Leh Ladakh in May – How to Plan your Trip in 2022

Can we visit Leh Ladakh in May? The answer is a definite yes. It may not be the best time for people wanting to plan a road trip but surely has a few aces up its sleeve. It is the month of May that officially marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ladakh and brings thousands of enthusiastic tourists, travelers, motorcyclists, and adventure junkies with it. The roads will mostly be all open and since it is just the beginning of the tourist season, it will not even be that crowded. The weather at this time is perfect with moderately warm days and pleasantly cool nights, which makes it a great time to plan a trip with your family as well. In this article, I will share some tips on how you can plan your trip to Leh Ladakh in the month of May. The post below includes information on how to reach, where to stay, what to see, what you should expect out of the journey at this time, safety tips, and how you can make the most out of this trip. For other details on visiting Ladakh outside the month of May, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide. Quick Navigation Is Ladakh Open in May Yes, Ladakh is definitely open in May. Most of the hotels and guest houses get functional by this time and several other tourism-related activities also get started. Bike rental agencies, taxis, and public transport services too all get available. Internal roads in Ladakh leading to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri are open as well. So once you reach Leh, you will have no problem finding a place to stay or going towards any other areas in Ladakh for sightseeing. How to reach Leh Ladakh in May Let us first talk about how you can reach Ladakh in the month of May. There are two aspects to it depending on whether you were planning to travel in early May or towards the end of the month. Srinagar to Leh by Road in May If you are planning a road trip to Ladakh in early May then reaching Leh via Srinagar and returning via the same way is really your only choice. Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by road in May also depends on the weather conditions. Historically, however, the highway remains open for most of the month; or at least the second half. To track the latest updates on this route, please take a look at Srinagar Leh Highway Status and Road Conditions. To be on the safer side, do not plan your trip in the early part of May though. Even after the snow has been cleared, avalanches at Zoji La at this time are quite common which can block the road for several days altogether. To ensure that you do not get stuck somewhere and are able to travel as planned, prepare your itinerary around or after the 15th of May. On a general basis as well, the condition of the road is bad in the early days as BRO works to stabilize it. Delaying by a few weeks will ensure that your trip will be a bit smoother and a lot safer. For more information, please read Srinagar Leh Highway Route Guide & Road Map. Manali Leh Highway in May Manali Leh highway remains closed for either all or most of the month in May. Sometimes it does get open earlier, like towards the end of April or early May but that happens very rarely. Most of the time, it will only open towards the end of the month, around 20-25th or later. To track the latest updates on this route, please take a look at Manali Leh Highway Status and Latest Updates. It is best advised to not plan a Manali to Leh road trip in May. This is because even if the road did get cleared of snow, its condition will be terrible with a high chance of temporary closures. BRO works rigorously during the initial few weeks to make the road as safe as possible and sometimes closes sections of it for a few hours or even an entire day. If that happened, you will be stranded on the road and forced to turn back to the nearest available accommodation. To travel from the Manali side, ensure that you either start your trip in the last week of May. If you were starting earlier then go to Ladakh via Srinagar and return via Manali. But keep the dates of your Leh to Manali journey in the last week of May only. For more information on the route, please read Manali to Leh Route Guide and Road Map. By Air This, in my opinion, is the best way to plan a Ladakh trip in May. This will eliminate all the ifs and buts and you can rest assured that your plans will not get canceled, postponed, or changed. This is also the best way for people who are short on time. As a rule of thumb, plan a road trip only when you have at least 9 days or more. If you had a lesser number of days, then reaching Leh by Air will be the best way. Book your tickets a few months in advance and you can save some money as well. The only challenge in reaching by flight will be of AMS in Ladakh which I have covered further in the article. By Public Transport Reaching Ladakh by public transport in May will be a little difficult. The HRTC bus from Manali to Leh starts in the first week of June. Th

Leh Ladakh in May – How to Plan your Trip in 2022

Can we visit Leh Ladakh in May? The answer is a definite yes. It may not be the best time for people wanting to plan a road trip but surely has a few aces up its sleeve. It is the month of May that officially marks the beginning of the tourist season in Ladakh and brings thousands of enthusiastic tourists, travelers, motorcyclists, and adventure junkies with it.

