Ladakh is a vast area of deserted and unhurt hills, valleys, and ice-clad mountains located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It stands between two great mountain ranges, the Karakoram in the North all the way to the Himalayas in the South. Traveling to Leh-Ladakh in October is not at all a bad idea. Experiencing the sights of an enormous and deserted spread of hills and valleys combined with the exciting experience of lasting the harsh climate is one of its kind adventures. Ladakh is an outstanding tourist destination but the weather there may not be very welcoming to tourists all the time. Since it has an arctic climate, the weather of Ladakh is chilly and unforgiving all year round.
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Ladakh has two climates – summer and winter. Yes, no spring, and autumn which are your favorite seasons to visit places because of the forgiving weather. Usually, I get a chance for a family holiday in the month of October. As you know in Bengal festival season falls in the month of October. Schools, colleges and offices remain closed for a good number of days in this month. If you too did not get a chance in the year so far and thinking to now visit Ladakh in October, then mentioned below are some general tips that can help in order to plan your trip better particularly in the month of October. I will break this article into two parts. First I will discuss some benefits and then drawbacks of visiting Ladakh in October.
Both seasons have their own irresistible charms, and both are fit for traveling. It all depends on the traveler’s preference and capability. In my opinion, the summer season is for the tourists while winter is for the seasoned traveler. Winters have their own charm when only a handful of travelers visit the place and the site is all covered with snow and the views are most breathtaking. But nevertheless, each time of the year has its own appeal and deciding between the best times to visit the place often becomes puzzling. The inner roads in Ladakh remain open throughout the year because the Indian Army uses them for their movement in the area. There could be a road closure post snowfall at any of the high altitude passes on the way but this is temporary, mostly lasting a day or two. As soon as BRO(Border Road Organization) is able to clear the road; road gets opened again for traffic movement. Even in the months of October and after, you can plan a visit towards places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.
Benefits of visiting Ladakh in October
1. Cheap air ticket to Leh in October
As it is an off-season you may get a cheap air ticket to Leh. There are plenty of reasons also, why you will fly to Leh especially this month. Please have a look at below-mentioned link.
2. Simple itinerary for the family tour
While traveling with family in October, your simple itinerary which only covers the major tourist attractions will keep your family fresh. Reach Leh, cover Nubra, Pangong, and Moriri and return.
If the idea of a live snowfall is on your mind then chances are that you may catch one here in October. You can witness a light spell of snow while traveling to Ladakh in October. If not a live snowfall then you will at least get to see plenty of snow around Khardung La and Chang La top.
4. Less crowd
A lot of people travel to Ladakh looking to get away from the crowd. The fact cannot be denied that even Ladakh these days can get a bit crowded in peak tourist season. If you want to go to a place with fewer people around then Ladakh in October is the place to be.
5. Good and cheap staying
Most of the hotels at this time are winding up and there aren’t many customers around so a bit of negotiation may get you accommodation cheaper than expected. Finding accommodation in Leh City will not really be a big challenge even in October; however, it is better to inquire and plan your stay at other places like Nubra Valley, Pangong, and Tso Moriri. My personal opinion is that book it in advance. Many wise friends of yours will suggest that go to the spot, see the hotel, and bargain for the price and then book. One of my close friends visited Chennai along with his family. In search of the best hotel within his budget, he walked from Chennai to Egmore. Within 3 hours after visiting the 17th hotel finally he told his wife, “The first one is the best, let’s move”. His wife replied, “You go there I will stay here”. So do proper research online and fix it. This is not guaranteed that you will get the cheapest room but can be a great advantage if you are able to apply few tricks, which I mentioned in the below link.
6. Better treatment
With the number of tourists getting scarce and fewer customers, you will be treated well at any hotel or restaurant you visited.
7. Great price for local sightseeing vehicle
As October month is off-season month you can do a shameless bargain with tour operator/driver to grab a good deal for your sightseeing vehicle.
Drawbacks of visiting Ladakh in October
1. Plan only via Srinagar-Leh Highway
If however, you could not plan your travel by air, then it is of utmost importance that you reach Leh via Srinagar-Leh Highway and return the same way. The other road Manali-Leh highway is closed for the year.
2. Greater chances of getting stuck
With the increased chances of snowfall, there will always be a risk of you getting trapped or stuck at any of the places in Ladakh. If there is a roadblock, you will have no other choice but to wait it out till the weather clears and BRO is able to free the road of snow.
3. Prepare for cold
In October, the winter arrives and Ladakh is one of the coldest regions in India. The weather here is unfaithful, erratic, and risky. You must prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the cold days and nights you are about to experience. Please follow below-mentioned link
4. Food may be expensive
Cost of living goes up in Ladakh in winter and you may even end up paying more than the actual charge for basic foods.
5. Choices are less
As most of the hotels and restaurants are winding up in the month of October, therefore choices of food and hotels or guesthouses are less.
6. Avoid a bike trip
A bike trip to Ladakh in October isn’t really a good idea. Low temperatures combined with cold winds are not the ideal climate to ride a bike through hills. Prefer to travel by car if at all possible.
7. Keep an extra day
This is very important. Do not bind yourself to strict timelines and keep at least 2 days as a buffer. It will definitely snow at the high altitude passes in Ladakh. It is a possibility that you were visiting Nubra valley and cannot return from there as planned or maybe you were at Pangong while it snowed at Chang La. You must keep a couple of days in hand for situations like this. If all went well and according to the plan, you can use these days in the hand to either rest in Leh, or explore some other areas.
In the end, I will say as the month of October sets in the whole place is filled with a new life again. This is one of the best periods for visiting the magnificent and beautiful areas of Leh and Ladakh as the place is infused in brilliant shades. You can definitely visit Ladakh in October by keeping the points I mentioned above in mind. I hope this information was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to write down in the comments section below and I will be glad to answer.