Hanle in Ladakh – How to Plan a Road Trip

by Vargis.Khan

hanle

Hanle is one place that comes highly recommended for anyone visiting Leh Ladakh. Away from the crowd, it is a quiet little village that offers some of the best views that you can get during your trip. Even the drive to the village is a highly scenic one. If you were going to be in Ladakh anytime soon, in this travel guide, I will provide formation on how you can a trip to Hanle from Leh.

Ladakh is considered a remote region in itself. Even though there is a definite increase in tourism here, it is mostly limited to some well-known places like Nubra valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. There are, however, several places in the inner part of Ladakh that are amazingly beautiful but not visited by that many people. These are places that can actually be termed as ‘offbeat within an offbeat Ladakh’.

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

One such extremely close to the Indo-China border and hidden in the lap of mighty Himalayas is the small village of Hanle, also spelled as Hanley, Anle, or Anley. This tiny hamlet doesn’t make it in the itineraries of many people; sometimes because of lack of time but mostly because of lack of knowledge. If you are traveling to Ladakh in near future and want to explore some of the remotest areas, Hanle is where you must go.

About Hanle

Hanle is located at a distance of about 255 kilometers from Leh in Changthang Valley of Ladakh. The valley is home to about a thousand people with around 300 living in Hanle. The close proximity to the Indo-Tibetan border makes this village a highly sensitive one and an inner line permit is required to visit here.

Tourism in Hanle was not permitted earlier. Tourists could only travel as far as Pangong Lake earlier and would have to return to Leh from there. Even now, Hanle remains to be off-limits for foreign travelers and can only be visited by Indians.

Other than tourism and natural beauty, what really puts Hanle on the map is the Indian Astronomical Observatory. It is the best spot in the entire country for observing the skies and the stars and that is why the Observatory was built here. More details to follow on this later in the article.

How to reach Hanle from Leh

There are two ways that you can reach Hanle from Leh. The first and the quicker route is via Chumathang. The second, longer but a more popular route runs through Changthang Valley. Let me explain this with the help of a map. Click on the thumbnail below to view the map in full size or save it to your hard disk.

leh to hanle road map

Which route to choose depends on whether you are just visiting Hanle or including it in your itinerary while visiting Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri. I will first talk about the route via Pangong because this is the most common way to travel from Leh to Hanle.

Leh to Hanle via Pangong Tso

Traveling this way, you will first reach Pangong Tso from Leh, spend a night there, and continue to Hanle the next morning. The route of the journey will be as below. The area between Pangong and Hanle is known as the Changthang Valley.

Leh – Karu – Sakti – Chang La – Durbok – Tangtse – Spangmik – Man – Merak – Chushul – Tsaga – Loma – Hanle

Or

Leh – Karu – Sakti – Chang La – Durbok – Tangtse – Erath – Chushul – Tsaga – Loma – Hanle

In both of these routes, the journey until Pangong Lake will remain the same. Get an early start from Leh and travel on the Manali Leh route until Sakti. From there, take the left road towards the mighty Chang La, known as the third highest motorable pass in the world (a claim which is no longer valid of course).

Spend some time at the pass and have some tea in the Army-run canteen. There is also a small shop at the pass where you can buy some souvenirs. From Chang La, it is a straight run to Pangong Lake via Durbok (also spelled Durbuk).

There are a lot of campsites at the lake. Find one per your liking and check into one for the night.

The entire journey will be if 160 kilometers until Spangmik and can take anywhere between 4-7 hours, depending on your speed and breaks. This should give you plenty of time to spend at the lake in the evening. The road will be mostly good except for the part around Chang La top.

Pangong Lake to Hanle

After reaching Pangong, you have two choices on how you want to travel to Hanle from there. Chushul will be the next stop and there are two roads that you can take to get there. You can either travel through the villages of Spangmik, Man, and Merak or you can take the direct road from Tangtse to Chushul via Erath.

The difference between both the routes will be the condition of the road and the proximity to the lake. The Erath route is a tarred road all the way to Chushul but runs a little away from Pangong. The road via Man and Merak is a complete dirt road but runs right next to Pangong Lake.

pangong to hanle

If you want a drive along the beautiful lake, then you should choose the Man/Merak road. This is what most of the people opt for as you also get to see the villages of Man and Merak on the way. If you do not mind a little away from the lake and would rather travel faster on a smooth road, or if you are in a Sedan or Hatchback, you must stay on the road via Erath.

Route Details

From Pangong, You will arrive at Chushul in a couple of hours. There is a war memorial here that is dedicated to the soldiers who laid their lives in the India-China war of 1965. Pay a visit to the memorial and continue driving towards Loma.

After Chushul, the road conditions will be really bad with a lot of water streams in between. It mostly is a dirt trail until a little before Loma after which it is again a smooth run.

On the way, you will also cross the Rezang La war memorial. Rezang La is where the final battle took place and only a handful of Indian soldiers held their position against hundreds of Chinese soldiers. You can read about it at Lest we Forget – The Heroes of Rezang La.

