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Shopping Guide for Leh Ladakh: What and Where to Buy?

Shopping list for Leh Ladakh should ensure that you carry the best things from the region with you while going back. The picturesque landscapes, Buddhist culture, welcoming folks, avenues for adventure activities is why Leh earns a top spot in the bucket list of many travellers. Apart from the memories and those excellent Instagram pictures, one thing you are sure to get back from the journey are souvenirs. 

The markets in Leh are flooded with plenty of local stuff especially during the peak tourist season of June to September. The famous things that comprise a part of shopping list for Leh Ladakh for most travellers range from Pashmina Shawls, native handicrafts, rugs and carpets to woollens and traditional silver jewellery.

You will easily spend hours admiring the handicrafts, jewellery and other artefacts displayed in the bazaars of Leh. You are bound to be mesmerized by the fine artistry and the range of products that this small town has to offer. So, whether you are a shopaholic or not, you will surely feel like picking up and carrying back a part of the cold desert with you.

In my current blog, I intend to provide you with the complete shopping list for Leh Ladakh that will help you to pick just the right things without making holes in your pocket. 

So, while deciding on what to buy in Leh, this current blog of mine will act as your very own shopping guide.

Also Useful:

The complete backpacking guide to Leh Ladakh

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

Shopping List for Leh Ladakh: What and Where to Buy?

Shopping adds to the whole experience of travelling to a new place. You can bring back souvenirs and unique things to remember your visit. Here’s a quick overview of the shopping list for Leh Ladakh Trip, where and what to buy in Leh Ladakh.

What to buy in Leh? & Where to buy in Leh?
Pashmina Shawls

Main Bazaar Road

Tibetan Handicrafts

Main Bazaar Road

Apparels and Accessories

Main Bazaar Road

Carpets and Rugs

Main Bazaar Road

Gems and Jewellery

Moti Bazaar

Traditional Turquoise Ladakhi Jewellery

Moti Bazaar

Traditional Artifacts

Moti Bazaar

Clothes

Changspa Road Market

hand-woven garments, carpets and rugs

Changspa Road Market

Silver and Copper Trinklets

Changspa Road Market

antiques and handicrafts

Tibetan Market

Warm Clothes

Tibetan Market

Traditional Ladakhi dresses

Shar Market



Shopping List for Leh Ladakh: Top 10 things to Buy

The markets of Leh are filled with numerous things that should find a spot in your shopping list for Leh Ladakh. While the region is most famous for Pashmina shawls, this is not the only speciality of the region. Other famous things to buy include Leh Ladakh handicrafts, Buddhist masks, turquoise and Tibetan silver jewelry, woollens and apricots.

The famous things to buy Leh Ladakh and those you need to put in your shopping list for Leh Ladakh are:

Tibetan Handicrafts and Artefacts

Tibetan artefacts and handicrafts are the priority in every travellers’ shopping list for Leh Ladakh. There is so much to choose from that it becomes difficult to stop at just a few. The prices of handicrafts in Leh vary from low and affordable to very high.

The most popular ones are:

Thangka paintings– These intricately painted wall hangings not only make for beautiful wall-pieces, but they also help you meditate. Painted on cotton or silk, these are traditionally meant to be hung on the wall without a frame or kept rolled up when undisplayed. They usually depict a scene from Mandalas or some Buddhist Gurus.

Singing bowls– These are made from brass and copper and decorated with intricate carvings. The sound of these bowls supposedly has healing powers.

Choktse– These beautifully adorned wooden tables are painted in vibrant colours. They are simply stunning.

Ladakhi and Tibetan Jewellery

If you like jewelry, then Turquoise stoned jewelry and Tibetan Silver jewelry is a must on your shopping list for Leh Ladakh.

You can browse through the huge collections of pure silver jewelry pieces worn traditionally by Ladakhis and Tibetans. From neck pieces to earrings, rings, bracelets, you always want more.

Copper and Silver Trinkets are also something that can be bought.

Pashmina Products

One thing that should undoubtedly be on your shopping list for Leh Ladakh is Pashmina. You can buy shawls or stoles or other garments made out of the fine Pashmina wool in Leh.

The pashmina wool is delicate, light and yet very warm. The cost of pashmina shawls in Leh may vary anywhere between Rs 500 to over 2 Lakhs.

Buddhist Motifs and Symbols

The markets in Leh are flooded with Buddhist motifs and symbols. The most interesting ones are classic Buddhist masks depicting the history of Buddhist culture.

Prayer wheels are also sold at a number of shops and stalls. A cylindrical wheel on a spindle, it is made from metal or wood. It also has some chants imprinted on the wheel.

If your shopping list for Leh Ladakh has gifts listed on them, Buddhist motifs make for perfect contenders.

