Departure: New Delhi
Duration: 15 Days
Trip Grade: Demanding - Strenuous
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 from Manali we climb steadily towards Ladakh, giving ourselves time to acclimatise to both the altitude and Indian road conditions before crossing several high mountain passes, topping out at a heady 5,328m! An incredible combination of unique landscapes and high altitude makes this one of the world's best bicycle rides, and a genuine challenge for even the most experienced cyclist.
Day 01: Arrive in Delhi
You'll be met at the airport and taken to a hotel. The rest of the day can be spent either relaxing or having a look round some of the sights of Delhi.
Day 02: Delhi to Chandigarh by train
We'll have a relaxing morning before boarding the Shatabdi Express, an airconditioned, “superfast” train (remember this is India!) in the afternoon, arriving in Chandigarh, India's only planned town, by early evening.
Day 03: Chandigarh to Manali by coach
There'll be a chance to have a look at Chandigarh's amazing ‘Rock Garden' before boarding a private coach for the journey through the Kullu Valley to Manali.
Day 04: Day in Manali
A chance to assemble our bikes and prepare ourselves for the adventure ahead! Manali is situated in the beautiful Kullu Valley, the perfect place to take the bike for a test ride, and to get used to Indian roads.
Day 05: Manali to Marhi (30km)
Our first day's cycling, and what a day it is! Almost as soon as we leave Manali the well-paved road begins to climb, and will still be climbing when we get to our camp at Marhi, just 5km below our first summit!
Day 06: Marhi to Gondla (69km)
Soon after breakfast we'll get to the summit of Rohtang La, 3,978m up and the first of the many mountain passes on our way to Leh. As we come down the other side the road surface deteriorates, but is more than made up for by the stunning scenery!
Once we get down to the valley floor we follow the banks of the Chenab River to Gondla.
Day 07: Gondla to Jispa (43km)
A relatively flat day's ride takes us through Keylong, the last town we'll see for a while! From there it's 9km to our overnight stop at Jispa.
Day 08: Jispa to Zingzangbar (32km)
A short distance but a real workout! From Jispa the road heads skywards, finally topping out at Baralacha La, a lung-bursting 4,930m up! This pass also marks our entry in to a new world; until now the landscape has been relatively green and fertile, but as you come over the summit you'll be greeted by Ladakh's famous lunar landscape, a rugged, barren but spectacular sight.
Day 09: Zingzangbar to Brandy Nala (74km)
The day starts flat, with stunning views of the vast Lingti Valley along the way. The road then heads dramatically upwards through the ‘Gata Loops', a series of 21 consecutive hairpin bends that form part of the 20km climb to the top of Lachlung La, 5,050m up, quite an achievement! From there it's downhill all the way to Brandy Nala, famous as the place where the army goes to stock up on supplies!
Day 10: Brandy Nala to Pang (53km)
A flatter day today after the exertions of yesterday; after a series of gentle undulations, the road drops down through a series of dramatic gorges to Pang.
Day 11: Pang to Tanglang La Base Camp (50km)
Most of today will be spent riding along the strangely flat More Plains, an odd sensation at 4,200m!
Day 12: Tanglang-La Base Camp to Upshi (60km)
The big one! We'll start the day climbing, keep climbing and then climb a bit more until we summit Tanglang La, at 5,328m the high point of the trip, and the second-highest road in the world! It'll be a welcome descent that takes us all the way to Upshi, and the start of a greener, more fertile environment.
Day 13: Upshi to Leh (63km)
With the last of the high passes now conquered, the riding becomes easier. We follow the Indus Valley for most of the route, breaking the journey at one or two of the more intriguing monasteries, or ‘Gompas', along the way. We finish the day in legendary Leh, capital of Ladakh and one of the most hospitable places on earth, in fact the perfect place to recover from the journey to get there!
Day 14: Day in Leh
A chance to rest and reflect on what has been an amazing adventure. Leh is a great place to unwind, peaceful and amazingly friendly, with some interesting sights for the more energetic amongst you!
Day 15: Flight 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!