How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh in November?

by Vargis.Khan

The month of October pretty much marks the end of tourist season in Ladakh. Though you can still find tourists there even in the month of November as well but those will be just a few in numbers. As winter progresses, even locals starts to move out to other areas of J&K or even to other parts of the country. During this time, a trip to Ladakh kind of becomes an acquired taste. I am not saying that you cannot do it but will have to carefully plan your entire trip keeping every small thing in mind. In this article I will provide some information on how you can plan your journey to Ladakh in November; some important tips which can ensure that your trip remains hassle free and enjoyable.

ladakh in november

To be honest, if asked, my advice to everyone would be to best avoid Ladakh tour in November altogether for several reasons. The months from November till April are considered off-season here which means that only a handful of people remain.




Cold would already have settled in and temperature will further continue to dip. Chances of a snowfall at anytime will continue to increase by each passing day. When I say anytime, I do not mean that it would not have snowed by now; because high altitude passes like Khardung La and Chang La get there first spell of snow sometime in September. What I am implying here is that even the places at comparatively lower altitude like town of Leh and Nubra Valley are prone to receiving snow in November. The frequency of snowfall too will increase come November.

This however does not mean that a trip to Ladakh in November becomes completely out of question. As a matter of fact, the road from Srinagar to Leh remains open until mid to late November. Last year it was actually open until December. Internal roads connecting places like Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso to Leh remains open throughout the winter. Indian Army regularly uses these roads for their movement; and even if the road anywhere gets snowed out, they will clear it as soon as possible.

Please note that Inner line permit was reintroduced in Ladakh effective 2017. If you want to visit any further than the city of Leh; for example towards Nubra or Pangong; you will need to obtain an inner line permit from DM office Leh. Please take a look at the article below for instructions on how to get this permit.

Also read: How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh

Can We Visit Ladakh in November?

I will break this article in three parts. First I will suggest a few important tips, then discuss some pros followed by cons of visiting Ladakh trip in November.

Try to Plan in Early November

If possible at all, then you must plan your trip in first half of November. Biggest advantage of doing this would be that you can still consider to make your trip by road. Srinagar Leh highway remains open in early November and you can use this road for both reaching Leh and returning home. Though the road can remain open even after 15th November but I would not recommend counting on it. There are high altitude passes on Srinagar road as well that can get snowed out anytime; leaving you stranded.

Plan Only Via Srinagar

The road from Manali to Leh gets declared closed sometime in October so it is best to just keep it out of your itinerary. Plan your trip from Srinagar only.

Book Flight if Traveling in Later Part of November

If you cannot make it in first half of November, then it is best to book a flight for getting to Ladakh and return journey. Even if the road is still open, it is best advised to not take the risk of a road trip. Reaching by flight however would mean that you are bound to suffer from high altitude sickness. Read How to handle AMS in Ladakh for details like what acute mountain sickness is; what its symptoms are and how you can handle it better.

Plan your stay

Finding accommodation in Ladakh may become a challenge in November; even in Leh city as well. It is thus better to inquire and plan your stay at other places like Nubra Valley, Pangong and Tso Moriri. Most of hotels and guest houses start to wind up for the year in October; and after that you may have trouble finding a place to stay at remote areas of Ladakh; specially if within a budget. It won’t really be a bad idea to actually book your accommodation in advance.

Also read:

Recommended Hotels and Guest Houses in Leh

Accommodation in Nubra Valley

Camp Sites and Guest Houses at Pangong Tso

Accommodation at Tso Moriri

Keep your Itinerary Simple

By keeping your itinerary simple, I mean to not include areas too remote. You should plan in a way that you reach Leh, visit Nubra, Pangong and Moriri; and be on your way back. Areas like Chushul route, Marismik La, Horla and Charchagan La are best avoided while traveling so late in the season. In November,  you may not even get permits for these places and even if you did, chance of getting stranded due to weather or a break down will be greater here in off season.