Handwoven Rugs and Carpets

The Ladakhi rugs and carpets are handmade by local artisans. These are naturally dyed and embossed with striking geometric patterns, dragons and flora. The rugs make for great wall hangings.

Kashmiri carpets are also very popular. The intricate patterns on wool will add a royal touch to any house.

Apricots and Apricot Jams

Apricots are locally and abundantly grown in the Ladakh area. Savour some freshly harvested apricots and do add the dried apricots and apricot jams to your shopping list for Leh Ladakh.

You can take the apricot products as gifts. Ladakh Apricot Store deals exclusively in apricots. Fresh, dried, jam, oil, all its forms are available here.

Curios and Souvenirs

There are plenty of things that can be taken as souvenirs from Leh. Your shopping list for Leh Ladakh can include many such souvenirs

Buddhist flags, Buddha statues in different poses and sizes, key chains, bells, etc make excellent gifting options.

Some must buy souvenirs are –

Prayer Flags:   The prayer flags are very good gifting options since it is believed that you should not buy them yourself. The flags have the words Om Ma Ni Padme Hum written on them. These can be hung on doors, windows & vehicles.

These are generally of two types.

Lung Dar – The horizontal prayer flags and Dar Cho – The vertical prayer flags. These come in all sizes and very reasonable.

Ladakhi Hats

T-shirts with different motifs

Woollen Garments

Forgot to carry woollens? No problem. Pick up some of the best and low-priced woollens in Leh. You can buy socks, gloves, pullovers, caps.

Yak wool blankets and garments in local patterns are also worth every penny.

Shopping for Leh Ladakh The markets of Leh are filled with Pashmina Shawls and Stoles. Photography by Suprava G

Best Markets to Fulfill your Shopping List for Leh Ladakh

The bazaars of Leh would any day leave you wanting for more. You can browse for hours through the souvenirs and admire the hand-crafted wall paintings and much more. Even if you aren’t a big shopper, you can just wander around and explore the markets.

When out shopping, you will find plenty of famous things to buy in Leh Ladakh in every nook and corner. However, when preparing your shopping list for Leh Ladakh you need to understand the local markets or bazaars, as we call them in India commonly. Read on to find out exactly what to buy from Leh from which market so that you get the best worth for your money.

Also Useful:

How & where to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) – For Indian Visitors

How & where to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) – For Foreign Nationals



Top 5 Bazaars for fulfilling your shopping list for Leh Ladakh

The markets in Leh are fascinating. FIlled with a range of products, they are fun to take a stroll even if you wish not to buy much. The best 5 bazaars in Leh that you must visit, f you are a shopaholic are: 

Main Bazaar Road Leh

If you are a shopaholic, it might be difficult for you to come back from this place. The Main Bazaar Road is a “shopper’s dream come true.” Lined with a number of small shops selling Ladakh famous things like Pashmina shawls, Tibetan silver jewelry, handicrafts and small souvenirs.

Being one of the most popular shopping destinations in Leh, this bazaar is humming with travelers and locals alike. You can find people shopping for Buddhist symbols like prayer wheels, Buddha statues as souvenirs.

Location

Old Town Leh

Price Range

Low to mid-range (budget friendly)

Speciality

Jewellery, apparels and accessories

Suitable for

Solo, group and family travellers

What to Buy?

Handicrafts

Thangka Paintings (embroidered silk wall paintings)

Hand-woven carpets and rugs

Tibetan wooden tables called ‘choktse

Ladakhi Hats and, Buddhist masks

Tibetan silver and turquoise jewelry

Notable Outlets

Ladakh Art Palace

Tibetan Handicraft Emporium

Buddhist Thangka House

Ladakh Environment and Health Organization

Closing Time

Around 8 pm

Important Tip

Don’t forget to bargain

Carry cash as cards are not always accepted

The prices of handicrafts in Leh, the cost of pashmina shawls in Leh and everything else may vary from shop to shop. Bargain your way to checking off the shopping list for Leh Ladakh.

Moti Market Leh

Moti market Leh is one of the oldest markets in Ladakh.  As the name suggests Moti Market Leh is famous for gems, pearls, precious stones and jewelry. If your shopping list for Leh Ladakh has traditional jewelry listed, this is the place you need to go to.

The quality of these is quite good but since it is jewelery, the prices are on a higher side. If you are looking for something in your budget, try the traditional artifacts.

Location

Near Leh Bus Stand

Price Range

Mid to High – Range

Suitable for

Solo, group and family travellers

What to Buy?

Traditional Artifacts

Gems, Jewellery, Precious stones

Authentic silvery jewellery

Traditional Turquoise Ladakhi jewellery

Notable Places to shop

Ladakh Art Palace

Closing Time

Around 9 PM

Important Tips

Bargain for a reasonable price

shopping list in leh ladakh While in Leh, explore all of its markets fully. Photography by Kiran Ram

Changspa Road 

Lined with travel agencies, small shops, and restaurants on both sides, Changspa Road market is a must visit place in Leh. Open only during summers, Changspa Road has everything you need to complete your shopping list for Leh Ladakh.

