Challenging terrains, high passes, breathtaking views, and a companion called “bike” are all a biker need when exploring the enthralling valleys of Leh Ladhak. Bikers like me especially believe riding through various turns is a time to unleash the explorer in us and mostly these roads lead to self-discovery. Although India has many offers for passionate bikers, a classic bike ride in Leh Ladhak will surely feed your appetite for adventure and satiate your soul.
Once you leave behind the chaos of cities, Leh valleys will embrace you into a zone of peace, tranquillity, and love. This place has its appeal and everyone navigating through these trails has a unique experience to share. So, keep your expectations high about this exotic beauty and it won’t disappoint you. Here is all you need to know and do before you begin your bike ride in Leh Ladakh.
Table of Contents
Do not try to rush your plan when traveling to Leh Ladakh. You must remember that the terrain is not easy, neither is the journey. But, biking in Leh will be an experience like no other. Because only the person that lives through the journey will understand how tremendous it could be. You will feel like winning a challenge at the end of each day. However, what you will need to do is plan ahead.
Schedule: These places are open up only certain times a year for outsiders. So, ensure you know the exact opening and closing date.
Talk to Experts: People that have made the trip before are usually equipped to make your experience better. Always seek advice from them.
Figure the route: There are many ways to reach there so always plan the route.
Stops and Itinerary: What all would you like to see? Plan your itinerary.
Documentation: Figure out the documentation you will need, and ensure you make copies of them and have them handy.
Start small: These roads may be different terrains than what you are used to. So, take shorter trips on your bike to get acclimatized to mountain terrains.
Pick the right bike: It is preferred to ride the mountains with the Royal Enfield 350 to 500cc. However, you can either borrow any bike you prefer from Ladakh.
Servicing the bike: Your bike is your best friend in this region. So make sure it is ready for the trip and has all the spares it needs.
Get fit: The mountains are not kind to people that do not take care of their bodies. As you go higher the oxygen levels drop and you will need to be fit for it.
Get tested: It’s not important if you just go for long jogs or do 50 push-ups. You should make sure you get medically tested before embarking on this journey.
What to Carry
One of the most important things you must do when you plan a bike ride in general, and especially to Leh Ladakh is to travel light. These travels are challenging and the terrain is not easy. So you must remember, the lighter the weight on your bike the easier it will be to handle it through the mountains.
Important things to carry when traveling to Leh Ladhak:
1. Personal Packing
There are some of the basic things that you will need to carry given the weather conditions in Leh Ladhak can be fairly unpredictable sometimes. Ensure you dress in layers accordingly.
Comfortable but functional clothes (to dress in layers)
Extra woolen socks
Water/Wind/Winter proof jacket
Toiletries and skincare products
High SPF Sunscreen Lotion (30+)
2. Important Documents
You will need important documents if there is any form of checking en route. Make sure you carry the required papers and phone numbers and manual papers just in case your electronics fail you.
ID proof and bike documents (with copies)
Map and emergency phone number list on paper
At these altitudes, batteries tend to drain out faster. So, ensure that you have back up.
Phone & Charger
Torch & extra batteries
Camera & Charger
Powerbank & charger
For the most part, people travel in groups when they go to Leh Ladakh for the bike ride. However, finding help in the area sometimes can be quite a challenge.
Basic bike tools
4. Medical Kit
Get some basic medicine for your trip and any extra medication that has been prescribed for you. Better be safe than sorry.
Medicine to suffice lack of oxygen
Begin the Amazing Bike Ride Experience in Leh Ladakh
A bike ride in Leh Ladakh is one of those things that will stay with you forever. The first thing you do is to fly over the mesmerizing mountains. If you do not fall in love with the sights as you fly towards Leh, there is little else you can do to impress you. The magesticity of the mountains will grab your heart. For me, it surely helped me realize how small we are in front of nature.
On day one, after landing, one has to take the timeout to get acclimatized to the weather. What you need to do is get a sense of how to cope with the weather. However, the first thing that one must do is watch the beautiful sunset from Leh. It is something that will certainly mesmerize you. If you are up to it you must take a look at the Shanti Stupa.
The next day a must-see is the Zanskar Indus River. You must ride down to see the magnificent river. The bike ride in Leh Ladhak does not fall short to be mesmerizing. But visiting Zanskar and watching the river flow is something that you must experience to know what the universe is all about. Head to the Magnetic Hill after. True to its name, this hill is Magnetic. It is believed to take vehicles sliding uphill on neutral gear.
