Backpacking on a Budget Across Leh : The ‘Juleh’ Land

traveller Osheen

Ever wondered of pursuing a Leh backpacking trip? Well, you should head to Leh this coming holiday season, and feel enchanted amidst the majestic Himalayas. Leh is a serene and calm location in the lap of astonishing mountains and valleys. No pictures or words will ever do justice to its beauty. Visiting Leh is something you will remember forever.

Going on a Leh backpacking trip is on the bucket list of most Indian travellers. In recent years, thousands of foreign nationals are also visiting this part of the world owing to the beauty and serenity of Ladakh. As somebody who has recently backpacked to Leh, I can tell you that you will have the time of your life here. All you need is a proper itinerary and some budget saving hacks. The earlier you plan your Leh backpacking trip, the better it will prove for you.

Leh is a lovely travel destination. From the warm welcome from your guesthouse managers with a cup of butter tea to tall mountains and snow you see around, use the word Juleh carefree. Juleh, pronounced “joo-lay“, is a magic word, just like the magical aura of Leh itself. Say juleh when you want to say hello, goodbye, thank you, how are you, nice to meet you and you’re welcome. This coming holiday season, plan for an exciting Leh backpacking trip just as I did a while ago.

Leh Backpacking Trip

When you get there and look around at all those smiling faces and overlooking mountains, Juleh will come out unrehearsed. There is something magical about Leh that makes you fall in love with its culture, people, food, tea and everything in between.

Leh Backpacking Trip: An Overview

Ladakh is one of the most sought after travel destinations in India and rightly so. With rugged mountains, crystal blue skies and unique terrain, Ladakh is truly mesmerising.

Before I proceed into the details of how to plan a successful Leh Backpacking trip, here are a few things that you need to know about Leh as a travel destination.


Ladakh – a union territory in North India

Best time to visit 

June to September

Permissions for Visit

ILP for Indian Citizens

PAP for foreigners

Ideal Visiting Time

5- 7 Days

Safety Level

High to Very High

Eating options

Local food, Tibetan food, North Indian food

Top shopping tip

Buy small Ladakhi souvenirs only

Ideal accommodation choices

Guest Houses and Home Stays   

Best budget tip

Spend more on exploring places than hotels

Is it Possible to Make the Leh Backpacking Trip Cost-Effective?

Budget travel, food and stay in Leh are all possible if you looking in the right places. From taking the local bus from Manali or Srinagar to staying in guest houses, Leh can be easily travelled on a budget.

For food, wander around the market streets and you can easily find small kitchens that serve hot delicious lunch and dinners at nominal costs.

The local market is a really big place to shop for things for self. Many shops sell jewellery, warm clothes, pashmina shawls, and various souvenirs. Try exploring shops other than those in the main market for the cost-effectiveness of your budget. Read the detailed blog on where and what to buy in Ladakh

Ideal Visiting Time and Weather Conditions for Pursuing the Leh Backpacking Trip

The temperature in Leh varies around the visiting seasons. Therefore, you need to pack things for your Leh Trip accordingly. During October to November, and March to May, the temperature goes to a minimum of – 1°C and 15°C maximum. However, temperatures at Khardungla and Pangong lake can go as low as – 10°C. Between late May and early October, the weather conditions are warmer, as the snow starts to melt and the green starts to come back.

If you are interested in snowfall and really cold weather, October-November, and March-May are the best months to visit. Also, the traffic is limited, so Leh backpacking trip can be pursued. 

Leh Backpacking Trip

This is Leh in the monsoons. During this time, temperatures can drop and roads get dangerous. The best time to visit Leh is said to be around June and July. This is when temperatures aren’t too extreme. However, it also means more crowds and higher prices.

Special Advisory for Leh Backpacking Trip

During March-May, the road routes from Manali to Leh and Srinagar to Leh is closed. The only mode of travel will be via Air from Delhi or Srinagar. This might add up as an extra travel cost to Leh.

Nominal Accommodation Options for Leh Backpacking Trip

Accommodation in Leh is easy to find and can suit everyone’s pocket. There is one luxury hotel in Leh -The Grand Dragon. However, this isn’t a convenient place for backpackers.

