Leh Ladakh Bike Trips

Leh | India
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All You Need to Know About the Leh Ladakh Bike Trips

The terrains of Leh-Ladakh will offer you the experience of a lifetime amidst its diverse scenery. In Ladakh, beauty abounds- wherever you turn, you will find before yourself enchanting views that will leave a deep impression on your mind for ages to come. 

Be it snow-clad mountain ranges, vast stretches of colorful barren land, occasional greens, crystal-clear lakes, or ancient sites and archaeological monasteries- a trip to Ladakh can be extremely rewarding to its visitors. 

Experiencing these majestic places on a bike will amplify the sense of adventure and thrill. It will leave you with a doubly fulfilling journey. Motor Biking Trips In Ladakh are the dreams of every biker who is in for some challenges with inherent rewards. The serene beauty of the land will provide solace and vitalize the minds of travelers with renewed freshness and energy. It will take them away from the humdrum of city life.

Read on to find out in detail everything, such as the Ladakh bike trip cost and detailed itinerary that you need to know to plan a successful bike trip to Ladakh. 

Overview of Motor Biking Trips in Ladakh:

Ladakh forms the largest province within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and extends across an area of 60,000 square miles. It is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges on all sides- the Himalayan ranges, Zanskar range, Ladakh range, and Karakoram mountains. Because of these high mountain ranges, rain is unable to cross over into the region, making it an arid area with approximately 2 inches of rainfall in a year. 

Ladakh offers vast stretches of valleys surrounded by high mountain ranges which together behold enchanting views rarely found anywhere else in the world. Also known as the "land of high passes," the Ladakh plateau is located at an altitude of 8,370 ft (2550 m) from sea level and contains some of the world's highest passes and motorable roads. Be sure to also encounter the unique Magnetic Hill near Leh, where vehicles in neutral automatically ascend upwards as if defying gravity. 

Tso Moriri lake and Pangong Tso lake are two of the most enchanting lakes in Ladakh whose clear blue waters can produce a meditative effect upon your mind. A plethora of archaeological sites and monasteries such as the Thiksey, Markha, Diskit monasteries are ancient gompas that serve as a repository of Buddhist culture and wisdom. These can provide insight into Buddhist life and culture through scriptures, statues, and paintings. The Ladakh Bike Tour Package will be, rest assured, the single most memorable experience of your life- taking you through this land of ancient cultures and geographical wonders. 

Best Time to Visit the Ladakh Bike Trip:

Each place has its unique attractions, which are contingent on the season or the time of the year. Moreover, some seasons are simply not suited for expeditions and should be generally avoided. Therefore, the ideal season to visit a place becomes a crucial factor while planning a trip. 

The best time to execute these Motorbiking Trips in Ladakh is from mid-May to September, which are the summer, monsoon, and post-monsoon seasons. During this time of the year, the skies are clear, the views are majestic, and the roads are unobstructed, which offer bikers the very best of Ladakh. 

Leh-Ladakh is a rain-shadow area, which means that it receives little to no rainfall during its monsoon seasons. Any risk posed due to inclement weather conditions is relatively low. However, the period from the end of July till August sees a rise in rainfall, which means slippery roads, landfalls, and road blockades. Experienced bikers can still navigate this place during this season, but those bikers who are just starting off might want to pick the period between mid-May and mid-July as they come with lesser hurdles. 

The winter season is not conducive for a trip to Ladakh as roads are lined with snow, making mobility difficult. Moreover, higher temperatures will result in increased risks of AMS and High Altitude Sickness if you are not properly acclimatized.

More importantly, the Manali-Leh Highway and the Srinagar-Leh Highway, which are the only two highways to enter Leh by road, remain closed from the end of October till the middle of May. Most bikers start their bike trip from either Manali or Leh as both these paths offer breathtaking views and are home to some of the highest, most magnificent passes. The high points of any trip to Ladakh are the Rohtang Pass (3980m) and the Baralacha Pass (4980m) in the Manali-Leh highway, and Sonmarg and the Magnetic Hill in the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Therefore, you should ideally plan your trip during a time when you will be able to witness these spectacular natural wonders. 

Gear Guide and Checklist for the Trek to Ladakh Bike Tour:

A basic thumb rule applicable to mountain expeditions is to never carry unnecessary items. Luggage should be minimized because traveling light is far more enjoyable than burdening yourself or your vehicle with heavy backpacks that tend to slow us down. However, you must ensure and double-check for medicines, essential documents, gears, and other accessories.

