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


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.


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.

If you found above article useful, then PLEASE stay connected with us on Facebook or Twitter or Email Subscription for any travel queries or travel updates / tips / news / guides on Traveling to Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir and other parts of Himalayas. Travel, off the road with us...


About Author

You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...


  1. Ravi Charolli on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    We are group of 7-8 friends planning 10 days Srinagar-leh-ladak-manali trip on Bike in May 2015.
    We are getting information that Leh-manali road remain closed in May. We are in the process of booking bikes.
    1. Is it a good time (starting from May 15th) for this trip?
    2. Does Leh-Manali highways are open and accessible?

    Please Guide us on this.

    • Ravi, sometimes the road from Srinagar to Leh does not open by late May and for Manali – Leh, you need to wait till at least first week of June. Even in first week of June roads at Manali – Leh are not that stable.

  2. Bharath Kumar J on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    You are doing a great job by providing priceless information!

    We are a group of 10 Guys, planning a 10(or 12) days trip to “(fly from) Bangalore->(to)Srinagar->Leh->Ladak->Manali->Delhi->(Fly back to) Bangalore”.

    I have the following clarifications:

    1. What is the best time to plan our trip. July last week or in August?. We were wondering if it is best to plan our trip such that “Aug 15th-Independence Day” falls in the middle of our plan. Is it allowed during this period?Will there be any security restrictions?
    Please suggest the best weeks(in July /Aug) for our trip.

    2. Is it necessary for us to book accommodation for the entire trip before hand? After going through most of your posts, i am assuming that we can arrange for Local Travel(Taxi and Bikes) and Accommodation on the spot during our trip.
    – Please let me know your thoughts about the Pre-Booking of Accommodation.

    3. Should we all carry any Identification proofs. If so what all is accepted?(Voter Id, Driving License etc)

    It would be very helpful to plan our trip if you can share your thoughts on the above points.

    We have to book the flight tickets To/Fro Bangalore. We are planning to book it by Feb-2015. Your suggestions will help us finalize the dates and plan the trip better.

    Many Thanks in advance.
    Kind Regards,
    Bharath Kumar J

    • Hi Bharath,

      Thank you.

      1. I will suggest that you visit in the last week of July among the given proposed period or a week earlier than last week of July.

      2. It depends on your choice. If you do not plan to stay at any specific hotel and if you are OK with searching the place a bit after seeing the room conditions once reaching the place, then I guess you could save some good amount of money too on the hotel bookings. Secondly, it provides you with more and more flexibility in terms of dates you reach on a particular place and allow you any last minutes changes. In places like Ladakh where road conditions are uncertain enough to force a change in plan, the flexibility always top the list.

      Finding a place is not that difficult in Leh and your taxi will be able to help you through. Keep this list handy with you: A preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh including moderate and cheap budget hotels as well in the series of articles starting on the link here

      Please refer: http://devilonwheels.com/india/himalayan-hotels-guest-houses/topic1785.html#p13108

      For the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2014 – 15 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 10-12% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

      3. It is always good to carry your National Photo ID proof with you when you travel.

      Dheeraj Sharma

  3. Shivek Raina on

    Hi Dheeraj

    We a group of 7 are planning a road trip during last week of June on bike to Leh via Manali from Delhi.

    kindly suggest the best itinerary as we are having only 14 days.

    Also tell us the average rent for bike for the same.


    • 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.


  4. hey bro! i know this is too early but i cant stop myself from planning. i got a plan. kanyakumari to khardung la. suggest me on the whole leh srinagar and leh manali highway. and is it fine if we break the leh manali highway ride into 4 days?

  5. Hello Dheeraj,

    I am planning to Visit Himalaya in Sept 2015. I have 10 days for below mentioned route. Please help me planning better.

    I am planning to do Jammu-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Jammu.

    Seeking your help. Thank you in advance.

    • It will take 3 days to reach Leh from Delhi via Manali side and 4 days to come back to Delhi from Leh via Srinagar side. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. You have about 10 days. 1 Day can be used as Day trip to Pangong Tso and other day can be used as day trip to Nubra Valley or just Khardung La pass.

  6. Pingback: How to plan a journey on Manali Leh Highway - DeViL on WheeLs...

  7. Hi Dheeraj,

    I’m planning to go to Leh via either Srinagar – Leh or Manali – Leh , then back to Delhi by plane. (2 days for roadtrip, 2/3 days in Leh, then finally back to Delhi by plane). Will this plan works?

