Every biker in India has a dream of Leh Ladakh bike trip. I mean who did not? Every biker’s first love is their bike. It is such an adventurous feel that no one can turn their back to. One who has tasted it can never look back.
A bike trip to Ladakh is on all of our bucket lists. So why not just make it happen? As I have personally gone to Ladakh on a bike, I can tell you this feeling is truly magical, its beauty is beyond words.
Leh Ladakh is a very unique place, it is one of its kind. The snow-clad peaks, barren lands, sand dunes, and snowfall mixed, everything about it is just so unique.
To help you get an idea of what you can expect in your Leh Ladakh bike trip, we will share as much information as we can. We will cover everything starting from routes for a bike trip to Ladakh, to the best bikes for Ladakh bike trip.
About Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
Ladakh bike trip is all about roaring bike engines, thrilling roads, snow-clad mountains, sand dunes, Pangong Lake, and nothing but mesmerizing landscape all around. We think everyone must experience a bike trip to Ladakh, it’s such a wholesome experience and much more than any other trip. It is more than just a trip.
Ladakh constitutes a large portion of Kashmir and is one of the union territories of India. The geographical location of Ladakh is different than any other part of the world. It is one of the very few cold deserts of the world. The weather is dry most of the year. The temperature during winter can fall as low as -40 degrees celsius.
As you drive through the roads with acres of land surrounded by the Zanskar mountain range, it feels as if the mountains are talking to you. Witness one of the most gorgeous and toughest lands on earth.
Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip Highlights
Best Time To Visit Leh Ladakh On A Bike Trip
The expedition of Ladakh bike trip is best during June to September. Although the road to Nubra valley and Khardungla pass been open throughout the year due to army clearance. But these roads are tremendously dangerous to tread during winters and monsoon.
Also, the Rohtang pass is closed during the winter. It is not open for tourists until after April. So avoid going to Ladakh on a bike trip during winters at any cost.
The best time to visit Leh Ladakh on a bike trip is from June to September. Always prepare yourself for the worst condition, because the weather condition is becoming unpredictable due to global warming, climate changes, etc.
Best Bikes for Bike Trip To Ladakh
Now as we are talking about a bike trip to Ladakh, the bike deserves the limelight here. Your whole experience of this thrilling expedition will depend on your bike. Ladakh bike trip is the dream of many adventure lovers like us, but this can turn into a nightmare if you choose the wrong bike for the Leh Ladakh bike trip.
First things first, you need a bike that is suitable for the trip and has a powerful engine. Experts recommend bikes that are easy to handle and easy to maintain.
Here we will list out some of the best bikes for the Leh Ladakh bike trip:
- Royal Enfield Himalayan BS 4 and variants – The Royal Enfield Himalayan features a powerful 411cc torque engine. It was built by the company for the Ladakh trip. Its long-travel suspension setup, dual-purpose tyres, and large spoke wheels make it an outstanding performer off-road. No doubt the Royal Enfield Himalayan BS4 is one of the best bikes for the Ladakh bike trip.
- Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 – The Rcoyal Enfield interceptor 650 is literally a beast off-road. It features a 650cc parallel-twin moton engine. However, for the Ladakh bike trip, consider swapping the tires with dual-purpose tires.
- Bajaj Dominar 400 – This is another amazing tourer for the Ladakh bike trip. It has a 157mm ground clearance, great for off-road performance with a 400cc torque engine.
- Hero Xpulse – This is the best affordable bike for the Ladakh bike trip. But it is as capable as the most expensive ones in the list. It features a 200cc torque engine, with long-travel suspension and spoke wheels with dual-purpose tyres. The tall 220mm ground clearance is amazing for crossing rocky areas, and rivers.
- KTM Duke RC 390 – Lightweight bikes like this one is of great advantage especially for a bike trip to Ladakh. With its brand new RC 390 engine, it is one of the best bikes for the Leh Ladakh bike trip.