For budget travellers, there is nothing better than homestays and guesthouses. When I say homestay, don’t picture a hostel room or dorms. All homestays in Leh have furniture for all your needs. The hosts usually live downstairs and the guest area and accommodation is upstairs.

The prices of the rooms are negotiable. Rooms can be booked in advance. These homestays or guesthouses also offer food on demand in case you prefer it.

Facilities Available for the Recommended Accommodation Options

Based on my own travel experience in Leh multiple times, I’d suggest you stay in any of the following places. I’m enlisting the facilities available. Also, the distance from Leh airport has been mentioned for your convenience. Almost all the accommodation places in Leh keep changing prices as per the season. So, make sure to book in advance. It’ll help you save money for your Leh backpacking trip.

The following guest houses and homestays will keep your Leh backpacking trip budget-friendly.

Youthok Guest House  

Youthok Guest House is run by Mr Konchukand his wife. Both of them are extremely helpful and polite to all their guests. The place is clean and the food is very homely. It’s ideal for both backpackers as well as large groups or families. 

Babu Guest House

Babu Guest House is a preferred place of stay for solo travellers and backpackers. The owners are decent people and hence safety will not be an issue here. The place offers free wifi to all its guests.

Chunpa House

This lovely place is run by Mr. Rinchen and his family. They are nice people and take care of all the guests like their own family members. Some of the rooms of Chunpa House offer spectacular views. Breakfast here is served in the room.

Gangs Shun Homestay

Quite a delightful place comprising spacious rooms and comfortable beds. The Gangs Shun Homestay is reasonably close to the main town of Leh and so, is accessible by all. The owner will help you with anything you need.

The Druk  

Located slightly on the outskirts of the main town of Leh, the Druk is a comfortable place to stay during your trip. Rooms are clean and equipped well.

Homestays in Leh

Locals in Ladakh are truly hospitable. There were so many points during my trip, that I simply couldn’t fathom the amount of goodness they were loaded with. This is why staying in a homestay is recommended. It’s an authentic and wholesome experience!

How to Reach Leh from Within India?

 Leh can be accessed via various routes and transport options.

Srinagar to Leh

By Air – Leh Airport is well connected to Srinagar via air.

By Road – The ones who prefer to visit Leh by road can take the route via Kargil. It is around 434 km.

This comes under budget as JKSRTC runs regular deluxe and ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh.

Delhi to Leh

By Air – Leh is well connected to Delhi via air. Flights are run by Air India, Go Air and Jet Airways on a regular basis.

By Road – The route is from Manali to Leh and is open from mid-June to early October.

How to Reach Leh from Outside India?

For visiting Leh from outside India, it is important to reach New Delhi first.

Any place outside India to New Delhi

Board an International flight to New Delhi. From New Delhi, visit Leh either via road or by air.

Delhi to Leh

By Air – Leh is well connected to Delhi via air. Flights run by Air India, Go Air and Jet Airways on a regular basis.

By Road – The route is from Manali to Leh and is open from mid-June to early October.

Flight to Leh

These are the beautiful views observed on the flight from Delhi to Leh. While going to Leh, try getting a seat on the right, or the east side. This will treat you to views of the mountains. However, the west side offers beautiful sights of the plains of Punjab!

Best deals on Flights and Accommodation

In case you’re planning to take the Leh backpacking trip during peak season, the average prices are bound to scale up. However, you can avail various budget deals in case your timing is correct.

Explore the following for the best deals on flights and accommodation not just for Leh backpacking trip but for a nominal trip around the world.  The subsequent 3 booking websites are being suggested to you because I’ve experienced the services of all for my various trips to North India.

Agoda Budget Accommodation
Expedia Budget Accommodation and Flights
Make My Trip Budget Flights

My Top Transport Tips for Leh Backpacking Trip

Transportation can form a major part of a travel plan and also the total travel costs. In order to have a successful trip and keep your budget under check, you need to take care of the following things while travelling to Leh.

Tip 1: Keep Plans Flexible

Though the flight’s schedule is set beforehand, these are subject to change according to the weather. Therefore, keep your plans flexible.

