Khardung La Overview

Gateway to the Shyok and Nubra Valley, the Khardungla Pass is strategically a very important landmass for the country. Famous for being the highest motorable pass with an elevation of 5359 metres, the pass is a favourite spot among bike riders and adventure lovers. The pass has mighty mountains on both of its sides, which further offer the most dramatic views one can imagine.

Khardung La pass is a gateway to some of the most enchanting and unexplored landscapes. This famed mountain pass is very popular amongst adventure seekers and regular tourists alike and it must be part of your Le Ladakh tour packages. Located in the Leh district of the Indian Union Territory, Khardung La is situated at an elevation of 5,359 meters. It is hailed to be the highest motorable pass all across the globe. Historically speaking, Khardung La is quite significant as it lies on the major caravan route that links Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia.

 During the second world war, an attempt to transfer war well to China was made through this route. Khardung La was constructed in the year 1976 and was made accessible to public motor vehicles in the year 1988. The pass is maintained by the Border Roads Organisation and is of great strategic importance as it is used to carry goods to the Siachen Glacier. 

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• The Khardungla Pass is famous for being one of the highest motorable roads in the world with an elevation of 5359 metres above the sea level.
• Anyone who plans a bike trip to Ladakh ensures that they add one day of riding a bike through the Khardungla Pass to reach Nubra Valley.
• The pass has several small villages located on its way, all of which have little to no population.
• The Khardungla Pass was once a part of the ancient silk route, hence has a huge historical importance.
• The condition of the road here varies from season to season. While it remains closed during the winters due to snowfall and landslides, the best time when you can venture out here is during the summer months between May to August.

How To Reach

Khardung La is located 39.7 Kms from Leh by road. It does not have an airport so you’ll have to take a flight to leh and from there you can board a taxi to reach Khardung La Pass. Here are few other options to reach Khardung La Pass From Leh.

  • It is highly advisable to take a taxi or bike in order to reach Khardung La from Leh. By car, Travellers will reach the destination within 1 hour and 23 minutes. If you take a bike, you will reach the pass within 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Bus service is available daily from Leh to Nubra Valley which passes through Khardung La Pass. 

Planning a bike trip to Ladakh, Checkout: Bike rentals in Ladakh

Best Time To Visit

Mainly the months between March-May and September -October are the best to visit the Mountain Pass. Here is the breakdown of a few other seasons when you can visit Khardung La Pass.

   - March-May(summer)

The region witnesses an abundance of sunshine, with the temperature lingering around 21°C during summer. Nights are relatively colder than the day time as the temperature experiences a significant drop down to 7°C or below 

  - June-August(Spring)

Khardung La is inaccessible during the months of June and August because of the incessant rainfall. 

  - January-February

Wintertime is equally challenging as the region witnesses heavy snowfall, making it impossible for tourists to access the road. The temperature drops to -30 degrees Celsius during winters.

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Other Essential Information

Road Conditions To Khardung La

- The distance between Leh and Khardung La is 39 kilometres.

- The first 25 kilometres until the South Pullu Checkpoints are very smooth. There might be some bad patches here and there, but the road is in good condition overall.

-The road starts to deteriorate past the South Pullu Checkpoint until the very top. It consists of melted snow, broken rocks, landslides, etc.

-Moving towards the Nubra Valley, the road is again in a very bad condition until the North Pullu Post. After crossing the post, it starts to get better.

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Permit For Khardung La

- Inner Line Permit grants the permission for travelling to a protected area for a certain amount of time.

- The issuance of the document is mandatory for all the citizens who do not belong to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

- Foreigners are required to obtain a Ladakh Protected Area Permit before visiting the region. 

- The ILP is valid for a period of one year for foreigners and a total of three weeks for Indians.

-  The entry fee for the Inner Line Permit is 20 INR per day. The total cost of the permit will cost you 500 INR.

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Things To Keep In Mind

Here are some of the important tips that you must keep in mind before visiting Khardung La Pass:

- Oxygen and air pressure Levels are extremely low at Khardung La Pass. Running around or indulging in strenuous activities can lead to sickness or nausea.

