Yes, the news is true that rented Self Drive cars in Leh – Ladakh are FORCIBLY banned now by Ladakh taxi union. Over the past few days, there have been several reports put up on various social media platforms and online travel forums/communities.

Video – rented Self Drive cars in Leh – Ladakh are FORCIBLY banned

Further, a lot of panics have been created in the last week regarding traveling to Ladakh and travelers are now reconsidering their plans.

Are self-drive rental cars banned in Ladakh?
Are self-drive rental cars banned in Ladakh?

I would like to summarize the issues for you after going through all the sad incidents and also talking to various local people in Ladakh spanning from taxi guys to travel agents to hotel guys.

What is the Ladakh Taxi Union Rule for Self Drive Vehicles?

After all these discussions and incidents, we still strongly feel that as long as you’re following the taxi union forced rules, nothing will spoil your high altitude dream trip to Ladakh.

The taxi union forced rule for Leh – Ladakh says

You cannot take any rented self-drive car to Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri lake. In case you or anyone in your group will do, then the problem arises, and you can be part of collateral too even if you have a white plate car, but someone in the group has rented a self-drive car. You can get into Leh from Srinagar or Manali and get out of Leh to Srinagar or Manali in any car including outside rented taxis, rented self-drive cars too. The private white number plate car should be in the name of you or anyone in the car or belong to your family/father/company, which you can prove to them with some proof if confronted for a white number plate. The moment they feel it is a rented car going sightseeing and does not belong to anyone in the car, you are in trouble.”

Why are rented self-drive cars not allowed in Leh Ladakh?

It all began in June 2015 when the Ladakh Taxi Union reached their own (non-approved by administration, please read) resolution that the tourism potential of Ladakh is being exploited by use of malpractices such as privately hired vehicles (white number plate), self-drive vehicles (black number plate vehicles) and motorbikes for commercial use in Ladakh. You can find the resolution below.

Do check these tips on self-drive to Leh Ladakh.

Soon after the resolution, there were isolated incidents of blocking hired self-drive cars and bikes in Ladakh and forcing its occupants to hire a local vehicle to do sightseeing within Ladakh. In some cases, some people deflated tires, and in other cases, they surrounded tourists. You can even read the official Zoomcar advisory which they sent to all their customers below as well.

This clearly says, that Zoomcar also knows about this forced rule of taxi union and advice taking rented cars for sightseeing in Ladakh thereby. The law is legal or illegal, as of now it does not matter unless you want to go and fight it out in court which I feel a similar case is being fought in Jammu High court against the ban of outside rented bikes not allowed in Ladakh for sightseeing since last year.

But, yes, this forced up issue or rule has been around now and also appears that will continue too. So, all fellow travelers must have a caution that they are panics with this forced non-approved rule by taxi union.

7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Leh – Ladakh
How to plan a self Drive to Leh – Ladakh

What about cars getting smashed by union guys?

However, in the past week, we have learned of a couple of unfortunate incidents where people from the local taxi union have attacked self-drive rental cars breaking their windshields, piercing body armor with metal rods and injuring occupants in the process. The height of insanity we feel of this forced upon rule.

From its discussions with sources and drivers in Ladakh, DoW has learned that in addition to the attacks, tourists with private vehicles (white number plates) are also asked to prove that the vehicle belongs to them and isn’t hired. For example, they ask tourists that the person mentioned on the registration certificate of the vehicle should be present in the vehicle. Or if the vehicle belongs to a relative (father, mother, husband, wife), it has been asked to prove it using other documents like driving license, or so. The idea being, privately hired vehicles are also being confronted for controlling the malpractices of renting cars from outside Leh. But this might be a temporary phase for self-drive cars with white number plates, and in case you are in your vehicle or someone with you, NOTHING TO WORRY AT ALL.

Given the above, Discover With Dheeraj would like to issue a strict advisory to all its members/readers to avoid using services of any self-drive rental company for sightseeing within Leh – Ladakh to Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley, and Tso Moriri Lake. You can freely use such rental services to get into Leh and get out of Leh without any issues. Till the time matter is not resolved or confronted, please stick to the rule to avoid any hassles.

Should I carry a NOC if taking a relative car to Ladakh?

While carrying your own can or car of some relative, please carry sufficient documents to prove ownership of your private vehicle to avoid any trouble at all. If the vehicle is not in your name, consider migrating the RC or, at the very least, get an affidavit executed from the owner to prove that the vehicle is private and isn’t used for commercial purposes.

Do not forget to carry these important things for any self-drive trip to Leh Ladakh.

However, we cannot assure if the local taxi union will accept such an affidavit or not. Just a thought on mitigating the risk, in the case arise when the car does not belong to you and not a rented self-drive car.

DoW also suggests that every traveler should carry a copy of the resolution of the taxi union, which mentions that “non-local vehicles will only be allowed to drive on the highways from Srinagar and Manali to Leh and fro.” Carrying the resolution copy will help you to avoid a confrontation with the taxi union if you’re driving to Leh since you are allowed to park your vehicle in Leh and hire a local vehicle thereon.

Should I travel to Leh Ladakh in big car convoys?

Discover With Dheeraj also suggests to an extent possible, avoid traveling in big convoy and rather go solo or in a small group of 3-4 cars at most for this season to avoid any issues of confrontation as well. Also, avoid traveling by anyone who is using a hired self-drive car as you might find yourself in the line of fire and end up being under collateral damage.

Beyond what is discussed above, we do not believe there is any reason to panic or reconsider your dream trip to Ladakh. Until a resolution on the above activities is reached, please follow the taxi union forced upon rules to avoid hassles. However, shall a confrontation still occur, DoW recommends exercising restraint and resolving the matters amicably, offering to drive the vehicle to Leh, parking it there and hiring a local vehicle thereon?

To keep you updated on this sad unapproved taxi union forced rule, we have started the entire thread in DwD Community on this forced rule of taxi union of self-drive cars in Ladakh and other updates where you can find the incidents which happened over last few weeks and reported online. The link to the community thread is Self-drive cars in Ladakh – status and updates. Feel free to post your experiences as well once you are back from your Leh – Ladakh trip to help other fellow travelers in a dilemma too.

