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The People of the Manali Leh Highway


I cycle on the Manali Leh Highway

After Darcha, the last village on the Manali-Leh Highway, there are no settlements for about 300 km to Rumtse. Apart from mountains, dust and glaciers, there is not much more. Despite this, or precisely because of this, this highway in the northernmost part of India is so special.
Nevertheless, there are at regular intervals smaller temporary tented accommodations that are managed by people from Himachal and Ladakh for about 3 months. These tent-Settlements even have names like Patseo, Sarchu or Pang and offer simple accommodation, hot chai and food. In the middle of nowhere you will find these temporary artificial places about every 50 km.
The keepers are hard at work, as they are exposed to a day of wind, dust and extreme temperatures. There is no electricity, or hot water, but simple and cheap meals and thick blankets.


The Ladakhi woman manages this tent edict for three months and cooks delicious meals every day

Truckers usually stay here on the way between Manali and Leh, but also taxi drivers, bikers and adventurers who travel with their bikes. One prefers not to imagine who and how many have slept in the temporary bed camps before, but above 4000 m high in the mountains and without other options, one no longer has great demands. In fact, these so-called dhabas have often been life-saving in sudden slang or vehicle breakdowns.

Pause in Darcha

Break in Darcha

I myself find the tent resting places great and I even have my favorite dhabas, which I regularly visit, when I’m riding a motorcycle, bike or car. In Koksar there is the best goat curry, in Whiskey Nallah friendly Ladakhi women, who make their own yogurt and the best parantha and in Pang I am looking forward to a Tibetan butter tea. People already know me and are not surprised if I just grab a blanket and drink tea to rest in the shelter of the tent.

During our organized bike tours we either stay in our own camps or in luxury camps by the way. But stopping at such places for Lunch or a Tea-Break.

Manali Leh Bicycle Trip

Ladakh Motor Bike Tour