To the Land of Lamas and High-passes – Ladakh Region

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To the land of Lamas and High-passes – Ladakh Region


This was in July that we started planning a roadtrip to Ladakh region in August and I was also scheduled to go on a work trip to Ireland. Not wanting to miss visiting Jammu and Kashmir in August to celebrate India’s Independence Day in Kargil (Drass War Memorial), started planning with ScoutMyTrip and RoadTrippersClub who were supporting me on the roadtrip to Ladakh region.

Planning of the Ladakh Travel

Finalizing the areas that I would travel to, which are

  • Srinagar
  • Sonamarg
  • Kargil
  • Leh
  • Hunder
  • Pangong Tso
  • Tso Moriri
  • Keylong
  • Manali

Having our stay booked and everything sorted, I set out on my business trip to be back in India (Hyderabad) on 12th August to start on the roadtrip to the land of high passes on 14th August.

The Day of Ladakh Travel

Something was not right from the start of the day on 14th August, the cab I called for a drop at the airport got struck in a road that was dug near my house and we had to get alternative arranged as the vehicle was not coming out.

We reached airport with some decent time to spare and took a sigh of relief but it didnot stop there.

Hyderabad – Delhi Sector

The boarding started around 30 minutes late by Jet Airways and I was not confident for some strange reason that day.

Later, we boarded the flight for the captain to announce we are good to take-off but in no time another announcement of a Technical snag came in and we were taken back to the gate.

We finally were airborne at 09:05 hrs for a flight that was to take-off at 07:25, and guess what, the connection to Srinagar tookoff on time from New Delhi.

We missed our flight 😱

Delhi – Srinagar Sector

Having missed the first flight of our lifetime, we started walking towards the domestic transfer and at the Jet Airways counter, there was a helpful person (Manoj) who without asking us anything offered us the next day flight and a hotel stay.

I had to decline this as our planning was in place and asked if he can help us in anyway to reach our destination, a few calls later, he helped us with a GoAir flight for our onward journey and we set to book the tickets on our own and we’re headed to T2.

Fingers crossed until the flight take-off and we three were very happy that we were going to reach our destination.

By around 15:00 hours we landed in Srinagar.

Srinagar airport on way to Ladakh
As we approached Srinagar Airport

Day One of Ladakh Travel

From: Srinagar
To: Sonamarg
Duration: 3.5 hours
Distance: 91 kms

We reached the hotel and in an hour’s time were all set to start on our roadtrip with our friend Neeraj and our first stop was Sonamarg.

We stopped briefly en-route at Dal Lake and Hazratbal Shrine.

Dal Lake enroute Ladakh
Dal Lake, Srinagar
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Hazratbal Shrine, Srinagar

Having started around 16:30 hrs we reached our destination around 20:00 hours after a day full of uncertainties and adventure right from Hyderabad.

We hit the bed after dinner.

Road conditions (Day One)

Roads from Srinagar to Sonamarg were very good with lovely views and no major bad roads but on the contrary smooth with good sign boards.

Day Two of Ladakh Travel

From: Sonamarg
To: Kargil
Duration: 7.5 hours
Distance: 127 kms

We woke up and got ready to hit the road again but not before having our breakfast and enjoying the lovely views.

Sonamarg enroute Ladakh
Divine Inn, our stay in Sonamarg

Post breakfast, we started to Kargil our next stop and had great time on the road starting with the Zojila Pass to the lovely Himalayan roads.

Zozilla Pass as we head to Ladakh Region
Welcome to Zojila Pass
Kargil Tourism Authority enroute Ladakh Travel
Police Checkpost – kargil Tourism Development

En-route we stopped at Drass Memorial to pay our respects to those brave heroes who fought for our motherland.

We reached Kargil around 16:00 hours.

Lazing around for sometime after late lunch at out hotel we set out on a stroll around the area clicking a few pictures.

Road conditions (Day Two)

General road condition from Sonamarg to Kargil were good with nice two lane roads (recently laid very well by BRO) if you find nice black carpet.

Only deterrent and bumpy ride was up and down Zojila pass which had very to moderate bad patches as is the case with most high-passes.

Day Three of Ladakh Travel

From: Kargil
To: Leh
Distance: 231 kms
Duration: 10 hours

Today we started on our day three of the journey from Kargil to Leh. We had two passes to cross today – NamikLa and FotuLa.


NamikLa Pass at 12,198 ft
Fotula Top at 13,479ft

Road Condition (Day Three)

Roads from Kargil to Leh being the strategic NH 1D were well maintained even close to the passes with a few stretches being repaired and re-carpeted and it was very comfortable to drive on these patches. There were a few bad patches for a small distance but was mostly smooth and a less tiring drive.

Day Four of Ladakh Travel

From: Leh
To: Hunder
Distance: 126 kms
Duration: 6 hours

Today, we are on our journey from Leh to Hunder. This is the day when you get higher and would be greeted by the mighty Khardungla Pass at a el. 17,982ft and this is the highest motorable road that is open in all weather conditions round the year.

Khardungla Top
North Pullu which you can see from Khardungla Top


Road Conditions (Day Four)

Roads were predominantly good barring Khardungla pass which was very bumpy and dusty starting from the outer road from Leh until you reach mid way until North Pulu. Road starts to get better and well carpeted from there on which just one bad patch around Khalsar for around 500mtrs which got swept away due to floods in the area from Shyok River (also do watch out for the sand and rolling stones in this area as you near the sand dunes)

Day Five of Ladakh Travel

From: Hunder
To: Spangmik
Distance: 173 kms
Duration: 9.5 hours

After a wonderful travel to Hunder and Diskit, we set out today to Spangmik from Hunder which is around a distance of 173 kilometers and leads us to Pangong Tso. Everheard of 3Idiots movie, well, it a few scenes were shot here which made this late ultra popular among tourists.

Washing our faces before a rough bumpy ride


Road Conditions (Day Five)

I would love to talk of the road conditions here, it would be nerve testing and you would know why in a minute or two, there were a few good patches and loads of bad to worst patches, most of the roads swept away by Shyok River or floods in the area. We were like, please god, let us get to good roads as we traveled in this route specially. This is not for the beginners in the Himalayan roads for sure.

Me and my wife crossing the same path taken by the car which we had to get down and let our friend drive it across so i could help her cross the water crossing

This was just a part and this route to Spangmik had loads of surprises for us as we crossed close to two notorious water nalas (crossings) and numerous small to medium nalas.

our son waiting for us on the other side…

We reached Spangmik around 17:30 hours and were relived to hit our camp and take some chai before walking to the Pangong Tso.

It has been a lovely experience, both interesting, exciting, challenging, adventurous and scary at times due to the water crossings. (watch out for the video to be out soon on Youtube here

Should you need any finer details to plan your travel, do not hesitate to ping me in comments or connect on the platform that I have used to plan my road-trip ScoutMyTrip.Com

I would take your leave at this point as I work on my part two of the journey, until then, this is Srikanth signing Off!

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Land of Lamas and High-Passes, Ladakh

9 responses to “To the Land of Lamas and High-passes – Ladakh Region”

  1. Just read your travel diary and I would like to say that it’s amazing and from you blog, I could again reconnect myself when I visited Ladakh in August 2017

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