The capital of Ladakh, Leh is a popular destination for holidaymakers looking to experience a true taste of India. You will struggle to find another destination that is as hassle-free yet traveller-friendly as Leh. It has so much to offer everyone that visits, with something for all ages. From the stunning scenery to the variety of places to see in Leh, one thing is for sure: you will never be disappointed when you visit this part of India.
What should you expect when visiting Leh?
Leh is an enchanting, romantic, and somewhat mysterious location. It features a mixture of incredible monasteries and snow-capped mountains. It is a very interesting place, which draws you in. From the lifestyle and traditions to the culture and the people, this is a special area that is one of a kind. It is one of a number of different small towns that makes up Ladakh. Leh, itself, is arguably the start of the show, featuring colourful prayer flags and dream catchers. Anyone would think it has come from a fantasy film!
Some of the phrases you can use to help you get by while in Leh
Let’s start with a few phrases that are going to help you get by while you are in Leh.
Thank you – Thu-chi che
See you later – Teh yong
Goodbye – kah-leh shu
Good morning – nato deleks
Help – saat tug hay
Hello – ta-shi-de-leh / juley (joo-lay)
The locals will certainly appreciate it if you make an effort to speak to them in their language, even if you do not do a very good job! You can check out these Google Translate tricks for some assistance. Try saying hello to people when you pass them by, and you will certainly see a smile on their face because you have made an effort.
Acclimatising to the weather in Leh and avoiding acute mountain sickness
The last thing you want to do is spend your holiday in a hospital bed; so do not take acclimatisation lightly. You need to make sure you gradually adjust to the climate in Leh. A lot of people suffer from AMS, otherwise known as acute mountain sickness. Some of the common symptoms include nausea, breathlessness, light-headedness, and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, take some time to yourself and slow down. Descend to the lower part of the mountain if you can. The hospitals in Leh are filled with tourists who underestimate the importance of acclimatisation and try to do too much to soon. Don’t be the tourist who spent his or her entire vacation in hospital because they thought they were clever and disregarded the big change the environment can have on their body.
Getting to Leh via plane and car
Flying directly to Leh from your home destination may not be an option. However, you do not need to worry about it being a difficult journey, as you can fly directly from some of the major cities in India, including Mumbai and Delhi. If you are hiring a vehicle while you are in India, another option is to drive to Leh. If you are driving from Manali, it takes around 482 km, yet the high-altitude road is snowed under for the vast part of the year. Therefore, you can only take this route if you are driving between the months of June and October. The road from Srinagar is open slightly longer, from May until December, although it does depend on snowfall. This journey will take you around 415 km.
Where are the best places to visit in Leh?
There are lots of amazing places to visit in Leh, so let’s take a look at some of them in further detail. We will start with the Hemmis Monastery, which is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries in India. As Leh is known for its monasteries, we will talk about them in further detail in the next section. Nevertheless, it would not be right to exclude this monastery from the places that you need to visit. Not only is this famous monastery amazing in itself, but also it is known for the annual mask festival. This is a two-day spiritual celebration, which is special and interesting in itself.
One of the great things about Leh is that it is such a relaxing and spiritual place. A lot of people come here to connect with themselves. After all, life is lived at such a fast pace today, and so when you go on vacation it is important to de-stress and relax. And, one of the best places you can do this is at Shanti Stupa, which is a peaceful and magnificent Buddhist monument. Not only is the place itself relaxing, but the views take it to a completely new level. The panoramic views of the landscape are definitely worth taking some photographs of. Watching the sunset or sunrise here is an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
If you are an animal lover, the Hemis National Park should definitely be included in your itinerary. This is the biggest national park in the whole of South Asia. It is home to a lot of endangered mammals, including the red fox, Eurasian brown bear, Tibetan wolf, Asiatic ibex, and leopards. For bird watchers and nature lovers, you simply cannot visit Leh without taking a trip here. Bird watching especially is enjoyable because the surroundings are noise free and the environment does not have any pollution. Unlike a lot of wildlife places around the world, the Hemis National Park is a completely serene place where you get to be at one with nature.
The Magnetic Hill is another amazing place to visit in Leh, Ladakh. At this hill, you will park your vehicle at the bottom of the hill and leave your brakes unlocked. Your car will then start to slowly move up the hill! The science behind this phenomenon is unknown, but it is certainly something unusual that is worth experiencing.
Finally, Nubra valley is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh as a whole. If you want an Arabian Nights experience, the sand dunes across here will provide it. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the area, and it is not hard to see why! Don’t forget to get your picture snapped on a camel.