Let’s break down the process here:
Our favorite websites for online flight bookings are expedia.com and kayak.com as they compare a number of airlines. These aggregate websites don’t provide all the airlines that run international flights, but at the end of the day the convenience and their customer service is useful in the event that you need to make changes to your reservation.
Search for flights from the closest international airport near your home to Leh, Ladakh, India (Kushok Bakula Rinpoche regional airport). Delhi is the only international terminal that flies to Leh (IXL).
Prefix for Leh : IXL.
Be sure to book your flights from origin all the way to Leh (IXL) Why? Because if there is a delay or other unmentionable, the airline is not liable to get you to Leh (IXL). Be sure to book your flights from origin all the way to Leh (IXL). This helps with potential baggage issues as well.
All flights leaving from Delhi – Leh depart from 5-9 am in the morning, so as you research different flight options, keep this in mind. Many flights arrive internationally to Delhi in the late evening, so it’s possible to stay in the airport with only a few hours transfer time before your Leh (IXL) flight. There is a hotel within Indira Gandhi International airport (Delhi): Eaton Smart Hotel, and there are nice recliners in many of the waiting rooms for your regional flight from terminal 3, if you don’t need a hotel. Avoid changing money in the airport as it’s a very poor exchange rate. Either change money outside of the airport in Delhi or once you arrive in Leh.
When you arrive in Leh, we will be there to pick you up at the airport with a sign with your name on it. Do be sure and share your flight arrival details with us so we can make the proper arrangements.
It is possible to travel overland from Delhi to Leh, but we don’t recommend it unless you have some free time to work with. From Delhi, you would take a 12 hour bus journey to Manali, and then on from there by jeep. This journey in marathon-style would take you about 48 hours, leaving on the night bus from Delhi – Manali, and arriving around 9 in the morning the following day, and then catching an evening jeep from Manali and arriving in Delhi the next night. It is possible for delays all along the route due to landslides, and vehicle breakdowns. It is worth it to do it once.
We find that people respond much better to flying into Leh, as you aren’t crossing three 5000 meter passes on approach (which really can get you feeling quite rough). The overland trip to Leh is beautiful, but perhaps better to do after your trek, once you are well acclimatized and in-the-groove of Ladakh life.
It is also possible to approach/leave Leh via Srinagar, and this is a wild journey as well. Contact us for options. We highly recommend flying to Leh when first arriving for your trek/climb.
Stopover in Delhi
We like using Hotel Cottage Yes Please in Paharganj, as it does the job. You’ll need to book at least three weeks in advance for this hotel, as it stays full due to its excellent staff. All of them are switched on and know what’s going on, can help and answer questions for you. The rooms are average but everything actually works (including A/C), and they have WI-FI hotel wide (which also actually works!).
If you want a nicer place on the way home, we can recommend a few, contact us for options. We can also offer you booking options for more luxurious hotels on the way in or out of Delhi. We have drivers if you’d like to do sightseeing around Delhi, or make a trip to the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal trip option can be a day trip, or an overnight. Contact us for options.
Airlines that fly Delhi-Leh
Our first choice, flies 6 days a week, except for Saturday for the time being. Flies out of terminal 3, check for gate number in terminal.
The budget version of Jet Airways, without a meal (but the flight is only one hour and a few minutes on all Delhi-Leh flights, unless you find a flight connecting through Jammu). Flies out of terminal 3 check for gate number in terminal.
Flies most of the military in and out of Leh. They are a fine option for your flight. Flies out of terminal 3, check for gate number in terminal.
The most budget option flying. We’ve never used them, as they usually route through Jammu to Leh. Goair flies out of terminal 1D, check for gate number in terminal.
Travel tip: Try and book your seat on the left side (window) of the plane to avoid the bright sun on the right side, and giving you good views for looking over Ladakh. Flight time: 1 hour, ~10 minutes.