Tip 2: Pre Book

If your trip to Leh isn’t a sudden plan, pre-book your flights. Reason being, the flights get really expensive from June to September.

Tip 3: Choose the Budget-friendly Options

HRTC and JKSRTC run daily deluxe and ordinary buses between Jammu to Leh and Manali to Leh. These are best travel options for a budget-friendly Leh backpacking trip.

Inner Line Permit: Must have Document for a Successful Leh Backpacking Trip

Inner Line Permit (ILP)  is a travel document issued by the Government of India. It allows visitors to travel to a protected area for a limited period of time.

Obtaining the ILP is essential for all the citizens, who do not belong to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Foreigners travelling to Ladakh are required to obtain the Ladakh Protected Area Permit (PAP).

The PAP is required for visiting areas like Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah, Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Chusul, Hanle, Digger La etc.

What in My View are the Must Visit Places on your Leh Backpacking Trip?

Leh has lots of natural beauty and is full of palaces, monasteries, lakes and beautiful valleys. One can visit Kargil, Alchi, Magnetic Hill, and various passes on the way.

Khardung La and Chang La are two most visited passes in Leh and are crossed while visiting Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso respectively. Hunder in Nubra valley has two-humped camels. The magical Magnetic Hill is a place of its own significance.

Leh also has various national parks like Hemis National Park. All these places are under 200 km from Leh, and regular buses or personal taxis can be hired. The Leh Palace, Hall of Fame, and Shanti Stupa are around the main city of Leh.

What Lakes to Visit on your Leh Backpacking Trip?

Leh is blessed with naturally formed magnificent lakes. While some like the Pangong are well known, there are many other lesser-known lakes in Leh- Ladakh

1.      Pangong Lake (Approx 222.5 Km from Leh)

This is a 134 km long lake that extends from India to China. Situated at a height of about 4,350 m.

2.      Tso Moriri Lake (Approx 240 Km from Leh)

The lake is at an altitude of 4,522 m and entirely within Ladakh. About 26 Km in length.

3.      Tso Kar lake (Approx 160 Km from Leh)

Popularly known as the white lake, Tso Kar is one of the high altitude lakes of the region.

A Special Note on Pangong Lake

Distance from Leh

The approximate distance between Leh and Pangong lake is about 154 kilometres. It takes 4 to 5 hours to reach Pangong Lake from Leh.

Try starting early from Leh to be able to spend ample time in and around Pangong lake. The entire journey from Leh to Pangong Tso is splendid.

Preferred Route

Leh via Chang La or from Nubra Valley via Shyok Villages and Tangste.

Beauty of Pangong Tso 

The sheer beauty of Pangong Tso or more popularly known as just the Pangong Lake, makes travellers visit it from far and wide. It has serene bright water that changes shades from blue, green and even reddish at times. The rugged mountains on one side of the lake add to the stunning view.

Pangong Lake Ladakh

The colour-changing Pangong Lake. Though the Pangong Lake gained fame after the climax of the movie the Three Idiots was shot here, no pictures or videos do justice to this lake’s beauty. One can only experience this endorheic lake by visiting it.

All the hype about the water being so blue are all true. It is a must-visit the spot on your Leh backpacking trip.

Tips for First Time Travelers Visiting Pangong Lake

Here are a few tips for first-time travellers visiting Pangong lake:

Tip 1: Spend a Night  

Since Pangong lake actually changes colours, make sure you spend a night here and witness this amazing lake during morning and evening as well. Do not speedily visit the lake.

Tip 2: Stay Warm

The temperature at night goes below -10°C. To keep warm you should bring along your best winter wear and thermal wear.

Tip 3: Luxury is not an option

As Pangong Lake is situated at a remote location, luxury is not an option. Be prepared for power cuts during the day. Generators will be available during dinner time only. 

Tip 4: Book in Advance

During peak season, it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance. Otherwise, you’ll face difficulty finding staying options both near Pangong Lake as well as Ladakh in general.

Tip 5: Toilet Rolls

Carry extra toilet rolls. These can be handy as at times the water freezes overnight.

If you’d like to know more details about visiting Pangong lake, you can read this blog.

