Why a moto trip travel to Ladakh in India?
Ladakh is a wild land, known for having some of the highest roads in the world. This Indian region nestled in the Himalayan range, between Tibet and Pakistan, is the ideal terrain for an unforgettable road trip (yes, it is!).
Surrounded by vertiginous peaks (some of them, more than 8000m of altitude), you will drive through magnificent green valleys with abundant fauna. Then, as you reach higher altitudes, landscapes get more arid and there is nothing but a few camels and Buddhist monasteries perched on the mountains. Huge lakes rise from the mountains… In short, you will get it, we fell in love with this place. The terrain is particularly suitable for motorcycle exploration and there are many motorcycle rentals in Leh, the capital city. It is also possible to rent a 4×4, but it is rarer. Once there, you can also add to your journey outdoor activities (horse trekking, hiking, rafting…) and cultural activities (monasteries visits).
How to plan your motorcycle trip in Ladakh? Our travel map
There is currently no book on motorcycle travel in this region. Only a few agencies in Leh can tell you spots or offer you a guide to ride with you. Since we do not wish to depend on any guide, we improvised everything locally up there, using a topographic map of the region. This trip moved us to write by ourselves a collection of the most beautiful trails in the region because an article or a map could never be enough!
A brief overview of our on-site itinerary (15 days by motorbike) on the map below :
Our adventure guide book: Explore Ladakh
Halfway between a tourist guide and a road-book, our book “Explore Ladakh” is a collection of photos and detailed maps of the twelve most beautiful motorcycle, 4×4 and bicycle off-road routes of the region. It differs from the traditional formats because it does not list the good addresses and tourist sites. You will be able to improvise your trip according to the encounters while having knowledge of the terrain thanks to our detailed maps.
Each route is presented on a satellite map on which we will show our GPS itineraries, the main sites of interest (lake, glacier, hot springs…), viewpoints, camping sites, and key points (gas station, water point for example). These maps are accompanied by a text to complete the map data (data on the field, on the surrounding landscapes or on the villages encountered). The book also contains informative texts on the particularities/traditions of each region, the fauna and flora as well as a section on all the equipment necessary to leave in safety and autonomy (camping equipment, basic mechanics…).
You will have the possibility to cross varied landscapes (valleys, rivers, lakes, mountains, steppes, deserts…). This type of road-trip wants to be close to nature and the inhabitants!
Practical information before heading off to Ladakh
Tip: have a small lexicon with you
E-visa: €44, valid for 60 days
Should be requested at least 4 days before arrival and only on this site: indianvisaonline.gov.in
A permit of passage is obligatory for certain places: 800 rupees (10 euros) for one week (the second week costs 400 rupees). Only a tourist agency can issue this document.
Paris – Delhi : 350-400€ round-trip
Delhi – Leh : 70-120€ round trip
We preferred getting to leh by plane: we save time and the views of the Himalayas are just breathtaking!!
Season: June to September
There are numerous motorcycle rental agencies in Leh. Prices are not negotiable as they are regulated by the authorities. For the circuit we did, only the Himalayan 410cc of Royal Enfield, which is good enough in off-road, will be able to bring you anywhere. You can use a normal Royal Enfield for some roads, but you will be quite limited! As you know, we prefer (unpaved) roads rather than asphalt, and Ladakh is an incredible playground: staying on the route would have been a huge frustration as there are small paths to be discovered!
Price of a Himalayan 410cc: 2000 rupees/day (around 25 euros). Expect to spend also2 euros/day for the baggage rack with 2 5-liters cans for gasoline (essential).
If you have any questions about our equipment, rental or any other topic, please, join our Facebook group: “Voyage Off-Road 4×4 & Moto”
COST OF LIVING
– Food: €1 – 5 for a meal at the restaurant
– Airbnb Leh: 20-30€
– Wild camping allowed, except in some border areas that are clearly marked by signs.
– Fuel: 0,5€/L
We did not find any 4×4 rental in Leh. Or maybe the rental can be done only with driver, what is called (an occasional) “taxi”… No, thanks!
If you have information about a possibility of renting a 4×4 in free driving, we would appreciate you share the info with us so we can update this article! Possibility to rent the 4×4 in Delhi.
Our budget for a motorcycle road-trip to Ladakh
Our budget for our group: 17 days and 3 people (13 motobike days + 2 days in Leh + 2 days in Delhi (September 2018)
|Price||Days||TOTAL for the group||TOTAL /pers|
|Motorcycle rental (Himalayan)||27 € /day||13||1053 €||351 €|
|Accommodation (3 nights)||30 € /nights (3 pers)||3||90 €||30 €|
|Food||8 € /day /pers||15||360 €||120 €|
|Petrol||35 € /day (3 pers)||13||455 €||152 €|
|Inner Line Permit ( for 13 days)||15 € /pers||-||45 €||45 €|
|Flight Ticket Paris - Delhi||350 €||-||1050 €||350 €|
|Flight Ticket Delhi - Leh||90 €||-||270 €||90 €|
|Accommodation Delhi (2 nights, 3 peoples)||105 €||-||105 €||35 €|
|Restaurant Delhi (3 times)||60 €||-||60 €||20 €|
|Other (taxi, activity, etc..)||150 €||-||150 €||50 €|
|TOTAL||17 days||3638 €||1212 €/pers|
Best to see in Ladakh
This valley nestled at 4000m altitude offers breathtaking views of glaciers! You really feel a very small thing when you are surrounded by its huge mountains. We drive across typical villages with terraced fields. You will come across a lot of livestock and wild animals: marmots, horses, goats and yaks. Approaching its glaciers of pure whiteness will be an inerasable memory!
Perched at an altitude of 4250m, Lake Pangong is 134 kilometers long between India and Tibet. It can be reached from the Nubra valley through a new road, without going through Leh again! Camping at night here will allow you to see the bird’s show at sunset: hundreds of birds flying to take place in the smallest lake for the night. Morning is even more hypnotizing, the mountains and the lake change colors every minute, first rays of sun make this place hypnotizing.
Different landscapes once more, but still sumptuous ones: here is where sand dunes and green pastures are between the mountains. It is hard to believe your eyes; this place is really unique. We found a totally crazy bivouac spot: we were sleeping on a sand dune where some shrubs grow. Slightly in height, the view of the valley is stunning!
Tso Kar lake
What a surprise to have this multicolored lake with islands of white salt on our way. At this place, fauna is abundant! Hundreds of birds live near this lake, it’s a sight to see the birds flying away with their reflection in the lake. In the valley behind this lake, roads go to infinity while we are unable to see the end. There are herds of wild horses. An ideal place for the bivouac.
You will find many monasteries and typical villages in this valley. We have found here two sumptuous roads! One where you do not have vertigo mountainside with views of mountains of all colors! The other road is included in our top 3 most beautiful roads in Ladakh. What is there to say? We stopped every 5 minutes to take pictures, this kind of road where a new landscape shows up in every turn… and each one is more beautiful… Chills guaranteed!
Tso Moriri lake
Another jewel of Ladakh… The color of the lake varies according to the time of day: blue, green, turquoise… Nomads raise their tent in summer at the edge of this lake with their flocks. The calm atmosphere is ideal for meditation
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