Pay your respect at the Rezang La war memorial and continue driving on. You will cross the high altitude pass of Tsaga La and will finally reach Loma.

At the Loma check post, you will have to submit all your photography equipment. That is right; you cannot bring your cameras to Hanle as it is a photography restricted zone. Leave your cameras at the check post and then drive another 50 kilometers to Hanle on a smooth road. You can collect your cameras the next day when you return from Hanle.

From the Loma check post, Hanle is about 50 kilometers and the road is super smooth.

Leh to Hanle via Chumathang

Now let us take a look at the second. In all honesty, this is actually how people return from Hanle. So the entire journey takes the form of a circuit. You reach Hanle via Pangong and travel back via Chumathang while covering Tso Moriri as well.

But if you decided to travel to Hanle via Chumathang, the route will be as mentioned below. If you were returning from Hanle then just read it the other way around.

Leh – Karu – Upshi – Chumathang – Mahe – Nyoma – Loma – Hanle

The total distance traveled will be about 255 kilometers in about 10 – 12 hours. It is a good way to go if you want to reach Hanle from Leh in a single day.

Traveling on this route means that you will have to take the Manali Leh highway from Leh all the way till Upshi. It will be a journey of about 50 kilometers roads on which are mostly in good condition. From Upshi, rather than continuing to Rumtse, take the turn towards Kumdok. From here it is a straight run to Mahe via Kere and Chumathang. The total distance between Upshi and Chumathang is around 130 kilometers and roads are a mix of good and bad.

From Mahe, continue another 50 kilometers to Loma. Register yourself at the check post here, submit photography equipment, and continue to Hanle.

The benefit of traveling on this route is that the road remains good for most of the part and you can easily do Leh to Hanle in a single day. Just start from Leh early in the morning and you will be in Hanle before the sun sets down.

rezang la

How to reach Hanle by Bus

Planning a trip to Hanle by public transport becomes a little tricky. The frequency of bus service or shared taxis towards Hanle is almost next to none. If you however want to reach here by Bus, there are a couple of buses you can use for the journey. Direct bus from Leh to Hanle is only on Saturday, at 6.30 AM from Leh. The fare for this bus is around Rs. 500.

Another bus you can use for this journey is on Tuesday, 6.30 in the morning from Leh. It goes from Leh to Koyul and passes through the Loma check post. However, using this bus, you will have to get down at Loma and look for another mode of transport for the final 50 kilometers from Loma to Hanle. This can be difficult and you may not actually find another mode of transport going that way at all.

Another bus that passes through the Loma check post starts from Leh every Wednesday at 9 AM. This bus goes to a small village called Mood and crosses Loma. Challenge however will again be finding another mode of transport after you get down at Loma.

These details are prone to change every year. For the most recent bus schedule, please take a look at Leh Ladakh Bus Sevice – Schedule, Timings, and Fare.

Shared Taxis

A local shared taxi will be extremely tough to find for Hanle. Locals usually do not travel that often between Hanle and Leh; and the ones that do use the weekly bus service. If you need to find a shared taxi, your best bet will be the tourist shared taxis that you can arrange via a tour operator.

Shared taxis are also available from the Leh Bus stand. They usually bring tourists to Hanle in groups and return the next day. For shared cabs, you really will have to ask around at Leh bus stand as there is no set schedule to it.

Tso Moriri to Hanle

You can of course do the itinerary above the other way around as well. From Leh, you will reach Tso Moriri on Day 1. Spend the night there and then go to Hanle on Day 2 via Sumdo, Mahe, Nyoma, and Loma. You will then travel to Pangong Lake via Chushul on Day 3 and arrive back in Leh on Day 4.

Also Read: Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri Route Guide

Tso Moriri to Hanle via Charchagan La

There is another route from Tso Moriri to Hanle that runs through Charchagan La as shown in the map I posted above. This is the remotest, toughest, and the least visited area in all of Ladakh and perfect for adventure enthusiasts.

What you must know is that is a badly broken dirt road for the majority of it and is best suitable for a 4×4 SUV. A Sedan or Hatchback will not survive this route. If you have a 2WD SUV, you may travel but only if you are really good at the wheel and know how to maneuver your car across tricky stretches.

To go this way, travel about 10 kilometers from Karzok towards Sumdo. You will come across a diversion where the road straight will continue to Sumdo and the one to your right will take you to Chumur. Turn on this road and continue towards Chumur via Charchagan La. After traveling for about 50 kilometers, you will come across a diversion where the road to your left goes towards Chumur and the one on the right to another high altitude pass, Salsal La.

Turn right and after traveling for about 25 kilometers from the Chumur diversion, you will come across another bifurcation on the road. The one to your right will take you straight to Hanle after traveling for about 60 odd kilometers.

The one to your left will take you uphill to another pass, Thit Zarbo La. After crossing the pass, you will exit between Nyoma and Loma. From here, take right towards Loma and straight to Hanle from there.

