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  • Guide to Chadar Trek, one of the most adventurous and thrilling treks in the world, offers the best chance to explore a whole new world in the Zanskar Valley. This Guide will help the trekkers to beat all the challenges while trekking through the frozen Zanskar River, unfolding the mystery of the Himalayas.

    The lower sections of this gorge are extremely popular in summers with tourists trooping in for river rafting expeditions. In winters the Zanskar River freezes and trekking enthusiasts flock to this region to enjoy hiking expeditions.

    During the winters, the road to Zanskar Valley is closed due to snowfall and this makes the frozen river the only way to access the valley. The trek across the frozen river is called the ‘Chadar’ (ice sheet) trek and it holds many surprises and scenes of breathtaking beauty, which attracts tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world.

  • 01What is Chadar Trek?

    What is Chadar Trek?
    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The Zanskar River freezes in the winters. The entire river looks like a sheet of ice and hence is referred to, in the local language, as Chadar. From a tourism point of view, this trek has been popularized as the frozen river expedition and draws in several amateur and professional trekkers from different parts of the country and the world.

    Chadar trek in the beautiful landscape of Ladakh  is one of the most adventurous and most difficult treks in the country. The distance that is covered on foot is approximately 105 km and on an average, a trekker covers 15 to 17 km every day. The temperatures are usually 15 to 20 degrees during the day time and plummet to -25 to -35 degrees during the night in this region.

    While most of the trek is completed by walking, trekkers may even have to climb icy rocks and boulders during the journey. During the journey, the trekkers will walk on the sheet of ice to cover the distance and will rest in caves during the night time.

    Due to the extremely cold conditions that a person has to face during this expedition, it is advisable that every aspirant fully understands the conditions that he will face ahead and prepare accordingly.

    A person should be acquainted with walking long distances and be prepared for tough camping situations. It is advisable that every trekker carries warm clothes, a sleeping bag and sturdy shoes for the trek.

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

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  • 02Best Offers on Himalayan Treks: Enquire Now

  • 03Why Chadar Trek?

    Image Credit : Christophe Roudet - Flickr

    For adventure enthusiasts, trekking is not just an expedition. Trekking is a mode to relieve oneself of the worries of day to day life, revive the spirit of adventure and excitement by undertaking tough challenges and winning them. This trek is not just any other trekking experience.

    Trekkers have to face the toughest of challenges, tread through chilly weather and landscape and sleep in caves during this expedition. The trek holds the secrets of the beautiful Himalayas and enables a person to enjoy the mesmeric beauty of the snow clad mountains and beautiful city of Leh.

    For every person who seeks adventure and is ready to face the harshest conditions and take up the most challenging tasks, this Guide to Chadar Trek is a must. The excitement of walking on ice and climbing on icy rocks is unbeatable and matchless. This trek is an absolute must-do for those who have a flair for high altitude trekking and taking on challenges as they come in life.

  • 04When is the Best Time?

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The best time to take the trek is in January and February. Precisely, from January 15 to the end of February is just the right time to set out on this wonderful and adventurous trek. The river freezes into a beautiful sheet of ice and the surroundings are clad in snow presenting a pristine white trail for hiking expeditions.

    The snow clad mountain peaks that will accompany you all along your way to your destination glisten and gleam in the morning rays of the Sun. This is a breathtaking view to watch and the trek is incomplete without being able to enjoy such mesmeric beauty.

    The beauty of the landscape is the most rewarding part of the trek. Although the trek itself is quite arduous and tasking, the beauty that opens up before the trekkers compensates for the all the trouble and effort put in.

    The frozen river trek is the most rewarding trekking trails in the country and will test your physical stamina and mental focus before opening up its secrets to you. Although the summers attract a large number of water sports enthusiasts from all over the country, this  trek in the winters still remains the most popular activity in Leh.

  • 05How Difficult is Chadar Trek?

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    This trek is one of the most difficult and challenging treks in the country. The Zanskar River freezes into a sheet of ice and is the only route to access the Zanskar Valley during the winters. All mountain passes are shut down due to snow fall, leaving the Chadar or the frozen Zanskar River as the only route for passage.

    The ideal or best time for the this trek is in the months of January and February as the swift river is harnessed in the bounds of blocks of ice and the surroundings are all covered in the pristine white beauty of snow.

    The temperatures are incredibly low during the day time and plummet to uncomfortably freezing temperatures during the night time.

    Trekkers who want to explore the Zanskar trek must be prepared for facing unsettling temperatures and harsh camping conditions. The total distance covered in the trek is around 105 km, most of which is covered on foot. There might also be instances wherein the trekkers are required to climb icy rocks and boulders.

    The nights are spent in caves near the frozen river and hence all participants should come prepared with the warmest jackets, sleeping bags and sturdy shoes.

