The 434 KM long Srinagar – Leh Highway is like a lifeline in the form of road connectivity between Leh – Ladakh and the rest of India via Kashmir Valley. Srinagar – Leh Highway, also known as National Highway – 1D (NH – 1D), is the most reliable and one of the only two roads to reach Ladakh by road, the other one being Manali – Leh Highway

In this article today, I will share this detailed Srinagar Leh road trip guide in with all of you.

Srinagar Leh Highway Travel Guide – Detailed & Complete
Srinagar Leh Highway Travel Guide – Detailed & Complete

Download your FREE high-resolution version pdf copy of this Srinagar to Leh route travel infographic. If, you liked it and found it helpful, please feel free to share it with your family and friends to help them too.

Srinagar Leh Travel Guide

Generally, travelers or adventure lovers from all over the world loves or dreams of undertaking this road trip of their lifetime. They want to cover both routes connecting Leh Ladakh to the rest of India, i.e., a lifetime experience road trip traversing Srinagar – Leh – Manali Highways.

Apart from being famous for its enchanting views, the road from Srinagar to Leh via Kargil holds strategic importance for India. Being close to the LOC, you can also see a heavy army presence when you travel through Srinagar – Leh Highway.

The highway runs alongside the Indus River and through some extremely harsh and barren terrain including the three high mountain passes named Zozi La (3528 Mtrs), Namki La (3815 Mtrs) and Fotu La (4108 Mtrs). In any case, Srinagar – Leh highway offers some breathtaking landscapes ornamented by various historical and cultural constructions which are just like a dream treat for any traveler driving/riding through Srinagar – Leh Highway.

Better Acclimatization

Generally, people traveling or flying directly to Leh – Ladakh suffers from acute mountain sickness as Leh (3500 Mtrs) due to a sudden disturbance of altitude with which the body is adapted. However, Srinagar – Leh highway provides a gradual ascent to travelers. Hence, it helps them fight any chances of acute mountain sickness (AMS) caused due to high altitudes and let them enjoy the beautiful vistas in a relaxed manner.

There are other advantages of traveling to Ladakh from Srinagar side than from Manali side.

Planning a journey on Srinagar - Leh Highway
Planning a journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Season to Travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway

The 434 KM long Srinagar Highway generally remains closed for about six months in a year starting from November to May due to heavy snowfall on the mountain passes mainly Zozi La pass. Zojila pass starts receiving snowfall in November. Then any day of November (generally 15th November) the highway officially ceases to close as it becomes challenging for BRO to clear the snow.

Then, again, as the winter months resides, the BRO guys begin the snow clearance process in the spring season that is in March and repairs the damaged roads, bridges, and other parts of the highway. Finally, after completing this rigorous job of snow clearance and fixing the roads, bridges, etc. BRO announces the opening of Srinagar Leh Highway generally around early May to mid-May.

Pro Tip: You can keep a track of the updated status of Srinagar – Leh Highway using the article Srinagar Leh Highway Status 2020

So, what is the best time to travel from Srinagar to Leh by road?

Hence, the best time to travel from Srinagar to Ladakh via Kargil is from June to October. In late April or early May, if the highway gets open, then generally, the roads are in terrible shape and only improves as the season progress with constant repair work conducted by BRO.

By the end of May, as the road condition stabilizes, June remains mostly stable, and the monsoon comes to the party in July, creates havoc in lower hills connecting Srinagar to Jammu and further to other parts of India.

Is it safe to travel from Srinagar to Leh in monsoons?

The landslides are almost inevitable in monsoon season, which causes road blockages ever now and then. The Amarnath Yatra is in full flow in July – August, do expect heavy traffic and rush from Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil parts of the highway. Even the dominance of armed forces also increase in July – August owing to the security of pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra.

It is almost a nightmare to drive through Zoji La Pass in July – August especially when its raining or has rained previous days but at any day better than Rohtang Pass on Manali – Leh Highway which becomes more than hell during monsoon season.

One may opt to avoid Srinagar – Leh Highway during days alongside Independence Day in India, i.e., 15th August which is when the bandhs and strikes get more active. In the last couple of years (as of 2018), things were mostly stable. I advise you that you keep a check on the latest news on the Kashmir valley for any disruptions and plan to travel from Srinagar to Leh accordingly during this time of the year.

What about September?

As the end of August approaches, the Amarnath Yatra is over, and monsoon starts to reside from Northern India, the conditions improve much more to travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway and in September it could be called as the best time to travel. Still, you will not find any snow, of course. Even in August and late July, snow will be hard to touch except few patches on Zozi La pass.

