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Adventure » Mountains » Motor Bike Tour
Ladakh Overland Motor Bike Tour (17 NIGHTS / 18 DAYS)
On Request
17 nights & 18 days

Long strokes, open carbs and spectacular views – we’ll be climbing the world’s highest motorable passes on our classic Royal Enfield Bullet 500s. Broad evergreen valleys and majestic, snowcapped ranges, ornate temples and meditative ceremonies, serenity and vibrant celebrations, bustling cities and remote wilderness, deep gorges and breathtaking passes – a truly spectacular setting for a motorcycle tour, and one of the last great adventures on this planet.

 

Kullu Valley is the Switzerland of India. We’ll recover from the long journey in a hotel next to Nagar Castle, the former seat of the kings of Kullu, at an elevation of 1,800 meters. From there, our exciting bike tour route will take us into the remote former kingdom of Ladakh. 

 

Once we leave the “civilized world” behind, we’ll be camping in spectacular settings and sleeping in remote mountain lodges. Our local crew will keep us supplied with food, water, fuel and spare parts, and will handle the logistics and excellent catering in our camps. Once we arrive in Ladakh, we’ll have 8 days to visit the renowned Hemis, Tikkse, Mathko, Likkir, Lamayauru and Alchi monasteries, and to ride up the Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable pass at 5,605 meters. In Leh, we’ll take time to shop and relax. Solid riding skills, a sense of adventure and flexibility are a must when taking part in our Himalaya motorcycle expeditions, which cover around 1,700 km and considerable altitude differences. Road conditions on the Ladakh bike trip vary from freshly-paved to rough tracks.  Though the climate of Ladakh is dry and rainfall is very scanty but Landslides due to abrupt weather changes can force us to change our Ladakh motorcycle tour program on very short notice. You can certainly look forward to great biking adventure. The climate and temperatures during the motorcycle tour are comparable to that of the Alps or mountain ranges in northern Europe. Warm riding gear is a must, but you can also expect heat and blazing sunshine at times. In extreme cases, you can expect night-time temperatures below freezing when camping at high altitudes in the Himalayas. Generally, the night-time lows will be around 10°C, even at higher elevations. The humidity is extremely low, comparable to a dry desert climate. Skin lotion, lip balm and sun blocker are a must.

 

A maximum of 15 bikes and riders, plus a maximum of five passengers in the jeeps. We guarantee a seat in a jeep for all passengers. Groups will not exceed 20 participants, plus the crew. Minimum number of participants: 6 riders We recommend booking early due to the great demand for this tour and its complex logistics. Wherever possible, we stay in hotels, tourist bungalows and government rest houses, in double rooms with en-suite showers and WCs. Sometimes we have to fall back on dorm-style accommodations in places where our usual standard isn’t available, however. 

 

Our crew also carries camping and catering gear to give us the greatest possible autonomy. In some places, local accommodations are so poor that we simply prefer camping in a beautiful spot in the countryside. It also ensures that we’re always ready for sudden weather changes, delays or detours, thus avoiding long, forced rides to often-remote hotels.  Our catering crew prepares breakfast and dinner for us when camping. We’ll also eat in hotel restaurants whenever they seem suitable. Lunch will normally consist of a snack on the road. 

 

You should bring your own sleeping bag, thermal mat and rain gear.

 

Our Crew For The Ladakh Bike Trip

Our English-speaking guide are skilled motorcyclists and inveterate travelers who have spent years on the road in the Himalayas. They’re resilient in the face of stress and have considerable knowledge of the history and culture of the regions they cover. Our skilled motorcycle mechanics also have years of experience accompanying us on the road, following groups in the support jeep. Our local catering and camp crew is responsible for setting up and tearing down camp, cooking, and handling our water and fuel supplies.

 

Indian blood, English heart – our 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets

 

Our talented mechanics have the tuning skills to ensure that our Bullets keep going strong, even at the highest altitudes.

