Have you ever wondered that you need something more than oxygen to go on? This special air, not found in posh housing complexes of a metropolitan or in tall offices, the kind that puts you in a trance and fills you up on the inside, the refreshing kind, the rejuvenating breath of fresh air-only found high up, way up in the invigorating lap of nature. Where, you ask? In Ladakh, of course! Were you expecting any other answer from me?

Experience Ladakh In a ‘Never Before’ Way
There can be several ways to experience the magical beauty of Ladakh, however, trekking in Ladakh is an adventure at its best. The blessed beauty of the incandescent mountain and the longing valleys of Ladakh have never failed to beckon travellers across the globe. Apart from being the land of dream, it is a popular destination for thrilling activities. The challenging and unique topography of this place lends it a charm of its own when compared to other popular trekking destinations. From the desert to blue waters, burning sun to freezing winds, and from glaciers to sand dunes, Ladakh resembles a paradox of nature. It is home to many trekking trails that can bring one face to face with surreal landscapes while providing an adrenaline rush like never before. Ladakh is a place that ensures that whether the trek is strenuous or easy, at the end you will always a have a great adventure experience by your side.


Chadar Trek:

Altitude: 3850 m
Approx. Duration: 10-21 days
Best Time to Go: Mid January – End February
Difficulty Level: High

chadar

Chadar trek is one of the popular treks that offers an opportunity to register a memorable experience by trekking on the frozen river, Chadar. It is also known as Chadar frozen river trek as the Zanskar River transforms into a sheet of frozen ice during sub-zero temperatures in the winter season. The Chadar trek route is the traditional way out for people to traverse in winters as others ways used to get blocked due to heavy snow in Ladakh. There are several prominent places that the trail to Chadar covers; however, Zanskar is a place of great significance. Being one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet, Zanskar reflects esoteric nature of Buddhism. It is home to around ten thousand inhabitants who are preserving and perpetuating their cultural identity. The Chadar trek provides a chance to penetrate the isolation of this place.

Moreover, the route taken by the trail connects several villages in the Zanskar valley. Chilling and Lingshed are the only sizable villages that it covers during the journey. The quaint charm and picturesque surroundings of the Lingshed village set it apart from other villages. One of the major attractions of this village is the Lingshed monastery that houses temples, stupas, statues, murals and manuscripts. It also gives an insight into the religious influence on Ladakh. The ancient monastic establishments of Karsha and Zangla are the important places that bear testament to the mysteries related to a land and culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskar Mountains, the Shangrila.

Though Chadar trek provides a fascinating experience, it is important to remain cautious of the challenges that it throws. Walking on the river seems to be easy but it involves the risk of sliding on ice. However, the beautiful sights offered by this frozen sheet, Chadar, and the chilly surroundings create a captivating effect on the mind.


Stok Kangri:

Altitude: 6000 m
Approx. Duration: 11 days
Best Time to Go: Mid July-Mid September
Difficulty Level: High

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Stok Kangri is one of the fascinating trekking options in Ladakh. Situated in the Stok range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region, it is home to several remote places which cannot be explored otherwise. The deserted surroundings, blissful landscapes, trail with plenty of ridges combine together to make the experience of Stok Kangri trekking all the more exciting. Apart from resembling a unique blend of natural exquisiteness and cultural beauty, Stok Kangri trekking expedition involves a thrill-invoking climb to such high altitude.

The astounding views of the Zanskar valley, Indus Valley and lofty mountains in the Himalayas lend immense popularity to the Stok Kangri trek. There is no other such trek that offers the company of peace and tranquillity in such an inspirational and beautified profound manner. Stok village is one of the key attractions of the Stok Kangri trek. Besides being an exotic location, it reflects a unique blend of traditional and contemporary architectural styles of Ladakh. The panoramic views offered by the Stok Palace and Stok Museum can leave anyone amazed. A 360-degree view of the Saser Kangri and the splendid views of Karakoram Range add a special hue in the trekking expedition to Stok Kangri.

It is essential to know a hack of dealing with the weather conditions that can deteriorate on Stok Kangri trek. To trek in the sinking snow and the situation where you might find your legs sinking up to your knees are the problems that require immediate help and extra caution. However, the risk is worth it, as an adventure speaks hollow unless and until the wire of risk charges it with some thrill.

So, if one feels enchanted and thrilled to scale a tough yet an amazing summit, then Stok Kangri trekking expedition is an ideal choice to explore the mighty Himalayan range with a wider lens of perspective.


