Where can you Camp in Ladakh in 2019 – 2020?

by Vargis.Khan

To camp in Ladakh is one of the greatest joys of a trip to this enchanting part of our country; a must-have experience, without which, your trip to Ladakh may even seem a little incomplete. Speaking out of my personal experience, camping in Ladakh is quite fun in itself. Sleeping in a tent under a starlit sky in pin-drop silence presents an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life. These camps are quite warm and comfortable enough with all facilities available. Depending on your own preference, you can either stay at an existing camp site; or bring all the necessary gear and pitch your own tent. Opportunities to do both are available in ample amount throughout the route and the region.

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

The lakes of Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are mostly considered as the best place to go camping in Ladakh but the list does not end here. Tourism in Ladakh has grown several folds in the last few years and availability of campsites too has greatly increased. These are available now at almost all major tourist spots and in every budget. Now you can, in fact, manage most of your trip staying in camps only. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, here is some information about places where you can hope to find tent accommodation or places where you can set up your own tent.

A View from a camp in Ladakh

Below is a quick navigation menu of the information we will be covering in this article. I will also recommend you to read my other article, Safety Tips for Staying in Camps and Self Camping in Ladakh.

Camp in Ladakh

There are three choices in terms of camping in Ladakh. First ones are the campsites, second is the Chadar tents and self-camping will be the third one. Campsites are the most comfortable of all but also the costliest. Chadar tents are the cheapest but not everyone’s cup of tea. Self-camping is the most fun of all if you knew what you were doing and most trouble if you didn’t.

Campsites in Ladakh 

One of the most common questions I get asked about campsites in Ladakh is about how comfortable they are. People tend to think that since it is just a tent, it will not be able to stand the harsh cold of Ladakh. And that they will have to spend the entire night tolerating the cold and being uncomfortable.

This is not true at all. These tents are very comfortable and very warm. Once the flap is shut, you won’t feel a wisp of air inside. The bedding provided too is very comfortable with pillows and blankets. All of these campsites have a bed inside and you will not be required to sleep on the ground as well. Some of the camps even have an attached bathroom. Even if you were traveling with family, these campsites are a great place to stay for the night and experience something different.

Per day charge will depend on the place you were staying at but at an average, it costs about Rs. 2500 to stay at a camp in Ladakh. This cost will include lodging, dinner, and breakfast.

Chadar Tents 

What is a Chadar Tent? Well, it is a bit hard to explain really so I will just post a couple of pictures. See below.

chadar tent camp in ladakh chadar tent in ladakh

It is a dormitory type accommodation set up by the numerous Dhaba owners on the way. Towards the front of the tent is the Dhaba and then there is a series of beds next to each other. The price of all these Chadar tents varies. Depending on the place, expect the cost to be anywhere between Rs. 200 – 400 per person. What you get in return is a bed to spend the night on. While it is a good way to save in a cost-efficient manner, there are four major concerns in traveling this way.

Hygiene 

The first and foremost is of hygiene. While the bedding provided to you will be warm and comfortable enough (at most places), it, of course, does not get washed or changed daily. You never know who or how many people would have slept in that blanket before you which may not be a fact of comfort for a lot of people.

Washrooms 

The second concern is of shared washrooms. You will be doing your business squatting over a pit dug in the ground that would have been used by the entire world already.

Privacy 

You are sleeping in a tent full of strangers so the privacy, of course, takes a nosedive.

Security 

To some extent, this can also be a concern. I am not talking about your own safety but of your luggage. You never who may get an idea to get up at night and go through your belongings.

Self-Camping in Ladakh 

If you have the proper gear and a hassle-free way to carry it all then self-camping in Ladakh is great fun. There is no shortage of places where you can pitch your tent but there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Camping on your own here can be a memorable experience but a dangerous one as well if you did not know what you were doing. Please read Safety Tips for Camping in Ladakh for information on how you can camp in Ladakh in a safe and hassle-free manner.

