When you talk about the tourist season in Ladakh, I believe it is the month of April that marks the beginning of it. As winter beings to fade away in April, locals prepare for the upcoming tourist season; and thousands of people from all over the country get ready for the trip they had been planning on for so long. April may not be called as the best time to visit Ladakh but there are certain charms and benefits that only this month can offer you. What those are and how you can plan your trip to Ladakh in April is what I will provide details on further in this article.
April marks the beginning of the Spring season in the hills. With the changing weather, all the snow that has been blocking the roads at high altitude passes starts to melt; and BRO works rigorously to open them all as early as possible. The first and the most important thing here to know is that a road trip to Ladakh in April highly depends upon the weather conditions. Srinagar Leh highway is the first to get declared open in either April or early May; followed by Manali Leh route in late May to early June.
So before you finalize your plan, wait until at least mid of March to get an update on road opening. However, if you were planning to catch a flight to Leh City, you are free to plan as per your convenience in April. Read on to find out more.
Is Ladakh Open in April
The answer to this question is a definite yes but can also be broken down further with a few conditions applied. If you mean in terms of road connectivity to Manali and Srinagar, then yes it may be open towards the end of April. All internal roads however in Ladakh are completely open in April including the ones towards Nubra valley and Pangong Tso from Leh city. In terms of accommodation as well, Ladakh remains open in April and you will have no problem finding a place to stay.
How to Reach Leh Ladakh in April
Let us first talk about how you can reach Ladakh in April. Your options in all probability will be limited to either catch a flight or drive on your own via Srinagar. Let us take a look at these options in detail.
Srinagar to Leh in April
Historically, Srinagar Leh highway is declared open sometime in April, either towards the mid of it or the end. There have been instanced when it opened even earlier than that, like in 2017. But to be on a safer side, if you were planning to reach Leh via Srinagar in April, keep your plans towards the end of April.
Itinerary for Leh via Srinagar in April
Below is an example of an itinerary that you can follow. For the sake of this article, I will assume Delhi as the starting point. You will of course have to reach Ladakh via Srinagar and come back the same way because Manali Leh route will not be open in April.
- Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
- Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
- Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
- Kargil to Leh – Day 4
- Leh – Day 5
- Leh to Diskit – Day 6
- Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
- Pangong to Leh – Day 8
- Leh to Batalik / Kargil – Day 9
- Batalik / Kargil to Srinagar – Day 10
- Srinagar to Jammu – Day 11
- Jammu to Delhi – Day 12
Following this itinerary, when you reach Leh from Kargil on Day 4, you will do so via Lamayuru. But on your way back on Day 9, you can choose an alternate route via Batalik. However, please note though that a permit is needed to travel on Batalik route; so ensure to add this name on your ILP application form.
In case Shyok road is closed at your time of arrival then you will have to return to Leh from Diskit on Day 7; and go to Pangong on next day. If you have more time in your hand, then you can plan a trip to Tso Moriri as well; either from Leh via Chumathang or from Pangong via Chushul.
Srinagar to Leh bus in April
The bus service from Srinagar to Leh starts sometime in May after BRO declares the road as safe enough for a bus to ply. This service remains unavailable in the month of April. If you want to travel by public transport, then your only option is to find a shared taxi or rent a motorcycle from Srinagar.
Ladakh Bike Trip in April
The itinerary I suggested above is perfect for planning a trip to Ladakh by motorcycle. Before you do so, please make sure that your bike is completely ready for Ladakh. Get it serviced, learn some minor repairs yourself like changing tubes and carry some spares. For more details, please read How to prepare your Motorcycle for Ladakh Trip.
Manali to Leh in April
Manali Leh highway remains closed in April. Road clearing operation by BRO remains on throughout the month but civilian traffic is not allowed. There is absolutely no way that you can plan a journey on Manali Leh Highway in April. Even the Manali Leh Bus will not be operational until June 15th.
