Ladakh by Bike

Road trip to the roof of the world

It doesn’t need much of an introduction – the road trip from Manali to Leh is legendary amongst bikers around the world. Here is a great sample itinerary which might come in useful:

Day 1: Drive from Delhi to Chandigarh: 6 hours

Day 2: Bike to Manali: 320km

Day 3: Acclimatise in Manali

Day 4: Bike Manali to Tandi: 115km

Day 5: Bike Tandi to Sarchu: 125km

Day 6: Bike Sarchu to Leh: 250km

Day 7: Relax in Leh

Day 8: Bike Leh over Khardung La to Nubra Valley (Diskit): 120km

Day 9: Bike Diskit to Hunder to Leh: 130km

Day 10: Bike Leh to Pangong Tso (Lukung): 135km

Day 11: Bike Pangong Tso to Leh: 135km

Day 12: End of trip

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Escape Delhi to Chandigarh

The first part of this trip is called “Escape Delhi”, and involves driving 6-7 hours out of our beloved capital to Chandigarh, where you’ll be introduced to your guide, your mechanic and your bikes. Then the whole gang goes out for a big slap-up dinner.

Overnight in hotel in Chandigarh

Day 2: Bike Chandigarh to Manali: 320km

Get on your bikes and head for the hills. The relatively easy road from Chandigarh to Manali gives you a chance to get a feel of your motorcycle before hitting the tougher roads higher up – although there are some involving twisties closer to Manali. It’s a long day’s ride but there is some serious chilling to look forward to in Manali.

Overnight in Hotel Drifters, Old Manali

Day 3: Acclimatisation in Manali

Relax, you’re back in the swinging 60’s in the charming hippy heaven of Old Manali. You also need to get used to the altitude before bashing on to higher climbs so take it easy - a dip in the hot springs at Vashisht and a beer on the terrace might not be a bad idea.

Overnight in Hotel Drifters, Old Manali

Day 4: Bike Manali to Tandi: 115km

The adventure begins here as we hit the higher Himalayas, riding over the Rohtang pass and on to our camp for the night at Tandi.

Overnight in camp

Day 5: Bike Tandi to Sarchu: 125km

Ride past Keylong, stopping for lunch beside the turquoise lake at Patseo, onwards over the Baralacha La pass at 16000 ft., past the Vishaal Taal lake and into the Ladakh district. Get a good night’s sleep in a nice tented campsite at wild Sarchu.

Overnight in camp

Day 6: Bike Sarchu to Leh: 250km

Today we ride bravely onwards through the Sarchu flats, Gata Loops, with views of Nakeela (15,500 ft) and Lachulung La (16,600 ft), on to Pang, the Moore Plains and over Tanglang La at 17,500 ft, the third highest motorable pass in the world, and on to Leh.

Overnight in hotel in Leh

Day 7: Relax in Leh

Another day to chill, this time in Ladakh’s beautiful capital, Leh. You can visit the Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Leh Gompa and wander the old town market, or alternatively, put your feet up.

Overnight in hotel in Leh

Day 8: Bike Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley (Diskit): 120km

Today we ride the highest motorable road in the world; Khardung La at a gaping 18,380 ft, to enter the stunning Nubra valley, a mix of desert sand dunes and lush green villages tumbling down the hillside. We then spend the night as guests in a family home-stay at Diskit.

Overnight in Diskit

Day 9: Bike Diskit to Hunder - Leh: 130km

We head on 8 km down the road from Diskit to the village of Hunder before heading off back to Leh the way we came.

Overnight in hotel in Leh

Day 10: Bike Leh to Pangong Tso (Lukung): 135km

Today we scale Chang La, the world’s third highest motorable pass at 17,800ft, a trying pass compared to the others, and it will make you feel it. Enter Tak Thak, a narrow valley with a carpet of fresh green grass through which a free-spirited stream and the road intertwine each other like serpents.

Our destination is Pangong Tso, a 134km long lake, 60% of which is in Tibet. 5km wide at its widest, it’s more a land-bound ocean at 14270ft above sea level. Overnight stay in Lukung, a settlement on the shore of the lake with Eco-huts and very basic necessities.

Overnight in Lukung

Day 11: Bike Pangong Tso to Leh: 135km

It’s our final day of riding together as we traverse the same challenging route back to Leh.

Overnight in hotel in Leh

Day 12: End of trip

After breakfast at the hotel, carry on your own merry way – fly back to Delhi or spend some more time chilling in Ladakh.

End of trip


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