Let us look at some of the most common questions asked on my blog about making self-drive to Ladakh, renting taxis in Leh Ladakh, and bike rentals in Ladakh. I am starting this five-article series of Leh Ladakh FAQs to answer all your questions about planning a successful trip to Ladakh.
It will be easy for me to redirect you to the right question and its answer in these articles instead of repeating the same answers again and again in the comments section of various blog articles on this website.
I will also keep updating this Leh Ladakh FAQ series with new questions in case I have missed answering any and also keep my answers fresh with updated information about preparing for a trip to Ladakh.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
This section should answer all your questions about taxis in Ladakh and also covers the aspects of a self-drive trip to Leh Ladakh. Once, you go through these questions you will understand taxis, their rates and how to make a self-drive trip to Ladakh.
You can book taxis at the Leh taxi stand after reaching Leh. Alternatively, you can call Leh local drivers directly from the List of Taxi Drivers for Ladakh – Srinagar – Leh – Manali with recommendations/reviews for many DoW community members. This list also has contacts of some tempo traveler drivers too.
You can get about 10-15% of discount by directly getting in touch with these local drivers and of course, talking to the last service provider (local driver) always help in reducing the cost.
It is always better to reach Srinagar by air to save time and some energy that you might waste on a two day trip to Srinagar from Delhi with one night stay at Jammu. Then once you reach Srinagar, you can hire a taxi to Kargil.
You should fix a Ladakh based taxi to pick you up in Kargil so that you can do sightseeing in Sham Valley on the way to Leh. Otherwise, Srinagar based taxi will not be allowed for sightseeing in Sham Valley to Alchi, Likir or Basgo, etc.. This Ladakh based taxi can stay with you for the rest of the trip for a drop up to Manali after complete sightseeing in Ladakh.
After reaching Manali, you can take an overnight HPTDC Volvo back to Delhi.
Taxis in Ladakh are costly as per taxi union rates because of small season window and rough terrain that requires more maintenance of the cars. In order to get the idea of taxi cost for your Leh Ladakh trip, you can refer to the latest Leh Ladakh Taxi Rates 2020-21.
As it can become cryptic sometimes to read the Ladakh taxi union rates in this booklet, I have listed below taxi rates of some important sightseeing places of Ladakh, including trips to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.
These rates also cover the taxi rates for Manali – Leh Highway and Srinagar – Leh Highway routes. This table will help you quickly get a rough idea of the total cost for a taxi on your Leh Ladakh trip.
|Popular Tourist Route in Ladakh||Taxi Rate (XUV/Innova)||Tempo Traveler|
|Srinagar – Leh in 2 days||Rs 20240||Rs 23001|
|Leh Local Sightseeing||Rs 2500-3000||Rs 3500-4500|
|Leh – Nubra Valley in 2 Days (Diskit, Hunder)||Rs 10734||Rs 11593|
|Leh – Nubra Valley in 2 Days (Diskit, Hunder, Sumur, Panamik)||Rs 12784||Rs 13808|
|Leh – Nubra – Pangong Lake via Shyok in 3 Days||Rs 20373||Rs 24449|
|Leh – Pangong Tso (Spangmik) in 2 Days||Rs 11331||Rs 13416|
|Leh – Tso Moriri via Mahe Bridge in 2 Days||Rs 12978||Rs 15418|
|Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Taglang La – Leh in 2 Days||Rs 15711||Rs 18665|
|Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Manali in 3 Days||Rs 31362||Rs 38136|
|Leh – Sarchu – Manali in 2 Days||Rs 23747||Rs 28211|
|Leh – Pangong Tso 1 Day||Rs 9518||Rs 10816|
|Leh – Nubra Valley 1 Day||Rs 8858||Rs 10494|
Taxis rented or hired outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing in Leh Ladakh. The taxis within Leh Ladakh are costly. However, there are a couple of tricks that can help you save some money when hiring taxis for a Leh Ladakh trip.
If you are traveling alone or as a couple, the taxi charges on your Leh Ladakh trip can make a deep hole in your pocket. The private taxis are costly in Leh, but you will be able to find the tourist shared taxis too within Ladakh without much fuss at all.
