Can you visit Ladakh in 4 days? While the answer to this question is a definite yes, it is not really recommended. The minimum time needed to visit Ladakh is 6 to 7 days by flight and at least 9 days for a road trip. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to witness the beauty of Ladakh without stressing yourself.
For some people, however, to be away from our regular jobs and lives for these many days too is not possible. Hence comes the need of trying to complete the journey in the lowest possible duration. If you too would like to plan a trip to Ladakh and have a very short span of time in hand, mentioned below is how you can plan your itinerary to visit Leh Ladakh in 4 days.
For other details on Ladakh like the best time to visit, how to reach, safety tips, where to stay, and sightseeing, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.
How to Visit Leh Ladakh in 4 Days
In the post below, I will share itineraries that will have you spend 4 days in Leh Ladakh and return on Day 5. If you were looking for an itinerary where you can fly out of Leh and reach home on Day 4 itself, then please read How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh in 3 Days.
How to Reach
The most important thing to remember here is that for a Leh Ladakh 4 day trip, you will have to reach Leh by flight. There is no possible way at all that you can make this a road trip. You will not be able to travel on Manali to Leh or Srinagar to Leh roads and will have to leave them for another trip at another time.
For now, you will reach Leh by air and spend the next 4 days in local sightseeing.
Acute Mountain Sickness
Acute Mountain Sickness, also known as altitude sickness, will be your biggest concern. When you visit a place like Ladakh, you bring your body to heights that it has never been to before and is not accustomed to. It then becomes of utmost importance that you allow sufficient time for acclimatization.
A Slow gain in altitude and ample amount of rest become the key factors here. Covering Ladakh in 4 days will however result in the exact opposite of it.
In order to cover as many places as you can, you will be rushing for the most part of your trip which may trigger altitude sickness. Further in the post, I will write down some tips on how you can avoid it while talking about the itinerary. But for more information on what altitude sickness is and what it can do to you, please read How to handle acute mountain sickness in Ladakh.
The second concern will be about how much sightseeing you can really do in 4 days. A trip to Ladakh is not an everyday affair. It is not a nearby hill station where you can just pack your bags and go over a weekend.
Who knows how long it would be before you are able to plan another trip here. So you need to ensure that when you get here, you cover as much as you can.
Ladakh is an endless list of tourist attractions and places that you must visit. You can spend weeks here and still not be done with it all. Trying to wrap up Ladakh in 4 days would mean that you will miss several of these places and will only visit a few, that too in a rushed manner.
For a complete list of all tourist attractions in the entire Ladakh, please read A complete list of tourist attractions in Ladakh.
Cost of the Trip
The third reason will involve the overall cost of the trip. Visiting Ladakh in 4 days may not come cheap. You cannot make this a road trip or and relying on public transport completely will be difficult due to the lack of time.
First of all, you will have to book a flight. For sightseeing, you will then need to either book a private taxi or rent a motorcycle.
Unless you got a really good and cheap deal on air tickets and rented a motorcycle for 4 days, or have a group of 5-6 people to share the cost of the taxi, your total budget for the trip will definitely shoot up a bit.
A couple of things I will recommend taking care of in advance, before your arrival in Leh town. This will include booking a hotel, a taxi, and arranging the Inner line permits as well. Call the hotel and ask them if they can keep the permits arranged for you when you arrive.
Several hotels in Leh provide this service in return for an extra charge. If your hotel agrees, then scan and send them your IDs, wire the money, and book your stay. This will save you the time and hassle of doing it on your own on the first day of the trip.
Also read: What clothes should you pack for Ladakh Trip
The second to take care of in advance would be to book a taxi rather than relying on a motorcycle. Suffering from high altitude sickness will just make it more difficult to ride around a motorcycle.
If possible, book a taxi in advance. Have your driver pick you from the airport and drop you straight at the hotel. Since your permits too will be already arranged, you can rest all day long and let symptoms of AMS subside. The same driver can then pick you up for sightseeing the next day.
Leh Ladakh Itinerary for 4 Days
With all said and done, mentioned below is an itinerary that you can follow for visiting Leh Ladakh in 4 days. I will strongly suggest that you stick to the plan and list of places mentioned below. If you try to squeeze in any more than this, you will just end up stressing yourself more than necessary.
Day 1: Arrive in Leh
Most of the flights to and from Leh are early in the morning which will work in your favor here. On Day 1 you will arrive in Leh in the morning and have the entire day to yourself to get ready for the trip ahead.
The first task of the day would be to find a hotel first and check-in which is not really a big deal. No matter what your budget is, you will easily find a hotel in Leh. Read Good Budget Hotels in Leh for a list of some recommended places you can stay at.
The second task would be to arrange for Inner Line Permits. It can either be applied online or obtained in person from DM office Leh. Please note that the permit is absolutely mandatory. Without it, you will not be allowed to travel to places like Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso. Please read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh for more details.
The third thing that you will need to take care of is to arrange your mode of travel for the journey ahead. You can either hire a private taxi or rent a motorcycle after you land in Leh. This will not apply if you already arranged the permits and taxi before you reached Leh.
