Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi in 9 Days

by Vargis.Khan

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi

When I get asked about the minimum time required for a Leh Ladakh bike trip from Delhi, my answer always is 9 days. Though an ideal time frame for this trip should be 15 days, the fact is that not all of us can afford to be away from work or our regular lives for that long.

It will no doubt still be a rushed trip and you may miss out on a few places. But if you can afford to take out 9 days, then yes a bike trip to Ladakh is definitely doable. In this article, I will provide a few tips on you can plan such a trip and an itinerary.

I will first explain an itinerary for 9 days and then share a few other examples of how you can modify it if you are able to add a few more days to the plan. I will also include information on accommodation on sightseeing in all the places included in the itinerary.

For any other information on visiting Ladakh, I will request you to please take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Leh Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide.

How to Plan a Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi

Before we get into the itinerary, let me first share a few important tips on preparation and planning.

Getting your Bike Ready

The first thing to do is to get your bike ready. You must get it serviced a few days in advance and then ride it around in City, to make sure that there are no more problems left to take care of.

The second thing is to carry a few spares. Clutch, Accelerator, and Brake cables will be the first on the list. Carry a spare bulb for the headlamp and half a liter of engine oil.

A foot pump will be another mandatory item to bring. If your bike runs on tube tires, then you should also bring a couple of spare tubes.

Learn a few minor repairs yourself, like tightening the brakes, changing the headlamp, and changing the tube in the tires. For a more detailed version of this information, please take a look at How to Prepare your Bike for Leh Ladakh Trip.

Clothes to Pack

Since it is a road trip that we are talking about here, I am assuming that you will be in Ladakh in the summer. So in terms of clothing, please pack your clothes in layers.

What that necessarily means is that carry clothes that can be worn on top of one another. Weather in Ladakh is highly unpredictable and the temperature fluctuates depending on the place you are at or the time of the day.

For example, carry a few thermals, then your regular cotton clothes to wear on top of thermals, then another layer of light woolens followed by a heavy windproof and waterproof jacket.

What this will ensure is that if you start to feel warm, you can just remove one layer of clothing and if feeling cold, you can conveniently add a layer. For more details on how to pack your clothes for Ladakh, please read Clothes for Ladakh trip: What to pack.

Rented Bikes

Another important thing is about rented bikes. If you arrived in Leh on a bike that you rented outside Ladakh (Manali and Srinagar included), then it will only be good enough to bring you to Leh city. You cannot use it for local sightseeing or to go to Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley, or Tso Moriri.

For visiting these places, you will have to rent a local bike from Leh and leave the bike you came by parked at the hotel.

For personal bikes, it must be either registered in your name or your parents or any of your siblings. If you came by a vehicle that was registered in your cousin’s or friend’s name, you will again have to rent a local bike in Leh.

Inner Line Permit

Please note that Inner Line Permit is required to visit areas like Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley, and Tso Moriri. Without the permit, you can only reach the city of Leh but cannot go any beyond.

This permit can be obtained from DM office Leh and can also be applied for online. Please read How to Obtain Inner Line Permit for Ladakh for details on obtaining the permit and related charges.

Acute Mountain Sickness

Last but not the least, is this is your first trip to Ladakh; chances are that you will definitely suffer from acute mountain sickness in your first few days of the trip.

Gradual increase in altitude and plenty of rest are the best precautions against AMS. But since you only have 9 days in hand, you will have to rush through the journey at several places.

Stops like Sarchu and Pang on Manali Leh highway, lakes like Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are at the highest altitudes and AMS strikes more people here than any other place.

For more details on altitude sickness, to know what its symptoms are and how you can avoid it, please read How to handle Acute Mountain Sickness in Ladakh.

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi

Itinerary for Leh Ladakh Bike Trip

The itinerary will be as mentioned below.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Nubra Valley – Day 5
  • Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso – Day 6
  • Pangong Tso to Pang / Sarchu – Day 7
  • Pang / Sarchu to Manali – Day 8
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 9

The reason why this itinerary covers only Manali to Leh route and excludes the Srinagar Leh highway is because of the total distance and time taken.

From Manali, you can reach Leh from Delhi in 3 days however if you take the Srinagar road, it will easily take you 4 days to get to Ladakh.

For a 9 days trip, it is best to only cover Manali to Leh road and leave Srinagar for another time. A detailed explanation of the itinerary is as mentioned below.

Day 1: Delhi to Manali

Not much to say about this day except that this will be a long and monotonous journey.  Travel time will be anywhere between 12-16 hours depending upon your speed and breaks so an early start is highly advised.