The roads will mostly be all open and since it is just the beginning of the tourist season, it will not even be that crowded. The weather at this time is perfect with moderately warm days and pleasantly cool nights, which makes it a great time to plan a trip with your family as well.

In this article, I will share some tips on how you can plan your trip to Leh Ladakh in the month of May. The post below includes information on how to reach, where to stay, what to see, what you should expect out of the journey at this time, safety tips, and how you can make the most out of this trip.

For other details on visiting Ladakh outside the month of May, please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.

Quick Navigation

Is Ladakh Open in May

Yes, Ladakh is definitely open in May. Most of the hotels and guest houses get functional by this time and several other tourism-related activities also get started.

Bike rental agencies, taxis, and public transport services too all get available. Internal roads in Ladakh leading to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri are open as well. So once you reach Leh, you will have no problem finding a place to stay or going towards any other areas in Ladakh for sightseeing.

leh ladakh in may

How to reach Leh Ladakh in May

Let us first talk about how you can reach Ladakh in the month of May. There are two aspects to it depending on whether you were planning to travel in early May or towards the end of the month.

Srinagar to Leh by Road in May

If you are planning a road trip to Ladakh in early May then reaching Leh via Srinagar and returning via the same way is really your only choice.

Traveling from Srinagar to Leh by road in May also depends on the weather conditions. Historically, however, the highway remains open for most of the month; or at least the second half. To track the latest updates on this route, please take a look at Srinagar Leh Highway Status and Road Conditions.

To be on the safer side, do not plan your trip in the early part of May though. Even after the snow has been cleared, avalanches at Zoji La at this time are quite common which can block the road for several days altogether. To ensure that you do not get stuck somewhere and are able to travel as planned, prepare your itinerary around or after the 15th of May.

On a general basis as well, the condition of the road is bad in the early days as BRO works to stabilize it. Delaying by a few weeks will ensure that your trip will be a bit smoother and a lot safer. For more information, please read Srinagar Leh Highway Route Guide & Road Map.

shikara in dal lake

Manali Leh Highway in May

Manali Leh highway remains closed for either all or most of the month in May. Sometimes it does get open earlier, like towards the end of April or early May but that happens very rarely.

Most of the time, it will only open towards the end of the month, around 20-25th or later. To track the latest updates on this route, please take a look at Manali Leh Highway Status and Latest Updates.

It is best advised to not plan a Manali to Leh road trip in May. This is because even if the road did get cleared of snow, its condition will be terrible with a high chance of temporary closures.

BRO works rigorously during the initial few weeks to make the road as safe as possible and sometimes closes sections of it for a few hours or even an entire day. If that happened, you will be stranded on the road and forced to turn back to the nearest available accommodation.

To travel from the Manali side, ensure that you either start your trip in the last week of May. If you were starting earlier then go to Ladakh via Srinagar and return via Manali. But keep the dates of your Leh to Manali journey in the last week of May only.

For more information on the route, please read Manali to Leh Route Guide and Road Map.

By Air

This, in my opinion, is the best way to plan a Ladakh trip in May. This will eliminate all the ifs and buts and you can rest assured that your plans will not get canceled, postponed, or changed.

This is also the best way for people who are short on time. As a rule of thumb, plan a road trip only when you have at least 9 days or more. If you had a lesser number of days, then reaching Leh by Air will be the best way. Book your tickets a few months in advance and you can save some money as well.

The only challenge in reaching by flight will be of AMS in Ladakh which I have covered further in the article.

By Public Transport

Reaching Ladakh by public transport in May will be a little difficult. The HRTC bus from Manali to Leh starts in the first week of June. The HPTDC Bus only starts in the second half of June. The Delhi to Leh Bus service also starts in the latter part of June.

