Since long, Ladakh has held every adventure lover by their gut. Be it riders, trekkers, backpackers or even tourists, everybody has dreamt of walking down the cold desert, slipping down the sand dunes of Nubra, camping at Pangong and stargazing in Tur-tuk. When in Ladakh, always expect the unexpected, you never know what the next curve on the road brings and be ready to be swarmed with Julley’s everywhere you go. With warm people and cold climate, the snow-laden mountains offer one of the best treks the country has to offer and obviously the legendary bike trip from Manali to Leh has epic written all over it.
Tanglang La – Second HIghest Pass of the world as it says on the Milestone – Manali – Leh Highway
With the approaching summer, this majestic land opens its roads for us travellers, only to find more people coming to witness its charm that the previous year. We have travelled to Ladakh quite a few times now and have tried every possible transport to reach the desert valley. With every next time we planned on visiting, we found the airfare going higher and we like almost every traveller was always on a budget. So, we found the cheapest way to reach Ladakh (i.e. via bus) unless you wish to hitch-hike (which Oshank once did on a bike and also got injured in an accident because he did not have any biking gear. Don’t be foolish like him. Or forget it. Be foolish like him because then you will have an unforgettable story).
This post is written keeping in mind Leh the destination using the cheapest method of public transport i.e. bus from Delhi, which has become the central point for any excursion in North India and is also extremely convenient.
Leh is approachable from two routes. One is from Manali and the other is from Srinagar. We have travelled through both the routes and we cannot really choose one because both the routes are beyond beautiful and the journey is more than what we call thrilling.
Jispa, Manali – Leh Highway
But all said and done, the cost is inversely proportional to time. Hence, if you are planning a low-cost trip, you will have to spend more time and energy; but that’s just a minor setback which probably does not affect you right?
So, Here it is:
ROUTE 1: MANALI – LEH
Day 1: Delhi → Manali (HRTC Bus: Rs.700 – from Kashmere Gate – 14 hours journey)
Since Delhi has become a hot spot for all the northern Indian travels, there are plenty of buses for Manali every day from Kashmiri Gate bus station. You can pick any ranging from local buses to Volvo’s whatever suits you the best.
Day 2: Manali→Keylong (HRTC Bus: approximately Rs.300 – Rs.400 )
There are a number of HRTC buses running from Manali to Keylong throughout the day. The first bus leaves at 4 a.m. while the last leaves at 1 pm. You can choose the timing according to your journey and even if you miss it, you can always catch the next one. The service starts two to three weeks after BRO declares the Manali-Leh highway open and shuts be early October. After reaching Keylong, find yourself a bed and sleep off all the fatigue.
Dormitory Beds starting from Rs.100 are available near the bus stop. Don’t enter the market looking for a bed as it will be comparatively more expensive.
Day3: Keylong→Leh (HRTC Bus: approximately Rs.500)
This day, you will have to wake up early and catch a bus at 5:00 a.m. for Leh. There is only one bus that runs from Keylong to Leh and if you miss this one, you will be forced to stay another night at Keylong or try to hitch a ride.
Total Cost: Rs.1800-2000 ( From Delhi- Leh including a cheap overnight stay at Keylong)
Manali Leh Highway
ROUTE 2: SRINAGAR – LEH
Day 1: Delhi → Jammu (By train: Rs. 400 – 11 hours journey)
You can easily find a train from Delhi to Jammu Tawi. Make sure you book your tickets well in advance to avoid last minute hassle. As and when you reach Jammu, board a bus for Srinagar.
Day2: Jammu →Srinagar ( JKSRTC Bus: Rs.500 – 8 hours journey)
Start your journey as early as possible since you can be faced with a roadblock at any given moment. Also, be prepared for a rocky but a jaw-dropping drive. Reach Srinagar and get a peaceful sleep as the next day will be long and you anyway won’t want to miss out on the beautiful views by dozing off during the journey.
Day 3: Srinagar → Leh ( JKSRTC Bus: Rs.600 – Rs.800 ) Night stay at Kargil
The bus departs from Dal lake at sharp 8:00 am for Leh. It is a long, two day journey with a halt at the beautiful Kargil stopping at all the popular tourist attractions. You will reach Kargil by evening and will leave again early morning for Leh.
• Stay at Kargil is not included in the fair.
• For booking a seat, you will have to physically go to TRC and buy the ticket. Make sure you buy the ticket one day in advance as there is a high possibility that you might not get it on the same day.
Total Cost: Rs. 2000 ( From Delhi- Leh including a night stay in Kargil )
The Moon Lands, Lamayuru, Kargil to Leh
Majestic View After Fotula Pass, Srinagar- Leh Highway
Hope this helps you save money and make your travel efficient. If you have any doubts about the itinerary, drop a comment below and we would be happy to help.