There are lots of flyers that people put at cafes, dine-ins, restaurants, travel agent desks/shops/whiteboards wanting to share the taxis for different trips within Ladakh. Even travel agents organize such tourist shared taxis trips as well but charge a little higher about Rs 200-300 more than it would ideally cost. So, in the worst case, you can always go back to them and book a seat for yourself on such trips to save the cost of a taxi.
Gelling up with people in Ladakh is more or less easy because many people travel solo and look forward to meeting new people and share cultural thoughts and values over the trip. Nowhere else in the world you will find more smiling and helpful people as Ladakhis.
If you are unable to get shared tourist taxis, then you can hop on to any local shared taxi, but the disadvantage will be that it will not stop in between for sightseeing. Such taxis you can use to reach destinations like Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri, but then they do not stop in between to take pictures.
Alternatively, you can also find online travel partners to share taxi costs. You can also check the DoW Travel Calendar. There have been about 1000+ entries of the people planning their trips in the last few seasons which helped them have better visibility for finding out travel partners online for their Ladakh trips.
You can filter entries based on the preferences you have and increase the chances of visibility. Hence, kindly explore DoW Travel Calendar and also post your entry too. This calendar will help you find other fellow travelers looking for a company and increase the probability of finding your post by others too.
Interesting Read: Why to hire a local taxi in Ladakh
Taxis rented outside Leh Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Ladakh, including places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. You can use these outside rented taxis for reaching Leh over Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway only.
However, further sightseeing in Ladakh is not allowed on these outside Leh rented taxis.
Only private cars with white number plate registered under your name, your wife’s name or your father’s name are allowed to do sightseeing within Ladakh and are allowed to travel to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.
If you have an outside Leh rented a taxi for your Ladakh trip, you will have to again rent a taxi from Leh to do sightseeing in Ladakh.
Self-drive rented cars outside Leh Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Ladakh, including places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. You can use these outside rented self-drive cars to reach Leh over Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway only. However, further sightseeing within Ladakh is not allowed on the self-drive rental cars.
You can read about this topic in detail at Rented Self Drive Cars in Leh – Ladakh Banned “FORCIBLY”.
No, unfortunately, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Leh Ladakh. You will have to rent a local taxi in Leh to do sightseeing within Ladakh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.
No, like Leh, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Manali. You need to take a taxi from Manali to reach Leh first and then rent a local taxi in Leh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.
No, like Leh, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Srinagar. You need to take a taxi from Srinagar to reach Leh first and then rent a local taxi in Leh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.
You can get self-drive rental cars for your Leh Ladakh trip only from the nearby major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh or any major cities near your home if you plan to drive from home. There are no self-drive rental car services available in Leh Ladakh or Manali or Srinagar.
Yes, you can take your personal or private cars to Ladakh. The cars with white number plate registered under your name, your wife’s name or your father’s name are allowed to do sightseeing within Ladakh and to travel to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.
In case the private white number plate car is in someone else’s name, then it is better that you carry a “no objection certificate” from them. The document should declare that the owner agrees to let you drive the car for personal use. Get your name and license number on the document along with the name of the owner and vehicle RC number.
If confronted by the Ladakh taxi union on your trip, you can show this NOC document to them. Try to resolve the matter amicably and do not get into a struggle. If the situation is going out of hands, better to return to Leh and rent a local taxi.
You can certainly take a hatchback or sedan on a Leh Ladakh trip, but surely there will be challenges. I have seen Tata Nano doing it so that any car can do it. It all depends upon your driving skills and how much you love your car. I have personally driven my Swift dZire to many remote corners of the Himalayas.
Having said that:
You will indeed face a few tough challenges on your Ladakh trip when driving a hatchback or a sedan car. A sedan is much worse than a hatchback car. If you are not used to such road conditions, the best option will be to travel from Srinagar Leh Highway. You will get used to the road conditions, get acclimatized, and also get comfortable with those roads. In case you feel Srinagar Leh road difficult to drive, I advise that you drive back the same route instead of taking Manali Leh Highway.
