Permits in Ladakh – Expect some Trouble this Year

by Vargis.Khan

The situation related to permits in Ladakh seems to be developing for worst only. There was recently a lot of fuss about Hanle and Umling La getting off limits for the travelers. As a matter of fact, the entire Chushul route is being removed from the list of tourist places. Shyok road too may be impacted by this. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh this year, then below is some information that I am sure can be of help in planning your trip for better.

Umling La came into a lot of limelight in last few months as the highest motor able road in the world. People assumed it as another Khardung La where they were free to travel to which was not really the case. The lack of information on traveler’s side; and necessary steps missing on authorities end caused a lot of confusion; and some riders ventured into places that were not ought to. They were caught and detained by Indian Army and this is what started the entire ruckus which still is developing; and there is still no saying which way the camel will sit.

Permits in Ladakh in 2018

This is what you need to be aware of and plan accordingly.

  • Umling La is off limits for sure this year. Do not keep it on your itineraries.
  • Hanle in all probability too will be not reachable for tourists. Do not plan a journey here as well.
  • Chushul route may or may not be allowed. I would however recommend that you do not plan traveling this way at all. While you are in Leh, ask around and if allowed, then you may travel. But for your initial plan, draft it in a way assuming that you will not be going towards Chushul at all.
  • Shyok road is another problem. Now there are two different situations applicable here which may result in this road getting blocked. It was initially one of the worst stretches in entire Ladakh but BRO worked and improved it tremendously last year. The work is expected to continue this year as well due to which the road may be blocked completely for some time; or maybe for entire season.
  • The entire situation related to Umling La, Hanle and Chushul also is impacting the Shyok route due to which permits may not be issued at all. As a matter of fact, there never was a need for permits for Shyok road. Your regular ILP for Nubra and Pangong worked for this road too; but now it seems, it would have to be mentioned separately.

Now this was for Indian citizens. Situations seems to be developing for even worse for foreign nationals. There is word that tourists from China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Middle east, and possibly Sri Lanka too will not be granted permits at all. Read How to Obtain Protected Area Permit for details on the entire procedure and related charges.

If you are an Indian citizen, then read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for complete procedure and charges you will pay.

Identify Proofs

Until now, at the check posts, you will just submit a photo copy of your permit and move on. Situation this year however is a bit different with a lot of security measures. As an Indian citizen, along with a copy of the permit, you will also need to show the original permit, your Aadhar Card, or PAN Card (if you do not have Aadhar). So make sure you are carrying a government issued valid ID proof apart from your DL. If you do not have Aadhar or PAN card, then carry your voter’s ID.

For foreign national, you will be asked to produce a photocopy of your protected area permit, show the original and provide your passport for validation.

How it Impacts you?

Well if you are a foreign national, then you must contact a travel agent in Leh in advance. You anyways would have to be sponsored by an agent in order to get a Protected Area Permit. So please call an agent in advance and if they confirm that the permits are being issued currently, and they can help you get it; only then you should fly in to India. If you are unable to get a travel agent to confirm the same for you, best to postpone the plan for next year.

If you are an India citizen, then below is how it will impact you.

  • You will not be able to visit Umling La, Photi La, Hanle, Loma, Chushul, Tsaga, Rezang La, Nyoma and Shyok road.
  • There cannot be any more traveling straight from Nubra to Pangong and Pangong to Moriri
  • You will go to Nubra, come back to Leh, then go to Pangong, again come back to Leh and then travel to Tso Moriri.
  • This situation may improve later as the year progresses but this is how it holds as of now.
  • When you draft your initial itinerary, plan keeping the above in mind. You can change it later after you arrive in Leh and learn that permits are being issued.
Conclusion

I hope the information above was of help. If you have any further questions; or need help planning your Ladakh trip; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

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63 comments

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VIKAS THAKUR August 23, 2018 - 10:00 am

Hi Vargis, I’m flabbergasted at the amount of info (absolutely updated) provided in your posts. Makes one think that you are a tour operator based in Leh.

My parents are visiting Ladakh from 7-20 Sep. Itinerary as follows :
Sept 7 Manali, 8 Jispa, 9 Karu, 10 Pangong, 11-12 Nubra, 13-14 Leh, 15 Kargil, 16 Sonmarg, 17 Srinagar 18-19 Udhampur, 20 Palampur

Q1. Is it okay to visit Pangong first and then to Nubra via shyok route or vice versa?

