The Unplanned Travellers

Travelling to Leh on a bullet is dream trip for most of us. I got this opportunity last year in June.

Harish and I was chatting over tea in office cafeteria and planning to go on a road trip somewhere in India in his car with friends. It started turning in to shape when one of our friend “Vikas” agreed to join us and finalized the destination to Goa “Mohali to Goa”. Next day he called up and cancelled his plan due to some work assignment and we were back to same stage of planning. Harish had a passion to cover Leh Ladakh on his bullet which he bought recently for this purpose only but could not plan the trip so far. Finally both of us agreed to go along on one bike 😊

Next day, we got the bike ready for our travel. In the auto market, we met another rider who was also there for same purpose. He advised us to take the online bike permit to go beyond Rohtang pass and we were unware that. Thanks to him, he guided us and got the online permit on time. Almost entire day was spent in getting the bike ready, later in the evening we packed our bags and started the adventurous journey next morning.

Travellers:

 

  • Harish the Rider
  • Gourav the Pillion Rider and conductor 😊

Day 1 – Mohali to Manali 300 Kms

Journey from Chandigarh till Manali was very smooth. We were felling like aliens when people across roads were staring at us because of our driving suit. But we were proud of that. Reached Manali in evening and stayed there overnight. Went to Old Manali and spent some time on a river side restaurant with live music good food and Old Monk 😊. Old Manali is a must go place.

Starting our Journey

Early morning at Manali mall road

Day 2 – Manali to Jispa 138 Kms

Plan was to stay in Keylong but since we reach there before the targeted time, decided to drive further and stayed at Jispa. Jispa is beautiful town with greenery everywhere. There on a Royal Enfield service centre, got the health check done of our machine. Found a nice camp to stay overnight, accommodation was excellent.

Day 3 – Jispa to Pang 161 Kms

On this day we were advised not to stay in Sarchu and Pang because of low oxygen level. But we could not do that as road condition were not suitable and stayed at Pang. This day was full of adventure like crossing the water falls, driving on snow side etc. One of the toughest day of our journey. Temperature there was somewhere in minus. We took a lunch break in Sarchu and resumed our journey. I started feeling uneasy because of low oxygen level. It was becoming very difficult for me to continue this journey and requested Harish to stop. There I started vomiting due to Nausea and I was like someone take me back home.

It is not recommended staying between Sarchu and Pang. Harish motivated me a lot and we started our journey towards Pang. It was heavily raining all the way and our bike was slipping a lot. Harish drove very well and we reached Pang without falling. Got a sharing tent to stay overnight where had to struggle breathing due to low oxygen level and used four quilts to bear that -17 degrees. Best part of the day was Harish was well and could drive in toughest conditions. I really appreciate his strength and driving skills.

Crossing the water fall

Next Pertol Pump after 365 Kms

“Tip – It is advised to keep Diamox tablet and small oxygen cylinders with you on this trip to prevent such situations. Always ensure to full the tank and extra containers on each fuel station you find between Manali and Leh. There is a stretch of 365 Kms where there is no fuel station.”

Day 4 – Pang to Leh 175 Kms

Beautiful start of the day with a cup of tea. There was an Army camp in Pang where we got our health check-up done. We had to take some Oxygen before we started our journey towards Leh. Drive from Pang to Leh is very smooth and beautiful. Reached Lay in afternoon and took rest for couple of hours. In the evening went to explore local markets and had a relaxed Chinese dinner. Skipped visiting Khardungla Pass “The highest Motorable road” and the Famous Pangong Lake for next time. Plan to go in our friend “Kapil’s” XUV in 2019 😊

Get lost in Nature to find yourself

Kindness is like Snow, It beautifies everything it covers

Colours of Spirit

Day 5 – Leh to Dras 282 Kms

Journey from Leh to Drass is quite smooth with Rocky Mountains around. On the way we visited a historic “Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib” and Magnetic hill. We reached Kargil around 5 in the evening so decided to cover some more KM’s and stayed in Dras overnight. Again we skipped very famous “Kargil War Memorial” which is a tribute to our brave soldiers and located between Kargil and Dras. We still regret for that.

