This is a post on how to travel from Manali to Leh, NW India, the hard way. I completely underestimated this scheduled 18-hour ride. I will provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to a full written narrative, photos and videos. This is a self-guided activity on a shoestring. Follow the links to dig deeper into the adventure.
Obviously you can do this trip in either direction, but note that the road is only open a short time during the summer. You can do it via private jeep/van or public bus (2 days with an overnight tent camp). The last bus departs Leh, Sept 15th (the day after the fall festival).
I have also flown in via Delhi on a commercial carrier. A much easier but less exciting option.
Kargil Route to Leh
Manali to Leh Map
Shared Jeeps to/from Manali to/from Leh cost between 1200-1500 Rs ($14-$18) each way and take approximately 18 hrs, unless a snowstorm hits.
Public bus costs less, but takes two days and you must spend one night at a road-side tent village that charges around 400 Rs ($8). The buses are very uncomfortable.
The same options and price ranges apply for Srinagar to/from Leh route.
Total Cost Range of this Activity is: $
|1 Night tent village if take 2 day public bus
Shared Van transport (1 way to Leh)
Click to watch Video
Link to Full Narrative