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An Extensive Guide For Your Leh-Ladakh Motorbike Adventure 2018

Not sure what you’re going to do in Leh-Ladakh or even HOW you’re going to do it? Or is this the first time that you are going to taste the roads of Leh? Or maybe you’re just curious – Well have no fear Rider!! Because Wheelstreet is here to save the day! Here is the only FAQ guide you may ever need for your Motorcycle trip to Leh-Ladakh. We have covered everything from ‘The Best Time to Visit’ to ‘How Many Petrol Pumps You May Find On The Way’ while also digging deeper to ‘The Current Status of The Roads in Leh-Ladakh’. So if you have any doubts about a Leh-Ladakh Motorcycle Trip – Then you can be sure to find the answers here! Let’s get to it then folks, shall we!

1. What is the best time to visit Leh-Ladakh?

The best time to visit Ladakh is from the months of April to September when the snow has melted. This is the time they clear the roads of snow and open up the highway to Leh.

2. Where can I stay in Leh-Ladakh?

There are numerous hotels and homestays where travelers can put up for the night in Leh-Ladakh. Here are a few that you can choose from.

a. The Golden Apricot
b. The Zen Ladakh
c. Achina
d. Hotel Caravan Centre
e. Gangjore Deluxe Guest Hotel
f. Stanzin Homestay
g. Hotel Shangrila
h. Hotel Mandala
i. Thangkop Guest House
j. Tongspon Guest House

3. Which bike is best suited for a road-trip to Leh-Ladakh?

There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing a good motorbike for a Ladakh Road-Trip. It is advised that Riders pick a higher cc engine, namely around 300-500 cc. It is also best if the motorbike has been serviced well and is in top-notch condition. For a motorbike that has already been ridden above 100,000 km, it isn’t best to take that for a road-trip to Leh as it can cause unnecessary complications along the way.

4. What is the best tour package for Ladakh?

There are various Leh-Ladakh Tour Packages for Riders looking for an extensive road-trip to the place. But if a Rider is looking for an authentic and affordable Tour with the provision of motorbikes of assured quality, you can check out the Tours that Wheelstreet provides. Also, when booking a tour with Wheelstreet, the Rider will only have to pay 20% of the total package for booking.

5. Should I rent a bike or take my own for Leh-Ladakh?

This depends on the bike that you have as there are quite a number of factors to take into consideration when road-tripping to Leh-Ladakh. If you do not have a bike higher than 350-500cc it is best you rent a bike of that caliber as the roads of Leh-Ladakh are tough and demanding on both the Rider and the Vehicle. Also, the condition of the bike is quite important. If you are unsure of your own bike even in the slightest, you should opt for renting one from a Trusted Bike Rental Service like Wheelstreet.

You can see all available Wheelstreet motorbikes here.

6. Where are all the petrol pumps located on the road to Ladakh?

A road-trip to Leh-Ladakh is certainly quite a tough one. Riders must be careful with how they utilize their petrol as there are a total of only 4 petrol pumps when riding from Manali on the Manali-Leh Highway and there are just 5 Fuel stations when going through the Srinagar-Leh route.

a. Manali Petrol Pump – The first fuel stop you will find will be in Manali where there will be quite a few.
b. Tandi Petrol Pump – Approx. 110 km from Manali, it is important to fill your tank here.
c. Karu Petrol Pump – Approx 345 km from Tandi, from here it is relatively easy to get to Leh.
d. Leh Petrol Pump – Only 30 km from the Karu Pump, you can find numerous pumps here.

Here are the Petrol Pumps on route from Srinagar to Leh:

a. Srinagar – 48 km to Nagbal
b. Nagbal – 114 km to Ganderbal
c. Ganderbal – 181 km to Kargil
d. Kargil – 121 km to Khalsi
e. Khalsi – 95 km to Leh
f. Leh – There are numerous petrol pumps in Leh.

