10 things to do While Riding to Ladakh

1. Motorcycle through the Himalayas

Motorbiking on one of world’s most adventurous roads is a pride to all the advanced riders. If you’d like to see enchanting valleys, unsteady weather,  snow-clad mountains, frozen lakes and rugged terrains, riding through Manali-Leh/Srinagar-Leh is what you must do.

Baralacha La on bike
Chronicles of Narnia;)

Top notch it in jagged style by riding on a Royal Enfield classic.This ride is perfect for pillions

Ladakh bike
The ride that served as our house for 4 days

2)Stay in Tents

It’s not necessary to carry a bunch of camping set and load your free space. All it takes is to just let your spirits free and follow the road. Stay in the tents nestled amid snow-capped mountains.

These tents are open to everyone who stops by for a relaxing overnight stay. To reward yourself with all the riding so far, staying in the tents are seriously an experience by itself. The tents and its toilets are extremely clean compared to any of the house lodge you come across, so don’t book those already.

The winds gushing through your tents at night can sound creepy but it’s a part and parcel of the experience.(Tip: Cuddle underneath your quilts or somebody next to you)

Padma lodge at Jispa

Padma Lodge, Jispa
Padma Lodge, Jispa; We chose the Swiss tents on the far right and sat by those swings with a beer

Gold drop camps at Sarchu.

Gold Drops Camp, Sarchu
Gold Drop Camps, Sarchu

3)Sit by Pangong Tso

It’s not everyday that you see the mountain gods protecting a stretch of lake and a set of contrasting colors complimenting each other. Throw your sorrows and woes away and watch the colors change at various times of the day, while the shadows of the dancing clouds reflect on the mountains.

The lake freezes during the winters and people from all over the world come to ski and drive over this gorgeous Pangong Tso. The best option is to stay here overnight.


Read: My bad experience at Chang-La Top

Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso

4)Play with the local kids

As you get closer to Ladakh, there are high chances you will stop more than a million times at any of the small shops to grab a cup of tea/snacks or Maggi.These shops are mostly owned by families with the cutest kids who are more than happy to entertain and socialise with people.

Ladakhi kid posing for my camera at Tsokar refreshments
Ladakhi kid posing for my camera at Tsokar

5)River rafting at Zanskar

Known for crazy rapids, the river rafting at Zanskar is a 30 km rafting with a scenery much like the Grand Canyon. At minus 4 degree, I sat frozen on the boat with tickles of icy water attacking the thin layer of clothing and bare hands so lifeless that I could hardly feel them turn green. At the cost of INR 1,500 per person, the rafting ends after a long tiresome 3 hours but a quenched one.(Tip: Pretend to be chivalrous)

River Rafting at Zanskar at -4 degree C (Brrr)
River Rafting at Zanskar at -4 degree C (Brrr)

6)Maggi on the world’s highest Motorable road

So riding on the Manali-Leh highway is not complete unless you ride up to one of the world’s highest motorable road – Khardung-La . After hours of traffic wait ups et all on South Pullu, treat (You will know why I mean ‘ treat’ once you get there) yourself with hot maggi or pakodas with chai and watch the snow melt welcoming summer.

Khardung La Top
Khardung La Top

7) Monastery hop

Can there be a list that does not talk about a monastery in a Buddhist region? The Hemis monastery is one of the well known and is unbelievably crowded during the Hemis Festival in June. There is just a positive aura when you enter the monasteries here.

One of my favorites is Shanti Stupa, peacefully located on top of the mountains. I wonder how pretty it may look while it snows around here.

shanti stupa-Leh

8) Try the Ladakhi Food

Truth be told, I’m quite particular about my food. So for a person like me who has taste buds so intense that it pretty much acts as a pundit for the day, the food here highly hits the spot.

Most of the local cafes serve Momos with a pinch of spice, and Thukppa, a combination of soup and noodles, is one of their local delicacies. Food is for the good soul and to me a dainty Tingmo ( Tibetan cloud shaped steamed bread ) dipped in spicy chicken gravy, made the Ladakhi cuisine one of my favorites. If you get a chance to try the yak butter tea, consider yourself lucky because this is not so readily available everywhere.

Tingmo Bread
Tingmo Bread

9) Stack some stones and make a wish

As you ride, you will notice stones stacked up. Apparently these are known to bring good luck for travelers. At one point these were used as messengers in unoccupied lands.

10) Decipher on the way

Manali-Leh highway is designed and maintained by the BRO (Broad Roads Organisation). Although, the roads are far from civilisation, BRO offers their presence in every nook and corner with their humorous road signs.

(Tip: Do not fall into a pit (capacious large hole)while riding and reading the road signs all at once).

Like me, If you like to carry a souvenir back home, why not one of the books by Ajay Jain named “Peep Peep Dont sleep” that covers all of the sign boards developed by BRO and their meanings in a funny way.

BRO Road sign
One of the many wicked road signs by BRO

Have you been to Ladakh on a motorbike? Tell me your experience on the comments section below.


Riding to Ladakh? Check out our detailed itinerary on visiting Ladakh on a Motorbike

Want to see where else you can ride a motorbike in Asia? Check out our Bali Motorbike Travel Guide

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  1. Hi Shilpa,
    Great blog and illustrations there, first of all. Happened to stumble upon here via your bio on Tripoto.
    I’m planning to backpack to Ladakh coming September with friends- four guys including me, on our Enfield motorcycles. It would be great if you could suggest some itinerary and backpacking tips specific to the landscape/travel based on your experience in a post.
    Drop me a hi on twitter and we shall exchange each-others’ travel musings, for I might have traveled to some really nice offbeat reserve forest that you might enjoy hiking to someday, and vice versa. Traveling after all is equally about meeting new people as much as it is meeting yourself, isn’t it?

    1. Oh it’s lovely cheryl. After all that matters is the journey and not the destination so we started our ride from himachal pradesh and it took us about 4 days to reach leh while we stayed in tents amid the spectacular himalayas ?

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