In August 2013, when I did my first trip to Ladakh, the most confusing thing I found was about the permits that you have to take once you reach Leh city. I understand that Ladakh is a strategic place as far as national security goes, but asking your own countrymen to buy permits for civilian areas seemed a bit like overkill.
Now news has come out that the administration has done away with the Ladakh permits, and all an Indian national will have to carry is any form of valid identification proof. Foreigners will still have to get the Protected Area Permit though, and that was expected.
Ladakh permits: Areas where they are not necessary now
- Dah and Hanu (Khaltse – Domkhar – Skurbuchan – Hanudo – Biama – Dha route)
- Pangong Tso (from Leh to Merak Village)
- Tso Moriri (Leh – Chumathang – Mahe – Korzok)
- Loma Bend (Leh – Chumathang – Mahe – Nyoma – Loma Bend)
- Nubra Valley (Khardung La, Diskit, Hunder, Turtuk, Pachathang, Tyakshi, Sumur and Panamik)
- Tangyar (Leh – Sabhoo – Digger La – Khungru Gompa – Tangyar, only for trekking)
Your driving license, voter id card, aadhar card, passport, or any other valid identification can be used at any checkpoint. For places that are too sensitive and close to strategic locations you will still need the Inner Line Permit from the DC Office. Such places in include Chushul, Tsaga, Demchok, Hanle & M la etc. One more good news is for those coming from Manali side, they can now go to Tso Moriri directly.
The old Ladakh permits system didn’t create much trouble, all you had to do was pay your hotel guy 350 bucks, give them one photocopy of your ID proof and you got the permits in a few hours. On the road, you had to go to the checkpoints and submit your permit, then note down a number that you gave them back at the time of return. However, I think this new system will makes things even more smooth and fun!