In this post, I will provide information on the best time to travel from Manali to Leh by road. This highway remains open only for about 5 months a year and invites thousands of travel enthusiasts to undertake a journey that is both fun and adventure. While the best time to visit will depend on your convenience and mode of travel, mentioned below are a few things that you must keep in mind.
Of the two highways connecting Ladakh to the rest of the country, Manali to Leh has always been the more popular. A lot of this is due to the fact that it is the more challenging and hence was more popular among the adventure enthusiasts. Challenging roads, high-altitude passes, water crossings, and unpredictable weather are some of the charms that Manali Leh Highway offers.
While the above all sounds fun, it can also pose a serious risk. There is no denying the fact that tourists have in fact died on the Manali Leh route and in Ladakh. So your planning, as well as the knowledge of the region, has to be fool-proof.
Best Time to Travel from Manali to Leh
This article is a part of series that I wrote on Manali Leh road, detailing several aspects of it like a road map, accommodation choices, and sightseeing spots. For complete information, you can also take a look at the other posts in this series.
- Manali to Leh Travel Time & Minimum Days Required
- How to Travel from Manali to Leh by Public Transport
- Manali to Leh Road Map With Distance
- Manali Leh Highway Route Guide
- Accommodation on Manali Leh Highway
- Primary Attractions Of Manali Leh Highway
This article in particular focuses on the months when Manali Leh highway remains open and when is the best time to travel from Manali to Leh.
About Manali Leh Highway
To start with, let us go with some basic information. The total length of the Manali Leh highway is approximately 490 kilometers. Out of this, 230 kilometers are in Himachal Pradesh between Manali to Sarchu. The remaining 260 kilometers from Sarchu to Leh fall in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The highest elevation on the highway is 17,480 ft at Tanglang La pass. The road is mostly 2 lanes wide but has one lane at several stretches.
There are 5 high-altitude passes on this highway of which Tanglang La is the highest but strangely it is Baralacha La that remains covered with snow for the longest duration. This road was built and still maintained by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), a division of the Indian Army.
Best Time to visit Leh Ladakh via Manali
Manali Leh highway remains open for roughly around 5 months in a year for civilian traffic. It is declared open by Mid to late May (sometimes in early May) and gets closed by late October after the region starts to experience snowfall.
Each month presents its own set of challenges. When you want to traverse on this road majorly depends on when is it convenient for you, and how well prepared are you to handle bad roads. Let me give a small month-by-month breakdown.
Manali to Leh in January
There is absolutely no way that you can travel on Manali Leh Highway in January. Passes like Rohtang and Baralacha La receive as much as 50 ft of snow each year and sometimes even more.
After the opening on the Atal Tunnel, you can go only as far as Jispa in Lahaul Valley but not beyond that.
Manali to Leh in February
You cannot travel on Manali Leh Highway in February as well. The snow accumulation is even more in this month after all the heavy snowfall in December and January. The roads will remain block. From the Manali side, you can only go as far as Jispa and from the Leh side, you can travel only till Upshi.
Manali to Leh in March
Is Manali Leh Highway open in March? No, it is not. Irrespective of how little snow the region may have seen in the winter season, Manali to Leh is never open in March.
There have been times when Rohtang Pass was declared open towards the end of March. That however is only limited to Rohtang. The work continues on the rest of the highway and so far, BRO has never been able to free it of snow in March itself.
Even with Rohtang, it will open in March only where there is very little snow. It has happened a few times in the past. Otherwise, BRO usually starts the snow clearing work in early March from both the Manali and Leh sides. The region continues to experience fresh snowfalls in March as well that further delays or halts the work.
Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh – Complete Travel Guide
Manali to Leh in April
Much like March, a journey on Manali Leh Highway is not possible in April as well. Rohtang is usually free of snow this month and BRO focuses on the Baralacha La Pass.
There have been instances when the entire road from Manali to Leh was cleared towards the end of April but it is very rare. Even if it does, chances of snowfall and temporary road closures will always remain. Hence, this is definitely not a safe month to go to Leh Ladakh from Manali
Even if you do plan on doing it, ensure that you are well aware of the road status and its conditions. You can follow the updates that I provide in this article Manali Leh Highway Current Status & Road Conditions.
