Manali Leh Highway is one of the roads that lead to heaven on earth called Leh – Ladakh (Srinagar – Leh Highway is the other one). It is one of those Highways in the world which offers almost everything nature has to offer to an adventure lover.
Serious travelers in India and abroad do have a dream of traveling on this dangerous and beautiful Highway at least once in their lifetime. I am one of those honored souls to have experienced this journey of my life multiple times.
Having said that, the journey on Manali Leh Highway could be a bit tricky to plan if you haven’t researched well enough. Almost more than 350 km out of 474 km long Manali Leh Highway (430 km now after Atal Tunnel) does not have any civilization, and hence you would be the only soul wandering on most of your journey here. Even one cannot find fuel (petrol/diesel) for 365 KMs on Manali – Leh Highway.
2021 Update: With the opening of the Rohtang Pass Tunnel or Atal Tunnel in 2020, the distance of Manali – Leh Highway has been reduced by 45 km and brought it down to a total of 430 km from Manali to Leh. It is not just the distance but the overall time to reach Keylong from Manali is reduced by 3.5-4 hrs and that means Manali to Leh journey can be done in about 13-14 hrs. This 9.02 km Atal Tunnel connects Manali to Keylong in Lahaul Valley. You are no longer required to travel over Rohtang Pass which means there is no longer a dependency on its opening date to travel to Keylong from Manali. Along with it, you no longer have to worry about avalanches, bad roads, traffic jams, landslides which were pretty common when traveling to Leh from Manali via Rohtang Pass.
Therefore, adequate planning is very well required to travel on Manali – Leh Highway so as to make it a memorable experience.
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Let's quickly dive into the details:
Manali Leh Highway Travel Guide – Detailed & Complete
I hope the below information in this detailed travel guide of Manali Leh Highway will be helpful for someone planning a journey on Manali – Leh Highway.
Should I travel to Leh Ladakh via Manali or Leh to Manali?
Before anything, if you want to enjoy Manali – Leh Highway then does it from Leh side. That is travel from Leh to Manali NOT Manali to Leh. This direction will help you enjoy the Manali – Leh highway without bothering to rush through the place or worry about AMS or driving with nausea, headaches, etc.
1. Better Acclimatization
Traveling from Manali to Leh will hold you back from the enjoyment. Mostly due to AMS and its symptoms because of the majority of the time, you are above 4000 Mtrs of altitude, which your body cannot adapt easily so quickly. But, while coming from Leh towards Manali, your body will be acclimatized for the high altitudes much more than when you travel to Ladakh from Manali.
If you still prefer to travel to Leh Ladakh via Manali, then you can follow the most common itinerary to travel to Ladakh from Manali.
2. Avoid sleeping at Sarchu
Secondly, travel from Leh to Manali will also help you halt your journey at Sarchu which is at an even distance between Manali and Leh and offers a varied amount of accommodation options. Otherwise, you will end up doing Manali – Keylong on one day and push from Keylong to Leh on the second.
Sleeping at Sarchu is not recommended if you are coming from Manali unless your body has completely acclimatized to Sarchu altitude by staying in Spiti and Lahaul Valley for about 4-5 days.
Hence, always try to plan a journey to Ladakh in such a manner that you enter Leh via Srinagar side and then after exploring Leh – Ladakh for few days come back via Manali – Leh Highway. You should also read: 5 Reasons to choose Srinagar – Leh Road to enter Leh over Manali – Leh Road.
Season to travel on Manali – Leh Highway
Usually, the opening of Rohtang Pass and Baralacha La majorly governs the travel time on Manali – Leh Highway. The average time for the opening of Rohtang Pass every year is around May, and Baralacha La usually opens up close to May end.
Best time to travel on Manali Leh Highway
Hence, June to September is the time window when the Manali – Leh Highway is open and is considered as the only time for traveling on Manali – Leh Highway.
Road Conditions June – July
In the early stages, i.e., June, one can find huge stocks of snow en-route, but the road conditions may be a challenge to drive. While in the later stages, i.e., August to September, the conditions of the roads are almost perfect in shape with all the mud dried out, maintenance work almost completed on these roads by BRO but your eyes will be devoid of the snow mostly.