Prayer Flags on Bike

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

Kargil War Memorial

Day 6 – Dras to Srinagar 141 Kms

We found the journey from Dras to Kashmir is the toughest one as the road conditions were quite poor. Road around Zojila Pass was the toughest with big path holes, after crossing that pass we realised that bike is shaking. We tried to identify the problem but could not find what’s wrong and continued the journey as we had no choice. Reached Kashmir in the afternoon and after resting for couple of hours took the bike for check-up. There we found that around 17 Spokes of rear rim were broken. Harish and I was looking at each other, how could we ride the bike in such situation, thanks God for saving our life. We must lose some weight before planning such travel in future 😊

Due to Ramadan, there was no one available to repair it now. Also, the Spokes for Thunderbird were not available in local market. Someone suggested to get it repaired next morning in Royal Enfield Authorized service station. Nothing further could be done so we decided to enjoy rest of the day in Kashmir. Went for Shikhara ride in the Dal Lake, it was an awesome experience where you could eat, shop during your boat trip.

“Tip- Carry extra spokes of rim as it’s difficult to get the matching ones everywhere.”

Dal Lake Night View

Day 7 – Srinagar to Jammu 269 Kms

Harish left hotel early in morning to get the bike repaired and I decided to pack the bags. Later joined him in the service station around noon and found the bike was almost repaired. Left for Jammu in afternoon and reached late in night.

Day 8 – Jammu to Mohali 332 Kms

Started our journey early in the morning. Weather was changed here so it was time for summer clothes. One of our friend “Fateh” owns a Subway in Dasua so decided to take the first break there and have some healthy calories 😊. Drive was smooth but weather was not supportive, it was a June sunny day.

One the way we got stickers of places which we visited during our journey, printed them on bike showcasing our Journey. It was a proud moment for us. Reached Mohali in the evening and celebrated the success of our trip with good food and some chilled beers 😊

Proud moment

28 Comments

  • Vishal Takiar says:

    I am highly motivated to do a road trip after reading Gourav post.very well explained with all required details to complete this trip successfully. One good thing about Gourav is his unplanned trips as he always said to me his planned trip never got success. By the grace of GOD his unplanned trips are successful so far. I will try to follow him and will try to complete few road trips which are in my kitty. Thanks again for sharing your memorable and wonderful experiences with all new upcoming travellers and trust me with such successful stories it will really boost the morale of lots of travellers. I would love to join one road trip with you guys. Keep traveling and have fun
    Thanks
    Vishal Takiar

  • Harish Kochar says:

    Four wheelers move the body and Two wheelers move the Soul :) Specially bike like Bullet :) It was anazing experience . Looking forward to plan Trip to Nepal on Bike Soon :) :) :)

  • Pooja Kataria says:

    Hi Gaurav,
    very well written post with nice pictures although I am intrigued about the reason for skipping the tourist places in Leh.
    You have done a wonderful road trip of your life. Already waiting for your next travel story.

    rgds

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Thrilling experience especially astride an Enfield. It’s a dream for everyone to do this trip once in a life time. It seems you were just riding on leaving the sights for next time.

  • Kapil says:

    It was exiting journey, adventures and learning too for all who read this article…. definitely we will plan n equip ourselves better when we plan next in Kapil’s XUV 2019.

    This is a dream come true for you, infact almost all youngester plan to visit LEH but few few turn up in real because of many factors, this is realistic experience for you and by reading yours article i am feeling that it was not an easy task at all, you need to be mentally tough in reciprocate situations. Infact I must appriciate driver of the bike, Mr Harish…..as he shown ‘never die attitude’ which is also one of the most important key factor to make this Journey into rich experience….

    I appreciate your experience and sharing with all….also thumps up to plan it for next time….all the best to you n Harish….keep rocking n keep sharing your thrilling experiences with us….

