Ladakh is known as the place for the ultimate adventure. The landscape, the high mountain passes and its rugged and barren beauty make Ladakh a most coveted place for a road trip. And what can be more exciting and thrilling than to go for a Ladakh Bike Trip from Kolkata? Yes, you heard it right. From Kolkata! You can definitely rent a bike from Srinagar, Manali or Leh for the trip, but doing it from Kolkata is a different ballgame altogether. In this article, we are sharing the story of Ladakh Bike trip from Kolkata.

Before reading any further, you may read our complete guide for planning a trip to Ladakh.

Ladakh Bike Trip from Kolkata – the most common itinerary for 16 days

Day 1: Kolkata – Varanasi (679 km, 13 hours)

Day 2: Varanasi – Delhi (821 km, 14 hours)

Day 3: Delhi – Jammu (588 km, 10 hours)

Day 4: Jammu – Srinagar (266 km, 8.5 hours)

Day 5: Srinagar – Kargil (202 km, 6 hours)

Day 6: Kargil – Leh (217 km, 5 hours)

Day 7: Leh

Day 8: Leh – Khardungla Pass – Nubra Valley (160 km, 7 hours)

Day 9: Nubra Valley – Shyok – Pangong Lake (274 km, 7 hours)

Day 10: Pangong – Man – Merak – Chusul – Loma – Mahe – Tso Moriri (301 km, 9 hours)

Day 11: Tso Moriri – Leh (220 km, 5.5 hours)

Day 12: Leh – Sarchu (250 km, 7 hours)

Day 13: Sarchu – Manali (223 km, 8 hours)

Day 14: Manali – Noida (568 km, 13 hours)

Day 15: Noida – Allahabad (651 km, 10 hours)

Day 16: Allahabad – Kolkata (792 km, 15 hours)

According to Google Maps, the distance between Kolkata to Leh, Ladakh is a whooping 2535.6 km. Covering this distance on a bike is no mean feat. There are a lot of things that need to be considered before you start for the epic Ladakh bike trip. We have tried to answer most of the questions that we usually get by our readers.

Kolkata to Ladakh Bike Trip Map

The Ladakh Bike Trip itinerary details are covered first and then the important tips for doing a safe bike trip to Ladakh.

Magnetic Hill Ladakh on Sinagar Leh Highway

Day 1: Kolkata – Varanasi (679 km, 13 hours)

Start from Kolkata quite early, may be, at 4 AM in the morning so that you can cover as much distance possible. You will reach Varanasi by evening.

Day 2: Varanasi – Delhi (821 km, 14 hours)

Again start quite early to cover as much distance as possible. There are always chances of mishaps on roads. So starting early always benefits. This will be a long day on the road. So after reaching Delhi, just check-in to your accommodation and crash for the night.

Day 3: Delhi – Jammu (588 km, 10 hours)

The distance is lesser than the previous day, but time will almost be the same.

Day 4: Jammu – Srinagar (266 km, 8.5 hours)

Jammu to Srinagar passes through the beautiful landscape. Enjoy the vistas as you ride your way to Srinagar.

Day 5: Srinagar – Kargil (202 km, 6 hours)

This is a comparatively shorter day. A stop at Kargil is recommended as it helps in acclimatization. The place is beautiful in itself and deserves a day to explore. On the way, you can stop for sometime at Drass.

Day 6: Kargil – Leh (217 km, 5 hours)

The way from Kargil to Leh is simply awesome. Ride slowly, totally enjoying the road, the landscape and everything. On the way you can stop at Mulbekh, Lamayuru Monastery, Likir and Alchi Monastery. Depending on your time, you can also stop the Magnetic Hill and Sangam point at Nimmoo to take some photographs. You will probably reach Leh by late afternoon.

Day 7: Leh

This is the day to relax a bit and acclimatize. Get your permits done and visit Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace and the local markets. If you want, you can stay one more day in Leh.

