Sitting in the Himalayan Mountains, Leh - in the state of Jammu/Kashimir – is geographically, culturally, and historically linked to Tibet and Kashmir by trading routes.
Leh retains its medieval charm and multicultural flavor.
With a strong Buddhist influence and strong ties to Tibet, and rugged mountain surroundings, Leh is a challenge to reach but very worth the trip.
Leh, owing to its mountainous and exciting terrains, offers a huge number of possible trekking routes you could try your courage on. White-water rafting is also a popular sport which adventurers indulge in. Please be advised that the Indus rafting route from Nimmu towards the Pakistani border has rapids of increasing severity which run along the grades of 4, 4+, and 5. The latter two grades are extremely tough and not recommended for amateurs.
The biggest reason why Backpackers head off to Leh is not beacuse of the Destination as such but the whole experience of reaching to it. The best way is to go by road from Delhi and come back via Kargil and Srinagar.
Also you would find yourself on the "Worlds Highest Points" , may it be the highest motorable road in the world or the highest ATM or even the Highest Food cafe in the world.
Best time to Visit Leh
Best season to visit Leh is betweenJune to September.
June to September are the only months when Leh is best visited as the temperature is bearable and the passes are open. The weather is cool and pleasant. It is advisable to carry woolens when visiting Leh.
October to March are extremely cold with heavy snowfall closing down the roads. The temperatures in winters donot make Leh conducive for tourists.
How to Reach
By Air : There are direct flights for Leh From New Delhi on Indian Airlines which operates 3 times a week, 2 flights per week from Jammu and one flight a week from Srinagar. Jet Airways operates flights 6 days a week.
By Train : There is no direct train for Leh and the last point to which a train goes is till Jammu which is around 734 Km. From jammu the only option to reach Leh is either by Bus (could take upto 2 days) or by hired Taxi
By Road : This is chosen to be the best way to travel to Leh. The route map chosen by road usually is Delhi - Manali (overnight stay ) - Sarchu ( overnight camping) - Leh - Drass (coldest inhabited places in the world) - Kargil - Srinagar - Jammu - Chandigarh - New Delhi
Getting Around : Please note that there is a strong presence of the Taxi Union in Leh and if you have taken a personal hired taxi, the you wont be allowed to roam around in it or even go sightseeing in it to other places like Khardungla Pass, Nubra Valley or PangTso Lake. You would Have to hire a local taxi for sightseeing.
Leh is known for its excellent Tibetan cuisine. Many political refugees leaving Tibet settled in Leh and brought their delicious recipes and cooking styles.
Roadside food in Leh is the best way to sample the true cuisine of Leh.
Try chunks of mutton-tikka with roomali roti which is garnished by radish and green chutney (Rs 15 only).
Goshtaba (meat balls with khameeri roti) are also a must-try. For just Rs 40, it’s a filling meal!
Many Indian, Chinese, and Continental eateries and clubs, bars, and cafes are also available.
Spend your first day in Leh acclimatizing to the higher elevations.
A day spent chilling in a cozy café is an excellent way to meet fellow travellers and plan your stay.
Places to Shop
The Main Bazaar in Leh has many places to shop, including fascinating antique stores filled with treasures from many eras, traditional handicraft shops, and trekking outfitters.
The suburb of Changspa holds many handicraft stores, clothing stores, and antique dealers. High-end handicraft and art shops are accessible in the Bazaar and Changspa. You can also buy good quality adventure gear in reasonable prices.
Top five things we recommend you to buy from Leh :
Things to do
What to do in and around the City of Leh - Ladakh
Places of interest include the Buddhist complex Shanti Stupa, a modern Buddhist structure; Leh Palace, the 16th century nine-storied palace of the King of Ladakh now under renovation; Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, a 13th century mountain-top temple; and the main bazaar.
Many Backpackers to Leh trek in the surrounding mountains and visit the monasteries in the region. Changspa is a suburb of Leh and has many restaurants, shops, and guest houses.
You can even play at the world’s highest tennis courts at Baku Tennis. Visit the War Museum, a fascinating place run by the Indian Army showcasing the history, glory and the tools of the trade related to army operations defending India in some of the most hostile terrains in the world. It also has a fascinating display on the Siachen battlefield - the highest and more arduous battlefield in the world.
Pass through the Khardung La, a high mountain pass, located north of Leh. It is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. It is believed to be the highest motorable road in the world. However, there is not much proof to validate this claim.