If you were a little conflicted about it, then let me, first of all, confirm that visiting Leh Ladakh in September is definitely a great idea. It is one of the best times to be in Ladakh for several reasons that I will discuss further in this article. But September also has its own set of challenges that you must be prepared for.
There are two aspects to planning a trip to Ladakh in September. Are you traveling in the first half of the month or in the later part of it? Why I ask? It is because the chances of snowfall increase with each passing day after September 15th.
Due to this fact, your itinerary would have to be planned carefully, irrespective of whether you were reaching Ladakh by air or by road. The cold weather of the region will be your next challenge and you will have to pack accordingly.
How can you plan your trip in the best possible manner is what I will be talking about in the post below. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will be happy to answer. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there.
To organize your trip to Ladakh, book a taxi, rent a bike, or get the best hotel rates, you can contact Kunal @ 9910402252. From luxurious hotels to budget stays, he can help get you the best rates possible.
How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh in September?
Let us first briefly take a look at how you can reach Ladakh in September. After that, I will move on to other details like where to stay, what to see, itinerary planning, and safety tips, etc.
For planning a trip in any other month of the year, you can take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.
Manali to Ladakh in September
You can definitely plan a journey on Manali Leh Highway in September. It is only after early October that traveling on the Manali route becomes a bit risky.
The road remains open until Mid-October though, and then is declared closed after it starts to snow at Baralacha La. So going from Manali to Leh by road in September is perfectly safe.
Do keep in mind though that the longer you delay it, the colder it will get. If possible at all, then plan your journey in the early part of the month.
Between Manali and Ladakh, there are 5 high altitude passes, and it may very well snow at the top of either of these. If not heavy then a light shower of snow is definitely possible.
Srinagar to Leh in September
Srinagar Leh highway remains open for a little longer than the Manali Leh highway. In recent years, the road was open until early December so there should not be any problem in traveling from Srinagar to Leh by road in September.
But yes, there is a high chance of snowfall here as well. It won’t snow in lower areas but a light shower of snow is definitely possible at the top of passes en route like Zoji La.
There is a daily bus between Manali and Leh operated by HRTC. From the Srinagar side, JKSRTC operates a daily bus between Srinagar and Leh.
Both of these buses remain operational in September. There is also an HPTDC bus between Manali and Leh that remains operational until the 15th of the month.
The difference between these buses is that the ones by HRTC and JKSRTC are ordinary buses. The one by HPTDC though is a deluxe luxury bus. For more details on this topic, you can take a look at the Manali Leh Bus Service and Srinagar Leh Bus Service.
By Private Taxi
Yes, you can also rent a taxi for your trip. But the important thing to remember is that a private taxi from either Srinagar or Manali can only take you to Leh. It cannot be used for sightseeing in Ladakh and no driver would even agree to it.
So for example, you rented a taxi from Srinagar. It will drop you in Leh and then you will have to rent another taxi there for visiting places like Nubra Valley or Pangong. The ones from Srinagar and Manali will not be allowed to travel on the local routes.
Another point to note is that it will be better to book a taxi in advance. If there are a lot of tourists in Ladakh at the time of your trip, you may have trouble finding a cab for your trip. For more detail, you can also take a look at Leh Ladakh Taxi Rates & How to Book.
By Shared Taxi
Shared taxis also remain available in September. They may not be as cost-effective as a bus but will also not be as expensive as a private taxi. You can find shared cabs to Leh near the bus stand in Manali and from TRC in Srinagar.
On average, it will cost you between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3500 per person to reach Leh by shared taxi. There is no advance booking for shared cabs and you will have to find one on the spot. For more detail on this, you can also take a look at How I Traveled to Ladakh by Public Transport.
In Ladakh, buses on all routes like Nubra, Pangong, and Moriri will be available in September. From the bus stand itself, you can also find shared cabs for these destinations if a bus wasn’t available.
Just reach there in the morning and if you can’t find a bus for your destination, look for a shared taxi which is mostly a Sumo or Bolero. Fare per person will be a little higher than the bus but these are more frequent and easily available.
Just keep in mind that during the latter part of the month, if there was a heavy snowfall at Khardung La or Chang La, you may not find public transport until the road is declared safe to travel on.
Where to Stay
It is still the tourist season so all hotels and guest houses will remain operational in the month of September. It is only after the first week of October that they start to wind up for the season.
