Manali to Ladakh Itinerary – Manali to Leh Ladakh Trip Plan

by Vargis.Khan

Manali to Ladakh Itinerary

The most common way of traveling to Ladakh is to start from Manali and end at Srinagar. Due to its challenging nature, the route from the Manali side presents the travelers with an adventure right from the start of the journey. At the same time, the natural beauty of the region you cross is like no other. If you are going to be traveling to Leh Ladakh anytime soon, below is a Manali to Ladakh itinerary that you can follow for the trip.

When you are going to a place like Ladakh, careful planning and a well-laid travel itinerary becomes of utmost importance. Ladakh is not your typical vacation where you can just pack your bags and go. Everything is different up there. Your journey will be bound by timelines and you will be presented with hostile weather conditions and bad roads.

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide

For most people, it may be several years before you can plan another trip there. You got to make sure that you are making the best of your time and travel in the most efficient way. This will also save you any hassle and will keep your trip safe. It is also helpful to know what all places are worth covering and what are the major tourist attractions that you must not miss.

Manali to Ladakh Itinerary

In this article, I will talk about traveling from Manali to Leh, local sightseeing in Ladakh, and return via Srinagar. In case you do not intend to cover the Srinagar highway at all, then I will also provide an alternate itinerary to return via the same route to Manali.

I will lay down a plan for 2 weeks journey. This in my opinion is a must if you truly want to cover all tourist destinations. Based on the number of days you have, you can add or remove places from this itinerary.

I will also assume that you are either using your own vehicle, motorcycle, or car or renting a private cab for this trip. But the itinerary below can also be used even if you were traveling by public transport.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Sarchu / Pang – Day 3
  • Sarchu / Pang to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh – Khardung La – Diskit / Hunder – Day 6
  • Diskit / Hunder – Panamik – Khardung La – Leh – Day 7
  • Leh to Pangong Tso – Day 8
  • Pangong Tso to Leh – Day 9
  • Leh to Tso Moriri – Day 10
  • Tso Moriri to Leh – Day 11
  • Leh to Kargil – Day 12
  • Kargil to Srinagar –  Day 13
  • Srinagar to Jammu – Day 14
  • Jammu to Delhi – Day 15

The following Manali to Ladakh itinerary mostly focuses on an easy travel plan without too much rush and covering all major tourist attractions. It is more of a common itinerary that can apply to almost anyone, irrespective of whether you are traveling solo or with family.

Manali to Ladakh Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi to Manali

For the sake of this article, I am assuming that you are starting your journey from Delhi. If you were coming from a different town, only the journey on the first and the last day will be different. The rest of the Manali to Ladakh itinerary will remain the same.

There isn’t much to write about Day 1 actually except that this will be a long and monotonous ride. Depending on your speed and breaks, it can take you anywhere between 13-15 hours to arrive at Manali. Start early from Delhi so that you can at least avoid the city traffic.

Also Read: Clothes for Ladakh Trip – What to Pack

Day 2 – Manali to Jispa

The most important thing that you need to keep in mind while traveling from Manali is the permit for Rohtang Pass. A quick fix for this would be that apply for the permit online and obtain it beforehand.

If for some reason you could get it online, contact a hotel in Manali and ask them if they can arrange permits for you. If their answer is yes, book your night stay with them and collect permits after you reach Manali. This way, you will not have to spend an entire day in Manali arranging permits.

If the permit could not be arranged at all, the only other way you have is to travel via the Atal tunnel and keep Rohtang for another trip at another time.

It is advised that you start as early as you can from Manali to avoid traffic congestion at Rohtang Pass. Cross the first high-altitude pass of your journey and enjoy beautiful vistas all day long. There is mostly a lot of slush towards the top of Rohtang Pass and roads too are narrow so drive carefully.

If you must stay in a cemented hotel and are on a budget, then stay at Keylong. You can find several moderately priced hotels here.

If a hotel is not a must, then go to Jispa and stay there. There are a couple of campsites and hotels in Jispa where you can stay. Jispa is a beautifully located town and in my opinion, you must stay at one of the camps there rather than Keylong. Depending upon your speed, this journey can take you anywhere between 6-10 hours.

