Is Ladakh possible to visit avoiding the dangerous passes.

Discussion in 'Itinerary' started by Eddy Torremans, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Eddy Torremans

    Eddy Torremans New Member

    Sorry, maybe it is a silly question and honestly I feel a bit shy to ask but since I wont feel comfortable to drive (even by using an experienced local driver and 4WD) next to sheer cliffs. Not to say that I might feel deadly-scared.
    The major question is if it is possible at all to travel through Ladakh from any departure point like Leh or Srinagar and avoiding the most dangerous roads ?
    After I searched the net for weeks, I had some itinerary in mind but I guess this is not exactly answering to my question.
    I love traveling the world, I love photography and I have an utmost respect for nature , I would'nt mind to travel some distance next to a valley but I watched some really scary YouTube clips that makes me asking myself if that's all worth to end up with dirt inside my pant.
    I googled to find answers but all I got goes about the dangerous roads, not how to avoid them.

    I might be ok dealing with AMS since just a couple of months ago I spend some time at 4300 meter between Shangri La and Deqin in China, also next to deep cliffs but that was on paved roads by the way. Still I realize never to underestimate the Himalayas.

    Below is a sample itinerary that I found and comes close what I'm looking for. I'm very flexible and can add easily up to a week extra before or after as long as I am able to attend Saga Dawa in Leh, on june 17, 2019.

    Eventually, I can do Srinagar, Sonamargh, Gulmargh & Pahalgam loop and then fly from Srinagar to Leh.
    The most attractive video I saw was some people riding between walls of snow with the snow-capped mountains in the background. WOW, I wish I would be able to witness that awesome beauty.
    Could this be Rohtang pass maybe ?

    ANY adivice, adjustments or any completely different itinerary compared to the one below very welcome.
    I am sorry for the lengthy post but I could not find the right answer yet so far. Maybe you guys can shed a different light. The key-point is : Shall I skip Ladakh completely or would I be able to enjoy some non-scary parts from either Leh, Srinagar or any other departure point.

    Day 1 - June 8 : Arrival Srinagar (stay hotel)
    Day 2 - June 9 : Day trip to Pahalgam (overnight Srinagar Hotel)
    Day 3 - June 10 : Day trip to Gulmargh (overnight Srinagar Hotel or Houseboat)
    Day 4 - June 11 : Depart to Kargil with stop at Sonamargh (overnight at Kargil)
    Day 5 - June 12 : Kargil to Leh via Lamayuru and Indus Zanskar River confluence. (overnight Leh)
    Day 6 - June 13 : Sindhu Darshan festival and local sightseeing (overnight Leh)
    Day 7 - June 14 : Leh - Nubra Valley via Khardung La Pass - Visit Diskit and Hundar villages - drive to Turtuk village (ovenight G.H.)
    Day 8 - June 15 : Drive to Sumur Village with visits to Insa, Sumur village and monastery.
    Day 9 - June 16 : Nubra to Pangong Lake via Shayok. After lunch return to Leh. (is it possible to drive back to Leh before darkness ?)
    Day 10 - June 17 : Saga Dawa festival at Leh.

    If I am able to make it, I will be hiring a local experienced driver with a 4WD. Normally I would travel by myself only. I'm not on a budget but neither I wish to throw money overboard. What I mean is that I don't mind to have everything organised by a reliable operator.

