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Is Leh Safe?

Is Leh safe? This is the first question that pops to mind when you think of travelling to Leh for the first time. Thousands of travellers visit the land of wanderlust-Ladakh each year and are left in awe of its sheer beauty. While we can all agree that Leh is magical, but it in no way is easy.

There is no single answer to the question – Is Leh Safe? The answer to the question depends on a number of factors including what type of traveller you are, the climatic conditions, the geopolitical situation, etc. In this blog, I will be addressing all the possible safety challenges that different types of travellers may face while visiting Leh, Ladakh.

The Ladakh region is vast and climatically unpredictable. A lot of people travelling to Leh Ladakh for the first time are unaware of the conditions in the region. Thus, they get concerned about the safety of travellers in Leh.

Travelling to Leh is a wonderful and unforgettable experience. You bring back not only memories but also breathtaking pictures. So, whether you are a solo backpacker or a family travelling with toddlers, read on to find out whether travelling to Leh is safe for you or not. 

Also Useful:

The complete backpacking guide to Leh Ladakh

A guide to things to carry for Leh Ladakh Trip

Is Leh safe?: An Overview

The safety in Leh is affected by a number of factors. These include the route you choose, your personal health, problems related to altitude sickness, etc. I will be dealing with each of the possible dangers in Leh Ladakh, that a traveller might face. Here is a brief overview of the same, before in delve into the details in the blog.

Travel Type & Level of Safety
via Srinagar Leh Highway

Medium

During Winters

High

Elderly

Medium

Infants/Toddlers

High

Heart or Lung Patients

Medium

Asthmatic Patients

Medium

Solo Travel

Very High

Group Travel

Very High

Family Travel

Very High

Couple Travel

Very High

Foreigners

Very High



Is Leh Safe? 12 Major Concerns & How to Deal with them

All the hype about the beauty of Leh Ladakh is true! The rugged terrain, the tall mountains and scintillating lakes take your breath away.  Ladakh being a cold desert is very different from the rest of India and is also more challenging.

The high altitude, remoteness, harsh terrain, rough roads, closeness to border areas, recent Chinese incursions, turbulent conditions in Kashmir valley present a unique set of challenges to the traveller wanting to explore the region. This certainly raises a question about the safety of travellers.

So, Is Leh Safe for a traveller? Read below to find out the dangers in Leh Ladakh you might have to face and also important safety tips to deal with them.

Is Leh Safe with regard to Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness?
Is Leh Safe Owing to Unpredictable Weather Conditions?
 Is Leh safe for People with a Heart or Lung Condition?
Is Leh Safe for Asthmatic People?
Is Leh safe when travelling via the Leh-Srinagar Route?
Is Leh safe with respect to road conditions?
Is Leh Safe as it is close to Border Areas & there is a constant Army Presence?
Is Leh safe if travelling in Taxis and booking Tour Operators?
Is Leh safe due to weak Connectivity?
Is Leh safe during Unrest in Kashmir Valley?
Is Leh safe for Trekking?
Is Leh Safe during Winters?

1. Is Leh Safe with regard to Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness?

The altitude in Leh may vary anywhere between 3000m to over 5000m. The oxygen levels at this height can be very low. As a result of this, travellers especially those not accustomed to high altitudes may suffer from physical discomfort called Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS.

Most people who aren’t used to high altitudes or are visiting Leh for the first time experience AMS within the first few hours. It some cases the symptoms may last for a few days and in others less than a day.

While you are highly unlikely to get altitude sickness in Leh town, but as you ascend to higher altitudes the likelihood increases. If you do experience oxygen problem in Leh make sure you stay the night and do not ascend any further. 

Also Useful:

Read the complete guide on dealing with altitude sickness in Leh

 Symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness in Leh and Ladakh:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness 
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite loss

If you are travelling to a high altitude region for the first time, you need to be extra careful as you are most likely to feel these symptoms. If the symptoms persist or get worse, descend to lower altitude and visit a doctor.