    The camping conditions, unlike in other trekking expeditions, are extremely tough and hence each participant should be mentally and physically prepared for the challenges ahead.

  • 06How Cold Does it Get?

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The Chadar trek expedition is conducted in the winters. The best time to set out on this expedition is in January and February. The swift and steady River Zanskar lies harnessed in bindings of ice and everything around is covered in pristine white snow.

    The temperatures are amazingly low during the day time and hover between 15 to 20 degrees while they plummet further to -25 to -35 degrees during the night time. The climatic conditions of this region are quite harsh and extremely cold. So for any visitor who wishes to explore the Zanskar trek, it is extremely important that he is physically and mentally prepared for the trek

    The total distance covered during the trek is around 105 km and most of it is covered by walking through these extreme conditions. You may also be required to climb icy rocks and boulders during the journey which makes it extremely essential for you to be physically and mentally fit.

    The journey is arduous and tasking, especially because of the extremely cold temperatures. Furthermore, while during the day time you will have to walk over the chilly sheet of ice or the frozen Zanskar River, during the night time, you will have to sleep in caves near the frozen river.

  • 07How Long Do We Walk Each Day During the Trek?

    How Long Do We Walk Each Day During the Trek?
    Image Credit : Pradeep Kumbhashi - Flickr

    The total distance covered along the trek is 105 km. Trekkers will be required to walk around 15 to 17 km a day to complete the trek. The trail is along the frozen River Zanskar which lies harnessed and bound in its icy bindings and the snow clad surroundings are a treat to watch.

    The most rewarding aspect of this tough and challenging trek is that it rewards everyone with the secrets hidden in the snow covered slopes of the Himalayas and opens up a vista of breathtaking Himalayan beauty to its visitors. During this guide to Chadar trek, you will be required to walk along the length of the frozen River Zanskar and also, at times, climb icy rocks and boulders.

    The temperatures are unsettlingly low and every aspirant must be physically and mentally prepared for the tough camping conditions. The Chadar is the only connecting route during winters into the Zanskar Valley and the Ladakhis and Zanskaris use this route twice a year. The climatic conditions may not be exactly favourable but the adventure and challenges that the trek has in store for the adventurous makes it one of the most popular high altitude trekking trails in the country.

    Most of the journey is covered on foot by walking on the pristine white solid sheet of ice and a little bit of climbing and manoeuvring. The nights are spent in chilly caves near the frozen river, which makes it mandatory for every trekker to carry along the warmest of jackets, sleeping bags and sturdy yet warm shoes.

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

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  • 08Trek Itinerary

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The journey begins at New Delhi from where participants interested in the Chadar Trek will be transported to Leh. This is followed by a visit to nearby monasteries or any local festivals that are happening at the time. 

    On the third day you will be taken on a full day tour of Phyang, Liker and Alchi for sightseeing.

    On day four, you will proceed from Leh to Chilling to Zaribago and cover the distance over five hours of trekking. You will spend the night in a camp at Zaribago and proceed for the next destination in the morning. On the fifth day, you will move from Zaribago to Deepyokma which is a four hour trek on foot.

    The evening is spent in Deepyokma and the next morning i.e. on the sixth day you will trek to Nyrakpulu. This distance is covered in four or five hours of trekking. The next morning you will trek for one hour from Nyrakpulu to Lingshed. You will spend the eight day in Linghshed relaxing, sightseeing and preparing for the next day’s trip.

    From Linghshed you start trekking on the Chadar. On the ninth day, you will trek through the icy surroundings of Linghshed. After spending a day in the beautiful environs of the Himalayas and the mystical Zanskar River, you trek on for four hours to Tsomopaldar.

    The next day i.e, on the 11th day you move from Tsomopaldar to Tilatdo in a five hour trek. On day 12, you undertake a five hour trek from Titado to Chilling. On day 13, you are transported back from Leh to New Delhi. The entire journey is of 13 days and is one of the most amazing experiences that you can have.

  • 09How Big are the Groups?

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    Ladakh Trekking with a group of friends is definitely an enjoyable experience. You can set out on this expedition with your friends, colleagues or family. Usually, at least six persons are required for the expedition. However, as many as 15 or 18 persons can be included in the group. Usually, a large group does not exceed this number.

    The objective of keeping the groups relatively small is to ensure good management and also make sure that all guests have a wonderful and memorable experience. Usually, the groups consist of like-minded people who can enjoy and relish the beauty of the region in spite of the harsh conditions.

    The groups usually consist of both men and women. To ensure the safety of women during the trek, the guides and other support crew are carefully selected for the trips. The trek is usually led on by a professional trekker who has completed the basic and advanced mountaineering course and certified in the first-aid course.

    The team will be accompanied by a local guide, a cook, a helper, a porter and other staff. Complete care is taken to ensure the comfort and safety of all participants during the arduous trek on the frozen Zanskaar River.

