Step by step guide for planning bike trip to Khardungla Pass from Delhi

Gear up, riders! Today, we're conquering the ultimate Indian biker dream: Delhi to Khardungla Pass, Ladakh – a journey etched in asphalt, adrenaline, and soul-stirring vistas.

This isn't your average Sunday ride to the chai shop. This is a pilgrimage for motorheads, a test of grit, and a landscape that'll leave you speechless (quite literally, at that altitude!).

Also Read: Ladakh Bike Trip 2023  Your Ultimate Guide from Start to Finish

A Challenge Worth Taking:

BikeThis trip isn't for the faint of heart. The unpredictable weather, challenging terrain, and high altitude demand physical and mental resilience. But the rewards are immeasurable. You'll push your limits, discover hidden strengths, and return with a newfound confidence. Remember, the key is to be prepared, listen to your body, and most importantly, respect the mountains.

Planning Your Epic Journey:

Season and Itinerary:

The ideal riding season is between June and September, with clear skies and manageable temperatures. Plan your itinerary considering weather conditions, altitude acclimatization needs, and desired stopovers. Aim for a minimum of 10-12 days for a comfortable journey.

Motorcycle Choice:

Opt for a reliable, well-maintained bike suitable for mountain terrains. Royal Enfields are popular choices due to their power and sturdiness. Consider renting a bike in Delhi if needed.

Riding Gear and Safety:

Invest in high-quality riding gear - helmet, sturdy jacket, gloves, boots, and protective pants. Carry essential tools, a first-aid kit, and a GPS or offline maps. Familiarize yourself with high-altitude riding techniques.

Read more: Conquer Ladakh by Trekking These 10 Majestic Peaks!

The Epic Routes:

1. Manali-Leh Highway:

Motorbike manaliImg: Devil On Wheels

The Manali-Leh is the most popular route, known for its stunning scenery and high mountain passes. The journey takes about 4-5 days, covering approximately 1000 km. Some of the highlights include:

  • Rohtang Pass: The gateway to the Himalayas, offering panoramic views of snow-capped peaks.

  • Keylong: A charming town nestled in the Lahaul Valley.

  • Jispa: A popular stopover for bikers, known for its beautiful campsites.

  • Sarchu: The highest point on the Manali-Leh Highway, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

  • Leh: The capital of Ladakh, a vibrant town with a rich history and culture.

Read more: Manali Travel Guide: Best Time to Visit and Must-Do Activities

2. Srinagar-Leh Highway:

Motorbike SrinagarImg: Overland Escape

This route is less traveled than the Manali-Leh Highway, but it offers a more challenging and scenic ride. The journey takes about 5-6 days, covering approximately 1200 km. Some of the highlights include:

  • Sonmarg: A beautiful meadow surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

  • Zojila Pass: One of the highest motorable passes in the world, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

  • Kargil: A town with a rich history, located in the heart of the Ladakh region.

  • Lamayuru: A beautiful monastery perched on a hilltop, offering stunning views of the surrounding valley.

Read more: Do-It-Yourself Srinagar Itinerary for 3 days

3. Spiti Valley:

Motorbike SpitiImg: Times of India

This route is the most challenging, but it also offers the most rewarding experience. The journey takes about 7-8 days, covering approximately 1500 km. Some of the highlights include:

  • Chandratal Lake: A stunning high-altitude lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

  • Kunzum Pass: The highest motorable pass in the Spiti Valley, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

  • Kibber: The highest village in the world connected by a motorable road.

  • Kaza: The main town in Spiti Valley, with a unique culture and history.

Explore: Your ultimate Travel Guide to Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

Additional factors to consider when choosing a route:

  • Time of year: The best time to travel to Leh is from June to September when the weather is pleasant and the roads are open.

  • Your experience level: The Spiti Valley route is the most challenging, so it is only recommended for experienced riders.

  • Your interests: If you are interested in seeing historical sites, the Srinagar-Leh Highway is a good option. If you are interested in stunning scenery, the Manali-Leh Highway is a good option.

Embark on the Adventure:


Day 1-3:

Start from Delhi, cruising through Punjab and Haryana. Enjoy stopovers in Chandigarh or Amritsar. Aim to reach Manali by Day 3, a beautiful hill station nestled in the Himalayas.

Day 4-5:

Rohtang PassRohtang Pass

Acclimatize to the increasing altitude in Manali. Explore Rohtang Pass, your first taste of mountain riding. Stay overnight in Jispa or Keylong, charming towns amidst stunning scenery.

Day 6:

Khardungla Pass, Leh Ladakh Khardungla Pass, Leh Ladakh

Brace yourself for the mighty Khardungla Pass! The scenic climb offers panoramic vistas, but be mindful of the thin air and challenging terrain. Celebrate reaching the top, the world's highest motorable road at 18,379 ft!

Day 7-9:

Lamayuru Monastery - LadakhLamayuru Monastery - Ladakh

Explore Leh, the heart of Ladakh. Visit ancient monasteries, vibrant markets, and historical sites. Take day trips to Pangong Tso, a high-altitude lake, and Nubra Valley, a desert landscape.

Day 10-12:

Return journey via a different route, like Srinagar, for a diverse experience. Consider visiting the Kargil War Memorial to pay respects to fallen soldiers.

Read more: Explore Must visit Places in India for Each Month of the Year - 2024

Additional Tips:

  • Permits: Obtain Inner Line Permits (ILPs) for Ladakh and other protected areas.

  • Stay Informed: Check weather updates regularly, especially for road closures due to snowfall or landslides.

  • Respect the Locals: Be mindful of cultural sensitivities and practice responsible tourism.

  • Enjoy the Ride: Embrace the adventure, the challenges, and the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas. This journey will leave you with unforgettable memories!

Beyond the Engine:

Pangong Tso Lake in LadakhPangong Tso Lake in Ladakh

Sure, the ride is exhilarating, but Ladakh is more than just a biker's paradise. Explore ancient monasteries, soak in the turquoise Pangong Tso, lose yourself in the stark beauty of Nubra Valley, and connect with the warm Ladakhi people. Remember, responsible tourism is key. Respect the fragile ecosystem, minimize waste, and embrace the local culture.

Read more: Himachal vs Kashmir: Where to go and what to ditch?

The Return Journey:

Remember, the journey isn't over. The descent requires focus, and the miles back to Delhi hold their own charm. Savor the memories, the friendships forged, and the sense of accomplishment that will stay with you long after the engine cools.

Remember, it's not just about reaching the destination, it's about the ride, the stories, and the transformation that unfolds with every twist and turn.

Now, get out there and roar!

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