Can we visit Leh Ladakh in October? The answer to this question is definitely yes. A lot of people travel to Ladakh in October and you can as well. But you must also know that October is not really the tourist season in Ladakh and there will be a few challenges that you must be prepared for.
If you were thinking that you will be the only one in Ladakh in October then you are wrong. There will be quite a handful of people around. I know I said that it is not the tourist season but it is not the off-season as well.
Hotels, restaurants, roads, and pretty much everything will still be open. In fact, visiting Ladakh in October has quite a few perks of its own that you will not get in the earlier months.
In this article, I will discuss a few tips on how you can plan to visit Ladakh in October followed by some details on how you can lay out your itinerary. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will be happy to answer.
You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there. To organize your trip to Ladakh, book a taxi, rent a bike, or get the best hotel rates, you can contact Kunal @ 9910402252.
How to reach Ladakh in October
First things first. What is the best way to reach Ladakh in October? This will entirely depend on the dates of your travel. Of the two roads leading to Leh, the one from Manali gets closed for the year in October and Ladakh becomes accessible by road only via Srinagar.
Manali Leh Highway in October
If you are planning to travel from Manali to Leh in October, the safest time to do so is the first week of the month. The highway remains open until mid and sometimes even late October but it is not considered safe for tourists.
The high-altitude passes on the way start receiving snow in September itself and by October, it can be enough to block the road entirely.
If you could not travel in early October, then it is of utmost importance that you reach Ladakh via Srinagar and return the same way.
Baralacha La is usually the first high-altitude pass to receive snow on the Manali route. After Baralacha, there are 3 more passes you will need to cross before you make it to Leh. If the road ahead closes, you will get stuck in between.
There have been instances when tourists were stranded on the highway or were turned back because the road was snowed out. Even if it does not get blocked entirely, the threat of Black Ice will always remain. Accommodation at places like Jispa, Sarchu, and Pang will be difficult to find as well.
If the dates of your travel are after 10th October, it would be best to keep the Manali Leh highway out. If you still want to take a chance then ensure you get complete information about the weather and road conditions first. Take a look at this thread Manali Leh Highway Status where I keep updating the most recent status of the road.
Srinagar Leh Highway in October
The road from Srinagar to Leh remains open in October and can be traveled without much trouble. The only place that you would have to be careful about is the high-altitude pass of Zoji La. It would definitely have received snow in October.
Due to bad road conditions, crossing the pass can become challenging if there was snow on the ground. Before you cross Sonamarg, just ask around how the road at Zojila was. Travel slowly and carefully and you will be OK.
Like all other tourist-related activities, the availability of public transport gets scarce in Ladakh in 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.
The chances of this happening are more towards the end of October. If you were planning to use public transport, it would be best to cancel the trip for now and plan it for next year.
The Leh to Manali Bus operated by HPTDC gets withdrawn towards mid of September so that will definitely not be available in October.
Your only option would be the bus service provided by HRTC but chances are that this bus as well will not be available after September. Just assume that after 30th September, there will be no bus available from Leh to Manali or vice versa.
However, if you went via Srinagar, the JKSRTC bus from Srinagar to Leh will still remain available. It operates throughout the month of October except for rare occasions when snowfall can block the road at Zojila.
The flights to Leh remain available for all 12 months. If your flight remained on schedule, you can reach Leh by Air in October and rent a local cab for sightseeing. The only challenge in reaching by flight will be of AMS in Ladakh which I have covered further in the article.
Local Commute in Ladakh in October
All the internal roads in Ladakh will remain in October and public transport will remain available as well. For your local commute, you can either board a bus or a private taxi. If you were traveling by your own vehicle, you can drive to any part of Ladakh as long as you have a permit for it.
Where to Stay in Ladakh in October
As you probably would already have guessed by now, you will have no trouble finding a hotel anywhere in Ladakh in October. The place where you may struggle a bit is Manali Leh Highway.
Chadar tents and campsites on this route start wrapping up in October so you may not find so many places to stay. But the rest of the Ladakh will not be a problem.
Whether or not to book in advance is entirely your choice. I will recommend booking your stay in Leh City. But for the rest of the places, you can negotiate an on-the-spot deal.
Places to visit in Ladakh in October
This then brings us to the next question. What to see in Leh Ladakh in October? The answer is everything. The entire region remains open in October and you will be able to cover all the places on your itinerary. Let us take a look at them one by one.