Day 8: Leh – Khardungla Pass – Nubra Valley (160 km, 7 hours)

Start early and rode towards Nubra Valley, crossing Khardung La Pass on the way. The road near Khardung La is a bit rough and has steep ascent. So if needed, stop on the way and then ride. You should stop at Khardung La Pass and enjoy the beauty there. Have tea and pakora at the army canteen, take some photographs. Once you are near Nubra Valley, the roads are one of the best. Just imagine riding down the black road with mountains on one side and the sand dunes on the other! It will be the ultimate experience. You can stay at Hunder or Diskit for the night.

Places to visit at Nubra Valley: Diskit Monastery, Maitreya Buddha Statue, Camel safari at Hunder, Turtuk.

If you wish to visit Turtuk, one more day is required at Nubra Valley.

Nubra Valley on Ladakh bike trip

Day 9: Nubra Valley – Shyok – Pangong Lake (274 km, 7 hours)

This is one of the alternative routes to Pangong from Nubra Valley when you do not have to return to Leh. But the road conditions from Shyok village to Pangong Tso has some bad stretches. Also, the Shyok River often overflows the road. This route has almost no civilization and so getting help during any mishap becomes difficult. It is better to inquire about the road conditions before starting on this route. Also, you have to start really early, at around 5 AM, so that you do not face the overflowing Shyok River. Stay at a homestay near the Pangong Lake.

Get your tank filled from Diskit and carry extra petrol.

Day 10: Pangong –Chusul – Mahe – Tso Moriri (301 km, 9 hours)

bikes at the side of Pangong Tso

Start early as you have to go a long way. This route is not in the best conditions and traffic is also very very few. The advantage of this route is that you can go to Tso Moriri without having to get back at Leh. This saves a day. Bust as we said before, the route is deserted. Be sure your bike is in good condition and you have the repair kit handy. Also, keep extra petrol. There are no petrol pumps on the route.

To travel in this route, you will need a separate permit.

Camping is not allowed at Tso Moriri Lake. You can stay at the homestays in Korzok village.

Day 11: Tso Moriri – Leh (220 km, 5.5 hours)

The route goes through Korzok and Chumthang to Leh. While return, you can stop at Hemis Monastery and Shey Palace.

Day 12: Leh – Sarchu (250 km, 7 hours)

Leh Manali Highway road conditions

The return starts by Leh Manali Highway. If you want, you can stay another day at Leh before starting this journey.

Leh Manali Highway has adventure written all over it. The rugged landscapes, the loops and bends all make for quite a thrilling journey. Stop at Sarchu for the night. If you want, you can ride further up to Jispa.

Day 13: Sarchu – Manali (223 km, 8 hours)

Start early so that you can reach Manali well within time. You will be needing the much required rest.

Day 14: Manali – Noida (568 km, 13 hours)

This is going to be a long day. If you have time, you can stop at Chandigarh.

Day 15: Noida – Allahabad (651 km, 10 hours)

Again covering as much distance as possible.

Day 16: Allahabad – Kolkata (792 km, 15 hours)

The final day of the journey and return home.

Some Important Tips for Ladakh Bike Trip

Now that you have decided to go to Ladakh by bike (from Delhi, Kolkata or anywhere), here are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

Best Time to for Ladakh Bike trip

Ladakh is difficult terrain. During the winter months, the roads remain closed due to heavy snow. The ideal time to go for a bike trip to Ladakh is between June to September.

Best Bikes for Leh-Ladakh Bike Trip

Ladakh bike trip - on way to Pangong Lake

Earlier the only bike that came to mind while going for a Ladakh bike trip was Royal Enfield. The adventurous ones wanted the best bikes for the trip of their lifetime. But we have seen people going to Nubra Valley even on a scooty!

So the best bike depends on how comfortable you are riding the bike, what things you are carrying and whether anyone is riding pillion. Another very important thing is the condition of your bike. Here are a few factors that you need to consider while choosing you bike for Ladakh:

Age of the bike: The newer the bike, better the chance of its performing better on Ladakhi roads.

Pillion: If you are having some riding with you as pillion, then please take a bike with higher engine capacity. For a smaller engine bike, it will be difficult to navigate on the steep ascents.

Luggage: For a 500 cc bike, the luggage is not a concern, but if you are riding a 100cc or 125 cc bike, then travel light. More the luggage, more difficult will it be for both you and your bike.