Alluring Monasteries and Palaces to Visit on your Leh Backpacking Trip

As mystic is Leh, so are its monasteries and palaces.

1. Leh Palace

This is a former royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh.

2. Hemis Monastery (45 Km from Leh)

This is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh, India.

3. Thiksey Monastery (19 Km from Leh)

This monastery is affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

4. Diskit Monastery (116 Km from Leh)

This monastery is located beyond the Khardung La in Nubra Valley

Leh Palace

This is the majestic Leh Palace. Its construction was started in the 16th century, and it was considered to be one of the tallest buildings in the region back then. It is open for visitors every day, from 7 AM to 4 PM. As per me, it’s a must-visit when in Ladakh.

Magnificent Valleys to Visit on your Leh Backpacking Trip 

The two most gorgeous valley that should most certainly be covered in your Leh backpacking trip has been listed below by me.

1.      Nubra Valley (160 Km from Leh)

This beautiful valley of sand dunes, Shyok river and double-humped camel lies northeast of Ladakh.

2.      Zanskar Valley (460 Km from Leh)

Its a part of Kargil district lies in the eastern half of the Indian state of J & K.

A Special Note on Nubra Valley

Nubra is a splendid Valley, located not that far from Leh. If you are visiting Leh, you just cannot miss Nubra valley.

Distance from Leh

The distance between Nubra and Leh is 150 km and takes on average of 5 to 6 hours. Leave early for Nubra so you can enjoy a beautiful sunset from sand dunes over barren mountains in Hunder.

Preferred Route

The most accessible and common route taken by travellers for Nubra Valley is via Khardung La. This happens to be the highest motorable pass in the world and has a different charm to it during early May.

Although it is not too cold here, one can suffer from sunburns when the sun is shining brightly. So, do apply sunscreen, and keep your skin covered.


Nubra Valley is a mysterious place tucked up in the lap of the Himalayas, that is filled with an enigmatic culture, mesmerizing valleys, double-humped camel rides, captivating sand dunes, and challenging roads.

The Shyok River meets the Nubra River in this mesmerizing village, that separates the majestic Ladakh and Karakoram mountain ranges.

Nubra Valley is also known as a cold desert due to long stretches of sand dunes, that offer a serene view between Hunder and Diskit. Sunrays bring life to the vast never-ending stretch of sand dunes, which proves you are in a high altitude cold desert.

Tips for first-time travellers to Nubra Valley

Tip 1: Network Coverage

Network lines are usually broken and not repaired until late May or early June.

It is really difficult to get a signal or keep communication with the outside world.

Though guest houses have landlines that can be used to make a call, they are chargeable.

Tip 2: Network Provider

Leh is a part of Jammu & Kashmir and it has its own rules and regulation for network providers.

Only Airtel postpaid sim can get a network coverage if it’s available.

Buying a sim from J&K is quite difficult, so it is recommended that you carry an Airtel Postpaid Sim before travelling to Leh.

Tip 3: Emergency

In cases of emergency during the journey, there are numerous army campsites every few kilometres.

As army camps have their own communication network, this can be your best chance of rescue in case of emergency.

Tip 4: Altitude Sickness

As Nubra Valley can be reached only via Khardung La, it is advised that all travellers stay at Leh for at least 24 hours on arrival.  This helps them to deal with Altitude Sickness, which is common at such high altitudes. 

This will help you get accustomed to an elevation of 3.5 Km and cold air.

One has to pass Khardung La to get to Nubra Valley which is situated at an elevation of 5359 m. This can result in nausea, vomiting or other severe health conditions if one doesn’t rest before starting the trip to Nubra Valley.

In case you would like to know more about visiting Nubra Valley, you can go through this blog.

Leh Backpacking Trip

Going for a ride on the double-hump camels in Nubra Valley has continued to be a famous tourist attraction over the years. Nubra Valley is known as a cold desert due to long stretches of sand dunes, that offer a serene view between Hunder and Diskit.

The Uncanny and Mysterious Magnetic Hill Near Leh

Magnetic Hill is located near Leh in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is around 30 kms away from mainland Leh and it is on the Leh – Kargil national highway.

