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Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh | All You Need To Know

Tourism in Ladakh has risen in the last few years, and many people prefer to self-drive to Leh – Ladakh for satisfying their hunger for adventure. This rise in tourist footfall means that you must know about petrol or fuel availability in Leh Ladakh.

Video – Carrying Extra Fuel or Petrol on Ladakh Trip

You should also learn how to carry spare fuel for your Ladakh trip, important places where petrol pumps exist in Ladakh and other tips.

Petrol Availability in Ladakh Road Trip

This article talks in detail about this topic of petrol availability in Ladakh.

Should I care about it?

Ladakh is a remote place with a lot of desolate routes in Ladakh. There are many tourist places in Leh – Ladakh like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Sham Valley, etc and most of them are connected via Leh town except the adventurous connecting routes which exist between them.

However, it always a good idea to plan your Ladakh journey well enough so that you do not come with a nightmare experience from heaven, which I found many people had this time when I was present in Ladakh.

And, one of the key areas or things is to know about road conditions that you might expect along with the fuel stations or availability of fuel within Ladakh or inroads to Ladakh like Manali – Leh Highway and Srinagar – Leh Highway, once you reach Ladakh and drive on your own.

Hence, it is important to know about the petrol availability in Leh Ladakh, so that you are not stranded in the middle of anywhere in a desolate place in Ladakh without any fuel in your car or bike.

Are you worried about fuel availability in Ladakh?

Petrol/Diesel Pumps or Fuel Availability in Ladakh

In the first article of this series “Ladakh Self Drive Tips“, I talked about the important tips for a self-drive road trip to Ladakh. In this article, I will talk about petrol/diesel or fuel availability within Leh – Ladakh. Knowing about the petrol pump in Ladakh will help you in your Ladakh drive.

Without fuel (petrol or diesel), one cannot drive or ride, and we all have a limited capacity fuel tank in our vehicles. The mileage of the vehicles also decreases in harsh terrain like Ladakh, where hills are not the only thing that results in low fuel efficiency but rough or non-existent roads, rarefied oxygen (just guessing on this one) also joins the party. Most of the time you drive or ride in low gears. Hence, overall vehicle mileage reduces on a Ladakh trip.

You must account for about 70% mileage that you are used to getting in normal conditions back home. Hence, one thing that you should always keep in mind when self-riding or driving within Leh – Ladakh is that petrol or diesel is available only in Leh town (2 petrol pumps are in/around Leh) and one petrol pump is present in Karu town which is about 34 KMs from Leh on Manali – Leh Highway.

There is one petrol pump in Diskit, Nubra Valley town as well. As of 2016, the Diskit petrol pump is fully functional now and also work in winters. Petrol availability in Leh is tremendously improved as well now for the last few years.

Pro Tip: If you are doing a self drive to Umling Las Pass and Leh – Ladakh, then make sure to read my article on 40 Must Have Things to Carry on a Self Drive Trip to the Himalayas

So what is this problem with fuel in Ladakh?

The biggest problem is that most of the tourist destinations within Ladakh are not near to Leh rather about ~150+ KMs away from Leh, and a return journey will make them about ~300 KMs.

You will be able to quickly get away with it if you are coming back to Leh every time you go to one or other destinations because you can get your vehicle refueled, and ~300 KMs trips can be managed in most bikes and car very easily.

The problem is when some of us do not want to come back to Leh rather do circuits like Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Leh or Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh or Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh, etc. by taking the direct route in such places.

You cannot travel on such routes without carrying spare fuel (petrol/diesel) along with tankful of fuel in the vehicle or relying upon the black fuel availability in remote villages.

Routes to Carry Spare Fuel in Ladakh

Listed below are some of the common long routes in Ladakh along with the approximate distances that you will be covering on them without any fuel (petrol/diesel) pumps:

  • Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Leh via Wari La = 600 – 650 KMs
  • Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh = 650 – 700 KMs
  • Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Leh = 900 – 950 KMs, 
  • Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso – Hanle – Tso Moriri – Leh = 1025 – 1075 KMs
  • Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Keylong – Manali = 550 KMs
  • Leh – Karu – Rumtse – Taglang La – Sarchu – Keylong – Tandi – Manali = 350 – 400 KMs
  • Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Keylong – Tandi – Manali = 900 – 950 KMs
  • Leh – Pangong Tso – Hanle – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Keylong – Tandi – Manali = 1025 – 1075 KMs
  • Leh – Hanle – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Keylong – Manali = 700 KMs

Hence, you can keep these routes in mind and plan to carry spare petrol with you based on the distance you will be traveling if required. In case you may run out of fuel on any of these routes, you can also try villages on these routes (especially Tangste, Chumathang, Khalsar, Chusul, Nyoma, Hanle, Pang, etc.) where you may find the black diesel/petrol sold by the villagers, (of course, highly likely, with quality compromised) which can be handy in such odd circumstances.

