How to prepare for Leh Ladakh bike trip

In recent times, Leh Ladhak has turned out to be a go to place for many bikers. However, riding in these regions is not a child's pla...

In recent times, Leh Ladhak has turned out to be a go to place for many bikers. However, riding in these regions is not a child's play due to many reasons. Be it the extreme weather, unexpected landslides, snow fall in some high passes, scarcity of fuel points, etc.

The ideal time for Leh Ladhak trip is from Jun to September. During the winters, most roads remain closed.

Here's a complete list of things you should look into, before starting with the trip.

1. Prepare mentally 

Although it goes without saying, I would still make a point here. You should be mentally prepared for the weather conditions in these regions. Because as they say, mountain regions are really unpredictable. Prepare yourself mentally that you would be riding in rain, snow, and hot sun also. 

2. Prepare physically

Although its a bike ride, it is advised to remain physically fit before embarking on the journey. Avoid the journey if you have any medical issues.

3. Be Confident

Be confident about your ride, and your style of riding. Don't try anything fancy or extraordinary for the trip. Just know your strengths and weakness about driving. If people tell you that you are drive fast in curves, make a note. Do not overspeed in the mountains. You wont enjoy the journey if you speed. Its meant to cruise. Go at your own pace.

4. Don't be overconfident

During the journey, you will come across many tough rides. You shall see a lot of streams, depending on the time you visit. Make sure to watch someone cross the stream so you know the depth when you cross. If possible, let other cars cross the stream, so you watch how deep it is.

5. Carry your own medical kit

Since it will be very difficult to find a doctor during the journey carrying a medical kit with necessary items is necessary. Below is a list I made, but make sure to consult a doctor before.

  • Diamox 10-15 tablets ( AMS )
  • Crocin 10 tabs ( Fever )
  • Combiflam 10 tabs ( Pain Killer )
  • Digene ( Acidity )
  • Lomopalm ( Loose motion )
  • ORS 10 pakcs
  • Creepe bandage 
  • Band aid 10 strips
  • Cotton roll
  • Moov / Volini spray
  • Antiseptic cream like Boro plus
  • Moisturizer like Vaseline
  • Sunscreen 30 SPF and above
  • Wet wipes / toilet rolls

6. Prepare your bike

If you are riding your own personal bike, make sure you have your bike equipped with all the necessary things.
  • Make sure to get your bike serviced before the trip, and ride at least few tens of kms after the service.
  • Ask your mechanic to add an extra clutch cable and an extra accelerator cable in place, so if something happens, you just have to switch them.
  • Carry a lube for bike chain. It will cost you around 300-400 INR. Better yet carry a chain clean and lube combo like Motul Chain Clean and Lube Combo
  • Some people also put anti-puncture liquid in the tube.
  • Put an extra carrier, so as to fit at least one 5 litre can for petrol.
  • Mobile USB Charger (Optional)
  • Carry 2 bungee cords at least. Carry a rope in case.
  • Carry an electric pump, just in case. And extra tubes. I would recommend this ResQ Tech Tyre Inflator, which is quite lightweight and comes in handy. 
  • If your motorcycle has a tubeless tyre, carry a handy puncture repair kit like this one
  • Be sure to carry a valid Driving License, RC book, Emission test papers, insurance papers, all in originals, and keep a photocopy or two handy.

7. Other things to carry (Checklist )

  • Carry 2 big plastic bags to cover your luggage, and the few small ones to keep your gadgets safe. But DO NOT dispose them off in the mountains. Dispose them off in the dustbins only.
  • Powerbank - Mi 20000mAh (As you may not get charging points everywhere)
  • Torch (Mobile torch would do)
  • Thermals 2 pairs and a sweater
  • Cotton socks 3-4 pairs
  • Woolen socks 1-2 pairs at night
  • Woolen gloves 1-2 pairs
  • Riding gloves 1 pair
  • Balaclava
  • Goggles are must
  • Rain coats
  • Riding jacket (I have this Rynox jacket)
  • Water proof shoes are must 
  • Protective gears like knee cap, elbow caps are recommended
  • Dry fruits to munch on the way
  • Atleast 2 water bottles of 1 litre each.

8. Transporting your bike

If you intend to take the Jammu - Leh - Manali route, you can send your bike to Jammu directly either via train or other private Cargo services.

But if you are taking the Manali - Leh - Jammu route, then you would have to send your bike to Manali. But, at the time of writing this post, the trains run only till Chandigarh (closest to Manali ). So you would have to ride from Chandigarh to Manali. Or if you prefer the cargo service, some of them do offer to transport your bike to Manali. Check with your nearby cargo services.

9. Permits 

The most important thing is to get all your permits ready before you start your journey. You would need  permits for Himachal Pradesh and Leh. You can either get them here Himachal Permits and Leh Permits, or you can contact any agents and they would get it done for you at an additional cost.

In any case, keep a day spare for permits.

10. Postpaid phone

If you didn't know, prepaid phones do not work in Jammu & Kashmir, following a Govt law. So carry a postpaid sim, if you need to have connectivity with outside world!

Hope this helps! Please do comment if you would like to add anything!


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Little Detours: How to prepare for Leh Ladakh bike trip
How to prepare for Leh Ladakh bike trip
Little Detours
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