The weather in June is always unpredictable and the chances of rain are also bright. This leads to the closure of certain sections on Manali – Leh Highway due to landslides triggered by rains.
However, you may be lucky in June as well to cruise this Highway in bright sunshine. June is not exactly the ideal time when one wants to be in Manali due to mad tourist influx.
Should I plan Manali Leh Highway in August?
As the July – August comes, the Monsoon comes as well in the Northern parts of India. However, the regions on the Northern side of Rohtang Pass that is Keylong and beyond mostly remain untouched by these monsoon rains (except the year 2010, which was an exception).
So in July-August, though you may need to cross the Southern side of Rohtang Pass in Monsoon rains that is Manali and lower hills, after especially Keylong, you are almost good to go without much trouble with these rains.
Dodging the Water Crossings & Slush in June – August
June – July is also the time window when the snow melts on high passes creating almost tiny rivers or water crossings (nallas) on roads in the early stages. This high gush of water is quite a challenge to dodge, especially with the vehicles having a low ground clearance.
Post afternoon, when the sun is burning at its best, some of these water crossings or nallas becomes so violent that they are almost impossible to cross. This gushing water may force you to halt the journey of the day in the middle of nowhere or return to some civilized place for a night halt. The best way to overcome these water crossings or nallas is to know the specific nallas on Manali – Leh Highway and plan to cross them as early in the morning as possible.
In recent years, one of the major hurdles was water crossing or nalla just near Zingzing Bar even though bridges have been built on many of the water crossings up to 2018.
Another major one was between Rohtang Pass and Sissu. In the early stages (June), even crossing Baralacha La is a big challenge due to melting snow, which creates some deep water streams on the road itself.
Slush is also bound to be present on Baralcha La in the early stages of the season and is also quite a challenge to negotiate without proper skills even on SUV/MUV. This mud is generally created by the constantly moving traffic, which beats the snow present on the road or aside.
Hence, try to cover these sections of Manali – Leh Highway in the early part of the day, when the snow melts very slowly and traffic is less.
Are you planning your trip on Manali – Leh Highway in late September and October? If yes, then you must read my article about 5 Reasons to Avoid Manali – Leh Highway in Late September or October
Below is the general idea of road conditions on Manali Leh Highway. Of course, they are subject to change with the season, time of travel, and weather conditions. However, in general, you will get an idea of road conditions from Manali to Leh road.
- Manali To Rohtang Pass – Average
- Rohtang To Kokhsar – Bad, Slushy
- Kokhsar To Sissu – Average
- Sissu To Keylong – Very Good
- Keylong To Jispa – Good
- Jispa To Zingzing Bar – Good
- Zing zing Bar To Baralacha Pass – Good
- Baralacha To Sarchu – Bad, Dirt Track
- Sarchu To Pang – Bad, Bumpy, Dirt Track
- Pang To Moore Plains – Good, Bad, Bumpy
- Moore Plains To Tanglang La Pass – Very Good
- Tanglang La Pass To Rumste – Very Good
- Rumste To Leh – Very Good
2021 Update: You no longer need to travel from Manali to Rohtang Pass to Keylong. You can take the route from Manali to Keylong via Atal Tunnel to reach Keylong in just 2 hrs from Manali and avoid all the bad roads of Rohtang Pass.
Modes of travel on Manali – Leh Highway
IMPORTANT NOTE: Himachal Pradesh Govt. has banned the movement of vehicles without any permit on Manali – Rohtang Pass road and visiting Rohtang Pass for tourism purposes. If you are going towards Leh – Ladakh or Keylong or Spiti Valley from Manali side then you need to get permits for Rohtang Pass available online. Please note that Bikes also need a permit to cross Rohtang Pass
Private Vehicles i.e. Cars and Bikes | Self Drive or Ride to Ladakh
Most people prefer to travel from Manali to Leh on a bike or self-drive to Ladakh in their own car. Some people also prefer to self-drive or self-ride to Ladakh by hiring a rental bike or car on rental from the cities. In any case, a hired car/bike or personal car/bike, the idea is to live the passion of driving or riding through one of the toughest and adventurous terrains accessible in India.
