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Stok Kangri Trek

Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

The trek usually lasts for a maximum of ten days. The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty and warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you through a route of immense natural beauty. You can see the lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendour of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region, and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.


During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The view from the Stok Kangri is simply amazing. This rewarding feeling is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

Best Season: June - October
Difficulty Level: Medium
Max. Elevation: 5000 m
Customized Your Trek to Stok Kangri

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Visit to the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame near Leh is actually a museum dedicated to the Indian army's heroic struggles during the war in Kargil and Siachen sectors. It's a very interesting museum displaying the weapons employed during the Kargil war and belongings of the enemy soldiers including their outfits found after the Kargil war. 

Also, on display are the different outfits of the heroic soldiers with multi-layered shoes to protect them from frostbite, their frozen foods which they warm with balls of Hexamycin tablets before dinner. Due to the excessive cold in the region with temperature hovering between -300 C to -500 C it is difficult to strike a fire. This is also the reason why there were so many deaths of our heroic soldiers during the Siachen war.

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Lachulung La

Located on the Leh-Manali route, this is a mountain pass at about 16,000 feet above sea level. From here you get undulating views of the scenery beyond. You can see the entire Ladakh plateau in some sweeping glance of your eyes. Located 54 km from Sarchu, this mountain pass is considered a relatively easy route to traverse.

There is a nala that passes through this place and simply moving alongside can accomplish your task of crossing this pass. After crossing Lachulung La, the landscape changes where the road meanders through a canyon. 

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Tanglang La

One of the highest mountain passes in the Ladakh region, the Tanglang La pass is like a jewel in the crown on the Manali – Leh stretch. Claimed to be the second highest motorable mountain pass on the planet, your ascent from here is unceasingly upwards. It is like driving towards the clouds given that they are so close as well.

Along the way, the snow clad mountains will mesmerize you for sure. During the journey through this high-altitude place, you can witness the Tso Kar Lake behind the gigantic mountains. 

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Shanti Stupa

If you are not in mood to travel far from Leh but still wants to visit some beautiful place, Shanti Stupa is the place to go for. Located just at a distance of 5 KM on the Changspa hill at a height of about 4267 m, Shanti Stupa gives you a panoramic view of the whole Leh town with the snow-capped mountains at distant.

Especially, the sunrise and sunset from the Shanti Stupa are truly mesmerizing.


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Namgyal Tsemo Monastery

If you are planning a trip to Leh then exploring the monasteries always comes at the top of your list. Known for its three-storey high solid gold idol of Maitrieya Buddha Namgyal Tsemo Monastery was founded by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh. The monastery is located at the top of the mountains which offers a panoramic view of surroundings. The Gompa has temples , paintings , statues of Buddha and an assembly hall. Marvel at the sight of the Indus River tenderly flowing down and the snow capped peaks of Zanskar range. Not just get amazed by the views here but also admire the architecture of the gompa which is very impressive. The best thing about this place is its breathtaking views which keep changing with the lights.
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Chang La Pass

If you are planning for a bike road trip to Ladakh than you will be passing through Chang la Pass. This is the third highest motor able pass in the world. Located at an elevation of 5,360 m, the pass is covered by snow all round the war. The name literally means "Pass towards the South" or "Pass in the South" (Chang = south, La = Pass). For the bikers this is another pas which is quite challenging as it is very steep. The descent from Chang La towards Tangtse or Darbuk is again very steep. The pass is located in between Pangonh Lake and Leh. The Changla Pass is the main gateway for the Changthang Plateau situated in the Himalayas. If you are on a bike trip, stop here in the pass to get some of the best pictures of your lifetime.
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Hemis Festival

Hemis festival takes place in the Hemis monastery of Ladakh every year on the tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month. The festival is held to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. This is a two-day affair and one of the biggest included in the ladakh travel guide, in which the Lamas participate in mask dances religious plays with accompaniment of drums, cymbals and long horns.

Local Tibetans eagerly waiting for the festival attire themselves in colourful dresses and join in the festivities. Every 12 years during the Tibetan Year of Monkey a 'Thanka' two-storey high and depicting the Guru is displayed. The 'Thanka' is richly embroidered with semi-precious stones and pearls. A fair is also held during this festival where beautiful handicrafts are displayed.