Markha Valley Trek:

Altitude: 3700 m
Approx. Duration: 8 days
Best Time to Go: June to September
Difficulty Level: Medium

markha

Being the central valley of Ladakh, Markha Valley one of the prominent locations of the region. And so, the trekking expedition to Markha Valley is among the top trek routes of Ladakh. Markha Valley Trek proceed along Markha River through an area which is one of one of the world’s highest inhabited plateaus region, little Tibet in Ladakh. The region provides a clear and stunning view of the Great Himalayan, Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. These views serve are truly exemplar of nature’s beauty and its creativity.

Crossing through three passes of Stok, Stok La and Kongmaru at high altitudes is what adds to the popularity of the Markha valley trek. Apart from giving an opportunity to discover the places that nature has designed with a variety of hues, it offers a chance to experience camping at the base of Kang Yutze peak of Nimaling. To have an interaction with one’s own self under that star-studded sky serves as a therapy for the mind, which hardly gets time to express its own concerns. In that state of introspection, even body seems to recover from the clutches of the war that we constantly wage with the daily struggles of life.

On this trekking trail, trekkers would witness the scenic splendor of the landscape in abundance. They would also come across the willow groves, patches of wild roses, nomadic families inhabiting the region with their herds of yaks and pastel canyons decorated with multi-hued prayer flags furling with winds. Also, one cannot miss the accommodations which have been constructed as parachute tents at most of the village’s en-route. Renowned for its amazing biodiversity, the Hemis National Park is a must-visit during the trek. So, experience the contrasting colours of nature as there is no scope of regret on the trekking expedition to Markha valley. It offers a complete package of fun, excitement and adventure without posing an extreme risk to the safety of the individuals.


Also,

Minimize your impact in culturally and ecologically sensitive areas by being as self-sufficient as possible, especially with food and fuel. Buying provisions along the way puts unnecessary burden on the villages’ subsistence-oriented economies. It also encourages hordes of temporary ‘tea shops’ (usually run by outsiders), to sprout along the trails.

Refuse should be packed up, not disposed of along the route, no matter how far from the nearest roadbed you are. Plastics should be retained for recycling at the Ecology Centre in Leh.

Even when you know that you have to return to shoulder the same old burden, what comes as inspiration from the journey is the courage to start over anew. The trip is an analogy of the lesson that life teaches that it’s all about how you perceive. Though life has not given us the freedom to do away with the struggle altogether, it has given us the choice to find beauty and discover our own sunshine. Somebody has rightly pointed out that amidst the fury of life’s noise; there lies a soulful and an innocent harp that rings deep within all of us.

Apart from being an adventure so unique, a bike expedition to Leh and Ladakh paves the best exploratory way to dive in the vibrant culture as well as the startling landscapes. The azure clear waters, serene picturesque lakes and a ruggedly handsome terrain lend immense popularity to Leh bike trip. It is a ride that surpasses the span of dreams and enables a rider to experience the sense of thrill and accomplishment in reality. There is nothing that calls for a second thought to embark on this heart-pounding experience.

Does the biker in you relate? There is much more to the Leh Ladakh trip than just traversing through the rough roads and passing through the high mountains. Pangong Tso and Khardung La Pass are not only popular as one of the highest motorable roads but also as places that provide a quick glance on the aesthetics of cultural roots and traditional heritage. In addition, it provides an opportunity to explore quaint villages and ancient monasteries that bear testimony to the glory of the past. So, here are the perfect 5 possible additions to your Leh-Ladakh bike trip that will make your expedition one of a kind.

Biking in Ladakh!

Count the 5 Essentials of a Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip: 

  • Enjoy the touch and go roads of Leh Ladakh: Starting the motorbike tour by riding on the challenging roads along Kullu valley, it gives a whiff of the challenges that a road trip throws. Rohtang Pass, Ladakh Highway, Khardung La Pass, Baralacha Pass, Chang La and Tanglang La and Pangong Tso are some of the toughest motorable roads that riders, coming from all different directions and routes across the world, have to cover to embark on the Ladakh motorbike tour. Though these roads borderline on danger, they offer a chance to admire the sublime beauty of nature which has been romanticized by the poets and has inspired them to look at life with different lens. While riding through these roads, there are several views that can take you through the door of a different world altogether. The view offered by the cascading waters of the Beas River, majestic hills covered with pine and deodar forest, rocky slopes of the mountains and sprawling apple orchards serves as the food for the soul. In particular, you cannot get your eyes off the picturesque landscape offered by the 134 km stretch of Pangong Tso beside the thrilling drive. In addition, it is advised to be cautious of the traps laid by such roads. These roads are popular for creating a sudden twist in gears and inviting one to speed up. So, it becomes extremely important to keep the mind in the right senses and that motor beat under control for the entire tour.
    Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!
  • Savour the delicious Ladakhi cuisines on a cultural dive:For those who think that Ladakhi cuisine is all about momos and noodle soups, a trip to Leh Ladakh can help them to witness a delightful spread other than those popular dumplings. Heavily influenced by nearby regions such as Tibet and Kashmir, Ladakhi food has several options to offer. Some of these include Thukpa, Tigmo, Khambir, Apricot Jam, Moktuk, Skyu and Chhupri. The combination of Butter tea and Chaang is one of the favourites of the locals of the region and is equally popular among tourists. It also serves as the perfect companion in the chilly weather of Leh Ladakh.

    Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa
    Devour tasty Ladakhi cuisine. In picture: Thukpa

  • Discover the rustic allure of Ladakh’s quaint villages: The true gems of Ladakh can be found in the places where the rustic charm of Ladakhi culture can be experienced. Jispa, Sarchu and Pang are the villages that lend a quick glimpse into the traditional heritage of Ladakh. Riding along a serene landscape situated at an elevation of 10,500 feet on the banks of Bhaga River, Jispa, offers a transforming view of the surroundings. To witness the brown colour terrain with barren slopes replacing the greener portions at the backdrop makes one feel that it is some different part of the game. Travellers can also explore Alchi village which is home to a popular Buddhist temple, Lotsawa Lha – Khang. Being symbolic of a perfect blend of excellent craftsmanship and Buddhism, the temple provides insightful about the religious influence on Ladakhi culture. There are several attractions in Sarchu and Pang villages that represent the customs, traditions and culture of the place in its true form.

    A starry night in Ladakh
    A starry night in Ladakh

  • Visit Shey, Thiksey and other Leh monasteries: For those who wish to have a look at majestic, overpowering sight coupled with spiritualism and peace, Thiksey monastery in Ladakh is a perfect option. Being an exemplar of Ladakh’s art and architecture, Thiksey monastery provides a profound insight into the heritage and culture of the Tibetan Buddhists. One of its prominent attractions is the 49 ft high statue of Maitreya in the Maitreya Temple. The statue holds historical relevance as it was installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. The Shey monastery in Ladakh is another well-known sightseeing option. The monastery’s wall paintings depicting tenets of Buddhism, Buddha and his disciples have never failed to draw the attention of the tourists. Some of the other monasteries that riders can explore are Matho monastery and Phyang monastery.

    Thiksey Monastery
    Thiksey Monastery

  • A day at Pangong Lake: Pangong Lake is a splendid lake situated in the upper reaches of Himalayan Mountain range in Leh district.Positioned at a height of around 13,900 ft, the lake serves as an important breeding ground for a variety of migratory birds like Brahmani Ducks, Rare black-necked cranes and Seagulls. One of the notable features of this lake is its ever-changing hues. The view offered by this transformation in colours is magical and majestic. Also, the glimpse of the serene, bright blue waters and rocky lakeshore of the lake can be mesmerizing for those who visit it for the very first time.

    Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh
    Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh

Hey! Break all rules but not essential permits:
Do not forget to fill the Inner Line Permit application form before opting for a bike trip to Ladakh. The form is available from 9:00 am to 03:00 pm and can be accessed easily by referring to the link leh.nic.in. It is safe to carry photocopies of the form to avoid landing into an unfavourable situation.

Some of the important requirements for Indian nationals include a valid photo ID and attested photocopy as a proof of Nationality. For foreign nationals, it is important to get the inner line permit before visiting the areas like Turtuk, Panamik, Khaltse, Pangong, Changthang, Hunder, Tso Kar and Tso Moriri along with few others. According to the rules and regulations, the permit is valid for 7 days and is allowed only to a group of four or more foreign nationals.

ladakh bike

What if a bike ride to Leh Ladakh can set me and my soul free? The great derangement from life can never add to its definition. Rather, arranging it with sequels of some fun activities can help to add a dimension of thrill, excitement and enjoyment in life. Few choices, like a motorbike tour to Leh Ladakh, may lead to simple pleasures but an experience of a lifetime.

Nestled in the peaceful abode of Jammu and Kashmir at a high altitude of 2,987 m, Ladakh is the most-scenic landscape in the north-west region of India. Said to be the coldest inhabited desert in the world, it is enclosed by the world’s highest mountain ranges, the great Himalayas and Karakoram. It is the raw beauty of nature that adds a mysterious, incredible and stunning charm to the beautiful landscape.

Completely isolated from the hustle-bustle of the city, the ‘Land of high passes’, Ladakh is well-known for its crystal-clear water lake, azure sky, magical clouds, freezing winds, extreme deserts, sand dunes and glaciers. In its serene demeanor, the land encompasses various ethnic groups, primarily Tibetans, Dards, Monpas and Muslims. It is a place where prayer flags flutter in the cool breeze and striking stupas covered with snow stand tall. Ladakh attracts several tourists from around the world as it gives a chance to reinvent thrill, excitement and adventure. 

