Leh Ladakh Autumn Trip | To Enjoy Leaves Changing Color in October written by แม่นางลำหับ

If you are familiar with India, I'm sure you would know Leh Ladakh too as it is the dream destination for many people. It's a super cool place that I must visit once in a life time. That's also my feeling before I went. But once I'm there, I feel like how come I didn't visit Leh earlier. It's not th

Leh Ladakh Autumn Trip | To Enjoy Leaves Changing Color in October

Leh Ladakh Autumn Trip | To Enjoy Leaves Changing Color in October

 Sunday, January 28, 2018 1:59 AM

If you are familiar with India, I'm sure you would know Leh Ladakh too as it is the dream destination for many people. It's a super cool place that I must visit once in a life time. That's also my feeling before I went. But once I'm there, I feel like how come I didn't visit Leh earlier. It's not the place we should go before we die, rather, it is a place we should just go now! Well, the photos I took here wasn't even half of what we saw. Regardless of how great photographer one is, it's not like what we see with our own eyes. Even I saw lots of photos before I went, but my heart is still trembling when I see the actual scene. Why didn't I come here earlier!!! I wait until I'm 30 to come here! If my health is worse than this, I'd be so upset.

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Traveling to Leh Ladakh in this trip is like traveling to several countries. Some day I feel like I'm in Switzerland and when I turn again, it is Iceland. When I take a nap and wake up again, I find myself in Mars. Upon I go out to pee, oh, here is New Zealand with a lot of goats (imagine that they are sheep). Once I'm back for dinner, yes, I'm in India, I can smell the strong curry around. I quit being scared of Indians, of smell, of curry. There's nothing to hesitate here, let's follow me to Leh Ladakh!

Leh Ladakh_IMG_8040The greatness of the nature


Our Leh Ladakh trip is all started with me and a not so close senior friend who asked me one day "Wanna go to Leh Lakakh?" Actually, I also wanted to go so many years ago and got all canceled all the time. So even if it's only 2 of us in this trip, we will go. It is a 7 days and 7 nights trip. Finally, we got 12 crazy people going together.

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Get to know Leh Ladakh
Leh is the capital of Lakakh, Kashmir, India. It is also known as Little Tibet. It is called Little Tibet because it has Tibetan culture here. There are also many ethnic groups here like Tibetans, Indians, people looking like Pakistani, some look like Chinese. Let's say people here do not have typical Indians look as Thai people know of. Actually, they are quite a lot of hot guys here, haha. It is 12,000 feet above sea level so the air is very thin and especially cold for the equator folk like us.

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Where to travel in Leh Ladakh?
This trip we travel in the beginning of October (6-14 Oct 2017). The advantage of this month is leaves changing color. Leaves in Leh turn into golden yellow. But, oh well, this is a trade off with the cold weather. I really love the golden yellow leaves so I'm willing to suffer the cold. If you want to see the green Leh, you should travel here from June-August. If you love golden Leh, please come during October and November. And if you wish to see white Leh, then, December to April is a great time (it is super cold and white).

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To give you a clearer picture, I summarize our trip as below. This trip, we spend a week in Leh (excluding travel days). Here is our short summary of the trip (for a more detailed information of the trip, please inbox to this page: Goanywhere :))

6 OCT : BKK - new Delhi
7 OCT : New Dehli - Leh (Leh City >> Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa & Main Bazaar)
8 OCT : Magnetic Hill, Sangam Viewpoint, Alchi, Lama Yuru ( moon land )
9 OCT : Nubra Valley, Turtuk *Khardung La Pass
10 OCT : Hunder Sand Dune- Pangong Lake
11 OCT : Pangong Lake - Chang La Pass
12 OCT : Tsomoriri Lake
13 OCT :Tsokar Lake Taglang La Pass
14 OCT : Leh - New Delhi -Agra
15 OCT : Taj Mahal - New Delhi - Bangkok
** After leh, we go on to see the wonder of the world. YOu can also simply end the trip here and go back to THAILAND.

We start our journey form taking the flight from New Delhi to Leh. Please choose the left seats and either the most front or back, otherwise, your view will be blocked by the aircraft's wings. (You can check the seats with the airline as they would provide you with a layout of the aircraft).

