There is a common question on my blog that I keep answering, “Do you know if flying to Leh Ladakh will be as exciting as a road trip to Ladakh?.” Well, whenever it comes to a trip to Ladakh, we all favor a road trip over Manali Leh road or Srinagar Leh road.
Why should I plan a trip to Leh Ladakh by flight? – 7 Reasons Why Travel to Ladakh by Air

Why you should fly to Leh Ladakh?

We seldom talk about flying to Leh Ladakh and spending dedicated time exploring the beautiful locations within Ladakh only. The reason for such a notion is, the journey is more beautiful than the destination. However, in my honest opinion, it is not as true as it always reads. There is much more to explore within Ladakh as well apart from the well known popular tourist places you may know.

The bike ride or a drive within Ladakh, be it over Khardung La Pass or Chang La pass or more subtle inner line routes, are as equally challenging as roads to Ladakh from Manali Leh Highway or Srinagar – Leh Highway.

Reasons to fly to Leh Ladakh
Reasons to fly to Leh Ladakh

Download your FREE high-resolution version pdf copy of this infographic guide for some reasons to fly to Leh Ladakh. If, you liked it and found it helpful, please feel free to share it with your family and friends to help them too.

In this article today, I will write about seven good reasons for flying to Leh – Ladakh that will help you make a decision in case you are struggling with such a choice. 

Time is always of the essence for every Leh – Ladakh trip. If you know where to spend your time especially when it is not your first trip to Ladakh, well, you may want to consider flying to Leh Ladakh rather than riding a bike or driving your car.

Flying to Leh - Ladakh
Flying to Leh – Ladakh

Reasons for Flying to Leh Ladakh Rather Riding or Driving

I have already shared the most popular itinerary by Air for Ladakh trip which you can refer any day to make a memorable trip to Ladakh by air, especially when it is your first trip to Ladakh. However, in this article today, I will keep my focus on the reasoning rather than the plan for a trip to Ladakh by air.

1. Roads to Leh Ladakh are closed in winters

This is the most common reason for flying to Ladakh because for about six months, both Srinagar – Leh Highway and Manali – Leh Highway is closed due to heavy snowfall. The only way to travel to Leh – Ladakh in winters is by air. Srinagar – Leh Highway opens by the first week of May whereas Manali – Leh Highway opens by the first week of June.

By October end, it becomes perilous to travel on Manali – Leh Highway due to severe cold and a possibility of snow block. However, on the life and vehicular traffic movement continues over Srinagar – Leh Highway by mid of November and sometimes end of November till Zojila Pass closes. Hence, for the rest of the months in the year, you can only fly to Leh and then explore Ladakh.

If you are planning to make a trip to Ladakh in winters, then do refer: Leh – Ladakh in Winters – Most Common Itinerary

The adventurous roads in Ladakh
The adventurous roads in Ladakh

2. The fastest way to travel to Leh Ladakh

It takes three days to reach Leh from Delhi via Manali side with stopovers at Jispa, Manali, and four days to come back to Delhi from Leh via Srinagar side with stopovers at Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil. This schedule makes it seven days. You need at least one day in Leh for acclimatization.

However, you can just take a flight to Leh from Delhi and reach in the lap of trans-Himalayas in just a couple of hrs. Beware, it could be a difference of 10,000 feet of altitude and a possibility of 20 Degree Celsius to -2 Degree Celsius 😉 😉

3. Saves you at least a couple of days

As said above, it takes a minimum of three days to reach Leh from Manali – Leh Highway side if you start your trip from Delhi or Chandigarh. One day you will be resting for acclimatization.

However, if you fly directly to Leh, then after the first two days of acclimatization, rest and local sightseeing around Leh you are good to travel over Khardung La pass to Nubra Valley. This schedule saves you good two days which you can spend anywhere in Ladakh or use them to go back home early 🙂 …

4. Helps you spend more time in Ladakh than on roads

As you see in Point (3), you can easily save two days if you fly to Leh directly. Hence, instead of being on the road for 3-4 days and going through the arduous journey to reach your destination, sometimes it is better to fly in and spend that energy plus time to soak in the place.

You never know in which small tiny remote hamlet of Ladakh, you may lose your soul forever 😉 …

The bike rides in Leh - Ladakh
The bike rides in Leh – Ladakh

5. Better in terms of acclimatization than taking a road trip from Manali

In terms of AMS and acclimatization, I prefer traveling to Leh – Ladakh by air as the second-best option after opting to travel by 434 km long Srinagar – Leh road which takes four days.

