5 Reasons to choose Srinagar – Leh Road over Manali – Leh Road

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Soon the roads to heaven on earth, named Leh – Ladakh will open its door and lots n lots of travel, adventure freaks hit the highways from various parts of India to live their moments of the year and ride/drive this adventure filled journey to Leh – Ladakh. The biggest question I keep getting is, “While doing the complete circuit of Delhi – Srinagar – Leh – Manali – Delhi, which direction is best to start the journey?”. Most of the time I reply, go via Srinagar – Leh Highway and come back via Manali – Leh Highway. I will try to enlist 5 reasons below why I suggest Srinagar – Leh direction while going to Leh – Ladakh over Manali – Leh direction

1. Better Acclimatization, Less Health Trouble

When you travel to Ladakh via Srinagar – Leh Highway, you ascent in altitude in a gradual manner This means body gets more time to get acclimatized for the high altitude of Leh and you feel much better plus relaxed. The more acclimatized your body is, the less health (acute mountain sickness) issues you will face while you travel to Ladakh from Srinagar – Leh Highway.

If you start via Manali – Leh Highway then most of the terrain runs over 4000 Mtrs of altitude (you hit above 5000 Mtrs on second day itself) and by the time you reach such high altitude your body is not properly acclimatized, so high chances of falling sick and ruining the trip. When you are traveling with family including children or old age people, going via Srinagar – Leh Highway makes even much more sense.

Read more about Acute Mountains Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization including some tips at the article linked here.

2. Better Enjoyment of Views on Manali – Leh Highway

When you travel to Ladakh via Srinagar – Leh Highway and then do whole Ladakh sightseeing, your body gets very much acclimatized to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Hence, rather than worrying about your health, you definitely enjoy the beauty and explore Manali – Leh Highway in a much better way as compared to when you travel the other way round.

If you are traveling via Manali – Leh Highway in tweaked manner and get stuck at some high altitude pass (5 passes are on the way) due to some mechanical failure or landslide or road blockage, it will mean some serious trouble for you. Without proper acclimatization there are high chances of worsening the symptoms if you prolong your stay at high altitude. This may cause some serious health issues at one of the remotest places where even help would be hard to find for a long time.

3. Evenly Balanced Travel Distance and Time on Manali – Leh Highway

In order to combat acute mountain sickness issues, many traveler going via Manali – Leh Highway tweak the itinerary and tend to sleep at Keylong or Jispa (about 120 KMs from Manali) at first night. Then they start very early in the next morning from Keylong or Jispa to reach Leh (about 350 KMs from Keylong) by nightfall. Sarchu about 222 KMs from Manali, almost a mid point, is almost at a height of 4200 Mtrs and causes some serious acute mountain sickness issues many a times to many travelers. Hence, the travelers prefer/suggest breaking the journey into 25:75 ratio when you travel to Ladakh via Manali – Leh Highway and still you feel heavy head/nausea in many cases.

All this tweaking means, you will have less time of second day to thoroughly enjoy the views. Now, if you are traveling via Srinagar – Leh Highway and coming back via Manali – Leh Highway, you are acclimatized in much better way to sleep at high altitude Sarchu where you find good accommodation. Halting your journey at Sarchu means, you divide the over all 474 KM long journey very much evenly between two days and hence, more time for explorations the beauty at either day.

4. Better Placement of Tso Moriri Lake in the Itinerary

As you can see in the most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travelers including me at the link here, if you travel towards Manali from Leh then you can better place Tso Moriri lake in your itinerary and save a day for you. You cannot visit Tso Moriri while coming from Manali – Leh Highway because first, you will not have any permits and secondly, even if you get the permits somehow your body will not be acclimatized to sleep at very high altitude of Tso Moriri lake. So, you have to go to Leh first, do all your sightseeing and then visit Tso Moriri and then again go back to Leh to exit via Srinagar – Leh Highway. All this means, you should have one more day in your itinerary.

Since, you can always exit from Tso Moriri lake towards Manali via Tso Kar or Taglang La over Manali – Leh Highway, it gives more flexibility to place it in the itinerary when you travel from Leh towards Manali. For more details on Tso Moriri Lake, check the comprehensive Travel Guide for it at the link here

5. No worries of Manali – Rohtang Pass Permits for Non-HP Vehicles

In 2011, Himachal GOVT. floated a strange rule which disallowed any non-HP vehicle excluding two wheelers (bike/scooters) to ply on Manali – Rohtang Pass road. The GOVT. stated that this rule was brought into affect to regulate un-necessary traffic plying on Manali – Rohtang Pass road and make the traffic situation a bit better (in reality nothing changed rather got worse, I feel as per the reports last year).

For people going past Rohtang Pass towards Lahaul or Spiti Valley or further to Leh – Ladakh required to get a permit from Manali SDM Office. This meant wasting a day for sure in Manali. The FUNNY thing about this regulation is that only vehicles going from Manali towards Rohtang Pass need that permit but any vehicle coming from Rohtang Pass (i.e Leh – Ladakh or Lahaul Spiti) to Manali do not require any permit Hence, if you are coming from Leh – Ladakh towards Manali, you do not need any permit 🙂

For more details on this rule that do not allow non-HP vehicles to ply on Manali – Rohtang Pass road including how to get permit, what documents are required etc, you can read more here.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed the article and now understand why we shall choose Srinagar – Leh Highway while traveling to Leh – Ladakh and choose Manali – Leh Highway while you return from Leh – Ladakh towards home 🙂 … If you have been there before, I would love to know your thoughts to on choosing Srinagar – Leh over Manali – Leh. Please share your valuable thoughts and inputs for the same. And, if you happen to be the first timer I hope the above article will help you decide the right way to Travel to Leh Ladakh by road and plan your itinerary in much better way.