Available Petrol Pumps On The Highway To Ladakh Bike Trip
As petrol pumps are pretty scarce in the Leh region and as you ride up to Nubra valley, it is recommended you fill your fuel tank each time and also carry an extra container to refill the tank in case it needs refilling.
Petrol Pumps on Manali to Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
There are only two petrol pumps Manali and Leh. And the distance you will cover from Manali to Leh Bike trip is about 1130 km. While on a Ladakh bike trip, the average mileage of your bike would be somewhere near 35km per liter. So, let’s do the maths here, you will require at least 32 liters of petrol from Manali to Leh.
There are two petrol pumps on the Leh-Manali highway:
Petrol Pumps on Srinagar to Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
Compared to the Leh-Manali route there are more petrol pumps in the Srinagar to Leh route. You will find at least 7 petrol pumps where you can refill your tank.
Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip Routes
There are several possible routes for the Ladakh bike trip. One can start from Delhi, or Manali, or even fly to Leh and start from there. If you are starting from Delhi, the most common route is via Srinagar. Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Manali – Delhi.
If you don’t want to take the route via Srinagar, you can directly start from Delhi or Manali and head towards Leh.
Delhi to Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
Total Distance: 2200 Km (Approximate value)
Best time to Visit: June to October
Route Map: Delhi – Jammu – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Hunder – Pangong – Karu – Sarchu – Manali.
You can rent your bikes from Delhi as well as from Srinagar. If you wish the rent your bike from Delhi onwards, you would reach Jammu via Ludhiana and Jalandhar.
Otherwise, you can also fly to Srinagar airport and rent your bike from Srinagar itself.
Day 1: Delhi to Jammu
The journey is of about 10 hours if you ride a bike. The bike trip from Delhi to Jammu distance is about 600 km.
Day 2: Jammu – Srinagar
The road that connects Jammu and Srinagar is mesmerizing, with pine forests on both sides of the road. You will come across several valleys and beautiful spots on the way. The distance from Jammu to Srinagar is about 300km.
Day 3: Srinagar
Now is the time to rent your bike if you haven’t already in Delhi. Then take a tour around Srinagar, visit the famous Dal lake, floating market, gardens, and various other tourists attraction in Srinagar. And get ready for the next day.
Day 4: Srinagar to Kargil
Start off your day with an astounding 203 km drive from Srinagar to Kargil. You should be able to reach there by 2 PM even if you start your journey from Srinagar by 9 AM. Then you have the rest of the day to yourself. Do not forget to visit the Kargil war memorial.
Kargil is a beautiful place, it does not feel like a city. Taking a tour around the locals will surely give you some insights into their culture.
Day 5: Kargil to Leh
It is the day for the spectacular journey from Kargil to Leh. It is a breathtaking 210 km bike ride through Alchi, Lamayuru, and the magical magnetic hill. It will be a 4-hour drive, so you should be able to reach Leh by 12 pm. Then you can enjoy the day in Leh. Visit the famous Lamayuru monastery, Shanti Stupa, Thiksey Monastery, and many more spectacular locations.
Day 6: Leh – Khardungla – Diskit – Hunder
After enjoying yourself at Leh, prepare yourself for the Khardungla pass. It is the world’s highest motorable road for the general public at an altitude of 18,600 ft above sea level. The oxygen level is very low at this altitude, so if you feel like it, carry a portable oxygen cylinder with you. Relax and spend the night at Hunder.
Day 7: Hunter – Nubra Valley
Spend the next to explore Hunder and Nubra valley. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to a camel safari and the view of endless sand dunes. Do not miss the famous Nubra valley. It is known for its scenic vistas, camel, monasteries, and orchards. Spend the night camping at Nubra valley under a sky full of stars or maybe some bonfire!
Day 8: Nubra – Pangong Tso
Bid goodbye to Nubra valley early. Nubra valley to Pangong Tso or Pangong lake is about 217 km. Entice yourself with the scenic panoramic view of the Pangong lake. You can get camps near the Pangong Tso, you can also find hotels. Go for whatever is suitable for you.