Manali Leh Highway in May
Is Manali Leh Highway open in May? It depends on the amount of snow received in the winter season but the road is mostly open by the end of May. Sometimes it can open in the early or middle of the month a well but the end of May is a safe time to assume.
If the region received a lot of snow in winters or if there was fresh snowfall in May, the opening may get delayed to June as well. If you are planning to travel from Manali to Leh by road in May, you must first inquire about the road status and plan only in the last week of the month.
Also Read: Motorcycle Water Crossing Technique & Tips
Manali to Leh in June
June can be both a good and a bad month to travel on this road, depending on the timing and weather conditions. The road is definitely open so you are free to travel from Manali to Leh by road in June but you should keep a few things in mind.
Since the snow was cleared only a couple of weeks ago, the condition of the roads can be in a terrible state. Tar on the roads will be severely limited and there will also be a lot of water crossing due to the melting snow.
Due to the ongoing restoration work, you may find temporary closures en route and may have to wait for BRO to give you the signal to move.
On the bright side, you will find a lot of snow all along the road. If it is snow that you are after or you want to feel that crazy rush of driving in hostile conditions then you can plan your trip in early June. This is the best time to see the famed snow walls at Rohtang and Baralacha La top and a frozen/semi-frozen Suraj Tal Lake.
Manali to Leh in July
My favorite month to travel on the Manali Leh highway is July. It presents an ample amount of challenges without taking things to the level of being a problem or too risky.
Road conditions improve tremendously by July however the restoration work continues at several stretches. Water streams will still be a problem as the snow continues to melt. By noon, the flow of the water in these streams can be fierce.
All the campsites and places to stay will be fully operational. So there will be no problem in finding a place to break your journey for the night.
The downsides of traveling in July can be the tourist rush in Manali and the possibility of heavy rains. Monsoon hits the region in July but pre-monsoon showers can start as early as late June.
After 15th July, there will always be a risk of heavy rains. If you can, plan your trip in the first 15 days of the month.
Manali to Leh in August
August is not really a good time to plan a trip anywhere in the hills, not just this region. There have been times when heavy rainfall triggered landslides and tourists were stranded on the road for an entire day and night. If you can, you should avoid traveling from Manali to Leh by road in August.
On the positive side, the road conditions are almost perfect in the month of August. I am talking about the internal roads in Ladakh. Tourist season will be at its peak so each and every campsite, chadar tent, or hotel along the way will be functional.
If greenery is what you are after, then this would be the best month to go. With Monsoon at its peak, the area around Kullu, Manali, and Lahaul Valley will be green.
While traveling in August, just be prepared for the rain and waterproof everything. Call ahead and inquire about the weather conditions. If there was news of extreme weather conditions, delay your plans by a few weeks.
Manali Leh Highway in September
September is widely considered to be the best month to travel on the Manali Leh highway. Road conditions are as good as they can ever be with bad stretches limited to only a few and for short distances.
With the Monsoon gone, there will be very little chance of rain. Since the tourist season is towards its end, there is not a lot of rush at this time however all the accommodation options will open and fully functional.
The entire route is filled with colors, from green grass to red stones to deep blue water. This is also the time when winter starts to settle in so it will be a bit cold, especially at night.
If you were lucky, you may even catch a snowfall in Ladakh in September.
Manali to Leh in October
Winter has arrived and the month of October is of uncertainty. Tourist season would have ended and this is the time when all the campsites/chadar tents start to wrap up, limiting the accommodations choices drastically.
Temperature can drop to freezing levels at night. Chances of snowfall at the passes and road getting closed temporarily are high. October is not the month when you should plan a journey on the Manali Leh highway. But if you must, keep your plans towards the first 10 days of the month.
I have in fact written a different article on this topic that I will urge you to read. Take a look at Why you Should avoid Manali Leh Highway in October.
Manali Leh Highway in November
Is Manali Leh highway open in November? No, it is not. The road gets closed by late October and is very unsafe to travel on in November, even if it was open.
There have only been a couple of times when the winter season got delayed and the highway remained open till early November. But the weather will be very unpredictable. It can start to snow anytime and you will run a great risk of being stranded.
Planning a trip from Manali to Leh by road in November is either not possible or ill-advised.