Chang la pass, Ladakh
Chang la pass, Ladakh

Best Time to Visit Ladakh
Undoubtedly, anyone who visits Ladakh gets fascinated by its beauty and quaint charm. Witnessing the stunning views in the mountains along with trekking is one of its kind excitements.

You can visit Ladakh in the following three seasons:

Summers – April to July :  At this time, the passes are accessible, and pleasant weather and surroundings offer an impressive panorama. It is the best time to go on the trek, ride a bike and board a jeep. The temperature ranges between 15 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius.

Monsoon – July to September : Despite the irregular rainfalls, monsoon is also considered as an ideal time to visit Ladakh. A traveller can enjoy river rafting, challenging treks and masked dance performances during monsoons. Temperature ranges between 3 degrees Celsius and 17 degrees Celsius.

Winter – October to March : Ladakh is the winter destination for those adventure-seekers who are eager to experience the majesty of Himalayas. At this time, ardent bike riders undertake motorcycle expeditions to acclimatize with harsh weather conditions. One thing that gives an adrenaline rush is a panorama of jaw-dropping Himalayan landscapes, Buddhist monasteries, frozen lakes and rivers. The temperature ranges between 0 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius.

Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh
Indus zanskar Confluence Ladakh

The Best Trekking Expeditions in Ladakh
To escape from mundane life and crowd, the Himalayas are the best place to please your heart and soul. If you’re heading to the Himalayas, then do not resist yourself from undertaking new adventure and thrill activities at higher altitudes. Hiking in the mountainous region requires a lot of courage, will and attention.

Here are the two most popular treks that one should add to the list of trekking while planning a trip to Ladakh.

Stok Kangri Trek

Duration: 10 days
Grade: Difficult
Max Altitude: 6120 m
Approx Trekking: 40 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Changma>Mankorma>Spituk>Stok Kangri>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (-2 °C to 15 °C)

Stok Palace
Stok Palace

Situated in the Hemis National Park and the Stok Range of Himalayas, Stok Kangri is one of the highest mountain peaks in the world. On the way to the summit, the trail passes through the rustic hamlets built in traditional style, glacial pools, frozen streams and snowy landscape. Visiting vibrant small markets, meeting locals and peeking into their lifestyle is a unique experience in itself. The trail offers a 360-degrees view of grand Stok and Yissay peaks, and Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges, against the white dancing clouds. The trek is quite challenging, as it involves brook crossings, slippery slopes, long hour walks and sharp ascents and descents.

It is a place where one can experience an ideal amalgam of natural exquisiteness with cultural splendor. The sight of large moraines, crystal crests and the lofty peak of Mt. K2 is just breathtaking. Before starting the trek, there is a need to get acclimatized with the harsh weather conditions and surroundings of the place. In the initial days of trekking, explore Stok Palace, museums, forts, monasteries and local markets. The mission to reach Stok will be accomplished after crossing Chang Ma and Mankorma.

This trek is a must-try for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.  

Markha Valley Trek

Duration: 9 days
Grade: Moderate to difficult
Max Altitude: 5130 m
Approx Trekking: 75 km
Airport: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh
Route: Leh>Spituk >Zingchen>Yuruste>Ganda La>Skiu>Markha>Thachungtse>Nimalingmaling >Kongmaru La>Shang Sumdo>Leh
Best Time to visit: June to September (2 °C to 12 °C)

markha

Surrounded by the towering and snow-covered mountains, the Markha Valley trek is one of the most alluring regions and preferred treks in Ladakh. The tributary of the River Zanskar flows in the beautiful village called Markha. The 9-day trek passes through the unexplored beauty of Hemis National Park and Gandala La and Kongmaru La passes. This trek will take you to the last village of the region, and also gives you a chance to enjoy rare sights of wildlife, such as the bear and snow leopard. The trekking expedition starts with acclimatization that helps you in getting familiarized with the surroundings. Later, you will head for sightseeing in Leh to get a glimpse of Ladakhi culture and Buddhists tradition. 

Under the glittery sky and amidst the gushing river, camping in Yurutse is a delight for trekkers’ eyes and soul. One will come to a dazzling sight of Zanskar Range after reaching Ganda La. The sight of convergence of three rivers at Skiu and Kangyatze Peak is a feast to trekker’s eyes. On your way to Markha, which is 6 km from the Skiu, you will come across several stunning streams.

How to reach Ladakh?

Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!
Ladakh on a motorbike expedition is a fantastic idea!

Those who are planning to visit the Moonland called Ladakh can reach there by flight, bike, jeep, bus or train.