Safety Tips to Avoid  Altitude Sickness or AMS

You can take the following steps to deal with altitude sickness in Leh Ladakh

Get Acclimatized

Once you reach Leh make sure you give your body enough time to acclimatize before venturing to higher altitudes like Pangong or Nubra Valley

Also Useful:

A detailed guide to visiting Pangong Lake   

How to utilise your time at Nubra Valley ?   

Take a medicine

There are several over the counter medicine available for dealing with acute motion sickness. These medicines increase the breathing rate to cope up with low oxygen levels. Diamox or Acetazolamide is the most popular choice. Take the medicine a day before you visit a high altitude place and continue the dose for a couple of days more.

However, talk to your physician before popping the pill, especially if you are allergic or suffer from some health conditions.

You also need to understand that these medicines are only precautionary in nature i.e they only avoid symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. They do not help to cure AMS.

Don’t Exert Yourself

Get proper rest and do not exert yourself physically until your body is fully acclimatized

Avoid Smoking or Drinking alcohol

You don’t want to reduce the already strained lung capacity by smoking.

 Stay Hydrated

Drink lots of water, it helps to avoid the symptoms of AMS in Ladakh

Avoid sudden gains in Altitude

Plan your trip in a way that you gain altitude slowly. A sudden shift in altitude does not give your body enough time to adjust to the changing oxygen level. This may cause AMS.

So, Is Leh Safe with regard to Altitude Sickness?  YES

Is Leh Safe Ladakh the land of dry Mountains and lush green valleys. Picture Credits: Arvind Sarat

2. Is Leh Safe Owing to  Unpredictable Weather Conditions?

When in Leh, be prepared for everything. The weather in Leh has become very unpredictable over the last few years. It might be sunny and warm at one moment and a few moments later, you might see dark clouds hovering in. Although you are highly unlikely to witness a downpour in Leh since it is a cold desert, it is not entirely impossible. Also, it gets chilly at night. Even if you are visiting in peak summer time i.e. June, do carry some warm clothing.

Ladakh is an embodiment of contrasts. While on sunny days, the sun can get too strong and at night it can get freezing cold. So, in Ladakh is probably one of the few places on earth where you can get a sunburn and frostbite at the same time.

Safety Tips to deal with Unpredictable Weather Conditions

In order to deal with the unpredictable weather, you should be prepared to deal with it. Here are a few tips that might help.

Carry a Hat

The sun in high altitude areas is very strong. Carry a hat to protect your face from the sun rays.

Sun Protection

To avoid serious sunburns, use sunscreen lotionssunglasses, scarves, etc.

Pack Warm clothing

So, if you go to Leh in winter, remember to pack warmer than you normally would for the cold temperatures.

Moisturize Well

Keep a moisturizer, cold cream, lip balm to keep prevent chapped and cracked skin. The air in Ladakh is dry and you may lose moisture even if you don’t realise it.

Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated by drinking more water than usual. You don’t actually sweat in Ladakh but you lose moisture because of the dry air.

So, is Leh safe owing to unpredictable weather conditions? YES

3. Is Leh safe for People with a Heart or Lung Condition?

People with a coronary heart or lung condition should avoid a trip to Leh and Ladakh. The availability of medical help is next to none in the remote areas of Ladakh. In medical emergencies, decent health services are available only in Leh City at the Leh Memorial Hospital or Sonam Norboo Memorial Hospital.

For most people who have a lung or heart disease, travelling to Leh and  Ladakh can be safe if your condition is under control. High altitudes can, however, be unsafe for people who have sickle cell anaemia, chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe emphysema or severe heart disease. Being overweight also adds to the risk factors.

If you still feel you can go, please consult your doctor (and not Google!) before you go. This might require adequate preparation well before heading out.

