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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reach Kargil?

Following information applies to both domestic and foreign travellers and backpackers who are planning a trip across Ladakh via Kargil and are planning:

From Leh
To reach Kargil you will have to fly into Leh or Srinagar and take a 5 hour scenic road journey to Kargil.
You can take a direct flight from New Delhi or a connecting flight from Rest of India to Leh. There are shared taxis leaving from Leh to Kargil everyday (1000-1200INR). Alternatively, a more convenient way is to hire a full taxi. Shared taxis for Kargil start leaving as early as 6 am till noon. You will have to take a local taxi from the airport to the taxi stand to catch you ride for Kargil. Once at the taxi stand, you can find the earliest taxi ready to leave and book a seat directly with the driver of that taxi. The journey time is about 5 hours with good tarmac roads and great views. There will be a lunch stop at Khalsi half way to the journey. You can carry some snacks to munch on if you like from the taxi stand in Leh before you leave.
On the way you will get to see Moonland, Lamayuru Monastery and Mulbekh Chamba, a 7th century Maetriya Buddha Rock Statue.
This highway is open throughout the year.

From Srinagar
You can take a direct flight from New Delhi or Mumbai to Srinagar. Try to take the earliest flight in so that you can catch the taxi to Kargil on the same day. Alternatively, a more convenient way is to hire a full taxi.
Shared taxis for Kargil leave from Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) at residency road. The last taxis leave by noon latest. Once at Srinagar airport, you will have to take an auto rickshaw (300-400INR) or a shared taxi (100 INR) to TRC, where the taxis for Kargil will be leaving. You can find the earliest taxi ready to leave and book a seat directly with the driver of the taxi.
However, In case you can’t find a taxi on the same day, you will have to stay in Srinagar for a night and you can book your taxi for the next day morning.
NOTE: The journey time is about 6 hours. However, this highway is vulnerable to bad weather conditions especially the Zojila pass. This might cause some delay in the journey. There is a stopover in Sonamarg before Zojila pass and then another stop at Drass after crossing Zojila pass. At both locations you will get food (both veg and non-veg). However, keep a stock of some snacks and water in your daypack just in case.
This route has two advantages:

1. It is more budget friendly as the flight tickets are usually cheaper
2. You can travel to Kargil on the same day you land in Srinagar without worrying about acclimatisation.

The Epic Road Journey
For people feeling more adventurous, you can also take the Delhi-Chandigarh-Manali-Leh-Kargil route. It will take over a couple of days but the journey will be an experience of your lifetime, that’s a guarantee.
Road Closure: Open from May to October
For Solo Travellers, reach Srinagar/Leh (by air/road) and then to Kargil on your own by a shared taxi as per the instructions above. You can ask us to arrange a seat for you but you will have to inform us in advance while booking.
For travellers coming in groups (4-6), a full taxi can be arranged at an additional cost upon request. It will pick you up from Srinagar/Leh and bring you to Kargil.

For Foreign Travellers
If you are travelling from outside India, you will have to reach New Delhi or Mumbai from your respective locations. From here on you have to work your way up north to Ladakh by road via Manali or Srinagar or by air into Leh or Srinagar depending on your budget and time. Taxis of all kinds, can be hired at Srinagar and Leh for visiting Kargil.

Travelling Locally
Travelling locally is also pretty easy. Most of the town itself is walk-able. To travel to the countryside you can take local buses and shared/individual taxis to Leh, Zanskar, and Srinagar and to almost every village in Kargil. Another great way to see the countryside is on a locally rented mountain bike or a motorbike”.
Local Buses, including mini coaches for Mulbekh and Drass, leave Kargil every morning or afternoon.
Sankoo, Panikahr and Parkachik are connected with Kargil by regular bus service. The bus ride frorm Kargil takes 2 hours to Sankoo, 3 hours to Panikhar and About 4 hours to parkachick. Rangdum is serviced by the buses proceeding to Padum, which increases in frequency according to demand. Cars and jeep taxis can be hired for Kargil for visiting different places in the Suru Valley, including Rangdum, Penzila and the Zanksar Valley.