Travelling by Bike : It is well said that for a bike rider nothing could be better than chasing the roads of Ladakh! To enjoy the surroundings of the scenic environment of this cold desert, one should undertake this trip on a bike. Bike ride to Ladakh is something which you will cherish for a lifetime. Srinagar and Manali are the two spots from where the routes lead to Ladakh. To witness the true majesty of Mother Nature’s creation, the road trip is a must-try.

Train Journey : The closest railway station to Ladakh is Jammu Tawi, which is around 700 km from Ladakh. One can hire a taxi or bus from there to reach Ladakh.

By air : The nearest airport to reach Ladakh is Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. The airport is connected to and from Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh, etc.

By road : Ladakh is well-connected with Srinagar and Jammu by roads. There are two routes that lead to Ladakh – one is from Srinagar via Zoji La Pass, and the other is Manali via Rohtang Pass.

ladakh shutterstock_1873033_txzmh

Ladakh is a must for you if you want to write your own travel journey on the roads that take you to the doors of heaven.

It is a must for every individual to at least go once on a motorbike trip to Leh and Ladakh. In this one-of-a-kind motorbike expedition, you will likely ride on the rugged terrains amid sultry deserts alongside high-altitude lakes and get to be up, close and personal with the mighty Himalayan and Karakoram ranges. What’s more is that this expedition offers a brilliant opportunity for travelers to embrace the culture and interact with the locals living in the Leh and Ladakh region.

Leh and Ladakh
Comprising of Stupas and houses made of mud brick, Leh and Ladakh are high altitude desert regions with the extremely cold weather. The population in these regions have completely different lifestyles as compared to the life in metropolitan cities. Leh and Ladakh are popular for its Tibetan culture, cuisine and folk music.  

Nubra valley
The mesmerizing Nubra valley in Ladakh. Visit Panamik in Nubra valley, a famous hot water spring.

Ride of Your Dreams to Leh and Ladakh: Details, Route and Season To Visit

  • Location: Leh and Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Duration: 13 Days
  • Distance: 2787 km
  • Maximum Altitude: 16000 feet
  • Grade: Difficult
  • Start Point: New Delhi
  • End Point: New Delhi

Biking in Ladakh!

The duration of the motorcycle journey ranges from 13 days. During this marvellous journey, one will witness the gradual change in the terrain while ascending towards the higher altitude region. The riders will get to ride one of the world’s highest roads, such as the Baralacha La Pass and Khardung La Pass, which are also known for its rough and difficult terrain. The riders will get to enjoy viewpoints from several other passes, including Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La.

Riders will get to witness many places of attractions on their route such as the Thiksey Monastery and Shanti Stupa. Riders can also take a stoppage in Ladakh and trek towards the Peak of Stok Kangri Mountain. A night camping at the Nubra Valley is definitely a delight for the travelers as it offers magnificent views during the night. The Pangong Lake with its golden brown uneven terrain and indigo blue waters is the final destination. During the return journey, the riders will be experiencing the gradual change of environment while descending towards the plains.

Best Season to VisitBikers can go on this Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh between the months of May and October. However, the best time to visit is between the months of May and June. The Leh and Ladakh region is covered with snow during the month of May and June. The temperature during the day stays around 16 degrees Celsius and around 3 degrees Celsius in night.

ladakh motorbike tour

If you are indeed ready for the thrilling journey that awaits you, you are better off starting with taking some quick tips to make your motorbike expedition to Leh and Ladakh a dream come true:

  • Perform a comprehensive research

Before opting to take the Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh, the traveller must prepare for the unexpected and learn all the backup solutions for any kind of unforeseen worst-case scenario.

  • Start the journey with a well-maintained bike and carry the requisite spare parts

Before beginning the journey, one must ensure that the bike is fully maintained. The biker should stay prepared with spare parts in a sudden unexpected breakdown of the bike during the journey.

  • Be respectful to the environment

One must carry a garbage bag, which must be used to store all the rubbish. The biker should refrain from dumping garbage such as plastic bottles during the journey.

  • Keep the petrol tank of the bike full and refill at every petrol pump during the journey

In order to stay prepared for any kind of worst-case scenario, the biker should always ensure that the petrol tank of the bike is always topped up.

  • Carry extra money in order to stay prepared for unforeseen issues

There are chances that the trip may get obstructed and one may not be able to continue the bike journey. In such a case, one must have sufficient money to book a return flight. It is suggested to carry an extra Rs. 10,000/- for any kind of emergency scenario.

ladakh bike

  • Travel in groups

As it is known that places such as Leh and Ladakh are isolated regions, one must refrain from riding alone and stay in a group of bikers.

  • Stay physically and mentally fit before the bike ride

One must stay healthy and keep all the necessary medicines before beginning the journey.

