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Delhi to Leh by Flight: Everything You Need to Know

The easiest option to get to Leh is by flight, by some distance. From Delhi, it takes 3-4 days to get to Leh by road. It is just a matter of hours if you opt for a flight. Ladakh remains cut off from Himachal Pradesh as well as Kashmir during the winters, making flight the only option if you want to get to Leh. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh is operational throughout the year, helping Ladakh stay connected.

Below, we will talk about how we can get to Leh by flight. Before that, let’s discuss the reasons why you should take a flight from Delhi to Leh.

View from Delhi-Leh flight.                                              Source: Radha Shrestha

Reasons to Take a Flight

Saves you a couple of days

If time is of the essence, a flight is the most viable option for you. From Delhi, flights go out regularly to Leh. It takes one and a half hours to reach Leh while the roadways take 2-3 days. If you have limited time on your hands but a great trip in mind, consider the flight. For the time you save through flight, you can spend more time exploring Ladakh.

Traveling in Winter

The roadways are closed during winter months, and travelers who want to enter Ladakh take the flight. The Srinagar-Leh Highway closes from mid-November to early May. While the Manali-Leh Highway closes from the end of September to early June. This hindrance rules out traveling through road.
Ladakh is also famous for Snow Leopard and Chaddar trek. If you intend to visit Ladakh for these experiences, you must take a flight.

The fastest way to get to Leh

Traveling days on end through some rugged terrain can be challenging for some. Some people complain about how they were drained out even before reaching Leh. If you want to avoid the hassle of renting bikes, getting on to a bus or a taxi, a flight is the best option to get to Leh.

Flight is the sole option if you travel in winter.           Source: Radha Shrestha

Delhi to Leh by Flight

There are about 29 flights that take off from Delhi everyday. Flights usually start around 6:45 am from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The last flight leaves around 11 pm. Please check your flight details for the terminal you are supposed to use. It is usually Terminal 2 or 3. The duration of the flight is about one and a half hours. The Leh Airport closes after 12:30 due to high winds.

Plying Planes

Four airlines are competing for the airspace from Delhi to Leh. GoAirSpiceJet and Air India fly daily to Leh while Vistara plies on alternative days. 

Air Fare and Fluctuations

The price of flights from Delhi to Leh goes on a rollercoaster ride every year. Airfare starts around INR 5000 and might go as high as INR 12,000 during the winter months. There are cases where you can get flight tickets as low as INR 3000 if you scout various online platforms during the tourist season. 

The fluctuation in prices is due to a lack of accessibility in winter months. Roads close down to Ladakh either from Srinagar-Leh Highway and Manali-Leh Highway. So, the prices start increasing from January to March and go as high as INR 12,000. It is from April that prices start decreasing. 

GoAir flight approaching Leh Airport, and Spituk Gompa in the background.
Source: Flickr

Booking

If you are traveling to Leh with a dedicated travel agency, they will book your flight from Delhi to Leh. Booking through online ticketing services is also hassle-free. Check out the websites of EaseMyTripSkyscanner, and Makemytrip to book your tickets online. 

Acclimatization

Altitude Sickness is a concern when you visit Ladakh. Especially if you are traveling to Leh by flight. The sudden climb in altitude can be a problem for few. Leh is situated at an altitude of 3500 meters, and it can get challenging. But it will not be a problem if you take precautions and plan accordingly. After reaching Leh, rest for a day before you head out to explore Ladakh. It will help if you stay hydrated and refrain from alcohol consumption(for a day or two, wink!). 

To take a full measure of the situation, carry Diamox. It is a medicine for altitude sickness. If you feel the symptoms of altitude sickness like headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath, this medicine will take care of things. 

Night view of Leh.                                                                  Source: Samrat Silwal

Other Tips

  • You will easily find a taxi from the airport and can head to your hotel in Leh or wherever you are staying. Check the website of the Taxi Union of Ladakh for the prices. 
  • If you want the best view, sit on the right side of the aircraft, and savor the stunning view. 
  • Since Leh Airport is run by the Indian military, please refrain from taking pictures when you land. Unless you want to get, your phone/camera confiscated.
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