13 Days Trans-Himalaya Motorcycle Cultural Tour

Destination: Manali – Leh, India
Trip Dates: Contact us for our 2020 trip details
Cost (in AUD): $2,450.00pp.
Guided: Yes
Difficulty: Challenging: a few long riding days at altitude
Team Size: 6 – 15 riders
Accommodation: Hotel & Camping
Minimum Age: 21 Years

High-altitude activities in mountainous regions calls for flexibility and adaptability to many conditions. In the wilderness, nature has the final say. For us to survive, we need flexibility and adaptability to circumstances as they unfold. While we endeavour to follow the itinerary below, we may need to change it to suit conditions. The end point will always be returning safely to our families. It is imperative to commit to pre-acclimatisation training beforehand to cope with the low oxygen environment that we will be visiting. During the trip, our blood oxygen will be monitored and we will advise you how to handle any issues that will inevitably crop up. With this in mind, we will have the best time on a trip that has unparalleled mountain views. From Delhi, we will be travelling to the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, taking in a number of very high mountain passes on some of the world’s highest motorable roads.

Trip Description

This 13-days (12-nights) Motorcycle Tour has unlimited fun and challenges from riding a Royal Enfield over eight days on the Leh-Manali Highway (average elevation >4,000m). Our adventure involves crossing over high mountain passes that provide spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, rugged terrain and travelling through one of the most picturesque landscapes in the World. Every year sees more and more riders attempt this high-altitude motorcycle ride which must rate as one of the most exhilarating in the world. The tour starts from Delhi and ends at Delhi with a ride across high mountain passes, lakes and monasteries. Come prepared for every possible weather imaginable, from scorching sunshine to freezing blizzards (Delhi: 45⁰C; Manali / Leh: 30⁰C; Sarchu: 0⁰C). We designed this trip to combine Adventure with the Culture of the Indian Himalayan Region – we will be crossing Khardung La (5,359m), one of the world’s highest motorable passes, camping at remote high-altitude villages, visiting enchanting monasteries in Ladakh, be a part of the Buddhist culture, cruising on the streets of Leh, visiting Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace, enjoying Tibetan-Ladakhi cuisine and visiting centuries-old monasteries that have seen generations pass through. We will return home with fond memories of not just a spell-binding adventurous ride but of the unforgettable hospitality and warmness of the Himalayan people.

This trip involves back-to-back days riding at high altitudes so we expect everyone to have some level of fitness to cope better with the low oxygen environment. Our itinerary is tried and tested with acclimatisation days along the way, however, we can’t predict how each member will react to altitude. We therefore ask everyone to come well prepared for the demands of this ride (which means you need to train!). At The Altitude Gym, we will have a great opportunity to pre-acclimatise and everyone must commit to an agreed training program to make our collective journey a success.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Meet on arrival at Delhi International Airport and transfer to hotel in the centre of Delhi for overnight.

Day 2: Delhi / Manali
After breakfast, we are free to explore Delhi city at our own pace. At 4pm, we will be transferred to the bus stand to board a coach for an overnight journey to Manali.

Day 3: Arrival in Manali – Introduction to our bikes
Upon arrival at the Manali bus station, we will be transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon, we will be briefed about various aspects of our tour, climatic conditions, road safety, the altitude and finally, the bike handover. We will be free to test-ride our bikes and get to know our ‘friend’ for the next eight days.

Day 4: Manali / Jispa (138km / 6hr)
We wake early to start our adventure on one of the World’s highest road – the Leh-Manali Highway. As soon as we leave Manali, the climb for the 3,978m Rohtang La starts. After Rohtang La, the road descends into the Chandra valley, passing through Khoksar and on to Tandi and eventually reaching Jispa. Your night stay is at our camp site in Jispa. Enjoy the bonfire & dinner in a beautiful settlement on the bank of Bhaga River.

Day 5: Jispa / Tso Kar Lake (225km / 8hr)
Today we ride from a lush green landscape to the stark moonscape that Ladakh is famous for. Undoubtedly, the best stretch on the Manali-Leh highway, this section will feel like we’re on a roller-coaster from one Himalayan pass to another – it’s very scenic passing through small lakes, waterfalls and streams. We also cross our second high-pass, Baralacha La (4,890m). We cross Pang grounds – a 40 kms flat ground, to arrive at Tsokar Lake. We will stay overnight at the camp site on the banks of the lake. Tsokar Lake is a salt water lake and used to be an important source of salt that Changpa nomads use for trade in Tibet. The evening is free to explore around the Lake to enjoy its exquisite beauty and to chance upon sighting of endangered Black Necked Crane or Tibetan Ass. We can also visit the Tso Kar village to view local houses and local life.