An example of how to manage spare fuel in Ladakh?

As an example, from Leh to Hanle to Umling La to Tso Moriri to Leh, you are looking for about 800 KMs. Now considering 13 liters of the fuel capacity of a Royal Enfield 500cc bike, on the mileage of 25 KMPL in mountains, it will do 325 KMs but you need about 32 Ltrs.

So, you will need to carry an extra 20 ltr at least. You can do the math depending upon how you got the mileage in the initial days of the trip while doing circuits from Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, etc..

I have just taken a tentative number, which I believe should be but tweak the math accordingly. You can carry it in a spare backup vehicle/car or use two ten ltr jerry cans, travel light and having the carrier on the bike

Khaltsi Petrol Pump

Petrol Pumps in Leh Ladakh

Let us look at the availability of petrol pumps in Ladakh region and on which routes do they exist. This information will help you plan your self-drive trip to Ladakh with some peace of mind and do the math where and when you need to carry spare fuel on these routes in Ladakh.

Petrol Pumps on Manali Leh Highway

The journey on Manali Leh Highway is 474 KM long from Manali to Leh. After Manali, once you cross Rohtang Pass, there is only one petrol pump in Tandi village, about 10 KMs before Keylong. Tandi petrol pump is the only place where you will get fuel on Manali Leh Highway. The next petrol pump will be 365 KMs away at Karu just before Leh town.

You will get fuel in black at dhabha tents of Zingzing bar, Sarchu, and Pang. So, in the worst case, you can always get petrol at these places though at a higher price and compromised quality.

Related Post

Petrol Pumps on Srinagar Leh Highway

Unlike Manali Leh Highway, the other road to Ladakh from Srinagar to Leh has few petrol pumps and there is no need to carry any spare fuel on this route.

Once you start from Srinagar, you will get fuel pumps at Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, and Khalsi. After Kargil, Khalsi petrol pump is just 95 km from Leh. So, you can see no shortage of petrol pumps on Srinagar Leh Highway. About every 100 odd km< there is a petrol pump on Srinagar Leh Highway. Hence, no need to carry fuel with you or buy fuel in the black when travel from Srinagar to Leh.

Petrol Pump in Leh & Karu

When you reach Leh from Srinagar or Manali side, you can always get petrol at the fuel pump in Leh and Karu. There are a couple of petrol pumps in Leh, and one petrol pump is in Karu, about 35 KMs away. Leh petrol pump remains functional throughout the year. So, you can get petrol even in winter in Leh, but unfortunately, you cannot drive to Ladakh in winter.

Petrol Pump in Nubra Valley

There is one petrol pump in Nubra Valley at Diskit village. As of 2018, the Diskit petrol pump remains fully functional even in the winter season. So, a trip to Nubra Valley including the visit to Turtuk will not require any spare fuel to be carried.

You can always top up at Leh and then at the petrol pump in Diskit for making a trip to Nubra Valley, including Turtuk. Hence, no need to buy any petrol in black for a higher price and compromised quality on your trip to Nubra Valley.

Petrol Pump near Pangong Lake

There is no petrol pump at Pangong Tso or any villages nearby. About, 130 km away towards Leh, Karu petrol pump is the only petrol pump near Pangong Tso. However, you may get black fuel at Spangmik, Tangtse or Chusul villages.

Petrol Pump near Tso Moriri

There is no petrol pump at Tso Moriri or any villages nearby. About 200 km away towards Leh, Karu petrol pump is the only petrol pump near Tso Moriri. However, you may get black fuel at Nyoma or Chumthang villages.

Petrol Pump on Pangong Tso – Chusul Route

As you read above, there is no petrol pump at Pangong Tso. You must carry spare fuel with you from Leh in case you are planning a trip on the direct route of Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri or Pangong Tso to Hanle via Chusul.

If the need arise and you did not carry spare fuel with you on this route, you may get petrol available at Tangtse, Spangmik, Chusul, Nyoma, Chumathang villages, of course in black only.

Petrol Pump in Hanle

Hanle is about 270 km from Leh and the nearest petrol pump to Hanle is Karu, about 235 Km away from it. So, for a round trip from Leh to Hanle to Leh, you will need to carry spare fuel or rely on petrol available in villages in black. You may get petrol in the villages of Chumathang, Nyoma, and Hanle itself.

If you are planning to travel to Hanle from Chusul route from Pangong Tso, you may get the fuel in black at villages of Tangtse, Chusul as well.

