April 21, 2017 thepoornomad 2Comment

Road Trip to Ladakh: If you are into adventure or you are the kind of traveler who likes road trips, then a Leh Ladakh road trip is one of the best and the most thrilling road trips in Indian sub-continent.

What I am Going To Tell You With This Blog: Ultimate Guide For Road Trip To Ladakh

  1. Things to know for your trip to Ladakh
  2. How to plan for this Leh Ladakh Road Trip
  3. How to cover Manali to Leh route
  4. How to cover Srinagar to Leh route
  5. Where to stay and cost
  6. ATM and Mobile Connectivity
  7. Distance
  8. Route maps
  9. Things to keep in mind before planning your trip to Ladakh
  10. And where and how to book your bikes or cars for this ultimate trip to Ladakh

Traveling Leh & Ladakh region of India by bike or by an SUV can give you a glimpse of semi-nomadic lifestyle with that it also provides you that adrenalin rush that every biker or a road tripper looks for. Its rugged terrain makes it hard for everyone to cross it.

Covering Ladakh by road will give you spectacular sights of snow-capped mountains, barren valleys, deserts, Buddhist settlements, un-ending valleys, and jaw-dropping panoramas.

Also known as “the land of high passes” Ladakh is located at a height of 3,000 meters and is one of the most famous and popular travel destinations in India. The Himalayan belt and the famous & beautiful Karakoram Range would surely give you the rush you were looking for.

So why waiting, head out to the ultimate Road Trip to Ladakh and explore this rugged terrain.

For those who have no idea, how to start this Leh Ladakh road trip. Then let me tell you there are only two ways to reach this region:

One is from Manali (Himachal Pradesh)

And the other one is from Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir)

Btw, if you are in Manali and don’t know where to eat or the best places or restaurants to have your brunch, then you may check out this article: The Best Places Places To Eat In Manali

And if you are a trekking enthusiast then you should read this one: Top 10Places For Trekking In Manali – You Can’t Miss

Route 01: Manali To Leh. How To Cover It?

leh ladakh road trip

Manali to Leh is one of the most traveled routes by bikers and travelers to reach Leh. Not only, you would get a chance to explore the splendored beauty of this region but it is also termed as the toughest terrains to reach Leh. Srinagar to Leh is also hard to get through but not like this one.

Things To Keep In Mind On Manali To Leh Route:

Best Time To Visit: June To October. Manali to Leh route remains open only for 3-4months.
Total Distance: 475 Kms
Road Map: Manali – Gramphu – Keylong – Jispa – ZingZingbar – Baralacha La – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakeela Pass – Lachung La Pass – Pang – Tanglang La – Upshi – Leh

Suggested Itinerary For Bikers (Manali To Leh):

Day 01: Manali – Jispa (138 Kms/ 07 hrs)
Try to leave early morning or else there are good chances of facing heavy traffic in Rohtang Pass. Plus it is very tough and takes a lot of time to cross Rohtang pass as it remains covered with mud and slush throughout the year.  After crossing, Rohtang La, you may have your lunch in Keylong, which is around 64kms from Rohtang Pass. Have a quick lunch and start your onward journey for Jispa, just 23 km’s ahead.

Day 02: Jispa – Pang (161 Kms / 08 hrs)
Leave early, as today you will be covering Sarchu and Gata Loops. The journey would be hard as in some parts there are no roads and even if you will find a good stretch they are filled with gravels. So better, take your time and ride. Have your lunch at Sarchu. And stay at Pang.
Note: There is a military cantonment in Pang where you might find a military doctor. And do keep in mind, the only place you would find a mechanic after you cross Keylong Is in Pang.

Day 03: Pang – Leh (176 Kms / 07 hrs)
You may take your time and may start a little bit late. As from here, the roads are comparatively good. Go through the unending valleys and have a belly full lunch at Upshi.
Note: There would many of you, who might plan or think to do it in two days. Trust me this would not be a good idea for this Leh Ladakh road trip. I would not say, it is impossible but it is not feasible. As you and your bike’s engine need rest. The air is very thin out here so don’t push yourself and your bike to it’s extreme. Remember, it’s not Delhi or any other city where you are going to get your job done by making a single call.

Suggested Itinerary: Travellers Going By SUV (Manali To Leh)

As compared to bikes, SUV can cover long distances. So you may cover this Manali to Leh journey in two days.

Day 01: Manali – Sarchu (223 kms / 09 hrs)
Today start early morning and reach Sarchu by evening. Have your lunch in Keylong or Jispa. But be prepared for a bumpy ride as the roads are not that good.

Day 02: Sarchu – Leh (349 kms / 10 hrs)
From Sarchu, roads are quite ok to drive till Leh. So you may enjoy today’s ride. If you keep a good speed, you may reach Leh by late afternoon or so.

 Tips To Keep In Mind (Manali To Leh Route)

Petrol / Diesel Pumps: Tandi (110 kms fro  Manali) and Karu (40 kms before Leh)
Note: So fill your tanks in Marhi. And if needed, do keep some extra liquid in small liquid tanks or plastic bottles.