So, is Leh Safe for people with a chronic/serious heart or lung Condition? NO

4. Is Leh Safe for Asthmatic People?

With proper precautions it is okay for a mildly asthmatic person can easily visit Leh Ladakh. However, they should avoid places at higher altitudes (4000m and above). Also, you should talk to your physician before heading out for proper guidance.

Safety Tips for Asthmatic People

Here are some important safety tips for asthmatic people who wish to visit Leh

Carry your Inhaler

Carry your inhaler at all times. Also, carry an extra inhaler for emergencies.

Prepare Yourself

If you are inactive, start physical activity weeks before your Leh Ladakh trip.

Use a Dust mask

There is a lot of dust in Leh Ladakh. If your Asthma is dust driven or you have any kind of Dust driven allergy, use a good dust mask.

Use Vaseline

Use Vaseline in and around your nostrils

Take it slow

Ascend slowly. Avoid any ascent of more than 350 m. This can trigger AMS which can be problematic with asthma

So, is Leh safe for mildly asthmatic people? YES



5. Is Leh safe when travelling via the Leh-Srinagar Route?

If you are travelling Srinagar to Leh by road, the question “Is Leh Safe if travelling from this route?” might have popped up in your head. The disturbances in Srinagar captured by the media can get any traveller worried about safety.

Kashmir is no doubt a sensitive area and the recent report of a tourist dying in stone pelting at Srinagar has left many of us deeply concerned about safety. However, it needs to be remembered that such incidents are very isolated. The disturbances in the valley generally happen away from the major tourist destinations.

If you still feel unsafe, you can choose not to stay in Srinagar City for the night and head to Sonamarg. It is only 2-3 hours away from Srinagar City. From Sonamarg you can head to Leh the next day.

Safety Tips for travelling Via Leh-Srinagar Highway

When travelling to Leh via the Leh-Srinagar Highway, these are the few tips that you can keep in mind.

Trust your Cab Driver

If you are planning to hire a taxi at Srinagar City, choose a local cab driver. If there are any disturbances or a curfew is imposed, a local guy will be very helpful. He can guide you to safety by avoiding the problem hit areas.

Stay updated with the News

Keep updated with the news if you are travelling through the Leh-Srinagar Highway. While regular protests are nothing to worry about, keep a check on the curfews, shootings or any violent protests. If such things are in the news, avoid travelling the Kashmir Valley.

Stay Indoors

In case you are staying at Srinagar for a night and some disturbances occur or a curfew is imposed, stay inside your hotel until things are normal. Hotels are safe and you don’t have to worry about anyone barging in.

Be prepared for no Connectivity

When violent disturbances occur in the Kashmir valley, internet and sometimes telecommunication services are totally closed down. However, the landlines are still functional. Inform your loved ones using landline phones from the hotel and be prepared for such inconvenience

Keep Spare Days in your Travel Plan

If you are visiting Leh via Srinagar, try to keep two spare days in your travel itinerary. This will help ensure that if there are any delays at Srinagar, your travel plan for Leh is not affected. If everything runs smoothly you can spend the spare days exploring Srinagar or Leh a couple more days.

So, is Leh while travelling through the Srinagar Leh highway? YES

 

6. Is Leh safe with respect to road conditions?

It is a well-known fact that the roads in Leh are not in very good condition. The roads can get narrow, rocky and rough more often than not.

You can either hire a local taxi or drive your own vehicle. Remember that taxis from outside (including rental bikes) are not allowed in the restricted areas. In these areas, you can drive your own vehicle or hire a cab from Leh itself. If you aren’t confident or experienced enough, it’s best for you to hire a local driver skilled to drive through the rough roads and the blind curves.

If you are driving by yourself, here are some safety tips you should definitely go through.

Safety Tips to deal with Bad Roads in Leh

If you want to drive on your own in Leh Ladakh, below are certain things you should be prepared with.

Choose your Vehicle wisely

Select a vehicle which has these attributes

1.       Good ground clearance

2.       Comfort

3.       A powerful Engine

4.       Smaller length

Although you can drive any vehicle if you are a very skilled driver, with cars, SUVs work the best on rough terrains.

