Chennai to Ladakh bike trip...

Hello fellow travellers, I'm looking for good itenary to witness the beauty of leh ladakh trip... Please give me your best recommendations to make this trip fruitful..

I would like take up this trip with little snow and clear sky .. best time?

I'm planning to take this ride from chennai to leh via manali and ends my trip at Srinagar... Help me with best route from chennai to delhi.. need a riders bay

I'm planning to complete this 15 days.. max 18... Will that be possible?

Is it better to tie up with any vendor at delhi to get permission for passes? Or we can directly get without any hassles??

I have searched and read more threads about this here.. but still opening up a new one for my betterment... Looking for the good suggestions and positive ways to make this up.. hope this one will get me in to the roads towards leh...
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Considering all the points, it would be a good idea to do this ride in September. By then roads will be clear and monsoon would be over as well and day temperatures somewhat bearable in plains.

You don't need any agencies. Permit for Rohtang Pass is issued online and getting permit in Ladakh is fairly easy. Even your hotel in Leh can arrange it for you.

What all places you're planning to cover in Ladakh?

How many hours a day can you comfortably ride every day?

Is the motorcycle in your name or someone else's name?
 
Hi Yogesh, Thanks for the valuable response..

If monsoon starts in September, there are chances of rain through the route right?how about taking the trip in mid or end of June... As per BRO, there's a chance of opening the roads completely by mid may.. So roads will be good in june.. am i correct?

Here come's my itenary..... This is how I'm planning to take the trip.. give me suggestions...

Day 1: Starting from Chennai and heading to Mumbai Via bangalore, pune. Mostly Day 2 will also be consumed here...

Day 3: Starting the trip to Delhi... Either via Nashik , Agra or via Surat, Ahmadabad, Jaipur... By Day4 end.. will reach delhi for sure.. covering 2700+kms...

Day 5: Buffer day at delhi..

Day 6: Delhi to Manali.. 600kms.. will cover in single stretch...

Day 7: Buffer day.... At Manali...

Day 8: Manali to Keylong or jispa via Rothang Pass

Day 9: Jispa to Sarchu

Day 10: Sarchu to Leh

Day 11: Leh .. visiting

Day 12: Leh to Nubra valley

Day 13: Nubra to Pangong Tso via Kalsar and Shyok valley (Need to check on permission here)

Day 14: Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri and Tso Kar And head towards Leh (Please give me suggestion whether it can doable or not in single stretch)

Day 15: Leh to Kargil

Day 16: Kargil to Sonamarg

Day 17: Sonamarg to Srinagar

Day 18: Day at Srinagar (Visitng Dal lake) , bike parcelling and fly back to Chennai.

I know the plan would be like some racing tour... But Still after reading more and more blogs.. i have customized this.. Let me know your Suggestions...

I'm capable of riding until I see a perfect pitstop... Lol.. Can ride 600 to 700kms in day on plains.. Yet to test it in Ladakh region...

My own bike and it's completely under my registration.

My doubts are about permissions.. Is getting a permit for Rothang is enough for Barcha la and Tangalang la.. What about Pangong Tso? Riding through Shyok valley is risky? Is my own bike will be allowed for Nubra and Pangong?
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Hi Yogesh, Thanks for the valuable response..

If monsoon starts in September, there are chances of rain through the route right?how about taking the trip in mid or end of June... As per BRO, there's a chance of opening the roads completely by mid may.. So roads will be good in june.. am i correct?

Here come's my itenary..... This is how I'm planning to take the trip.. give me suggestions...

Day 1: Starting from Chennai and heading to Mumbai Via bangalore, pune. Mostly Day 2 will also be consumed here...

Day 3: Starting the trip to Delhi... Either via Nashik , Agra or via Surat, Ahmadabad, Jaipur... By Day4 end.. will reach delhi for sure.. covering 2700+kms...

Day 5: Buffer day at delhi..

Day 6: Delhi to Manali.. 600kms.. will cover in single stretch...

Day 7: Buffer day.... At Manali...

Day 8: Manali to Keylong or jispa via Rothang Pass

Day 9: Jispa to Sarchu

Day 10: Sarchu to Leh

Day 11: Leh .. visiting

Day 12: Leh to Nubra valley

Day 13: Nubra to Pangong Tso via Kalsar and Shyok valley (Need to check on permission here)

Day 14: Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri and Tso Kar And head towards Leh (Please give me suggestion whether it can doable or not in single stretch)

Day 15: Leh to Kargil

Day 16: Kargil to Sonamarg

Day 17: Sonamarg to Srinagar

Day 18: Day at Srinagar (Visitng Dal lake) , bike parcelling and fly back to Chennai.