    • I really doo not suggest to travel on Manali – Leh Highway in October. There are various risks involved and if you are OK with them, you may try at your own risk. Else just stick to Srinagar – Leh only.

  8. Hello Dheeraj.
    We hv a plan to visit ladakh-Leh in the mid of October this year. My plan is to go Ladakh through srinagar-leh highway via kergil and will be back through delhi-Manali highway to delhi.Pls suggest me is it possible in the mid of October’2014.We’ll start frm srinagar on 12th obtober.

    Thnks in advance.

  9. Hi dheeraj,
    I am planning a ladakh trip in september 2014. This is my second trip to ladakh. This time i am traveling on bike from Jammu via Srinagar, kargil, leh sarchu manali and back to Jammu.

    My query is about Marsimik La. How much time it will take to reach Marsimik La from Pangong Tso?
    Do we require any special permit to visit there?
    Is it safe to travel to Marsimik La by a Yamaha Fazer (150CC).
    Also, will you suggest any bike modification to travel to marsimik La as there will be very less oxygen available for fuel cumbustion.

    Vivek Borkar

    • Vivek, I have not done Marsimik La on my own yet, so cannot really comment on the time take but take about 3-4 Hrs from Pangong Tso to hit Marsimik La, I guess though I am not 100% sure. But, yes you need INner Line Permits to visit Marsimik La and due to the high gradient level of ascend, I doubt if 150cc will be able to make it without you being pushing the bike up there.

  10. Hi Dheeraj,
    We are doing a Leh trip in a couple of weeks. There’s only one part of the itinerary left: coming back to Jammu from Manali. We have our return train from Jammu and would like to know the route we should be taking and also how much time would it take.

    If you have any info or could direct me to a place that had such info I’d be greatly obliged.


  11. I am planning my trip from Chandigarh to ladakh and back to chandigarh from 24th sept to 10th oct by bike. Plz give me suggestion and lead me to the trip of my life..

  12. hey bro, we ve planned for 10 day leh trip starting 11 sep on blore and returning on 21..breif plan is blore-srinagar-leh-manalli-chandigarh-blore
    we wud be taking airways to and fro blore….please help us out to make up a good itinerary…

    • Vijay, it looks like you have quite less amount of time on hand. You can check the below itinerary still:

      Day 1 | Reach Srinagar
      Day 2 | Srinagar – Kargil
      Day 3 | Kargil – Leh
      Day 4 | Leh Local Sightseeing
      Day 5 | Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley
      Day 6 | Nubra Valley – Leh
      Day 7 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      Day 8 | Leh – Sarchu
      Day 9 | Sarchu – Manali
      Day 10 | Manali – Chandigarh

      • 10 days is short…..helpless…friends…..we can extend by a day max,….cause both airlines seats ve been sold out for sunday 21 sep from chandigarh, so we planning to extend or shorten by a day, it wud be great help if u cud hekp me in sorting things…

  13. Its been 1 year since we made our first Leh trip. We had a wonderful journey from srinagar to ladakh in a scorpio. All the credit goes to the driver his name is Taqi bhai. If anybody planning to rent a vehicle from Srinagar to Ladakh and back he is the best option. 09906977826- Taqi. Just tell him you are fiend of Shinu who visited Ladakh last year. He is a very genuine guy.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Shinu. If possible, try and share your Himalayan experience with us at DoW – Himalayan Travel Community as Photo Tale or Travel Tale Or your reviews of the hotels/guest houses where you stayed or dhabhas/restaurants you ate food on your trip… All this might help others planning the similar trip too :) :)

  14. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planning following itinerary.

    Day 1 Aug 29 : Bnagalore -> Srinagar (take bike from Srinagar)
    Day 2 Aug 30 : Srinagar -> Kargil
    Day 3 Aug 31 : Kargil -> Leh
    Day 4 Sept 1 : Leh -> Nubra Valley (stay there)
    Day 5 Sept 2 : Nubra valley -> Pangong Tso lake (stay there)
    Day 6 Sept 3 : Pangong Tso -> Leh
    Day 7 Sept 4 : Leh -> Tso moriri
    Day 8 Sept 5 : Tso moriri -> Manali (drop bike here)
    Day 9 Sept 6 : Manali -> Delhi by bus
    Day 10 Sept 7 : Delhi -> Bangalore

    My bus from manali start around 5. I wanna visit all 3 places in leh. Please suggest me if anything can be changed in my itinerary to make it more comfortable.

