Leh To Khardung La Travel Guide


Khardung La, located at 39 kms from the city of Leh, is often considered to be the highest motorable pass in the world but this claim is highly disputed. Located at 5,602 meters per the local summit but 5,359 meters per the modern measurements, it connects the beautiful Nubra and Shyok Valleys with rest of the country. It is a historical pass that still works as the lifeline for Indian Army posted in Siachen Glacier and is used to carry supplies.

Total distance for this journey is roughly around 80 kms, round trip. Route is as mentioned below.

Leh – Phyang – Khardung La

Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners is required to visit Khardung top. Click Here to read about how to obtain ILP and Click Here to read about obtaining PAP. Please also ensure that you always carry multiple photo-copies of your permit as you would be required to submit them at several check-posts.

Leh – Phyang – Khardung La [39 kms]: Like yourself, there will be several people wanting to visit Khardung La. Add that with a long line of Army and civil supplies trucks, locals crossing the pass to other side and you have a heavy traffic on a narrow and steep road. To avoid this , an early start on the journey is advised. Road is pretty good except for a few bad patches due to melting snow near the top of the summit. Despite the fact that gain in altitude is high in a very short distance and time, you would hardly feel anything in terms of altitude sickness.


You may be required to submit a copy of your permit at South Pallu. Last time I visited Khardung La, no one asked me for my permit at South Pallu but do not take a chance. Carry a copy of your permit and submit if you are asked to do so.

At the top of Khardung La is an army base and small canteen, which offers free tea, without milk however. So if you font mind sipping down black tea, it is a good place to sit with a cup in your hand and beautiful Himalayan peaks all around you. Take photos next to several signboards reading "Khardung La, 18,380 ft, Highest Motorable Road in the world"

There is also an Army souvenir shop selling hats, caps, t-shirts and kitchenware noted "Khardung La" in case you want to buy something that would remind you of the visit. Last time i was there, i really liked a hat with Khardung La written on the front but could not buy it as the souvenir shop was closed because the guy in-charge went visiting Leh.

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