BOOK A BIKE TO LADAKH HERE 

7. How frequent will I find petrol pumps and restaurants / dhabas in Ladakh?

When it comes down to Petrol Pumps, you will only find 4 on the Manali-Leh Highway.

a. Manali Petrol Pump – Make sure to top up in Manali where you will find quite a few gas stations.
b. Tandi Petrol Pump – Approx. 110 km from Manali, it is important to fill your tank in Tandi as the next pump will be more than 300 km away.
c. Karu Petrol Pump – Approx 345 km from Tandi, from here it is relatively easy to get to Leh.
d. Leh Petrol Pump – Only 30 km from the Karu Pump, you can find numerous pumps here.

Here are the Petrol Pumps on route from Srinagar to Leh:

a. Srinagar – 48 km to Nagbal
b. Nagbal – 114 km to Ganderbal
c. Ganderbal – 181 km to Kargil
d. Kargil – 121 km to Khalsi
e. Khalsi – 95 km to Leh
f. Leh – There are numerous petrol pumps in Leh.

As for Food and Stay, there are plenty of options available on the Manali-Leh Highway. Here are all the places you can get them:

a. Manali – Lots of restaurants and accommodations available.
b. Marhi – Food is available here, only 1 accommodation available which is the PWD government guest house and has to be booked in advance at the Himachal Tourism Office in Manali.
c. Khoksar – Dhabas for food and stay are plenty here.
d. Sissu – Food and Stay are provided by various dhabas here.
e. Keylong – Numerous options for food and stay are available here.
f. Jispa – Plenty of campsites as well as dhabas available for food and stay.
g. Darcha – This place has quite a few dhabas and stay options but not exactly within the town.
h. Patseo – Also having a single PWD guest house, so chances are slim for food and stay.
i. Zingzingbar – You can find two campsites and/or dhabas here, both 7km apart from each other. Food and stay are available.
j. Bharatpur – Around 6 dhabas available here with options for both food and stay.
k. Sarchu – Being a major stop point, food and stay options are plenty here.
l. Whiskey Nullah Camp – A little towards the side on the Keylong-Leh road, travelers can find shelter and food options here.
m. Pang – Food and stay options are abundant here.
n. Debring – Food and accommodation are available but chances are slim.
o. Rumtse – Hotels are present here.
p. Upshi – Food is definitely available, chances are slim for the stay.
q. Karu – You can find a lot of restaurants here but no accommodations.
r. Thiksey – Hotels are available here with a guest house also given by the Monastery.
s. Shey – There is no guest house present here.
t. Choglamsar – Quite a few hotels and restaurants available.
u. Leh – Leh has numerous food and stay options.

On the Srinagar-Leh route, food and stay options are abundantly present through and through.

8. What are important things I should take with me for the road-trip to Ladakh?

While road-tripping on a bike to Leh, here are a few important things you must take.

a. Waterproof backpacks.
b. Sunscreen (UV40+).
c. Pain-Relief/Aspirin, Antiseptic Cream, Insect Repellent.
d. Electrolyte Drinks
e. Appropriate clothing for Leh-Ladakh.
f. Mechanical tools for your vehicle.

9. Is it possible to rent bikes in Ladakh?

Yes, you can rent bikes in Leh and Manali online with Wheelstreet. Just head over to our official website and choose the right kind of bike for your trip!

10. Where can I find a bike mechanic on the road to Ladakh?

If you are traveling from Srinagar to Leh, you can find a mechanic in almost every major town and some small towns as well such as:

Ganderbal, Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil, Kangan, Gund, Baltal, Lamayuru, Mulbekh, Nimmu.

If you are traveling from Manali to Leh, you can find a mechanic in locations such as:

Marhi, Khoksar, Tandi, Keylong, Darcha, Sarchu, Upshi.

11. How many days are required for a Ladakh trip?

For enjoying your Leh-Ladakh experience to the fullest it is best advised to spare yourself a minimum of 10-15 days.

12. How much time should it take to reach Leh by a motorbike?

From the Manali-Leh Highway, it will take you about 14 hours minimum.

