I am lucky to visit Ladakh more than 12 times over the last decade as I organise Photo tours. Initially, I have done lot of exploratory trips and bike trips as well.
I have seen these places in different climatic conditions and here is is a collection of some of the best pictures I have. There are many more, but I chose these to be here.
This is our typical itinerary while travelling to Ladakh, I modify it based on the participants requirements.
Day 1 Arrive in Leh 3500m
We fly to Leh from our destinations. Generally, the flight to Leh is early morning. We check in to our hotel and relax. Most people are sleep starved.It is highly recommended to take rest and drink a lot of water and not venture out during the first half. It can be fatal for your health.We arrange for the required permits required for access to the restricted areas.We have a good lunch in a local restaurant or in the hotel and get more sleep. In the evening we take our vehicle and go to see the Leh fort and then the Shanti Stupa. We try some long exposures and shoot the iconic Tsemo Gonpa from here. The play of light and shadows is just amazing. Then we walk in the market place and go back to our hotel.
Day 2 Leh - Khardung la - Nubra Valley to Turtuk (3000m) 203kms
We start early without breakfast. The road to Khardung la is very winding and can cause sickness. We stop at Khardung la just to take a few pictures and then head to Turtuk.You have to take it easy, no running around else it can be very fatal.We have breakfast near a waterfall close to Khardung village.We cross Diskit, Nubra Valley, and head to Turtuk. We have lunch on the way.Turtuk is one of the most beautiful villages in India. It was a part of Pakistan and became a part of India after the 1971 war. It belonged to a region called Baltistan. The people here have distinct and different features compared to Ladakhis. They look very beautiful.The landscape of Turtuk is heavenly. The best part of Turtuk is to eat apricot from the trees as much as you can by plucking them.The bridge between the villages of Youl and Pharol.After spending the evening, we come back for dinner and leave again to our favorite spot for the Milky Way and star trails. I have been going to these places for more than a decade and I know the best places from where we can get the shots.We come back, go to sleep.
Day 3 Turtuk to Hunder o/n Hunder (83kms) 3160m
We get up early morning and take a walk around the village. It’s a great experience.Today, its an easy ride to Hunder. We stop frequently to take pictures. After reaching Hunder, we have lunch and take some rest. At 4 pm, we go out and spend till evening. After having an early dinner, we head back to the dunes to do some astrophotography and star trails.
Day 4 - Hunder to Pangong (240kms) 4225m
Today, we drive to Pangong. It’s a beautiful drive.On the way, we take some pictures at the mighty statue of Padmasambhava at Diskit. Photography is not allowed in Diskit monastery.The first view of the Pangong lake is the most memorable. We realize that the color of the lake seen in the picture is not edited, but its real color.We check in to our cottage, take some rest and venture out during sunset. It can be very cold and windy, so please carry all your warm clothes.We come back, have dinner, and go out again to do some astrophotography and star trails. . It can be really cold, so windproof jacket is a must. We shoot till we can and then go back.
Day 5 Pangong to Hanle 162kms 4300m
Today after breakfast we go start to Hanle. This is the most memorable ride you might have in our whole life. We drive beside the Pangong lake for almost half a day. We can't help taking short breaks to take pictures. This route is very scenic.On the way, we stop at places where the Changpa tribals stay in makeshift tents with their pashmina sheep. If you are lucky, you can see the people harvesting wool from the sheep.We reach Hanle by about 4 pm. We keep our luggage, have tea, and go to the Hanle observatory, which is the highest observatory in India.We come back, do more of star pictures.Hanle is very sparsely populated and is one of the best places in India to shoot the Milky Way. The is such an overwhelming sight to see the number of stars that you see here.
Day 6 Hanle to Tso Morriri 159 kms 4522m
This is another scenic drive. On the way to Tso Morriri, we also stop at Kyagar Tso, another lesser visited lake. Tso Morriri is the highest place of stay for us and you have to be careful not to hurry up. The mantra is to drink a lot of water and to take it easy. In the evening during sunset, we go to shoot the stars and stay there will late evening. You will see one of the most spectacular sunsets here. Also, being one of the darkest places after Hanle, you will see a lot of stars.
Day 7 Tso Morriri to Leh 220kms
Today we go back to Leh and take a rest. Evening you are free to go to the market.
Day 8 Hemis, Shey, Thiksey
We start at about 10 am and cover the Hemis, Shey Palace, and Thiksey Monastery. All these monasteries are amazing in themselves. We come back after doing some long exposures at Thiksey Monastery. We have our last dinner for the tour together in the market and come back to our hotel.
Day 9 Departure from Leh airport
We fly back to our respective destinations from here with great memories and pictures.
Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked spending time here. I will be back again with another interesting place.
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