How & Where to Rent a Bike for Ladakh Trip

by Vargis.Khan

When it comes to renting motorcycle for a Ladakh trip, it is definitely not an easy affair. A lots of things needs to be considered like which motorcycle to rent, where to rent it from, what to keep in mind before renting, where can you use the rented motorcycle etc. In this article, I will highlight a few quick points that you should take care of before you rent a bike for Ladakh trip.

rent a bike for ladakh

Rent a Bike for Ladakh

Where can I rent a bike for Ladakh?

It actually depends on your personal preference and where you are traveling from but the most popular or common places are either Manali or Srinagar.  Manali has way more and better options than Srinagar in this aspect and it is not a big deal to find a motorcycle on rent here. Take a look at the articles below providing more details on renting a motorcycle in either Manali or Srinagar with contact details of a few agencies.  Details like the price range, available motorcycles are covered in these articles.

Also read: How to rent a motorcycle in Manali

Also read: How to rent a motorcycle in Srinagar

Can I rent a motorcycle in Leh?

Yes you definitely can and even in Leh, options are in plenty. The entire town is filled with mechanics or travel agents offering all kinds of motorcycles on Leh for local sightseeing. Depending on which motorcycle you chose, expect the rent to be anywhere from Rs. 800 to Rs. 2000 per day. Visit the links below for further details on renting a motorcycle in Leh and renting costs. I would advise against booking in advance before when it comes to motorcycle, you must first check in person the condition of motorcycle and then only close the deal.

Also read: How to rent a motorcycle in Leh

Also read: Ladakh motorcycle rental rates

Which is the best Bike for Ladakh trip?

There is no best bike as such for taking to Ladakh. Agreed that some motorcycles are better and have advantage over others, in the end it all depends on how well you have maintained it. You can take even a 100CC motorcycle to Ladakh provided that you have gotten it serviced, have not abused it, and the motorcycle is not way too old. If you are riding with a pillion, prefer taking a motorcycle with large engine like Royal Enfield so that the ride remains smooth even at those steep ascents. If you are taking a smaller engine bike, like 100 CC or 135 CC, ride solo. You also need to consider in the fact that it is not just you and your pillion but also the luggage; all of  which a 100CC bike may not be able to handle at rough patches.

Also read: Which is the best bike for Ladakh trip?

Can I use a non-local motorcycle in Ladakh?

This is one of the most important factors you need to consider. Any motorcycle that was rented outside Ladakh, like from Manali or Srinagar, is only good enough to take you to Leh.

It cannot be used to visit nearby areas like Tso Moriri, Pangong or Nubra Valley. For this purpose, you must rent another motorcycle from Leh, a locally registered one. I strongly suggest that you do not take any chances and leave your non-local motorcycle at the hotel in Leh. You may be stopped at the barricades put up by the locals and if they find you riding a motorcycle registered outside Ladakh, you may get sent back to Leh. Worse, they may even damage that motorcycle. There is however no concern on riding these motorcycles on the two highways leading to Leh but once you reach there, you must leave it parked at the hotel.

Is there a minimum or maximum rental period?

It depends on the renter but some of them do have a 7 day minimum criteria.

Is there a security deposit involved while renting a motorcycle for Ladakh?

Yes there is. Expect the deposit to be anywhere between Rs. 15000 to Rs. 30000 depending on which motorbike you are renting and where you are renting it from. This amount is refundable at the time when you return the motorcycle with no damage.

What to check before renting a motorcycle for Ladakh?

I am not a mechanic myself but I will still list a few things. Check the condition of the chain set and ensure it is not worn out. If the motorcycle is electric start, try bringing it to life a couple of times and ensure that it doesn’t cough or give trouble when you press the start switch. If it is kick start, ensure that there is no starting problem and the motorcycle is a single or at most two kicks start. Check the condition of the tires if they are worn out. Sit down on the motorcycle to check that the seats are comfortable enough. Do a thorough inspection of the motorcycle for any oil leakage, either from engine or front shock absorbers. Check that the headlamp is bright enough and get it replaced if it is not. Also check the tail light and that both the indicators are in working condition.

Do I need a high powered motorcycle only?