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867 Comments

  1. Hi Dheeraj,

    Many thank to you for your article and prompt responses to all the travelers’ queries. It can work like an encyclopedia for Leh/Ladakh travelers.

    I along with a friend intend to do a circle from Delhi via Sri Nagar to Leh and return via Manali in August / September this year. I own a small car Toyota Liva. Do you recommend taking a small car on this route? I have driven the same up to Rohtang earlier and have been to Keylong earlier in 1997 on a Maruti Zen. I can imagine the route will be difficult. But have you seen small cars running on this route?

  2. Ekta chandra on

    Dheeraj ji
    I am planning fr the 5th of augus.we want to start from delhi travelling by self driven xuv.

    Looking fwd to your kind response

  3. Ekta chandra on

    Dheeraj ji . Ihave read almost all articles and replies given in by you .
    well I would request you to help me with an itenary since I am planning to Ccover kashmir and leh in my trip . Sir this is my much awaited trip to my country after years would be highly obliged if you can help me with the same . We are planning to travel by road. In the month of August . A much awaited trip to my country india after years need your guidence. Please help .

  4. Sourabh Madan on

    Hey Dheeraj,

    We will be travelling to Leh via new delhi on June 9.
    The route is as follows : Delhi – Patnitop – Srinagar – Kargil – Leh – Nubra – Pangong – Jispa – Solang – Delhi.
    We will reach delhi back late night on 19th June.

    I was just wondering, that is it totally safe to travel via Srinagar – Leh Highway ?

    Thanks
    Regards
    Sourabh Madan

  5. Caroline Silva on

    Dear Dheeraj,
    Thank you very much for this wonderful blog, I could not find any guide book that would cover this are any better! Nevertheless, I have one question, I could not find an answer for on your blog:
    We are doing a round trip in July from Delhi for one month. Since you write at every opportunity that it is better do do it Delhi – Shrinagar – Leh – Manali – Delhi, we would of course do it. Just one problem: my brother joins us for only two weeks (a bit jetlagged since he is coming from Europe). So or we do it the other way around trying to acclimatize as long as possible on the way up and hoping that nothing goes wrong or he just gets to see the first half and misses Leh-Manali. How bad is the latter? I mean: does Delhi-Shrinagar and maybe until Leh make up for missing Manali-Leh? He can’t join us in Leh, I guess, because he would need too long to acclimatize since from Leh we of course want to go to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. So: How are the beauties in comparation????
    Thanks a ton!
    Best, Caroline

    • Hello Caroline,

      Since, he is visiting for two weeks, can;t he fly into Leh from Delhi? Or may be fly to Srinagar travel on his own to Leh from Srinagar? This will mean you guys just need to overlap 2-3 days in one or other way. If he flies into Leh, he will need two days of acclimatization before going to Nubra Valley with you guys and if he flies in to Srinagar and then travel to Leh in 2 days, he will need 1 day of acclimatization in Leh. Then you can cover Leh to Manali journey together.

      • Caroline Silva on

        Dear Dheeraj,
        thank you so much for your quick answer – I checked back with my brother, he can only come in the first two weeks. But I figured out that we can reach Leh in that time. So I still have to decide: or he sees Manali-Leh (in that direction) or Dharamsala, Srinagar, Kargil and Leh (and maybe Nubra Valley) or the second part (with difficulties at adaption to height). How would you decide???
        Thank you so much!
        Caroline

  6. Hitesh Jain on

    hi Dheeraj,

    Your tips and plan are perfect and very helpful but i have a query i may be taking either of the routes due to timing and budget constraint but v r 6 ppl and carrying our own Tents, is it safe to camp and stay overnight ? any changes in that case ? pls help

  7. Manish Daga on

    Hello Sir,
    I live in Chandigarh. Me and my friends are going to visit Leh-Ladakh for a trip in June. We are going by road and we have booked our flight for return journey from Srinagar – Chandigarh.
    1. Our initial plan was to travel through manali – sarchu – Leh route. Please suggest if it is a good route and anything we can add to this. You may also suggest us any alternate route if it is better and more convenient.
    2. We are 8 in person. I need your recommendation as to which vehicle / transport service we should prefer.
    *Note (7 of my friends will be joining me from Chennai through a flight.)

    • Hallo Manish,

      1. You can read the article above and understand why it is not suggested to travel from Manali side.
      2. 8 you should go for small tempo traveller or winger type of vehicle to save cost and travel together else book two taxis which will be costly but much comfortable.

  8. Prachi Bukkam on

    hi. me and my husband are planning this trip and we want to know transport options. we are not bike fans and choose a car with a driver cum guide to commute. we want to start our journey from Srinagar and end the journey in Manali ( as suggested by you). the date we are looking forward are from 23rd August to 2nd September.

    • You are a couple and private taxis are very costly in Leh but you will be able to find the shared taxi without much fuss at all. There are lots of flyers which people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agent organize such shared taxis trip as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in worst case you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself. Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meet new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. No where else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis are 🙂

  9. HI Dheeraj,

    Thanks for such a nice article. Me and three other friends are planning to visit leh- ladakh sometime between june end to first week of july. We are from kolkata and will be going through Delhi. Can we follow the same route as suggested by you in the previous request-
    Day 1 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
    — Enjoy the vistas enroute
    — Have late drunch meal at Drass is you are a vegetarian as sometimes it gets difficult to find veg. food at Kargil
    — Overnight at Kargil

    Day 2 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
    — Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
    — On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
    — Overnight at Leh

    Day 3 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
    — To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
    — Overnight at Leh

    Day 4 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder
    — Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
    — On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
    — Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari

    Day 5 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
    — Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs
    — Overnight at Leh

    Day 6 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
    — Do not plan to stay overnight at Pangong Tso as you will not be acclimatized and may fall sick. So, make a day trip only.
    — Overnight at Leh

    Day 7 | Leh – Taglang La – Moore Plains – Pang – Sarchu
    — Stay overnight at Sarchu

    Day 8 | Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
    — On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the road sides only
    — Overnight at Manali

    Just to add, we want to witness snow and it would be better if you can suggest where we can get snow covered snaps.