Prepare for cold

Oh yes, the winter has arrived and Ladakh is one of the coldest regions in India. Weather here is treacherous, unpredictable and extreme. If you are in Ladakh in November, then you must prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the cold days and nights you are about to experience. Expect the temperature to drop several degrees below zeroes during nights.

Pack your clothes accordingly

This is related to the point above. Since the weather can at times turn to extreme; you must carry some good thermals, woolens and a heavy windproof jacket. Good quality gloves, woolen socks are a must. Along with your head, you also need to worry about your ears, face and neck and carry a cap/muffler that can protect all.

Also read: Clothes for Ladakh Trip: What to Pack

Keep Buffer Days in Your Itinerary

While traveling to Ladakh in November, it is safe to assume that it will definitely snow at high altitude passes. There is a high possibility that you are in Nubra Valley and cannot return to Leh because Khardung La was all snowed out and blocked. Same thing applies for places like Pangong and Moriri. Hence it is important that you do not bound yourself to dates strictly and keep at least 2 days as a buffer. In case you got stuck somewhere, you will be able to afford to be there for a day or two.If all went well and according to the plan, you can use the buffer days to either rest in Leh, or to explore some other areas; or maybe to rest at home for a while after you returned from the trip.

Avoid a bike trip

A bike trip to Ladakh in November isn’t really the best idea. Low temperatures combined with cold winds is not the ideal climate to ride a bike through hills. Prefer to travel by your own car if driving via Srinagar and rent a taxi in Ladakh if reached there by flight.

Also read: How to travel to Ladakh with children or infants

Avoid starting early in the morning

Temperature at night in Ladakh drops below freezing point and as a result, it forms black ice on the roads which can be extremely dangerous. As a practice and precaution; do not start early in the morning. Wait for the sun to come up which will melt the black ice and then proceed as planned.

Postpone for next year if planning by Public Transport

Like all other tourist related activities; availability of public transport too gets scarce in Ladakh after October. Either there will be no transport available at all or it may not be on schedule due to extreme weather or a possible roadblock. If you were planning to use public transport, it would be best to cancel the trip for now and plan it for next year.

Pros of traveling to Ladakh in November

With the above being said, there are of course a few benefits of travelling to Ladakh in November. There aren’t many really but I will list down a couple.

Find plenty of snow

If the idea of a live snowfall is on your mind then chances are that you will catch one here in November. It starts to snow in Ladakh at high altitude passes by September end and by November, a snowfall may even occur at the lower altitude areas as well. If not a live snowfall then you will at least get to see plenty of snow around while crossing over passes like Khardung La or Chang La.

Also read: Mobile Connectivity in Ladakh

Fewer Tourists

Since the tourist season has ended and a lot of locals too have moved to other cities, there will be fewer tourists all across Ladakh. If you reached here seeking solitude and tranquility; then the month of November will suit you just fine. I agree that December and January will offer even a lesser number of people but the weather will not be as harsh in November as it will be in the months of December onward. Facilities though will be limited but not scarce.

Good Deals on Accommodation

If you have a natural talent of negotiating then you may even manage to talk yourself in getting a low cost deal on accommodation. Since there are not many tourists or guests around, some hotel or guest houses may allow you to stay at a lesser price before the finally close for the season.

Better treatment

It was never the way before but off-late, a lot of people came back to me stating that the hotels in Ladakh favored foreign tourists more than Indians; that they were more interested in attending their calls. I have honestly never faced this myself but this will hardly happen in the month of November. With number of tourists getting sparse and less customers, you will be treated well at any hotel or restaurant you visited.

No Water Streams or resulting Slush

In the months of summer, when snow starts to melt, it creates a lot of water streams on the road which further results in slush as well. While traveling in November, snow will be more freezing than melting and hence, hardly any water streams on the way.

Last window to make it a road trip

If you must travel to Ladakh by road; couldn’t do it in the year so far and cannot wait until next year then the month of November is probably your last window to reach Ladakh by road. You will go via Srinagar and return the same way though. After mid November however, even the road from Srinagar becomes a bit risky to be traveling on.