Q2. Is it okay to travel in Tata Nexon for this trip? Or Bolero? (Both with driver)

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Faruki August 6, 2018 - 3:45 pm

What is the update news of inner line permit for Bangladeshi tourist?

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Vargis.Khan August 6, 2018 - 3:48 pm

Still not getting issued. You will have to try to get one from Home Ministry in Delhi.

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Ankita July 17, 2018 - 11:23 am

HI Vargis,

Thanks for the info.

Can you please help me out with the current situation there. Is it possible to go directly from Nubra to pangong and pangong to Tso Moriri?

Also, if we plan to go directly Tso Moriri from Pangong (if permit is not a problem), then which route shouls we cover? We are considering 1 day travelling and one night stay in Tso Moriri (leaving for Leh in the morning) for the same.

FYI, we are travelling from Sept 22 to 30th.

Thanks,
Ankita

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Vargis.Khan July 17, 2018 - 1:32 pm

Hi Ankita – The issue has been resolved and except for Umling La, you should be able to get permits for rest of the places. For Pangong to Tso Moriri direct, please travel via Chushul route.

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Ankita July 17, 2018 - 2:14 pm

Thanks for your prompt response Vargis. Just one more question: While traveling from Srinagar to Leh, is it necessary to stay at Kargil, or can we make it Sonmarg? Concerned since we have flight next day afternoon.

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Vargis.Khan July 17, 2018 - 2:43 pm

You can stay at Sonamarg as well but then the journey from Sonamarg to Leh will be very long. People stay at Kargil because it is like the mid point that splits the travel equally in both days.

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dean June 25, 2018 - 1:39 am

Is it possible that I can go by zoomcar to zanskar valley and return via manali route without going to leh, khardungla, pangong and tso moriri? I just want to visit zanskar valley because I couldn’t do it last year.

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Vargis.Khan June 25, 2018 - 2:27 pm

No, the Kargil taxi guys may create problem if they spot your zoomcar.

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Vargis.Khan June 24, 2018 - 3:42 am

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.

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chethan s June 22, 2018 - 3:56 am

Vargis bhai, I will be traveling to Leh in July. Below is my itinerary.
5 July – Reach Chandigarh by 10:15AM – collect zoom car head to Amritsar and visit golden temple
6 July – Amritsar to Srinagar
7 July – Srinagar to kargil
8 July – Kargil to Leh and park zoomcar in hotel
9 July – day in Leh, get permits and hire bikes, local visit
10 July – Leh – nubra
11 July – nubra to pangong via shyok route
12 July – pangong to Leh and return bikes
13 July – buffer day
14 July – Continue journey with zoom car head to Sarchu
15 July – Sarchu to Manali
16 July – Manal to Chandigarh
17 July – 8:10 AM flight to Bangalore

Please let me know if the above schedule looks fine.

Is shyok route open now?

Can we use the buffer day to visit tso Moriri from Pangong? How is the stretch? Do we get the permits?

It would be of great help if you can let me know all the permits we need as per this itinerary.

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Vargis.Khan June 22, 2018 - 3:13 pm

Hi Chethan,

1. Yes your itinerary looks fine.
2. Yes Shyok route is now open.
3. Yes you can use your buffer day to visit Moriri. Start really early, by first light of the day from Pangong on 12th July and reach Tso Moriri via Chushul. On 13th, return to Leh from Moriri to return the bikes.
4. You only need Inner line permit for Nubra, Pangong and Moriri.

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chethan s June 24, 2018 - 2:11 pm

Thanks Varghis for your valuable information. We shall plan for Two Moriri as per your suggestion. As per my information we don’t need permit for rohtang if we go from Leh side. Could you please confirm?

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Vargis.Khan June 24, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Hi Chethan – That is correct. You do not need a permit for Rohtang if you are coming from Leh to Manali.

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Fly low June 1, 2018 - 4:42 am

Hi Vargis,
Please let me know if Nubra valley to Pangong is allowed via wari la?
Coming back to Leh eats up a day so planning to head directly to Pangong from Diskit/Hunder.
TIA.

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Sagar Yadav June 9, 2018 - 10:13 am

I visited leh on 4 june now permits will not issued on dc office tourist information center near j &k bank issue permit agham shyok road open road conditions good pangong to tso moriri via chushul open

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Vargis.Khan June 9, 2018 - 1:54 pm

Thanks Sagar for updating this information.

