A Suggested Itinerary for Bike Trip from Manali to Leh

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding trip to Ladakh by road: 15 Days bike trip from Manali to Leh and Back to Manali via Srinagar on Motorcycle.

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Mentioned below are answers to some questions which were asked by a tourist planning Ladakh Trip in June this year. These are very pertinent questions and answers could help anyone planning a trip to Ladakh on the motorcycle. Questions in bold are followed by my answers. And if you are looking for a pre-packaged motorcycle trip to Ladakh check out this tastefully tailored Ladakh by motorcycle tour package.

21st June: Land in Delhi. Catch the bus to Manali

22nd June: Land in Manali. Stay one day for acclimatization. Collect the bike and check.

You don’t need acclimatization in Manali but 1 day will be fine for sightseeing.

23rd June: Start for Leh (Will I reach Leh in 1 day or a Stopover is reqd ?)

Stopover is required before you reach Leh. Ideally, you should stop at either Jispa (3142 m, 6-hour ride) or Darcha but even Sarchu will do where most of the bikers stay over for the night.

24th June: Acclimatize, collect inner line permit, evening Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Sankar Gompa

Stay at the hotel or do some strolling in the market. Won’t be possible to apply and collect inner line permit as the DC office would not accept them after 4 PM

25th June: Magnetic Hill, Nimmoo where the Indus meets Zanskar, Alchi, hall of fame, 1 monastery

Apply for a permit today and you may go to Nimoo provided you start early and get your inner line permits in time. My advice is to reach the DC office in Leh by 9:30 A.M. to avoid the rush. You could do Thiksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery, and Shey Monastery today.

26th June: 1 -2 monasteries (Pls suggest). Start to Nubra via Khardung-La. See sand dunes, diskit, hunder, stay at hunder overnight (Need suggestions : Tents, Home Stays)

Conquer Khardung La on your way to Nubra Valley which according to the BRO signboards is the highest motorable pass in the world. Go to Nubra and stay at Hunder, next day you can do Camel Ride in sand dunes. Go for homestays for accommodation as they are comfortable and warm and cost you so less.

27th June: Return back to Leh via Panamic valley, Panamic sulphur springs.

Today you may do Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace when you are returning to Leh via Khardung La. Shanti Stupa is an awesome place and a must visit in Leh. It’s a Japanese Pagoda enshrined by His Holiness Dalai Lama.

28th June: Visit Pangong Tso Lake / Tso Kar en route Chang La (Is night stay required? Recommended places – Spangmik )

Spangmik is great for a night stay when you travel to Pangong Tso Lake. If you go for homestay you won’t get running hot water or attached toilet but I do believe that you can do without a day’s bath 🙂 Homestay would cost you between INR 500 to 700 and they are quite warm. I myself found it very comfortable.

Night stay is a must if you really want to enjoy your visit to Pangong Tso. Give a miss to Tso Kar or else do the Tso Moriri – Changthang and Tso Kar route instead.

29th June: Return back (any recommended routes?). Stay in Leh. Any local site seeing

Go for Shanti Stupa if you haven’t already. Do some shopping in Tibetan Markets. The way back is through Chang La itself as the other route (Changthang – Tso Moriri) will require that you carry extra petrol as in 20-30 litres.

30th June: Start to Jammu/ Srinagar. Any stop points??

There are so many. I would suggest that you do Magnetic Hills on this day instead of 25th. Also, stop at Lamayuru and if you have time then do visit the Lamayuru monastery there. It’s one of the best in the region. I’d also suggest that you spend the night at Uleytokpo and do some monasteries en route which include Basgo, Likir, and Alchi. You could combine this with Magnetic Hills and the confluence of Indus and Zanskar at Nimoo.

July 1st: Need guidance for these two days?? (Touch Vaishno Devi or Amritsar or Wagah Border and reach Manali) . Or any other recommended route?

July 2nd :

Don’t go to Amritsar as that would be too hectic. BTW you’ll need to stopover for the night before you reach Srinagar. Most people stay at Kargil. I’d suggest that you too spend the night there. Next day start early and visit Drass War Memorial. If you are early you might avoid the massive traffic jams that usually happen on Zoji La (Pass) before reaching Baltal. Also, spend some time in Sonamarg. It’s a great sight after the barren landscape of Ladakh region. Stay one more day in Srinagar and do some sightseeing and shikara ride before heading to Manali.

But if you are not tired then try to reach Patnitop and stay there for the night before heading towards Manali.

Or you may try returning backwards from Uleytokpo and retrace Leh – Sarchu – Jispa – Manali route.

3rd July : Back to Manali. Night bus to Delhi

4th July : Flight back from Delhi

So what we are looking at now is:

Day 1 Manali (My advice would be that you take accommodation in Vasisht)

Day 2 Manali

Day 3: Jispa

Day 4: Leh

Day 5: Leh (Inner line permits + Thiksey, Hemis and Shey monasteries)

Day 6: Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley (Night stay in Hunder)

Day 7: Hunder – Panamik – Khardung – Leh

Day 8: Leh – Chang La – Pangong Tso (Or Leh – Upshi – Tso Moriri)

Day 9: Leh (Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace)

Day 10: Leh – Magnetic Hills – Nimoo – Uleytokpo

Day 11: Ulleytokpo – Kargil (Or Mulbekh which I’d personally prefer over Kargil which is overpriced and over rated)

Day 12: Srinagar

Day 13: Manali

Day 14: Delhi (Fly back home)

Suggested Read: Comprehensive Guide for Ladakh Bike Trip 2019