Also read: 10 reasons why you should NEVER visit Ladakh

Cons of Traveling to Ladakh in November

After the advantages, let me list down a few disadvantages of traveling to Ladakh in November.

Cannot cover Manali to Leh route

One of the prime attractions of a trip to Ladakh is driving through the notorious Manali to Leh highway. Every adventure enthusiast and travel junkie dreams of covering this road at least once in their lifetime. In the month of November however, this road would be long closed and you will not be able to keep it as a part of your itinerary.

Chances of getting stranded

This may happen irrespective of whether you are on a road trip or reached Ladakh by air. Any of the passes on Srinagar to Leh route or towards Nubra or Pangong may get snowed out leaving you stranded. In a worst situation, you may even get stranded on the road in a cold weather; looking for the nearest village to seek shelter.

Will be Cold

Ladakh is a dream destination for everyone but not all of us are capable of handling cold weather that well. Nights in Ladakh in November will be extremely cold and even days will be no better. If you are someone who gets bothered by cold weather a lot then it is best to give up Ladakh entirely until next summer.

May be a bit expensive

Cost of living goes up in Ladakh in winter and you may even end up paying more than the actual charge for basic facilities and sundries.

Black Ice

In all probability, I will strongly advise against a road trip to Ladakh in November; even via Srinagar route. Black ice is a huge risk and even a small miscalculation can prove to be fatal. What is black ice exactly? It is a thin coating of ice on surface of the road; formed on relatively dry roads, rendering it invisible to drivers. It is formed because of moisture present in the road texture which when frozen; creates a honeycombed invisible sheet of ice. The ice itself is not black, but visually transparent, allowing the often black road below to be seen through it. There is, thus, a risk of skidding and subsequent accident due to the unexpected loss of traction.

Is November a good time to be visiting Ladakh?

The answer to this question is a straight no. The pros of visiting Ladakh in November are far less than the cons. The only reason people go to Ladakh for in winter is to witness the entire region buried under a thick sheet of snow; to see a frozen version of lakes like Pangong and Tso Moriri; to drive across the high altitude passes through a thick snow wall on both side of the roads. November however doesn’t offer much in any way. Weather will be cold and dry but snow will still not be that much. If you want to see Ladakh in winter then it is best to plan it sometime in January or February. If snow is not on your mind than go to Ladakh in Summer to experience the real fun of the trip.

Visiting Leh Ladakh in November

I hope the information above was helpful. If you have any further questions, 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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38 comments

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Rahul Soni November 9, 2020 - 9:07 pm

Very honest information. Nice blog. Would love to see a blog where you can share your thoughts on the best places to visit during the trip.

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Sumit mahalwal October 29, 2020 - 9:26 am

Hi vargis
I am sumit from delhi and plan a trip of ladakh in mid nov2020.which is the best route of ladakh via manali or srinagar pls explane.And last one can i see snow in ladakh in November ans it is safe to go ladakh.i have problem of cinus so can i breatheing difficult in ladakh.

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Rohit Khandelwal October 18, 2020 - 7:22 pm

Hi vargis,

I’m planning for bike trip from delhi-Manali-Leh -Ladakh-delhi along with my friend from 28th October to 4th November.
Your suggestions and tips??

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Aditya Sharma October 25, 2020 - 5:07 pm

Rohit I am planning the same from Srinagar side from 27th October from Jammu. Kindly contact me on WhatsApp 9419791032

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Vargis.Khan October 26, 2020 - 1:22 pm

Hi Rohit – You will have to plan for next year. Cannot go to Ladakh via Manali now.

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Harish Kumar G January 18, 2020 - 10:02 am

Hi Vargis, i Actually planned to Make ladakh since last 3 years and finaly now im planning to make it by 1st to 2nd week of Nov 2020, iam planning for a road Trip, Planning to complete from Delhi to Kargil Via manali – Leh and Back Delhi , and if its possible to make it up a road, i would like you to give me the best precautions, suggestions from your end,

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Vargis.Khan January 18, 2020 - 1:25 pm

A road trip to Ladakh in November is not possible. Roads will be all closed by then.