Since the other side of Zozila Pass mainly Kargil onwards comes under rain shadow area where only the dry winds of monsoon reach. So, in July – August you need to tackle the monsoon rains and their havoc in lower hills only including Jammu, Srinagar, Zoji La pass, i.e., till you reach Kargil where there is very little rain during these months.

Throughout the season, you need to let pass large convoys of army trucks as army also stock up required materials in Leh – Ladakh through Srinagar – Leh road majorly. Traveling behind them may cause a delay of a few hours now and then in your entire journey on Srinagar Leh highway.

Is Srinagar Leh open in Winters?

Due to heavy snowfall at Zojila Pass, the road from Srinagar to Leh remains closed in the winter months from November to April. The actual Srinagar Leh Highway closing time mainly depends on snow in the season, but it is not safe to travel in November due to black ice and cold conditions.

A project has been approved to make Srinagar Leh Highway tunnel at Zojila pass to provide year-round connectivity from Srinagar to Kargil. However, it just got approved, so probably it will take a decade to be realized into reality.

The barren beauty of Srinagar Leh Highway
The barren beauty of Srinagar Leh Highway

Modes of Travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway

In this section let us look at some of the common modes of commute to make a Srinagar to Leh road trip.

Private Vehicles i.e. Cars and Bikes | Self Drive or Ride to Ladakh

Most people prefer to self-drive or self-ride to Ladakh by their car or own bike, and some also prefer to self-drive or self-ride to Ladakh by hiring a bike or car. In any case, a hired car/bike or personal car/bike, the idea is to live the passion of driving or riding through one of the toughest and adventurous terrains accessible in India.

You can take your own or rented, car or bike to Ladakh, but one must be careful while driving or riding through slushy roads, snow and water crossing or nallas. Also, it is always handy to learn little maintenance tasks of your vehicle before the start of this comparatively less arduous journey than Manali – Leh Highway.

Pro Tip: You must check the article on self drive tips for Leh – Ladakh trip.

Can I take a small car to Srinagar Leh Highway?

For cars, although an SUV/MUV is good to have and a 4WD SUV will help, I have seen hatchbacks (including Altos and Nano) and sedans doing good enough job on Srinagar – Leh Highway then on Manali – Leh Highway. If you want to try your sedan or hatchback drive to Ladakh, then Srinagar – Leh Highway is a better bet when compared to taking a sedan or hatch from Manali – Leh Highway.

However like on Manali – Leh Highway, with sedans/hatchbacks one must drive with extra care and caution even at Srinagar – Leh Highway and especially around Zozila pass (ascend and descend both).

You get less number of challenges on Srinagar – Leh Highway as compared to Manali – Leh Highway with only major hurdle being Zozila Pass. However, even then, whenever you are in doubt, always step out of your car, walk down the path, inspect with your foot and plan the path of exit before crossing a dangerous landslide or water crossing on your vehicle.

You can also park aside and see how others are crossing the risky section to plan your route of escape. In deep water-crossings, try to maintain the momentum without any half clutch measures and complete the entire stretch in one go only.

Similarly, in slush stretches, do not force the issue rather keep the smooth momentum with the required speed to pass you through, without half clutch measures. Do keep an eye on the direction of the vehicle too.

If you get stuck in the mud, then try to back and forth your vehicles to get out of the stuck position. It is always handy to ask your fellow co-travelers to get out of the car and push the vehicle from behind in case the car is struggling to pass through the mud or water crossing stretch.

Things to Carry on Self Drive Trip

Basic toolkit, screwdriver set, small hammer, puncture repair kit, iron rod, two or three “2 ltr” empty bottles of Pepsi / Coke / Limca, etc. to carry extra petrol or diesel (jerry cans will leak, cold drink bottles do not leak), funnel, towing rope, spare tube (must for bikes), Elfy or Fevi-quick (2-3 sachets), jump-start cables/wires, M-seal to prevent leakage, etc. were among the few things which I carried along on my trip to Ladakh. Also, do not forget to get your vehicle (car/bike) serviced about 2-3 weeks before the start of the Ladakh journey.

This will ensure that you have proper time in advance to test your serviced vehicle and get fixed any hitches that may have been introduced in that service

Pro Tip: If you are doing a self drive trip to Leh – Ladakh, then make sure to read my article on 40 Must Have Things to Carry on a Self Drive Trip to the Himalayas

On the way to Kargil from Srinagar
On the way to Kargil from Srinagar

Hiring a Private Taxi | Taxi Number or Private Number

All taxis (except Ladakh registration number) having taxi numbers or tourist permits number plates are only allowed for a drop in Leh Ladakh. As per the taxi union rules, only taxis with Leh number are only allowed to roam in the Ladakh region for sightseeing purposes. No Kashmir based taxis will be allowed for sightseeing.