You can take your own or rented, car or bike to Ladakh on Manali Leh Highway, but one must be careful while driving or riding through slushy roads, snow and water crossing or nallas. Also, it is always handy to learn little maintenance tasks of your vehicle before the start of this arduous and desolate journey.
For cars, although an SUV/MUV is good to have and a 4WD SUV will definitely help but I have seen hatchbacks (including Altos and Nano) and sedans doing good enough job on Manali – Leh Highway.
Please note that when you are planning from Manali to Leh on bike, the bike registered in Manali will not be allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh. You will need to rent a bike again in Leh again for sightseeing in Ladakh.
Can I do Manali Leh trip in a small car?
With sedans/hatchbacks or small cars on Manali Leh Highway, one must drive with extra care and caution. Also, be ready for few scratches or sacrifice some parts on your sedans/hatchbacks under-belly due to the lack of enough ground clearance required in some water crossings or landslides on Manali – Leh Highway.
If you are trying to travel on Manali Leh Highway in a small car or a hatchback or sedan, I will suggest planning the journey late in the season ( September) when the roads are in good shape than the early season.
Are you planning to hire or rent a bike from Manali? If yes, then you must go through the article on How to Hire or Rent a Bike or Motorcycle in Manali?
Tips for a Self-drive to Manali – Leh
If you are traveling on Manali to Leh by car, whenever in doubt, always step out of your car, walk down the path, inspect with your foot and plan the path of exit before crossing a dangerous landslide or water crossing on your vehicle. You can also park aside and see how others are crossing the risky section to plan your route of escape.
In deep water-crossings try to maintain the momentum without any half clutch measures and complete the entire stretch in one go only.
Similarly, in slush stretches, do not force the issue rather keep the smooth momentum with the required speed to pass you through, without half clutch measures. Do keep an eye on the direction of the vehicle too.
If you get stuck in the mud, then try to back and forth your vehicles to get out of the stuck position. It is always handy to ask your fellow co-travelers to get out of the car and push the vehicle from behind in case the car is struggling to pass through the mud or water crossing stretch.
These tips will certainly help you on your trip from Manali to Leh by car.
Things to carry
Basic toolkit, screwdriver set, small hammer, puncture repair kit, iron rod, two or three “2 ltr” empty bottles of Pepsi / Coke / Limca, etc. to carry extra petrol or diesel (jerry cans will leak, cold drink bottles do not leak), funnel, towing rope, spare tube (must for bikes), Elfy or Fevi quick (2-3 sachets), jump-start cables/wires, M-seal to prevent leakage, etc. were among the few things which I carried along on my trip to Ladakh.
Also, do not forget to get your vehicle (car/bike) serviced about 2-3 weeks before the start of the Ladakh journey. Having it serviced will ensure that you have proper time in advance to test your serviced vehicle and get fixed any hitches that may have been introduced in that service.
You can prepare the checklist from my list of 40 must have things to carry on Ladakh self drive trip
Hiring a Private Taxi | Taxi Number or Private Number
All taxis (except Ladakh registration number) having taxi number or tourist permits number plates are only allowed for a drop in Leh – Ladakh. You cannot drive them in Leh – Ladakh ou cand as per the taxi union rules, only taxis with Ladakh number are allowed to roam in the Ladakh region for sightseeing.
If you want to travel within Leh – Ladakh in your private taxi hired from a place other than Ladakh, then, in that case, you need to hire a taxi with a private number plate only. However, in the latter case, be ready for some queries by the local taxi drivers in Ladakh or police constables on your route. You need to ensure everyone interrogating with you that the vehicle is not a rental.
Should I hire a taxi from Manali for Ladakh?
Whenever you need to hire a taxi, always try to hire it from Manali, as the drivers of Manali will always be more skilled and more accustomed to the route or current conditions of Manali – Leh Highway. Secondly, the locals always have a majority with an advantage of local support in any hurdle you might face on the way towards Leh.
