Ladakh, which means ‘the land of high passes’, is the picturesque region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that is right on the top of every traveller’s dream list. The place has blue lakes amidst brown plains, snow-clad mountains and valleys, and a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. If any trip requires the use of the word ‘adventurous’, it is this one. Travellers must overcome the low atmospheric pressure and the freezing temperature in Ladakh. So when is the best time to visit Ladakh? You can visit Ladakh all year round (except during monsoons) depending on the kind of trip you want to make. So let us guide you in your quest to overcome the icy coldness that is the Ladakh weather.
Best time to visit Ladakh
April to May
As soon as the month of March is left behind, the sun god shines on Ladakh and temperatures soar. Thus, April to May is the best time to visit Ladakh. Because during the beginning of May, the Srinagar-Leh highway opens up, leading to a healthy influx of travellers. The weather turns pleasant and Ladakh tourism skyrockets like Jack’s beanstalk. Restaurants and hotels welcome guests with open arms. The lakes, which freeze over during the winter, begin to melt. All that is beautiful in Ladakh makes itself be seen and felt. That is why this time is the best time to visit Ladakh if you want a pleasant and enjoyable trip.
The month of May is the best option to visit Ladakh if you’re planning to arrive via flight. Flights to Leh are readily available from Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu. A road trip should be avoided since the remnants of winter still linger at this time. Some roads remain closed, and the ones that are open are covered with snow. The Rohtang Pass is enclosed by tall sheets of ice and makes for a terrific view.
June – Best time to visit Ladakh by road
June is probably the best time to visit Ladakh by road. The obvious reason is that all the roads open up during this period. But the much better reason is that you can enjoy the excellent view of snowy roads and snow-capped mountains as you ride.
During the months of July and August, Ladakh is at its most beautiful. The harsh winter and pleasing summer meld into a time of colour and beauty. These months can be a photographer’s delight. This is also the time of monsoons, so it is best to avoid high-risk zones as landslides are known to occur.
September – Best time to visit Ladakh for photographers
The month of September can also be the best time to visit Ladakh if you want to make the most of its picture perfect beauty. It is also the ideal time to make that road trip to Ladakh since the roads are at their best. Bikers would drool at the idea of riding along the open Ladakh roads with cloudless blue skies above their helmeted heads. The lakes are clear and reflective, and their dark blue colour makes for a stunning contrast with the brown and beige landscape.
October to December
As the eighth month of the year comes along, it brings with it the first signs of a returning winter. There is significant snowfall, but most roads remain open. Some campsites could be closed because of the harsh weather. In November and December, winter truly hits the region of Ladakh. The temperature in Leh and Ladakh can go as low as -11 degrees Celsius. There is heavy snowfall and lakes freeze up with six inches thick sheets of ice. If you’re a snow person or are comfortable living in extreme cold weather, then this time can be the best time to visit Ladakh. Roads will remain closed of course, so you will have to book a flight.
January – February – Best time to visit Ladakh for snow-lovers
As New Year celebrations end, most tourists and travellers are under their blankets in the comforts of their homes, shivering at the thought of a Ladakh trip. But a handful of them, their eyes brimming with courage, pack their trekking equipment and head over to Ladakh to take part in one of the most adventurous but rewarding treks in the world – The Chadar Trek. The Chadar trek is a 105 km long trek along the frozen Zanskar River that is best enjoyed during January and February. Walking on the frozen water for miles and miles, with nothing but hundreds of feet of mountains at the sides, is overwhelming, sometimes frightening, but ultimately rewarding.
So if you fancy a trip to Ladakh, make sure you choose the right time and plan your trip accordingly. But remember at the end of the day any time can be the best time to visit Ladakh, because this is a place that is never not beautiful.
An ardent traveller, nature lover, obsessive reader and a big foodie. I love to travel and explore new destinations. I pen down thoughts about my travel experiences and feel great about the fact that I can take people through a virtual tour.