Carry the required documents

Carry all the essential documents including driving license, registration documents, insurance papers, identify proof, etc.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Drinking and driving is a big no-no in hilly terrains. The roads are very treacherous and one mistake can be fatal. So, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!

Do not over speed

The roads in Leh Ladakh and very rough, so do not overspeed at any cost. Take extra care along hairpin bends or blind curves.

Don’t be Overconfident

Even if you are a well-experienced rider or driver in hills, do no take it for granted. The roads in Leh are very different from other hilly areas and can get extremely deceitful at times. So PLEASE don’t try unnecessary off-roading or stunts on these roads.

Eyes on The Road

Do not at any point take your eyes off the road. Travelling with friends or family, we sometimes tend to engage in conversations, but make sure you are completely focused on the road.

Do Not Rush

Along the Ladakh roads, you may have to cross water streams, landslides etc. Be very careful while crossing such sections. The best way is to step out of the car, inspect the situation, look for an alternate route if possible and then if no other way is available, move very carefully.

Help others

You might come across people who need help with their vehicles along your travel. Make sure to stop by and help others. Remember “What goes around, comes back around”

Carry essentials

Always carry some basic spare parts and essential things  such as

Torchlight

Spare tire

Basic Toolkit

Puncture repair kit

Coolant and engine oil

Adhesive

Spare Bulbs

Spare Fuel

Jack and Spanner

Avoid car heaters

When driving in a car in Leh avoid using the Heaters. The heaters can reduce the supply of oxygen in the vehicle and can trigger AMS.

So, is Leh safe to travel in bad road conditions? YES

7. Is Leh Safe as it is close to Border Areas & there is a constant Army Presence?

Ladakh is very close to international borders and hence there is constant army presence in the area like any other border city in the world. There is no need to be alarmed by this.

Chinese incursion in Ladakh in 2013 and later in 2017 raised an alarm amongst travellers and many were worried about their safety. You need to remember that while these situations are rare, even if they do occur, tourists are not allowed to be even near such areas.

The Indian army is doing a great job in Ladakh and the area is very well protected. You really don’t have to panic.

Safety Tips for travelling in the border areas of Leh with constant army presence

When you are around military areas, please keep a check on the following things.

Do not wander around

Don’t wander around military or police areas. You should not click pictures of army personnel or police officers or any military buildings. This is prohibited

Carry essential Documents

Always carry the necessary permits like PAP or ILP, your vehicle documents, valid ID proofs, passports etc handy at all times. Thee may be checkpoints at even the most uncommon places.

Also Useful:

How & Where to get an Inner Line Permit – for Indian Citizens    

How & Where to get a Protected Area Permit – for Foreign Nationals   

Follow the rules

Comply by the rules. Stay away from the areas that are prohibited and also don’t visit places you don’t have permission for.

So, is Leh safe due to being close to border areas? YES

s leh safe Pang on the Manali Leh Highway. Picture Credits: Sagar Jaswal

8. Is Leh safe if travelling in Taxis and booking Tour Operators?

You might want to book a Ladakh Tour to avoid unnecessary hassle-free travel or just book a taxi for exploring Leh. Although travelling via tours and taxis is very safe in Leh, there are certain things you need to keep in mind while selecting the two.

Safety Tips for selecting Taxis or Tour Operators

When choosing your cabs or choosing a tour operator, make sure to keep in mind the following things.

Choose the Operator Wisely

Make sure you book with an agency that is well established. Ask for proper documents and details at the time of booking

Do not Pay full in Advance

Do not pay the whole amount well in advance or too ahead in time.

Choose an experienced Driver

While choosing a taxi in Leh, make sure you choose an experienced driver and a car in good condition. Trust your instincts and stay vigilant.

