Roads to Heaven Motorcycle Tour2020-11-22T09:58:53+00:00
Map of Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour

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. 1,600 kilometres in 16 days will give us the time to savour a great new motorcycle adventure featuring the full diversity of the Indian Himalayas and daily highlights.

This new motorcycle tour through northern India is a classic in the making, with a challenging route linking the most exciting regions of the Indian Himalayas. Our journey will start in Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama. The first stretch will take us over Saach Pass where we’ll descend into the wild Chenab and Pangi Valleys. This “cliff hanger”route is considered to be one of the most exciting routes on the planet. Look forward to the adventurous roads of the Himalayas in the Chenab Gorge and the spectacular Saach Pass – both will test your riding skills and require nerves of steel. Between the rugged tracks and the breath taking scenery, you’ll be hitting some intense adrenaline levels. We will continue riding on the Manali-Ladakh Highway, which we call the “Highway to Heaven”. Most of the road is tarmac now, but still amazing with enough challenges over 4 major passes above 5,000 meters in altitude.

A rest day in Leh, capital of Ladakh, is a well-deserved treat. From here we’ll ride to Zanskar, one of the most remote regions of the Himalayas. Cresting the newly opened Sisir La and Singge La Passes we will arrive into Zanskar’s headquarter’s Padum. In addition to spectacular landscapes, this motorcycle tour through Ladakh and Zanskar will take us to testaments to the region’s Buddhist heritage such as Bardan Monastery, the temple of Karsha and the mystical, abandoned Zangla Palace, towering over wild valleys and gorges. We continue to Darcha in Lahaul via the freshly carved Shingo La Pass, taking us to a dizzying altitude of 5,105 meters. It is 148 kilometres of an extremely rugged track that will open entirely new vistas to us. We’ve scheduled the tour for the best possible season, as the high passes are only open for a very short time between the monsoon and the onset of winter.

This guided motorbike tour is for experienced off-roaders and dirt bikers only. We also organise Leh Ladakh Motorbike Tours , Spiti Valley Motorcycle Tour and the Golden Himalaya Tour all along the Himalaya route.

Roads to Heaven Motorcycle Tour Highlights

  • McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Tibetans in exile and the Dalai Lama, located high above Dharamsala
  • Khajjiar hill station, through the foothills of Himachal Pradesh
  • Across the notorious Saach Pass (4,450 m) into the Chinab Valley via the “most adventurous road” near Killar
  • Manali-Ladakh road known as the “Highway to Heaven” over 4 major passes.
  • From the Likir Snake Buddha monastery via Hemis Shukpachan to Tingmosgang, crossing the newly built Meptak La Pass (4,030 m)
  • Over the Sisir La ( 4,790 m) & Singge La (5,060 m) passes into Zanskar Valley
  • A day off for the most beautiful monasteries in Zanskar: Bardan, Karsha and the mystical, abandoned palace of Zangla
  • Over the newly built Shingo La Pass Trail (5,105 m) from Zanskar directly to Lahaul, 150 km of new adventures
  • Leh, the Tibetan-Buddhist capital of Ladakh with its narrow old town alleys and dreamlike landscapes

We tackle ten high altitude road passes on this tour:

4,450 m | Sach Pass – the toughest motorable pass in Himachal
5,030 m | Baralach La – Challenging and very scenic pass on the Manali – Leh road
4,739 m | Nakee La – Via never ending hairpin bends
5,065 m | Lachung La
5,390 m | Tanglang La – the second-highest pass in the world
4,790 m | Sisir La
5,060 m | Sengge La
5,105 m | Shingo La – Recently opend between Zanskar and Lahul
3,980 m | Rohtang Pass
4,030 m | Meptak La Pass

2021
11.09. – 26.09.

Enfield Bullet 500:
2020: 2.990€ | 2021: 3.550€
Pillion:
2020: 2.690€ | 2021: 3.090€
Single Room:
2020: 650€ | 2021: 690€

16 days / 15 nights

Mid-range ccommodations. Boutique guesthouses and mountain lodges with character and style.

