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Old 08-16-2013, 02:40 PM   #16
Witold
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Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 659
Look up some videos on youtube for "motorcycle tire plug kit". It's basically the same way you plug a tire on a car. That said, most riders in the USA do not consider plugging a motorcycle tire to be a reliable long term solution. They tend to fail, and on a motorcycle, this is a big deal. You might not even feel you are on a bad tire as you go into a corner at speed. Most people see it as a temporary solution until they get to their next stop where they can buy a new tire.

You should read some ride reports, look at wikitravel, guidebooks, news reports, and see what catches your attention and what you would like to check out. Lonely Planet is a crappy guidebook, but I'm still glad I had it and ended up doing a camel trek for 7 days in Thor desert. These resources can give you ideas.

If you spent time in Lima and La Paz and were comfortable with safety issues, then India is not even worth thinking about in this respect as it is a many times better. It's not even close. One of the few places that can be sketchy occasionally is Kashmir. From time to time there are protests, road blockades, etc that can turn nasty. Otherwise, just pay attention to your stuff in tourist areas and don't worry about it.

Sleeping in tents is no problem. Use common sense. In some of the mountain areas, locals set up tents to rent to tourists, actually. But you better bring a good tent. 14,000 feet at night can be damn cold even during the middle of Summer.

I always stayed in hotels so I'm not sure about hostels. I can tell you that India is not as cheap as I expected. It was cheap, but often bad value. Shopping around for a pleasant, clean room with clean bathroom was usually not that cheap and required me to go to many places and obviously negotiate a lot. The "cheap" places are often ridiculously filthy and bug infested... so bad I would rather sleep on the street than in that sort of hotel room. So... some areas were full of $50-$100+ hotels that were alright (but sometimes still dingy even at this pricetag). And some areas like Ladakh had tons of very nice, clean and pleasant accomodations for dirt cheap. (~$15). It's hit or miss. You can't rely on all places being good value. Some places you will be pleasantly surprised what great value you got, and some places you will be shocked at the accommodations prices.

I carried a lock and a bike cover. I also installed a $20 alarm that makes noise when people mess with the bike. I had zero trouble. I did try to park in secure or very visible areas at the hotels, but I did not stress about it too much.
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:10 AM   #17
Pecha72
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"We will also be carrying a tent and sleeping bags so I'd expect we will sleep somewhere (hidden) off the side of the road many nights when we're in between cities. What do you guys think of that? Crazy idea?"

Unless you really love to camp, and absolutely want to do it, I'd say leave that gear at home. Plenty of cheap accommodation is almost everywhere, even though as said before, cheapest places can be filthy, but you still won't have to spend a lot compared to US for example.

And if you wild-camp anywhere else but maybe the most remote areas, expect there to be people within hearing distance. They will gather around your camp, and just look at you - you are their tourist attraction!! It is the 2nd most populous nation on Earth, and even areas, that we consider "rural", are mostly quite densely populated.

And if your female companion is with you, then just forget about camping. The risk is definitely not very big, probably non-existent for most parts, but note that there have been some very grim stories about women, also foreign women, being gang-raped in India, would be enough for me to just find some guesthouses to stay in. Other than that, it's quite safe - except for traffic, that is everything but !! Good luck.

Pecha72 screwed with this post 08-17-2013 at 02:13 AM
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:48 AM   #18
kiran
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Location: Thane, India
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
"We will also be carrying a tent and sleeping bags so I'd expect we will sleep somewhere (hidden) off the side of the road many nights when we're in between cities. What do you guys think of that? Crazy idea?"
marked campsites are almost non existent. you would be better off staying in a lodge or hotel along the route. you may have trouble however, if you are not indian. the locals may not speak english. online booking and credit car payment may not be available. its preferable that you plan your rides and halt at major cities

local bikes have limited soft luggage options for carrying your stuff. custom racks for mounting hard bags and such bags are common, though only for bullet enfield (regarded as a tourer bike here)

India has growing touring community and ample resources available for planning.
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Old 09-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #19
arn
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For really good hotel options, join the fb HVK group.