Clothing:

An important thing to remember while packing your clothing is that you should not carry more clothes than are absolutely necessary for your Ladakh Bike Tour Package. Clothes will take up unnecessary space in your backpack, and carrying other accessories, toiletries, hygiene products, medicines, and bike spare parts should be prioritized against bringing extra clothing. 

Leh-Ladakh is prone to extreme weather conditions; this means that the weather changes frequently. While the days are relatively warm, the nights are spine-chillingly cold. The trick is to dress in layers instead of putting on one oversized jacket, which hardly allows air to pass. If you put on many layers of lightweight cloth, it will take up less space in your luggage, and the extra layers can be put on or taken off easily according to changing temperature. 

The items of clothing which you should pack are- polyester T-shirts, trousers/riding pants/ trek pants, thermal inner wears, light woolens, waterproof jackets, windcheaters, socks, and gloves (both synthetic and woolen), hats, neck gaiter, and handkerchief. Carry an extra waterproof jacket, trousers and raincoat/poncho which can be put on in case of sudden rain. If possible, carry gum-boots or any other waterproof boots to shield your feet against water, as traveling by bike in Ladakh will require you to cross multiple rivers. Similarly, carry a waterproof pair of gloves instead of the usual woolen ones.

It is always advisable to carry extra pairs of gloves, socks, underwear, sports bra, and thermal inner-wears, as they are crucial to keep you warm, take up less space, and usually get dirty faster. You should also positively carry a waterproof cover for your backpack. 

Dry Food Items and Water:

As in a trek, so for a bike trip too, you should carry protein and carbohydrate-rich dry food items which can be popped whenever one feels hungry during the long hours of the ride. 

Roadside eateries are available along a Leh-Ladakh bike route, but they are few in number. Riding for long stretches of time can make you feel hungry and exhausted. Revitalizing your energy becomes essential so that you can have a safe, sound, and enjoyable journey. Dry eatables such as nuts, almonds, raisins, cashews, and chocolates will provide you with instant energy. 

You are required to stay hydrated during these day-long rides, and therefore you should always carry a water bottle. Remember, plastic bottles are prohibited in Ladakh with the aim to reduce pollution, so you should take an aluminum or stainless steel water bottle, which can be filled at multiple stops along the way. Carrying tea bags and coffee sachets is also recommended.

Documents:

Ladakh is a protected/restricted region, which means that entry into its inner quarters is highly supervised. Make sure to double-check your documents because there are high chances that you will not be allowed to enter at all without them. Besides, carry the original of each document and multiple photocopies because you will be required to turn in documents at multiple stops along the way. 

If you are an Indian, you will need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Ladakh, and as a foreigner, you will need to issue a Protected Areas Permit (PAM). The other documents that will be required are Identity Proof like driver's license, voter ID, Passport or Aadhar Card, passport-sized photos.

If you are traveling by your own bike, you should carry all relevant papers such as Vehicle Registration Document, Insurance papers, Pollution papers, and driver's license. Without these, your vehicle might not be allowed to enter the area. 

Apart from these, you need to carry essential documents and papers like medical insurance papers, hotel reservation slips if applicable, and flight tickets if traveling by air. 

Lastly, make sure to carry an emergency contact list containing important numbers. Store this paper along with all other documents in a sling pouch and carry it with you at all times. 

Bike Spare Parts and Essentials:

Since you will be making the entire tour on your bike, preparing your bike, besides preparing yourself, should also form a part of your checklist. 

The safest option would be to take your vehicle for complete servicing before the trip and consult with your mechanic for any specific fault within the vehicle. However, even after a full servicing, it is advisable that you carry a few essential spare parts and acquaint yourself with activities such as replacing a tube or changing cables and spark plugs in case something blows up.

The list of spare parts that you should be carrying is a complete puncture repair kit, including a foot pump and spare tubes, clutch-brake-accelerator cables, spare key, spare spark plugs, and a spare fuse. You can also carry about a liter of engine oil. However, with increased tourism, petrol pumps are readily available along the routes. Collecting these might increase your Ladakh bike trip cost, but these items are indispensable for a bike tour.

These parts are scarcely heavy-weight and can be easily secured to the rear seat and both sides of your bike without much hassle. If that becomes difficult, you may attach a luggage carrier to your bike, and the rest will be smooth going. 

Toiletries and Miscellaneous Accessories:

Carry basic toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo sachets, comb, soap paper, toilet paper, moisturizer, cold cream, towel, sanitizers, etc. 

