Manali to Leh route is one of the most enjoyable section of the various hidden valleys of the Himalayas. The route offers all the ingredients of a perfect Adventure-Beautiful tarmac, High Passes, patches of bad roads, water-crossings, extreme-climate and some High Altitude sleeping nights. Riding through “the Highest Motorable Road in the world” at Khrdungla is an added bonus. You will pass through the Districts of Lahul & Spiti and Ladakh nested deeply inside remote Greater Himalayas.
The “land of High Passes”, is a Buddhist dominated region in the northern India. It was once an important strategic trade junction on Silkroute feeder routes. Due to high altitude and clear skies, the Ladakh offers a breath-taking panorama of Northern sky for astronomy enthusiasts.
When the Chinese authorities closed the borders in 1960s, the international trade diminished. But the tourism flourished. Today, Ladakh is the Mecca for Indian bikers.
Lahul & Spiti
A relatively greener and affluent region, the people of Lahul & Spiti are of Hindu and Buddhist religions, Primarily into agriculture and horticulture, you’ll surprised at their in-depth knowledge of the latest farming techniques round the world. The district boasts off the highest literacy rate in the state.
This ride is suitable for first-time riders in the Himalayas. Before you embark on any other route, we strongly recommend this route, atleast once, for all real riders.
Day 1: Arrive at Bhuntar Airport (50km, 1 Hour)
Landing at this airport is an experience on its own. We'll be waiting for you at the Arrival Gate. Transfer to Manali in cab or bus. Enjoy a quick breakfast and settle in the hotel.After a hectic schedule of past few days, you might like to rest a while. In the afternoon, join us for a Test Ride of the town and get used to your machine.
Day 2: Manali to Tandi(120km, 5-6 Hours)
Immediately after leaving the Manali town, you start ascent of the famed Manali-Leh highway. As Lady Panelop Chetwode in 1972 said, " if they can build this road, day won't be far when we have roads to Mt Everest". We leave upto you to discover her point of view. Pose for a photo opportunity at Rohtang Pass (3,979m), have first glimpse of Higher Himalayas and follow Chandra river to reach our picturesque camp-site at Tandi. Admire the location and feel awed.
Day 3: Tandi (Rest Day)
The rest day is intended for your body to get acclimatised to high altitude terrain, that you'll be riding in next few days. A well acclimatised body will tackle the altitude related complications more efficiently.
Visit local Gompa ( Buddhist Monastery) adjacent to the camp. You might like to take a walk towards Kardang village for brief reality check of your fitness. Or visit town of Keylong, if you wish to use Internet or ATMs or other tools of amusement of modern life.
Day 4: Tandi to Sarchu (120km, 5-6 Hours)
Ride along the Bhaga river while passing through small villages in Gar and Tod valley. After a short break at Darcha Police Check-Post, start the ascent of boulder strewn landscape of Baralacha La (4,890m) pass. This pass was one of the important junctions for traders coming from the valleys of Lahul, Spiti and Zanskar. The pass is windy and weather changes quickly. Our smoker friends might feel breathless and dizzy. The road has been under constructions for few years now. You have to "negotiate" the obstacles to arrive at the bottom of the pass. The welcome chai-stop at Bharatpur is godsend. The syrupy milk-tea never tasted so good!! Arrive at Sarchu Camp just before sunset. Sarchu was a must-halt campsite for caravans on this trade route. If you are lucky, you might spot few marmots on the ground. There are three families of marmots on the eastern corner of the the camp.
Sarchu (4,290m) is a high-Altitude sleeping night. Refrain from drinking and smoking.
Sleepless in Sarchu
Day 5:Sarchu to Leh (251km, 6-7 Hours)
Depending on how good you sleep was, each of you will remember this day differently. First few hours on the road are bad, then it gets worst before it gets better. You will cross three high altitude passes Nakee La (4,739m), Lachalung La (5,059m) and Tanglang La (5,328m) in quick succession. By this time you are getting used to those Border Road Organisation (BRO) road signs. Notice interesting names like Brandy Nallah, Whisky Nallah and Gata Loops on the way. If you are inquisitive type, ask our guides about the history and background of these names.
The roads after Tanglang La are delightful. Just check your brakes and let it go. Reach the town of Leh by evening and enjoy hot shower in the hotel.