It depends. If you are riding with a pillion, have a lot of luggage and are planning to cover some long stretches then it is better to go for a high powered engine. If you are just one person then you can rent a smaller engine bike as well like a 150 CC Pulsar for example. If your motorcycle is comparatively new, is very well maintained then you can take even a 100 CC motorcycle. If you are however doing so, then please ensure that you do not over do things. Riding a 100 or 125 CC motorcycle would mean that you will have to ride very carefully. If the motorcycle starts to cough at a certain ascent and refuses to go any further, do not try to push it too hard or ride in half clutch. Get down for a short distance and walk while accelerating slowly. At water crossings, stop, get down, inspect the crossing and cross through a spot that doesn’t seem too deep or doesn’t have too much of slush or stones where the bike may get stuck. If the motorcycle gets stuck, do not accelerate too much trying to take it out. Rather, get down and push the motorcycle out.

Can I do a Ladakh bike trip with pillion rider?

A lot of people do it and yes you certainly can.  There are however several things that comes into consideration. As I mentioned above, when you ride with a pillion, you must consider in the fact that it is not just you but also luggage of two people. If you are planning to ride with a pillion, chose your motorcycle carefully. If you have a Royal Enfield then nothing like it. It is easier with Enfield when it comes to a comfortable ride and roping all that luggage around on it. If not however an Enfield, then at least have a 150 CC motorcycle, under that and you should ride solo. Even with a high powered motorcycle, you must make sure that it is well maintained and well serviced. You should be 100% sure that the motorcycle is not problematic and not at a risk of a breakdown in middle of nowhere. The most important thing however is your own riding skills. The motorcycle can be good but can you manage it well enough with a pillion and luggage on such challenging roads? Only ride with a pillion if you are 100% sure about it. Do not carry unnecessary luggage and ride as light as you can.

I hope this information on how to rent a bike for Ladakh trip was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer.


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Kiran March 8, 2020 - 9:11 pm

Hi vargis,I am planning to visit leh in July 1st week from Delhi-srinagar-leh-manali-delhi so kindly guide me how I have to do the plan and I have to come by rental bike only kindly suggest me the right way for plan

Srinivasan Ganesh March 8, 2018 - 7:26 pm

Hi vargis ji

I have a few doubts about renting bike in Leh
I plan to reach leh in flight and roam leh for 4 to 5 days using a leh rented bike ie. JK10
after leh i would like to move to manali . Can i move with the same JK10 registered vehicle to manali or I have to get a HP registered bike to manali
I know that taking a JK10 bike to Manali i have to give an extra 10K for transporting back to leh
As my leave period is only 10 days and on a budget trip
What is the best possible way should i take ??????

If i reach manali and start to leh then i have to keep the HP registered bike in leh ideal for 4 to 5 days (7200rs) and pay the rent and also leh rent is added to manali rental bike?

What would be the best option for budget trip???
I am leaving from chennai on june 6 and i have to return on 20th

Thanks in advance
sorry for the long post
srinivasan G

Vargis.Khan March 8, 2018 - 7:53 pm

Srinivasan Ji – Best way to avoid this additional cost is to land in Leh, rent a bike to roam around locally, hand it over in Leh itself and then catch a bus from Leh to Manali. The bus will take you to Manali in a 2 days journey with a night halt at Keylong.

Vargis.Khan March 8, 2018 - 7:57 pm

Then your itinerary will be like this,

June 8 – Leh arrival flight and rest. Arrange permits and motorcycle.
June 9 – Leh – nubra
June 10 – Nubra to pangong via Shyok road
June 11- pangong to hanle
June 12 – Hanle unmingla hanle
June 12 – Hanle to Karzok
June 13 – Karzok to Leh – Return the motorcycle
June 14 – Leh to sarchu / Keylong by Bus – If no bus available then catch a shared cab.
June 15 – sarchu / Keylong to manali
June 16 – manali rest and evening to delhi

Two problems with this plan,

1. Shyok road may not open so early in the season. If it is closed then you will have no choice but to return to Leh from Nubra and go to Pangong the next day
2. The Leh Manali bus service usually starts after 15th so you should be able to board a bus. If not available, you will have to look for a shared cab.

On a general basis, keep at least 1 day as buffer in your plan for any unseen circumstances. If all goes as planned, then use this day to either rest in Leh or Manali in the end before returning home.

Srinivasan Ganesh March 8, 2018 - 8:25 pm

I to think the above itinerary will be best one.
1. Regarding shylok road hope it will be open. Last year i travelled on it on 19-5-2017 to pangong via
shylok. hoping this year too i can travel
2. Yes i will keep buffer days and will mostly book a taxi. 3 of my friends are accompanying me.
what would be taxi charges for 4 people ??? approzimate one
3. I will book the flight tickets soon such that price does not shoot up more.