  • 10Accommodation Arrangement for the Trekkers

    Accommodation Arrangement for the Trekkers
    Image Credit : Christophe Roudet - Flickr

    In the mainland, all accommodation is made in A Class hotels with all meals included in the package. Comfortable accommodation will be arranged for trekkers. Usually tents are used while camping and persons are generally accommodated in a two man tent. However, due to the harsh and extremely cold climate, trekkers are advised to get some essential items such as steam crossing sandals, insulating fleece jacket, rain proof jackets, insulating gloves, warm sleeping bags etc to protect themselves.

    During the trek on the Chadar, the campsites will be set up in caves in the area and hence having all these warm clothes and items is mandatory.  Before setting out for the trip, every participant must be fully aware of the conditions that he will have to face during the trek and prepare accordingly.

    During the Chadar trek, care will be taken to ensure safety of all participants. However, trekkers will also have to take a few measures for their own safety and health. The trek is usually conducted in groups of at least six persons and is led by a professional trekker who has completed his Basic and Advanced Mountaineering course.

    In addition, these lead trekkers are also certified in Wilderness ‘First Aid’ in order to ensure quick medical help during the expedition. Furthermore, other staff such as porters, cooks, helpers and local guides is also sent along on the expedition to ensure successful and fruitful completion of the trip.Trekkers can also enjoy bike trip to Srinagar .

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

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  • 11Type of Food Being Served

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The food that is served during the expedition is decided and cooked carefully. Usually Indian vegetarian dishes and egg dishes are served during the trek. It is important that the dietary needs of the participants are met during the duration of the trek. The climatic conditions of the region are very extreme and different from those in the mainlands.

    So in order to keep all trekkers in good health and energised for the journey ahead, well cooked vegetables and eggs are provided in order to keep them fit and healthy for the journey. Hygiene and safety are a priority during the trek and especially while cooking the food. So utmost care is taken while preparing the food for the guests.

    The trek covers a journey of about 105 km and most of the distance is covered on foot. For this reason, it is very important that is no mistake or shortcoming in meeting the dietary needs of the trekkers. So a high protein content diet is chosen for the trekkers and this is met by choosing the best vegetables and eggs.

    The trek is extremely tough and occasionally requires climbing on icy rocks and boulders. Furthermore, the temperatures of the region hover between 15 to 20 degrees during the day time and -25 to -35 degrees in the night time, which makes it essential for the trekkers to remain energised and high on metabolic heat.Camping in Ladakh will also be one of the perks of this trekks.

  • 12How to Get Safe Drinking Water During the Trek?

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    Himalayan water is generally considered safe and pure enough to be consumed directly. However, since the participants or trekkers are from different parts of the country, it is advisable to check with the lead trekker about filling stations. Usually, during the trek, water from the region is purified by boiling with chlorine tablets and then made available for drinking.

    It is always best to check with the lead trainer about such arrangements before you start trekking and understand his plan of action. Do not consume water from any source without first checking with your leader. As the region would be new to you, it is always best to consult someone who is well-acquainted with the region.

    The journey begins from Chilling in Leh and continues till you reach the Chadar. The distance is about 105 km and the temperatures will vary from 20 degrees to -25 degrees. It is essential that you carry warm sleeping bags, sturdy shoes and warm jackets with you in order to face the harsh conditions of the region.

    The frozen river trek does sound difficult but it is one of the most enjoyable and adventurous trekking expeditions you can have in India. With the gain in altitude, the temperatures drop dramatically and blankets of white snow greet you into the mystical land of the Himalayas. To stay safe and fit for the journey, prepare yourself mentally and physically and arrange for all supplies beforehand.

  • 13Ground Transportation

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    Your journey to the trek will begin from Leh. All ground transportation is done in the best of vehicles that suit the terrain. You will be taken from your source in Toyota Qualis, an Innova or a Scorpio. These vehicles are the best to travel in this rugged region and hence these vehicles are used for all ground transportation of guests. Special care is taken that all guests have a comfortable transportation before the trek begins so as to ensure that they are not worn out or tired before the trek begins.

    The journey into the beautiful Himalayan ranges is one of the most sought after experiences among trekkers all around the globe. The mysteries of the Zanskar Valley and the snow clad Himalayas have time and again attracted professional and amateur trekkers and mountaineers from all over the world.

    The trekking expedition into the Chadar is one of the toughest and most challenging trails in the country. Nevertheless, more and more trekkers participate in the this trek every year before of the spectacular beauty of the Himalayas that can be enjoyed during the trek.

    The Ladakh trek begins from Chilling and continues till the beautiful white blanket of snow which is actually the River Zanskar in a frozen state. The trek involves long distance walking and trekking and hence it is essential for the participants to be fit and healthy. Also the temperatures of the region are incredibly low which make it mandatory for every trekker to carry warm clothes and supplements.