Flight to Ladakh
So your safest bet to travel to Leh Ladakh in April would be by Air. This is the only way you can be sure that your plans would not be at a risk of getting cancelled. A Leh Ladakh road trip in April is possible in April towards the end of the month but it will entirely depend on the weather; and there will always be a risk of the plan getting canceled if the weather was not favorable.
But if you reached Ladakh by Air, then acute mountain sickness will be one of your biggest worries. Your gain in altitude will be huge in a matter of a couple of hours and you are bound to suffer from Mountain sickness, at least on the first day of your arrival. To know more in details on AMS and what its symptoms are, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.
Leh Ladakh Weather in April
Leh Ladakh in the month of April will still be cold. It will not be on the extreme side like in the months of peak winters but still enough to leave you shivering. Days will be pleasantly warm but nights will definitely be very cold. It will also depend on the time of your visit. If you were visiting in early April, it will definitely be colder than towards the end of the month.
Ladakh Temperature in April
The temperature in Ladakh in April will be around 10-15 °C maximum and -0 °C on the minimum side. Other than the time of the month, it will also depend on which part of Ladakh you were in. The temperature around water bodies like Pangong and Tso Moriri will drop down to around -5 °C (or even further down) even in April.
The snow would be mostly all gone from the lower areas but there will still be plenty of it in the higher reaches. For more information on this, please read When is the Best time to Visit Ladakh.
Clothes to Pack
What kind of clothes to pack for Ladakh in April? There are two aspects to it. The first is that you will definitely need warm woolens but the second side is that you cannot pack all heavy woolens. The weather of Ladakh at this time is a bit tricky in the way that it will be warm during the day and cold during the night. You will feel hot standing in the sun but will feel the chill standing in the shade. If you were in the town of Leh, you will be comfortable but if you were at the top of a mountain pass like Khardung La, you will definitely be shivering.
So your packing must be in a way that you are able to handle all kinds of situations. For example, if it was me, I will pack a pair of thermals, regular cotton clothes, some light woolens, and a heavy jacket. I will definitely not pack any tight or body-hugging clothes.
What I did here was to pack my clothes in layers that I can wear on top of one another. If I was cold, I can just add another layer of clothes and if warm, remove a layer until I was comfortable.
Good quality gloves, warm socks, a monkey cap, and a muffler will also be required. Some other helpful items can be a pair of sunglasses, lip balm, cold cream, moisturizer and some regular cold, flu, stomach ache, headache medicines.
The face of tourism in Ladakh is rapidly changing. Until a few years ago, the majority of the hotels and guest houses will remain closed in early April; both in Leh city and other areas of Ladakh. But that is not the case anymore. If you were to visit Ladakh in April now, you will find the majority of the hotels up and running and will have no problem finding a place to stay.
As a matter of fact, since there will not be too many tourists around at this time, there is a great chance that you may actually get a good deal. The same logic applies to other places like Srinagar, Kargil, Sonamarg, and Drass as well.
Whether or not to book in advance is a personal choice entirely. If it gives you the peace of mind, you may call in and book a room; otherwise you could just arrive here, find a hotel per your liking and negotiate an on the spot deal. For more details on this, please read Clothes for Ladakh Trip – What to Pack.
Road Connectivity and Condition
Internal roads in Ladakh remain open and connected for all 12 months, except for the times when heavy snow may block the passes during the peak winter season. But in April, you will have no problem getting to any part of Ladakh from Leh City.
Manali Leh highway, of course, would be closed and since the Srinagar route would just have opened, it will be in its worst-ever shape. Melting snow would have created numerous water streams and slush all across. Bad sections of the road will majorly be between Srinagar and Sonamarg.
The worst section, however, will be between Sonamarg and Drass in the form of Zojila Pass. You will have to tackle a lot of mud and slush while crossing over Zojila at this time. Between Drass and Leh, roads will be average with a few bad patches in between.
