Bike Trip to Ladakh from 12th to 21st May 2017

LokeshKumar

New Member
Hi All,

We are a group of 10 guys planning a bike trip to Ladakh from 12th to 21st May 2017. Shared below the tentative plan for the trip..

12th May
-Arrive in Leh by air around 9AM
-Get Inner Line Permits and check bikes to be hired the next day
-Night stay in Leh
13th May
-Leh Local sight seeing (just to acclimatize)
-Night stay in Leh
14th May
-Leh – Kardhung La - Turtuk - Diskit (~290Kms)
-Night Stay in Diskit
15th May
-Diskit - Pangong Tso - Spangmik (via Shylok, Durbuk, Tangtse) (~190Kms)
-Night Stay in Spangmik
16th May
-Spangmik – Marsimik La (~50kms)
-Marsimik La – Durbuk – Tangste - Karo - Hemis (~160kms)
-Night Stay in Hemis
17th May
-Hemis - Chumatang – Karzok (Tso Moriri) (~190Kms)
-Night Stay in Tso Kar
18th May
-Karzok - Tso Kar - Leh (~240kms) (via Debring, Gya, Igoo, Karu)
-Night Stay in Leh
19th May
-Leh – Kargil(~217 Kms)
-Night Stay in Kargil
20th May
-Kargil - Srinagar Airport (~215 Kms)
-Night stay in Airport
21st May
-Early morning flight from Srinagar to Delhi

Would need your help on following points,
  • Will all these routes be open and drivable in these dates. We are expecting terrible road conditions in most of the patches as the dates are bit early. Would like to know if any of these roads will be closed in these dates.
  • Will Marismik la be doable in this period.
  • Will the Spangmik – Chushul – Tsaga – Nyoma – Mahe – Karzok be done during 16th May.
  • Can i skip the day 2 reserved for acclimitization and start driving from day 2 and have the additional day as a buffer day at the end to cope up with any delays in between?
  • Is the inner line permits common for all these routes or is it different for different sectors.
  • Would like to hear any suggestion which can improve the plan.
Thanks,
Lokesh
 

gkapoor

Super User
1. Getting around in May on Bikes 'may' be difficult. Snow would be melting at places and bikes may not be able to do all mentioned route. You can check route conditions as your travel dates near and on reaching.
2. Marismik La is more of a permit issue and your determination to reach. Bikes struggle a LOT to do this pass.
3. Chushul again is dependant on permit.
4. Resting on reaching Leh depends on the state of all people travelling. In a group of 10 if all are feeling good after one day of rest, then good to go. Dont take chances if this is everyone's first trip to the land of high passes.
5. ILP is same and you will need to mention all places you wish to visit on one permit itself.
6. Suggestion - Be open to modification to your plan on the go since plans dont work as expected!
 

gkapoor

Super User
Also, what is your plan to return bikes hired from Leh if you are planning to take same hired bikes till srinagar?
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Right off the bat, I feel it is a fairly fast riding plan, which is going to be extremely hard to accomplish, considering there are 10 riders! 2-4 riders can do fast plans, large groups have a hard time doing that.

Think of it this way, the only way your Leh – Turtuk – Diskit plan will work is if everyone starts from Leh at 6 am. Otherwise, you will have to break your journey at Turtuk, making next day’s ride to Spangmik a little difficult. Also Leh –Turtuk – Diskit would be around 310 km i.e. around 12 hours or more of riding.

As Gaurav has said, you’re going too early in the season for motorcycle touring. There is going to be snow on the road at Khardung La and Chang La. Marsimik La would likely be closed for tourists, even if you have a permit. So riding is going to be difficult unless all of you are experienced at riding a motorcycle in snow and rough terrain.

Dropping motorcycles in Srinagar would likely cost you 8-10k extra each for each of the motorcycles, provided the motorcycle renter agrees.

I seriously doubt you would be allowed to spend the night at Srinagar Airport and hotels are a few kilometers away, so you might want to check this in advance.

My suggestion would be to take it easy and not to try and cram everything in your first ride to Ladakh. There are going to be subsequent trips and rides you will do there. So concentrate on getting a feel of the place rather than rushing through it. And yes, don’t try to skimp on the acclimatization process. All it takes is one person hit with severe AMS to ruin the entire plan unless you’re the sorts who would leave the person to fend for him/herself in the case of such a problem.
 

LokeshKumar

New Member
Thanks Gaurav and Yogesh for your quick reply and suggestions!! Sorry for the delay in response...

Have made few modifications to the plan based on your inputs, could you please share you thoughts on this..

