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A former playing field of "The Great Game", explorers have frequented Ladakh long before a certain Bollywood movie made it the must visit destination. Slow on the uptake, Ladakh’s hospitality sector is beginning to catch up with its newfound popularity. Some of the best places to stay in Ladakh are refreshingly novel.
Lying at an altitude just short of 10,000 feet at least one day’s acclimatization should be factored in to any trip, longer if you are planning a trek. With plenty of routes available, from Nubra Valley, to isolated Turtuk and along the Zanskar River there are trails for every ability. Walkopedia is a good source for more information on walking and trekking in the region. To truly experience its rugged beauty, some of the best places to stay in Ladakh are out of its capital town, Leh.
Much of the Ladakh valley is inaccessible during the winter months so it is best visited between April and October. Whilst Indian summers can be unrelenting, Ladakh’s temperature peaks at 30C and its crisp, blue skies against snow-capped mountains are a photographer's dream.
From Buddhist festivals at Hemis to white water rafting on the River Indus; meditation with the monks at Thiksey monastery or horseback riding in the Hunder valley there is an activity to suit every interest. If you enjoy outdoor pursuits or are something of a culture vulture then you will love Ladakh. Some of the best places to stay in Ladakh are traditional heritage properties or on the grounds of ancestral and religious establishments.
Restaurants and attractions
- ‘Café Cloud’ enjoys close up views of Thiksey monastery as well as fine Continental and Indian food.
- Depending on where you depart from, white water rafting along the River Indus is either an exhilarating or peaceful way to see the dramatic scenery.
- Buddhism is the predominant religion in Ladakh. There are seemingly countless monasteries in the region but you must not leave without visiting Alchi (the oldest), Hemis (home to the largest Buddha statue in the region) and Thiksey for the morning prayers. If travelling further afield then Lamayuru and Likir are also worth a visit.
- In Leh Town, Open Hand is the go to place for a freshly ground coffee and sweet treat; Bon Appetit serves a blend of continental and Ladakhi dishes – chocolate momos anyone?
- A day trip away Pangong Lake a visual feast and a must for photographers (amateur or professional). Providing a natural water border you can see as far as Western China. Tso Moriri is another popular destination.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Ladakh are all immersed in nature and ideal for exploring the great outdoors.
For tented luxury
- Ladakh’s hotel scene is fast catching up with its newfound popularity and with the likes of The Chamba Camp and Nimmu House this looks set to continue. Both luxurious tented camps with an emphasis on sustainability each property manages to seemlessly combine luxury with culture.
For the great outdoors
- A trekking mecca, many a hiking boot has trodden Ladakh’s domineering mountain ranges. The Apricot Tree is ideally located for routes along the Indus River.
For boutique lovers
- Both Woodyvu Stok House and Lchang Nang Retreat provide stays in a traditional Ladakhi house, with welcomed modern additions and chic furnishings. The perfect combination of old and new.
Still not sure which to book? From tented luxury to riverside isolation browse through our list of the best places to stay in Ladakh to start to plan your trip. Althernatively you can widen your search and explore all our properties in Kashmir, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Ladakh
The Apricot Tree 21 rooms from $91Ladakh
In the most outstanding location, overlooking the flowing River Indus, Apricot Tree is a true escape. With intricate woodwork and ornate, colourful Buddhist paintings there is even a traditional Ladakhi kitchen where meals can be enjoyed. Rooms are large and bright and feature private balconies.Back to Nature - Overlooking the River Indus with the Ladakh mountain range as its backdrop this property is surrounded by nature.Sights nearby - Alchi and Lamayuru monastries are within easy reach.Remote - Off the beaten track.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Nimmu House 16 rooms from $117Leh, Ladakh
Housed in a traditional Ladakhi stately home this property provides a choice between tented accommodation or rooms in the house. All are effortlessly chic combining modern muted palettes and traditional Ladakhi fabrics and textiles. The food is superb, both French and Ladakhi and all included.Hideaway - Hidden in the picturesque village of Nimmu, yet still within easy reach of Ladakh's sights, it is a perfect hideaway.Birdwatching - Ladakh is home to an impressive variety of bird life. Best spotted on the banks of the Indus in the early morning.Great walks - There are plenty of scenic strolls leading directly from the property.Sights nearby - The monastries of Alchi and Likir are a day trip away.
Saboo Resorts 15 rooms from $128Ladakh
Comprised of 15 traditional yet modern Ladakhi cottages, all with stunning mountain views. There is a restaurant serving Indian, Ladakhi and Tibetan dishes. Dining under the stars, next to the bonfire proves very popular. A perfect location for exploring the Ladakh valley.Great walks - There are some picturesque walking trails around Saboo leading directly from the property.Back to Nature - Ensconced by the Ladakh range of mountains you are surrounded by nature.Local markets - Head into Leh town and pick up some souvenirs at the Tibetan market.Sights nearby - Nearby Shey Palace is well worth a visit.
Lchang Nang Retreat 17 rooms from $139Nubra Valley,, Ladakh
Chic interiors encapsulated in a traditional Ladakhi abode. With plenty of tailor-made packages from family to romance and wellness, there is something for everyone. Located in the idyllic Nubra valley with views across the river, it is a stunning spot. Local, Indian and European dishes are served.Back to Nature - Located on the edge of the Siachen River this is a stunning spot with plenty to do outdoorsFamilies - Special family packages plus there is so much to do here the little ones will not get boredActive Holiday - Cycling, trekking and camel riding are just some of the activities on offerSights nearby - A drive to ENSA monastery, followed by a picnic lunch by Lohan Tso, is a wonderfful day out
Woodyvu Stok House 5 rooms from $142Ladakh
Charming traditional Ladakhi property, with authentic kitchen and dining experience, located in the beautiful village of Stok. Rooms are a blend of traditional features: bamboo ceilings and wood panelled windows with modern pop colours. Nestled in a leafy private garden it is a relaxing stay.Back to Nature - Located in the picturesque village of Stok, overlooked by Stok PalaceLocal exploring - Perfectly placed for an authentic stay in LadakhGreat walks - Nearby Shey is great for walking and cyclingSights nearby - Stok Palace is a must visit
Stok Palace 6 rooms from $221Ladakh
Built in 1820, Stok Palace is still the abode of the remaining Namgyal dynasty. Now open to the public it houses a fascinating museum filled with family heirlooms. Rooms are decorated with authentic Ladakhi furnishings including hand painted mandala paintings. One of a kind.Great walks - There are some beautiful walking routes, across the Indus River, leaving directly from the property.Back to Nature - Surrounded by the Zanskar mountain range this property is ensconced by nature.Cooking classes - See how it is done in the traditional, open plan, Ladakhi kitchen.Hideaway - A historic hideaway with pristine rural surrounds.
The Chamba Camp 14 rooms from $567Thiksey, Ladakh
Overlooking snow-capped mountains and Thiksey monastery, The Chamba Camp's tents are superlative. With four poster beds, power showers, bespoke writing desks & private verandahs this is 'glamping' to the nth degree. The food is astounding: haute cuisine in high places. Operational June - September.Back to Nature - Ladakh has some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Experience nature in its full force.Restrictions on children - No restrictions on children however the campsite would not be suitable for very young children.Local markets - Leh town with its Tibetan markets are a scenic drive away.Sights nearby - Morning prayers at Thiksey monastry are an absolute must.