    • Abbhilash, how are you planning to return the bike in Srinagar? It costs too much on single side rented bikes. So, do consider. Then, you need at least one day rest in Leh for acclimatization before moving to Nubra Valley. Then, nubra to Pangong Tso via Wari La is quite risky and desolate for a single rider. In case of any help, there will not be anyone in miles. So, reconsider again. Finally, Tso Moriri to Manali cannot be in done in one day.

      • Hi Dheeraj,
        We are 3 guys..we have only 3 days in Leh as we need to be in manali on day 9(sept6) before 2pm to catch the bus at 5pm.
        How abt route from Pangong Tso to Tso moriri ?
        We are thinking of ways to cover all 3 places. Only advantage is we are returning via Manali. Also no rest day planned in Leh thinking we r better acclimatized since v start from srinagar.
        Can you suggest is there tweaks can be done to make it possible ?

        • Regarding Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri route or Pangong Tso to Hanle, the permits to Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga or remote Changthang routes are being given by DC office in Leh at ON and OFF basis, so keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best if they start issuing the permits by the time you visit or issue you on your lucky day. Also, even if the permits are given then as well there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to cross Chusul Post or not because last year several such incidents happened and people with permits also had to return via same route. All this will mean that you will have to risk it for at least a day getting wasted if you are not allowed because there will be no guarantee until you cross Chusul and Tsaga post. Otherwise, you have to take the traditional routes only via Leh.

          Recently, one of the readers have been sent back from Chusul even after having permits.

          You have to anyhow rest in Leh for sure to be acclimatized. At least 36 Hrs of rest in Leh is required else high chances of hitting with AMS.

      • Hi Dheeraj, I and my wife have a tentative plan to ladakh. I have a couple of questions.
        Sep 6- Fly to Delhi from Bangalore. Visit agra and come back to delhi
        Sep 7 – Fly to kullu. Catch a taxi at kullu. Stay at keylong most probably
        Sep 8 – Drive to ladakh
        Sep 9 – Ladakh local sight seeing
        Sep 10,11,12,13,14,14,15 – visit nubra valley and all the other places.
        Sep 16 – Fly from leh to bangalore
        Questions below
        1. Is it ok to fly to kullu as we don’t want to do the Srinagar – ladakh road
        2. Can we get taxis to ladakh from kullu. If yes is it possible to provide any details
        3. For ladakh room booking should we have do it now or we can go and book it there
        4. What about taxis to visit the places like nubra valley etc. Can we go and rent it from there?

        Can you please help so that it will be easy for me to book

    • Maulik Joshi on

      Hi Abhilash,
      I am also traveling with my family from Bangalore on the same date to Srinagar. Please share your details so that we can coordinate with each other.
      My email id is, imaulikjoshi@gmail.com

  15. nice info..planning via srinagar Leh from delhi this Sept. and return via manali. is it advisable to carry portable tents?? .. sushil

  16. Hi Dheeraj,
    we are planning Jalandhar-Srinagar- Leh- Manal- Chd. from 9th Aug till 18th Aug 2014.
    We are 6 people and are travelling by Innova Punjab Registration.
    we have few Questions if you can pl answer.
    1. I ahve heraed their will be some problem of Punjab Registration Vehicle in Leh

    • No Suneet, there is no problem as long as your car is white number plate. If it is a taxi then you can only enter and exit in Leh from it but cannot do sightseeing.

      • Hi Dheeraj,

        Really appreciate the help you have been offering to so many first timers.

        I am planning a cycling trip with 2 of my friends(2 female, 1 male) from Srinagar – Leh. We are dicey about the route and rethinking if we should have opted for manali-leh route. Pls advise on the route if its safe for cycling. and will 15k budget be sufficient for 15 days.

        • Poonam, I would advice that you go through Srinagar Leh Highway and come back from Manali – Leh Highway and reasons mostly are mentioned in the article above. Also, for pit stops and itinerary for cycle journey, check a brief post posted by Norbert who did a Cycling trip to Ladakh and how he covered it at the DoW Community Link: A Cycle Journey of Srinagar – Ladakh – Manali