Reviews

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Vinay Trivedi

07 March 2017

Such an amazing bike ride, challenging but with thrill till the end. Make sure that you are prepared to prevent the cold, the rough wind, the altitude sickness etc because even the symptoms of sickness will affect your trip. Khardung La Pass is quite a challenging one, also there are different shorter and longer passes throughout the journey. The service was also nice, not many complaints. The guides will know the place better because they are doing it for long. But still keep the track of the route before you start the trip. The guide was nice to us, keeping everything coordinated. The accommodation and food were also flawless to me.

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Sarla Iyer

02 August 2015

We started our tour by sightseeing of Manali. After the sight seeing, we rode our bikes on various high-altitude roads, including the Khardungla pass, the world’s highest motorable road which is more than 5600 m, above the sea level. I was all alone, feeling like the king of the road. We got to stopover at lovely lakes, some antic terrains, and peaceful out backs. We drove through there. It was awesome.

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Jyotis Ganaka

06 March 2017

It was one of the best and the most memorable trip I ever had. I always wanted to visit Ladakh and so this time I booked this package. Like they say the adventure begins it was indeed one hell of an adventure. Everything was very well organized for us. The pickup service was on time and so was the accommodation. Once we reached Leh, we could not stop ourselves staring at the serene roads and enjoy the peaceful environment. We visited some of the places like Hall of Fame and the famous Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill. The Deskit Monastery was one of the most beautiful sights at Nubra valley. Overall it was an amazing trip.

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Bhadra Bhat

11 May 2014

There is some magic in leh that drives many visitors. i loved to discover the ever flowing rivers and straight mountains.The elegant Tsarap River , Rupshu plateau and the Baralacha Pass was worth visiting.

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Ganak Chopra

25 November 2013

The travel to Ladakh was good. This thing seems a little expensive, but it is highly worthy. To start with it covers a lot of places and two major motorable roads, so the whole package is worth it. This does not involve any physical exertion except of course driving along. That being said, the trip was well planned and nicely done. The co travellers were all too friendly too. I really liked this travel experience a lot. I learnt a lot from this trip. I wish more such trips are done across India.

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Ahilya Bhat

14 April 2014

The panaromic views of leh catches our attention. We were not only the single group who had gone for the adventure, there were many other groups too. We had started our journey from manali but i realized this location has some more beautiful points than manali.

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What You Should Know More About Ladakh

  • About the destination

    Ladakh, the erstwhile Buddhist kingdom is spectacularly jagged. Arid mountains, dramatically crowned rocky outcrops, picturesque gompas, meditational mani walls and multi hued flags are few of the many sites that exemplify the beauty of Ladakh. The well balanced traditional society of Ladakh has much to offer the West in terms of ecological awareness.

    Ladakh is a magnificent and an unexplored wonderland of the Himalayas. It is one place that is considered as a heaven by everyone who is on a lookout to satiate their indomitable love for adventure. Besides trekking in Ladakh, you can indulge in a series of adventure sports such as biking, water rafting, safaris, etc. Also known as the ‘Land of Passes, Ladakh forms an alluring part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.  

    Situated at an elevation of 2750 - 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh is indeed blessed with incredible topography that comprises of hilly terrains, high altitude peaks and the lush green grasslands. Adventure fanatics from across the globe visit Ladakh as there are plethora of trek trails and trekking options available here.

    Set amidst snow capped hills, Ladakh is the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is dotted with a number of colorful monasteries. Some of the popular tourist hotspots in Ladakh include Alchi and Nubra Valley. Apart from this, Ladakh is also a land that is popular for the rich heritage and culture. It is home to the rare wildlife including the Tibetan antelope, ibex and yak.

    Still unadulterated by modernity, Ladakh is where you’ll experience life coming to a standstill when you directly communicate with the nature and serenity around.


  • Travel Advice

    • Please avoid wearing sleeveless tops, blouses, undershirts or shorts, etc in public places especially in the mosques, temples, churches, gurudwaras and monasteries. The same rule applies on the trekking routes. Of course you can wear short and comfortable clothing in the camp sites that are away from the human habitation but these should soon be changed to slacks, trousers and blouses in the villages where you might take a stoppage. Under no circumstances should you wear bikini or swimwear in the public places as these are taken as sexually provocative and may lead to possible harassment.