Depending on the weather, the Srinagar Leh Bus may start in May but only towards the end of the month. So if the only time that you can plan a trip is in May and you can only do so by public transport, then your best would be to board a shared cab from Srinagar. These definitely get operational as soon as the highway is declared open.

From the Manali side as well, shared cabs start the moment the civilian traffic is allowed, way sooner than the bus. So if you were lucky and the road was open at your time of travel, a shared taxi is what you will travel by.

Local Commute

In Ladakh however, buses on all routes like Nubra, Pangong, and Moriri will be available. From the bus stand itself, you can also find shared cabs in Leh as well.

Just reach there in the morning and if you couldn’t find a bus for your destination, look for a shared taxi which is mostly a Sumo or Bolero. Fare per person will be a little higher than the bus but these are more frequent and easily available.

leh ladakh in may

Road Connectivity and Condition

Since the Srinagar route has just opened a few weeks before, it will be in its worst-ever shape. Melting snow would have created numerous water streams and slush all across. Bad sections of the road will majorly be between Srinagar and Sonamarg.

The worst section, however, will be between Sonamarg and Drass in the form of Zoji la. You will have to tackle a lot of mud and slush while crossing over Zojila at this time. Between Drass and Leh however, roads will be average with a few bad patches in between.

The same will be the case with the Manali Leh highway as well after it gets opened in the last few days. Numerous water streams, damaged roads, and sections under repair by BRO will be a normal occurrence.

All the internal roads in Ladakh remain open in May so you will have no problem reaching any of the local places for sightseeing.

The roads towards Nubra, Pangong, and Tso Moriri will be a mix of good and average. Bad sections will be limited to the top of Khardung La and Chang La. Presence of snow and water streams creating by melting of it will, however, be in plenty on these routes as well.

Where to Stay

May is peak tourist season so you will have no problem finding a place to stay. Hotels and guest houses everywhere will be completely up and running including Leh City, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Srinagar Leh Highway, and Manali Leh Highway (if it was open).

Whether or not to book in advance is entirely your choice. I will recommend booking your stay in Leh City but for the rest of the places, you can negotiate an on-the-spot deal.

jispa

Places to Visit in Leh Ladakh in May

Pretty much all of Ladakh remains open for tourism in May. You will be able to visit all of the major attractions and explore as much as you can. Let me break it down by some of the most visited tourist places in Ladakh.

Nubra Valley in May

Nubra valley remains completely open for tourists in May. You will be able to reach here easily via Khardung La and visit all the local villages like Diskit, Hunder, Turtuk, Sumur and Panamik, and Warshi. Hotels too will be all up and running.

You can either travel by your own vehicle or book a private taxi. If traveling on a budget, you can either board a Bus or shared cab from Leh Bus stand; both of which will be easily available in May. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Nubra Valley in Ladakh.

Pangong Lake in May

Like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso will also be open for tourists in May. You can reach here via Chang La route and stay at either the campsites or guest houses in the nearby villages. All the camps will be up and running and you will not have any problem finding a place to stay.

If you want to stay within cemented walls, then look for accommodation in either Spangmik, Man, or Merak villages where you can stay here as a paying guest.

The Bus service becomes operational as well. If not the Bus, you can board a shared cab from Leh Bus stand; or book a private taxi. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Pangong Tso Lake.

Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso Direct Route

There are three ways that you can travel from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake or Vice Versa. The first way is that you go back to Leh and go to the lake the next day. Or you can take the road across Wari La pass which is the toughest of all three routes.

The third way is the Shyok road which is the shortest and now also the easiest. By this route, you can make it to Pangong from Nubra in just about 6 hours. In the month of May, this road will remain open and safe to travel as well, except for a few bad sections which is anyway a common occurrence in all of Ladakh.