    Thank you all for you input.
    Eddy (Belgium)
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Eddy,

    To be honest, and maybe this will boost your spirits a little, the "dangerous" part from Ladakh has been long taken out. It is now a place where you will find families vacationing with kids. I would have called the roads dangerous maybe 15-20 years ago when rarely anyone went in this direction. But now, it is all tourists all around and not even for once you will feel that you are visiting some place dangerous. The one discomfort will be broken roads at a few places which I guess is standard all across Himalayan region. You are also traveling in September which is also one of the best times to visit Ladakh.
  3. Eddy Torremans

    Eddy Torremans New Member

    Hi Mr. Vargis Khan,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. I feel a lot more confident. Your input makes the difference for me to go or not to go really. I appreciate your replies.
    However, I still have some unanswered questions if you do not mind me asking. You stated that traveling in september is the best time to visit Ladakh.
    1/ As you can see at my given tentative itinerary, I'm traveling in june. I assume you meant that june is the best month ?
    2/ The road with walls of snow on both sides, is this the Rohtang pass please ? Is it possible to experience in june ? I could either choose the first week of june before I travel to other parts around Leh OR the 3'rd week of june. Please advice when is better. I learned that I can to there from Chandigarh without having to cross the most treacherous part of the actual pass ? So I can either travel to Rohtang, enjoy the snowy scenery, stay a night in Manali and return to Chandigarh the next day ?
    3/ Is the given itinerary too ambitious ? Please feel free to change or add something in my travel-plan if you have a better idea for a first-time visitor. I'm very flexible as long I can attend the sindhu Darshan on june 13 or 14 and Saga Dawa on june 17 in Leh.
    4/ Booking wise : I would'nt mind to have all this being organised by one operator who can drive me around with a Scorpio or any vehicle, starting from Srinagar. But as far I could figure out in the forum, maybe its better to hire one operator for the places around Srinagar, another car with driver to bring me into Leh and again another private driver with car to tour me around from Leh once I arrive there ?
    5/ Do you have any recommondations of trustworthy, experienced licensed tour operators or drivers in eachof these places ? (around Srinagar), (Srinagar to Leh) (tours from Leh)
    5/ My plan is to do all this by myself but I'm willing to share the car ofcourse at any place. I'm planning to fly out of Leh.

    Sorry for the many questions....I might come up with more. Thank you for a wonderful source of information available at
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Eddy,

    1. Sorry I misread your travel dates as September. I actually meant September as the best time but June is good enough too.
    2. Yes, those snow walls are either Rohtang Pass or Baralacha Pass. Earlier you travel, better your chances are at finding those walls. June 1st week will be better.
    3. Itinerary looks good.
    4. You are right. You will need two different operators.
    5. Talk to Faisal in Srinagar @ 9596410670 and Nasir in Leh @ 9906229203. They are both trustworthy and will provide best of services. I have sent several people to these guys and no one even came back with anything negative.
  5. Eddy Torremans

    Eddy Torremans New Member

    Hi Vargis,

    Thank you again for your information. Do you have any email contacts from these guys please ?
    Regarding Snow point at Rohtang pass, I had slightly changed my itinerary which I like to share with you and listen if you have any better suggestions or advice on this.

    June 3, Delhi to Chandigarh (o/n Park Plaza Zirakpur)
    June 4, Chandigarh to Manali (Manali Top Inn)
    June 5, Manali to Rohtang snowpoint - back Manali (Manali Top Inn)
    June 6, Manali to Chandigarh via Beas Kund (o/n Park Plaza Zirakpur)
    June 7, Chandigarh to Srinagar flight (Houseboat Lily of Nageen)
    June 8, Srinagar to Pahalgam day-trip) (Houseboat Lily of Nageen)
    June 9, Srinagar to Gulmargh day trip (Houseboat Lily of Nageen)
    June 10, Srinagar to Kargil via Sonamarg, Drass, Zo Jila pass (o/n The Kargil)
    June 11, Kargil to Leh via Fotu La, Lamayuru and Zanskar - Indus confluence (Mentokling G.H.)
    June 12, Leh - Sindu Darshan + local sightseeing. (Mentokling G.H.)
    June 13, Leh - Sindu Darshan + local sightseeing. (Mentokling G.H.)
    June 14, Leh - Sindu Darshan + local sightseeing (Mentokling G.H.)
    June 15, Leh - Nubra Valley via Khardung La, visit Diskit and Hundar village - end at Turtuk (o/n Roost Duktuk)
    June 16, Turtuk to Pangong Lake via Shayok and return around noon to Leh.
    June 17, Leh - Saga Dawah festival
    June 18, Leh - fly out.
  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Your itinerary looks good Eddy. Turtuk to Pangong and Leh will be a very long journey and you will probably make it to Leh by late evening, not noon.

