Accommodation in Zanskar Valley : Hotels, Guest Houses & Camp Sites

by Vargis.Khan

When you travel to a remote area, the aspect of “where to stay” becomes most crucial. Ignore this and you may find yourself standing in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night with nowhere to go. You must carefully consider if the place you are visiting has accommodation available in any form and if what they offer will be as per your taste. Same rule applies to Zanskar valley. Accommodation in Zanskar valley is really not an easy affair. While there has been a definite boost in tourism in Ladakh, Zanskar still remains to be a place least visited, a place that only a small percentage of tourists traveling to Ladakh add on their itinerary. Like rest of the Ladakh, even this entire valley consists of a handful of villages put together. A place where even the basic amenities continue to remain missing and the only choice of accommodation is in the form of either government run tourist bungalows or very simple guest houses. Options are severely limited and the ones available are very simple, nothing fancy. If you are planning to visit Zanskar anytime soon, here is a little information on accommodation in Zanskar and where can you hope to find it.

accommodation in zanskar valley

Accommodation in Zanskar Valley

Hotels & Guest Houses: Limited to only a couple of places. Padum is the only place where you will find a three star hotel  and a couple of other decent enough hotels.

Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Bungalow: These are government run tourist bungalows and the best option to stay while visiting Suru and Zanskar valleys.

Paying Guest: If you are willing and can find a villager kind enough to invite you in his home, you can pay him for food and accommodation in house for a night.

Renting a room at the monastery: This is my favorite. Experience the lifestyle of a monk and rent a room at one of the numerous monasteries in the valley. It is once in a lifetime and one of its kind experience. Karsha Monastery I know offers accommodation and same arrangement is available at Phuktal Monastery as well. You may ask around at other monasteries too while you are there.

Camp Sites: There are a few camp sites available where you may either rent a camp or rent some space to pitch your own tent.

Below is a breakdown by towns / villages in Suru and Zanskar Valley and what kind of accommodation you can expect there. Also mentioned are names and contact information of a few hotels I am aware of. Please note that I have not stayed in all of them (cannot of course) and these are just some hotels that I am sharing the names and contact information of.

Sankoo: Accommodation in Sankoo is available in the form of a J&K tourism bungalow , very basic home stays and a few guest houses. It is the largest and most developed town in Suru Valley. Road condition is good until Sankoo and it won’t take you long to reach here from Kargil because of which not many people stay here for the night. Most of the tourists visiting Suru and Zanskar valleys stop here for a quick break, have breakfast and be on their way. There is no hotel here as far as I know.




Panikhar: Panikhar too has a J&K tourism bungalow which is the best place to stay here, if you can find the caretaker to open it for you. Apart from this government run bungalow, only other option is to talk to the locals here and request them to make arrangements for your night stay which they gladly will in exchange of a small charge. Most of the villagers in Panikhar rent out their spare or store room to travelers during tourist season. Please be advised though that you will only be getting a matters, blankets and an “angeethi” type room heater. There are no dhabas or restaurants available and your dinner will be simple home cooked food served by your host.

Parkachik: Pretty much the same story as Panikhar. You can stay at the J&K tourism bungalow in Parkachik or ask the locals for a home stay. The tourism bungalow here goes by the name of “Parkachik Alpine Hut” which leads people to believe that this is a different guest house but it is not.  Meals are prepared at the bungalow by caretaker on request.

Rangdum: Rangdum has a PWD guest house and a J&K tourism bungalow as well. There is also a camp site here by the name of Nun-Kun Deluxe Camp (01982 252153 or [email protected]) They will quote price as high as Rs. 2500 per person but you can also just walk in there and negotiate for as low as Rs. 1000 per person, depending on your negotiation skills. There are a couple dhabas (cafes) in Rangdum where you can stop for a cup of tea and some snacks. These cafes too offer some very basic accommodation. It is also a good site to pitch your own tent. Another place to stay is Zanskar Express Guest House. You can stop here for some very simple food and they can also arrange a night stay in a village home for a price as low as Rs. 200 to Rs. 300.

Padum: Padum is the headquarters of Zanskar Valley and thus the most developed town in the region. Here you can find a phone booth, internet cafe, variety of restaurants, hotels, and guest houses.. Mentioned below are names and contact information of a few hotels in Padum in case you would like to call and inquire in advance. Most hotels close from Late October to June, except when booked in advance for winter trekking groups. There is also a camping ground in Padum, opposite Tourist office.

  • Chamling Kailash Hotel ( Located on the main street of Padum)
  • Mont-Blanc Guesthouse – Phone : 01983 245183. Price can be anywhere between Rs. 300 to Rs. 500.
  • Phukhthar Guesthouse – Phone : 01983 245226. Price range close to Rs. 500.
  • Marq Guesthouse (Has Wi FI facility)
  • Hotel Ibex – Phone : 01983 245214
  • Hotel Kailash
  • Hotel Changthang
  • Gakyi Hotel – Prices close to Rs. 1000
  • Hotel Rigyal – Phone : 094692 24500

Karsha: A small village approximately 10 kms from Padum on the road towards Hanumil. There are three guest houses here, all priced close to Rs. 500.