Day 9: Pangong – Karu
Ride side by side the Pangong lake and enjoy the view of its heavenly colors and crystal clear water to reach Karu via the Chang La pass. It is about 190 km from Pangong Lake, it would take about 5 hours to reach Karu.
Day 10: Karu – Sarchu
Now slowly we are headed towards Manali, and about to bid Adieu to Leh. Sarchu lies on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. It is a famous halt on the Leh-Manali highway. The ride is about 6hours. Enjoy this ride to the fullest, the bike trip feels fresh all of a sudden on this highway as you ride through the horizon, alongside the mountains.
A lot of people actually prefer to stay at Jispa (between Karu to Sarchu) over Sarchu. It helps your body to acclimatize better. But there’s a lot of journey left for the next day.
Day 11: Sarchu – Manali
As you embark towards Manali from Sarchu, you will cross the famous Rohtang pass. You will also notice the environment is changing slowly as you move closer to Manali. Enjoy the delightful views of the mountains, fresh air, and the gushing Beas river. The distance between Sarchu to Manali by road is 210 km.
And if you want to stay at Jispa, then the journey would be about 337 km to Manali.
Day 12: Manali – Delhi.
The end to an enticing adventure! Say goodbye till the next time. Reach Delhi airport or your relevant location with lots and lots of memories.
Manali To Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
Total Distance: 2300 Km (approximate value)
Best time to Visit: June to September
Route Map: Delhi – Manali – Sarchu – Leh – Khardungla – Nubra – Pangong lake – Tso moriri – Sarchu – Manali – Delhi.
In the route, you start from Manali and ride all the way to Leh via Rohtang pass, Pangong lake, Kardungla pass, Nubra valley, and Kargil. On this route of Manali to Leh bike trip, you will start your journey from Manali, and return back to Manali without having to visit Srinagar and Jammu.
Day 1: Delhi to Manali
Start your journey from New Delhi and head out on NH1. Enjoy the boulevard amidst the exciting pastures of farmlands. You can reach Manali by Bus, train, or flight, whatever is convenient to you. You can also rent your bike right at Delhi to begin your expedition.
Day 2: Manali – Sarchu
Start your day two with a nice healthy breakfast, and start early for the first chapter of your expedition to Sarchu. It is about 210kms by road. You will cross through the Rohtang pass to reach Sarchu. Ride through lush green valleys, the untouched serene beauty of Keylong and Jispa, and the mesmerizing Baralacha La pass.
Day 3: Sarchu – Leh
Begin your journey towards Leh for an enticing experience through Lachung La, Nakee La pass. Take a short break at Pang, here you will find many tea stalls and Dhabas to serve you hot steaming lunch. Enjoy your meal and get ready to ride to Leh by evening. Overnight stay at Leh.
Day 4: Leh – Khardungla – Nubra
This is going to be the most enriching ride of the tour. You will ride through the world’s highest motorable road, Khardung La pass at 18,600ft altitude. Enjoy the scenic views of the SHyok river, Shyok valley, and Nubra valley. Enjoy the alluring views of white sand dunes and great panoramic vistas at Nubra valley.
Day 5: Nubra – Pangong lake
Get ready for the most beautiful lake in India, the Pangong lake. It has been featured in Bollywood movies like 3 idiots and Jab Tak hai Jaan. Relish each moment spent at Pangong Lake because this is one of its kind. There are many campsites near the lake, find yourself a comfy camp for the night and some bonfire.
Day 6: Pangong – Tso Moriri
Start early morning and begin your journey to the beautiful, calm, and sacred lake of Tso Moriri. On the way, you can visit Hanle, the world’s highest astronomical observatory. If you are a night sky lover or love exploring astronomy, then you should consider spending the night at any campsite at Hanle.
