Leh Ladakh in December – A Detailed Guide to Plan a Trip to Ladakh in December

Surprisingly against the common belief that by the end of the year, Ladakh is completely shut down and deserted, you can still plan a trip to this place in December. There remain a few service providers in some cities of Ladakh. Some hotels, restaurants, and even grocery stores remain open in December. They still offer services to a minimal number of tourists who wish to tour this area in December.

The temperature is cold, and even during the daytime, it stays below 10 degree Celsius. The land is entirely under snow and sheets of ice. Conditions may be worse in accommodation facilities where piped water is utterly frozen cold, and warm water is rarely available in bathrooms. Even with all these problems, a lot of travel enthusiasts and adventurers take a trip to Ladakh to enjoy its splendid beauty.

A road trip in December is an adamant one because all the main routes of Manali and Srinagar are by this time fully covered in snow. Some ways may be functioning, but taking them is extremely dangerous. Bikers from around the world looking for an extreme adventure still try to make a road trip. The road blockages get cleared by the army and the Border Roads Organization.

For people who want to take a trip to Ladakh in December, this guide will help you in devising a plan. Prepare an itinerary and pack all the necessary things. Embark on a journey of a lifetime. If you are cautious and careful, the challenges will not stop you, and you will be able to make the most out of your trip.

Tips for Visiting Leh Ladakh in December:

Keep Travel by Air Only

In any case, keep your trip to Leh through the air alone. You should not opt to travel by any other means. A road journey anytime in December to Leh, whether through Manali or Srinagar route, is only for professional bikers who have a lot of experience. Traveling by road during December is a lot of risks.

Travel utilizing airways; it is safe and saves a lot of time. If traveling by road, make sure you have experience of driving on icy roads.

Keep Your Itinerary Simple

December is not a tourist month in Ladakh so, make a plan accordingly. Do not include remote areas in your itinerary, as all of them will be inaccessible due to snow. Roads become very dangerous, and most of the time, you won’t even find vehicles to take you there. Include places that are close to Leh.

Do Not Raise Your Expectation Too Much

There will be enough places to visit in Leh. Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, and Tso Moriri are still open for tourists with a permit. These places are not much far from Leh, and you can visit them within a week of touring. You should limit your expectations when you travel to Ladakh in December. Comparing to what you would get to see during the tourist season, you can only visit a limited number of places during December. The accommodation facilities will also be minimal, and you won’t get all the services you’d otherwise get. Once you have set your expectations, you will have a satisfying experience in Ladakh.

Include Buffer Days in Your Itinerary

When you plan a trip to Ladakh during December, you will need to have a few extra days in your itinerary. It is because the weather is unpredictable, and delays arising from inconveniences like snowfall or breakdown are widespread. You cannot avoid the possibility of emergencies, and if there is a delay, then extra days in your itinerary will help you compensate for the time you’ve lost. You will be able to tour around the whole place even if there is a delay.

Consider Taking A Private Taxi from Leh

Once you are in Leh, you should take private taxis to your destinations. Public transport like buses is rarely available. A private taxi will be a good option because it is comfortable and readily available. A lot of travel agencies provide private taxis that you can take to get to your destinations.

Suggested Read: Things to do in Ladakh in December & Places to Visit in Ladakh in December

Accommodation During December

Book your hotels before you start your journey. Only a few hotels remain functional, and there is also a lack of tourists. You will get the best rooms in some premium hotels at a reduced price. Guest rooms and homestays are also open for booking.

Reasons to Visit Leh Ladakh in December:

Winter Wonderland

All of Ladakh remains covered under thick layers of snow and ice. For people who want to view the most serene and beautiful landscapes of the region. It is also a time to enjoy adventure activities like trekking in the frozen Zanskar Lake. If you have a longing for adventure, then visiting Ladakh during December will be a thrilling experience for you.

No Distractions

December is an off-season month, and you will rarely spot another tourist in some places. During this month, only a few people visit the area as it remains under the snow. Only a few services are open, and power-cuts are common. You can visit many places where you will find no tourist traffic at all. It will give you a lot of time to enjoy the peace of the site.

Good Negotiation in Accommodation Prices

During December, a minimal number of tourists come to Ladakh. It is the reason why most of the services remain close during this time. Only a few hotels and homestays are operational, and you can stay there. These hotels and homestays reduce their prices and offer discounts on your bookings. It is a plus point about a Ladakh trip in December.

Things to Consider While Planning a Trip to Ladakh in December:

Limited Options for Exploring

Your possibilities to explore Ladakh are limited. The roads to remote places like Kargil are not open to regular traffic. Reaching Ladakh is also tricky. You will not be able to cover the popular Manali-Leh road trip because, by this time, the road remains closed for vehicular movement.

Unpredictable Weather Conditions

Weather in Ladakh is very unpredictable. It takes very little time for a sunny day to turn into a snowstorm. Chances of getting stuck are high due to the snowfall and poor road conditions. The roads undergo regular fixing to transport defence utilities, and thus it is only suitable for the military vehicles.

Higher Expenses

Weather conditions in Ladakh cause a reduction in the supply of necessary commodities. The prices in the markets of Ladakh increase, which causes most service providers like hotels and restaurants to raise rates as well. The high cost of living may prove expensive to tourists during a trip to this area in December.

Extremely Low Temperature

The temperatures in Ladakh in December remain low. They may be too low for tourists to cope up with and only physically healthy people with no history of medical issues should dare to take a December trip to Ladakh.

Simplified Itinerary to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh in December (by Air):

During December, only air travel is advisable because it is comparatively safer than traveling by road. We have a sample itinerary that can be helpful on your visit. It is for a five-day trip, and you can improvise this if you want to visit some more places. Be sure to add some extra days just in case of delays.

Day 01 – Fly to Leh; post arrival, check-in into a hotel to spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 02 – Take the Srinagar highway and drive to Sham Valley. On the way, you can visit a lot of places. Zanskar river is also along this route. You will have to drive back to Leh by the evening.

Day 03 – Take a drive to Pangong Lake. You will get to enjoy a beautiful view of the blue water of the lake and snow-clad mountains surrounding it. Return to Leh and rest in your Hotel.

Day 04 – Drive to Khardungla top. It is perhaps the most famous place in Ladakh. By the evening, return to Leh and stay overnight

Day 05 – Depart from Leh to your city.


During December, Ladakh is a cold and snowy place covered with thick sheets of ice. The weather changes day to day, and therefore many tourists avoid the area during this period. However, with the availability of Air travel and accommodation, a lot more people are visiting the site even in such harsh conditions. Ladakh has changed from cold desert to a tourist hub, and people enjoy coming to this place in any season. One needs to be cautious and plan their trip wisely to avoid any problems.

There will be challenges on your visit to Ladakh, but you can efficiently deal with them if you are careful. Use this guide to plan your trip and keep in mind about all the requirements. If you follow simple rules, you will enjoy this adventure a lot more.

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