From Srinagar to Leh, the ride will take you only about 10 to 11 hours minimum.

13. Are there any bars in Leh-Ladakh?

Travelers can find numerous liquor bars and shops on the route to Leh-Ladakh as well as in Leh also.

14. Do I require a permit to visit Leh-Ladakh?

As of 2014, Indians do not require a permit to travel to Leh-Ladakh. However, it is best to carry a valid photo ID proof with you. Non-Indian Citizens will require a permit.

15. How much will it cost for a road-trip to Ladakh?

It will cost you approximately Rs.15000 – Rs.50000 depending on how you spend. Here is a basic list of expenses:

a. Hotel/Stay per night – Rs.200-5000
b. Food per day – Rs.300-1000
c. Motorcycle Rent per day – Rs.1000-2000
d. Security Deposit For Motorcycle Rent – Rs.5000-10000
e. Fuel for the entire trip – Rs.6000-7000
f. Vehicle Spare Parts – Rs.1000

16. Are there any special traffic rules to follow in Leh-Ladakh?

There are no specific Traffic Rules to follow in Leh-Ladakh except for the Rules that normally apply to any vehicle in India.

17. Is it better to travel in a group or alone in Ladakh?

It all depends on the kind of experience that the Rider is looking for. But it is advised that first-timers travel in groups as the ride does get rough at times – both on your vehicle and definitely on your body. A super-fun ride to take, tripping to Leh can get demanding and one should prepare themselves accordingly.

18. Is it safe for female travelers to take a road-trip to Leh-Ladakh?

A road-trip to Leh-Ladakh on a bike for female travelers is pretty safe. But it is advised that first-timers travel in groups as the ride does get rough at times – both on your vehicle and definitely on your body. A super-fun ride to take, tripping to Leh can get demanding and one should prepare themselves accordingly.

19. What is the cost of booking a room for a night in Leh-Ladakh?

The cost of booking a room or hotel in or on the route to Leh-Ladakh can range anywhere from Rs.200-Rs.5000 per night depending on the kind of room you book.

BOOK A BIKE TO LADAKH HERE 

20. How far is Manali from Leh?

The distance from Manali to Leh is around 472 km and will take riders around 14 hours to travel.

21. How far is Srinagar from Leh?

The distance from Srinagar to Leh is around 418 km and will take riders around 10 hours to travel.

22. What are a few things to keep in mind while traveling to Leh-Ladakh?

Some important things to keep in mind while taking a road-trip to Leh-Ladakh are:

a. Make sure you do not wear shorts, sleeveless t-shirts and blouses when visiting the Monasteries as the locals find it disrespectful.
b. As Ladakh has a strict no polythene rule, it is advised that travelers respect and maintain this rule when visiting Leh-Ladakh. Also, littering is highly looked down upon.
c. Always carry cash with you as you may not find working ATMs everywhere you visit.
d. Always carry water and some food for you for emergency purposes.

23. What are the types of clothing required for Leh-Ladakh?

Appropriate clothing is necessary as weather conditions get harsh and cold sometimes, even during the summers. Here is a list of must-have apparel for your Leh-Ladakh trip.

a. Sturdy and waterproof shoes built for trekking.
b. Extra pair of socks – as there will be streams and rivers to cross for riders.
c. Winter apparel is a must.
d. Riders should also carry rain jackets as it rains/snows unexpectedly there.

24. What are the best routes to take when travelling to Ladakh?

There are 2 major routes that one can take when traveling to Ladakh, “Manali to Leh” and “Srinagar to Leh”.

Manali to Leh is a route that runs at a higher altitude (same as the Everest base camp) making the chance of coming down with mountain sickness, higher on this route. The distance between the two routes is almost equal, but when considering all the aspects of a road trip.

The Srinagar – Leh route is better. Night halts can be taken at Kargil when traveling from Srinagar and at Sarchu and Keylong when travelling from Manali.

