For last couple of days, there has been a lot of confusion, discussion and questions regarding a few routes in Ladakh getting off limits for tourists in 2018. To be specific, there are speculations that permits for Hanle, Chushul, Umling La and Agham Shyok road will not be issued this year. This seems to be causing a lot of disappointment and frustration among people who have already had their itineraries prepared for Ladakh trip this year.
First, a couple of things to clarify:
- Umling La pass came in existence last year; so 2018 is actually the first year when people will request permits to go this way. This entire route became famous only in last few months. In 2017, just a handful of people had knowledge of this pass and they ventured this way while visiting Hanle. There were really no check posts on the road except for a few BRO camps so these people were successfully able to reach the pass and return to Hanle by evening.
- There never was a permit required separately for Shyok route. The usual ILP issued for Nubra and Pangong used to work well for traveling on this road as well.
So what really went wrong? Well several things to be honest. Firstly the pass became famous and is on the itinerary of everyone going to Ladakh this year. There was however no clarification on whether a permit will be needed separately for this route. So a lot of people already tried to travel to the pass without getting a specific permit for it. Some travelers hence were detained by Indian Army.
This entire region is way too close to Indo-China border. Earlier, cameras were not even allowed to be taken to Hanle. You were needed to submit those at the Loma post before going to Hanle. Some people however shot videos of the entire Umling La route and and posted it all over the internet. Maps of the exact location and GPS coordinates of the pass too were shared.
Earlier, visitors were not allowed to travel beyond Hanle but off-late, people have started to venture beyond the village regularly. Photi La has turned into a commonly traveled pass. This too has pushed the hand of administration and Army to deny permits for these places altogether.
Greatest reason however is the growing tension in the area after growing Chinese incursions. The Dokalam standoff with Chinese Army last year became a very big tension for both India and Bhutan. Army is expecting continued trouble from China this year as well so the alert in these sensitive areas is anyways high.
Permit for Shyok road however is not really under question because of the above concerns. Army worked tremendously last year and managed to improve the quality of this road by a great margin. It was once one of the most damaged roads of Ladakh but turned into a smooth sailing last year. Work is expected to be continued this year as well due to which Army may not allowed tourists this way for a certain period; or maybe entire season. So yes, in order to control traffic, there now maybe a need for a permit for Shyok road as well.
Permits for Hanle, Shyok, Chushul
Good news however is that for now, there will not be any problem for getting permits for Shyok road and Chushul route. These will continue to get issued. Bad news is that permit for Hanle as of now stands suspended which also will kill your plans to go to Umling La. More clarification on this will only come in coming few days and I will update here once I receive that information. For now, just do not keep Hanle and Umling La in your respective itineraries. I hope the information above was of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask at our Community Forum; or in the comments section below.
Hi Mr. Vargis Khan….
Is umling la still off limits??
Is there any chances of it being open for next year?
Hello Ben – It is still off limits. Chances are slim for next year as well.
Yours is a very informative blog!
I have a quick question on ILPs. I am planning to do Leh – Spangmik – Nyoma – Loma – Hanle – Chumur – Leg circuit.
Can we visit all these places in 2020 ?
Hi Sayak – Yes you can
I WANT TO TRAVEL IN JULY 1ST WEEK TO LEH-PANGONG-HANLE-CHUMUR-TSO MORIRI-TSO KAR-SARCHU-MANALI. THIS YEAR WHAT ABOUT PERMIT FOR HANLE? PLEASE ADVISE SO CAN PLAN ACCORDINGLY
Yes you will get the permit for Hanle
is there any permit required for marsimikla?? i am planning for june 2019.
will i be allowed to reach the summit or there will b any obstruction from the border check post?
Yes there is a permit needed for Marsimik La which was not being issued last year. We will know about this year after the season starts.
Is there any possibility to to travel Umling La?
As of now, none at all.
Hello Sir, I am big fan of yours. I have read every article regarding Himalayan region. For every detailing i visit your website. After couple of days i am going to spiti by my car. And also i want to visit shipki la. Is there any issue permitting for that pass??
Hi Abhishek – Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, permit for Shipki La is not easy to obtain unless you have some high end contacts in ITBP or government.
Thanks for amazinf update. I am super excited knowing about Hanle is open for permit. Just one question . Is it possible to do Photi LA and Umling LA ??? Is yes , Is it advisable to do it ?? Either one of them or both?