Secondly, since you are driving a hatchback or a sedan, then you need to drive with extra care and caution as well. There will be some sections, especially Manali – Leh road, where you might need to bear some scratches on the underbelly of your car. Just make sure you do not bump the engine sump. Hence, knowing the location of your car’s engine-sump is very important because you need to protect it throughout your trip to Ladakh.
Thirdly, whenever you are in doubt in crossing any tricky section of the road, then do not rush into the section. You should rather park aside and feel the section with your foot or see how other vehicles are crossing it and then make a planned route in your mind to cross that section.
Please keep in mind some of these important tips when you self-drive to Ladakh.
There are so many things that you can think of carrying on your self-drive Ladakh trip. However, some of the most essentials and spares are mentioned below which you must carry.
Also, in case you need more details, I have prepared this 40 Must-Have Things to Carry on Ladakh Self-Drive Trip
If you are traveling to regular tourist destinations in Ladakh like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri using the conventional routes, you may not need to carry spare fuel or petrol on your trips. However, you must keep in mind that in case you want to travel the direct routes without coming back to Leh, then you must carry spare fuel with you in the car.
Please note that you must account for about 70-80% mileage that you are used to getting from your vehicle in normal conditions back home.
Now the important thing to keep in mind is that petrol or diesel is available at petrol pumps in Leh and one petrol pump is present in Karu town, which is about 45 km from Leh on Manali Leh Highway. Then, there is one petrol pump available in Diskit, Nubra Valley town as well. As of 2016, the Diskit petrol pump is fully functional and also work in winters. Overall fuel availability in Leh is tremendously improved as well now for the last few years (as of 2020).
The problem arises when you plan to travel on the direct routes without coming back to Leh. That is where you need to carry extra fuel or petrol with you. 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:
Hence, you must keep these routes in mind and plan to carry spare fuel with you based on the distance you will be traveling without a fuel pump. 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, Deskit, 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.
DO NOT forget a carry a thin cloth that can be used with a funnel to filter any impurities while using such black fuel.
You do not need to carry any extra fuel or petrol on Srinagar Leh Highway. There are plenty of fuel pumps available on Srinagar Leh Highway, and even if you top up your tank at Kargil, you will easily reach Leh which is about 240 km from Kargil.
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 next fuel pump near Leh. Most cars should be able to cover this distance without the need for any spare fuel.
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.
There is nothing as such called the “Best” car for Leh Ladakh trip. A lot of factors depend upon making a car the best for one or the other trip. We must understand that the driver sitting behind the wheels matters the most, and which car you have for the Ladakh trip is just a matter of commute option.
I have seen people making Leh Ladakh trip on cars like Tata Nano to Range Rover. So, you can see the diversity of cars that can come in between and hence, no one car is best for Leh Ladakh trip.
It still does not answer your question. Right?
Well, you should consider the best car for Leh Ladakh trip which:
Innova is JUST suitable but not so good, and if the person behind the wheel is amateur, then there are high chances of getting stuck in water crossings, landslides that require high GC and driving skills to negotiate.
Over the past few years of my trans-Himalayan experience, a majority of vehicles I have seen getting stuck in water crossings, and landslides/slush apart from sedans/hatchbacks are Innovas!! So, it is just good as long as you have good skills behinds the wheels.
There is no doubt that Innova offers the best in comfort on such long trips like Ladakh than any other car in the segment!! Hence, if you are hiring Innova as a taxi, then you should not have any issues because the driver behind the wheels will be very well skilled to drive on such routes in Ladakh.
If you have a large group and you want to travel together, then nothing beats the enjoyment of traveling together with your whole gang. Secondly, the cost of tempo travelers is about 35% more than the cost of a taxi. Hence, because of the large group size, a tempo traveler will always come cheaper to travel when compared to two taxis.
However, when you travel by taxi in Ladakh, the two advantages that you get is the comfort and speed of travel. There is no doubt that cars like Innova will offer you much more comfort than a tempo traveler. It is not only the seats that are comfortable in a small car, but the overall suspension and ride comfort are better than a tempo traveler. Secondly, tempo traveler will be slow in overall average speed while cars like Innova will be faster to travel.