Wari La will most probably be closed in May and it will be best for you to inquire about the road status before finalizing your itinerary. For more details, please read How to Travel Directly from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake.

pangong lake

Tso Moriri in May

Tso Moriri is all open for tourists in the month of May. You can easily reach here via Chumathang from Leh or the Chushul route from Pangong.

There are several guesthouses and campsites in Karzok which will be up and running in May, and you will have no problem finding a place to stay. In fact, accommodation choices at Tso Moriri are better than even Pangong. For more details, please read How to Plan a Trip to Tso Moriri.

Pangong to Tso Moriri via Chushul

The direct route from Pangong to Tso Moriri via Chushul too is open for tourists at this time It is ideally a 2 days journey with a night halt at Hanle but if you wanted to, you can make it directly to Karzok as well. Just make sure that you start early in the day. It will easily be a 12 to 14 hours journey so start and plan accordingly.

Reaching Hanle in May will also not be a problem. To get here, you will first travel from Pangong to Chushul via Man and Merak. Then you will take the road to Loma via Tsaga. At Loma, you will register yourself at the check post, turn left and drive for about 50 kilometers to arrive at Hanle.

There are a couple of guesthouses in Hanle where you can stay. If not that, then just talk to the locals and stay at a villager’s house as a paying guest. The next day, you will drive back 50 kilometers and then take the road towards Karzok (Tso Moriri) via Nyoma, Mahe, and Sumdo. For more details, please read How to travel directly from Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri.

tso moriri

Tso Kar

There are three ways that Tso Kar can be visited. If you were coming from Manali to Leh by road, then it will fall on the way. You can just take a short diversion of about 20 kilometers from Debring (after More Plains and Pang) and make a short visit to the lake.

The other way, if you reached Leh by flight or via Srinagar, is to take the road across Tanglang La and visit Tso Kar via Debring.

The third way is to reach here from Tso Moriri via Sumdo and Polo Kongka La and then continue to either Leh or Manali.

All three roads will remain open in May and you will have no problem including Tso Kar in your itinerary. Accommodation here is available in the form of campsites and Chadar tents if you want to stay for a night.

For visual information of the routes I explained above, please see The Most Comprehensive Road Map of Entire Leh Ladakh.

Zanskar Valley in May

To reach Zanskar Valley, you need to take the road from Kargil to Padum via Suru Valley. In the month of May, the road will definitely remain open until Rangdum. But Pensi La Pass may be close towards the start of the month. So please check the weather and road status before finalizing your itinerary.

Sham Valley / Leh to Kargil Route

Last but not the least, you can also visit Sham Valley in May. The road between Leh and Kargil actually remains open all year long so you will definitely be able to visit places like Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Indus Zanskar Confluence, Magnetic Hill, Lamayuru Monastery, Mulbekh Maitreya, Moonland, etc.

If you were traveling on the Srinagar Leh Highway, then all these places will fall on the way and you can cover them all by taking short sightseeing breaks.

Sham Valley is actually the area around the villages of Likir, Suspool, and Hemis Shukpachan. It is best known for its trek routes and is among the least visited places in Ladakh. It will be open in May and you can definitely visit here. To know more, please read How to Plan a Trip to Sham Valley.

Snow in Ladakh in May

By May, most of the snow would already have melted away. The only chance of finding some will only be at top of the high altitude passes. Rohtang Pass, Zoji La, and Baralacha La are some of the passes that have those famed snow walls on both sides of the road as the route gets opened in May.

In Ladakh, you will find snow at top of Khardung La and Chang La as well. But it will only be the high-altitude areas where you may find some snow on the ground. There will be none in lower areas. Chances of catching a live snowfall in Ladakh in May are next to none.

vargis khan

Things to do in Ladakh in May

Now let us take a look at some of the other fun things that you can do in Ladakh in May. Actually, visiting all of the above-mentioned places will mostly cover your itinerary and eat up all your time. But if you wanted to know what else can be done then below is the list.