There are plenty of travel agencies, budget hotels and guest houses in the area. A majority of foreign tourists coming to Leh live on the Changspa Road because of this accessibility. Apart from shopping, you can also enjoy the beautiful garden restaurant and cafes here. There is also a small office of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in an eatery called Mentokling, where you can check out some trekking plans.

Location

Behind the ridge on the Shanti Stupa road

Price Range

Low to mid-range (budget friendly)

Suitable For

Solo, group and family travellers

What to Buy?

Souvenirs

Clothing

Trekking Accessories

Places to buy from

Cottage Industries Exposition

Ecology Centre

 Women’s Alliance

Venture Ladakh

Important Tip

Do try the cafes here

Tibetan Market Leh

The Tibetan Market is the perfect place to buy antiques and traditional handicrafts. This budget-friendly market has many small shops maintained by Tibetan refugees. Put to use your bargaining skills here.

Tibetan Market Leh is a flea market with a throng of stalls offering numerous Tibetan and Ladakhi souvenirs options such as jewellery, Buddha idols, Prayer wheels, etc.  A perfect place for street shopping in Leh, here you can mark off a lot of stuff on your shopping List for Leh Ladakh.  Another thing it is famous for is woollen clothes.

Location

Off Leh Road

Price Range

Low to mid-range (budget friendly)

What to Buy?

Tibetan handicrafts like shawls, hand-spun rugs, carpets

Turquoise stoned Jewelry, silver jewelry

Suitable for

Solo, group and family travellers

Important Tip

Beware of the fake antiques

 Shar Market 

Shar Market Leh is a place you should visit if traditional Ladakhi dresses are on your shopping list for Leh Ladakh. There are plenty of stalls and shops selling Ladakhi dresses, traditional handicrafts, jewelry, etc.

The most commonly bought Ladakhi dress  items include

Goucha: It is a thick woollen robe generally worn by men. It is secured at the neck, under the armpit and tied at the waist with a colourful sash called “Skerag

Kuntop: women wear this robe with a colourful shawl, the “Bok” on their backs. Traditionally the women carried a baby or parcels on the backs.

Perak: A lambskin headgear is worn by women studded with semi-precious turquoise stones.

Location

Opposite Main Bazaar Road, Old Town Leh

What to Buy?

traditional Ladakhi dresses

Places to buy from

Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom

Important Tip

Bargaining will help you get a better price

Apart from these markets, the markets in Kargil, Zanskar and Nubra Valley also offer some shopping avenues for travellers. 

Kargil Market

Kargil Market offers Leh Ladakh handicrafts and ornaments. Here you can also shop for Woolen clothes, Pashmina Shawls, hand-woven carpets. Apricot products are also very famous and you can pick up some jam and dry Apricot.

Zanskar Valley Market

 Padum at Zanskar Valley has a market which is famous for Pashmina shawls, silk carpets and handicrafts items.

Nubra Valley

Diskit Market is the only place in Nubra Valley where you can shop. However, it does not offer a huge variety when compared to markets in Leh. You can still find clothes prayer wheels, Turquoise Jewelry and Sea-buckthorn Juice here.

Shopping list for leh ladakh Buddha Figurines are popular souvenir items in Leh. Photography by Suket Dedhia

Shopping List for Leh Ladakh: Top 5 Shopping Tips

When shopping in Ladakh, these shopping tips will come in handy.

Bargain your Best

Bargaining skills are very important. When shopping at the markets in Leh, make the most of your haggling skills. The prices are generally inflated and bargaining will help you get them right. Try it with all the street vendors and small stalls and shops

Know Where not to Bargain

There are many government-operated crafts emporiums in Leh. These have fixed rates and you should not try bargaining here.

Carry Cash

Always carry sufficient cash. Some shopkeepers in Leh don’t accept Credit Card/Debit Cards or the POS machines just won’t work a lot of times.

Keep separate time for shopping

The markets in Leh are quite big and browsing through them may take time. You need the best value for your money and that requires going from one shop to another. You should keep at least two evenings or a day and a half to best explore the markets and complete your shopping list for Leh Ladakh

Beware of Fakes

When buying silver jewelry, check their authenticity by inspecting the hallmark on the jewelry.

Complete your shopping list for Leh Ladakh in the vibrant markets of Leh and bring home the most unusual and beautiful souvenirs that remind you of your Leh adventures.

Happy Wayfaring.

About the Author

Divya Sarjolta

Divya Sarjolta

Divya Sarjolta is an Economics Major and a Gold Medalist. 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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