Nubra Valley in October
Nubra Valley remains open for tourists in the month of October. You will be able to reach here easily via Khardung La and explore the valley completely.
The only catch is that there could be a snowfall at Khardung La blocking the road for a few hours or a day. But other than that, there will be no other hitch in your plans.
You can either travel by your own vehicle or book a private taxi. If traveling on a budget, you can either board a Bus or shared cab from Leh Bus stand, both of which will be easily available in October. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Nubra Valley in Ladakh.
Pangong Lake in October
Yes, you will be able to travel from Leh to Pangong Lake in October easily. There could be a snowfall blocking the road at Chang La but only temporarily. The bus service to Pangong from Leh remains operational throughout October. Shared cabs too can be boarded from the Leh Bus stand.
The campsites at Pangong start to wrap up for the season in October and are mostly all gone by early November. You will however have no problem finding a place to stay in October.
If you wish to stay at a cemented hotel, you can look for accommodation in the villages of Spangmik, Man, or Merak. You can find a place to stay here in January or February as well as a matter of fact. For more details, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Pangong Tso Lake.
Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake Direct Route
There are three ways that you can travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake or Vice Versa. The first way is that you go back to Leh and then travel from there to Pangong Lake via Chang La the next day. This route will be open in October as we just discussed.
The second road is Wari La Pass which is the toughest of all three routes. It is a very remote road that only a few tourists or locals travel on.
Wari La also starts receiving snow in October and there is a high chance that it may not get cleared immediately. It would be wise to ask around in Nuba Valley before attempting Wari La in October.
The third way is the Shyok road which is the shortest and now also the easiest. By this route, you can make it to Pangong from Nubra in just about 6 hours. In October, this road will remain open and safe to travel as well.
There is no public transport available on Wari La and Shyok road though. For more details, please read How to Travel Directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake.
Tso Moriri in October
Like Pangong and Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri will also remain open in October. You can arrive here either directly from Leh via Chumathang or directly from Pangong Lake via Chushul.
There are plenty of guesthouses and homestays at Tso Moriri (Karzok) where you can stay for the night. In fact, accommodation choices at Tso Moriri are better than even Pangong. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Tso Moriri.
Tso Kar Lake will be open in October as well. If you were coming from the Manali side, you can visit Tso Kar while coming to Leh by taking a short diversion from Debring. The other way, if you reached Leh by flight or via Srinagar, is to take the road across Tanglang La and visit Tso Kar via Debring.
The third way is to reach here from Tso Moriri via Sumdo and Polo Kongka La and then continue to either Leh or Manali. For a visual presentation of the routes I explained above, please see The Most Comprehensive Road Map of Entire Leh Ladakh.
Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri Direct Route
This is the road that you take to travel directly from Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri via Chsuhul, Loma, Nyoma, Mahe, and Sumdo. On the way, if you had an additional day, you can also cover the small yet beautiful village of Hanle. For more details, please read How to Travel directly from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri.
This entire route will remain open for tourists in October. Accommodation on this stretch is available at Man, Merak, and Hanle.
You can look for a homestay at Loma, Nyoma, and Mahe. Mostly, however, it is Hanle that people break their journey for the night. From Pangong, you reach Hanle on Day 1, stay there for the night, and move on to Tso Moriri the next day.
Umling La Pass, which is located near Hanle, will also be accessible in October. But before you go there, ask around in Hanle about the road conditions or if there was a recent snowfall at the pass.
Leh to Kargil Route / Sham Valley
Now we are referring to the highway between Leh and Kargil which the locals usually refer to as Sham Valley tour. The places that you visit on this stretch are Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Indus Zanskar Confluence, Lamayuru Monastery, Maitreya Buddha, Moonland, Mulbekh, Alchi, Likir, and several others.
For a complete list, please take a look at Places to Visit on Leh to Kargil Route. All these places remain open for tourists for all 12 months and they will be in the month of October as well.
Zanskar Valley in October
Zanskar Valley gets a little tricky in October. It may or may not be open and you will have to find out about it in advance before including it in your itinerary. Chances however are that it will be open at least in early October.
The only time it could be inaccessible by road is if there was early snow and you were traveling toward the end of October. For more details, please take a look at Zanskar Valley Travel Guide.
Leh Local Sightseeing
A common notion is that Leh remains buried under snow during the winter season which is not actually right. There are frequent snowfalls but it does not completely turn white. Most of the year, it remains dry. In October, the weather will be cold and there could be snow in the city but it will remain open for tourists.