Traveling on this route, you will also be able to cover three small but beautiful lakes; Lam Tso, Kyun Tso 1, and Kyun Tso 2.

ladakh trip

How to Plan a Trip to Hanle

Hanle usually gets added to an existing itinerary to visit either Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri. I have never come across anyone wanting to visit just Hanle and going straight there. Below is how you can plan your trip so that you are able to visit Hanle village as well.

  • Leh to Pangong Tso – Day 1
  • Pangong Tso to Hanle either via Man / Merak or Erath – Day 2
  • Hanle to Karzok (Tso Moriri) – Day 3
  • Karzok to Leh – Day 4

This is probably the best way how you can incorporate a visit to Hanle to your Ladakh itinerary. Reach Pangong on Day 1 via Chang La, then travel to Hanle on Day 2 via Changthang valley, reach Karzok on Day 3 via Nyoma, Mahe, Sumdo and return to Leh on Day 4 via Karu.

Another alternate way could be that while you are returning from Karzok to Leh, you can take the road towards Tso Kar rather than coming back via Chumathang; refer to the map I posted above.

If you opt for Tso Kar though, please keep in mind that you will have to cross Polo Kongka La around which the road is extremely bad. After visiting Tso Kar, you will exit at Manali Leh highway just after Pang from you will reach Leh crossing Tanglang La.

Another option is that you do not come back to Leh at all. Start from Leh, cover Pangong, Hanle, Tso Moriri, exit near Pangong via Polo Kongka La, and then return to Manali from there. Read Tso Moriri to Pang to Manali for more details on this. This is a good plan if you arrive in Leh via Srinagar and returning via Manali.

Places to visit in Hanle

The next question that comes to mind is what to see in Hanley? While the primary attraction of course remains to be the natural beauty of the place, there are a few other interesting spots that make it worth a visit. Mentioned below is a list.

Hanle Monastery

The monastery in Hanle is an ancient 17th-century gompa. It was built under the patronage of the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal and is currently home to 10 Lamas. It sits at the top of a small hillock at a very scenic location, overlooking the village and the valley.

Sengge Namgyal was one of the most prominent kings of Ladakh and is also nicknamed as “The Lion King”. He died in Hanle on his return from an expedition against the Mongols, who had occupied Tsang and were planning to attack Ladakh.

The location of the monastery is only about 20 kilometers from the disputed frontier between India and Chinese-controlled Tibet.

Also Read: Which is the Best Bike for Ladakh

Indian Astronomical Observatory

The observatory in Hanle was established in the year 2001 and is remotely operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Sitting at an altitude of 4,500 m (14,800 ft) on the top of Mt. Saraswati, it is currently the ninth highest optical telescope in the world.

Like the monastery, the observatory also is situated on a hill overlooking the village. The entire station is powered by solar charged batteries.

Earlier the tourists were allowed right to the main dome and could even climb the spiral staircase to reach the main telescope. There is actually an observatory guest house as well where people were allowed to stay. But after the recent increase in tourism, this privilege has been taken away and you may even have to see the observatory from a distance.

hanle observatory

Photi La

At a distance of around 24 kilometers from Hanle is a pass that not many have conquered. It is known as Photi La and is quite close to the Indo-Tibetan border. At an elevation of 5,524 meters (18,124 ft), it offers an amazing view of the Hanle valley.

The road to the pass runs out of the village itself. The climb to the top is a difficult one with the last 5 kilometers being really steep. As you get closer to the top, you will start seeing boards put up by the Indian army letting people know that the ILP zone ends here and you are not allowed to go any further.

photi la

Umling La

At an altitude of 19,300 ft, Umling La currently holds the record of being the highest motorable road in the world. From Hanle, you will first climb up Photi La and then reach Umling La if you continued further.

This pass came into existence in the year 2017 and a lot of people successfully covered it without getting any permits. However, it is almost right next to the India-China border and when tourists started arriving here, it caused a lot of problems. Some bikers were even arrested and held by the Indian army.

As of now, this Pass is off-limits for tourists. From Hanle, you can only go as far as Photi La and not beyond. But in the future, if the Army allowed it, Umling La will become the greatest tourist attraction of Hanle. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Umling La.

umling la

Hanle Night Sky

Let me just summarize it by saying that you have never seen anything like it. You may have seen skies lit with starts multiple times before but it is an entirely different experience at Hanle.

An annual rain plus snow precipitation of less than 10 cm, low ambient temperatures, low humidity, low atmospheric water vapor, dark nights, and almost no pollution make Hanle a perfect site for night sky-gazing. The clear view of the stars above from Hanle is the reason why it was the chosen place for Indian Astronomical Observatory.

Also Read: Nights of Ladakh – The Milky Way

Peace and Tranquility

With only a few people around, almost in the middle of nowhere; this is a peaceful place that seems to be at a standstill in time. Just take a walk through the valley, spend some time here alone, slow life down for a couple of days, relax and rejuvenate yourself.