  10. Hello Dheeraj,

    Me n my 5 friends are planning to go on Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Ladakh-Manali_delhi route. we are planning to take a car for rent from Delhi and reach Leh via mentioned route. From Leh as outside rent cars are not allowed for sight seeing we are planning to take Bikes for covering Leh and ladakh. and after that return via manali to Delh in car. This is our plan. planned dates are May 9th-20th (Delhi to Delhi).
    Is This a good plan? Please suggest any changes if needed.
    Thank you

  11. Ranjan Kashyap on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all I would like to thank you for putting such a valuable information all together. My friends and I are planning a 7 day trip to Leh, on our own bikes on first week on June this year. I have few questions to ask:

    1. What are the best options to transport our bikes from Delhi (where some of my friends are staying) and Chandigarh (where I am staying) to Manali or Sundernagar (Where I have a relative’s address to deliver them) as I have heard that rented bikes don’t go very well many times.

    2. As the number of days are less, what you suggest, should we start from Manali – Leh highway or Start from Srinagar – Leh highway and back to manali (in this case also suggest bike transportation options to srinagar).

    3. Can we take along our tents, sleeping bags etc and do camping somewhere like Jispa (along river side, Sarchu or anywhere else in between the Journey).

    4. How early we have to book hotels in Manali, Srinagar, Leh etc before the Trip.

    5. Can we do all the sightseeing in Ladakh by just staying at one hotel/gues house or they are far away that we have to book 2-3 places to roam around places like Pangong , Morri etc.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Ranjan,

      Before answering anything, It will take 4 days to reach Leh from Srinagar side starting from Delhi and 3 days to come back from Leh from Manali side to Delhi. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. And you have just 7 days?

      • Ranjan Kashyap on

        I have excluded the time from Delhi to Srinagar and from Back Manali to Delhi. We have 7 days from Srinagar to come back to Manali.

        • In that case you can add one more day to make it 8 and follow the way it is mentioned below:

          Day 1 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
          — Enjoy the vistas enroute
          — Have late drunch meal at Drass is you are a vegetarian as sometimes it gets difficult to find veg. food at Kargil
          — Overnight at Kargil

          Day 2 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
          — Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
          — On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 3 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
          — To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 4 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder
          — Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
          — On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
          — Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari

          Day 5 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
          — Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 6 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
          — Do not plan to stay overnight at Pangong Tso as you will not be acclimatized and may fall sick. So, make a day trip only.
          — Overnight at Leh

          Day 7 | Leh – Taglang La – Moore Plains – Pang – Sarchu
          — Stay overnight at Sarchu

          Day 8 | Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
          — On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the road sides only
          — Overnight at Manali

        • priyaranjan on

          I love the plan of 7-8 days Srinagar-Leh-Manali tour. @Dheeraj, could you suggest any bike tour group for the same? Me and my wife are planning for the same this late Aug/early Sep.Thanks in advance.

  12. Gurpreet Singh on

    Hello sir
    I am planning a trip with friends to leh via srinagar-leh-manali on my own Royal enfield in May 2016
    please give me some suggetion like best time to go
    where to go and what mistakes not to do
    any kind of suggetions will be appritiated
    Thax

  13. Hello friend
    I will plan to go leh via manali leh highway in 13th May 2016 with my family. Is it possible to open this highway? If no , what is the other options to reach the leh from manali or near city.

    • Sarvesh with family during the initial days of opening of Manali – Leh Highway that too if at all it opens this year, I will not advice you the journey. You should try either to push the trip by a month or go from Srinagar side and return from Manali side after enquiring the conditions of Manali – Leh

  14. Himanshu Agarwal on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I was planning on the same trip to Leh for June. Can you please suggest that are there any bike rentals which you might know of, in Srinagar, who give you the service of taking the bike from Srinagar and then leaving them at Manali? I think services who have their offices at both the places must be giving such services, isnt it?

    • Hi Himanshu,

      There is no such service or rental agency.

      Bikes rented outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing inside Ladakh except Tso Moriri and Tso Kar lakes which can be done while going to Manali from Leh. Private bikes are completely allowed. You can use the outside rented bike to reach Leh but then for going to Pangong Tso, nubra Valley, etc.. you need to hire rented bikes from Leh only.

      To know more about this rule and present situation, please refer the link: Bikes Rented Outside Leh Banned in Ladakh

      This year as per reports, rule is going to be stricter. Manali rental guys have formalized a deal that for the days Manali bike is parked in Leh and Leh bike is rented, they will charge 50% of the rent of the bike. So, confirm with Manali rental guys first about this signoff.

      For renting bikes in Leh – Ladakh along with current Bike Union Prices, you can check the DoW Community thread: Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2015 – 16 & Reliable Shops

      The one way bike rental is quite costly and leave a big dent in pocket for you, sometimes like 12K for just the pickup from Manali. Be sure if you are ready to make that investment or not or if at all it is worth the money spent. My suggestion is unless you are hard core biker and cannot live up the passion of biking, it is not wise to spend that much money just for the pickup of bike.