You can always get in touch with this List of taxi drivers for Ladakh – Srinagar- Manali – Zanskar tours, if you are not self driving.

General FAQs – Self Drive Car to Leh Ladakh

Video – Can I get a self-drive rental car in Leh or Manali or Srinagar?
  1. Are self-drive rental cars allowed in Leh Ladakh trip?

    Self-drive rented cars outside Leh Ladakh are not allowed to do any sightseeing within Ladakh, including places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri. You can use these outside rented self-drive cars to reach Leh over Srinagar Leh Road or Manali Leh Highway only. However, further sightseeing within Ladakh is not allowed on the self-drive rental cars.

  2. Can I get a self-drive rental car in Leh Ladakh?

    No, unfortunately, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Leh Ladakh. You will have to rent a local taxi in Leh to do sightseeing within Ladakh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.

  3. Can I take someone’s else private or personal car to Ladakh?

    In case, the private white number plate car is in someone else’s name, then it is better that you carry a “no objection certificate” from them. The document should declare that the owner agrees to let you drive the car for personal use. Get your name and license number on the document along with the name of the owner and vehicle RC number. If confronted by the Ladakh taxi union on your trip, you can show this NOC document to them. Try to resolve the matter amicably and do not get into a struggle. If the situation is going out of hands, better to return to Leh and rent a local taxi.

  4. Can I take my own private or personal car to Ladakh?

    Yes, you can take your personal or private cars to Ladakh. The cars with white number plate registered under your name, your wife’s name or your father’s name are allowed to do sightseeing within Ladakh and to travel to places like Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, and Tso Moriri.

  5. Where can I get a self-drive rental car for a Leh Ladakh trip?

    You can get self-drive rental cars for your Leh Ladakh trip only from the nearby major cities like Delhi and Chandigarh or any major cities near your home if you plan to drive from home. There are no self-drive rental car services available in Leh Ladakh or Manali or Srinagar.

  6. Can I get a self-drive rental car in Manali?

    No, like Leh, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Manali. You need to take a taxi from Manali to reach Leh first and then rent a local taxi in Leh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.

  7. Can I get a self-drive rental car in Srinagar?

    No, like Leh, there is no option to get a self-drive rental car in Srinagar. You need to take a taxi from Srinagar to reach Leh first and then rent a local taxi in Leh. At max, you can ask the local driver to let you drive in some stretches, if possible for him.

The self-drive trip to Ladakh
The self-drive trip to Ladakh

Have a travel question?? You can subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment to ask your travel questions about traveling to the Himalayas.

EDIT: Headline Updated. Also, we DO UNDERSTAND that the livelihood of the people up there in Leh – Ladakh does depend upon the tourism and having self-rented cars from outside Leh, maybe 50-60 cars at a time in Leh is affecting the lives and earnings of 50-60 drivers and their families while benefiting the people outside Leh in commercial terms, however, we strongly condemn such acts by Taxi Union of hurting the tourists or travelers for such forced upon rules by them and not getting to the situation in the same way.

You can also check this short video on Discover With Dheeraj YouTube Channel about some practical tips for making a self-drive trip to Leh Ladakh. If you like my video, please do not forget to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

PS: Really sorry for not writing on a frequent basis for last few weeks, but now I am back from Sach Pass trip and other things are also sorted, you will get a post every Monday morning as it used to happen weekly earlier, starting with Sach Pass only ;).

Happy traveling to Leh – Ladakh folks!!


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


  1. Comments section gets closed in 90 days. To ask your travel questions, you can follow my YouTube Channel for a faster reply or for a much slower reply follow me on Instagram. :)

  2. Vikash Agrawal on

    Hi. dheeraj!

    i m planing for a solo trip and i m little confused where to go as it is my first solo trip for me and and my blog. my blog is about food can you suggest me some good place where i can find peace and calm and good food for my blog too…

    PS: Don’t say Delhi coz ive been there.. 😀

  3. We are planning to take zoomcar from delhi via srinagar, leh, and back by manali. Is it safe. Is zoomcar allowed inside leh. we can take a bike/taxi for our inside leh visits. Whats your advice.

    • Yes Kevin, it is safe to take the car up to Leh and exit from Leh and keep it on Srinagar – Leh and Manali – Leh route only. For other sightseeing you will need to have local bike rented or local taxi

  4. Satish Addanki on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Is it possible to hire a car in Chandigarh and rive down toLeh via Manali? And drop off the car in Leh?

    • No Satish, there is no such service available that let you drop off the car in Leh. Also, you need to rent a taxi only for Ladakh sightseeing as local taxis are only allowed to do it.

  5. Shirish Tripathi on

    Just wanted to know whether white plate self owned vehicles are allowed and have access to all the points around leh and ladakh..

    • Yes Shirish, the white number plate mostly won’t have any issues. However, 100% assurance will only be there if the vehicle is registered under the name or relative name of someone present in the car.

  6. Ritesh Alampuria on

    We are planning a trip from Delhi to Leh in a car registered on my dad’s name…and along with me I will have a couple of friends….we are planning via Manali and thereafter to Pangong Lake and Nubra Valley by our own vehicle…is it advisable to go by our own car.we are heading from Darjeeling and we have a white no plate…do we need to worry about these taxi union laws and all… We are planning to leave by mid August…

    • There is no need to worry about taxi union issues. Car is private and in your father’s name which you can always prove by showing the DL. So, no issue at all. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Leh – Ladakh followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 13-14 days: Most Common Itinerary for Leh – Ladakh.

  7. Ashish Sharma on

    Hello Dheeraj,

    So there is no mean to hire a taxi from delhi for Leh ??? Or we have to hire a taxi from manali only ?
    So according to ur artical, personal private car is the best way. I have Chevrolet BEAT . i request you to please share ur experience and suggestion about best stoppage between manali to Leh. wat is the cheap &best option to stay in Leh and Pangong lake, nubra valley and tso moriri lake.

    • For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway Or Spiti Valley via Manali Or Ladakh, please refer the link: FAQ | Can I do Leh – Ladakh / Spiti / Manali – Leh trip in Hatchback or Sedan? for more details.