I know the plan would be like some racing tour... But Still after reading more and more blogs.. i have customized this.. Let me know your Suggestions...

I'm capable of riding until I see a perfect pitstop... Lol.. Can ride 600 to 700kms in day on plains.. Yet to test it in Ladakh region...

My own bike and it's completely under my registration.

My doubts are about permissions.. Is getting a permit for Rothang is enough for Barcha la and Tangalang la.. What about Pangong Tso? Riding through Shyok valley is risky? Is my own bike will be allowed for Nubra and Pangong?
If you don’t mind riding in 40-50 degree Celsius for 5-6 days, then yes, you can definitely ride during June.

Don’t stay at Sarchu, it is an open invitation to AMS (read Ladakh AMS Survival Guide) and you can easily do Jispa to Leh in around 11-12 hours. So start early from Jispa instead.

During June the Agham – Shyok route can close down temporarily due to rising levels of Shyok River. So check its status before proceeding. No special permission required for this route.

Pangong to Tso Moriri alone will take 12 hours of riding time, irrespective of the route you take. Tso Moriri to Tso Kar and then back to Leh would require another 8-10 hours. So you will have to break this leg into 2 days. Also after Diskit Village in Nubra Valley, there are no petrol pumps en route if you’re planning to take the Chushul route. So you have to have enough fuel for 600 km to reach Leh. Fuel availability in Ladakh and Zanskar

You can easily ride from Kargil to Srinagar in a single day.

For Manali – Leh Highway you only need permit for Rohtang Pass.

No issue with permit for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. It is easily available and at max it will take you a couple of hours.

However, if you’re planning to take the Chushul route, then you will need to mention Chushul, Tsaga, Loma and Nyoma specifically in your permit application along with Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. In case of any tension with China, permit might not be issued for Chushul route. And even if you have permit for Chushul, you can be turned back by the army. Read Inner Line Permit for more info.

Permit in Ladakh is issued for individuals, not vehicles. So you’re free to take your bike to anywhere you have the permit for. Only in case the vehicle isn’t in your name, then the taxi union and motorcycle rental union can stop you from going to Nubra and Pangong.
 

nadz11.ns

Super User
I would say, ship the bike to Delhi and start the ride from there.
You will save almost a week of riding in the plains and heat and you can utilise that in Ladakh.

Also, it would be better to ship the bike back from Jammu instead of Srinagar as you will more and better options in Jammu.

Rest all points YS has covered perfectly.
 

TrailBlazerVinay

Avid Biker
I typed in a page long reply and then before i could post, lost connection and got logged out. Had not saved it so lost the whole thing :p My Bad!! ](*,)
 
If you don’t mind riding in 40-50 degree Celsius for 5-6 days, then yes, you can definitely ride during June.

Don’t stay at Sarchu, it is an open invitation to AMS (read Ladakh AMS Survival Guide) and you can easily do Jispa to Leh in around 11-12 hours. So start early from Jispa instead.

During June the Agham – Shyok route can close down temporarily due to rising levels of Shyok River. So check its status before proceeding. No special permission required for this route.

Pangong to Tso Moriri alone will take 12 hours of riding time, irrespective of the route you take. Tso Moriri to Tso Kar and then back to Leh would require another 8-10 hours. So you will have to break this leg into 2 days. Also after Diskit Village in Nubra Valley, there are no petrol pumps en route if you’re planning to take the Chushul route. So you have to have enough fuel for 600 km to reach Leh. Fuel availability in Ladakh and Zanskar

You can easily ride from Kargil to Srinagar in a single day.

For Manali – Leh Highway you only need permit for Rohtang Pass.

No issue with permit for Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. It is easily available and at max it will take you a couple of hours.

However, if you’re planning to take the Chushul route, then you will need to mention Chushul, Tsaga, Loma and Nyoma specifically in your permit application along with Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. In case of any tension with China, permit might not be issued for Chushul route. And even if you have permit for Chushul, you can be turned back by the army. Read Inner Line Permit for more info.

Permit in Ladakh is issued for individuals, not vehicles. So you’re free to take your bike to anywhere you have the permit for. Only in case the vehicle isn’t in your name, then the taxi union and motorcycle rental union can stop you from going to Nubra and Pangong.
Thanks again for clarifying all my doubts.. Now, I got some better view of making it..