If you were short on time, you can skip this day entirely. Travel through the Atal tunnel and head straight to Sarchu for the night on Day 2 itself.

lahaul valley

Day 3 – Jispa to Sarchu / Pang

You can start easy by 8-9 AM from Jispa as the journey is not too long. You will cross Baralacha La, Lachulung La, Nakeela on the way. On the way, you will also see two small lakes, Deepak Tal and Sooraj Tal, and witness the beauty and challenging nature of the Manali Leh highway.

Gata Loops are another major attraction. After Sarchu, you will cross into the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Reach Pang by evening and check into one of the camps/chadar tents.

Most people will advise you against staying at Pang because of high altitude sickness which you are bound to suffer from here. But if you have 3 days in hand, there is not really much of an option to stay other than Sarchu or Pang and you are bound to feel AMS at both places.

The only other way around this is to really rush through the journey on day 2, start from Jispa by 5-6 AM, and reach Leh by evening. This is also a preferred choice if you are not comfortable staying at a camp or chadar tent at either Sarchu or Pang.

For more detail on altitude sickness, please take a look at How to deal with acute mountain sickness in Ladakh.

In my opinion, a 3 days journey on this road is better. But if you are short on time, then you can change it to Manali to Jispa on Day 1 and Jispa to Leh on Day 2.

Day 4 – Pang to Leh

Leh is not too far from Pang so you can start at your own convenience. You will cross the magnificent Moore Plains and Tanglang La Pass on the way.

The journey from Pang to Leh is not more than 6 hours. Even if you traveled at a slow pace, so you should comfortably be in Leh by late afternoon. This will give you ample time for hotel hunting.

Once you have decided on a hotel, you can either chose to rest or may even visit Shanti Stupa, Leh Market, or Leh palace in the evening.

Day 5 – Leh

You will stay for the day in Leh. Rest and give your body some time to adjust to high altitude. The most important task for this day is to arrange your Inner Line Permit for the trip ahead.

shanti stupa

Day 6 – Leh – Khardung La – Diskit / Hunder

On Day 6, you will travel to Nubra valley and cross Khardung La on your way. Spend some time at Khardung La top and have a cup of tea at the Army canteen.

You can stay at either Diskit or Hunder for the night. The tall Buddha statue, sand dunes, and Bactrian camels are the most famous tourist attractions that you should see. It is a 6-8 hours journey depending on your speed.

Day 7 – Diskit / Hunder – Panamik – Khardung La – Leh

Start early from Diskit or Hunder and head towards the small village of Panamik. See the hot water springs in Panamik and start your return journey to Leh via the same route that you took to reach Nubra Valley.

An alternate way to do the journey here can be to take the Agham Shyok road to head straight to Pangong from Nubra Valley. That way, you can save a day on your itinerary.

nubra valley

Day 8 – Leh to Pangong Tso

This may be a long journey depending on the speed and breaks you take so an early start is advised. While on the way, you can also cover a few monasteries like Hemis, Thiksey, Shey Palace, and get across mighty Chang La.

You can choose to stay at either Tangste, Lukung, or Spangmik. If you want to stay close to the lake, then you will have to stay at a campsite. If you want to stay at a cemented hotel, you will have to look for accommodation at either Tangste, Lukung, or Spangmik.

Day 9: Pangong Tso to Leh

Take the same route back to Leh that you took to reach Pangong on day 7. If you did not visit the monasteries or Shey Palace on Day 8, you may cover it on Day 9.

An alternate way to do the return journey can be that you take the Changthang route from Pangong and head directly to Tso Moriri from here via Man, Merak, Loma, Nyoma, Mahe, and Sumdo. You can stay in Hanle Village for Day 9 and go to Tso Moriri from there on Day 10.

pangong lake

Day 10: Leh to Tso Moriri

This will again be a long journey not because of the distance but because you will be traveling on some terrible roads today. Head back on Manali Leh highway until Upshi and take the diversion towards Chumthang.

Road until Sumdo will be a mix of good. After Sumdo it will pretty much be a dirt trail all the way until Karzok. This can easily be a 7-8 hours drive depending on your speed and the breaks you take in between.

The monasteries, Shey palace that I mentioned for Day 8 and 9 can be covered on this day as well.

Day 11: Tso Moriri to Leh

Spend some time at the lake early in the morning and head back to Leh via the same road that you took to reach Karzok.

Another route for this journey is the diversion towards Polakongka La from Sumdo. If you went this way, you can also cover Tso Kar lake before exiting on Manali Leh highway just after Pang.  After that, you will cross Tanglang La Pass and arrive back in Leh.

