Ladakh & Kashmir – Across the Top of the World – Manali to Leh Highway

Welcome to Days 9-11 of our Top of the World tour

It’s day 9 and today is our first journey into the high Himalayas and our first pass – the notorious Rohtang Pass at 3980m (13058ft). Rains over the past couple of days have caused a couple of landslides overnight that have delayed our journey. Sitting in traffic jams is a little different to other parts of the world however – any excuse for a party and a dance.

Once we got to the cause of the traffic jam, it turned out the authorities were only letting through traffic to continue (most of the vehicles heading up the Rohtang Pass are day trippers from Manali to see the snow), so it was a few cars, such as ours and trucks and buses continuing on down into the Keylong valley.

 Kullu Valley

Across the Rohtang Pass

Across the Rohtang Pass


Day 10 and we travelled today over the second Himalayan pass on our journey – the Baralacha La at 5030m (16500ft), through some stunning scenery. Past glacial lakes, snowy peaks and constantly changing terrain to our highest camp for this part of the journey at Sarchu – 4290m (14075ft).

Bordering the states of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, Sarchu is simply breathtaking. We spent the afternoon wandering near the camp beside the river gorge which cuts through the valley and climbing the nearby hill (great to help acclimatise) in search of marmots.

Lake along the Manali Leh Highway

Marmots at Sarchu

Near our camp at Sarchu


It’s day 11 and today we travelled over the third Himalayan pass and the second highest motorable pass in the world on our journey – the Taglang La at 5359m (17582ft), through more stunning scenery. The landscape here as we head further north into Ladakh is unbelievable. It’s difficult to describe the vastness of the vistas, the ever-changing geological formations around every bend. Honestly, no photograph can do it justice. We stopped at the pass for lots of photos and even saw some Himalayan Ibex (a species of wild goat) grazing beside the road. Just WOW!

Cool rock formations on the Manali Leh Highway

Manali Leh Highway

Taglangla Pass