Leh – Manali

This extreme 9 day trip takes us to the very heart of the Himalayas. You will discover some of the finest cycling the world has to offer.

From here nestled high in the Himalayas and accessible for only 4 months of the year, we will have the ultimate challenge, cycling from 11,500 feet (3,600 meters) in Leh to the Khardung-La Pass, the highest motorable road in the world, taking you to a breathtaking height of 18,380 feet (5,603m) in just 39km.

In leh we will spend the next few days acclimatising. From Leh we’ll enjoy a series of exploratory day rides to visit Buddhist monasteries, as well as time spent whitewater rafting on the Indus river. Our necessary acclimatisation period culminates with the challenging ascents and speedy descents of the Khardung La which at 5380m/17651ft is the world’s highest road pass.

Leaving Leh, this giant rollercoaster ride to Manali follows what is unquestionably one of the greatest mountain roads on the planet.

The Leh to Manali highway crosses the main Himalaya Range by a series of very high passes, including the Taglang La at 5280 m/17324ft, the second highest road pass in the world.

This classic route offers exposure to a tremendous variety of landscape and culture, linking the strongly Tibetan influenced high plateau of Ladakh with the semi arid plains of Lahaul and the lush greenery of the Kulu-Manali Valley.

Once on the main route we will have the constant back up of a support bus and any of the group who feel the need to hitch a lift for any section of the journey will be able to do so.

From the crests of the passes, there are superb views of the major peaks of the Ladakh, Zanskar and Chandra-Bhaga ranges.

The ride finishes with a day celebrating and relaxing in Manali before returning to Delhi where we have a day to explore this fascinating Indian capital.

Day 01 – Leh – Khardung-la – Leh ( 5380m ); ( 80km ) We ride till Khardung la ( 5380 m ) – the highest motorable pass in the world. The challenge of cycling all the way to the top is irresistible. The three hours of cycling will not be as difficult as you might expect despite the altitude. A photograph while at the top is worth keeping throughout your life. The views are rewarding as they invoke a sense of contemplation. We then ride back downhill and take rest in the evening as the next day we resume our cycling.

Day 02 – Leh – Hemis Monastery – Upashi village – Karu ( 85km ) This day involves a steep climb to Hemis, taking the same old route along Indus valley till the turning point of Hemis monastery.

Day 03 – Karu – Rumtse ( 33km ) We cover some distance on our support vehicle by which we have travelled during our acclimatisation. Covering a total distance of 30km we make our first campsite at Rumste ( 4370m ).

Day 04 – Rumtse – Tanglang la ( 5360m ) – Pang ( 89km ) We cover the first pass on our route, the Taglang la ( 5360m ) which is the second highest motorable pass in the world. It comes after 30km of steady uphill biking. After a small celebration at the top, we will ride slowly downhill towards moray plains which is geographically part of the Tibetan plateau but lies within India. The natural lights splashed across the high plateau create a magical atmosphere. After leaving this plateau we reach Pang ( 4400m ) our next camp site at the bank of a river.

Day 05 – Pang – Lachlung la ( 5019m ) – Sarchu ( 72km ) We set out for the 5065m Lachlunga La and 4900m Nakli La through this road which is a remarkable piece of engineering. You can enjoy beauty of this heavenly place from the comfort of your bike saddle. After Lachlunga La, a fast descent to Nakli La (4900m) towards Brandy Nulha (Whiskey Bridge). Remember, the road distance can be shortened by following natural trails. Our campsite will be at Sarchu at border of Himachal Pradesh – another unforgettable experience !

Day 06 – Pang – Lachlung La ( 5019m ) – Sarchu ( 72km )

Day 07 – Sarchu to Jispa our next campsite situated on the banks of Bhaaga River in Lahaul valley. A 2-3 hours climb to Barchla pass ( 4380m ) with a close view of Chandrabhaaga range. This pass is a point to Zanskar, Lahaul and Rupsu areas of the inner Himalayas. From high deserts into green forested valley is definitely a welcome change.

Day 08 – Jispa – Base of Rohtang Pass ( 3050m ); ( 76km ) We continue our 25km ride to Keylong, the major town of Himachal. Our camp site will be at base of Rohtang pass -surroundings get greener and beauty of alpine scenery is unmatched.

Day 09 – Base – Rohtang Pass – Manali ( 2050m ); (64km)
After travelling so far we feel more confident when we look back and climb to Rohtang Pass (3990m ) with motivation and zeal. Then after crossing Rohtang Pass, we continue our descent to the town of Manali following the green forested slopes of Kullu and Manali valleys. A mind-blowing 52km long ride and 2000m descent in altitude!

The above day-to-day schedule should be taken as a general guide.

Duration: 6 Nights / 7 Days

Places Covered: Leh – Durbuk – Lukung – Pangong Lake -Tangtse – Changla – Hemis – Leh