Performance: You need to know your motorcycle well. You need to know how it performs at ascents or at difficult terrains. If you have any doubts, then get it fixed first. You need to have your bike in the best condition for your trip to Ladakh. Also make sure that your bike does not have any worn out parts. Get it replaced if there are.

Get it Serviced: Get your bike serviced at least a week before the trip. Check all the cables, wires, gears, tires etc. After getting it serviced, ride it for some days to know whether it is performing to your expectation.

Having said these, we would recommend you to take the bike that you are comfortable riding and controlling. The bike is your companion throughout the journey and so you need to know it well.

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Can I do the Ladakh Bike trip on a 100 cc bike or scooty?

The next question that comes is that whether doing this trip is possible on a scooty or a 100 cc bike. Yes, it is quite possible to do the trip, but there are some limitations and precautions that you have to understand.

There are challenges of doing the trip on a scooty or low power bike. The main challenge that you will face is the steep ascents. Khardung La, Chang La and Tanglang La have steep ascents for several kilometres. Secondly, the challenging road conditions make it difficult for riding on scooty. There are routes where you might have to cross rivulets or streams of water caused by the melting snow, which can be quite deep. Riding a scooty on such roads definitely is a big challenge due to low ground clearance.

At Ladakh, you might have to ride for long periods of time. If you ride your scooters or low power bikes continuously for a long time, there might be a problem of overheating.

Roads of Ladakh

Tips for doing Ladakh trip on a scooty or 100 cc bike

  • Know the limitations of your bike or scooty. These vehicles will gasp for power on the high mountain passes and the difficult roads. The 100 cc bikes and scooty can be quite slow at certain times. In such cases ride slow and do not overexert your bike engine.
  • Do not try to speed with other bikes. Go slow and enjoy the vistas. You have come to enjoy the adventure and not to compete with others.
  • Avoid low gear ride so as not to overheat the engines. At times when the road is extremely challenging and you have to ride in low gear, then take a break after every 30 minutes. This will let your engine cool down a bit. If your engine heats up, you may have to stop for some time, let it cool down and then continue your journey.
  • Service your scooty or bike before you start the trip.
  • Carry enough spare parts for your bike, so that you do not fall into trouble if your bike breaks down. Ensure to carry spare parts like clutch cable, accelerator cable, brake cables, spark plug, adhesives, coolant, spare headlight bulbs, puncture repair kits etc. This holds true for other bikes as well.
  • Travel as light as possible
  • Do not ride with pillion on your scooty or 100 cc bike.
  • Start early. As the day passes, the streams get swollen and it will be difficult to cross them with a low power bike.

How to carry your bike on train?

If you do not want to ride from your home town, you can send your bike on the train to New Delhi or Jammu. You can send your bike as luggage or parcel in trains. You would need the original documents and copies of your driving license, ID proof and bike documents like R/C, Pollution Certificate, Insurance copies etc. Go to the Railway Station Parcel Office and get it done. You have to pay a charge for carrying the bike on the train.

You may read this article to know more about the procedure to carry your bike on the train.

NOT RIDING A BIKE? CHECK OUT OUR MOST COMMON ITINERARY OF LADAKH!

Renting a bike or self-owned bike for Ladakh trip

A self-owned bike or motorcycle is always better because it will be better maintained and perform better over a rental bike. In your entire trip, the motorcycle will be your constant companion. So you need to know it in and out for a good trip. If you do not mind riding from your hometown, or the additional cost and hassle of transporting your bike, then self-owned bike is the best option.

If you do not want to take your own bike, then there are plenty of bike rental agencies in Leh. You can also rent bikes from Srinagar or Manali.

Bike rentals in Ladakh

If you do not wish to take your on bike, then you will get bike rentals in Leh. There are many shops and travel agents in Leh from where you can get motorcycles on rent. You can even inquire at your hotel and they will guide you accordingly.

The cost of bike rental ranges from INR 1000 to INR 2000 (RE Himalayan) per day. The cost of the bike depends on the model, make and the condition of the bike. You also might have to pay a security deposit for renting the bike.