This section should answer all your questions about bike rentals in Ladakh, the rules of bike rental union, and how to prepare yourself for a bike trip to Ladakh. Once, you go through these questions you will understand all about making a trip to Ladakh by bike.
Bikes rented outside Leh Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Ladakh, including places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. You can use these outside rented bikes for reaching Leh over Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway only.
However, further sightseeing in Ladakh is not allowed on these outside Leh rented bikes.
Some bike rentals in Himachal do have a pact with Leh Bike Rental Association that for the days Leh Bikes are rented, they give 50% discount on their bikes when they are parked in Leh. Make sure you strike the deal for it first be clear on the terms and conditions about it.
There are a couple of bike rental shops in Srinagar now that provide bikes on rent for Leh Ladakh trip. Make sure you inspect the bikes and rent them. Maybe go for a short test ride, if possible.
Keep in mind that bikes rented from Srinagar will not be allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh, and one-way bike rental will make a deep hole in your pocket for about Rs 10000-12000 for a pickup only. So, think before you make a deal of one-way bike rental from Srinagar and if it is worth it.
There are numerous shops in Leh Fort Road and main market areas where you can get the motorbikes on rent. You can pretty much walk in, inspect the bike, go for a test ride, and book a deal. I will highly recommend doing it.
Ladakh Bike Rental is a good reliable bike rental shop run by Gurmat Namgial. The cost of bikes ranges from Rs 1000 per day (Bajaj Avenger) to Rs 2000 per day (Himalayan). Hence, the cost of bike rental depends upon the model, make, year and also the condition of the bike, at times.
You can always check the latest Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2019-20.
There are many bike rental shops in Manali that provide bikes on rent for Leh Ladakh trip. You must make sure you inspect the bikes and then only rent them. It is also a good idea to go for a short test ride, if possible.
Keep in mind that bikes rented from Manali will not be allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh, and one-way bike rental will make a deep hole in your pocket for about Rs 12000 for a pickup only. So, think before you make a deal of one-way bike rental from Manali and if it is worth it.
An interesting read about this topic How to Hire or Rent a Motorcycle in Manali for Leh Ladakh trip.
The bikes rented from Delhi are not allowed for any sightseeing in Leh Ladakh. However, they can be used to reach Leh from either Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway. Once you reach Leh, you will need to rent a local Leh based bike on rent.
The bikes rented from Manali are not allowed for any sightseeing in Leh Ladakh. However, you can use them to reach Leh and then park them in Leh. Once you reach Leh, you will need to rent a local Leh based bike on rent.
Some Manali bike rental guys have associated with Ladakh Bike Rental and give a 50% discount for the days their bikes are parked in Leh.
You can, of course, make a trip to Ladakh on a 100cc bike or even a scooty like Activa or Jupiter. However, with some challenges and compromises, it is completely possible to make a trip to Leh Ladakh on a 100cc bike.
You should know how to respect the limitations of your bike. At places, you will be required to get down and push the bike. Now, light bikes mean it is an advantage 🙂
You should avoid catching up with other vehicles or bikes, which means that you should drive in speed limits. Try to avoid riding for long hours in low gear to avoid heating engines and time to time keep taking breaks.
It is needless to say that you should avoid taking any shortcuts that feel enticing but can be fatal.
At a bare minimum, you should be carrying a clutch cable, accelerator cable, a couple of headlight bulbs, a spark plug, brake cable, adhesives like m-seal, Fevi-Quick, Elfy, coolant, puncture repair kit, etc.. You can refer the complete list & carry these required essential spares for your bike or scooty.
Hence, although it is not required to have a powerful bike like Bullet/Royal Enfield for your Leh Ladakh trip, it makes the journey a bit comfortable.
It indeed is possible to rent a bike from Manali or Srinagar to make a one-way trip. However, the one bike rentals are very costly, and you will need to pay somewhere from 10000-12000 just for the pick up of the bike from Leh. If you drop it to the circuit end like Manali or Srinagar, then the prices for pick up of the bike may range about 15000.