  17. Hey dheeraj,
    Thanks a Ton for writing This blog it really helps everyone… I was a bit confuse before but now its all clear, thanks again..now we’re taking srinagar leh route but still some questions,does it safe to go via Sri nagar ,I’m worried because of all the terrorist activities, how’s the security out there??
    btw we are planning to go to ladakh on 15 Aug
    suggestions needed
    First and most important question as I’ve never been there before, how much money is enough for a person to cover all the places,food local travel and accommodation (is 10k enough for 1 person??)need desperate help.
    some more suggestions I need
    1) does it hard to get oxygen because of the high altitude ?? If it does what should we do?
    2) 10 days would be enough to cover all the places..?? if not how many days are required…please help
    3) from Sri nagar which way should I go..??please help with the route day by day if you can..i know I’m asking too much but it will really help us coz you’ve been their and after reading this I can guess you had alot of fun..so please help me to plan my journey…I’ll appreciate if you help me in details…
    Thanks a ton again

    • nari vanwari on

      Hi. u r awake at 3.10 wow later than me.
      Srinagar sonmarg, drass, kargil,mulbekh,lamayuru leh. After sonmarg u cant get lost.
      Suggest u openan aa in SBI.Branches everywhere encash a chq,(multicity chqs issued free of charge) or ATM. rs 1000 min balance maybe 0 bal nowadays. After 15/8 generally less of a problem.Start very early in the mornig then u may have lesser problems.Budget it depends specially what u spend on hotels.Fuel is a fixed expense.Hope this helps regds

      • Hi nari vanwari
        Yeah I was searching for the information. :D
        do you know the bus route and timings form Jammu station to Sri nagar ,and from Sri nagar to Sonamarg and than to kargil
        Timings of the buses and fare charges will help alot

        • Ashish, AFAIK, the buses from Jammu to Srinagar are available between 4.30 – 7.00 AM and charges about Rs 450. It is best that you can get the seat a evening before as on the spot booking might be troublesome. Check the link of JKSRTC Website to get the fares and contact info. where you can get the exact timings too.

    • Ashish, as long as you can continue to stick to normal routes, it should be OK. Also, you can skip to stay at Srinagar and pass on to stay at Sonamarg just in
      case required. 10K is too less a budget for a Ldakh trip I feel.

      1) Acclimatize better and drink plenty of fluids in the form of juices, Glucon D, ORS, etc.. to keep your body hydrated.
      2) For a road trip, about 12-14 days should be given.
      3) 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 dheeraje for sure we will increase our budget and time… We will gonna cary some glucose..thansk agai

  18. Hello Dheeraj,

    While travelling (on Bikes)from Sonmarg to Leh via Kargil & from Leh to Manali via Sarchu, can I get the accomodation in these lonely areas ?

  19. Hi Dheeraj, First of all, a beautiful post and site…Keep up the good work!
    I had a doubt, m on a package tour and will be getting free on 20th morning at Leh and have to return to Delhi by 23rd morning(preferably via Manali-Chandigarh route). Will I be able to reach on time if I plan to visit Tso Moriri on the way?

    • This is how it goes for Tso Moriri and Manali – Leh

      Day 1 | Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang
      — Cover Karzok Monastery
      — Overnight at Karzok or Tso Moriri

      Day 2 | Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Debring (Manali – Leh Highway starts) – Moore Plains – Sarchu
      — Try to start early in the day so that you reach Sarchu where the accommodation options are better than Pang
      — Overnight at Sarchu or Pang

      Day 3 | 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

      Day 4 | Manali – Delhi/CHD
      — Return by overnight Volvo

  20. Hi Dheeraj,

    First of all let me tell you one thing, that your blog is a little more than an encyclopedia. It seems you not only traveled the places but also lived. :-)

    Keep it up sir… (y)

    I and my friend are planning to visit Leh in first week of September. Following is our plan.

    30th Aug – leaving from Srinagar to Leh (night at Kargil)

    31st Aug – leaving from Kargil to Leh

    1st Sept – Leh to Nubra Vally via Khardung La pass (night at Diskit)

    2nd Sept – Diskit to Leh via Sachur (night at Leh)

    3rd Sept – Leh to Pangong Tse Lake (night at Pangong)

    4th Sept – Pangong to Tso Moriri (night at Tse Moriri)

    5th Sept – Tso Moriri to Leh (night at Leh)

    6th Sept – Leh to Kargil (night at Kargil)

    7th Sept – Kargil to Srinagar (our flight is at 1 o’ clock from Srinagar to Bangalore)

    Few queries:
    1. What would be the best way to travel from Srinagar to Leh, by bike or by car? (asking because we will be travelling with wives)

    2. How much would be the approx. rent of bike or car for travelling one way journey? (asking in case if we go by bike and comeback from Leh to Srinagar by car)

    3. I heard that staying at Kargil overnight is a bit gloomy!! (Your suggestions???)

    4. I also heard that the weather in September is unpredictable, do you suggest any precautions?
    5. Do you think we need to add/remove anything from our plan mentioned above?