Exiting Kargil
Shared taxis leave from Kargil early morning everyday to Leh & Srinagar. Similarly, full taxis can also be hired accordingly to convenience.

If you are exiting from via Leh route
If you are taking a flight out of Leh or proceeding to Manali, you will have to travel to Leh from Kargil one day before your flight and stay in Leh for a night and catch the flight on the next day. Shared taxis leave from Kargil latest by noon. (around 1000INR/seat). During summer time, buses to Manali leave every day in the evening from the bus stand in Leh.

If you are exiting from Srinagar route
You should book the latest flight (preferably the evening flight to New Delhi/Mumbai). As taxis to Srinagar start leaving early in the morning by 4am till 7am, you will be able to make it directly to the airport to catch your flight on the same day. (@1000INR/seat, airport drop charges extra 500INR)
We can arrange your cab booking upon request in advance.

How to reach Zanskar?

The 240- km long Kargil- Padum road remains open from early July to mid-October. The J&K SRTC operates a ‘B’ class bus service between Kargil and Padum. Tourist groups can charter deluxe buses to visit Zanskar, including sightseeing within the valley. Jeep taxis can also be hired at Kargil, but the charges are high due to the difficult road conditions. Prior to opening of the road, it is recommended to trek to Zanskar from Panikhar or Parkachick onwards. The week-long trek provides an opportunity to enjoy the unending grandeur of the Himalayas and experience the rustic life of the inhabitants of the villages, which otherwise pass by fleetingly while traveling by bus or taxi. By mid-June, summer is at its peak in the region and the climate is ideal for trekking along a route free from vehicular traffic and the area is freshly rejuvenated into life after months of frigid dormancy.

Eating Options Locally?

In Kargil
Being a less touristy town, Kargil has fewer options for Continental/European food but we can suggest some local restaurants that serve delicious Mughlai and North Indian dishes.There are locals Dhabas that serve Dal, rice and roti. Kargil is a heaven for meat lovers.

In Padum
There are a couple restaurants in the main market of Padum that serves Indian, Chinese and local food. We suggest you do not pass off on an opportunity to eat at a local’s house.

Is it safe?

It is 100% safe. Kargil is a peaceful mountain town in the western area of Ladakh in J&K. It is hundreds of miles away from the distrubed areas in Kashmir valley. There is no reason to feel unsafe.

What are the options for staying?

In Kargil
About 5 years ago travellers used to complain about options to stay in Kargil but now there is something for every budget. There are about 10” Grade A” hotels and numerous budget guest houses. For a local experience, there are options for homestays and village camps that we can arrange.

In Zanskar
There are several private hotels also in Padum where rooms with basic facilities are available. There is also a camping place nearby for tourists traveling with personal tents. At Karsha, basic accommodation is available in Guest Houses. In the distant villages like Stong-de, Zangla, Sani, etc. accommodation can be sought from the village on payment of suitable charges, which can be negotiated. Some monasteries may also take in guests, though more as a gesture of goodwill than on purely commercial consideration. Of course, the guest is expected to compensate the monastery suitably

What about mobile and internet connectivity?

In Leh, postpaid connections of major carriers work (Airtel, BSNL, Aircel, Jio, and Idea). No pre-paid connections outside of J&K work in Ladakh (Kargil/Leh/Zanskar). You can use it on roaming if you have a postpaid connection. Activate your roaming facility before to come to Ladakh.

In Kargil, post paid connections of Airtel, Bsnl and Jio work so you can use it roaming if you have one. Activate your roaming facility before arriving.

In Zanskar, only Bsnl connectivity is available. So only Bsnl postpaid roaming connections or local bsnl connections will work there.

Local BSNL, Airtel or Jio SIM card can be purchased from the market. You will need a valid ID proof and passport size photograph and process may take upto a week.

Connectivity will be intermittent while travelling to remote villages within Ladakh.

In the recent years 4G or 3G connectivity is available in Leh and Kargil. Carriers such as Airtel and Jio, and BSNL provide internet connectivity.

Most guest houses/hotels are wifi enabled.