Before you rent a bike, check its condition and take a test ride.

Can a motorcycle rented outside be used in Ladakh?

No, you cannot use a motorcycle rented outside (like in Srinagar or Manali) inside Ladakh. You can only take it as far as Leh by the Srinagar Leh Highway and Manali Leh Highway. For riding around in Ladakh, you have to rent a bike from Leh city. The rule is the same for bikes rented from Delhi also.

Kolkata to Ladakh Bike Trip

Petrol Pumps on the route

This is another important factor for a bike trip or any road trips, especially in Ladakh. Petrol pumps are few in the region. So if you spot a petrol pump in the region, get your tanks filled. Also, carry extra fuel with you in jerrycans.

The 474 km long stretch of Manali Leh Highway has a couple of petrol pumps. Manali has a petrol pump. Then after crossing the Rohtang Pass, Tandi village has another pump, 10 km before Keylong. The next petrol pump is 365 km away at Karu just before Leh.

You can also get fuels at the Dhaba tents at Sarchu and Pang. But they will be costlier.

Unlike Manali Leh Highway, Srinagar Leh Highway has more options. After Srinagar, there are petrol pumps at Ganderbal, Sonmarg, Kargil and Khalsi. Khalsi is about 95 km from Leh town. There is no need to carry extra petrol in this route.

There is one petrol pump at Nubra Valley in Diskit Village.

There are no petrol pumps near Pangong Tso. Karu Petrol pump near Leh town is the nearest one. It is about 130 odd km from Pangong Tso. You will, however, get black fuel at Spangmik and Chushul village,

There are no petrol pumps at Tso Moriri or the nearby villages. Here also, Karu, 200 km away is the nearest one. You will get black fuel at Nyoma and Chumthang village.

There are no petrol pumps near Hanle as well. You have to carry extra fuel if you wish to travel to these places.

What to pack for a bike trip to Ladakh?

A bike trip to Ladakh needs some thoughtful packing. You have to carry your luggage on your bike. So you need to pack light and smart. Here are a few essential things that you need to pack for your Ladakh Bike Trip.

what to pack for a bike trip in Ladakh

  • Valid photo ID proofs, Driving License and all papers related to your bike (RC, Pollution Certificate, Insurance etc.)
  • Sturdy and comfortable helmet
  • Tool kit for your bike
  • All-weather jackets that you can wear in cold, rain, sunshine and changing weather.
  • Riding goggles
  • Extra pair of socks and gloves
  • Necessary clothing items (do minimal packing)
  • First aid kit and a medical kit containing common medicines of cold, high temperature, loose motions, stomach upsets and AMS. Also keep medicines for pain, antiseptic cream, ORS and glucose.
  • A Mobile ready with GPS. If possible keep a physical map as well.
  • Camera, Charger, power banks, torch and extra batteries.
  • Toiletries and sunscreen with good SPF.
  • A swiss army knife. It is useful at many occasions.
  • Keep food supplies like protein bars, readymade food items etc. for your hunger pangs.

Some final words for your Ladakh Bike Trip

  • Choose and know your bike and get it serviced properly.
  • Choose the best time to go.
  • Decide the route you want to take.
  • Keep the bike tool kit and your first aid kit handy.
  • Carry some bike spare parts like spare fuse, spare clutch cable, accelerator cable, break cables, spark plug, adhesives, coolant, spare headlight bulbs, puncture repair kits, extra tube for tube tires.
  • Keep food supplies like ready to eat snacks, protein bar with you. It will help on the way.
  • Carry extra petrol on the Ladakh routes.
  • Halts are important. Dos top on your way to rest yourself and your bike. And of course, enjoy the surroundings.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Keep alcohol at bay. It is quite harmful at such altitude. Do your booze party after you reach the plains.
  • Carry enough cash. You might not get ATMs at remote places. And in places where phone connectivity is not proper, online transaction is way too much to ask.

Story of a Bike Trip from Kolkata to Ladakh

Now that you have got information about the trip, here is a first-hand account of a biking enthusiast who had done the Ladakh Bike Trip from Kolkata. Sujay is from Kolkata working as Asst. Professor of Mathematics in a Kolkata college. He is extremely fond of his bike and loves to travel to various places in his bike. He is a dear friend and very graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions.