ATMS: Keylong and Leh

Mobile Connectivity: BSNL and Airtel work fine in Leh and till Keylong. From Keylong to Leh, you might find it hard to get a good network. So be prepared for this.

Mechanic: Keylong, Jispa and Pang

Food & Beverage Stops: Marhi, Rohtang la, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Zingzing Bar, Sarchu, Pang, and Upshi

Medical Facilities: Sissu, Keylong, and Pang.

Where To Stay:
Keylong: Keylong is kind of a small town where you will find a lot of small guest houses and hotels.
Price: 200 – 800 per room

Jispa: You might not find hotels or guest houses as they are very less in number but you would get a number of budgeted camps to luxurious tents for an overnight stay.
Small Road Side Hotels: 200 – 500 INR for a double room (very few in numbers)
Budgeted Camps: 600 – 1000 INR for a single camp for two persons
Luxurious Camps: 1200 – 2000 INR for a single camp for two persons

ZingZing Bar: In ZingZing Bar, you would get only nomadic settlements. They stay in camps where they give you a small space to sleep.
Price: 100 – 200 INR per night

Sarchu & Pang: Sarchu & Pang, is same like ZingZing Bar where luxurious hotels is not what you are going to get. You would only find nomadic camps for your overnight stay.
Price: 100 – 200 INR per night

Route 02: Srinagar To Leh (Ladakh By Road)

leh ladakh road trip

Srinagar to Leh is one of the busiest and famous highway to reach Leh. If Manali to Leh route is known for its ruggedness for a trip to Ladakh then Srinagar to Leh route is known for its beautiful vistas on a road trip to Ladakh.

On Srinagar to Leh route, you would come close with war memorials, small and beautiful villages, scenic Kashmiri valleys and much more. In this exciting Leh Ladakh road trip, you are going to visit some spectacular locations.  Be it the snow covered land of Gulmarg or green fields of Sonmarg or the small Kashmiri villages on the banks of the famous Sindh river. Covering a distance of 435 kms, it lets you feel and understand the true beauty of mother nature.

Things To Keep In Mind On Srinagar To Leh Route:

Best Time To Visit: June To October.
Total Distance: 475 kms
Road Map: Srinagar – Sonmarg – ZoZila Pass – Drass Valley – Kargil – Mulbek – Lamayuru – Leh

Suggested Itinerary For Bikers & SUV (Srinagar To Leh):

Day 01: Srinagar – Kargil (223 kms / 09 hrs)
Srinagar to Leh highway is also termed as the lifeline of India and Kashmir. Being termed as a lifeline, the roads out here has been maintained very well by Border Road Organization. So, you might not face much problem in covering peaks and crossing valleys. Still, I would suggest you to start your day early, so that you have ample time in your hand when you reach Drass and Zozila Pass on your Leh Ladakh road trip. Have your lunch there and leave for Kargil. In Kargil, you may also visit the War memorial.

Day 02: Kargil – Leh (271 kms / 10 hrs)
No one wants to leave Kargil as it is so beautiful. But you have to leave this place for your final stop that in Leh on your journey “Ladakh by road”. Today, you are going to cross Lamayuru Monastery, Gurudwwara Pathar Sahib, Lunar landscapes, Magnetic hills and Mulbekh Monastery. So try to keep a good amount of time to explore this divine places. Overnight stay in Leh.

Tips To Keep In Mind (Srinagar To Leh Route)

Petrol / Diesel Pumps: Srinagar, Sonmarg, Drass, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha and Leh

ATMS: Srinagar, Drass, Kargil, Sasapol & Leh
Note: These ATMS are very moody. So keep some cash in your pocket. As no one wants to deal with a moody ATM.

Mobile Connectivity: BSNL and Airtel work fine in Leh & Srinagar. After Srinagar till Leh, the only connection which works is BSNL.

Mechanic: Sonmarg, Kargil, Lamayuru, Mulbekh and Nimmu
Note: Keep some spare parts for your bike with you as in Lamayuru, Mulbekh and Nimmu the repair shops only repair your flat tires.

Food & Beverage Stops: Marhi, Rohtang la, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Zingzing Bar, Sarchu, Pang, and Upshi

Medical Facilities: Sonamrg, Drass and Kargil

Where To Stay:
Drass: If you are planning to stay in Drass, then don’t do it. During season time, the rates are very high plus the rooms are not that good too. Better stay in Kargil.

Kargil: In Kargil, you might find a plethora of options to choose from.
Budgeted Hotels ranging from 300 – 600 INR for a room
Deluxe hotels ranging from 600 – 1000 INR for a room
and Luxurious hotels ranging from 1000 – 2000 or more for a room

Lamayuru: Lamayuru is kind of same like Kargil but not that commercialized. Here you would mostly get small budgeted hotels and guest houses 

Delhi To Leh Bus Service

If you are not the one who would love to ride bikes or do a Leh Ladakh road trip by an SUV. Then there is one more option that you have and that is Delhi to Leh bus service. But be prepared for a 36 hours road trip to ladakh. This bus starts from Kashmiri Gate Bust Station In Delhi and would take 03 days to reach Leh.