  • Become thoroughly prepared with the do’s and don’ts during the bike journey

One must be aware about all the rules and regulations related to the bike journey.

  • Stay alert and active during the bike journey

One must pay close attention to the details and signage during the bike journey.

  • Allow the body to adapt to high altitude temperature

The Leh and Ladakh region are known to have low atmospheric pressure condition. In order to allow the body to adapt to the changing temperature, one must take ample rest of 24 hours after reaching Ladakh. 

ladakh bike

A cultural dive into the vibrant communities of Leh & Ladakh
The local population living in the Leh and Ladakh region are incredibly kind and helpful. Travelers/bikers should respect the locals and their culture, at all times. You can interact with the locals and learn about their lifestyles and traditions by observing. These make for great stories when you go back home. Some of the popular markets to visit are Ladakh Main Bazaar, Tibetan Market and Moti Market.

Hemis Festival in Ladakh
Hemis Festival in Ladakh

Must Carry Essentials

  • Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
  • Energy drink
  • Insulated travel flask
  • Waterproof socks
  • Woolen cap
  • Riding boots
  • Tool bag
  • LED flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Waterproof ziplock bags
  • Jerry cans for fuel
  • Extra pair of woollen socks
  • Water Bottles/Hydration pack
  • Emergency medical kit
  • First aid box
  • Swiss army knife

Once you are prepared for the journey with these essentials, you can proceed forward to take the Motorcycle Trip to Leh and Ladakh.  

To chase the road of dreams is the desire of every adventure-lover. Be it any thrill-seeking activity, but when it comes to speed up on a lengthy road trip, nothing can match the excitement, fun and enjoyment involved in it. If you are someone who has always dreamt of seeking freedom that bike-riding offers, do not hesitate to realize all your fantasies with Motorbike Expedition to Ladakh.

About the Expedition:
Riding through rough roads, crossing through high mountains and chasing those undulated terrains is one of the major highlights of the Ladakh Motorbike Tour. Apart from offering the breathtaking vistas of the Moonland, Ladakh Motorbike tour also provides an opportunity to regain some of the childlike wonders by riding on a double-humped camel. Moreover, the enchanting sight of the glacial lakes during the tour has never failed to sway the mind of millions across the countries. Pangong Tso and Khardung La Pass are the two popular attractions of the tour that offers a quick insight into the culture and traditions of Ladakh. Undoubtedly, it is a difficult road to pursue, but everybody knows that the “The Road Not Taken” makes all the difference.

khardung-la-top_1437473836

Gear to get:

  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Jerry Cans for fuel
  • Riding Boots
  • Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
  • Extra pair of woollen socks
  • Waterproof Ziplock bags
  • Tool bag
  • Insulated travel flask
  • Water Bottles/Hydration pack
  • Emergency Medical Kit

Best time to visit:
The best time for the Ladakh Motor Bike Expedition is between mid-September to and mid-October. It is considered one of the best seasons to explore the amazing and picturesque locations of Leh and Ladakh. Imbued with vibrating colors, the natural beauty of the place is at its best during this time period. It is important to choose the right time as the number of miles covered in a day depends on the weather conditions and the condition of the roads you are likely to take.

A quick glimpse into my Ladakh Motorbike tour: Routes, Essential Information
With the desire of adding a new dimension to the leading chapters of my life, I signed up for the Ladakh Motorbike trip. I was looking forward to ascertain some adventurous experiences in the midst of uncertainty in which I planned for this expedition. And as often said, unplanned adventures are the best ones!

Before entering into that bike marathon, I accumulated all the essential information required for the ride. Though going solo adds a tinge of additional adventure to the race, it necessitates that one gets clear on nuts and bolts so as to get familiarized with those unknown roads. In addition, I buffed my bike with all essentials and got ready to zip and zap.

The first day of my motorbike expedition to Ladakh began when I reached a beautiful valley nestled in Himachal Pradesh, Manali. Despite getting a short glimpse of the journey ahead while riding along those challenging roads of Kullu valley, the beauty of the surroundings empowered me from time to time.  With every turn and bend, my riding skills were getting tested. However, the majestic view offered by cascading waters of the Beas River, rocky slopes of the mountain, hills covered with pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards kept me going.