In the last few years, Ladakh has started to get a bit crowded, and finding a hotel in the months of May and June is truly a challenge. This however is not the case in September. By this time, the number of tourists starts to go down and you can easily find a place to stay.
With that being said, a lot of people still chose to book in advance and you may do so for your peace of mind. For budget travelers, I will recommend that you arrive at your destination, find a hotel per your liking, and negotiate an on-the-spot deal.
Places to visit in Leh Ladakh in September
Every major and minor tourist attraction in Ladakh can be visited in the month of September. Let me give a breakdown of different tourist places in Ladakh that you can include in your itinerary while visiting Ladakh in September.
Nubra Valley in September
Nubra Valley remains accessible throughout the month of September. You will easily be able to reach Nubra from Leh directly via Khardung La or from Pangong by Shyok Road.
All internal areas in Nubra Valley including Diskit, Hunder, Turtuk, and Panamik will also be open in August. Since this is the peak tourist season, all tourism-related businesses including hotels, guest houses, and guides will be open for business.
Diskit and Hunder are where most of the tourists stay but you can find accommodation in other places like Turtuk, Panamik, and Sumur as well.
Pangong Lake in September
Pangong Tso remains open and accessible in the month of September. A trip to the lake is ideally a 2 days journey. You travel from Leh to Pangong on Day 1, stay there for the night, and return to the city on Day 2.
There are numerous campsites on the banks of Pangong where you can find accommodation. If you want to stay within cemented walls, then you can look to stay as a paying guest at Spangmik or at any of the guest houses in Man or Merak.
You can also visit from Leh to Pangong Lake in one day but that will just mean that you spent most of your time on the road. Nonetheless, it can still be done.
You just need to ensure that you take an early start from Leh, possibly by 6 AM so that you have some time to spend at Pangong before you return.
Another way to plan the trip is to first go to Nubra Valley on Day 1 and then continue to Pangong from there via Shyok Road on Day 2. The connection road between Nubra and Pangong will remain open in September.
Also Read: Leh City Travel Guide
Tso Moriri in July
After Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri is definitely the third most visited place in Ladakh. This freshwater lake may be smaller in size than Pangong but is no lesser in beauty.
Like Nubra and Pangong, Tso Moriri too remains open in September. Accommodation here is available in the form of small guest houses and homestays.
Chushul Route & Hanle
The direct route from Pangong to Tso Moriri via Chushul too is open for tourists at this time It is ideally a 2 days journey with a night halt at Hanle but if you wanted to, you can make it directly to Karzok as well.
Reaching Hanle in September will also not be a problem. For more details, please read How to Travel directly from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri.
The road between Leh and Kargil actually remains open all year long so you will definitely be able to visit places like Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Indus Zanskar Confluence, Magnetic Hill, Lamayuru Monastery, Mulbekh Maitreya, Moonland, etc.
If you were traveling on the Srinagar Leh Highway, then all these places will fall on the way and you can cover them all by taking short sightseeing breaks.
Sham Valley is actually the area around the villages of Likir, Suspool, and Hemis Shukpachan. It is best known for its trek routes and is among the least visited places in Ladakh. To know more, please read How to Plan a Trip to Sham Valley.
Umling La remains accessible in the month of September and you can include it in your itinerary. You will first have to reach Pangong, then Hanle via Chushul, and then plan a day trip to Umling La pass from there.
Zanskar Valley in August
Zanskar Valley will be accessible in September. The most common way of including it in your trip plan would be to reach Ladakh from Manali and then return to Srinagar while covering Zanskar on the way.
The entire route from Kargil to Padum is open in September and you will also be able to find public transport on it. An ideal way to plan this trip is to have at least 2 days in your itinerary for Zanskar.
On Day one, you can reach Padum, and then the next day, you can either return to Kargil or go straight to Manali via Shinku La. If you have time, then stay for a day in Zanskar and explore other places while making Padum your base.
Snow in Leh Ladakh in September
Does it snow in Ladakh in September? The answer is a yes but as I mentioned above, at the top of the peaks only. The chances of snowfall in Leh City or other places like Diskit or Hunder are very less. There will not be any snow in Leh in September. In lower areas, it starts to snow only towards November or December.
But with all of that being said, global warming and climate change have started to prove all this wrong. The chances of snowfall are higher after September 15th. So if the weather turned extreme, do not be surprised if there is a light spell of snow even in Leh City toward the end of the month.