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Srinivasan G May 24, 2018 - 6:06 pm

Hi vargis bhai
I filled online for Inner line permit

In the list of circuits it is given
1. leh-kharu-changla-durbuk-tangste-lukung-spangmik-man merak (pangong) upto chushul and loma bend
2. Upshi – chumthang – mahe – loma bend (Nyoma division)

By selecting these two in ILP can i take the route of pangong – chushul – loma bend – mahe – chumthang -leh

Hanle is not mentioned in the circuit list. SO i have to turn in loma towards chumthang only

My plan
Day 0 rest
Day 1 – leh – Hunder
Day 2 hunder – turtuk or hunder to Yarma Gompa ( till Yarma ILP is allowed) – which one i should choose??
Day 3 Hunder to Pangong via wari la
Day 4 Pangong to chumthang
Day 5 chumthang to Leh
Day 6 Leh – to tsomori till puga hotspring ( ILP circuit available till puga hot spring)
Day 7 Tosmorri to sarchu
Day 8 Sarchu to Leh
I have two buffer days
Day 9 and Day 10 buffer days
Day 11 flight to delhi

Is this itenary ok according to ILP ?

Did u know any one travel the pangong – chushul – loma bend – mahe – chumthang -leh this month ?

I cant attach my ILP screen shot ?

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Vargis.Khan May 24, 2018 - 8:39 pm

Srinivasan Bhai in all probability, this year you will not be allowed to go any beyond than Man Merak villages. Chushul route and Hanle are completely off limits this year. A better way would be to come back to Leh from Pangong and go to Karzok via Chumathang the next day..

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Srinivasan G May 25, 2018 - 3:19 am

Thanks for ur reply , As u told i will change the itinerary accordingly

My plan
Day 0 rest
Day 1 leh – Hunder
Day 2 hunder – turtuk or hunder to Yarma Gompa ( till Yarma ILP is allowed) – which one i should choose??
Day 3 Hunder to Pangong via wari la
Day 4 Pangong to Leh

Day 5 Leh to tsomorri via chumathang
Day 6 Tso morri stay
Day 7 Tosmorri to sarchu
Day 8 Sarchu to Leh

Day 9 and Day 10 buffer days
Day 11 flight to delhi

with one u would suggest – hunder turtuk or hunder to yarma gompa ???

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Akshay Bansal May 22, 2018 - 4:34 am

From Leh I Wanna To Explore These Places… First Time I M Ging On My Bike.. Please Guide Me Brother… Which Route I Choose From Leh… If I do Not Get Hanle Permit… Then Which Route Will B Best For Tso Moriri…. Please Help Me…

Leh To Diskit – 1 Night
Diskit To Panamik – 1 Night
Panamik To Pangong – 2 Night
Pangong To Hanle & Chushul – 1 Night
Hanle To Ukdungle – 1 Night
Ukdungle To Tso Moriri – 2 Night
Tso Moriri To Sarchu – 1 Night
Sarchu To Koksar – 1 Night
Koksar To Ludhiana – Back To Home..

I Will B Very Thankfull To You…

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Vargis.Khan May 22, 2018 - 2:09 pm

Akshay Bhai, from Pangong, you will have to come back Leh. The journey will be like this,

Pangong to Leh
Leh to Tso Moriri via Chumathang
Tso Moriri to Pang / Sarchu
Pang / Sarchu to Manali to Ludhiana

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Akshay Bansal May 27, 2018 - 2:35 am

Thank You Brother… I Have To Cover Chaangla Pass, Kunjum Pass & Talang La Pass…. Which Route I Choose…..

People Say That While Ging To Pangong Take This Route
Leh To Chaangla Pass Then Pangong Lake…. Is It Right Route…..

Tell Me About Talang La Pass & Kunjum Pass….

Thank You Brother….