Photi La and Umling La is off limits this year. You can only visit Hanle.
Dear Varghis Bhai
First off, thank you for the regular updates. Your website is one of the most comprehensive resources on Ladakh/Lahaul/Spiti travel.
Sorry to bother you but could not find any further update on ILP … I am panning a trip in September’18 and Man-Merak->Chushul->Hanle is an important part of my itinerary.
Are the permits being issued or is it still off limits?
Sorry for repeating the Q. Didn’t notice that you had already provided an update 2 days back. Apologies!
No worries Bhai. And thank you for your kind words.
Below is an update on permits this year.
1. Permits to Domestic travellers are now being given from Permit Office, TIC ( Tourist Information Center, near J&K Bank, Main Bazaar). Foreigners still need to go to DC office near Polo Ground.
2. You have to fill the form online only, if you are applying in self. I am not sure about the process if you want to apply through an agent.
3. Take printout of the online permit and carry copies along with you. One each for Nubra, Pangong, Tso morriri and Hanle.
4. And yes permits are being given for Chushul, Tsagala, Loma,Hanle. They will sign and stamp your printouts and will take the required payments as mentioned in the portal.
5. For Hanle, You will have to further go to DC office. Take a copy of the permit that you received from TIC and DC office will keep a copy and will further stamp your permit ” permission to visit Hanle”. That would make your permit process complete.
6. Keep at least 3 copies of Hanle permit along with you while traveling.
sir i am RASE RAJAN Ffrom TAMILNADU…is there any permission to reach to reach HANLE by cycle…
Yes you will need to obtain Inner line Permit Rajan
Hi Mr Khan,
is there any issue of getting a permit for Hanle for foreigners?
Hi Vargis Bhai. Which net or mobile network is working in this areas.
Manohar Bhai no network will here, not even BSNL
Thanks a lot for shared info. I am planning to visit Leh – Pangong – Hanle – TsoMoriri -Tso Kar – Leh with staying at each location. I have will be booking with a travel agency and according to him Hanle is accessible and can be visited without hassle with permit which he will arrange for us. Should I trust him or visiting Hanle can still be denied ?
I won’t be going to Umingla Pass.
Please advice on this. I’ll be travelling in July 2nd week.
Hi Mohit – Yes they have started issuing permits for Hanle and Chushul route now so you are OK to go. Your travel agent is telling you the truth.
Thank you Vargis Bhai 🙂
You are welcome Bhai
Dear Vargis, im from kuala lumpur malaysia…my trip is end of august…this is my itinerary as below…i maybe rent RE 500…how about petrol for this route?
Day 1 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
Day 2 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
Day 3 | Leh – Khardung La – Leh
Day 4 | Leh – Pangong – Karu
Day 5 | Karu – Sarchu
Day 6 I Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
Day 7 | Manali – Malana – Manali
Day 8 | Manali Rest Day
Hi Abdul – You may need to add a day after you arrive in leh because you will need to arrange permits without which you cannot go to Pangong. Second, if you rent a bike in Sriangar, you cannot use it for visiting Khardung La and Pangong, for this you will need to rent a local bike from Leh city. Third, if you rent a bike from Srinagar and leaving it at Manali, you will have to pay extra money for this.
thanks vargis…i rent motorbike from different company…n must pay extra charge for transfer bike…for permit, a bike rental at leh arrange
1. srinagar-kargil-leh…kashmir bike
Then you are OK to go brother.
thanks vargis…one more thing…how about a petrol??
There are no petrol pumps except for Leh city but you will find at almost all the villages in Ladkah now. Locals sell it at all small shops at an increased price in black.
Hope you are doing well.!
I am planning for the trip in August last week to Hanle and umling-la. According to the current situation will I be able to get the permission for the same.?
If not then what are the places which are less explored that can be visited.?
Is it possible to have a permit to Siachen Base Camp.?
Thanks in advance.
1. Umling La – You will definitely not get the permit
2. Hanle – You may get the permit
3. Siachen – You can try to get the permit, see the article below please.
Any Update On Hanle Permit ?
Still not being issued
Hello sir what about shyok road open or not im leaving for leh on 1 june
Hello Vargis Sir,
Sunil again, leaving to Leh on this friday, what is the status of hanle? Please update.