Yes, I wish to ride in that season bro.. I will be having my full set of riding gear and jackets along the trip... Will this suffice me withstand the weather conditions during June??

Thanks for the glimpse about AMS.. I forget about that on planning the entire trip.. I will make a note of it.. Thread you have shared about AMS awareness is so helpful.. is it easy to get accommodation at jispa?? I have seen more blogs.. that tent stay's will be available at sarchu...

Need to make a revisit on iternary on Nubra to Pangang Tso..is it better taking shyok valley route or Nubra to Leh and then Pangong Tso... This will eat onemore day enroute Pangong Tso...

On coming to Tsomoriri, I planned to visit to take route through Hanle... Also, have seen only few people are visiting Hanle... Any blogs or ideas how the landscape would be in Hanle??

Can I able to apply for Rohtang pass, one or two weeks before starting the trip through online from chennai itself?
I typed in a page long reply and then before i could post, lost connection and got logged out. Had not saved it so lost the whole thing :p My Bad!! ](*,)
That's my bad luck bro Anyhow direct me in the right way once I all set to ride on the roads... Thanks for your long page typed reply which is invisible..
 

TrailBlazerVinay

Avid Biker
Yogesh and nadz11 have given some valuable inputs. Do keep them in mind. I've few suggestions..

Month of travel
I'd suggest June or mid June, since all the Routes in Ladakh region will be open and the snow would've just started melting down. Will be a nice experience Riding around snow covered mountains & crossing streams will not be a problem since water flow will be less.

Temperature will vary depending on the place. As pointed out by Yogesh, in Delhi, Punjab the temperature will be > 40 deg Celsius in June. In Leh, it could be around 30 deg or less. Quite manageable. In high altitudes like Khardungla, Changla, Baralacha La, Tanglang la, Zojila, Sarchu etc it will be around 10 deg C or less.

Since you are from Chennai, I think you can manage the heat :) Just keep yourself hydrated. When Riding around Delhi-Punjab, either start early morning or stay in AC Rooms, rest till afternoon and Ride from afternoon-midnight. Many people who Ride in a group, do this to avoid the heat.

If you are going in later months, (my personal opinion)
July-August: Not much advantage. Snow will be melting down rapidly, water flow in the streams will be high in July. Also heavy Rains in Mumbai-Punjab-Rajasthan-Delhi and other places.

Early July is okay, but there could be some Rain in Delhi-Punjab-Rajasthan-Mumbai region. You'll have to use your Rain gear. If it rains throughout the day, can't cover > 500kms. Starting early morning will allow you to take enough breaks and cover good distance each day.

September: Its winter. Weather will be pleasant, Roads will be clear, Less crowd and traffic. Stays will cost a little less in Ladakh. Need not worry much about the Heat/Rain/Streams. But you will not find snow covered Mountains. Ladakh region will look somewhat dry.

Its your personal choice. I did the trip from June end-July mid. Weather was pleasant for the most part. Weather in Delhi was very hot as expected. Ladakh region was manageable. While returning(July mid), there was rain throughout from Punjab to Pune. Monsoon had just started.
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Regarding your Itenary:
Better to ship the Bike to Delhi/Chandigarh and start the Ride from there. No point in Riding all the way from Chennai to Delhi via Bangalore-Mumbai. Will be very tiring and will need 5 days minimum. You'll need to service the Bike as well.

If you still want to Ride all the way, just for the experience, I suggest you do it while returning because you'll be done visiting Ladakh, Srinagar, Manali and you can Ride back leisurely and cover some places enroute like Punjab/Rajasthan/Udaipur.

If you fall sick or the bike breaks down or you do not have enough time on hand, you can always parcel the bike and take a flight back home from any place. This will not affect your main itenary of Ladakh trip.
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Regarding Route:

I'd suggest anyone going to Leh to go via Srinagar route and return via Manali route for below reasons:-