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Chakra SS June 1, 2018 - 4:45 am

They are issuing permits to go TeoMoriri via Chushul without coming back to Leh. I took the permit a week back. If your vehicle is in proper condition and have enough spares & puncture kits, you can take the Chushul route without coming back to leh

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Srinivasan G May 6, 2018 - 5:55 am

Hi vargis ji
As permits issues are there, i have slightly modified my itinerary
july 6 leh arrival morning
july 7 leh – rafting and local ride
july 8 leh to nubra
july 9 nubra – op sinha -nubra
july 10 nubra – pangong
july 11 pangong to leh via changla
july 12 leh – chumathang – hanle
july 13 hanle – stay
july 14 hanle to tsomorri
july 15 tsomorri to sarchu
july 16 sarchu to leh
july 17 morning flight

Will they allow to travel from hanle to tsomorri?
Thanks in advance

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Vargis.Khan May 7, 2018 - 3:14 am

Srinivasan Ji,

1. What is OP Sinha?
2. Have an alternate plan for Hanle days, just in case if you do not get the permits. I am not saying that you won’t but just in case.
3. Rest is good.

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Srinivasan Ganesh May 7, 2018 - 7:28 am

nubra to shrine of OP Baba
have to think abt alternate plan

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Vargis.Khan May 7, 2018 - 4:54 pm

Shrine of OP Baba is at Siachen Base Camp, permits for which are way too hard to get. See the post below please.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/how-to-visit-siachen/

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Abhishek Majumdar April 26, 2018 - 5:22 pm

Hi Vargis,
I am planning for Ladakh trip in the last week of September.I want to know about the weather and how much cold I may get at that time.
After going through all of your post now I want to know that I have a plan to travel from pangong to tso moriri via hanle stay.
So please let me know that can I execute this plan cause I need to book the flight tickets very soon.
Thanks in advance.

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Vargis.Khan April 27, 2018 - 1:35 pm

If you are booking flight then how are you planning to travel locally in Ladakh? Taxi, rental bike or public transport?

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Abhishek April 27, 2018 - 6:39 pm

Via rented car.

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Abhishek Majumdar April 28, 2018 - 6:50 am

I will be travelling with a rented car.Can you please let me know the details of Hanle for this year.

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Vargis.Khan April 30, 2018 - 8:39 pm

Permits for Hanle are being given but you will have to travel via Chumathang.

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Vargis.Khan April 30, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Weather will be cold but not on the extreme side. It starts to snow at Khardung La and Chang La sometime in September and the chill can be felt in lower areas as well. Hanle permits are getting issued as of now but you may be asked to take the Chumathang route rather than traveling directly from Pangong via Chushul.

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Abhishek Majumdar May 19, 2018 - 7:04 am

Hi Vargis,
Thanks for the info.So as per the current situation I can travel to Hanle via chumthang?If yes can you just let me now the route plan from Pangong to Tso Moriri via Hanle.
Your reply is appreciated.

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Vargis.Khan May 20, 2018 - 7:11 pm

Hi Abhishek Bhai – Sorry, Hanle is completely off limits. They are not issuing permits this year.

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Tom April 21, 2018 - 11:49 am

Hi Vargis,
Thanks for the info, it’s very valuable!
I am an Israeli citizen, which I guess qualifies as middle east. Does it mean permits are not going to be granted for Israelis this year, meaning we can’t travel to Nubra and Pangong?

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2018 - 5:48 am

Hi Tom – No they restricted it only for Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Burma. Just these countries.

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Anurag April 20, 2018 - 5:46 pm

Vargis Bhai, appreciate the support and guidance you have been providing to Ladakh enthusiasts.
Planning to reach Leh by air on 7th May. Pangong Lake around 10th. How is it going to be in Pangong at night ? Ok for my mother @ 64 years, keeps a good health, and daughter @ 10 years ? Thanks.

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2018 - 6:13 am

Anurag Bhai night at Pangong will be cold with a high chance of acute mountain sickness. I will recommend that you get a doctor’s opinion both for your mother and daughter before flying in. Just to play it safe though because at Pangong, there is no medical help all the way until Leh.

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2018 - 6:14 am

You daughter in all probability will be OK as long you as give it a couple of days before taking her to Pangong. But with your mother I will still recommend consulting a doctor just as a precautionary measure.

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Anurag April 22, 2018 - 6:21 am

Thanks much, Vargis Bhai. Will a day trip to Pangong be ok for them ? How long will a return trip take ? And also advise about Turtuk. Thanks.

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2018 - 6:31 am

A day trip to Pangong will easily be about 11-12 hours depending on how much time you spend at the lake. Turtuk is a small village in Nubra valley. Nothing special here but very scenic and very different in terms of culture.

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Chakra SS April 20, 2018 - 6:00 am

Hi Vargis!