So, is Leh safe whilst travelling in Local Taxis and with tour agencies

9. Is Leh safe due to weak Connectivity?

Most travellers are well aware of the connectivity issues in Leh. There is hardly any network coverage in the high altitude and remote areas of Ladakh. However, most guesthouses do have a landline phone. You can use these to inform your loved ones. 

Safety Tips for dealing with low connectivity in Leh

Since the connectivity is poor in the region, make sure you follow the following tips to stay safe.

Inform your dear ones

Make sure you inform your parents and friends about your Leh itinerary in case they can’t reach you. Also, keep the name and contact number of your emergency written on a paper in your knapsack and pockets.

Get a postpaid connection

Carry along postpaid BSNL and Airtel mobile networks only. Another state prepaid SIM will not work throughout your journey in Leh.

So, is Leh safe due to weak connectivity? YES

10. Is Leh safe during Unrest in Kashmir Valley?

As mentioned earlier, Kashmir is prone to disturbances and protests and most of the trouble is centred. The disturbances in Kashmir are least likely to affect Leh which is more than 420 km away from Srinagar.

Just make sure you abide by all the rules and carry all the essential documents.

So. Is Leh safe during unrest in Kashmir Valley? YES

11. Is Leh safe for Trekking?

A lot of travellers wish to undertake trekking on their Leh trip.  Leh offers some breathtakingly beautiful trekking routes. The treks are safe if carried out with proper safety measures.

Safety Tips for trekking in Leh

Trekkers and hikers must make take care of the following tips when heading out.

Acclimatize Well

Acclimatize with the weather for a day or two before embarking upon trekking.

Drinking Water and Food

You should make sure that you have an adequate stock of drinking water in your backpacks as dehydration at high altitudes causes serious problems.

Also make sure you are carrying adequate food especially when trekking in remote areas, where food may not be available.

Carry the essential stuff

Carry proper woollens, medical kit and trekking essentials etc with you.

So, Is Leh safe for Trekking? YES



12. Is Leh Safe during Winters?

A number of travellers have started visiting Leh Ladakh in winters as well. Winter Treks like Chadar have become increasingly popular with a lot of adventure junkies. However, travelling to Leh in winters is not an easy task. With temperatures dipping below -30 degree Celsius, the basic necessities come down to a bare minimum. You have to mentally and physically prepared to embark on this journey.

Safety Tips for Leh during winters

Stay at a homestay

Most of the hotels in Leh remain closed in winters, homestays are your only lodging options. Stay in one of these and experience the Ladakhi hospitality.

Take help

If you are planning to explore the area on your own, it is a good idea to get in touch with a local. They know the place much better than you do, especially in the winters.

Pack Very warm clothes

Pack the warmest of your clothes. Also, cover yourself up in layers, it helps you stay warmer.

Sun Protection

Sun can feel very harsh during the winters in Ladakh, make sure you are adequately protected.

Trekking essentials

If you are planning to go a trek, carry all the essential stuff like trekking pole, gloves, shoes, etc.

Carry Food & Water

When going out to explore make sure you carry some eatables and drinking water with you. This is because a majority of the eating outlets near famous places like the Pangong Lake remain closed during winters.

Also Useful:

More about how to travel to the Pangong Lake

9 Lakes in Leh you probably didn’t know about

Moisturize Well

The cold weather can dry out your skin, so make sure you use a good moisturizer.

So, Is Leh safe during winters? Yes

 

Is Leh Safe for different age groups?

While Leh Ladakh is safe for all ages, special attention is needed in case of the elderly and infants. 

Is Leh Safe for the Elderly?

If you are travelling with an elderly person or are an elderly person, do not visit the area without proper health assessment from a doctor. Leh Ladakh is generally safe for senior citizens who are healthy. However, some preparation and precaution are a must.

Safety Tips for the Elderly in Leh

When travelling in Leh Ladakh with elderly, these safety tips can come in handy

Visit your Doctor

If you are suffering from any heart condition or Asthmatic problems, consult your doctor before you head out to Leh. High altitudes can present difficult situations for the elderly with chronic conditions.