25. How is the condition of the roads in and around Leh-Ladakh?

Road conditions in Leh-Ladakh differ in different sections, the following is a comprehensive list of the different regions and the condition of roads in them,

a. Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri

The roads in the most beautiful route in Ladakh are not in good condition and almost all of it is dirt tracks. Roads between Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma – Mahe is in great condition due to the new road that was laid not too long ago in 2012.

b. Leh to Tso Moriri

The roads are in an okay condition till the Mahe district, after which the roads gradually start to deteriorate until there is nothing but dirt tracks before reaching the Korzok village.

c. Leh to Nubra Valley

Most roads in and around Nubra valley are in excellent condition. Once you start to ascend towards South Pullu and Khardung La, the roads begin to deteriorate. This route becomes seriously difficult to ride on once rain and snow hits.

d. Leh to Sham Valley

Most of the roads in and around Leh and leading up to Sham valley are in good condition with only a few sections being tattered.

e. Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Shyok Village

The road conditions on this route are average but the major problem on this route is the high probability of landslides noted in the area.

f. Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Chang La

A mix of roads that are average and bad, this route still remains the most popular among tourists who are traveling to Pangong Tso directly from Nubra Valley. With some really difficult sections in the road, riding on this route is a real challenge.

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26. What are the best places to see in Leh-Ladakh?

The following are the best places to see in Leh-Ladakh:

a. Pangong Tso
b. Zanskar Valley
c. Saspol Caves
d. Markha Valley
e. Nubra Valley
f. Kyagar Tso
g. Hemis National Park
i. Magnetic Hill
j. Sand Dunes Park
k. Thiksey Monastery

27. What are the best places to eat at, when in Leh-Ladakh?

The following are some of the best places that provide amazing delicacies in Leh-Ladakh.

a. Dreamland restaurant
b. Jeevan cafe
c. Hotel Sten Del restaurant
d. Little Italy restaurant
e. Shubh Punjabi restaurant
f. Neha snacks
g. Geso restaurant and many more.

28. What are the alternative routes to get to Leh-Ladakh?

There are two alternative routes that one can take when going to Ladakh apart from the “Manali – Keylong – Leh” and the “Srinagar – Kargil – Leh” routes.

The alternative routes are:

a. Batote-Kistwar-Killar-Tandi-Keylong-Leh.

b. Kargil-Mulbekh-Lamayuru-Leh and Kargil-Batalik-Dah-Skurbuchan (requires inner line permit)

In route (a.) there is an option to choose between taking the “Sach Pass” or not taking it as it can prove to be challenging for novice riders.

29. Where are all the important medical centers on the road to Leh-Ladakh?

a. On the Manali – Leh highway, you can find medical centers at Sissu and Keylong.

b. On the Srinagar – Leh highway, medical centers are located in Sonamarg, Drass, Lamayuru and Kargil.

The main medical center in Leh is the SNM Hospital.

30. How efficient are the medical services in and around Leh-Ladakh?

The medical centers are far and few in between from major towns and cities in Ladakh. It is advised that you carry your own personal medikit along with you on your road-trip.

31. Is there a language barrier in and around Leh-Ladakh?

No, there is no language barrier in Ladakh. Almost all Ladakhi people understand and speak Hindi.

32. Does Leh-Ladakh have good cell phone reception?

Cell Phone reception in Leh-Ladakh is okay at best with only a few places like Leh City, Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso having connectivity. In these regions, BSNL has the highest connectivity followed by Airtel but even these connections are erratic.

33. How much difference does riding to Leh-Ladakh with a pillion make?

Riding a motorbike to Leh with a pillion won’t make that much of a difference if you are okay with it, as it will be easier taking turns riding the motorbike. However, you may face trouble when the terrain gets rough. Also, there will be less space for you to keep your backpack/luggage if a pillion is riding along with you.

34. What is the perfect itinerary for someone traveling to Leh-Ladakh?

The following is an ideal 8 Day itinerary for Leh-Ladakh.