If you want to travel within Leh Ladakh in your private taxi hired from a place other than Ladakh, then, in that case, you need to hire a taxi with a private number plate only. However, in the latter case, be ready for some queries by the local taxi drivers in Ladakh or police constables on your route. You need to ensure everyone interrogating with you guys have not rented that the vehicle.

If you can get hold of some taxi driver in Ladakh then hire that taxi only else go to Kargil first and change taxi from there. From Kargil, the Ladakh taxi driver can pick you, and you will have the advantage to cover the sightseeing places en-route Leh on Srinagar – Leh Highway like Alchi, Basgo, Likir, etc. before you reach Leh.

If that is not your plan then hire a direct taxi from Srinagar to Leh, but with a taxi hired with Srinagar number plate, you will not be able to do sightseeing en-route especially Sham Valley, as far as I know.

Where to get a taxi from Srinagar to Leh?

To hire a taxi, go directly to Srinagar taxi stand and bargain hard with the local drivers only, for a drop to Leh. Do not involve any tour operator or hotel staff at any stage. The local taxi drivers will charge about Rs 1500-1800 extra for a planned night halt on the way to Leh.

Srinagar to Leh taxi fare is close to Rs 16000 to Rs 17000 for a drop to Leh from Srinagar with a one-night halt, depending on your bargaining power, tourist rush and the time of the year you are visiting. You can refer to the latest taxi rates from Srinagar to Leh via Kargil in the article Leh Ladakh Taxi Rates 2020 – 21.

Srinagar – Leh Bus Service, JK SRTC and Others | Economical mode of travel

JKSRTC ply buses on Srinagar – Leh Highway, which is available at Srinagar Bus Stand near TRC Dal Lake and near Polo Ground in Leh. JKSRTC has both, standard as well as semi-deluxe buses which run on Srinagar – Leh Highway.

The super deluxe bus fare from Srinagar to Leh is around Rs 1320 per person, and semi-deluxe bus fare is Rs 925 per person from Srinagar to Leh. If you prefer to travel by a standard bus from Srinagar to Leh, the bus fare is Rs 470.

There are also private bus operators who run semi-deluxe buses in the form of tempo travelers between Srinagar – Leh. The charges of these buses from Srinagar to Leh is about Rs 1000 – Rs 1500 per seat.

Read the full detailed article on Srinagar to Leh bus services, which talks about their timing from Srinagar and Leh along with bus fare.

Srinagar to Leh buses generally stops overnight at Kargil and Sonamarg for tea and snacks. The bus from Leh does not stop overnight. The JKSRTC standard buses may not be as comfortable, though, but comfort comes with the price.

The bus from Srinagar to Leh starts at 8 AM at present and the bus from Leh to Srinagar starts at 2 PM, runs non-stop at night and arrives at 7.30 AM in Srinagar.

Pro Tip: If you are on a budget Ladakh trip then you can always refer my guide on making a trip to Ladakh by public transport

The fall colors of Srinagar Leh Highway
The fall colors of Srinagar Leh Highway

Shared Taxi | A Cannonball run

You can also buy yourself a seat in a shared taxi that runs every mid-night from Srinagar and reaches Leh on the next evening without any night halt. In the same way, shared taxis are run from Leh to Srinagar as well.

You need to pay about Rs 1800 to Rs 2200 per person for a drop to Leh from Srinagar or a drop to Srinagar from Leh. Of course, since it is shared with 7-8 other people plus the driver and completes the back-breaking cannonball run of Srinagar – Leh in 15-16 hours, you can imagine the level of comfort yourself. This one is the second cheapest mode of travel on Srinagar – Leh Highway but mind you, it could be the toughest on the body too 🙂

Also, not staying at Kargil will mean less acclimatization which may make you feel a bit sick in the first few days when you reach Leh.

Other travel modes

You can also get in touch with some travel agent or taxi union in Srinagar who also runs their private buses or Tempo Travelers on Srinagar – Leh Highway.

You can also travel from Srinagar to Leh flight as well if you want to see some really amazing aerial views of the Himalayas.

Planning Night Stay or Accommodation on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Based on my experience, you can opt to plan a journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway in one of the following ways –

Two Day Trip on Srinagar – Leh Highway

The options of stay or accommodation are minimal on Manali – Leh Highway due to the limited civilization. But on the Srinagar – Leh Highway, you get the respite as there are plenty of civilized places en-route, and you get to find accommodation either one or the other place.

You will find accommodation options every 70-80 odd KMs on an average. But still, a two-day journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway is the most common among all travelers as you tend to see the beauty in a relaxing manner as well as you help your body to acclimatize to the altitude of Leh.