Magnetic Hill is an extremely famous and mysterious destination. Not only is the uncanny component of the hill a topic of exploration among backpackers, but also among people at large.

However, mystery is not the only thing that surrounds this place. Beauty and awe are what inspire travellers to visit Magnetic Hill often. 

Does Magnetic Hill Defy Gravity?

Magnetic Hill is said to be possessing strong magnetic properties. It is this magnetism that is responsible for pulling the vehicles uphill and air crafts to be shifted to a higher altitude while passing by the area.

People experience their vehicles being dragged on the road even when the vehicle is turned off. The vehicle starts to move ahead with a speed of about 20 km.

A few people say that the magnetic phenomena is felt only when the vehicle is big. Small vehicles like bikes do not experience any pull.

Theories Behind Magnetic Hill

There are two major theories that are generally discussed around the Magnetic hill. Challenging two scientific approaches, one is, of course, the Magnetic force which allows vehicles to move on an upward hill without racing the gear or even not turning it on.

Second is the optical illusion which plays around with people’s mind. It is claimed that the hill is actually going down, but because of the illusion created by the ambience of the mountains, it works as a natural trick to the eyes. 

Not defying the rules of gravity, but it actually creates an opposite image on the viewer’s mind. It looks like the force is pulling you upwards.

Owing to the phenomena of Optical illusion, a downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. It depends on the horizon lines, and we usually take reference of the horizon to mark something as up or down.

So, it appears to be defying the rules of gravity. 

Rare Wildlife that can be Observed on your Leh Backpacking Trip

Leh is home to some of the rarest species of fauna. Set in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, animals such as the Asiatic Ibex and Marmot can be spotted here.

Asiatic Ibex

Asiatic Ibex is one of the rarest animals found in Leh. It’s like a wild goat and its scientific name is Capra Ibex Sibirica. It is a long vaulted horn curved that grazes at high elevations.

They like to stay in high altitude meadows in the rocky hills. They are rare to spot in Leh but can be found randomly while travelling to various locations at Leh.


About 8 to 10 kilometres before the Pangong lake, a cute Himalayan creature can be found hiding in burrows or even on the side of a remote road. This animal goes by the name – Marmot.

Wildlife in Leh

Generally referred to as large ground squirrels, Marmots are cute and innocent-looking mammals residing at high altitudes. If you are lucky to come across marmots, please ensure that you do not scare them away by going too close or taking pictures.

It is one of the highest elevation residing mammal in the world. Any visitor who spots a Marmot should be careful enough to not disturb the innocent animal.

Due to the heavy influx of travellers on the way to Pangong lake, the marmots are decreasing in number over the past few years.

Food Guide for a Yummilicious Leh Backpacking Trip

As a traveller exploring a new land on your Leh backpacking trip, make sure to taste the locally prepared Butter Tea. This tea is prepared in specially made equipment and has butter and salt in it. As weird as it may sound, it is amazing.

Along with butter tea, don’t forget to savour specially made momos. Also, the local dishes like Tigmo, Mokthuk, and Kahwa are available at local eateries.

When you enter the Mall Road of Leh, various small shops offer delicious breakfasts and lunch options. 

While exploring the markets, you will come across many small kitchens that offer delectable lunch and dinner options at a cost of a mere 70-80INR  per person.

Witness Popular Festivals on your Leh Backpacking Trip

Leh is a lot more than the snow-covered mountains and valleys. It celebrates life through customs and festivals. Here are some popular festivals celebrated in Ladakh, that in my view should be on your bucket list.

Losar Festival

This is celebrated across Leh and Ladakh during December for welcoming the New Year with open hands.

Hemis Tsechu Festival

Stretching over two days, this is celebrated in Hemis Monastery during July.

Ladakh Festival

People celebrate the harvest season in September across Leh.

Performers come from all parts of Ladakh and celebrate with the utmost happiness and extravaganza.

Dosmoche Festival

In this festival, celebrated all over Leh, Likir, Diskit monasteries, Ladakhis masked in a fancy disguise perform the sacred dance together. It’s celebrated in February.

