So you have decided to approach Ladakh via the Manali route. I’ll list out some of the route options and some key consideration while planning from this side.
The journey to Manali is long one from Delhi and is roughly 580 kms and is done in approximately 13 hrs in a Car, if you are riding a bike, then you will take more time.
Of this, the ride from Delhi to Chandigarh or till about Kiratpur is smooth 4 lane highway and after that the hill road begins which slows down progress due to variety of reasons
There are multiple ways to reach Manali
- Take an overnight AC Volvo from Delhi, generally all Volvo start by evening ( say about 4 PM and reach by 8 AM in Manali)
- If you are planning to drive and reaching by afternoon in Delhi, then we recommend that you drive till Chandigarh and then plan to start next day early from Chandigarh to reach Manali in time
- If you intend to do the entire journey in one day, then you must begin by 4 AM or 5 AM from Delhi. Arrive a day before, sleep early and begin early morning
Journey from Manali to Leh
There are 2 ways you can approach the journey
You can take 2 Days to reach Leh
- Day 1 : Manali to Jispa, as it is the last village with proper stay facilities at an altitude which will not cause AMS
- Day 2 : Jispa to Leh : This is a long journey and is suitable for SUV / Car only and not on bike
This is not ideal and you miss the fun of Manali – Leh but at the same time it is good for people who are short of time and would like a comfortable trip especially for night stay
Do Manali Leh in 2 Days if you are short of time or you want comfortable night sleep
Alternatively, you can go slow on this journey and take 4 days to reach Leh from Manali
The plan in this case will be
Day 1 : Solang to Sissu
Day 2 : Sissu to Kunzum La / Chandratal and then drive to Jispa. If Kunzum La is not open ( It opens only in July) then drive as far as the road is open and then head back, you can even take a detour towards Udaipur in Pangi Valley just after Tandi )
Day 3 : Jispa to Sarchu Or Jispa to Tso Kar
Day 4 : Sarchu to Leh Or Tso Kar to Leh
An Alternate to night halt in Sarchu is the night halt in Tso Kar ( Jispa to Tso Kar will be roughly 8 to 9 hrs drive.
This is Ideal for bikes as well as it breaks down the long journey from Jispa to Leh
This plan is ideal for nature lovers, wilderness lovers and photography enthusiasts. As we slow down the journey, you have no idea how beautiful this journey will become.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO NEXT? – Plan The Trip On Your Own, Check Our Resources Below ..
Road Trip Packages For Ladakh Via Manali
Now, the next question that you may have is what about AMS in Sarchu/Pang/Tso Kar ?
To avoid AMS on this, just follow this and you are 90 to 95% sure that you wont have any trouble
- Plan a night in Solang or even in Kothi instead of Manali. By staying in Solang / Kothi, your body begins the process of adjusting to the high altitude. This process is not triggered when you stay in Manali
- We are giving sufficient time to the body to adjust to the altitude of Sarchu/Pang. The trip towards Kunzum is precisely for this reason. And we also are giving additional nights to the body to adjust
- Apart from the plan, we also recommend that you take diamox, when you arrive in Sissu after your journey from Solang and take one tablet each evening till Sarchu / Tso Kar
Plan a night halt in Solang/Kothi and give your body 2 additional nights ( Sissu / Keylong / Jispa ) and you will avoid AMS on Manali Leh Section
This doesn’t mean that you can head to Tso Moriri from Sarchu. Never do that. This again is due to chances of AMS are high when you stay back to back at 15,000 ft. If you are active and play sports / do regular jog and running then you can certainly go for Tso Moriri from Sarchu
Tso Morrii visit should be avoided from Manali Side. If you like to visit Tso Moriri, plan from Srinagar side Or Go to Leh first and then combine it with trip to Pangong
How experience changes with Season
To give you an insight into how the landscape may change with season, compare the pictures below … Suraj Tal near Baralacha La. Notice the difference in Snow
So when you travel early in the season in June, you will encounter more snow at the high altitude passes for example, Rohtang and Baralacha La … Other passes on this highway for example Lachung La and Tangung La normally don’t receive that much snow fall so expect less snow on these passes anyway …
Also, with the melting of snow underway, the streams are also quite lively during this time. Expect more slush during this time ..
From July onwards, most of the snow melts and you experience barren landscape with snow limited to the peaks of the mountains.
Travel Options from Manali to Leh
Shared Taxi / Sumo/ Innova or even Tempo Travelers is a Big No
I certainly don’t recommend taking a shared Sumo / Taxi Ride from Manali as they do this entire journey in one day. Its awful
Hire a private Taxi Or take a self Drive SUV / Car and plan as per your own needs. This is a great option and you will get maximum fun
Himachal Roadways runs buses regularly to Leh from Manali during the season time. These are mini buses and basic Non AC buses and takes 2 days to reach Leh with a night halt in Keylong. If you are traveling solo then this is the most recommended option.