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Shahnawaz Ansari November 4, 2019 - 9:21 am

Hello sir I am Shahnawaz…Sir we 6 people are planning to go Leh on 13th of nov 2019 returning bfore 19th of nov…. But we are getting afraid of returning…What are the best ways to get back to delhi..Except Airlines coz the fare of air ticket is much high and we cannot afford it right now…And i have heard that rohtang pass is closed and srinagar way is very dangerous due to snow fall and Tensions are going on In Jammu kashmir…. Plzz suggest us what should we do….?? P.s..Sir we have to at any cost

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Vikas Saini October 6, 2019 - 6:25 am

Hi Varghis

Me and my wife planning for honeymoon in mid November. As per your blog says, we are ready for the cold. The only concern we have is regarding our flights. Do flights keep operating during November even with the Snow in area or do they keep cancelling flights?
Also will it be a ghost town or it will be business as usual orJust a fewer less people?
Our expected dates are 15-20Nov. Please provide your comments on this.

Thanks
Vikas

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Vargis.Khan October 7, 2019 - 4:20 am

Hi Vikas,

Flights – Yes they will remain operational.
Ghost town – Not at all, there will be a lot of people around, but lesser tourists though.

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Poorva Rautela October 2, 2019 - 7:19 pm

Hi Vargis,
Me and my friends are planing for a trip to leh ladhak in the first week of November i.e., 6-10nov by air.
Will it be safe traveling as cons are more than pros
Please suggest because I’m into dellima after reading this.
Please help n suggest.
Regards
Poorva

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Vargis.Khan October 3, 2019 - 4:59 pm

Hi Poorva, If it is your first trip to Ladakh and you can postpone it, then I would recommend visiting during the summer season. If you cannot postpone, then yes you can visit in November as well but it will be terribly cold. On the pros side, there will hardly be a handful of tourists around so not crowded at all. I am myself flying there but towards the end of November.

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Amar Aryaa September 23, 2019 - 5:10 am

Hii Vargis Sir, I am getting married on 22nd Oct, and we are planning for Leh Ladakh for honeymoon in November. Will the plan work? Or we should look for some other destination? Looking for ur best suggestions

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Vargis.Khan September 23, 2019 - 5:22 am

Hi Amar Bhai – You can plan it definitely but just be prepared for a very cold weather. Please talk to Rohit @ 9999622213 or 9910722252. He is a friend of mine and runs a hotel in Leh. Give my reference and he will arrange your stay and make other arrangements.

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Abhinaba Mukherjee October 29, 2018 - 6:38 pm

Hi Vargis. Your blog is amazing. I have almost every article of yours on Leh-Ladakh. My query is, is it advisable to visit Leh-nubra-pangong in November 6-11 of this year? (2018)

Itenary being:
Day 1 : reach Leh and Acclimatize.
Day 2: Leh to turtuk to Dikshit and stay at Dikshit/Hunder.
Day 3: Dikshit/Hunder to Warshi and back to Leh.
Day 4: Leh to Pangong and stay.
Day 5: Back to Leh
Day 6: morning flight to Delhi.

Please help, as I am totally unsure of weather and road conditions into November 2nd week and hotel/camping availability.

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Vargis.Khan October 30, 2018 - 12:34 pm

Thanks Abhinaba. Yes it is OK to visit. The only problem is staying at Pangong. You may have to look for accommodation at Spangmik village. Camping at this time will not be available.

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HIREN KAPOOR October 28, 2018 - 8:09 pm

Hi vargis how are you?
We 4 humdo44/43yr hamare do 15/17 yr old visiting leh by plane in 31/10 to 4 Nov How we manage low temperature as we stay ahmAhmeda having temperature is 30c any suggestions or advice?

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Vargis.Khan October 29, 2018 - 1:44 am

Hi Hiren,

Pack some thermals that can you wear underneath. Some woolens and then a heavy warm windproof jacket. Ensure that your jacket has a hood to protect your neck, head and ears. Some gloves, cold creams, moisturizer, lip balm, muffler and that should do it.