After you have reached Leh, roads towards Nubra Valley, Pangong and Tso Moriri will be a mix of good and average. Bad sections will be limited to the top of Khardung La and Chang La. Presence of snow and water streams creating by melting of it will be in plenty on these routes as well.
Places to Visit in Ladakh in April
Let us now talk about places to visit in Leh Ladakh in April. As I was just discussing, all the internal roads will remain connected so you can pretty much cover all of Ladakh and visit all the places you want to see. The only hitch in the plan could be that if you were traveling in early April and if it snowed at any of the passes en route; it may close the road temporarily and you may not be able to travel to your desired destination. But chances of that happening are quite less in April. Let us take a look at the places to one by one.
Nubra Valley in April
Nubra Valley remains open in April completely. The critical road to Siachen Base Camp runs through Nubra valley due to which, Indian Army keeps it open all year long. Even if it snowed at Khardung La and the road shut down for a while, BRO will clear it and restore connectivity as soon s they can.
So during your Ladakh visit in April, You will be able to visit all the local villages like Diskit, Hunder, Turtuk, Sumur and Panamik.
Hotels in Nubra Valley
In terms of accommodation, I would recommend that you plan staying at Diskit for the night. It has the greatest number of hotels in the valley and considering the cold weather, finding a good enough hotels that suits your needs will be easier here.
But this is just an option though. Even in other places like Hunder, Turtuk and Panamik, you will easily be able to find a place to stay. For more information, please read How to Plan a Trip to Nubra Valley.
Pangong Tso Lake in April
If you were hoping for a completely frozen Pangong Lake, then you will not find it so in April. The Lake freezes over towards the end of January but starts to melt by the end of March. In April, it is more blue than white. The good news, however, is that you will be able to visit here with no problem at all unless it snowed at Chang La and the road got closed temporarily.
In terms of accommodation, all of the campsites may not be available in early April, in which case, you will have to stay as at a guest house in Spangmik or in Merak. But if you were visiting Pangong Lake in April end though, campsites too will be operational and you will have no problem finding a place to stay.
Pangong Lake Weather in April
Please note that the weather and temperature at Pangong is always a lot colder than that of Leh or Nubra Valley. The large water body forces the temperature to fall a few degrees below the average temperature elsewhere in Ladakh. Add to it the fact that Pangong is at a much higher altitude than Leh city and you will know why the night at the lake becomes problematic for so many people.
The temperature at Pangong Lake in April will be around during the day and at night. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Pangong Tso.
Agham Shyok Road Status
The Shyok route is the one that connects Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. Taking this road, you can travel directly between the two places without having to back to Leh City. Earlier, this road used to remain closed until June but after recent renovation, even this route will be open in April. You can reach Nubra and then go directly to Pangong from there. For more details, please read How to Travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Directly.
Tso Moriri in April
Like Nubra and Pangong, Tso Moriri too remains open in April but it too will not be in a frozen state. Your chances of finding accommodation here are actually even better than at Pangong as there are a lot of guest houses in Karzok. Camp sites too are available but may not be operational in April. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Tso Moriri.
The route via Chushul is the one that you can take to travel directly to Tso Moriri from Pangong Lake without having to go back to Leh City. You will travel from Pangong to Chushul via Man and Merak. After Chushul, you will take the road via Tsaga, Loma, Nyoma, Mahe and Sumdo to arrive to Karzok (Tso Moriri). Please read How to Plan a Trip from Pangong to Tso Moriri for more details.
This route too remains open in April completely and you can easily travel on it if you had a car with good ground clearance.
Hanle Village too remains open in April month. An ideal way for the journey would be that you reach Loma from Pangong Tso and go to Hanle to spend the night. From Hanle, on the next day, you will then return to Loma and continue to Tso Moriri.
Leh to Kargil Route
The road from Leh to Kargil remains open all year long. So yes, you will be able to travel on this road even if the Srinagar Leh highway was not entirely open. You can catch a flight to Leh and then plan a road trip to Kargil while visiting places like Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Indus Zanskar Confluence, Mulbekh Maitreya, Moonland and Lamayuru Monastery on the way.