Also Read: How to Carry Spare Fuel on a Motorcycle Safely
Manali Leh Highway in December
By this time, all of the passes have already received a high amount of snow. The road from Manali to Leh in December is never open. For a trip to Ladakh at this time, you will have to catch a flight to Leh.
Best Time to Visit Manali Leh Highway
Late June, early July, and September are the best months to travel from Manali to Leh by road. But again, all this depends on what your preference is and when can you afford to be out on vacation. If you can, plan your journey in either of these months and you will definitely enjoy your trip.
Best Time for Manali Leh Bike Trip
Late June, early July, and September is the best time for Manali Leh bike trip. August definitely is the worst time for a bike trip on this route.
Best Time to Travel from Manali to Leh – Conclusion
Kashmir was termed as a paradise on earth hundreds of years ago by Emperor Shah Jahan and quite rightly so. Ladakh a few years ago was termed as ‘Heaven on earth’ by I do not know who. But once again the term was correctly used.
Another term ‘Biker’s paradise’ was coined to describe the roads leading to it. Yet again it was 100% accurate. However as more and more people are now starting to visit this part of our country, it is no longer a journey that is limited to motorcycles.
A trip to Ladakh now includes almost every mode of travel, from a bicycle to a flight. However, no matter which mode of travel you chose, the fact cannot be denied that this trip still requires meticulous planning and preparation.
You need to make yourself aware of not only what you want to see there but also of timings, difficulties you may face both medical and mechanical, roads that may be closed and the list is quite long.
I hope this information on the best time to travel from Manali to Leh was of help. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments sections below or at our Community Forum, and I would be glad to answer.
Hello sir,how many days it will take if we plan to travel leh laddakh from manali through bike
3 days is in ideal time to properly enjoy the route but you can do it in 2 days as well
HI sir please help to plan my trip on bike 15th June To28th June leh. Leh sightseeing and leh to manali
Let me know what your question is Hemant.
HI vargis Ji I travel with my partner 15th June To28th June leh and manali with bike I can take bike from leh and leave it in manali please help me to plan by best trip with my partner
Will plan to come leh ladakh .please guide us how we plan .we are coming on this june 4th to delhi nd we plan for delhi to manali and then go for the leh.my return tickit on 16th june from delhi. So please guide where we stay after manali to leh between.
Please see this post. Should answer your questions.
Sir are you a tour planner?
No brother I am not. Just a blogger.
Hello Mr. Vargis
I am Neha. I am planning to visit and explore Ladakh (including Nubra Valley) in September by myself. Please guide me about the public transport options and their approx fares as I will be travelling on a budget. It will be via Manali. Also please guide me about the permits I would need (eg- from where can i get it made? what documents are required? what are the charges etc?
For permits, please see the article below.
For traveling by public transport and related fares please see the articles below.
hello sir hum couple handicape hai aur ham by car ahmedabad se aana chate hai to it is best or not plz suggestion best aur kab aane ka plan banay plz help any number u provide me jo hame help kar shake
Hello Kunjal – Bhai meri advice yahi hogi ke aap kisi travel agent ke through aaiye
I have planned for a trip to kullumanali in the month of august. Is it safe to visit in august ? Because monsoon started.
It depends on how you are traveling but until Manali a lot of people travel in August as well so you won’t be the only tourist there.
Hi khan, hum ko manali se leh jana hai traveling ka kounsa mode sahi aur uska cost
Traveling ka mode toh aap par depend karta hai. Apni gaadi se hi jana best rahega.
How are you sir?
hum log November 3rd se 10th November jane vale he so ye sahi time he or minimum kitne din chaiye leh-ladakh-manali
November tak Manali Leh highway band ho jaata hai toh aap log is route par travel nahi kar sakte
okay thank you brother
You are welcome !!!
Planning a Thunderbird 350 ride from Manali to Leh in September 2019. I will be 68 years old then. Maybe three of us. Can we get a four wheeler to follow us as a support vehicle? Are such services available? Please advise.
Yes you can get a backup vehicle from Manali.
Me and my husband are planning for a leh trip and we ll take Myles car from Chandigarh to Leh and our trip would be for 9 to 10 days in Aug’18.
