Indians are fascinated by travel. It is probably the one thing that unites all Indians. And why wouldn’t that be the case when the country offers such astonishing tourist destinations. On top of that, when Indian tourism is talked about, Ladakh will top the list.
Ladakh is one special place that is on the travel wishlist of most travelers. When it comes to tourism, people crave adventure, spontaneity, and uniqueness. And Ladakh is all about that! Another thing that makes Ladakh unique is the travel journey to the destination.
Other tourist places in India are famous for the beauty of the destination. However, Ladakh is prominently renowned for the Road trip that people take to reach the place. Additionally and most importantly, making a road trip to Ladakh is also essential because one needs to acclimatize to the change in weather. If you fly to Ladakh, you’ll be suddenly 11,000 feet closer to the sun amid severe cold; thus, a road journey is highly recommended.
To save oneself from the negative repercussions of unpredictable weather, rugged terrain, and high altitude, one needs an effective travel guide for planning a road trip to Ladakh.
Let’s dive deeper into all the routes travelers can seek for their upcoming trips.
Popular Routes Among Bikers for Ladakh Road Trip
The Srinagar – Kargil – Leh Route:
One of the most famous routes for the Ladakh road trip is through Srinagar because Srinagar itself is a beautiful place; thus, travelers stop by there to explore the beauty of Kashmir and then go ahead for their journey to Ladakh.
On this route, travelers pass through Sonmarg, and from there, the real adventure of high altitude begins. On the journey from Srinagar to Leh, travelers pass three mountains. Additionally, there are a couple of places to explore on this route, for instance, the Kargil Memorial and the Zanskar River. Once the travelers cross Drass, the landscape will drastically change. This route may become one of the most beautiful landscapes one sees in their lifetime.
The Chandigarh – Manali – Jispa – Leh Route:
This route is one of the most common routes for a road trip to Ladakh. People kickstart their journey from Chandigarh, and the first halt happens in Manali. The travel between these two destinations is for about eight hours drive. And, from Manali, the real journey to Leh begins.
The route is breathtaking, filled with the most diverse mountains, wild animals, and local eateries. The journey takes travelers through snow-capped mountains, desolate wastelands, and glacial lakes. After such a long journey, it is always recommended that travelers take a day off in Leh and begin the adventure on the following day.
The Amritsar – Dharamshala – Manali – Jispa – Leh route:
Many travelers also begin their journey from Amritsar and visit Dharamshala along their way. Dharamshala is the home of the Dalai Lama. The place serves the best authentic Himachali food. The next stop on this route is Manali; the destination is quite famous among the mainstream travelers of the country. Manali has multiple sightseeing options like the Hadimba temple, Jogni Falls, etc.
Next comes the Manali-Leh highway; this highway is accustomed to the most beautiful landscapes. Several travelers take a halt at Jipsa in between since the journey between Manali and Leh is lengthy.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Planning for a Ladakh Road Trip (Shared by Bikers)
Now, since the various routes for the road trip to Ladakh are all clear, the travelers need to plan their trip properly. Since the terrain is challenging and the altitude is quite high; thus, efficient planning is essential.
Let’s see what you should and shouldn’t do while you are on your Ladakh road trip.
- You should be an excellent driver: If you are planning to execute a road trip to Ladakh, you need to be an excellent driver and know how to drive offroad. Because once you enter Jammu and Kashmir, the terrain gets challenging. There will be winding roads, unpaved alleyways, and traffic jams on high mountain passes. Additionally, ensure you have all the essential documentation for driving your vehicle on the roadway to Ladakh.
- Permits required: Travellers just need a pass permit beyond Rohtang Pass worth Rs 50 to travel to Leh Ladakh. Another permit worth Rs 500 would be required by travelers who would be traveling only to Rohtang Pass for tourism-related activities.
- Essential motorcycle gears for Ladakh road trip: Since, the road journey is going to be long and hectic; one needs to prepare for the road trip properly; carrying all the essentials such as a riding jacket, helmet with face cover, gloves, knee guard, riding pants, waterproof touring boots, and UV protection sunglasses.
- Carry all the essential medicines and supplies: Since the altitude difference causes most people problems; thus you should carry all the necessary medicines. Additionally, book hotels and hostels with an extra oxygen supply once you are there. Basic medicines such as paracetamols and other cold and pain medicines are a must carry.
- Do carry toilet paper: Mostly, when you travel anywhere in India, you find public toilets everywhere. However, once you get closer to Leh, the availability of public restrooms is reduced; thus, you may need to take a dump in the hills. Therefore, do carry toilet paper. So, do not shy away from taking a dump in nature. Just think that this experience you are not going to have again anywhere else in the future.
- Do not depend on the internet: It is always recommended for travelers going to Ladakh on road trips to carry maps with them because the internet connectivity will be sketchy. Thus, one should not think they can map out their journey through Google maps or post instant stories on social media handles. So, on this road trip to Ladakh, just forget that the internet exists and try to live in the moment and appreciate the live beauty of Ladakh.
- Sunscreen will be your best friend: It should be understood by now that the journey is going to be long, filled with adventures. You will be closer to the sun as you move up the hills. Thus, carry sunscreen and don’t forget to put it on once every four hours. The sunrays will feel sharper and, therefore, can directly affect your skin, so don’t go miser on sunscreen protection. So, don’t be clumsy and lazy and make your sunscreen your best friend. Also, ensure that it is SPF 50+ and prescribed by your dermatologist.
Places to Explore while on a Ladakh Road Trip
Deciding the route for the final road trip and listing the essentials are the first steps once you embark on planning your first road trip to Ladakh. So, once the two primary aspects are sorted, look out for the beautiful places to visit while in Ladakh.
Let’s look at some of the most magnificent places you will see while on this adventure.
- Pangong: Pangong Lake is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Ladakh. It is situated at 4,350m, making it the world’s highest saltwater lake. So, what makes it more astonishing? The extreme blue water gives a feel that its dyed blue looks so fascinating in contrast with the arid mountains surrounding it.
- Zanskar River: The second most famous destination is going to be the Zanskar River. It is the first major tributary to the Indus River. It is also known as the Sangam of the Leh region. The riverbank is also one of the greatest places for a picnic.
- Monasteries, Stupas, and Temples: Ladakh is also a famous destination for spiritual reasons. The place is a wholesome mixture of various monasteries, stupas, and temples. So, if you are someone who is in spirituality, then you have got to spend one day exploring the spiral habitation of Ladakh. The monasteries such as Samthanling and Diskit are must-visit places.
FAQs For Ladakh Road Trip
Now, since we have covered all the major aspects to be considered for the Ladakh road trip, let’s look into some of the frequently asked questions regarding the Ladakh road trip.
Is the road trip to Ladakh safe?
Many people, especially women, are concerned about safety while embarking on a road trip journey. So, the road trip to Ladakh is mostly safe because the locals are usually very helpful and humble. However, one should always carry preventive tools such as pepper spray and other safety tools for a responsible journey.
What is the best time duration for a good Ladakh road trip?
Since Ladakh road trip is not something you simply plan just like that. Thus, you should better take a week off from work and plan an eight-day trip so that you are not hustling between work and travel. An eight-day trip to Ladakh will be sufficient to explore all the significant destinations.
Which month is the best?
Summers are considered the best time for planning a road trip to Ladakh. Thus, you should plan a trip between April to July; the temperature this time would be between 15 to 30 degrees celsius.
Is oxygen a problem in Ladakh?
Oxygen deficiency is not really a major problem. However, one should keep one day aside to acclimatize to the changed weather condition to play safes. So, just be cautious and stay healthy; most importantly, try avoiding heaters to maintain the oxygen levels.
Ladakh is one of the unique places in the world. People from all over the world travel to India to visit Ladakh specifically. However, foreigners may need a special permit because national borders surround the place. Conclusively, if you are someone who has a knack for bikes and loves to explore non-mainstream travel destinations, Ladakh is the place for you!