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Manali to Leh cycle trip is a dream for all cyclists across the globe. For those of us, who crave thrill every moment, it is a must-try experience. The Manali to Leh cycling trip takes you through five mountain passes, one of which is the famous Tanglang La pass situated at 5,359 m above sea level. Overall, this trip is something all of us should try at least once, in life, there’s no other experience like this one. On our way to Leh, we will witness some of the world’s most unique and picturesque landscapes.

Rajon Das Completed – Silchar to Khardungla Pass Ladakh on Bicycle

Manali to Leh Cycle Trip Overview

Duration 11-15 Days
Best Time to Visit June to August (to avoid snow blockage)
Distance 480 Kilometres (approx) One Side
Approximate BudgetRs, 30,000 per person (Including Bicycle)
Weather3°F to 75°F & below -7°F or above 80°F (Rarely)
Altitude2,550 m (8,370 ft) – 7,742 m (25,400 ft)
Approximate KM90 km
Keypoints of Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

Also, it is important to know our route before we begin the trip. There are a number of stops in the route where you will get decent food and accommodation. Here’s the list of food and stay places on the Manali-Leh highway:

Manali to Leh Cycle Trip
Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

Kothi → Marhi → Koksar → Sissu → Gondola → Tandi → Keylong → Jispa → Darcha → Zing Zing Bar (Lower & Upper) → Bharatpur → Sarchu → Whiskey Nala → Pang → Debring (Lower & Upper) → Rumptse → Upshi → Karu → Thiksey → Leh

Backpacking for the Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

When you are planning an adventure trip it is very important to get your things together because the Manali-Leh highway does not have many markets along the route. So, if you miss out on something, you are in trouble. Here’s the list of things to carry on your bicycle trip to Leh:

Clothing for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • Cycling shorts
  • Jersey / Dry Fit T-shirt 
  • Towel 
  • Woolen Gloves 
  • Cotton shorts
  • Cotton T-shirts
  • Inner wears
  • Thermal top
  • Socks 
  • Running Shoes
  • Cap
  • Thermal Bottoms
  • Fleece jacket
  • Raincoat

Camping Gears for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Thermos

On Bicycle for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • Headlight
  • Tail Light
  • Pannier Bags
  • Rack
  • Frame Bag
  • Saddle Bag
  • Bungee Cord 
  • Bottle at least 2

Spares & Tools for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • 1 set of spare chain link and chain link removal tool
  • 2 sets of spare tubes, puncture repair kit & hand pump.
  • Basic bicycle tool kit
  • 2 pieces of break/Gear Wires
  • 2 spare spokes 
  • Commonly used extra screws and nuts.
  • Machine oil or any lubricant.

Cooking Gears for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • Stove
  • Burner Adapter
  • Butane Gas
  • Utensils
  • Fork, spoons, and bowl

Eatables for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

  • Oats, Poha, Noodles, Maggie, Upma, etc.
  • Dry Fruits
  • Milk Powder
  • Sugar, Tea & Coffee 
  • ORS or Glucose Powder

Now that you have packed for your trip. It’s time, to begin our thrilling expedition.

How to reach Manali, Himachal Pradesh?

Manali is a town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It’s located in the Kullu Valley, which is formed by the Beas River. Manali is accessible to you, depending on your preferences.To begin your journey to Leh, you have to first reach Manali. This beautiful town is situated on the lap of the Himalayas decorated with the Beas river. It is also the connecting link to various tourist spots like Shimla, Kullu, and Dharamshala.

Delhi To Manali

Manali by Road

Both government and private buses are available from major cities like Chandigarh and Delhi to Manali. You can also hire a cab or drive by yourself. The distance between Delhi to Manali is about 530 km, whereas Chandigarh to Manali is about 300 km.

Manali by Train

There are no direct trains from Delhi to Manali. From either Kalka or Chandigarh train stations, it is then possible to take a taxi or bus to Manali. Rail travel between Delhi and Manali requires 537 kilometers of travel.

Manali by Air

Flight is another convenient way to reach Manali. The nearest airport to Manali is Bhuntar which is about 50 km from Manali. However, Bhuntar being a small airport you probably will find it difficult to book a flight ticket to Bhuntar. Rather you can take a flight to Chandigarh airport or Delhi airport.

Manali to Leh Cycle Trip Itinerary

So we will begin this expedition from Manali and ride our way till Leh. Our route will be:

Manali Kothi Marhi Sissu Darcha Zing Zing Bar Sarchu Whiskey Nallah Pang Debring Upshi Leh

Day 0 • Acclimatize at Manali (2,050 m)

Keep a day to yourself to acclimatize well to the altitude. Ride around the Manali town, meet locals, have conversations, try out local markets, enjoy the day to yourself and prepare yourself for the next day. Acclimatization is vital because most of us are from plains, so we are not used to high altitudes. Give your body some time to get accustomed to it, and see how it feels to ride a cycle.

Acclimatization: When visiting the Himalayas, many of us overlook the high altitude and just focus on the breathtaking panoramas. Leh and most of Ladakh are located above 10,000 feet in elevation. As a result, tourists may experience dizziness, headaches, or even acute mountain sickness (AMS). So it is extremely important to take it slowly to permit your body to acclimatize to the high altitude and low oxygen saturation.