Scenic Beauty

Last but not the least, the amazing vistas all around alone makes Hanle worth a visit. The beauty of the entire Changthang Valley is enough to inspire the awe out of anyone. The small mountains around Hanle are in sharp contrast to what you would have seen so far on your Ladakh trip.

where to stay in hanle

Accommodation in Hanle Ladakh

There are no fancy hotels here which I think is given with the fact that it is just a tiny village. Your choice of accommodation is limited to simple guesthouses (paying guests) and the Observatory guest house.

Guest Houses

Earlier there was only one guest house here by the name of Padma Guest House. It is a very small set up with about 6 rooms and the tariff can range from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000 per day depending on your time of arrival. Please do keep in mind that it is a very simple yet decent enough guest house. The rooms are quite clean, spacious and your stay here would be comfortable.

To inquire about this guest house, you can try calling Sonam Dorjay at 09469224302. However, since there is no cell phone reception in Hanle, you may find this number switched. In that case, drop him a message or email at [email protected] with your query. They have also recently gone online and you can book your stay at their online portal.

A few other guest houses have also come up in recent years by the name of Sonam Homestay, Milky Way homestay, Kelsang Homestay, Hanle House, and a couple of others. Just take a walk through the village, find one per your liking, negotiate a deal, and check-in.

Homestays

The option of paying guest and guest house is actually the same. All these guest houses were earlier homestays. After the increase in tourism, the locals saw an opportunity for extra income and extended their houses by a few rooms that they now rent out.

Please note that the charges that you will pay at the guest houses will be inclusive of meals as well. But it is always wise to confirm it before you check-in.

Indian Observatory Guest House

There is also a government guest house at Hanle Observatory. Earlier they allowed visitors to stay there but then limited it to government officials on work purposes only. You can try your luck though, talk to the person in charge there and see if they will let you stay. I stayed here during my first visit to Hanle for Rs. 300 per night which has been my cheapest stay anywhere in Ladakh so far.

hanle village

Weather at Hanle

As it goes without saying, Hanle is located in a cold desert and the weather here is extremely cold and harsh. During summer, days can be moderately warm but the temperature really dips during the night. Sun too is quite harsh here and you must carry some good sunblock lotion. In the winter season, if it snowed too much, the road can even get blocked sometimes.

Best Time to visit Hanle

The best time to plan a trip to Hanle can be any time between June and September when the tourist season is at its peak. You will have better chances of finding a place to stay and a mode of transport to travel by.

The entire valley and the roads to it remain deserted for the rest of the time and the only movement is of the Indian Army and occasionally traveling locals.

From December till March, the entire village remains covered under a thick sheet of snow. Life here around this time is quite difficult with water freezing everywhere. This is not really the time to be here because the extreme cold and high altitude may become too much to handle. Snow starts to melt around April and by June; the weather turns quite pleasant making it a perfect time to visit. For more details, please read When is the Best time to visit Ladakh.

Inner line Permit for Hanle

Hanle is very near to the Line of Actual Control, so one needs to get an Inner Line Permit to visit it. Read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh to get more details on places that you need ILP for in Ladakh and how to get one. Please note that your regular ILP will work for Hanle and as far as Photi La. There is no other permit required to visit.

Hanle Altitude

Hanle is at an approximate altitude of around 4,500 meters. The altitude at the village can be a bit lower but Indian Astronomical Observatory here is at an altitude of 4,500 meters, (14,764 ft). Photi La, the nearest high altitude pass, about 30 kilometers from Hanle, is at an altitude of 5525 meters, 18,124 ft.

Chances of anyone suffering from AMS at Hanle are actually quite rare. This assumption is based on the fact that in order to reach here, you would already have stayed at Leh and traveled via Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri.

Both these lakes are at almost the same altitude as Hanle. So after spending time there, your body would already have adjusted and thus reducing the chances of AMS at Hanle.

However, if you had trouble while you were at Pangong or Tso Moriri, or your AMS symptoms were quite serious, then I would strongly advise continuing to Hanle. If your situation worsens, medical facilities here are severely limited and the nearest hospital at Leh is 2 days away.

For more details on acute mountain sickness, read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.

chushul war memorial

Road conditions and Preferred Vehicles

To summarize, road conditions on all the above-mentioned routes will be as below.

Leh to Hanle via Chumathang, Nyoma, and Loma: Mix of good and bad but mostly good. It can be covered in a Sedan and Hatchback as well.

Leh to Pangong Tso: Mostly good with a bad stretch around Chang La top, doable in Sedan and hatchback.

Pangong Tso to Hanle: Mix of good, bad, ugly, and really ugly; best for an SUV with good ground clearance.

Tso Moriri to Hanle via Charchagan La and Salsal La: Mostly a mix of bad and ugly. A 4×4 SUV is a must for this route.

Also Read: Which is the Best car for Leh Ladakh

Other Details

Mentioned below are other details that can be of help in planning your trip.

Distances

Leh to Hanle Distance: The distance between Leh to Hanle is 320 kilometers if you went via Pangong Tso and 250 kilometers if you went via Chumathang.