Where to Camp in Ladakh

Now that we know the different manners of camping in Ladakh, let us briefly take a look at what all places can you do so.

Manali Leh Highway Camping 

Chadar tents are available throughout on Manali Leh highway and you will keep coming across them now and then. Almost every Dhaba en route has an arrangement and provides bedding for travelers to stay for a night. Pang is the biggest Chadar tent settlement on the way.

Proper camping sites are only available near Keylong, Jispa, and Sarchu. The most scenic sites will probably in Lahaul Valley, between Keylong and Darcha. The largest one is near Himachal Border and Sarchu. These are all good, luxurious campsites with all facilities available.

If your plan was of self-camping, you will find plenty of spaces to camp once you have crossed Rohtang. It is however advised that you set up your camp somewhere closer to a Dhaba or a Chadar tent. That way you can be sure that you are not camping somewhere you shouldn’t. Secondly, that way you won’t run out of food and water. Just pay a little amount to the Dhaba owner and ask them to give you a spot.

A couple of great spots I can suggest would be near Deepak Tal, near Himachal Border and just after Pang, where the more plains start. A third good spot could be near Tso Kar.

Also Read: Choices of Accommodation on Manali Leh Highway

vargis khan

Camp on Srinagar Leh Highway

When I first traveled on the Srinagar to Leh route, there was not even a single campsite available anywhere. Throughout the route, there were only and only cemented hotels. However, with the recent boost in tourism in Ladakh, there are several campsites available between Srinagar to Leh as well. Most of these are located in and around Sonamarg and Kargil but there is one campsite in Dras and a couple in Uleytokpo as well. Chadar tents on this route are not much but you may find some between Lamayuru and Leh.

Self camping is an option as well but keep it limited to Sonamarg, Dras, Kargil, Lamayuru, Mulbekh, Khaltsi, Uleytokpo, Saspul or Nimmoo. I would not recommend pitching your tent at any other place. In these places as well, find an existing campsite or a Dhaba and pay them a little amount to give you a spot to pitch your tent. If you are ready to take the risk of camping in the middle of nowhere, then the options are unlimited. Then you just need to find a spot suitable enough.

For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip from Srinagar to Leh.

Camping in Nubra Valley

Nubra valley is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Ladakh and there are numerous campsites here. The moment you cross Khalsar, you will start coming across campsites on both sides of the valley, in Diskit, Hunder, and Sumur. The sand dunes of Hunder are considered to be the best of all spots to camp in Ladakh. Hence, the majority of the campsites in Nubra Valley are located there only. But you can find a few in and around Diskit and Sumur as well.

Self-Camping in Nubra Valley can be a bit tricky since most of the top spots are already occupied. I was there last year and did not notice any campsites in and around Panamik so you can try pitching your tent there. The entire Nubra Valley is well-populated area and farming land so, once again, do not pitch your tent just about anywhere. Talk to a villager, pay a little and ask them to show you to a good spot for self-camping.

BEWARE of the dogs if you were camping on your own. They are quite aggressive, dangerous and do not see a lot of strange faces. While you are camping, stay close to your tent at night and do not wander out alone after its dark.

For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Camping at Pangong Tso

The very name of this lake actually has become the very synonym of camping in Ladakh. There is an entire series of campsites at Pangong that can easily fit in any budget. This is definitely the best place to camp in Ladakh. There are so many camps here that in 2019, the authorities had to consider banning camping near Pangong Lake entirely in order to protect and preserve the lake.

If staying at a campsite was not within budget, then you can also find Chadar tents as well towards the start of the lake. Just look for some large tents selling some snacks, tea, etc. They, in fact, sell petrol and Diesel as well at an increased price so if you were heading towards Hanle or Tso Moriri after Pangong; this is where you can tank up your vehicle.

