Ask any ardent traveller in the country and they would tell you how Leh Ladakh is often one of the top destinations in their bucket list. With the lofty mountains looming against an azure blue sky, the stark landscape that adds to its charm and friendly locals, the place has plenty to bowl you over. But striking sights aren’t all that the region has in store. There are quite a few activities to please the adventure lovers and outdoorsy folks among you. Take your pick from our list of things to do in Leh Ladakh and get going!
With its uneven terrain and beautiful landscapes, Ladakh makes for an ideal trekking destination. Whether it is the alluring appeal of the region or the strong positive vibes the place exudes, it is known to be a favourite among trekkers. While amateurs can start off with smaller treks, there’s the Chadar ice trek and other challenging treks for experienced folks to go on. Make sure you give yourself enough time for your body to acclimatise to the climatic conditions. Go equipped with necessary gear and, ideally, a guide who can lead the way. Trekking through snow-strewn paths, with the tall peaks towering all around, you’re bound to have an out-of-the-world experience.
Leh Ladakh is a must-visit spot for any biker worth his salt, they say. The thundering of the motor echoing in the midst of the desolate slopes, the triumph a rider feels as he speeds past Ladakh’s characteristic landscape, the scenic lakes that welcome you with their serene vibes…there’s enough and more that makes biking a top option among things to do in Leh Ladakh. You also get a glimpse of the culture and the essence of the region’s communities while riding through the place. Add to that the adrenaline rush that comes with motorcycling and you’ve got yourself the perfect mountain adventure!
Rafting in the Indus River in Ladakh is an exciting experience that deserves a mention in any list of things to do in Leh Ladakh. This adventure takes you on an enthralling ride through the Indus and Zanskar waterways. Feel the pull of the river while you raft along and look out at the sights of Ladakh all around. The best time for rafting is between June and late August as the water levels are high during this period.
Imagine flying up while the blue sky spread out over you with fluffy white clouds, floating over Ladakh’s stunning landscape! That’s just what you can experience with a dose of paragliding here. One of the most exciting things to do in Leh Ladakh, this adventure activity is available in spots such as Khardung La and Pangong Tso lake. Mid-year months are best suited for paragliding in Ladakh. Also, do take note of the health conditions required before you sign up for it.
The buzzing bazaars and markets of Leh Ladakh are a favourite spot for shopaholics who visit the region. Whether it is the vibrant Pashmina shawls, locally made woollen socks and other winter wear, or Tibetan workmanship objects, there’s plenty here for you to score. Buddhist veils and Thangka artistic creations are also among the goodies available here. If that’s not enough, there’s handwoven rugs, Ladakhi gems and handicrafts as well. Dry fruits and trinkets can also be found in the stores here. Be prepared for a round of haggling before you get to walk away with your purchase though.
From Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace to Thikse Monastery, this beautiful region has plenty of must-visit sightseeing spots. So, you will never feel like you’re out of things to do in Leh Ladakh. Whether it’s the tranquil vibes of the monastery or the stunning Pangong Lake, you will find enough places to explore while you soak up the essence of the land. Of course, make sure you visit Magnetic Hill which seems to defy the powers of gravity.
7. Sample local cuisine
If you thought Ladakhi cuisine was all about momos and thukpa, we’re about to prove you wrong. Featuring plenty of vegetables (think pumpkins, potatoes, beetroots and beans) cooked in an assortment of ways and meat in the form of lamb and chicken, this beautiful region boasts of delicious dishes that will leave you craving for more. Sampling the local cuisine, one of the ‘fulfilling’ things to do in Leh Ladakh, also lets you get a glimpse of the local culture and lifestyle, letting you interact with the people here. From the soup-based dish, Skyu to breads like Tingmo and Khambir, there’s plenty for you to try here. Sip on some Butter Tea, a local variant of the beverage made with salt and yak butter. Or, perhaps, you’d like to chug down some Chang, a barley-based homemade beer that’s popular here.
8. Celebrate festivals of Leh
No trip to Leh Ladakh would be complete without experiencing one of the vibrant festivals here. In Ladakh, each event – marriage, birth, collecting and recognition of head Lamas, establishing the religious community, Losar (new year) and blossoming – is marked by the presence of food, music and dance. Folk songs that give you a glimpse of the legacy of the land are also part of these celebrations. While there are festivals like Thikse Gustor Festival and Hemis Festival which are celebrated in monasteries, the common festivals here include Ladakh Festival, Losar Festival and Spituk Gustor Festival, to name a few.
9. Jeep safari
How could you possibly turn down the opportunity to drive through the high deserts and wetlands of Ladakh, passing by tough landscapes, etched ravines, old towns and Buddhist gompas while the snow-topped mountains loom around you? Which is exactly why a jeep ride through Ladakh is an experience you mustn’t miss while here. Plus, the region also has some of the highest motorable roads in the country! Need we say more?
Standing tall and neglecting the inconceivable scope of Ladakh is the Himalayan mountain range, a fantasy for every mountain climber. With the area partitioned into fragments of the Karakoram and Zanskar mountain ranges, mountaineering in Ladakh is an activity that is bound to please adventure lovers. The delicate environment and geography of Ladakh make the climb physically demanding. As the area is encompassed by mountain ranges from different headings, various undertaking alternatives are available for mountain climbers.
Whether it’s something laidback like shopping or adventurous like rafting, you will find them all in this breathtaking region. So, why wait? Plan your trip to Leh Ladakh soon!