Into the Wilds of Zanskar and Ladakh2020-02-22T12:01:19+00:00
Map of Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour

PILOT TOUR: Into the Wilds of Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour

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.

1,500 kilometers in 16 days will give us the time to savor 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 Ladakh, in the town of Leh, from where we’ll ride via Kargil to Zanskar, one of the most remote regions of the Himalayas. Cresting the newly opened Shingo La Pass, we’ll descend to Lahaul, where the wild Chenab and Pangi valleys await us. The route to Kishtwar is considered to be one of the most exciting roads on the planet. Crossing Saach Pass, we’ll continue to Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the end point of our tour.

The two truly challenging passes – the newly built Shingo La Pass and Saach Pass, which has been open for a couple of years now – are guaranteed to put a grin on the faces of even the most hardened riders.

In addition to spectacular landscapes, this Indian 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.

Look forward to the “most dangerous road” of the Himalayas in Chenab Gorge and the spectacular Saach Pass – both will test your riding skills and require nerves of steel. Between the rugged tracks and the breathtaking scenery, you’ll be hitting some intense adrenaline levels.

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.

Wild Zanskar & Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour Highlights

  • From the Likir Snake Buddha monastery via Hemis Shukpachan to Tingmosgang, crossing the newly built Meptak La Pass (4,030 m)
  • Over the Fotu La Pass (4,120 m) to Kargil
  • Over the Penzi La Pass (4,400 m) 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, 140 km of new adventures
  • Through the Chenab valley to Killar, and then a day trip on the “most dangerous road”, Killar – Kishtwar
  • Across the notorious Saach Pass (4,450 m) into Chamba Valley, long a highlight of our Spiti tours
  • Dalhousie hill station, through the foothills of Himachal
  • McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Tibetans in exile and the Dalai Lama, high above Dharamsala

15.09. – 30.09.2020

11.09. – 26.09.2021

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 / 13 riding days

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

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Pilot Tour: Into the Wilds of Zanskar & Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour

Day 1: Flight to Leh* and acclimatization

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 foodstuffs 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. The spectacular view on the flight to Leh is already a highlight at the start of the Wild Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour. In Leh, a taxi driver from Hotel Bijoo will meet you at the airport with a sign. After the transfer to our simple but charming and centrally located tour hotel, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and acclimatize. Our guide will meet you at the hotel. Later, we’ll explore the area on a walk to the Shanti Stupa (pagoda), and there will be a delicious welcome dinner in the hotel garden in the evening.
*International arrival: before 2:00 am at Delhi International Airport. Depending on the airline, the journey continues from there. Jet Airways, Vistara and Air India depart to Leh from the same terminal, T3. After passing immigration and getting your bags through customs, go up one floor to check in for the domestic flight.

Flight to Leh
Road to the Hemis and Tikkse Monasteries

Day 2: Warming-Up-Day Motorcycle tour to the Hemis and Tikkse Monasteries

Our first excursion with our Royal Enfield motorcycles takes us to two of Ladakh’s most famous monasteries, Hemis and Tikkse, in the upper Indus Valley. We’ll get to know the bikes on a warm-up run and enjoy the beautiful views. 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.

Distance covered: approx. 90 km

Day 3: Start of the tour to Alchi – Basgo, Likir und Hemis Supachen

The Ladakh tour begins 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 Alchi, on the banks of the Indus river, at 3,200 meters. There we’ll spend the night in the comfortable, typical Zimskhang Holiday Home, a cozy guest house in an apricot garden. We’re only a few steps away from Ladakh’s oldest monastery, which today houses a cultural history museum with beautiful temple paintings. Dinner in the garden restaurant.

Distance covered: approx. 130 km

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

Day 4: Alchi -Kargil via Fotu La Pass (4.120m)

A stop at the Lamayuru monastery on the way to Kargil. The monastery is at an altitude of 3,510 meters and inhabited by nearly 150 monks.

Kargil, the second-largest town in Ladakh, is nestled in a green valley along the banks of the Suru river, which is better known as the Indus.