All the local sightseeing places like Leh Palace, Shey Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, and the local market will be open and can be visited. For a complete list, please take a look at Places to Visit in Leh City.
Snow in Ladakh in October
If the idea of a live snowfall is on your mind then chances are that you may catch one here in October. It starts to snow at the high altitude passes by mid-September and you may witness a light spell of snow while traveling to Ladakh in October. If not a live snowfall then you will at least get to see plenty of snow around at the top of the passes.
Festivals in Ladakh in October
Diskit Gustor Festival is celebrated in the Diskit Monastery of Nubra Valley in the month of October. It is a grand festival that thousands of people attend.
For more information on festivals in Ladakh and their dates, please read Festivals of Ladakh: A Colorful Celebration of Life. To know the exact dates of the festival, you can take a look at Ladakh Festival Dates.
Camping, Rafting & Trekking
Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are the two best places to go camping in Ladakh. There are a few campsites in Nubra Valley as well where you can stay. All these options remain available in October.
Some other places where you can find camps are Pang and Sarchu on the Manali Leh route, Sham Valley, and Srinagar Leh highway.
If you were camping in your own tents, the entire Ladakh is a vast camping ground for you. Just make sure you bring in the best quality sleeping bag to keep you warm in 0 degrees temperatures.
You can also rent camping gear and sleeping bags in Leh City as well. For some more tips on camping in Ladakh, please take a look at How and Where to Camp in Ladakh.
I know there are a couple of tour companies in Leh that can arrange rafting for you if you were up to brace the cold waters of the Zanskar River in October. Just ask around in Leh and you will easily find a rating agency. I will personally not recommend going rafting in October.
Ladakh is home to several trails leading deep into the Himalayas. Stok Kangri Trek is probably the most famous one but there are several others as well. Sham Valley Trek and Markha Valley Trek are the two other well-known ones.
An easy one would be from Lamayuru to Alchi. In Zanskar, the trek to Phuktal Monastery is another relatively easy one that can be done in 2-3 days. For an even longer duration and exploring deep into the Himalayas, you can go on a snow leopard expedition.
Weather of Leh Ladakh in October
The weather in Ladakh will be terribly cold throughout the month. Sun may remain gone for an entire day and there will be a chance of snowfall even in Leh City. Days will be dry and cloudy and nights will be freezing. It will be slightly better towards the beginning of the month but will then keep getting colder with each passing day.
October is the month of the autumn season and in places like Nubra Valley, Sham Valley, and Suru Valley, you will see plenty of golden orange, giving a magical touch to the landscape.
The average temperature in Leh City in October ranges between a maximum of max 14°C and a minimum of -1°C. At places like Pangong and Tso Moriri, this will be even lower by several degrees. At the top of the passes, even during the day, the temperature will remain close to 5°C.
Clothes to Pack for Ladakh in October
Thermals and woolens at this time are a must. Carry your clothes in a way that you can wear them in layers. For example, wear thermals/warmers first and put on regular cotton clothes above them. Then wear a woolen sweater followed by a thick windproof jacket on the top.
This way, you can put on the clothes as you feel cold and remove them in layers when you start to feel warm. Gloves, woolen socks, and a woolen cap that can cover both your head and ears are a must. Please take a look at Clothes for Ladakh Trip: What to Pack for more details.
In terms of shoes, your normal sports shoes will do just fine but make sure you are carrying woolens socks as well to keep your feet warm.
Your packing will also vary if you were traveling to Ladakh with family. If you had kids in the group, please make sure that you plan on keeping them completely covered at all times.
Some other things to carry will be a pair of sunglasses, some basic medicines, a sunblock lotion, cold cream, lip balm, moisturizer, a pain relief spray or balm, and other toiletries based on your needs.
Mobile Network & Connectivity
BSNL has the largest network in Ladakh and works even in places like Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. The voice clarity however is questionable with BSNL connections.
The best networks of Leh and Nubra Valley are Jip and Airtel. You can actually get 4G speed with these networks. At Pangong, only BSNL works intermittently. None of the networks work at Tso Moriri. Between Leh and Kargil, Airtel is the best.
The most important thing to remember however is that only postpaid phones work in Ladakh. If you had a prepaid phone, it will be as good as a paperweight the moment you land in Leh. For more details, please take a look at Mobile Network in Ladakh & Data Connectivity.