Day 7: Tso Moriri – Sarchu
This is a day full of adventure and fun. Refreshing wind and scenic vistas accompany you on your bike ride to Sarchu. You will reach Sarchu by evening. Spend the night at any hotel in Sarchu.
Day 8: Sarchu – Manali
Start off your day with lip-smacking breakfast. Visit the Solang valley. You can also indulge in adventure sports at Solang valley. There’s an array of options for adventure lovers at the valley like skiing, paragliding, snow scooter, etc.
And as you start your ride back to Manali, the journey full of memories comes to an end.
Bike Cost To Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
There are multiple factors on which the total Ladakh bike trip cost would vary. The most significant factor that decides your Leh Ladakh bike trip cost is the bike you choose. If you are renting a bike from Delhi or Manali, then be very clear about your budget and then choose a suitable bike. The bike rental for Leh Ladakh is approximately Rs. 1000-2500 per day.
The overall cost of the Ladakh trip would also depend on accommodation and food choices. The average Leh Ladakh bike trip cost for 10-15 days is Rs. 35,000 per person.
Things To Carry During Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip
When you are going on a bike trip to Leh Ladakh, the list of things would be a bit different than when you are flying to Ladakh. In this article, we will try to list down everything a person should carry during a Leh Ladakh bike trip.
List of Essentials
- A good quality helmet
- Driving license
- Documents and permits required in Leh Ladakh region
- Government approved ID card
- Water-proof riding gear
- Hiking or trekking boots
- Nylon ropes to carry and hook things to your bike
- Thermal inner wears
- First-aid medical kit
- A spare pair of flip-flops
- Good quality sunglasses
- Sleeping bag
- Rechargeable torch
- Sunscreen (minimum 50 SPF)
- A lighter
- Packets of maggi
- Snacks like biscuits, dry fruits, and cakes
- Extra pair of t-shirts, sweatshirts, handkerchiefs, and innerwear
- A detailed physical map of the route and a compass for emergency
- Basic toiletries
Places To Visit During A Bike Trip To Ladakh
Confused about what all destinations you should cover while your Ladakh bike trip? Because this is a one-time thing, and no one wants to miss out on anything.
So, we have listed down all the places you must visit during your Ladakh bike trip.
Pangong tso or Pangong Lake offers a magical view of the endlessly flowing crystal clear water with mountains in the background. It is a must-visit for everyone visiting Ladakh. The lake stretches for about 134 km crossing the Indo-China border.
This is a beautiful huge white structure situated on the hilltop of Chanspa built by Japanese Buddhists in 1991. It offers a great view of the city from the hilltop. The panoramic views under the clear sky are just mesmerizing.
Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
Also known as Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. It was founded by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh in 1430. It offers a breathtaking view of the countryside surrounded by the Zanskar range.
It is situated at an altitude of 11,520ft. It is the oldest monastery in Ladakh. The monastery is located on the Leh-Kargil highway. The monastery originally consisted of 5 buildings, of which only one is surviving to date. It is now the permanent home to about 150 monks.
The lake is situated at an altitude of 15,000ft above sea level. Decorated by rugged mountains, crystal clear water, and enticing beauty, it is surely one of the must-visit places in Leh Ladakh.
This Tibetan abbey is the greatest in Ladakh. It hosts one of the most captivating festivities in the world, the Chams the mystic masked dance. The festival is held in early June. It was built in the 11th century and was rebuilt in 1672. The monastery consists of several manuscripts and paintings.
The 19 storey high Leh palace is a true gem of the city. It was the home of the royal family of Ladakh till 19th century until the Dogra forces attacked Ladakh. The palace consists of a gallery consisting of real jewelry, crowns, and traditional dresses worn by the royal family. It also consists of real Chinese Thangka paintings over 450 years old. A bike trip to Ladakh would be incomplete if you do not visit the Leh Palace.