Thank you so much for the information. Also do we need any special permit for crossing Chang La pass on the way to Pangong Tso from Leh or will the Inner Line Permit Work?

Request : Can you provide any information regarding route from Keylong to Hudan Bhatori Lake in your next blog!

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Vargis.Khan April 20, 2018 - 1:52 pm

Hi Chakra – No special permit needed for Chang La, your ILP for Pangong will work. Please see the post below for Hudan Bhatori.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/hudan-bhatori-beautiful-hudan-lake/

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Parag Bhattacharyya April 19, 2018 - 12:18 pm

Sir,
We are planning to go to Ladakh in the first week of June.In our group we are five adults along with a child of Seven years. As per the documentation to get the inner line permit is concerned the child has no government issued Photo ID proof (not even adhaar). In that case will the birth certificate and the school identity card(with photo) will serve the purpose? Please remember that we have a plan to move from Nubra to Pangong via agham shyok route. Waiting for your reply.
Regards,
Parag Bhattacharyya

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Vargis.Khan April 19, 2018 - 2:40 pm

Mr. Bhattacharya, Permit is not required for J&K residents and children under 12 years of age.

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PRATIK DHAR April 16, 2018 - 6:35 pm

Hi Vargis,
We are planning to go upto Turtuk from Diskit.Do I need special permit or the regular Inner Lime Permit will do.

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 7:53 pm

You regular ILP will do. No special permits needed

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Rigzin Nubu April 16, 2018 - 12:11 pm

Greetings from adventure ibex Team Leh. Good to see you helping people out friend .
Good luck a head.

Reagrds
Rigzin

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 8:10 pm

Thanks Rigzin

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Nilavra Ghosh April 16, 2018 - 8:02 am

Hi Vargis ,
Thanks for the valuable information. What about the Wari La route from Nubra to Pangong ? I think we can take that route if we want to reach Pangong directly.

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 10:50 am

Yes you can but it does not make much of difference in time and distance. Add to it the fact that the road and the ascent of Wari La is a bit too steep.

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Nilavra Ghosh April 16, 2018 - 11:23 am

Thanks Vargis. I know the ascent to Wari La is steap a bit but how is the road condition ? Is this as bad as Shyok route that happened to be couple of years before ?

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Nilavra Ghosh April 16, 2018 - 11:26 am

Another thing Vargis…I see people very less travel to Aryan villages Dah and Hanu….how is the scenic beauty there ? Is it worth visiting the villages ? I am not going to see the culture of the villages…I am interested in the scenary….and compared between shyok route and Wari la which road is much scenic ?

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 8:11 pm

Dah and Hanu is worth it only if you have some time, at least a day more to spare.

Shyok route is more scenic in my opinion.

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 8:12 pm

Road is a mix of average and bad.

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Harsh April 16, 2018 - 5:41 am

Thank you Vargis Bhai for this important information. We will have to redraft our itinerary, as earlier based on your suggestion we planned to go Pangong directly from Nubra and then directly to Moriri. Seems now we will have to spend more days in Leh.

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Vargis.Khan April 16, 2018 - 10:53 am

Give it another week Bhai before you redraft the plan. At least wait for the final meeting to take place and final decision.

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Dev May 18, 2018 - 5:34 am

Hi Vargis, we will reach Leh in the 3rd week of June (likely 15-Jun) and were planning to visit Turtuk, Pangong and Tso moriri without coming back to Leh. Reading the information above looks like this may not be possible anymore and we need to plan to head back to Leh from each of these locations to go to the next. I had also kept Hanle off the itinerary given the news that we may not be allowed to go there. Is travelling from Pangong to Hanle to Tsomoriri still un-viable or is the situation likely to change?
Also since 15-Jun is Id, do you know if we will be able to get the permits at Leh on Sat, 16-Jun or is it likely to be a long weekend holiday?

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Vargis.Khan May 18, 2018 - 1:46 pm

Dev Bhai situation is still the same. Shyok route is open but Chushul route and Hanle are strictly off the limits.

If Eid is on 15th then yes you will get the permits. There is however a strong chance that Eid may fall on 16th as well though so please do keep that in mind.

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Dhara April 15, 2018 - 9:50 am

Such a valuable piece of information that was! You are too good! Keep up the work!

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Vargis.Khan April 15, 2018 - 10:36 pm

Thank you for taking the time to drop a note. I appreciate it.

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