Ladakh is located in the Indian Himalayas. Leh, which is the capital city of Ladakh, is at 3,500 metres above sea level. The region is famous for its fantastic beauty and unique Buddhist culture. Any sightseeing tour in Ladakh should at least include these 4 locations: Leh city, the Indus valley, the Nubra valley and Pangon lake.
1. Leh City
Leh is the largest city in Ladakh with a population of 30,000. It has many hotels and restaurants and this is where most of the tourists spend the first few days of their trips in Ladakh, during acclimatization. The city has several interesting monuments such as the Shanti Stupa and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa which can be found just by the Leh Palace. This monastery, constructed in the fifteenth century, houses a 3-storey tall statue of Buddha and numerous wall paintings.
2. Indus Valley
Many villages and monasteries can be found in the Indus valley.
The village of Shey used to be the summer capital of Ladakh. It has an imposing monastery that is famous for its 12-metre-high copper statue of Maitreya Buddha covered with gold.
A few kilometers further is the majestic Thiksey monastery. It is built on a hill with large courtyards, painted in red, white and yellow. The main attraction of this monastery is the huge statue of Buddha which is 15m-high. The monastery roof offers an impressive panoramic view of the Indus valley and the mountain ranges. 120 monks live in this monastery.
The Hemis monastery, situated at a distance of 45 km from Leh, is the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. The monastery is famous for the Festival which is held every 12 years. During this festival, monks perform sacred dances with masks.
3. Nubra Valley
Nubra valley is situated on the Silk Road. Diskit is the largest village in the Nubra valley. Around 10 km to the west of Diskit, you will find Hunder. This place is famed for its camels and undulating dunes of sand.
4. Pangong Lake
This fantastic lake can be found at 4,250 meters altitude and is around 200 kilometers SE of Leh. Pangong lake is surrounded panoramic hills and it is one of the most amazing natural sights in Ladakh. The lake is situated close to the border with China, therefore one needs to obtain a special permit called “Inner Line Permit” to get there.