Leh Ladakh bike trip: A complete guide


How to get started:

The first thing that should be answered is which bikes are suitable for the terrains of Ladakh. The characteristics for choosing your bike should be comfort, Powerful engine and easy to maintain.

The most popular Royal Enfield gives you the best of all the characteristics for your Ladakh bike trip.

Another variant with a powerful engine of 400 CC is Royal Enfield Himalayan, with this you can easily tackle any offbeat road.

Bajaj Pulsar with its strong engine ranging from 150 cc, 200 cc and 220 cc can also give you an adventurous ride.

The comparatively lightweight KTM Duke is easy to navigate with a powerful engine for a nice ride.

Other options include CBR 250, Yamaha Fazer and Hero Impulse.

Don’t own any of the above bikes? No problem, there are several rental bike agencies in Srinagar, Manali and Delhi as well. You just need to submit your Adhar card and Driver's license along with security fees.

Which Route to Take:

Ladakh is well connected to Srinagar and Manali by road. The ideal bike trip can be considered to be 15-18 days but it mostly depends on the route you take. The two routes available are Srinagar-Leh highway and Manali-Leh highway.

  1. Srinagar-Leh route:

This route takes you through Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zoji La – Dras – Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Saspol – Leh. The total distance covered would be of 434 km.

The road condition is better on this route and you will find comparatively nice accommodation options than Manali-Leh route.

Also, the number of petrol pumps are more, so you can take your bike trip without any hassle

  1. Manali-Leh route:

This route includes, Manali – Rohtang – keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Zingzingbar – Bara-lacha La – Sarchu – Nakee La – Pang – Tanglang La –– Upshi – Karu – Leh. It covers a total distance of 490 km uptill Leh.

As you can see the number of sights are more and hence this is the most preferred route by the travellers.

The roads can get tricky and also you will find only two petrol pumps at Tandi and Upshi, be sure to fill up your tank and carry a container for fuel.

What to Carry:


  • Clothing: your regular wears plus light thermal wear, windproof jacket, heavy woolen jacket, raincoat, woolen caps and muffler, snow boots
  • Accessories: sunglasses, gloves, Sunscreen, lip balm and toiletries like paper soap, sanitizer, toothpaste, brush, comb
  • Document: some places require Indian citizens to get an inner line permit for security reasons, and foreigners to get Protected Area permit. If you are traveling with an agency, they will arrange it for you or you can just apply it online. Also carry your photocopy, identity card and Driver's license.
  • Electronics: Camera with extra batteries, power bank, torch and spare charger.
  • Medicines: your prescription if any, Diamox, Aspirin, Paracetamol and Glucose/ORS.
  • Eatables: Energy bar, dry fruits, water bottles, chocolates and snacks.
  • Camping Equipments: Tent, sleeping bag and a physical map for navigation

What to see:

There are a number of things to do and see in Ladakh, from mountain trekking to walking around the peaceful lakes. From visiting high altitude monasteries to indulging in the adventurous river rafting here are the things you can look out for.

1)  Lakes: Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, Yarab Tso

2)  Attractions: Leh Palace, Jama Masjid, Drass war memorial, Magnetic Hill, Old town, Hall of Fame, Hemis National Park, Ice Stupa

3)  Passes: Khardung La, Chang La, Baralacha La, Zoji La, Tanglang La, Fotu La

4) Valleys: Nubra Valley, Drass Valley, Zanskar Valley

5)  Monasteries:  Diskit Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Spituk Monastery, Lamayuru Monastery

6)  Activities: Trekking, River rafting, Mountain biking, Jeep safari, Camel safari, Ice skating, Camping and Festivals.

When To Visit:

  • April to May: This is the peak tourist season; weather is pleasant and you can enjoy outdoor activities. Also, the famous Hemis Festival happens during this period.
  • Mid-may to July: The ice starts to melt off from the road and you can do that road trip with beautiful snow-clad mountains.
  • August to September: Even though Ladakh falls under a rain shadow region, this period is not ideal for travelling by road and the scenery is a bit hazy.
  • September to October: This season is best for road trips and outdoor activities with fewer tourists as the winter is just about to set in.
  • October to November: The chilly wind in the air makes it harder for people to acclimatize and very few tourists remain. However, you can cut costs on accommodation in this season.
  • November To March: Ladakh is at its coldest and the Tourist’s population is almost sparse. Although some trekkers visit to do the infamous Chadar trek in winters.

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