Motorcycling in Ladakh
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
Ladakh, probably one of the most adventure destination for any motorcycle traveler, or we can also call it as a "Mecca" for a motorcyclist. Ladakh always offers great pleasure for those who love Mountains and adventures. Situated in the Trans Himalayan region of India, Leh is the headquarters of the Ladakh region. I have been riding motorcycles in Ladakh since 2008 and witnessed how it changes from remote cold desert to most visited places in Kashmir. Covered with snow for about 7-8 months in a year and disconnected by the rest of the world during harsh winter. Every time I travel to Ladakh I come out with a different perspective. For the first time, I felt that it's "Life" and now I feel it's a "Home". I silently wait for 8 months during the winters and feels like going back to home when June comes. The movement Border Road Organisation announces the snow clearance in Rohtang pass we rush like we are going home after 8 long months.
A motorcycle is one of the best modes of partner you can choose to travel in Ladakh because Motorcycle means "Freedom". Crossing those high altitude mountain passes, gushing water crossings, Snow-capped mountains, peaceful monasteries, cold desert, blue lakes, clear sky, and the Ladakhi people. "Juley" is the word which Ladakhi people uses for greeting someone, Juley means Hello. The majority of the people in Ladakh follow Buddhism and few people also follow Islam.
Road to Ladakh
There are 2 roads which lead to Ladakh, the major one is the Manali-Leh highway and the second one is Srinagar-Leh Highway. Both the highways open during early or mid-June every year depending on the amount of snowfall received during the winter. Srinagar – Leh highway open little early as there is one tricky mountain pass to clear that is "Zoji La", whereas in Manali-Leh highway there is 2 trickiest mountain pass, they are Rohtang pass & Baralachala pass. And of course multiple glaciers meltwater crossings and broken bridges. Riding on Manali –Leh highway is a pure adventure as you will need to cross 5 mountains passes and will take 2-3 days to cover, have done it in one day on my Classic 350cc. Srinagar-Leh highway has 3 mountain passes and we can cover within 2 days as the road condition is excellent when compared to Manali-Leh highway.
Most popular places to visit in Ladakh:
Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake is situated in Changthang region of Ladakh at the height of 4350 Mtrs. The lake is 134 Km long and extends from India to the Tibet region(Mainland China). 60%of the lake that means 80kms of the lake lies in Tibet region and rest with India. While riding to Pangong Lake we will cover Changla Pass, which is the 3rd highest motorable pass in the world. There are only a few permanent villages in Pangong region. Spangmik is the importance of them, where major accommodation in the Pangong lake available there. You can either visit Pangong in a day tour or overnight stay as well. I would suggest staying overnight to enjoy the pristine blue saline lake.
The coldest desert is what we call, Nubra valley is situated next to Shyok and Nubra river. Diskit, Hunder, Panamik and Turtuk are some of the important villages in Nubra Valley. It is also close to the Siachen base camp. Nubra valley is famous for Double hump Bactrian camel and Diskit monastery.
Tso Moriri Lake:
Tso Moriri lake or Mountain lake is situated in Changthang Plateau in Northern Ladakh close to Tibet Border. The lake is at the height of 4522 Mtrs and it is the largest of the high altitude lakes entirely within India and entirely within Ladakh in this Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region. The ride from Leh to Tso Moriri is amazing and one will definitely enjoy the Changthang plateau and if you are lucky you can meet the Changpas, the local nomadic tribes.
Other places for sightseeing:
One can visit Thicksey Monastery, Shey Palace, Hemis Monastery, War Museum, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Likir Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Indus-Zanskar Sangam and river rafting as well.
One can easily spend at least 10-15 days in Ladakh based on your preference. One needs at least 45-60 days to explore Ladakh leisurely. But don't forget that even 60 days is less to explore because of its "Ladakh"
Find out more about Royal Enfield motorcycle tours in Himalayas and Ladakh below -