Travel Guide to Leh Ladakh in January for an Amazing Winter Holiday

Ankita | Updated on May 26, 2022

If love for nature, adventure and architecture run like a storm in your soul, then consider the deserted land of Ladakh for your next holiday destination. And when it is about visiting Leh Ladakh in January, the place boasts a new sort of liveliness in the surroundings followed by chilly weather. 

In a nutshell, Ladakh is truly an action-packed place and you can make the most of it by enjoying hiking, trekking, trying the Ladakhi food, visiting the Buddhist monasteries and so much more. Nothing could be better than being a traveller here and traversing the alpine lakes, scenic valleys, high altitude motorable mountain passes, the ancient Buddhist monasteries in the month of January when everything becomes even more surreal. 

And if you are wondering about the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh in January and the exciting things to do, then there will actually be a never-ending list of them. But in this blog, we ease off the pain and have provided below an entire travel guide that includes all the information related to temperature, best places to visit, things to do, how to reach, travel tips, that will assist you in planning your Leh Ladakh tour in January accordingly. Keep scrolling down: 

Stok Palace

Leh Ladakh Weather in January

Ladakh is harsh, cold, and unpredictable in January. You can expect snowfall at any time of day/night. And it is during this time, when the alpine lakes like Pangong Tso, Tso Moriiri turn solid. 

Every time you step out here, You can experience a chill in the wind. Make sure you keep yourself covered at all times when travelling to Leh Ladakh in January. This month will be too cold but you still have to take care of yourself and apply sunscreen as the sun is very harsh during this time and there are chances you might get sunburns.

How to Reach Leh Ladakh in January

The answer to the question ‘can we visit Ladakh in January’ is Yes. But what is the best way to reach Leh Ladakh in January is mentioned below.

Leh Ladakh By Public Transport and Private Taxi

Public transports like buses and private taxis from outside Ladakh remain inaccessible due to heavy snowfall on both routes from Srinagar and Manali. You can take a taxi from Leh and explore the tourist places and indulge in other activities. 

Leh Ladakh By Bike

If you are planning a bike trip in Leh Ladakh in January, it is unfortunate that you won’t be able to do it as heavy snow of as much as 50ft blocks both Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh Highways. It’s good to rent a bike from Leh and get the experience. 

Leh Ladakh By Flight

The best, fastest and most convenient way of reaching Ladakh is by flight. Leh has its own airport named Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport which is at a distance of approx 3 km from Leh town. Leh airport is well connected to the major cities of India with direct and connecting flights. From Leh airport, you can take a taxi to reach the final destination. 

Best Places to Visit Ladakh in January

Nubra Valley

1. Nubra Valley

If you are planning a Leh Ladakh trip in January, then add Nubra Valley to your itinerary. Home to double-humped Bactrian camels and the famous Diskit Monastery, Nubra Valley will make you go wonderstruck. Head to Hunder village, where you will not only witness the double-humped Bactrian camel but also enjoy a joyful ride on them. Ah! Don’t forget to get a picture clicked with them for your next Instagram post. Then from Hunder, head approx 11 km to Diskit village to embrace the beautiful Diskit Monastery. And below it sits 106ft. tall statue of Maitreya Buddha facing the Shyok river. 

Pangong Lake

2. Pangong Lake

Yet another one of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh in January, Pangong Tso can rightly be called the epitome of raw beauty. Visit the lake during this winter month and you will get to treat your eyes with something extraordinary. The snow-capped mountains in sync with the frozen lake water appear to be magical. Yes, the lake water freezes during the winter season in Ladakh. To reach Pangong Tso you have to make your way through Chang La and if the route is blocked due to heavy snowfall, you won’t be able to proceed further to Pangong Tso. You need to check it and confirm, if the route is clear and open, you can head to visit the beauty of Pangong Tso. 

3. Tso Moriri

The lake is said to be the twin of Pangong Tso by the locals. Tso Moriri is an offbeat destination in Leh Ladakh that you can head to visit on your Leh Ladakh tour. Away from the maddening crowd, the place offers the much-needed calmness that you might need after a stressful and hectic ride. Sit here, relax, enjoy the scenic views all around and we are sure you will fall in love with this place so much that you wouldn’t want to leave this place. The place is even to a variety of migratory birds, so if you are lucky enough, you will get to catch a glimpse of some of them. Also, make sure you enquire and confirm before heading to the place if the routes are clear and open. 

4. Lamayuru

The quaint little village of Lamayuru should be on the list of best places to visit in Leh Ladakh in January. Why? Because the place offers a different experience unlike any other. The place has a moon-like landscape and for this reason, it is rightly called the ‘moonscape for tourists.’ Located at a distance of approx 127 km from Leh town, Lamayuru is where you can live a life like a local and get a real taste of the culture and tradition of the region. Don’t miss out on visiting the ancient Lamayuru monastery that boasts some of the beautiful frescoes and frightening masks. If you happen to visit Lamayuru during the summer season, you can enjoy stargazing here at night. 

5. Zanskar Valley

Zanskar Valley looks even more beautiful during the winter months. Why? Because the entire region gets blanketed with snow. It is the perfect time for adventure enthusiasts to plan a Leh Ladakh tour as during this month one can make the most of the Chadar/Frozen river trek. Then there are many other treks that can be done and get an experience to cherish forever. 

