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Trip to Ladakh in a Budget – Day to Day Itinerary

So that everyone can fulfill its dream to travel

Budget is an integral part of any trip but it becomes crucial when you are planning it for Ladakh because of higher number of days required for the basic trip to Ladakh. That means even cost of stay and having food increases proportionally for the number of days you plan your trip. Combined with the fact that self driven cars are not allowed and forced to opt for taxis whose rates are way much higher than you expect due to rough terrain and bad roads and short tourist season. So, a question like, if I can make a trip to Ladakh in a budget by public transport is not surprisingly the top most among the frequently asked questions for a Ladakh trip.

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Lets see how you can make a trip to ladakh in a budget by public transport.

Planing a trip to Ladakh in a Budget

Trip to Ladakh in a Budget

If you are alone or a couple and taxi rates are very costly but still you can find a shared taxi without much hustle at all. There are lot of flyers and notes people put on cafes, restaurants and agent desks/shops willing to share a taxi for different trips in Ladakh. Even travel agents organise such shared taxis but in that case you have to pay a little higher about Rs. 200-300. So, in worst case you can always go back and book a seat with travel agents. You can also post about your trip on social media accounts and travel forums like Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet in advance to see if someone wants to hop in with you and share the journey. Indulging with people in Ladakh is easy as many people are solo travellers and look forward to meet new people, share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. And Nowhere on the earth you will find always smiling faces and helpful people as Ladakhis are.

In order to outline the budget and cover all places of sightseeing in Ladakh, let’s consider our most common itinerary as an example which covers the entire circuit as Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh – Manali. Now, let’s take a look at this Ladakh itinerary day by day including the options of travel, the cost of travel and cost of stay + food (twin sharing basis) at these places. Also, assuming since you are on budget trip you will be finding the places of stay on the spot and not pre-booking.

Day 1 | Delhi – Jammu

  • Options of travel: There are buses available between Delhi – Jammu costs around Rs 550 as well as Delhi – Srinagar (Sleeper costs around Rs 1600, non-sleeper costs around Rs 1400) but most preferred economic way to travel to Jammu is by train. You need to pay around Rs 350 for sleeper class in train and around Rs 900 for third AC.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 350 by sleeper class in train.
  • Cost of stay: You will find many budget guest houses and stays near bus stand at Jammu ranging from Rs 700 to 1500. So, you can consider Rs 350 – 400 for stay in Jammu for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: Rs 350 + Rs 350 to 400 = Rs 700 to 750

Day 2 | Jammu – Patnitop – Srinagar

  • Options of travel: There are plenty of buses running between Jammu and Srinagar. The cost ranges from Rs 550 (tempo travellers, deluxe) to semi deluxe around Rs 500 to ordinary state transport 52 seater including Marcopolo at around Rs 400. Finding shared taxis from Jammu to Srinagar is easy from Gumat taxi stand. They charge around Rs 800 per person for shared taxi.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 400 by state transport bus.
  • Cost of stay: You will find many budget guest houses and stays near Nageen lake or Dal lake or at the back side of dal lake ranging from Rs 700 to 1000. So, you can consider Rs 350 – 400 for stay in Srinagar for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 700 to 750) + Rs 400 + Rs 350 to 400 = Rs 1450 to 1550

Day 3 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil

  • Options of travel: Plenty of shared taxis and daily buses of JKSRTC run between Srinagar and Kargil. Shared taxis to Leh from Srinagar cost around Rs 1500 with night stop at Kargil. However, there is a direct semi deluxe bus as well that runs from Srinagar to Leh which costs just Rs 670 and deluxe bus costs around Rs 1100.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 670 for Srinagar to Leh by semi deluxe bus.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house in Kargil ranging from Rs 600 to 900. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 350 for stay in Kargil for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 1450 to 1550) + Rs 670 + Rs 300 to 350 = Rs 2420 to 2570