 

 

Day 01: Arrival in New Delhi and bus transfer to Manali 

Assemble at one point where privately chartered AC super deluxe bus will be waiting for the group at the Hotel. Drive in the early morning a 12 to 14-hour drive to the hill station 570 kms north of Delhi. Reach Manali check in dinner and overnight at hotel.

 

Day 02: In Manali

The day for relaxation and a short hike, hotel in Manali (1985 mts)

 

Day 03: In Manali

Warm-up tour ride near to Kullu Valley through the winding path of the Valley. Overnight at Manali.

 

Get aclimatized with our Bullet motorcycles and the climate. We're confident that it will be the start of a great friendship. To warm up, we're going to explore winding mountain roads along the picturesque Beas river valley.

 

Day 04: Manali (2,000 m) and Solang Valley, 60 km

Idyllically set among forested hills, Manali is a perfect setting for shopping in the bazaar, visiting the Buddhist temple, or snacking on the veranda of one of the many small cafés overlooking the old town. Overnight in the stylish, comfortable Banon Resort overlooking the bustling town.

 

Day 05: Rohtang Pass (3,890 m), hotel in Keylong (3,350 m), 100 km

Today the journey to Top of the World begins.  “Rohtang” means “a pile of corpses”, in Tibetan and the pass once marked the end of the inhabitable world in the imagination of many Indians. Even today, crossing the pass on our bikes can be an adventure, with convoys of trucks and a track muddy with meltwater providing our first proper challenge. From here on out, the road is our destination, especially for the next four days. On the ninth day of our journey, we’ll reach Leh, an exotic green oasis in the otherwise arid Greater Himalayas – at the point where our highway meets the old Silk Road from China to Persia. Near Keylong, the main town of the Lahaul region, we’ll be spending the night in a hotel near the confluence of the Bagha and Chandra rivers (3,350 m).

 

Day 06: Baralacha Pass (4,890 m), camp near Sarchu (4,350 m), 100 km 

Feel the difference in weather and  vegetation which now getting sparse at this point and the rugged mountain ranges are becoming ever loftier. We’ll be setting up camp at Brandy Nalla, after crossing the pass but before reaching the Sarchu Valley checkpost.

 

Day 07: Lachalang Pass (5,065 m), Taglang La pass (5,360 m), camp near Rumtse (4,200 m), 180 km 

A all together tough day as we’ll ride on our bikes from Sarchu over Lachalang La pass (5,065 m) to the vast lunar landscape of the Moore Plains at 4,300 meters. From there, we’ll begin our ascent of the Taglang La pass (5,360 m). After a stop at the crest for a quick toast and summit photo op, we’ll be descending to 4,400 meters, setting up camp near the first Ladakhi village.

 

Day 08: Indus Valley – Tikse monastery – Leh, hotel (3,550 m), 100 km 

On Approch to Uphsi we’ll enter the Indus Valley, rolling on to the Tikse monastery. We’ll be spending the night in Leh, the capital of Ladakh. At 3,550 meters, the air is noticeably thicker.

 

Day 09: Leh, sightseeing and rest, hotel in Leh

After and leisurely breakfast and free time for sightseeing. We recommend a stroll through town to the royal palace, shopping in the bazaars of the old city, or a hike up to the stupa overlooking Leh. We’ll be having dinner in a restaurant with a beer garden.

 

Day 10: The Khardung La pass – at an altitude of no less than 5,606 meters. From there we’ll continue into the wild Nubra Valley; guest house in Diskit (3,600 m), 160 km 

50 km on the road and 2,000 meters ascent to Khardung La pass, the highest motorable road in the world. After a brief stop in the thin mountain air for a photo, we'll descend quickly into the arid Nubra Valley, which until recently was a restricted military zone due to the nearby Pakistani and Chinese borders. It's now a new high point of our Ladakh tours, with breathtaking views, remote oasis villages and rugged river landscapes.