  • Pitambar Datt says:

    Gaurav this was very interesting to read and the review was thrilling enough to make me visit leh too now! Keep it up

  • Kiran Nawathe says:

    It was great to read the shortest format of the ladakh journey story. Great to see that unplanned trip went without much of hindrance. Actually i am of the same opinion, too much planning sometime takes away joy of enthusiasm sometimes. Reading the story i felt little surprised as you skipped almost all those important places for which few people go to Leh-Ladakh. I can understand you must have enjoyed the road trip but how your heart allowed to skip places like pangong and kargil memorial. keep in mind next time sometimes never come in life.

    • Gourav says:

      Thanks for your feedback Kiran and do agree with your statement “next time may never come”. I wish you to be there next year :)

  • Neeraj Pandey says:

    It would have been such a wonderful journey for you two. I am feeling like in Leh just by reading the article and again my desire to travel Leh on bike is pushing me to plan the same. Can you please, if you don’t mind, share the approximate expense and some useful tips from your overall trip? It will be very kind gesture of you and would help me in planning better.

    • Gourav says:

      Thanks Neeraj, we really enjoyed this trip a lot.

      The major tip of the journey is “Have faith on you and never give up”

      Expense –
      1. Trip expense for both of us was around 25K which includes (fuel, hotels,food etc.).
      2. Hotels/Camps on the way are not that expensive, many options between (INR 500-2000).
      3. I assume you have your own bike, if not than bike rental would be extra.
      4. We spent approx. 10K in accessories (Knee/Albow guard, Bike Carrier, Extra spares for bike)

      So in total we spent around 35K on our trip.

      Tips:
      1. Have mentioned few tips in the story itself regarding (Medicine, Fuel and extra Spokes).
      2. You would need Rain Coat, Gum Boots, Tirpal (to cover luggage)
      3. Eat light food and do not consume alchocol between Manali-Srinagar due to low oxygen levels
      4. Keep some Dry Fruit as instant energy food

  • Col Narindra Bhatia says:

    I enjoyed every bit of these two wanderers mountain trail travelogue. Keep it up & keep GOING. When things get tough, the TOUGH starts GOING!!

  • Prema says:

    Interesting trip, would like to do the same way. I travelled a lot on the other side. Somewhere here and there in himalaya range…I love all these places. And I like when there’s a forced stop. So you can change and appreciate more your ability to adapt to situation. I’ve been being away from India from 4 years…it’s really to much. I start suffering from anxiety.ahahah. Bravo to both of you!!!
    Lina

  • Sakshi says:

    Wow! An incredible roadtrip :’)
    It’s so refreshing to read.
    And with this, another medal added to your Adventure trip’s experience.

    Keenly waiting for the next :p

  • Gourav says:

    Thank you Sakshi. I am glad that you like the story, yes there are lot more to come :)

  • Nida Ansari says:

    Lovely journey..!! I really wish to visit the place. Keep Travelling and sharing the stories :-)

  • Col Narindra Bhatia says:

    I enjoyed your travelogue immensely. I served in Darbuk for a year after commissioning from 1963-1964 & I feel sad you missed reaching Chushul where my Battalion 13 KUMAON fought like hungry man eaters against the Chinese hordes on 18 Nov 1962 in the epic world famous ‘Battle of Rezang La’ in which 114 soldiers out of the 120 were martyred under the dynamic leadership of late Maj Shaitan Singh, Param Vir Chakra.

    Here is the link tomy travelogue published in the Ghumakkar over trip of my kids to Ladakh, which I hope you all will enjoy forever-

    A Journey as Magical as its Destinations – Ghumakkar – Inspiring travel …
    http://www.ghumakkar.com/103582-2/
    May 4, 2018 – My special thanks go to Lt Col Suraj Nair, COR’s SO and Col Ravi, …. Col NN Bhatia ,popularly known as Nini Bhatia in the army was …

  • Debjit Chakraborty says:

    Thanks to ‘Vikash’ for not done that Goa trip and let us immersed in such description of your journey. Bravo.

    • Gourav says:

      Thats true, Vikas mentioned later that if you would asked me for Leh then I should have been there with you guys.

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