Indiais intense! Maybe that’s one of the reasons why you’ve always wanted to tour India by motorcycle. Now you have the opportunity: experience the country and its people on a guided motorcycle tour. India is not only vast – stretching from the Indian Ocean to the snow-capped peaks of Ladakh – it’s also one of the most populous countries in the world. In light of those facts, it may not be the best idea to simply ride the length and breadth of India on your own. But luckily, you don’t have to: We’ve done the hard work for you and proudly present India’s most spectacular and beautiful motorcycle routes, which we have tested extensively over the past 30 years. Classic Bike Adventure takes you on carefully selected roads over the highest passes of the Himalayas, through deserts and tropical jungles – all with an evocative soundtrack courtesy of your Royal Enfield.
Ladakh 3 Lakes
The Three Lakes of Ladakh Motorcycle Tour, covering seven passes in the Indian Himalayas, including Nubra Valley and an optional excursion to the Taj Mahal, has been our most successful motorcycle tour for the past ten years and is exclusive to our program. We’ve run this truly exciting Ladakh tour four times every summer since 2010. Over 500 bikers have taken it in recent years and were thrilled by the experience!
4 tours in 2021
4 tours in 2022
Roads to Heaven
New horizons between Dharamsala and Ladakh: For the first time, we’re riding from the foothills of the Himalayas along the Indus River Valley into the remote Zanskar Valley region. The newly opened passes Sisir La (4,790m) and Singge La (5,060m) make it possible. This brand new route is guaranteed to put a grin on the faces of even the most hardened rider.
1 tour in 2021
Spiti “Little Tibet”
The Spiti region, one of the most impressive high valleys in the world, is the destination of our spectacular Seven Valleys of Spiti Motorcycle Tour. Deep in the Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti is close to the border with China and one of the remotest corners of India.
1 tour in 2021
Golden Himalaya Tour
Join us on a very special laid-back Himalayan bike tour through India’s golden autumn! You can look forward to 14 days of Royal Enfield cruising, intense impressions and endless variety. This journey will take you to the beautiful passes of the Himachal Pradesh foothills to altitudes of up to 4,000 meters, to the gates of Tibet, and to India’s most sacred sites and pilgrimage centres of the Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus, through Punjab including the Golden temple of Amritsar.
1 tour in 2021
1 tour in 2022
Goa to Kerala Tour
GOA + SOUTH INDIA
We’ve been organizing motorcycle tours in South India for 30 years. Based on our long experience, we’ve developed a completely new tour for discerning riders that comprises the best that South India has to offer. India is colorful, enchanting and mysterious, but also jarring and exhausting – a country full of dynamism that’s on its way up!
1 tour in 2022
Classic South India Tour
GOA + SOUTH INDIA
This 15-day motorcycle tour through South India promises a true biking adventure unlike anything you’ve experienced: Enjoy eleven riding days of pure freedom on a classic Enfield – on winding roads and relaxed cruising through the deepest tropical landscapes of South India.
1 tour in 2021
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean
“Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, “Serendip – the Enchanting” “Ceylon- the Island of Spices” are all fitting names for this paradise island in the Indian Ocean that captivates all guests with its incredible tropical natural backdrop. Sri Lanka – “The Venerable Beauty” has been the official and apt name since 1972. This wonderfully guided Sri Lanka motorcycle tour combines motorcycle adventure with culture and a tropical beach vacation and offers diverse insights into the picturesque island paradise.
1 tour in 2021
Into the Wilds of Zanskar and Ladakh
Brand-new passes and adventures off the beaten path in the Indian Himalayas – New horizons between Ladakh and Dharamsala: For the first time, we’re riding from Padum in Zanskar to Darcha in Lahaul via the newly opened Shingo La Pass, taking us to a dizzying altitude of 5,091 meters. It’s 148 kilometers of extremely rugged track that will open entirely new vistas to us.
Guided Motorcycle Tours in India – on your Classic Royal Enfield Bullet!
Motorcycle Tours in India: Discover India for yourself!