Your biggest concern however upon reaching Manali will be the permits required in order to cross Rohtang Pass. Since you are short on time, it would be best to keep these ready in advance. You can apply for the permits online 2 days before you will be crossing Rohtang Pass. For details on how to apply, please read How to get a Permit for Rohtang Pass.

Manali is a well-known tourist destination and hotels there are plenty. Since you will be staying here for just the night and will be on your way first thing in the morning tomorrow, do not worry too much about where to stay here. Find a decent enough hotel and check-in.

If you could not get the Rohtang permit, do not worry about it too much. You can travel by the Rohtang Tunnel on your way and cover Rohtang Pass while coming back. The permit for Rohtang is not needed if you are approaching the pass from the other side.

Day 2: Manali to Jispa

You will be crossing the first pass of your journey on Day 2, the mighty Rohtang La. Interestingly enough, the word Rohtang literally means a pile of corpses. This I believe comes from the fact that a lot of people must have died here trying to cross the mighty mountain in old times.

An early start from Manali is advised to avoid the traffic at Rohtang top.  The road from Manali to Rohtang always remains to be a mix of good, bad and ugly. The ugly part is usually around the top. Once you cross the pass, you will descend towards Keylong. A lot of people chose to stay here and you can too but I would advise continuing all the way to Jispa Village.

Do not forget to tank up at the last petrol pump at Tandi and carry spare fuel if required. Jispa has one luxury hotel, a couple of other decent enough guesthouses, and a few campsites where you can stay. The location of the place is quite scenic and it has always been my preferred stop as compared to Keylong.

Some people tend to make it all the way to Sarchu on Day 1 but I would not recommend that. Sarchu is at quite a high altitude and is also one of the places where people tend to suffer from AMS. Staying for the night there can become very inconvenient.

It is best to stay either at Keylong or Jispa and start early the next day. You can then make it all the way to Leh city which is at a lower altitude than Sarchu or Pang both.

lahaul valley

Day 3: Jispa to Leh

You must start early on this day as the journey ahead is quite long. If possible, start by the first light of the day, before 6 AM. You will cross four high altitude passes on the way and roads will be a mix of good and bad. Leh has several hotels and you should easily be able to find accommodation within your budget and per your liking.

Places of note in between are the four high-altitude passes of Baralacha La, Nakee La, Lachulung La, and Tanglang La. Other sightseeing spots will be Deepak Tal, Suraj Tal, Gata Loops, and More Plains.

More Plains

Day 4: Leh

When short on time, a lot of people try to avoid staying at Leh altogether. They will arrive in the city and try to be on their way to Nubra or Pangong the very next day.

This however is not advisable nor the best thing to do. You must spend a day in the city after your arrival. Inner Line Permit is a mandate for visiting any other area in Ladakh and you will have to use this day to obtain it.

Even if you hurried, it will still be almost mid-day by the time you have the permits in your hand, and mid-day will be a bit late to start towards any other destination.

Do not worry, you will not get bored. There is plenty to see in Leh city. As a matter of fact, the entire town is a tourist attraction in itself. Skipping Leh will leave your trip incomplete. For a list of places you can see on this day, please read What to see in and around Leh Town.

Day 5: Leh to Diskit (Nubra Valley)

You should plan to leave Leh between 6-7 AM and take the road towards Khardung La Pass. There is a canteen at the top where you can have tea if you wish to.

After crossing Khardung, you will descend into Nubra valley. I will recommend staying in Diskit or Hunder and do not go towards Turtuk since you are short on time. You should reach Diskit by noon and check-in at a hotel there.

After resting for a while, visit the Diskit Monastery.  After that, go to Hunder and spend some time at the sand dunes. The double hump camels of Nubra Valley are a rare sight that you will see there.  Do not go anywhere else and return to the hotel after that.

double hump camels of Nubra Valley

Day 6: Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso

The destination for today is the famous Pangong Lake. But before you go there, spend some more time in Nubra Valley and take a drive on its other side.

From Diskit, drive back to Khalsar and turn on the road towards Panamik. The road conditions in the valley are mostly good and it will not take you long. See the hot water spring in Panamik and once again, drive back to Khalsar.

Now from here, do not go uphill on the road towards Khardung La again. Rather, turn on the road that goes to Agham Village. At Agham, the road will bifurcate again and you need to turn towards the Shyok village.

A little later, you will reach Durbuk and exit on the Leh – Chang La Pangong – road. From there, it is a straight run to the lake.