      I will suggest that you go through the articles mentioned under the DoW Community thread for bike trip to Ladakh or any other part of Himalayas at the link: All About Bike Ride to Ladakh & Himalayas. This will help you cover almost all your queries related to bike trip to Ladakh or Himalayas.

      For Srinagar bike rental you can refer the link: http://devilonwheels.com/india/ladakh-zanskar-travel-guides/outside-rented-bikes-banned-ladakh-t1009-50.html#p12858

  15. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are planning a bike trip through the route in july this year , “delhi – manali – leh – pongong – khardungla – tso moriri – kargil – srinagar- delhi”…we are planning that we can hit this (without any buffer days) in 15 days, is it possible to do within this time frame??

    OR, can we suggest minimum how many days required to do this?

    we have some confusions actuully.

    • RBK, the time window is fine BUT…

      Firstly, I will suggest you that please plan it in other direction as going via Srinagar – Leh Highway will be much much easier on your body and help you acclimatize to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Also, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of Manali – Leh by splitting the journey almost evenly in two days which is very difficult in the other direction. Thirdly, it will allow you to fit Tso Moriri lake into the itinerary in better way. You can read more reasons on the link here

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      • Thanks Dheeraj.
        To complete the complete circuit in 15 days, will it cause hurry everywhere ? e.g. hurry in riding, sightseeing, taking rest and all?
        we are mostly like to start from delhi to srinagar instead of delhi to manali, considering the facts and advantages of this route over the other one. Actually i am planning to hire a bike from delhi for this complete round trip, any referrence for bike rental and other information will help a lot. Currently checking with SHB guys for a KTM duke 200.

        you can write to me directly at borkakoty09@gmail.com

        • You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

          Bikes rented outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing inside Ladakh except Tso Moriri and Tso Kar lakes which can be done while going to Manali from Leh. Private bikes are completely allowed. You can use the outside rented bike to reach Leh but then for going to Pangong Tso, nubra Valley, etc.. you need to hire rented bikes from Leh only.

          To know more about this rule and present situation, please refer the link: Bikes Rented Outside Leh Banned in Ladakh

          This year as per reports, rule is going to be stricter. Manali rental guys have formalized a deal that for the days Manali bike is parked in Leh and Leh bike is rented, they will charge 50% of the rent of the bike. So, confirm with Manali rental guys first about this signoff.

          For renting bikes in Leh – Ladakh along with current Bike Union Prices, you can check the DoW Community thread: Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2015 – 16 & Reliable Shops

          The one way bike rental is quite costly and leave a big dent in pocket for you, sometimes like 12K for just the pickup from Manali. Be sure if you are ready to make that investment or not or if at all it is worth the money spent. My suggestion is unless you are hard core biker and cannot live up the passion of biking, it is not wise to spend that much money just for the pickup of bike.

          I will suggest that you go through the articles mentioned under the DoW Community thread for bike trip to Ladakh or any other part of Himalayas at the link: All About Bike Ride to Ladakh & Himalayas. This will help you cover almost all your queries related to bike trip to Ladakh or Himalayas.

  16. thanks for the helpful article. We are driving up from Bangalore to Leh in May (given the snowfall has been much less this year and the roads are supposed to be open by April end), and want to travel via Delhi-Srinagar.
    We have not gone on that road before, so would need some possible itinerary. We plan to reach Delhi in two days and from there we want to know what kind of time it takes to reach Srinagar and from there to Leh. A breakup of how much to do per day will help. On the plains we are used to doing about 1000-1200 kms in a day, so we are seasoned travelers, but need info about the hills. a realistic estimate will help. Thanks so much.

    • Arijit, please stay tuned to the road conditions thread as snow has started to pileup now even being having less snowfall in winters. In case March, we have lot of snow, the plan can go hayway. I am sharing a plan below but it will always be at mercy of road conditions.

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

    • Hi, We are also planning for Leh-Ladakh trip in May end and want to know details. Any information would help our trip.
      Thanks.

  17. Bhuvan jain on

    I am planning a road trip from manali to leh on 3rd june dis year 2016. Is it safe to go from this route on these dates..??

    • Hi Bhuvan,

      Yes, it is fine to travel and most likely the road of Manali – Leh gets open. Firstly, I will suggest you that please plan it in other direction as going via Srinagar – Leh Highway will be much much easier on your body and help you acclimatize to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Also, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of Manali – Leh by splitting the journey almost evenly in two days which is very difficult in the other direction. Thirdly, it will allow you to fit Tso Moriri lake into the itinerary in better way. You can read more reasons on the link here

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

  18. Jenu Lazar James on

    HAi Dheeraj,
    Brother v r planning a road trip from manali to Kashmir. Actually am from Kerala. So v r looking to take bike rent from manali. Can u pls help us to get the correct formalities , rent amount , v want to pay any advance to get the bike. August v r planning is it good time? Please help me brother with ur exprnce and with ur advice.
    Jenu

    • Hello Jenu,

      Firstly, I will suggest you that please plan it in other direction as going via Srinagar – Leh Highway will be much much easier on your body and help you acclimatize to the high altitude of Manali – Leh Highway. Also, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of Manali – Leh by splitting the journey almost evenly in two days which is very difficult in the other direction. Thirdly, it will allow you to fit Tso Moriri lake into the itinerary in better way. You can read more reasons on the link here

      You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

      Bikes rented outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing inside Ladakh except Tso Moriri and Tso Kar lakes which can be done while going to Manali from Leh. Private bikes are completely allowed. You can use the outside rented bike to reach Leh but then for going to Pangong Tso, nubra Valley, etc.. you need to hire rented bikes from Leh only.