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip in May

Yes, a bike trip to Ladakh in May is definitely possible. Thousands of motorcyclists wait eagerly each year in May for the roads to open and embark upon the trip of a lifetime as soon as it does. But as I previously mentioned, if you want to cover the Manali route as well, you should plan towards the end of the month.

If you were catching a flight to Ladakh, enjoying a bike ride is still possible. You can rent a bike in Leh and then use it for local sightseeing. Even if you do not want to rent it for the entire duration of your trip, do a short ride towards Khardung La or on Srinagar Leh Highway.

Renting a bike is a great choice for moving around in Leh City as well, for visiting the local market, Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa, etc. If not a motorcycle, then you can opt for an automatic scooter like Activa.

Photography

I do not think I need to list it as a separate activity because your cameras will remain active for the most part of your trip anyway. Every turn of the road in Ladakh will force you to take your cameras out and click thousands of pictures.

Festivals in Ladakh in May

Ladakh Monlam Chenmo Festival and Buddha Jayanti (Vaisakha Purnima) are celebrated in Leh in the month of May. Saga Dawa Festival is celebrated all over Ladakh towards the end of the month that you can attend.

For more information on festivals in Ladakh and their dates, please read Festivals of Ladakh: A Colorful Celebration of Life.

Camping

Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are the best spots for camping in Ladakh. There are a few campsites in Nubra Valley as well. If you want to go self-camping, I will highly recommend Sham Valley. There are camps available on both Srinagar to Leh and Manali to Leh route too.

You can definitely pitch your own tent if you were carrying all the necessary gear. Just make sure you bring in the best quality sleeping bag to keep you warm in below 0 degrees temperatures. You can also rent camping gear and sleeping bags in Leh city as well.

While self camping, please do not do so in the middle of anywhere. Try to pitch your tent close to a chadar tent or a Dhaba. You can pay them a little to give you a spot.

This will also be beneficial in terms of meals since you can then eat at the Dhaba itself and wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on your own. You can also pay a little extra to use their washrooms as well. For some more tips on camping in Ladakh, please take a look at Tips for Self-Camping in Ladakh.

Trekking

If you are into trekking, then you can go on Sham Valley Trek, Markha Valley Trek, and Stok Kangri Trek. An easy one would be from Lamayuru to Alchi.

In Zanskar, the trek to Phuktal Monastery is another relatively easy one that can be done in 2-3 days. For even longer duration and exploring deep into the Himalayas, you can go on a snow leopard expedition.

Chadar Trek remains unavailable in May.

Rafting

This is one of the greatest and most fun activities you can do in Ladakh in May. Just talk to any of the local tour operators in Leh and they will arrange rafting for you.

Experience the Local Culture

Experiencing the local culture of Ladakh should be next on your list. Ladakh is a mix of Tibetan, Indian, Kashmiri, Buddhist, and Muslim cultures and is really unique.

Try Different kinds of Food

You must also try eating out at the restaurants in Leh and try some local dishes. For more details on this, please read What to eat in Ladakh – Foods you must try in Ladakh.

Shopping in Ladakh

Shopping should also be on your list. Though the markets will not be at their best in April since it is just the beginning of the tourist season, you can still buy some local stuff as a souvenir. Please read Shopping in Ladakh – What to buy in Ladakh for more details on this.

Other than this, just relax, do plenty of sightseeing, and have fun with your friends and family.

kargil war memorial

Clothes to Wear in Leh Ladakh in May

The weather in Ladakh in May is going to be unpredictable and tricky. What I mean by this is that the temperature will differ heavily depending on the time of the day and where you were.

For example, there will be a huge difference between the temperature of Leh City and Pangong Tso. So the clothes that you can comfortably walk around in the city will seem less when taking a stroll on the banks of the lake.

There will also be a major difference in the temperature during the day and at night. Sun will be quite harsh while the wind will carry a chill so your clothing will also change accordingly.

One moment you will be feeling warm and the next moment you will be cold as you step in the shade. The temperature will be cold at high altitude passes while it will turn a bit warm as you start to drive down.

