How to Plan a Budget Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Guide to affordable travel

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Last Updated on May 30, 2022

So, you’ve chosen Ladakh for your next trip. Good one!

Leh Ladakh, now a Union Territory, Formerly part of Jammu & Kashmir lies between the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram mountains, and are two of the most spectacular locations in the world: attracting thousands of tourists each year. Ladakh is an emblem of pure paradisiacal beauty, awe-inspiring scenery, a stunning green oasis, glittering monasteries, and small villages. Now just imagine how it would feel like to be taking a breath of fresh air here.

Leh is the largest town in Ladakh, so the breathtaking beauty of this unique alpine town takes your breath away from the moment you step foot in the town. Take in the breathtakingly clear blue sky and be carried to a world of utter solitude, admiring the mountain flowers, snow-capped ranges, flowing streams, and deep valleys. 

Monks in maroon robes and men walking behind herds of sheep are just a few of the sights that can be found in Leh and Ladakh.

But when it comes to having a budget trip, can we still say that a trip to Ladakh is feasible? This is most likely the first question that comes to mind after deciding to visit Ladakh so for People unfamiliar with the location question how much it will cost to travel there. This article will provide you with some essential information on determining and organising affordable travel to Leh Ladakh.

Leh Ladakh Trip Budget

budget for leh ladakh trip

To be honest, the budget for any trip, including Leh Ladakh, is highly dependent on the individual’s preferences for taste and comfort. A basic schedule for a Leh Ladakh tour from Delhi (without any buffers) is provided below, covering all of the major tourist attractions in Leh Ladakh: which are widely followed by many travellers. As part of the research on the cost of a Leh Ladakh trip, we will analyse, and find the budget or cost for this Ladakh tour in the following paragraphs below. 

Ladakh offers a variety of budget hotels based on your comfort, preference, conditions, and circumstances. The range may vary from Rs 125 stay at some Dhaba tent to Rs 250 – 500 stay at a low-cost hotel/homestay to Rs 700 – 1500 stay at medium-cost hotels to Rs 3000 and above for hotels that offer far more amenities, etc. The same is true for food, and it all depends on what you want to eat (Pizza or Dal Bhaat or Roti+Dal Fry or Maggie / Veg. Non-Veg., etc.). More importantly, where you want to eat and drink.

Best way to travel Leh Ladakh

The primary cost of a trip to Leh Ladakh is transportation, or fuel, depending on your type of commute. Using public transportation within Leh – Ladakh is difficult because the commonness of such vehicles is limited and dependent on their schedules. So, in Leh Ladakh, travellers primarily use privately hired taxis or shared taxis run by tour operators or you can find travel partners and split the cost with them, you may also ride rented bikes or eventually self-drive on their bikes or cars. All of these options will present you with various trip costs.

Let’s look at each of them below to get an idea of the total cost of a trip to Leh Ladakh.

Self-Drive Private Vehicle

The Ladakh trip will take you approximately 3300-3600 kilometres (Round trip). So, if your bike gets about 25 KMPL on average in the mountains and plains, you should outlay around Rs 15000 – 18000 for fuel. If it gives less, make the necessary adjustments.

leh ladakh via car

Similarly, if you are driving a car, you can quantify accordingly. Keep in mind that your car will give much less mileage in the hills than in the plains. Calculate accordingly and divide the total cost by the number of people travelling in the car to evaluate the per-person cost. Travelling to Leh Ladakh with a luggage rack on a motorcycle is challenging, so the cost can be calculated separately.

Self-Drive But Rented Vehicle

The fuel cost is the same as for a self-drive private vehicle calculated above, but you must also include the cost of bike/car rent. Depending on the brand and model of the bike, you can usually rent a decent bike in good condition for around Rs 1200 – 1400 per day. So, if you get a discount, renting a bike from Delhi to Delhi Ladakh is around Rs 16000 – 19000. Adding the fuel cost as calculated above, the price here is roughly Rs 26200 – 30500.

Privately Hired Taxi

Taxis outside of Leh are not permitted to operate in Ladakh. Because you are always required to hire a Taxi that belongs only to Leh, you will hire a private taxi in Leh and use public transportation to get there. Given the scenario, The per-person fare of a taxi in Ladakh will come down if more people are travelling with you.

The sole reason to consider this scenario using local transportation is to keep a minimum budget which can only be achieved by commuting in such a way.

Some routes for you:

  • (Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh) = Rs 2500–3000 per person
  • (Local Leh) = Rs 2200
  • (Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley – Leh)= Rs 9000
  • (Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Leh) = Rs 14000 
  • (Leh – Keylong – Manali – Delhi) = Rs 3800 per person

It is always recommended to take public transportation such as shared taxis, JKSRTC buses, and HPTDC buses on the Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh highways in Himachal.