    Could you give us your valuable suggestions??


    • Hi Maulik,

      Ha ha, thank you bro!!

      My replies to your queries:

      1. Since, you traveling with family. Best and convenient way is by private taxi.

      2. Bike cost about 1000-1500 per day depending upon the model and make. Then, in case of one way journey, you have to pay a hefty fees of just dropping the bike to one portal. Regarding taxi, about 14-15K one way.

      3. Never heard so. Majority of people stay at Kargil only.

      4. For me Spetember is always the best time to visit Ladakh as it offers vivid colors like no other month and have bearable enough cold. Yeah, it starts to snow on high mountain passes but not on regular basis.

      5. Yes, you have to add one day for sure in Leh for acclimatization first before going to any other place in Ladakh including Nubra Valley. Then, this means you have to skip Tso Moriri and make 2 day trips to each Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso Lake.


  21. Hello Dheeraj,

    I have been thru your comments mentioned above and it really helped me a lot. Me nd my frenz hv fixed a trip to Leh on August 15, 2014 & it will be a 12-15 day trip. We will go by our own Byks. We will be taking the route Delhi > Jammu > Leh > Manali > Delhi. Please tell us the : (1)places to visit in these days in Leh nd near by. (2) Provide the details on road conditions.
    (3) Cn I take my Hero extreme 150 CC for this trip as it is 1 year old & already covered 14000 Kms in last 1 year.

    Waiting for ur reply.

      • Hey Dhiraj,
        based on the discussion loop above I have made the following iterinary.pls pour in your suggestions.

        (I am traveling alone, first time from Mumbai and have 10 days)
        Mum to Jammu Tawi via train reaching in afternoon
        D1-Jammu to Srinagar(reaching at night via state transport bus)
        D2-Srinagar to Kargil via bus
        overnight at kargil
        D3-D4-Kargil to Leh via bus
        stay at Leh and sight seeing n getting permits
        D5- Leh to Pangong by bike hired in leh
        D6-7 Leh to Nubra to Leh by bike
        I am unsure of the further travel iterinary.i am ready to spend on return air fare from leh. Cd u pls guide in devising the iterinary further??

        • Abhishek, You do not need permits being an Indian starting this year. Also, just do Pangong Tso lake after Nubra Valley. And rest looks fine to me.

          If you can travel to Manali and have 3-4 more days go to Tso Moriri then to Sarchu then to Manali and then to Chandigarh or Delhi

      • Thanks a lot Dheeraj for ur kind assistance. One more thing I need to ask that what are the risk factors that I have to take care about?

        • Dev, enlisting them is not an option but there will be many risks all you can expect from a tough terrain right from adventure related to landslides and slippery roads. Fatigue levels, toughness or mechanical failures, etc..

  22. Hi Dheeraj,
    Its really useful. We are planning for leh trip from Aufg 14th to 24. We planned for Manali  Leh bike trip. After reading this am rethinking my decision.
    My doubt is whether bike rented in srinagar can be send back from manali?.

    can you please suggest me some plan for 11 days, (Srinagar > leh> manali )

    • There are no bike rentals that I am aware of which exist in Srinagar. So, you have to hire bike in Leh only and for one way bike rental it will be too much money that is charged.

  23. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning to visit with my 5 friends Leh from Delhi on 15th August to 25th August via Manali by innova taxi. Will it be safe? Will the Manali-Leh roads be opened in the Mid of August? My Planning is

    15thAug(Evening)-> Delhi To Manali
    16thAug->Reach Manali and Overnight stay.
    17thAug(Early Morning)->Manali to Jispa.
    18thAug->Jispa to Pang.
    19thAug->Pang To Leh.
    20thAug->Leh To Pangong Lake.
    21stAug->Pangong Lake To Leh.
    22ndAug->Leh To Khardungla and Back To Leh On Same Day.
    23rdAug->Leh To Sonamarg
    24thAug->Sonamarg To Udhampur/Jammu.
    25thAug->Udhampur/Jammu To Delhi.

    Please suggest.