1) In Srinagar route, the altitude gain is gradual. You will not suffer from AMS(Acute Mountain Sickness). Before moving to high altitude places, you will get to spend few days in Srinagar, Kargil, Leh which offers good acclimatization.
2) In Manali route, the altitude gain is drastic. When you stay at Sarchu(14,000 ft) for the first time, chances of AMS is more. Instead, if you take Manali route while returning, you'd have already visited or stayed at much higher altitudes. This logic worked well for us.
3) Manali->Leh is mostly ascent. In Rohthang pass itself, the altitude gain is quite high. Even 350cc Bullets with heavy luggage are known to struggle while climbing.
Whereas Leh->Manali will not be a problem, since its mostly descent.
4) You need permit to cross Rohtang Pass only if you are going from Manali to Leh. You don't need any permit if you are coming to Manali from Leh side :)
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Regarding Permit:

For visiting Khardungla, Nubra Valley, Diskit, Khalsar, Pangong Tso, Chushul, Hanle, Nyoma, TsoMoriri, Chumathang and other places in Ladakh region, you get permit at Leh DC Office itself. No need to mention the place names. It will already be mentioned in the application form. Check this latest Permit application Form.

You can check the permit section in this thread for detailed info:-

Please rethink and update your day wise itenary so that we can provide suggestions based on that. For now, you can note the below points.
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Day 3: Starting the trip to Delhi... Either via Nashik , Agra or via Surat, Ahmadabad, Jaipur... By Day4 end.. will reach delhi for sure.. covering 2700+kms...
For Delhi, I'd suggest the Route through Surat-Udaipur-Jaipur. Though longer, this route is very good. Also you can take a break at Udaipur. Spend 1 day in Udaipur and visit some places there. Lots of places to see in Udaipur.

Day 6: Delhi to Manali.. 600kms.. will cover in single stretch...
This is not as easy as it seems. Delhi->Rupnagar is straight as an arrow. But from "Kiratpur Sahib" the ghats start. Swarghat-Bilaspur-Mandi will take quite some time to cover. You've to start early. If you start at 10 or 11am you'll be in trouble. Riding up the hills in the evening with glares from oncoming truck traffic is not at all fun. Make sure you reach manali before it gets dark.

Day 7: Buffer day.... At Manali...
You can visit the Hadimba Devi temple(Roja movie), Vashishta temple(hot springs) and try Paragliding at Solang Valley. If your bike is a carborated one, get the air-fuel mixture tuned in a mechanic shop for better pickup.

Day 8: Manali to Keylong or jispa via Rothang Pass
Day 9: Jispa to Sarchu
Day 10: Sarchu to Leh
2 days are enough for Manali to Leh.
Manali-Jispa is easy once you cross Rohtang Pass.
Jispa-Sarchu-Leh can be done in a day if you start early. The stretch around Sarchu is a bit rough. Get a full tank at Tandi(110 Kms from Manali). The next petrol pump is after 333kms at Karu, before Leh. Check this: Petrol Pumps on Manali Leh highway

Day 12: Leh to Nubra valley
Leh-Khardungla-Nubra Valley: This route is not so bad. But start early. If Army truck convoys are passing, you will be stopped at the checkpost before Khardungla for some 2 hours.

Khardungla: It will be freezing cold. Do not stay for too long if you feel uneasy. Move down towards Nubra valley. If you are feeling good, you can even climb up the Snow and slide down for pics/videos :p If you feel dizzy or numb, just sit down in the cafe there, have something hot and carry on with the Ride. Carry Camphor tables. Smelling camphor feels good.

Day 13: Nubra to Pangong Tso via Kalsar and Shyok valley (Need to check on permission here)
I don't know about the condition of this route. But no problems with respect to Permits. Get a full tank at Diskit and also carry extra fuel in 5L/10L Jerry cans. Carry a funnel and suction pipe to transfer fuel from can to bike and from one bike to another. This was very useful in our trip.

Day 14: Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri and Tso Kar And head towards Leh (Please give me suggestion whether it can doable or not in single stretch)
Split this into 2 days as suggested by Yogesh. The issue here is with respect to fuel. Do your research on this. I'll give some info on this later. Check this: Spare Fuel for Ladakh Trip – Where do you need it?

