Every Biker's Ultimate Guide to Ladakh - Part 2
Continuing our two-part piece on the ultimate bike adventure to Leh-Ladakh, we take you through Day 3 to Day 9 and then leave you with some tips for your journey. If you haven’t read part one yet, check it out now.
Day 3: Leh
Take this day to get used to the altitude and visit the places just around Leh city. Also, make a trip down to the District Commissioners office and get all the permits you need for your visit to Khardung la, Nubra valley and Pangong Tso.
The things you can do in and around Leh town are -
* Drive down for a view of the Sangam of Indus and Zanskar
* Visit Shanti Stupa
* Leh Palace (from here you can see a really old polo ground)
* Walk up to Tsemo Gompa from Leh Palace
* Visit Magnetic Hill
* Visit the Gurudwara Patthar Sahib (they serve great Langar i.e. lunch)
* White Water Rafting on the Indus
* Shop at the Tibetian Refugee Markets
* Take the Monastery Tour to Hemis, Thiksey and Shey Palace and museum, Hall of Fame
Day 4: Leh to Nubra valley, via Khardung La (152kms)
The highest official road in the world, Khardung La is about 51kms from Leh city. The road to Khardung La is a continuous climb and the roads here are still being constructed. Local signs claim that the elevation of this pass is about 5,602 m (18,379 ft) metres high.
The weather is pretty cold here and the build up of snow usually leaves this pass unusable from several hours to days. Due to its sheer height, this route provides jaw dropping views of deep valleys and narrow twisting roads. Once you make it to the top, be sure to have a cup of high altitude tea and a bowl of hot tasty Maggi noodles at the cafeteria at Khardung La. After you cross Khardung La, the road starts its decent as you head towards Diskit and Hundar in the Nubra valley. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. above the sea level. The main attraction in this area is the almost extinct Bactarian Camels (Shaggy double hump Camel) at the infamous sand dunes. Diskit and Samstanling are the two monasteries one can visit during their stay here and accommodation and campsites are easily available around here.
Day 5: Nubra to Leh
Drive back to Leh from Nubra valley and visit the places you missed out on Day 3.
Day 6: Leh to Pangong Tso (160 kms)
Now Pangong Tso - (remember that scene from 3 Idiots and Jab Tak Hai Jaan?) is a high altitude brackish/salt water lake situated in Ladakh at a height of about 4,350 m (13,900 ft). A third of the lake lies in India while two thirds of the lake lies in China.
It is about a five hours drive from Leh, most of it through spectacular valleys. The road from Leh to Pangong Tso is mostly a smooth one, with some rough patches. It also traverses the third-highest pass in the world, the Changla pass, where you can avail some amazing tea for free.
There are plenty of camp sites available here to spend the night. One can just get mesmerized by the beauty and serenity of this natural wonder.
Day 7, 8 and 9
After day 6, head back to Leh and continue your journey to Kargil. Plan a stop over at Kargil for sightseeing at Mulbek, Lamayuru and Patthar Sahib. Head to Srinagar to wrap up this exhilarating adventure.
Why travel by road?
If you really want your trip to be an experience to remember, travel by road. Jaw dropping views, haunting beauty of the hills and unforgettable skies, the best way to create these memories is to take it all in slowly while you drive or ride to your destination.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
* You can reach Ladakh either via Srinagar or Manali. Most people complete the loop by entering from one place and exiting from the other.
* The roads are motorable from June to mid-October. If the snow does not melt on higher passes, the roads may open late. It is advised to check conditions before heading out, there are many blogs and websites that give you regular updates about this region.
* Always carry extra fuel. Tank up whenever you get a chance.
* Chose to drive an SUV compared to a sedan out there.
* The quality of roads and weather can change in minutes in Ladakh – don’t be shocked or surprised with what you encounter.