I know that self-driving to Ladakh is an adventure in itself but there ought to be something good with the local taxi in Ladakh as well. In today’s article, I will specifically talk about the advantages you get when you hire a taxi in Ladakh.
This article will surely help you decide if you are in the dilemma of taking your car to Ladakh against hiring a local taxi in Ladakh. The motivation behind this article is simple enough to help those who are not keen on driving and want to enjoy the pleasure of watching the mesmerizing beauty of Ladakh.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Are outside taxis allowed in Ladakh?
You must know that self-drive rented cars and taxis outside of Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Leh Ladakh including Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. You can use them for getting to Leh and getting out from Leh but not for any sightseeing purposes.
So, the self-drive cars you are taking must have a private number plate, mostly should be under your name, your wife’s name or your father’s name. Otherwise, you will have to again hire a local taxi in Ladakh and pay for your other taxi/self-drive car without using it in Ladakh. You can read complete details in the article on the Ladakh taxi union banning outside rented taxis and self-drive cars.
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1. Years of Local expertise of the local terrain and roads
Like a noble person said one day, “Nothing can replace an individual’s skill & experience”. Well, the same is true for the local Ladakhi drivers.
These local drivers are born & brought up in this rough terrain and road conditions in these remote Himalayas. They know about every other turn, every other pothole around the corner, the mountains that fall, the places where shooting stones are common, the conditions which favors and which doesn’t, etc..
They drive up here all year round and know how to tackle trickiest sections of the roads. No outside station driver can replace those local skills and experience. Hence, hiring a local driver means you are in very safe hands, rest assured.
2. No worries of your own car damages or wear and tear
Very true, some people love their car more than anything. A scratch on the car body feels like a scratch on their own body 😉 … For all such people who love their car like a baby, the roads in Leh Ladakh are not meant to take their babies.
There will be some wear and tear that will certainly go in. Sometimes the underbelly scratches are inevitable. The maintenance and service costs need to be paid before/after the trip.
And, god forbids, if in case something goes wrong like a tire cut or engine breakdown, well, a hefty price needs to be paid to get the car back home. Remember that they will tow the car in a full-body truck, and some damages are common in such towing.
Do not forget to check my list of must-have things to carry on the Ladakh self-drive trip, if you plan to do so.
3. No worries of being stuck due to a broken car
You cannot just abandon your car anywhere, could you?? Think about abandoning it in some mountain pass like Zojila Pass on the Srinagar Leh Highway. Sounds scary. Isn’t it?
Well, that does not hold valid when you are traveling in a local taxi, and you can abandon it and move on in another taxi. Moreover, instead of you worrying about getting it fixed, the local taxi guy will be worried about getting you the new taxi.
Hence, you walk away with safe passage in an unforeseen situation. Talking from experience of abandoning my car up there in Manali alone for weeks and going through those horrible feelings 😉
4. Focus on relishing the natural beauty rather worrying about driving
When you drive in places like Ladakh, one small mistake or lapse in concentration can cost your own life and the lives of all fellow co-travelers. Hence, most of the time, you are worried about ensuring the safe passage rather than relishing the mesmerizing landscapes around.
You are always ready with your camera when someone else is driving, and you can jump out, click the picture and get back in. This passenger seating results in more and more photos of your Ladakh trip 😀 😀
5. The upper edge of local connections with a local taxi in Ladakh
Driving with a local driver has a major advantage of local connections, and in some crazy situations, you will do nothing but praise or bless him. The local language has its upper edge always.
In situations like when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere when it is time to negotiate with the local authorities or negotiate a safe passage in some tense situations or accident or local tensions, he will act as a savior for you.
Things change with a blink of eyes in the remotes corners of Himalayas at places like Spiti or Ladakh and nothing comes close to any insurance that you can get up there in troublesome time than having a local driver in a local car with you.
6. Better bargains at stays
Another advantage of traveling with a local driver is that he may know some crazy economic guest house or home-stay and strike a deal for you which you could not have even expected.
Be assured that in Ladakh, the locals are very honest and don’t mint money while fixing you on some property or the other as it happens in other hill stations. All they want is their guest gets the best possible deal, and they get the good food or stay arrangements at minimum cost in return.