Also Read: Leh to Tso Moriri Travel Guide
Ladakh festival is one of the biggest festivals of Ladakh. It is held in the month of September and lasts for two weeks. People from all over the region gather in Leh to display amazing and colorful cultural diversity.
The event is marked with a host of cultural programs, impressive masked dance performances, and colorful robes and ends with matches of Polo at Polo Ground in Leh. Attending this festival truly gives a feel of Ladakh.
Weather in Leh Ladakh in September
Weather in Ladakh starts turning cold in September, but it won’t be unbearably cold. In the first half of the month, it would still be pleasant. Days will be moderately warm but the temperature will drop at night.
By mid of September, it starts to snow at Khardung La and Chang La top which brings cold winds even in lower areas like Leh City and Nubra Valley. Snow is often accompanied by rain.
So when it is snowing at the top of the passes, lower areas may witness a bit of rain. The frequency however won’t be that great and is more towards the latter part of September.
On a general basis though, if you are thinking of visiting in September, you should be ready for temperatures close to 0 degrees Celsius in some places like Pangong Lake.
Clothes to Wear in Leh Ladakh in September
Continuing from the point above, a trip to Ladakh in September means that you would have to bring your winter clothes. It does not matter if you were coming by motorcycle, car, or flight, your packing would have to include a pair of thermals, woolens, good quality gloves.
If possible then warm socks and a good heavy windproof jacket. Make sure that your jacket has a hood to protect your head, face, ears, and neck. If not then please pack a muffler as well. For more details on this topic, please take a look at Clothes for Ladakh Trip – What to Pack?
Mobile Network & Data Connectivity
BSNL has the largest network in Ladakh and works even in the remotest areas. The problem however is that the voice clarity may or may not be that good. The network is intermittent and will come and go as it pleases. Data connectivity would either be slow or not available at all.
Airtel and Jio work very well in Leh and Nubra Valley with 4G data speed. You will get reception even on Leh Kargil Road with these networks.
All other networks including Vodafone and Idea only work in Leh City. You will not get any service on these networks anywhere else in Ladakh.
The most important thing to remember is that only a postpaid phone works in Ladakh. If you have a prepaid connection, it will stop working the moment you land in Leh. For more details, please take a look at Mobile Network & Data Connectivity in Ladakh.
Acute Mountain Sickness
The chances of suffering from altitude sickness are greatest if you were catching a flight to Ladakh. In order to handle it better, I will highly recommend that you rest in Leh City for an entire day after landing there.
Do not travel anywhere and stay at your hotel only. If you feel better by evening, then you can step out to see the market and local places like Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa, etc.
Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are where most people suffer from AMS. You must keep these places towards the end of your itinerary. On the Manali Leh route, Sarchu and Pang are at the highest altitude and you will definitely feel some symptoms of AMS here.
If you are coming from Manali by road, Sarchu and Pang are the places where you will most like feel symptoms of altitude sickness. The journey from Srinagar is relatively gradual in terms of altitude gain and has lesser chances of AMS.
For a very detailed version of the information on AMS and tips on how can you tackle it better, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.
Ladakh Inner Line Permit
No matter how you arrived in Ladakh, everyone is required to obtain Inner Line Permit in order to visit areas of Ladakh. This permit is a mandate and without it, you will not be allowed to travel any further than Leh City.
There are Army check posts between the routes where you must submit photocopies of your permit. After COVID, the process to obtain an inner line permit is all online now. For more details, please read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.
Minimum Time for Ladakh Trip
There are a lot of factors that will decide the final answer to this question like your budget, mode of travel and preference, etc. But to give a straight answer, 7 days minimum if you were flying into Leh directly, 10 to 11 days for a road trip, and 14 days for a trip by public transport.
Keeping the above timings in mind, I will now suggest a few examples of itineraries that you can refer to for your trip to Ladakh. I am keeping the plan as comprehensive as possible but if you were short on time, you can remove any of the places and skip days.
Also Read: How to Plan a Solo Trip to Ladakh?
Itinerary for Visiting Ladakh in September
So if you had a total of 14 days, below is how you can travel. For the sake of this article, I will assume that you are traveling from Delhi. If your starting point was different, then only the journey for the first and last day will change, the rest of the details will still apply.
- Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
- Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
- Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
- Kargil to Leh – Day 4
- Leh – Day 5
- Leh to Diskit – Day 6
- Diskit to Turtuk to Panamik – Day 7
- Panamik to Pangong via Shyok – Day 8
- Pangong to Hanle – Day 9
- Hanle to Karzok – Day 10
- Karzok to Pang – Day 11
- Pang to Jispa – Day 12
- Jispa to Manali – Day 13
- Manali to Delhi – Day 14
Let me also share a few alternate versions of this journey. I will suggest three different itineraries. First, if you started from Srinagar (which I did above), second if you started from Manali, and third if you flew into Leh directly.
Itinerary for Ladakh Air Trip
If you caught a flight directly to Ladakh, your journey can be as mentioned below.
- Arrive in Ladakh. Take rest and arrange permits – Day 1
- Ladakh to Lamayuru to Ladakh (Sham Valley Tour) – Day 2
- Leh to Diskit – Day 3
- Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 4
- Pangong to Leh – Day 5
- Leh to Tso Moriri via Changthang – Day 6
- Tso Moriri to Leh via Tso Kar – Day 7
- Buffer Day – Day 8
- Fly Out – Day 9
Manali to Leh by Road in September
If you started from Delhi and reach Ladakh via Manali, your plan can be like the one below.
- Delhi to Manali – Day 1
- Manali to Jispa / Sarchu – Day 2
- Jispa / Sarchu to Leh – Day 3
- Leh – Day 4
- Leh to Diskit – Day 5
- Diskit to Pangong via Shyok – Day 6
- Pangong to Hanle – Day 7
- Hanle to Tso Moriri – Day 8
- Tso Moriri to Leh via Tso Kar – Day 9
- Leh to Kargil – Day 10
- Kargil to Srinagar – Day 11
- Srinagar to Jammu – Day 12
- Jammu to Delhi – Day 13
Reasons to Visit Ladakh in September
The reason why visiting Leh Ladakh in September is considered a good idea is of more convenience and lesser risk. Convenience is in terms of road conditions which in September is as good as it will ever be.
By now, the restoration work in the entire region is almost complete and roads will be in their near-perfect condition. After September, it is just the harsh winter ahead and roads won’t get any better.
But this is not all that September is all about. It probably is also the best time in terms of vistas. Monsoon would be long gone by September but the greenery won’t.
You will still be treated by lush green hills in Lahaul and Kashmir valleys. It is the start of the autumn season and the views en route and in Ladakh will leave you spellbound.
Last but not the least is the tourist crowd. Ladakh in recent times has started to get really crowded in peak tourist season. A few times people could not find a place to stay overnight at Nubra and Pangong and had to return to Leh city.
September on the other hand is considered the end of the tourist season. While there will still be tourists here, it won’t be as crowded as it was in prior months.
Also Read: Places to visit in Ladakh – A Complete List
Water Crossings & Black Ice
There will still be plenty of these but the intensity and flow of water will depend on your time of travel. If you were traveling in early September, then there will be plenty of water flowing through.
As the month progresses, the weather starts to get colder, reducing the snow melting process and thus the water in the streams. If you were traveling towards late September, there will only be a few large water streams en route. Smaller ones would already have vanished.
As the flow of water decreases, some of these streams get reduced to mere puddles of water or just a little bit of water flowing across the road. The problem arises however when this water freezes overnight and forms black ice on the road.
This problem is more towards the second half of the month than the first. If you were traveling towards the end of September then it would be best to wait for the sun to come up before starting your journey for the day. This way, the black ice at least would have melted away.
Ladakh in September on Bike
It is one of my personal favorite times to ride a bike to Ladakh. Roads will be smooth, there will be no rain and the views will be mesmerizing. If you have even the slightest interest in photography, then you would find yourself stopping at every turn to click more and more pictures.
The only word of precaution here would be to prepare for the cold. It starts to snow at high altitude passes like Khardung La and Chang La towards mid-September.
Even at passes like Baralacha La and Zoji La, there could be light showers of snow overnight. This also will get related to the Black ice point I mentioned above.
So when planning a trip to Leh Ladakh in September, ensure that you are carrying proper riding gear that can keep you warm throughout the ride.
This will include thermals, a heavy windproof jacket, and good-quality gloves. Once again, wait for the sun to come up before starting the journey. If there was any snow on the road from the night before, a bit of sunlight would ensure that it has melted away.
I believe that covers most if not all that you should know about visiting Ladakh in September. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will be happy to answer. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there.
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