Sham Valley also remains open at this time and you can easily plan a trip here as well during your travel to Ladakh in April.
Visiting Tso Kar may not be possible this early in the season. The high altitude pass of Tanglang La remains closed in April so you will not be able to cross it and get to the other wide on Moore Plains, to reach Tso Kar. You can get there though from Tso Moriri side but will then have to go back to Karzok itself. There will also not be any accommodation available at Tso Kar at this time.
Chadar trek is only done in January and February and is not possible in April.
Zanskar Valley in April
You cannot reach Zanskar Valley in April. You can get to Kargil from Leh but the road ahead to Padum will definitely be closed at this time. Since you cannot also take the Chadar trek route, there is absolutely no way to access Zanskar in April.
This, however, depends highly on the weather. If there was less snow in the winter, the road from Kargil to Padum can actually be declared open in April as well. But even at the earliest, it will only be after 15th April.
Snow in Ladakh in April
There are two ways to look at it. If you were hoping to catch a live snowfall in Ladakh in April then your chances are brighter if you went in the early part of the month. At this time, there will be a good amount of snow on the ground, at the passes and along the routes. If you were lucky, it may even snow while you were still there.
But if you went to Ladakh in April end, then chances of snowfall are much less. If you were, however, thinking about finding snow on the ground; then you can go in any part of the month and will still find plenty of snow at the high altitude passes. There will be no snow in the lower areas like Leh and Nubra Valley though.
What to do in Leh Ladakh in April
Other than visiting all of the places I mentioned above, there isn’t much else left to do actually. Rafting in Ladakh in April is not possible because the water will be too cold and not suitable. If you are into trekking, you can try a few treks in Sham Valley. Please read How to Plan a Trip to Sham Valley for more details on this.
You can also rent a motorcycle (if you reached by flight) and enjoy biking to your favorite places. There will be plenty of snow left at top of the passes like Khardung La and Chang La and if you were lucky, you may even catch a live snowfall in the earlier part of the month. So yes, if you were traveling with family, having some fun in the snow will definitely be a thing to try.
Experiencing the local culture of Ladakh is one of the best things to do here. It is a mix of Tibetan, Indian, Kashmiri, Buddhist and Muslim cultures and is really unique. You must also try eating out at the restaurants in Leh and try some local dishes. For more details on this, please read What to eat in Ladakh – Foods you must try in Ladakh.
Shopping should also be on your list. Though the markets will not be at their best in April since it is just the beginning of the tourist season, you can still buy some local stuff as a souvenir. Please read Shopping in Ladakh – What to buy in Ladakh for more details on this.
Other than this, just relax, do plenty of sightseeing, have fun with your friends and family and enjoy life to the fullest; that is what you should be doing during your trip to Leh Ladakh in April.
Availability of Public Transport Services
Public transport at this time will still be scarce since the region has just started to open up for tourists. You may not find any bus at all going towards inner areas of Ladakh from Leh city. Even if there is one available, the frequency of it will not be so great. I am not saying that the buses will not be available at all but you cannot really rely on it. There could be one in a few days or a week.
A safer bet of public transport thus will be shared taxis that you can find from Leh bus stand. Just reach the main bus stand in the morning and you will either find a Bus or a shared cab going towards your desired destination.
Motorcycles also will be available for rent which can be a great alternative if you are unable to find a bus or shared cab at the desired time. You can rent a motorcycle from Leh city and travel at your convenience.
Do take a look at Leh Ladakh Bus Schedule for more details on bus timings from Leh City.
Inner Line Permit for Ladakh
Another important thing to know is the requirement of getting an inner line permit. Ladakh, due to its close proximity to China border is considered a part of the Inner line; and hence getting a permit from DM office Leh is mandatory in order to travel towards areas like Nubra valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri.