To hire a taxi, go directly to the Manali taxi stand and bargain hard with the local drivers only, for a drop to Leh. Do not involve any tour operator or hotel staff at any stage to save costs.
Manali to Leh Taxi Fare
The local taxi drivers will charge about Rs 1500 extra for a planned night halt on the way to Leh. The private taxi fare from Manali to Leh is close to Rs 16000 to Rs 18000 for a drop to Leh from Manali, depending on your bargaining power, tourist rush, and time when you are visiting the place. June is the highest-paid and September – August being the less paid.
On the Manali bus stand, the taxis that drop people coming from Ladakh are also available sometimes. Since the same local sightseeing rules are applied to Ladakh taxis as well in Manali, they are bound to return without any tourists from Manali side, officially. If you can catch any of those Ladakhi drivers, you might save yourself Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 for a drop to Leh from Manali.
The same rule is applicable from Leh to Manali side as well and hence, if you can get hold of some Himachali driver at Leh taxi stand, you will again save about Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 on your return drop to Manali.
However, you need to be a bit careful from local drivers while fixing a deal with non-local drivers. So, it is always nice if you have some references for either place upfront and call them directly to fix the deal. Secondly, it might be hard that these taxis will agree for any night halt on the way, but it depends on how you gel up in the negotiations and bargaining.
You can check the Leh – Ladakh taxi union rate list 2020 – 21 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh. 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.
Manali to Leh Bus Service, HPTDC | Good for a solo traveler or a couple
Perhaps if you are traveling alone or with one or two friends, you can buy or book tickets for the Manali – Leh bus service of HPTDC. This semi-deluxe bus covers the 474 Km long Manali – Leh stretch with a night halt at HPTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong on coming from either side.
The ticket costs Rs about 2900 per person (as of 2020), which includes a stay at HPTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong, and two meals, i.e., dinner and breakfast at the same hotel. Earlier was also an option to buy the ticket only without hotel stay and meals for Rs 1500, but HPTDC no longer offers it.
The prices mentioned here may change anytime though, so please check the HPTDC website for updated info. The overall comfort level of the bus is much better than other HRTC buses that ply on Manali – Leh Highway.
You can check the updated schedule of Manali Leh bus at the HPTDC website. The tickets can be bought or booked at the HPTDC office on mall road, Manali or you may like to contact at HPTDC Office in your local town (HPTDC Contact Details).
Do not book the seats at the back and confirm before booking regarding the location of the seats. In the back seats, you may have trouble when the road gets bad, especially on the second day, i.e., Keylong to Leh. The bus departs at 11 AM from Manali on the first day and 5 AM from Keylong on the second day to reach Leh about 7 PM. These timings will change with the introduction of the Atal Tunnel that will reduce the time to travel to Keylong from Manali to just 2 hrs in total.
Read my detailed article on Manali to Leh Bus Service.
Delhi – Keylong – Leh Bus Service, HRTC | Cheapest mode of travel
HRTC also runs a regular bus service to Leh from Manali (started in 2018) and also from Delhi and Keylong. You can book tickets for connecting buses (Manali – Keylong, and Keylong – Leh) from Manali bus depot itself or even ISBT, Delhi. You can also reach Keylong by getting a seat in numerous shared taxis that ply between Manali – Keylong every day. The HRTC buses may not be as comfortable though, but comfort comes with the price.
The ticket between Manali – Keylong costs about Rs 174 and then Keylong – Leh it costs about Rs 550 and Delhi to Leh costs about Rs 1380, in HRTC buses. The direct bus from Manali to Leh costs Rs 833, which started in 2018. The bus departs at 5 AM from Keylong and reaches Leh about 7 PM.
You can also read the details of HRTC Delhi Leh Bus Service
Shared Taxi | A Cannonball run
You can also buy yourself a seat in a shared taxi which runs every mid-night from Manali and reaches Leh on the next evening without any night halt. In the same way, shared taxis are run from Leh to Manali as well.
You need to pay about Rs 1800 to Rs 2000 per person for a drop to Leh from Manali or a drop to Manali from Leh. Of course, since it is shared with 7-8 other people plus the driver and completes the back-breaking cannonball run of Manali – Leh in 15-17 hours, you can imagine the level of comfort yourself.