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When sitting on the plane, I feel so close to the mountains. It is a 1.20 hrs flight from New Delhi to Leh. Time flies so quickly. I usually like to take a nap on the plane but this time, I really can't, given this majestic view when we are so close to the mountains. I feel like only if I can open this window, I would be able to touch the clouds. The view starts to get so amazing 30 min after taking off. We must prepare our camera well to capture these moments.. This is especially true to the 15 mins before landing where I can't stop pressing the shutter, seriously, it truly is a beyond words can describe scene :)

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Snowy mountains and glacier are so close that I feel it could prick our plane.


Leh LadakhIMG_8184Brown mountains, snowy mountains, and a clear sky make this moment so incredibly beautiful.

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Photography is not allowed at Leh Airport. It is a small airport where the shuttle bus would pick us up to the terminal. While waiting for the luggage, staff will ask us to fill a document which is just a general information. We have contacted our ride in advance. It is waiting to welcome us with our names in their hands at the front of the airport. Now, our journey is officially begun.

Leh Ladakh_IMG_8230Leh Airport is surrounded by mountains.

001 Leh city / Main Bazaar

Once we arrive at Leh, do not do anything yet because our body needs time to get adjusted. Cigarettes, alcohol, running, jumping, or even taking shower are not recommended.. That's right, do not take shower yet and do not wash your hair. Actually, even if I can, I wouldn't want to yet as it's very cold. The weather here is about 5-20 degrees Celsius. All we can do is wash our faces and brush our teeth. Please do not break this rule, otherwise, we could be shock when water touches our head. After the flight, we need to rest our body, eat, and take a nap for about 2-3 hours, then we could go take a walk in downtown in the later afternoon.

Leh Ladakh_IMG_7176Prayer flags at Main Barza
Leh Ladakh_Leh city_171110_0420 Auntie Kanrun, the owner of Seven Sea Guesthouse, she is beautiful, kind, and very lovely. Leh Ladakh_IMG_8240Hot tea is a welcome drink of Leh, it's so good.

We didn't get to wander around Leh town as much as enjoying tea and taking rest at our guesthouse. Actually, it's quite nice to walk around. If you have more time, you could rent a motorcycle and ride around. In fact, I also want to act cool and ride around but my skills of any kind of vehicle driving is so bad and that it's quite cold, I think sitting in a van is not a bad idea either.

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Enjoying a tea at the front garden of the guesthouse is such a British style of enjoying tea.


002 Leh Palace

We plan to travel to nearby places in Leh in our first day here as we don't want to move too fast in order to allow our body to get adjusted. Our first destination is Leh Palace where we can see the view surrounding Leh ( when showing Thai passport, the entrance fee is 15 INR).
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"Leh Palace is located on a hill where you can see clearly from the square in the middle of Leh. Leh Palace was built in the 17th century. It is a 9 storey former palace of the Royal House of Ladakh monarch until they moved it to Stok Palace in 1830."
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003 Shanti Stupa
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Shanti Stupa is a white gigantic stupa built by Japanese to spread the religious belief and signify the world peace. This stupa is located on the peak of mountains in Chang Spa area. We could see Leh from high angle, Leh Palace, Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, and a Victory Fort from here. The opening hours is 05.00 - 21.00 with no entrance fee charged.

Leh Ladakh_IMG_8585 Namgyal Tsemo Gompa Looking from Shanti Stupa

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** It is about 2 km away from Leh where we can take the stairs up or taking a car and walk further about 5 min further from the stupa. I recommend you to take a car as it's quite exhausting and we could save our energy to use elsewhere.


004 Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

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Namgyal Tsemo Gompa I think this is the most beautiful viewpoint in Leh. You can have a great time taking photos with colorful prayer flags as well as enjoying leaves changing color scene. Besides, you could see Shanti Stupa in a distance through changing color leaves. No matter where we look, it's just so beautiful, indeed, a 10 10 10 from me!!! Leh Ladakh_namgyal2Leh Ladakh_namgyal3

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What a nice prayer flag, right?


