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Overview

Before the opening of the Leh airstrip, the only way to reach the capital of Ladakh was a grueling two-day jeep or bus trip on some of the most challenging mountain roads on earth. Even today, Leh is only accessible by road for six months a year and few people venture here outside of the brief summer season from July to October. Basking beneath cloudless Himalayan skies, Leh is dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries and stupas, and dominated by the looming ruins of the Potala-style Leh Palace and the mud-brick alleyways of the old town. This mountain retreat is a favorite traveler hangout, partly for its laid-back vibe and partly for the ...

Before the opening of the Leh airstrip, the only way to reach the capital of Ladakh was a grueling two-day jeep or bus trip on some of the most challenging mountain roads on earth. Even today, Leh is only accessible by road for six months a year and few people venture here outside of the brief summer season from July to October. Basking beneath cloudless Himalayan skies, Leh is dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries and stupas, and dominated by the looming ruins of the Potala-style Leh Palace and the mud-brick alleyways of the old town. This mountain retreat is a favorite traveler hangout, partly for its laid-back vibe and partly for the staggering desert scenery on all sides. Other attractions include yoga and meditation courses, excellent trekking in the mountains, and some of the best pizzas in north India. Using Leh as a base, it’s easy to explore the surrounding valleys by bus, motorcycle or on foot. The only drawback is the altitude, a breathless 3505 meters (11,500 feet) above sea level.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in the east of Ladakh, Leh is the largest city in Ladakh.
  • Language: Ladakhi, Urdu
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July to October when the roads are open, or December-January to trek on frozen rivers