The journey is one of the most demanding mountain bike tours in the world offering extreme challenges and rewards through the very heart of the Himalayas. You will encounter sacred and spiritual landmarks in this celestial landscape on some of the finest roads an adventure cyclist could wish for, riding switchback after switchback for hours on end, ascending into the thin air at an altitude of 5,000 m.
We transfer by road from Delhi to Manali via Mandi and spend a couple of days acclimatising. Situated at 1,950m (6,398 ft) Manali is an interesting hill station in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh and a popular tourist destination during the summer months. Our cycling route from Manali to Leh in Ladakh covers 476km (296 miles) over 8 days and takes us over five major passes, two of which are above 5000m (16,400ft). An old trading route and described as a 'highway', the Manali to Leh road is extremely narrow in places. For much of the year it is closed due to extreme weather conditions.
Day to Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Delhi. Fly to Delhi You will be met at Delhi airport and transferred to our hotel. Accommodation: 3* Hotel.
Day 2: Manali. Transfer to Manali by Air-con Coach. Accommodation: Hotel (View Hotel). Altitude: 1925 m.
Day 3: Manali. Rest and Acclimatise. Accommodation: Hotel (View Hotel). Altitude: 1925 m.
Day 4: Manali. Another rest day. In the afternoon our local guide will lead a walking tour around Manali and surrounding villages. Manali nestles at the head of a lush green valley, on the banks of the Beas river and at the base of the Himalayas. Towering two miles above us to the North of the town we can see 6600 metre snowy peaks which we will shortly be cycling beneath! Accommodation: Hotel. Altitude: 1925 m.
Day 5: Manali to Marhi. This is our first ascent as we begin to "warm up" for the tough ride ahead. Cycling out of Manali through an evergreen area of pine and deodar trees we tackle the first set of many hairpin bends and switchbacks on the way to the Rohtang pass. Accommodation: Camping. Cycling distance: 25 miles (42 km). Altitude: 3320 m (10,890 ft).
Day 6: Marhi to Keylong. We start the day by finishing the 12km ascent to the Rohtang pass, where if the whether is fine there are some lovely scenic views on the horizon of snow covered peaks and Glaziers. Once we have refreshed ourselves in Rohtang, we leave the lush vegetation behind and continue with a descent to Gramphu. From here we will encounter some unmetalled stretches of flat road as we cross the raging torrent of the river at Khoksar and continue a short and easy ride to Sissu in the foothills of the Pir Panjal range. From here a short ride to Keylong crossing mountain streams flowing over the road. Accommodation: Hotel. Cycling distance: 46 miles (78 km). Altitude: 3350 m (11,000 ft).
Day 7: Keylong to Patseo. A relatively easy day cycling up to Patseo. The terrain is much more arid and the road is rutty, dusty and rocky. Passing the hamlet of Jispa we come out of a gorge and descend downhill before starting the ascent to Patseo. We now get a sense of the isolation of the area, with a few sheep dotted around and we begin to enter the territory of the Lamas. In the far horizon you can see the bleak and awesome spectacle of the Higher Himalayan ranges. Accommodation: Camping. Cycling distance: 29 miles (48 km). Altitude: 3820 m (12,500 ft).
Day 8: Patseo to Sarchu. Hard long climb to the Baralacha La Pass but the rewards are great as you travel through this wild and scenic country. The pass is arid with no vegetation, the sides of the mountains looking more like a quarry covered with loose rocks and scree. As we descend the gorge area of Bharatpur we will cross mountain rivers before reaching our destination. Accommodation: Camping. Cycling distance: 35 miles (58 km). Altitude: 4255 m (13,975 ft).
Day 9: A rest day. An important days rest to further acclimatise and to absorb the magnificent scenery. Accommodation: Camping.
Day 10: Sarchu to Whisky Nullah. The day starts with some easy cycling but we are soon tackling the zigzag "21 loops of Gata" at 15,030 ft up the canyon wall. Once we reach the summit of the Nakeela Pass its downhill to Whisky Nullah. The day passes some beautiful arid mountain scenery of the high ranges. Accommodation: Camping. Cycling distance: 34 miles (56 km). Altitude: 4750 m (15,800 ft).
Day 11: Moray Plains to Debring. We start by ascending the second highest pass on the Manali-Leh highway up to Lachalang La. The road here is likely to be the worst of the trip with a distinct lack of tarmac, it's very gravelly and there are many loose stones. We have a long descent to Pang down a steep sided gorge followed by a 8km switchback climb before reaching the flat top of the Moray Plains. This barren area is known for its extreme temperatures in the morning and evening, fast winds and sandstorms. The only sign of life is the hardy Nomadic Changpas who can be seen tending their yaks in this most desolate place. We camp at Debring 20km below the world's second highest pass, the Tanglang La at 5,360 m. Accommodation: Camping Cycling distance: 49 miles (82 km). Altitude: 4835 m (15,600 ft).
Day 12: Debring to Rumptse. This is a challenge indeed, but truly satisfying when you reach the top, before we set off down the exhilarating 1,200 m descent of switchbacks to the village of Rumptse. Accommodation: Camping. Cycling distance: 30 miles (51 km). Altitude: 4260 m (14,000 ft).
Day 13: Rumptse to Leh. As we continue the descent to Upshi the scenery changes dramatically as we arrive in a fertile irrigated valley by a river dotted by pretty villages and Stupas. The spectacular red coloured mountains around us add to the beauty and richness of the scenery. Crossing the Indus River the road improves as we follow the other road users towards Leh. This is an easy ride as we pass the Thiksey Monastery and the Chortens Garden before we reach Leh. Accommodation: Guest house. Cycling distance: 56 miles (91 km). Altitude: 3600 m (11500 ft).
Day 14: Leh. Taking a rest from the bikes today you have the chance to explore Leh and some of its twisting narrow streets, explore some of the more famous sites, such as Leh Palace or the Sakar Gompa monastery. Accommodation: Guest house.
Day 15: Leh to The Khardung - La Pass. We will set of for the Khardung - La Pass as soon as light comes up. Cycling 26 miles and gaining 2,000m (6600 feet), this is the ultimate challenge of the trip. It is the highest motorable road in the world taking you to a dizzy 5,600m! The view from the top is spectacular, stretching from the Indus valley in the South over the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range to the giants of the Saser Massif in the North. You can feel proud of a true achievement as you finish the trip with your final satisfying descent. Accommodation: Guest House. Cycling distance: 26 miles (41 km). Altitude: 3600 m (11500 ft).
Day 16: Leh - Delhi. We will be transferred for the early morning flight to Delhi. Arriving around 12am, occasionally flights are cancelled or bikes are delayed, you are advised to book your international flight home at least 24hrs after landing. Rest day (visit the Taj Mahal). Accommodation: Hotel.
Day 17: Delhi/Home. Transfer to the airport for your flight back to home.
Airfare is not included in the tour price.
- Accommodation will be in hotels
- Guest houses and camping for the duration of the tour. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room; single rooms are sometimes available at extra cost.
- When camping we provide 2 person tents. Hot washing water will also be provided.
- All food is provided on camping days plus 2 lunches and 2 dinners plus all breakfasts.
About This Supplier
Joined InfoHub: Mar 2011
M20818 is a specialist company taking small groups of cyclists to spectacular, remote areas of the world. We offer a unique blend of physical challenges, cultural experiences and cycling camaraderie, at highly competitive prices. M20818 guides are experienced cyclists and tour leaders. Destinations include Laos,...
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