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Khardung La Pass Complete Guide with 5 most helpful tips

Khardung La Pass Image


Khardung La Pass is tucked away in the beautiful Ladakh area of northern India. It symbolizes both the beauty of nature and the strength of people. This fantastic mountain pass, often called the “Gateway to the Nubra Valley,” was once known as the world’s highest motorable road that can be driven on. At an amazing 5,602 meters (18,380 feet) above sea level, there is less oxygen, the terrain is rugged nut the views are breathtaking.

Khardung La Pass Leh isn’t just a place to go; it’s also an adventure ready to happen. Travelers and adventure seekers worldwide are drawn to its high peaks by the promise of stunning views, heart-pounding journeys, and the chance to face one of the world’s most challenging terrains. But the Khardung La Pass is more than just a record-breaking height. It is also a doorway to the mysterious scenery of the Nubra Valley. Here, you’ll find a harsh desert wilderness, old monasteries perched on hilltops, and a vibrant culture that has stood the test of time: Ladakhi culture.

We invite you to explore Khardung La Pass with us in this blog. Together, we’ll learn about its long and fascinating past, how to plan a trip to this high-altitude wonder, and the unforgettable things people can do when they go to its breathtaking heights. Whether you’re a seasoned tourist getting ready for an exciting trip or a couch potato explorer looking for ideas, let’s take the mystery out of Khardung La Pass and learn about the fantastic world that opens up at the top of the world.


  • Khardung La Pass is one of the worlds highest motorable road, offering an incredible achievement for adventure enthusiasts.
  • The pass offers photographers and nature enthusiasts stunning panoramic views of the Himalayas and the Karakoram Range.
  • The pass has a historical importance as it was once part of the ancient Silk Route used for trading.
  • Its also known as "Mecca of bikers" as motorcycle enthusiasts come from around the world to conquer the high-altitude pass.
  • Walking through the palace's halls is like traveling through time, as they have seen Ladakh's development from the Namgyal dynasty to the present.

Best time to Visit

The Khardung La Pass can be visited throughout the year. However, based on the weather we have categorized it into three seasons and you can select your option based on your personal preference. 


  • May & June are the best season as you get the most sunshine this time.
  • The temperature will range around 15-25 degrees.
  • Modrante amount of snow is found. 


  • August & September are the best seasons as you get moderate sunshine.
  • The temperature will range around 10-20 degrees. 
  • Less or no snow is found during this time. 


  • January & February are the best seasons as you get moderate sunshine this time. 
  • The temperature will range from -10 to -30 degrees. 
  • An abundant amount of snow is found during this period. 

Khardung La Pass Height

  • Khardung La Pass is located at an altitude of 5,602 meters (18,380 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest motorable passes in the world.
  • Travelers to the pass often experience symptoms of altitude sickness due to the extreme elevation and weather. Acclimatization in Leh is recommended to mitigate these effects. 

Click here to learn more about acclimatization. 

  • The lofty height provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan mountains, offering a visual feast for travelers.

Khardung La Pass Weather

  • Extreme Variability: The pass experiences drastic weather changes, including snowfall, even during the summer, affecting road conditions and accessibility.
  • Harsh Winters: The pass experiences heavy winter snow, making it inaccessible and treacherous for travelers from November to April.
  • Summer Months: The best time to visit in terms of weather is typically from May to September, when the pass is open to tourists.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Even in summer, temperatures range from 0°C to 20°C  during the day.
  • Monsoons: From late June to early September, the monsoon season can bring rainfall to the region, potentially causing landslides and affecting road conditions.
    Khardung La Pass Weather Image
  • Snow in Summer: It’s not uncommon to encounter snow on the roads, especially at higher altitudes, even in the summer, so travelers should be prepared for varying conditions.
  • Visibility: Weather conditions can impact visibility, so travelers should check weather forecasts before journeying.
  • Altitude-Related Effects: The high altitude and rapidly changing weather can contribute to altitude sickness, so travelers should acclimatize adequately and be prepared for sudden weather shifts.
  • Road Closures: Due to extreme weather conditions, the pass may occasionally close for safety reasons, so checking with the road expedition team local authorities, or travel agencies for real-time updates before planning a visit is advisable.

Essential Information

A few important pieces of information when you are planning for a visit to Khardung La Pass

Best time to visit

The summer months, May and June, are best for visiting the pass. 

Visiting Hours

Open all days from 6 00 AM to 8 00 PM. After this time, it is not recommended. 

Entry Ticket Charges

As such there is NO ticket required to visit the pass. 

Altitude of Khardung La Pass

The Khardung La Pass is located at 18,380 ft (5,602 meters). 

