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Motorcycle holiday tour of the Saach Pass (4,420 meters) is one of the most enchanting Himalayan journeys. This valley is not frequented by a lot of visitors and thus it still retains its cultural and traditional charm. This motorbike tour in the Himalayas takes you through and lush green plains of Kangra to the bright and colorful Chamba. From here, you ride into the mystical land of Pangi Valley via the famous Saach Pass and then you travel to Miyar valley, lastly pass through the fertile Pattan valley and then cross over to Ladakh, the land of lamas and high passes. Embarking on this motorbike journey through the Western Himalaya is truly worth the experience. The route is challenging and the landscape is breathtaking.
Accommodation is a mix of hotel, guest house, and camp. Himalayan Challenges tries to provide the best option available in every location. Room allocations are as per same-sex twin-room sharing and double room for couples.
After breakfast, you will get to try out your bikes. 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.
An early morning start for Rewalsar Lake. Rewalsar is a holy lake and it’s revered by many. From Manali, you will ride towards Kullu. From Bajaura, take a left and ride on a narrow link road. This is one of the most beautiful rides, the road doesn’t have a lot of traffic so most of the time it will just be you and the mountains. The ride takes you through enchantingly beautiful pine forest. You ride past some beautiful local villages. You get to Mandi, a busy little town; but cross it soon to enter another quiet valley all the way to Rewalsar. Check into the hotel and after freshening up, go for a walk around the Prashar Lake and pay respects at the temple here.
Another early morning start today as we have a long way to cover. The road is in a fairly good condition, with lots of curves. Some parts of this ride are really scenic. Not only you will ride through some busy towns like Jogindernagar, Paprola, and Baijnath but you will also ride through the quiet and beautiful tea plantations of Palampur. After freshening up, you can go for a stroll in Mcleodganj. Dharamsala is where His Holiness the Dalai Lama has his residence. It is the capital of Tibet in exile. You can visit his monastery and then check out some of the famous cafes here.
It is a very scenic ride through the mountainside today as you try to avoid the main highway and ride on the ‘Pahari’ road, meaning the mountain road. This may take a bit longer then the main highway but it is really worth it. Khajjiar is famous by the name ‘mini Swiss’ of India. It is a beautiful location where a small lake is encircled by mighty Deodar trees. The air is crisp and fresh.
You can have a relaxed start today as you don’t have a long distance to cover. This gives you more time to enjoy the beauty of Khajjiar. Once in Chamba, you can go and explore the Lakshmi Narayan temple Complex and also visit the Museum here. Leaving Chamba would take some time as it is busy town. Once you get out of Chamba, the road is smooth and the traffic is not so bad. After Chamba, all that you do is go up, up and up. Today, your ascent up to the Saach Pass begins. The road is smooth, the valley lush green. On the way, you will come across the ‘Gujjars’ or Buffalo Herders either going up or coming back down depending on the time of the year that you travel. A lot of quaint little villages and fertile terrace fields are to be seen along the way. You stay overnight at Bairagarh rest house.
After a well-rested night, you will prepare for the Saach Pass today. Check the bikes to make sure everything is working well and then you set off on an epic ride. Just before getting to Satrundi, the tarmac starts to disappear until it is no longer there. The road initially is dusty but good. At Satrundi, you stop at a police check post and complete the necessary documentation. The road here onwards is rocky and dusty. As you start going higher towards the pass, the view of the valley below is mesmerizing.
The pass suddenly appears on your right as you make left turn. There is little shrine here dedicated to ‘Jot Wali Mata’ meaning the 'Goddess of the Pass'. After stopping here for a few minutes, you head down towards Killar. The ride so far is nothing short of exhilarating. The road all the way to Killar is the same: rocky, muddy, and dusty. The valley below is now narrow, yet fascinating and the ride is a wonderful adventure.
It will be an early start today as though you are not covering a large distance today, but you will be riding on road that comprises more or less of bulldust for a major part of the journey; thus, you can’t ride fast. The route is picturesque, rugged, bare rocks on your left and 200-meter drop on the right. This could easily be classed as one of the toughest road in the world. There is never a lot of traffic on this road. You will meet the occasional public bus and a few jeeps.
The landscape start to change as you get closer to Udaipur and just before entering Udaipur, you come across a lovely young pine forest. This is famous as Mini Manali. The site is a local favorite for picnics. At Udaipur, you stop in town to visit the Mrikula Devi Temple. Constructed in the 11th century, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. It is believed that the temple was constructed from a block of wood by the Pandavas (from the time of the Mahabharata) during their time in exile. From Udaipur onwards the road all the way to Jispa is in good condition and you pass through some very scenic villages of the Pattan Valley.