Day 15: Leh to Kargil
217Kms. This stretch is smooth. You'll enjoy the Ride. Start early so that you can spend enough time to click pics and visit some places enroute like Lamayuru Monastery etc

Day 16: Kargil to Sonamarg
Day 17: Sonamarg to Srinagar
Kargil to Srinagar is easily Doable in one day if you start early.
a) Kargil-Dras: This stretch of 64kms is butter smooth. Mix of Straights and curves. Mountains all round. Can maintain an average of 50-60kmph. We covered this in one hour at night. But Ride with caution. Dras is where the "Kargil War Memorial" is. Don't miss that.

b) Dras-Sonamarg: This stretch of 63kms took us a lot of time. The route was rough from Dras to Baltal.
Also you'll have to cross the slushy and foggy Zojila Pass. Before Zojila pass, at Gumri there's a Army camp and canteen. You can take a break there and have maggi, Kawa(tea) etc. Temperature will drop drastically as you near Zojila. We were literally shivering when we reached there.

c) Sonamarg-Srinagar: This is easy. Some 80kms. Sonamarg is a beautiful and Scenic place. Check my travelogue for pics and video. If you reach Sonamarg before evening, you can spend some time there. Also in the North, it gets dark only after 7:30pm :) So you can Ride easily till 7pm.

Day 18: Day at Srinagar (Visitng Dal lake) , bike parcelling and fly back to Chennai.
While in Srinagar, you can try the Shikara(Boat) Ride and Ride to Gulmarg(53kms, just 2hrs from Srinagar). Its a beautiful place, worth visiting. You'll thank me for suggesting :). We enjoyed Riding all around Gulmarg even when it was Raining. Try the Gondola Ride(Cable Trolley Ride) at Gulmarg.

Is my own bike will be allowed for Nubra and Pangong?
If its your own bike and you've the required documents and also Permits for visiting the place, then no issues at all.

@Siraj_live2ride: Give me some time. I'll suggest an itenary based on my experience and you can check if its feasible for you.
 
Last edited:
I would say, ship the bike to Delhi and start the ride from there.
You will save almost a week of riding in the plains and heat and you can utilise that in Ladakh.

Also, it would be better to ship the bike back from Jammu instead of Srinagar as you will more and better options in Jammu.

Rest all points YS has covered perfectly.
I would say, ship the bike to Delhi and start the ride from there.
You will save almost a week of riding in the plains and heat and you can utilise that in Ladakh.

Also, it would be better to ship the bike back from Jammu instead of Srinagar as you will more and better options in Jammu.

Rest all points YS has covered perfectly.
Shipping the bike would be best option.. I have planned the same last year and missed it..

Now, I'm decided to take my long planned dream trip K2K (Kanyakumari to Kashmir)... That's why I'm starting from here... Planning to complete this in 20 Days.. Will look for a better go-ahead if everything falls positive on my vision...
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Thanks again for clarifying all my doubts.. Now, I got some better view of making it..

Yes, I wish to ride in that season bro.. I will be having my full set of riding gear and jackets along the trip... Will this suffice me withstand the weather conditions during June??

Thanks for the glimpse about AMS.. I forget about that on planning the entire trip.. I will make a note of it.. Thread you have shared about AMS awareness is so helpful.. is it easy to get accommodation at jispa?? I have seen more blogs.. that tent stay's will be available at sarchu...

Need to make a revisit on iternary on Nubra to Pangang Tso..is it better taking shyok valley route or Nubra to Leh and then Pangong Tso... This will eat onemore day enroute Pangong Tso...

On coming to Tsomoriri, I planned to visit to take route through Hanle... Also, have seen only few people are visiting Hanle... Any blogs or ideas how the landscape would be in Hanle??

Can I able to apply for Rohtang pass, one or two weeks before starting the trip through online from chennai itself?


That's my bad luck bro Anyhow direct me in the right way once I all set to ride on the roads... Thanks for your long page typed reply which is invisible..
As far as riding gear is concerned, please check this thread Essentials for a Motorcycle Ride to Ladakh.

Jispa has plenty of accommodation, tented and hotels. Sarchu only has tented accommodation.

If the Shyok route is open, then taking it would be a good idea. Leh Administration is planning to introduce permit for it, if that happens you will have to mention it while applying for permit. Keep an eye on this thread for updates, Hanle, Umling La & Chushul now off limits for civilians?.

Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri with a detour to Hanle isn’t going to be possible. You will have to break it down into two days, with possibly a night stay at Hanle or Nyoma. Next day you can do Tso Moriri and Tso Kar and head to Leh if you start early enough and don’t spend too much time at the lakes. Permit for Hanle might get cancelled or limited this year, keep a watch on above thread for updates. There are plenty of travelogues in the forum for Hanle, check them out.

Last year one could apply for permit a few days in advance. Once the Manali – Leh Highway reopens, the Manali administration would announce the permit policy for this year. Though it is unlikely you will be allowed to apply a couple of weeks in advance.
 
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