Ladakh Bike Trip

Q1. What made you go for this epic Ladakh Bike trip?

A: Whenever I hear the word Ladakh, only two things come to my mind. The unending beautiful landscape surrounded by the rustic hills and my bike roaring on the pitch black roads towards eternity. I think it is the dream of every biker to traverse the rugged terrains of Ladakh once in their lifetime, to cross the highest motorable pass at around 18000 ft is the adrenaline rush all the bikers want to feel.

Q2: Tell us about your journey.

A: I started from Jadavpur, Kolkata on September 24, 2017 on my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. I had packed every possible thing I could think of. I started at 2 AM in the morning as I wanted to cover as much distance as possible. My plan was to reach Kanpur on the first day. But my bike got a major breakdown at Aurangabad in Bihar and I lost 2 precious days. On Day 7, I started from Sonmarg towards the journey of my lifetime.

I crossed the treacherous Zojila Pass towards Kargil. I had wanted to see the Kargil War Memorial, but the roads were closed, as it was Muharram on that day. I took a bypass and reached Leh at 6 PM in the evening.

The next day, I roamed around Leh city taking in the beauty as much as I could. I got the required permits and visited the Shanti Stupa in the evening. The next day was crucial for me, as I was preparing to cross the Khardungla Pass, the highest motorable road in the world. I reached Khardungla at about 9:45 AM, spent some time there and then started my journey towards the Nubra Valley. Nubra Valley is a beauty in itself. I quite enjoyed riding my Enfield on the almost empty roads with the cold desert on either side. At Nubra, I visited the Distik Monastery and enjoyed some time at the sand dunes.

The next day, I started towards Pangong Lake through the Shyok Valley route. This route is one of the most beautiful routes of Ladakh. I would like to say here, that most of the tourists and bikers avoid this route. They are misinformed that this route is dangerous and has no shops on the way. But what I experienced is quite the contrary. I reached Spagmik at around 2 PM and cosied up in my tent. I could see the blue waters of the Pangong Lake through my tent. It was indeed a surreal experience to stay near Pangong Lake and see its changing colours.

It was freezing at night. I had wanted to take star trails, but the moon shone brightly thwarting my efforts. The cold too played a part in it!

That was almost the end of my Ladakh trip. Now was the time to return home safely. I started from Pangong the next day, reached Pang, then Pang to Manali and finally, after travelling through Noida and Allahabad, I was back at Kolkata on October 8, 2017.

Q3: How was your experience at the Ladakh bike trip?

A: It was the experience of a lifetime. Ladakh is indeed a beautiful place with all the mountains and valleys. My night at Pangong Lake was quite a memorable one. May be more so because I was leaving the next day. Added to the beauty of the place, was the thrill of riding the bike at such difficult terrains. I felt as if I conquered the world!

Q4: Did you face any problems on the road?

A: There were no problems as such. Only my bike broke down on the 1st day at Aurangabad in Bihar. I lost 2 days there. And when I reached Kargil, the roads were closed, as it was Muharram that day. I had to take a bye pass.

Nevertheless, the journey was quite successful without much difficulty. The people were friendly and helpful. And getting the permits at Ladakh was no hassle. You don’t have to go to any agencies.

Q5: Any suggestions or tips?

A: The road before you is endless. Just put your helmet on and take the ride of your lifetime. I am sure you will not regret it.

Get your bike serviced properly. Carry your preferred bike oil as you might not get it in Leh as they have limited stocks. Also keep your documents and papers in order. Plan the number of days you want to travel and the route map beforehand. Take proper clothes and biking gears with you.

Spend a day at Pangong Lake. It is worth all the travel. You may also take the road from Nubra Valley to Pangong via Shyok. The roads are okay.

Follow his Youtube Videos at Sujay8202.

So that was the story of Sujay. If you have any more questions on Ladakh Bike Trip, please comment below or send us a mail. If you liked the post and found it helpful, then please share it with others. Pin it for a later read.