The words mentioned by Runbeck portray the constant modern dilemma of the search for happiness, and the mannerisms we are quickly adapting to attain it – travel. Resigned from the job? Go, travel. Broke up with your partner? Go, travel. Extremely happy? Go, travel!
Looking forward towards multiplying happiness, Nischal arrived in Ladakh. Welcome to his story!
“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of travelling.”
Margaret Lee Runbeck
The Enfield Rider – Nischal Molkeri
The happy-go-lucky hero of the story
Say hello to Nischal, the hero of our story, a solo-rider who traveled across Ladakh on two wheels. After taking up an interest in biking, he was headstrong about covering Ladakh early in 2018.
On inquiring about his decision to choose Ladakh as a destination for his first bike tour, he was quick to say, “The Mountains were calling, and I just had to go”. Little did he know that he would start making his bucket list right after this trip, which now includes a bike trip from Goa to Kanyakumari and a Bhutan Motorbike trip!
Let’s read on to know how was it to ride in Ladakh in the month of April, 2018.
Planning Leh-Ladakh in April 2018
The city of Leh flanked by the white Himalayas
Lucky are those who happen to know that the highest motorable road in the world is in the lap of Himalayas, right in the region of Ladakh. Luckier are those who’ve ridden on those unforgettable roads! Planning a trip to Ladakh requires one to keep aside a week at least, to reach, cover Ladakh, and return.
The thought of going to Ladakh struck Nischal early in 2018. Having decided to go solo, there was immense flexibility at his end for choosing a month. After a few days’ research, he got in touch with multiple companies; and finally, he chose Thrillophilia due to the a good number of Leh-Ladakh packages available, quick responses and instant support he received. He made the initial payment to reserve a spot on the bike tour for April 2018; and the inked-stamp marked its impression on his travel plans – Ladakh was happening!
Landed in Leh
The first day was all about getting acquainted with the altitude. Acclimatization, as they call it, is all about allowing your body to be friends with the high altitude and the low oxygen levels. As soon as Nischal landed, he was escorted to the hotel where he met with the other members of the bike trip. Soon he knew that this would be a trip of a lifetime, and so it did.
One of the lovely hotels Nischal stayed in Leh
Evenings in Leh invite you to come out of your cozy rooms, and one can’t resist walking down the lanes to breathe the Ladakhi air. The group visited the local markets and tried local delicacies. More than anything, the locals and their smiles left an impression on Nischal which is simply unforgettable, he says. They also got acquainted with their Royal Enfields which were going to be their mean-machines for welcoming Ladakhi terrains for the next 6 days.
The adventure had just begun.
The Highest Motorable Road to Nubra
On Day 2, the riders set off early morning to visit the famous Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and Magnetic Hills. This was followed by visits to other key places such as the Hall of Fame and Spituk Gompa, and of course the magical sights of Sangam – the confluence of rivers Indus and Zanskar, which was the best part of the trip so far. Little did Nischal know that this was just the start to an unforgettable ride in the Land of High Passes.
The group had a comfortable night’s rest in their centrally-heated hotel in Leh (temperature falls as low as 2 degree Celsius even in the month of April). Next morning, excitement was in the air for they were about to ride on the highest motorable road in the world – through the Khardung La Pass. Nestled at an incredible height of 18,360 feet, one is bound to feel accomplished on crossing the pass.
The group stops to take a quick picture near Khardung La
After 8 hours of riding through sharp turns and curvy roads, the group reached the black & white sands of the Nubra Valley. Nischal exclaims,
“We were not tired despite riding for 8 hours, thanks to the hydro packs and dry fruits provided by our tour guides”. The night was spent in the deluxe camps there, and memories made over campfires with the group, who were not strangers anymore. After spending a night there, the group returned to Leh to gear up for the next destination – the Pangong Tso.
The black and white sands of Nubra Valley
The Last Major Stop – Camping at Pangong Tso
The beautiful landscape at Pangong Tso
The last major stop in their journey was camping at the serene location of Pangong Tso. The water in the lake is as blue as the sky is, and it appears from far as if the skies and water have come together. We asked Nischal in his post-trip talks about what was the most memorable moment in the trip. He laughed and remarked, “…when I was unable to sleep properly until 2 AM at Pangong Tso. The temperature had dropped to -10 degrees!”
After an amazing dinner at Pangong Tso, and making friends with the countless stars, the group retired for the night. The next day, they rode back to Leh, and bid adieu to the trip they would never ever forget.
The ride in Ladakh was over, but it etched its place in their hearts forever.
Quick Tips to Plan Your Bike Tour to Ladakh – Check out these pointers by Nischal
Nischal happily has been spreading the word about his once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ladakh. This was his first bike trip, and he already looks forth to the next one. Here are a few key suggestions that he’d love to give to everybody who has had Ladakh on their travel plans, for long.
- Safety first – Keep to your speed limits. This is definitely not a race to reach first
- Keep checking your bikes for fuel and damages at every break the group takes
- Carry enough clothes, and wear layers of clothing. The weather changes in no time