Private Taxis and buses run by JKSRTC also cover the Srinagar – Leh Highway in two days with a night halt at Kargil. Mostly, people break up the journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway in the following ways over two days –

Srinagar – Kargil / Drass (Day 1) and Kargil / Drass – Leh (Day 2)

This option is mostly preferred by people as it evenly distributes the travel time of the entire journey in two days. However, on the second day, you need to leave early in the morning if you are interested in stopping at every other point to take pictures and still reach Leh in time :).

Personally, out of Kargil or Drass, you shall prefer to stay at Kargil due to varied options of accommodation available. But, sometimes, finding vegetarian food becomes difficult in Kargil in the late evening, and hence, you can opt to stay at Drass, which does offer a few accommodation options. However, if you have booked a hotel, you will surely get the veggie food in Kargil too.

The distance between Drass – Kargil is about 60 KMs only which means about 2 hours or more travel time the next day. Hence, prefer to stay at Kargil only.

If you are a vegetarian then most likely, what you can do is that if you are reaching Drass by about early evening, then it is good to take your dinner there and reach Kargil by the late evening or early night time. Maybe tea or coffee with some biscuits will make you feel good for the rest of the night.

It will surely help rather than sleeping without vegetarian food due to its unavailability in Kargil. Many new hotels have mushroomed by 2018, so this is not so common nowadays but something worth keeping in mind and checking with your hotel.

The moonland of Lamayuru
The Moonland of Lamayuru

One Day Journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Srinagar – Leh (Day 1)

This option of completing the journey of Srinagar – Leh in a single day is most common among local people or people who are in a high rush and is least I recommend if you want to enjoy your travel.

Shared taxis are the preferred way to avail of this option. Although it could be the cheapest or time saving for you, this back-breaking, cannonball run of 15-16 Hrs with least stoppages does put a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind of an average traveler.

This long journey is extremely tiring and by traversing through the varied amount of altitudes in a single day, you are definitely running a risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or some severe headaches and for initial days spent in Leh.

Of course, this is true in case you have not stayed overnight in Gulmarg or Pahalgam or Sonamarg on previous nights of your tour. Undertaking this journey in a single day may certainly kill the joy of the journey.

Three Day Journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Srinagar – Kargil/Drass (Day 1) and Kargil/Drass – Lamayuru/Alchi (Day 2) and Lamayuru/Alchi – Leh (Day 3)

Well, by extending the journey of Srinagar – Leh Highway in three days, you give yourself a chance to explore the sightseeing places en-route thoroughly. There are many tourist destinations in the Ladakh region, which are situated on Srinagar – Leh Highway and require time if you wish to explore them.

Hence, by extending the journey with one day you give yourself ample time to explore these tourist places before you reach Leh. For more details on sightseeing refer to the section: Sightseeing on Srinagar – Leh Highway, below in the article.

Very few people follow this option due to a lack of time and to save money. If these two things have no place for consideration at your grounds, then I will say go with it, and you will make your journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway much more than a memorable experience :). The comparison of night halts (Drass/Kargil) is made in the first option, so opt as per your taste.

This option will mostly be available if you are traveling by your own vehicle. To be very frank, this option is not even available if you are hiring a private Srinagar registered taxi as well because Srinagar registered taxis are not allowed for local sightseeing in Ladakh region especially Sham Valley where all these tourist places are present.

In such a case you need to book a taxi to Kargil first from Srinagar and then hire yourself a taxi from Kargil to Leh, or you need to hire a Ladakh registered number taxi. Confirm in advance from the driver if he will do sightseeing for Sham Valley before booking it. Then, in the next two days after covering all tourist destinations including Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Redzong, Alchi, Likir, Sham Valley, etc. on the route you can reach Leh.

Staying one night at Alchi, which is lower in altitude than Leh, also make sure that your body is much more acclimatized to the altitude of Leh and you enjoy a lot better conditions once you reach Leh after a stay at Kargil and Alchi on previous nights.

You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travelers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

Smiling at Namika La at Srinagar - Leh Highway
Smiling at Namika La at Srinagar – Leh Highway

Alternate Route to Leh from Kargil via Batalik and Dah

There exists an alternate route to reach Leh once you reach Kargil, which is a bit more scenic than the usual route. The usual route goes like Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Leh and the alternate, the less used route goes like Kargil – Batalik – Dah – Skurbuchan – Leh.

Please make a note that the route via Batalik requires you to get the Inner Line Permits from either DC Office Kargil or DC Office Leh. So, I will advise that you go to Leh from Kargil via Lamayuru following the usual route and then you can come back to Kargil via Batalik after getting the permits from Leh DC office at the time you apply permits for Ladakh sightseeing places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, etc.

