Planning Ladakh Trip? This Q&A Session which I had with a couple from the USA who are planning Ladakh Trip on a motorcycle this year could come handy. Read on to plan your trip to Leh Ladakh in India.
1) Both my wife and me are vegetarians? Will there be food options?
Yes, there is plenty of it. Vegetarian, as well as non-vegetarian food, is available in every location in Ladakh.
2) Do we have to carry any food items from here??
No, you don’t need to carry your food. There’s adequate food available in all places in Ladakh
3) Luggage Carrying tips?
Luggage could be carried on the external carrier which are fitted on the bikes traveling to Ladakh especially Royal Enfield Bullet.
4) With a wife as a pillion rider, how to carry the luggage ??
If you are riding a Royal Enfield (Bullet), they have carrier fitted to carry luggage and spare fuel. There are bungee cords available which could be used to tie your luggage. They are easily available in bike repair shops in Karol Bagh, Delhi or even in Manali and Leh. (supposedly if you landing there first)
5) Do we need to buy fuel cans and carry them with us?? What is the best plan for fuel while biking?
The question is where will you start riding? If it’s Delhi, Manali or Srinagar? If it’s Manali you do need to have spare fuel as the petrol pump at Tandi is the last you come across on Leh-Manali Highway and then the next one is in Karu which is 380 Kms away. If it’s Leh and you are planning Leh – Pangong – Tso Moriri or Leh – Nubra – Pangong then again you need to keep spare fuels as these circuits are somewhere around 700-900 Kms. If it’s Srinagar Leh then you need not carry fuel as there are petrol pumps en route where you could have your tank refueled. The trick is to have your tank full every time you see a petrol pump 🙂
6) Any pre-bike repairing training and preparation to be needed??
Just know how to replace brake wire, clutch wire, engine oil, and brake oil. If you could learn to clean air filter then it will be good too as you could have difficulties on high altitude like riding to Khardung La if there’s clogging in air filter due to the low level of oxygen in the air. One of a bike in the group I was traveling faced this problem and it was really difficult to find acceleration on the uphill climb.
7) For Internet and Other access, will carrying a 3G Data Card help? Will there be mobile signals?
Only Airtel, BSNL and MTNL network works in Jammu and Kashmir and that too post-paid connection. You won’t get signals in inner areas like Pangong, Changthang or Hunder but STD booths are available and even internet cafes in some places.
8) Power cables/connectors/Convertors — Indian or Chinese??
Indian of course.
9) What all Medicines to carry? Mosquito repellents?
Mosquito repellents you could carry but from my own experience, mosquitoes are not an issue in Ladakh. Carry general first-aid medicines like Dispirin, Dettol, band-aid etc. For aid in acclimatization, you may carry Diamox which is easily available and could help you if you have AMS problem.
10) Prior physical stamina building preparation both for men and women?
Just need to be healthy. When I last visited I was 5 feet 10 inch tall and 55 kg weight and a smoker 🙂 The trick is not to exert yourself as low level of oxygen could make it difficult to regain your composure. Don’t rush or run on high altitude and walk slowly especially on high altitude mountain passes in Ladakh such as Khardung La.
11) Do we have to register beforehand for any Government Permits while visiting any of these places?
If you are an Indian National, you could apply for inner line permit yourself when you arrive in Leh or you may ask your hotel wallah or agent to do so. If you are not a resident Indian you need a government authorized travel agent to have your permit arranged as it is available only to 4 or more foreigners. The best part is when you do get the permit you need not travel with your agent or those whose name are mentioned in the permit. Get at least 4-5 copies xeroxed as you need to submit a copy at check posts in inner line areas like Pangong, Changthang and Nubra. For Indians permit is valid for 3 weeks and for foreign nationals, the permit is valid for a week. You could always have it renewed if you want to explore more inner line areas. The permit will cost you around Rs.450 if you are an Indian National.
12) Safe stops and places to stay at individual stop-overs? If I understand it right, most of the folks who travel to Leh have quite a similar itinerary.
Yes! You are right. But I have a different idea but not sure if any travel agent will offer these. If you are traveling from or to Kashmir, I’d suggest that you skip Kargil as a stopover as it is both overpriced and overrated. Instead, try Mulbekh. Other places where you could stay are Lamayuru, Alchi, Spangmik (Pangong), Korzok (Tso Moriri), Hunder, Thiksey (Leh), Sarchu, Darcha, Jispa etc. Remember these places are on both Leh-Manali Highway and Leh-Srinagar highway which bikers often take and which I have taken on my road trips to Ladakh in past.
As far as safety is concerned, Ladakh is one of the safest places to travel not just in India but in the world for solo travelers be it a man or a lady.
Now there is an important question that you have missed which is acclimatization which is vital for Ladakh trip. You need at least 2 days of acclimatization in Leh town before embarking to places like Pangong, Changthang or even Nubra Valley.
For more tips on planning Leh Ladakh Trip and packing tips, feel free to visit my article here: Planning Ladakh Trip
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