This permit can either be obtained in person or applied for online. You will have to keep multiple copies of your permits and will be asked to submit one at the check posts on the way. To know the complete procedure of getting this permit and related charges, please take a look at How to Obtain an Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.
Mobile Connectivity in Ladakh
When it comes to mobile and data connectivity in Ladakh, it is pretty much limited to Leh city only if we talk about a strong and good reception. The most important thing that you should know is that only postpaid connections work here. Your prepaid phone will be dead the moment you step foot in Ladakh.
BSNL here has the widest coverage, but it is only Leh where you will get a stable connection with good voice clarity. You will get an intermittent BSNL connection in Nubra, Pangong and several other areas of Ladakh but voice clarity will not be that good. But you will at least be able to send text messages if needed.
Airtel will work very well in Leh city with 4G data connectivity. In Nubra Valley, you will have a good reception with 2G data. Airtel does not work at Pangong or Tso Moriri or any other area.
Jio has good reception and 4G connectivity in Leh. In Nubra Valley, you will get 3G data with good voice calls.
Vodafone and Idea will only work in Leh City. For more information on this topic, please read Mobile Services in Leh and Other areas of Ladakh.
Challenges You may Face
Visiting Ladakh in April means that you are traveling early in the season. If traveling by road from Srinagar, then bad road conditions and unpredictability will be your biggest challenge. You are bound to face some really bad sections of the road, water crossings, and slush. BRO continues to work on the road in April and temporary closures are not surprising at this time. If that happens, then you will be stuck or stranded unless the road is opened again.
If flying by Air, then Acute Mountain Sickness will be your biggest challenge as I described previously in the article. Limited accommodation choices will remain to be a challenge in both cases.
Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh with Children
Why you should Travel to Leh Ladakh in April
There is no denying that after the recent boost in tourism, even Ladakh has started to get a bit crowded during the peak tourist season. If you would rather visit here when there weren’t many people around, then April will be a good time.
For budget travelers as well, you can reduce the cost of your trip by traveling early in the season. Since there won’t be many tourists yet, you may get a good deal at the hotels.
April can also be a good time if you want to see a lot of snow and witness a live snowfall as well.
Itinerary for visiting Ladakh in April
With all of the above being said, let me suggest a sample itinerary that you can follow for this trip. Your final plan will of course depend on how many days you have in hand but it should at least give you an idea on how to plan your journey. I will suggest the plan for a road trip previously in the article so I will suggest an itinerary for a trip by flight now.
If reaching Ladakh by Air, below is the itinerary you can follow.
- Arrive in Leh. Rest and arrange Permits – Day 1
- Leh to Lamayuru to Leh – Day 2
- Leh to Diskit – Day 3
- Diskit to Leh – Day 4
- Leh to Pangong – Day 5
- Pangong to Leh – Day 6
- Leh to Tso Moriri – Day 7
- Tso Moriri to Leh – Day 8
- Fly Out – Day 9
This of course is just a sample itinerary but it is one plan that you can follow irrespective of your time and mode of travel. The connecting roads between Nubra, Pangong and Moriri may not be open in April in which case you will have to come back to Leh from each of these destinations. If you hired a motorcycle in Leh or a private cab, you can follow this itinerary but in case the connecting roads are open as well, then you can travel directly between Nubra and Pangong via Shyok road; and Pangong and Moriri via Chushul route.
If however you were looking for a bus or shared taxi, then you will have no other choice but to return to Leh city every time. There is still no public transport available on Shyok road, across Wari La or Chushul / Hanle route.
Mentioned below are some other tips that can be of help for visiting Leh Ladakh in April.
No Running Water
During the winter season in Ladakh, water pretty much freezes everywhere including the pipes which means that there may not be any running water at all. This may be the case in April as well if you were planning to stay in a village at small guest houses or as paying guests. Large hotels in Leh city may provide hot running water in April but the guest houses in remote areas may not be able to do so.
