"It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves"- Edmund Hillary
That's how you are gonna feel each minute driving down the roads of Ladakh. The landscapes, the adventure, the fear everything is felt at most when you are on the rugged roads of mountains. Each road is a new adventure and each turn is a new victory. A road trip to Ladakh is like driving in the clouds. Encompassed with the mighty mountain ranges of Zanskar, Ladakh and Karakoram and of course the Himalayas, driving on the mountain passes extending over 16,000 ft is a dream come true for every biker.
Serving the perfect appetite to the traveler inside you we have a list of the most stunning passes of Ladakh that are the travel goals for the adventure seekers. So, go ahead and take the scenic route!
1. Khardung La Pass
Once the highest motorable passes in the world, Khardung La is one of the most famous spots in Ladakh for the bikers and for tourists as well. There is no way you could miss this amazing entryway to Shyok and Nubra valley. At an elevation of 18, 380 ft, this pass is located at a distance of 40 km from Leh. Offering the best beautiful perspectives of the splendid mountains and the swinging valleys, this pass has turned into the most loved pass among the bikers. One can see Tibetan petition banners flying here which adds more excellence to this locale.
2. Chang La Pass
If you are visiting Ladakh, you will surely visit Pangong Tso Lake(3 idiots climax scene location). To do so, you have to pass through Chang La Pass, situated at an elevation of 17,586 ft. Named after the saint Changla Baba, Chang La pass is not just a pathway to Pangong Lake but it serves as the gateway to Changthang plateau too. If you are seeking to do Yak riding, Chang La will be the perfect spot for you!
3. Tanglang La Pass
Residing in the Zanskar Valley at a height of 17,582m above sea level, Tanglang La is home to the nomadic Changpa herdsman. If you want to reach Tanglang La, it can be reached via 21 Gata loops which lie on Leh-Manali highway. You can absorb the amazing perspective of the area and appreciate its picturesque scenes here. The hair-pinning road bends offer ample adrenaline push. So, what are you waiting for?
4. Baralacha La Pass
Positioned at an altitude of 16,040 ft at the confluence of Pir Panjal, Himalayas, and Zanskar mountains ranges. Baralacha La is the starting point for multiple treks including the famous Chandra Tal and Suraj Tal trek. It is advisable to cross the pass before noon as when the now starts melts, it gets really tough due to the water streams created. If the stream flow is considerably strong, one should head back to Jispa.
5. Zoji La Pass
Nestled on NH1D, Zoji La Pass connects Leh and Srinagar. It is considered as one of the scariest roads in the world and the mountain drivers go through this test every day. Located at an altitude of 11,649 ft above sea level, Zoji La Pass is terrifying to move through, yet bold in the meantime and tests your tirelessness every step of the way. The geography is harsh, and the area is perplexing but the snow-capped mountains surrounding it makes this dangerous pass look exceptionally beautiful too.
6. Fotu La Pass
Remaining at a stature of 13, 479 ft above the ocean level, Fotu La Pass is set on the Srinagar-Leh roadway of the Himalayan Zanskar. Additionally known to be the most noteworthy point on this highway, it prompts the Zoji La pass. Amid your trip through this pass, savor astonishing views of the snow-secured mountain crests spread out before your eyes.
7. Namika La Pass
Popularly called as the 'pillar of the sky', Namikala pass stands tall at a height of 12, 198 ft above sea level. The pass is en route to the valley of Mulbek and offers an all-encompassing backdrop of the stone carvings of Maitreya Buddha and an adjacent Gompa.
Moreover, broad desolate grounds, snow-clad pinnacles, and heavenly perspectives make your adventure on this pass worth-while.
8. Lachulung La Pass
Situated near to Pangong Tso Lake and Sarchu at an altitude of 16,600 feet, Lachulung La Pass is sandwiched between the Tozay valley and Tsarap Chu Chu valley. Guess what? This pass is at a mere distance of 8 km from La Nakee on the Leh-Manali highway. Usually, the taxis and buses stop here for a while due to enormous natural beauty this pass has to offer. Moreover, this pass is quite known between hikers and trekkers.
9. Marsimek-La Pass
Residing in the Chang-Chemno Range at an altitude of 18,314 ft, Marsimek La Pass is another pass in the list of the highest motorable passes in the world. Located at a distance of 20 km from the Pangong Tso Lake, this pass is the shortest route to reach Kongka Pass area. Before you plan to head to this pass, make sure you are traveling by a 4-wheeler as the road condition is not good. It might be challenging to reach here but once you do, you will be stunned by the spectacular beauty of the place.
Moreover, you can also find a small temple named "Chak Mandir” which has the picture of Lord Shiva here.
10. Rezang La Pass
This isolated yet beautiful pass resides 47 km from Spangmik village on the way to Tso Moriri. If you are someone who wants some alone time with nature, this pass will give it you in ample amount, flourished with scenic landscapes all around. It is advised by locals to follow the electricity wires so that one doesn't get lost. Isolated beauty is one trademark of the place, other is Rezang La Memorial built as a tribute to the soldiers who died during Sino - Indian War, 1962.