You can also set up your own camp but finding a spot closer to the lake could be a problem since most of the space is already occupied by campsites. If you are carrying your own gear, my advice is to just keep driving next to the lake until there are no more campsites and then pitch your tent. Best would be to go all the way till Man or Merak and pay a villager to give you a suitable spot. If you were ready to pay a little more, they can arrange for your food as well and you can even use their washroom.

For more details, please read How to Plan a visit to Pangong Lake from Leh.

Camping at Tso Moriri

Like Pangong Lake, there are numerous campsites at Tso Moriri as well. Camps here are slightly more expensive though. The village next to the lake is called Karzok and there are several hotels and guest houses here too. If you were planning to self-camp, then the most important thing to remember is to set up your tent at a little away from the lake. Moriri is a freshwater lake and a protected Wetland Conservation Reserve which means that camping on its banks is forbidden by law. For more details, please read How to Plan a Visit to Tso Moriri from Leh. If you were traveling from Pangong to Tso Moriri, then please read How to Travel to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso Directly.

CAMP IN LADAKH CAMP IN LADAKH

Camping in Changthang Valley

Changthang Valley is the region that you pass through while traveling from Pangong to Tso Moriri via Man, Merak, Loma, Nyoma and Mahe. There are no campsites anywhere on this route. In fact, finding any sort of accommodation in these villages would be tough. Do not set up your own tent as well anywhere on this stretch.

Camping at Hanle

There are no campsites in Hanle, just a small guest house. You can set up your camp though by paying any of the villagers for a spot. For more information, please read How to visit Hanle in Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.

Camping at Turtuk

There are 2 campsites in Turtuk but both are a bit on the expensive side. If not within budget, you can stay at any of the guest houses in the village. This is a great spot to set up your own camp but you cannot do that just about anywhere. You will have to pay a local for a spot. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Turtuk from Leh.

Camp on Chumathang Route

Chumathang Route is the road you take from Leh to reach Tso Moriri directly via Karu. There are no campsites anywhere in between, just a small guest house near Chumathang Hot Water Spring.

Camp near Tso Kar

There are a few campsites at Tso Kar and Chadar Tents as well. If you want to stay away from the crowd and want to camp in Ladakh in a more silent place, then Tso Kar is the best choice. I camped here last year and it was an amazing experience. With More Plains right next and nothing else in sight with hardly anyone around, Tso Kar is my recommended place to stay at for at least one night.

For more details on visit Ladakh, please read How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.

Conclusion

This covers majority, if not all, of the information that you need to know about where to camp in Ladakh. I hope the details above were of help. If you have any questions; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.

Related Articles

47 comments

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Vikas May 27, 2018 - 5:18 pm

Hello Varghis,
Is it safe to camp alone with my girlfriend in Nubra valley??
We are an adventurous couple and we share the same interests about camping in Nubra valley. But as much as I am excited, I am also concerned about our safety. Will the temperatures drop too low?
What measures can be taken to be safe while we are camping??

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Tapu June 2, 2017 - 9:12 pm

Hey bro, what kind pf permission is to take for travelling and bike riding from manali to leh nd pangong

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Vargis.Khan June 3, 2017 - 3:59 am

Hello Tapu Bhai, No permission required for traveling from Manali to Leh however you will need Inner Line Permit for going to Pangong from Leh. Take a look at the article below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/obtaining-ilp-for-ladakh/

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अभिजित काळे May 18, 2017 - 8:00 pm

Hi vergis,

i am looking for accomodation in chadar tent. Kindly provide me any contact details of Chadar tent at pangong.

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Vargis.Khan May 18, 2017 - 9:05 pm

Hi Abhijeet – Chadar tent is like a Dhaba so no contact information, just go there and you will find several of them.