Carry a high SPF sunscreen lotion to protect your face against the harsh rays of the sun, which get more severe when they reflect against the ice in the snow-clad mountains. Additionally, carry UV-protected sunglasses, a balaclava for the day, and a protective monkey cap for the night. 

Make sure to carry extra plastic bags/ newspapers/ cloth bags to store disposed materials and wastes. You must respect the beauty of the place and the hospitality of the locals and refrain from littering the place. Collect all trash in bags and dispose of the bags in suitable dumps or dustbins meant for the purpose. 

Basic Tool Kit:

You must curate a basic tool kit that will contain all essential items that are bound to come in handy at any given point in the Ladakh bike trip. Most of these items are crucial whenever one is visiting the mountains as they serve a variety of purposes. 

The kit should include torchlight/ flashlight, non-plastic water bottles, newspapers, candles and matchboxes, power bank, swiss knife, bag locks, safety pins, wristwatch, nylon or bungee ropes for bikers, crampons, extra pairs of batteries, detailed printouts of the Ladakh Motorcycle Tours Itinerary, maps, and finally, a sleeping bag and an insulated mat.

A sleeping bag will provide thorough protection against the freezing cold and takes up very little space. It is portable. Therefore, it can be used for sleeping purposes at a suitable camping site under a tent in the absence of all other provisions. An insulated mat also protects you against freezing temperatures.

Medical Kit:

A medical kit containing some basic medicines such as paracetamol, antacids, disprin/aspirin, bandages, and savlon should be carried. 

The high altitude and extremes of temperature in Motor Biking Trips in Ladakh can cause High Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness inducing fever, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Thus, you should visit your physician before the trip and ask them to prescribe suitable medicines against altitude sicknesses. 

If you face a medical emergency on your trip, it will be a long time before assistance can reach you. Therefore, you should try to contain the situation, even if only for a brief amount of time before you can be transported to the nearest dispensary/hospital. Thus, you should make all necessary medical arrangements and carry at least the most basic medicines to avoid any serious threat.  

Ladakh Motorcycle Tours Options and Itineraries:

The usual bike tour across Ladakh spans from 12 to 15 days and can at times exceed 15 days. 

Instead of rushing into the trip and covering too many kilometers in a day than are recommended, it is advisable to ascend gradually to give your body and mind the time to acclimatize to changing weather conditions. The Ladakh Motorcycle Tours Itinerary below spans 12 days and is a standard itinerary covering most of the significant destinations across Ladakh. 

It is better to start the ride from either Delhi or Manali/Srinagar instead of landing directly at the Leh airport for the same reasons of acclimatization.

