Located in the Indus Valley, with a backdrop of a dilapidated Palace, often described as a mini version of the Potala Palace, the town of Leh has over the years become a favourite with adventure and thrill seekers (the trekking and white water rafter is superb). In more recent time recent times, since accessibility has become a little easier, the more adventurous cultural tourists have begun visiting.
Leh lies at some 3500 metres above sea level and is the capital of the state of Ladakh. The district is bordered by Pakistan occupied Kashmir to the West, China to the north and eastern and Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh to the south east. For a long time Leh remained the capital of the Rajas of Ladakh. Leh district comprises of Leh town and 112 inhabited villages. The Indian Army maintains a large military base near the airport to patrol the borders with China and Pakistan, but in reality their main job is repairing roads and bridges and keeping the mountain passes clear of snow. Leh has been a trading post for many years with ancient trade routes running to the Silk Route (via the Nubra Valley), the Tea Horse Route and to Manali and the Indian plains.
Leh can be accessed by road from Manali, although be warned the route is long and road quality not guaranteed, or by air from Delhi. We generally recommend arriving by road to give your body time to acclimatise to the altitude and also to appreciate the breathtaking lunar like landscapes.
Ladakh is a high altitude destination. It is therefore advised that you acclimatise yourself to the altitude and its environment, particularly if you land up in Leh by flight. High altitude sickness can occur to anyone at altitudes above 3,000m (10,000ft). Mild symptoms include headache, lethargy, dizziness, loss of sleep and appetite.