Khardung La Pass
Khardungla pass is one of the highest motorable roads in the world, situated at an altitude of 18,600 ft. The view from the pass will leave you speechless for sure. The stunning view of the misty mountains covered in snow looks magical from here.
The Zanskar valley looks like you are living in a dream. It looks like those magical dreamy landscapes with mystical mountains. The hues of soothing greens and blues decorate the Zanskar valley even more. This picturesque valley is a must-visit in Leh.
Nubra Valley is known for its scenic vistas, orchards, and camel safari. The spectacular view from the valley is a splendid experience in itself. You will also witness the two-humped camels, in contrast to the single hump camels in Rajasthan. During summers the valley is filled with greenery and flowers, no wonder why it is called the orchard of Ladakh.
Tips For Leh-Ladakh Bike trip
How to reach Leh directly?
If you want to reach Leh directly, the best way is to take a direct flight to the nearest airport to Leh, the Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. The airport is well-connected to the major airports in India like Delhi, Kolkata, etc. From the airport, you can take a cab to reach your desired destination.
Leh is not directly connected via train. So, if you prefer to train, then you must reach Jammu, and then reach Leh via road.
What are the best bikes for ladakh trip?
For best experience up in the hills, a good bike is a must. Here are some of the best bikes for leh ladakh bike trip.
– Royal Enfield Himalayan BS 4 and variants
– Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
– Bajaj Dominar 400
– Hero Xpulse
– KTM Duke RC 390
How long will it take to get acclimatized to Ladakh weather?
The average altitude of Ladakh is around 3,000 meters above sea level. So, if you live in plains, then this is a huge chance for your body to get acclimatized. This is the reason why people are not recommended to fly directly to Leh from the plains. Because you might feel sick. It is recommended to take the highway to Leh Ladakh, to give your body ample time to get acclimatized. Usually, you should be feeling fine after a day or so. If you continue to feel sick even after 2 days, then we would recommend you to consult a doctor.
Is the Ladakh trip safe for kids?
It is not safe for kids if you are traveling to Ladakh by bike. Because this is an adventurous trip, and hence, kids might not be very comfortable with it. Also, at high altitudes, kids might fall sick. If you are not going on a bike trip, kids can go.
What are the documents to carry during the Ladakh bike trip?
As Ladakh is a border region, you must carry all the important documents. You must get permits to visit certain places, for that you would require passport size photos. Here is a list of documents you might need during your Ladakh trip:
– Driving license for bike
– Passport size photos
– Insurance certificate
– Pollution under control certificate
– Government approved ID card (like Aadhaar card)
What is the best time to visit Ladakh?
You can visit Ladakh all around the year, but if you are taking the Manali Leh road via Rohtang pass, do not travel during the winter months. The tourist season peaks from May till the end of October. The best time to visit Ladakh is May to October.
What is ILP (Inner Line Permit)?
ILP or Inner Line Permit is a permit issued by the Govt. of India that enables international tourists to visit certain protected areas for a limited period of time. Since September 2021, Indian citizens would no longer need any ILP. This is mandatory for everyone who is not a citizen of India. The ILP is valid for 15 days for international tourists.
What are the areas in Ladakh that require an Inner Line Permit (ILP)?
Certain protected areas of Ladakh require ILP. These places are Nubra Valley, Khardung La pass, Pangong lake, Tso Moriri, Hans Towns, Merak, Man, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Tyakshi, Turtuk, Chushul, Hanle, and Miner La.
Which network is available in Leh Ladakh?
Airtel and BSNL both work fine in Leh city. But as you move towards Nubra valley, the networks go weak. BSNL is still active in certain regions, but no other service provider network is available.
What is the oxygen saturation in Leh? Is it difficult to breathe?
As you go higher in altitude, the oxygen saturation falls significantly. You might feel difficulty in breathing at higher altitudes like Khardung La pass. But as you get acclimatized to the high altitude you should be fine. Do not get involved in any kind of strenuous exercise while traveling. Talk to your doctor if you have any breathing problems like asthma.