    • Sagar it should be OK though you will have to face the monsoon hassles for sure in lower hills. Avoid staying at Pang and from Jispa go directly to Leh. you will not be acclimatized to sleep at Pang. You have very less number of days and with no buffer in monsoons, chances of spoil sport are much higher. Best you can do is below:

      16thAug->Reach Manali and Overnight stay.
      17thAug(Early Morning)-> Manali to Jispa.
      18thAug->Jispa to Leh (very long day)
      19thAug-> Leh Rest and acclimatize
      20 Aug->Leh To Khardungla and Back To Leh On Same Day.
      21 Aug->Leh To Pangong Lake.
      22 Aug->Pangong Lake To Leh.
      23 Aug->Leh To Sonamarg (very long day)
      24 Aug->Sonamarg To Udhampur/Jammu (very long day)
      25 Aug->Udhampur/Jammu To Delhi

      • Hi Dheeraj, Thank you so much for reply. Can I cover nubra valley in this schedule with slight changes:-

        16thAug->Reach Manali and Overnight stay.
        17thAug(Early Morning)-> Manali to Jispa.
        18thAug->Jispa to Leh (very long day)
        19thAug-> Leh To Nubra Valley via Khardungla
        20 Aug->Explore Nubra Valley And Back To Leh.
        21 Aug->Leh To Pangong Lake.
        22 Aug->Pangong Lake To Leh.
        23 Aug->Leh To Sonamarg (very long day)
        24 Aug->Sonamarg To Udhampur/Jammu (very long day)
        25 Aug->Udhampur/Jammu To Delhi

        Will it become hectic? If yes then I have to drop the plan for Nubra Valley..

        • Sagar, go ahead with the above plan. Apart from last 2 out of three days, all looks decent to me given the number of days in hand. I will suggest that you add one more day to rest in Leh which is very important for acclimatization before going to Nubra Valley OR make a day trip to Pangong Tso to get that free day of rest in Leh.

    • Hi Sagar, Dheeraj
      My friend and I are travelling on same dates to Leh via Manali; we’re on volvo, though would like a share on travel, but also look forward to your recommendations on hiring a taxi from manali to leh via jispa, the charges and the accomodation amidst

      • Rimi, best you to take HPTDC Manali – Leh bus in case you are not wiling to spend about 18K for taxi. The ticket cost 2500 including stay at Keylong with dinner + breakfast. Also, it is a tourist bus and stops at all major tourist destinations on Manali – Leh Highway.

  24. Hi Dheeraj,

    In August, Rohtang might be a bit dicey. So, can we make a plan to go to Ladakh from Kargil and then return back to Srinagar for a flight back home?

    Please let me know.

    Thanks and bests.

    • Esskay, what do you mean Rohtang will be dicey?? It remains as is throughout in general. And Zoji La pass is no better mind you in monsoons :) … So, this is the risk you will have to take for a journey to Ladakh always :)


    • Please use Small Caps in your text. If you are traveling light, should not be much of an issue to travel with pillion on a bike. But, pillion had to get down at some places and walk a bit.

  26. hi,
    We are planing a trip to Ladakh from 26 July for 15 days. (2 People)
    We are planning to rent bikes from Delhi (2 bikes). And we have chosen the Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Ladakh-Manali-Delhi route.
    Can you suggest how should we plan each day travel ? One guy is relatively new to the bike riding. So very aggressive plan will not suite.
    Thanks in advance.

    • 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

      Since, this is the first time rule is getting implemented no one is sure what will happen or what will not. I personally feel larger groups will be targetted more than smaller groups or individuals.

  27. Dear Dheeraj,
    We are 8 people (2 families), 2 persons are 60+ and 2 are 50+, rest four are around 24 years. We are planning to go in the month of sep/oct. The mode of transport is likely to be any hired private vehicle (somethn like Traveller, 12 seater). The route would be as mentioned in the above article. According to you, is my plan suited (taking care of age factors of people)and how many days u suggest would be reqd. for overall tour (delhi-srinagar-leh-manali-del)with ease??

  28. sahil sharma on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I really appreciate you helping so many of us first timers to plan our leh trip.

