Places like Ladakh and the two highways connecting it with rest of the country are believed to be best explored on a motorcycle. Lots of people travel here each year by other modes of transport as well like flight, cars or public transport; but majority of the adventure enthusiasts will always opt for a motorcycle if given a choice. For people living in northern part of the county, it becomes relatively easier but for people living in southern or other parts of India; a big question that needs answering is of how to transport your motorcycle for Ladakh trip? If you too were planning to visit Ladakh in near future and wondering the same; in this article I will provide some information on how to go about it.
First of all, why would a person want to transport their motorcycle? Answer to this questions is that it is convenient to do so. If you were living in one of the southern states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Kerala; a bike trip to Ladakh would mean that you have two choices. First is to ride your own motorcycle all the way from home. If you opt to do this, it would mean that you will have to ride for several days in the plain; through almost all of India while trying to reach Ladakh and then getting back home. This would be time consuming, additional hassle and also quite boring. The overall cost of the trip too would definitely go up.
Second choice then would be to reach Manali, Srinagar or Leh and rent a motorcycle there but then the reliability of the bike becomes a problem. Motorcycles available for rental are mostly beaten and badly used with a high chance of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Fuel consumption with these motorcycles too is quite high. If you reached Leh by flight and rented a bike there, it would mean that you missed traveling on Manali – Leh and Srinagar – Leh highway entirely.
Renting a motorcycle from either of these three places will also see you paying a daily rental; which depending on the motorcycle you chose can be anywhere between Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1800 per day. Apart from this, you will also be pay a security amount upfront which is quite a high sum of money. Another hassle is of returning the motorcycle. For example, if you rented a motorcycle from Manali, it would mean that you will have to circle back to Manali itself to return it. If you chose to leave it at Srinagar, you will also have to pay another 10 to 15k additional apart from the daily rental.
All this can however be avoided if you transported your own motorcycle to a place near to Ladakh. This will save you the pain of several days of riding through the plains; additional costs involved; and most of all, a peace of mind as it is your own motorcycle you are riding. You are familiar with the pulse of the vehicle, know its limitations and had plenty of time to get it ready for the tough ride ahead.
When it comes to sending your motorcycle, you can either do so with a private packers and movers company or you can send it by Indian railways. Of the two, I have found Indian railways to be the cheapest and safest way. The entire procedure is not that complicated, doesn’t take long and is way too cheap as compared to a private packers and movers. In this article, I will provide details on how you can transport your motorcycle by Indian Railways for Ladakh trip.
How to Transport your Motorcycle for Ladakh Trip?
There are two options to transport by train. If you are sending the vehicle ahead of your own arrival, it would then have to be booked as parcel. The motorcycle would arrive at the desired destination and wait until you reach there to claim it. Second choice is to book the motorcycle as luggage. You will do this when you are traveling by the same train. Both you and your motorcycle would arrive at the desired destination at the same time; and you will take the delivery after it has been unloaded from the train.
For sending motorcycle as a parcel
- Arrive at the railway station between 10 AM to 5 PM. The parcel office is open only during these hours.
- You will need to bring your vehicle’s RC and a copy of your own identity card.
- Empty the fuel tank to the last drop.
- At the parcel office, you will find several packers who can wrap up your entire bike in jute bags for about Rs. 300 – Rs. 500. Hire any one of them to pack your bike for you.
- After packing, go to the parcel counter and fill up the form with all necessary details.
- You will also be needing to declare value of your motorcycle on this form.
- Complete the paperwork and make the payment.
- This is it. It now is responsibility of Indian Railways to load your motorcycle in the required train.
For Booking Motorcycle as Luggage
- The steps for emptying fuel tank and packing will be the same as I mentioned above.
- For booking motorcycle as luggage however, the office is open 24 hours. So yes, if you were boarding a midnight train, the office will still remain open.
- Luggage booking starts about 2 to 3 hours before train’s departure time. Ensure that you reach at least 2 hours in advance as you will also need some time for packing and paperwork.
- Ask around where the luggage booking office is. In some cases, parcel and luggage booking counters are separate whereas at some stations these are same.
- Complete the paperwork and make payment.
- For luggage booking, apart form RC and ID proof, you also will need to submit a photocopy of your confirmed ticket by same train.
- After train arrives, make sure your motorcycle has been put in the luggage compartment before you board the train yourself.
- Once at the destination station, get off the train and collect your motorcycle.
Steps mentioned above are a short summary of the entire procedure. This is more a gist of the entire procedure. There are of course a few other things that are helpful in a real world situation. For a more detailed version of this information with other important tips, please read How to Transport your motorcycle by Indian Railways. This article also include some other useful tips and good to know information.
Where to ship motorcycle for Ladakh Trip?
Next question is where to transport the motorcycle. This will completely depend on your itinerary. If you are planning to start from Manali, then you will have to send/bring your motorcycle to Chandigarh. For Srinagar as your starting point, Jammu will become the destination station. If you were having difficulty getting a confirmed ticket for these stations, you can also try for trains to other nearby stations in Punjab and ride to Ladakh from there. A guy I knew got his bike sent to Delhi from Kerala and started his Ladakh ride from there.
I hope the information above on how to transport your motorcycle for Ladakh trip was of help. If you need any further details; or have any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum and I will be glad to answer.