Advise: Sarchu to Leh? Bus?

#1 Jun 20th, 2016, 14:24
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  • Canuckers is offline
#1
Hey there! We are a group of four Canadians doing a little Himalayan trekking adventure, and am hoping someone can give us a hand...

We are doing the Chandratal-Baralachala trek, and then continuing on to Leh and will be doing the Stok Kangri. However, we are at a bit of an impasse on how to get to Leh from Sarchu (nearest to end of Baralachala trek). We were planning on purchasing bus tickets from Manali-Leh, since we though the overnight was at Sarchu, and would have hopped on the bus for which we bought the ticket (missing the first leg of the bus trip from Manali). But, just learned the bus stops overnight in Kehlong!

What are our options for Sarchu-Leh? Try to wave down a bus? Hitch hike? Army convoy? Hop in with a group at Sarchu? We are not so interested in hiring a vehicle, as they have all been trying to charge 20,000 +++ Rs.

We would be SO grateful for any insight anyone can offer! We will be arriving at end of trek/Baralachala around July 10!

THANK YOU, much love from Canada!!
#2 Jun 20th, 2016, 15:12
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  • the_blue_bharal is offline
#2
That is tricky.
Buses generally run full to capacity from Manali itself, can't rely on getting a seat from Sarchu.
Can get lift in a truck or army convoy, but being a group of four, not many vehicles have that capacity. If you have some spare time, and are okay to take separate vehicles, this is somewhat reliable as many trucks/ tankers run on this route, and most have a spare seat or two.
Perhaps you can talk and pay in advance for your fixed date to some Manali-Leh cab driver (cabs stop at Sarchu, bus in Keylong) in Manali to keep seats for you from Sarchu - Leh. But note that they will charge full Manali - Leh fare.
And you can anyway hop on the bus from Sarchu. Not sure why it matters that bus halts for the night at Keylong, and not Sarchu. In-fact you'll be leaving from Sarchu at a comfortable hour when bus reaches there late in morning. But you need to confirm the possibility of pre-booking those tickets and late-boarding from Sarchu. State Transport systems are not too customer friendly.
Learning to be silent.
Last edited by the_blue_bharal; Jun 20th, 2016 at 17:06..
#3 Jun 20th, 2016, 16:37
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  • himalayantreker is offline
#3
Oil tankers can be frequently seen in this route and they are spacious, but probably four will not fit.
#4 Jun 20th, 2016, 17:40
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  • Canuckers is offline
#4
Thank you both so much for your response! So you think if we buy our bus tickets in Manali we could catch bus in Sarchu? Do the buses stop there anyways for food/wash rest? My main concern was how we would flag down the bus if they weren't stopped in Sarchu--but you're suggesting they would stop in Sarchu, even if nighting in Keylong?

Looking forward to hearing other opinions as well--we can't be the first to be in this predicament
Cheers!
#5 Jun 20th, 2016, 19:16
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  • the_blue_bharal is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuckers View Post Thank you both so much for your response! So you think if we buy our bus tickets in Manali we could catch bus in Sarchu? Do the buses stop there anyways for food/wash rest? My main concern was how we would flag down the bus if they weren't stopped in Sarchu--but you're suggesting they would stop in Sarchu, even if nighting in Keylong?

Looking forward to hearing other opinions as well--we can't be the first to be in this predicament
Cheers!
As I said, they will stop in Sarchu. It's a deserted place, and you can't miss the bus, but the trouble is seats: what if the conductor allots your seats to somebody going to Leh else after noticing that you didn't board the bus from your starting point, or even form Keylong. There will be trouble when you magically turn up half-way to claim your seat. Also, I'm not sure if you can get ordinary state bus tickets several days in advance. It's usually just the evening before departure.

Booking seats in a shared cab would be preferred way, as they are owned by individuals, and you can tell them that you'd be taking the seat form Sarchu.
#6 Jun 20th, 2016, 20:27
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  • Dilliwala is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_blue_bharal View Post Not sure why it matters that bus halts for the night at Keylong, and not Sarchu.
Because it's lower, and has more facilities.
Let's not forget the HPTDC bus service and their full-fledged hotel there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_blue_bharal View Post As I said, they will stop in Sarchu. It's a deserted place, and you can't miss the bus, but the trouble is seats: what if the conductor allots your seats to somebody going to Leh else after noticing that you didn't board the bus from your starting point, or even form Keylong.
Absolutely that's what would happen. Unless this is all well pre-arranged with the concerned booking office in Manali, who would have to ensure the message gets through to the specific conductor for the day of operation. Iffy.

Quote:
Also, I'm not sure if you can get ordinary state bus tickets several days in advance.
HRTC buses can be booked one month in advance:
http://hrtc.gov.in/hrtc/page/Reservation-Rules.aspx

The Manali-Keylang-Leh bus is not listed online. Such buses can still be booked in person at any of HRTC's booking offices one month in advance.

The HPTDC bus can be booked online, don't know how many days in advance.

Quote:
Booking seats in a shared cab would be preferred way, as they are owned by individuals, and you can tell them that you'd be taking the seat form Sarchu.
I also think this would be the surest method.

Hmm, what if the OP gets delayed in reaching Sarchu?
#7 Jun 20th, 2016, 21:17
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  • SathyaV is offline
#7
Hi,

If you are doing the chandrataal baralacha trek then you will most likely get onto the road near baralacha. From there one can walk to bharatpur, where you can find places to eat, sleep & refresh. There are a lot of truck drivers who stop @ Bharatpur so you should be able to hitch a ride. If that is one or 2 person that is easy. However, if there are 4 of you then getting a ride together may get tough. If there are ladies in your group please exercise caution while hitching a ride.

Alternatively, you can tell someone at keylong that 4 of you will board a jeep from bharatpur/sarchu on a particular date at a prearranged spot and pay some advance & they should pick you up along the way.

cheers
sathya
#8 Jun 21st, 2016, 00:21
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  • captain bruce is offline
#8
Agree the above advice. If you dont want to pay out for a pre-arranged taxi then the only alternative is taking a chance on the trucks. This will work out but be prepared for delays and being split up. I cant recommend perching on the back seat of a truck cab if you are tall, remember that these things travel slowly and the ride is bumpy. if you can afford otherwise, then skip it

The most comfortable approach is to arrange a pick-up. For the last few years I have finished a trek on the Upshi road near Mahe or round Tso Moriri and got a cab. My guide phones a mate in Leh when we arrive at the road and then he drives out arriving the following day. You pay for pick-up and return. the good news is that you get a SUV and its comfortable. You do however need someone to cal who is trusted by the guy at the other end to still be there when he arrives!

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