    We 4 people are planning trip to leh from Bangalore blr-delhi-leh via flight and back via same route as we just have 6 days in hand so have to choose flight. I know we will be missing a lot on the way but apart from that views any other concerns in flight and what will you recommend as our itiniery for 6 days starting from Delhi and return. We are planning between 20-27 aug

    • Hi Sahil,

      In that case, you can follow the below itinerary:

      Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
      — Checkin at Hotel. Many hotels provide free pick and drop from Airport. Ask while you book them.
      — Take ample of rest as well as water or anything that keep your body hydrated enough. DO NOT OVER HYDRATE. Take ORS Soluted water or ORS – L tetra packs from home.
      — Do not over exert your body at any cost. Avoid too much up-down on stairs or avoid it in entirety, if possible.
      — After 5-6 Hrs of rest you can visit Leh Palace, Local Leh market, Shankar Gompa .
      — If you feel exerted go back to Hotel, have dinner at Hotel and take rest. Avoid any exertion. Else continue and,
      — Follow the sunset by stroll at Changspa road and have a nice dinner on varied cuisines offered in-around Changspa road.
      — Go back to hotel for overnight stay at Leh.
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sighseeing + Acclimatization
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing. To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh
      Day 3 | 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 4 | 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 5 | Leh – Hemis Monastery – Pangong Tso Lake
      — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on the go towards Pangong Tso
      — Overnight at Pangong Tso (Spangmik or Lukung)

      Day 6 | Pangong Tso Lake – Thicksey Monastery – Shey Palace – Leh
      — Cover either of Hemis, Thicksey and Shey on return to Leh
      — Overnight at Leh

  29. We are going to Leh by flight on 9th June and planning to return by the Leh-Srinagar route on 16th June. Is the road route safe on our way down or too cumbersome for those ageing between 55-60 years?

  30. Hi Dheeraj,

    When we go to Leh via Sreenagar rout, will we need to break the journey in two parts or can we make the journey in one single day. Even if we can make the journey in one single day, is it advisable to break the same in 2 days, if so please suggest. When we take the break, where should we do it?…we are planing to make the journey on bikes.

    Thanks and Reagards,

  31. Diwakar Kamath on

    Hi, Dheeraj, Me and my group have arrived in Manali yesterday and are struck due to Manali-Leh road closure. How bad is the condition of the road if you know and what will be the best option now. Read thru your option of going thru Srinagar-Leh road, is that the best option? Awaiting your reply at the earliest for us to take a decision.
    Thanks and regards,

    • Diwakar, that is the only option. Recent snowfall has triggered more wait and spot of bother for this week opening of Manali – Leh Highway. Go from Srinagar side and if Manali – Leh Highway gets open by the time you return, come back in that direction.

  32. Shivam Dubey on

    HI There,
    we are ten people planning a trip To Ladakh from Delhi from 13th to 21st June. We are planning to reach Leh via Public transport and then Rent bikes From Leh to Travel around and then return back via Manali route. Can you please suggest us if taking the public transport is a good idea and what can be the Best itinerary.

  33. We (6 person) are planning to do Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Pangong-Leh-Khardungla-Dikshit-Hunder-Leh-Srinagar -Delhi in Hyundai i20 (Diesel) & Maruti swift (Diesel) on 8th June 2014 but after looking at the latest pictures & news about road conditions, we are worried now. Do you think any hatchback can comfortably cross Zozila during First week of June-14. We have no other option but only hatchbacks otherwise we have to cancel my trip. Please suggest. We are from Gurgaon and used to driving in Hilly roads. Please reply. Also tell the timing and direction in which vehicular traffic is allowed from Sonmarg to Drass on 8th June 2014.

    • Sudesh, there is no definition of comfortable with hatches or sedans or even for SUVs when you make a ladakh trip. The challenges increases with hatchs and sedans due to low GC. For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway and Ladakh, I will say:

      You will indeed face few tough challenges on the route. The hatchback/sedan will increase the level of every challenge even further, sedan is the worst candidate. My suggestion will be to go via Srinagar route as it will help you feel comfortable with the driving, provide more acclimatization and then once you have done the local Leh-Ladakh, then come back via Manali side. Secondly, since you are in hatch/sedan, then you need to drive with extra care as well. There will be some sections on the Manali – Leh highway in which you might need to sacrifice some scratches on the underbelly. Just make sure you do not bump the engine sump (know it before where it is placed in your car). You need to protect it all around the trip. Thirdly, whenever in doubt do not rush into the section rather park aside and feel the section with your foot, see how other vehicles are crossing it and make a planned route in your mind to cross that section. At the very least do carry Mseal, quick fix, funnel, jerry cans and towing rope with you all the time.

      Also, I will strongly suggest that you go through and read my series on Ladakh Self Drive tips at the links below:

      7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Leh – Ladakh, Routes and Road Conditions In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips, Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips

      • Hi Dheeraj,
        Thx for your reply. Well we are not planning to return by Manali-Leh route. Infact, we have planned to come back via Srinagar-Leh route only. Do you have any idea that what could be majaor hurdle other than Zozila pass in Srinagar-Leh route? We also have an Indian Army Major in our group (My cousin).