Pangong to Hanle Distance: The total distance between Pangong Tso to Hanle will be between 200 to 240 kilometers depending upon whether you chose to travel via Man and Merak or via Erath. Travel time will be less if you go via Erath and higher if you travel on the dirt road via Man and Merak.

Tso Moriri to Hanle distance: If you travel via Sumdo, Nyoma, and Loma, the distance between Tso Moriri and Hanle is about 150 kilometers. Traveling via Charchagan La and Salsal La, this distance would increase to 165 kilometers approximately.

Hanle Observatory Permission

If you want to get inside the observatory and see how things work here, you will have to get permission for it from Leh. Your regular ILP will not cover it.

Medical Facilities

The only place where you can get medical aid are the Army establishments. There is also a local pharmacy in the village but that is pretty much about it. For any medical emergency, you will have to rush back to Leh.

This is why it is important that

  • You do not continue to Leh if you were suffering from AMs at Pangong or on the way.
  • Carry a medical aid kit with some basic medicines and all of your prescribed medicines (if any).

Where to stay in Hanle

Any of the guest houses in the village are a good option to stay. Take a walk around, find one per your taste and budget, and check-in.

Where to Eat

There are no restaurants or dhabas in Hanle and you will have to stay at the homestay that you were staying at.

Phone Connectivity

BSNL has the largest coverage in all of Ladakh and you may get reception in Hanle as well. Do not however count on it. For the most part, your phone will remain off the network. Any other network other than BSNL does not work in Hanle. For more details, please read Mobile Network in Ladakh and Data Connectivity.

ATMs

The nearest ATM is in Leh only. Credit cards or any other online mode of payment are not accepted as well and you will have to carry enough cash.

Petrol Pump

The nearest petrol pump is in Leh or at Karu. If you were planning to cover Pangong, Hanle, and Tso Moriri on the same trip, you will have to seriously think about your fuel options. For more details, please take a look at Fuel Availability in Leh Ladakh – How to Manage.

Conclusion

I hope the information mentioned above regarding planning a trip to Hanle was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments sections below or at our Community Forum and I will be glad to answer.

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80 comments

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chetan bhojak September 13, 2020 - 10:14 am

hi virgis,
firstly you done a good job of help to everyone. I want to know a leh ladak atmosphere is good for 12 years boys or kids.

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Vargis.Khan September 14, 2020 - 4:07 pm

Yes it is Chetan Bhai. Please take a look at the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/traveling-to-ladakh-with-children/

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Varun Saxena April 18, 2020 - 1:31 pm

Hello sir,
I made my plan for 35 days in laddakh on my cycle , first 15 days my plan to cycle towards leh-pengong lake – chusul-hanle – tso moriri – leh
Rest 20 days leh-khardungala – diskit-hunder-turtuk-diskit-panamik-warshi and back to leh city.
My doubts about the route from pengong to hanle, is there some stay options in chusul as in map chusul to hanle are far distance, by cycle it can’t be done in a single day. How far cycle will be suitable, I m having low budget, I will try to setup my tent.

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Shakun Bothra March 13, 2020 - 10:59 am

Hi Vargis Sir,
I have planned a Leh visit with my better half for the period 30th July -6th August. I have decided my itinerary to be as follows –
1. Reach leh on 3oth Morning and visit Local places.
2. on 31st and 1st, I am planning to visit Drass war memorial and return back to Leh by 1st Evening. Could you suggest any decent hotel in Drass where we can stay. Further, is it a safe route since we will be on a rented bike.
3. On 2nd August leave for Pangong Tso, visit Hanle and Karzok and reach Leh by 5th evening. Can we cover the route on bike? Further, apart from riding bike, I do not know much about repairing in case the bike breakdown.
Hope you can reply to above queries. Further, would be great if you suggest some alternative itinerary which i can follow.

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Vargis.Khan March 13, 2020 - 12:43 pm

Do not plan anything right now Shakun. Ladakh has been shut down due to corona virus. No permits are being issued. Until the situation gets better, do not finalize anything

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Sagi October 22, 2019 - 1:54 pm

Hi Vargis,
I was planning for a 6N7D trip to Ladakh (will arrive by flight to leh) this mid-November. My main interests are stargazing in the darkest skies and playing in some snow. I’m facing difficulty in determining which places to go, whether it would be worth going to Hanle or not,etc.

Could you recommend me which places to go in 6N7D? Would it be possible/worth to include Hanle?

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Vargis.Khan October 23, 2019 - 1:24 pm Reply
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Himanshu Khankhane August 30, 2019 - 4:55 pm

Hello khan sir detailed info…just wanna know current condition of ladhak …I m planning to visit in September and also Hanle in my list …h
How much time it takes to reach by bus to Hanle from leh

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Ajay August 5, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Thank you for your article Vargis, its really helpful.
I am planning to travel solo in the first week of October, I will reach leh by air and travel from leh to hanle via pangong on a bike.

