How to calculate the cost or budget of Ladakh Trip?

A trip to Ladakh is something we've always dreamed about right? 

If you are going on a solo trip for 14 days then you'll need to map out everything from travel to food to accommodation. Everyone thinks that a trip to Ladakh is very costly and can only be done on a big budget. This isn't true. If you research and gather information well enough and make a well-planned itinerary you can travel to Ladakh on a budget as well. 

The first thing we need to understand that this is a rough example and that costs will vary on the basis of if you are traveling solo or if you have a group and if you wish to take it slow and take a gap between days before traveling then costs will go up as well. It will also depend on your mode of transportation and where you decide to stay for the duration of the trip. You also need to know about a lot of things like obtaining inner limits passes that will allow you to visit places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, etc.

The first thing that we should look at is accommodation :-

Accommodation ; According to the accommodation you choose you will have to spend somewhere between 11,000 to 14,000 rupees for a 14 day trip including food, accommodation, and other expenses. 

If you are staying at an affordable place with some creature comforts then all costs per day including food and other costs will come up to 800-1000 rupees. There are places like Pangong where hotels won't be available. In these places, tents will be available at 200-300 rupees per night. If you choose a homestay instead it will cost you around 500 rupees. But all in all, everything should be covered in under 1000 rupees. This will include toll, permit fees, entry into the monastery, etc.

Food ; The food options in Ladakh are various. If you decide to eat at a Dhaba like the place then you will get your meals at 60-70 rupees. The same meal at a place like changspa road could cost you 150-170 rupees.
This rate can get even higher in high-end restaurants. The price of the food can also be affected by the food you eat - ie veg or nonveg food. 

Keep a reusable bottle to drink water with you, so that you can fill it at regular intervals. It can save you money but more importantly, it can help in preserving nature and keeping the premises clean. 

Miscellaneous expenses ; Factoring in all the expenses if you keep it to the bare minimum then you should be able to make it by with the above said 11,000-14,000 rupees per day. This will include all your entry fares and other sightseeing costs. This is very subjective as you may also want to do some shopping which will add to the costs. 

Traveling ; There are various modes of traveling to Ladakh, traveling is the major expense that you will face while on the trip. According to the availability of vehicles, your trip could go on for 18-20 days. You will have the option of using hired taxis or shared taxis operated by travel guides. This is one of the major methods in which you can travel. 

Self-driving with your own vehicle ; If you are self-driving to Ladakh then you will have to consider a separate cost for fuel and it will be relative to your vehicle. According to the mileage your vehicle provides, you will have to spend somewhere between 11,000-12,000 rupees. This is an additional cost to your food, accommodation, and other miscellaneous costs. 
You can divide the cost amongst people traveling with you accordingly. 

Self-driving with a rented vehicle ; If you are renting out vehicles then you will get good quality vehicles for about 1,200rupees- 1,400 every day. For a 14 day trip that will cost somewhere around 16,000. Taking fuel costs into consideration your traveling will fall under somewhere between 20,000 - 40,000. 

Private hired taxi  ; You can also come to Leh using a privately hired taxi. Considering all expenses for a 14-day trip this will amount to somewhere between 22,000 - 23,000. 

Shared Taxi  ; A shared taxi is the most common method to travel in Ladakh. If you are traveling from Srinagar to Leh or Manali to Leh it will cost you around 3000 rupees. Local sightseeing will cost you around 4,000 - 5,000 rupees more. The total cost of hiring a shared taxi will be about 8,000 - 10,000 in total. You can surf on the Internet to find out taxi drivers that are approved by the taxi union. You can contact them to get discounts of up to 12 %. Of Course, speaking to them in person will help you haggle better than speaking to them over the phone. 

Public Transportation  ; If you are prepared to wait for longer periods then you can use public transportation, your travel costs will drop way down. But your food and accommodation costs will go up as you will have to stop and wait for buses as their frequency is very low. 

Conclusion  ; In the end, your total budget for the trip to Ladakh assuming you cover a distance of 3000 kilometers starting from Manali and exiting via Srinagar or vice versa will include.
  • In the area of accommodation, food and travel permit, it will cost you around 800-1000 rupees in total. 
  • If you are self-driving with your own bike then it will cost you around 9,000 - 10,000 for the duration of the trip. 
  • If you are using your own car to drive up to Ladakh, you will incur a fuel cost of around 15,000 - 20,000. 
  •  If you rent a vehicle then you will have to pay a rent of around 10,000-15,000 for the whole trip, along with fuel costs separately. 
  • If renting a car, add costs of rental along with the fuel costs similar to what you would have to calculate if you had chosen a bike. 
  • If you are travelling by taxi that you have taken on rent for the duration of your trip, then according to the stops you make the costs will go up to some 50 - 60,000 rupees. Of Course, you can divide the cost with the people you are travelling with.   
  • If you travel by bus, the cheapest means of transportation will only cost you around 5000 rupees. 
  • Travelling by shared taxi will cost you around 10,000 rupees. 
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