  • Chetan Guesthouse
  • Thieur Guesthouse
  • Tinkuling Guesthouse

However, if you are planning to stay here than Karsha Monastery is the best place. You can rent a room at the Monastery for a very small charge.  You may inquire at other monasteries as well.

Reru: There are two small eateries here with possibility of a very basic home stay.

Hanumil: Accommodation is available only in the form of home stays.

A few other tips regarding travelling to and staying in Suru or Zanskar valleys

  • Facilities here are very basic due to the remoteness of the region.
  • Electricity supply in the entire area is limited to just a few hours in the day.
  • Room rates are considerably cheap and you can easily find a good enough room for less than Rs. 500 (charges are usually between Rs. 200-500) per room excluding food.
  • There is no running hot water and you may need to pay separately for hot water which will be provided in buckets.
  • In case of medical emergency, only hospital in the region is Community Health Center in Padum. The hospital surprisingly is well equipped considering the location.
  • Padum also has a phone booth from where you can make STD / ISD calls.
  • Only bank in Suru and Zanskar too is in Padum, a J&K bank branch but no ATM.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer. If you were to Zanskar recently and have more updated information, name or contact of another place to stay or know of accommodation in any other village not in the list, I request you to please comment and suggest so I may add it to the article.

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24 comments

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Sagun Tripathi August 25, 2020 - 1:55 pm

Hi Varghis, do you have any latest info on whether tourists are being allowed in Zanskar at the moment? I am planning a trip in the first week of October.
Thanks,
Sagun

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Vargis.Khan August 25, 2020 - 8:58 pm

Ladakh and Zanskar is closed for tourism Sagun, both due to COVID and Chinese Incursions. Plan for next year only.

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Abiha September 10, 2019 - 7:13 am

Padum is the only place where you will find a three star hotel and a couple of other decent enough hotels.

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DINESH May 6, 2018 - 12:31 pm

hey Guys
i need advice for travelling to ZASHKAR on Srinagar-Leh-Manali trip.
places to visit after reaching Padum
& how much time does it take from Kargil & back to kargil

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Vamshi April 13, 2018 - 4:52 pm

Hi Vargis,

Your blogs are full of information. We am planning our trip from Srinagar to Zanskar valley towards end of july and want to camp mostly. Can you suggest any places in Srinagar where i can get camping gear? (tents, lamps etc).

Also do you have any recommendations on day rafting around Suru/Zanskar valley?

Thanks
Vamshi

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Vargis.Khan April 13, 2018 - 6:17 pm

Hi Vamshi – You want to buy from Srinagar or rent from Srinagar?

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vamshi April 14, 2018 - 5:04 pm

thanks for the reply vargis. i want to rent tent, oxygen cylinder etc and buy certain things like lamps, cooking gear like grill/stove. can you give me both contacts so that i can call them and see what they have?

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Shyam January 8, 2018 - 6:54 am

Hi Vargis,

So much of info your site has, just amazing ! Finally i cannot handle the Ladakh temptation anymore and inspite of the long drive from Bangalore i have decided to make a trip the Drang Drung Glacier ! The only hitch is, i plan to do it with my wife who cannot make it after June due to work issues. We just have a window of month of May. We plan to cover only the Kargil-Parkachik-Drang Drung Glacier route. Both of us are pretty well acclimatized in general having been to Guru Dongmar (15000ft +) earlier and we actually stay in the mountains at 7000ft altitude (which is not much). Iam aware that we are talking about 12000 ft +.

We will be travelling in a new Maruti Gypsy. I plan to start early from Kargil, stay over for couple of days at Parkachik and then cover Drang Drung, come back to Parkachik , stay overnight and head back to Kargil. Is this possible in may? I want to do a couple of treks in Parakchik to visit the glacier their as well

Please let me know your thoughts !

Thanks
Shyam

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Vargis.Khan January 12, 2018 - 4:52 pm

Hello Shyam – Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Yes, you can definitely do it in May but plan towards the later part. As a matter of fact there has not been much snow in the region so far, hasn’t snowed in Srinagar at all until now so do not be surprised if the roads open up a bit early this year.

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Emily Minton May 2, 2017 - 9:07 pm

Hi Vargis, many thanks for all the info – really helpful! My husband and I are planning to do the Darcha – Padum half of the Zanskar trek this July and we’re wondering about accommodation. Are there homestays all along the way or do we need to carry our own tent?