My question is, will I get a inner line permit in the first week of October

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Ambuj Kumar July 30, 2019 - 2:54 pm

Can You Suggest This Leh To Hanle Bus Route

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Jitendra July 25, 2019 - 3:14 am

Extremely helpful work Vargis ji. Thank you very much for so much info.
I am planning to visit Hanle this September. I do wide field astrophotography as an hobby. Is it possible to take night time photographs of the observatory? It will be from a distance like observatoryiin foreground with milkyway behind. I have seen some photographs like this. Do I need any permission for this?

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Vargis.Khan July 25, 2019 - 9:46 am

Hi Jitendra, Yes you can. No permission needed but finding a spot where you could get a clear shot would be tricky. Do no wander alone in the night. Dogs here are vicious and capable of killing. Have a local accompany you. Read this post.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/the-beasts-of-changtang/

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Vipin Mishra July 3, 2019 - 2:07 pm

Thank you for this effort and all the helpful information Vargis!
Could you tell me if you’ve ridden or driven from Karzok via the Chumur route to Hanle ? Its about 165 km and I wanted to know if its safe to assume that one can ride that stretch in a day ? Especially since the only shelter after Karzok would be Hanle!

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Vargis.Khan July 3, 2019 - 2:56 pm

That route is not open for tourists anymore Vipin, you will not be allowed to go that way.

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Lukesh Meshram June 17, 2019 - 4:51 pm

Hello Vargis

I have been enjoying reading your blogs on ladakh. we 3 friends planned to visit Leh next week and planned to visit Hanle from Pangong. we have not decided the route yet as we are not certain if my car, Hyundia i20 elite, will be able to make the journey due its low GC. Could you please help if we can make this trip from Pangong.

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Vargis.Khan June 17, 2019 - 6:04 pm

Hi Lukesh – If you are able to reach Pangong in i20 then yes, you will be able to make it to Hanle as well.

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Lukesh Meshram June 17, 2019 - 6:27 pm

Hi Vargis, glad to see your reply to the post, many thanks. As you said “if you are able to reach Pangong” does it mean it quite difficult to reach in low GC or suggesting it very much possible to make both journeys 🙂

so for low GC cars please suggest the best and safest route. is it Leh – Karu – Upshi – Chumathang – Mahe – Nyoma – Loma – Hanle?

AND if we want to save time, what would be the best route from Pangong to Hanle?

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Vargis.Khan June 17, 2019 - 11:04 pm

Crossing water streams and slushy areas will be tough while going to Ladakh in a low GC car. You will have to drive very carefully else you will damage the underbelly of your car. with that being said, it is doable. Friend of mine did it in his swift that has the same GC as an i20. You can take the Chushul route as well from Pangong, and cover the Chumathang route on your way back

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Lukesh Meshram June 18, 2019 - 5:59 pm

Thanks Vargis for your valuable input and suggestions. Will definitely update this post with my experience in low GC car.

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Vargis.Khan June 18, 2019 - 6:02 pm

Thanks Lukesh. Have a safe trip !!!

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rase rajan June 17, 2019 - 7:49 am

i am planning to visit manali – hanle – khalsar – turtuk – leh…

my vehicle is cycle…
is ther any permit to visit by cycle ?

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Vargis.Khan June 17, 2019 - 1:54 pm

Yes you still need to get the permit.

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Jasveen S Chawla June 5, 2019 - 6:55 pm

Vargis Bhai, You
mentioned camera’s are not allowed. Will we need to deposit mobile phone as well ?

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Vargis.Khan June 5, 2019 - 7:20 pm

No Jasveen Bhai, they will allow you to take the cellphone along. Actually, a friend of mine visited last year and they did not even ask him to deposit the camera.

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Aravind MJ June 2, 2019 - 1:34 pm

Vargis bhai, can you elaborate the route from Hanle-Charchagan La-Karzok a little bit more? Like time to cover that distance and any settlements on the way. I am confused which route to take since the are 2 passes and 3 lakes in the second route. I will be driving a 4×2 SUV. Please help. I am planning to travel to Leh by end of this month.

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Vargis.Khan June 2, 2019 - 3:23 pm

Charchagan La route is off the limits as of now Aravind Bhai. You will not be allowed to go that way and you will actually need a 4×4 vehicle for that.

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Vishal Dhanjani May 5, 2019 - 8:27 am

Hey, Vargis.
Do I need the Inner Line Permit if I’m traveling by local transport?

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Vargis.Khan May 5, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Yes you do Vishal

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Dinesh May 2, 2019 - 6:41 am

Hi Vargis , please comment on the challenges of below itenerary:
Manali – Jispa – Sarchu – Tso Moriri – Hanle – Pangong – Nubra – Leh – Manali
I will be renting a bike in Manali

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Vargis.Khan May 2, 2019 - 5:36 pm

You will have to go to Leh first to get the permits Dinesh

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Thibaut April 20, 2019 - 6:32 am

Hi Vargis,

It seems in 2019 ILP does not allow to travel to Photi La and Umling La ?

Was planning a cycling trip to Hanle, but will likely change plans then.