  • Day 1: Arrive at Manali. This is the first day of our tour when you will be arriving at Manali to headstart the breathtaking journey to Leh and Ladakh. You can start your ride on a rented motorcycle at Manali or ride up to Manali from Delhi. You should take adequate rest today to gear yourself for the trip and also acclimatize your body to the rising temperature. You can go sightseeing around Manali if time permits.
  • Day 2: Today will be the first proper day of your ride. You will start off from Manali to reach Keylong (3079 meters) through the Rohtang Pass(3978 meters). You will cover 120 km, which will take you approximately 8 hours. Driving through dense forests, you will behold spectacular snow-capped mountain ranges the first time on your trip today. The Rohtang Pass is among the most sought-after passes in India and forms the getaway to the enchanting Spiti Valley. The road through Rohtang Pass will be one of the most scenic views you will ever encounter. However, the road conditions are a little precarious. Ride slowly and steadily to enjoy it to the fullest.
  • Day 3: Ride from Keylong to Sarchu (4420 meters) through Jispa (3200 meters). The view on this day will be diverse and rewarding. On the one hand, you experience the clear, blue waters of Deepak Tal and Suraj Tal. On the other hand, you will witness the Baralacha Pass (4850 meters), riding through Zing Zing Bar, at the same elevation. The ride will take around 8 hours. Halt at Sarchu in the many available tents and camps.
  • Day 4: Sarchu to Leh (3524 meters). This day's ride would be quite demanding and long, passing through 22 Gata Loops (Hairpin Turns) and some of the highest passes. You will encounter Tanglang la Pass (5334 meters), the 10th highest motorable pass globally, and Nakeela Pass (4724 meters). Start earlier than usual today because the ride will take close to 10 hours.
  • Day 5: Rest day at Leh. You will have covered 500 km over the past three days in your Ladakh bike trip. You should take this day to rest yourself and your bike as well as to get acclimatized to the rise in altitude that will follow. You can take casual strolls around the Leh market, check your bike for possible repairs, and prepare all documents for the next day's ascent.
  • Day 6: Today, you will pass through what was once deemed as the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardung La Pass (5602 meters), until the Umling La Pass at 5883 meters was built by BRO. This is a 6-hour ride till your arrival at the majestic Nubra Valley, which is home to picturesque sand dunes.
  • Day 7: Nubra Valley (3048 meters) to Turtuk (3001 meters) and back to Nubra Valley. Turtuk is a beautiful village at a distance of 2-3 hours from Nubra Valley. Today's ride will be a short one and will help you further acclimatize your body to the changing temperatures.
  • Day 8: This day will be one of the most rewarding days of the trip as you will witness the singularly beautiful Pangong Lake (4350 meters) today after an 8-hour ride. Pangong Lake, or the Pangong Tso, runs across 134 km. It is so long that 60 percent of the lake falls in China. The lake apparently exhibits seven colors of blue, leaving a fine impression on the traveler's mind. This enchanting lake against majestic mountains is a unique view to behold. Book your accommodation at Pangong Lake in advance because this spot is a popular tourist destination.
  • Day 9: Head back to Leh via the Chang La Pass (5362 meters). This is a 7-hour ride back to Leh, where there will be an altitude gain at Chang La Pass but with an overall altitude decrease upon reaching Leh.
  • Day 10: The road from Leh to Kargil (2676 meters) is a smooth ride except for a few undulating patches towards the end. The view on today's route will be spectacular. Do not miss the War Memorial at Dras. This is an 8-hour ride. Plenty of hotels/homestays will be available for stay at Kargil.
  • Day 11: Today, you will get a taste of what is popularly called "Paradise on Earth." Be prepared to be bedazzled by the diverse beauty of Kashmir with its majestic ranges, the spectacular Dal Lake, and splendid valleys. You will take the route from Kargil to Sonmarg through Zojila Pass (3530 meters). It's a 5-hour ride where your trip will finally come to an end.
  • Day 12: Depart from Srinagar. You can take the Chenani Nashri Tunnel to Srinagar, which is a shorter route to reach Jammu. From Jammu, you can either continue your ride to your hometown if it is your own personal vehicle or take the preferred mode of transportation to reach your hometown.

Getting Fit for the Ladakh Bike Trip:

Physical Fitness and Altitude Training:

You are mistaken if you assume that a tour on a bike would not involve as much physical fitness as a trek on foot. Riding for long stretches of 8-10 hours will mount a lot of physical exertion on your body and will wear it down. 

You should undergo systematic cardiovascular training for at least three to four months prior to embarking on the Motor Biking Trips in Ladakh to prepare your body against harsh weather conditions and physical exertion. Without proper exercise and physical training, your body will give in within the first few days of the trek. 

Another important aim is to improve stamina and build lung capacity. Ladakh has some of the highest spots in the world, and you will be passing through altitudes as high as 5200 meters. If you are able to build good stamina, your chances of suffering from severe Altitude Sicknesses will also reduce. Practice jogging and high stamina workouts like swimming, cycling, stair-climbing, etc., to improve the capacity of your lungs.

Mental Resilience:

Ladakh is a remote tourist destination far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. During your trip, you will be exposed to extreme weather conditions, undulating roads, and high altitudes, and it is quite a challenge to acclimatize your mind and body to such an unfamiliar environment.

Some stretches might be too remote, completely bereft of the human population. It can be challenging to ride for 7 to 8 hours alone amidst physical forces with little to no human company. It is therefore important to psychologically gear yourself for the trip and have confidence in your abilities.

When in the mountains, you should respect the lives of the local population and not do anything to hurt their sentiments. Similarly, know your strengths and weaknesses and do not attempt anything that can result in mishaps or accidents. For example, ride slow and abide by the speed limit regulations while on the Ladakh bike trip.

Finally, some important things that you should remember are to carry cash and to put on a BSNL postpaid connection. There are no provisions for digital banking or ATMs in Ladakh, and you might find yourself in a fix during payment at hotels for food and accommodation.

Similarly, the network here is scarce, and BSNL is relatively more reliable compared to other networks. We have tried to put together every crucial detail about a Ladakh bike trip that should make the trip easy sailing for you. Nothing should hold you back now. Free your wings and soar across the magnificent terrains of Ladakh.