I will advise taking this route because the road is good and won’t add much time to the journey. You will get to see another beautiful lake and travel right through the amazing More plains.

tso moriri

Day 12: Leh

Take a rest day in Leh. Visit some of the tourist attractions in town like Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Leh market, etc, and relax. Please note that you can skip this day if you are short on time.

Day 13: Leh to Kargil

You will start your return journey to Leh via Leh Srinagar highway. See the magnetic hill, Indus-Zaskar river confluence, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, monasteries at Mulbekh and Lamayuru, and Lunar Landscapes. The road will be mostly good with a few bad patches in between.

It is easily an 8-10 hours journey if you cover all the places I mentioned above. If you did not stop and spend time anywhere, it can be easily covered in 6 hours.

I would still advise on starting early from Leh. Kargil has several hotels so finding one will not be a problem but finding one within a budget can be.

Day 14: Kargil to Srinagar

Travel on the Srinagar Leh highway and enjoy the mesmerizing and heavenly beauty of Srinagar. Take a lunch break at Sonamarg and continue to Srinagar.

The journey will last anywhere between 7-10 hours, depending on your speed and the breaks you take. If within budget, head straight to Dal Lake upon reaching Srinagar and stay in a houseboat. It is highly recommended and totally worth it.

Day 14: Srinagar to Jammu

Start early from Srinagar and reach Jammu via Patnitop by evening. The journey will last about 8-10 hours because the traffic on this route is mostly heavy. Another route you can is via Mughal Road. It is longer but is more scenic and hardly has any traffic

Day 15: Jammu to Delhi

This will again be a very long journey that can easily take 14-16 hours. The road will mostly be good all the way except for a few bad patches in between.

suraj tal

Manali to Manali Itinerary

If you do not want to travel on the Srinagar Leh highway, the journey can be modified in the way below. It will require lesser time as well. So if you could not spend 2 weeks in Ladakh, you can pick this option.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 5
  • Diskit to Turtuk – Day 6 (Skip this day if you are short on time)
  • Turtuk to Panamik to Pangong via Shyok Road – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok (Tso Moriri) Day 9
  • Karzok to Sarchu – Day 10
  • Sarchu to Manali – Day 11
  • Manali to Delhi  -Day 12

Manali to Ladakh Bike Trip Itinerary

If you were riding a bike, let me suggest two more itineraries that will better suit you. The only concern can be of fuel that you will have to carry in spare. Take a look at How to Manage Fuel on Leh Ladakh Bike Trip for more details.

Below are two examples of a Manali to Ladakh Bike Trip itinerary.

  • 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 Turtuk – Day 6
  • Turtuk to Diskit to Panamik to Pangong via Shyok Road – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
  • Karzok to Pang / Sarchu – Day 10
  • Pang / Sarchu to Manali – Day 11
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 12

If you wanted to start from Manali, there will be a slight change needed.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh to Diskit / Turtuk – Day 4
  • Diskit / Turtuk to Pangong – Day 5
  • Pangong to Hanle or Karzok – Day 6
  • Karzok to Leh via Tso Kar – Day 7
  • Leh to Kargil – Day 8
  • Kargil to Srinagar – Day 9
  • Srinagar to Jammu – Day 10
  • Jammu to Delhi – Day 11

manali to ladakh itinerary

Manali to Ladakh Itinerary – Conclusion

The journey can of course be modified in numerous other ways. If you were thinking of a different Manali to Ladakh itinerary but weren’t sure of it, feel free to ask in the comments section below, or at our Community Forum, and I will be happy to clarify any doubts.

The first itinerary that I suggested can easily be completed by public transport as well. There are regular buses and shared taxis available on the routes. The internal roads where there is no public transport were skipped entirely in that itinerary. I hope the information above was of help.

Related Articles

20 comments

Ramen Bhatta February 18, 2020 - 5:51 am

Mr. Vargis Khan
Sir, I am planning to visit Ladakh this September and following you blogs regularly. It is so informative and helpful in all respect of ladakh tour. i wish to enter Ladakh via Manali and return via Kargil if political situation of JK is godd enough. Apart from Leh city and its heritage valued monasteries my main point of attraction in Ladakh is Nubra Valley, specially Tutuk.
Here is my proposed itinerary
Day 1 Manali
Day 2 Jispa
Day 3 Leh
Day 4 Leh
Day 5 Turtuk
Day 6 Leh
Day 7 Leh- Pangong
Day 8 Pangong – Tsomori
Day 9 Tsomori-Jispa
Day10 Manali

Your advice is solocited.