Carry essential Medicines

Do not forget to carry all the prescription medicines and other medicines including the altitude sickness medicines. Consult your doctor about whether the medicines can be taken along with your other medicines or not

Pack warm clothes

Since it can get very cold at nights pack adequate warm clothes for the trip. Keep jackets, woollen caps and gloves handy.

Avoid the winters

Although Leh is splendid during winters, the elderly with health conditions should avoid visiting Leh during this time. It gets very cold and the stay arrangements also might not be very up to the mark

Acclimatize Well

Make sure seniors have adequate time to acclimatize to high altitudes.

Staying arrangements

Make sure the staying arrangements are proper. Avoid spending a night at very high altitudes

Ascend Slowly

Avoid any kind of strenuous activity like hiking or trekking

Visit Army Base Camps for Basic First Aid

There are army base camps after almost every 15-20kms. You can visit any of these in case of any basic medical help.

Emergency

In case of emergencies head back to Leh to the Leh Memorial Hospital. This hospital is equipped to deal with emergencies.

Carry some snacks

Carry some light things to snacks on like chips, biscuits etc.

So, is Leh safe for the Elderly? YES

s leh safe Leh presents its unique set of challenges for travellers. Picture Credits: Amit Sharma

Is Leh Safe for Infants and Toddlers?

It is completely safe to take your infants and toddlers aged 1 and 5 to visit Leh Ladakh. It becomes important on the part of parents to make sure that they take care of all the important things.

Safety Tips for Infants and Toddlers

You must take extra care when travelling with kids in Ladakh. The following safety tips will be useful.

Visit your Pediatrician

Before heading out to Leh with your Little one, make sure you visit a doctor for a chat and suggestions regarding the trip.

Carry Medicines

The paediatrician might suggest some medicines, carry all of these along on your trip. These might not be available in Leh.  

Carry the essentials

You need to carry the essential baby care products like diapers, feeding bottles, baby food etc. 

Pack Warm clothes

Since it can get very cold at nights pack adequate warm clothes for the trip. Keep jackets, woollen caps and gloves handy

Stay  Hydrated

Keep the infants and toddlers hydrated at all time

Carry some snacks

Carry some light things to snack on like chips, biscuits etc.

Visit Army Base Camps for Basic First Aid

There are army base caps after almost every 15-20kms. You can visit any of these in case of any basic medical help.

So, is Leh safe for Infants and toddlers? YES

Is Leh Safe for different types of travellers?

A trip to Leh can be planned with friends, family and even solo. But is Leh safe when travelling with family or solo? Let’s find out. 

Is Leh Safe for Solo Travellers/ Backpackers

A lot of solo travellers including solo women backpackers visit Leh Ladakh each year. Leh is one of the safest places in India and around the world for backpackers. However, due to unique terrain and conditions, you must take some safety steps.

Safety Tips for solo backpackers

Although Leh Ladakh is safe for Solo travellers -men and women, you should always follow certain steps to stay safe.

Plan Well in advance

To avoid any hassles on reaching Leh regarding stay and conveyance, always try to prebook the accommodation.

Prepare for the trip

Since Leh has a difficult terrain and is situated at a very high altitude, getting a basic level of fitness is very essential.  Prepare yourself with some physical activity at least a month prior to your travel date

Shared Taxis

Since travelling solo in Leh can be very expensive, you can share a taxi with other travellers. Choose the group that is diverse or a family or maybe other solo travellers. Always trust your instincts.

Choose Stay wisely

Although there are a whole lot of staying options in Leh, homestays are the more authentic and comfortable option for solo travellers including solo women backpackers.

Don’t exert yourself

Allow your body to acclimatize properly before you head out on your Leh adventure. Even when you are there, take it easy. Don’t exert yourself too much.

Carry warm clothes but keep it light

Carry layers of woollen clothes to keep warm but also make sure not to carry too many bags. Try to keep your luggage within one backpack and knapsack or sling bag.