In actuality, the first level of the motorbike tour to Leh Ladakh kick-started when I started riding towards Jispa to reach Sarchu.  One of the enlightening parts of this location was its early morning sunrise that gave light to all flickering hopes of life. In order to reach this place of symbolic beauty, I rode through Rohtang Pass, which is situated at an elevation of 3,978 m. On the way, it seemed that the pages of the journey were getting turned when the trees started disappearing and the brow color terrain replaced the green portions and marked the arrival of the Lahaul and Spiti district.

motorbike-expedition-ladakh_1439473379

Now, it was time to bring the speed down to cross a comparatively difficult road through Baralacha La. As you tread on, the risky part of riding towards this destination is the sleep that is potentially life-harming. Therefore, it is better to stay cautious and rest in intervals to avoid landing into an unfavorable situation.

ladakh-trekking_1465363142

Next day, I performed crucial checks on my bike as I was about to enter the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. On the way, the vastness and multitude of high altitude passes such as Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La left me numb and motionless for a while. Before I could register the majestic views offered by them, the art behind the rare paintings of Thiksey Monastery made me fall short of words to appreciate the beauty that this place and nature beholds.  While exploring more of the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh, Leh, I came across the captivating views offered by the Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges of Ladakh.

The natural surroundings of the place are the perfect exemplar of the poetry of earth which is eternal.

Khardungla Top
Khardungla Top

Further, I crossed the highest road pass of the world, Khardung La Pass. Situated at a height of 5,636 m, the muddy route of this pass has a charm of its own.  Riding on the muddy road not only tested my biking skills, but also gave me the thrill I was looking forward to. Crossing through chilly mountain desert with rocky slopes and ravishing dunes gave rise to conscious feelings of fear and anxiety.

Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh

Next morning, I prepped up to embark on the most adventurous of all routes, the route to Pangong Tso Lake. Comprised of off-road terrain and a river, it is home to several incredible sights. As I was extremely tired, I wished to put halt to the ride but there were many surprises waiting to be explored on the journey back to home. Before returning back to the twinkling of the city lights, I decided to introspect on the ride I used to take with closed eyes.

We have often heard that speed has been the fantasy of many individuals across the globe. But there are very few people who are able to frame it in the boundaries of real life experiences. The azure clear waters, serene picturesque lakes and a ruggedly handsome terrain are the constituents of this trip that lends an experience of one-of-its-kind. So, when you get this opportunity, do not restrict your adventure to the slumber of dreams, instead get ready to recreate the real-life experience that gives you jitters even when the memories of this ride would become myopic.

For bike lovers, nothing could be better than just hitting the roads of Ladakh to experience the serene and heart-warming beauty of nature. The two-week long Ladakh motorbike expedition gives an unprecedented opportunity to explore the majestic charm of this cold desert which is hidden behind the snow-capped mountains at a relaxing and slow pace.

Go solo or have fun with a partner-in-ride!
It’s completely on you whether you want to undergo this expedition alone or with a partner. Your journey will be both picturesque and exhausting. The uneven, narrow and meandering mountain roads with pointed curves, deep canyons at frequent points will surely give you an adrenaline rush.

When Do I Need To Get Going
You can opt for the Ladakh motorbike expedition at anytime of the year, but one should avoid the winter and rainy season, as slippery roads may cause an accident. Further, it is advised to not visit Ladakh via bike in the months from December to February and July to August.

Ladakh motorbike expedition

The Most Adventurous Ride of My Life
I always had a dream to take a ride that would remain as a lifetime memory with me. Home to unruffled pictorial lakes, sapphire clear waters, isolated roads and an uneven striking terrain, the Ladakh motorbike expedition came as a lifetime opportunity to me. A ride into majestic mountains and unfamiliar valleys always provide me with an absolute pleasure and good sense of adventure.

Before starting a long race, I met my tour guide to get the essential information. The guide provided map and details on each and every minute detail related to the expedition. The journey started from New Delhi.

Along with my four besties, I headed towards Chandigarh. While riding on the smooth highway road, I witnessed lush green farmlands of Haryana and Punjab. Also, the beauty of flowering plants kept us engaged. After completing a long and tiresome bike journey of around 260 km, we rested in the hotel for 4 hours.

As we didn’t want to waste our precious time, we began our day with a fresh start and headed toward Manali, a beautiful valley nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh. While riding we came across stunning sights of Beas River, rocky slopes of the mountain, majestic hills featuring pine and deodar forest and sprawling apple orchards. Moreover, the tricky bends and stretches on the road were not only testing us but our bike’s strength too.

You and your bike - Spiti Valley!
You and your bike – Spiti Valley!

Next day, we started our bike expedition to Leh Ladakh while riding towards Jispa. On the way, we crossed one of the most spectacular destinations in the entire Kullu region, Rohtang Pass. It is situated at an elevation of 3,978 m. We noticed a sudden change in the scenery as trees had started disappearing and brown terrain with barren slopes was replacing the greener portions as we were reaching the Lahaul and Spiti district. The next stop was Sarchu, and after 3 hours, we reached the place for overnight stay. In the morning, an incredible view of the sunrise over the mountain appeared as a reminder that light always follows the darkness.

Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery

Now, it was a time to ride slowly and carefully on a comparatively difficult road through Baralacha La. The place is infamous for accidents due to the icy uneven runway, thus, it was very important for us to be extra cautious as we were supposed to cover 90 km distance today. As we entered the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, we left behind all anxieties and enjoyed the spectacular views on our way. While passing through passes such as Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La, located at high altitudes, we realized that nature knows no bounds. We stopped at the popular Thiksey Monastery and observed the art behind the rare paintings like thangkas and ancient stupa. After capturing several stunning views and covering a distance of around 250 km, we finally touched Leh. That day we were extremely exhausted, so we decided to check into the hotel and rest.

khardung-la-top_1437473836

Next day, we all took our bikes for servicing as we wanted to be on a safer side before exploring more of Leh. We even got an opportunity to enjoy a sight of Stok Kangri and the mountain ranges of Ladakh. Later, we visited Shanti Stupa which was located on the hilltop in the Changspa region. And then we continued riding toward the Nubra valley, it was here when we crossed muddy routes and the world’s highest road pass, Khardung La. We spent a night at a campsite in this magnificent valley.

Remember the lake in Aamir Khan’s 3 idiot movie? It was the day when we were going to visit it. This ride came as the most exciting and adventurous one. Situated at the height of about 4,350 m, Pangong Tso Lake has been much-talked about due to the incredible sights that it offers. It is also a perfect place to set up an overnight camp.

The journey was not over yet! After checking out from the Leh hotel, there were many surprises en-route. We crossed Zoji La pass and entered the awe-inspiring valley of Sonamarg. Later, we hit the road that took us to Srinagar and here we visited numerous places of interest, such as Shalimar Bagh and even enjoyed a Shikara ride on the picturesque Dal Lake. The night was spent in the beautiful Kashmiri houseboat. From Kargil to Drass, Tiger Hill Peak to Srinagar and Pathankot, there were a plethora of astounding views that we enjoyed on our Ladakh bike tour. Next morning, we hit the road back to Delhi.

Must Carry Essentials

  • Riding pants and jacket with thermal liner
  • Insulated travel flask
  • Riding Boots
  • Tool bag
  • LED Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Waterproof Ziplock bags
  • Jerry Cans for fuel
  • Extra pair of woollen socks
  • Water Bottles/Hydration pack
  • Emergency Medical Kit

Dine in Leh! Must-try cafes and diners: 

  • Dzomsa
  • Open Hand Cafe
  • Lala’s Cafe
  • Tibetan Kitchen
  • German Bakery

ladakh-motorbike-2

The memories of this trek are so close to my heart that whenever I close my eyes or somebody say Ladakh, it reminds me the whole journey encompassing rough terrains, lush greenery, chilly winds, snow-capped mountains, dancing clouds, playing kids, mountain animals and what not…. It’s a far-flung trip for the adventure seekers searching solace for the soul, its snow-covered mountains and extreme climatic conditions are enough appealing for any biker who wants to go on a trip to Ladakh. Moreover, the essence of Ladhaki culture has left its imprint on my mind and heart. To experience the real adventure, one has to hit the road.

When you hear the word Ladakh, what comes to your mind? The mountains? The monasteries? The lakes? If you are an enthusiastic driver, then definitely its winding roads and mountain passes will flash before your eyes. Your bikes must call to you to take them on a long drive, and no other place will satisfy them and you other than Ladakh. You are in extreme luck as you can now plan and go on a Leh Ladakh bike tour easily. You know how and why? Because a lot of adventure clubs and tour agencies have started organising such incredible trips.

Over the last few years, the popularity of bike trips to Ladakh has literally skyrocketed. And seeing the trend, more and more clubs and travel agencies are coming up with self-drive or group drive itineraries to the one and only “Land of High Passes”. There have been many reasons for the rise in the popularity of such bike excursions, and while reading about them below, you may get an even stronger inspiration to do them at least once.

A self-drive tour is an amazing way to explore a destination with freedom and flexibility. Travellers try to find adventure in the trips and they like experimenting with new destinations. In India people are looking for more flexible and adventurous tourism products like Self-drive tours. It is very popular among the travelers in Europe and US, but now it is gaining popularity among Indian travellers who travel abroad as well as in India.

Self-drive road trip is an old concept abroad but it has started recently in India. According to Mumbai’s RTO, applications for International driving license have gone up by 25% in past one year. There are at least 9 countries where you can drive with your Indian driving license. But you can drive only the type of vehicle you drive in India, so it’s better to opt for an international driving license while travelling abroad. The number is increasing as many Indian travellers look for more freedom and flexibility during their trips and do not want a set schedule.

A drive through heaven on earth - Kashmir
A drive through heaven on earth – Kashmir