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moto trip Ladakh : off road travel maps & tips

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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).

Chameau de Bactriane au Ladakh Nubra vallée
montagne infinie magnifique au Ladakh vallée Sham pendant notre road trip moto
Royal Enfield philosophie du petit sentier Ladakh pensif
lac Pso Moriri drone bleue foncé piste moto

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 :

Map Ladakh india moto Royal Enfield : zanskar nubra pangong moriri

Our book of Ladakh: between a guide and a road book

Halfway between the tourist guide and the “road book”, “Explore Ladakh” is a collection of photos and detailed maps of the twelve most beautiful motorcycle trails in the region. It differs from traditional formats because it does not list good addresses and tourist sites. You will be able to improvise your trip according to people you meet on the way while knowing the terrain thanks to our detailed maps.

Each road spots on a satellite map on which we will display our GPS routes, the main sites of interest (lake, glacier, hot springs…), viewpoints, camping sites, and key points (e.g. gas station, water point). These maps are provided with a text as a complement of the map data (field data, surrounding landscapes or villages encountered). The book contains informative texts on the peculiarities/traditions of each region, fauna and flora as well as a part of all the necessary equipment to head off in safety and autonomy (camping equipment, basic mechanics…).

You have the opportunity to go through varied landscapes (valleys, rivers, lakes, mountains, steppes, deserts…). This type of road trip is close to nature and people!

Book’s release is expected for February 2020 worldwide delivery. To be informed of the book’s release, subscribe to our newsletter!

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Be informed of the book’s release !

Practical information before heading off to Ladakh

Spoken languages

Indian
Some english

Tip: have a small lexicon with you

VISA

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.

Flight tickets

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

Motorcycle rental

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

4×4 RENTAL

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)

 PriceDaysTOTAL for the groupTOTAL /pers
Motorcycle rental (Himalayan) 27 € /day131053 €351 €
Accommodation (3 nights)30 € /nights (3 pers)390 €30 €
Food8 € /day /pers15360 €120 €
Petrol35 € /day (3 pers)13455 €152 €
Inner Line Permit ( for 13 days)15 € /pers-45 €45 €
Flight Ticket Paris - Delhi350 €-1050 €350 €
Flight Ticket Delhi - Leh90 €-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 €
TOTAL17 days3638 €1212 €/pers

Best to see in Ladakh

Zanskar valley

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! 

marmotte du Ladakh Inde
Magnifique Village de Panikhar au Ladakh
Reflet de la montagne dans le lac Pangong au Ladakh (Inde)
envol de mouette du Ladakh sur le lac Pangong

Pangong lake

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.  

Nubra Valley

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!

Drone photo nubra vallée au Ladakh
Spot bivouac nubra vallée camping sauvage Ladakh
le lac rouge Tso Kar au Ladakh Inde avec ses îlots blancs
Vue de drone du Lac rouge Tso Kar

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. 

Sham valley

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!

montagne infinie magnifique au Ladakh vallée Sham pendant notre road trip moto
vallée de Sham au Ladakh drone photo col
photo-ountravela-tso-moriri-lake-road-trip-moto
lac Pso Moriri drone bleue foncé piste moto

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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