High Roads Adventure
If you just want one reason to take any motorcycle tour in the World, then riding our Ladakh High Roads Adventure over the world’s highest pass, khardung-La, is surely good enough.
Literally, ‘Land of many passes’, Ladakh is one of the only places left on the planet where Tibetan Buddhism still flourishes as it has for thousands of years. Situated in the northernmost part of India, bordering the Karakoram Range and Tibet, it is surely one of the last unspoiled ultimate destinations. Part of the ancient Silk Route to the Orient, closed to outsiders until 1974, Ladakh also contains the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung-La (5605m, or 18,380 ft). Our motorcycle expedition takes us from the plains of Delhi, through the valleys and foothills of the Himalaya, over the military road first opened to foreign travel in 1992, crossing the Tibetan Plateau and finally to the Indus River Valley and Ladakh. We cross five major passes en route, including the worlds highest and second highest, traversing three distinct Himalayan ranges. The main road for much of our tour is a feat of engineering - blind bends, vertiginous drops and a pun at every turn courtesy of someone at the Border Road Organization with a sense of humor - 'Be easy on my curves' and 'Divorce speed' being but two examples.
And a quick note about our 'camp' accommodation. Here at Himalayan Moto Tours we like to sleep comfortably, and we want to make sure you do too. So, our camps provide en-suite tents with beds, and you dine in the dining tent, with waiter service. We even offer room service. And all at about 5000 m altitude!
Temperatures are subject to rapid changes on this tour, and the climate will vary from the lower to the high elevations. While riding we must be prepared for these changes. Expect very hot and humid conditions on the plains, with possible showers. As we climb into the foothills expect warm daytime temperatures and cooler nights. Approaching the high passes and Tibetan Plateau we can expect anything from warm sunny days to rain, sleet or snow, with nights cool to cold but rarely reaching freezing point. Our tour dates are designed for optimum weather conditions, however, mountains are mountains, and they don't come any bigger than the Himalayas!
24 June - 10 July 2018
15 July - 31 July 2018
5 August - 21 August 2018
ARRIVE DELHI. We will greet you personally upon your arrival and drive you to our city centre hotel in an A/C minibus. Relax and refresh after your long international flight. Hotel.
DELHI – PARWANOO. (300 km by coach) Today we rise early to breakfast and head for Kalka in our A/C minibus, out of the congested city and humid plains in comfort, along the busy Grand Trunk Highway. Climbing through the jungle foothills of the Himalaya we reach the mountain village of Kalka and then our hotel, by about 4 pm. Our hotel is set among cool misty hills and whispering pines away from the crowds. Here you'll meet the tour team and get to know them over dinner. Timber Trail Hotel.
PARWANOO – SIMLA. (70 km) A late breakfast and we’ll hold a briefing to cover safety precautions, touring style, road conditions, and check of personal equipment, with time to select our bikes and become familiar with starting procedures, control layouts and bike handling. Our first day’s ride is just 70 km to Simla, where we will have time to explore this colorful bygone capital of the British Raj, a strange mix of half-palatial/half-timbered, with shops selling whisky and umbrellas. We’ll meet for an early dinner to receive map/info packets and discuss the touring route to come. Eastbourne Hotel & Spa.
SIMLA – MANDI. (155 km) The motorcycle tour starts today as we wind our way out of Shimla on the small back-roads through towering pine and fir forests. Descending the knife ridges, we encounter dense jungle and terraced hills not unlike Nepal. Our hotel in Mandi overlooks the fast flowing mighty Beas River. Visco Resort.
MANDI – MANALI. (110 km) Since the beginning of time Kullu Valley has been known as ‘The Valley of the Gods’. We enjoy one of the most spectacular days of motorcycle touring anywhere in the world today as we run the cliff hanging highway along almost vertical walls of jungle and cascading waterfalls of the Beas River Valley. An all-too-short ride brings us to the mountain resort town of Manali, with plenty of time to explore the shops and markets. Our hotel sits between apple orchards and a deep forest just outside the hustle and bustle of the town. Negis Mayflower Hotel.
MANALI. (free day) A rest day to explore the markets, temples and Tibetan refugee camps of this bustling mountain town before our ascent of the high passes to Ladakh. Negis Mayflower Hotel.
