Leh Ladakh is definitely one of the world’s most offbeat destinations and if you care to explore, there a lot of hidden gems in Ladakh which will spellbound you. Apart from the popular attractions (Pangong Tso, Buddhist monasteries and Nubra Valley) that everyone would suggest you off, we have found couple of offbeat attractions that will be of interest to you. Here are our recommendations.
Have you seen or experienced a car drive on its own due? Yes, it is very much possible in the case of the Magnetic Hill, located 30 kilometers outside Leh on the way to Alchi and Kargil. You will find a sign at this spot invites you to stop the car over a white square marked on the road, switch it off and leave it in neutral and watch what happens. It is an unbelievable experience to see the car actually moving on its own at the speed of 10-20 km per hour. Pilots play it safe by not flying any aircraft over this hill!
- Yak Safari in Ladakh
While you are in Ladakh why not enjoy a safari on a Yak! Yak’s are the largest animals found in the deserts of trans-Himalayan Ladakh. It can easily be distinguished by its long black hair, tinged with gray, at the muzzle. Yak safari can be a life time experience by exploring the lakes, glacial valleys, gurgling streams and meadows on a Yak. It will surely bring you closer to local culture and lifestyle that locals lead in Ladakh!
- Tsomoriri or Lake Moriri Lake:
Tso Moriri is a salt lake about 14 km from Leh. It also houses the famous Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. If you have been to Pangong Tso and found it beautiful, then Tso Moriri will surely take your break away with its unique landscape filled with flora and fauna. You will get to see endangered Black-necked Cranes, Bar-headed Geese, Brown-headed Gulls, the rare Great Crested Grebe and Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis etc. You can also find animals like Nayan, Bharal, Tibetan Ass, Great Tibetan Sheep, Snow Leopard, Tibetan Grey Wolf etc. Since it is a long way from Leh you cannot go here just for a day trip and will have to stay overnight .
- White water rafting in Zanskar River
If you enjoy adventure sports, white water rafting in Ladakh has to be on your list. There are many destinations in India that offer white water rafting, but Zanskar River definitely figures on top of the list. Stretching over 25 km, the route starts from Chilling and ends in Nimmu. A two-hour ride from Leh town, this route will have you raft in Grade III+ rapids with the occasional whirlpool. However, don’t be discouraged; it instills an incredible adrenaline rush. The ride lasts for two and a half hours, and the best part of it is that you will be mesmerized with the scenic rock formations in the background and gushing river water ahead. But be rest assured, even with tired arms, the excitement will urge you to continue rowing! For the brave-hearted, take a quick dip in the freezing water or float for a few minutes in between rapids. Mind you the water temperature could be chilling;). The valleys of Zanskar are also referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of Asia’ but why compare it with the west when it’s a unique site in itself!
- Zanskar Chadar (Ice Blanket) Trek
For all you adrenalin junkies who would love to explore Ladakh in winter, this is something you would love to indulge in! Zanskar River freezes in winter and is used by local people to commute through for trade. If you have time on your hands and you are looking for the best adventure travel experience in Ladakh, frozen river trek is the one to choose. During winters, when the route from Kargil to Padum is closed due to snowfall, the frozen Zanskar River is the only possibility left. The sheet of ice covering Zanskar River is what gives this trek its name, which literally translates to ‘sheet’. This 20 day trek starts from Chilling and takes you through some surreal experiences which will leave you mesmerized.
- Turtuk Village :
Turtuk is a tiny village 2 hours away from Nubra in the north most frontier in the country which most of you could miss if not guided well. What will make a trip to Turtuk more interesting and worthwhile is the fact that it is located near the Indo-Pakistan border. The people in Turtuk are predominantly Muslim. This border village was part of the famed Silk Route used to belong to Pakistan, until it was recaptured by the Indian Army in 1971.Since Turtuk was opened to tourists as recently as 2010 it is a relatively new place to explore. You will get to see apricot orchards everywhere, crystal clean streams, Afghani looking locals and the slice of rural life at such heights. There are interesting safari tents and Homestays available here to spend your night(s) in.Read this fantastic blog article on Turtuk to have a better idea about it!
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