Ladakh - the destination known for its serene beauty and remoteness works as a magnet for mountain biking lovers. Thus, self-driving to Leh is the best thing for adventure-hungry tourists. However, self-driving to Ladakh is best done by the heavy engine and CC bikes because of the torque power they produce compared to less powerful engine bikes, including 110 CC, 120 CC, and 150 CC. The advent of 250 CC bikes and 350 CC bikes comes as a rescue for biking enthusiasts but with greater torque power comes less mileage in bikes - particularly in hilly terrain like Ladakh. So the question arises:
What to do?
- Shall I voyage across Ladakh on a bike?
- If yes, then how?
- What will be the fuel mode availability?
- Will I find fuel pumps often?
- What if fuel stations are located far away?
Coming to the point, the entire game is in preparation and getting to know the in and out of how to manage fuel availability in Ladakh. Along with this, you need to choose a bike whose fuel tank can cover the distance between two fuel stations. Because sooner or later, the fuel problem on the Ladakh bike tour will occupy you!
Before we delve deeper into how to manage the fuel availability in Ladakh, we thought to give you clear reasoning of the need to carry spare fuel for the Ladakh trip. This travel guide focuses on making you learn all the things related to the Ladakh bike trips (mainly fuel stations, fuel purchasing in black, the safety tips to carry fuel, and much more!).
Important Tips to Carry Fuel For Ladakh Bike Trip
Follow these important tips to carry fuel for Ladakh bike trip:
- Carry metal jerry cans to carry the fuel over plastic ones.
- Fill about 90% of the capacity to avoid spillage.
- Fuel your tank with full petrol if your bike is of 15 liters tank capacity
- Install a luggage carrier where you can insert fuel cans.
- Do not get overboard with the fuel carrying process.
- Avoid fuel containers getting in contact with direct sunlight to avoid overheating.
- Plastic bottles should be the last option too for 2-3 liters only.
- Don't land yourself in trouble by carrying extra fuel in your backpack.
So, here is everything you should know about carrying spare fuel for a Ladakh trip.
Get to Know About the Routes to Reach Ladakh
There are two routes to reach Ladakh; Manali-Leh Highway and Srinagar Leh Highway. Ensuring Ladakh via any of these two routes is challenging due to less availability of fuel stations. But that does not mean there are no fuel stations available. Availability of Fuel Stations: Petrol Points Name
Petrol Pumps/Fuel Points on Manali to Leh Highway
The average total distance of Manali to Leh hovers around 473 kilometers (approx.). You will find only a petrol pump on this route. Tandi will be the fuel point enrouting from Manali to Leh. The average distance from Manali to Tandi is supposed to be 110 kilometers (approx.), The next fuel halt you will locate in Karu is close/before to Leh, 35 kilometers (approx.). Both of the petrol pumps in Tandi and Karu are operational when travelers plan their Ladakh bike trip. Officially, this means that you will be left about 330 kilometers (approx.) without any petrol pump on your journey to Ladakh via Manali Leh Highway.
How to Deal With Petrol Concern?
If you look back a few years ago until Ladakh was not on the tourism radar, Ladakh's petrol was a big problem. But not anymore, really! As we stated that you will find the official petrol pump in Tandi. Apart from the Tandi petrol pump, you will find Chadar Tents owners selling petrol in black between Sarchu and Pang.
What If I Don’t Want to Buy Fuel in Black?
Then you are left with only one choice - carry some spare fuel. However, if your bike is 15 L, then you can skip the idea of carrying extra fuel with you! All you need to do is fill your bike tank with petrol in Tandi reach Leh without any hindrance. But we still suggest you carry 2-3 liters (approx.) extra fuel just to be on a safer side. Reason? Even the 15-liter fuel tank bike provides less mileage in harsh terrain like Ladakh, where riders ride the bike in initial gears. In case you are riding your sports like KTM RC 200, whose fuel capacity is around 10 liters, you must not forget to carry empty bottles of coke and Pepsi with a cap and get those bottles filled at Tandi. After every 50 - 70 km (approx.) distance, insert the fuel in your bike for your ease.
Petrol Pumps/Fuel Points on Srinagar Leh Highway
In every sense - be it on-road connectivity and population and Acute Mountain Sickness, this route eases your petrol station's stress more than Manali Leh Highway. Reason? You will locate authorized petrol pumps easily at several places, including Srinagar, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, and Khalsi. If you look from the Srinagar side, the last fuel station is a few miles before Sonamarg, 80 kilometers (approx.) from Srinagar. Next, you will find in Kargil, 125 kilometers (approx.), and the last one you will locate at Khalsi, 122 kilometers (approx.) from Kargil. Once you arrive in Khalsi, you need not worry about the fuel station because from there, the capital town of Leh is 96 kilometers (approx.) On arriving at Leh, petrol pumps are present in a bunch of numbers. The average total stretch of Srinagar Leh Highway is 420 kilometers (approx.).
Can I Purchase Fuel in Black on Srinagar Leh Highway?
Yes, you can. There are places like Sonamarg, Drass, and Lamayuru where you can get fuel in black. Although, we strongly suggest you not do so! Reason? On this route, you need not carry any spare fuel due to the excellent availability of authorized petrol pumps.