Only well-guided motorcycle tours in India will make your motorcycle vacation an unforgettable experience of a positive kind! Our tour guides – experienced Road Captains and Road Managers who know India well – are the key. Classic Bike Adventure Road Captains have explored the country first-hand and come to love it over the years. Our expertise is based on experience – we can look back on over 600 successful motorcycle tours in 30 years! Join us: we’ll show you the highlights. Perhaps you’ll discover new perspectives – and an open, intense outlook on a life in bright colors, at night on Paradise Beach. Or sleeping under bamboo roofs in a jungle camp. Or maybe you won’t go to sleep at all! Savor the night on the shore of the azure Lake Pangong, deep in the Himayalas, around a crackling campfire. You won’t need your own motorcycle, just a sense of adventure and curiosity about the country and its people.
Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Touring in India
Unleash the explorer in you and embark on an incredible motorcycle journey throughout India.
India is such a wonderful, colorful, and diverse country. From the big cities of Delhi and Mumbai to the captivating mountain ranges of Leh and the Himalayas to the rolling countryside, there is much to explore. For the more adventurous, using a motorcycle to tour India is the best way to see the true beauty of the country!
Motorcycle touring in India is growing in popularity, as visitors realize that this form of transportation can be very freeing and allows one to let the wind whip through around them, to take in the incredible aromas, sights and sounds that only India can provide. With its oceans, salt lakes, forests, jungles and more, this is an exciting way to see the country. The real India.
Destinations Around India
Ladakh – for a truly adventurous route, this area in the Jammu & Kasmir state is challenging, yet exhilarating. The trails can be rugged, and the weather unpredictable at this higher elevation in northern India. In addition, the rider must also be vigilant of possible landslides and other road hazards. And yet the beautiful lakes, high mountain passes and Buddhist monasteries make it all worthwhile. Even though the roads are mostly unpaved, you have a plethora of choices – all equality incredible.
Best Time to Ride: Mid-June through mid-October
Himalaya – The fresh mountain air beckons. Here is another high-altitude biking adventure in northern India. There is no better scenery in the world such as a Himalayan journey through villages and countryside. This is an adrenaline-pumping ride, with high mountain roads and passes along the Lahaul Valley and quaint rural villages. Each day you will get closer to the breathtaking snow-capped mountain, with stunning views along the way and socio-cultural experiences as you stop in a village or two to commune with the friendly locals.
Best Time to Ride: June through October
Jaipur to Jaisalmer – If you are looking for a true desert adventure, here you go. With paved roads dotted with old forts and palaces, this is an easy ride compared to the others. However, the desert is the desert, and that comes with its own set of challenges during your adventure. The landscape may be barren, but the mix of brown and green hues will entice and delight, and you will no doubt share rustic roads with a few camels. Here, enjoy the rich culture of Rajasthan and the warm hospitality of the people. They live life without modern amenities, and the cuisine on offer is among the tastiest in the country, in these rural settlements.
Best Time to Ride: October to February
Delhi – Nainital To experience quite a bit of green, this route will remain etched in your memory forever as one of the more colorful bike journeys in India. Take off from the concrete jungle that is Delhi and ride directly into forested lands. As you approach Corbett and the Ramnagar area of Uttarakhand, things get quite scenic, with fruit orchards looming on either side of the road, and pavement that is the stuff of dreams. The combination of lush forest and winding road paint quite the picture of serenity as you leisurely make your way to the beautiful city of Nainital. Greenery and rhododendrons will greet you, just as the meandering roads with its sharp edges offer that little thrill of the ride.
Best Time to Ride: October through April
Valpari – Vazhachal Forest The monsoon season (June – September) is when you will want to experience this route, as it winds its way through dense tropical rainforest. It connects Pollachi in Tamil Nadu to Chalakudy in Kerala, and is prominently covered in thick tropical cloud and evergreen forests. See incredible waterfalls, numerous dams and reservoirs. This area is part of Anamalai Tiger Reserve and the Vazhacel Forest Reserve, so wildlife sightings are very possible. The roads are well-maintained, making this journey the perfect emerald forest adventure.
