Ladakh: India’s little Tibet

Dreamland of all fans of the Himalayas, a true alternative to oppressed Tibet – here people are still free to do and think whatever they want. Religion is really lived in the Buddhist monasteries, not only a show for tourists. If you’re outside and on the move you’ll meet soldiers and police men (Ladakh is a sensitive border region after all) – but they are generally very friendly to westerners and guests from abroad.

basgoBasgo in beautiful scenery (c) Phunchok Motup

Ladakh is the home of Tashi and the second home of his wife Daniela. Nowhere in India we feel more secure, we are absolute experts and know our way around the state, we know it like the back of our hand.

Ladakh is a simple travel country in the furthest north of India, people are friendly, the climate very agreeable for westerners. The only thing worrying for travellers is the high altitude of 3,500 m on average. But if you follow some simple rules, you will adapt to the high altitude in a short time. Altitude sickness is very uncommon.

The Himalayas and the culture of Tibetan Buddhism have been fascinating people for a long time. Ladakh can combine those two in a very harmonious and carefree way.

ladakhDaniela and two of her children at Pangong Lake


Facts & Numbers

Area: 59.000 km2

Capital: Leh

Population: 270.000

Religion: 40% tibetan buddhists (66% in Leh District, 14% in Kargil District), 45% muslims (77% in Kargil District, 14% in Leh District), 15% other religions

Best time of travel: May-October (for Trekking: June-September)

Climate: Ladakh is the only region without monsoon rain in India, generally it is arid and has a low amount of precipitation

Day temperatures in Sommer: up to and above 30 degree Celsius

Im Changthang (c) Markus BrixleChangthang (c) Markus Brixle

Ladakh is a land in the furthest north of India at the border of Pakistan and China. Politically it is a Union Territory, geografically the continuation of the Tibetan High Plateau. Two of the mightiest mountain chains in the world are meeting here at an altitude between 5,000 and 7,000 meters: the Himalaya and the Karakoram.

Another meeting happens between Islam and Tibetan Buddhism.The western part of Ladakh is inhabited by Muslims, the eastern part mainly by Tibetan Buddhists.

Ladakh is often called Little Tibet. This description might be accurate for the size only, but Ladakh doesn’t have to hide behind its bigger brother. Many travellers appreciate Ladakh for its active culture, very much alive opposed to Tibet, where this culture cannot be alive anymore.

Tibetan Buddhism is thriving here. Monasteries are on top of sightseeing lists and there are as many monasteries as villages, every village has its own.

The three monasteries you should see while travelling Ladakh are: Thikse (one of the most beautiful), Hemis (the wealthiest) and Alchi (one of the oldest).

If you are interested in history you will be fascinated by the palaces of the former kings, the fortress ruins of souvereigns, petroglyphs from long ago and the flair of caravans who were travelling through the country for centuries. Even today you can feel that flair at the bazar of Leh.

Hearing the name High Altitude Desert might let you assume that you won’t see much diversity in this barrend land. But that assumption is completely wrong. The intense rays of the sun can create wonderful colored pictures on the rocks. You can find green oasis valleys, steep mountains, wide plains of the Changthang High Plateau, turquoise-blue and green-shimmering salt lakes at 4,000 m, sand dunes with slowly-roaming camels in the north of Ladakh, in Nubra and remote mountain villages in legendary Zanskar. This and much more is impressing travellers and photographers from all over the world.


3R2A7681Hemis Festival

And then there are the people of Ladakh. Friendly, but not intrusive; they are calm and not loud; just like their country. In many faces you can see the hard life lived at a high altitude, under a hot sun. But Ladakhis like to laugh, even while working hard – in summer there is a lot to do. Encounters with the people of Ladakh will always stay in your memory.

You can discover all that by boot, in a jeep, by means of motorcycle or bicycle – and even by airplane on your way to the capital Leh. All you need is time!

Experience Ladakh actively – expeditions, trekking, sightseeing and more

The mountains are beckoning! Ladakh is a paradise for mountaineers. Walking, hiking, climbing – only by foot you can get to the otherwise inaccessible regions and places like remote mountain villages, passes with prayer flags blowing in the wind, monasteries built like honeycombs sticking to the bare rock, etc.

These diverse landscapes are offering mountain experiences for almost everyone: easy, agreeable tours for beginners and slow hikers and strenuous, challenging treks for advances climbers, adventurous trekkers, tours for the young or the old, for those loving solitary areas or for those wanting to hike from village to village. Everything is possible!

In addition to that you can do a lot of biking in Ladakh, especially mountain biking. Well trained bikers drive the Manali-Leh-Highway over four 5,000 m passes, others can take a tour of Indus valley or descend from Kardong La pass in the north of Ladakh. Experienced mountain bikers can also take tours along some trekking routes.

If you like more speed, take an Enfield (classic Indian motorcycle) and discover Ladakh. On the other side of the speedometer are the pony or the camel – and a trip by rafting boat along the Indus river in Zanskar – all with zero exhaust fumes!

At the same slow pace you can discover Ladakh while meditating, doing Yoga or living and working with a Ladakhi family.


nomadIn a nomad’s tent (c) Josef Reifenauer

Further information on Ladakh you can find on our partner site of the Austrian Ladakh-Gesellschaft, under Maps, Books & Links, Articles & Downloads and our BlogNews & Infos. Of course we can provide you personally with more information – please don’t hesitate to contact us >> Contact

Our group and individual tours to Ladakh

Here are a few of our many tours to Ladakh. We can arrange much more than displayed here. Simply get in touch with us for your very individually designed tour! Or have a look on more group tours and individual tours to Ladakh!

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