After taking care of this, you can either chose to rest in Leh or do some local sightseeing. Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, local market, and monasteries are some of the places you can visit.
Upon reaching Leh, keep a check on how you were feeling. If your condition worsened, please seek medical help immediately. There is a large hospital in Leh that is capable of handling medical emergencies, especially related to altitude sickness.
Day 2: Leh to Lamayuru to Leh
The plan for today is to take a drive on the Srinagar Leh highway and return to Leh by evening. Do not plan Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso for this day as it is just your second day in Ladakh. AMS can still hurt so it is best to not go towards a high altitude pass; which you will have to cross in order to reach Nubra and Pangong both.
For the second day, ask your driver to pick you from the airport early in the morning and start driving towards Lamayuru. On the way, you will see Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Indus – Zanskar Confluence, and Magnetic hill; apart from the natural beauty of Srinagar Leh road.
Go as far as you are able to until noon and then start your return journey. Since you have reached Ladakh by flight, this day would give you at least some taste of the famous Srinagar to Leh road.
If you have time, you can also include a tour of Sham valley. Hemis Shukpachan village in Sham Valley is definitely worth a visit. Read How to Plan a Trip to Sham Valley for details on how you can visit there for your second day.
Day 3 – Leh to Diskit to Leh
Today you will be making a day trip to Nubra valley. It is very important that you start as early as possible from Leh since you are short on time.
Start at around 6 AM and take the road towards Khardung La Pass; once known as the world’s highest motorable road. Have a cup of tea at the army-run canteen at the top and descend on the other side to Nubra valley.
Reach as far as Hunder and Diskit. It is easily a 5-6 hours’ drive depending on your speed and the breaks you take. You do not have much time for local sightseeing so keep your breaks limited and short.
Once you reach Diskit, take a break, have lunch and start your return journey. If you reached there by 12 noon, pay a quick visit to the local monastery.
Start your return journey by 1 PM at most so that you have sufficient time to reach Leh before dark. Take the same road back to Leh across Khardung La that you took to reach Nubra valley.
Also read: 10 Reasons why you should NEVER visit Ladakh
Day 4: Leh to Pangong Tso to Leh
On day 3, you will make a day trip to Pangong Tso. The lake is at quite a distance from Leh so once again you will need to start early in the morning, possibly by 6 AM again.
You will first take the road to Chang La Pass; famous as the third highest motorable road in the world. There is an Army canteen here as well where you can take a quick break.
Descend on the other side and continue till Pangong. Keep your breaks limited on the way so that you have some time to spend at the lake. You will have to start your return journey by 1 PM most to reach Leh by late evening.
Overall, it will be 10-11 hours of the journey so please manage your day accordingly.
Day 5: Return Flight
On the morning of Day 5, you will catch your return flight home early in the morning. If your idea of the trip was to reach home on Day 4 itself, please read How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh in 3 Days.
4 Day Trip to Leh Ladakh: Alternate Itineraries
The plan that I mentioned above is the recommended and probably the best way to visit Ladakh in 4 days.
If however, you would like to do your trip differently, below is how you can plan it.
- Arrive in Leh – Day 1
- Leh to Nubra Valley – Day 2
- Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Shyok road – Day 3
- Pangong Tso to Leh – Day 4
This way, you will skip Srinagar Leh road entirely and focus on Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. You will spend Day 2 in the valley. On Day 3, you will go directly to Pangong lake by Shyok road and return to Leh by Chang La Pass on Day 4.
Another way around this will be to have your driver will pick you from the airport; take you out for a drive on Srinagar Leh highway and bring you back to Leh by evening. On Day 2, you can go to Diskit, to Pangong on Day 3, and return to Leh on the 4th day.
Below is the third itinerary you can follow if you have the permits and cab arranged in advance.
- Arrive in Leh and go straight to Diskit in Nubra Valley – Day 1
- Diskit to Pangong Lake – Day 2
- Pangong Lake to Tso Moriri – Day 3
- Tso Moriri to Leh – Day 4
The advantage that this itinerary is that you get to stay in Nubra valley for the night and travel on Agham Shyok road. Nubra is at an even lower altitude than Leh so it can be beneficial in terms of AMS.
But the journey towards Khardung La on the way can definitely take a toll. It is highly possible that you will not enjoy the day at all. You will continue to suffer from AMS and if worst comes worst, land in a hospital even. There are no hospitals in Nubra Valley so, in case of an emergency, you will be left with nowhere to go.
The third problem is that you will go to Pangong Lake on Day 2. If you were able to avoid AMS in Nubra Valley, you will definitely get hit by it at Pangong and Tso Moriri.
Stick to the plan that I mentioned first in the article and do not follow this itinerary unless you have been to Ladakh a couple of times before.
Leh Ladakh in 4 Days – Conclusion
As I mentioned above, visiting Ladakh in 4 days is not the best choice. But if 4 days is all you can afford, this is how you should plan it. You will still get to see plenty of vistas, stay in the city of Leh, visit prime attractions of Ladakh like Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso and return home on Day 5.
I hope the information above on planning 4 days trip to Ladakh was of help. 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 happy to answer.