As always thanks for helping me like last year.I hope this year too i can visit leh
srinivasan G

Vargis.Khan March 8, 2018 - 8:39 pm

I think the Shyok road will be open. They did a lot of work on it last year and improved the road conditions. For private taxi, contact Sonam Angdus in Leh at 09469272773. Give him my reference and he will take good care of you.

DO let me know how your trip went. Since you are traveling early in the season, let me how the road conditions were to help others. I will not be traveling to Ladakh until early October this year so your inputs will be of help to other travelers.

shaadismart August 30, 2017 - 8:02 am

Thanks for the tips, i took the 10 bikes on rent from Kashmir biker for one tour, they have choices of bikes on affordable price. you can visit them if you want to know more.

Vargis.Khan August 31, 2017 - 2:52 pm

Thanks for sharing the feedback.

Mohan July 30, 2017 - 6:51 am

I’m planning on a bike trip during Aug 2nd half, But the bike i am taking is my friend’s bike which is registered in his name. Should this be a problem? Should i carry any documents apart from (RC copy, Insurance) to have my trip Hassle free? Please advice.

Vargis.Khan August 1, 2017 - 5:24 pm

Yes this could be a problem. Over there they only allow bikes registered in your sibling’s or parent’s name. They may stop and send you back to Leh and then you will have no choice but to rent another bike there.

sg g May 14, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Reg: Using Non-local motorcycle in Ladakh…

This is not the law, but I guess some Ladhaki union wants to earn revenue for its local businesses.

Is there a way we can sneak past these folks? Like if we exit Leh very early in the morning, say by 7:00am?

Also is it safe to assume that we can escape these people once you are past outskirts of Leh?

Vargis.Khan May 14, 2017 - 3:07 pm

You are right, there is no rule or law such, just their own self devised restriction.

Regarding sneaking past, the problem is not in Leh but in other areas like Nubra Valley or Pangong or the villages on the route. It is a risk but I would advise against taking it. Where are you renting motorcycles from?

sg g May 15, 2017 - 8:36 am

I’m renting from Delhi; I’ve not not finalized the renter yet. The thing is this “non-local plates” issue has put many hurdles in my way –
1.) Now I need to find a renter who will exclude the days I’m forced to park that motor cycle in Leh (while I do my Nubra – Pangong – Tso Moriri excursions);
or, a renter who has motor cycles with Leh plates;
or, a renter who’ll let me pick up at Delhi and drop off at Leh, and later vice versa, at no extra cost.
Another thing is the motorcycles available for rent at Leh are not going to be good for sure… and it is for riding there we need the reliability factor the most…
2.) Also, now I have to go back to Leh to drop off the motorcycle I rent from there. The plan, so far, has been to get out of Leh, go to Nubra, directly to Pangong, directly to Tso Moriri and back to Delhi via Manali.
3.) Extra day and extra rental cost.
4.) A place to park – some hotel who will hold my Delhi motorcycle securely until I return from my explorations

It is a problem for budget travelers like me… not sure what to do. I might as well take the risk of continuing on the Delhi registered motorcycles.

Vargis.Khan May 17, 2017 - 8:44 pm

You have a very valid point. It is indeed a big pain in all the wrong places for a budget traveler. They have been using this non-local point forcing people to rent from them. It is risk for sure and you may as well just get through without any problem at all since it is hard to identify a rented motorcycle as compared to a car because of the yellow number plate. If someone stops you on the way however, they will send you back to Leh and won’t allow to proceed any further. Just keep a cool head, do not get into an argument, say that you did not know about any such rule. Just do not confront or they will break the motorcycle.

AC May 20, 2017 - 5:53 am

Hi Vargis,

Picking up on the same concerns as SG G here, is there any rental you know of that operates in both delhi and leh or that would let us pick a bike in delhi and drop off at leh and vice versa? We’ll be travelling on a budget and the extra bucks wasted on the bike just parked all the days we’ll be in leh is a big concern.

Vargis.Khan May 22, 2017 - 1:52 am

Hi AC – The extra money you will pay for bike parked will be actually lesser if you pick motorcycle from Delhi and drop from Leh. First of all, I do not think that is even possible. Some of the rental agencies in Manali and Srinagar provide this service but Delhi is a bit too far for that. Second, even if you find a company who agrees to you leaving the bikes at Leh, it won’t be for free. Charges for renting a motorcycle in Srinagar / Manali and leaving at Leh or vice versa are Rs. 15,000 and above (apart from all the other rental charges). You can imagine how much someone from Delhi will charge you extra for this.

sg g May 22, 2017 - 8:30 am

Hi Vargis,

How are these Ladhaki Union folks going to identify that my motor cycle is actually a rented one rather than a privately owned one? Are they going to check my papers?