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Roads to Heaven Motorcycle Tour

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi, connecting flight to Dharamsala.

During the day there will be time to relax or visit the Norbulingka cultural centre. The Norbulingka Institute was founded in 1995 to preserve Tibetan culture, art, crafts and literature. Today, it is home to numerous workshops of artists and craftsmen, as well as a gallery. Buying the beautiful handicrafts for sale is a great way to support Tibetan culture and Tibetans in exile. In the evening, we’ll get together for a welcome dinner at the Roof Top Bar. Night in Dharamsala.

Flight to Leh
Road to the Hemis and Tikkse Monasteries

Day 2: Warming-Up-Tour

Today, we’ll start with a warm-up ride on our Royal Enfield motorcycles. In the afternoon we visit McLeod Ganj, in the upper reaches of Dharamsala. Thousands of Tibetans in exile and monks have been living here since the 1950s. The town features a wealth of small bookstores, cafes and restaurants offering authentic Tibetan food. It is also the Dalai Lama’s residence. After dinner we return to our hotel which is located in Dharamsala in a peaceful location, 12 km away from a rather congested McLeod Ganj.

Distance covered: approx. 50 km

Day 3: Via Jot to Khajjiar in Chamba Valley

Start of our tour; the big adventure ride. We drive on small roads over the Jot Pass to Khajjiar, also named “mini-Switzerland”. Khajjiar is famous for its huge meadow and a tiny lake surrounded by cedar forest. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. We’ll spend the night in a Resort, located in this peaceful forest.

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

Snake Buddha statue at Likir Monastery
Road to Kargil via Fotu La Pass

Day 4: To Bairagarh

Today we ride to the “end” of the Valley and will stay overnight in the last village down from the Saach Pass. It will be a day of mostly riding uphill with many hairpin bends.

Stay in a basic hotel in Bairagarh overlooking Chamba valley

Distance covered: approx. 110 km

Day 5: Over Saach Pass to Killar

Today promises pure adventure: The route we’ll take today is considered to be one of the most adventurous and challenging roads of the Himalayas. Saach Pass, which crests at 4,450 meters and is mostly unpaved, will raise the pulse of any rider. Another day of pure adventure! Today’s destination, Killar in Pangi Valley, is one of the most remote corners of the region. Hotel in Killar.

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

Kargil to Rangdum road
Road to Padum, Zanskar over Penzi La Pass

Day 6: Into Lahaul Valley.

Today we ride out of Killar into the Pangi Valley, one of the most remote corners of the region. The condition of the roads that wind through narrow gorges and along the River Chinab are spectacular. Evening spent in a hotel at the most scenic village of Jispa at the end of the Lahual Valley.

Distance covered: approx. 140 km

Day 7: Riding the “Highway to Heaven”

A challenging day today with a long day ride ahead. We therefor start very early morning and we’ll have our breakfast and lunch on the way. We will be riding the Manali-Ladakh Highway, which we call the “Highway to Heaven”. Most of the road is tarmac now, but still amazing with enough challenges… Over four Major passes into the Indus valley in Ladakh. The first one being the Baralacha La 5,030 meters, the second one is the Nakee La 4,739 meters. The third Pass is the Lachung La 5,065 meters. And last but not least, we ride over the Tanglang La 5,328 meters (known as world’s second highest motorable pass). Descending down from Tanglang la, we will start seeing signs of habitation of the Ladakh region. We will stay in a guest house in one of the first village, Lato.

Distance covered: approx. 270 km

Panoramic view of Zanskar Valley
From Padum, Zanskar to Darcha via Shingo La Pass

Day 8: To Leh via Himis

We will ride via Ladakh’s most famous monasteries, Hemis and Tikkse, in the upper Indus Valley. Hemis Monastery was founded in the tenth century and is closely associated with the Yogi Naropa, founder of the esoteric Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Afterwards, we’ll ride back to Leh for the night. Dinner will be served in the beer garden of a local restaurant in Leh. Hotel in Leh.

