Ladakh on a Motorbike - A Trip to the Treasured Gem of India

Posted on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 06:45:14 by Arun Joshi

Ladakh – the very name conjures up images of snow-clad peaks, pristine lakes, captivating valleys, raging rivers and far-flung beautiful villages sprinkled along the serpentine roads. A trip to this frigid cold desert is perfect for those who yearn for some excitement in their frenetic lives. An enthralling motor biking expedition guarantees a feel of adrenaline rush in the veins of riders.

Motor biking in Ladakh is certainly a dream come true for any bike rider who wishes to VROOOM through the highest mountain range in the world. Dry desert roads and highways lead to magnificent landscapes and numerous unspoiled areas.

Ladakh Motor Biking Routes – GET, SET and GO for an Enthralling and Exhilarating Adventure

There are several motor biking routes in Ladakh that transport the bikers or adventure buffs to an empyrean where nature is in full bloom. Zipping past the various routes not only provides plenty of thrills but also offers a chance to experience the different cultures of major towns and villages.

Manali to Ladakh

Manali, an awe-inspiring north Indian town, is renowned for its stunning beauty. The steep slopes of Manali provide the perfect scenario for an exciting motor biking trip. The journey provides an unparalleled experience to the bikers. The zig-zag roads from Manali to Ladakh offer an unforgettable experience that takes the bikers through various regions such as the Lahaul, Spiti, Rohtang Pass and majestic Buddhist monasteries. The bikers, while riding a classic Enfield Bullet, will cherish the challenging climbs, pure environment, endless descents and clear-blue sky. The bikes can be hired from the local agencies by paying an affordable charge.

  • Road Distance: 473 km (approx)
  • Best Season: June to September
  • Temperature: 35°C to 10°C

Rohtang Pass to Ladakh

The motor biking trip from Rohtang Pass to Ladakh is replete with never ending fun and excitement. This route provides a perfect opportunity to unwind in the mountains, feel the unadulterated air kissing the cheeks and experience the raw side of nature. It is certainly one of the most challenging tours for the adventure junkies as they will be required to drive through the zig-zag roads and travel across high passes.

Every year, many bikers from various corners of the world take this route to experience the ultimate excitement and get drenched in the salubrious environment of the region. Riding on the narrow roads, the bikers can see the exquisite beauty of the place at their own pace. They can mingle with the locals in the districts of Lahaul and Spiti, see the beautiful twin peaks of Gaypan and relish lip-smacking cuisines.

  • Road Distance: 421 km (approx)
  • Best Season: June to September
  • Temperature: 17°C to 20°C

Ladakh to Marsimik-La

Marsimik La, one of the highest mountain passes in the Himalaya, is located at a height of about 5679 meters. It is around 100 kms away from Leh, the capital of Ladakh. This route or pass is largely used by the army to transport food supplies and other items to border posts. Riding through this post requires a lot of mental toughness and endurance. The riders will face several stiff challenges like bumpy phases and sandy tracks before reaching their desired place. Phobrang, a quaint village that serves as a campsite for Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), is the first prominent halt of the route where bikers are not allowed to carry their luggage except for the tool kit. After Phobrang, the other phases of the route will require you to push your bike through the sand and mountains. However, once the bikers conquer these challenges, the happiness of reaching Marsimik La will flush out the agony and tiredness of the journey.

  • Road Distance: 180 km (approx)
  • Best Season: July to September
  • Temperature: -10°C to -19°C

Important Things to Consider Before Packing Your Bags

Before packing their bags for the motor biking trip to Ladakh, the bikers must not forget to check out these useful tips to make their journey unforgettable:

  • Essential items like helmet, jackets, water resistant backpack, sunglasses, thermals, bandana and riding gear must be included for enjoying a stress-free ride.
  • Rain gear is an absolute necessity because the weather can change drastically at any given point of time.
  • People suffering from certain diseases like asthma, high blood pressure and other ailments must not undertake a motor biking trip to Ladakh.
  • Cover the head and ears with warm clothes during cold weather.
  • Do not drive at night (after 6 P.M.). It is better to take some rest in the tents and start again the next morning when you are fresh.
  • Use of plastic bags is completely banned in Ladakh.
  • Travel permit is mandatory for individuals who are visiting from outside Jammu and Kashmir region. The permits will be checked on the routes at the various places by the state police.
  • Important clothing and other kits that must be packed including sun hat, warm clothes, shoes, insect repellent, sunscreen, money belt, and so on.

The Final Words…
The motor biking tours in Ladakh generally last for one or two weeks (it may vary depending upon the route you take). It can be said without an iota of doubt that the motor biking trip to enchanting Ladakh will be a fascinating experience and the wonderful memories will remain glued to the hearts of the bikers forever.


A thoroughbred adventurer, Arun Joshi was born in the picturesque and landlocked district of Chamoli, Uttarakhand. He is well known for his close association with the Indian Himalayas for the past 16 years, and knows the region inside out. His vast knowledge and first-hand experience of trekking to the many challenging regions of the Indian Himalayas have also helped him to establish himself as the go-to guide in the region.