  • 14Medical Evacuations/Emergencies

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    Safety is a priority during trekking trips and Thrillophilia takes measures to ensure that all its guests can enjoy the trip in safety. Although there will be no doctors accompanying the troupe that goes out on the expedition, the lead trekker is usually trained in Wilderness First Aid course, which ensures that primary medical aid is always at hand.

    Furthermore, the lead trekker is trained in the basic and advanced courses of mountaineering and trekking and he ensures that all safety guidelines are followed and all trekkers are able to enjoy the beauty of the region by avoiding untoward incidents.

    In case you are on any kind of medication or undergoing treatment, consult your physician before deciding to set out on this expedition. Although the beauty and charm of the Himalayan ranges are almost impossible to resist, it is important that you are physically and medically fit for the expedition.

    If you need personal trail medications, carry them with you. If you are in doubt about your fitness level for the expedition, consult your physician or a professional trekker for advice. It is important that you gauge your fitness level well ahead and plan your expedition accordingly. If you are declared unfit, do not venture out for the expedition.You must be well aware of Ladakh Weather to avoid medical emergencies.

  • 15Other Facts You Should Know

    This trek is one of the toughest and most challenging treks in the Himalayan region. The frozen Zanskar River is the only means of communication for the Ladakhis and the Zanskaris in winters. This route is popularly used by trekking enthusiasts in the winters. However, this route will soon be shut down after the road from Chilling to Padum is completed.There are lot of Ladakh tours you can choose from us.

  • 16Things You Must Carry

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    Thrillophilia arranges for ground transportation, accommodation, tents, kitchen and dining tents, kitchen equipments, stools, tables and mattresses, food (vegetarian and non-vegetarian items), cooks, helpers, porters and guides. Furthermore, Thrillophilia will also include the charges of monument entrances, wild life fees and camping charges in your registration fees.

    Apart from all this, you will have to carry with you-

    - a medium-sized day pack with a plastic liner
    - trekking boots, stream crossing sandals
    - water bottles
    - fleece jackets
    - rainproof jackets
    - insulating gloves
    - sunscreen and lip salve
    - sunglasses
    - water purification pills
    - personal medications (if any)
    - emergency first aid kits
    - toilet paper
    - hand sanitizers
    - emergency food items such as chocolate bars, mouth wash etc.

    In case you do not already own these things, you can hire it from Thrillophilia. You can rent sleeping bags, trekking shoes and clothing etc. The package charges do not include the cost of any kinds of personal expenses such as tips, insurance, laundry and phone call charges, any kinds of beverages or any other cost incidental to any change in the itinerary.

    While setting out for the trek, it is essential that you are dressed in long sleeve, hiking shirt; long quick dry hiking pants. You can also carry a hat with a retention cord on windy days.

    Your duffel bag can carry your sleeping bag, your complete set of spare clothing, long and regular underwear, inner and outer socks, a pair of fleece sweaters, insulating hats, a pair of running shoes, your toilet kit, your toothbrush, soap, towel etc.

  • 17Fitness Required

    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The trek to Chadar is extremely arduous and tasking. Not only does it test your physical stamina but also your medical health. It is essential that you are in the best of health before you set out for this expedition. Usually, the lead trekker is a trained professional in the basic and advanced courses of trekking and mountaineering and also trained in Wilderness first aid.

    But to avoid any critical or untoward situation in terms of health and fitness, it is best that you consult a professional or a physician and get yourself checked before participating in the Chadar trek. In case you are on medications, make sure you carry your medicines with you while venturing out for the trek.

    The climatic conditions that trekkers have to face during a trip to Chadar are extremely harsh and cold. It is essential that you are physically and medically fit to take up this challenge. The temperatures hover between 15 and 20 degrees during the day time and between -25 and-35 degrees during the night. The nights are usually spent in caves near the frozen Zanskar River in extremely cold conditions.

    Hence, it is mandatory that you understand the challenges that lie before you completely and fully before stepping out for the expedition and prepare yourself accordingly. Carry warm clothes, warm bedding and food supplements to keep you energised during the trek. Also, carry chlorine or other water purifying tablets to filter and clean your water before drinking.Special care must be taken during Trekking in Ladakh in Winters.

  • 18Approximate Cost

    Approximate Cost
    Image Credit : Bob Witlox - Flickr

    The approximate cost for the expedition of 13 days and 12 nights starts at about Rs 52,000 per adult. The cost may vary from individual to individual depending on the type of accommodation chosen or available, number of people travelling, activities possible and availability, changes in government fee on entry or taxes, credit card fee as per payment gateway charges etc.

