Road to Leh-ladakh, where natural scenery flaunts itself at the best, where snow, freezing wind, flowing water, high hills, steep curves, nearby smoking sages, high raising roads seem to be collectively trying to create a picture of heaven as close as possible!
One has to appreciate the effort of almighty in creating this beauty and of those local people, visitors and the government in preserving it. This journey(to ladakh) has been mentioned many a times by leading travel bloggers/ newsletters as the best ride one can take in India and this indeed is true. The road trips taken by thousands of bikers/ riders /drivers, through the time period of may-September makes the Manali-Leh highway the busiest ever during this period. The total road distance is around 500 kms from Manali to Leh.
For a biker, biking is just like roti, kapda and makaan! One essential need to survive, otherwise sitting on that seat, running past thousands of kilometers is not a cake walk. The Leh trip is fun filled, lets you meet fellow riders, local people, authentic cuisines along with steep slopes, extreme temperatures, changing weather, high altitude sickness, creepy toilets, small rooms to spend nights in, no fuel pumps and much more! Hence its utterly essential for you to think about little basic things before rolling down the highway! Here is a first list of what you need to care and think about, before deciding upon whether or not to take this trip! Go through this very basic list, ask people who have already paid a visit to the place, and keep reading about climate and stuff.
Time of the year: Ladakh is not just another Bangalore, where climate is same throughout the year! Snowfall blocks the roads, and sometimes noses as well, but don’t worry, may-mid October is very safe, plan your trip around this time, and read more about the climate there
Health: The highest motor able road in this world-khardung la pass is roughly 18k feet above sea level. A little shortening of oxygen can happen at such high altitude, hence consult your doctor before deciding on dates, and plan the trip after getting his/her full approval! Consider doing a little workout prior to the ride for a few days, to strengthen your body for the physical stress of the trip.
Bike’s health: Check whether your bike is compatible enough to be your companion for all these days on bad roads, extreme climatic conditions and all sorts of other things. If yes, get it properly serviced. Check for all the gears and their functioning. Otherwise renting bikes from delhi/ manali is always an option. Ladakh Bike Rental Manali Bike Rental
Clothes and toiletries: As I wrote above, read about the climate, talk to people who have already visited the place and carry light, woolen, airy, waterproof and other kind of necessary clothes in sufficient number as directed. Carry soap, toilet paper etc cause it’s hard to get it along the way..
Food and water: Don’t bother too much about food, unless you are on some prescribed diet. You will get too many little vendors, restaurants serving you food throughout your journey, it will be basic and expensive! But it’s ok, it’s better than carrying all this with you.
Food for your bike: This you will have to carry. Petrol pumps are as far as 400 kms from each other, hence carry fuel and fill up your fuel tank properly.
Papers and license: Carry this with priority. Many a times officials will ask for your bike’s papers and your driving license. Carry a few copies of the same as well.
A little tool kit: To fix some unfortunate mishaps with you, your bike or someone else’s bike. Put a small torch in it also.
Emergency numbers: In case you fall in one, be ready with basic local emergency numbers.
Medicines: Basic headache, fever medicines you must carry, riding with a stomach ache can be a big pain in the ass.
Shoes/slippers: Carry waterproof shoes and an additional pair of slippers as well. Once in a while try dropping off the shoes, wear slippers and go on a star filled night walk!
Connectivity: Look for what all phone networks work there, and carry good amount of cash with you as the phone calls there are expensive if you use booths. Also you won’t easily find a working ATM nearby, hence carry a few green strips while taking off.
Local language and companionship: Lastly, try learning the ladakhi language if possible, at least a few most commonly used words. Who knows that will fetch you a better accommodation and food in lesser price than usual. Also look for good company while riding. Sometimes merely some good people around you take away that little pain this journey gives you!!
Besides what is mentioned above, there is a lot more need to be taken care of, before taking off for the ride, hence consult those who have already visited for more details regarding the trip preparation.