So you need to bring clothes that can be worn or removed one by one in layers per your comfort. Clothes that you can adjust until you are comfortable.

Do not bring all your thick woolens because then either you will be feeling hot, or feeling cold if you remove them. At the same time, you cannot also bring all tight clothes because they cannot be worn on top of one another.

For more details on this topic, please read What Clothes to Pack for Leh Ladakh Trip.

What to Pack

If it was me, I will pack my regular cotton clothes, some light woolens, a heavy windproof jacket, thermals (that I can wear under my trousers) and a pair of gloves. I will ensure that my jacket has a hood to it and if it doesn’t, I will also pack a cap to protect my head and neck.

To be honest, during the day, your regular cotton clothes with a light jacket will do just fine. It is the morning and evening that you will need some heavy stuff for.

Your packing will also vary if you were traveling to Ladakh with family. If you had kids in the group, please make sure that you plan on keeping them completely covered at all times.

Shoes for Leh Ladakh Trip

Just carry a pair of shoes with a good grip. Once I drove to Ladakh and my entire trip was spent in Crocs (I am not kidding). So there are no special shoes needed for Ladakh. Your normal sports shoes will do just fine. Just check the sole and make sure it has enough grip left on it.

Best Jacket for Leh Ladakh

For a trip in May, you will need a jacket that is a little heavy (thick), is warm, and windproof as well. If you were buying a new one, then look for one that has a hood to it.

Other Things to Carry for Leh-Ladakh Trip in May

Some other things to carry while traveling to Leh Ladakh in May are as mentioned below.

  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Some basic medicines like for flu, cold, headache, upset stomach
  • A sunblock lotion of the highest SPF that you can find
  • Cold cream
  • Lip balm
  • Moisturizer
  • A pain relief spray or balm
  • Other toiletries based on your needs

For more information, please read Ladakh Checklist: Things to Carry for Leh Ladakh Trip.

leh palace

Mobile Network & Data Connectivity

When it comes to mobile and data connectivity, it is only Leh where you will get a stable connection with good voice clarity everywhere and at all times. The most important thing you need to know however is that only postpaid connections work in Ladakh. Prepaid phones are as good as paperweights here.

BSNL here has the widest coverage. It will work very well in Leh and Nubra Valley. You will get a network at Pangong Lake as well but very weak. Voice will be bad but you will at least be able to send text messages out.

Airtel will work very well in Leh city with 4G data connectivity. In Nubra Valley, you will have good reception with 2G data. Airtel does not work at Pangong or Tso Moriri or any other area.

Jio has good reception and 4G connectivity in Leh. In Nubra Valley, you will get 3G data with good voice calls.

Vodafone and Idea will only work in Leh City. For more information on this topic, please read Mobile Services in Leh and Other areas of Ladakh.

Medical Assistance

There are hospitals in Leh city that will remain open in the month of May. but those are limited to Leh and Kargil only. There is no medical assistance available at Nubra, Pangong, or Tso Moriri for anything serious. But in case of a medical emergency, you can approach the nearest Indian Army post for assistance.

Acute Mountain Sickness

Chances of suffering from altitude sickness are greatest if you were catching a flight to Ladakh. In order to handle it better, I will highly recommend that you rest in Leh City for an entire day after landing there. Do not travel anywhere and stay at your hotel only.

If you feel better by evening, then you can step out to see the market and local places like Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa, etc.

Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are where most people suffer from AMS. You must keep these places towards the end of your itinerary. On the Manali Leh route, Sarchu and Pang are at the highest altitude and you will definitely feel some symptoms of AMS here.

For a very detailed version of the information on AMS and tips on how can you tackle it better, please read How to Handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.

Weather of Ladakh in May

The weather in Ladakh starts to clear in the month of May. This is the time that officially marks the arrival of the summer season here.

But when it comes to a place like Ladakh, summer is almost non-existent and very short. The only difference is that it will not be uncomfortably cold. You will be able to greatly enjoy your trip and enjoy weather that is tricky and unpredictable.