If you are returning via Manali – Leh Highway then you need to take permits from Kargil DC Office to go via the Batalik route and thereby miss the usual route to Leh which goes via Lamayuru.

Video – What to see on Srinagar to Leh Journey

Sightseeing on Srinagar to Leh Trip

Sightseeing on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Well while traversing this beautiful road of Srinagar – Leh Highway you also give yourself a chance to visit the following places either on the route or with little diversions from the route:

Maitreya at Mulbek, Lamayuru Monastery, Lunar Landscape, Redzong / Rizong Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Likir Monastery, Basgo Palace, Confluence at Nimmu, Magnetic Hills, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Phyang Monastery, Spituk Monastery.

You need to give yourself time to explore these places, especially Lamayuru, Alchi and Likir monasteries. Hence, if you plan to cover these sightseeing places either while going towards Leh from Srinagar or towards Srinagar from Leh, then give yourself at least three days to cover the entire Srinagar – Leh route.

The barren views of Srinagar Leh Highway
The barren views of Srinagar Leh Highway

List of Accommodation or Stay Options on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Srinagar – Leh Highway is much better than Manali – Leh Highway in terms of accommodation options it offers and one can find a decent place to stay within 125 odd KMs at max.

At some places like Mulbekh, Sonamarg, Drass, etc. the accommodation options could be very limited and basic guest house/homestay types while places like Kargil, Lamayuru does offer a varied number of accommodation options for different budget types.

So, it always better to break the journey at Kargil or Lamayuru but, of course, there are not many worries for places of stay on Srinagar – Leh Highway than on Manali – Leh Highway. You can also take a diversion to the towns of Alchi / Likir for a stay there as well. Of course, you will find basic homestay types of accommodation at both Alchi / Likir, but it would be a worthwhile experience in any case.

Here is the break up of accommodation options available on Srinagar – Leh Highway with distances –

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg (80 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Sonamarg
  • Sonamarg – Drass (65 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Drass
  • Drass – Kargil (55 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Kargil
  • Kargil – Mulbekh (40 KMs) | Few basic / homestay accommodation options available at Mulbekh
  • Mulbekh – Lamayuru (70 KMs) | Decent number of accommodation options available at Lamayuru
  • Lamayuru – Alchi / Likir (55 – 65 KMs / 65 – 75 KMs) | Few basic / homestay accommodation options available at Alchi / Likir
  • Lamayuru – Leh (125 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Leh
  • Alchi / Likir – Leh ( 65 KM / 55 KMs) | Many accommodation options available at Leh

Please keep in mind that Alchi and Likir are not exactly on Srinagar – Leh Highway and you need to take diversions near Sasapol bridge for Alchi. The distance between Alchi – Likir is about 21 KMs only.

Kargil War Memorial
Kargil War Memorial

Acclimatization and its importance on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Unlike Manali – Leh Highway, the journey on Srinagar – Leh Highway goes through a gradual increase in altitude, thereby helping our body to get acclimatized properly for the altitude of Leh. That is why I always prefer going through Srinagar – Leh Highway for a road trip to Ladakh than going via Manali – Leh Highway.

By going to Leh – Ladakh from Srinagar Leh Highway, one gives himself a chance to properly acclimatize to the high altitudes, thereby decreasing the chances of being hit by AMS. In the return leg, you can go via Leh – Manali Highway so that your body is properly acclimatized by the time you undertake the varied high altitudes on that route. This route helps you enjoy the Manali – Leh highway in a better way as well.

Having said that even on Srinagar – Leh Highway, it is always good that you take little precautions to minimize the effects of high altitude sickness further. Here are some tips which will help to acclimatize the body faster

  • Try to cover the Srinagar – Leh journey in two days with a night halt at Kargil most preferably.
  • Keep your body properly hydrated.
  • Avoid sleeping at high altitudes.
  • Avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid tobacco and smoking and alcohol and other depressant drugs.
  • Keep your body warm and eat lots of carbohydrates.
  • Avoid sleep during the day.
  • Sleep in an upright position, if possible.
  • Carry preventive medicines for AMS.
  • Immediately descend, if symptoms increase.

