Road conditions Manali-Leh to Ladakh ?
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| Member

Road conditions Manali-Leh to Ladakh ?


how are the road conditions on the Manali-Leh Road towards Leh/Ladakh at the moment ?
Still closed because of snow/landslides or allready open for the
regular HP State Buses ?
How is the situations for trekking in, from Darcha towards Padum (Zanskar) and further on from there towards Lamayuru ?
How are the current road conditions between Padum/Zanskar towards Kargil & Leh ?

Has anyone already used these roads in 2004, if not when do conditions improve, e.g. when do the roads open ?

Any alternatives besides, e.g. jeep, trucks etc. ?


ps: at the moment still in germany, planning my travels, so i appreciate all kinds of informations.

15 Replies

| Member
Hello Thomas,

My friend and I are travelling through India and Nepal on a motorcycle. We are now in Kathmandu and are heading towards Pokhara, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu/Kashmir and Punjab. Considering how bad some of the roads have been, we are very much interested in finding out about conditions in those states.

If you wish to have some information regarding Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan road conditions, it will be a pleasure for me to provide you (or anyone else) with it.

Bye bye,
| A government of India undertaking
A friend told me the Leh road opened for traffic about 14 days ago.
Today's Hindustan Times mentions that there was heavy snowfall on Rohtang pass and the northern parts of HP yesterday, causing problems.... but by the time you come it'll be fine I guess.
'To see the world in a grain of sand; and heaven in a wild flower; to hold infinity in the palm of your hand; and eternity in an hour'
| Member
hii thomas
I am also from germany.Manali -leh road got open this year in april.
that was a shock They said because of global warming.
But I am not very sure about using the road from manali to leh before june.
Check the HPDTC web site.
Regarding transport following options are there.
a. HPDTC buses
b. private jeeps.

I suggest the bus.
when are you leaving for India?
| Member
Hi Thomas,
The Manali Leh road opened on May the 12th this year. Two reasons for opening early this year. First the elctions which were due early in May. Second the once in 12 years Hemis monastery Festival In Leh this year from 12th June onwards. Same reason ie elections the Rohtang pass (to get to Keylong) was opened in Mid april, and KunZum pass to get to Spiti was opened earlier. The road conditions are satisfactory. HRTC buses are plying. Other alternatives include shared jeep from Manali/Shimla to Leh. Two options here first jeep leaves manali at 2am in the morning and arrives Leh next evening at 6-7pm. Other option shared jeep with a night stay at Sarchu. From Shimla it is a night stay at manali and then at Sarchu and finally to Leh. Good option considering what all you get to sample enroute. The darcha to Lamayuru trek/s get operational in about 7 days from now. A few recce parties have already done it this year however I am sure ypou should consider doing it with a guide for the sheer possibilty of getting lost. Any more info you want ...... Keep it Posted.
| Member
Hi agora... I wondered if you happened to know prices for travel from Manali to Leh and Vice versa? I'm going out on JUne 17th, firstly to Vashist, then right up to Leh for the Hemis festival (or the last end of it!) and have so far found no seemingly reliable information about bus/jeep prices etc... Thanks in advance for any advice you might be able to offer me. Cheers.
| Maha Guru Member
The pass has opened early due to negligible spring snowfall this year due to a prolonged dry spell and also due to advanced machinery engaged by the BRO, which maintains the 480-km Manali-Leh high-altitude road.

(from the April 11th

newsstory )

Even if this is only short term weather conditions it makes me concerned for the people living off their crops.

The "cannonball" run for Leh ... done it , definitely don`t recommend it. You and the driver really need that rest in Pang/Sarchu , even thou`it`s a bit too high (4000 something , guesstimate) . The second leg is spent largely between 4000- 5000 + , which shouldnt be taken on without a acclimatisation stop. Remember that the driver will be affected as well. First effects of hypoxia and altitude sickness (not mentioning fatigue) include impaired field of vision and loss of balance... and this on the second/third highest road in the world.
| Maha Guru Member
Hi Thomas

We did this journey by HPTDC bus in early August some years ago are planning to do it again this year.