-Do not spend more than 15-20 minutes at the top as it can cause altitude sickness and breathing problems.

- In order to get accustomed to high altitude, make sure to spend 3-4 days in Leh or any other similar region before heading out to Khardung La.

-Proper Acclimatization is mandatory before visiting Khardung La Pass.

- If you are experiencing altitude sickness while ascending towards the pass and the sickness doesn't seem to subside, it's highly advisable to descend back.

- It is advised to perform a thorough check of the vehicle before heading to the pass to be on the safer side. 

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Things To Carry To Khardung La Pass

Here is the list of the most important items that you should carry to Khardung La Pass:

- A waterproof backpack

- Lots of water

- Pain killers

- Medical Kit

- Sturdy Shoes

- Fully Charged Batteries

- Large Containers of Fuel

- Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion

- Carry Diamox in order to treat high altitude sickness.

- Food packages. It is advisable to eat light food at regular intervals.

- Chewing gum, energy bars, chocolate bars.

- Portable oxygen cylinders

- Extra woollen clothing and raincoats

Do's and Don'ts

Keep in mind the list of these do’s and don'ts for a cherishable visit to Khardung La Pass.


- Always carry dry food items and lots of water

- It is advisable to carry Diamox in order to treat any signs of high altitude sickness.

- Carry woollen clothing. Wear layers of clothing instead of donning one thick jacket.

- Carry spare fully charged batteries for your equipment as the region faces a major electricity cut.

- Wear sunglasses and apply lots of sunscreen in order to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

- Carry ID proofs.

- Carry a proper medical kit.


- Do not litter. Ladakh is a plastic-free zone so make sure to avoid throwing plastic.

- Avoid any sort of indulgence, be it smoking or alcohol. Doing so will lead to serious respiratory problems. 

- Do not overexert yourself.

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Essential Information

 -Mobile Connectivity

 Only postpaid connections are functional in the region. BSNL and MTNL are the only network providers that work the best here. They have the widest coverage range, which is followed by Airtel. 

- Medical Facilities

The region itself doesn't feature any health care centres or dispensaries. Travellers seeking medical attention will have to head to the town closest to the Pass. Travellers can visit the SNM hospital, which is located in Leh in case of a medical emergency.

You’re also advised to carry a medical kit with essential medication such as Diamox, Disprin Dexamethasone or Aspirin to combat the sickness.

- ATMs

The region itself doesn't have any ATMs. However, Leh houses a lot of ATMs which travellers can make use of. The last ATM that tourists will encounter on the Manali Leh highway is in Manali. Past that, no ATMs are available until you reach Leh. There's one SBI ATM that has been installed recently on the way to Nubra Valley which is being regarded as "World's Highest ATM".

- Petrol Pumps

Leh features a functional petrol pump. Apart from this, you can spot a hand-operated petrol pump in the beautiful region of Diskit. This is the only functional petrol pump in Nubra valley.

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Travellers Tip For Khardung La Pass

Here are the most important tips that every traveller should follow before visiting Khardung La Pass.

- If you are choosing not to drive the vehicle by yourself, then hire a professional and experienced driver.

- Carry necessary medication along with you in order to treat high altitude sickness.

- If sickness doesn't subside after taking proper medication, immediately descend the climb.

- No accommodation or dwelling options are available near Khardung La Pass. Travellers are advised to either bring their own tents or stay in the nearby towns.

- The travel permit is extremely mandatory. Without the permit you can’t enter Khardung La Pass. Tourists can avail the permit from tourist agencies or the travel department. 

- Get your mode of vehicle serviced before heading to the pass. Since the path only deteriorates with further advancement, it's important to make sure that your vehicle is in good condition in     order to have a smooth journey.  

- If you intend to travel here by bike, then it is advisable to buy a mask to cover your mouth as the roads here are constantly filled with trucks that emit a lot of smoke and tar.

We have the guide of Manali to Leh Road Trip. Don't forget to check it out before you make a plan.