Fuel or Petrol Pumps on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Again, unlike Manali – Leh Highway, it is easy to find fuel or petrol on Srinagar – Leh Highway. One can get fuel or petrol on Srinagar Leh Highway at the places like Srinagar, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha, Khaltsi, Leh

ATMs on Srinagar – Leh Highway

As per my knowledge, there are ATMs available at Ganderbal, Drass, Kargil apart from Leh and Srinagar ATMs. But still, I feel you should carry enough cash with you in Ladakh because ATMs at these limited places can run out of money or become un-operational at any day or time. It has happened to me many times 🙂

Srinagar to Leh Road Conditions

  • Srinagar To Sonamarg – Good, Very Good
  • Sonamarg To Zojila Pass – Average, Bad, Slushy/Dusty
  • Zojila Pass To Gumri – Average, Good
  • Gumri To Drass – Good
  • Drass To Kargil – Good
  • Kargil To Mulbekh – Average, Good
  • Mulbekh To Lamayuru – Good, Very Good
  • Lamayuru To Saspul – Good, Very Good
  • Saspul To Leh – Good, Very Good

Places on Srinagar – Leh Highway with their Distances and Altitudes

Generally, the places of on Srinagar – Leh Highway majorly goes like Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil – Mulbekh – Namika La – Fotu La – Lamayuru – Khaltsi – Sasapol – Nimmu – Leh and the approximate distances between these places is shown below briefly –

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg (80 KMs)
  • Sonamarg – Drass (65 KMs)
  • Drass – Kargil (55 KMs)
  • Kargil – Mulbekh (40 KMs)
  • Mulbekh – Lamayuru (70 KMs)
  • Lamayuru – Leh (125 KMs)

Map of Srinagar to Leh with Distances

Here is the map of Srinagar Leh Highway which you can download by right-clicking & then select the option: “Save Image As…”

Srinagar to Leh Route Map
Srinagar to Leh Route Map

Download your FREE high-resolution version pdf copy of this Srinagar to Leh Route Map. If, you liked it and found it helpful, please feel free to share it with your family and friends to help them too.

Pro Tip: In order to get more idea about the routes and distances, please refer the Road Map of Srinagar to Leh Highway.

FAQs – Srinagar to Leh Road Trip

Let us look at some of the commonly asked questions about the Srinagar Leh road trip in this section.

Is Srinagar Leh safe for Tourists?

In general, it is fine to travel on Srinagar Leh Highway during Independence Day. The tourist areas remain safe mostly, but bandhs can affect the traffic movement. It is always advised that you leave the Srinagar city in the early morning hours in such cases. It is recommended to follow the news about Kashmir during your travel days and take the decision appropriately.

The hairpin bends of Zojila Pass from Srinagar to Kargil
The hairpin bends of Zojila Pass

Summarized View of Facilities or Amenities on Srinagar – Leh Highway

Facility Places
Accommodations / Stay Options Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil (Many options), Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Alchi
Food / Beverages
Ganderbal, Kangan, Gund, Zojila Pass, Gumri, Khaltsi, Nimmu
Diesel / Petrol PumpsKangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha, Khaltsi
Mobile ConnectivityUp to Sonamarg both BSNL and Airtel postpaid connections works, then in Drass only BSNL, once you reach Kargil you will get the Airtel signal, but then in Mulbekh and Lamayuru only BSNL works, in Nimmu Airtel is restored along with BSNL and once you reach Leh both Airtel and BSNL work. You should refer 10 Tips on Mobile Phone Connectivity in Leh – Ladakh. Packet data works but only with BSNL that too with EDGE only. Prepaid connections from outside Jammu and Kashmir do not work in Leh – Ladakh. Carry only post-paid.
Fixed PhonesGanderbal, Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil, Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Alchi, Nimmu and in between these places as well
ElectricityAlmost all the towns en-route have electricity and I wonder if there is any town which lacks it.
Medical FacilitiesSonamarg, Drass (limited), Kargil, Lamayuru (limited)
ATMsGanderbal, Drass, Kargil
Mechanic / Puncture ShopsGanderbal, Sonamarg, Kargil, Lamayuru (Puncture), Mulbekh (Puncture), Nimmu (Puncture)
Liquor ShopsSonamarg, Drass, Kargil

You can also check this less than 3-minute video on Discover With Dheeraj YouTube Channel to understand why you should choose Srinagar Leh Highway over Manali Leh Highway. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

Srinagar – Leh or Manali – Leh. Which one is better?

LAST UPDATED: December 2019
This article has been updated with the latest information about Srinagar – Leh Highway and is kept up to date every season to reflect the current status. Feel free to suggest any further updates you deem fit.


I hope this Srinagar Leh guide helps you with all the unanswered questions for making a successful trip from Srinagar to Ladakh. In case, if you still have any questions about your trip to Srinagar Leh Highway, feel free to post them in the comments section of this article.

Have a travel question?? You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment to ask your travel questions on traveling to the Himalayas.

In the end, if you have been to Srinagar – Leh Highway before, kindly share your thoughts and other information you might feel is worth sharing with other fellow travelers and help them.

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I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. To ask your travel questions, you can follow my YouTube Channel for a faster reply or for a much slower reply follow me on Instagram. :)

  2. the information about liquor shops are wrong,i think..we found only in mulbekh..and in kargil and sonmarg its so strict..