If you are traveling solo, then plan to stay in Old Manali and look around for co travelers to Leh. Just visit various food joints and cafe and you may find other travelers going to Leh. This way you can book your own taxi and head to Leh and share the cost as well
- Kaushikee P Pal
We are back to our busy life but thank you so much for arranging this wonderful flawless trip for us. We were not sure what to expect from this trip but everything was just perfect , hotels /tents/ vehicles/Permits everything, we were not bothered about anything, Unwind took care of everything.All the information provided by unwind was very useful, appreciate their prompt response whenever contacted. Waiting for our next trip, hope it comes soon and needless to say will contact unwind either for another Ladakh or Spiti trip. Wish you all the best !! hope you provide packages for other exotic places as well!
Sunil had planned our trip to Lahaul and spiti very meticulously. Every day was different and our stays very memorable. A trip that is unforgettable.
We are back to our busy life and we want to say thank you for such an amazing trip. All the arrangements including tents, meals and tour guides were awesome. We had a very good time there. And we’d like to share some beautiful moments with you.... Once again, thank you for organizing everything professionally. Best regards, Team Natasha Enterprises. See more
- Vinutha Nagarajaiah
Sunil had planned a self driven trip for us from Delhi to Leh in June 2017. It was very well planned and was perfect!! Sunil had multiple discussions with us to understand what our interests are and changed the itinerary accordingly. We had a great time and made some nice memories. Definitely looking forward for my next trip with Unwind outdoor.
Sunil we enjoyed a lot . thankyou for nice memories ...
Sunil is the best in business.. Planning is spot on and execution is even better. Nothing can beat his recommendations, be it for tourist spots or food outlets. Right from the moment we got our car in Srinagar to the drop at Delhi airport, everything was just perfect. Everything was so seamless that helped us to enjoy the beauty of Leh/Ladakh even more. Due to road blockage, we had to adjust our itinerary and at a single phone call Sunil made it look so easy to change the accommodations. Thanks for helping us create beautiful memories for a lifetime..Looking forward to the next trip with them.
- Hiren Thakkar
We had a self drive from Delhi to Spiti Valley in August 2017...and it was an amazing experience. Special thanks to Unwind and Sunil for making this happened. All the arrangements including Car and Hotels were superb. Also the instruction call by Sunil just before the tour was very much helpful. Looking forward for the next trip with Unwind....
We had the most wonderful time on our trip and we have you to thank for that. You really made this leh ladakh self drive road trip, it’s sights and history, come alive and be very meaningful for each of us. We really enjoyed every moment, even when there were tensions in J&K. 🙂We appreciate your knowledge, expertise, kindness and sense of humor. The arrangements made from your end were extremely perfect and in timely manner.This trip has become a life time memory for us.We all friends are thankful to you.
Thank you Sunil for the lovely trip you arranged for us and our family....everything was well organised and according to the plan....we loved the cars and the hotels given to us..There were no delays and Every thing went smoothly.
- Karanraj Churiwala
Had one of the most memorable and wonderful Leh to Srinagar trip organized by Sunil and team. All intricate details were well taken care of to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Right from the choice of hotels to the vehicle quality and the warmthness of the drivers, everything was top-notch. Strongly recommended. Looking forward for the next one. Cheers! 😀
7/10/2017Arvind M Gowda
We did a road trip in June 2017 covering Delhi- Srinagar-Kargil-Leh- Nubra- Pangong- tso moriri-Sarchu-Manali-Narkanda-Sangla-Delhi, completely planned and organized by Sunil. With Amazing stays and a great vehicle we completed the trip with mesmerising memories and Awe by the Nature. We shall definitely return to Unwind outdoor for more trips in future.
My family and I vacationed in Ladakh with Unwind Outdoor in May 2017. It was a magical experience. Sunil's arrangements were excellent and the memories will last for a lifetime. We flew to Leh and visited Nubra , TsoMoriri and Pangong.Firstly, the driver for our trip, Namgyal was super. Very safe and totally professional. The accommodation organized in Leh, Pangong , Nubra and TsoMoriri was very good - with exceptional service and often very good food. Also, Sunil prepared us well for potential altitude sickness.Of course, Ladakh itself is pristine and not overly commercialized yet. We have traveled on vacations across the globe and this trip was undoubtedly one of the best . Thanks to Unwind Outdoors for facilitating this
- Aditya Kiran
Unwind Outdoor has helped us to realize our dream !! Like anybody we were little skeptical in the beginning with the whole Leh ladakh plan but Sunil ensured it to be as perfect as it could be. It was a 12 Day road trip from Delh to Delhi( via Manali-Jispa-Leh-Nubra Valley-Pangong tso- leh-tsomoriri-sarchu- manali- chandigarh) on Scorpio 4X4 S4+. The itinerary which he provided had all the required information including the journey time, places to eat and visit . Also the vehicle was in very good condition. Sunil was constantly in touch with us and made sure that we have comfortable & memorable trip. Looking forward to have another road-trip next year with Unwind Outdoor. 🙂
Sunil is a spectacular trip planner. Given the uncertainty that generally prevails during a Leh trip, Unwind takes care of all last minute modifications with panache. There is no better way for you to enjoy Leh than with Unwind. And after all the excellent service, their pricing is still very competitive. Thank you unwind for that spectacular trip.
