Motorbike trip in Ladakh : travel map & tips
Our tips to organise your road-trip in Ladakh
In this article, you will find all our advice to organise your motorbike trip in Ladakh: itinerary, motorbike rental, practical information, budget, etc.
Riding in Ladakh, 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.
Surrounded by vertiginous peaks (some of them, more than 8,000m 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 with driver. 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 about motorcycle travel in this region. Only the tourist offices in Leh can help 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
Designed like a roadbook, and illustrated with a multitude of maps and photos, EXPLORE LADAKH is both a tool and guide for independent travellers who wish to discover, understand, and explore Ladakh. We offer in this book a selection of 12 off-road routes to discover by motorbike, 4×4 or bicycle.
Take a look at this video to find out what’s in the book!
EXPLORE LADAKH differs from the traditional travel guide book because it does not list the good addresses and tourist sites. You will be able to improvise your way fully independently while having knowledge of the terrain thanks to our detailed maps.
Each route is presented on a satellite map with the main sites of natural or cultural interest (monastery, lake, glacier, hot springs, etc.), the viewpoints, the camping spots and the key points (petrol station, water source, etc.).
The book also contains informations about the culture, fauna and flora of Ladakh. Finally, a part of the book is dedicated to technical advice and all the necessary equipment to leave in safety and autonomy (camping gear, basic mechanics…).
Useful informations about Ladakh
Tip: have a small lexicon with you
E-visa: €44, valid for 60 days
Must be requested at least 4 days before arrival and only on this site: indianvisaonline.gov.in
A border permit is required for some restricted areas : 800 rupees (10 euros) for one week (the second week costs 400 rupees). More informations in this article.
Paris – Delhi : 350-400€ round-trip
Delhi – Leh : 70-120€ round trip
Choose the window seat because the views of the Himalayas are just breathtaking!!
Best season: June to September
There are many motorcycle rental agencies in Leh. The rental prices are regulated, fixed and non-negotiable. We chose the Himalayan 410cc of Royal Enfield, which is good enough in off-road. With a Classic Royal Enfield, you may be quite limited off the paved road! More informations about motorbike rental here.
Price of a Royal Enfield Himalayan 410cc: 2000 rupees/day (around 25 euros) + 2 euros/day for the baggage rack with 2 5-liters cans for gasoline (essential).
– 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
In Leh you will only find rentals with drivers, prices are regulated by the Ladakh Taxi Union. You will find 4×4 without drivers in Manali or Srinagar but unfortunately since October 2019, it is forbidden to visit Ladakh with a vehicle rented outside Ladakh. In other words, you will not be able to visit Ladakh with a car rented in Manali or Srinagar. As regulations are subject to change we will update this information here.
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|
Our favorites 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
If you have any questions (motorbike rental, itinerary, camping recommendations, etc.), feel free to leave a comment at the end of this article! Don’t forget to download our GPS routes if you haven’t already done so!
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