It is important that the vehicle is checked thoroughly before it is driven on the ladakh terrain. Most Self Drive Rental companies as a standard practice only follow manufacturers guidance for service. But in case of Ladakh, this is grossly inadequate. Before every Ladakh road trip, the vehicle must be checked thoroughly and preventive maintenance done to avoid breakdown. It is almost impossible to recover from vehicle failure if it happens in a remote area.
The Operational teams from Self Drive Companies like Zoom / Myles / Voler have never driven in these terrains and neither understand the demands of this terrain. Even Car Manufacturer Service Managers are not aware of the demands of the Ladakh Region.
All SUV must be thoroughly inspected at the Service Station before and after Ladakh Trip
Before you book from these companies demand/insist that you get a properly serviced/inspected car before it is delivered to you for Ladakh Trip
Following options are generally available for rent
SUV Options available on Rent
- Toyota Fortuner AT 4×4 or Manual Transmission
- Ford Endeavor
- XUV 500
- 4×4 Scorpio or 2 Wheel Drive Scorpio ( New generation also available )
- Old Model Innova ( Not recommended due to low ground clearance ) – The New Innova Crysta has higher ground clearance and is highly recommended as well for comfort and power both ( It comes with 2.4 L Diesel Engine which produces 150 PS power and give you a torque of 343 Nm @ 1400 – 2800 rpm which is better then XUV 500 )
- Nissan Terrano / Renault Duster
- Hyundai Creta
Only the following Manufacturers have their Service Station in Leh, so its important to pick a vehicle from following manufacturers
- Tata ( But not reliable )
Though Duster / Terrano are perfectly fine to drive in Ladakh but neither manufacturer has any presence in the region so a minor fault can also leave you stranded
Unwind Outdoor specialises in Self Drive Road Trips to Ladakh
Driving your own SUV ?? Check out the following resources …
Route : Hunder – Diskit – Khalsar – Agyam – Shyok – Durbuk – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik Attractions : Wilderness Drive to Agyam, Drive through Shyok RIver Bed Distance : 155 kms 6 hrs ( 1 hrs of stoppage time, total 7 hrs ) Road Condition : Bad after Agyam ( Lot of slides , dry river bed , etc If its raining then this section is very tricky 4×4 preferred if not dry ) Food Recommendation : Dhabas are only available near Durbuk ( You wil find an odd tea shop on way before that ) – Khalsar has some Dhabhas ( Pack your food from the camp / hotel in Nubra and then have it at a place of your choice )
Day 8 : Nubra Valley to Pangong via Shyok
Route : Hunder – Diskit – Khalsar – Agyam – Shyok – Durbuk – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik
Attractions : Wilderness Drive to Agyam, Drive through Shyok RIver Bed
Distance : 155 kms 6 hrs ( 1 hrs of stoppage time, total 7 hrs )
Road Condition : Bad after Agyam ( Lot of slides , dry river bed , etc If its raining then this section is very tricky 4×4 preferred if not dry )
Food Recommendation : Dhabas are only available near Durbuk ( You wil find an odd tea shop on way before that ) – Khalsar has some Dhabhas ( Pack your food from the camp / hotel in Nubra and then have it at a place of your choice )
Self Drive SUV Packages For Ladakh
Ladakh Taxi Union
Ever since individual without any prior knowledge of the dynamics of the region started visiting Ladakh, they have created such a turmoil within the region. Locals rely on tourism for livelihood and self drive vehicles was threatening their income. So the union got together and ban the entry to local sites around Leh
Nubra and Pangong are now out of bound for Self Drive Vehicles. You can still drive your own vehicle and go to these places but not rented Self Drive Vehicles
Ladakhi ( local person ) will not cause any damage to you or to the SUV. Please have no apprehension. Just don’t pick up a fight for no reason
Is 4 Wheel Drive A Must
90% of the time you wont need to engage 4 wheel drive. By and large you can do this trip by following simple principles of hill driving. Only in case of unexpected scenario will 4 Wheel drive be engaged and will be useful. For example, while crossing a stream if you are stuck and your main wheel has no traction then by using the 4 wheel option you will be able to recover.
In the same scenario, if you have tow strap and D- Shackles, you can ask for help and the cars/pick up truck on the other side can provide a little pull and you will be out as well. Or you can try doing the reverse and trace back the route and then try again but this time inspect the stream again and try a different path
In our experience
A tow strap and D-shackle is a must for your Ladakh trip
To know more about SUV driving tips check the blog.
Can I Drive my own Sedan
Yes, you can. If you have a Sedan with lower ground clearance and are waiting for SUV then don’t wait .. Just go but go in Aug and Sept. This is because most of the Ladakh region is dry by this time. The snow around the high passes has mostly melted, the streams have less water and chances of slush are also low.
What we mean is that the chances are less but they are not zero. Weather is unpredictable and you can encounter unpredictable scenario but the chances are less. in Sept, the chances to encounter unexpected scenario are even lesser. But bear in mind that any rain/snow during your trip and your skills will be tested. So a stronger vehicle comes handy. If weather holds out and there is no rain/snow then you will have a perfectly smooth trip
Plan a trip in Sedan after mid Aug and Sept only. Definitely not in June or July
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.
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.
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! 😀
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
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.
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..
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.
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
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!
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.
We travelled as a couple & completed a self drive trip from Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Nubra Valley-Pangong-Tso Moriri-Sarchu-Manali-Chandigarh-Delhi. Itinerary was meticulously designed to be a mix of adventure and comfort. Hotel choices were best. Support was available at all points in case of emergency.Vehicle provided was top notch. Thanks to Mr. Sunil Kapoor for personally putting in efforts to maintain such high standards. Looking forward to many more such trips from unwind outdoors.
I must say that what I got was true value for money. At first I was in doubt on how it would be like the hotels, the vehicle and the overall experience. Frankly, don't mind Sunil but I had my doubts. But then once I saw the friendly driver waiting at Chandigarh railway station at 4.30 am I started to think its not going to be so bad. Later on when we checked in Ride Inn in Manali. I was really surprised and impressed. But the best was yet to come. Unfortunately the day we were supposed to go to Nubra turned out to be a worst day to travel on the World's Highest Motor able road. As it was snowing heavily, the visibility was poor and there was a accident at Khardungla top. Due to which we had to return to Leh but when we were at South Pullu and got the news that we have to return I was in serious doubt about our accommodation and all. But then Mr. Nubru (our contact at Leh) proactively got in touch with us and kept on calling us to know our status and well being which impressed me. Then he himself arranged for the hotel in a jiffy. That was good really good but during our return from Leh the tents arranged in Ride Inn were very basic and we had no options to look else where(our return got postponed by 1 day). Anyways, Sunil I am super impressed and had a wonderful trip(2nd) with my lovely wife and 3 friends, and it would etched in my memory as long as i am alive. I would like to travel with Unwind Outdoor again in near future. I am already planning for my third visit to Leh and Sunil when ever it would be it would be through Unwind Outdoor. Be ready for my call.
Thanks Mr Sunil kapoor for a wonderful trip that i had from manali to jispa leh, nubra, pangong sarchu and back to manali.. ur collection of hotels is awesome.. my friend arijit had a talk with you.. we all njoyed the trip to the fullest.. looking forward for more such trips..
Fantastic , my all holidays are planned through Unwind. loving the way the team works and the plans everything. I am always satisfied and happy with their services. keep the good work on..