Travel Time: 03 days / 36 hours approx
Ticket Price: 1,365 INR
Stops: Manali, Keylong and Leh

 

How And Where? Manali & Srinagar Bike Rent / SUV Rent

Road Trip To Ladakh

If you have your own bike or SUV, then you might not be looking for rent. But if you don’t have then it is a very hard task to finalize the best bike for your “road trip to Ladakh”.
Renting an SUV is not an issue as you just have to check the car conditions and all. As mostly, all rental companies provide you with a driver cum mechanic. Who has a fair knowledge on this route and the problems they might face.

The major issue comes in renting a bike. In Manali and Srinagar there are various bike rental providers but choosing a monster for your ultimate trip to Ladakh can be a confusing one.

10 Tips For Renting A Bike For This Amazing Leh Ladakh Road Trip

  1. Renting a good bike or getting a good one is very hard. So always check it out before going for this road trip to Ladakh
  2. Never book your bikes over the phone or over the internet.
  3. Have some knowledge on bikes or a little bit of mechanical understanding just to detect any fault in the bikes.
  4. Always check out the registration date of the bike. Never go for the old ones. They might be cheap but might not be that effective. Old is not gold on these terrains.
  5. Spare a day to test the bike locally. Go somewhere, just to get an idea how it runs and mileage.
  6. Always carry extra spare parts or try to get the tool kit from the rental company. Spare tubes, spark plugs, chain links. Try to get as many as possible.
  7. If you have budget then I would suggest you to hire a mechanic for your road trip to ladakh.
  8. Most of the bikes are old hence their mileage is not that good. So carry spare fuel with you in bottles.
  9. Make sure the RC, PUC and insurance is up to date.
  10. And finally, always ask your rental company to put a luggage carrier in your bike for free.

Leh & Ladakh Permits

Leh & Ladakh permits can be obtained from Leh DC Office or can be obtained by filling your details online.
Note: Indian Nationals don’t need any inner line permit from 2016. You just have to show your valid Photo ID Proof at the check posts.
Online Permits (only For Foreign Nationals): Permit Form
Price: 200 INR
Documents Needed: Passport and Two photographs
Leh DC Office Timings (for foreign national to obtain permit): 0900 – 1500 hrs

Note: Office remain closed during Sundays and National Holidays
If needed, you may also consult your hotel manager for the same as most of the hotels in Leh provide the facility to obtain Inner line permits.

 

13 Things To Keep In Mind For Your Road Trip To Ladakh

leh ladakh road trip

  1. Acclimatize well in Sarchu or Pang or Kargil or Lamayuru
  2. Keep a lot of dry fruits and chocolates.
  3. Carry empty bottles and refuel yourself whenever possible. As the weather is very dry in this region.
  4. Never drink and drive
  5. Always fill your tank as the fuel stations are very less in number.
  6. Always carry extra fuel in empty bottles
  7. Carry extra cash with you as ATMs are hard to find sometimes
  8. Keep around 10 photocopies of your ID proof and Inner line permits with you
  9. Always ride with full gear on like helmets, knee guard, elbow guard and wrist guard.
  10. Carry an extra battery for your camera and mobile phone. If possible also carry a power bank
  11. Clothing essentials: Jacket, warm inners, woolen gloves, woolen socks, spare socks and shoes, sleeping bags and woolen headgear.
  12. Never drive during night
  13. Drive safe and slow on this terrain and hairpin bends

 

So here were my tips and tricks for your upcoming Leh Ladakh Road Trip. Hope you liked this guide on “Road Trip To Ladakh”.

If you have anything that you want to mention or ask regarding Ladakh, you may ask me through mail or can put it in the comment section. I would love to help you out.

If you want to know more about me, you may check out this blog: First Solo Backpacking Trip

Or if you are a solo backpacker and have questions whether India is safe to travel or not, you may check out this article: Is India Safe For Female Travellers

Or looking for Volunteering opportunities in Leh and Ladakh region, then go through this article: Best Volunteering Opportunities In India You Can’t Miss

 

Thanks

ThePoorNomad
[email protected]

 

 

Sources:

Leh Ladakh India 

Leh Government Official Website

J&K Tourism Official Website

2 thoughts on “Best Tips And Tricks For Your Ultimate Road Trip To Ladakh (Travel Hacks)

  1. Are shared car or cabs available between Manali to leh. What’s the charges of it and from where can I get them?

    1. Hey Kartik,
      Yes there are shared cabs which ply between Manali To Leh.
      They charge around 3,000INR per person and they leave at about 1 am and reach Leh by 5pm.
      Note: Make sure to do some negotiations
      You may find them near to Manali Bus Stand or you can even ask your hotel guy, as they have good contacts with these drivers.

      Hope this information helps 🙂

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