      To know more about this rule and present situation, please refer the link: Bikes Rented Outside Leh Banned in Ladakh

      This year as per reports, rule is going to be stricter. Manali rental guys have formalized a deal that for the days Manali bike is parked in Leh and Leh bike is rented, they will charge 50% of the rent of the bike. So, confirm with Manali rental guys first about this signoff.

      For renting bikes in Leh – Ladakh along with current Bike Union Prices, you can check the DoW Community thread: Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2015 – 16 & Reliable Shops

      The one way bike rental is quite costly and leave a big dent in pocket for you, sometimes like 12K for just the pickup from Manali. Be sure if you are ready to make that investment or not or if at all it is worth the money spent. My suggestion is unless you are hard core biker and cannot live up the passion of biking, it is not wise to spend that much money just for the pickup of bike.

      I will suggest that you go through the articles mentioned under the DoW Community thread for bike trip to Ladakh or any other part of Himalayas at the link: All About Bike Ride to Ladakh & Himalayas. This will help you cover almost all your queries related to bike trip to Ladakh or Himalayas.

      • Siddarth Bhamre on

        Hi Dheeraj

        I am from Mumbai. 11th September 2016 (sunday) I want to participate in half marathon in Ladakh.

        Can’t take leave for more than 6-7 days (excluding weekends). Please suggest me how should I plan my trip.

        I need proper acclimatization before my 21km run. Please guide me how to plan my trip.

        • Siddarth Bhamre on

          11th September is half marathon date. Yes I have done quite few of half marathons but as you rightly said running at that altitude is different ball game all together. I got 7-8 days for this trip. Travelling from Mumbai.

        • I amy not be the expert to comment on it. All I know is that different bodies react to acclimatization differently and at different pace. All depends how your body adapts to it in fast manner.

  19. dheeraj after reading your article we are very much interested to take SRINAGAR Leh route. As of now Iam in Srinagar with my family I already went upto gumri but now Iam interested to go to Leh from SRINAGAR here the driver is telling he can take me to Leh in single day if I i start early is it possible and advisable I have some health issues relating to stomach like digestion and gastroenterology do you think people with this type problem can visit Leh your suggestion is requested please with regards kumaresh

    • Kumaresh, I am not sure if indigestion is linked to high altitude in any way but you should consult a doctor in case you have a doubt. It will take about 16-17 Hrs to reach Leh from Srinagar in a single day and altitude increases abruptly too.

    • People affected by AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) will exhibit different symptoms, like breathing difficulties, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, indigestion, gastric disorder, heaviness, high blood pressure, head-ache, confusion, inability to concentrate, etc. All due to lack of oxygen content in the air and the variation in the atmospheric pressure. Elevation from sea level to Leh at 11,562 feet must demands a good deal of acclimatization of gradual elevation. Travelling from Srinagar to Leh in one day will be extremely risky for a first time traveller to such high altitude, without any acclimatization. Such distance must be covered in minimum 2 – 3 days in order to avoid AMS which can be fatal if not addressed properly.

  20. Deepanshu Singh on

    Baralacha Pass was closed for 3 days -22 Sept ’15 around 11AM to 24th Morning after that I choosed to returned to manali after waiting almost 3 days at Jispa.So as of now you must have 2-3 days extra in your itinerary to travel to leh via manali – leh highway as BRO will start clearing roads only after once weather is cleared.

    • Sorry to hear that Deepanshu..

      We are planning to reach Ley on 1st October and to return immediately by seeing the situations there as we are supposed to be in Delhi latest by 6th October.

      While returning from Leh to Manali we are planning to take a bus.. Will it be ok or can you suggest a better mode of commute to be safe during some risks like road blocks, etc.,

  21. Chirag Modi on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    While surfing through the Internet found the perfect information by you here..I need your help to plan a vacation. Can you please help me with full itnerary to Ladakh trhu Shrinagar Road upto Manali via Taxi ?

    And what would be the perfect time for that and days for a trip?

    Please advice to plan accordingly please..

    Thank you once again

  22. Hi Dheeraj
    I plan to got to Leh via Srinagar starting 30th September. Need your help in planning the itinerary
    Delhi to Srinagar – road/train/flight?
    Srinagar to Leh – shared taxi or Bus
    itinerary for Leh and surrounding places
    Leh to Delhi – flight or Leh-Manali-Delhi road route.

    I am travelling solo and 1st time to Ladakh. All your help will be extremely appreciated 🙂
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Esha,

      1. Delhi to Srinagar – Do by flight
      2. Srinagar to Leh, do by shared taxi or bus
      3. Around Leh and in Ladakh, it will be quite difficult with season end to find travel partners BUT you might try with some agents running shared tours if that is possible
      4. Come back by flight from Leh to Delhi. Leh – Manali road is not much advisable in October.

  23. Namaskaram Dhiraj! Great to read about you and your suggestions so passionately shared. Am flying to leg by go air on 1st October and would like to take leh manali by bike with my wife and take a bus to Delhi…..I need to be in Delhi on 5th night or 6th morning, please can you suggest if this is feasible or suggest an alternate plan. But our onward tickets are booked already. Thanks/Puvi

    • Puvi, Namaskaram !!

      High passes have already started getting snow and I feel it is a risky affair to travel on Leh – Manali highway after season time now. Please check the weather conditions before venturing out there as due to season end traffic will be quite less too on the highway.

      • Namaskaram Dheeraj !

        So you mean we have to restrict ourselves to leh and around is it if we are travellin during this time.????

        Will those roads closed officially aswell ?

        What about travel by a jeep or a buss …. Is that also a risky affair ??

        If we have to restrict to leh alone are there enough to do for the gown days.

        Please can you suggest how we can return from there because we don’t want fly back because it could be very expensive to book that ?