12th May
-Arrive in Leh by air - Get Inner Line Permits and check bikes to be hired the next day - Night stay in Leh
13th May
-Leh Palace, Magnetic Hill, Shanti Stupa, Hall of Fame, Monastey's - Check bike conditions (do any repair/replacement if required) - Night stay in Leh
14th May
-Leh – Kardhung La - Sumur - Panamik - Diskit - Hunder - Night Stay in Hunder (~210Kms) (Not trying the extremes, Turtuk or Warshi, saving it for the next trip :) )
15th May
Plan A - If shylok route is open
-Hunder - Diskit - Shylok - Durbuk - Tangtse - Pangong Tso - Spangmik - Night Stay in Spangmik (~175kms)
Plan B - If shylok route is closed or very bad
-Hunder - Diskit - Shylok - Wari La - Chang La - Tangtse - Spangmik - Night Stay in Spangmik (~235kms)
16th May
Plan A - if Chusul route is open
-Spangmik – Chusul – Tsaka Pass - Nyoma - Mahe - Tso Moriri - Karzok - Night Stay in Karzok (~210kms)
Plan B - if Chusul route is closed or very bad.
-Spangmik – Marsimik La(if we get permission) - Tangste - Durbuk – Karu - Night Stay in Karu/Hemis (~200kms)
17th May
Plan A - Starting from Karzok
-Karzok - Tso Kar - Debring - Upshi - Karu - Leh - Night Stay in Leh (~240kms)
Plan B - Starting from Karu
-Karu - Upshi - Chumatang - Tso Moriri – Karzok - Night Stay in Karzok (~180kms)
18th May
Plan A - If Leh-Manali highway is open
Leh - Sarchu - Night stay in Sarchu (~250kms)
Plan B - Starting from Karzok
-Karzok - Tso Kar - Debring - Upshi - Karu - Leh - Night Stay in Leh (~240kms)
19th May
Plan A - If Leh-Manali highway is open
Sarchu - Manali - Night stay in Manali (~225kms)
Plan B - If Leh-Manali highway is closed
-Leh – Kargil -Night Stay in Kargil (~220 Kms)
20th May
Plan A - If Leh-Manali highway is open
Manali - Kasol - Night stay in Kasol (~80kms)
Plan B - If Leh-Manali highway is closed
-Kargil - Srinagar - Night stay in Srinagar (~210 Kms)
21st May
Plan A - Starting from Kasol
Kasol - Kalka - Evening train from Kalka to Delhi (~270kms)
Plan B - Starting from Srinagar
-Early morning flight from Srinagar to Delhi


  • How is the petrol availability across this route, if Plan A works out on all days, we will be filling in Diskit and have to do around 600 to 700kms before refuelling at Karu.
  • As per the info available, Petrol bunks are only available in Leh, Diskit, Karu, Hemis along this route. Is there any other place where we can fuel ?
  • If shylok route is closed, can we take the wari la - chang la route and still do Hunder to Spangmik in 1 day? which is the best of the 2 routes if we want to cover Nubra to Pangong in a day.
  • What is the normal Sunrise and Sunset timings in May in Ladakh.
  • We are planning to rent 2 bullet 350 CC's and 7 Impulse/KTM/Pulsar. what would be best bike at this time of the year given the road conditions..
  • When to start taking diamox, should we start a dose from Delhi or is it better to take it after reaching Leh?
  • Is it safe to halt for a night in Srinagar, given the current situation? Considering this we thought of staying in Airport earlier.
  • Gaurav ji, we are planning to retain 2 bullets and hire 4 more bullets after returning the other bikes in Leh. We are in discussion with a rental to do 6 bikes 1 way with a additional cost of 30k. Drop either in Srinagar or Manali.. If it works out we will go with this option, else we will take a Tempo Traveller for the last 2 days from Leh to Srinagar or Manali. We are open to both routes for the last 2 days with Manali being the primary option if the route is open by then.
  • How likely is the Leh-Manalai route be open by 19th or 20th of May.
  • Have booked accommodations for Nubra and Tso Moriri, have not done for Leh and Pangong. Can we go there and find a accommodation or is it advisable to book and go. We are budget travellers and looking for tents/home stays at minimum prices.
  • Is riding shoes or gum boots a must have ? Will there be lot of water crossing at this time of the year ? Can we manage with the likes of quechua shoes ?
Regards,
Lokesh
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Shyok route is okish. However, there are plenty of unpaved sections, so if you’re looking for decent quality road, you won’t find it. Wari La route won’t likely open before June end.

Few kilometers after Lukung, off-road trail, begins and it remains that way until Tsaga Village. You will have to ride on that trail and also cross plenty of water crossings and sandy stretches.

Phoberang to Marisimik La is completely off road trail.

Few kilometer after Upshi, road widening work is taking place, so almost the entire route (barring a few kilometers) to Korzok is unpaved.

No fuel pump is at Hemis, the last one is at Karu or Diskit, based on where you are. You will have to buy fuel in black or carry spare. Check Fuel availability in Ladakh and Zanskar for more details.

Sunrise around 5:30 am and sunset around 7 pm. Though light can get less earlier than that, based on where you are.

Impulse would be the easiest to handle.

Check Ladakh AMS Survival Guide.

No one can predict what is going to happen in Kashmir. If you have to stay in Srinagar, stay at Boulevard Road, that is the safest place.

Chances of Manali – Leh Highway opening on 20th are extremely slim.

You can find accommodation after arriving there.

Hiking boots are ok until they get wet. Then they don’t dry off easily and will be wet almost throughout the trip. Since you’re going early in the season, there will be plenty of snow, ice, and water on the road.
 

LokeshKumar

New Member
Thanks Yogesh !

Can we buy stuff like gum boots, woollen socks , woollen gloves and balaclava in Leh. Are they easily available there !
 
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