Best Time to Ride: All year round
Spiti Valley – Himachal Pradesh. The Northwest region of India does bring its delights. It has some resemblance to Ladakh and also has its challenges, to boot. It allows almost the same adrenaline rush as Ladakh, and the Hindustan-Tibet highway leads into the Spiti valley, allowing for thrill upon thrill. The highest villages in Asia are located here, and the road takes you through Kibber, Kasa, Tabo, Spiti and Pin valley, which make for some visually stunning and remote places. This is a great route for nature lovers, with beautiful apricot and apple orchards, Satluj river views and snow-capped monasteries.
Best Time to Ride: mid-June through mid-October
Western Arunachal Pardesh – For those that appreciate more off-road experiences, this is a popular route that takes you past waterfalls, alpine forests, tiny human settlements, rice paddies, and mountain streams. While the landscape may seem a bit barren at times, it is a nature lover’s paradise to ride though this terrain. The remoteness of the area allows one to witness unique tribal cultures untouched by Western civilization, making this high-altitude route irresistible for the biking adventurer. Namdapha National Park is a must drive-through.
Best Time to Ride: March to May, then October to November
The Top 3 Most Interesting Scenic Routes
Mumbai – Goa This is a top route for biking enthusiasts, and with good reason. It is one of the most famous road trip routes in India, and follows National Highway 17 south from Mumbai along the western coast. The NH 17 connects Kerala to Mumbai, so if you wanted to continue your journey to Kerala, just keep going once you reach Goa! This could be an intoxicating, multi-day trip. The coastal route offers spectacular views, and you will no doubt be stopping frequently to take them in properly. Along the way, there may be a few opportunities to take the ferry across the water, depending on the exact route you take. Near Goa is Dona Paula, India’s largest natural harbor while Goa itself has many great beaches, historical churches and forts.
Best Time to Ride: October through February
Delhi – Leh (and beyond) Here you will feel on top of the world as you ride through dramatic changes of scenery. From Delhi, journey north to the planned city of Chandigarh. Stop for a bit to stretch the legs and have a look around. Then head further north to Manali, surrounded by lush mountains. As you ascend further in elevation, the landscape becomes more barren as you reach Leh. You can either choose to end your journey here, or dare to take it even further to the Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso and Chang La, the world’s second highest pass accessible by motorbike, at 17,800 feet!
Best Time to Ride: June through August
Darjeeling – Sikkim The east of India is both scenic and surreal. Along the way, the roads are winding and steep, making for an adrenaline-pumping journey. If you are both an adventurer and a nature lover, this one is for you: A heady mélange of hill culture and religions make this route particularly enjoyable. This is not to mention the awe-inspiring view of the Kanchenjunga – the third highest mountain in the world. A popular route for this stretch is Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok, Pelling and Yuksom.
Best Time to Ride: All year round
Amenities available, what accommodations are available
When you ride with us on a motorcycle tour, you will be laying your head in many different types of accommodations – all equally delightful. Some examples would be nice boutique hotels, charming resorts and 3-star hotels, or with locals in their guest houses who are so welcoming and very glad to have visitors in their home to entertain.
For the more remote locales, we will be setting up camp in the evenings, where our local crew will take care of all the details – from setting up camp to preparing meals to carrying fuel and spare parts. The logistics are handled for you – your job is to enjoy the ride.
A good quality bike helmet that fits securely and comfortably over your head, a good bike jacket, motorcycle boots and boot covers, dry bag to outfit on your bike, protective goggles or similar eyewear, and good leather gloves to protect your hands against the elements.
A small, roll-up tool kit is handy to have, but if you are going with a motorcycle tour, your guides will have the necessary tools and spare parts for any repairs/adjustment that need to be made. Going along on a group tour makes the journey stress-free, as your guides know the country and the terrain.
Pack light! Only take what you can fit in a large backpack that is comfortable wearing for many hours at a time. Pack waterproof pants; insulated ones for colder weather and higher elevations. Depending on if you will be exploring the northern (colder weather) or southern (warmer, tropical-like) part of India, you will want to pack clothes accordingly. Ear plugs, headlamp (for reading, etc. at night), power chargers for any devices you choose to bring, any necessary medications, and health care products (keep it simple.) Also, lip balm, sunscreen, and insect repellent is highly recommended!
Which Motorcycles are the Best?
We arrange tours with 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets to offer a unique and classic, typical India style motorcycle experience. The Royal Enfield is the iconic bike for India, and we use them with 19-inch tyres and leather panniers. They are continuously maintained and replaced as needed for optimal performace.