Carry all the essential stuff  & medicines

While packing your bag make sure to pack scarves, sunscreen, moisturizer, sunglasses, lip balm etc. Make sure you carry comfortable walking shoes. Also carry a mini medical kit with essential medicines for stomach problems, headache,  fever, nausea, body ache, etc

Also, solo women travellers must carry sanitary napkins if required.

Inform your dear ones

Make sure you inform your parents and friends about your Leh itinerary in case they can’t contact you. Also, keep the name and contact number of your emergency contacts written on a paper in your knapsack and pockets.

Get a postpaid connection

Carry along postpaid BSNL and Airtel mobile networks only. Another state prepaid SIM will not work throughout your journey in Leh.

Don’t go too far

Avoid going to places that are too remote. These places do not have adequate staying arrangements and the connectivity is also close to zero

Carry Cash

ATMs of various banks are in Leh Market. Beyond that, it is advisable to carry cash

Follow the rules

Follow the restrictions of your ILP or PAP. Also, do not wander around the army and police areas.

Carry all the essential documents

Carry your valid ID proof and multiple copies for Inner Line Permit (ILP)or Protected Areas Permit (PAP). These are checked and submitted at various military checkpoints.

So, Is Leh safe for solo travellers and backpackers? YES



Is Leh Safe for Groups

Leh can be really fun when travelling with friends. So whether you are an all-girls group, an all guys group or a mixed one, you will love the whole trip. The best part about travelling in a group in Leh is that it is really cost effective

Safety Tips for group travel to Leh Ladakh

When travelling in a group, take care of the following

Carry Cash

ATMs of various banks are in Leh Market. Beyond that, it is advisable to carry cash

Follow the rules

Follow the restrictions of your ILP or PAP. Also, do not wander around the army and police areas. If you re taking your own vehicle, carry all the essential documents.

Carry all the essential documents

Carry your valid ID proof and multiple copies for Inner Line Permit (ILP)or Protected Areas Permit (PAP). These are to be submitted at various military checkpoints.

Carry all the essential stuff & medicines

While packing your bag make sure to pack scarves, sunscreen, moisturizer, sunglasses, lip balm etc. Make sure you carry comfortable walking shoes. Also carry a mini medical kit with essential medicines for stomach problems, headache,  fever, nausea, body ache, etc

So, Is Leh safe for Groups? YES

Is Leh Safe for Couples?

Leh welcomes all kinds of travellers. However, when travelling as a couple you need to make sure that both of you are on the same page with regard to the journey. You both should be ready for the adventure together. Conditions in Ladakh are difficult than other places, so if you and your partner are looking for an adventure, Leh is perfect.

Safety Tips for Couples in Leh

Couples need to take care of these two very important things.

Prepare Mentally

Both the partners need to be mentally prepared to take this adventure trip.

Don’t exert yourself

Allow your body to acclimatize properly before you head out on your Leh adventure. Even when you are there, take it easy. Don’t exert yourself too much.

So, Is Leh safe for Couples? YES

Is Leh Safe for Families?

If you are planning a trip with your family that includes either your elders or children, you need to take extra care in planning and executing your travel itinerary.

Safety Tips for a family trip to Leh Ladakh
Consult a doctor

If the elderly in the family is suffering from any heart condition or Asthmatic problems, consult your doctor before you head out to Leh. High altitudes can present difficult situations for the elderly with chronic conditions.

You should also visit your paediatrician if an infant or toddler is accompanying you on your Leh Trip

Avoid Exertion

You should avoid exerting yourself too much. Proper rest is very important.

Carry all the essential stuff & medicines

While packing your bag make sure to pack scarves, sunscreen, moisturizer, sunglasses, lip balm etc. Make sure you carry comfortable walking shoes. Also carry a mini medical kit with essential medicines for stomach problems, headache, fever, nausea, body aches, etc

Do not forget to carry prescription medicines if any.