005 Magnetic HillLeh Ladakh_magnetic 1

On the second day, our body is getting adjusted so we could go a bit further. Our first destination for today is Magnetic Hill, or also known as Gravity Hill. It is a magnificent view built by the nature (it looks really like movie scene). The road is looking like it is running into mountains. If we park at designated area and turn off the engine, we will see that our car can go up into the mountain by itself. In fact, it's an illusion because this is a downhill road but when looking at it, it's the opposite. And therefore it's called Magnetic Hill. Here is another destination making me realize how small we are in comparing to the surrounding nature. The nature is truly a wonder!
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006 Sangam Viewpoint
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Sangam Viewpoint is a confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers of which we can clearly see two different colors when the two rivers meet. It is such a beauty of the nature without any make up on, the two tone river scene with mountains as a backdrop and a clear sky. I enjoy the time here so much by taking photos and simply sitting here that I didn't notice how quickly the time has gone by.
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007 Likir Monastery

This monastery is located on the way and that we have sometime so we stop here. Leaves changing color scene is so beautiful. Since I'm not a temple person, I enjoy the scene here more :)
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008 Alchi Monastery
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This monastery is very old. The highlight is the arts on the wall which exhibit in several rooms. The work is so delicate and beautiful. Photography is not allowed inside. Leh Ladakh_DSCF5044In addition to paintings, prayer wheel is here too. Tibetan believes that a rotation of the prayer wheel is equivalent to a around of praying :)

Leh Ladakh_IMG_9099 Here is a viewpoint behind the monastery.

009 Moon Land

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Moon land is a lunar landscape. It is such a strange landscape where we can stop to take some photos as it's located on the way to Lama Yura. moonland 2moonland 4moonland 3


010 Lama Yuru
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This monastery looks similar to the other ones in Leh. It is surrounded by moon land mountains. It's quite something new but since I'm alright with monastery already so I just wander around.

Leh Ladakh_IMG_9190 The road between Moon Land and Lama Yura

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It's such a fortunate that we arrive here while the villages are having festival so we have a chance to join their dance. They are so cute. Aunties greet us warmly and teach us Leh style dancing, a very warm feeling indeed. But oh well, we dance a bit too much that scare them a bit, haha. We spent time very quickly at the monastery and come dance with these aunties instead, so nice.

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Leh Ladakh_IMG_9277This table looks like a VIP one waiting to see the performance. Leh Ladakh_IMG_9269-2

A cute dance

Leh Ladakh_IMG_9258Kids here are all lovely. Leh Ladakh_IMG_9263 What a cute looking kid! Leh Ladakh_IMG_9283So here is us dancing with them but seems like he dances a bit too much that shocks this auntie a bit :)

011 Khardung La Pass

Leh Ladakh_khardungla 1Khardung la Pass is the highest road on earth, it is 18,380 ft or 5,602 m above the sea level. Consequently, the air up here is very thin. We stay only 30 mins here and feel so tired that we couldn't breathe. Well, this 30 mins is a worthy one as we are conquering some sort of the world record, hehe. Leh Ladakh_khardungla 3
Here is the destination of the travelers around the world. Some people ride a motorcycle up here even the road is not well pavedbut rather rough, narrow, and very high. Also, it's super cold. Just by thinking if I have to ride one up, I'm all trembling. Well, I take the van up and still feel very thrilling and cold. How much effort and determination would take for a person to ride up here!!!. However, I think it must be one of the happiest moments of his life and just like mine. Leh Ladakh_khardungla 2
Actually, I like the view along the way more than this specific place. It's just so beautiful. If you have heard that the higher up, the colder, here is a good proof. But can I give another definition of this place as "the higher up, the more throwing up"? Please also take a plastic bag and herbal inhaler as well so that we can say to our friends once we back to Thailand that "you know, I've been on the world's highest road!" Leh Ladakh_khardungla 4
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012 Turtuk
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Turtuk is a village bordering with Pakistan. Since we enjoyed the view long the way too much, we reach here quite late so we didn't get to enter the village. That we didn't plan to spend a night here, we decided to go back right away. Just think of this ride as to enjoy the view along the way because it is so amazing and we have no regret coming here at all. I'm hoping to save more time for Turtuk in my next visit. Here, people are very good looking. (If you are coming to Turtuk straight from Leh and want to spend a night at Nubra Valley, please start your day very early because you abosolutely can't resist the beautiful view along the way!) Leh Ladakh_IMG_9549

Leh Ladakh_IMG_9539Here is the atmosphere along the way.

013 Hunder Sand Dune
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It is snowing on the mountain.

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If you used to want to be a protagonist in a desert scene movie, here is where you can realize your dream. You will totally understand the meaning of the sky touches the sand. Also, there's a camel riding service. Now, you can also imagine yourself as being a wife of a Sheikh. I take selfies with camels till my memory card is full. It's so worth to visit to Leh as it feels like we have been to many countries already. Hunder Sand Dune is located in Nubra Valley (this is the warmest area of this trip and where we can fully breathe too!)