Distance covered: approx. 100 km

Day 9: Leh

Relaxing day in our simple but charming and centrally located hotel, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and acclimatize. Later, we’ll explore the area on a walk to the Shanti Stupa (pagoda), and there will be a delicious dinner in the hotel garden in the evening. Leh, the former capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, is located at an altitude of 3,524 meters in a broad valley surrounded by the tall mountain ranges of the Himalayas. The city was closely linked to Tibet, China and India via an important historical trade route along the Indus Valley. In addition to produces such as salt, precious goods such as brocades, cashmere wool, silk and indigo were traded. The mighty old royal palace built around 1600, which overlooks Leh and is open to the public, remains an impressive testimony to the former might of the kingdom.

From Darcha to Keylong
Road from Keylong to Killar

Day 10: To Tingmosgang via Likir and Sham Valley

Our adventure continues with a relaxed ride down into the western Indus Valley. We’ll visit the ruins and temples of the ancient royal palace of Basgo and the mighty Snake Buddha statue at Likir Monastery. We’ll climb the narrow mountain roads to the village Yang Tang on our Bullets and continue over a small nameless mountain pass to Hemis Supachen, famous for its ancient holy forest of juniper trees. We’ll reach the oasis of Tingmosgang and spend the night in a hotel set in an amazing and peaceful location.

Distance covered: approx. 110 km

Day 11: Into Zanskar Valley

Into the Zanskar valley via the newly opened dirt road over the Sisir La and Sengge La Passes, which will form a big challenge as the dusty road has been newly carved with many hair pin bends and sharp turns. Padum was named after Padmasambhava, Guru Rimpoche (“born of the lotus”), an influential 8th-century Buddhist teacher. He is still revered today and his texts are studied in all Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. Night in a comfortable hotel in Padum.

Distance covered: approx. 200 km

 Killar to Kisthwar Road
Killar to Bairagar via Saach Pass

Day 12: Exploring Zanskar Valley

Today we’ll enjoy the beautiful valley of Zanskar. We’ll ride to some of the most beautiful monasteries of the region, savouring the most breath taking views and experiencing Tibetan Buddhist culture first-hand. An exciting ride on fantastic tracks will take us to Bardan Monastery, the temple of Karsha and, of course, the mystical, abandoned palace of Zangla, once the seat of the Kingdom of Zanskar and explore local life of Zanskari people. Back to our hotel in Padum.

Distance covered: approx. 80 km

Day 13: Padum to Keylong via Shingo La Pass (5.105m)

One of the highlights of the Wild Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour – and we mean that literally. We’ll take a brand new off road over the recently opened Shingo La Pass, reaching an altitude of 5,105 meters. Today’s ride is not to be taken lightly. Crossing this pass is a serious adventure – many will find it a true challenge. Spend the night in Keylong.

Distance covered: approx. 180 km

Bairagarh to Dalhousie Road
Dalhousie to McLeod Ganj Road

Day 14: Keylong to Naggar

Over the Rohtang pass, “the toughest pass”, back into the lush green Kullu valley. For lunch, we’ll divert to the ski slopes of the Solang Valley, from where it will take us an hour and a half to our base in Naggar. Spend the night in our Home Base in Naggar. Naggar is a traditional and peaceful Hindu village in Himachal Pradesh, 500 km from Delhi. It lies in the heart of the Western Himalayas, in the Kullu valley. Because this area is so beautiful, the Gods – according to the Hindu belief – chose this valley to be their home. That’s why it is still called “The Valley of the Gods”. Naggar was once the capital of the region, hence the picturesque Naggar Castle. You feel immediately at home in Hotel Ragini and Cottages, your homely stay. In and around Naggar, at 1760 meters, thousand-years-old Hindu temples lie scattered around. The view on the valley, the rice fields, the forests and the villages around with their unique culture is breath taking.

Hotel Ragini Cottages Where is it better staying than in a cosy family-run Hotel Ragini and its Cottages? Ragini offers you a home where the friendly staffs are always ready for you. The rooftop restaurant with view on the eternal snowy peaks serves local and western cuisine. Ragini lies in the middle of the village in the heart of Kullu valley but far away from the modern and hectic life.