Day 1 • Manali to Kothi (2,500 m)

Manali to Kothi is about 14 km. However, it can take longer than expected to reach Kothi because of constant traffic along the route. The route goes through lush green valleys and panoramic views of the mountains. The road is very well maintained and you will also come across dhabas and restaurants along the route.

It is best if you have pre-booking at a guesthouse or hotel because during peak times it is very difficult to get an on-spot booking. Also, Kothi has relatively fewer options for accommodation.

Day 2 • Kothi to Marhi (3,360 m)

Kothi to Marhi is a 21 km ride through a series of loops and bends to pass the picturesque villages on your way to a beautiful gem called Marhi. On the way to Marhi you will also witness a spectacular view of the Pir Panjal mountain range.

A few temporary accommodations are available at Marhi.

Day 3 • Marhi to Sissu (3,120 m) via Rohtang pass (3,978 m)

Marhi to Sissu is a long 53 km ride via the famous Rohtang pass. This one is going to be particularly tiring because of uphill ride till Rohtang pass at 3,978 m altitude. The altitude offers a breathtaking perspective of Lahaul’s snow-capped mountains. It’s a lot of fun to cycle downhill from Rohtang. The road takes you along river Chandra all the way to Sissu. And then call it a day with a hot meal and a night of peaceful sleep.

Also, keep your oxygen cylinders handy while you cross Rohtang pass and the altitude rises steeply from Marhi to Rohtang pass.

Accommodations are pretty well maintained and standard at Sissu.

Day 4 • Sissu to Darcha (3,360 m)

It’s a 62 km ride from Sissu to Darcha but mostly gradual uphill and downhill. Today we ride our way to Darcha along Bhaga river. You can also relax and spend some time as you enjoy your lunch in Keylong or Jispa. Keylong and jispa have plenty of options for food.

As you reach Darcha you will find a couple of dhabas where you can stay for the night and sign off for the day with a hot meal. And get ready for the next day’s adventure.

Also, keep your oxygen cylinders handy while you cross Rohtang pass and the altitude rises steeply from Marhi to Rohtang pass.

Accommodations are pretty well maintained and standard at Sissu.

Day 5 • Darcha to Zing Zing Bar (4,270)

First of all, before starting your day make sure you pack food and enough water for the day because there’s a scarcity of dhabas until Zing Zing bar. Today is gonna be more thrilling as you ride uphill from 3,360 m to 4,270 m altitude. Stay hydrated and save your energy.

The oxygen level at Zing Zing Bar is also very low. At Zing Zing bar you can find a handful of temporary accommodations and dormitories.

Day 6 • Zing Zing Bar to Sarchu (4,290 m) via Baralach La Pass (4,850 m)

Start early for the day, no later than 6:30 AM to cross the streams at Bharatpur before noon while its still frozen. As today is going to be a tiring day, both for you and your bicycle, make sure your cycle is in good condition. There’s a mechanic 2 km ahead of Zing Zing bar where you can repair falt tyres and basic issues.

After the steep rise till Baralach La pass, cycling down from Baralach La is a pleasant break, but the roads are not smooth. The day comes to a close in Sarchu Plains.

Day 7 • Sarchu to Whiskey Nallah (4,600 m)

Today we begin the zigzag ride up the 21 hairpin bends of Gatta Loops on our way to Nakeela Pass situated at 4,600 m altitude. Enjoy the stunning views and let them freshen you up as you find your way to Whisky Nallah. 

Bear in mind this is the desert region of Ladakh, so take special care of your health. Tips are to stay hydrated always! And start early for the day because sun gets really strong as the day passes.

After the steep rise till Baralach La pass, cycling down from Baralach La is a pleasant break, but the roads are not smooth. The day comes to a close in Sarchu Plains.

Day 8 • Whiskey Nallah to Pang (4,700 m) via Lachalung La Pass (5,065 m)

One of the most rewarding days of our tour is today. But before that serene view of Pang Tso welcomes you, you have to first cross the Lachalung La pass at 5,065 m. Whiskey Nala to Lachang La is easy 7 km uphill. Lachang La to Pang is a breathtaking 25 km downhill ride that offers absolutely gorgeous views.

The smooth wide road makes the ride super relaxing and refreshing. Finish off your ride at Pang where you can easily find hotels and temporary settlements.

Day 9 • Pang to Debring (4,835 m)

Before starting the day, get your food packed because you won’t find any dhabas between Pang and Debring. From Pang, a 7-kilometer steep ascent takes you to the Morey Plains. The Moray Plains are expanse of plains with an average height of 4800 metres. The section boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery and is surrounded on both sides by magnificent mountains and rock formations.

Get prepared for Tanglang La pass the next day, the highest mountain pass in this route.

The smooth wide road makes the ride super relaxing and refreshing. Finish off your ride at Pang where you can easily find hotels and temporary settlements.

