Get ready to ride the roads where very few riders dare to ride because this is where you will ride on the world’s highest motor-able road. You will be flying in and out from Leh to Ladakh during this tour. Aside from fulfilling your desire to ride, you will also have the time to stop and explore the area and never neglect important sights. It is a holiday after all!
Motorcycle Expeditions utilize accommodations that are amazing, whether its ancient fort or palace of Maharajas converted into a heritage property for the tourist or a room situated overlooking a stunning lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks or a traditional Tibetan camping tent deep within the Tibetan wilderness or even in a Buddhist monastery. Motorcycle Expeditions strive to provide some of the best “experience rich” accommodations going.
On most of the rides, Motorcycle Expeditions utilize three to four-star hotels chosen for their comfort, location, and uniqueness. All hotels have clean linen, towels, and en-suite facilities. Most of the hotels also have cable TV with numerous English speaking channels. On some tours, a very few numbers of hotels may be below three stars. Motorcycle Expeditions only stay at these below standard accommodations due to necessity. You will get off the beaten track and thus, at times, three to four-star hotels are not available.
Motorcycle Expeditions also offer camping when no accommodation is available. When camping is offered, it is usually in a spectacular location. Wild camping is a unique experience as they are always in a completely remote location and quite often these nights spent around a campfire under the stars remain as a tour highlight.
During this tour, you will be staying in twin sharing accommodations in comfortable hotels. You will also get to camp in various locations and stay in a guest house in a local community with a local family. All accommodations are guaranteed to be neat and clean.
Most of flights arrive around midnight and on your arrival in India. Motorcycle Expeditions’ representative will meet and greet you at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and accompany you with a private bus or taxi to your hotel accommodation in New Delhi for an overnight stay.
Fly into Delhi, where you will transfer the short distance to the domestic flights terminal to meet your connecting flight to Ladakh. From Delhi, it is a short (approximately one hour), but visually stunning flight over the snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya that will deliver you to Leh. Here you will be transported to your hotel and met by the Motorcycle Expeditions staff.
Rest and gentle exercise is what you will now need as the acclimatization to altitude begins. As you'll have flown in to an altitude of over 11,000 feet, taking things easy is a must. Spend the morning taking a gentle walk into town to shop, eat, and visit the sights.
This large, history-drenched town was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Ladakh. It is set at nearly 12,000 feet above sea-level in the Upper Indus Valley and like all of Ladakh, its culture is principally Tibetan Buddhist.
There are, however, also Muslim, Christian, and Hindu communities in Leh and throughout Ladakh. Overlooking the town is the huge, nine-story Leh Palace, long since abandoned, but still impressive and worth a visit.
There are many more ancient temples and monasteries to visit and the old Leh market is a fascinating experience. By afternoon, you will be introduced to your motorcycle and will have a short ride to check out the bikes, dinner, and then stay overnight at the hotel.
You will be riding 210 kilometers today so it is best to start early from Leh. You will take the Leh - Manali highway until the town of Upshi. Near Upshi, you will stop at a check post where you need to submit your permits. For the better part of today’s journey, you will follow the Indus River and if the tarmac is in good condition for the most part, you might be barring a few landslide prone stretches.
Chumathang itself has little to offer to a visitor apart from a few local roadside restaurants, a Gompa, and hot water springs. A quick lunch stop would suffice for most, but instead Motorcycle Expeditions makes their own track, riding off-road and following the numerous tracks left by passing vehicles.
The last 30 kilometers are a pain, but a boon for those who love off-road riding! The track here is a mix of sand and dirt trails littered with small stones. However, the view one gets at the end of it makes it all worth it. You will be spending overnight in a fixed camp on the bank of the Tso-mo-riri or Korzok village by the end of this day.
From Korzok, you will back track to the Junction Sumdo and from there, take the diversion to reach Tso Kar. This road tends to be a bit rough for some but great fun for those who appreciate off-road motor biking. It is believed that Tso Kar was once connected to Tso- Moriri, even though Tso Kar has salt water lake while Tso Moriri has fresh water. The area surrounding Tso Kar is protected. You will once again stay overnight in a fixed camp or in guest house by the end of the day.
The off-road goes to the Manali - Leh road in Morey Plain while keeping an eye out for Tibetan Nomads. You will ascend quickly again and emerge into an amazing high altitude valley. You will gradually ride toward the Tanglang La (5300 meters), the second highest motor able pass in the world. You will be rapidly losing altitude and reach the first village Ladakhi Rumtse.