      You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

      You should do Manali – Leh as per below:

      Manali to Jispa on Day 1 and then Jispa to Leh on Day 2. Avoid sleeping at Sarchu

  8. Hi
    I am planning for leh from Kolkata in my own Pajero Sport.
    I am worried because My car is registered in my company name (white no. Plate) and I am director of company.
    Is there any chance of problem by local if yes then what type of papers help me to get out of the problem
    Thanks in advance

  9. Hi dheeraj, Narendra here. As a Traveller its really bad that they are illegally & forcefully doing all dis. I really want to take some concrete action on it so dat other fellow travellers enjoy hassle free Leh – Ladakh trip.
    If we are paying all commercial taxes for a particular state then no1 has right to stop ur vehichle & if u have private vehicle wid all documents no1 need to proof anything to any civil person. If any such incidents are still going on then its a responsibility of local administration ( DM) along with Law Ministry of India to take suitable legal action against such taxi union. Forward me some brief details at along with your contact details.

    • Narendra, well, things have settled over last couple of year. Outside rental and rented taxis are banned now. Private vehicles were never affected by it. Rest I do not have more details than what is presented in the article

  10. Abhinav Verma on

    Is self drive bike option available from Leh for site visit in Ladakh region

  11. Rahul Sharma on

    hii dheeraj

    Just wanted to know whether these issues occur with people who rent bikes from Manali and take upto Leh Ladakh . Are there any restrictions on bike rental also as if toady.

    • Bikes rented outside Leh are not allowed for sightseeing inside Ladakh except Tso Moriri and Tso Kar lakes which can be done while going to Manali from Leh. Private bikes are completely allowed. You can use the outside rented bike to reach Leh but then for going to Pangong Tso, nubra Valley, etc.. you need to hire rented bikes from Leh only.

      To know more about this rule and present situation, please refer the link: Bikes Rented Outside Leh Banned in Ladakh

      This year as per reports, rule is going to be stricter. Manali rental guys have formalized a deal that for the days Manali bike is parked in Leh and Leh bike is rented, they will charge 50% of the rent of the bike. So, confirm with Manali rental guys first about this signoff.

      • Dheeraj, Thank you for all the help you provide to people traveling in & around Leh. I have a question.

        If we have a zoomcar & returning from Leh to Manali, can we take our car to TSO Moriri via TSO kar & stay for a night there before reaching sarchu the next day? Is that allowed? We believe the ban is for Pangong & Nubra.

  12. Rahul Sharma on

    Hiiii Dheeraj

    Just want to know how is the situation today . Whether it has improved or not or any local jurisdiction is available to help you out if by bad luck you get stuck in such a situation.

    Is private vehicle a better option to take with white number plate and how safe are you in your own vehicle.

    • Replied to your other comment. There may not be any help at all in case you get caught up. IN your own vehicle as long as you can prove the vehicle belong to you or to your family, you should be good to go. Rest depends upon your stars on that day in case RC of vehicle does not have either yours or your family name.

  13. Hi Dheeraj,

    We’re planning a trip to leh in july this year and plan to take a zoomcar from srinagar to leh, drop the car at leh and again while going back take a zoom car from leh to srinagar. So, please could you help me know if at all there are any drop and pick up points in leh ladakh for zoomcar, because we don’t intend to keep the car with us for the whole trip and as it is its banned to take a self drive car so better drop it at arrival and do the sight seeing in taxi’s.

    Thanks in advance.
    And yes, nice work buddy!

    • You will have to keep it parked in your hotel and better with some cover to cover that logo so that it does not provoke anything. You can do sightseeing within Ladakh on local taxi and then take the same car from hotel to drive back homoe over Manali – Leh highway

      • Yes, but the problem with keeping the zoomcar with us would be, zoomcar will charge us for the whole 7 day trip. So, i was thinking of dropping the car at leh if any zoomcar drop point available or if you have an idea of. [so i’ll be charged only from srinagar to leh(450kms) and back leh to srinagar(450kms), so in total 900kms]
        Or for that matter do you know any other zoomcar like travel services wherein they’ll provide self drive car to us, and we can drop it at leh and take it back while going back to srinagar. My point being i don’t want to be charged for the whole trip. Because i’ll be taking self drive 2 wheelers or taxi’s in leh for sight seeing, so no point in keeping the car parked at the hotel while zoomcar keeps billing me 😉
        And also, we have our tickets back from srinagar only, so we cant take manali-leh highway while going back.

  14. Please help me with the following question

    My dad’s friend has an Innova (White Number Plate) and we are planning a trip in that to Leh from June27 – July10 via Srinagar and back.This car is on my dad’s friends name.
    Is it okay to travel via this car if we get a NOC from him stating that he has authorized use of this vehicle and it is for non commercial purpose.

    An alternate option is to drive on Alto K10 , which is on my dad’s name.Is it convenient to travel to leh via srinagar highway in alto. We plan to visit nubra valley and pangong lake (Till merak) for sight seeing.

    What do you recommend is safe?

    • SMARTH BEHL on

      Just to clarify, the owner of car(White Number Plate Innova, mentioned above) won’t be travelling on this trip

      • If confronted, you may face issues in case the owner of the car is not traveling with you. You will need to make sure that somehow you convince the union guys in case confronted that the vehicle is not commercial vehicle. DO NOT indulge into argument.

    • You may try it out but in case confronted, please DO NOT get into any dispute with the union guys. Carry NOC and other papers to show the union guys if asked about. Innova will be much better than Alto, so go with it and try to positively confront union guys if confronted.

  15. Dipin Divakaran on

    Devil on wheels…
    Nice name and all…
    Dear, it would be really helpful if you decide to show the date of publishing….

      • Dipin Divakaran on

        Any update on this issue Sir??
        We are planning a trip in May this year… Will it be possible to rent a self drive car and drive to Leh via Srinagar from Chandigarh and back via Manali??

        • Dipin, as mentioned in the article above the outside rented bikes or cars as well as self drive cars are not allowed anymore for sightseeing in Ladakh. You can use them to get to Leh and then get out of Leh but not for sightseeing in Ladakh

  16. hi , me and my frndz are planning for road trip .
    I m from Mumbai and we have booked car from chandigarh from ZOOM ZAR self driven. As we also want to go ladakh. so my question is can we take car till leh and than we hire local taxi for ladakh. and while returning can we take same car from leh and drive all way to manali also while coming back to chandigarh

    • YEs, you can take it to Leh and then hire a local taxi to do local sightseeing within Ladakh. You can then take your car and come back to Manali.