The hotels (for varying budgets) on offer are chosen after getting inputs from people who have stayed there and are members of the group, so you will not be sent to a pokey, unknown place. On top of that, there will be a certain discount over the rack rate in almost all instances
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:25 PM   #20
I.Will.Ride.On.Mars
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Thank you everyone for the replies so far. I just have a few more questions to ask if I may.

I plan to do the Manali -> Leh -> Kargil -> Srinagar -> Jammu route in the first half of October. I've read that the mountains roads won't be closed then from snow (perhaps only from landslides), but am slightly concerned about camping at that time of the year. From Wikipedia the weather averages from 30F for the lows to 80F for the highs. How big of a factor does the wind chill play up there? 30F with no wind and sun isn't too bad, but 30F can also be very miserable. Thoughts?

The route (Manali -> Leh -> Kargil -> Srinagar -> Jammu) is about 735 miles according to Google Maps. Assuming 150 miles a day, that's about 5 days. I assume it will take longer than that. Is 8-10 days a good estimate to cover that route or should I plan for more?

I've also read about permits being required to go on some of the roads on that route. Is that true?

Thanks again.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:03 PM   #21
sarathmenon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I.Will.Ride.On.Mars View Post
I plan to do the Manali -> Leh -> Kargil -> Srinagar -> Jammu route in the first half of October. I've read that the mountains roads won't be closed then from snow (perhaps only from landslides), but am slightly concerned about camping at that time of the year. From Wikipedia the weather averages from 30F for the lows to 80F for the highs. How big of a factor does the wind chill play up there? 30F with no wind and sun isn't too bad, but 30F can also be very miserable. Thoughts?
October is pushing it. These are mountains (and very tall ones at that) and the weather cycle is very unpredictable. You may find that the roads are open, but be prepared for a closure and plan accordingly (via the srinagar highway). Wind chill can be a major factor, and another consideration to make is sudden weather changes. You may be used to 30F weather, but if you are riding all day in 80F and after an ascent, if you encounter 50F, you might feel chilled to the bones. Happened to me, YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I.Will.Ride.On.Mars View Post
The route (Manali -> Leh -> Kargil -> Srinagar -> Jammu) is about 735 miles according to Google Maps. Assuming 150 miles a day, that's about 5 days. I assume it will take longer than that. Is 8-10 days a good estimate to cover that route or should I plan for more?
There are plenty of things to do along the way. Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso are two high altitude lakes with an incredible shade of blue-green. There is also Khardung La, which at 18k feet+ at the top of the pass is worth the ride till there. You might be lucky to catch some sights of greenery in the Nubra valley, and if you are in the mood for it, Da Hanu, Lemarayaru monastry, Leh palace etc... are worth a stop.

I don't know how green the Kashmir valley will be, but if you google image search for Sonamarg, you will see why it's a very nice place to spend a day. In Srinagar, there are houseboats, Dal lake, Gulmarg and some other places where you could spend some time.

You can do Manali to Jammu in 5 days, but it's much enjoyable and memorable if you do it in 10. Especially since you have taken the pain to reach this far.

Also, keep a spare day or two in the itinerary in either case. You are doing significant altitude gains when climbing from Manali. If you get altitude sickness, you are not riding for a day or more. I like to take a break in a hotel if I do wet+cold camping two days in a row, your tolerance might be different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I.Will.Ride.On.Mars View Post
I've also read about permits being required to go on some of the roads on that route. Is that true?
Thanks again.
Yup, for foreigners an inner line permit is needed. The rules have changed over the years, but Indians love paperwork, and I will be surprised if you didn't need one. The inner line permits are only for the sensitive border regions. For the basic Manali->Srinagar highway you should not need one.
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