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Raz April 27, 2017 - 6:25 pm

Hello! In end-may and june, how cold does it generally get at night in Nubra valley? Was planning to use my own tent. Is it allowed to make fire? Is wood easy to fi d or i should bring a small gas burner? Thanks

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Vargis.Khan April 29, 2017 - 4:49 pm

It will get pretty cold so ensure that you are carrying a good sleeping bag. Wood will be hard to find. Best thing to do is talk to a dhaba owner, or a local villager, pay them off a small amount to show you to a camping ground. They can arrange for your wood as well. Do not try to camp in the middle of nowhere. Read this article.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/camping-in-ladakh-preparations-precautions/

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Shubham Chaudhary April 8, 2017 - 1:04 am

Hello my friend Vargis, This is Shubham this side, we are group of 8 peoples planning to visit ladhak by our Cars on 14th June to 25th june, we are going via Manali to leh and also coming back from the same Route, we are Planning to do our Self Camping because we have 2 cars so we can easily carry our camping gear, this is our first time for all the persons we are doing our first Stay in Manali Second day in Jispa 3rd day in Sarchu and 4th day to Leh, we are going to Nearby places like Pangong lake, Nubra valley etc. I want some of your Suggestions for self Camping on these Places, is it safer in mid june? And What are the Weather conditions on this time, the main Problem I can see is how to Use toilets in self Camping, food is not a problem for us we will manage that part. Tell me something about the Weather and safety and Toilets, how we can manage that part? And give me some tips for my own camping, money and Time is not a problem for us, we can do chader tent camping there but we want to do self camping for some Adventure feelings. I am waiting for your reply.
Thankyou

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Vargis.Khan April 8, 2017 - 4:53 am

Hey Shubham – I am not sure if you have gone through the article below. It should answer most of your queries. If you haven’t read through it and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I would be glad to help in any way brother.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/camping-in-ladakh-preparations-precautions/

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Shubham Chaudhary April 8, 2017 - 6:24 am

Thankyou Vargis, I understand very much from your article but My one Question still Remaining that What will be the Climate and Road situation in mid of june between Rohtang to Leh

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Vargis.Khan April 8, 2017 - 4:39 pm

Road conditions will be bad as the highway just opens at that time and BRO a few weeks after that to restore it. Climate will be OK, no rain. Very cold at night but moderate temperature during day.

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Shubham April 11, 2017 - 11:35 pm

And can we also do self camping at Pangong and Nubra Valley?

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Shubham April 11, 2017 - 11:41 pm

Oops Sorry vargis, I was talking to someone else on watsapp and Wrongly typed here as a comment..

By the way Thanx to Share your Experience, it will Definitely Help us

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Vargis.Khan April 12, 2017 - 2:34 am

No worries Shubham. I will comment on the question nonetheless. Yes you can camp at both the places but do not do so in middle of nowhere. Look for a local dhaba or camping site and camp at a spot they give you for a nominal charge. In exchange, you can also use their washrooms.

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naveen kumar May 13, 2017 - 7:49 pm

hey shubham we are also planning the trip at the same time buddy we are also 8 people and we are also taking our camping gears alson with us if we can plan together buddy let me know on 9991549049

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Neeru March 19, 2017 - 4:36 am

Hi…
I m planning Leh trip in this August with a pillion.
Is it difficult to get accommodation for two people.? How much hotels costs to accommodate two people in manali, shimla and Leh.?
I would like to stay in Leh for 3 days how much it costs.?
Can I reach Leh from manali by evening.? If I start from manali by 7Am.?
Or shell I halt at sarchu.?
How much they charge for two people to accommodate.?
Is it recommended to carry a own tent.?