MANALI – KEYLONG. (125 km) Think of the Alps and let your imagination expand and go wild, this is the Rohtang-La! After a hearty breakfast we start to climb right outside of town, up the most beautiful alpine road on earth. Though not that high a pass for the Himalaya (3978 m), it is certainly one of the most spectacular. We’ll lunch on top and descend to the Lahaul Valley to meet the Chandra River and our hotel, the Tashi Delek, in the Lower Market with its views across the river to the monastery.
KEYLONG – SARCHU. (115 km) Crossing the Rohtang Pass we’ve entered a whole new world; Tibetan Buddhist monasteries hang off precipices. Noticing how dry it’s becoming as we climb toward the Tibetan Plateau, we run the entire length of the Lahaul Valley heading for our next high pass, Baralacha-La (4892 m). From there we descend to our luxury camp at Sarchu.
SARCHU - TSOKAR LAKE. (145 km) Like a scene out of ‘Fantasia’ our day begins with a climb up the Gata Loops, 21 dizzy switchbacks on excellent surface, towards our third pass, Lachulung-La (5066 m). Descending through a moonscape gorge we arrive at the military post called Pang and then on to our luxury camp at Tsokar Lake.
TSOKAR LAKE – LEH. (175 km) An early start up more hairpin curves out of Pang brings us to the Tibetan Plateau and what is called the More Plains, 44 km of wide valley filled with nomads and yaks, flat as a table, with massive glacial peaks either side. Taglang-La is the world’s second highest motorable pass at 5360 m with views of all creation from the top. Descending countless hairpin turns we enter the beautiful Miru Gorge, razorback ridges of every colour rock with tiny villages set among green/gold fields of barley. We’ve entered Ladakh, the last Shangri-La! Our hotel is the Oriental, possibly Leh's finest
LEH. (free day) Today we take a much- deserved rest in the ancient capital of Ladakh. Like a shining green emerald nestled in the stark setting of the Indus Valley, Leh is a mixture of old and new buzzing with shops, cafes, markets and activity. Viewed from the hilltop palace ruins, Leh looks medieval, but downtown, it's all systems go. We are free to explore Leh town on our own or just relax in the hotel’s lovely gardens. There is an optional afternoon ride to explore the monasteries and upper valley with views of the Indus River and Stok mountain range below.
LEH – LAMAYURU. (130 km) Rested, we make for Lamayuru, a 10th century monastery at the head of the Indus Valley. The road sweeps alongside the river, over barren desert, through mud-walled villages set in shocking green fields, finally to the base of an immense gorge. No way out but up, we start the climb on what’s known as the ‘hanger loops’, 112 improbable hairpins and, like a dream set on the moon’s surface, Lamayuru floats into view. Monastery Hotel.
LAMAYURU – LEH. (130 km) After breakfast and a visit to the monastery we take the road back down the hangerloops, to the village of Alchi. Another monastery, humble on the outside, hides some of the rarest works of Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings anywhere in Asia. We reach Leh early afternoon and the comfort of our hotel.
LEH – NUBRA (150 km) The day you’ve been waiting for. Conditions permitting, we’ll ride the 26.5 km to the highest motorable pass on Earth, Khardung-La (5605 m). After the last 14 km of rocky road, we will join an elite handful of motorcyclists that have stood on the top of world! The views over the mountains of Tibet to the north, the Karakoram Range, K-2, and back down to the Indus Valley and Zanskar are simply indescribable! Then over the top and into the Nubra Valley Nubra Valley Hotel.
NUBRA – LEH. (150 km) After a leisurely late morning coffee in the garden, we have the option of visiting another monastery, described as the ‘Potala of Ladakh’: Tikse is only 20 km from Leh and houses the largest statue of the future Buddha anywhere in the Himalaya. The views from the rooftop down the Indus Valley are a stunning contrast of river, green fields and barren high desert. We'll hold our Farewell Dinner tonight to say our goodbyes. Oriental Hotel.
LEH – DELHI. Possibly the most exciting mountain flight you can have, retracing our entire route at 9000 m, and taking only an hour and a half! The Himalaya glaciers unfold beneath us as we pass mountain range upon mountain range on our way back to the low plains and our hotel in Delhi. We’ll meet you at the airport and take you out to dinner before you prepare for the journey home. Hotel.
DELHI. After breakfast this morning our tour ends, transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport is provided in A/C car or coach.
Leh – Delhi Tour Is the reverse itinerary, flying from Delhi to Leh on Day 3.
Total distance approximately. 1455 km
For booking in UK, contact: H C Travels
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