This one is the second cheapest mode of travel on Manali – Leh Highway but mind you, it could be the toughest on the body too 🙂
Other travel modes
You can also get in touch with some travel agent or taxi union in Manali who also runs their private buses or Tempo Travelers on Manali – Leh Highway. They also run according to dates and hence you may not find the immediate bookings for them.
Some travel agencies also offer Manali to Leh road trip packages including stay and travel. Let me know in case you are interested to know about them.
Planning Night Stay or Accommodation on Manali – Leh Highway
Based on my experience, you can opt to plan a journey on Manali – Leh Highway in one of the following ways –
Two Day Journey on Manali – Leh Highway
The options of stay or accommodation are very limited on Manali – Leh Highway due to the limited civilization. Hence, a two-day journey on Manali – Leh Highway is the most common among all travelers. Private Taxis and buses run by HPTDC or HRTC also cover the Manali – Leh Highway in two days. Mostly, people break up the journey on Manali – Leh Highway in the following two ways over two days –
Manali – Keylong / Jispa (Day 1) and Keylong / Jispa – Leh (Day 2)
This option is mostly preferred by people who do not want to run the risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) by staying at higher altitudes than Keylong or Jispa. However, on the second day, you need to leave early in the morning like by 6 AM from Keylong or Jispa to reach Leh in time. Public buses including HPTDC / HRTC halt for a night at Keylong and leave at 6 AM the next morning, too.
Personally, out of Keylong or Jispa, I will always prefer to stay at Jispa if traveling on your own or privately hired vehicle. Jispa has situated right on the banks of river Bhaga and is further 20 KMs away from Keylong town. Spending the evening at this place is extremely refreshing and is a far better experience than the boring Keylong town.
While Keylong town offers varied accommodation options, Jispa has only a few options available for a stay, and hence, you must pre-book them. Secondly, if you are traveling by public transport, i.e., HRTC or HPTDC buses, then you need to stay at Keylong only else you need to manage the travel up to Jispa yourself and then fix the pickup too with the driver or conductor. Mobile phones may or may not work in Jispa.
Manali – Sarchu / Pang (Day 1) and Sarchu / Pang – Leh (Day 2)
After Keylong and Jispa, you will find accommodation majorly at Sarchu and Pang only. Many travelers also take this option. However, Sarchu and Pang being at much higher altitudes, many people suffer from headaches, vomiting, or sleepless nights.
Hence, if you have plans to stay either at Sarchu or Pang, then it is critical that you stay at Solang Valley not in Manali to acclimatize your body a little bit. Solang Valley also may not help altogether though, but Manali will certainly not help the cause.
Both Pang and Sarchu are close to midway between Manali and Leh. So, a stay at any of these places evenly distributes the time and fatigue over two days. This way, it helps you better enjoy the journey on each of the two days.
Again in between Sarchu and Pang, I will suggest a stay at Sarchu due to its lower altitude than Pang. Pang has lesser and cheaper options available, but Sarchu has varied options, including the Swiss tents with attached toilets. In the end, if you are coming from Leh, then you can stay at either Pang or Sarchu without any trouble because by then your body will be acclimatized to handle such altitudes.
One Day Journey on Manali – Leh Highway
Manali – Leh (Day 1)
This option of completing the journey of Manali – Leh in a single day is most common among local people or people who are in a high rush and is least recommended if you want to enjoy your travel. Shared taxis are the preferred way to avail of this option.
Although it could be the cheapest or time saving for you, this back-breaking, cannonball run of 15-16 Hrs with least stoppages does put a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind of an average traveler. This long journey is extremely tiring, and by traversing through the varied amount of altitudes ranging from 1900 Mtrs to over 5000 Mtrs in a single day, you are running a risk of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or some severe headaches or disorientation en-route. This option will certainly kill the joy of the journey.
Keep in mind that you are most likely to hit with mountain sickness in this option. If you get away with it, consider yourself extremely lucky. Otherwise, keep in mind that any breakdown of the vehicle like puncture, engine heat down, etc. at some high altitude (Tanglang La, Nakee La, Lachulung La, etc.) with you suffering from mountain sickness may lead to very very ugly outcomes. Hence, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take the acclimatization factor lightly.