Day 6: Tso Kar / Leh (135km / 5hr)
We start our ride this morning towards Leh. Soon we scale Tanglang La (5,328m), the 12th highest motorable pass in the world and enter into the Indus valley, on the banks of which many ancient civilizations once thrived. The Indus valley is flat and flanked by high mountains on its edges, towards one end lays the city of Leh. We ride pass various villages, settlements and Army camps before arriving at Leh in the late afternoon. Evening is at leisure to explore the town – we can try some Ladakhi or Tibetan cuisine like momos, thukpa etc. We will stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 7: Leh / Likir / Alchi (75km / 3hr)
Today we will explore the Sham valley or lower Ladakh regions. We head towards Likir and the Likir Monastery, riding through enchanting views while visiting Gurdwara Pathar Sahib (“Gurdwara” refers to a Sikh place of worship and service.), Magnetic Hill and viewing the confluence the Indus & Zanskar Rivers at Nimo. We then continue riding towards Likir Monastery (also known as Klud-kyil) and finally to Alchi village. After checking in at our hotel, we can walk around the village and visit the ancient Alchi Monastery which, at over 1,000 years old, is a culturally significant Buddhist heritage site.

Day 8: Alchi / Khardung La / Leh
This morning, we start our ride back towards Leh where we will be climbing to summit the 11th highest motorable pass in the world, the famous Khardung La (5,359m). This pass was famously known as The World’s Highest Motorable Pass but has since been surpassed by newer passes, quite a few of which are located in Ladakh (the current title is held by Umling La at 5,883m, 235km from Leh). We ride back to Leh for a relaxed evening and overnight in a hotel.

Day 9: Leh – free day
Today is a free day in Leh (bike is not included). We can walk down the streets of Leh, visit Shanti Stupa & Leh Palace in town, shop around and enjoy some fine dining. Alternately, we may hire a local taxi to visit Leh Army Museum and a few monasteries (Thikse, Hemis & Shey). We will overnight at the same hotel in Leh.

Day 10: Leh / Sarchu (250km / 9hr) – Riding back
From today, we head back towards Manali following our earlier route. We ride through Tanglang La and stop at Sarchu where we will camp overnight.

Day 11: Sarchu / Manali (233km / 8hr) – Riding back
It will be another long ride today so we start quite early. Upon reaching Manali, we will hand over our motorbikes and check in at the hotel. In the evening, we shall celebrate the completion our journey with certificates distributed to all riders. Overnight at Manali hotel.

Day 12: Manali / Delhi Overnight
After breakfast, we have a free day to relax. We can walk around Old Manali, trying its numerous cafes, walk around village, visit Hidimba Devi temple or go for a relaxing dip in the hot springs of Vashisht Baths. In the evening, we will be transferred to the bus stand to board a coach for the overnight journey to Delhi.

Day 13: Arrival in Delhi
We arrive in Delhi around 8am, depending on the traffic condition, and taken back to our hotel to freshen up. We will be dropped at the International Airport later for the flight home with fond memories of our adventure and the Himalayas.


Itinerary Inclusions

– Accommodation on twin share basis. Check in & out time is 12 noon.
– Meals provided:
    – Breakfast only: Delhi
    – Breakfast & Dinner: Manali, Jispa, Tsokar, Leh, Alchi, Sarchu
– Half-board basis at places of stay during motorcycle ride (breakfast & dinner included).
– Hotel transfers in Delhi in a coach, car or other vehicle as appropriate for group size.
– Transfer by jeeps from Manali bus stand to hotel & back
– Royal Enfield motorcycle 500cc from Days 3 to 11, excluding Day 9.
– Fuel for the bike covering places & destinations mentioned in the itinerary
– General spare changes where needed, like spark plugs, brake wire, accelerator wire, brake shoes, engine oil etc for the bike (any damages to bike or spare changes due to riding to be paid by rider).
– One standard helmet per rider / pillion (used helmet, not new)
– One Motorcycle Mechanic for the entire tour carrying basic spares
– Tour Leader from Days 3 to 11.
– Back up jeep to carry baggage & mechanic for more than six riders.
– Inner line Permit for Khardung La.
– Environment fees for Ladakh.
– Travel from Delhi to Manali return by coach (Volvo or equivalent, on a seat-in basis).
– First Aid kit & supplemental Oxygen (for emergency use only).
– Participation Certificate.
– Applicable taxes.
– 6 weeks membership at The Altitude Gym.

Itinerary Exclusions

– International airfares.
– Personal Travel Insurance.
– Personal and unexpected expenses e.g. lunches (AUD$2 – AUD$10), drinks, laundry, repairs etc. We recommend bringing about INR10,000 (AUD$200.00) for this.
– Meals other that those specified (see above).
– Indian Visa fees.
– Additional Delhi accommodation for early arrival, late departure or early return due to any reason other than the scheduled itinerary.
– Personal riding / travel gear.

Travel Insurance

We recommend cancellation insurance to protect your investment. We require participants to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation. Please ensure that your chosen policy provides cover for riding at elevations up to 5,359m and travel within India. Evidence of insurance will be required. Emergency evacuation cost is not included in your trip costs.


Contact us for our 2020 trip details