Ladakh, the so-called pristine and the untouched beauty of nature is one item in your bucket list which has not been check marked yet. You always have thought of Ladakh as a once in a lifetime experience which will or has the power to bring some flavor and some sauce into your life. Although when you think of going on a trip to Leh/Ladakh, your research finds out that Ladakh is one hell of an uninviting place with dangerous roads, numbing cold weather and other risk factors pertaining to any mountainous region. But bad times are only to pass and not stay for long. Leh/Ladakh has preferable seasons when you can take the expedition without much uncertainty and less risk.
Some people although have a different perspective on this because they want to feel the thrill of cold winters of Ladakh. Ladakh in winters is covered all over on thick snow which is one of the most breathtaking scenes one can experience. It has a different charm and beauty to it in winters but it differs because some people seek for adventure and some are here just to experience and see the beauty of Leh/Ladakh. Chadar Trek which is one of the most exhilarating trekking experience in the world also takes place in the winter seasons when the Zanskar River is all frozen. It's a 105 km long trek which can be completed in 9 days, this is only for those hardcore adventurers though.
But whoever you are, you must know exactly when to visit this paradise because we feel there is nothing black and white as such to anything. Think of that grey matter and know your priorities before you think of making your trip to Leh/Ladakh. Here is the guide which can make you decide on which season is the best for your next trip to Leh/Ladakh.
Best Months to go on a Trip to Leh/Ladakh
1. April to Mid May
April commences the month where tourists reach from all over the world to Ladakh as its considered to be the month people come out of homes and get back to work. People start welcoming and attracting guests in their restaurants, Hotels, and guesthouses. Multiple camps are set up for tourists along the Tso Moriri lake and Pangong lake for sightseeing. Also, supplies of food and other necessities start flowing into Ladakh because Srinagar - Leh Highway gets cleared from the heavy snowfall. Normalcy restores into the town.
As April comes to end, lakes like Pangong and Tso Moriri start to melt and this brings out the real beauty hidden beneath the snow which is so beautiful and breathtaking. Although Khardung and Chang La are still covered in snow, they are some of the best places to visit in these times. Now, Business comes back to life and you get a lot of benefits like discounts and offers from many hotels and restaurants at this time of the year.
2. May - June - July
Until the end of May, the only highway which will be open for you is the Srinagar- Leh Highway which is just not enough to complete your expedition. In the first Week of June, the Manali road and the Rohtang gets cleared for you to commute through but although it might not be safe for you to travel for the first 10-12 days on these roads. During this time frame that we are talking about, It's best if you travel right before monsoon commences in Leh/Ladakh because Monsoons are rough out there.
Just before the monsoon, it is best for you if you want to experience the snow wall roads around Rohtang la pass and Baralacha pass. But because of rapid melting, the water from the snow gets stored on the roads and it could be tough time for you to complete the circuit after monsoons where landslides and recurring blockages are a huge risk.
3. August till Mid - September
During this season, Monsoon is at its peak with heavy showers where rivers, puddle, water crossings are also flowing rigorously. Landslides are common during these times and it can cause a huge problem in your expedition. Although when you pass the Zoji La pass you won't face many problems there because it is a rain shadow region, so heavy showers are low in this area. Also, beyond the area of Baralacha pass going to Leh from Manali, you won't get much showers there as well. However, the roads won't be easy to reach these two passes.
Since the weather is changing now Ladakh is expected to get a lot of rain in the coming future though as we have seen lately in the past. Nevertheless, nothing drastic has happened up until now. So we are on the safer side.
4. September & October
This time of the year is considered to be the best time to go on a trip to Leh/Ladakh because now most of the roads are clear and safe to drive upon. Roads going from Srinagar to Leh and Manali to Leh are smooth and safe for all drivers. You can experience the most out of Leh/Ladakh in this season where you get to experience amazing & picturesque locations of Leh/Ladakh.
Since the road maintenance work will have been called off for the year by this time, you will get good roads to travel on as well. You will get to experience the astonishing beauty all around Ladakh during this season, with water bodies turning aqua blue and beautiful valleys all around the region. If you want to be the witness of the real beauty of Leh/Ladakh and bring back great stories home, this would be the best time for you and your family to go on a road trip to Leh/Ladakh.
5. Month of November
This month is when Leh/Ladakh starts packing their bags and closing down all their operations. Tourists start departing back to their homes, few stays who can bear the cold and also experience Ladakh more. Most Hotels, Guesthouses and all restaurants close down during this time of the year because roads going to Srinagar and Manali are now about to close down as well.
Although the roads going to Srinagar and Manali have not yet closed fully, it is not advisable to travel through these roads because of extreme cold and risk of getting into accidents. This is the time when Ladakh starts preparing for the extreme winters.
6. December to the End of March
December marks the beginning of the harsh cold of Leh-Ladakh which lasts till the beginning of April. Leh/Ladakh is completely cut off from India during this time of the year although roads to Pangong Tso lake and Nubra valley are kept open all around the year. One attraction brings back tourist to this place in January to March which is the Chadar trek which is one of the most anticipated trekking events all around the world, which is a walk over the frozen Zanskar river.
During December to mid-January if you are visiting Ladakh you will get to witness the changing color of Pangong Tso Lake and Tso Moriri Lake which is a major highlight of this season. Although the climate is extreme during this time, all of the lakes around the region get frozen and you can take advantage of this and go on trekking if you are a passionate adventurer.
You might be yet confused even after reading this detailed article but we are here to help you. We will give you a helpful summary of what we have talked about in the above article. We will guide you when you should travel according to what your travel objectives are.
So, if you are an adventurer and you want to travel in style on a bike with a big group then the month of April - May is best for you because you don't have to go through the harsh monsoon weather in the coming months because snow is not melted yet. You can also visit after monsoon in the month of August if you don't want to see the snow and see Leh/Ladakh crystal clear full of colours.
If you have a family and you don't want to take risks and travel around safely then for you the month of August to September would be the best time to go visit Ladakh. In this month you will see the real colors of Ladakh and get to see what Ladakh is all about.
So now, you know when you should be visiting this paradise. Do your own research as well and take proper precautions before you embark on your road trip to Leh/Ladakh. Safe Journey.