Leh Ladakh_hunser sand 3Camels can take lots of weight. The girl in orange shirt is 100 kg and it's no problem taking here except the back of camels got ruined a bit afterwards.



And what must not miss is a camel riding activity. We are so enjoying riding a camel that we didn't get to take lots of photos. Well, I can't help but so excited when seeing camels because I only see dogs and cats in Thailand. There're 2 packages to choose, one is 200 INR for 20 mins and the other is 300 INR for 30 mins. It is the standard price, do not worry of being tricked. I choose the 30 mins one. I think it's just a right amount of time, if riding more than this, my ass could hurt but less than this, I think I haven't have enough yet.

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Sand here is different than the one in Oman though it's differently beautiful. It has light brown color. It is sandy but the texture is not so tight. Sand dunes are not high and surrounded by mountains. It is certainly different than other deserts but the similarity is the cuteness of camels. Camels here are quite familiar with tourists. We can easily take selfie or photos with them.


014 Pangong Lake
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Leh LadakhIMG_0560These mirror photos haven't been edited, it's real! DSCF5866 Tip : If you want to have this type of mirror reflecting photos, you must take it in the morning. These photos were taken at around 9 a.m.

Pangong Lake is also known as the tear of Himalayan. It is the highest saline lake in the world. It is located at an altitude of 4,350 m. The turquoise, light blue, and dark blue lake water is distributed in shades of blue as per the temperature and sunlight at that time. It is also surrounded by high mountains contrasting with blue sky as per typical sky of Leh.
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Here is where I recommend not to miss out with any given reasons!!!! We must spend a night here in order to see all shades of blue. We can simply enjoy the sun rising over mountains while sipping a cup of hot tea when we wake up. Just enjoy it wholeheartedly and you will find that it's so speechlessly beautiful (also, very cold). We travel here in October which is the beginning of winter and most of accommodations are closed so we didn't have many choices.

Leh LadakhPangong 3
Looking like we could wake up early to feel fresh and enjoy the book, but in fact, it's very cold.

Leh LadakhIMG_0707IMG_0538Leh LadakhIMG_0813Leh LadakhPangong 4

Leh Ladakh_IMG_0508.JPGAfter this photo was taken, he fainted! Leh LadakhPangong 5

Water in the lake will change according to the degree of sunshine.

Traveling here is said to be difficult, but living here is much harder. The weather here is so cold that it is approximately around -15 degrees Celsius. There is no electric blanket, no warm water, nothing. It is the most suffering and the coldest weather in my life (I used to live in a colder weather, but nowhere makes me feel this cold).

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Water in Pangong Lake is so crystal clear.

Leh Ladakh_By Aoae_171112_0396Leh Ladakh pangong lake

IMG_0432However, despite this cold, it found us the beauty we can't find in daily lives. Finally, allow me to announce Pangong Lake as the tears of travelers too. Coming here, our tears will be out due to the cold, oh no, due to the impression!
Transportation : It takes about 6 hrs ride from Leh. Or you can also travel from Nubra Valley which also takes 6 hrs.

Leh LadakhIMG_0670Along the way, the view is incredible so you won't be bored sitting this long. DSCF5801Even the air is so thin, you could survive just fine if you prepare yourself well.

TIP : Since this area is very high with a very thin air, we should bring enough oxygen cans, warm clothes, and food (especially during winter time, it's so difficult to find food. (Instant noodle cups or rice porridge cups quickly lift up your standard of life here).


015 Thiksey Monastery

Leh Ladakh_thiksey1Leh Ladakh_thiksey2I'm not a temple person and didn't put many temples in our plan. However, we still have some time left, so we get a chance to visit this monastery. It is such a very good luck of us because it is so beautiful. Thiksey monastery is known as little Potala Palace as it looks very much alike the Potala Palace in Tibet. Leh Ladakh_thiksey3It enshrines the largest Bodhisattva Maitreya in Ladakh. It was built to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama, which is very beautiful. The monastery offers a guesthouse service for those who are interested in practicing meditation and such. In addition, the surrounding atmosphere is so great and we can appreciate the endless leaves changing color scene here too.Leh Ladakh_thiksey4Leh Ladakh_thiksey5