  3. Naveen Urs on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Last year I had traveled to LeH from Delhi solo ride in my bullet it was an awesome trip. Thank you fro your advice, suggestion it was really helpful.

    I am planning for a road trip around Dec 15th 2018 from Uttarakhand to Sikkim, solo ride in my Bullet(1997). Please advice on the road condition, petrol pumps availability, any special permit required to visit some places.

    Also kindly advice on the route.

    • Naveen bhai, Uttarakhand to Sikkim, I am sorry it is not my expertise as I have not traveled on that route. I can help you within Uttarakhand and connect the other authors for planning Sikkim itinerary and there are already some awesome guides about Sikkim on the blog by them. Both Sunrit (Polzi) and Lakshmi are experts up there. But, the ride from Uttarakhand to Sikkim in between they might not be able to help too.

      Let me know 🙂

  4. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to travel solo to leh laddkha via Srinagar from Delhi on 4th to 15th July. As I want to keep this trip budget friendly I am planning to travel by public transport and shared taxis in between.

    My question is can I cover the sight seeing from Kargil to leh by public transport mode? (.Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu)

    Your guidance would help me to plan accordingly.

    • Hi Ashish2B

      You can definitely travel by public transport to Leh from Srinagar, however, keep in mind, that these are limited number of services on that route. Read Dheeraj’s guide on public transport from Sonmarg to Leh.

      You wont be able to do any site seeing if you choose to travel by bus or by shared taxis (unless the shared taxi is carrying other tourists). 🙂

      Hope this helped.

  5. Babita jain on

    Hi , I am thinking to go on 21st may from srinagar to leh with tempo traveller . My query is that is ok for child . 4 Childs age is 12 , 11, 10, 05 . It’s safe for child and Ladies . Bcoz our family trip. Plz suggest me.

    • In general, it is fine to take the children of such age group because AMS do not matter with respect to age or sex or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness I shall say :D.. The issue with children is that they tend to exert the body considering it the same kind of place they belong to and this elevates the chances of getting struck with AMS. Secondly, they are not much expressive about their uneasy feelings, so it is parents who need to watch out and take care that the child is not suffering from uneasy feelings, headache or nausea and is behaving properly. With 5+ year child, I think he/she would be able to convey the uneasiness with little efforts. If you notice any such feeling or he/she tells you about such a feeling then please do not ascend anywhere, either descend to lower altitude or stay at the same place to watch things overnight and if symptom increase then start descending immediately. Same is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated!!
      Also, PLEASE read the article: Traveling to Ladakh with Kids or Babies. This article covers this topic in complete detail.

  6. Hi Dheeraj,
    I and my wife are planning Srinagar-Leh trip in 2nd week of June. I must say DoW has been very helpful and super informative. Keep up the great work. I compiled below itinerary

    Day 1| Fly to Srinagar.Overnight at Srinagar
    Day 2 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil. Overnight at Kargil
    Day 3 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh.Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu.Overnight at Leh
    Day 4 | Explore Leh town. Over night at Leh
    Day 5 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder. Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
    Day 6 | Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake.Overnight at Pangong Tso
    Day 7 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh .Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh. Overnight at Leh
    Day 8 | Sham Valley tour/Local shopping/Rest
    Day 9 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang. Cover Karzok Monastery.Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri
    Day 10 | Tso Moriri – Leh. Fly back

    Here are my questions.
    1. Is my itinerary looking good?
    2. How much might a private taxi drop from Srinagar to Leh cost?
    3. Should i book accommodations online or would it be cheaper if i book with the hotel directly?

    • Hi Kasyap,

      1. On Day 5, yoy started from Nubra Valley but then did not return. Did you mean you will go to Pangong Tso directly on Day 7 from Nubra Valley?
      2. Srinagar to Leh drop by private taxi cost around 15-16K
      3. If you are OK to search accommodation a little bit and does not have any particular place in mind, it should be fine to book on the spot too.

      • Thanks for the reply Dheeraj.
        Sorry I should have been more clear with my itinerary. On day 5 I’ll start to Nubra valley from Leh and reach Pangong Tso directly from Nubra valley on day 6. And return to Leh on day 7. Is this feasible? I mean Nubra valley to Pangong Tso bypassing Leh?

    • Hi Kasyap,
      Just now saw your question in trip advisor. Me and my husband are going a bike trip from Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Manali-Dharamshala-Jammu-Srinagar. We booked flights and bike. June 23 rd we are starting.. We are searching for a companion. If you could join us, please do reply.

      • Aysha, It will be much better that you check the DoW Travel Calendar from the link in the Main Menu of website. There had been about 600+ entries of the people planning their trips in last couple of seasons which helped them have better visibility for finding out travel partners. You can filter entries based on the preferences you have and increase chances of visibility. Hence, kindly explore DoW Travel Calendar and also post your entry too. This will help you find other fellow travellers looking for company and increase probability of finding your post by others too.