        • Hello Puvi,

          Roads in general close officially by mid of October. However the camps setup wind up by end of September. Baralcha La was closed for last three days and opened yesterday only. So, such things you might face.

        • Thanks for that Dheeraj!

          But if suppose any road block in this time half the way how do we manage like stay food etc….?

          How can we book the Leh to Manali bus as we are not able to find any online facility for booking

          How much it would cost to hire a taxi or a jeep from Leh to Manali.. We are a couple and is it easy to get a shared taxi….

          Any alternate facility available to handle all these risks….

          we are in a big dilemma but how ever we don’t want to cancel this trip… Please help!!

        • Puvi, that is the risk which is all about gambling while traveling in such a lat season. If you are on the other side of Baralacha La towards Sarchu then you are in big trouble in case even dhabhas are winded up in Sarchu because you will not have anything to sleep and eat in case Baralacha La is closed. Late season it becomes again difficult to get shared taxis due to less number of tourists. Taxi cost around 17-18 K for a drop in two days to Manali from Leh. Shared taxis charge around Rs 1500 per seat.

  24. Gautam Sadh on

    Hi Dheeraj, While surfing through internet I came to know about your website and found this as very useful blog. I also need some expert guidance from you.
    Actually, I am planning a road trip to Leh, Ladakh from Delhi on 16th Sep on my XUV with my family with no experience about that terrain, roads, climate etc and thus have lots of questions:
    1) Are 6 days sufficient for the entire road trip from Delhi-Leh-Delhi?
    2) I know your preference is via Srinagar so would you recommend Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi for me?
    3) Depending upon the route recommended, can you let me know the right places to halt during evening so that we lose minimum time and is convenient for us ? How many halts are required / recommended?
    4) How to ensure that we don’t get sick and things we should carry with us.
    5) Do I need any permits for my vehicle ( I have a HR-26 number )
    6) Do we need to carry heavy woolens or just light jacket/woolens would do?
    7) I am vegetarian so any suggestion on where to look for right food on the way to Leh?

    Thanks and an early response would be much appreciated.
    Regards
    Gautam
    96507 55400

    • Hello Gautam,

      Minimum of 9 days are required for a road trip to Leh – Ladakh and that too makes you almost be on road only all days, quite tiring. Forget about to do it in 6 days. Do you have about 10-11 days in hand?

      • Gautam Sadh on

        Hi Dheeraj

        Thanks for your reply. Okay, I am cancelling my trip in that case as I don’t have more than 6-7 days right now. I will try to plan it later. How long can I delay my trip within this year? I think it starts getting cooler in Oct and not advisable to travel after that?

        • Gautam, it is already cold in Ladakh not cooler 🙂 … I returned a day before and it was minus 6 in the morning at 7 AM at Tso Kar lake 🙂 … I will not suggest first timer to go any time beyond mid of october by flight.

  25. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are thinking of a trip to Leh in April May, by own jeep from Delhi or Chandigarh. Thru Srinagar – Leh and exit via Leh manali.

    would you pl advice us on:

    1. Is it doable? considering weather
    2. are the highways open by then? permit required?

    thanks,
    Roopesh

    • Roopesh, it is quite optimistic to believe that Srinagar – Leh road will be open by that time of the year. Srinagar – Leh in general open plus stabilize mid of May and Manali – Leh in June.

  26. Dear Dheeraj,

    You are very patient an dedicated to this topic.
    We all appreciate the effort you put in here and respond to people.
    Very helpful info. Thanks a lot 🙂
    -Reema

      • Dear Dheeraj,

        So finally after getting inspired from all the blogs, photos & stories, my Brother and I have decided to do this trip – Sep 15 to Sep 27
        We plan to ride:
        Srinagar – Leh – Sarchu – Leh – Srinagar
        Slightly odd route, for various reasons.

        Now where we need your help is to advice on Bike rental in Srinagar.
        We have found 1 so far… but would you know any1 else ?
        Can Gurmat help in any way ?

        Thanks in advance 🙂

  27. Hello sir
    I heard about ceasefire in poonch so is it safe to visit srinagar in September first week or we should change our plan and go ladakh via manali route. And is manali -laddakh route safe to visit in rainy season I mean in September 1st week?

      • N sir if we change plan n take the route from Manali to ladakh in September first week is it safe I mean it would be safe in the rain

        • Well, in case it rains, both route will cause issues on your travel. But, Srinagar – Leh is less taxing on body because altitude increases gradually while if you will go from Manali side then altitude will increase all of a sudden to 14000 feet and many people feel headaches and nausea mostly while going to Leh from Manali side.

  28. Hello Mr dheeraj

    Sir I want to visit srinagar and stay There for 5 days n thn take srinagar to laddakh trip via road for 5 days and then wanna visit manali also again via road and want to hire a cab for entire trip would you please tell me how much money will be required for the entire trip.
    N one question more sir we are planning for this trip in September first week should be keep some warm clothes?

    • Hi meenakshi,

      September is a good time, I will suggest to carry some light woolens and a pair of heavy woolens for sure. Srinaagar to Manali trip of Ladakh with all sightseeing of Nubra, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri cost about 65K for taxi and then consider around 20-25K taxi of 5 days within Srinagar and Kashmir. Apart from this consider a cost of about 800-1000 per day per person for food + stay

  29. Vinay Mendu on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    We are from Delhi. We are planning Road trip to leh for 4 days in Sep last week( Sep 24 to Sep 27)

    Could you please suggest how we can plan this from below options

    1. Travel to Manali by Bus – road trip from manali to Leh for 4 days – take flight Leh to Delhi
    2. Take flight to Leh from delhi – road trip from Leh to manali – Take bus from manali to delhi
    3. Take flight to Leh from delhi – Road trip from Leh to Srinager – Take flight from sri nager to delhi

    If you have better options please share and also climate details on that duration, based on ur exp.