Distance covered: approx. 160 km

Day 5: Kargil – Rangdum: remote valleys and glaciers

The roads get rougher the closer we get to remote sections of the Suru Valley near Rangdum – and some of them will become really challenging. A gorgeous landscape awaits us at Rangdum: on one side, verdant countryside with grassland and grazing sheep, on the other, rugged mountains and the forbidding Drang-Drung glacier. This is the land of the Bakarwal nomads, who drive their herds from Jammu to this remote Himalayan region in the summer.

While Rangdum has neither electricity nor telephone service or internet access, it does have the Rangdum Gompa – a monastery.

Distance covered: approx. 130 km

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

Day 6: Rangdum – Padum: over Penzi La Pass to Zanskar

In Rangdum, we’ll ride our Royal Enfield bullets up the valley to Penzi La Pass, reaching an altitude of 4,400 meters. Penzi La is the gate to Zanskar. Padum is the cultural and administrative center of Zanskar and has been one of two seats of the Kingdom of Zanskar – together with nearby Zangla – since time immemorial. 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.

Distance covered: approx. 100 km

Day 7: Padum – A day in Zanskar

Today we’ll enjoy the beautiful valley of Zanskar. We’ll ride to some of the most beautiful monasteries of the region, savoring the most breathtaking 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.

Distance covered: approx. 100 km

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

Day 8: Padum to Darcha via Shingo La Pass (5.105m)

One of the high points of the Wild Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour – and we mean that literally. We’ll take a brand new route 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.

Our destination, Darcha, is located at the Bhaga river in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

Distance covered: approx. 140 km

Day 9: Darcha to Keylong

A short ride to Keylong. We’re leaving the high Himalayas behind at this point, returning to the foothills of the mighty mountains.

In Keylong, we’ll visit the impressive Kardang Monastery.

Distance covered: approx. 60 km

From Darcha to Keylong
Road from Keylong to Killar

Day 10: Keylong – Killar

Today’s destination, Killar in Pangi Valley, is one of the most remote corners of the region. The condition of the roads that wind through narrow gorges and along rivers are a foretaste of the next two days!

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

Day 11: Killar – Kisthwar Road – peak adrenaline!

Today promises pure adventure: The route to Kishtwar is considered to be one of the most dangerous and challenging roads of the Himalayas.

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

 Killar to Kisthwar Road
Killar to Bairagar via Saach Pass

Day 12: Killar – Bairagar via Saach Pass

Saach Pass, which crests at 4,450 meters and is for the most part completely unpaved, will raise the pulse of any rider. Another day of pure adventure!

Distance covered: approx. 100 km

Day 13: Bairagarh – Dalhousie

Dalhousie, a charming hill station stretching across five hills, dates back to the British colonial era. This easy riding day will bring us closer to our final destination, and we’ll celebrate our return to civilization with a cold beer and good food.

Distance covered: approx. 110 km

Bairagarh to Dalhousie Road
Dalhousie to McLeod Ganj Road

Day 14: Dalhousie – Dharamshala – McLeod Ganj

Today we’ll reach the Dalai Lama’s home in exile, 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. Its special vibe makes it the perfect place to wrap up our motorcycle tour through Ladakh, Lahaul and Zanskar.

Distance covered: approx. 120 km

Day 15: Dharamshala – McLoed Ganj – sightseeing day

We have a full day to explore the Norbulingka Institute, which is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture, the Dalai Lama Temple, and the many small sights of the place – and of course for souvenir shopping.

 Road to McLeod Ganj
Sightseeing at McLeod Ganj

Day 16: Flight to Delhi

The final leg of the Wild Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour is the flight from Dharamsala to Delhi. Time for our farewell dinner and a visit to the Royal Enfield Flagship Store in New Delhi, followed by your flight home.

No hotel today.

Don’t Miss Out On a Wonderful Experience

Book your Tour Now – Into the Wilds of Zanskar and Ladakh

We can accommodate only 14 motorbikes on this tour.

Since our tours get filled up fast, please book our Into the Wilds of Zanskar and Ladakh Himalaya Motorcycle Tour now to avoid disappointment.

Our Next available tours are as follows:

2020
15.09. – 30.09.

2021
11.09. – 26.09.

Book Now

Questions & Answers

Included Services2020-01-15T09:01:08+00:00

Included Services

  • All airport transfers
  • Domestic flights Delhi – Leh and Dharamsala – 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
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.

Tour Concept by RC Peter

About RC Peter