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Departure: New Delhi
Duration: 21 Days
Trip Grade: Demanding - Stenuous

Ladakh is a land of staggering proportions, set amongst some of the world's highest peaks. With scenery ranging from lunar landscapes to fertile plains, and inhabited mostly by Buddhist Tibetans, Ladakh is a world away from the rest of India. Starting at the magnificent Golden Temple in Amritsar we begin the climb to Ladakh slowly, giving ourselves time to adapt to both Indian road conditions and our Royal Enfield Bullets. Suitably acclimatised, we then take on the daunting Manali-Leh road, definitely one of the world's top ten rides and a unique motorcycling challenge. The nature of the roads, which are unmade for a significant portion of this tour, and the high altitudes encountered make this tour unsuitable for beginners or less experienced riders.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Arrive in Delhi, train to Amritsar
You'll be met at the airport and taken to a hotel for a chance to rest before boarding the Shatabdi Express, an airconditioned, “superfast” train (remember this is India!), at 16.30. Arriving in Amritsar at 22.10, you'll be immediately transferred to a comfortable hotel.

Day 02: Day in Amritsar
You'll be introduced to your 500cc Enfield Bullet after breakfast, and will spend the rest of the morning getting acquainted! After a briefing and a short excursion in the vicinity of the hotel, your first “real” ride will take you the 28km to Wagah, the only open border between India and Pakistan. The gates between the two countries are closed shortly before sunset every night, and the border guards from each side take great pride in vying to outdo each other in the elaborateness of their closing ceremony, quite a spectacle! From there we'll ride back to the comfort of our hotel in Amritsar.

Day 03: Amritsar to Dharamsala (200 km)
Amritsar's main attraction, and one of India's most impressive sights, is the Golden Temple, the spiritual centre of the Sikh religion. Impressive at any time of day, the temple is absolutely stunning at dawn, so we'll have to rouse ourselves early to make sure we get there! We'll head back to the hotel for breakfast and then hit the road, arriving in Dharamsala some 200 km later. Once there we should have time to visit the seat of his holiness the Dalai Lama, and to see the Tibetan government in exile.

Day 04: Dharamsala to Naggar (235km)
A beautiful day's ride ends in the Kullu Valley at historic Naggar Castle, once a royal palace and now a well-appointed hotel.

Day 05: Day in the Kullu Valley
A chance to relax and explore Kullu Valley ahead of the rigours of the road to Ladakh. Manali, a short, scenic ride from Naggar, has become a centre for adventure-minded travellers, well worth a look!

Day 06: Naggar to Jispa (170km)
The real fun begins! Today sees us head skywards over Rohtang-La, at 3,978m the first of the high mountain passes on our way to Leh. This section is prone to rain which, combined with stretches of unmade road, can make riding conditions tricky.

Day 07: Jispa to Pang (200km)
An unforgettable day. The passes get higher, including Baralacha-La at 4,830m and Lachulang-La at 5,060m, as the scenery gets more and more incredible. Less chance of rain, but river crossings and some decidedly unmade road make riding a challenge, as you'd expect from one of the world's more remote regions.

Day 08: Pang to Leh (200km)
The day starts with a zip along the strangely flat More Plains, an odd sensation at 4,200m! From there we head ever upwards, finally topping out at Tanglang-La, literally breathtaking at 5,360m up. After the lunar landscapes of the previous two days, the descent in to Ladakh valley brings a welcome splash of colour, not to mention tarmac! We finish the day in legendary Leh, capital of Ladakh and one of the most peaceful and hospitable places on earth, in fact the perfect place to recover from the journey to get there!

Day 09: Day in Leh/Hemis
A chance to take a well-earned rest and, if so inclined, to witness the world-renowned Hemis Festival. Commemorating the birth of the renowned Indian sage, Padmasambhava, this is one of the highlights of the Ladhaki calendar.

Day 10: Leh to the Nubra Valley (approx. 100km)
As roads go, they don't go any higher than this! Today sees us summit the mighty Khardung-La, the world's highest motorable road at 5,602m. Coming down the other side we enter the surreal landscape of the Nubra Valley – where else can you see hot springs, sand dunes and wild camels against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks?

Day 11: Day in the Nubra Valley
Two excursions from our campsite base today. The first takes us to the fascinating village of Hunder, and then from there on to Panamik and a chance to soak in the village's famous hot springs.

Day 12: Nubra Valley to Alchi (170km)
Back over Khardung-La, and then bypassing Leh we'll head west along the Indus Valley to Alchi and it's intriguing old Tibetan monastery, or ‘gompa'.

Day 13: Alchi to Leh (70km)
A short ride today, and a last chance to savour the unique pleasures of both Ladakh's amazing landscapes and the experience of seeing them from the saddle of an Enfield Bullet!

Day 14: Leh to Delhi
An early morning flight to Delhi leaves time for some final sightseeing or shopping before heading to the airport for flights home, all the best!

PLEASE NOTE: we also offer this tour in reverse, ie from Leh to Delhi. The route is exactly the same as the one outlined above, with more time spent in Leh at the beginning in order to acclimatise to both the altitude and the bikes!

THREE WEEK BIKE/TREK OPTION

For those with a little more time to spare, we also offer the chance to combine the amazing motorbike ride outlined above with an eight-day trek through one of Ladakh's most beautiful valleys. The tour will be the same as the one described at the top (ie starting with a train ride to Amritsar), with the exception that we will not be stopping for a day in the Kullu Valley on Day 5. This means that we will arrive in Leh on Day 7, have a day there, and then proceed as follows:

Day 09: Leh to Lamayuru via Alchi (130km)
A beautiful day's ride along the banks of the Indus River gives us the chance to visit two of Ladakh's best known monasteries. Whilst Alchi's is relatively modest but historically fascinating, the “gompa” at Lamayuru is spectacularly set on a hillside and dominates the entire area.

Day 10: Start of trek
Today we set out on foot for Padum, on the other side of the Zanskar Valley. This trek will require a reasonable level of fitness, particularly given that we will be crossing a number of mountain passes, the highest of which is 5,050m high! It will take us eight days to reach Padum; in the meantime our bikes will have been transported by truck to meet us.

Day 18: Padum to Zuljdor (100km)
We'll have a lazy morning while we recover from the trek, and then get back on the bikes to tackle the rough but short trip to Zuljdor. Our campsite there has some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Ladakh, all the room have amazing views!

Day 19: Zuljdor to Mulbekh (140km)
The road continues to be rough as far as Kargil, where things improve considerably. From there it's a smooth ride to Mulbekh, and more sensational scenery.

Day 20: Mulbekh to Leh (200km)
A final ride along the well-maintained road of the Indus Valley takes us back to Leh and the end of our motorbike journey. By both riding and trekking through Ladakh you'll have had a unique opportunity to get to know this most amazing of areas.

Day 21: Leh to Delhi
An early morning flight to Delhi leaves time for some final sightseeing or shopping before heading to the airport for flights home, all the best!

 

 

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