This blog post is about how we did the Bangalore to Ladakh bike trip and what helped us and what did not. It can be used as a guide for preparation, if you are planning to do a ride
Ladakh bike trip is a dream of any rider from India and many foreign riders too. It was a dream of mine too. But I never thought that I’d just go and do it so soon. I always thought that I’d do this trip one day. One day - not any time soon. But that’s how things work. Things happen in an unexpected and beautiful way.
I’m not a professional writer. I’m not even an amateur writer. So, bear with me. I promise this is going to be fun.
We are 4 people staying in Bangalore, India. Me (Mansoor), Abhishek, Vignesh, Sidarth(He’s the younger sibling of Abhishek). An year back, we did not know each other at all. I met Abhishek on a random bike trip I made.
I was on a solo bike trip to Shettihalli Church, Karnataka when I met Abhishek. He was riding to a place called Mandalpatti ( a beautiful place btw). We went to both the places that day.
I met Vignesh from the Bangalore CBR250R group, along with many other cool people. We went to many destinations around Bangalore coming weekends.
I ride a Honda CBR250R, so does Vignesh. And Abhishek has a Yamaha R3, the sexiest of them all (the bike, I meant)
I still don’t remember when we decided to do the Ladakh trip. But I remember it was a spontaneous plan. Like, someone said we should ride to Ladakh and everyone else were like, “hell yeah!!”. Even I didn’t think that it was a serious plan at that time. But, it was Abhishek’s enthusiasm that made it happen. We had a few months for planning and preparation and the flag off day was May 27th 2018. Abhishek made excel sheets (with a lot of informations like destinations, distance, fuel, expenses etc) and then it became real serious. It was decided. We were going to Leh. Yay!!!!
The route and schedule
This is the schedule that actually happened. Our original plan was a bit different
Total Distance : 7480km
As you might have noticed, the first 3 days are pretty crazy. 900km in bike with all the saddle bags, in this hot weather was pretty crazy. We’ll talk about how that went in the coming posts. But for now, this is what we did.
Choosing the route
Once you are in the Jammu and Kashmir, there are two ways you can do the ride.
- The full circuit: Jammu - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Pangong - Pang - Manali
- The half circuit: Manali - Keylong - Sarchu - Leh (You can go to Pangong/Pang and be back too)
The first one is the full circuit and that’s what we did. It’s up to you to, which one to choose.
If you are in Bangalore and planning to do the Ladakh trip, these are your options
- Fly to Delhi/Chandigarh and rent bike from there (Sane plan)
- Ship your bike to Delhi/Chandigarh and do ride from there (Sane plan)
- Ride all the way from Bangalore (Slightly insane plan - We chose this obviously)
We chose to ride all the way from Bangalore because we were not really comfortable with the logistics. You never know what could happen to the bike during transportation. Even though the chances of something like that happening is very less, we didn’t want to take any chances
And when you are surrounded with equally crazy people, crazy plans happen.
Now that we have decided to ride from Bangalore, there are two main routes to reach Jammu. One via Hyderabad - UP - Chandigarh and the other one Via Pune - Mumbai - Jaipur - Chandigarh.
We choose the Hyderabad route, which was, well… difficult. The weather was tooooo hot. 45C, with very low humidity. I’ll share the exact experience in the coming posts. :P
We have learned from our experience and chose the Mumbai route on our return journey.
No plan will work if we don’t have the budget to execute it. The major expenses are:
- Fuel / Transportation (Depending on how you are reaching the J&K state)
- Stay and accommodation
- Unplanned expenses / maintenance
The Fuel expense depends entirely on the distance, the kind of bike and your right hand. We had clocked ~ 7500km and close to 5000km was on highways. My bike (CBR250R) gave consistent mileage on highways (around 30 km/L) and on the mountains, it was very very weird
The bike got mileage around 40 km/L (and 42km/L at some point). I was using an app to keep track of the fuel consumption to get to know how efficient the bike was on different terrains.
Later research revealed that on high altitude, fuel injected bikes performs better.
Total distance : 7480km Fuel burned : 220L Average mileage : 34km/L
Costed around 17k INR for fuel alone (for the entire trip)
You know your bike better. So, you know how much it will cost for you in the fuel department
If you are transporting your bike to Chandigarh/Delhi things are a bit different. You have the option of transporting it in Train or by a professional courier service.
Use your best judgement before choosing a service. The cost depends on how you are transporting it and how much your bike weighs.
This entirely depends on how much you are willing to spend. For the major destinations it is better to book hotels in advance. If you have enough days and you don’t plan to travel so many kilometers daily, you can reach your destination and find a place.
We booked hotels in Adilabad, Jhansi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. From there till Manali, we reached the destinations and looked for hotels/stays. In Pangong Lake and Pang you can find tents or similar accommodation at a very low cost. In Pangong Lake, we had to pay just 200 rupees per person for the stay.
In Leh, we stayed in “Hostelavie”, which is similar to Zostel. It was a nice experience, you get to meet a lot of people from the different parts of the world