Acute Mountain Sickness
Altitude sickness in Ladakh is both a risk and a threat. Several tourists have lost their lives because of AMS. The chances increase even more when you are catching a flight to Leh.
To ensure that you do not suffer from AMS, take plenty of rest and spend at least the first two days in Leh City only. This way, if your condition started to get worse, you can go see a doctor and even get hospitalized if needed. Since there are no hospitals elsewhere, traveling to any other place on Day 1 or 2 will be a risk.
For a very detailed version of the information on AMS and tips on how can you tackle it better, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.
The hospitals in Leh City remain open for all 12 months. So yes, in case of an emergency, you can visit and consult a doctor in any of the hospitals.
There is no hospital in Nubra Valley, or at Pangong or Tso Moriri. But in case of a medical emergency, you can approach the nearest Indian Army post for assistance. For a visit in October, I will highly recommend that you carry some basic medicines for cold, flu, and fever along.
Itinerary for Leh Ladakh in October
Mentioned below are a few examples of itineraries that you can follow for your trip to Leh Ladakh in October. I will suggest a few different examples of itineraries depending on the mode of your mode of travel and the places you wanted to cover.
I am suggesting a travel plan that will cover all of the tourist attractions in Ladakh. You can however add or remove places based on your preference and time in hand.
If reaching Ladakh by Air, below is an example of an itinerary that 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
The above plan was suitable for someone traveling by Bus or shared cab. If you were going to rent a private taxi or motorcycle, you can modify it to a plan like below.
If you were renting a motorcycle or booking a private cab, then you can modify the plan to something like below.
- Arrive in Leh. Rest and arrange Permits – Day 1
- Leh to Lamayuru to Leh – Day 2
- Leh to Diskit – Day 3
- Diskit to Pangong Tso – Day 4
- Pangong Tso to Hanle – Day 5
- Hanle to Karzok (Tso Moriri) – Day 6
- Karzok to Leh via Tso Kar – Day 7
- Fly Out – Day 8
If you wanted to travel from Manali to Leh then the plan can be like below.
- Delhi to Manali – Day 1
- Manali to Jispa – Day 2
- Jispa to Pang – Day 3
- Pang to Leh – Day 4
- Leh – Day 5
- Leh to Diskit – Day 6
- Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
- Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
- Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
- Karzok to Leh via Chumathang or Tso Kar – Day 10
- Leh to Kargil – Day 11
- Kargil to Srinagar – Day 12
- Srinagar to Jammu – Day 13
- Jammu to Delhi – Day 14
If you wanted to start from Srinagar, the itinerary can be like the one mentioned below.
- 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 Hanle – Day 8
- Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
- Karzok to Pang via Tso Kar – Day 10
- Pang to Jispa – Day 11
- Jispa to Manali – Day 12 (Skip this day if you were short on time and go straight to Manali from Pang)
- Manali to Delhi – Day 13
Please note that for all of the places I mentioned above, you will need to obtain an inner line permit. The procedure to procure the permit is all online now and is very easy. You should be able to get your permit within minutes. For more details and step-by-step directions, please take a look at How to Get an Inner Line Permit for Ladakh.
Keep Buffer Days in Your Itinerary
This is very important. Do not bind yourself to strict timelines and keep at least 2 days as a buffer. It will definitely snow at the high-altitude passes in Ladakh and you got several to cross.
It is a possibility that you were visiting Nubra Valley and cannot return because the road across Khardung La was blocked due to recent snowfall. Or maybe you were at Pangong while it snowed at Chang La.
You must keep a couple of days in hand for situations like this. If all went well and according to the plan, you can use these days in hand to either rest in Leh or explore some other areas. Or you can come back home and rest a while after you returned from the trip.
Leh Ladakh Bike Trip in October
Is a bike trip to Ladakh possible in October? Yes, it is. But you will have to go via the Srinagar Leh route and return the same way. The only way to include Manali in the trip is if you were traveling early in the month and the weather gods really favored you.
If you were catching a flight to Ladakh, you can still rent a bike in Leh and then use it for local sightseeing. The rent usually is between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000 depending on the type of bike you chose.
Even scooters like Activa are available for rent if you want to use those for your local commute in Leh City. You can use it for visiting the local market, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, etc.
Leh Ladakh in October – Conclusion
I believe that covers most of what you should know about visiting Ladakh in October. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will be happy to answer. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there.
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