    The total cost includes the cost of ground transportation using Toyota Qualis, Scorpio or Innova, accommodation in A class hotels including all meals, tents, kitchen equipments, stool, tables and mattresses, meals, support staff and entry fees to monuments, wildlife areas and camping fees.

    This package charge excludes the cost of sleeping bags, trekking shoes and clothing, any kind of personal expenses, tips, laundry, insurance and phone calls, any kind of drinks and cost incidental to change in itinerary etc.

    Apart from this, you will have to bear the expenses of hiring or buying the equipments and essential items required for the trek such as day size packs, trekking boots, stream crossing sandals, water bottles, fleece jackets, rain proof jackets, insulating gloves, sunscreens, sunglasses, emergency first aid kit etc.

    These items are vital for survival during the trek and hence must be carried by everyone participating in the expedition. You will also need special clothes such as long sleeve hiking shirts, long quick dry hiking pants, hiking socks, trekking poles etc. Some of these items can also be purchased from Leh if you do not own them yourself.

    Apart from Trekking you can also enjoy Bike trip in Leh Ladakh.

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

    Chadar Trek 2020, Ladakh - Frozen River Trek Book @ ₹21,500

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  • 19How to Plan a Cost-Effective Trek

    Image Credit : Pradeep Kumbhashi - Flickr

    Planning is very important to make a trek cost-effective. If you wish to cut down unnecessary costs, you need to plan your trip in detail. Just packing a ruck sack and heading for the Himalayas isn’t enough when it comes to planning a trekking trip.

    You will need to plan things such as time of the programme, choice of the route and route details, choose the route type, check your capacity, capability and experience of your team members, collect information, plan for food, take gear and equipment, medicines, making the budget etc. For your personal expenses, take account of factors such as items to be packed, guide, porter, cook, check your physical and medical fitness, use of food and dos and don’ts at the campsite.

    By planning out all these things beforehand, you can cut down a lot of unnecessary expenses during your trip. Prepare a checklist and tick out everything you have arranged. An organised approach to planning a trip is the best way to make your trip fruitful and cost-effective.

    Before you set out for the trek or decide on going trekking, do a little homework by researching on the destination, the geographical and climatic conditions, on the things that you will need to carry and the things that will be provided to you from the agency that will facilitate your travel and then prepare a checklist. With an itemised checklist, you cut down the chances of missing out anything and hence the cost of buying an item or renting it last minute.You can also do budget Jeep Safari in Ladakh that will give you sight to breathtaking views.

  • 20Common Trekking Mistakes

    1) Lack of Physical Fitness: Get yourself physically checked and only when you have been given a clean chit by the physician should you plan a trekking trip in high altitudes. High altitude trekking requires a lot of physical stamina, strength and endurance and for this reason it is highly essential that you are in the best of form. Persons suffering from heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes etc should refrain from trekking in high altitude regions.

    2) Poor Packing: While setting out on a trekking expedition in the Himalayas, it is important that you pack all your stuff wisely. Remember that when you are climbing uphill, each and every gram in your rucksack will weigh heavy and hence wise packing is absolutely necessary.

    So if you are a beginner, consult an experienced trekker before packing. If you are experienced, prepare a checklist and then pack only the most essential items.

    3) Dehydration: Many people avoid drinking water in chilly conditions. This results in dehydration. So keep your water bottles close and drink in as much as you can. This will allow your body to maintain its water balance. By not drinking enough water during trekking, you aid in your body’s dehydration and make it weak and tired during the trek.

    4) Wrong Outfit: Dressing up right is not just for parties and night outs. It is important that you are dressed in the right clothes and gear to enjoy your trekking experience at high altitudes. Do not wear flowy or frilly clothes that will make navigation difficult. Make sure you wear warm woollen and polyester clothes that suit the weather and help you trek easily.

    5) Trekking at Night: You may feel adventurous enough to trek at night, but the best way to avoid trouble while trekking in the Himalayas is - avoid trekking at night. The slopes are slippery and there are no lights to show the way. If you venture out at night, you are sure to invite serious trouble.

    6) Wearing the Wrong Shoes:  Since you will be spending most of your time walking, it is best that you choose the right shoes for yourself. Strong and sturdy shoes with metal spikes are perfect for walking in the snow. There are different types of shoes for different terrains and you should choose your shoes carefully if you want to make your trekking experience enjoyable. A wrong set of shoes or even socks in the wrong terrain can spoil all the fun in your expedition.

    7) Skipping Food: Eat well when you are on an expedition such as the frozen river trek. Many people skip their food not realising that this can cause a lot of problems. While on such a tough task, it is important that you give your body all the energy and nutrition you can to make it strong and sturdy enough to face harsh conditions. By skipping food, you make your body weak and less resistant to the severe conditions of the region.