Internet and electricity is also very unpredictable in Ladakh. One of the many challenges of working in the mountains. 4G connectivity is restricted to the town area and few of the major locations such as Drass and Sankoo (in Suru valley)

Banks & ATMs

In Leh, there are plenty of Banks and ATMs in the town like Axis bank, HDFC bank, ICICI bank, State Bank of India, J&K Bank. In Kargil, there is ICICI, HDFC, SBI and J&K bank and their respective ATMs. In Padum (Zanskar), there is J&K Bank and SBI.

Having said that, keeping some hard cash on you is a good idea as sometimes the “system” is down due to internet or electricity issues.

Weather Conditions

Zanskar and Kargil experience drastic fluctuation in the daily temperature during the height summer, while the days are pretty warm, even hot at times due to the desert effects, the evening can become quite chilly and require addition clothing. It is advisable to be prepare for this situation with a pullover and a down jacket. Other essential items include a sturdy pair of walking shoes (with strong rubber or synthetic soles for ripe), a good sleeping bag, a pair of woolen socks or some thick cotton socks. It is also essential to travel or trek around on your own, and a good rucksack for backpacking. It is also important to carry your provision from Srinagar, Leh or Kargil if a longer tour of the adjoining villages is intended.
Summer average temperate: Min 15 Degree Max. 30 degrees
Winter average temperate: Min -20 Degrees Max. -5 Degrees

What to Wear and Carry?

  • Valid ID proof (Passport/Voter ID/Drivers Licence)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • DO NOT carry suitcases. Opt for a Backpack (60 to 79 Ltr). MUST
  • One down jacket or warmer for chilly nights
  • Rain poncho or jacket/windcheater (a must!)
  • Sun block
  • Hat
  • Sun goggles
  • Flashlight with extra batteries (preferably wearable)
  • Water bottle, preferably wide mouthed, with at least one litre capacity
  • Personal toiletries and medication
Medical Facilities

In Kargil and Padum, the Govt. Hospital is situated in the center of the town and is well equipped. In Kargil, there is also a military hospital and various private clinics. There are community health centers located in major locations like Drass, Sankoo and Mulbekh. .
However, in remote locations it is difficult to access medical facilities and patients have to be transported to the Padum, Kargil or Leh

Evacuation of casualties
J&K Tourism initiates and coordinates evacuation of casualties by IAF helicopters in the event of accidents of sickness while trekking, mountaineering or river-rafting in the remote parts of the state. This is, however, subject to the payment of the operational cost of the helicopter. Written guarantee indicating the source of payment and address for billing etc. should be furnished to the authorised officer while requiring for requisitioning the evacuation mission. The type of helicopter normally used for the purpose cost more then Rs 70,000/ per flying hour. Evacuation from anywhere in the Zanskar region needs about five flying hours, while from the Nun-Kun region about four flying hours are needed from take-off to landing back at the air base. Beside the high operational cost, such rescue missions also call for daredevil instincts and a high degree of skill on the part of the pilot to fly at high altitudes, amidst rugged mountains. Hence rescue mission are lunched only as a life-saving measure. It is, therefore essential that trekkers do not requisition aerial evacuation on non-emergency pretexts. Also, helicopters cannot be requisitioned for removing deceased persons from the site of accidents; permission for helicopter evacuation of deceased is hardly given and the procedure to obtain such permission is very tedious. Evacuation of genuine casualties with guaranteed payment upon billing could be initiated through the nearest Administration or Tourist Officer.

Best time to Visit

The best time to visit Kargil and Zanskar is in the summer between May to October. This period is suitable for both leisure seekers as well as trekkers. Every season is marked by celebrating a festival where local communities come together, leaving all their daily chores, and indulges in food, drinks and music.

Harsh winters give way to the cool spring breeze, apricot flowers bloom and wildlife comes back to life from hibernation. July & August serves as the best time for trekking as most of the passes open up during this time. May is the time to witness the spectacular apricot blossoms spread across all the valleys and August is the when the apricot fruit is harvested. While it’s not easily accessible in the winters, Kargil offers avenues for adventure seekers looking to indulge in Skiing, snow treks and Brown Bear expedition.
The road access to Zanskar is only open in May however, alternate option to visit Zanskar is by private helicopter service when can be prebooked. In the winter Zanskar can be accessed by a 6 day trek from Leh on the famous frozen Zanskar River.