Stay Hydrated

The weather in Ladakh is very dry, hence, it is important to stay hydrated.

Ascend Slowly

If elderly and kids are accompanying you, make sure you ascend the altitudes slowly. Avoid gaining more than 350m altitude in a day.

So, Is Leh safe for families? YES

Is Leh safe for Foreign Nationals?

Ladakh is one of the safest places in India and very safe for foreigners. You can find a lot of foreign tourist in Leh both solo and in groups. However, since the area is close to the border areas, extra caution needs to be taken.

Safety Tips for Foreigners

As a foreign national travelling to Leh, you need to be aware of the following things.

Do your research

Plan out an itinerary carefully before heading out to Leh. Since certain areas in Leh are in the restricted zones, you need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit it. Make sure you understand and know the places you want to visit. You have to mention the route you are taking and the dates of travel to get the Permit.

If you do miss out permission for a planned destination, you will have to reapply again for those sections.

Travel Agent

Since it is mandatory for foreign nationals to book through a tour operator, make sure you book it through a reputable and experienced travel agency. They can also help you with formulating an itinerary.

Carry Cash

ATMs of various banks are in Leh Market. Beyond that, it is advisable to carry cash

Follow the rules

Follow the restrictions of your PAP. Also, do not wander around the army and police areas.

Carry all the essential documents

Carry your valid ID proof and multiple copies for Protected Areas Permit (PAP) and military checkpoints at various places. ID proof is to be submitted at various inner parts.

Also Useful:

How & where to get a Protected Area Permit for Leh- Ladakh

Carry all the essential stuff  & medicines

While packing your bag make sure to pack scarves, sunscreen, moisturizer, sunglasses, lip balm etc. Make sure you carry comfortable walking shoes. Also carry a mini medical kit with essential medicines for stomach problems, headache,  fever, nausea, body ache, etc

Photography

Ladakh area is politically sensitive, therefore, photography is restricted in certain places. So, please look out for warnings and signboards that warn you about such restrictions and Do Not click pictures here.

So, Is Leh safe for Foreigners? YES

s leh safe The breathtaking Pangong Tso Lake. Picture Credits: Arnav Bora

General Safety Tips for all Travellers

Other than the above mentioned specific travel tips, here are a few other safety tips for Leh Ladakh

Respect the Local Culture and People

Respect the local culture and traditions. People in Leh consider some places and regions sacred. Do not hurt their feelings by looking down upon their traditions and culture

Keep Clean

Please do not Litter Himalayas have a very fragile ecosystem. Littering will only make the problems worse. Clean up after you leave.

Some Important Emergency Contact Numbers for Leh, Ladakh

In case of an emergency, here are a few numbers that you should keep handy

STD Code – 01982
Tourist information office

252297

252094

253462

Tourist Information Centre (TIC) -257788
Deputy Commissioner Leh (SSP Leh) -252010
Foreign registration office -252200
Chief Medical Officer Leh -252012
Leh Memorial Hospital (or SNM Hospital)- Casualty -252360
Police Station

100

252018

Police Control Room

254880

Taxi Stand – 252723
Leh Airport

250380

253076

Petrol Pump – 252100

So, coming back to the generalized question, Is Leh Safe? The answer is not a simple Yes or No. It would depend on what the conditions and the type of traveller you are. Leh has a unique terrain and the conditions are very different from the usual tourist destinations. Leh is on an average one of the safest travel destinations in India, but you need to make sure you follow all the safety tips discussed n this blog above.

Happy Wayfaring!

About the Author

Divya Sarjolta

Divya Sarjolta

Divya Sarjolta is a Ph.D in Economics and a Gold Medalist in her Majors. She hails from the beautiful town of Shimla and is a Himachali by birth. She enjoys exploring life to the fullest and has pursued quite a lot of backpacking trips around the country. Two things Divya craves more than anything else is good food and travel. She leads her life on the lines of Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones, “It is a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.” So, explore while you can

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