Day 1: Acclimatize

Where to shop:
– Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom
– Choglamasar
– Moti Market

Where to eat:
– Ladakh Cafe
– Bon Appetit

Where to stay:
– Royal Holiday
– Nezer Holiday Inn
– Hotel Munshi Continental
– Hotel Khangri

Day 2: Monasteries

Places to see:
– Jama Masjid
– Namgyal Tsemo Monastery

Where to eat:
– G-Kitchen
– Bob’s Cafe
– Chopsticks Noodle Bar

Day 3: Ride to Nubra Valley

Places to see:
– Maitreya Buddha
– Samstaling Monastery
– Panamik Village
– Yarab Tso Sumur

Where to eat:
– Balti Farm
– Friens’s Cafe

Where to stay:
– Lchang Nang Retreat
– Hotel Yarab TSO Nubra
– Kailsah Manasarovar Homestay and Guest House

Day 4: Trek in Nubra Valley

Places to see:
– 14th-century Diskit Monastery
– Dosmoche festival hosted by Diskit Monastery (If visiting in February)

Where to eat:
– Tibetan Kitchen

Where to stay:
– Yourdum Guest House
– Heaven Adventure Camp

Day 5: Ride to Pangong Tso

Where to eat:
– Homestays at Spangmik
– Camps near Pangong Lake

Where to stay
– Ladakh Summer Camp
– Camp Blue Waters

Day 6: Witness History

Places to see:
– Leh Palace
– Zorawar Fort

Where to eat:
– :Lama Yuru restaurant
– Summer Harvest

Where to stay:
– Glacier View Leh
– Rainbow Guest House

Day 7: Adventure/Peace

Places to see:
– Gurudwara Patthar Sahib
– Ladakh Hall of Fame

Where to eat:
– Amdo food
– 100 percent Vegetarian Restaurant

Activities to partake:
– Whitewater river rafting
– Visit the Magnetic Hill

Day 8 – Head Back

Enjoy a Ladakhi breakfast and be on your way.

BOOK A BIKE TO LADAKH HERE 

35. Is travelling to Leh-Ladakh ideal/safe for solo travelers?

Yes, going on a solo trip to Ladakh is safe. And solo travelers usually do have a better experience in Ladakh than their group-traveling counterparts. However, if it is your first-time road-tripping to Ladakh, it is advised to travel in groups as the journey can get rough at times.

36. How much time will it take to explore Leh-Ladakh to the fullest?

It would take 10 – 15 days to explore Leh-Ladakh to your heart’s content.

37. What is the temperature in Leh-Ladakh during the Summer?

Temperatures in Ladakh range from 20-30 degree Celsius during the summers.

38. Does my motorbike need special tires for a road trip to Leh-Ladakh?

Depends on the bike’s maintenance and type. If your bike has stock tires that were not meant for challenging terrain (like the roads to Ladakh) then a tire change should be a good idea. Maintenance of your motorbike at least a week before setting out is one of the most important things when planning a road trip to Ladakh.

39. What kind of terrain should I expect while on a road trip to Leh-Ladakh?

The terrain on the roads to Ladakh are inconsistent, one can find smooth tarmac followed by tattered roads or even no roads at all but dirt tracks while en route Ladakh.

40. Can I travel to Leh-Ladakh if I have a medical condition?

Ladakh can cause travelers to come down with acute altitude sickness (AMS) due to the lowering of oxygen levels with an increase in altitude. Any medical condition that can get worse because of AMS may cause a severe medical emergency. Physical medical conditions should also be taken into account as straining to complete a mundane task like walking feel completely different when done at sea-level as compared to higher altitudes.

41. What kind of food is available in and around Leh-Ladakh?

There is a variety of food available in Leh-Ladakh, which include local delicacies like the Thukpa, Thenthuk, Skyu and many others. Restaurants here also serve Chinese, Tibetan, Israeli and North Indian cuisines.

42. Does Leh-Ladakh have its own public transport system?

Yes, Leh-Ladakh does have a public transport system such as the Bus but the frequency of the buses are few and far in-between. Alternatively, you can share a taxi with someone to go about the land.