Environmental Protection

The Ladakh environment is ecologically fragile and the survival of the inhabitants depends upon the land. As such, it is absolutely important that trekkers and mountaineers keep the routes and campsites clean and avoid disturbing the region’s delicate environment. Before living the camps, trekkers and tour operators should ensure that no garbage is left behind at the campsites. Plastic containers and wrappers must be brunt, while other types of garbage should be properly buried. In this context, it is advisable to follow the instructions regarding preservation of environmental contained in the Indian mountaineering Foundation’s publication,
“While in the Himalayas- Do’s and Don’ts”

Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Entry Restrictions

Areas of Batalik, Chanthang and Nubra, being close to the Line of Control with Pakistan, these regions remained as a restricted area for entry of tourists but now stands derestricted for conducted tours (through a local travel agent) on defined circuits. Both Indian and Foreign nationals have to acquire an Inner Line Permit to visit Changthang (Pangong and Tsomoriri), Nubra from the Local Authorities in Leh.

For foreign nationals to visit the villages of Batalik Darchiks and Garkone, an Inner Line Permit needs to be acquired from the Local Authorities in Kargil or Leh. The local travel agent arranging your trip will provide the service. A copy of the passport & visa is required for the paperwork.
Please note that to visit the Aryan villages of Dha & Hanu which falls under Leh district jurisdiction, ILP needs to be acquired from local authorities in Leh. The local travel agents in Leh can be approached for the same. Nationalities of SAARC countries such as China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Sri Lanka need to get a special permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi to access the restricted areas of Changthang, Nubra and Batalik.

Local Administration
Ladakh is divided into two Districts, Leh & Kargil with Zanskar as a sub division of Kargil. Similar to Leh, Kargil has its own autonomous administration known as “Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil”. It consists of one Chief Executive Councillor, two Executive Councillors and 27 Councillors from the various villages including Zanskar.

Geo-politically, Ladakh falls under Jammu & Kashmir state of India.


Ladakh is a dry mountain; high altitude terrain with average height is 3500m from sea level. Typically 2500m and above sea level is considered as high altitude terrain. At such an altitude the air pressure decreases, so for someone who is new to the environment it is difficult to intake oxygen easily. Your body needs some time to get accustomed to the change. Essentially your lungs and heart has to set the tempo straight to the new external factors. Therefore, it is important to get acclimated to altitude before doing any strenuous activity. Your body will hydrate faster and fatigue sets in quicker. Mild headache, nausea, lack of sleep and appetite are normal symptoms which will go away in a day or two. The first three days are the most critical and one needs to be cautious. One day of good rest and drinking plenty of water (1 litre a day but not more than 2 litres) is advised to stay hydrated.

Having said this, Kargil is at an altitude 2400m and if you travel from Srinagar you can travel on the day to Kargil without resting in Srinagar. As your will gradually ascending up by road, it will get you get acclimatized. If you are travelling from Leh, it is advised that you rest in Leh on the day you arrive and travel to Kargil the next day so that you can acclimatize better. However, it is not a compulsion.

As a precautionary measure, we would advise that you get a medical fitness test done from a doctor before arriving Kargil. If you bring a copy of the medical certificate, it will be good to have that in our records.

Doctor and medical facilities are available in the town incase of any emergency.

Having said this, Kargil is at an altitude 2400m and if you travel from Srinagar you can travel on the day to Kargil without resting in Srinagar. As your will gradually ascending up by road, it will get you get acclimatized. If you are travelling from Leh, it is advised that you rest in Leh on the day you arrive and travel to Kargil the next day so that you can acclimatize better. However, it is not a compulsion.

As a precautionary measure, we would advise that you get a medical fitness test done from a doctor before to arrive Kargil. If you bring a copy of the medical certificate, it ll be good to have that in our records.
Doctor and medical facilities are available in the town incase of any emergency.