7. Driving the entire trip with the local culture
When you are with a local taxi driver in Ladakh, you ought to hear some warm local stories and get an opportunity to learn more about local culture. You have a local companion with you all the time to whom you may ask numerous questions and delve into the details of the day to day lives of the locals.
This provides a chance of traveling like a traveler and leaves the tourist mindset behind you. Most of the time you end up making friends for lifetime 🙂 🙂
Don’t have time to read the full article? You can check this short video on DevilOnWheels YouTube Channel on this topic. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.
Hence, by now, if you have made up your mind for hiring a local taxi in Ladakh then you can refer the updated Leh – Ladakh taxi union rate list 2020 – 21. This will give you an idea about the taxi rates in Ladakh in general and help you prepare your budget for the Ladakh trip.
You should also get in touch with the list of some reliable taxi drivers in Ladakh to avail of their services. You can easily get about 12-15% of discount by directly getting in touch with these local taxi drivers in Ladakh, which otherwise is not possible to get through travel agents or tour operators.
It also helps us in spreading smiles in the Himalayas by giving local Himalayan people enough earning opportunities. Above all the locals get to earn the hard cash in hand which is very very valuable to them.
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I hope you will find the above article helpful in deciding between taking your car or hiring a local taxi in Ladakh, next time you plan a trip up there. Feel free to post any queries in the comments section of this article. I will also look forward to reading your thoughts and experience of traveling by a local taxi driver in Ladakh. Do you have any to share??
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Hi, I want to take this road trip from Srinagar-Leh by renting self driven car from Srinagar in the month of Sept 2017. Can you tell me how can I arrange these rentals and if I can use the same car for the rest of the trip (8 days) within the valley?
Outside rental both bikes and cars are not allowed for sightseeing in Ladakh. You have to use local Ladakh taxi within Ladakh. Are you sure you want to take this trip on self drive rental still?
Many Thanks Dheeraj,
I definitely want to take a self drive on Srinagar- Leh and back via the beautiful landscapes. Any suggestions about how can I still manage it? May be use a self drive to reach Leh and then get a local taxi for seightseeing?
I would rely on your experience and recommendations.
I am not aware of any self drive rental in Srinagar. You have to get a taxi only and may be request the guy to let you drive.
We 2 friends travelling to leh ladakh for the first time. Hotel owner told me that bikes are available in quantity & cheap rates.
Do u recommend ridding bike there??
Here are the bike rental rates: Leh – Ladakh Bike Rental Rates 2016 – 17 & Rental Shops
It depends how comfortable are you with riding the bike in mountains.
The taxi can sit 9 persons?
Yes, but it will be very very cramped for such long rides/drives. More than 5-6 + 1 driver is always too cramped. Not recommended at all. You will have to be like local shared taxi.
Am planning to do the Jammu-Leh-Nubra-Pangong-Manali circuit in July 2017. Would like to have an idea about the cost of the taxi (Innova) for the entire trip and contacts of the same.
Thanks & Regards,
As per the taxi union rates of year 2016-17 (https://devilonwheels.com/leh-ladakh-taxi-rates-2016-17/) following is the break up
Srinagar – Leh in 2 days = 18400
Leh Local sightseeing = 2500-3000
Leh – Nubra Valley 2 Day = 10566
Leh – Pangong Tso 2 Day = 10301
Leh – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Sarchu – Manali 2-3 days = 29056
Leh – Manali 2 Days = 21588
Leh – Pangong Tso 1 Day = 8653
Leh – Nubra Valley 1 Day = 8053
You can usually get about 10-15% discount on these taxi rates after getting in touch with the driver directly.
Thanks a lot, Dheerajji for your prompt advice……
Best wishes for your trip !!
Is this cost per seat or for the whole car? Which car do they generally have?
These are the costs for the whole taxi. Mostly SUVs/MUVs like Scorpio, Xylo, Innova, XUVs, Aria are available as taxis.
Hey.. wassup I wanna knw what will be the total cost of 3 to 4 days leh ladakh trip for 2 Persons?
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