Day 4 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh

  • Options of travel: Plenty of shared taxis and daily buses of JKSRTC run between Kargil and Leh. Shared taxis to Leh from Srinagar cost around Rs 1500 with night stop at Kargil. However, there is a direct semi deluxe bus as well that runs from Srinagar to Leh which costs just Rs 670 and deluxe bus costs around Rs 1300.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 3 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Leh ranging from Rs 500 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 250 – 350 for stay in Leh for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 2420 to 2570) + Rs 0 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 2670 to 2870

Day 5 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatisation

  • Options of travel: Here you are not left with many options but either get a snooty,bike costing around Rs 800 – 1100 on rent to ride or hire a local tourist shared taxi that might cost you around Rs 500 per seat.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 500 for a shared tourist taxi for a single person.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Leh ranging from Rs 500 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 250 – 350 for stay in Leh for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 2670 to 2870) + Rs 500 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 3420 to 3670.
Budget Stay in Ladakh

Day 6 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Nubra Valley costing around Rs 1500 for two day trip.You will also get public shared taxi as well for Nubra Valley near polo ground in Leh for Rs 400, so return would cost you around Rs 800 by public shared taxis. Within Nubra Valley you can travel by shared taxis for around Rs 200 but will be a bit inconvenient if you want to cover many places. Also, if you are lucky, you can also get JKSRTC state transport bus to Deskit for Rs 200, means Rs 400 for return. However, it depends if the bus is running that day or not.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 1000 considering you will opt for public shared taxis to Nubra Valley and within Nubra Valley for getting to Hunder, Sumur, Panamik.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Nubra Valley (Hunder, Deskit) ranging from Rs 600 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 400 for stay in Nubra Valley for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 3420 to 3670) + Rs 1000 + Rs 300 to 400 = Rs 4720 to 5070.

Day 7 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 6
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 6 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Leh ranging from Rs 500 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 250 – 350 for stay in Leh for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 4720 to 5070) + Rs 0 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 4970 to 5370.

Day 8 | Leh – Pangong Tso Lake

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Pangong Tso costing around Rs 1500 for two day trip. Details are mentioned in the third paragraph of the article on how to get a tourist shared taxi in Leh. However, assuming you started your trip on Friday evening from Delhi, it will be Saturday on this day. Hence, you can also get a JKSRTC bus at Rs 540 for return from Pangong Tso (Spangmik).
  • Cost of travel: Rs 540 for a return considering you get the JKSRTC bus to Pangong Tso, Tangtse scheduled on Saturday.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a home stay or dormitory tents at Pangong Tso in Leh ranging from Rs 200 to 300 per person per day. So, you can consider Rs 200 – 250 for stay in Pangong Tso. Of course, cost will be high in case you plan to stay in tents with toilets and better guest houses with attached bathrooms. But, I am assuming you are on a budget trip to Ladakh.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 4970 to 5370) + Rs 540 + Rs 200 to 250 = Rs 5710 to 6160

Day 9 | Pangong Tso Lake – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 8
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 8 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Leh ranging from Rs 500 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 250 – 350 for stay in Leh for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 5710 to 6160) + Rs 0 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 5960 to 6460
Rent a Bike in Ladakh

Day 10 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang

  • Options of travel: Tourist shared taxis are available to travel for a two day trip to Tso Moriri costing around Rs 2000 for two day trip. Details are mentioned in the third paragraph of the article on how to get a tourist shared taxi in Leh. There is a JKSRTC bus that runs on every 10th, 20th and 30th of the month from Leh to Tso Moriri and cost about Rs 740 for a return ticket. If you are luck enough and dates clash on these days, you can consider saving about Rs 1200 for the trip.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 2000 considering you will be taking shared taxi in case your dates are not matching the dates on which JKSRTC buses to Tso Moriri runs.
  • Cost of stay: You can find a guest house or home stay in Tso Moriri ranging from Rs 600 to 700. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 350 for stay in Tso Moriri for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 5960 to 6460) + Rs 2000 + Rs 300 to 350 = Rs 8260 to 8810