Leh Backpacking Trip

Ladakh is home to numerous monasteries, and most of them are as scenic and beautiful as this one. In addition to being residences and workplaces for nuns and monks, these monasteries host a number of festivals, events, talks and get-togethers too.

Top Tips from My Side for First time Visitors on Leh Backpacking Trip

Tip 1: Altitude Sickness

Mountain and altitude sickness is common in Leh. Don’t rush to start travelling on the very first day. Take at least 24 hours to acclimatize.

Here’s how to deal with altitude sickness in Leh Ladakh.

Tip 2: Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated with butter tea or warm water throughout the day.

Tip 3: Stay Connected

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

Tip 4: Carry Cash

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

Tip 5: Carry the essential documents

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

A Comparison of Leh Backpacking Trip: Solo Travelers versus Group Travel

Leh Backpacking trip can be done solo or with a group of friends. Both have their own advantages and both can be really fun if planned properly.

Solo Travelers

As inspiring as it may sound, solo travel to Leh can be a tad bit expensive. The fact that you’re travelling alone will put the entire responsibility of finances on yourself. This will prove especially true for accommodation and food.

However, this does not imply that an ideal Leh backpacking trip for solo travellers is not possible. It can be done if you ensure a few things:

  • If travelling solo, try to book your accommodation way in advance so that you are able to avail the best deals. Also, try staying closer to the main area. This will be helpful not just from a budget point of view but safety point of view as well.
  • Try reaching out to fellow solo travellers for the sake of sharing cabs. Private transport can be expensive in hilly terrains. So if you pool, it’ll prove cost-effective. Else, just avail of public transport.
  • Lastly, eat at places where a whole meal is cheaper than mere junk food.
Leh Backpacking Trip

Although you’ll face several challenges while visiting Leh as a solo backpacker, it’s going to be worth it. Being all by yourself in a place as serene and majetic as Ladakh teaches you a lot about yourself. Also, you learn the art of enjoying your own company.

Group Travelers 

Now coming to group travellers. On average, a group of three to five can easily pursue the Leh backpacking trip. Since you’re not alone, you can split bills for your stay, food and internal transport.

A reasonable way is to contribute money in advance to the most travel-friendly person in the group. Transfer the money in his/her account before the commencement of the trip. Throughout the trip, let him/her pay. This will save all the extra hassle.

In case you don’t pool money in advance, there are significant changes of the onus falling on only one person.

Whether travelling solo or with peers, make sure to have lots of fun on your Leh backpacking trip. The region will own you forever, and you would most certainly want to visit again.

Average Cost for Leh Backpacking Trip

The daily average cost for your Leh backpacking trip will depend entirely on 3 factors – place of stay, transport options and nature of trip – solo or in a group.

In order to assist you better, I will methodically do a full break down of expenses for your Leh backpacking trip –

Transportation to Use on your Leh Backpacking Trip

Public transport

Cost of boarding a bus from Manali to Leh will be 500 INR to 2500 INR. It will be 500 INR for a non-deluxe bus and 2500 INR for a deluxe bus.

For travelling via bus from Leh to Pangong lake, bus service will cost you about 600 INR.

Nubra Valley can also be reached via a direct bus from Leh bus stand. 

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Shared cab

Cost of hiring a shared cab from Manali to Leh will be around 2000 INR per head.

Cost of hiring a shared cab for visiting places within Leh – 6000 INR to 10000 INR per head.

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Private cab

Cost of hiring a private cab from Manali to Leh will be around 10000 INR per head.

Cost of hiring a private cab for visiting places within Leh – 30000 INR to 50000 INR per head.

Not recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Rented bike

1000 INR per head per day

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Leh Backpacking Trip

Biking trips to Ladakh have become really popular. There’s a number of blogs on the internet that will offer all the information required for the same. If you do decide on exploring Ladakh on a bike, exercise caution. Accidents aren’t uncommon here.

Accommodation to bunk in on your Leh Backpacking Trip

There are many accommodation options in Leh. From guesthouses to homestays to hotels, there are different types of stays available at different price tags.