016 Tsomoriri Lake

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Tsomoriri Lake is our highest lake during this trip which is situated at 4,522 m elevation (a bit higher than Pangon Lake). It is not so famous in Leh but since I love lake surrounded by mountains scene, this lake is my destination for this trip as well. Once I'm here, OMG, I totally feel that people miss out a lot by not visiting this lake!
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Traveling here in October and see the golden atmosphere is beyond words can describe. Let's imagine for a second that goat herd are walking on a golden grass in contrast with blue lake while the sparkle light is shining through . Then, the backdrop is snowy mountains and clear blue sky. OMG! It's just so incredible! Especially when the sun is about to set, the pink and orange light shinning to the mountains and paint the blue sky into pink, this warm feeling makes me forget that I'm in India, forget the cold, the smell of goats under our guesthouse, the curry but enjoying a cup of hot tea with this worth a million THB view, chill and happily.

Leh Ladakh_Tsomoriri 6Here is an atmosphere when the sun is about to set.

If compare this lake to Pangong Lake. I think their beauty is compatible but the Pangong Lake is much gigantic. But I see this lake as being small but full options. It is smaller but also quieter. I personally like this lake more but my friend likes Pangong Lake more. Actually, these two lakes are in a great competition of being the winner among 12 of us. However, one certain thing is you shouldn't miss this place for any reasons. It must be listed as one of your destinations in your plan!
Sometimes, the less well known thing is not always less important. Take Tsomoriri Lake as an example, it could be a hero for someone, including me.
Leh Ladakh_Tsomoriri 3

Leh Ladakh_By Aoae_171112_0408

We stack up these stones to pay respect and ask blessings from local gods.

Transportation : It is about 7-8 hrs away from Leh (you can also continue to travel here from Pangong Lake if your body still can take it). The view along the way is truly magnificent that I won't be able to forget. The rule here is you must not closes your eyes, otherwise, you will miss out a ton of things!
TIP : In the winter when the temperature gets to - 45 degrees Celsius ( I feel so terrible already just by thinking about it ), the villagers will move to Leh which consider as their holiday time. If you travel here during the winter, it'd be difficult to find accommodation. Even we come during early winter, we also have a hard time finding a place to stay. And oxygen cans, warm clothes, and food is very important that we must bring well. The must bring item is oxygen cans. I feel the air at Pangong Lake is already very thin, here is much thinner. It's so cold and super tiring. Upon a few steps, we already almost cannot breathe, so please bring a lot of it.


017 Tso Kar

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Tsokar Lake or White Lake. At first I though it's white due to snow, but actually it is a salt lake. I've only seen salt pans, it is quite a surprise to see salt lake here. We only stop here because it's on our way back from Tsomoriri Lake. It is not a big lake but quite over our expectation. I like how the white salt is contrasting with golden grass and how the mountains are reflected in the water. What a good picture right? It could be our year long profile picture, haha.

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Note: Since it is a salt lake, the ground is highly humid, please do not drive in, otherwise, your car could easily stuck like what we had been through. It's a better idea to walk in instead.

Leh Ladakh_กล้องโอ_171112_0068.JPGSo here is when our van got stuck, guys are pushing and girls are ordering, haha.

018 ON THE WAYLeh Ladakh_IMG_8048

On the way is as important as destination. On the way in Leh is so beautiful. I took like 5,000 pictures for this trip and even after a month, I still didn't get to look at them all, haha. When I write this review, I just do the random pick (I must repeat again that the actual scene is much more beautiful than these photos).Leh Ladakh_Leh2017IMG_8518
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Leh Ladakh_IMG_7874Alice in Wonderland :)

Finally, feel free to pick any destination here as you plan your trip. I can guarantee that you will be insane if you don't fall in love with Leh Ladakh!! And you can also go to Tajmahal after like us, it is quite easy to go to Agra from New Delhi and here is my review: Tajmahal : เยือนสิ่งมหัศจรรย์ของโลก ชมสถาปัตยกรรมแห่งความรัก


If you have read until this line or looked at photos until now,
I think you won't have to hesitate but book the flight now :)

See you guys again soon!
Julie !!

Falling in love with India, please read my related stories here:
9 Locations we must not miss in Leh Ladakh: https://goo.gl/8MZTaW
Tajmahal guide: https://goo.gl/L74Etd
E-TOURIST VISA INDIA : https://goo.gl/7MWz2r
Facts about India Airport: https://goo.gl/yj2KCf

Please follow my other stories here:
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