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iXiGOers Feb 07 2013

What is a good itinerary for a mountain bike / motorcycle trip from Delhi to Leh-Manali?

Aloke Bajpai Feb 22 2013
12 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Traveling to Ladakh on motorbike is a dream of every biker. Check out the itinerary for the Delhi to Leh motorcycle trip via Manali.



Photo of a Royal Enfield in Leh (by Prabhu B Doss)



Route:
Delhi-Manali-Jispa-Sarchu-Tso Kar-Tso Moriri-Leh



Photo of a biking Leh trip route at the back of a tee (by Mudigal)


Good To Know:

1.
Best time to go: Mid-May to Mid-October (do check more immediate weather in leh before you leave)


2.
Budget for 12-14 days: INR 30,000 to 60,000 (depending on choice of food or accommodation) for the entire trip.


3.
It is better to start your trip from Manali. So reach Manali early by bus or taxi.

4. It is best to hire the motorcycle directly in Manali. If you want to rent from Delhi, RideIndia is a good listing site for such motorcycles on hire.


5. Royal Enfield Machismo 500 cc is the recommended beast for this trip



Photo of a Royal Enfield (by Neelzito)


6.
Much of the itinerary is high-altitude. Some nights will be spent above 10,000 feet. It is important to be physically fit and consult a doctor before commencing this trip.


7.
The Leh-Manali highway consists of generally bad stretches of roads, snow crossings, water crossings due to glacial melts and occasional landslides. It transverses high passes at over 5,000 metres. Travel time is unpredictable due to uncertainties of weather that can turn inclement any time and play spoilsport.



Enough said about the preparation. It's time to talk about the itinerary for the Delhi to Leh trip via Manali.


Day 1: Delhi to Manali


Best is to reach Kullu airport by a flight from Delhi to Kullu but since flights are very unpredictable and many a times airlines stop plying on this route, it is best to take a private taxi from Kullu to Manali. Many tourists still take a bus or taxi from Delhi early morning. You'll be at 6700+ ft altitude already. Your acclimatisation begins ! The night break can be at one of the accommodation options in Manali.



Photo of Manali (by Munish Chandel)


Day 2: Manali to Jispa


Start an early morning ride on the world's highest road - the Manali-Leh highway. Just out of Manali the spectacular climb the 13051 feet high Rohtang Pass starts. After 52 km of continuous ascent amidst lush green mountains and roadside waterfalls, you will reach Rohtang Pass.



Photo of Rohtang Pass (by Saad Furuque)


After Rohtang, the road descends into the Chandra valley, passing through Khoksar and on to Tandi, where the Chandra and Bagha rivers meet. Tandi is the only place on the Manali-Leh highway that has a petrol pump. Do not forget to fill up your tank and reserve containers at Tandi since the next one is after 365 Km. About 32 kms from Tandi is Jispa where you end the day's ride at a hotel.



Photo of Jispa (by Motographer)


Day 3: Jispa to Sarchu


The rugged part of the trip begins now, with bad roads, rivers, freezing temperatures, small mountain lakes and breathtaking landscapes. To reach Sarchu, you will cross your second high altitude pass - Baralacha-la the originating point of Chandra,Bhaga and Yunam rivers - at 16,500 feet with unique landscapes all around you.



Photo of Baralacha-La (by Henrik J)


The whole Manali-Leh highway experience is about riding up and down from one pass to another. After the descent from Bara Lacha La Pass (4830 mtrs), one arrives in the plains of Sarchu. Since Sarchu is snowbound for most of the year, there are no permanent structures here, so you stay in Swiss tents with attached toilets or camp out in the open under the stars.



Photo of Sarchu (by Prabhu B Doss)


Day 4: Sarchu to Tso Kar Lake


The most awesome part of the trip on the Manali-Leh highway begins right after Sarchu, in the Jammu and Kashmir state. The Gata Loops - a succession of 21 hair pin bends - will lift you 1,500 feet higher and thereafter, the Lachlung-la (16,616 feet) and Nakee-la (15,547 feet) passes will lead you to More Plains, a 26 mile (42 km) extension of the Changthang plateau.



Photo of Lachlung-La (by Rongpuk)


At More Plains, you cut across to a dirt and sandy track on your right leading you to the Tso Kar lake. Tso Kar has both a fresh water and a brackish lake, several natural springs and streams. Apart from its sheer beauty, Tso Kar is known for the Indian and Tibetan nomads who live here in the winter months. Camp out in the night.



Photo of Tso Kar Lake (by Gerth Michael)


Day 5: Tso Kar Lake to Tso Moriri Lake


Tso Kar lake to Tso Moriri lake is a 60 Km ride that will test your idea of space and time, and leave you completely out of words to describe what you will see. Not one or two but three pristine lakes, two high altitude passes, Namshang-la (16,500 feet) and Pologonka-la (16,300 feet) combined with sand and stone tracks force you to stop every once in a while to either photograph or to just stand there, unfold your arms and absorb the unbelievable scenery you behold.



Photo of Tso Moriri Lake (by Jochen Westerman)


Day 6: Tso Moriri Lake to Leh


Korzok Village, on the banks of Tsomoriri lake, is home to the largest clan of nomadic buddhist tribes in the Ladakh region. The Changpa nomads live in Yak-wool tents and make a living out of rearing sheep and goat. Their yak-milk tea is worth tasting and you should definitely visit one of the Changpa campsites to get a first hand experience on how these amazing human beings have been living in perfect harmony with nature for centuries. After spending time at the nomadic campsite, you can ride alongside the majestic Indus river to Leh.



Photo of Korzek Village (by The Nikon Guy)


Day 7: Leh

Check out the 1 day itinerary tour of Leh for a great stay in Leh. Omasi La and The Grand Dragon are one of the best places to stay in Leh.



Photo of Thiksey Monastery (by Shrikanth Hegde)


The bike trip to Ladakh should definitely be the one in your travel bucket list and an itinerary for the Delhi to Leh motorcycle trip via Manali will make it extremely doable and hassle free. The Ixigo Road Trips App is a very helpful app to download on your phone. It will let you know about the nearest fuel station, ATM and dhabas on your route. For hotel accommodations along the way, check out ixigo app-hotels flights restaurants.

The journey becomes better if you complete your journey back from Leh - Kargil - Drass - Sonmarg - Srinagar - Jammu - Chandigarh - Delhi
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