Leh Ladakh Bike Trip: Complete Guide

Overview

Bike Trip: High in the Himalayas lies the solitude that wandering souls seek and that is the name of the Leh Ladakh bike trip. This trip will give so much on your plate that you will feel you have taken a trip to heaven and back. Every year thousands of bikers begin on a transformative journey to Leh Ladakh which has inspired an entire generation of motorists. This place offers snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, cold deserts, valleys, meadows, and rich flora and fauna among other amazing things. No wonder this trip is on every biker’s bucket list. 

Here is a complete guide of what you might need for your bike trip to Leh Ladakh giving you details of every bit.

The Leh Ladakh Bike Trip Complete Guide:

Highlights:

Best route: From Srinagar and Manali

Distance from Manali: 473km or 294miles

Distance from Srinagar: 411km or 255.38miles

Manali-Leh-Srinagar Route: Jispa-Sarchu-Leh-Nubra Valley-Siachen-Pangong Lake-Layamuru-Kargil-Zojila Pass-Srinagar

Best time to visit: June to October

Pricing from ₹35,000

Daywise Trip breakdown: 

For the Leh Ladakh bike trip there are two major routes:

  • From Manali
  • From Srinagar

However, you can combine all three places to make one long and better route i.e. Manali-Leh-Srinagar or Srinagar-Leh-Manali for a wholesome experience. There are many tour agencies providing such packages that cover territories of Kashmir, Leh and the state of Himachal Pradesh. Following is a day-wise breakdown of a trip from Manali to Leh and Srinagar. 

Day 1: Arrival and Acclimatisation at Manali

On the first day, you will be arriving at Manali where you can rent a bike if you are not using your own. Make sure you have asked for helmets, bungee rope, and saddles from the rental. You should use this day to acclimatize to cold weather and take your bike around town. 

Day 2: Manali – Jispa

On the second day, you will be out into the Himalayan roads on your way to Jispa. There are two routes- one via Rohtang pass (for this you will need a permit) which is a little rough and bumpy but beautiful and the other is via Atal Tunnel in Rohtang (opened in 2020) which saves time and is smooth and quick. These two routes join in Sissu and from there you will travel through Tandi and Keylong. You should refill your bikes at Tandi and carry spare fuel for the onward journey as it is the last petrol pump after Manali. Get a comfortable hotel at Jispa.

Day 3: Jispa – Sarchu (Sir Bhum Chun)

On the third day you will be leaving for Sarchu. On your way, you will come across beautiful lakes (Deepak Taal and Suraj Taal) and Baralacha Pass. Once you arrive at Sarchu, you can camp here.

Day 4: Sarchu – Leh

On the fourth day you will be leaving Sarchu which is the last stop in Himachal Pradesh and entering Ladakh Union Territory. You will come across three passes: Nakula Pass (4900m), Lachungla Pass (5000), and Tanglangla Pass (5300) before reaching Leh city. This road is one of the best routes on this trip. Don’t forget to obtain your permit for touring Leh.

Day 5: Leh – Nubra Valley      

After resting in Leh, on the fifth day you will be heading to Nubra Valley which is also known as Ladakh’s valley of flowers. It will take you around 8 hours to reach Nubra and on the way, you will pass Khardung La Pass from where the vast Indus valley is visible.

Day 6: Nubra – Siachen Base Camp – Nubra

On the sixth day, you will be visiting the world’s highest battlefield- Siachen. At the Siachen Base Camp, you can meet and greet some of the Indian Army personnel. You can also visit Turtuk instead. After Siachen, you will return to Diskit village in Nubra valley.

Day 7: Nubra Valley – Pangong Lake

The highlight of the seventh day is the serene Pangong Lake – which is the highest saltwater lake on earth at 4,350m. On your way to the lake, you will also be visiting Shyok Valley where you can visit the Diskit monastery and the Maitreya Buddha statue.

Day 8:  Pangong Lake – Leh

On the eighth day you will be starting from Pangong lake back to Leh city and rest overnight.

Day 9: Leh – Lamayuru – Kargil

On the ninth day you will start towards Lamayuru and visit local attractions like the Bagso Palace and Ladakh’s oldest monastery – Lamayuru monastery. Then you will be riding on NH1 on your way to Kargil. Upon reaching, check into a hotel and rest.

Day 10: Kargil – Zojila Pass – Srinagar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

On the last day of the trip, you will leave Kargil and head towards Zojila Pass which is located in Drass – the second coldest inhabited place on earth. After that you will pass many peaks like Kargil and Tiger Hill before reaching Srinagar. Upon your arrival you can stay overnight and depart the next day.

Other Important Details

Following are the other important aspects you should take a look at before you pack your bags for Leh Ladakh.

Your own bike or Rental?

Before you begin it is better to be clear about one thing whether you would want to do this trip on your own bike or a rented one. Here is a quick question – Do you live in the NCR region? If yes then it is better if you take your own bike. If not then renting would be ideal. If you are taking a pillion rider with you then you can even split charges.

Pricing Table for a Manali-Leh-Srinagar Bike trip

Bike NameWith PillionWithout Pillion
Classic 350cc₹35,000₹45,000
500cc Bike₹37,000₹49,000
Himalayan₹38,500₹52,000

Bike Engine

The second important thing is bike engine because these are not your average roads. The path is going to test your bike with every possible obstacle whether crossing rivers in them or stone-laden bumpy roads. For solo trips, you can take any bike with you but when having a pillion it is Ideal that you should have at least a 500cc engine or up. 

Suggested Bike

If you have your own bike then it is better to skip this section. However, if you are renting a bike then it is better to choose the best option for your budget for this bike trip to experience maximum adventure.

Following motorbikes are bikers’ favorites on the Leh Ladakh bike trip:

  • Royal Enfield Bullet
  • Himalayan
  • Bajaj Avenger
  • KTM Duke

Important Items

A bike can accommodate only so many items even with luggage straps. Needless to say, you should be caring about the bare minimum items that are a must for the road trip. These should include:

  • ID card(s)
  • Cash as not many accept payments digitally
  • Set of warm jackets including a fleece jacket and warm innerwear
  • Raincoat
  • Windcheater
  • Powerbank
  • Waterproof bag
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Luggage canvas/strap
  • Puncher kit

If you are renting a bike then do ask for helmets, bungee rope and saddles from the agency.

Permits

As you will be venturing into the Ladakh Territory, you will be needing a few permits. They are

  1. Rohtang Pass permit: Obtained either online or from Manali SDM office
  2. Permit for touring Leh: Online or DC office, Leh This permit can include a permit for Pangong Lake and Nubra valley.

Note:

Do not halt at the passes for more than 15-20 minutes as these are very high altitude passes and may lead to high altitude sickness.