 

Day 11: From Nubra Valley to Zanskar Valley, camp in Chilling ( 3,200 m) 140 km

After visiting the Diskit monastery, we leave the Nubra Valley and return to Kardungh La, once again crossing the highest pass. After riding through Leh, we'll follow the Indus downstream until we reach the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. A narrow road leading high up into the Zanskar Valley begins there. A stretch of about 40 km is motorable, which will bring us to the village of Chilling and an unusually beautiful camp ground. The only way further up is to hike across the often-treacherous ice of the frozen river in winter. Our "1,000-star hotel" is on the banks of a clear mountain stream only a short stroll away from the village. It's not often that outsiders find their way to this peaceful setting. Time now to enjoy the first-class service of our camp crew.

 

Day 12: Westwards to Alchi ( 3,200 m), deluxe camp or guest house, 100 km

Back to Indus from there we’ll continue to Basgo, the ancient capital of western Ladakh, with its impressive temple and palace ruins. We’ll cross the Indus on the way to the oasis of Alchi. Alchi’s monastery contains impressive murals dating back to the 10th century – the greatest artistic treasures of Ladakh. We'll spend the night in a basic but picturesque guest house. Our crew will set up its kitchen tent in the garden and serve us a delicious meal.

 

Day 13: Fatu La pass and Lamayura, deluxe camp or guest house rooms, 180 km

After a morning visit to the monastery, we’ll be heading out to the westernmost point of our tour, into little-known regions of the Indus Valley. We’ll be crossing Fatu La pass (3,990 m) to the panorama road overlooking Moon Valley. Our destination for the day is the Lamayuru monastery, situated in an amazing craggy landscape at an altitude of over 4,000 meters. We’ll be returning to Alchi for the night.

 

Day 14: Hemis in eastern Ladakh, camp near the monastery (3,890 m), 160 km 

Drive through Leh where our first stop will be the peaceful Matho monastery, then traveling on a side road to Hemis which is the wealthiest and most ornate monastery in Ladakh. We'll be setting up our camp one last time on a green meadow with a breathtaking view of the Indus Valley.

 

Day 15: Last night in Ladakh, hotel in Leh, 100 km

The beautiful grounds of the monastery and the bejeweled Buddha statue inside will be our last contact to the living Buddhism of the red-robed monks of Ladakh. We’ll spend the last afternoon and night in Leh.

 

Day 16: Flight to Delhi, sightseeing and shopping

 

Our domestic flight back to the capital will be leaving in the morning. Our good midrange hotel is centrally located in Karol Bagh, downtown New Delhi, the modern business center of the city. We’ll take time for sightseeing in the bazaars of Old and New Delhi.

 

Day 17: Bike Tour to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, or relaxation and city sightseeing in Delhi 

For those of you who would like to spend another seven to eight hours on Indian highways, we'll be saddling up for 190-km motorcycle ride to Agra to see the world-renowned Taj Mahal. If you'd rather take it easy, strolling through the bazaars and doing a bit of shopping, feel free to take the day off in Delhi. We'll be getting back together in the evening for our farewell dinner in a Tandoori restaurant, followed by the transfer to the airport.

 

Day 18: Departure from Delhi to home country

We'll reach the airport around midnight. Depending on your destination, you'll be arriving at home in the morning or afternoon.

 

Total distance approx. 1,600 km, almost entirely on paved roads

As per  availability.

IMPORTANT TRIP ADVISORY:

Mountain Riding

Mountainous roads and hills are a lot of fun to ride. The general rule of riding on mountains is whatever gear you use for climbing up a stretch, use the same gear to descend. Example, say you have to climb a certain stretch on 1st gear, so descend the stretch on 1st gear too. This puts off too much pressure on your brakes as engine braking comes into play. Also, do not overtake unless you can see the road ahead of you. And always give way to traffic that is ascending. Never let your bike coast i.e the engine should be running and the bike should be in gear! 