    8) Avoiding Weather Report: Do not forget to check the weather report before you start trekking. Neglecting or avoiding the weather report can land you in serious trouble, especially at such high altitude regions. Check for websites that offer such information and keep yourself updated before setting out for the adventure.

  • 21Is the Trip Customisable?

    Yes, the trip is customisable and can be designed to suit your preferences. Himalayan expeditions are carried out in different time frames depending on the weather and climatic conditions. If you wish to travel independently, you can choose your time frame and preferred group size.

    The charges will depend on the number of people in your group, trek area, trek style and duration of the trek. Before going on a trekking expedition in the Himalayas, it is best that you take a few things into account such as the geographical and climatic conditions of the region, the things you will require, common trekking mistakes that people make while trekking in such a terrain etc.

    Also, plan your journey well ahead of time. Use a very organised approach to plan your travel. Do your homework by researching well on the region, the climatic conditions, the trek route, the different trek styles, the best season to trek in the region etc to make your expedition fruitful and enjoyable.

    Armed with this information, you can plan your trip wisely and make it an enjoyable and memorable experience. Most people overlook such matters considering it to be trivial and are in for a big mess when they start trekking.You can also do rafting in Ladakh.

Trekking in Ladakh



Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favourite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.


Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri-armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except for the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the centre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.


Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.


Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.


Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.


The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.


Lamayuru Monastery

The high elevation where Lamayuru Monastery is located at amuses every traveler comes here. Existing on Leh-Srinagar Highway, around 15 kms east of the Fotu La, the monastery is perched on a height of 3510 meters. The murals, frescoes and the images of Buddha have created an interesting setting inside this famous Buddhist temple.


Lamayuru Monastery was originally the monastery belonged to Bon and the name means Swastika which symbolized eternity. The history says that an Indian scholar named Naropa caused a lake to dry up and there founded Lamayuru Monastery. Seng ge Sgang is the oldest building surviving which is dedicated to the builder-monk, Rinchen Zangpo.

The structure of the monastery

There were actually five buildings in the beginning and still one can find the remaining of the four buildings located in the corner. In the past there, were up to 400 monks and currently there are 100 monks residing in the monastery. There is a small temple can be seen which is dedicated to Avalokiteshwara.

Location: The monastery is located at a distance of 127 km from Leh in the Lamayuru region. You can reach the monastery via road by bus or jeep.

Timings: It is open on all days from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 30 per person

Highlights: There will be two annual Mask Dance festivals happen which is the most suitable time to visit the monastery.


Alchi Monastery

After the endless mountain peaks, green valleys, high passes, monasteries in Ladakh are the prime factors behind the huge number of visitors to the paradise every year. Alchi Monastery, a group of Buddhist shrines is now a remarkable landmark and a must visit tourist attraction in Leh. The rugged valleys, uneven mountain terrains etc are creating a flamboyant view from the monastery and make the travelers feel elevated. Alchi is a part of the three villages that together constitute to the Alchi Group of Monuments.


Alchi Monastery and its current guardians are grateful the great translator Rinchen Zangpo who was the reason behind the construction of the monastery. He built it in the AD 1000 and there were 32 wood carvers and sculptors from Kashmir to help him. But when the Gelug sect decided to shift the activities to Likir Monastery permanently, it turned to be the administrative shrine of the Alchi Gompa, officially.

Structure of the monastery

Alchi Monastic Complex has three principal shrines named the Dukhang or Assembly Hall, the Sumtseng and the temple of Manjushri. Chortens have a special space inside the complex. The wall paintings seen inside are dating back to the spiritual and artistic nuances found in Buddhism and Hindu Kingdoms. Like we seen in other monasteries, here also, you will find the huge statues of Buddha and several wood carvings and art works appearing in Baroque style.

Location: The monastery is located in Alchi Village in the Leh District, 70 km from Leh.

Timing: May to September on all days: from 10:00 am to 01:00 pm and from 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm.

Entry Fee: For Indians: INR 25, For Foreigners: INR 50

Highlights: The views from the monastery have attracted a lot of film production sets. Good photographic location as well.


Royal Leh Palace

A nine storey high building displays the influence of Potala Palace in Lhasa is the famed Royal Leh Palace that stands with its head high on a cliff top overlooking the ravishing Leh town. Leh Palace is a must visit during anyone’s tour of Ladakh region as it has been standing there as a symbol of the old glorious days of the royal family lived here. The top floors accommodated the members of the regal community and the low floors were occupied by stables and stores.


In the 17th century, King Sengge Namgyal led the construction of Leh Palace and it gained fame in a short span of time. Later, it was termed as an architectural icon and the symbol of pride and glory of Leh. The history says that during the time when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh, Leh Palace was abandoned and the members of the family were asked to move to Stok Palace. The Archeological Survey of India has restored the valuable ruins of the palace and opened to the public as a remarkable tourist attraction.