Local Shared Taxis

Assuming that rather than having a personal taxi in Leh Ladakh, you intend to travel by shared taxis run by travel agents or join with other travel companies to split the burden, or you are a group of around 5, you can expect to pay around Rs 13000 – 14000.

If you plan a trip to Ladakh by public bus, this estimate will significantly drop.

Where to stay

Many people believe that this will be the most expensive part of their Ladakh trip. However, this is not entirely correct. In Ladakh, the cost of accommodation is not particularly low, you simply need to be more selective in your choices.

stay in leh ladakh

Most places in Ladakh have guest houses for as little as Rs. 700 – Rs. 800 per night. Regular campsite fees are a bit steep in places like Pangong. However, there are homestays in Spangmik, Man, and Merak, and their fees will be lesser than those of the campgrounds.

Food costs

restaurants in leh ladakh

For instance, if you eat at a Dhaba tent, the expense of the food will be more like Rs 50-70 per person, whereas the same food at a café on Changspa road in Leh may cost Rs 150 – Rs 170 per person or more. Moreover, the price of food will rise significantly in some high-end eateries.

Local Dhabas are accessible across most areas and are ideal for low-cost meal options. Typically, if you make wise choices, you can efficiently handle your daily meals for a couple of hundreds per individual.

Attractions & Activities in Leh Ladakh

zanskar valley

Explore the captivating Zanskar Valley

The snow-covered peaks reflect the heavenly skies. The rushing rivers through these mountains create a simply stunning amalgamation of view and sound. Each point here is an echo spot, so if you’re in a safe position, you might want to chance a yell to listen to the echoes reverberating from the hills.

Pangong lake in ladakh

Enjoy the beauty of Pangong Tso Lake

The lake provides an excellent camping location and is a popular destination for visitors to Ladakh. Boating is not permitted on Pangong-Tso Lake, but if the lake freezes in the cold weather, if you’re feeling adventurous, you might also want to ice skate on the lake’s bank.

Chadar trek in ladakh

Take part in the thrilling Chadar trek

The Chadar Trek, as it is famously known, is essentially a trek across defrosted rivers. The most popular trek is the one along the Zanskar River, which is often done in huge groups by adventure junkies. The Chadar trek is usually done in November when the water is frozen and convenient to trek on, but the rest of the environment is still cordial enough to allow you to survive. This is among the most challenging and adventurous treks.

Nubra valley

Visit Nubra Valley, a desert in the hills

A desert is usually the last thing on anyone’s mind when hoping to travel to Ladakh, but it’s there. The Nubra Valley dunes provide tourists with an Arabian Nights-like experience. The region also has famous and well-known camels,  often the biggest attraction for animal lovers.

Magnetic hill in leh ladakh

Observe the Anti-Gravity Effect at Magnetic Hill

The scientific knowledge behind the occurrence is unidentified, but if you leave your car at the bottom of the hill with both the handbrake unsecured, it will begin moving up the hill gradually by itself. Magic? Surely not. It’s merely the powers you gain when you arrive here.

Conclusion 

It’s beneficial if you have your own vehicle. And the cost is determined by the number of days you intend to spend there. If it is for 10 to 15 days, the cost will be between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000… (*with own mode of transportation or else, it may be more expensive.) 

Mentioned above are different scenarios that you can combine and calculate separately for custom cases.

Leh Ladakh FAQs:

Is there an oxygen shortage in Ladakh?

Ladakh is located at a high altitude, nearly 11,500 feet above sea level. At this height, people frequently experience breathing difficulties or succumb to altitude sickness (sinus headaches). It occurs due to a lack of oxygen in the atmosphere. Allow yourself sufficient time to settle before engaging in any vigorous exercise.

Q. How long should a trip to Ladakh last?

The best time is calculated by your plans and itinerary. In general, it tends to take 5 to 10 days to visit the major attractions in Ladakh. If backpacking or trekking is your primary goal, you may need to extend the period because some lengthy hiking trails involve more time to finish the road trip.

What kind of clothing should we bring for our trip to Ladakh?

T-shirts and shorts are appropriate clothing options during the day, but after dusk, the weather becomes pretty cold, necessitating a jacket and sweater. Warm woollen clothing is required for trekking to peaks 4000 metres above sea level.

Rain and snowstorms are possible in June and July, so bring wind cheaters and raincoats if you are planning to travel during this time. A pair of waterproof footwear is a must if you enjoy trekking.

Are ATMs available in Leh?

Axis Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank, and State Bank of India each have four ATMs in Leh.

Credit cards are also accepted in a few restaurants and hotels, however, a service tax is applied.

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