So, You Arrive Leh - The Capital Town of Ladakh
Petrol Pump Availability in Leh
Need not to mention but required, you will find an operational and authorized petrol pump in Leh town - the capital of Ladakh irrespective of your arrival in any month. Just a few kilometers outside from Leh, another fuel station is found, Karu. The average distance between Leh to Karu is supposed to be 35 kilometers (approx.)
Petrol Pump Availability in Nubra Valley
If you choose Nubra Valley as your initial destination after arriving at Leh, you will find a hand-operated petrol pump in Diskit - the only petrol pump in Nubra Valley. The average distance between Leh to Nubra Valley is 160 kilometers (approx.). We strongly suggest you fuel your bike tanks in Diskit because there are no authorized fuel pumps in Hunder, Panamik, Turktuk, or other Nubra Valley villages. The average distance between Leh to Diskit is 115 kilometers (approx.), and Turktuk at 205 kilometers (approx.). The total stretch of Leh to Panamik is 141 kilometers (approx.), and Diskit to Panamik is 55 kilometers (approx.).
Can I Purchase Fuel in Black on Hunder, Panamik, Turktuk, or any Village of Nubra Valley?
Yes, you can! There are small tea or snack shops selling petrol in black in Hunder and Panamik. However, you might not find fuel in black selling in Turtuk Village because it lies close to the Indo-Pak border, and the Army remains extra alert on patrolling. We firmly suggest avoiding the hunt for petrol in Turtuk Village to avoid getting scanned by Indian Army Officials. You will not require any spare fuel in Tuktuk if you plan to visit there from Nubra Valley. The best you can do is fuel your bike in Leh, then in Diskit for a biking expedition to Nubra Valley and Turtuk Village.
Petrol Pump Availability in and Near Pangong Lake
Telling the truth, don't expect the petrol pump availability in and near Pangong Lake. The nearest petrol pump near Pangong Lake is located in Karu, 190 kilometers (approx.) from Pangong Lake. Also, there are no authorized petrol pumps in the village, ensuring Sakti, Tangtse, Durbuk, Lukung, and Spangmik.
Can I Purchase Fuel in Black in and Near Pangong Lake?
Yes! You can purchase fuel in black in and near Pangong Lake but not at the authorized price. Instead, you have to fuel your bike tank with the petrol sold at black rates almost everywhere on this route. One could locate petrol in black at small dhabas. The average distance between Leh to Pangong Lake is 225 kilometers (approx.). It is suggested to top up your bike with petrol in Leh to reach Pangong without any hitch. At Pangong Lake, the Chadar Tent owners sell the fuel in black.
Petrol Pump Availability on Shyok Road
Traveling straight from Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake means you should definitely top up your bike with petrol in Diskit Village. Wondering if we are strongly suggesting you do so? Well, it is because there are no petrol pumps, not even you will find fuel in black on Shyok Road. This means that you are left only with one option - arrive at Pangong and again fuel your bike at the Chadar Tents at Pangong Lake.
Petrol Pump Availability on Chushul Route
Going towards Tso Moriri Lake from Pangong Lake enroute Chushul route means there will be no petrol pumps. Wondering what to do? Just keep reading to find out the alternative.
Can I Purchase Fuel in Black on Chushul Route?
Petrol or fuel on the Chushul route is provided in black by the dhabas or tea owners at Loma, Nyoma, Mahe, Hanle, and Korzok. We suggest you get your bike top up with petrol at Padma Homestay at Hanle (they provide fuel in black). However, make sure to enquire before you go as the homestay owner doesn’t stock extra petrol even in tourist season. To get guaranteed fuel supply in black rates, top up your bike at Nyoma and Korzok small village vendors.
Petrol Pump Availability on Chumathang Route
Frankly, we don’t assure you that you will be able to find fuel on this route even in black. All we can do is make a guess! We firmly advise you to fuel your bike tank from Leh, and you will not feel any hindrance till you arrive at Korzok. The distance between Leh to Korzok is 211 kilometers (approx.). Once you arrive in Korzok, fuel availability in black is easy and guaranteed for your onward journey.
Petrol Pump Availability in Zanskar Valley/Padum
Padum in Zanskar Valley was once one of the two main capitals of the Zanskar Kingdom. When you arrive on the Zanskar side, there is a hand-operated petrol pump in Padum.
Can I Purchase Fuel in Black Zanskar Valley/Padum?
Yes! You can purchase fuel in black in Zanskar Valley/Padum. Apart from hand-operated petrol pumps in Padum, the last-minute alternative is purchasing petrol in black at small shops in Parkachik, Sankoo, Rangdum, and Panikhar.
Advice: Not all tourists include visiting Zanskar Valley on their Ladakh bike trip expedition. Due to which even the fuel availability in black is not smooth and guaranteed. That is why we firmly advise you to carry extra fuel from Kargil.
What else do you want to know about managing fuel availability in Ladakh? If you have any questions wandering in your head, drop them in the comments down! We will answer them so that you can make decisions without any stress.