Manali – Leh highway does not allow your body to acclimatize as most of the highway runs over 14000 feet. Hence, you are bound to get hit with AMS or make a long 12-13 hr run from Jispa or Keylong to Leh. This option also causes more fatigue. Hence, I prefer flying to Leh as the second-best option.

6. No-Fuss About Bike Rentals

As you may be aware that, bikes rented outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing inside Ladakh. You can use the outside rented bike to reach Leh but then for going to Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley, etc.. you need to rent bikes from Leh only. 

The one-way bike rental is quite costly and leaves a big dent in the pocket for you, sometimes like Rs 10000-12000 for just the pickup/drop from/to Manali/Srinagar. Hence, in case you fly to Leh, you can always rent the bike in Leh, which should be sufficient to live the dream of an adventure bike ride in Ladakh. In case you want, you can refer Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2020-21

7. You see some breathtaking aerial views of Ladakh range

Lastly, when you are flying to Leh, you get to see some breathtakingly aerial views of trans-Himalayas, which in winters looks like nature’s carpet of white gold, the snow. Once, you view the scenes; you can only believe it then as pictures do not do any justice to it.

You should always carry your water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂

Aerial views of Leh - Ladakh Range
Aerial views of Leh – Ladakh Range


I know the downside of flying to Leh Ladakh can be the hefty money the airline charges for flight tickets to Leh, especially in season time. However, if you consider the overall fatigue, overnight hotel, and food charges for multiple days and, of course, the costly taxis within Ladakh, then you can easily make a choice.

It mostly ends up being either saving a couple of thousands and going through the arduous journey by roads in 3-4 days or spend that extra bit of money to buy you time and comfort. Of course, those who are planning a trip by road to Ladakh, they are looking for a different adventure.

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

I hope the above article helps you in making the right choice in terms of when flying to Leh – Ladakh can be more beneficial against the ever-demanding desire of making a road trip to Ladakh.

Feel free to share with your friends or family who plan to make a trip to Ladakh. Who knows how it benefits them. In case, you want to share any other reason or agrees/disagrees with them; I will look forward to the discussion in the comments section of the article 🙂 🙂


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.


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  2. Tanya Sinha on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    In one of your other article:

    You have written “Flying directly to a high altitude place like Leh (3500+ Mtr) can cause serious issues sometimes if proper care is not taken to combat Acute Mountain Sickness”,

    Whereas in this article it says other way round.
    Now I am confused, should we come by road from delhi or Fly directly.
    Please help!!

    • Tanya, if you are talking about point number 5, that is to compare traveling by road from Manali – Leh v/s flying directly to Leh. Out of the two options, I prefer to fly directly to Leh as you can rest. However, the best option is still to travel to Leh by road from Srinagar to combat mountain sickness.

  3. Vipul sikka on

    Hello bro, I am big fan of ur articles.
    We are also planning to go to leh by air. I will request u to answer following questions:-
    1. Is it really good to travel by air than road.
    2. Which month is best to travel to Ladhak.
    3. What can be approx total budget if travel by air.
    4. No of days required for this whole trip?

    • Thank you Vipul, I am really glad.

      1. Yes, as I explained all my thoughts in the article as well 🙂
      2. If planning by air, you can travel from April end to October. If you want to see snow, go early but if you want beautiful colors then go in September October
      3. Excluding the tickets, expect about 20-25K
      4. Check: Leh – Ladakh | Most Common Itinerary by Air

  4. We’re a group of 10 people… Planning for Leh ladakh in 3 rd week of June… Our Age is between 50-55 . Pl suggest. Which is suitable for us.. Flight or raod

    • I will recommend that you plan to fly in to Srinagar, go by road to Leh to acclimatize better and then plan a road trip within Ladakh. After completing the trip, fly out of Leh.

  5. Rajan Sachdeva on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Travelling in 1st week.of.September

    If i travel to leh by air and reach early morning. Is it ok to cover kargil same day and back next day?

    Or should we take rest to avoid AMS.


    • Hi Rajan,

      I will suggest avoiding traveling on the very first day at least, technically you will sleep at a lower altitude but the journey will take a toll on your body and you will pass through two high altitude passes to reach Kargil. Better will be to either sleep at Alchi or do Kargil – Leh trip on Day 2 and Day 3

  6. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planing Leh trip in July end. We will be landing in Leh early morning at 7. We will be resting whole day, and may go to local places (Leh palace, market) strictly if everyone is feeling ok. On 2nd day we are planning Sham Valley Tour (Alchi, Hall of fame, Magnetic hill, confluence of Indus). We all are into 30s. We will be hiring cab with driver.
    Is it strictly NO NO to plan Sham valley on 2nd day?