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Tourism Board Alliances

Khardung La FAQs

How do you get to Khardung La pass?

There are three possible ways to reach Khardung La Pass:

  1. By Air: The closest airport to Khardung La Pass is Leh International Airport in Leh. This airport is thoroughly connected and has airlines operating daily flights to various cities of India such as Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, Chennai, and many more. After reaching the airport, travellers can opt for a taxi in order to reach the pass.
  2. By Rail: Pathankot, Kalka, and Chandigarh are the nearest railway stations to Leh in Ladakh. In order to reach the Pass, travellers can hire a cab outside the station.
  3. By Road: Daily bus services are operated from Leh to Nubra Valley that pass over Khardung La Pass. The route contains two checkpoints. First 24 kilometres until South Pullu Checkpoint is smooth. The next 15 kilometres until the North Pullu Checkpoint are very bumpy and contain broken rocks, snow clumps, etc.

A detailed travel guide for Road Trip to Leh Ladakh.

How high is Khardung La Pass?

Khardung La Pass sits at an elevation of 5,359 m (17,582 ft).

Suggested Read: An Exciting Tour Package from Dehli to Leh Ladakh

How far is Khardung La from Leh?

Khardung La is situated at a distance of 39 kilometres from Leh.

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Is Khardung La the highest motorable road?

No, the local summit signs and numerous t-shirt selling stores in Leh claim that Khardung La sits at an elevation of 5,602 m (18,379 ft) and that it is the world's highest motorable pass. But, the original elevation of the pass is 5,349 m.

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Can we do paragliding in Khardung La?

Yes, tourists can try their hands at paragliding in the Khardung La range. This sport will offer you an instant adrenaline rush, and each one of you must try your hand on this.

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Why is Khardung La Pass famous?

Khardung La is famous for its wrongly claimed title of being the highest motorable pass in India which has successfully gained quite some attention.

Is the Khardung La road open in winters?

No, the Khardung La pass is closed during winters. Due to heavy snowfall, the road becomes inaccessible.

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What is the opening time of Khardung La Pass?

The opening and closing timings of Khardung La Pass are 9 AM to 5 PM. It is open throughout the week.

Khardung La Reviews

Reviewed: 16 Aug 2022
It was nice experience with thrillophilla. Me and my family were satisfied with their support. Specially rescheduling during some medical issues. Local staff and amenities provided at all locations were good. My sincere thanks to all team members, looking forward for new trips.
Manish  .
Manish  .
Manish  .
Manish  .
Manish  .
Manish  .
(12+)View All
Sushant Kamble
Reviewed: 26 Jun 2022
Amazing experience!
Sushant Kamble
Sushant Kamble
Sushant Kamble
Sushant Kamble
Sushant Kamble
Sushant Kamble
Vipul Jain
Reviewed: 05 Aug 2019
Recapturing Leh-Ladakh It was Manali-Jispa-Sarchu-Leh-NubraValley-Pangong-Leh-Kargil-Srinagar, I was a solo rider with RE Himalayan. In total, my group consists of 22 people and 17 Bikes. It was one hell of a journey. The group, guide, mechanic, truck driver, and the organizer were awesome. They mad... Read More
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
(6+)View All
Vipul Jain
Reviewed: 01 Aug 2019
Recapturing Leh-Ladakh It was Manali-Jispa-Sarchu-Leh-NubraValley-Pangong-Leh-Kargil-Srinagar, I was a solo rider with RE Himalayan. In total, my group consists of 22 people and 17 Bikes. It was one hell of a journey. The group, guide, mechanic, truck driver, and the organizer were awesome. They... Read More
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
Vipul Jain
(6+)View All
Sham Rukme
Reviewed: 20 Jul 2022
Every promise was fulfilled.
Sham Rukme
Sham Rukme
Sham Rukme
Sham Rukme
Sham Rukme
Vivek Kumar Samantaray
Reviewed: 30 Aug 2022
It was amazing. Bikes needs a little more maintained.
Vivek Kumar  Samantaray
Vivek Kumar  Samantaray

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