    Thank you
    Vinay Mendu

    • Hello Vinay,

      I will suggest that you go with Option 2 in case you looking for adventure else go with option 3. You cannot travel on Manali to Leh in that direction in 4 days because the altitude increase is sudden and body is acclimatized that early in the trip

  30. Jignesh patel on

    I want to know cost of manali to leh route (personal & government )??
    we are planning to go in august around 15 to 29
    and tell me weather condition is good or ok ok ?
    oxygen bottle or something available in manali or not?

  31. Hi Dheeraj…really appreciate all the information that you have provided. We are planning a 7 day trip to Ladakh from Chandigarh. I know we are very tight on time but we are planning on flying back from Leh to Delhi. I really want to go through the Manali as there are more places to see through this route. My concern is that my husband has asthma problems, can you please suggest whether its advisable for him to travel to such a height?

    Thank you.

    • Well, people with asthama have done Ladakh trips I know BUT still I will highly recommend that you visit the doctor and get his advice over it. Also ask him about the precautions need to be taken. Manali – Leh in itself is quite taxing to go.

  32. Prateekkapoor on

    Hi Dheeraj , I’m planning my trip to leh via Manali by road , my dates are from 7th August and leave from Delhi , can you suggest how is roads and weather their and do i need to take any permit if I’m going via manali , I have my private number suv? Also pls confirm what is the current status of roads if take Srinagar route. Is it good to go or not. Pls revert with your valuable feedback .
    Thanks
    Prateek

    • It is monsoon time in general up there in North and at some parts of Manali – Leh Highway (like before Baralacha La) and Srinagar – Leh Highway (like before Kargil) you might need to face monsoon hassles but once you get closer to Ladakh, then Ladakh being rain shadow region is least affected by monsoon rains, though rains does reach Ladakh now but to minimum and mostly it might remains overcast conditions. There is no thumb rule of certainty about weather conditions but above is generally common pictures seen over last few years except ugly 2010 …

  33. sanjeev sharma on

    I found that most toilets in hotels have hygeine problems & on a recent visit found this product spray & sit seat sanitiser too good to use.. It solved all my problems of using a unhyegenic toilet on my trips…
    Their website is sprayandsit.com

  34. Gaurav Sharma on

    Dheeraj sir I have vomiting problem In hills and Iam planing to go Ladakh …so please advice me something which can make my trip this v free

    • Hi Gaurav,

      There are two things one is Motion Sickness and one is Altitude Sickness and in Ladakh one gets to suffer with both of them. While first one is not so serious but latter one can be fatal as well. I will advice that you consult your doctor for a medicine for Motion sickness or nausea and I am sure he will be able to suggest you some as my wife also takes one.

      Regarding Altitude Mountain Sickness, please read: Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization

      • Prateekkapoor on

        Hi Dheeraj , I’m planning my trip to leh via Manali by road , my dates are from 7th August and leave from Delhi , can you suggest how is roads and weather their and do i need to take any permit if I’m going via manali , I have my private number suv? Also pls confirm what is the current status of roads if take Srinagar route. Is it good to go or not. Pls revert with your valuable feedback .
        Thanks
        Prateek

        • Prateek, It is monsoon time in general up there in North and at some parts of Manali – Leh Highway (like before Baralacha La) and Srinagar – Leh Highway (like before Kargil) you might need to face monsoon hassles but once you get closer to Ladakh, then Ladakh being rain shadow region is least affected by monsoon rains, though rains does reach Ladakh now but to minimum and mostly it might remains overcast conditions. There is no thumb rule of certainty about weather conditions but above is generally common pictures seen over last few years except ugly 2010 …

          Yes, you need permits to travel from Manali to Rohtang Pass. Rohtang Pass Rules & Restriction of Vehicles – Demystified

  35. Hi Dheeraj! Your article is immensely knowledgeable and really nicely put. Cheers for that! I’m planning a trip by car from Delhi onwards towards Leh and back. My friends and I are confused as to what route to take. Our basic itinerary is:

    1. Arrive at New Delhi from Kolkata on the 11th of August and spend a day there.
    2. Leave onwards towards Srinagar by train the next day.
    3. Travel towards Leh via Srinagar Leh route. (Can you advise me how much time will this take? And please suggest a schedule which will take into account acclimatization to the altitude.)
    4. Reach Leh and spend around 3 days in and around there)
    5. Return via the Leh-Manali route. We leave Leh around the 17th of August. (We are taking into account around 2 days of travelling back towards Delhi)
    6. We leave Delhi towards Kolkata on the 19th of August.

    This was roughly our entire itinerary. Is this advisable? (If not, please advise the necessary changes needed to be made)

    Thanks!

    • Hello Taiyeb,

      3. It will take two days to reach Leh from Srinagar with overnight stop at Kargil as below:

      Day 1 | Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zozi La – Drass – Kargil
      — Enjoy the vistas enroute
      — Have late drunch meal at Drass is you are a vegetarian as sometimes it gets difficult to find veg. food at Kargil
      — Overnight at Kargil

      Day 2 | Kargil – Lamayuru – Leh
      — Cover Mulbekh Maitrey, Lamayuru Moanstery, Lunar Landscapes
      — On the way you can also see Gurudwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 3 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
      — To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
      — Overnight at Leh

      4. As you see one day is for rest and acclimatization, next day you can go to Khardung La day trip and third day go to Pangong Tso day trip.