Also tell, if chushul route is permitted then can we go to Tso Moriri via chushul route?
I have planned a trip in mid September,want to go from nubra to pangong and directly to tsomori via chushul. Would be travelling in a rented vehicle. Will it be possible to get permit for the chusul route as no other route in India matches the sheer beauty this route offers.
Indian citizen travelling with family.
Any Updates Sir About Hanle ?????
Thanks a ton Mr. Vargis.
Since we are already through the bookings and our itinerary is all ready to go as per the following:
If the speculations pertaining to denial of Hanle and Umling la routes turns out to be true, what can be the alternative option to modify the itinerary?
Thanks & regards,
Hi Akash – It is not a speculation anymore. Hanle, Umling La and Chushul route are off limits right now and will be for at least next couple of weeks or maybe the entire season. You really have no choice but to take them off your itinerary and come back to Leh from Pangong.
I heard you can visit chushul upto loma bend but u need an additional stamp from DC office for that and you have a separate form to fill up for that….hanle is off limit but you can visit chushul if you have separate permit…..can u pls check this ?
Hi Nilavra, I just had a word with my contact and he is not aware of any such arrangement. The thing is that it differs. Some people just get lucky and talk their way into it. Some people have contacts and they get the permits and then post on the web that a permit in this way can be arranged. Rules get modified always. Marismak La has been off limits for years now but people still go there every year so it all really depends on the day brother.
Thanks Vargis…Marsimik la permit is given or not if I wish to go there ? Is it possible to get the permit in normal process ?
another thing…can i get private taxis near leh bus stand to drop me at any hotel in leh ?
Hi Nilavra – No Marismik La is also off the limits as of now. Private taxi from one point to another in Leh itself will be a bit tough but then Leh is just a small town. You can coverall of it on foot in an hour so you can just easily walk over to your hotel.
Thank you Mr. Vargis for the information. Since our plan is to leave by 15th June. Is there any possibility of opening the routes to Hanle and Umling la? If not, can our contingent route be Tsomoriri?
Thanks & Regards,
You are welcome Mr. Pujara and no, as of now it does not seem like Hanle and Umling La will be allowed. From Pangong you will have to come back to Leh and then go to Moriri via Chumathang.
Thank you Vargis bhai for the valuable information and your prompt response. We are in final stages of preparation as per itinerary you have suggested before. As there is lot of uncertainty about routes, and as you have mentioned in your reply to a friend above that shyok route is open. So, can you please help in planning the itinerary for below places, is the below itinerary fine? Also please advise can we directly go to Tso Moriri from Pangong? We are thinking to skip Hanle and instead visit Padum:
Fist day: Leh – Hunder – Turtuk – Hunder (Night Stay)
Second day: Hunder – Panamik – Pangong (Shyok Route)
Third day : Can we do Pangong to Tso-Moriri ?
Thanks Bhai for all your help.
Harsh Bhai what is your complete itinerary?
I have done Pangong – Karu – Chumathang – Sumdo – Karzok in about 10 hours so that is an option but it is way too long a journey. And the reason why I could do it is because it was my 4th trip to Ladakh so I did not stop anywhere in between. So if you can start from Pangong by 6 AM then you will be back at Karu by 11 easily and reach Karzok then by evening 4-5 PM. An option that you may want to consider for 3rd day for Pangong to Moriri
Dear Vargis Bhai, our complete itinerary is a s below, please suggest if it is fine or we can improve it:
Day 1 | Haldwani – Chandigarh, night stay at Chandigarh
Day 2 | Chandigarh – Patnitop – Overnight at Patnitop
Day 3 | Patnitop – Srinagar – Overnight at Srinagar
Day 4 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
Day 5 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
Day 6 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Inner Line Permits
Day 7 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder – Turtuk – Hunder
Day 8 | Hunder – Panamik – Pangong
Day 9 | Pangong – Leh
Day 10| Leh – Tso Moriri
Day 11| Tso Moriri – Sarchu
Day 12 I Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
Day 13| Manali rest day
Day 14| Manali – Delhi
Harsh Bhai it looks perfect. No change required.
