Suru Valley to the Drang Drung glacier. But this is quite a difficult trek and advisable only for experienced trekkers. If you do take it up, you’ll be spellbound by the beautiful views here, the thrilling gorges and the paths that you have to cross. You can see distant snow-covered mountains reduced to the size of hills by the distance. If you do this trek during spring, you’ll be surprised by the greenery and the sheer abundance of flowers in bloom.
Ever wondered what it would be like to trek over a frozen river? Well, if you do the Chadar Trek on Zanskar River, you’ll certainly know what the experience will be like. This is one of the more difficult, yet popular things to do in Ladakh. Usually conducted in February because the frozen river is the most stable at this time, the Chadar Trek is a strenuous journey that only experienced and willing trekkers ought to undertake. Temperatures at this time are freezing and the ice can be treacherous too.
In summers, Zanskar river is a white-water rafting hotspot. In fact, it is considered to be one of the best white-water rafting destinations in India. However, even though it’s summer, the waters are still icy cold. So dress appropriately to stay warm in the frigid waters.