  17. Arvind Verma on

    Dheeraj Sir..

    I’m confused….
    you said rented self driven cars are banned but what about private taxes and tempo travellers… is there any difference between them?

    Waiting for your reply sir…..

    • Arvind, rented self driven cars as well as outside rented taxis are banned in Ladakh. You have to hire a taxi within Leh only which is of Leh/Ladakh number.

      • Can we hire cars in leh for self drive. I can’t find any operators in leh offering self drive option. Do u know any.

  18. hi Dheeraj,

    Can we cover gurudwara,magnetic hill,alchi,ulle places using self rented car as we will reaching leh from Srinagar and all these places will be in this route.So is it safe to cover this using self rented car??


  19. vipin dubey on


    we are travelling on 10the July from Delhi we are 15- 16 people so we thinking to hire a 16 seated tempo traveller so I want to confirm few things

    * it is safe to travel in a 16 seater tempo traveller
    * like zoom car tempo traveller do hv any ristriction
    * for spiti valley we need to take another route like we will going by manali side and return from Srinagar side

    vipin dubey

    • 1. Hmm, yes, as long as it is confortable to you.
      2. If it is rented outside, yes, same restrictions apply
      3. Yes, Spiti Valley is on other route.

  20. Sanjeev Chandrashekar on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I was actually planning to drive to spiti this year. Will there be a problem if I drive to spiti without entering leh in my private car?

    Thanks and regards,
    Sanjeev Chandrshekar

    • Sanjeev, Spiti and Leh are far separated and lies on different routes. Spiti in general comes from Shimla – Kinnaur side and people exit from Manali side. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Spiti Valley followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 10-11 days: Most Common Itinerary for Spiti Valley.

  21. Hi Dheeraj,
    Your website is really awesome resource for travelers to this region. Thanks for keeping it so upto date.

    I’m taking a rented car from Delhi and recently came across this thread highlighting this ban.

    I was all set to depart to Ladakh this weekend.

    Given this ban, wanted to seek your advice regarding the travel to Ladakh in a self drive car as I was planning to do the Delhi -> Srinagar -> Leh -> Manali -> Delhi circuit.

    Ladakh has been my dream and it’s really sad to see this ban in place.

    If the condition is really pathetic as is mentioned for self drive vehicle then should I think of doing Spiti Valley circuit instead ( Delhi -> Sangla -> Kaza -> Manali -> Delhi) as I have already paid for 2 weeks of the self drive car ?

    Your advice here adapt would be very very helpful as I’m all set to travel tomorrow (28th May) morning from Delhi but haven’t booked any hotels on the way yet

    Looking forward to your response

    Thanks a lot

  22. Hi sir,

    first of all, thankyou for your awesome website. This website is our primary reference for planning out the trip.

    Im basically from kerala and would like to visit manali -leh. How ever im not so fond of trying bikes.
    We are planning a trip to the later half of june.

    Is there a way to get a self driving experience on this road? i wish to take a zoom car from chandigarh, however the restriction from leh taxi people makes it hopeless.
    Will that be okey if we could take a rent a car till Leh and keep it at hotel, while we visit khardhunka pass and pangong lake by renting motor cycles ? and leave leh via karghil to srinagar?

    Will we face issues planning it like this?

    If that doesnt work, will that be okey for us to take a rent a car to chandigarh –shimla-manali-keylong-try spiti valley or Sach pass (which ever is the best for month of june : please advice on this also) .

    We are also curious about a drive with a rent a car from Chandigarh-manali-srinagar ( NH 1B) and back via jammu to chandigarh if we cannot do it on leh highway. (Please advice us on : Conditions of this road , possible risks , where to stay etc)

    We would like to see some real snow, and have a self driven experience on it.
    taking out our own car a driving up 3000km all way up to delhi from kerala is not so practical .

    Thankyou in advance .
    hoping to get some real help from you.

  23. Nikhil Agarwal on

    Hi DOW,

    We are 4 of us visiting Leh in the last week of July. While I understand that rented self driving cars are banned, not clear about what is the state of rented bikes. We want to do the following trips:
    1. 2 day trip to Nubra.
    2. 2 day trip to Lamayuru

    Please suggest if any or both of these trips would be allowed on rented bikes (bikes to be rented in Leh itself).


    • Nikhil, rented bikes are also not allowed for any sightseeing in Ladakh. You can surely go to Lamayuru on rented bikes because that falls on Srinagar – Leh higway

    • hi nikhil,

      We are also planning to visit from 17th to 22nd July.

      looking for share taxi. if your interested contact me.



  24. Pawan Tiwari on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Is it true that we can not rent bike from manali to go to Leh coz they are not commercial , However I am aware that outside bikes are banned in ladakh region. I just want to rent a bike to go to Leh from there I will hire j&k registered bike

    • Pawan, these matter is getting mixed reviews even from the rental guys in Manali. Some says we are discussing it with concerned authorities and some says there is no such notice and it is fake. Give me couple of days and I should be able to ask a reliable person nearby to verify it.

      • Pawan Tiwari on

        Hi Dheeraj,

        Do you have any update on rented bike from manali to leh

        • Bike Rental Issue is resolved and rented bikes are being allowed to pass through Rohtang Pass to Manali – Leh Highway or Lahaul & Spiti Valley

  25. Rohan Khanna on


    We are planning to go to Leh via own car (white number plate) from 11-25 June 2016. We would be having all docs, but the owner of the car won’t be with us.
    Anything for us to worry about?? Is this issue there for this year as well??


    • Yes very much to worry about because they do check papers which should be under any of the driver name or his father/mother/wife name.

  26. Rohan Khanna on


    We are planning to go to Leh via own car (white number plate) from 11-15 June 2016. We would be having all docs, but the owner of the car won’t be with us.
    Anything for us to worry about?? Is this issue there for this year as well??


