Why Travel to Ladakh!

Manali To Leh is a 474 Kms long highway. It is called the ‘Biker’s Paradise’ for its amazingly adventurous conditions throughout the way. It has five high passes, the famous Gata Loops, and mesmerizing More Plains on the way. Every Year hundreds of bikers and many cyclists go to Ladakh via this road to live their dream. In recent years, especially after the release of Three Idiots, Ladakh has become sort of an Emotion for many travelers. The high mountains, vast plains, beautiful lakes, and age-old monasteries and culture attract a multitude of travelers from across the globe during summers. The Manali-Leh road remains closed from October to May due to the heavy snowfall and opens in the last week of May or sometimes the first week of June.


I have visited Ladakh twice on bicycle (in 2017 and 2019) and on both occasions I enjoyed my journey through all the challenges and exhausting ride. I am going to share my experience of cycling to Ladakh here for all the travelers, especially the bikers and cyclists, who are planning to do this Manali-Leh cycling adventure. I am going to add day to day itinerary with important things to carry and keep in mind while traveling on this road and also some not-to-miss places on the way.

Leh Palace

Best Time for Cycling Trip to Ladakh

June to Mid-September

The Manali-Leh highway opens for tourists in or around June 1week every year after the road clearance from the Border Road Organisation (BRO). First half of June still remains a little risky or adventurous because of the heavy snow on the passes and fluctuating weather conditions there. You will find camping dhabas on the places I have mentioned below from the beginning of June. So these four months are the best and peak time for bikers and other travelers who travel to Ladakh via Manali.

Near Zing Zing Bar

How to Plan Road trip to Ladakh!

While planning for a cycling tour to Ladakh you have to consider two most important factors which are the road conditions and weather. Many people are also worried and confused about the permit but let me clarify this that you don’t need any permit for Manali to Leh Cycling trip.

• Carry a lightweight wind jacket , 2 inner warmer, a warm jacket, 2 pairs of woollen socks

• Carry 2-3 extra brake wires, 1 tube, 1 air pump, a small puncture kit, L-keys, and warm hand gloves

• You can carry some dry fruit, sweet chocolates and toffees

• Sunglasses, lip guard, sunscreen for face

• A small first aid kit and must have high altitude sickness tablets in it

Don’t carry any unnecessary things or a lot of luggage like clothes with you, try to be a minimalist for a few days because it’s better to carry as less weight as possible on your bicycle as you are going on a long ride in the Himalayas. It would be best if you can limit your luggage weight below 20kg. Since you have to cross five high passes so you have to be mentally prepared for an extremely hard and exhausting ride at high altitudes in cold weather. If you have any health problems related to breathing and respiratory system then it’s advised not to go for cycling on that road. Even if you are normal you will find it difficult at the passes so water and sweets will keep you hydrated at high altitudes. Ride bicycle in the lower gear while climbing upward to save the energy. You may face sudden rain, snowfall or bad weather at Baralacha and Tanglang la anytime so it’s better to carry a rain and wind jacket with you. If you face bad weather at these passes never stop or wait for weather to clear and keep going downhill in whichever direction you’re going to avoid getting stuck up there. You will have to cross streams on the road so if you don’t find a dry spot it’s best to put off the shoes and socks before crossing and walk through it. These are some very important things to keep in mind.


Manali-Leh Cycling Tour Itinerary and Cost

Day-1. Manali to Marhi 36 Kms

Food Rs 600-800 , Stay 300-500

Day-2. Marhi to Sissu 50 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay 400-600

Day-3. Sissu to Jispa 53 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay 300-600

Day-4. Jispa to Zing Zing Bar 32 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay 250-300

Day-5. Z Z Bar to Sarchu 50 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay Stay 250-300

Day-6. Sarchu to Whiskey Nala 50 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay 250-300

Day-7. Whiskey Nalla to Debring 85 Kms

Food Rs 500-600 Stay 250-300

Day-8. Debring to Upshi 80 Kms

Food Rs 500-700 Stay 500-600

Day-9. Upshi to Leh 50 Kms

Food Rs 500-700 Stay 500-700

You take an 8 pm bus from Chandigarh that reaches Manali by 6 am, put your bicycle on its roof and your bag inside the bus. After reaching Manali you can take a room according to your budget and spend that day exploring the nearby spots and acclimatising. Bus fare from Chandigarh to Manali both for one person and a half ticket for bicycle is Rs 800-1000. In Manali if you stay for a night count at least Rs 1200-1500 for food and stay in a cheap hotel or home stay, rest depends how much you spend during the day hanging out there. So if you’re not an extravagant person then you can comfortably do this trip under Rs 15k.

Tanglang la