I have seen snowfall in Ladakh even in the month of May at the top of Khardung La. But for the most part of the day, it is going to be moderately warm and pleasant cold in the evening and morning.

Temperature of Ladakh in May

The temperature will hover between 15°C to 20°C during the day but will drop close to 5°C at night. Please note that these are average maximum and minimum numbers based on historical data.

Depending on the weather and time of the day, the temperature may go up or even further down. For example, around Pangong and Moriri lakes, night temperate will be close to 0 or a couple of degrees below it.

taxi in ladakh

Itinerary for Leh Ladakh by Air

Mentioned below are a few itineraries that you can follow for your trip. I will first suggest an itinerary if you reached Leh by Air, and then I will suggest an itinerary for a road trip as well.

If reaching Ladakh by Air, below is an example of an itinerary that you can follow.

  • Arrive in Leh. Rest and arrange Permits – Day 1
  • Leh to Lamayuru to Leh – Day 2
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 3
  • Diskit to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Pangong – Day 5
  • Pangong to Leh – Day 6
  • Leh to Tso Moriri – Day 7
  • Tso Moriri to Leh – Day 8
  • Fly Out – Day 9

This, of course, is just a sample itinerary but it is one plan that you can follow irrespective of your time and mode of travel. There is still no public transport available on Shyok road, across Wari La or Chushul / Hanle route. So people traveling by bus or shared cabs will have no choice but to follow this itinerary only.

By Private Cab

If you were renting a motorcycle or booking a private cab, then you can modify the plan to something like the below.

  • Arrive in Leh. Rest and arrange Permits – Day 1
  • Leh to Lamayuru to Leh – Day 2
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 3
  • Diskit to Pangong Tso – Day 4
  • Pangong Tso to Hanle – Day 5
  • Hanle to Karzok (Tso Moriri) – Day 6
  • Karzok to Leh via Tso Kar – Day 7
  • Fly Out – Day 8

Also read: How to Plan a Solo Trip to Ladakh

By Road from Srinagar to Leh in May

If you were planning a complete road trip to Ladakh, below is a sample itinerary that you can follow. For the sake of this article, I will assume Delhi as the starting point. Manali to Leh route mostly remains closed in May so you really will have no choice but to get to Leh by Srinagar and return the same way.

  • Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
  • Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
  • Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
  • Kargil to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 6
  • Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
  • Karzok to Leh via Chumathang or Tso Kar – Day 10
  • Leh to Batalik / Kargil – Day 11
  • Batalik / Kargil to Srinagar – Day 12
  • Srinagar to Jammu – Day 13
  • Jammu to Delhi – Day 14

Following this itinerary, when you reach Leh from Kargil on Day 4, you will do so via Lamayuru. But on your way back on Day 9, you can choose an alternate route via Batalik.

By Road from Manali to Leh in May

If the Manali route was open, then you can follow either of the following two itineraries.

  • Delhi to Jammu – Day 1
  • Jammu to Srinagar – Day 2
  • Srinagar to Kargil – Day 3
  • Kargil to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 6
  • Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
  • Karzok to Pang via Tso Kar – Day 10
  • Pang to Jispa – Day 11
  • Jispa to Manali – Day 12 (Skip this day if you were short on time and go straight to Manali from Pang)
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 13

If you were wondering what to do about petrol or Diesel on such a long route, please read How to Manage fuel availability on Ladakh Trip.