Hence, unless you cannot live without the bike on Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway, there is no point in spending that much money in the rental bike pickup. In such cases, you should reach Leh and get the bike on rent from Leh based bike rental shops.
Yes, you can take a bike under your friend’s name in most cases unless there is some current tension among bike rental unions from Leh, Manali, and Delhi.
When you take a friend’s bike, then you need a NOC document from him stating that the bike is for private use only, he is the owner of the bike with RC number, and he authorizes you with your DL number to ride the bike personally for this Leh Ladakh trip.
This NOC document will be helpful in case someone stops you and objects the case of RC not being under your name. Solving the matter amicably is highly recommended unless you want to go into the struggle and spoil the rest of the vacation and money for the trip.
You can transport your bike from anywhere in India on a train for a Leh Ladakh trip. There are two ways to carry motorcycles or bikes on the train in India. You can carry it either as luggage along with passenger / yourself, or you can parcel the bike from one place to another.
If you want to get into the details of the “How” part, you can read my article on How to Carry your Bike in Train to Ladakh or Himalayas?
You can courier your bike for a Leh Ladakh trip from anywhere in India using private services like Gati or Safe Express. As far as I know, Safe Express is the only movers who courier the bike to Srinagar and the rest of the movers have Jammu as the last drop point.
The prices of Safe Express are also reasonable, but they do not pack your bike because they are just movers. You need to get your bike packed by other packers independently. Most of the other service providers charge a much higher amount. I am sharing this info based on multiple posts from DoW Community members in our travel forums.
Yes, you can make a bike trip to Leh Ladakh with a pillion. In my honest opinion, it is a trade-off between choosing the comfort of a solo ride or riding with your partner to either save cost or to feel the ride together with your life or soul partner or best friend.
Having said that, there are some caveats associated with riding to Ladakh with a pillion. You should be aware of certain factors when you are making a trip to Leh Ladakh that includes
Keeping in mind the above points will help you decide if it is worth riding with a pillion to Ladakh or riding solo or a balance of it.
Yes, bike accessories are available in some of the Leh bike rental shops. Following are some of the common rates of common bike riding accessories per day:
The bike rental shops provide the helmet for the rider as included in the rates of daily bike rental charges.
The best bike for a Ladakh trip is the one with which you are comfortable in controlling and riding. If you cannot control a bike or you are not comfortable with the riding position, then that is not the best bike for Ladakh trip.
You have already read in this book that people have already traveled to Ladakh on a 100cc bike to a scooty to Royal Enfields to the Ninjas sharing a range of horsepower. One benefit that comes to my mind is the sitting comfort is better in cruiser bikes than sports bikes. Ladakh’s journey is long, which requires long hours of riding daily. Hence, if you are not used to a particular bike posture you are subject to suffer from fatigue and other issues.
The roads within Ladakh, on Srinagar Leh Highway or Manali Leh Highway, is not in that great shape. So, you must have full control of the bike all the time while riding. If the bike is too heavy for you to control or uncomfortable, then well, you are bound to fall sometime. And, it is not a good place to fall or get injured. The help will not be present in the distance.
Hence, the best bike for a Ladakh trip is the one that you can ride with control and comfort. DO NOT go copying others who may be used to riding such bikes. If in doubt about the power of your bike, do refer to the section above in the book where I describe that even 100cc bikes and scootys can make a Ladakh trip.
Other Articles in the Series
In the next article of the series, I will answer the frequently asked questions about public transport in Leh Ladakh and the budget for a Ladakh trip. I hope this article answers your questions concerning taxis in Ladakh, making a self-drive trip to Ladakh and bike rentals for the trip to Ladakh.
Still, have a travel question left?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.
If you loved this article, DO NOT forget to hit the share button to share it with your friends and family planning a trip to Leh Ladakh.”
So, what are you waiting for? Just plan your vacation to Ladakh in the coming season and I am sure you will never forget about the heavenly experience.
This post was last modified on May 31, 2021 20:45
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