  34. Hi dheeraj
    We r 5 people planning leh tour for about 15 days via manali. Could u pls tell me wen will manali leh highway open. Coz we r planning to leave from delhi on 28th morning and stay at kasol 1 night.

    • Sumit with recent snowfall in last couple of days up there in Lahaul / Rohtang and Baralacha La, I have serious doubts. Earlier Manali – Leh was scheduled to be open by end of May.

  35. Narender Narang on

    Hi Dheera, I m narender. I am also planning to go to leh ladakh via srinagar route and return via manali route. i have my wife and my 3 kids,one 10year other 12a nd the third one is 16 who’ll be accompanying me . i m planning to take my car hyundai’s accent there.would it be fine to take it

    • Fully loaded Accent is not at all suggested to drive over there along with luggage. I will not recommend it better take a high GC vehicle when you are traveling with kids and complete family.

  36. Abhishek Sontakke on

    Hi Dheeraj,
    We are 6 persons planning to visit leh-ladakh in june. we have planned the trip from 6 june to 15 june including the journey from Pune to Delhi and Delhi to Pune. We are thinking of hiring bikes from Manali to Leh. I had read your article and got some idea about the route to be followed during the journey. Could you please let me know the bike hiring cost in Manali? If you have any idea. Secondly, I want to know if we reach Leh by 9th June evening then, how can I plan for 10th to 13th in Leh?

  37. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am Taking Delhi>Srinagar>Kargil>LEh>Manali>Delhi route, Please suggest itinerary of 10 days. we will be traveling by Bike on this route. and would like to cover either pangong tso or tso moriri. or is their any way i can cover both in 10 days duration

    • It will take 3 days to reach Leh from Delhi via Manali side and 4 days to come back to Delhi from Leh via Srinagar side. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. You have about 10 days. 1 Day can be used as Day trip to Pangong Tso and other day can be used as day trip to Nubra Valley or just Khardung La pass.

  38. Sriram Surapuraju on

    Hi Dheeraj

    I would like to appreciate your effort towards resolving queries of tourists.

    Similar to many people on this page, even i am planning to visit srinagar-leh-ldakh-manali along with some friends and we have 10 days for whole trip. But, we have some constraints, v.i.z we do not have own vehicle, have very moderate budget and I am a vegetarian (my friends aren’t). Still, dreams fly high! Somehow our hunger for travel has outwitted everything else.

    I request you to guide me with planning this trip and let me know up-to which place govt transport is available. Where can we find affordable accommodation. If in case we hire bikes at leh, which places can we visit from there. Also help us on average rent that people charge for bike.

    What kind of clothes will be required and necessary medication for any problem related to high altitudes.

    I thank you in advance for your time. Really loved your article!

    Sriram Surapuraju

  39. jignyanshu on

    how is the July month for travel , We are palling a trip from july 20th to july 29th.

    July 20th Reach srinagar.

    21st (Monday ): Srinagar – Kargil
    22nd (tuesday) : Kargil – leh
    We have 3 days to spend in leh (23rd 24th 25th)
    23rd (wednesday): Around leh
    24th : (Thursday) :
    July 26th(Sat): Leh – Sarchu (visit tso mori in between)
    JUly 27th (Sun): Sarchu – Manali
    July 28th (monday) Evening: Start from Manali – Delhi
    July 29th(Tuesday) : Reach delhiDelhi

    Please advice if anything need to be changed .
    thanks in advance.

    • Your dates are good to travel to Ladakh. Regarding places to visit:

      24th : (Thursday) : Day trip to Khardung La
      25th:(Friday): Day trip to Pangong Tso.

      You cannot do Tso Moriri and reach Sarchu the same day. Hence you need to drop Tso Moriri lake.


  40. hi dheeraj,

    we are 3 ppl from bangalore and we are totally confused.. need to plan a itinerary for 7days as we have already booked our flights i.e. blr-chandigarh entry and exit from srinagar-blr. pls help us build a itinerary with above route dt of travel-6th june-13th june

    • Abhishek, in 7 days road trip is not possible friend. It will take you 3 days from Chandigarh to reach Leh, then one day rest, and then 2 days from Leh to Srinagar. You are just left with one day. You can either make day trip to Khardung La OR PAngong Tso.

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