Thanks,

Thibaut

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Vargis.Khan April 20, 2019 - 6:38 am

Hi Thibaut – Yes, Umling La is out of bounds for tourists for now.

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Sanjiv March 12, 2019 - 4:26 pm

Can we visit Hanle in June-July this year ? I saw a comment saying last year permits were not issued.

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Vargis.Khan March 12, 2019 - 7:14 pm

Yes you can. It was allowed later in the year last year.

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atit SHAH February 17, 2019 - 5:07 am

Hi. I will be going to Leh i early May. My question is will we see snow in early May at Hanle. Also can we visit the observatory at night?

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Vargis.Khan February 17, 2019 - 4:16 pm

No for both your questions

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Vishnu August 22, 2018 - 7:51 am

1) Pangong – Merak – Chushu l- Tsaga La – Loma- Hanle
2) Hanle – Loma – Nyoma – Mahe – Sumdo – Karzok

Are these 2 circuits doable by a Royal Enfield HIMALAYAN?

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Anup Maity July 19, 2018 - 10:33 am

Hi,
I want to visit leh on first week of October, kindly inform is it possible to visit pangong,merak,chushul,lome,hanle,lam tso,kyun tso,tso moriri,karzok,tso kar by road.

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Vargis.Khan July 19, 2018 - 1:13 pm

Kyun Tso may not be allowed but for rest of the places yes you can.

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Anup Maity July 19, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Thank You.
If any possible to snow fall in this time.

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Vargis.Khan July 19, 2018 - 8:30 pm

Chances are very less but depends on the weather entirely. In September and October, it usually snows only at top of the passes.

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Anup Maity July 20, 2018 - 4:07 am

Thank you.

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Vargis.Khan July 20, 2018 - 1:02 pm

You are welcome !!!

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Mr M May 29, 2018 - 5:33 am

Vargis bhai there is a update regarding the permit issue,apparently they have started issuing permits again .
https://www.bcmtouring.com/forums/threads/hanle-umling-la-chushul-now-off-limits-for-civilians.72911/

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saqeer shah May 22, 2018 - 6:56 am

Hi Vargis

Could you please tell me how to directly reach Hanle and the time it will take and also the best time to watch milky way with clear skies?

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Vargis.Khan May 22, 2018 - 1:35 pm

Hi Saqeer – Hanle is off limits this year, cannot go there. Permits are not being issued.

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Ajay garg May 23, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Oohh no, we really want to go there this year, to celebrate my son’s 18th B’day on 27 Jun. Is there any possibility to get permit late ?

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Vargis.Khan May 23, 2018 - 1:27 pm

Not possible this year Mr. Garg

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ajay garg May 30, 2018 - 4:25 am

Ok Vargis, Thanks.

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Arshad Nazar May 16, 2018 - 9:54 am

Is there no way to go to Umling la this year ? If yes please mention the way and let know the procedures.

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Vargis.Khan May 16, 2018 - 4:58 pm

No way at all you can make it to Umling La this year. Lot of fuss around it.

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Arshad Nazar July 20, 2018 - 1:54 pm

So can I ride my bike to high passes on mid of October ? Snow?

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Vargis.Khan July 20, 2018 - 2:46 pm

It depends on the weather. If it started to snow early then you can’t. Otherwise yes you can

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SHIV March 28, 2018 - 12:17 pm

HI vergis bhai,
bhai mera plan umlingla ka hai.
leh to pangong or fir sidha hanle jata hu to petrol pump ki problem aegi hanle k bad petrol tandi ya fir karu me e milega to isliye agr me leh-pangong-karu uske bad hanle jata hu to thik raega kya???
10 ltr petrol crry kr rha hu extra me mai!
karu-hanle-umlingla-karu(petrol fill kra k) manali.

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Vargis.Khan March 28, 2018 - 5:07 pm

Shiv Bhai aap ye 2 post check karo. Saare sawalon ke jawab yahan mil jaayenge.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/fuel-availability-in-leh-ladakh-manage/

https://vargiskhan.com/log/umling-la/

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Manoj Vandazhi February 17, 2018 - 5:21 pm

Bikers based in Kerala planning on july this year seven of us set out of journey which would see us ride our bikers on the following route – Amrithsar – Jammu – srinagar – kargil – leh – khardungala – hunder – thurthuk – nubravalli – Sachin base camp – hunder – shyok – chushul – hanle – ukdungle – umling pass – hanle – tso – keylong – Manama – Chandigarh . In this post l will only talk about umlingla pass a detailed report of our experience will be shared at later date ( river condition including)

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Vargis.Khan February 20, 2018 - 4:03 pm

Thanks Manoj. I would love to hear about your ride and how it went. I would request you to please join our community at the link below and share some details and pictures.

http://roadragas.com/index.php

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Sudhanshu Verma February 16, 2018 - 6:04 pm

Hi Vargis,
Once again I’m leaving for my bikepacking tour. This time I’m going to cycle around Zanskar and then Leh to stok – Hanle.
I wanted to discuss few things about my route. is there any way we can discuss in detail ?
Really appreciate your time 🙂

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Shan July 10, 2017 - 5:04 pm

Hi.. need some clarification… Day 1: Land in Leh on Oct 22nd and drive to uleytopko ….Day 2: Uleytopko to Lamayuru to Leh…Day 3: Leh local sightseeing Day 4: Leh to Nubra Day 5: Nubra to Pangong Tso Day 6: Pangong Tso to Leh… DAY 7: FLY back at 11.40am on Oct 28th…

Can I alter my travel time on Day 6 and 7 as follow… Now can I drive from Pangong Tso to Tso moriri in a day? And probably come back and stay near chumathang same day? And then start early next day and reach airport around 10am..