Bike Carrying Spare Fuel on Manali Leh Highway

Important Tips for Carrying spare fuel for Leh Ladakh Trip

  • The best way to carry spare fuel is to take them in sturdy metal jerry cans, which are leak proof. Those used in the army are the best ones.
  • If you cannot get hold of the Jerry cans, carry two ltr cola bottles with you as they are leak-proof plus they are easy to stock up.
  • Avoid carrying spare fuel in Ladakh in plastic containers or plastic jerry cans as they might burst. In a car, 20 ltr water containers are much better and sturdy than any other cans.
  • Always use plastic to seal the opening and prevent spillage.
  • No matter what type of container you take to carry spare fuel, always leave space and fill about 90% of the capacity to avoid spillage.
  • When carrying spare petrol on a bike in Ladakh, I highly recommend protecting the plastic containers you are using from stones or pebbles that might cause a crack or leak in it. So, use a protective layer below or around it, tarpaulin could be used too.
  • Make sure you always carry a thin cloth to filter in the impurities in case you need to buy fuel in black.
  • If you rent a bike in Leh or Manali; those bikes do not have good mileage due to wear and tear and rough usage. Hence, do not take the words of the bike rental guys and take the bike for a local Leh ride to see how much mileage you are getting from it. Using that as a baseline, take its 80% mileage to do the calculations as in remote routes, it will further decrease.
Bike Carrying Fuel on Ladakh Trip

FAQs on Petrol Availability in Ladakh

In the end, let us look at some frequently asked questions about fuel or petrol availability in Leh Ladakh.

  1. How to manage fuel availability in Leh Ladakh?

    Most places in Ladakh have fuel or petrol availability. Some remote routes do not have any petrol pump, but you can get petrol in black in the villages en route, of course at some compromised quality and higher price.

  2. Where do you need spare fuel for Ladakh Trip?

    You do not need spare fuel on Manali Leh Highway, Srinagar Leh Highway and most parts of Ladakh. However, if you plan to take direct routes within tourist destinations of Ladakh, then you need to carry spare petrol on such routes.

  3. Do I need to carry extra fuel or petrol on Srinagar Leh Highway?

    You do not need to carry any extra fuel or petrol on Srinagar Leh Highway. There are quite a few petrol pump available on the 434 KM long Srinagar Leh Highway and even if you top up your tank at Kargil, you will easily reach Leh which is about 240 KMs from Kargil.

  4. Do I need to carry extra fuel or petrol on Manali Leh Highway?

    You do not need to carry any extra fuel on Manali Leh Highway. Once you start from Manali, you will get the fuel at the Tandi petrol pump. After that, you have to travel 365 KMs before you reach the Karu petrol pump near Leh. Most cars should be able to cover this distance without the need of carrying spare fuel or spare petrol.
    Sometimes, Sarchu and Pang tea shacks / dhabhas on Manali Leh Highway have fuel available in black. In case of an emergency, you can buy some fuel from them. DO NOT forget a carry a thin cloth that can be used with a funnel to filter any impurities while using such black fuel.

  5. How to carry spare fuel to Ladakh?

    The best way to carry is to have sturdy metal jerry cans that do not leak. The ones that the army uses are the best. The second best option is to carry petrol in 2 ltr cola bottles in Ladakh as they are leak proof.

  6. How many petrol pumps fall on Manali – Leh Highway?

    Tandi petrol pump is the only petrol pump on Manali Leh Highway. Hence, there is only one petrol station between Manali to Leh at Tandi.

  7. What are the available fuel stations between the Srinagar-Leh-Manali route?

    You can get fuel at Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil and Khaltsi on Srinagar Leh Highway.

  8. Should I Carry Fuel For my Ladakh Road Trip?

    Most places in Ladakh have fuel or petrol availability. Some remote routes do not have any petrol pump, but you can get petrol in black in the villages en route, of course at some compromised quality and higher price.

Fuel Carrying Truck on Srinagar Leh Highway

Conclusion

I hope the above article will be useful in planning your trip to Leh – Ladakh by giving you a better idea when you might need to carry spare fuel (petrol/diesel) and how much based on the mileage your vehicle offers.

If you have ever self-driven to Leh – Ladakh and have some valuable tips to share, please share it with me too, so that it could be helpful to other self-drive enthusiasts and fellow travelers planning their upcoming trip to Leh – Ladakh 🙂 …

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel to ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram or comments on my YouTube videos.

If you know your friends or family are planning a road trip to Ladakh, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable Ladakh trip.

LAST UPDATED: December 2019
This article has been updated with the latest information about fuel availability in Leh – Ladakh and is kept up to date every season to reflect the current status. Feel free to suggest any further updates you deem fit.

This post was last modified on Mar 30, 2021 01:04

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