Structure of the palace

There is a monastery behind the palace which is a part of the palace and there you will find the statue of a seating Buddha in there in the monastery behind the palace. On the walls of the palace, you will see the old pictures and paintings including Tibetan thangka.

Timings: The palace is open to the public on all days from 07:00 am to 04:00 pm

Entry fee: For Indians: INR 20 and for Foreigners: INR 100

Location: Leh Palace is closely located to the town. Visitors can reach the palace by walking from Leh town as it is about 5 kms away from there.


Zanskar valley

The Zanskar Range is the mountain range in Jammu and Kashmir that acts as the separating line between Ladakh and Zanskar. The Zanskar Range is a part of the Tethys Himalayas, formed with weakly transformed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is 6000 meters. It is an inevitable spot for adventure lovers during their adrenaline rushing trekking trips to the Trans Himalayas every year.

On the way to Zanskar Valley, one will come across the incredible Suru Valley which puts forth a decent trekking experience to adventure lovers. Zanskar is alluring always with its brightly shining mountain peaks and the presumably attracting villages, sometimes, it looks overshadowing the relishing Changthang Region as well. Tourism has caused a great enhancements on the economic side of the region like education flourished and the lifestyle of the people has changed but it took its toll on the fragile mountain environment.

Nevertheless, Zanskar is the favorite tourist destination still because of the vast area that is made beautiful by multiple hues, the distinct flora and fauna and the extremely variant climatic conditions. There are two main branches of the Zanskar River; one is Doda which has source near Pensi-La and flows south eastwards to reach Padum and the second one is formed by two tributaries called Kargyag River and it has source near Shingo La.

Height: The valley is situated at an average height of 6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: It is located at a distance of about 464 kms from Leh and would take around 10 to 11 hours to reach. Buses are available from Leh to reach the valley.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August and September are suitable to visit the Zanskar Range as the other months will cause heavy snowfall and the roads will be blocked.


Hemis National Park

Around 4400 is the area the prime attraction of Ladakh spreads into. We are talking about the renowned Hemis National Park named after the popular monastery in the region that is Hemis Monastery. The very rare species of wildlife is the reason behind its global recognition. Bharal and snow leopards are examples for the unseen animal collection found in Hemis National Park. The park is located on the west bank of the Indus River. 

The animals, the flora, the birds and the nature in the park and its vicinity are coming under the highly protected areas and this is the only place in India where the protected snow leopards are seen in abundance. The Rumbak and Markha catchments were found to be protected with the discovery of the park in 1981 and it grew into 4400 in 1990 and becomes the largest national park in South Asia. Argali or the Great Tibetan Sheep, Shapu etc are the supporters of the prey base for the predators in Hemis. Asiatic Ibex, the Tibetan Wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and red fox are some of the endangered species found before and some are still present in the park. The crucial problem faced by the park is the regular animal-human conflicts because over 1600 people are living inside the park boundaries, mainly pastoralists living with poultry farming, goats and sheep.

Height: The elevation at which the park exists is 3000-6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: The park is located about 5 kms from Leh and Leh Airport is the closest airport to the park.

Best time to visit: To reach the park there are a number of trekking routes opened from Mid-June to Mid-October. But the best season to spot snow leopards is of course, in late winter.


Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery in Ladakh has another name that is Pethup Gompa, very famous among the locals. It is located at a distance of 8 km from Leh and there are 100 monks inside the gompa. The major attraction at the monastery is the giant statue of Goddess Kali. The Buddhist monastery is at a site which was blessed earlier by Arhat Nyimagung.


Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-de. He was the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. When he came to Maryul, he built the monastery and introduced the monastic community. But Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo on his arrival said that an exemplary religious sect should be there and thus the name of the monastery was changed to Spituk which meant exemplary.

Structure of the monastery

There are three chapels in the gompa with numerous statues of Buddha and several thankas as well. The Dukhang Hall is the highlight and the two rows of seats running to a throne at the end are also something unique found here. Visitors will come across the beautiful sculptors and chortens.

Location: The monastery is perched on a thrilling hill top near Indus and about 8 kms away from Leh on Srinagar road. It is at an elevation of 3307 meters.

Timings: It is open on all days from 08:00 am to 01:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 20 per person

Highlights: Gustor Festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calendar and it is for two days with mask dance and prayers. Usually, the festival falls on winter time which guarantees the presence of natives in large but the number of tourists would be comparatively lesser.


Visit to the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame is a proud displayer of Indian Army simultaneously acts as the symbol of those dark days of India’s war against Pakistan. The museum that showcases seized arms and weapons of Pakistan army is located in Ladakh, the paradise of adventure lovers lying in the beautiful Himalayas. Moreover, the museum is considered to be a tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives during the war. To make it more appealing, the Indian Army has kept the photos and the things of those soldiers inside the museum. Also, the arranged items related to the history and culture of Ladakh, wildlife and vegetation have importance and amuses the visitors definitely. 