Sunil, after I ran 21k Marathon I bragged about it for years. The same is being repeated again, with my ambition to drive across the Himalayas, which was almost faded with Srinagar under curfew. You and Chetan were the spark to our fire that we could do this drive and without a single trouble. Driving is a passion but driving thru places where there are no roads is trouble, but your breakup of program and awesome car condition helped us actually sail thru. Three cheers and five stars.
- Pius Noronha
Hi Sunil; The trip for 11days was life time memorable. Thanks a ton for adjusting the last moment changes.You are the best. Do keep up the good work.
hi Sunil you made our trip memorable after chaos of srinagar and specially for me you are really a perfect for Travel Industry where people see Dreams and you Really convert them in to Reality Sunil i am also from travel industry but i learnt a lot from you during our entire booking your patience and your solutions outstanding you have selected all the hotel camps were fantastic and gave us a real adventurous fill specially in sarchu camp with 1 degree cold and really thank ful to you and all my friends for me it was ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA EXPERIENCE Diving from raft in 3 degree chilling water amazing Thanks once again .......... any query to me for adventure you are only in my list.cheers Sunil..
7/29/2016Suyog T Saraiya
We leveraged on unwind outdoors for our Leh self drive trip. Extremely good experience. Due to Srinagar situation, we changed our plans just 1 day before travel date and Sunil accommodate perfectly. All the location stays were par excellence with breathtaking view. Best choice of hotels and camps. Simply wonderful.
- Shalin Gandhi
Sunil Kapoor is one of the best person i met in travel industry.We had booked our tour of self drive cars from Srinagar to Leh - Manali - Chandigarh of 11 days, just one day before we came to know about unrest in Srinagar, and we thought it would cancel our trip, but to our surprise Sunil Kapoor changed our whole itenery with all hotel bookings, and gave the cars from Delhi. We had paid the full amount to Sunil then also he changed the route and the hotel bookings, no other travel agent would do and that also in Delhi it truly surprising. Sunil has full knowledge of the route and the hotels he selected was also the best in that place. I highly recommend Sunil Kapoor & Unwind Outdoor tours to all my Friends,Regards, Shalin Gandhi
7/28/2016Jignesh C Patel
Wow. wow, wow. What a experience! We took the route of Delhi - Jammu - Srinagar - Leh - Sarchu - Manali - Delhi. Sunil Kapoor gave us excellent service which includes his next to new 4WD in immaculate condition and all hotels were top class. Coming from Australia, we were bit nervous in start but when we met Sunil, we had full trust and all went very positive. Sunil gave us perfect instructions and everything was according to plan.I would very highly recommend Sunil's Unwind Outdoor to any tour you are planning to go with.His company's website unwindoutdoor dot com is very good with so much information that you don't have to go anywhere else.Thank you Sunil and your team for our one of the best experience in life you have provided us. Looking forward to send many people through your company.Cheers.
It was a great 10 day itinerary for Chandigarh-Manali-Leh-Kargil-Srinagar stretch. We soaked in the beauty of Kashmir and the Himalayas all along the way. Great tips on must-to-visit places. Sunil gave us meticulous instructions on vehicle, trip preparation and risk management. The lake boat stay at Srinagar was a pleasant surprise to top it off! Those who visit Leh should try to read and know more about the place before visiting. Plan your "Hall of Fame" visit at Leh early, if you don't do this preparation 😉 ! Had a great Leh Ladakh experience with friends. Loads of thoughts and memories along the way. Thanks to Unwind Outdoor for a well managed tour!
- Rajiv Rao
We had a wonderful 8 day trip from Srinagar--> Kargil --> Leh --> Nubra --> Pangong --> Leh arranged by Sunil. All the arrangements were executed flawlessly. Sunil managed a few last minute changes which is well appreciated. I had no hesitation in suggesting Sunil to folks we met during our vacation and colleagues in office.This is a "must do" trip one should experience in their lifetime.
I would like to thank Mr.Sunil for arranging our Chopta trip and the bonus of Auli.Our family had a great experience living one with nature.We were well taken care of and pampered by great food.Looking forward to other trips that Unwind Outdoor has to offer.
We are sure if it was not with Unwind Outdoor, our trip might not have happened. Living overseas we have been planning this journey for some time but never got the right contact until we came across Sunil. I was able to relive the memories of my first encounter with this landscape 19 years ago. The whole journey from Jammu to Leh and beyond is a weird concoction of feelings. There is chaos, isolation, excitement, calm, mood swings(due to AMS).....nevertheless this is one place which every Indian must have on their bucket list. Having said that I would also emphasize on preparing yourself for this trip. It is not just any other hill station but this can give you an experience of a different world altogether (If you were stuck like we did at 18000 feet high K-top for almost 5 hours due to an avalanche. Mind you.. recommended stay is not more than 20-25 minutes). So prepare well and be safe. Sunil will be there to look after you. Good on you Sunil. You will hear from us again...soon.