Come June, riders from all corners of India(and abroad) start waiting for the day when the famous Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh roads open. An important road link to the Ladakh region, the Manali-Leh road has been the Mecca of riders since the day it opened in 1979. Exciting, ethereal, exhilarating, gruelling but unpredictable, this road has lured adventurers from the world over to satiate their wanderlust.

There’s something for everyone on this route: Lofty snow clad peaks, alpine valleys, dense forests, glaciers, waterfalls, landslides, avalances, shooting stones, dust, gravel, water crossings, snow leopards, marmots, lakes, hot springs, high mountain passes and much much more!

The Srinagar-Leh road is a bit refined, but boasts of chinar tree lined roads, glacial valleys, the rugged Zoji-la, rolling meadows, monasteries, moonscapes and captivating beauty that made Khusrao compare Kashmir to heaven.

A trip to Ladakh requires patience, preservance and most importantly- preperation. A well thought of, well prepared ride will let you enjoy each day to the fullest.

Here’s a guide that will help you prepare for the trip. Although it is an exhaustive list, please note that no list will cover specifics items needed by everyone.


DO NOT THINK of going to Ladakh without the following:

  • A motorcycle in good condition, recently serviced
  • Tool kit and torch
  • Foot Pump
  • A valid drivers license, vehicle registration and insurance documents, pollution check certificate
  • A first aid kit with any medicines you need plus basic first aid items, some chocolates and candies for instant energy
  • Good helmet and Sunglasses
  • Riding Gear(Riding Jacket, trousers, good boots, gloves) and warm clothing
  • An emergency contact info list and a list of fellow riders, if any
  • Water bottle(more than one, if possible) and some energy drink
  • Sleeping Bag and Tent (Optional)


Personal Preps:

One should be in decent health if planning to go to Ladakh. From either side, the average elevation will be greater than 11,000ft which is enough to cause discomfort to the feeble ones amongst us. From the Manali side, the average elevation until Leh is about 13,500ft, which is mostly discomfort zone. Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS can occur at 11,000ft and higher and is extremely dangerous if ignored. Please make sure that you go to your doctor and explain to him about the trip you’re going to take before you leave so he may prescribe relevant medication, if needed. So get your self checked, keep warm, keep your meds close and enjoy reading further!

Bike Preps:
Keep your spare key along. Get your bike serviced at least one week before leaving so you have time to iron out any issues that may crop up post service. Essentials during service include:

  • Battery: Inspect water level and top up
  • Brake shoes/Pads- Front and Rear tyre: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Clutch Plates/Pressure Plates: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Carburettor/EFI: Clean / adjust if needed
  • Spark Plug: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Tyres: Do not use tyres that might last only 2-3000km. Replace if they are not in good condition
  • Tyre Tubes: Replace, keep old ones as spare
  • Accelerator Cable: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Clutch Cable: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Front Brake Cable: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Decompressor cable: Inspect and replace if needed
  • Headlamps and Indicators: Inspect and replace bulbs if needed
  • Horn: Inspect and adjust
  • Engine oil: Replace if needed
  • Air Filter: Inspect, clean and replace if needed
  • Oil Filter: Replace if needed

Spares Required:

  • Clutch Cable
  • Accelerator Cable
  • Front Brake Cable(if needed)
  • Decompressor Cable(If needed)
  • Spark Plug
  • Headlamp
  • Tyre Tube

Tools needed:

  • Basic Tool kit
  • Tools needed to open the rear/Front wheels and replace cables
  • Foot pump
  • Torch
  • Swiss knife
  • Yoke and Lever to open the tyre
  • Basic Puncture kit that includes patches, glue, valves and valve key

Accessories Needed:

  • Bungee Cord/Net
  • 2 litre soft drink Bottles/Jerry Cans for extra fuel
  • Plastic garbage bags for waterproofing
  • First Aid Kit in addition to medicines needed personally(if any)
  • Luggage carrier/panniers/Saddlebags
  • Extra pair of shoes/slippers

First Aid Kit contents:

  • ┬áBandages
  • Antiseptic lotion
  • Antiseptic Cream
  • Antihistamine (For allergies)
  • Antipyretic(For Fever)
  • Anti-Diarrhoeal
  • AntiSpasmodial
  • Altitude Sickness Medicine
  • Antacid
  • Any Specific prescription medicines

Have a wonderful trip to Ladakh! ­čÖé


The BaBa