Things to do in Leh Ladakh in January

1. Relish the Ladakhi Cuisine

The sub-zero temperature in Ladakh makes water bodies freeze. This creates a perfect ice field suitable for ice hockey and skating for the daredevils. You can enjoy ice hockey and ice skating in the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink which is situated at an elevation of 4,373 meters. 

2. Visit the Magical Magnetic Hill

One of the best things to do in Leh Ladakh in January is to witness science taking a backseat. Situated somewhat at a distance of approx 30 km from Leh in the Trans-Himalayan region, the Magnetic Hill is marked by a yellow signboard stating- “The Phenomenon That Defies Gravity”. The same board instructs you to park your vehicles at the base. And there, keeping your vehicle in neutral mode, you would witness it drifting uphill on its own at a speed of almost 20 km/h. So, and be the judge of whether it is actually magic or an optical illusion. 

3. Chadar Trek

The season calls out the adventure enthusiasts to get a trekking experience like never before. Head to walk over the frozen Zanskar river to learn so many things like persistence, surviving in harsh conditions, interacting with the locals that too while crossing the gorge with frozen waterfalls. The frozen river looks no less than a mirror for the sky. Just imagine sleeping in the caves, sitting beside bonfires in freezing temperature is totally a ‘do before die’ thing which adventure enthusiasts should definitely do on a Leh Ladakh tour in January. 

4. A Visit to all the Religious Sites

When in Ladakh, you can’t avoid visiting the ancient monasteries, temples and other religious sites. Whether you visit a Buddhist monastery, a temple, or a gurdwara here, your heart is sure to fill with peace and sanctity. Exploring these places, you get to witness the splendid architecture and interact with the monks, priests who would tell you so much about the history of the place, their culture and tradition. Some of the must-visit religious sites to visit in Leh Ladakh when planning a trip includes Shanti Stupa, Thiksey Monastery, Lamayuru Monastery, Diskit Monastery, Shankar Gompa, Phyang Gompa, Alchi Monastery, Shey Gompa, Hemis Monastery, Likir Monastery, Gurudwara Pather Sahib etc. 

5. Relish the Ladakhi Cuisine

A trip to Leh Ladakh in January remains incomplete without trying the Ladakhi cuisine. The scrumptious food prepared here by the locals is so mouth-watering that you just can’t get over it. The food in Ladakh is influenced by the Indo-Tibetan style and so you get to try here Skyu, Khambir, Thenthuk, Thukpa, Momos, Chhutagi, Tingmo and more. Don’t forget to try the Yak cheese and items made from it. Besides, try the local beverages like Chhang- an alcoholic drink, Butter tea/Gur Gur Chai and more. All these food are tasty and becomes even tastier when tried in the chilly month of January. 

How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh in January

Whether you are planning a Leh Ladakh trip in January solo or with family, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. These include travel tips, things to carry,

Checklist that are mentioned below: 

Clothes to Pack 

Planning to visit Leh Ladakh in January means you are up for a winter holiday which requires you to pack clothes wisely. Don’t forget to pack the below-mentioned items: 

  • A windproof jacket that is both good and bulky.
  • Woollen Puffer Jacket
  • Woollen Cardigans and pullovers 
  • Warm socks, gloves and caps
  • Thermal inner wear    
  • Cotton t-shirts 
  • Waterproof as well as cotton pyjamas/trousers
  • Waterproof hiking shoes, sports shoes, slippers, sneakers.  

Medicines/First-Aid Box 

When in Leh Ladakh, you might suffer from nausea and headache because the region is situated at a high altitude. But obviously, you can take precautions and be careful enough. Carry Diamox which is for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or consult a doctor who would prescribe you a different medicine for AMS if you want to be extra careful. Always stay hydrated as this will let you stay energetic throughout the trip. Other medicines that you shouldn’t avoid carrying are as follows: 

  • Crocin for headache 
  • Meftal Spa for your period pain 
  • Paracetamol for fever
  • Pan 40/ENO/Digene for stomach issues 
  • Pain relief gel/spray like Volini/Moov 
  • ORS/Electral sachets
  • Cough Syrup
  • D Cold Tablet or Vicks for cold 

Essential Documents 

Make sure that you don’t forget to carry your government-issued identity proofs like aadhar card, voter card, passport, and driving license. Carry 7-8 passport size photos as these will be needed at the time of issuance of Inner Line Permit (ILP) when visiting some of the restricted areas of Leh Ladakh. Also, keep a photocopy of your medical insurance and a route map for personal assistance. 

Other travel tips for visiting Leh Ladakh in January are: 

  • Even though you will be travelling in the winter month, you might have to face the harsh sun. So, carry sunscreen with SPF 50 max, lip balm, moisturizer, sunglasses, hat. 
  • It is always good to carry light snacks that you can munch on when you feel tired or hungry. These can be protein bars, dry fruits, chocolates, and more. 
  • Carry a power bank and rechargeable torchlight. 
  • You won’t find ATMs in every region of Leh Ladakh. So, it’s advised to carry enough cash.
  • Carry a BSNL sim along with you as it has the largest network in Leh Ladakh and will work almost everywhere.  

So, this was all about Leh Ladakh in January. We believe the travel guide has covered all the important information that you should know before you pack your bags and leave for your Leh Ladakh tour in January. There are pros and cons of travelling to Leh Ladakh in January, if you can afford to take care of yourself and enjoy an amazing winter holiday in the region, then please go ahead. Hope you found the information helpful enough and if you have any further questions or need to query on the best Leh Ladakh tour package, we are here to help you with the best of our capabilities.

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