Manali to Leh Motorbike tour – Day 1 – Rothang Pass

While I was in India, I couldn’t resist visiting the majestic mountains in the north of the country, and I couldn’t have a better time. Manali is such a charming small village in the middle of the mountains. But what I did then just toped all my expectations and change my image of Indian landscapes forever.

Manali to Leh Motorbike

I’m talking about my three-day trip from Manali to Leh. The whole trip was with a motorbike and from crazy mountain passes, desserts, snow, freezing nights, good food, horrible bad tour operators, and super friendly people, everything was included. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I’m sure this one will stay in my mind forever. Similar to my four day trip to Vietnam I get goosebumps when I just think about it. Now I’m going to describe the tour day by day, what happened and later on I’m going to upload a video about the different days.

Day 1:

We woke up at 7 in the morning in our campsite in Kullu (A city 30 km from Manali) which was the worse one on the whole trip. After a big fight in the evening with our “guides” and organizers, the boss came finally to regulate everything in the morning. What happened? In the evening, the responsible people said to us that there wouldn’t be a guide, and only the backup vehicle would follow us. We were absolutely against that idea, and we demanded that we need a road captain with us on the road on a bike, so we know where to go and where to stop. So we finally got a guide, but he was just riding on the back of one of our guides. But we were okay with that, and we started driving.

First, we had to drive all the way to Manali and start to ascent for the Rothang Pass. The Rothang Pass accounts for one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Terrible road conditions and no security barriers on the edges makes it to one of the most deadly roads in the world. Trucks coming from the other side and only centimeters for bikes is the norm. Adding the constant risk of landslides and unforeseeable weather conditions. It was scary, and we were all super nervous before we went.

After only 2 hours and at the beginning of the pass, one of the bikes broke down. Our so-called guide went back with one of our motorbikes and tried to fix the bike. After 2 hours it was clear – the bike is broke, no chance of fixing it. So the guide and all the other responsible people went back with the car to get a new bike and let us all alone. We drove to the next food stalls and had our lunch. After waiting another hour, we called them again, and they confirmed us that they would over 2 hours behind us. Because it was already 3.30 and we had 4 hours drive before us we decided to start the pass by ourselves -with one bike to less and no guide. So everyone had to carry another guy on the back. We didn’t know the road conditions; we didn’t know where to go and where to stop. We were all super frightened and nervous, but there was no other choice.

Was it the fear, or the combination of us, I don’t know, but we build up fantastic teamwork. We stopped whenever someone was tired or needed to pee – We even found different hand signs. Everyone paid attention to the other one, and so we went kilometer by kilometer. And yes the Rothang Pass was scary and dangerous. But we managed it without any problems.

Manali to Leh Motorbike

The weather was terrible in the first half to drive up the mountain, clouds blocked the sun, and it got super cold. But as soon as we reached the top and started to go down, pure sunshine awaited us. The mountain kept back all the clouds and the views where spectacular. We tried to speed up a little as we didn’t want to drive much in the dark.

Manali to Leh Motorbike
Manali to Leh Motorbike
Rothang pass

We finally found our accommodation at 7.30, one hour after the sun went down and after 50 calls with our so-called guides. We were all super pissed at the organizers and our guide for letting us alone. There are so many scenarios where we would have been screwed – what if another motorbike broke down, someone has an accident, or we missed the right way? It still was one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

Luckily nothing happened and at the end, the day was still fantastic because the roads where just incredible and our teamwork made it a real adventure.

A good night sleep later at 3200 meters, and we were ready for the next day!

  • Total countries I visited until now: 40


  • Planes: 26
  • Busses: 49
  • Trains: 19
  • Boats: 24
  • Km driving: 8000
  • Km running: 3342

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Author: Flo

Hey everybody, I took the decision of my life and will start my worldtravel on the 1. October 2018. Hope you'll follow my journey and enjoy all the posts.

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