Another way to do this trip will be to start from Manali and end at Srinagar, like below.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Pang – Day 3
  • Pang to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 6
  • Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
  • Karzok to Leh via Chumathang or Tso Kar – Day 10
  • Leh to Kargil – Day 11
  • Kargil to Srinagar – Day 12
  • Srinagar to Jammu – Day 13
  • Jammu to Delhi – Day 14

Manali to Manali Ladakh Itinerary

Or you can do the entire trip from Manali to Manali only, in the following manner.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Pang – Day 3
  • Pang to Leh – Day 4
  • Leh – Day 5
  • Leh to Diskit – Day 6
  • Diskit to Pangong – Day 7
  • Pangong to Hanle – Day 8
  • Hanle to Karzok – Day 9
  • Karzok to Pang via Tso Kar – Day 10
  • Pang to Jispa – Day 11
  • Jispa to Manali – Day 12 (Skip this day if you were short on time and go straight to Manali from Pang)
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 13

In all of the itinerary above, you can add more days wherever you feel comfortable; like adding another day of stay in Leh City and or in Nubra Valley at Turtuk.

leh ladakh in may

Other Tips

Listed below are some other tips that can be of help.

Leh Ladakh in May First Week

If your plan is to travel in the first few days of May, then it would be better to book a flight to Leh. The motorcycle rental agencies and taxi services become operational this month. So after landing in Ladakh, you can easily rent a motorcycle or a taxi for local sightseeing.

Shared cabs too become available that you can board from Leh bus stand. If renting a private taxi or motorcycle was not a convenient option for you then shared taxis are a great way to travel locally.

In the earlier part of the month, only the Srinagar Leh highway will be open. The chances of finding snow on the ground are great. The weather will be pleasantly cold. All hotels and tourist areas will be open and the number of tourists too will not be that much.

Road conditions will be a bit bad especially around Zojila and at top of other passes. Traffic too at Zojila is one-sided at this time.

Ladakh in May End

The only difference if you went by end of the month is that Manali Leh highway too may be open. The number of tourists too would have increased. Melting snow would have caused the water level to rise in water crossings.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh by Bus and Shared Taxis

Honeymoon in Leh Ladakh in May

Gone are really the days when Ladakh was a place of motorcyclists and adventure junkies. Now people have started to consider Ladakh for family vacations as well as their honeymoon.

If you were thinking of planning your honeymoon in Ladakh in May then my answer is yes you can do it. The weather will be pleasant and the number of tourists wouldn’t be too high like it gets in the following months; making it a perfect place to plan your honeymoon.

There are plenty of luxurious hotels in Leh City these days suitable for a honeymoon. I would strongly recommend that you book a private cab for the entire trip though.

Also Check: Leh Ladakh Highway Status and Road Conditions

Keep Buffer Days

This actually applies irrespective of your time of travel. Due to the challenging and unpredictable nature of the region, a Ladakh trip will always have the uncertainty factor attached to it. There is always a risk of things not going as planned to the point and you getting forced to extend your stay by a day or two.

This could either be because of a certain road getting temporarily closed by BRO; or if the weather closed in causing a landslide. These are two just to mention here but your trip may not pan out as planned for many other reasons.

To handle it better, you should draft your itinerary in a way that if you had to extend your stay in Ladakh by a couple of days, you would be able to do so without any problem back home.

Also Read: How Safe Ladakh is for Tourists?

Pangong Lake Weather in May

The weather at Pangong always remains freezing cold, throughout the year. Even in the month of May, the night temperature will drop close to 0 Degree Celsius or even further below.

During the day, it will be warm but the sun will be very harsh. After 9 or 10 AM, you will actually find it hard to stay out in the sun for too long and will go back to your camps.

Is May a good time to visit Leh Ladakh?

Yes, May is definitely a good time and one of the best months to plan a trip to Leh Ladakh.

Can we see snow in Leh in May?

Yes, you will find snow in Ladakh in May but only at the top of the passes and on the ground. There will be no fresh snowfall this month and you will not find any snow in Leh city.

leh ladakh in may

Leh Ladakh in May – Conclusion

Do you want to visit Ladakh when there are a bit fewer people around? Have you been imagining the several feet high snow walls on both sides of the roads? Do you want to add a bit of adventure to your trip? If your answer to these questions is yet then May is a perfect time for you. You will see plenty of snow, have great fun, and enjoy your trip to the fullest.