There are other brands available throughout the country: Hero Motorcycles, Yamaha, and Mahindra. But the Royal Enfield is by far the most widely used motorcycle in India.
There is the Royal Enfield 350cc and the 500cc. The 500 performs better – it has more power and torque compared with the 350. The advantage of the 350 is that it gets better gas mileage and is less expensive than the 500.
The 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet has been built the same way since 1901 and is made for traversing the varied landscapes of India. This is the most that is used my many motorcycle tour companies throughout the country.
How to Prepare for Your Epic Trip to India
Those traveling internationally to India should get their vaccinations at least 6 weeks before traveling. Talk to your doctor about which vaccinations he recommends, depending on your situation and health history.
All visitors require a visa to enter India (except if you are from Bhutan or Nepal.) As of February 2019, it is easy to apply for an E-Visa online, and they are valid for up to one year. Keep in mind that the one year starts from the date the visa is issued – not from the date you arrive in India, so plan accordingly. Go to this website for more info.
A Word on Safety
Your motorcycle trip around India is going to be exciting, but there is something else to consider. Safety is an important issue when motorcycle touring in India and in our article about safety you will get to know the ins and out of motorcycle riding safety. With some simple precautions, you will have the trip of your lifetime!
How to deal with higher altitudes: At India’s higher altitudes, particularly the Leh region, altitude sickness can be an issue for some travelers. So it is advisable to know the risks and take proper precautions. If you are prepared, your trip will stay very enjoyable!
Once you make a slow ascent up into the higher elevations (above 8,000 feet), your body will begin to acclimate, but having the proper medications with you will greatly reduce any symptoms you may experience. Take along Diamox or Acetazolamide, and aspirin. If you do experience AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), with proper treatment, the symptoms will subside within 2-3 days.
Questions & Answers
Indian standard time is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT.
A travel day normally begins at 8 am with breakfast. Around 9 am, after a short briefing by the road captain, it’s time for the day’s riding, the mileage of which can vary quite a bit. Plenty of time will be available for lunch and coffee breaks, of course. Depending on the day’s mileage, we’ll reach the destination hotel between 3 and 4 pm.
Since our tours vary considerably, we may also hit the road at 8 am on high-mileage days – which is also nice, because then we have the whole day ahead of us.
You are not allowed to bring Indian currency into the country or take it out. You may bring the equivalent of up to US$ 5,000 in foreign currency into the country without prior notice. We recommend bringing euros in €50 and €100 notes. Please make a note of the daily exchange rate to avoid getting a bad rate at the airport. American Express Traveler’s Cheques are no longer in common use and will cause unnecessary hassles. Credit cards (Maestro, Visa and MasterCard) with PINs can be used for cash advances from ATMs in many towns.
You will need the equivalent of around €100 to €150 for drinks, lunch and tips per week.
Western food is generally not available, so we’ll be having simple, often vegetarian meals as well as regional specialties throughout the tour. Hearty breakfasts will not always be available. We can promise you a wide range of cuisine, with a special emphasis on local specialties. In general, a lot of curry is served in India, and little meat – chicken being the most common non-vegetarian food – but plenty of vegetables, legumes and rice. Indian cuisine is generally well-spiced, easily digestible and not overly hot. Vegetarians will have no problems in India.
Indian beer is not always up to international standards. The most common brands are Kingfisher, Castle and San Miguel. The local Chang beer is quite effective but requires a bit of getting used to. Wine – when it’s available – is even more of an acquired taste than Chang. Mineral water and beverages such as Coca Cola can be purchased anywhere and must be carried individually.
Indians drive on the left. The flexible and generally considerate driving style of the locals makes it easy to adjust to riding on the “wrong side” and coping with traffic conditions that initially seem chaotic. The behavior of pedestrians and cyclists, and the frequent presence of animals on the road call for considerably more attention, however. Extreme caution is required around children.
Further information on traffic and riding can be found here and here.
Technical specifications: Single-cylinder four-stroke, 499 cc, 16 kW (28 bhp) at 4,600 rpm, 178 kg, 80 cm seat height, 123 kph max.
