Leh Ladakh is one of the dream destinations for all the bike enthusiasts out there. It’ll be a crime for thrill lovers to not take a bike trip in Ladakh! Despite its hazardous weather change it never loses its status of being on everyone’s bucket list. These are some of the information you must keep in mind while planning a road trip to Ladakh to have a tension-free and fun journey.
Best time to travel
The roads to Leh are only open for about 6 months a year for the tourists on both routes. So the months from June to September should be a safe time to travel. Again July and August being monsoons could get a little tricky on the passes. So basically June and September are the best months to travel by bike but you can always be a little adventurous in the monsoon months if you’re prepared.
There are two major routes to reach Leh: Jammu > Srinagar >Leh highway and Manali > Leh highway. Both routes are extremely spectacular and you can opt for one route while going there and the other while returning. You can choose the Srinagar highway while coming back as the ascent to higher altitudes is more gradual in the former route and acclimatizing yourself to the altitude will be easier in this way.
Don’t forget to pack essential medicines
Touring to Leh Ladakh bike trip takes a real toll on health, ‘altitude sickness’ or ‘acute mountain sickness (AMS) are normal, but taking proper care might help. Different people have different immunity levels towards heights. Some people are harshly affected and some are just mildly affected. A mild case of AMS just feels like a minor hangover. You should consult a doctor beforehand and get the medication with you on the journey.
Avoid overconsumption of alcohol
Alcohol causes dehydration and can be the reason for falling sick in between your road trip. And eventually can become an obstacle on your trip. Always remember your limits and try not to reach there. Partying at the campsite is fun but don’t cross your limit. A bike trip to Leh Ladakh can be physically exhausting, so if you want a healthy trip just be within your limits.
Inner Line Permits/Protected Area Permits in Leh
Indian citizens require Inner Line Permits (ILP) and foreign citizens require Protected Area Permits (PAP) to travel to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri lake etc. You can discover a lot of tour guides in Leh who can arrange this for you or you could also just head to the DC office in Leh and get the permits yourself. This may turn out to be a lot cheaper if you do it yourself.
Must pack a tool kit and spare parts for your bike
Though you’ll be provided with a well-maintained bike. Still if possible you should learn some basic skills about fixing your bike. Also carry extra clutch cables, accelerator cables, fuses, tubes, a puncture kit, air pump etc. along with you. From Jammu to Srinagar to Leh you will still find technicians on the way but they will need the parts which they might not have. So ask your local mechanic for some tips and tricks to fix the common problems in your bike.
Carry your necessities only
Packing fewer clothes is one of the most important things to do. Because the weather doesn’t allow for much fashion so it’s better to choose comfortable and warm clothes and you’ll need the extra space to pack essential things like a sleeping bag, maybe a tent and some emergency food items. You should also carry some extra fuel in some stretches. As there are vast stretches with no people around so expecting a petrol pump might be a little optimistic. It’s not uncommon to find that you have covered some 300 to 400 km without a petrol pump in sight. The Jammu to Leh highway is alright. After Srinagar, the frequency of petrol pumps will reduce but then you will have one in say every 150 to 200 km. The Leh Ladakh tour by bike needs more safeguards than a normal journey.
Keep some days extra in your itinerary
Things may not go accordingly as scheduled on your trip, your itinerary can be upset for a couple of reasons like uncertain closure of roads because of bad weather conditions, or your bike might stop working, Manali to Leh bike trip can be extra time consuming as well.