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Vargis.Khan March 19, 2017 - 5:40 am

Hi Neeru,

1. No it is not difficult to find accommodation for two people. You can easily get a hotel in Shimla, Manali and Leh for prices ranging between Rs. 500 – Rs.700

2. Multiple hotels and guest houses in Leh. Should not have problem finding a hotel for as less as Rs. 500 – Rs.600

3. No you cannot, not at all possible to do it in a day.

4. Yes you must halt at Sarchu.

5. At Sarchu, the camp sites would be really costly. Chadar tents are your best bet if on budget. Can get a bed here for Rs. 300 – Rs.400

6. With a pillion, No I would not recommend doing so.

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Aman bhatia February 26, 2017 - 7:10 am

Hi Vargis,
Thanks for this info
I don’t know anything about Leh ledakh and i wanna visit there in june. So will you plz be able to tell me the things like- where we should stay in the route of manali to leh and what will be the best, so many questions for first timers. So plz help us if you can.
Thanks
Aman bhatia

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Vargis.Khan February 26, 2017 - 9:19 am

Hi Aman … I suggest you take a look at the articles I wrote related to Ladakh at the link below. Should answer most of your questions. If you need any further clarifications, I would be happy to help.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/category/leh-ladakh/

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Dhruv Chaudhry August 15, 2016 - 12:11 pm

Hi Vargis,

Thank you for the info.. On a lighter note (dogs … seriously??? the dogs got you worried)

God Bless

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Vargis.Khan August 17, 2016 - 1:32 am

Hi Dhruv – LOL … Those were no ordinary dogs brother … take a look at this post and you will know why I got worried.

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

God Bless

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Vijay June 26, 2016 - 6:18 pm

Hi Varghis,

Thank you very much for ur information and replies, that solves my nightmare on camping!

Few questions:

1. I have planned to stay in Gulmarg and Kargil with my own tent, Is there any possibility of camping (It falls into Srinagar to Leh Highway, that’s why i motivated to ask this question)

2. I am going with my sister. So will there be a safety issue in camping.

3. I hope we must get permission from Leh office to travel Pangong – Men-Merek-Chushul to Tso morriri

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Vargis.Khan June 30, 2016 - 1:22 am

Hi Vijay –

1. You can camp but please check with the locals first to be on the safer side. If there is a army post nearby, check with them as well.

2. Just do not camp in the middle of nowhere and you should be OK.

3. Yes you will need permits for this route. Also, this is a highly sensitive area so do not camp anywhere here

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Abhishek June 21, 2016 - 3:23 am

Reading you blogs and comments seems you stayed in chader tent, can you please confirm if you stayed in your own tent or in chader tent? Because I wasn’t recommended by most traveller to camp.

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Vargis.Khan June 21, 2016 - 5:05 am

I always stayed in Chadar tents or other camp sites available. Too much hassle to be carrying the entire camping gear on motorcycles.

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saurabh May 29, 2016 - 4:47 am

hi vargis…..
tks for your blog……its a grt help……
one doubt from my side…
if we camp on our own near a camp site. can the toilets be used of the camp site….do they allow it…..or is it a common public toilet which can be used by anyone…..

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Vargis.Khan May 29, 2016 - 6:37 pm

Hi Saurabh,

No public toilets anywhere. At the camp site, you will have to negotiate with the site owner, he wont let you use unless you pay

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Avinash Poojari May 20, 2016 - 6:22 pm

Hi Vargis,
We are planning for Leh road trip in June 2016.I had few doubts if could help me in clearing it out:
1. As we are going to take our own tents can we get toilet / bathroom facilities near Pangong & Tso Moriri Lakes, as that will be the major need?
2. As you have mentioned in the above post about Tso moriri being villagers land so will they allow us to camp near lake?
3. Is inner line permit needed for visiting Tso Moriri Lake?

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Vargis.Khan May 21, 2016 - 2:46 am

Hi Avinash

1. Since you are camping on your own, Bathrooms will become a problem unless you camp somewhere near a camp site

2. They can but you may have to give a little bit of money. Do not go all the way in Karzok, right at the start, about 1-2 kilometers before the village, there are several spots good enough to camp.

3. No permit needed if you are going from Leh. Permit will be needed if you are going from Pangong to Moriri via Chushul

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Avinash Poojari May 21, 2016 - 1:22 pm

Thank You Vargis.

