Traveling to Leh Ladakh in December can be both a beautiful and challenging experience. Here are some factors to consider for ensuring safety and a good experience:

Weather and Road Conditions

  1. Extreme Cold: Temperatures in December can drop well below freezing, sometimes reaching -20°C or lower, especially at night.
  2. Snow and Ice: Snowfall is common, which can make roads icy and treacherous. High mountain passes may be closed due to snow.
  3. Short Daylight Hours: With shorter days, your window for travel and sightseeing is limited.


  1. Road Access: The Srinagar-Leh Highway and the Manali-Leh Highway are typically closed by December due to heavy snowfall. Air travel is the primary mode of reaching Leh during this time.
  2. Flights: Flights to Leh operate year-round, but weather conditions can cause delays or cancellations.

Health and Safety

  1. Altitude Sickness: Leh is at a high altitude (about 3,500 meters), so acclimatization is crucial. Be prepared for symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS).
  2. Medical Facilities: Limited medical facilities are available, so it’s important to carry necessary medications and be prepared for emergencies.
  3. Physical Preparedness: Ensure you are in good health, as the cold and altitude can be physically demanding.

Accommodation and Amenities

  1. Limited Services: Many guesthouses, hotels, and restaurants may be closed for the winter. Those that remain open might have limited services.
  2. Heating: Ensure that your accommodation has adequate heating.


  1. Winter Sports: If you enjoy winter sports, such as trekking on the frozen Zanskar River (Chadar Trek), December is a good time. However, it requires preparation and equipment.
  2. Sightseeing: Some landmarks may be difficult to access due to snow.

Preparation Tips

  1. Warm Clothing: Pack thermal wear, down jackets, gloves, hats, and other warm clothing.
  2. Travel Insurance: Ensure you have travel insurance that covers high-altitude travel and emergency evacuations.
  3. Local Guidance: Hire local guides who are familiar with winter conditions and can assist with safe travel and acclimatization.


While it is possible to travel to Leh Ladakh in December, it requires thorough preparation and caution due to the harsh winter conditions. If you enjoy winter adventures and are well-prepared, it can be a rewarding experience. However, if you are not comfortable with extreme cold or the associated risks, it might be better to plan your visit during the warmer months.


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