Ladakh

The main tourist sites relate to Tibetan Buddhism, and to the stunning landscape.

Ladakh is not only home to some of the most beautiful and serene monasteries you'll ever see, but it also a land of rich natural beauty - and it's this natural beauty that hits you so hard, because it's a barren beauty. Many travellers find themselves at a loss to understand how something so barren can yet be so beautiful. Be respectful, these are holy places and active monks in most of them.

Must-see sites include "Moon-land-view" the area around Lamayuru on the Leh-Kargil highway;

Many places in Ladakh need an inner line permit which is available for free in DC's office in Ladakh. A travel agent can also arrange the permit for INR100 per person within an hour on any working day. Starting May-2014, no inner line permits are required for Indian tourists to visit popular tourist places like Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley and Tso-Moriri Lake. However, they do need to fill up an application form easily available with taxi drivers and also in shops.

There are some regular tourist circuits starting from Leh which entail driving 200-400km round-trip out of Ladakh.

1.) Pangong Lake Leh-Karu-Chang La-Tangtse-Pangong Tso, 158km, 5-6h one way: This is a popular trip to Pangong Tso Lake and can be done by taxi/bike. Most people do it as a day trip starting early in the morning and come back in the evening. However, there are arrangements for the stay near the lake in Lukung & Spangmik and one can stay overnight either in tents or at several guest houses to enjoy this place at a slower pace. Takthok and Chemeray/Chemeday monasteries can be covered en-route by taking 3-5km detours.

2.) Nubra Valley Valley of Flowers Leh-Khardung La-Diskit, 118km, 4-5h one way: This is another popular trip but difficult to do in one day. Nubra Valley may not be as beautiful as is touted to be, and is the second favourite for tourists as a trip out of Leh. Some people return from Khardung La 18,380 ft, which is claimed to be the highest motorable pass in the world. It provides excellent views of Ladakh Range as well as Karakoram Range on the other side. Accommodation is available along the way and in Nubra Valley at various places.The places to visit in Nubra Valley are Diskitregional hub with a nice monastery, Hunder 9km from Diskit, white sand dunes, camel ride, several mid to high range camping options, Sumur monastery, camping, Panamikhot sulfur spring, avoidable and the recently opened Turtukinhabited by Balti people, was part of Pakistan up-till 1972, 5km from Pakistan border, wonderful scenery and comfortable home stays.