Leh Travel Guide: 227 reviews and 716 photos

India at a different pace......

Leh is the capital of the Ladakh district in the provence of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated at the high altitude of 3500 metres the air is "thin".

It is one of the worlds highest permanently inhabited towns and retains a sense of remoteness. In winter the only way in is via air as heavy snow blocks the high altitude passes giving the sense of a landlocked self-sufficient island. By and large, you will find the pace of life much slower than other areas of India.

Situated on high altitude desert which makes for excellent views of the snow topped mountains. However, prepare for the dust.

The town contains much of interest with opportunities to observe Buddhist monasteries, villages, palaces and excellent markets. Its also the town from which to organise treks and climbs in the area.

And the soldiers came.....

The town used to be a significant trading post between India and China, sitting as it does on the Sino-Indian border. This stopped being the case in the late 1950s when relationships between the two countries deteriated to such an extent that fighting broke out.

Currently, these relationships have improved but the legacy is apparent around Leh with a significant army presence in and around the town. You will find high security at the airports and high altitude passes.

This army presence is contributing to a slow change in Leh bringing a different type of income to the town.


Leh is still a centre of trade with several busy markets. By and large, the dominant force here is Kashmiri rather than Ladakhi and the summer months sees an influx of Kashmiri traders and shop owners. Having said that Tibetan crafts can be found. You can find good quality crafts and shawls at very reasonable prices.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Views, pace of life, buddhist monasteries and villages
  • Cons:Altitude.
  • Intro Updated Dec 11, 2005
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