In India, Ladakh is the most popular destinations for a road trip. Adventure travellers, bikers and trekkers – all outdoorsy folks unanimously agree. Aside from the Manali-Leh route, which is considered one of the top 5 road trip routes (here at home and possibly in the world), whichever city is your starting point, Ladakh as a destination is gold in every traveller’s book.
There are so many breathtaking places in Ladakh (literally and figuratively), that a well-planned itinerary upon reaching is a must. It is as if the colours of Ladakh change every season. Once you haveentered the region, you can witness the magic in the mountains, lakes, villages, monasteries, treks, passes, forts and people of Ladakh.
Best Time To Visit Ladakh
Summers in Ladakh are buzzing with tourists and activities. An ideal time to visit. However, autumn and early winter too have a special charm for adventure travellers. April to May and September to October are usually good months to visit Ladakh.
Monsoons are a great period too, although a little risky. A lot of travellers visit during summers to enjoy Ladakh’s famous Hemis festival. November to February is not an ideal time to visit as the climate is inhospitable and acclimatization is challenging, except for hardcore trekkers. The popular Chadar Trek takes place during these months.
Getting To Leh From Bangalore
All major airlines provide flight services from Bangalore to Leh via Delhi. There are no non-stop flights.
There are no direct buses from Bangalore to Leh, of course. Traveling all the way from Bangalore to Leh is arduous and unnecessary. You can instead take a train to Jammu Tawi.
Then take a bus to Srinagar and another from Srinagar to Leh. J&K State Road Transport runs buses daily.
Minimum bus fare from Jammu to Srinagar is Rs. 700. From Srinagar to Leh, the frequency of buses is lower, so book in advance. Opt for private bus operators that take off from Dal Lake. Fares start from Rs. 700 to Rs. 1500.
This will be one mighty trip by road. From one end of the country to another. The shortest distance is approximately 3200 kilometers that would take several days of driving.
The trip would require meticulous planning. Manali to Leh road opens usually in May and continues to remain open till November. Srinagar to Leh road may open in May or April, depending on BRO decisions.
The periods mentioned here are tentative, you must check the latest road route availability online before planning your trip. The road conditions are not great after it has just been opened. So wait it out a little. Remember to get your Rohtang and/or other pass permits online.
If you have an SUV in top shape, the beast would be ideal to take a road trip. Or else book a self-drive SUV instead. In any case, make sure the car you’re driving is capable of covering long, hard-core, treacherous terrains. Based on the route you take, the stopovers will change. But it’s wise to make it a 7-day trip at least. You will have to plan your overnight stays in advance.
A lot of folks take 10-day road trips that take them through Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. There are too many places to stop at, so decide if you want to sight-see them all or just want to experience the driving experience straight to Leh.
Most bikers get their bikes shipped to Delhi/Chandigarh and then ride to Leh. Others prefer to rent bikes from Delhi/Chandigarh. Two popular bike routes are via Srinagar and Manali.
Be sure to plan your trip days in advance, get your bike paperwork and ID proofs and licence in place, and your bike properly serviced before and during the journey.
Pack riding and trekking boots, sunscreen, first aid kit, riding gloves, mountain and motion sickness medicines. Take many refreshment breaks & whenever possible avoid riding at night. Top up your fuel regularly along the way as petrol pumps can get scarce.
- Bangalore to Leh flight will cost you Rs. 10,000 to 15,000 based on advanced booking.
- Shipping one bike to Delhi may cost around Rs 6000 to Rs. 8000.
- Bike rentals per day range from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000.
- Fuel cost for a bike trip from there could cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 or 20,000.
- Private operators also offer group bike tours from Delhi/ Manali with packages starting from Rs. 25,000.
- For car trips, count the number of kilometers based on the route and multiply with the cost of fuel to get an accurate number.
- Accommodation at stopovers could be anywhere between Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000 based on advanced booking.
- Meals would be around Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500 per day.
- Book a homestay in Ladakh for a budget trip. Check reviews and prices online.
- If choosing to stay in a hotel, compare tariff online.
Please note, these prices are tentative. Actual price may vary.
- Check out the Thiksey Monastery, Shanti Stupa, Shey Palace and Leh Tibetan market.
- Visit Tsemo Castle, Hemis Monastery, Alchi Choskor Monastery, Stok Monastery, and Spituk Monastery.
- In Nubra Valley, check out Khardung La, Hunder Sand Dunes, Bactrian Camels, Maitreya Buddha, Shyok River and Siachen river as well as road to Siachen.
- In Zanskar valley, visit Stongdey Gompa, Bardan Gompa, Zangla Palace, Rangdum Village, Phuktal Gompa, Pibiting, Doksa Camp, Zanskar river, Suru Valley, Ta Tso and Lang Tso Lakes.
- Also, visit the famous Indus Zanskar river confluence.
- Check out the fairytale lakes of Ladakh, such as Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Startspuk Tso, and more.
- Famous passes of Ladakh include Chang La, Marsimik La, Wari La, Namashang La, Lachulung La, Tanglang La, Zoji La, and more.
- Top treks in Ladakh are Spituk to Stok, Parang La, Markha Valley, and the most famous Chadar Trek.
How to plan a trip from Bangalore to Ladakh
- If you’re choosing to fly, just be sure to book your flight tickets way in advance to get great discounts. Then all you need to do is plan the itinerary and hotel stays.
- If you’re planning to go by bus, book train tickets to Jammu Tawi in advance and also book bus tickets online. You can book tickets locally in Jammu also.
- For a car trip, mark all your destinations and stopovers in advance, so that you can book your overnight stays at the right stops.
- For a bike trip, make sure you first get your bike serviced, properly shipped through a reputed transport company, while planning your route in advance.
- Carry medical supplies, water, extra fuel, license and other documents, biking and trekking gear.
- Carry physical route maps, besides the digital ones.
- Check road conditions online before embarking on your trip.
- Keep a few buffer days for unwarranted situations.
All in all, it will be an exciting, adventurous trip, no matter which transport you decide to take. Remember to plan every detail in advance so there are no surprises other than the scenic ones. If you have questions, please use the comment box.