One of the most exalting moments that come in the life of a biker is when he finally gets ‘Leh’d’! Riding to the top of the world with picturesque views that wobble from surreal to abstract could even turn you into a poet if you are not interested in poetry. The primary reason why you couldn’t still jot down a few lines is that it’s difficult to find words to describe this awe-inspiring feeling. Once you reach there, you’re at once benumbed, humbled and spiritually and mentally uplifted. That’s only for a warm and firm embrace of the Himalayas could do. Now we know why Ibn Batuta said ‘Travel first makes you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller’.
Planning a bike ride to Leh-Ladakh – But why?
They say four wheel moves the body and two wheel moves the soul. Riding on your bike and reaching the top of the world, Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the entire world, crossing the sensational Chang La and riding to the end of the world only to be a witness of the beguile sight of the blue expanse of Pangong Tso or riding on double-humped Bactrian camel and riding the silkroute on your bike will make you experience the verity of this phrase. So, instead of further ado, here are some vital tips for planning your trip to Leh-Ladakh.
Treading the holy pilgrimage of bikers, the Leh-Manali highway – Top tips
A 469 km journey, the Leh-Manali highway is considered as the holy pilgrimage of bikers, both Indians and foreigners alike. This is the journey which tests your capability to brace odds and maintain your patience in hardships. Here are some tips to plan your trip.
- Do your bit of research: There are hundreds of different things that can go wrong and you should be tough enough to handle them. The best way to prepare yourself is by doing thorough research. Research on routes, read as much as you can about the places and routes to visit.
- Check your physical fitness: The main preparation for this ride has to be mental as the conditions that you experience can’t be experienced in plains like Hyderabad or other areas. Take up stamina building activities before your trip as it needs lot of effort when you’re riding a bike. There are chances of being afflicted by ACM or Acute Mountain Sickness which affects your body due to extremely low levels of oxygen. Headache, vomiting and nose bleeding are common.
- Know which route to choose: One of the most common routes to Leh is through Manali and majority of the bikers choose this route, particularly when the number of days is less. Till you reach Manali, altitude is not a worrying factor but beyond Manali, you may find it impossible to get habituated within such a short time. By the time you reach Sarchu, you may be affected by AMS. So beware!
- Research on the climate: Leh-Manali route is above 4000 feet and reaches a peak altitude at Tanglang Mountain Pass. Weather may vary from sunny to extreme cold and rainy in Manali. Low level of oxygen is something that will constantly accompany you throughout the journey.
Packing tips for bikers – Staying rightly equipped!
- Sunscreen lotions, sunglasses, a warm monkey cap, woollen head scarves to keep you warm and safe
- High quality waterproof gloves
- A pair of warm gloves made of wool and adequate woollen clothes
- At least 2 jackets and 2-3 pullovers
- Towels, soaps, bandages, general medicines and first-aid box
- 4-5 pairs of socks
- 2-3 pairs of thermocot inners
- A warm sleeping bag if you plan to camp along the journey
- A stock of biscuits, chocolates and dry fruits
- Chargers for mobile phones, camera and some other basic things
Overall, this is a phenomenal experience which can last from 7 days to 15 days and can take you to the Top of the World. Once you reach the highest spot, you get a sense of ecstasy on having completed one of the most tenacious motorcycle rides in the world.