2014, Sept…Day(6) Sarchu-Leh

16th September 2014, Tuesday…..Day(6) Sarchu-Leh 251 km

It was bone chilling cold morning at Sarchu. Touching ice cold water was scary still had to as it is required for almost all the morning chores. The Zanskar couple served nice cup of tea early up. Sun was up early. On coming out of the tent I saw most of the travelers getting ready for the days drive. Saw many trucks, buses, cars and bikes parked along the road. Some of them were going up to Leh and the rest going down to Manali.

Most of the tents here were put by the people of Zanskar. They were very friendly helpful and honest. Besides basic budget accommodation almost all basic food items, both veg and non veg, were available at reasonable prices. No phone network, no electricity, no village…..still there was a bargain whiskey shop at such a remote place. It was an important day as I needed to cross at least three high altitude passes to reach Leh, which was around 260 kilometers from Sarchu. Keeping this in mind, I began the day’s ride at around 7am.

Stayed for the night here, the 5th of the ride, at ‘Gangri Hotel and Restaurant, Sarchu’ run by a nice couple from Zanskar.
Sarchu (14100 ft, ASL) is a popular night halt on Leh-Manali Highway as is evident by the number of vehicles parked along the road.
Gata Loops (13780 feet, ASL) , 21 hairpin bends, begins soon after Sarchu.
This picture was taken after crossing all of 21 hairpin bends at Gata Loops (visible in the picture)
After crossing 21 hairpin bends of Gata Loops I was now riding among brown n bare uninhabited mountains.
The colour of the mountains started turning yellow and golden near Nakeela Pass.
Nakeela Pass (15547 feet), the first of at least three high altitude passes of the day.
The road then descends to whisky Nallah (at the bed of the valley) before ascent to Lachlungla.
Lachulung La (16616 feet) second high altitude pass of the day.
Road then descends along a stream till Pang.
The landscape here was very strange and the road very scary. The golden colored mountain landscape was a treat to the eyes.
The colour of the mountains now changes to reddish yellow. The road looks very lonely and scary here.
Eerie and colourful landscape near Pang.
Beautiful typical reddish yellow mountains few kilometers before Pang.
Beautiful rock and sand formation just before Pang

Pang (15100 feet) is a popular place, 180 kilometers from Leh and 80 kilometers from Sarchu on Leh Manali Highway. Alongwith Sarchu it is a popular place for night halt for the travelers going up to Leh or going down to Manali. It has many road side eateries and tented accommodation. Everyone going towards Leh has to register themselves at a check post here.  Army has world’s highest transit camp at Pang – at 15,640 feet above sea level.

When going up from Manali side some people get sick due to acute mountain sickness (AMS). It is advisable to spend at least one night in between Manali and Pang preferably at Keylong or Jispa.

When I reached here around 11pm noon I saw quite a crowd of travelers both inland and foreign. some of them were going up to Leh and some going down to Manali. I stopped here for a while, had omelette and milk from one of the eateries. It was quite good and fairly priced. After few clicks and registration I rode off to one of the most beautiful roads in Ladakh through the famous Morey plains.

Pang (15100 feet)…after riding 80 amazing, raw and beautiful kilometers,  in 4 hours, from Sarchu (14100 feet).
View of Pang from the road ascending upwards to Moorey plains…
Another view of Pang and Army Transit Point.
Beautiful landscape just after Pang…Sum Khel Lungpa River
Second time at More Plains……dream relived and popular place for taking selfii

More plains is a stretch of 40 km between Pang and Tanglangla. Average elevation of this road is 15800 feet and passes through some of the most stunning natural sand and rock formation. This area is a major attraction and dream for the bikers. The area is not inhabited and has no construction at all.

At Debring just few kilometers before Tanglangla there is a turn to the right which is a shortcut to Tso Kar and Tso Moriri lakes.

Beautiful More plains
Amazing metalled road and beautiful landscape. More Plains is a heaven for bikers. Even non singers start singing here.
Beautiful landscape around More plains….one of its kind in the world.
Amazing landscape around More Plains….getting closer to ascend to Tanglangla now.
After riding for around 70 kilometers from Pang I reached Tanglang la in the afternoon.
Tanglang la (17582 feet) is the highest pass on Manali-Leh highway. I was again at the pass after 20 years. I may have grown older but the spirit is still fresh and high.
Tanglang la, view from Leh side.
Red Knight proudly parked on the road to Leh just beyond Tanglang la.
Beautiful road and landscape beyond Tanglang la.
Amazing landscape after crossing Tanglang la
Another view of Tanglang la and beautiful road. Hats off to BRO and Indian Army.
Landscape beyond Tanglang la.
After riding 60 kilometers from Tanglang la to Upshi…the landscape changed dramatically and became even more colourful.
Beautiful landscape between Upshi and Karu.
Beautiful landscape between Upshi and Karu.
After riding another 16 kilometers from Upshi I was now close to Karu and Indus River.
First view of Indus River at Karu. Leh is just 35 kilometers from here.
Google map of the route followed for the day….Sarchu-Leh

From Karu I turned left towards Leh which was still 35 kilometers away. River Indus is on the left side and runs all of 35 kilometers along the road. Many army camps can be seen on both sides of the butter smooth road. By the time I reached Leh it was already dark. Tried many guest houses on Changspa road and luckily got a very good room in a guest house within my budget.

After a little rest I went out and roamed about in Leh bazaar. Came back to the guest house, had nice dinner and went to sleep. A very satisfying day both for me and my red knight….we crossed all of those high mountain passes with ease and enjoyed each and every moment of it.

Thats the end of day 6 of my Solo Bike Ride to Ladakh 2014!!!

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