Please suggest how it would be for a couple to travel alone in a car?
Is it safe?
What all places we can cover from Manali to Leh?
Can we reach Manali to Leh in 1 day?
Hi brother! We are planning for Ladakh in sept starting and not going by any travel agency, we will hire tempo traveller in Manali and from there we will start our journey. Please suggest at which places we have to take halt and which places we need to visit and also details of camping etc.
Thanks in advance
hi planing couple tour to leh via manali of 6 – 7 days in June 3rd 2018, kindly let me know road condition
also the weather
Road condition is fine except for sretches near top of the passes. Weather is a bit cold right now at nights but days are moderately warm.
we are plan for leh & route will be like manali-killar-kistwar-shrinagar-sonamarg-leh-sarchu-manali.
can you guide me where we can get easily stay and what will be sight seen in this route & also petrol-pump location.
planing in june.
Hi Siddhi, You will find petrol pump at Manali, Tandi and then on Srinagar Leh route, nowhere in between. In Ladakh, the only fuel station is in Leh city but you will get it in black all over Ladakh at small shops.
manali-killar-kistwar-shrinagar-sonamarg-leh-sarchu-manali , please guide me for this route .
What help do you need?
hii bro june 20 mai hamara ticket hogay hai to june mai ice rahega yaa sukhaa rahega
Thoda bahut snow rahega high altitude passes par
hlo bro shimla se manali bus main jane ke liye without book karke.. shimla bus stand se hm pay karke manali jayenge wao han bus milega kiya
Bade aaram se mil jaayega Bhai .. Book karne ki koi zaroorat hi nahi
you are welcome
hii bro hum log tent leke jane kaa plan hai so bcoz river ke side mai yaa mountain mai tent lage ke rahenge to kuchh prblm hoga yaa nd.. Rohtang pass jane ke liye permit or money kitne lagega..
Aap log le ja sakte ho tent and kayi jagah milengi beech mein camp karne ki. Koshish karna ke kisi dhaabe ke aas paas hi camp karo. Rohtang Pass ke liye ye neeche wala article padh lo…
Helpful. Which way is better- manali to leh or Kashmir to leh by car in reference to scenic beauty? Ascending journey from kakali or descending one? Time late August. Couple above 60. Pl suggest.
Please take a look at this article Sir. Should help answering your question.
Hiii bro me and my friends planning a trip to whole himachal and leh can you please tell me how many days required for the trip and what was the estimate budget for one person….
It is hard to predict a time and budget for whole of Himachal Manisha. Even I have not visited the entire Himachal.
Bhai m planning to go on around 30th April . Flights to leh seems expensive so thinking to go leh via can either from Manali or Srinagar. And as you said outside registered vehicles not allowed beyond Leh, how about renting a bike from Leh to visit all places ? How the roads would b at that time and what would be the costing ?
Bhai yes you can do it. Srinagar Leh road will be open by 30th April, Manali route will not be. You can rent a bike in Leh to visit other areas. Charge will be about Rs. 1000 to 1800 depending on which bike you chose.
hello vargis bro abhi road close hai…yaa open hai.. hum log june mai jaa rahe hain.
leh… so hum log kaha se bike rent karenge nd aur kuchha problem hoga yaa nahi.. bike cost kitne ayega or security lete yaa nahi so app help kuchh kijiye
Bhai abhi toh closed hai par June tak open ho jaayegi. Bike aap Srinagar or Manali dono jagah se rent kar sakte ho. Manali se karna hai agar toh aap Parvez se baat kar lo, 9318646559. Srinagar se karna hai agar toh Faisal se baat kar lo, 9596410670. Mera reference de dena, rent vagerah theek laga denge ye log.
Manali Leh road ka status agar check karna hai toh neeche link par jo post hai vo check karte rehna, main yahan status update kar raha hoon.
Vargis bhai I want to plan my journey between 18 to 30 October (can I cross rohtash pass 20-21oct..?) and decided to via leh manali highway and return via leh -srinagar-jammu is it possible to do with own own bike…Plz reply soon brother..
Hi Mr. Khan, thank you for the information u’r providing.
I’m Indonesian and planning to go to basically Himachal area (+leh-ladakh) for holiday with my sister. But we’re not sure about the itinerary and which month is best to visit.
