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Ladakh Overland Bike Trip - Motorcycle expeditions in the Indian Himalayas

Ladakh Overland Tour   

We offer two different bike tours to the roof of the world:

Ladakh Overland Bike Trip

18-day bike trip – starting in Kullu Valley, we'll tackle an endlessly winding road, crossing three 5,000-meter passes on our way to the old Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh on the banks of the Indus. The traditional way to get up to Ladakh, still mindblowing....

The 3 Lakes of Ladakh Motorcycle Tour

15-day motorcycle tour, including two domestic flights from Delhi across the Himalayas to Leh and back, 7 of the highest passes of the world, the famous 3 Lakes and much more.... Our exclusive and most popular Ladakh Tour since 4 years, more than 18 groups with 300 Bikers from all over the world have enjoyed this spectacular adventure rides...


You can find the "3 Lakes of Ladakh" motorcycle tour description here.

 

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.

 

Ladakh

Copy of Yang's Ladakh

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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.

Since 1994, we've taken over 600 international bikers on this routes up the world's highest passes.

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The Ladakh Bike Tour Profile

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.

While we never actually leave the road, off-road skills can come in handy on some of the tracks we use. It’s also important to note that it’s virtually impossible to predict the weather and road conditions in the Himalayas in the months following the monsoon.

Landslides and 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.

Climate and best seasons for Ladakh Bike Trip

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.

Group Size For The Ladakh Bike Trip

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.

Ladakh Bike Tour profile

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 German tour guides 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

Essentially 1950s English technology with only subtle updates, our Bullet motorcycles have been fitted with touring gear and optimized as reliable workhorses that are at home on rugged terrain. The Bullet weighs 170 kg dry, and its 500cc, single-cylinder four-stroke engine delivers 23 horsepower with the torque characteristic of a steam engine – a living classic with the stuff of a cult bike. All bikes are fitted with left side shifte 5 speed gearbox and E.- starters.

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

LADAKH MOTORCYCLE TOUR SERVICES

  • transfer from Delhi to Kullu, Manali in semi-sleeper luxury tour bus (2 seats per person)

  • domestic flights between Delhi and Leh

  • airport transfers

  • accommodations in double rooms, generally with showers and WC en suite

  • roomy alpine 2-person tents with awnings (simple sleeping mats will be provided)

  • large dining tent for group breakfasts and dinners, separate latrine tent

  • breakfast and evening meals (various teas, coffee and bottled water are included, alcoholic drinks and soft drinks are not)

  • hot lunches and bottled water during the tour

  • all road and bridge tolls and admission fees for the entire program

  • late-model Enfield Bullet 500cc rental motorcycle with electric start and gearshift on the left, yellow all-India rental registration number plate and special insurance for rental vehicles (EUR 500.00 deductible), disk brake, touring gear and saddle bags

  • fuel, oil and all replacement parts for motorcycle

  • English-speaking guide for the entire duration of the Ladakh bike tour

  • support jeep for luggage

  • second 4WD vehicle for crew, tents and kitchen

  • catering and camp crew

  • experienced motorcycle mechanics

  • reserved seat in support jeep for all passengers

 

The route of the 18-day Ladakh Bike Tour

5,605 meters above sea level – welcome to the world’s highest motorable pass!

The way up is tough and adventurous. We’ll be heading northward through the Himalayas on National Highway 21 – a narrow road that snakes along a precipice. Most of it is relatively well-paved, but frequently strewn with rocks, or slippery with mud or snow. The bike tour starts off with several passes that are astoundingly high by western standards: 3,975 m, 4,980 m, 5,065 m, 5,328 m and finally 5,608 meters altitude at Khardung La pass – it’s the ultimate challenge for bikes and bikers – the "Highway to Heaven"!

In this awe-inspiring landscape, we’ll get to know the warm hospitality of the Buddhist Ladakhis, experience the spirituality of their impressive monasteries, admire the colorful royal city of Leh, and let our minds take us back in time at the ancient campsites of the caravans. In this part of the world, any tour will have the character of an expedition, no matter how well-planned and prepared it is.

With the Taglang La (5.328 m) and Khardung La (5.608 m), we’ll be tackling the two highest motorable passes in the world. The 480-km overland route from Ladakh to the upper Indus Valley was not opened for civilian traffic until 1989. We’ll be entering it from Manali Valley, camping in a variety of environments, exploring inaccessible side valleys, and approaching the whole tour without a rigid schedule thanks to our flexible camps.

 

Here's the tour map (the full-size map is available as a download in the Tour Maps section)

Ladakh Overland tour map

 


 

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi and bus transfer to Nagar, Kullu Valley

A privately chartered AC super deluxe bus will be waiting for us at the airport for the 12 to 14-hour drive to the hill station 600 km north of Delhi. We've reserved two seats for each member of the group.

Day 2: Relaxation and a short hike, hotel in Nagar (1,760 m)

We’ll arrive in Kullu Valley in the afternoon. Our hotel is beautifully situated on a slope next to Nagar Castle, with a view of the lush vegetation of the valley and gleaming snow-capped peaks. Next, we'll get to know the crew and the immediate vicinity. Group dinner.

Day 3: Warm-up tour, 80 km, hotel in Nagar (1,760 m)

Today we'll get acquainted with our Bullet motorcycles. 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 4: 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 5: Rohtang Pass (3,890 m), hotel in Keylong (3,350 m), 100 km

In Tibetan, “Rohtang” means “a pile of corpses”, 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 6: Baralacha Pass (4,890 m), camp near Sarchu (4,350 m), 100 km

The vegetation is 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 7: Lachalang Pass (5,065 m), Taglang La pass (5,360 m), camp near Rumtse (4,200 m), 180 km

Today will be a tough day in the saddle. 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 8: Indus Valley – Tikse monastery – Leh, hotel (3,550 m), 100 km

At 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 9: Leh, sightseeing and rest, hotel in Leh

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 down at the Indus, 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: To Hemis in eastern Ladakh, camp near the monastery (3,890 m), 160 km

We’ll once again pass through Leh, first visiting the peaceful Matho monastery, then traveling on a side road to Hemis, 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

 

 

 

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