Planning Leh by road for the first time? Here is a first timer’s guide to Manali Leh highway. The Manali – Leh Highway makes for one of the most fascinating road journeys in India. Every year adventure seekers wait for the Manali – Leh highway to open in May. The opening of Manali – Leh Highway purely depends on weather conditions in the region. A muse to bikers and road junkies, the 475-km-long Manali-Leh highway is as scenic as it is rugged and perilous.
Generally it takes at least two days to cover the 475-km-long Manali-Leh road distance with a halt in between. Most travelers generally stop either at Keylong, Jispa or Sarchu. Vehicles for the Manali-Leh-Manali trip can be hired from Manali.
Places to stay on Manali-Leh road trip
The 475 km road trip to Leh from Manali is long and treacherous. The journey takes its toll on both man and machine. Such a long journey requires that you take it easy, more so if you are driving (read Petrol Pumps on Manali-Leh Highway). Here is a list of places to halt on Manali-Leh road.
Kokhasar, 57 km from Manali has a HPPWD rest house and several dhabas where you can eat. It is a small village on the banks of the Chandra River situated at an altitude of 3140 meters. It is just a refreshment stop and most travelers move ahead quickly.
Keylong, 118 km from Manali is a popular place to stay for many travelers on the Manali-Leh route. In fact, HRTC and HPTDC bus services halts for the night stay at Keylong town. Keylong is the administrative headquarter of Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh and the biggest town on the Manali-Leh highway. There are many options to stay at Keylong. The most important is the Hotel Chandrabhaga run by HPTDC. There are other small hotels and guesthouses where you can stay.
Jispa, a little ahead of Keylong is another popular place to stay on Manali-Leh route. The distance between Manali and Jispa is 133 km. It is a small village on the banks of the Bhaga River. Ibex Hotel at Jispa is the most convenient place to stay. The accommodation at Jispa is limited as compared to Keylong but the views are amazing. Tented accommodation and dormitories are also available at Jispa.
Sarchu, 222 km from Manali is another important place on the Manali-Leh highway. It may be called mid point on the Manali-Leh route. Those who push ahead of Keylong and Jispa stop at Sarchu for the night. Accommodation to a large extent at Sarchu is available in tents. Swiss tents with attached toilets are also available.
Since Sarchu is at a higher altitude as compared to Keylong and Jispa, many travelers suffer from mountain sickness, headaches, sleepless nights and vomiting. It is good to stay either at Jispa or Keylong on your way to Leh from Manali.
Pang is 80 km from Sarchu. There are a few dhabas, which also double as your accommodation options in Pang. It is the last point where you can expect food and shelter before Upshi.
Upshi is 125 km from Pang. Accommodation at Upshi is limited and if you reach here late at night, it is difficult to find a place to stay.
Manali – Leh Route: Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kokhsar – Tandi – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang – More Plains – Tanglang La – Upshi – Karu – Leh