43. Can I partake in any adventure sports in Leh-Ladakh?

There are many adventure activities that one can partake in Ladakh. They include but are not limited to mountain biking, trekking, white water river rafting, camel safari and jeep safaris among other things.

44. Why are motorbikes preferred over cars when taking a road trip to Leh-Ladakh?

The road to Ladakh takes one through the valleys and rough terrain wherein driving a car is a bit too challenging because of their lower ground clearance. Some roads are so tattered in fact that cars cannot drive on them. Bikes, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about ground clearance and they can squeeze through tattered roads with much less effort.

45. What are the different festivals that take place in Leh-Ladakh?

The festivals are as follows:

a. Hemis Festival – June
b. Thiksey, Karsha and Spituk Gustor – Different months of the year, every year
c. Dosmoche Festival – May
d. Matho Nagrang festival – 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar
e. Stok Guru Tsechu festival – February
f. Phyang Tsedup festival – July/August
g. Yuru Kabgyat festival – July
i. Losar celebration – 11th month of the Tibetan calendar
j. Ladakh festival – September
k. Sindhu Darshan – June
l. Ladakh Harvest Festival – September
m. Tak – Tok festival – Summer months

46. Where are the best places to go camping in Leh-Ladakh?

The following are the best camping sites in Ladakh:

a. Mystic Meadows Camp
b. Camp Redstart
c. Whispering Camps
d. Double Humped Camp Hunder
e. Nomadic Life Camp
f. Nubra Ethnic Camp
g. Pangong Retreat
h. Yak Camp Tsomoriri
i. Wonderland Camp
j. Highland Camps
k. 100 Sky Camp
l. Camp Watermark
m. Norling Camp
n. Golden Mark Camps
o. Nomad Camp Pangong
p. Camp Martsemik La
q. Chamba Camp Thiksey
r. Tsomoriri Camps and Resorts
s. Aryan Valley Camp
t. Nature’s Nest Camp

47. How far is Rohtang pass from Leh?

The distance between Leh and Rohtang is 421 kilometers, the journey will take approximately 13 hours to complete.

48. Are there ATMs en route Leh-Ladakh?

Yes, there are many ATMs en route Ladakh,

– On Srinagar – Leh highway
1. Ganderbal
2. Manigam
3. Wussan
4. Kangan
5. Hari Ganiwan
6. Gund
7. Sonamarg
8. Dras
9. Kargil
10. Shargole
11. Saspol
12. Leh

– There are no ATMs on the Manali – Leh highway. Either cash in at Manali or at Leh depending on the direction you’re travelling in.

49. What time does it get dark in Ladakh?

In the summers, night begins to fall around 7 pm and it gets dark by 7.30pm in Ladakh.

50. Where are the last fueling stations located in Ladakh?

Fuelling stations on Srinagar – Leh highway,

a. Srinagar
b. Nagbal
c. Ganderbal
d. Kargil
e. Khalsi

Fuelling stations on Manali – Leh highway,

a. Manali
b. Tandi
c. Karu
d. Leh

51. How helpful are the locals in Ladakh?

The local Ladakhi people are always happy and delighted to welcome tourists all the while being really helpful too.

52. Should I carry my own personal food and beverage for a road-trip to Ladakh?

Bottled water and snacks like biscuits, eggs and Maggi are available on the roads, no matter what route a Rider takes. But if one has to carry food then it’s better if the food is pre-cooked and ready-to-eat kind of food.

53. How advisable is it to stay with the locals or homestays in Leh-Ladakh?

Homestays or staying with the locals in Leh-Ladakh is a pleasing experience as the local Ladakhi people are open to tourists and love to share their experiences in exchange for stories from around the world.

Whew! That was one big list of useful FAQs for Leh-Ladakh! Think we missed something? Let us know and we’ll add that right in! Cheers to great Leh-Ladakh adventure folks! And as always – Keep riding on!

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