Or, are they going by registration plate color scheme?
Usually, vehicles available on rent for self-drive have yellow lettering on a black background; while private car and two wheeler owners have black lettering on a white background.

Vargis.Khan May 22, 2017 - 8:57 pm

Hi SG – Yes, they go by the number plate. If they see a Yellow number plate with registration outside of Ladakh, it will be immediately stopped.

Vivek Parikh April 8, 2017 - 7:34 am

Hi Vargis,

Here is a tentative itinerary which I am planning for Ladakh in Sep’17 end (Again based on your blog on guys who directly fly…Guilty..LOL)

Day1- Fly Mum to Leh…Rest..Acclimatise…May be venture out in the evening…
Day 2- Local sight seeing minus the monasteries
Day 3- Leh to Nubra (want to visit Turtuk for its history)…May be stay there if interesting or at Diskit/Hunder ….CAN USE YOUR EXPERTISE HERE
Day 4 – Undecided whether to explore more of Nubra /soak in the valley or to proceed towards Pangong Tso directly based on the conditions of the routes
Day 5/6- From Pangong Tso to Leh (keen on directly Pangong to Tso Moriri but anyway would take 2 nights…AGAIN YOUR EXPERIENCE REQD HERE)
Day 7- From Tso Moriri to Leh
Day 8- Buffer or Just chill out in Leh
Day 9- Fly back to Mum

Surely bro I would be more than interested if there is a tried and tested source for the outing.

Do they have provision of sharing a cab with other travellers…As we are 2 of us…

Also I wanna explore Sham Valley if possible…Is it doable in a day ? I am not a monastery person apart from the fact that it gives panoramic view of the place 😉

I know I am asking too many questions but here’s a last one…Is it more sensible to book everything once I reach there (accommodation and transport) vis a vis advance booking to save a few bucks as Sept end would be a shoulder season and availability of inventory would not be an issue?

Thanks in advance.


Vargis.Khan April 9, 2017 - 1:43 am

Hi Vivek,

Nothing bad with fly directly bro .. Mumbai is a bit to far from Leh. Though I do wish you had a chance to experience the Manali Leh and Srinagar Leh highway.

Day 3 – By all means stay at Turtuk, you won’t regret it.
Day 4 – Best would be to make a decision while you are there. If you decide to do so, then this time take a drive on the other side of Nubra, until Warshi and stay at Panamik.
Day 5 – If you manage to get permits, take the Chushul route for this journey. Stay at Hanle from Pangong and then go to Moriri the next day.

Yes, Sham Valley is doable in a day and highly recommended. You should do it. Tons of places to see like Magnetic hill, gurudwara patthar sahib, indus zanskar confluence on the way.

I am not too sure about the sharing part. I can give you the number, talk to him and see if he is able to arrange.

For cab, I would say book in advance. For accommodation, strike a deal once you are there. Lot of hotels in Leh so you will have no difficulty in finding one.

Number of the driver is Sonam Angdus, 9469272773. I just dropped him a text that you would be calling.

Vivek Parikh April 7, 2017 - 9:37 am

Hi Vargis bro, A huge fan of your blogs. It is more than commendable what you doing to help out tourists/travellers plan trips in Ladakh/ Spiti as ground information is very limited and one almost always have to rely on travel agents. But with your blogs it becomes absolutely a cakewalk for ppl like me who like plan their travel on their own. Example of that being I planned my Spiti’16 trip entirely based on your blogs. Thanks a ton.

I would appreciate if you enlighten travellers like me with local cab/taxi hire from Leh to Pangong/Tsomoriri/Nubra for upon arrival by flight with estimated costs/authenticity/right price to be paid for the route.

Thanks again.


Vargis.Khan April 8, 2017 - 5:11 am

Hello Vivek – Thank you so much for your kind words brother, I truly appreciate it. Glad I could help.

Private taxi charge are way too high in Pangong. A 2 days journey from Leh to Pangong and back would cost anywhere between Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 14,000. What is your itinerary? Are you planning to go to Pangong, then straight to Tso Moriri? Or are you planning Leh-Nubra-Pangong-Moriri? Let me know and I can give a cost estimate.

If you are interested, I can give you the contact details of the driver I know in Ladakh. He is a pretty good fellow, amazing driver and hell of a guide. Talk to him and see if you are able to workout a deal. Let him know you are a friend of mine and he may give some discount as well. Let me know.


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