      5. You can do as below for Manali – Leh Highway:

      Day 1 | Leh – Taglang La – Moore Plains – Pang – Sarchu
      — Stay overnight at Sarchu

      Day 2 | Sarchu – Baralacha La – Keylong – Rohtang Pass – Manali
      — On the way cover Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal which are on the road sides only
      — Overnight at Manali

      Find my inputs above 🙂

      Regards
      Dheeraj

  36. Pankaj Bhartia on

    Dear Dheeraj,

    Excellent article. Thank you and God Bless you.

    My plan is to go to Valley of Flowers this August, which might not happen due to rains. Plan B is to do the Srinagar – Leh – Manali road trip. I have changed the approach as per your suggestions. Thank you. I plan to drive my diesel Dzire.
    Is there any anti-freeze required for diesel?
    The links to acute mountain sickness and others are fantastic and much required. Thank you again.
    best wishes
    Pankaj

  37. Hi dheeraj

    I have read ur article and all are very nice,I was planning to visit ladakh in July 23 and for some reason it got postponed but now planning again ,but the flight rate has gone to high now.
    Can you suggest road trip via Srinagar or manali which will be best and with itinerary for 6-7 days and also the cost it will be.Also I have not done any hotel booking yet so what would be best on this, awaiting reply

  38. Hello

    I have planned a leh bike trip from 23rd Aug 2015 – 6th sept 2015

    Srinagar – kargil – leh – sarchu – manali…

    But today i hear something bad…

    Is the ban for bikes real?

    Any idea about this?

  39. Hi dheeraj. . I have my bookings of bus on 8th July, from delhi to manali and taxi from manali to leh with a stay in sarchu!
    I saw in news the heavy rain in kullu-manali so will it be safe travelling via this route? Or i should cancel them all and change my route from delhi to Srinagar to leh!? Hope to get a reply soon 🙂

    • Prattek, yeah currently rains are running but is expected to clear up in couple of days. You will face any hassles if at all in lower hills only up to Sarchu as beyond Sarchu it is all rain shadow.

      • So I should not worry about landslides or anything and be relaxed for the trip? Thanks though

        • Prateek, you can go ahead brother because as per reports there aren’t any major blockades. So, it should be fine. Though no one can give you 100% assurance for landslides

  40. hello guys.!!

    We are planning to come next week to Srinagar from Delhi by bike. our own vehicle. So do we need to take any police permission to travel or else all we need is to cary our original Vehicle Papers..??

    Between how is the route from Delhi to Srinagar. Is road good.? Can any one help me out on this.?

  41. Hi Dheeraj,
    Im coming over from singapore on 2nd august and would like to visit shimla manali and leh and agra as well.
    As I will arrive at delhi, which route should i get to first and so on.
    And what transportation is the best recommendation.
    And btw, I only have 9days to travel to these places, will that be enough?

    Thanks.

  42. Hi Dheeraj ,

    First of all thanks a ton for your articles , I have just started planning my trip to Leh ladakh and everywhere I go for information on the web, I finally end up on your page, and I love how detailed and clear you are .So two of us are planning a bike trip for 16 days from Delhi and back during the last week of September and 1st week of October . I really like your general itinerary http://devilonwheels.com/most-common-itinerary-for-leh-ladakh/ and we are planning on using this as our base and tweaking it a little here and there .

    The main issue for us being, we would like to keep the ride time per day to a maximum of 9 hours , so as a first step towards that we decided to do Delhi to Manali by bus and start our road trip on bikes from Manali . However I would like to do a circuit as suggested by you which covers both the legs: Srinagar-leh highway and the leh-manali highway and we want to enter Leh through Srinagar and exit through Manali for all the above advantages you have mentioned in this article.

    My question is what are your thoughts on this in which the first two days maybe would be from Manali to Srinagar and from then on we are on day 3 of your itinerary . I can’t find anything on the web regarding anyone experience having gone this way . The highway as I can see through Google maps is NH 1B . I am guessing two days should be enough for the leg . Would love your feedback on the feasibility of such a route and also if the route is feasible could you suggest any cities or villages on the this route where we could spend the night .

    Thanks again for all the information

    • Hi Arun,

      It might take you 3 days to reach Srinagar from Manali. Many people do it like Manali to Dharamshala/Pathankot, then Dharamshala/Pathankot to Patnitop and finally to Srinagar from Patnitop

  43. Shishir singh on

    Hi Deeraj,

    I am planning for trip to ladakh which i starts from Agra-chandigarh-srinagar-leh-manali-chandigarh-Agra in my personal car renault duster (1456cc, 2WD-front, already completed 50,000 kms) along with my wife and 2 younger brothers on 9th july 2015.
    kindly suggest me that, my duster car is good enough or its better to opt 4WD car then my duster car to travel on this high altitudes & rough terrains of ladakh.
    eagerly waiting for your reply.

    thanks
    shishir singh
    +91-9837991888

      • Shishir singh on

        thanks for your valuable suggestion sir.
        there are some more doubts in my mind…..
        1. what will be expected climate in july.
        2. is it monsoon/rainy climate.
        3. what are the negative part if there is rainy climate.
        4. is the landslides are common in rainy climate.
        5. what can happen if we stuck in worse climate, what we should do.
        6. most of the time we saw news of worse climate in hills like in amarnath yatra, badrinath and many. Is the monsoon climate in ladakh trip is also get this kind of worse.

        thanks
        regards
        shishir singh

        • Shishir,

          1. It will be pleasant time to be there in Ladakh
          2. Ladakh is rain shadow region, so rains do not affect it. Lower hills may have some monsoon hassles post mid july
          3. Lower hills
          4. Only limited to lower hills post mid July
          5. Don’t panic and relax, authorities will do something to get you out
          6. Like i said, Ladakh is rain shadow region and cold desert, rains does not reach up there in plenty.

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