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.
- 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.
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.
“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 😊
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.
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.”
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 😊