Ramen Bhatta

Reply
Vargis.Khan February 19, 2020 - 3:44 pm

Hello Mr. Bhatta,

It will be better to travel this way. How are you traveling though?

Day 1 Manali
Day 2 Jispa
Day 3 Leh
Day 4 Leh
Day 5 Turtuk
Day 6 Pangong via Shyok
Day 7 Pangong to Hanle
Day 8 Hanle – Tsomori
Day 9 Tsomori-Sarchu
Day10 Manali

Reply
prashant kumar July 27, 2018 - 9:22 am

hello Mr. Vargis, Thanks a lot for such detailed itinerary. We are three people myself+my wife + one female friend. I have XUV 500 2WD in almost perfect conditions with all tyres changed and car serviced one week back.
We are planning a 14 day trip from delhi-leh-srinagar-delhi or delhi-srinagar-leh-delhi. But still I am not sure if I should go from manali or srinagar. Here is my itinerary from manali side. Same I will use from sri nagar side except not going back to leh from tso moriri:

day 1 delhi to chandigarh , night stay at chandigarh
day 2 chandigarh to manali , night stay at manali
day 3 manali to jispa, stay at jispa , night stay at jispa
day 4 jispa to pang (or sarchu. Only problem is that sarchu is too close to jispa), , night stay at pang/sarchu
day 5 pang to leh , night stay at leh
day 6 sightseing leh , night stay at leh
day 7 leh to nubra valley/hundar , night stay at hundar
day 8 hundar to pangong (through Agham shyok) , night stay at pangong
day 9 pangong to tso moriri , night stay at tso moriri
day 10 tso moriri to leh , night stay at leh
day 11 leh to kargil , night stay at kargil
day 12 kargil to sonmarg/ , night stay at sonmarg
day 13 sonmarg to ludhiana , night stay at ludhiana
day 14 ludhiana to delhi
==========
Here are my questions
1) What are your recommendations of the itinerary.
2) Should we go from manali side or srinagar side.
3) I am an avid driver and have a good experience of driving in uttrakhand mountains with same car. Do you think I can cover hundar>pangong>tso moriri as this is my first trip to leh?

Thanks
Prashant

Reply
prashant kumar July 27, 2018 - 10:31 am

One more question Mr. Vargis. My car fuel tank capacity is 70-75 ltrs and in mountains gives mileage of 10K per litre. So I can cover a distance of 650-700 Kms. Is this fuel sufficient to cover leh> hundar > pangong > tso moriri > leh

Reply
Vargis.Khan July 27, 2018 - 12:27 pm

If you can then carry those 20 or 40 liters cans for spare fuel. If not then you can actually buy fuel in black at almost all places in Ladakh now. Quality of that is however questionable so it is better to buy it from Ladakh only.

Reply
Vargis.Khan July 27, 2018 - 12:35 pm

Hello Mr. Kumar,

Your itinerary is good and definitely doable. Going from Srinagar side is better in terms of AMS. Following the itinerary you have laid out, you will definitely suffer from mountain sickness at Pang. The only change I will recommend is that you start early from Jispa, avoid staying at Pang and reach straight to Leh on this day. Pangong to Moriri is ideally a 2 days journey so use this day here. From Pangong, reach Hanle and then do Hanle to Moriri the next day.

And yes, if you have some decent amount of driving experience in the hills then you can easily complete the journey.

Reply
prashant kumar July 27, 2018 - 2:57 pm

Thanks Mr VIrgis, I will modify the itinerary accordingly.

Reply
Vargis.Khan July 27, 2018 - 9:36 pm

You are welcome Mr. Kumar

Reply
Shashank Kandulna May 3, 2018 - 3:42 pm

Sir please update me regarding permits beyond rohtang pass. I am having a diesel vehicle and will start from my hometown Ranchi on 10th may. How can i get a permit from manali to travel beyond rohtang on my own vehicle. Also what other permits do i need to get to travel to leh ladakh and pangong lake.