Day 10 • Debring to Upshi (3,480 m) via Tanglang La pass (5,359 m)

It’s a long journey from Debring to Upshi, approximately 75 km. The first 12 km is easy comparatively, the next 8 km to the top of Tanglang La pass is full of struggle. However, the breathtaking view from the top is all worth it. The famous Zanskar mountain range on one side and the mighty Ladakh range on the other side. The Taglung La is marked by a Buddhist chorten (reliquary monument) and prayer flags that sets up the mood all over again.

Many riders prefer to stay at Rumptse, the very next village after Tanglang La pass because of the tiring day. But we would recommend Upshi for the stay, because otherwise its going to be a really long 91 km the next day. And also, the ride till Upshi is mostly soothing and easy.

You will find plenty of staying options starting from homestays to motels. There’s also a main market at Upshi, spare some time to pay a visit to the market and blend in with the locals.

Get prepared for Tanglang La pass the next day, the highest mountain pass in this route.

The smooth wide road makes the ride super relaxing and refreshing. Finish off your ride at Pang where you can easily find hotels and temporary settlements.

Day 11 • Upshi to Leh (3,524 m)

And here we are already on the last day of the most memorable expedition of our life ever. Upshi to Leh is 47 km via fertile mesmerizing valleys of Leh, a number of small stupas and monasteries. The most famous and largest of them all is the Hemis and Thiksey monastery. 

Finding accommodation and dhabas is not an issue at Leh. And do not forget to visit the beautiful Leh market before you sign off for the day.

Read more: Leh Ladakh Bike Trip

Places to visit in Leh Manali highway

Every turn of the Leh Manali highway offers you enchanting views and breathtaking adventures during your Manali to Leh cycle trip. But that’s not it. As you ride from Manali to Leh, there are plenty of famous places that are worth visiting. The list of some of the places you might want to visit is given below:

Manali Rohtang La Jispa Deepak Taal Baralacha La Suraj Taal Shaheed Sainik Bhawan Gata Loops Nakeela Lachulung La Moore Plains Tso Kar Tanglang La

Final words for Manali to Leh cycle trip

Manali to Leh cycle trip is on all of our bucket list and it should be. It is indeed one of a kind experience, with the perfect balance of thrill, serenity, adventure and everything that you are crazing for. 

In this article, we have included tips, accommodation and fooding options on the way from Manali to Leh. We have designed the itinerary based on real experience and is most suitable for moderately trained and prepared cyclists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Manali to Leh Cycle Trip

When is the best time for a cycling trip from Manali to Leh?

June to September is the ideal time for Manali to Leh cycling trip. As the summer begins and proceeds to monsoon during this time, it is perfect as the snow starts to melt and no more road blockades. The weather is also more hospitable and welcomes you with a bright sunny sky.

What is the Manali to Leh distance for cycling?

The between Manali to Leh is approximately 480 km. The complete cycle tour starting from Manali to Leh via Tanglang La pass takes around 10-11 days depending on where you choose to stay.

Is Manali Leh highway safe for cycling?

Due to the curving routes and elevation, cycling in the Manali to Leh highway is a challenging journey. It requires a sufficient amount of preparation, both mental and physical. It should not be tough if you are a frequent rider and have the necessary equipment and guidance. Also, we are looking for some thrilling experience, right? So it ain’t gonna be a piece of cake for sure.

How do I know if I am fit enough for Manali to Leh cycling trip?

Manali to Leh trip can be challenging and may have unexpected thrills (that’s the whole point of it). But to be safe is a whole different issue. As the trip takes you through some of the highest altitudes and extremely low levels of oxygen, you should be fit enough for the journey. People with heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or any other breathing problems should not take any risks.

What is the temperature in Manali and Leh, Ladakh during summer?

The average temperature in Manali during summers is around 10 to 25 ℃. And the temperature of Leh during summers is about 15 to 30℃. 

How to prepare for Manali to Leh trip?

You must be physically prepared to ride at high altitudes on steep hills, requiring a high degree of fitness and stamina. Examine your cycle and learn how to correct it if something goes wrong. Try going on a shorter bicycle tour to see how you do.

How long does it take to get acclimatized for Ladakh trip?

The time taken to acclimatize often varies from one person to other. Usually one day of resting is enough for acclimatization at a high altitude. But as you go up, you might feel certain symptoms like breathlessness as the oxygen level at the highest altitude is really low. So it’s recommended to carry an oxygen cylinder with you.

What are the symptoms of High Altitude sickness?

Headache, feeling dizzy, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath are some of the common symptoms of high altitude sickness. If you feel shortness of breath even at rest, you might be suffering from severe high altitude sickness, in such cases seek medical attention immediately or descend to lower altitudes.

What kind of toilet facilities are available on the Manali Leh highway?

Toilet facilities are usually available but are scarce after you cross Keylong. You won’t find many toilet facilities here. Ask for it if you are stopping at a Dhaba, they usually have one.

What is the highest altitude on the Manali Leh highway?

The highest altitude from Manali to Leh is the Tanglang La pass situated at 5,328 m. Be prepared for the steep increase in altitude and carry an oxygen cylinder with you.