The best time to visit Ladakh for walking and cultural trips is from May to September. Ladakh experiences a high altitude desert climate and lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas which stop monsoon rain clouds so the main source of water is the winter snowfall on the mountains. The road to Ladakh's capital, Leh, from Manali in the south usually only opens after snow is cleared in mid- June and the peak season here is July and August. A number of Tibetan Buddhist festivals with masked dances and village fairs are celebrated at this time.
It is bitterly cold in winter, most guest accommodation closes and many places are completely cut off by snow. However, this is the best time to visit Ladakh in search of snow leopard.
Because the window of opportunity for visiting Ladakh is so small accommodation and flights from Delhi to Leh get booked up well in advance, especially at peak festival times. Once you've reached Ladakh the best way to avoid other visitors is to stay in villages so that you have them entirely to yourself when the day-trippers have gone home.
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Posted by: Andrea Hulme