We’re looking forward to the green area yet some snow in the background. Can you share a lil bit of insights for us?
And is the area tourists friendly?
A reply from you would be help 🙂
Hello Aya – Yes the area is very tourist friendly. For Himachal and Leh Ladakh, months of June, early July and September would be the best to travel in.
Hi Mr. Khan. Thank you for your reply. If there are no plan changing in the way, we might be go there on late Oct to Early Nov.
We might take this route: Delhi – Dalhousie – Khajjiar – Dalhousie – Shimla area – Manali – then back to Delhi.
What do you think about this itinerary? Is it possible on our dates? What would the weather be like during that time?
And do you know what mode of transportations should we take to get around those area?
Another reply would help
Hello Aya – Your travel plan looks Ok. Weather at this time will be a bit cold but manageable. For transport, there are regular buses that you can board and also rent a motorbike in Dalhousie and Manali.
Hi, thank you for another reply Mr. Khan. I think we will skip dalhousie for Chamba instead & explore chamba with bike. Is it easy to rent a motorbike around chamba? How much would it cost? And would it be too cold to ride motorbike in the end of october?
We might take our mom also for this trip. Do you know how much it would cost to hire a cab to get around shimla/manali? Any recommendations?
And if u think getting around in bike is better, is it possible for us to go to rohtang pass & solang with motorbike?
1. Yes it is easy to rent a motorbike
2. It will cost you around Rs. 1000 per day depending on which bike you chose.
3. Weather will be cold but not too cold to ride a motorbike.
4. Cab in this area are a bit costly affair and depends on the destination. Rs. 4000 to Rs. 5000 per day is however a safe number to assume.
5. It will depend whether the Rohtang Pass will be open by your date of travel or not but if it is, then yes you can go there on motorbike.
And one more thing, I tried to book a bus via hrtcphp.com and online portal. But it needed Indian phone number. Can I book my bus or any other transportation without Indian phone number?
Why do you want to book it? These are just local HRTC buses, no need to book anywhere. Just reach the bus stand and catch a bus like you would do at your home.
I mean I tried to book a ticket for Delhi – Chamba & manali – Delhi. So it’s possible for us to just catch the bus on the spot without prior seat reservation?
Yes even for that you do not have to book so much in advance. You can catch on the spot or book one for same day from your hotel.
Hy vargis khan., What is the bike rent for per day in mansli
Hi Shahad – Depending on which bike you chose, it will be between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500 per day.
hello we are planning a tripe manali too leh ladahk bike trip..may 25 so u give me suggest..
It is a little early in the season, the highway may not get even or would have just opened. Best push it by a couple of weeks and plan by early or Mid June.
okk sir hum log kahanse bike rent karenge kiya iss bare main batayenge..
Aap aa kahan se rahe ho? Bike Manali se bhi kar sakte ho rent par dhyaan rakhna ke bahar ki rented bikes Ladakh mein allowed nahi hoti. Aap agar maan lo ke Manali se karte ho rent toh un bikes ko leke sirf Leh tak ja sakte ho. Vahan jakar phir aapko vo bikes hotel mein hi khadi rakhni padengi and Ladakh mein ghoomne ke liye, Nubra ya Pangong jaane ke liye Leh se hi motorcycle phir rent karni padegi
you are welcome
In june mid there is a snow at leh-manali road bro
Yes there would be brother
Hello Sir. Thank you for the excellent description. We are planning from 7th May to 19th May.
Manali Leh highway at that time will most probably not open Pritish. Please plan it after first week of June to be on a safer side.
Thank you. Any suggestions which bike rental we should approach and what all medical kit would be necessary.
If you are renting bikes than important thing you need to remember is that Manali rented bikes are not allowed in Ladakh. It means that you will rent bikes from Manali, use them to reach Leh and leave those parked at a hotel in the city. For local sightseeing, you will need to rent another motorcycle from Leh itself. So for these days, you will be paying rent for two motorcycles.
That is strange and I’m surprised that bike rental person didn’t tell me about this. Thank you again for letting me know. So Ladakh won’t allow any Manali bikes or from specific vendor only. If they don’t allow at all how much expense I’m looking at fit renting both the bikes. I believe there’s about 400km ride in Ladakh itself to visit various places. Again thank you so much for your contribution to our trip.