    For Faisal, his email is FaisalNazir96@Gmail.Com

    I don't have one for Nasir though.
  7. Eddy Torremans

    Eddy Torremans New Member

    Hi Vargis,
    Thank you again for the input.
    I was considering an alternative route that looks like this :
    What is your opinion about this please ?
    I appreciate your reply and input.

    Fri 31 may :Arrive TG935 at 05h35…. Connect TG323 BKK-DEL at 07h35-10h35 to Delhi and on to Haridwar (5-6 hours).

    Sat 1 june : Haridwar Sightseeing : Morning after breakfast, Full day sightseeing of Haridwar.

    Sun 2 june : Haridwar to Rishikesh (30 kms drive one way)
    Morning after breakfast full day sightseeing of Rishikesh.

    Mon 3 june : Rishikesh

    Tue 4 june : Rishikesh – to Shimla.

    Wed 5 june : Shimla to Manali o/n Manali. Try to reach Mandi as early as possible.

    Thu 6 june : Manali to Rohtang Snowpoint excursion –Leave by 04h00am.

    Fri 7 june : Keylong – Baralacha Pass – Sarchu – getting to lower attitude to spend the night. o/n. (????)

    Sat 8 june : Sarchu - Gata Loops - Nakeela – Lachalung La – Taglang La - Leh o/n

    Sun 9 june : Leh – local sightseeing

    Mon 10 june : Leh – Lamayuru – Zanskar/Indus confluence – Alchi Monastery – Fotula Pass – o/n Lamayuru.

    Tue 11 june : To the Hanu Valley and visit Dha Hanu Dokpa’s & Takmachik Village – return to Leh.

    Wed 12 june : Sindu Darshan.

    Thu 13 june : Leh : Sindu Darshan + local sightseeing.

    Fri 14 june : Leh - Nubra Valley via Khardung La Pass - Visit Diskit (Maitreya Buddha) and Hundar (camels) villages o/n Nubra Valley. (Hotel Sten Del in Diskit)

    Sat 15 june : Nubra Valley – visit Sumur, Panamik, Turtuk.

    Sun 16 june : Turtuk back to Leh.

    Mon 17 june : Saga Dawa festival at Leh.

    Tue 18 june : Leh to Delhi flight Jet Airways flight at 07h20-08h50

    However, I have heard from a touroperator that the road between Keylong and Leh wont be open yet before june 20. Is this correct ?
    In that case, I will have to opt for an alternative route between june 7 & 8. Do you have an idea please ?
    Thank you very much, your blog is also very much appreciated.
  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Eddy - Even this plan looks great. If you can squeeze in a day more and make a day trip from Leh to Pangong and back, it would be even better.

    The Keylong - Leh road usually opens by late May or early June, you don't have to worry about that.

    Rest all looks good.
  9. Eddy Torremans

    Eddy Torremans New Member

    Hi Vargas,

    Thank you again. At this very moment, I was reading your blog about Spiti Valley. I might extend my trip and include this part. It sounds magical !
    Would be nice to start from Shimla and getting to Kaza. I guess I need to continue from there to Rohtang pass and on to Leh ? How many day minimum shall I need to make it happen ?
    I love preparing this trip.
  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Eddy - I will highly recommend it. If you can add about 4-5 days more to the trip, you can start from Shimla and travel through Kinnaur, Pin and Spiti valleys before reaching Leh via Kaza. You will not crossing Rohtang pass then though. The road from Kaza to Keylong passes touching the descent of the pass. If you want to cover Rohtang then you will have to take a small detour of about 10 kilometers and then be back on your way.

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