There ain’t anything more electrifying or exciting than taking a ride to the highest motorable passes in the World that propose peacefulness in all their glory. It is something jubilant out of the world, something that will make you feel like you have mastered the world and your fears. For all the adventure addicts out there, we have curated a list of highest motorable passes or roads with all the details to make up your next getaway travel itinerary.
Some of the most adventurous highest motorable passes in the World :
1. Umling La or Umlingla Pass – 5,883 Mtrs or 19,300 Feet
Border Road Organisation (BRO) has built and opened the world’s highest road atop Umlingla pass or Umling La chaining Chisumle and Demchok villages. Umling La pass is about 105 KMs from Hanle Village and about 235 KMs from Leh. If you have a sanction to visit Hanle, then there is no additional permit demanded and if you are visiting from the Koyul side then you need to have an authority for passing Koyul as well.
2. Road to Uturuncu – 5,777 Mtrs or 18,953 Feet
The road to Uturuncu above col is located in Potosi, Bolivia which is literally marked as world’s highest motorable road at a pitching height of 5,777 meters or 18953 Feet. This route has enticed many cyclists all over the world is the highest cyclable road in the world, certainly. The road was built to simplify a sulfur mine. However, if you live in India and have been too high villages of Ladakh and Spiti, then by looking at the pictures of roads to Uturuncu, one of the most stimulating highest motorable passes in the World, you can judge that such roads are driven mostly by many of local natives as well as tourists who are expert in such territories of trans-Himalayas.
3. A Road uphill Mana Pass or Dungri La – 5,610 Mtrs or 18,406 Feet
Mana Pass or Dungri La is situated at the border between Tibet and India in the state of Uttarakhand. Civilians, though native to India, with initial permits from the army can transit up there and reach India’s Highest Motorable road and second highest motorable road in the world. Mana Pass or Dungri La, in itself, is at an altitude of 5,545 Mtrs or 18,192 Feet which is less than the altitude of Marsimik La.
4. Marsimek La or Marsimik La – 5,582 Mtrs or 18,313 Feet
Marsimek La or Marsimik La is situated in Ladakh, India where civilians, though native to India, with advance entitles from the army can travel and scale this intimidating pass at a height of 5,582 Mtrs. Getting a permit to Marsimik La is simple in contrast to getting a permit to that highest road to Mana Pass or Dungri La road. The road to Marsimik La separates through Pobrang on the way to Pangong Tso Lake and is about 20 odd KMs from there at an abrupt climb and is one of the most enthralling highest motorable passes in the World.
5. Semo La – 5,565 Mtrs or 18,258 Feet
Semo La is situated in the central part of Tibet and possesses an altitude of 5,565 Mtrs or 18,258 Feet. According to the wiki here, “Travellers use this route as an alternative way in route to western Tibet and Mount Kailash, especially when mud makes access by the more southern route difficult“. Prior to the opening of Marsimik La and road to Mana Pass or Dungri La, Semo La was used to be quoted too as world’s highest motorable road to clear the myths which always surrounded Khardung La Pass.
6. Photo La – 5,524m (18,124 ft)
This high mountain pass is the current entry in this list and is located in the Zanskar range of Ladakh region. It is around 30 km from the extraordinary Hanle Monastery (Hanle village) on the Hanle-Photo Le road. The road to the pass is very dusty and you won’t find any soul around due to very less oxygen. You need permission from the Army to conquer this pass.
7. Dzongkha La – 5,500 m (18,000 ft)
The Dzongkha la or Donkia Pass is a high mountain pass in the Himalaya connecting Sikkim in India with Tibet and is one of the highest motorable passes in the World perfect to offer you that much desired adrenaline rush. Located in North Sikkim, the pass offers a picturesque view of the Tibetan Plateau. This pass is 5km from the Gurudongmar Lake (Buddhist Holy Lake). This lake is one of the highest lakes in the world. The pass is controlled by the Indian Army and civilians need special permits to visit the pass.
8. Kaksang La – 5,438 Mtrs or 17,841 Feet
Next, on the list, we have another least known surprise entry by the name pass which is situated in Changthang region of Ladakh at an altitude of 5,438 Mtrs or 17,841 Feet. It comes on the route from Mahe to Nama – Chusul – Pangong Tso when going over Hora La Pass that comes first as you start ascending from Mahe ahead of Chumathang or near Tso Moriri.
9. Suge La – 5,430 Mtrs or 17,815 Feet
Suge La is situated at an altitude of 5,430 Mtrs or 17,815 Feet present in Tibet about 110 KMs northwest of Lhasa. The road to the top is in decent condition and after reaching the top, you get an amazing view of Chomo Yangtse mountain which has an altitude of 7,048 Mtrs.
10. Chang La – 5,360 Mtrs or 17,586 Feet
Those of you who have been to Ladakh will be a surprise to know that Changla pass is higher than Khardung La too as per the readings in compliance to SRTM or with modern age GPS systems. Chang La is quite a beautifully located pass on the way to majestic Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, India which is visited by thousands of tourist every year.
These highest motorable passes in the World are perfect for every adventure junkie for relinquishing that adventure soul.
Do check out our blog post for Places to visit in Leh-Ladakh.