  27. Abhinav Grover on

    we are 8 friends, planning to go to leh ladahak via manali on our own bikes on 2june 16 ,but I recently checked on leh official website, the status of manali-leh route which is closed. will the route be open at that time to travel by bikes

  28. Hi deepak,

    We(3 guys from hyderabad working in boring IT environment) are planning to leh from delhi via manali on 27th may till 5th june . Based on the opening of manali-leh highway,we have made alternate arragements from jammu as well. my doubt is regarding the choices of travel from delhi as we dont have personal vehicle-

    1) should we take rented car from delhi reach leh via manali/srinagar then park it in leh and take local bullets for sight seeing?

    2) or take bikes from manali such that they might be allowed in leh local sightseeing as well?(can we even do that?)

    3)or take the easy approach of getting a tempo traveller from manali till leh and then take bikes from leh itself?


    • Hello Satya,

      It will take 4 days to reach Leh from Srinagar side starting from Delhi and 3 days to come back from Leh from Manali side to Delhi. This makes it 7 days. 1 Day is required in Leh for acclimatization. Opt to go via Manali – Leh Highway and I will suggest that you refer the thread for more details on the route and night halts though it is of 9 days: Manali – Leh – Ladakh – Manali | Itinerary for 9 Days. You can fit in plan I suggested in above para in this plan

      1. Best is to reach Leh by public transport or shared taxis and then from there hire/rent a bike to do limited sightseeing.

    • mayank10yadav on

      Hi Satya,

      We are also planning to visit Leh on same dates by Srinagar route from delhi, pls let me know if you want to club. 9599599618



    Hello Dheeraj,

    I am planning a 12-14 day self driven car (CRETA) family trip to leh in the 1st weel of June,2016. We will be four members – Me, my wife and 2 kids(10 and 5 yrs. old) and starting from Delhi.

    I need to clear some doubts:

    #What precautions should we take?
    #Do we need to do the bookings of hotels in advance or good/value hotels are available there on arrival (at the night halt places and leh) ?
    #Can we take our self driven private cars for site seeing and the roads and conditions there are safe.
    # Is it safe for kids to visit the high altitude places.

    • Hello Jitender,

      I will strongly suggest that you go through and read my series on Ladakh Self Drive tips at the links below:

      7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Leh – Ladakh, Routes and Road Conditions In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips, Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips

      If you prefer to stay at some hotel of a choice then only go wth bookings but if you OK to search few places after reaching, you should be OK.

      yes, self drive private cars can be taken anywhere in Ladakh for sightseeing. In general, it is fine to take the children of such age group because AMS do not matter with respect to age or sex or any fitness level. It can happen to anyone of any age or sex or fitness I shall say :D.. The issue with children is that they tend to exert the body considering it the same kind of place they belong to and this elevates the chances of getting struck with AMS. Secondly, they are not much expressive about their uneasy feelings, so it is parents who need to watch out and take care that the child is not suffering from uneasy feelings, headache or nausea and is behaving properly. With 5+ year child, I think he/she would be able to convey the uneasiness with little efforts. If you notice any such feeling or he/she tells you about such a feeling then please do not ascend anywhere, either descend to lower altitude or stay at the same place to watch things overnight and if symptom increase then start descending immediately. Same is applicable for any adult as well. And yes, do keep the body adequately hydrated!!

  30. Hi All,

    I am planning the LEh trip this June. Any idea about the current conditions?

      • hi, can you let me know the current conditions regarding self driven rented car as i am planning to go nubra & pangong in last week of may.. taking scorpio.
        Any suggestions please

        • Nitin, rented self drive cars are banned and will remain banned. In case the scorpio is owned by you or your close family member, it is fine to take it.

  31. Hi,
    My husband and I plan to visit Leh this April, only 5 days. My plan is about travel around Leh and go to pangong (rent a motobike) or maybe to Nubra valley if posible.

    As i plan my trip, I need more informations about:

    1. A permit to Pangong and Nubra valley:
    – where can I take this permit?
    – How long doesit take? I understand that I take 1 day for the permit, bui im not sure.
    – What document they need? only passport or something else?

    2. Renting a motobike:
    – For the Driver License, does international driver license need for permit ?
    – In cost of a motobike, does it include the accessory? ;like helmet,
    – Can i just walkin and rent a bike or i have to take any permit before ?

    3. About the weather and the route to Pangong and Nubra valley on April:
    – Is the route be O.K. to ride on april? Is it dangorous?
    – About the weather at Pangong and Nubre, is it lower than 0 ํc or not?
    – In Leh, can i find the Oxygen Can?


    • Hello Mi,

      1. For all about permits: Protected Area Permit in Ladakh for Foreigners

      2. Most likely you will not be allowed by army to travel to Khardung La and Chang La on bikes as the conditions remain very skiddy when snow is there causing accidents for bikers. Hence, they stop allowing bikes when there is too much of snow. You should hire a taxi and then plan trip accross them. Nubra Valley you will find basic home stays and camps running. In Pangong Tso, you should find Himalayan Wooden cottages running but it will be damn cold up at Pangong Tso in April.

      3. Like I said you have to hire a taxi to do a trip in most likely case as they are much safer due to slipper conditions.

  32. Hi Dheeraj

    Me, my husband, and son plan to take our Duster from Bangalore to Leh in May. We have about 21 days in hand. The Duster is registered in my name.

    What is the current situation up there? Our stops from Delhi would be Patnitop and Sonmarg. Is the situation still very hostile? Are private vehicles allowed? Also, where do we get the Taxi Association Resolution from? Should we just take a print of this picture you’ve attached to the article?


    • You will not face a single hassles at all. Drive without any fear or rumours in mind. Ladakhis are very very hospitable and down to earth people. Private cars are totally allowed to be taken anywhere in Ladakh.

  33. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planning a trip to Leh from Srinagar from 17 to 27 Oct. in a rented self drive vehicle. Please suggest which will be the best suited vehicle for that terrain.

    • Umesh, it is end of season during that time of the year and from Srinagar to Leh self drive will not be available. You need to hire a taxi only.

