The main overland approach to Ladakh
is from the Kashmir Valley via the 434-km
road, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. The most
dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 11,500 feet /3,505
m high Zoji-la, the passing the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the
gateway to Ladakh.
The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh on this route with an overnight halt at Kargil. Taxis, cars and jeeps are also available at Srinagar for the journey. Groups can charter deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J and K SRTC at Srinagar.
Since 1989, the 473-km Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second land approach to Ladakh. Open for the traffic from around mid-June to early October, this high road traverses the upland desert plateaux of Rupshu whose altitude ranges from 3,660m to 4,570m.
A number of high passes fall en route among which the highest one, known as Taglang-la, is the world's second highest motor able pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet/5,325m. H.P. Tourism, H.P. SRTC and J&K SRTC operate Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Manali and LEH. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu or Pang. Gypsy and jeep taxis are also available, both at Manali and Leh.
The quickest way out of Ladakh region is by plane. Airline service operates regular scheduled flights to Leh from Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. Some private airlines are also planning to operate air services between Delhi and Leh in the near future.
The best and most reasonable way to travel within the
region way to travel within the region is by public buses, which ply on
fixed routes according to fixed time schedules. The most comfortable and
convenient through expensive mode of travel, however, is by taxis, cars,
and Gypsy, which are available for hire on fixed point-to-Point tariff.
For visits to the newly opened areas of Nubra, Changthang and Dah-Hanu it is mandatory to engage the services of a registered/recognized travel agency for making all the requisite arrangements including internal transport. Detailed information about bus schedules, taxi tariff, travel agencies, etc. can be obtained from the Tourist Office.
As befits India's remotest Himalayan town, Leh is singularly hard to get to, and even harder to leave. Fragile road and air links mean visitors all too often find themselves stranded waiting for passes to open or planes to appear. Wherever and however one travels, book an onward ticket as far in advance as possible and be prepared for delays if the weather changes.