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HIREN KAPOOR October 21, 2018 - 11:25 am

We are planning to 31oct to 4 Nov what things keep in mind

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Vargis.Khan October 22, 2018 - 12:55 pm

Be prepared forr harsh cold weather. That is all

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bharath October 20, 2018 - 11:04 am

i am planning to go in november 25th to 30th in leh any advice on it plz

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Vargis.Khan October 20, 2018 - 11:33 am

Weather is very cold over there right now so pack accordingly

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Sabitabaishya October 16, 2018 - 2:15 pm

We will go to leh in november 6 can we visit the place without any problem

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Vargis.Khan October 16, 2018 - 2:21 pm

Yes you can if you are renting a private cab there

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Kinnera Setty October 15, 2018 - 6:22 pm

Hiiee
We are planning to visit Jammu & Kashmir in Nov 1st week.we have planned it for 2 days so please suggest me what are the places to be covered within 2 days.

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Vargis.Khan October 16, 2018 - 12:09 pm

If you just have 2 days in Kashmir then spend 1 in Srinagar and take a day trip on second day to Gulmarg.

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Mahesh September 30, 2018 - 6:12 pm

Hi ,I have only three full days I.e 16,17,18 November to visit Kazakh, please share best places which I can visit in above 3 days

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Mohammad Zeeshan September 3, 2018 - 1:36 pm

Hello Vargis Khan,

Thanks for the information, I am planning to visit leh via flight from delhi in the month on november (19-22) and stay in The Grand Dragon Ladakh, What are the place which I can visit and what are the chances to see a live snowfall.

Regards
Zeeshan.

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Vargis.Khan September 5, 2018 - 12:41 am

Hi Zeeshan,

Chances of catching a snowfall are high in November. All tourist areas like Nubra, Pangong and Tso Moriri will be open for visiting at this time.

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Faisal dadanis September 3, 2018 - 1:25 pm

Assalamalaikum sir i want to contect with u by phone i m planning to go laddakh in november 7 in depawali vacation.

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Shiran Nanayakkara August 30, 2018 - 11:51 am

Hi Vargis,

I’m a Sri lankan and I hope to visit manali in november for 10 days. Bro Is it possible to get a bike and travel across Keylong(towards leh) ?

or please tell me what would be the best options cuz i really want to see some beautiful sceneries along the way.

Kindly let me know your suggestions.

Regards,
Shiran

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Vargis.Khan August 30, 2018 - 12:18 pm

Rohtang Pass will be closed in November Shiran so no, you cannot get a bike and travel towards Keylong

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parth patel July 8, 2018 - 5:52 am

hey virgis khan
we are planning to go leh ladakh on 6th november

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Vargis.Khan July 8, 2018 - 7:38 am

Hi Parth – Yes you can plan in November but will have to leave Manali Leh highway out.

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Bhavesh Patel June 23, 2018 - 12:04 pm

Hi Virgis Khan
I plan this November to Leh by plane

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Vargis.Khan June 23, 2018 - 3:07 pm

Hi Bhavesh – Yes you can definitely go. Are you planning in early November or later part?

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Monirupa Das March 28, 2018 - 3:03 pm

Hi Vargis,
First of all would like to mention that your blog is amazing, you are like an “Encyclopedia” of Leh Ladakh 🙂 Your passion is actually very infectious!

Coming to my query, me & my husband are planning for a Ladakh trip around October mid for a 9 day duration,following your 9 day trip itinerary & want to take the Delhi-Manali-Leh route. But is it a feasible plan as winter already sets in around that time?

Will look forward to your suggestion.

Monirupa
Kolkata

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Vargis.Khan March 28, 2018 - 5:06 pm

Hi Monirupa,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that the information posted was of help.

It all depends on the weather really. In 2017, the Manali Leh route was open until Mid November because it did not snow at all. Hard to advise right now, you will have to wait until September and see how the weather starts to turn.

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