After the tough and tiring ride yesterday, today is a well-deserved rest day.
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 stretch 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 Tsokar, you retrace your route back to the main Manali-Leh Highway. Once on the highway, you begin your accent 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 day's ride yesterday, today is a welcome break. After lunch, you can go for some local sightseeing or explore the different markets of Leh.
Although it’s a long day, the road is fantastic and the landscape has loads to offer. On the way, you pass many tourist sightseeing regions like: Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, and Sangam. The most popular stops en route are Lamayuru, where there’s a memorable monastery, and the curious ‘moonland’ erosion formations and Mulbekh (for its ancient carved Buddha statue).
Rangdum is the farthest and most isolated part of the Suru Valley. Rangdum is surrounded by colorful hills on one side and the glacier-encrusted Rocky Mountains on the other. It falls midway between Kargil and Padum. The main attraction of Rangdum is the 18th-century Buddhist monastery of the Geluk-pa order with about 40 resident monks. Perched atop a central hillock, which is surrounded by a wild mountain stream, the monastery has the aura of an ancient fortification guarding a mystical mountain valley. The entire day is a picturesque riding day.
It’s another day of riding through some of the most amazing landscapes. The road is mainly off-road today. On the way, you cross the Penzila Pass which is the highest motorable pass of this area at 14,000 feet. It is primarily areas around this point that cut off Zanskar from rest of the world every winter that lasts seven to eight months. Driving some distance from here, you catch the sight of the vast Drang Drung glacier, the 2nd largest glacier in the region, largest being the Siachen glacier. After the descent from the pass, you will start seeing summer camps of the Zanskar people where they spend the summer months grazing their cattle. Small villages now start dotting the road side all the way to Padum.
Padum is the only town and administrative centre in Zanskar. It was historically one of the two main capitals of the Zanskar Kingdom, the other being Zangla. Padum is scenic and known for its Spartan splendour. The landscape acquires different hues with the change of time. After a relaxed morning, you will ride to Karsha Monastery and take time to explore there. Karsha Monastery is one of the largest monasteries of the region and commands the most splendid view of the entire valley. Spend the afternoon strolling the streets of Padum.
This will be a long day. Today, you retrace your route all the way back to Kargil, once again soaking in the magnificent view of the Zanskar and Suru Valley.
After taking the same route back towards Leh for some distance, you will take a detour in to the Aryan Valley. Aryan Valley is mainly inhabited by the Brokpas, an insulated and confined ethnic group of pure race of Aryans present in the world today. Their dress, food habits, social, and day to day life is quite different from other parts of Ladakh.
A short ride will bring is you down to the main road. From here, you ride on fairly good surfaced roads along the Indus river and passing through some beautiful little hamlets. You will join the main Leh-Srinagar Highway at Khalsi. Then, retrace your journey back to Leh.
Nubra about 160 kilometers north of Leh. It is where the Shyok River meets the Siachen River to form a large valley separating the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. Today’s journey will take you over the famous Khardung La Pass, one of the world’s highest motorable passes at 5,602 meters. The ride once again is nothing short of amazing. After refreshing, you can visit the Diskit Monastery. Diskit is the oldest and the largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley.
In the morning, ride a few kilometres to Hundar, here you can ride on the double humped Bacterian camel. Then you retrace your route back to Leh.
It is a day to relax. Go shopping for souvenirs or enjoy one of the many cafés and restaurants in Leh.
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 takes you on a journey from Manali to Leh. One of the main interest is riding on smooth tarmac to rough rocky roads, long stretches of bulldust, and the exciting and tantalizing stream crossing of Saach Pass. Saach Pass opens in mid-June and is closed off for traffic by the 15th of October. It is probably one of most desolate passes that one has ever crossed and its beauty is unmatched.
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.
Transfer available for additional US$53 per person
Please book a flight to arrive at Kullu-Manali Airport (KUU). Transfer from the airport is available upon request.
Kullu-Manali Airport (KUU) in Kullu, about 52 kilometers from Manali is the nearest airport to Manali. Only domestic flights come in from Delhi. Take a domestic flight from Delhi to Kullu. Himalayan Challenges can arrange for an airport pick up on request. The charge for this is 4000 INR. Clients can also take a taxi from the airport to Manali on their own. Taxi stand is right outside the airport.
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