A bike ride on the mountains is a pleasure. Throw in the Himalayas as a backdrop and that’s a winning combination. Nestled in the Trans-Himalayan region, Ladakh is a favorite spot for bikers. Weave your way through the mountains as the magic of the former Buddhist kingdom unfolds before you. From picture-perfect monasteries and colorful prayer flags fluttering in the mountain breeze to the spectacularly jagged and arid mountains, Ladakh is the holy grail for bikers in India.
Put on that helmet and ride along sapphire lakes, rusty terrains, tranquil outbacks, and stop almost anywhere when you catch a view. Here are some of the places to stop by on your bike ride across Ladakh.Check out the events happening around Leh-Ladakh!
1. Leh Palace:
Resembling the Potala Palace of Tibet, the Leh Palace, albeit in ruins, gives an idea of its grandeur and magnificence of the past. The compartments and corridors of the palace are made of stone, wood, and sand. Adorned with paintings and murals that have stood the test of the time, the Leh Palace still exudes an old world charm.
2. Shanti Stupa:
Built by Japanese monks to promote world peace, the Shanti Stupa overlooks Leh from a rocky ridge.
Although it is a short ride from Leh, the area around the stupa provides a panoramic view of the town and surrounding mountains. Whether it is the sunrise and sunset for the best views, the Shanti Stupa stands as a symbol of peace.
3. Spituk Gompa:
Located nearly 8 km from Leh, Spituk Gompa is an impressive monastery that dates back to the 11th century. The monastery scans the Indus Valley with mudbrick buildings descending down a steep hill towards the village. You can climb the exterior stairways to get some captivating views. While the antique thangka paintings, arms, and ancient festival masks add color to the place, the main prayer hall houses the deity of Lord Buddha.
4. Khardung La Pass:
The gateway to Nubra Valley, the mountain pass of Khardung La is a treat for bikers. Standing at an elevation of over 17,500 feet, it is often mistaken as the highest motorable road in the world. Nonetheless, the journey is breathtaking and is on top of the “to-do list” for bikers. Located nearly 40 Kilometers from Leh, the journey to this historically important pass undoubtedly poses a challenge to those who dare to ride their way to the top.
5. Nubra Valley:
The picturesque Nubra Valley offers stunning scenery on a monumental scale. The green villages of the valley are surrounded by harsh mountains dotted with boulder fields and stark slopes. Diksit, the valley’s headquarters is located around 150 kilometers from Leh, the journey to the high altitude cold desert is takes you past sand dunes, monasteries, and a ruined palace. You can also experience a whole different culture of the native Balti people.
6. Yarab Tso Lake:
Ready for a short hike? This one is worth it. The Yarab Tso Lake located near Sumur village and approximately 15 kilometers from Diskit. The route to the village can be rough, but the magnificent landscape makes up for the trouble. Do ask the locals about this offbeat location before parking your bikes and making your way to the top. This tranquil spot allows you to relax and spend time with yourself before proceeding to the rest of the journey.
7. Magnetic Hill:
When a signboard asks you to park your park on a certain spot and switch off the engine in order to see it roll uphill, would you do it? In Magnetic Hill, that’s exactly what you do! This spectacle can be experienced 30 kilometers from Leh towards Kargil. Always in the radars of the tourists, Magnetic Hill also offers stunning landscapes along the way. Save your gas and enjoy the ride on this unique phenomenon.
Lamayuru is an idyllic place to break the journey between Leh to Kargil. Set among a moon-like topography dotted with picturesque homes that huddle around a crumbling central hilltop.
Located over 100 kilometers from Leh, this intriguing locale is dominated by the Lamarayu monastery. The monastery houses Buddhist paintings, frescoes, and thangkas. A cave with the statues of the guru Naropa and his disciples is another major highlight of this shrine. In addition, you are treated with some awe-inspiring views of the moonscape of the region.
9. Pangong Lake:
Located amidst the barren landscape of Ladakh, Pangong Lake is known for its beauty. The blue waters and rocky lakeshore are flanked by a stunning backdrop of rugged snow-capped mountains. After a 200 kilometer ride from Leh, you can spend the night at the lakeside. However, there is a challenge: The Chang La Pass. Situated at an altitude of 17,500 feet above sea level, this is a not for the faint-hearted in particular. But if you have seen the place in the backdrop of multiple Bollywood movies (3 Idiots, remember?), no mountain pass will seem high enough.
10. Tso Moriri Lake
Located at a distance of approximately 350 km from the Pangong Lake via the Changtang region, Tso Moriri is the largest of the high altitude lakes entirely within India.
Perched at an altitude of more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the lake is visited by only a few tourists. Primarily due to its extremely harsh climatic conditions. But the journey is worth it when you get there. For example, you can hop by to the Korzok monastery which is located at the northwestern of the lake to bask in the serenity of the region.
To clarify, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other gems along this picturesque land, let us know if you have any recommendations!Check out the events happening around Leh-Ladakh!