500 INR to 800 INR per night

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Guest House

400 INR to 900 INR per night 

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip


150 INR to 400 INR per night

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Luxury Hotels

2000 INR to 5000 INR per night

Not recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Food to eat on your Leh Backpacking Trip

While there are many food options near the Leh town, options start to shrink as you start moving to the interiors. Cafes and restaurants are only available at major stops. However, you can find small eateries at most of the major attractions.

Small eateries

100 INR to 300 INR per meal

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip


200 INR to 500 INR per meal

Recommended for Leh backpacking trip


400 INR to 1000 INR

Not recommended for Leh backpacking trip

Shopping to do on your Leh Backpacking Trip

Souvenirs are reminders of our travels. There is a lot of things that you can bring back from your Leh Backpacking Trip. From Pashmina shawls to unique Tibetan motifs, there is plenty to choose from in the markets in Leh.


200 INR to 400 INR

Choice-based for Leh backpacking trip

Unique items such as Pashmina shawls

2500 INR to 6000 INR

Choice based for Leh backpacking trip

Shopping in Ladakh

These are cashmere shawls that you could choose to buy at one of the stores in Leh. Amidst other things you can buy here are prayer wheels, woollens, carpets, Tibetan handicrafts, accessories, fresh fruit jams, etc. They make for great mementos and gifts.

Reasonable Itinerary for an Inclusive Leh Backpacking Trip

Leh backpacking trip can be pursued either via road or plane. The itineraries for both cases will be different. For the sake of convenience, I am mentioning both the itineraries below. I am also uploading the PDFs for both. So feel free to download them for FREE

Leh Backpacking Trip Itinerary for Travelers Visiting via Plane

Day 1


Arrive at Leh early morning. Ask the hotel/Guesthouse staff to serve you ginger tea. Acclimatize by popping in a Diamox tablet and take ample rest.

Noon – Evening

Wake up and monitor oxygen levels. This is extremely important. Have proper lunch and head out nearby to explore the place. Maybe rent a bike if you want.


Return to your place of stay, have dinner and sleep.

Day 2


After an early breakfast, head to Shanti Stupa. Next, visit Tsemo Fort and spend some time there.

Noon – Evening

Have lunch at any of the eateries in the main market and head to Leh Palace and head to Leh Hall of Fame. Your final destination for day 2 should be Magnetic Hill.


Return to your place of stay in Leh after an exciting day. Have dinner and sleep early.

Shanti Stupa Leh

This is the famous Shanti Stupa in Ladakh. It is situated really close to Leh Palace and is open to visitors from 5 AM to 8 PM on all days of the week. Visiting this wonder early in the morning is a really majestic feeling. It makes waking up early so worth it!

Day 3


Eat your morning meal and head straight to Khardung La – the highest motorable pass in the World. Enjoy the view there, but ensure to leave early as there can be altitude sickness.

Noon – Evening

Have quick snacks at the Pass (at the Indian Army canteen).

From Khardung La, head to Nubra Valley, Dikshit Monastery and even Panamik (famous for sulphur springs).

At Hunder in Nubra Valley, do observe double humped camels.


Stay at Dikshit (because it has an awesome range of staying places), eat supper and sleep.

Day 4


Head straight towards Pangong lake without going back to Leh. Take the Shyok road.

Noon – Evening

It will take 7 plus hours to reach Pangong. You will reach there by evening. Hence have lunch midway.


Camp overnight at Pangong.

Day 5


Wake up to the most beautiful view ever. The shimmering blue waters of Pangong lake will stay in your mind forever. 

Enjoy early lakeside breakfast.

Head for Loma and finally Hanle.

Noon – Evening

For reaching Loma, take the Chushul route. At Loma, register yourself at the check post. Take the diversion to Hanle.


Either check in to the sole guest house in Hanle or stay as a paying guest with any of the villagers.

Day 6


The main destination for day 6 is Tso Moriri lake. Start early. Take the same back road till Loma as the previous day.

Noon – Evening

Once you reach Loma, follow the Nyoma, Mahe and Sumdo route to reach Tso Moriri lake. 

Tso Moriri lake is located on the shores of Karzok village. 


Stay overnight at Karzok village. Have dinner and sleep early.