Three Day Journey on Manali – Leh Highway
Manali – Keylong / Jispa (Day 1) and Keylong / Jispa – Sarchu / Pang (Day 2) and Sarchu / Pang – Leh (Day 3)
Well, this option is nothing but the combination of the other two to cover Manali – Leh Highway in three days. This option will require more time, as well as more money. This option is the best way to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of nature that is offered by Manali – Leh Highway, with some worries of mountain sickness. There are plenty of places/vistas and picture taking points on Manali – Leh Highway that is worth spending this extra time and money.
I suggest this option of travel or, in particular, overnight stay at Sarchu/Pang only when you are coming from Leh towards Manali. I DO NOT recommend it while going towards Leh from Manali side unless you are coming from Manali side after spending some nights in Spiti and Lahaul Valley. Sarchu and Pang are both above 4K altitude, which requires your body to have few nights at 3K and 2K Mtrs of altitudes to acclimatize your body. If you traveled to Leh via Srinagar side and coming from Leh after spending a few days, your body will be acclimatized better to minimize the chances of AMS at Sarchu or Pang.
Very few people follow this option due to lack of time and to save money for the ultimate heaven. If these two things have no place for consideration at your grounds, then I will say go with it, and you will make your journey on Manali – Leh Highway much more than a memorable experience :).
The comparison of night halts is already made in the first option, so opt as per your taste. Again if possible, do stay at Solang Valley not in Manali to minimize the chances or effects of mountain sickness.
This option will mostly be available if you are traveling by your private vehicle. You will even have tough time bargaining with drivers at Manali taxi stand for 2-night halts unless you are ready to pay them handsomely.
List of Accommodation or Stay Options on Manali – Leh Highway
Its always better to know or have the list of all accommodation places on Manali – Leh Highway before you travel on it because in such unpredictable terrain you can never predict what can come to your rescue. So, having as many details as possible about the place is always favorable.
I have compiled the list of accommodation or stay options on Manali – Leh Highway at the below link which includes the information about their contacts, location, price range, experiences, etc. Refer the link below for details – List of Accommodation Options on Manali – Leh Highway
Acclimatization and its importance on Manali – Leh Highway
The journey on Manali – Leh Highway goes through a series of high altitudes passes which are good enough to cause headaches, vomiting, disorientation and mountain sickness to the best in the business.
After crossing Patseo or Deepak Tal you are bound to run this high road to Ladakh above 4000 Mtrs until you descend from Taglang La towards Rumste / Upshi. However, with little prevention and care, you can combat or minimize the effects of altitude sickness.
Here are some tips which will help to fight the AMS on Manali – Leh Highway –
- Avoid overnight stay at Manali rather stay at Solang Valley which helps in the acclimatization whereas Manali does not. You always have an option to roam around in Manali and come back for a night’s sleep at some hotel in Solang Valley. This will help your body acclimatize to a certain extent at the start of your journey.
- On Manali – Leh Highway, do stay at either Keylong or Jispa which are lower in altitude than Sarchu and Pang to minimize the effects of mountain sickness.
- Keep your body properly hydrated.
- Avoid sleeping at high altitudes.
- Avoid overexertion.
- Avoid tobacco and smoking and alcohol and other depressant drugs.
- Keep your body warm and eat lots of carbohydrates.
- Avoid sleep during the day.
- Sleep in an upright position, if possible.
- Carry preventive medicines for AMS.
- Immediately descend, if symptoms increase
For more information on Acute Mountain Sickness and all above acclimatization tips, please refer my article on Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization
The FAQ on Leh Manali Highway
- What will be the cost of Manali Leh Highway road trip?
Usually, Manali to Leh road trip cost should come around Rs 3500 if you plan to travel on HPTDC Manali to Leh bus service. Traveling HRTC Manali to Leh bus in a single day should not cost you more than Rs 1000 if you are on a budget.
- What is the status of Manali Leh Highway 2020?