Day 11 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Taglang La – Upshi – Leh

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 10
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 10 for a drop till Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Leh ranging from Rs 500 to 800. So, you can consider Rs 250 – 350 for stay in Leh for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 8260 to 8810) + Rs 0 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 8310 to 9110

Day 12 | Leh – Taglang La – Pang – Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong

  • Options of travel: Daily HRTC buses available to travel to Keylong on first day and then second day to Manali and third day to Delhi. However there is a direct bus to Delhi from Leh by HRTC which costs Rs 1340 and covers the journey in two days with overnight halt at Keylong. The buses are also available just up to Keylong and Manali as well. Also, there is an HPTDC tourist bus that is available for tourists halts which stops overnight at Keylong and then goes to Manali the next day. Lots of shared taxis option are also available both local as well as tourist shared taxis. We will consider direct HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh via Keylong – Manali.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 1340 for direct HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh.
  • Cost of stay: You can easily find a guest house or home stay in Keylong ranging from Rs 600 to 700. So, you can consider Rs 300 – 350 for stay in Keylong for a single person.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 8310 to 9110) + Rs 1340 + Rs 250 to 300 = Rs 9900 to 10750
Enjoy the view while on Manali – Leh Highway

Day 13 | Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali

  • Options of travel: Leh – Keylong – Manali, daily HRTC buses available to travel to Keylong on first day and then second day to Manali. Also, there is an HPTDC tourist bus that is available for tourists halts at Keylong and then go to Manali. Lots of shared taxis are also available both local as well as tourist shared taxis.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 12 for a drop till Delhi by HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: Rs 0 as the direct bus to Delhi from Leh does not overnight stop at Manali.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 9900 to 10750) + Rs 0 + Rs 0 = Rs 9900 to 10750

Day 14 | Manali – Delhi

  • Options of travel: Covered in Day 12. Also, there are plenty of HRTC, HPTDC local, deluxe, Volvo buses available which you can take as per comfort, convenience and budget in case you are not taking the direct bus to delhi from Leh. However, in this example, we are only considering the HRTC bus to Delhi from Leh.
  • Cost of travel: Rs 0 as already covered on Day 12 for a drop till Delhi by HRTC bus.
  • Cost of stay: Rs 0 as you reach sweet home.
  • Total cost incurred: (Rs 9900 to 10750) + Rs 0 + Rs 0 = Rs 9900 to 10750

Cost of food for 14 day Ladakh trip

The food all over Ladakh is quite economic unless you wish to lavishly spend in restaurants and hotels. If you eat at regular dhabas where the buses or shared taxis stop and do not wish to go into the high end restaurants in Leh or Manali, you will not be spending more than Rs 200 – 225 per day on food. So, for the above 14 day trip to Ladakh you will end up spending Rs 2800 – 3150 for the food. Hence, the total cost incurred on your trip comes out to be (Rs 9900 to 10750) + (Rs 2800 to 3150) = Rs 12700 to 13900.

Hence, you can see that if you plan to make a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport and plan it properly as described above, you can easily make your Ladakh trip covering Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri within a budget or Rs 12700 – 13900. If you are really lucky and you get the public transport buses within Ladakh as well for Tso Moriri, you may consider saving about couple of 1000 more making a budget trip to Ladakh possible in approximately Rs 10000-11000 only. In case, you drop Tso moriri from the plan and directly travel to Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, then as well you can very much make a Ladakh trip possible in a budget of Rs 10000.

Eating at Dhaba. Image Courtesy

Conclusion

Hope the above article helps you evaluate the cost of travel for your Ladakh trip especially in case you are planning a budget trip to Ladakh by public transport. The example will help you fit your plan to evaluate the budget of trip and skip the places you are not visiting. This will help you build a confidence that yes one can make a trip to ladakh in a budget by public transport within Rs 13000 budget.

Feel free to share it with your friends or family who you know will be going on a trip to ladakh in a budget by public transport.

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