Tso Moriri

The beautiful Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh. It is said to be the largest high altitude lake in India. The reflections of the mountains in the lake, the cold and gentle breeze, and the comforting warm sun on the day I visited made for a perfect trip! 

Day 7


Wake up once again to a splendid view. Have early breakfast and head back to Leh.

Noon – Evening

On the way back, you can visit Thiksey and Hemis monasteries, in case you have time.


Reach Leh and either stay overnight and head back home early next morning, or head back right away.

Leh Backpacking Trip Itinerary for Travelers Visiting Via Road through Manali

Day 1


Start as early as 4 am from Manali, and Reach Rohtang Pass by 9 am. Have breakfast there. 

Noon – Evening

From Rohtang, head to Lahaul Valley and Tandi. Have lunch at Tandi.


Reach Keylong finally. Check in your place of stay. Have dinner and sleep.

Day 2


Wake up as early as 4 a.m., and start your onward journey at 5 a.m. Have breakfast on the way. 

Noon – Evening

On your beautiful journey, you will travel past locations such as Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal, Baralacha La, Lachuchulung La, Nakee La and Taglang La Pass.


Check-in at your hotel. Have some strong ginger tea. Savour some good dinner. Finally, pop a Diamox pill for acclimatization and sleep well.

Day 3


Eat your morning meal and visit the Khar. The Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle and Namgyal Gompa lie on the same hill as Khar.

Noon – Evening

Next, visit the Shanti Stupa. Try taking a cab up to the hilltop. Otherwise, you’ll land up climbing a flight of 500 stairs.

Spend some time here. 


Get back to your Hotel maximum by 7, have dinner and sleep.

Leh Backpacking Trip

The adventurous criss-cross roads in Ladakh. Being in this part of India made me feel like I was in a different world altogether. No matter what direction you look in, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the Himalayas. What a treat to the eyes!

Day 4


Head towards Lamayuru on Leh Srinagar highway. Visit Gurudwara Patthar Sahib. 

Noon – Evening

Have langar at Gurudwara Pathhar Sahib, and head out towards Magnetic Hill and the confluence of Indus-Zanskar rivers. If you have time, visit the Chilling village.


Head back to your hotel, have dinner and sleep.

Day 5


Rise early and head straight towards Khardung La Pass. Its the highest motorable pass in the world.

Spend no more than half an hour here to avoid altitude sickness.

If you like, sip hot steaming tea at the army canteen on top of Khardung La.

Noon – Evening

Nubra Valley is your next destination for the day. You will spend the rest of the day here, because there are a lot of places to visit – Sumur, Panamik, Hunder or Diskit.

At Hunder, observe double humped camels. At Panamik, watch the hot sulphur springs.


Check in to a guest house at Dikshit. Have dinner and sleep for at least 7 hours.

Day 6


Wake up early and after savouring some healthy breakfast, head straight towards Pangong Tso.

This will take 6 plus hours.

Noon – Evening

Reach Pangong by early evening, and head to your homestay at Spangmik village, or tent near Pangong.


Stay overnight at Pangong. Enjoy an early night meal, keep yourself warm and sleep.

Day 7


Wake up to a magnificent morning near Pangong Lake. The shimmering blue water will change shades and make you fall in love with it. 

Noon – Evening

Head back to Leh. On the way, stop by Thiksey Monastery.


Leave for home.

Download Leh Backpacking Trip Itinerary PDFs

You can click on the links below to download the Leh backpacking trip itinerary, as per your choice of route.

Leh Backpacking Road Trip

Leh Backpacking by Flight

I hope you’ve been able to gather some insights from my experience and knowledge and will head out on your Leh backpacking trip soon. The mystic land is waiting for you. Go make it your own forever.

Happy wayfaring 🙂


Osheen Jain

Osheen Jain is an avid reader since her school days and has an interest in dystopia, classics, science fiction, and western philosophy. Sips black coffee from a beer cup. Chooses adventure and photography over snuggling in a blanket every single time. She is a learner by the day and a freelance writer when the sun goes down. A caffeine addict, and snapper in between, Osheen loves mountains and woods, not for escape but because they are powerful, mysterious, dangerous, and beautiful. She believes that words have the power to change the world for the better.