Travel to SELCOM will be a lifetime experience. It is an eco-friendly school that is worth the time you take to visit it. Founded in 1988, it is a school that focuses on the environment and healthy living. If you love to trek, then don’t miss Markha Valley Trek in Ladhak. It’s a 111 km stretch and 3500 steep height. You will come back feeling proud for completing the Markha Valley Trek.
Host to one of the World’s Highest River rafting points, in Leh Ladakh, you should take the time to go river rafting if you take a bike ride in Leh Ladakh. The Khardungla Pass that leads to the Nebra Valley is considered the highest motorable road in the world all year through. This bike ride is breathtaking and showcases all its wonders and beauty. The journey itself will give you a sense of the mountains are so magnificent, and we as humans are so small in front of nature. While in Leh Ladhak, the Pangong lake is certainly a place that you must visit. Sit there, take a break, take a sip of a warm drink and know for sure that you have finally arrived.
When on a bike ride to Leh Ladakh something that you must try is the butter tea or called “gur-gur chai” locally. It is perfect for the cold and mouth smackingly good at those altitudes. Do not forget to try some of their famous Thupka. They serve up both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Momos, again a famous dish, is a must-have when in Leh Ladhak. The humble Maggi in these heights does not fail you in flavour and comfort.
There are of course a lot of places to shop as you ride through Leh Ladhak, so do carry extra bags to bring back stuff from there. One sure thing you will want to bring back is their Apricot Jam. It is one of the most popularly grown fruits in the region and they take pride in the Jams they make.
Some other things to taste are certainly their form of Stew called Skyu, Khambir (their bread), and more. When travelling in Leh Ladakh, do experience their local cuisine. This place mostly focuses on hot brews, soups and breads that help to keep the body warm. The localities are extremely friendly and can give you a local experience if you want to. Ladakhi cook uses several dry fruits and locally grown spices to make their food really flavourful and aromatic.
Finally, however you choose to travel to Leh Ladakh, one thing you must remember is the journey, the destination and the experience are all combined into one. It is one of those places in our country that you go not just to see places, but have different experiences with everywhere you go and anything you see. A bike ride to Leh Ladakh is not just a bike ride to a destination, it is a journey that promises to change your life. You will leave the place wanting to come back, and wanting the experience more.
FAQ- Bike Ride in Leh Ladakh
– Is the road condition good in Leh-Ladakh for a bike trip? Since Leh-Ladakh is in the snowy territory, the roads become untraversable during the winter season due to heavy snowfall. In the summer season, the roads are perfect for a bike ride in Leh-Ladakh.
– How many days are needed for a Leh Ladakh bike trip? A bike ride in Leh-Ladakh is usually a one-week affair, depending on how much ground you want to cover and how you plan your time.
– What are the essential things that one should carry while going on a bike trip in Leh-Ladakh? Since a bike ride in Leh-Ladakh is a long haul, please plan ahead and carry supplies. Some essentials are a first aid kit, power banks for your phone, necessary documentation, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.
– How safe is Leh Ladakh for a bike trip? Bike rides in Leh-Ladakh are famous because they’re among the highest motorable roads anywhere in the world. If you stay on the road and keep your wits about you, you should be perfectly fine.
– Which is the best month for a bike ride in Leh Ladakh? Try to plan your bike ride in Leh-Ladakh around the summer season, where snow isn’t a major issue. Ideally, you want to visit Leh-Ladakh around May-June.
– What is the estimated cost for a bike ride in Leh Ladakh? Depending on the package you pick, a bike ride in Leh Ladakh will usually cost you around ₹10,000 when factoring in all the expenses such as fuel, permits and lodging.
– Which bike is the best for a Leh Ladakh trip? Most modern motorcycles with a decent cc specification can make the climb on the bike ride in Leh Ladakh. However, for the best experience, go with a muscle motorcycle, such as Royal Enfield Thunderbird or Bajaj Avenger.
Gulshan Bafna is one of the luxury travelers in India. He, along with his wife, has traveled to many exotic places that one could dream. With their travel journey, they bring us the best face of those places. He compiles all of his travel journeys to give the taste of traveling to his readers. In his writing, he jots down the best things to do in all those places that he has visited. Reading these would help one know better about the place. He is also a seeker who loves exploring and discovering new places and share his experiences with everyone.