    • Hi Bhushan,

      Well, yes, that is fine to travel to Sham Valley on Day 2 but the key is to keep the body hydrated, minimal fatigue should happen and previous night all of you had a close to good sleep if not 100% good sleep. In case of too much discomfort on previous day or night, better avoid and take more rest. Also on Day 1 please consider second half for roaming around and do not walk too much to exert yourself. Short walks are ideal with plenty of fluids.


  7. Robert Fernandes on

    I am planning to visit Ladakh on next year probably in February end or March by air.
    Is it good time to visit there or what is the best time to visit it?

  8. Hey Dheeraj,

    Thanks for this article, gave a lot of confidence for people who prefer flying in directly.

    We are a group on 12 people going to fly to Leh on 6th April Midnight From Mumbai and have return flight on 12th April 2017.
    Considering 7-8 April for acclimatization and local sightseeing, we have 9-10-11 at our hand.
    Hotel booking is done at Sangto Green in leh.

    Can you please tell us what can be achieved in these three days, we want to cover Khardungla for sure and rest places are flexible. Also is it advisable to rent bikes in April ? how are the road conditions

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Swapnil,

      Pleasure it helped. Make a two day trip to Nubra Valley and one day trip to Pangong Tso. If the taxi driver agrees and you have couple of more vehicles to accompany you guys, then go from Agham – Shyok route to Pangong tso and stay at Tangtse as Pangong Tso will be too cold to stay. Bikes may be available for rent within Leh but for Nubra and PAngong tso, not available as it is not that safe to travel.

      • Swapnil D on

        Oh that’s sad!
        We were looking forward to take bikes till Nubra atleast for an overnight stay.
        I talked with few bike operators and they said they will provide bikes for Nubra also.

        Are you totally sure we should not take bikes till Nubra? (Okay taking a car for pangong)
        We are fairly experienced with bikes ( been riding since last 7-8 years) , though not much exp in such weather.

        Your comment will be very useful to determine the course of action. Please help 🙂


        • They will provide the bikes buddy but the problem is mostly BRO does not allow to ride bike on Khardungla due to snow on road and unsafe for bike riders especially novice ones. A mere slip up there can result in fatal consequences, please keep in mind. So, depending upon how you ride the bike for first few days, take a call buddy. Don’t take unnecessary risk 🙂

  9. pushpa jayachandran on

    hi Dheeraj
    intend going to Leh Ladakh in July 2nd week, my itinerary is as under:
    Day 1 Chandigarh to Manali halt manali
    Day 2 Manali to chandratal lake via rohtang pass Halt at Chandartal
    Day 3 Chandartal lake to kaza via Kunzom;a pass halt kaza
    Day 4 Kaza to Jispa via kunzumla pass halt jispa
    day 5 jispa to leh via baralacha pass,nakila pas,taglanga pass,serchu visit pang halt in leh
    day 6 leh,local sight seeing, shanti stupa,shay palace,thiksay monastery, stok plalce, ranchoo school halt leh
    day 7 leh to nubra valley via khardongla pass visit disket monastery, hunder sand dunes fouble hump camel halt nubra valley
    day 8 nubra hunder to turtuk village back nubra
    day 9 nubra hunder to pangong lakevia shayok valley, spangmik village, 3 idiots scjhool 9halt pangong lake
    day 10 pangong lake to tsomoriri lakevia tsagala
    pass visit, maan villagem,erak cvillage, chushul, korzok monastery halt at tsomoriri lake korzok village
    day 11 tsomoriri lake to leh via mahe bridge chumathang hot spring halt in leh
    day 12 leh to kargil via fotula pass, namkila pass visit, hall of fame museum, gurudwara pathersahib,magnetic hill,sNGAM point indus and zanskar river confluence,lamayuru moon land view, lamayuru monastery,, mulbek statue halt at kargil
    day 13 kaargil to srinagar dop via zogela pass drass war memorial, tiger hill, tololoinghill sonamarg view

    the above is the itenerary given by a guide he has quoted Rs 88,000/- only for travelling by innova is it OK , are all the places mentioned worth visiting?
    he has quoted hotel accomodation for Rs 39900, we r 2 ppersons .

    kindly help

    • Pushpa, well, I will recommend that you skip the Kaza part and do Pangong Tso to Hanle and Hanle to Tso Moriri. The rates you can check few more options too to decide on the best rate. If you are looking for competitive and customized Ladakh tour and packages, you can connect with as most of the readers in the past couple of years have had very good feedback about them and especially their transparent policies along with being there with you all the time in need.