In this case, hot water will be provided to you in buckets and you will have to use that conservatively. It also means that you may have to go without a shower for a few days and if that is not OK by you, then maybe you should not visit Ladakh in April at all. You may be able to find an expensive hotel in Leh city that will provide all the necessary facilities; but in areas like Nubra, Karzok, and Spangmik, hot water is still a luxury in the winter season.
Keep Buffer Days
This actually applies irrespective of your time of travel. A trip to Ladakh will always have a bit of uncertainty factor to it. You may be visiting Nubra Valley or Pangong and the road across Khardung or Chang La may get snowed out; forcing you to stay back for a day or two. Or BRO may close any other road temporarily if the weather closed in or for restoration purposes.
To handle it better, you should plan your trip in a way that if you had to extend your stay in Ladakh by a couple of days; you would be able to do so without any problem back home.
Honeymoon in Leh Ladakh in April
Yes, a lot of people have now started to consider Ladakh for their honeymoon as well. If you were thinking that too then my answer is yes you can do it. Weather will be pleasantly cold and there will not be too many tourists around; making it a perfect place to plan for honeymoon. Just make sure that you call your hotel in advance, book your stay and inquire about facilities like hot water; because I am sure squatting every morning over a dry pit on your honeymoon isn’t what you would want to do.
Festivals in Ladakh in April
For more information on festivals in Ladakh and their dates, please read Festivals of Ladakh : A Colorful Celebration of Life and Ladakh Festival Dates.
Camping in Ladakh in April
Campsites in April will mostly be limited to either Pangong or Tso Moriri. There will be no campsites at this time on Srinagar Leh route and Manali to Leh will be closed anyway. However, you can definitely pitch your own tent if you were carrying all the necessary gear. Just make sure you bring in the best quality sleeping bag to keep you warm in below 0-degree temperatures. You can also rent the camping gear and sleeping bags in Leh city as well.
While self camping, please do not do so in the middle of nowhere. Try to pitch your tent close to a chadar tent or a Dhaba. You can pay them a little to give you a spot. This will also be beneficial in terms of meals since you can then eat at the Dhaba itself and wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on your own. You can also pay a little extra to use their washrooms as well.
For some more tips on camping in Ladakh, please take a look at Tips for Camping in Ladakh.
Leh Ladakh Road Trip in April
If you want to make it a road trip to Ladakh then there are two things you will have to keep in mind and both will heavily depend on the weather. The first is that you must plan towards later part of April. And second is that you must plan only via Srinagar. This too however can only happen if the weather was favorable and Srinagar Leh route was declared open in April that year.
Manali Leh highway usually opens by late May or early June and there is no way you can travel on it in April; so you would have to keep it out of your itinerary. Once you reach Ladakh though, all the other areas like Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso remain accessible by road and you will be able to visit all of them.
Is Srinagar Leh Highway Open in April?
Depending on the weather, the road from Srinagar to Leh may be open towards the end of April. It will however definitely not be open in the beginning of the month.
Is Pangong Lake Open in April?
Yes, Pangong Lake remains open in April. You can reach here either via Chang La or taking the direct route from Nubra Valley via Shyok road.
Manali to Leh by Road in April
Traveling on Manali Leh Highway in April is a complete no as the road remains closed for civilian traffic. The farthest you will be able to reach from Manali is Lahaul valley, provided that Rohtang Pass was declared open. Otherwise you will be sent back from Gulaba check post itself.
Also Read: How to Plan a Solo Trip to Ladakh
Can we visit Leh Ladakh in April?
The answer is that yes you definitely can. Just keep in mind the tips I mentioned above and I am sure you will have a really great trip.
How is Ladakh in April?
If I am to describe it in one word, I will say ‘cold’. It is true that April is the end of the winter season but not in a place like Ladakh. It is still going to be very cold with high chances of snowfall. But if we talk in terms of tourism, it will be completely open and you can comfortably plan your trip, as I explained above.
I hope the information above on planning a trip to Ladakh in April was of help. If you have any further questions; or have any doubts about your trip that you would like to clarify; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to assist.