Reply
Vargis.Khan May 3, 2018 - 6:03 pm

For Rohtang Permit, please see the article below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/rohtang-pass-permits-details-charges-apply/

For Permit in Ladakh to visit Nubra and Pangong, please see the article below..

https://vargiskhan.com/log/obtaining-ilp-for-ladakh/

Reply
Sayantan Jana March 26, 2018 - 3:52 am

Hi Vargis, your blog is really informative.we have gone to leh once via kargil. We have visited leh, pangongg and nubra valley then. Now we wish to visit leh from Manali along with spiti valley.Can u suggest an itenery of 8days(in ladakh week wish to visit tso Mori and may be Turktuk)

Reply
Vargis.Khan March 26, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Hi Sayantan – Covering Spiti and Ladakh both in 8 days will be next to impossible. Where are you starting from?

Reply
sayantan March 27, 2018 - 12:51 pm

Hi Vargis,
We will be starting from Manali.
A proposed plan in september-

day0-kolkata to delhi flight, overnight bus to manali, stay at manali/solang(?)
day1-manali to langza, stay at langza
day2-langza siteseeing (ke,kibber,tashiang)
day3-langza to mud(via hikkim,komik,dhanker)….should we stay at mud or return to kaza?
day4-kaza /mud to chandratal
day5-chandratal to jispa
day6-jispa to pang/or directly to tso mori
day7-tso mori to leh
day8-leh
day9-leh to turktuk
day10-turktuk to leh
day11-leh to kolkata flight

we have previously visited ladakh once and have covered sham valley,nubra,hunder, panggong and leh local site seeing (so excluding them this time)
Can you suggest any possible modifications?
Also the time of travel each day?

Reply
Vargis.Khan March 27, 2018 - 1:43 pm

Hello,

Your itinerary looks Ok exccept for that you cannot go to Tso Moriri directly. You will have to get inner line permit first for which you will have to go to Leh city.

Reply
Chirag Jain November 30, 2017 - 8:29 am

Hey sir! Your blogs are so great, They are really helping a lot. I need to ask that we are 6 people or can say 3 couples. We are planning for a road trip with all 3 RE classic 350 and are moving from Jaipur, we will prefer manali leh highway. So I just want to ask is there any problem travelling with girls here at little dark or staying at camps or any other problem which we may face? And some more stuffs, I have already been to your blog for driving with pillion but still need to comfirm that that RE classic 350 will be capable enough to hold two people with a little luggage.

Reply
Vargis.Khan November 30, 2017 - 5:06 pm

Hi Chirag – Thank you for your appreciating words. Yes you can ride to Ladakh on RE 350 with a pillion provided that your motorcycle is very well maintained. I myself own an Electra 350 and off all the times I have taken it to Ladakh, 4 times were with Pillion and all the luggage. So yes, the motorcycle is capable of the journey but ensure you get it serviced and prepared for the journey. Take a look at this article.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/how-to-prepare-your-motorcycle-for-ladakh-trip/

Regarding traveling with ladies, there is no concern related to safety as such but as you can very well guess, washrooms can be a bit of a problem. Better plan your journey as Manali to Keylong or Jispa and then straight to Leh the next day. The chadar tents / Dhabas at Sarchu and Pang do not have facilites and washrooms are horrible. Being a guy we could hardly stay there for over 5 mins, so with girls it will be a huge hassle. Avoid staying at these places unless you are planning to stay at the camp sites at Sarchu. These are comfortable luxury tents with good washroom facilites but prices are a bit steep.

Reply
Chirag Jain November 30, 2017 - 5:14 pm

Thank you for giving your precious time to answer my question and one more thing to ask, that can we cross khardung la with pillion and what about marsimik la?

Reply
Vargis.Khan November 30, 2017 - 5:39 pm

You are welcome !!!

Khardung La yes you can but not Marsimik La. That road is very steep and extremely bad. Motorcycle will probably refuse to climb if you have a pillion with you.

Reply
pariksheet March 1, 2017 - 6:18 pm

sir I am travelling to ladakh on 26 may2017 from manali by bullets ,we are six persons by five royal enfields of our own means not rented ,we want to know that travelling from pangong to tsomoriri by road is safe or not because we heard about some dog attacks on bikers ,pls help us by providing current situation so that we can take further step for our journey

Reply
Vargis.Khan March 2, 2017 - 6:39 pm

Dogs are indeed dangerous in that region Pariksheet. You will be OK traveling on the route, just do not stop near any human establishments alone, do not wander away. Just continue with your journey and when taking breaks, ensure that you either stop at near a check post or at a canteen or dhaba where are some locals around

Reply

Leave a Comment