Hi Vargis ,
I heard a different thing here…Chushul route is allowed up to Loma bend but Hanle permit is not being issues until there is any final decision on this. So you can go up to Loma bend via chumathang or via chushul route and in fact the online portal for ILP also shows the Chushul route and this is added in the portal newly because from now you have to get an additional stamp for chushul tsaga la route. Earlier the single permit would suffice but from now on a separate permit is required for this route from DC office…
It would be of great help if you could check this and let us know the present situation…
Hi Nilavra, I just had a word with my contact in Leh. Permits for Chushul route and Hanle are both suspended. You can go till Loma bend via Chumathang. From Pangong side, you can only go until Merak only.
Thanks Vargis…any idea final decision taken ? or when that is going to happen?
For now this is the final decision Bhai
another thing…what about shyok route bhai ?
Shyok route is open Bhai and will remain open.
Hi Vargis ,
Any update on the decision ?
No final word yet Nilavra. Last I heard on Monday was that Shyok road was still open, Chushul was definitely off the limits and Hanle could be allowed but via Chumathang road only.
Last update I have is people of Hanle and nearby villages are doing Hartal at DC office Leh with the demand to reissue the permit for Hanle. I know decision not yet taken. Do u have any update at least ?
That is correct. Locals from Hanle and other villages en route are protesting because all the money they spend in creating guest houses will be wasted then. There is however no update still. Hanle and Chushul still remain off the limit.
Dear Vargis bhai,
We’ve planned to visit Nubra on 06 jul. On 08 jul our plan is for Pangon and then to Handle on 09 jul. On 10th to Moriri. As per latest news then we have to reschedule our plan? Or there’s any light of hope?
Please tell us.
Sekhar Bhai as of now the Chushul route is completely off limits. It may change later but not for now. More word on it will be out towards later part of this week.
Thanks for information. Plz keep updating.
Thank you for taking the time to drop a note
Hi Vargis ,
Heart broken that Hanle will not be accessed in 2018. I was ready to do chushul tsaga la hanle trip in June. Can you please share more information on this ? Whether Hanle is banned or the entire route from Pangong to Hanle is stopped ?
Hi Nilavra – As of now the entire route from Pangong to Moriri via Chushul, Hanle is out of bound; including the Shyok route as well. Final word on this will be out sometime next week. If they keep these roads closed then the only way to travel will be,
Leh to Nubra
Nubra to Leh
Leh to Pangong
Pangong to Leh
Leh to Moriri
Moriri to Leh
in your post you mentioned permit for chushul route will be issued per the latest update….hanle is suspended for now….
Unfortunately even the Chushul routes are not being given anymore. I just received word from Leh that all vehicles from Pangong had to return to Leh, none was allowed towards Chushul.
when do u expect the official announcement ? What do you have update on shyok route ?
Shyok route as of now is open Nilavra Bhai. No official announcement yet, all depends on how soon the authorities are able to decide in Leh.
Vargisbhai, that means a person cannot go to Hanle if he desires, this year? I was looking to complete that if I go to Ladakh (not sure).
Kaustubh Bhai that seems to be the situation right now. More clarity on it will only come next week.
Thanks for sharing and keep us updates vargis ji
You are welcome Srinivasan Bhai
Vargis Bhai, how much impact this will make on the route from pangong lake to tso moriri? Chushul comes in between, right?
Vatsal Bhai if they ban the permits then you will have no choice other than to return to Leh from Pangong and then go to Tso Moriri. The direct route via Chushul will not be accessible anymore.
Great information Vargis Bhai, thanks for detailed ecexplanati.
Thanks Harsh Bhai !!!
Dear Vargis Bhai,
I just checked on ILP online permit site and found two more routes added in the permit, below are the routes, so does it means that a decision has been taken by the authorities. And it looks like Hanle is not allowed and no mention of agham -shyok route:
-Leh-Kharu-Changla-Durbuk-Tangtse-Lukung-Spangmik-Man Merak (pangong) upto Chushul and Loma Bend.
-Tangtse-Kargyam-Sato, Barma, Chushul.
No decision has been taken yet Harsh Bhai. They are allowing permits for Hanle as of now but not Chushul route so it means if you want to go to Hanle, then you got to take the Chumathang route. Shyok road too is open as of now but final decision remains pending.
Dear Vargis bhai, sorry for bothering you again. is there any update on the road ban situation?
Harsh Bhai Hanle permits are being issued but Chushul remains off limits as of now. So from Leh, you will have to take the Chumathang route to get to Hanle, cannot travel via Chushul.