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This motorcycle tour route takes you across several high passes into diverse valleys not just in landscape but culturally as well. You start the motorbike trip from Manali. Ride through the lush green Banjar valley into Kinnaur valley and then cross over from Nako into the cold desert land of Spiti Valley, also famously known as Little Tibet. Then, you cross over Kunzum La to enter Lahaul valley and after crossing five more passes, you enter the famous Ladakh. Also during this motorcycle journey in the high Himalaya, you will get to see three of the most beautiful high altitude lakes: Chandra Taal, Tso Kar, and the popular Pangong Lake. On the last day of this brilliant motorcycle adventure, you will ride to the Khardung La Pass, which is one of the highest motorable passes in the world. This motorbike journey is one of the best ways to see Himachal and Ladakh. One thing that you will see in abundance on this journey is loads and loads of cheerful happy and smiley Himalayan people.
Accommodation is a mix of hotel, guest house, and camp. Himalayan Challenges tries to provide the best option available in every location.
After breakfast, you will get to try out your bike, Royal Enfield 500cc. Today, you will visit some popular sights in and around Manali. This will help you to get familiar with your bike and also the Himalayan road and its turns. For lunch, you will stop at Naggar Castle. Naggar once used to be the capital of Kullu, hence the castle. The castle is now converted into a heritage hotel and has a museum. After lunch, you head back to Manali and prepare for the days ahead.
After breakfast, you will set out towards Banjar. The road condition today is good and you will ride across some beautiful villages. You ride on to good metalled road up to Aut and from there, you cross the Parvati River and start riding on the left bank and ride into the Banjar Valley. Here onwards, the ride can be a bit bumpy and the road is narrow.
Today, you will cross the first mountain pass on this epic motorcycle tour. Just a few kilometers above the campsite is the Jalori Pass, 3,120 meters. From here, you ride down shady and windy Himalayan roads to Ani. The aim is to reach Sarahan by the early afternoon so that you have enough time to visit the famous 1500-year-old Bhima Kali Temple.
Sangla Valley is the most beautiful valley in Kinnaur. You ride on the main highway up to Karchham Dam and keep riding on the left side of the river. The road is about 90% metalled and some small stretches where the roads are being widened would be dusty and there would be some loose stones on the road. On some occasion, you might have to wait for the road workers to signal that you can move ahead. For Kalpa, turn left from the main road and there is a steep descent of around seven kilometers up to Reckong Peo which is the district headquarters. From here, Kalpa is about 15 kilometers further climb. It is a beautiful stretch that is mostly riding through pine forest and lots of tight bends. The air feels much crisper and fresher up here and the cool breeze is a relief after long hours on the hot dusty road.
Enroute, you cross a check post at Jhangi where you have to stop for a routine permit and passport check. Nako is the last village of Kinnaur; it is an idyllic little Buddhist village. Dotted around the village are tiny shrines and at the very entrance of the village is an old monastery believed to have been founded by the great translator, Rinchen Zangpo. The monastery has very interesting and fascinating mural works.
Today’s motorbike ride sees you entering the Spiti Valley. You ride through an amazing landscape and glimpses of the cold desert of the Spiti Valley will start from the beginning of the journey today. The initial leg of the journey is up the hill and then you cross the famous Mulling Nala and then start your journey downhill towards the valley floor. Once again, today, you will cross a military check post at Sumdo. From here, the Tibet border is only a few kilometers away. Enroute, you will visit the Tabo Monastery and the Dhankar Monastery.
Today is a well-deserved break, after all the long motorbike rides and early starts every day. After a leisurely breakfast, you will ride to Key Monastery and then Kibber Village, which is one of the highest inhabited villages accessible by road in the world. On the way back, you can ride through the village and ride down for a few kilometers from a different route. The gorge that you see while coming down from this route is just amazing and on this gorge is under construction the world’s highest bridge (in term of altitude). Afternoon is free for relaxation, wandering around town for souvenir shopping.
Today is a beautiful ride once again. Today, you ride past some magnificent looking villages and the entire ride is very scenic. After crossing the last village of Spiti Valley, ‘Losar’, the road would be entirely off road: dusty and rocky. Once riding down from Kunzum La Pass (4,551 meters), you will take a detour on the right towards Chandra Taal Lake.
You will start the day early as today involves tackling a few stream crossing and in the mountains, it is best to do that before noon as the water level rises dramatically after noon. Almost half the journey today would be on rough rocking and dusty road. You get some amazing glimpses of glaciers and snow-covered mountain and the road is challenging yet inviting. After reaching Gramphu, you will get good tarmac covered road all the way to Jispa.
After a relaxed and easy day yesterday, today will be a long day and you will start early. At Darcha, you stop at the police check post and then continue up the winding road to Baralacha La (4,890 meters) and then descend to Bharatpur for a quick chai break. Then, you ride on one the most beautiful stretches of road on this journey towards Sarchu. After Sarchu, you ride up to cross two more high passes the Lachulung La (5,050 meters) and Nakeela Pass (4,740 meters)
From Tso Kar, you retrace your route back to the main Manali-Leh Highway. Once on the highway, you begin your ascent of the Taglang La Pass (5,328 meters). Then, begins a wonderful curvy descent. Now onwards, you will keep crossing Ladakhi villages and the road is smooth all the way to Leh.
After the long days of riding yesterday, today is a welcome break. After lunch, you can go for some local sightseeing or explore the different markets of Leh.
Pangong Lake is an endorheic lake situated at a height of about 4,350 meters long and extends from India to China. Enroute to Pangong Lake, you cross Chang La Pass which is known as the third highest motorable pass in the world. On the way, you come across the Changspa people as well who might have set camp here for the summer to graze their livestock. The road is a mix of good tarmac and some dirt track.
Today, you retrace your route all the way back to Leh and then you ride 30 kilometers extra towards Khardung La Pass, which is one of the highest motorable passes in the world. The ride up this road is beautiful as you get to see the entire Leh city below you and the view keep getting better and better. The ride up to Khardung La is via lots of hairpin bends. You stop at the pass for a hot cup of chai and then make your way back to the city.
Early morning transfer to the Leh airport.
Himalayan Challenges offers a non-refundable bike insurance at an additional cost of 5,000 INR.
This motorcycle tour in the Indian Himalayas takes you on a predominantly Buddhist circuit of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The tour will start in Manali and you will ride through numerous high passes and beautiful high altitude lakes: Chandra Taal, Tso Kar, and Pangong Lake.
Food will be a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Mostly, Indian food will be served for dinner but breakfast can be Indian and continental.
Bhuntar Airport (Kullu Manali Airport)
Transfer not provided
Please book a flight to arrive at Kullu-Manali Airport (KUU). Himalayan Challenges does not provide airport transfers for this tour.
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