Our Enfields were manufactured from 2013 to 2017 and are well-maintained. Naturally, some of them bear the minor battle scars typical of touring motorcycles. Technically, they are all in top shape and perfectly suited to the planned tours. They’re tremendous fun to ride, and their handling is safe and predictable after a brief familiarization period. Our average speeds on the tour range from 40 to 60 kph, depending on the road conditions and traffic.
Riders must make a deposit of USD/EUR 500.00 in cash for their bikes. The deposit will be refunded when the bike is returned in good condition. The deposit corresponds to the comprehensive insurance deductible for damage to the rented bike and damage or injuries to third parties caused by the rider.
(The deductible is payable in such cases!)
Important note: The deductible also applies to damage or injury to third parties. In practice, the rider is initially liable for the full damages. The costs are later refunded by the insurance company, minus the deductible.
European SIM cards now work almost everywhere in India. You’ll need patience if you want a local SIM card, as the registration takes a minimum of three days, and in some regions it is not possible at all.
Your baggage will be carried by the support vehicle. Please don’t pack too much – remember: less is more. From time to time, we’ll have to carry our baggage over short distances to the hotel. Baggage is not insured, so please be sure to purchase your own baggage insurance for the trip if necessary. Your personal items for the day are best kept in the saddlebags or your daypack. Tank bags – including magnetic ones – can be used on the Enfields, but we don’t provide them.
Simple street maps are often available locally. The best road maps are available from the German publishers Reise Know How and Nelles. These are only available in specialized bookstores or online.
All riders must have a valid motorcycle driving license issued in their home country. An international driving license is also required. Be sure to contact the relevant authorities in your home country well in advance for more information on obtaining an international driving license.
Up to 200 cigarettes and 2 liters of alcohol may be imported duty-free. All international cigarette and spirits brands are available in India. Customs checks of arriving tourists have become considerably less strict in recent years.
You will need your passport, national driving license, international driving license and flight ticket. Please be sure to make photocopies of all of your important travel documents and carry them separately. They can be invaluable in an emergency.
We ride 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets manufactured from 2014 to 2017 that feature electric starters, 5-speed gearboxes with the gearshift on the left, front disk brakes, roomy and rugged leather saddlebags, crashbars, 19” tires and twin horns.
Our European tour guides are skilled motorcyclists and inveterate travelers who love India. They’re resilient in the face of stress and know the history and culture of the regions they cover. Our Indian mechanics are experienced Enfield specialists who all speak English and are happy to help with any technical problem, great or small.
A stand-in rider is always available. More information on our travel concept is available here.
Groups generally consist of 8 to 14 riders and 2 to 6 passengers. The minimum number of participants is 6 riders.
Yes, all passengers have a guaranteed seat. In bad weather or challenging riding conditions, they can switch to the support vehicle at any time – and back to the bike when conditions improve.
Riding two-up is almost always possible. In difficult terrain or on rough tracks, every passenger has a guaranteed seat in the support vehicle to keep things relaxed for both rider and pillion.
We always recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover costs incurred if you need to cancel the trip due to illness or other reasons. When shopping for travel health insurance, make sure the policy covers the potentially high cost of medical evacuation to your home country. Both forms of insurance can save you a lot of money in an emergency and we recommend them unreservedly. In many countries, your national motoring organization can provide the coverage you need.
You will definitely want to bring your riding suit with protectors and a helmet. You will also need motorcycle boots or lighter riding shoes and gloves. While your gear should be breathable in hot climates, you need to be ready for anything at high altitudes and in the Himalayas. We recommend winter gloves, warm socks, liners for jackets and trousers, a scarf and face protection. Rain gear is a good idea if your riding suit is not waterproof.
Please note that we do not hire out clothing. We believe that your own riding gear will fit best and thus give you the best protection. If you forget anything, we’ll find a solution, however. We often have spare gear with us, or we can point you in the direction of a shop.
Visitors to India need a tourist visa, which you must obtain in advance.
Visas are not issued on arrival.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of your stay.
The e-Tourist Visa costs around 20 to 80 euros and you can apply for it online.
Important note: The terms for the e-Tourist Visa can be found here: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
The visa application itself can be found here: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/info1.jsp