You can track Manali Leh Highway's status on my blog. Every year I start a dedicated thread to track the Manali Leh Road status and post regular updates. As of today (December 2019), Manali Leh Highway is closed due to heavy snowfall.
- What is the Manali Leh Highway opening date 2020?
Usually, Manali Leh Highway is opened in the last week of May or the first week of June, officially. In 2019, Manali Leh Highway opened on 10th June 2019, and in 2018, Manali Leh Highway was opened on 13th May 2018. After many years, in 2018, Manali Leh Highway was opened by mid of May.
- What are the road conditions on Manali Leh Highway?
As of 2019, the road conditions on Manali Leh Highway has been improved considerably over the last few years. Most of the water crossings now have been covered with bridges. The conditions on Rohtang Pass have improved a lot, many metalled road sections including Pang to Taglang La via More Plains. People are doing Leh to Keylong in a single day at a comfortable pace nowadays.
Fuel or Petrol Pump on Manali – Leh Highway
After Manali town, there is only one Petrol Pump at Tandi on the entire Manali – Leh Highway before Upshi / Karu. DO NOT forget to get the full tank fuel at this petrol pump, even if you had it filled at Manali. The more you have, the better it will be for you.
ATM on Manali – Leh Highway
Do carry enough cash with you as the ATM is available only in Keylong and Manali town. If you have no plans to stay at Keylong, then do not forget to withdraw cash from Manali town. After Keylong, you will get hold of an ATM only at Leh town.
Video – Places to Visit on Manali – Leh Highway
For a detailed description of the major places to visit on Manali Leh Highway including the distance between them and their respective altitudes, please refer to the article Places on Manali – Leh Highway | A Detailed Description
Summarized View of Facilities or Amenities on Manali – Leh Highway
|Hotel / Guest Houses||Khoksar, Sissu, Gondola, Patseo, Tandi, Keylong (Many options), Jispa, Upshi|
|Tents / Camps(Dhaba / Swiss / Normal)||Jispa, Darcha, Zingzing Bar, Bharatpur, Sarchu (Many options), Pang|
|Food / Beverages||Marhi, Khoksar, Sissu, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Deepak Tal, Zingzing Bar, Bharatpur, Sarchu, Pang, Rumste, Upshi|
|Diesel / Petrol Pumps||Tandi (107 KMs from Manali), Karu (36 KMs from Leh)|
|Mobile Connectivity||In our case, the mobile signal of Airtel worked till Keylong only and then faded rapidly. The signals were restored after crossing Upshi for Airtel.|
Of course, BSNL has more coverage and better connectivity within this range than any other operator.
SMS does work fine for both BSNL and Airtel.
Reliance Jio is making inroads and covering a lot of parts of Manali to Leh.
Vodafone did not work for us at all after crossing Marhi and not even in Leh -Ladakh.
Packet data also works up to Keylong and Leh packet data is available only with BSNL edge.
Prepaid connections do not work in Leh – Ladakh.
|Fixed Phones||Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Upshi|
|Electricity||Sissu, Gondola, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha, Upshi|
|Medical Facilities||Sissu, Keylong but Sarchu, Pang has army camps|
|Police Checkpoints||Darcha, Sarchu, Upshi, Khoksar (For foreigners only)|
|Mechanic / Puncture Shops||Khoksar, Tandi (not sure), Keylong, Darcha, Sarchu, Upshi|
|Liquor Shops||Keylong, Darcha, Upshi|
|Natural Highlights||Rohtang Pass, Tandi Confluence, Sissu Waterfall, Deepak Tal, Suraj Tal, Baralacha La, Strange Soil formations, Moore Plains (Wildlife too), Taglang La or Tanglang La, Gata Loops, Lachung La, Naki La, Atal Tunnel|
Article Last Updated March 2021 with up-to-date information for planning a road trip on Manali Leh Highway.
In the end, if you have been to Manali – Leh Highway, then please share your valuable thoughts or suggestions which can make the above information more concrete and useful for someone planning to cover Manali – Leh Highway. Your comments and inputs are most welcome.
I hope this travel guide will help you make a wonderful trip to these dangerous yet beautiful roads in the world.
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