 

Slush Riding

It's obvious that you won't have any traction while riding through slush, so don't go too fast but don't go too slow either. Use your legs for balance and for giving your motorcycle an extra push. Try to put all your weight on the front of the motorcycle by pushing on the handlebars as much as possible. If you get stuck, do not try to half clutch your way out of it because in all probability you won't get out of it and you WILL fry your clutch. If you are stuck bad then try to gather some people to push the bike across. Make the bike as light as possible, that means remove all the luggage.

 

Water Crossings

Never plunge your bike in a water crossing without bothering to recce it first. I would suggest walking in the water crossing to pick out the best line but if you can't do that just let some other vehicles go. Observe their tyres, what line are they following. You'll get a fair idea of the depth and the best line to follow. If the current is fast or the crossing too deep then remove all the luggage and get your bike across. Again, no half clutching. If possible gather some people to help you. If your bike stalls midway, then do not try to start it again if the exhaust is under water. The only thing you can do in such a situation is to push the bike across. Also, don't let go of the throttle in a water crossing, the moment you let go of the throttle water will enter the exhaust.

 

Gravel Riding

Gravel riding can be tricky but is a lot of fun. Accept that your bike is going to slide around unless you go dead slow. I always try to ride a bit fast on gravel as it ensures I don't slide around that much. At the end it depends how comfortable you are with your bike. You can choose to go a bit slow or go a bit fast.

 

Riding in Extreme Climate

If it's extreme heat, then always carry water with you. Glucon D or ORS is an added advantage. Take plenty of breaks to rehydrate. If it's extreme cold, then wear proper clothing. Once you start riding, the wind chill would further decrease the temperature. So gear up accordingly. 

 

Snow & Ice Riding

Fresh snow offers great traction, so there is no problem riding on it but ice is a different story. You won't get any traction on ice, so your best bet is to go dead slow and if that is too much then reduce the tyre pressure as it would offer better traction.

 

Sand Riding

Some people enjoy sand riding but I absolutely hate it. Sand offers zero traction! So I ride slow on sand and put a lot of pressure on the front end of the bike by pushing the handlebars. I'm afraid I can't help you more than this about sand riding.

 

How to carry Fuel

If you are using a RE and have the Ladakh Panniers, then get plastic jerry cans to carry fuel. Balance them on both sides of the bike. Say you are carrying two 5L cans, then carry them on either side rather than on one side to balance your bike. If you are using saddle bags then your best bet are those 2L soft drink bottles. You can easily carry them in your saddle bag.

 

How to tie luggage

Always use bungee cords to tie your luggage. They are available at almost every automobile shop for about 20-25 a piece.

Tie your luggage as tight as possible because the stress of bad roads can loosen it up with time. When you tie your luggage ensure it doesn't move at all no matter how much you try to push or pull it. The last thing you need is a lost bag and it's no fun stopping every now and then to fix your luggage.

 

Also, balance your luggage properly. The weight distribution should be equal on both sides otherwise your bike will pull to the heavier side.

 

Maintaining your Bike

Do keep checking the engine oil level during the ride. Carry some spare engine oil too especially if you have a Royal Enfield Maintain correct tyre pressure, try to clean and lube the chain whenever possible and adjust it as needed. 

 

Since REs are prone to cable snaps, carry a spare clutch wire or get it fixed and taped up with your existing clutch wire leaving the ends free and covered. If you have a cable snap then the only thing you do is fix the ends and voila you are done.

 

Riding Solo

Always ensure that your bike is in a great condition, more so when you are riding solo. Do not take unnecessary risks anytime especially when riding solo, so that means don't try to act like a Dakar or Moto GP rider when you don't have the necessary skill and when you are on public roads. This is Ladakh specific, do not for the love of god take short cuts (Gata Loops, Tanglang La). Yeah they sure as hell give a crazy adrenaline rush but it's so not worth putting yourself and your team in jeopardy and thereby becoming a liability for everyone and ensuring the end of your and your teams trip because of your stupidity. 

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