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:09 pm

Hi Shan, No that is impossible to do in a day, no matter which route you take.

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Shan July 13, 2017 - 4:28 pm

Thanks for the input… Now probably if we change the itinerary slightly like this will it work?
Day 1: Oct 22nd land in Leh – rest day
Day 2: drive up to Lamayuru and back to Leh
Day 3: Leh to Nubra valley
Day 4: Nubra to Pangong
Day 5: Pangong to Tso Moriri
Day 6: Tso Moriri to Leh
Day 7: morning 11.20am fly back (Oct 28th)… Will this work?

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Vargis.Khan July 13, 2017 - 11:00 pm

I apologize, I read you comment and first itinerary wrong. It is doable as well, I am sorry about misguiding earlier. The problem with first one is that it will be way too rushed a journey. Second one will be better except for Day 5. It is ideally a 2 days journey and if you are doing it in a day, then ensure that you start by first light of the day, keep your breaks limited to essentials. It will easily be a 10-12 hours of ride.

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:02 pm

Noted bro. Thanks a lot for your help. That reminds me! Can you please suggest me places to visit in Leh i.e. internal sightseeing? And what is the internal mode to commute?

My bus shall reach Leh on 27 July Thursday (evening as you know). Do you want me to tell you detailed itin once again? 😀

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:06 pm

For a day, take a trip to Leh Palace, Shanti Stoopa and Leh market. That will take up all your time that you will have left after arranging permits, bus schedule etc.

No, I was just confirming the dates 🙂

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:09 pm

Thank you bhai, noted 🙂

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:07 pm

When you are there, can you ask around a couple of things for me? I have no plan to visit Leh this year.

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:10 pm

Yes bro, definitely! It will be my pleasure. Please let me know whatever help you need and I shall try my best.

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:12 pm

Two thing I wanted to get some clarification bhai,

1. Can you ask the procedure for online ILP? Like how does it work? Person applies for ILP online and then where to make the payment, do they need to get it stamped and where etc? Whatever details you can get.
2. The bus timings. While you are there at the bus stand, can you just click a picture of the schedule and send me when you are back?

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:15 pm

Noted. Will do. Anything else?

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:21 pm

Nahi Bhai that is pretty much it. Baaki toh jab aap aaoge vaapis toh we will talk about how your trip went.

Komal just sent me her write up of the trip, I will post it tomorrow. You can read through how she traveled by public transport and see if it helps.

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Sure. Will be helpful. Also, do you think I need to have any numbers handy? In case wahape jarurat padhe kisi cheez ka.

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 5:32 pm

Numbers? Hotels etc?

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 5:37 pm

Yes. Hotels. Cab drivers. I saw a lot of this on your website. All this is required or anyways without this, good to go? 😀

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 6:33 pm

No not required at all. Good to go without any numbers ….

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Kaustubh Kale July 11, 2017 - 3:42 am

Sure, noted, thanks!

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 4:00 am

Bro, I had dropped this from my itinerary since you said travelling and all will be complicated. Looking at your article I am excited to travel to this place, there is no option for me right? I am on a solo trip and relying completely on public transport.

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 4:44 pm

Kaustubh Bhai the only way you can plan a journey here within budget is to modify your entire itinerary as per the bus timings.

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Kaustubh Kale July 10, 2017 - 4:49 pm

Yes when I made my itinerary I did that. For Nubra there is a bus, but the days when I am going to Pangong and Karzok, there are no buses, so I shall opt for private buses or tourist shared cabs. Anyways, I had dropped Hanle then since it was complicated from a public transport perspective. I tried tweaking the itine but only bus for Nubra is possible. In case I do stay extra somewhere probably Pangong might be doable. Lets see. I am sure I won’t forget things, I am carrying data on Evernote, but people there are helpful na? in hotel suppose I forget which days buses are there 😀

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 4:58 pm

Yes of course, people there are a lot helpful. In case your forget a bus timing, just go to Leh Bus stand. They put up the schedule on a board on the wall. Rather, I would advise that you make it a mandate to do so. Upon reaching Leh, go to Bus stand and reconfirm the bus schedules. There is a high possibility that they may have changed a few bus timings from the information that I received last. So go to the bus stand, confirm bus timings, arrange permits and then go for local sight seeing within Leh town.

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Vargis.Khan July 10, 2017 - 4:59 pm

I forgot, what dates were you traveling Bhai?

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