  34. Hello Dheeraj,
    We just returned from Ladakh, as mentioned earlier I am sharing the current situation over there, we hired a Zoom Car and did a round trip starting from Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi. I did not face any problem in Ladakh while driving my car. I did take the car in Leh city without any hassel. As long as you follow forced instructions of not taking the hired car for sightseeing you will not have any problems. I was there on 22nd, 23rd & 24th August. As mentioned people in Ladakh are peace loving and will not trouble you. I stayed in a guest house which was a gated property, which allowed me to park my car without 2nd thought. So to conclude its 100% safe to take private cars or even for that matter Zoom car 🙂

  35. Hi,
    I and my friend will be travelling the Leh-Ladakh circuit in a self-drive vehicle. Is it safe to go in a white number plate vehicle which is registered in a family member’s (my cousin brother) name (NOT TRAVELLING WITH US) whose residential address is the same. Do I write a letter to the taxi Union giving all necessary proofs and asking for safe passage? Will it help??

    • Himanshu, carry a NOC from your brother and his id proof copies too. Any document proving the relation which I doubt in case of cousin could be helpful may be the same address will help I feel. Things should be OK in such a case. In case too much confronted better avoid and tussle.

  36. M leaving from srinagar to leh & planning to catch flight from srinagar back to delhi.
    Is it comfortably possible or I have to cut short my tour. Kindly suggest at the earliest.

  37. Hi Guys,
    I just came from my Leh Ladakh couple of days back.Was there for around 10 days.I had travelled by my own private Tata Manza Car(registered under my brother name).As far as the recent controversy about zoom car,taxis and private cars are concerned,let me tell you that personally I did not find any issue at all! I spoke to many taxi drivers about the recent attack on a group and everybody told me that the fight was started by the group and taxi guys only retaliated.Well I can not verify their claim and I still believe however wrong that group might be,smashing and destroying their vehicles was not justified at all.

    Those going by their private car(with white number plate) need not to worry at all as situation is quite peaceful in Leh and other regions of Ladakh.I personally travelled to pangong,Nubra valley,Sham valley and entire leh town with my own car and nobody asked me anything neither stopped my vehicle anywhere.In fact taxi guys helped me when my car had little issues.Dheeraj bhai is rightly saying that Ladakh people are very nice people and there is no reason for worry at all.

    Please follow the guidelines set by taxi union if you are going by taxi or zoom car and there would not be any issue at all.
    I saw many zoom cars in Leh town however I did not see any in Pangong or Nubra.
    For private vehicles,there is nothing to worry.Go and explore this heaven as much as you can but keep a check on the weather.
    Weather is the biggest spoilsport this season,apart from that there is nothing to worry.

    Vivek kashyap

    • Hi Vivek
      Tata Manza and Honda city have the same ground clearance of 165 mm. I will be travelling in Honda city . So did you experience some problems due to this low clearance? Will u again think about going in the same car or will you skip it altogether and prefer some other car if u had to go again?

      • Vikas, For hatchback/sedan taking on Manali – Leh Highway and Ladakh, I will say:

        You will indeed face few tough challenges on the route. The hatchback/sedan will increase the level of every challenge even further, sedan is the worst candidate. My suggestion will be to go via Srinagar route as it will help you feel comfortable with the driving, provide more acclimatization and then once you have done the local Leh-Ladakh, then come back via Manali side. Secondly, since you are in hatch/sedan, then you need to drive with extra care as well. There will be some sections on the Manali – Leh highway in which you might need to sacrifice some scratches on the underbelly. Just make sure you do not bump the engine sump (know it before where it is placed in your car). You need to protect it all around the trip. Thirdly, whenever in doubt do not rush into the section rather park aside and feel the section with your foot, see how other vehicles are crossing it and make a planned route in your mind to cross that section. At the very least do carry Mseal, quick fix, funnel, jerry cans and towing rope with you all the time.

        Also, I will strongly suggest that you go through and read my series on Ladakh Self Drive tips at the links below:

        7 Useful Tips for a Self Drive to Leh – Ladakh, Routes and Road Conditions In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips, Fuel Availability In Leh – Ladakh | Ladakh Self Drive Tips

  38. while i was in leh for few days in my journey by zoom car. i enquired about the incident that came into limelight where some cars were damaged.
    I talked to several people about the incident and each one said the same story.
    as per the laddakhi people , there were a group of cars with 2 self driven cars. the whole group was stopped and asked to park the self driven cars. Instead people in the group ignored and forcefully went on. while returning form the sightseeing these people were again stopped by local taxi drivers some heated conversation took place, some people added that the outside group even beat up the taxi drivers.
    leh being a small and peace full place this news took small time to spread. when the outside group came back some local people bashed up the cars.
    This is the story that i heard from several people in leh. i am putting this here coz there is a lot confusion among peoples mind regarding “If it is safe to go to leh laddakh”.
    Concluding i would say IT IS 100% SAFE . these people are genuinely very peacefull.

    • Thank you Ashutosh for sharing your review on the current situation. The bottom line is there is as you summed up, things are safe and sound as long as you can follow the forced rules that have been laid up there. I have a strong gut feeling that the forced rule may become a valid rule by end of this season after having various discussion with locals up there.

      Thank again for putting more light to the story and giving the actual real situation present in Ladakh as of now. For the past situation, it was quite a very sad incident no matter what was the reasoning behind it but… there will always be some iffs and but’s to it I feel.

    • Thank you Ashutosh for shedding more light into the current situation. I will share my experience once I am back.

  39. Hello Dheeraj,
    We are planning to travel from Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi. Just wanted to know if it is safe to take self drive (Zoomcar). Local sight seeing in Leh will be done by hiring a local taxi. But my concern is Leh – Manali. Please help me at the earliest as we are travelling on the 20th Aug.

    • Bipin, well, there should not be much issue in case you are hiring a local taxi. Just park your car somewhere safe in Leh though there might be chance that you may see a flat tyre once you return to Leh, hence parking it under hotel parking in Leh will be safer bet instead of open on road. Apart from couple of instance of flat tyres of zoom cars nothing else has been reported.

      • Thank you so much Dheeraj, I will post my experience once I am back. I will be starting from Delhi on 20th August.

  40. completed the journey on zoom car. You need to park the car in manali, as per some “People” there can be trouble even if u take the car to leh market itself.

      • park in leh BIPIN. People do not create a fuzz if ur traveling on manali-Leh and leh srinagar highway.
        If u take your car to some other sightseeing places.. people may reach out to you and ask you to park the car at the hotel. One more thing People are very good in laddakh region and very peace loving. No one will harm you if you fallow the rule.