        You can also post a DoW Travel Calendar entry by using the Main Menu and clicking on Submit New Event option in it. Here is the link:

        • DR.RAJEN RAIYANI on

          Hello Dheeraj..
          ..please suggest any change …
          we are group of 5 people planing bike trip for ladakh…
          we will plan call rented bikes from leh to shrinagar in transport..then we start our journey from shrinagar to leh.
          here is my intenary…..
          Day 1| Fly to Srinagar.Overnight at Srinagar
          Day 2 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil. Overnight at Kargil
          Day 3 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh.Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu.Overnight at Leh
          Day 4 | Explore Leh town. Over night at Leh
          Day 5 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder. Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
          Day 6 |nubra to leh
          Day 7 | Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake.Overnight at Pangong Tso
          Day 8 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh .Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh. Overnight at Leh
          Day 9 | Sham Valley tour/Local shopping/Rest
          Day 10 | Leh to Fly back

          my query is …1.we should directly go through nubra to pangong or take a route mention above..
          2.we dont have back up van ..any problem?/

        • As you do not have any backup van, best will be to stick to your itinerary only and do conventional routes to Nubra and Pangong tso as in your plan.

      • Hi Aysha,
        I saw your post on TA too. I would love to join but we’re looking to start the trip by 10th June. Also not taking bike(Don’t want to give my wife too much trouble too early, saving it for later in the life :D)

  7. Amazing article. Thanks for the effort to write such an elaborate article.

  8. Hi Dheeraj,

    Is July first week good option to travel to leh via srinagar? If not, which is the best time?
    Is travelling by own bike a problem in leh or any other region?

  9. Deepa Ranawat on

    Hi we are planning a Leh trip in mid may,we shall go by road through Srinagar-Kargil-Leh .we will start from Srinagar post much time shall it take to reach Kargil.also please suggest some good vegetarian restaurants as we are in search of Jain food.thank you

    • It takes about 8 hrs to reach Kargil and provided you are going in May when Zojila Pass will be having one side traffic restrictions, I believe it will be not possible for your guys to reach it before night. I will suggest you leave Srinagar no later than 11 AM.

      There won’t be any pure veg restaurants in Kargil but you will be able to find veg food in Kargil and your hotel should be able to serve you.

  10. Niti Ranjan on

    Hellow Dheeraj,

    I complete Spiti ride with my hatchback (Grand i10) through shimla -Kaza- Manali (by god grace we are escaped but my car was damaged very badly b/w batal & Gramhoo). I want to know I can complete Leh trip (Delhi- Srinagar- Leh- Manali- Delhi) with my hatchback. As I read some places mostly roads are in bad shape like at Zozila Pass and some where b/w Rotang Pass & Pang.

    I want to know is roads in Zozila Pass, Leh- Manali are better than Kaza to Mamali? Can I drive my hatchback Leh trip.

    • Hey Niti,

      Relatively speaking, roads of Manali – Leh, Srinagar – Leh and Ladakh, over all in general are much better than roads of Spiti Valley and Battal – Gramphu

  11. Dear Sir,

    I am planning for 11 days trip to Delhi -Kashmir-Kargil-Leh-Pangong-Delhi in the month of July-1st week.

    Schedule that I have prepared.

    Day1 – Flight Delhi to Srinagar (lunch arrive)

    Day2 -Local Srinagar

    Day3 – Private Taxi (Srinagar to Kargil)

    Day4- Kargil to Leh

    Day5- Leh Local

    Day6 – Khardungla Pass

    Day7- Pangong champ

    Day 8- Leh Local

    Day9- Early morning 5:00am bus to manali (Govt bus-night stay at Keylong)

    Da10- Keylong to Manali and in evening (7:00pm) bus to Delhi

    Day11- morning 10:00 am Reach Delhi

    Trip over. 

    I need your advise that is this schedule is doable or not. I am little worried of returning plan, because by any how I have to reach Delhi on 11th day morning. 

    2nd – Will I be able to get the Govt Bus or any other transport to travel from Leh to Manali in 2 days 1night? 

    Is it difficult to get or frequently available?



  12. Saquib Rehman on

    Thanx for the details. we were planning a trip in the last week of March18. Please give ur suggestions fr 9days trip to Srinagar-gulmarg-leh-manali .
    We will be coming from Ranchi,Jharkhand by our car. We request for your suggestions in the above context…..

    • Well, the roads to Leh – Ladakh will open in May and Manali – Leh Highway opens up in June or May end. You can only fly in and out of Ladakh