    • Ladakh is a sensitive city where the people are still a little orthodox especially when it comes to PDAs. So, keep your affection for your partner as a private matter that ought to be confined to your own tents or rooms. Do not display any acts of affection in restaurants, religious buildings, streets or at public events.  

    • Always carry with you essential medicines since the climate here is fluctuating.

    • During treks, you must take with you lip balms, sun screen and antiseptic creams.

    • People who travel to Ladakh by air must take a complete rest for a day so as to adjust better to the low oxygen level and high altitudes of Ladakh. If you do not give your body sufficient time to adapt to the acclimatization you might suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) also known as the High Altitude Sickness.  

    • Carry sufficient cash as credit cards are not accepted in several places.

  • Tipping

    At the restaurants, 10% of the bill as tip, is more than sufficient. Drivers however, can be tipped at anything between INR 20 to INR 100 depending upon the length of the drive undertaken.


  • Drinking Laws

    Drinking in Ladakh is not prohibited however the legal drinking age is 21. Even for the adults, moderation in drinking is highly recommended. It has been noted that liquor can cause dehydration in Ladakh and might even result in acute nausea and headaches.


  • Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    Leh Palace

    Leh Palace was built in the mid 16th century. Back then, it was regarded as the world’s highest building. When here, you must gaze upon the murals that bring forth the life of the Buddha.

    Shanti Stupa

    Shanti Stupa is a white domed structure that is perched on a hilltop. Constructed with an object to promote world peace, Shanti Stupa was built by the Japanese monks. It not only has great religious significance but also offers the most magnificent views of Leh.  

    Stok Palace & Museum

    Stok Palace & Museum is home to the exiled royal family. The palace has a museum where the royal costumes, jewelry and artefacts are displayed. Some of the beautiful silk paintings that are housed here were crafted way back in the 16th century.  

    Spituk Gompa

    Spituk Gompa is perched on a hillock near the Spituk Village. This late 14th century monastery houses Skodong Lakhang which is a golden roofed shrine along with ancient arms and masks. Here, you can also find a huge statue of Mahakal that is only unveiled at the Spituk festival.
    Pangong Tso

    Pangong Tso is the highest lake in the world and is situated at an alleviation of 4,250 meters. With its tranquil surroundings, ice caped mountains and the crystal clear water, it cannot be hard to tell why it is often referred to as the ‘enchanted lake.’

    Some popular restaurants

    Some of the popular restaurants that are a must visit here include Tibetan Kitchen and Tenzin Dickey Tibetan to savor on the local food, Lamayuru and Chopsticks for Asian food and La Pizzeria and the garden restaurant for delicious soups and pizzas. To smack on some tasty tarts and homemade cakes, visit the Pumpernickel German Bakery.


  • What you will like there?

    There are several adventure sports that you can enjoy in Ladakh. These include:

    Biking at Khardung La Pass

    Khardung la Pass is the highest motorable road of the world. These days, there has been a road widening exercise going on at this pass. So, you’ll naturally encounter a lot of cement, dirt and gravel stones along the path. When you come here for biking, you must pray that the rain stays at bay or you might end up driving in the knee deep slush of stones and mud. 

    Camping at Pangong Tso

    Pangong Tso lake is bewitchingly beautiful. It is so beautiful that it seems as if it has been airbrushed in God’s own Photoshop. Here, every hue and color seems to come alive at an increased intensity thereby giving a different view at different times of the day. The sight is at its magical best at the dusk.

    White Water Rafting at Zanskar

    If you want to do white water rafting, the best time to make a visit is during the months of May to June. Ladakh has several swift and scenic flowing rivers and streams where rafting can be done. In the past couple of years, Sangam which is the confluence of Indus and Zanskar has become one of the top destinations for people who cherish white water rafting.  

    Paragliding from the Khardung La

    Paragliding can open up to you new vistas of the Ladakh’s beauty that might otherwise go unnoticed. Take a flight in the clear skies of the Ladakh starting from Khardung La.


  • Recommended reads for destination

    For detailed information, you can refer websites like
    Ladakh Tourism 
    Ladakh India
    Ladakh Wiki

    Books based on Ladakh include: Reflections on Ladakh, Tibet and Central Asia Trekking in Ladakh Forsaking Paradise Ladakh Zanskar The Rare 19th Century Travel Account as told by a Native of Ladakh

Listings in Ladakh