Top things to do

Top Choice Palace in Leh

Leh Palace

Bearing a passing similarity to the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet), this nine-storey dun-coloured edifice is Leh's dominant structure and architectural icon. It took shape under 17th-century king Singge Namgyal but …
Top Choice Canyon in Yapola Valley

Yapola Gorge

South of Phanjila, a newly asphalted road takes you through spectacular Yapola Gorge, with its soaring rocky sides, spiky mountain vistas and colourful geological pyrotechnics.
Top Choice Ladakhi in Alchi & Saspol

Alchi Kitchen

If you thought Ladakhi food a little bland, think again. Alchi Kitchen's flavoursome skyu and chhutagi (both barley-pasta shapes in vegetable stew) are laboriously made to order in the open kitchen, where cooking le…
Top Choice Cafe in Leh

Lala’s Art Cafe

Entered beside a 2000-year-old Buddha stela, this tiny, mudbrick house with a historic ground-floor shrine was saved from demolition and brilliantly restored in 2006. Stone steps lead to a cafe with floor seating an…
Top Choice Multicuisine in Leh

Bon Appetit

Hidden down unlikely footpaths south of Changspa Rd, Bon Appetit maintains a cuisine that has far more finesse than anything else in Leh, so consider booking. Much on the eclectic menu has an Italian feel, but you'l…
Top Choice Cafe in Leh

Ja Khang

Excellent coffee from a Faema machine served in an interior that brilliantly captures the Ladakhi spirit, while simultaneously feeling airy, bright and up to date. Low-key music plays some evenings. It's upstairs ab…
Top Choice Buddhist Monastery in Thiksey

Thiksey Gompa

Glorious Thiksey Gompa is one of Ladakh’s biggest and most recognisable monasteries, photogenically cascading its assorted Tibetan-style buildings down a raised rocky promontory. At its heart, the main dukhang (pray…
Top Choice Multicuisine in Leh

Food Planet

A Russian–Indian couple has created a menu that really covers the globe. Although some of the more untraditional items were unavailable when we visited (guacamole, Uzbek shurpa soup, stuffed mushrooms), they still h…
Top Choice Multicuisine in Thiksey

Café Cloud

Tucked away behind adobe walls, this upmarket garden restaurant is essentially the only choice for quality European food east of Leh. A great choice is pan-seared sea bass (₹599), served on mustard-flavoured potatoe…
Top Choice Village in Timishgan

Tia Village

Old Tia is one of Ladakh's most delightful village ensembles. Antique homes are layered in tight array up a knoll and are linked by a labyrinth of stairways, animal pens and tunnel passages. All it lacks is a wizard…