I'm not sure when you're planning to go but conditions should be OK before the monsoon hits - mid to end June. After that it's a bit unpredictable, especially the first pass from Manali, Thorung La which is sometimes closed because of landslides.

We took the luxury bus which stopped overnight at Sarchu camp - I think the current price is about 1200 rupees which includes evening meal, tented accommodation and breakfast. I can't recall anyone really suffering with altitude problems but it's wise to take things easy at the scheduled stops - sit around and drink plenty of water. There are also cheaper but not so comfortable buses available for 400-500 rupees.

Shared jeeps are also available but, as in Vistet's case, I think many drivers are intent on getting to Leh as fast as possible. In theory the benefit of a jeep is that you can call stops on the way. If the driver is going to do it in a day you're also going to miss a lot of impressive scenery after nightfall. I'ts an amazing journey and apart from the added dangers of night driving, not one to be rushed.
What a long strange trip it's been! :confused:
| Maha Guru Member
Originally posted by Alan D
especially the first pass from Manali, Thorung La ...

That would be (sorry , dont mean to seem picky) Rothang La ; means "plain of corpses (pass)", probably referring to the Mongolian army that was turned into popsicles after choosing the wrong time to cross. Thorung La is the crossing Nyeshang/Manang to Kali Gandaki , Nepal.

When I made this trip I saw a range of symtoms in the group ; some of it I think had to do with the amount of acclimatisation before starting out , some of it just seemed unpredictable.
| Maha Guru Member
Of course, you are absolutely right vistet - slip of the brain!

Most people on the bus had been around in Manali, waiting for the road to open so I suppose that helped with acclimatisation. It's probably not a wise thing to arrive in Manali and then book up a bus for the next day. I know we will be stopping there for 2 or 3 days before taking the bus to Leh.

My wife didn't feel too good when we were held up on Taglang La, just below the summit, for a couple of hours by a Bihari work gang resurfacing the road, but she has a partially collapsed lung from an earlier illness.

The only person I remember being ill was a guy who had a severe case of giardia which resulted in quite a few unscheduled stops.
What a long strange trip it's been! :confused:
| A government of India undertaking
I'll be arriving in Manali from Spiti, planning to move onto Leh after only a day or two...
1) Is there any direct bus/jeep connection between Spiti and Leh without going to Manali first?
2) anyone have info on how early you should book bus or shared jeep tickets in Manali? Can this be done a day or two in advance at end June?
Thanks, Jeroen.
'To see the world in a grain of sand; and heaven in a wild flower; to hold infinity in the palm of your hand; and eternity in an hour'
| Maha Guru Member
From Kaza you can take a bus for Manali (12h , daily according to LP Ind Him) and get off at Gramphu (north of the Rothang) or a irregular bus for Keylong (8h) .
I found it quite easy to get seated in a jeep the next day. This was at the end of the season.

(I´ll be posting a revised elevation profile on the Manali-Leh road shortly)
| A government of India undertaking
Thanks Vistet.

Do you think it's feasable to hop on and off jeeps between Gramphu and Leh, just like is possible in Uttaranchal?

I assume the locals also get around in jeeps most of the time, just getting on and waiting till it fills up? I also assume these jeeps are crammed full, as usual?

(my record in Uttaranchal: 21 people in/on a Mahindra Maxx jeep!)
'To see the world in a grain of sand; and heaven in a wild flower; to hold infinity in the palm of your hand; and eternity in an hour'
| Maha Guru Member
Certainly on the buses - just do the wounded bird routine. I´ve seen locals picked up along the way and , with less turnover, on the jeeps.
And yes, crammed - practise sideways breathing.
| Maha Guru Member

You should have no problem picking up transport from Keylong to Leh.

Apart from jeeps and private buses passing through I think if you phone HPTDC in Manali they will book you onto the luxury bus but they will charge you the full Manali-Leh fare.

I am hoping to make your journey in reverse in August sometime.
What a long strange trip it's been! :confused: