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Budget Guide To Ladakh

Grand Escapades’ Budget Guide To Ladakh – A very Cheap Place To Travel

Washing the dishes - Ladakhi way! Korzok, Tso Moriri, Ladakh, India

Washing the dishes – Ladakhi way! Korzok, Tso Moriri, Ladakh

Type Of Travel

India is a very cheap place to travel, and Kashmir & Ladakh are not different – Making a good level of comfort affordable, while rock bottom backpacking costs next to nothing.

Once again we opted for a reasonable level of comfort, however avoiding pricey hotels that are usually deadly boring. The only real treat we allowed ourselves was renting a private car. It allowed maximum flexibility and above all, we could stop for photos whenever and wherever we wanted. To keep costs down and to have company, we always looked for fellow travelers to join us.

Itinerary & Time Of The Visit

Our three-week trip in July & August 2013 started in Amritsar / Punjab where we explored the amazing Golden Temple. An equal amount of time – three days – we spent in Srinagar. It’s the Lake and the breathtaking scenario surrounding it you come for. Of course we stayed on a houseboat.

The trip Delhi – Amritsar, Amritsar – Srinagar we covered by plane. The last leg, Srinagar to Leh, we traveled by Jeep. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, we used as a hub for traveling to the Nubra Valley & Baltistan, the lakes of Tso Moriri & Tso Kar and the monasteries of Lamayuru, Likir, Alchi, Hemis and Thiksey. Be aware that visiting too many monasteries in a row can get you easily overdosed – It would be a shame to lose interest in these magnificent places of ancient Ladakhi culture.

Global Budget

The hard facts: in 23 days, we spent 1.150 € per person, about 50 € per person per day, which is actually a lot for India!

Costs per Person per Day in €
Long Distances’ Transport € 19,50
Short Distances’ Transport €   2,50
Total Transport € 22,00
Hotels € 13,80
Restaurants & Food €  7,00
Drinks & Going Out €   0,00
Every Day Life (& Souvenirs) € 5,90
Total Living € 26,70
Visits & Tours €  1,90
Activities €   0,00
Total Tours & Activities €  1,90
Total Country: € 50,60

Hostels & Hotels

We did not want to re-live the freezing nights in horrid places like on the Andean Altiplano and checked into guesthouses that cost on average of 27 € per night. Only in Ladakh, we spent 22 € per night – However, the expenses for the houseboats in Srinagar (45 € for a double room with breakfast and dinner) impacted this budget significantly. This is a unique experience, though…

City Name Type of Accommodation Type ofRoom Price per Night (€) Evaluation(1 to 5 Stars)
Amritsar Hotel Sham Villa Hostel Double Room 23,50 *
Amritsar City Heart Hotel Hotel Double Room 37,30 ***
Srinagar Khar Palace Houseboat Houseboat Double Room 34,70 ****
Kargil Hotel Greenland Kargil Hotel Double Room 24,00 ***
Leh Hotel Oriental Hostel Double Room 24,00 ****
Nubra Valley / Hunder Snow Leopard Guesthouse Hostel Double Room 18,70 ***
Nubra Valley / Turtuk Maha Guest House Hostel Double Room 13,30 ***
Nubra Valley / Diskit Sand Dunes Gesthouse Hostel Double Room 13,30 ***
Leh Hotel Oriental Hostel Double Room 24,00 ****
Lamayuru Lion’s Den Gueshouse Hostel Double Room 10,70 ****
Leh Hotel Oriental Hostel Double Room 24,00 ****
Tso Moriri / Thukje TsoKar Resort Camp Hostel Double Room 34,70 *
Tso Moriri / Korzok Lake View Guesthouse Hostel Double Room 14,70 **
Leh Hotel Oriental Hostel Double Room 24,00 ****
Delhi Park Plaza Delhi CBD Shahdara Business Hotel Double Room 54,90 **

Restaurants & Food

Eating in restaurant is legendary cheap, even though we went for international food whenever possible, which was in Leh mostly. In rural areas, all we would get was rice, dal, chapatti, momo and Maggie instant soup. That came to an average 7 € per person per day.

Drinks & Going Out

At such a high altitude we could not see ourselves having drinks, so a healthy and cheap option to keep the bill down was to stay away from alcohol for the entire three weeks.


Having only three weeks time to cover that vast area, we flew Delhi – Amritsar (58 € per person) and Amritsar – Srinagar (41 € per person). Not appallingly expensive, considering the time we saved on busses and / or trains.

A lot pricier was the two-day jeep trip from Srinagar to Leh (with a stop-over in Kargil), for 12.000 Rupees or 160 €. This was actually a great deal, as we heard of several people paying 15.000 Rupees or more. In vain we tried to find other people in Srinagar to share the jeep to Leh with us. Either they had their own transport or were traveling in groups. Besides, with so few individual travelers around, all on different houseboats, the odds of finding travel companions for a particular departure date were clearly against us.

For the three excursion within Ladakh – in total 335 €:

  • Nubra Valley including Turtuk (3 people, 4 days)
  • Tso Moriri & Tso Kar (4 people, 3 days)
  • A “Monastery hopping” tour up to Lamayuru (only the 2 of us, 2 days)

Without travel companions, it would have been approx. 500 €. These trips can be comfortably organized when in Leh, on relatively short notice – Allow 24 to 36 hours for the permits, though.

Travelling by public bus or shared taxis would be a lot cheaper, but again we wanted the extra flexibility to take photos. Besides, to reach very remote areas like Korzok or Turtuk by public bus can be truly time consuming. Certainly, a time well spent and full of lifetime experiences, but we just did not have it…

Last but not least, tour companies organize pre-set tours with shared taxis. Yes, they are far cheaper but far too short, which means you spend a lot of time in a car and really little time enjoying the places you come to see.

Tours & Activities

Hiking seems to be an expensive activity, but we did not even consider it in this heat without any shade.

Splurge At Reasonable Costs?

For us, it meant private transport shared with fellow travelers we met in Ladakh. But of course there are a few other ways to spend your money, like 5* hotels in Leh…

Reduce Costs?

If you decide to fly, book your tickets as far in advance as possible.

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