The road winds through a gorge impressive before flowing into the Indus Valley. You will follow the Indus (50 kilometers) and climb up a side valley to finally reach Leh, the capital of Ladakh. En route, you can visit the monasteries of Hemis, the largest monastery in Ladakh and Thiksey, built atop a rocky peak overlooking the village. You will have the afternoon free and then later on spend the night at a hotel.
You will start the day riding up to the Khardung Pass (which holds the title of the 'world's highest motor-able road') for a cup of chai and some stunning views. At over 17,500 feet, you'll be short of puff, so it will be a quick stop before heading down the other side of the pass and descend to Khardung village.
This is a very isolated area. The road has only been opened to traffic in 1984. From Khardung, the scenery opens into some of the most magnificent views imaginable and the vast Nubra Valley. Nubra, being bordered by both China and Pakistan, is of great strategic importance and outsiders are not allowed beyond the village of Hyunder.
It is in this furthest accessible village that you will stop for the night, sleeping comfortably under a canvass in the peaceful grounds of a disused Buddhist monastery. You will spend the night in a local house with a local family.
From Nubra, you will take a new route, only completed in 2010. But, this road is always under construction. Every year, harsh winter snowfall and avalanche destroy the road. You will negotiate constantly hairpins and some impressive road sights from Nubra to the equally impressive Changthang Valley.
More sinuous tarmac will bring the deep blue Pangong Lake into view, alongside which you will ride until you arrive at the camp, which is as far as the road towards Chinese-infested Tibet goes. Again, the beauty of this destination borders on unfeasibility. The quality of the high-altitude light is reflected from the salt water giving the area an otherworldly feel. You will be staying overnight in a fixed camp on the bank of lake.
From Pangong, it's a steady climb up to the second highest pass of the tour, Chang La. This place is less visited and has a more remote feel than Khardung, while being all but its match in loftiness. The descent to the main Manali-Leh highway is yet again entertaining, thanks to the serpentine road and awesome views. You will end the day at the Monastery village of Thiksey with time to tackle the short but steep climb up to the monastery complex for sunset. You will stay overnight with a local family nearby Stok palace by the end of the day.
Leaving the capital of Ladakh, you will play alongside the Upper Indus River, travelling through ancient Buddhist villages and past a number of glorious monasteries. On good tarmac, you might wind up over several small passes, across desert plains and past colorful, and mind-boggling rocks capes.
The 1000-year-old Lamayuru Monastery is situated high on a valley side at 11,500 feet and houses 150 monks. Staying nearby, you will have the opportunity to watch the sun go down over the buildings and crop fields in this idyllic setting.
The evening can then be spent exploring the monastery or simply taking in the many ancient Stupas around the settlement and gazing in awe at the huge and colourful rock formations all around. You can also just kick back with a beer amid the scenery. By night, you will be staying in a guest house nearby the monastery.
After breakfast, you’ll ride the same road way back to Leh but you’ll stop on the way to visit some other impressive Buddhist villages and monasteries. By the afternoon, you will reach Leh and have leisure time. This will be your last evening in Leh town and therefore it will be last day for shopping to get the souvenir for your loved one back home. There will be an evening farewell with the team during this day. Dinner will be served in the hotel, where you will also be spending the night.
That's it folks, you've done it! You’ve crossed the world's two highest motor-able passes, seen huge glaciers ridden by high-altitude lakes, and immersed yourself in the colorful cultures of Ladakh. Time to board the early morning flight back to Delhi and then back home. Back on western turf, you won't be able to explain the scale of this journey; photographs and videos will fail to do justice to the adventure in which you have been involved. Lucky then that memories are made of epic adventures.
This motorcycle tour will take place in different places in India namely Leh, Ladakh, Tso Moriri, Stok, and Nubra.
At Motorcycle Expeditions, they provide more than a welcome and farewell meal. All breakfasts on every day of the tour and a large number of lunches and dinners are provided during the tour. Lunches are unique in that they are prepared on the spot and they consist of tasty, healthy ingredients and water. Re-hydration is critical at altitude, especially considering that clients will be riding motorbikes.
Motorcycle Expeditions take their clients’ health seriously. All the restaurants that Motorcycle Expeditions take their clients to have been tried and tested over the years and have proven their quality. If you find yourselves in the middle of nowhere, Motorcycle Expeditions’ team members will never fail to surprise you with amazing food.
Please book your flight to arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Motorcycle Expeditions will pick you up from the airport.