Distance from Leh

Approximately 40 km from the city center. 

Mobile Network

There is no network at the top. However, the network is available at both North & South Pulu. 

ATM at Khardung La

There are no ATMs at the high altitude pass. So carry sufficient cash while traveling.  Since there is no network, Online transactions are not possible. 

Fuel Stations

There are no fule station at Pass. Hence, plan your trip with sufficient or extra fuel. 

How to reach Khardung La Pass

Khardung La Pass lies approximately 40km from Leh and can be accessed only by road. Your journey begins with a flight to Leh, followed by a road trip to reach Khardung La Pass.

  1. Hire Local Taxi
    You can hire a local taxi from the Leh Union to visit the pass.
    The journey by car typically takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit. 
  2. By Motorcycle
    You may hire a local motorbike [Royal Enfield preferred] and ride on your own to the summit.
    the bikers usually take less time than cars. 


It is important to get acclimatized well before reaching Khardung La pass  

Permit for Khardung La Pass

  • Khardung La Pass is listed as a protected area, so an Inner line permit is required
  • It is an easy online process obtained after arrival in Leh. 
  • Only Jammu-Kashmir & Ladakh residents are not required for an inner line permit.

Itinerary for Khardung La Pass

We have two best plans which you can opt to visit Leh Palace. In both the plans we recommend you to include nearby places such as SHanti Stupaa & Leh market.  

Itinerary 1

Recommended itinerary for travelers who are not planning to go beyond Khardung La Pass

  • After a rejuvenating breakfast, set the journey towards Khardung La pass.
  • You can reach the summit in 2-3 hours based on traffic on the day of travel.
  • Spend not more than 30 minutes at the summit and descend back to Leh.

Remember to stay hydrated and take it easy, considering the altitude.

PRO TIP: You can add some sightseeing after returning to Leh, including the Shey Palace, Thiskey Monastery, and 3 Idiot School. 


Itinerary 2

Recommended itinerary for travelers planning to go beyond Khardung La Pass such as Nubra Valley or Turtuk or Siachen Base Camp

  • After a healthy breakfast, set the ride towards Khardung La pass.
  • You can reach the summit in 2-3 hours based on traffic and mode of transport.
  • Spend 30 minutes at the summit and continue the journey towards nubra valley for further exploration.

Remember to stay hydrated and take it easy, considering the altitude.


5 helpful tips

  1. Acclimatize in Leh:

    • Due to the high altitude of K-Top, it’s highly recommended to acclimatize at Leh to prevent altitude sickness. Spend 24-48 hours in Leh before traveling to higher altitudes.
  2. Check Weather Conditions:

    • The weather at the pass can be unpredictable, even during the summer months. Before starting your journey, check the weather forecast and road conditions, as snowfall or landslides can affect accessibility.
  3. Secure Inner Line Permit (ILP):

    • Ensure you obtain the Inner Line Permit (ILP) well in advance, either online or through authorized agencies in Leh. This permit is necessary for visiting the restricted areas in Ladakh, including Khardung La.
  4. Pack Wisely:

    • Pack warm clothing, as temperatures can drop quickly at high altitudes. Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.
    • Carry essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
    • Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained if driving or riding to the pass, and carry essential tools and spare parts.
  5. Travel Early:

    • Start your journey to Khardung La Pass early in the morning, around 7 00 AM, to avoid traffic and allow ample time for stops to capture the stunning views and take breaks for acclimatization.


What is the altitude of Khardung La Pass?

The pass is situated at an elevation of 5,602 meters (18,380 feet) above sea level.

Is Khardung La Pass the highest motorable road in the world?

No, as of the current date, Uming La Pass at 5,798 meters (19,024 feet) is the world’s highest motorable road in the world. 

When is the best time to visit Khardung La Pass?

The best time to visit is typically from May to June when the pass is open and the weather is relatively milder.

Do I need a permit to visit Khardung La Pass?

Yes, visitors require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Khardung La Pass, which can be obtained online or from designated offices in Leh.

Is it safe to travel to Khardung La Pass?

Yes, it is safe to travel if you are acclimatised for 24-48 hours in Leh. 

What should I pack for a trip to Khardung La Pass?

Pack warm clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, reusable water bottle and Oxygen Cylinder. Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions.

How long does it take to reach Khardung La Pass from Leh?

Based on the traffic and weather conditions it takes about 2-3 hours from Leh to reach Khardung La pass. 

Are there accommodations near Khardung La Pass?

NO, there are no accommodations at Khardung La Pass. 

How mauch time can I spend at khardung La Pass?

It is advised for not more than 30 minutes at the top as it may lead to High Altitude Sickness. . 

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