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.
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.
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.
Solid riding skills, a sense of adventure and flexibility are a must when taking part in our Himalaya motorcycle expeditions, which cover around 1700 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 virtu 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 forward to great biking adventure.
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 stand 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 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.
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 rugterrain. 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 stuff of a cult bike. Our talented mechanics have the tuning skills to ensure that our Bullets keep going strong, even at the highest altitudes.
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 relati 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 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 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 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 In 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 whole tour without a rigid schedule thanks to our flexible camps.
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 350 km north of Delhi to Kasauli.
Today we'll get introduce 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 ro along the picturesque to Mandi
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-cap peaks. Next, we'll get to know the crew and the immediate vicinity. Group dinner.
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 overlooking the old town. Overnight in the stylish, comfortable Resort overlooking the bustling town.
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 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 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 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).
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 by reaching the Sarchu Valley checkpost.
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. 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 in the first Ladakhi village.
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.
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 overloo Leh. We’ll be having dinner in a restaurant with a beer .
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 qui 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, breathtaking views, remote oasis villages and rugged river landscapes.
Morning visit to Diskit. Monastery and bikeing day trip.
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 oas 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 house. Our crew will set up its kitchen tent in the garden and serve us a delicious meal.
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 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.
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 afternoon and night in Leh.
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 city. We’ll take time for sightseeing in the bazaars of Old and New 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 fare dinner in a Tandoori restaurant, followed by the transfer to the airport.
We'll reach the airport around midnight. Depending on your destination, you'll be arriving at home in the morning or afternoon.
We ride new 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet Motorcycles featuring electric starters, 5-speed gearboxes with the gearshift on the left, front disk brakes, large, rugged leather saddlebags, crashbars and twin horns. If you would like to ride a Classic Bullet with a kickstarter, 4-speed gearbox and gearshift on the right, we can arrange that as well.
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.