There are things which enhance every Indian’s patriotic feelings as well as they let us appreciate the bravery shown by every Indian soldier during the wars, from the heart. Different quotes, letters written by the soldiers, the tools, aircrafts, weapons, tents and what all the soldiers have used during the period are preserved which give every visitor a minute to think and pay tribute to those brave hearts who lost their lives to help every one of us sleep in peace. Located next to Leh Airfield, the museum is opened on all days. Every day, visitors will be able to watch a detailed documentary on Operation Vijai or Kargil War screened.

Entry fee:  For Indians: INR 10, for Foreigners: INR 50

Timings: 09:00 am to 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm

Highlight: Evening parade or march is a major event happening here

Location: 4 kms from the main town, on the way to Magnetic hill via Leh Srinagar Highway.

Tips: Camera and video are allowed inside but at an additional cost.


Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but the unpredictable avalanche and severe climatic conditions make it scary some times. Nonetheless, it had made adventure seekers’ tour of Ladakh mind-blowing. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the proud Pir Panjal Range of the mighty Himalayas.

It acts as the connecting link between Kullu Valley and Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Being an ancient trade route, it was well maintained by the natives. The generic name of the pass suggests that either the pass was the oldest and the most used pass. With the increase of visitors every year, the fragile mountain ecology will be in threat, environmentalists worry.

But the exciting beauty of the mountain terrains seen from the top of the pass is indescribable and flamboyant. The Indian Government started building a tunnel which is 8.5 km long to bypass Rohtang pass in order to reduce the travel time and distance to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh.

The tunnel promises to reduce the distance by 50 km and the time by five hours between the south and north faces of Rohtang pass. Currently, the time taken to ascend and descend the pass itself is 5-6 hours.

 Rohtang Pass is located at an altitude of 3978 meters above the sea level in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.

 The pass is located about 51 kms away from Manali and you can reach the pass if you take Leh- Manali Highway.

Best time to visit: 
The pass will be open from the months of May to October as the snow starts melting and the paths will be cleared.


Lachulung La

Apart from Khardung La or Baralacha La, Ladakh has numerous other passes at great heights which stand as Ladakh’s pride for centuries now. The glitters of other passes may be diminished by Khardung La mainly but all the other passes are equally important. Lachulung La is a single example.

The elevation of this pass is 5059 meters above sea level which is considered to be a dangerously exciting height for any pass after Khardung La. Lachulung La is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also, it separates the valleys of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. If you take Leh-Manali highway, you will be able to cross this pass that has other names such as Lachalung La, Lungalacha La etc. 

A fact that to be remembered before you head to visit this pass is, it is open only for four and a half months during summer. Any traveler should be prepared not to fall sick during the conquering of Lachulung La because its geographic status, the height, the rugged pathways and the remote villages it goes through may cause dramatic influence on your body. Being one of the most adventurous passes in Ladakh, Lachulung is a favorite stop avid adventure lovers.

Also, the surroundings are quite fictional as the towering Himalayan passes and the nature lying in correspondence to them are creating soothing visuals. Trekkers should be very careful while climbing the altitude up as altitude sickness is assured at the top and keep hydrated to maintain your body conditions with respect to the climate. But the descent is smooth and easy so that you will feel overjoyed till the end.

5059 meters

Best time to visit:
May to October

How to reach:
Take Leh-Manali highway, from Sarchu 54 KM and from Pang, 24 Km


Tanglang La

Tanglang La is a high mountain pass, the glorious pride of Ladakh, the favourite tourist spot for bikers and trekkers. 5328 meters above the sea level is the dream like height of this pass which happily poses some threatening adventure to those who try to climb up the top. The road leading to the pass on Leh-Manali highway, from Upshi to Tanglang La is completely paved. A 500 meter long section of the road is the only part which is unpaved. Tanglang La is also beautifully paved to the make the climb easier. 

There are a lot of confusions existing regarding the position of Tanglang La in the list of world’s highest motorable passes and the world believes it to be the second highest which is proven to be wrong. The local sign on the top of the pass shows the altitude of the pass is 17582 feet or 5359 meters. But now, it is said that the sign board gives a wrong impression but the original height of the pass is 5328 meters. The pass is made beautiful by the innumerous Buddhist prayer flags despite the fact the road is tough to conquer and any type of traveler will fall for the scenery at the pass and adventure lovers would love to try their energy level by climbing up to the top. But remember, the oxygen level will be decreased as you cover the altitude and reaches to the half of what you feel at sea level.

Height: 5328 meters of 1248 feet

Best time to visit: May to October

How to reach: The pass is close to Leh-Manali highway and can be reached via 21 Gata loops

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