        • +1000 to what you said Ashutosh. You nailed it I will say regarding how welcoming Ladakhis are apart from that one sorry incident I have never heard anything bad ever about Ladakhis in last 6 years of my travel. These people actually makes the place more special than anything else.

  41. I was wanting to go to Leh-Ladakh and now seeing these disturbance and autocracy of the union will abort this trip and go to else where instead.

    This is like there own rule, they can do anything also I am sure police and other competent authority will be involved in this and will be getting their “share”.
    People go these places to enjoy and relax and not to panic or get harassed.

    A beautiful place like leh now will be removed from the dream destination of many travellers now, seeing these incidents.

    Very Sad.

  42. Sunny Gupta on

    Im planning to visit ladakh from delhi in my own private car. The car papers are under my name. Will there be any kind of issues there in this case?? Also, after reaching there can i take my own car to visit places around?? Be it pangong lake..khardungla or few other places?? Is there any kind of risk involved in the above case??

    • Sunny, there will not be any kind of issue in this case. Please read the thread link as well, shared actual state of the current situation with feedback from people who have returned. They might ask you to show the documents at checkpost to sightseeing places in Ladakh and you can just show them and carry the enjoyment of your Ladakh trip ahead and with smiles 🙂 🙂

    • Also, beware of the people who are spreading rumours all around the Internet about issues and risks for private car vehicles, the article along with other posts in the community thread describes the factual picture up there in Ladakh right now AND in case you have any doubts, please call up TRC in Leh and check yourself rather than believing in any of the stories anywhere on the Internet.

  43. For all those looking for most updated reports on present situation in Ladakh with self drive vehicles, please read the update under the thread:

    Mind you this is the ground situation as HVK group is known to source the latest info on self drives or road conditions in most parts of India and they get real time practical and honest updates from travelers traveling in most parts of the country. Since, HVK sir himself has vouched onto it, there cannot be more truth into it than anything else being just scattered all over the internet. We have got similar reports from members of our community too and local authorities as well as TRC in Leh.

    • wasim rahman on

      I think travelers across the country should also protest and stop visiting Ladakh until they apologize for their autocracy.

    • Hello Dheeraj,

      We are planning to travel from Delhi-Srinagar-Leh-Manali-Delhi. Just wanted to know if it is safe to take self drive (Zoomcar). Local sight seeing in Leh will be done by hiring a local taxi. But my concern is Leh – Manali. Please help me at the earliest as we are travelling on the 20th Aug.

  44. Amit Chauhan on

    Dear All,

    Today I had a word with Tourist Information Centre , Leh. There is a Lady answering my call
    She clearly told that there is a problem, Taxi Association forcefully stop all private vehicles and we need to carry ownership documents of the vehicle.
    She clearly take the name of Zoomcar and want me to avoid taking any outstation taxi .
    This clearly shows the failure of local administration & Local Police..

    • Thanks for the update Amit but again this is what is written in the article, so how come the situation is FAR WORSE than what is described in the article? Outstation taxis as per rule were never allowed right from the start in Ladakh, AFAIK. Now, the issue is they are after Self Drive vehicles too from this year because since the inception of Zoomcar in Delhi/NCR from this year they could fear that their businesses will be wiped out soon by such travel companies who rent self drive vehicles.

  45. Namaste Guys! Always appreciate you guys for the updates and love towards Hills and ride. So we are group of 16 people leaving on 4th August from delhi and will take manali leh road. And we have 7 bikes and most of them are not registered with the driver name (i.e 2nd hand bike, owner is different) but all are private bikes only, Will there be any issues regarding this or do we need any precautions for that? your feedback will be highly appreciated!!

    Thanks always!!

    • Yes, Vedanta, there will very much be issues at this moment. Most of the private vehicles are now being checked after that unfortunate, shameful and sorry incident of attack on a car convoy in Ladakh. PLEASE KEEP in mind that in case of tussles it can go very wrong as happened up there with other convoy that too without any tussle I believe as per them. So, I will NOT suggest at all that you use those bikes for sightseeing and get yourself in trouble as scene for such cases is still bad. So, park those bikes in Leh and get local bikes rented in case you want to explore Ladakh on bikes. PLEASE DO NOT attempt to take ON the union guys and this forced upon rule considering you are a large group at any cost as it will help you stay out of trouble from what is going on up there in Ladakh.

      • Amit Chauhan on

        After such incident , Ladakh is a big NO for me, I personally not recommend anyone to visit Ladakh.
        Though I visit every year but such incidents are not good for any place.
        first Manali and then Ladakh.

  46. LehReturned on

    The situation is not as rosy as this article projects. Every precaution needs to be taken if travelling to Leh at the moment. The taxi mafia is running amok and there is nobody to stop them. I would say avoid at the moment!

    • Amit Chauhan on

      Agreed, Situation is far worst. Every local body supports them and there is no police.
      Avoid Ladakh till the authorities take action and support tourists rather then taxi operators.

      • Amit how do you know that situation is “far worst” without going there and not witnessing? Same for the person who claims “LehReturned”.

        The article describes the actual reality not any ROSY picture after taking inputs from many travelers who went in private vehicles to Ladakh without any issue apart from proving that car belong to them or to their family in a polite manner. Check, the HVK group and other travel sites too with trip logs and you will surely find updates that the issue is ONLY with RENTED Self Drive Vehicles OR Private Vehicles for which you cannot prove that is owned by someone sitting in the car. Even such people are enjoying Ladakh trip after hiring the local taxis as they are free to park such vehicles in Leh hotels and go over to Nubra and Pangong Tso.

        On the other hand, I do agree that what has happened to that convoy is horrible, shameful, wrong and unjustified at any standard or stage. I do request that PLEASE refrain from spreading incorrect information about the place without knowing the actual reality up there and what is happening on ground. In case, you have proofs (not just simple written text/story by anyone over Internet) beyond that sorry attack on the convoy, please share them as that will be more useful to many travelers make a decision with facts and we will support of it in totality too to spread the awareness about such incidents through all our platforms !!

        • I have already seen this Venu and the comments on the thread in the last post is after this video only. If you feel there is a risk then don’t go else call up TRC in Leh and get conformation.