Day 6: Leh - Rest Day
Today is a well deserved rest day. Explore the town of Leh on foot.Take short-cut up from Masjid and negotiate narrow bylanes and hike upto Leh Royal Palace. Museum is ordinary, but the view of Leh town from balcony window is great. If you are lucky, you might see a polo game in progress towards east of the town. Visit sacred Datun Miswak Sahib on main market behind Masjid, below the Palace. This is the largest and oldest tree in Leh. Said to be planted by Guru Nanak Singh. In the evening visit Shanti Stupa. It was built by Japanese monks in 1991 to promote World Peace. The Sunset from Shanti Stupa is beautiful. Leh offer plenty of eating options. Ask our guide for your choice of cuisine.
Day 7: Leh to Nubra (120km, 6 Hours)
You’ll be driving on Khardung la road, one of the highest motorable road in the world. Notice the changing landscape with each bend in the road. The Ladakh Ranges open up and offer glimpses of Zanskar range mountain peaks in far south-west horizon. After crossing the South Pulu, road winds up in tight turns and you gain altitude quickly. At Khardung La (5,359m), take a break. Click pictures with sign-board proclaiming “Highest Road in the World”. It looks great on your Social Media profile. Also, eating a bowl of Maggi and sipping black tea at the café is a sacred ritual. All passes in Himalayas experience high velocity winds. So don’t panic if you are having a bad-hair day.
Once you cross the pass, you’ll descend into Nubra Valley, the Valley of Flowers. Notice the change in temperature and wind conditions. The river flowing through the valley is Shyok (Sha-yok). The river floods often create havoc in Nubra valley, destroying large parts of villages and their fields. There are many old songs in Nubra which refer to the power of the Shyok where miles of fertile lands were turned into infertile sandy desert. Nubra valley is at lower altitude than Leh and relatively warmer and greener. Stay at a comfortable tented resort at Hunder.
Day 8: Nubra to Leh (120km, 6 Hours)
The attraction of Nubra valley is the Sand Dunes and Double Humped Bactrian camels. Ride Double humped Bactrian camel at Sandunes close to the your camp. Popularly known as Camel Safari, they charge on hourly basis. These camels are the relics of ancient trade route from Leh-Nubra to Baltistan, Yarkand & Khotan; very important junctions on Silk-route. Now the trade is gone, but these magnificent creatures still survive. Its great fun to ride these camels with full-riding gear and helmet. On the way back, "do" Khardung la again. This time, the Maggi and Tea are optional.
Day 9: Leh to Lamayuru (110km, 5 Hours)
Toady you will visit Lamayuru on Leh-Srinagar Highway. This is a beautiful section of the road passing through rugged Ladakhi terrain and beautiful tiny villages. Notice how the mud houses blend with the landscape. You might stop at Magnetic Hill for a photo opportunity. The selfies at this spot too look great on your social media profile.
Lamayuru is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Ladakh with more than 150 monks in permanent residency. The smooth tarmac twisties along the river Indus are a bikers' delight. Keep your camera handy. You must be really talented to take bad pictures on this route.
Day 10: Lamayuru to Kargil (110km, 5 Hours)
Kargil is beautiful town situated on the bank of river Indus. It is the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. Unlike rest of Ladakh, the population is majority Muslims. The people of Kargil are of Balti origin which is mixed descent of Dard and Tibetan. People followed Tibetan Buddhism till 14th century.
This sleepy town came to international fame when Pakistani forces infiltrated the region and the conflict became the full-fledged Kargil War in 1999.
Day 11:Kargil to Leh (220km, 7-8 Hours)
Today is your last riding day in Himalayas. Just ride non-stop from Kargil to Leh.
Day 12: Leh - Rest Day
You have earned a well deserved rest. It's time for that last minute shopping for the souvenirs. Pack your riding gear.
Day 13: Fly to Delhi
Fly to Delhi to catch your onwards flights back home. Smile.
Accommodation on Double/Twin Sharing Basis. Single room supplement extra
Meals – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (as per itinerary)
Tea/Coffee, Snacks on all riding days
Bottled Drinking water (2 bottles per person per day of 750 ml each)
Bikes rental – Royal Enfield 500cc
Tour Leader, Tour Guides and Local Guides
Breakdown Assistance Vehicle with Spare parts
Fuel, Oils and General Maintenance
Transfer from Airport to Hotel on arrival
All travel Permits and entrance Fees for public attractions
Prices inclusive of all taxes
Room Service, Laundry Services
Medicines and Toiletries
Tips and Gratuities
Anything NOT mentioned in Inclusions