Accommodation at Pangong Lake can be either in the form of a campsite, Chadar tents, or guesthouses in Spangmik, Man, and Merak villages. Depending on your preference and budget, you can decide where to stay. For more information on this, please read Campsites, Chadar Tents, and Guest Houses at Pangong Lake.

pangong lake

Day 7: Pangong Tso to Pang / Sarchu

From Pangong, now drive back to Tangtse and take the road towards Chang La Pass. Backtrack all the way till Karu again but this time, rather than going towards Leh, turn left towards Manali.

An important thing to note here is the fuel requirement. As you can see, you left Leh and then never went back there. So depending on your bike fuel efficiency, you will have to calculate the total kilometers and carry enough fuel to last the entire journey. For this, take a look at A Complete Road Map of Leh Ladakh to get an idea of the distance and kilometers.

If you do not want to carry all that petrol along, you can buy some at Pangong Lake but it will be in black. You will pay about 50% more than the market price and the quality of the fuel is also not guaranteed. For more details on this, take a look at Fuel Availability in Leh Ladakh – How to Manage.

There is a petrol pump near Karu and then another one a little ahead in Choglamsar. So if you do not want to carry fuel or buy in black from Pangong, you will have to make a short detour after you reach Karu. Go to the petrol pump, get a tankful done, carry a little in spare to last till Tandi, and be on your way.

Depending upon your speed, you can either chose to stay at Pang or Sarchu for the night. If you reached Pang by 3 pm, then continue to Sarchu and halt there for the night. If you reached Pang after 3, then it is best to call it a day there.

Day 8: Pang / Sarchu to Manali

This will again be a long run so you must start by 6 AM. It is the same road that you took a few days back to reach Leh so keep your breaks limited and you will be able to make it to Manali by 5 PM.

Day 9: Manali to Delhi

Nothing much to say about this again except that it is again a long monotonous return journey home.

leh ladakh bike trip from delhi

This will conclude your Leh Ladakh bike trip from Delhi in 9 days. You missed out on a few places but did get a taste of Ladakh and the adventure you wanted. If you can add a couple of more days, the journey can be modified in several ways. Let me share a few examples.

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi in 10 Days

If you can add one more day to the journey, you can modify the trip like this.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Nubra Valley – Day 5
  • Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso – Day 6
  • Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri via Chushul – Day 7
  • Tso Moriri to Pang / Sarchu – Day 8
  • Pang / Sarchu to Manali – Day 9
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 10

With an addition of a day, you are now able to cover Tso Moriri Lake as well. For this, you will take the Chushul route that runs through Changthang Valley. For more details, please take a look at Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri Direct Route Guide.

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi in 11 Days

If you can add one more day to the journey, the itinerary can be changed to the below mentioned. This will actually open a lot more options.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Nubra Valley – Day 5
  • Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso – Day 6
  • Pangong Tso to Hanle – Day 7
  • Hanle to Tso Moriri – Day 8
  • Tso Moriri to Pang / Sarchu – Day 9
  • Pang / Sarchu to Manali – Day 10
  • Manali to Delhi – Day 11

Or like this, if you want to include the Srinagar Leh route as well.

  • Delhi to Manali – Day 1
  • Manali to Jispa – Day 2
  • Jispa to Leh – Day 3
  • Leh – Day 4
  • Leh to Nubra Valley – Day 5
  • Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso – Day 6
  • Pangong Tso to Leh – Day 7
  • Leh to Kargil – Day 8
  • Kargil to Srinagar – Day 9
  • Srinagar to Jammu – Day 10
  • Jammu to Delhi – Day 11

11 Days is the minimum time you need if you want to cover both the Manali Leh and Srinagar Leh routes in your itinerary.

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip Cost

To know how much this trip will cost you in total, please take a look at How to Calculate the Cost of Leh Ladakh Bike Trip.

leh ladakh bike trip from delhi

Leh Ladakh Bike Trip from Delhi – Conclusion

As you can see, the more days you hand, the better your options will be and the scope of modifying the itinerary will keep getting broader. But 9 days is the minimum time needed for this bike trip from Delhi.

I hope the information above on a Leh Ladakh bike trip from Delhi was of help. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the Comments Section below or at our Community Forum, and I will be glad to answer. If you had a different plan in mind than the ones I suggested above, let me know what it is and I can tell you if it’s doable or not.

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3 comments

Suparna Banerjee January 15, 2019 - 9:00 am

Please plan a itinerary for 9 days starts from srinagar and end at delhi for leh-ladakh

Reply
Ravindra pande November 29, 2018 - 11:55 am

Thank you very much…it really helpful for the one who travel for the first time to leh and ladakh….can you pl help me to suggest the places to visit in leh ladakh apart from the names given in Google ….

Reply
Vargis.Khan November 29, 2018 - 2:03 pm Reply

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