        • sharmaanil on

          Dheeraj, I visited Ladakh last month. We also met that convoy (which was attacked) on our way back from Nubra. There were two ladies driving in the convoy.

          At Karu, we were also opposed by the taxi union, since, I had borrowed my friend’s car and he was not present with us. After some negotiations, we settled down on their demand of “Letter of authorisation” from the owner. Although we approached local police which turned out to be unfavourable. We could not produce the letter because of no internet connectivity. We kept on requesting them for 4 hours and they kept on threatening us. Finally, they allowed us to move ahead once they were convinced that it is not a rented car.

          However, we also experienced the rage of these bullies! We had no option other than being resilient to the situation. After what they have done to that convoy, it is indeed very shameful on their part. Who allows them to attack women. Any disgusting man will do it!!.

          I understand, its their bread and butter! However, everything can be sorted out after a dialogue. They could have charged them for using rented vehicles as penalty. But hooliganism is no right in democracy. This way they are framing a very bad image of that region and their culture.

          We all wish to visit that wonderland again..not when we recall those horrible faces!

        • sharmaanil, so very true words and I totally favour your feelings here. I hope the sense will prevail soon and a middle way is sorted out for smooth passage with a win-win situation for both the side.

  47. I am going to Ladakh in September and renting a bike from Leh. Does this mean that I can’t ride to Pangong or Nubra? Does this rule also apply for bikes rented inside Ladakh? Thanks in advance.

      • Hello Dheeraj, Thanks for your kind confirmation. I really like your website – the best of the best! I’m and Enfield fan from the UK but living in Japan. Can’t wait to visit Ladakh. Thanks again!

  48. Good update. What is the solution as per law. I read that police are also hand in gloves with the taxi union. They didn’t lodge an F.I.R when they broke the windscreen of fortuner and other vehicles.

    • No idea Farogh about the solution and what actually happened there. I only know as much as you know after reading the articles floated over Internet and had some talks with the locals too up there which I have not put up as I do not know the authenticity of it.

      The above article we have written just with an intent to let people who are going with their own self drive cars and cancelling the trips in chaos or confusion that there is no need of it and it is fine for such personally owned cars.

      • Hi All,

        It is True as I took the Zoomcar in month of June along with 3 Bikes. When we were going to Nubra Valley then our car was stopped and they had forced us to park our Zoomcar Vehicle in our Hotel and took private Local Taxi. Though they gave us 30% discount but for 3-4 days that cost us 21000 INR because went from Nubra to Panghongh Lake and then returned to Leh. A big amount went from our pocket.
        TAXI Union people were in a group of 10-15 members and they returned 3 ZOOMCAR in front of us and some White plate car rented, they also had to return. They were allowing only white plated car only and only if someone proved that the vehicle is of his/her name. Just be careful. Although from Delhi to Jammu/Shrinagar and then to Leh , there was no issue.

        • The problem is with the high taxi charge in leh. It comes to about 39 to 41/km. If they lower there charges to half then better. ZOOMCAR rent comes to 12/km. That is why people take taxi for ladakh.

  49. Thanks for the update Dheeraj, we are leaving from mumbai in my private carcar in 3 days, do you think these taxi guys could cause some trouble? We are doing to do the while circuit in the pvt car as well.All papers are in place.Thanks once again!

    • Karan, as mentioned in the article, in case the car belongs to anyone of you or any one of your family member that can be proved by some paper, there will not be any issue at all.

  50. Vinay ojha on

    Do you need permission for a private self drive own car from manali some govt dept to travel to leh Ladakh ??

    • Vinay, indeed you need to get permits to cross Rohtang Pass from Manali side to go to Leh – Ladakh or Lahaul/Spiti. Above article explains in detail about the process 🙂

  51. This is real bad. some hooligans and goons creating a fuzz and no one is stopping them.
    shame on the administration.

      • Hi Dheeraj a great Article indeed..however I don’t understand how a taxi union can create their own rules just citing their own family plight. Sounds completely stupid and pathetic. Just because they broke some windshields are we supposed to fear them? ? I don’t know when Indians will stop tolerating this Hooliganism. BTW I stay abroad and planing to do this trip in end September or early October. Is the timing right? Secondly whom do you recommend for renting a 4 by 4. I see that zoom car is a good option.

        • Surya, considering the ground situations I will not recommend hiring any self drive car to Leh this year unless this forced rule is sorted out, in case you want to stay out of trouble, best is that you hire local taxi and do the trip.

  52. This is really sad. Feels like we are travelling a country within a country. If such incidents continue to happen, they would soon ruin all tourism from area.

  53. Shrinidhi Hande on

    How does it become a ‘Rule’ if some private taxi unions decide not to allow outside vehicles?

    If hotel owners in Delhi pass a resolution that no one should eat home cooked food and everyone should eat at hotels then it is a rule?

    Are we all not part of India? What if every city starts passing such ‘Rules’ banning outside vehicles?

    Enforcement should be done by government agencies, not by goons of taxi mafia…

    • we can continue to argue bhai here or put our humble thoughts into this taxi union forced rule, but yeah it is true now and in case one want to avoid hassles traveling up there, better follow or obey this local forced upon rule.

      • Shrinidhi Hande on

        Or stay away from the region for an year or two.. let them realize their mistakes…

        What would happen if every city/state/tourist spot starts dictating terms like this as per their whims and fancy?

        • I completely agree, but you know that season is limited and demand is very high of taxi only part. They need to make full use of it. Even if self drive car guys don’t go up there or abandon going up there, they might not even realize the difference what has caused the rise of domestic tourism since “3 idiots”

    • J & K has there own law. There are many indian laws and act that are not at all applicable in these parts of the country. For instance The wildlife Protection Act 1972 is not applicable in J & K….. even the constitution is different here from the rest of India.

      On the other hand even if Ladakh losses domestic tourist….. their share of international tourist is very high thus they can surivive with dollars and pounds. But it is we the middle class domestic tourist who has to bear the burn…..

    • The car which are self drive rented/hired by compaines offering self drive cars have mostly black number plate with yellow letters on the number plate.

      Personal cars have white number plates with black letters and taxis have yellow number plate with black letters.