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Vargis.Khan May 21, 2016 - 5:14 pm

You are welcome brother

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Abbas May 10, 2016 - 3:43 pm

Is that okay to plan a trip during Jan month?

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Vargis.Khan May 10, 2016 - 4:21 pm

You can but roads will be closed so you will have to take a flight

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Abbas May 12, 2016 - 7:42 am

We are coming from chennai and we guys planned a trip on Jan. We planned to take a flight til Manali and from Manali we would like to travel in bike. Is it possible to hire bikes from Manali to Ladakh? If not, suggest me some other way to reach Ladakh. But we would like to experience bike riding around Ladakh and camping under stars.

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Vargis.Khan May 13, 2016 - 12:21 am

The road will not be open in the month of Jan … so no you cannot do Manali to Leh on bike in January.

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Nikhil Khan P A May 6, 2016 - 9:16 am

What about toilet facilities when we do camping. I have never done a camping

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Vargis.Khan May 7, 2016 - 1:48 am

Are you planning to take your own tents?

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Saket Kumar January 1, 2016 - 9:03 pm

Dear Vargis,

Thanks a lot for your blog. Me and my friends are considering halting at Pangong Tso for a night during July/August next year by setting up our own tent, just for the sake of enjoying the experience of doing so and for star-gazing. Do you reckon the cold will be bearable if we have a nice tent with floor and decent sleeping bags? Also will we need an Inner Line Permit from Leh Office for going to Pangong Tso if we are driving a self-drive rental car ? Do you have some other recommendations?

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Vargis.Khan January 2, 2016 - 5:34 pm

Hey Saket – Yes, the cold will not be a problem if you have proper arrangements to keep you warm and no, you do not need Inner Line permit to visit Pangong.

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Rohit June 30, 2015 - 2:59 am

Helo vargis,
Can we do our own camping arrangements near lamayuru
Is there any restriction to go by own vehicle to pangong

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Vargis.Khan June 30, 2015 - 2:01 pm

Hi Rohit,

1. Yes you can
2. No there isn’t

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Jay June 16, 2015 - 9:44 pm

Chadar tent for Rs100-200/person i strongly doubt this because as far as i know it starts from Rs500 that to with no facilities just a bed.
My friend vargis i may be wrong but are you sure about this rate per person, can you provide more details as i am researching about camp stay in ladakh my trip is in august am confused now brother

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Vargis.Khan June 16, 2015 - 10:07 pm

All depends on your negotiations skills. I paid Rs. 500 for 4 people in July 2014. But this was just for bed, we had to pay separately for whatever we ate. And in all my trips to Ladakh, I have never paid more than Rs. 200 at a chadar tent. They will quote you a price in the range of Rs. 300 – Rs. 500 but it all depends on how well you are able to negotiate. Forget about Chadar tent, last year I paid Rs. 2000 for 4 people at a camp site at Pangong, inclusive of Dinner, tea and breakfast. Trick is, find a site where you see either no guest or very few guests as that person will be more prone to negotiating..

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Aravind April 12, 2015 - 5:57 pm

Thanks a lot Vargis. 🙂

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Vargis.Khan April 12, 2015 - 8:34 pm

You are welcome brother

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Aravind April 12, 2015 - 8:46 am

Hi Vargis,

This is very useful information.

Hope you don’t mind answering these questions to clear my doubts.

1) Are there proper accommodations availabale in Hanle for a night’s stay?
2) Are there accommodations available everywhere in Ladakh so that we can travel a little light by not carrying our own tents?
3) What would be the approximate cost of stay per night if we were to stay in camp sites or chadar tents?

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Vargis.Khan April 12, 2015 - 12:50 pm

Hi Aravind,

1. You will have to stay as a paying guest in Hanle, shouldn’t be a problem finding a bed to crash on for the night.
2. Yes, with the exception of Pangong to Tso Moriri route.
3. Chadar tent would cost you anywhere between Rs. 100 to 200 per person.

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