Ladakh will be intensely cold in winters, absolutely bone-chilling and also you need to acclimatize to a height of 3300 metres above sea level. You can book tour packages from Leh Ladakh tourism for a thrilling and comfortable trip. Travelling by road is not an option to reach Ladakh in winters since the highways and passes would be closed because of snowfall. The Manali-Leh Highway and Srinagar-Leh Highway remain closed during the snowy winters of Ladakh.
Thus Ladakh in winters can only be reached by air. There are quite a few airlines that operate by regular flights connecting Leh with other major cities of India. There are early morning flights from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar to Leh. Booking in advance is advantageous as cheap rates and offers can be availed which brings down the ticket prices even lower since not many people visit Leh in winters. The frequency of flights connecting Delhi and Leh is impressively high. Foreseeing the biting cold of Leh, it is advisable to wear three to four layers of clothing right from the departing airport to face the intense cold of the Leh airport.
Travelling by flight has certain advantages. You get to see the frozen white dazzling winter beauty of the endless Himalayan ranges. But it has got its share of disadvantages too. At times, flights get cancelled or postponed due to fog and sudden adverse changes in weather. Be prepared to keep buffer for a day or two while flying in and out of Leh in winter.
The information about the few and far between bus services that operate in and around Ladakh can be obtained at the Leh bus station. The frequency, routes of the buses and timing are decided based on the snowfall at various places. Budget travelling can be achieved by buses and it also gives the opportunity to know the localities and be more familiar with the place. Bike riding is not possible due to intense cold and slippery road conditions due to snow.
Another alternative, safe and comfortable way to travel in Ladakh, in winters is by hired taxis. Be prepared to shell out exorbitant taxi fares in Ladakh in winters as it provides the necessary flexibility for photography and sightseeing and also adequate safety on snowy terrains. The chauffeurs are of immense help in emergencies and in finding out local homestay options in the bitter cold during the journey.
You can opt for shared taxis prior reservations from the taxi stands near the Polo Ground early in the morning. Bookings are best done through travel agents.Travel agents usually can arrange backups in case a taxi gets stuck somewhere mid-journey. Thus taxi drivers direct customers to travel agents without accepting direct bookings.
Wherever you venture for day trips in Ladakh in winters while during your local tour, ensure that you touch base or arrive to the resting place before darkness falls. A very essential tip for winter travel within Ladakh is to get done with all arrangements for food and accommodation beforehand.
It will be heartening to know that most of the internal roads in Ladakh are open even in the severe winters even though road traffic might be very sparse. That is why you should be able to visit most of the places in Ladakh even in the peak winter season. The roads to the most prominent tourist attractions of Ladakh such as Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, ruins of Indus Valley Civilisation, Sham Valley, Lamayuru, Kargil all remain open and accessible.
Plan for inadvertent delays and exigencies in case of sudden heavy snowfall when the roads get closed for a day or two and play havoc with your Ladakh trip itinerary. Always plan with keeping a buffer of a day or two extra as heavy snowfall at Khardung La and Chang La may result in roadblocks. Check with locals for jammed or blocked roads before journeying.
Some regions are extraordinarily cold such as Tso Moriri aroundChangthang, Chushul and Hanle and are advised to be avoided where temperatures sometimes dip to below minus 40 degrees Celsius. Also, in Khardung La and Chang La passes stay warm inside the vehicle during the entry at the checkpost.