You are welcome. In Ladakh, only motorcycle rented from Leh with local registration number are allowed, nowhere else. It is not specific to vendor. They wont allow motorcycles from either Manali or Srinagar; or from anywhere else in the country for that matter. If you rent a motorcycle from Manali, you can only use it to reach Leh. If you take it elsewhere in Ladakh, locals put up barricades and will send you back to Leh. If you argue and get in to an altercation, they will thrash and damage the bike.
Depending on which bike you rent (I am guessing Enfield), average rent come out to be about Rs. 1500 per day. So based on the days of your trip, you can calculate the total rental.
Bike rental person will never tell you that or as a matter of fact, will lie to you that there is no problem at all. It is because if he tells you the truth, then he is running a risk of you not renting motorcycles from him. Once you rent, pay him the money and reach Leh, it becomes your problem and not his.
which month is the best for snawfall and gud for trip…
If by road then September. If by air and to see snow all around, then January.
hi We are planning to take bike trip from manali to Leh on 29th Sept, please suggest whether this time is good? probability to snow?
Hello – 29th September is OK. Very less chance of snowfall at this time.
We will be hiring a taxi.
Then you need to keep in mind that the Manali rented taxi will only be good enough to bring you to Leh. It cannot take you to other places like Nubra valley or Pangong. For these, you will need to rent another local cab from Leh. Journey can be in the following manner.
30. Manali to Jispa
1. Jispa to Leh
2. Leh, local sightseeing and arrange permits
3. Leh to Diskit, Nubra valley
4. Diskit to Pangong via Shyok road
5. Pangong to Leh
6. Leh to Lamayuru and back to Leh by evening, visit magnetic hills, gurudwara patthar sahib, indus zanskar cconfluence, mulbekh maitreya, lunar landscape at Lamayuru
7. Return flight
hi. wouldn’t travelling from jispa to leh in a day be very hectic. as i understand it is distance which takes around 12- 16 hours.
It is not that hectic, about 8-10 hours of travel depending upon speed. Even the HRTC bus covers the distance in one day so you can imagine. As a matter of fact, the bus starts from Keylong which is another 30-35 kilometers before Jispa.
Thanks a lot. Can you please suggest us if the route from Nubra to Pangong is damaged or fine to travel. Some travel agents are telling us the route is correctly damaged.
The Agham Shyok route is OK to travel as of now. Take a look at the first comment in the article below. This person just traveled on this road last week and provided update.
In case you chose to fly to Leh, you can travel in the following manner.
30. Arrive at leh, rest and arrange permits
1. Leh to Lamayuru and back to Leh by evening, visit magnetic hills, gurudwara patthar sahib, indus zanskar cconfluence, mulbekh maitreya, lunar landscape at Lamayuru
2. Leh to Diskit
3. Diskit to Pangong
4. Pangong to Hanle
5. Hanle to Karzok, Tso Moriri
6. Karzok to Leh via Tso Kar
7. Return flight
Hi bhai Delhi to leh ladak jane k liye route or kb jana chahiye .
Bike shi rhega yaa flight suggest kro bhai jaan
Bhai route, bike, flight sab depend karta hai ke aapke paas kitne din hain trip ke liye aur aap kahan se shuru kar rahe ho. Agar time hai around 10-14 days ke aas paas toh bike theek rahegi. Agar sirf 5-6 hain toh flight se chale jaiye.
Hi. We are planning a trip between 30th Sep to 7th Oct. Should we fly directly to Leh or take Manali to Leh road trip? Also, how do you suggest we should break the trip given limited number of days?
Hello – It will be better to go there via Manali and fly back home. How will you be traveling if you go by road?
We are planning a trip to Leh from 21st to 28th August, ’17. How will be the weather in Leh during those days?
Days will be moderately warm and nights will be cold. It is a good time to go.
We are a couple from kolkata going to AUli this January. The tour itinerary is as follows:
then back to home.
Interested couples may join with us in this tour. We will hire a cab for the entire tour which will stay with us. My contact no: 9836638599.
We are looking for a young and energetic couple to join with us so we all can make our time great together.
All the best for your trip Joydip