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Vargis.Khan May 3, 2017 - 3:22 am

Hi Emily – You will have to carry your own tents if you are planning to trek. After Darcha, there is no village that I am aware of and the human settlement will be after crossing Shinku La, at the village of Reru, about 25 kilometers from Padum

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Emily Minton May 8, 2017 - 12:33 pm

Hi Vargis, Thank you for the swift reply. How many days into the trek would we arrive from Darcha to Reru do you think – i.e. how many nights would we need to camp in our own tent? I had read in other blogs that you could stay in tea houses all across the Zanskar trek so suddenly a little nervous… Are you aware of organised camp sites between Darcha – Padum? Alternatively is there a different route within zanskar that would allow us to stay in tea houses all the way? Thanks so much for your help! Emily

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Vargis.Khan May 9, 2017 - 3:58 am

Hello Emily – I am sorry for being of no help here but I am not really into trekking. I am more of a motorcyclist so have never been to this side of Himalayas. I really wish I had an answer to your questions but I do not. I have only been as far as the road went and my motorcycle or my car could take me.

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Yogesh yadav April 17, 2017 - 8:41 am

Hello vargis, when self camping at either zanskar or pangong, what should one use as a base for sleeping? We are deciding between a yoga mat or an Inflatable bed to be used under a sleeping bag. Thanks.

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Vargis.Khan April 17, 2017 - 9:31 pm

Hi Yogesh, Inflatable bed will be a bit much to carry I think. Get a Tirpal if you can, it provides good insulation from the cold beneath. Yoga Mat will be good. I will recommend that you first lay down the Tirpal, put on a yoga mat on it if you wish to and then your sleeping bag. The locals camping sites use the same thing as well.

Take a look at the link below on a few tips about self camping in Ladakh.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/camping-in-ladakh-preparations-precautions/

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Yogesh yadav April 17, 2017 - 8:38 am

Hi vargis, firstly thanks for evtg you are doing via this website for all your fellow travellers. I read your article about the dogs in ladakh. We are travelling to zanskar in august 2017 and will be camping there in our own tents. Anything similar to be worried about up there?

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Vargis.Khan April 17, 2017 - 9:27 pm

Dogs up here in these remote areas are not used to seeing unfamiliar faces and that is the risk. Just ensure that you are camping close to a local’s home or dhaba and you should be OK. Just do not set up your tent in the middle of nowhere.

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Nakul Mohindar April 5, 2017 - 5:44 am

Hi Vargis, we are planning a trip to Leh in the first week of June. A family trip including my mother (age 70), kids (below 10years in age). Lots and lots of confusion has crept up our minds regarding the iterinary. Which place to stay enroute Leh. I have been till Sarchu, so have an idea of accomodations available at Manali, Jispa, Sarchu but have no idea beyond it. Please help me out in planning the iterinary. I’ll give you a basic idea.
4th June – we’ll leave from Chandigarh and reach Solang Valley. Stay in Hotel Iceland.
5th June – leave early and reach Jispa. Stay at Padma Lodge.
6th June –
10 June – reach Chandigarh by night.

Please help me in planning iterinary beyond Jispa.6th to 10th. The places we would like to visit are Leh, pangong lake, magnetic hill, khardungla, etc..please consider the fact that we want to avoid travelling long streches in a day because of mom and the kids. And also keeping in mind permits that need to be arranged to visit pangong or any other place.
Thank you in advance
Regards:
Nakul Mohindar

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Vargis.Khan April 6, 2017 - 4:07 am

Hello Nakul,

Starting from Jispa on 6th and reaching back Chandigarh on 10th while including all the places you mentioned above without traveling for long hours is impossible brother, specially with young kids and your mother. I would not recommend this journey at all unless you can throw in some more days.

4th – Chandigarh to Solang
5th – Reach Jispa
6th – Start by first light of the day and reach Leh by evening
7th – Reach Nubra valley from Leh
8th – Reach Pangong via Agham Shyok road ( 6 hours) or Wari La (10 hours)
9th – Reach back Leh via Chang La
10th – Reach Kargil
11th – Reach Srinagar
12th – Srinagar to Chandigarh

You see what I mean? You will have to throw in at least 2 more days and even then the journey will be a bit rushed, not really a family vacation that an entire family can enjoy.

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Nakul Mohindar April 9, 2017 - 4:32 pm

Thank you sooooo much Vargis for all the information you have given. I understand that i am running short of days and am really trying hard to extend the vacation by atleast a couple of days. Hopefully i’ll be able to do so 🙂 could you please suggest some decent accomodations as per the iterinary. I am unable to find on the net. I have been able to shortlist only for Solang Valley and Jispa till now.

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Vargis.Khan April 10, 2017 - 2:47 am

You are welcome Nakul.

In Leh, you can stay at Hotel Shanti Palace. I always stay here while traveling to Leh and it is a nice place.
Hotel Sten Del in Nubra valley is a good option.
As for Pangong, there is an entire series of camps out there and they all are good enough. Just walk to a camp which has no other guests or only a few guests and check into that one. That way, you will have no issues getting food and all other requirements attended on time.
Try hotel Dzozila in kargil.
For Sriangar, I highly recommend that you stay in a houseboat in Dal. Great time for a family vacation. Must do it.

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Nidhi Singh March 4, 2017 - 11:14 am

It was a really helpful blog Vargis. Thank you 🙂

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Vargis.Khan March 4, 2017 - 4:08 pm

You are welcome Nidhi 🙂

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