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

 

Day 15: Free Day in Naggar

A well-deserved free day to unwind, let the impressions from the riding days sink in and kiss our bikes goodbye. Private farewell BBQ dinner around the campfire.

 Road to McLeod Ganj
Sightseeing at McLeod Ganj

Day 16: Home, Sweet Home

Returning home with lots of memories. Early morning taxis or minibus to the airport from where we take the flight to Delhi for our connecting international flight home. Or stay on for more relaxing days in our Home Stay in Naggar.

Don’t Miss Out On a Wonderful Experience

Book your Tour Now – Roads to Heaven

We can accommodate only 14 motorbikes on this tour.

Since our tours get filled up fast, please book our Roads to Heaven Motorcycle Tour now to avoid disappointment.

Our Next available tours are as follows:

2021
11.09. – 26.09.

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Questions & Answers

Do I need a visa for India?2019-12-18T06:33:21+00:00

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

What do I need to bring along for a motorcycle tour?2020-01-06T11:30:46+00:00

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.

Do I need travel insurance and travel health insurance?2019-12-18T06:24:21+00:00

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.

What should I keep in mind when riding with a passenger?2019-12-18T06:24:20+00:00

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.

Do pillion passengers have a guaranteed seat in the support vehicle?2019-12-18T06:24:16+00:00

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.

How big are the groups? What’s the minimum number of participants?2019-12-18T06:24:15+00:00

Groups generally consist of 8 to 14 riders and 2 to 6 passengers. The minimum number of participants is 6 riders.

What’s the Classic Bike Adventure travel team like?2019-12-18T06:24:12+00:00

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.

What kind of bikes will we ride?2019-12-18T06:24:12+00:00

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.

What do I need in the way of documents?2019-12-18T06:24:09+00:00

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.

What are the import regulations for India?2019-12-18T06:32:08+00:00

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.

Do I need a driving license?2019-12-18T06:24:05+00:00

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.

Will I need maps?2019-12-18T06:31:37+00:00

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.

Where can I stow my bags?2019-12-18T06:24:02+00:00

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.

Do I need to buy an Indian SIM card for my phone?2019-12-18T06:30:59+00:00

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.

How much is the deposit for the bike?2019-12-18T06:24:00+00:00

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.

What are the specs of the bikes?2019-12-18T06:23:59+00:00

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.

On which side do you ride in India?2020-01-14T22:21:09+00:00

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.

What kind of food and drinks will we be having in India?2019-12-18T06:29:54+00:00

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.

Should I bring Indian rupees to India, or are US dollars preferable?2019-12-18T06:29:18+00:00

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.

What’s a typical day on the road like?2019-12-18T06:22:49+00:00

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.

What’s the time difference?2019-12-18T06:28:18+00:00

Indian standard time is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT.

Included Services2020-11-20T21:27:47+00:00

Included Services

  • All airport transfers
  • Domestic flights Delhi – Dharamsala – Kullu/Manali – Delhi
  • All accommodations in double/twin rooms, with en-suite bathroom. Mid range options and guesthouses (always best possible hotels at the destinations).
  • Breakfast, lunch snack, dinner (without beverages)
  • Drinking water in the service vehicle
  • Rental motorcycle Enfield Bullet 500 cc with comprehensive insurance with a retention of EUR/US$ 500, motorcycle touring kit, electronic starter Bullets
  • Seats in the service vehicle for pillions
  • Experienced English speaking tour guide on own motorcycle
  • Experienced motorcycle mechanic (spare rider who can ride your bike in case of need)
  • All road and bridge tolls, entrance admission fees for sights for the entire program

Excluded services:

  • International flights from/to Delhi
  • All beverages (beside drinking water which is always carried in the service vehicle)
  • Optional tips for guide and mechanic, souvenirs, shopping
  • India tourist e-visa (around € 65)
  • Travel rescission costs and repatriation insurance

Tour Concept by RC Vinod

About RC Vinod