Biking from Manali to Leh, Ladakh: Everything You Need To Know

Overview

On every Indian biker’s bucket list there is a sure-shot chance of Leh Ladakh being present. One prominent reason is that Leh Ladakh is the highest and northernmost point in India. So, biking there will get two feats accomplished apart from the fact that it will also bring with it the best mountain trip experience. There are two major roads leading to Leh Ladakh – one by Srinagar and the other via Manali. Both routes are famous and equally beautiful as well treacherous. There is hardly a difference of 60km between the two paths. Due to the political situations in Kashmir Territory, there can sometimes be the closure of roads due to bandhs which makes the Manali to Leh Ladakh route more reliable. So, in this article, you will find all the important information with regards to the Manali to Leh Biking trip.

Manali to Leh Ladakh Biking Trip

The beautiful journey from Manali to Leh Ladakh was popularized by the Bollywood film “3 Idiots”. Since then many travellers have been following these trails. The Manali to Leh Ladakh bike trip can take anywhere about 6 to 10 days depending upon the climatic conditions and your experience. If it is your first experience in a long time with mountain biking you should get acclimatized to the cold weather to avoid High Altitude Sickness.

Daywise Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Manali

On the first day of the trip, you will arrive at Manali in Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the major towns and tourist destinations and has many shops to pick up any essentials and equipment before beginning the trip. You should spend your first day in Manali riding your bike around to acclimatize yourself for the cold weather ahead.

Day 2: Manali to Jispa

It is on the second day when your Himalayan journey truly begins when you leave Manali, for Jispa. From Manali, you have two options to reach Sissu- Rohtang Pass (an icy, bumpy but beautiful route) via Kokshar or the Atal Tunnel on Rohtang (the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000ft that is a smooth and shorter 9km long ride). On the way, you will stop at Tandi which is the last petrol pump after Manali. So, it is better if you get your tanks filled and carry spare fuel preferably in a 10L jerrycan right here for the long journey ahead. You will then pass Keylong before arriving in Jispa which provides cosy, good, and affordable options for camping, cottage, and lodging.

Day 3: Jispa to Sarchu

On the third day, after having breakfast, you leave Jispa for Sarchu or Pang. On the journey, you will come across two mesmerizing lakes- Deepak and Suraj Taal (Taal means lake). You will pass Zingzingbar- a Border Roads Organization camp area with tea houses and Baralacha Pass which has an altitude of 4850m or 15,912ft. After you reach Sarchu (AKA Sir Bhum Chun) you can avail camping facility to get a visual treat of the clear skies and starry night while you retire for the night.

Day 4: Sarchu to Leh

As soon as you leave Sarchu, you are in the Union Territory of Ladakh. It is better to leave early on the fourth day to cover three high mountain passes before dusk to reach Leh. Nakula Pass at 4900mts, Lachungla Pass at 5000mts, and Tanglang La Pass at 5300mts are feats in themselves but you should avoid stopping at passes for more than 15-20minutes as this will lead to High Altitude sickness. This is hands down the road with the most panoramic and picturesque views.

Upon reaching Leh make sure to get your Leh touring permit called the ‘Inner Line Permit’ for Pangong Tso lake and Nubra valley both of which will cost around ₹750 per person. At the time of writing, the online permit obtaining process is a bit flawed. So, you should get it from any of the hotels at Leh or travel agents for a hassle-free experience.

Day 5: Leh

You should stay in Leh on the 5th day for acclimatization. Meanwhile, you can go around town and to nearby places like Magnetic Hill and monasteries.

Day 6: Leh to Pangong Tso Lake

On the sixth day of this thrilling journey, you will be visiting one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Ladakh- the quaint and magnanimous Pangong Tso lake better known as Pangong Lake. With its better half located in Tibet, this lake is the world’s highest saltwater lake at an elevation of 4,350m or 14,272ft. Camp for the night near the lake to experience its serenity or you can head back to Leh and stay there.

Day 7: Khardungla Pass and back to Leh

On your seventh day, you will be heading to Khardungla Pass which is one of the highest motorable passes in the world at an elevation of 5356mts or 17,572ft. According to history, this pass lay on the ancient Silk Route connecting Leh to Central Asia and Middle-east. After visiting Khardungla pass you will be heading back to Leh and will stay there overnight.

Day 8: Leh to Sarchu

On the eighth day of the journey, you will be heading on the same route back to Sarchu where you will be camping for the night.

Day 9: Sarchu to Manali

On the ninth day, you will reach Manali where you will be retiring for the night.

Day 10: Departure

On this day, you would have officially ended this bike trip as you leave Manali.

Conclusion

Hoping this article has helped you in providing you with more than enough information on Manali to Leh Ladakh Biking trip. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip that every one of us should experience. Leh Ladakh is one of the gems in India and it is motorable. So, why wait!

Note:

In a rare case where your bike has some problem, you can ask for help from either locals or the expedition groups which usually have mechanics.

You will need special permission for flying drones as it is a border area.

It is better if you have a BSNL sim on your mobile as network coverage after Jispa goes down. 

Charge your devices on major stops. 

Do not litter and carry your trash and dispose of it responsibly to maintain the sanctity of this gorgeous place.

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