Manali-Leh Himalayan Epic Tour
Beautiful Ladakh is the home of one of cycling’s epic journeys. Riding over some of the highest passes in the world this cycle journey takes us from the forested foothills of the Himalaya to the spectacular lunar landscapes of Ladakh. Our route weaves crosses the Indian Himalaya passing dramatic monasteries and the timeless beauty of a genuinely untouched land.
• Pedal over 6 stunning Himalayan mountain passes
• Soak in the extraordinary otherworldliness of the landscape
• Ride yourself into cycling folklore as you take on one of the riding world’s ultimate challenges
• Enjoy Ladakh’s famed hospitality, homely food and fun-loving way of life.
14 Nights 9 hotels/5 nights luxury camping
Group Size: 4-10
Flights: In/Out New Delhi
No.of days cycling: 10
Average Daily Ride: 61Km
Vehicle Support: 100%
Manali Leh Himalayan Epic Tour
This is Himalayan riding at it’s zenith as we ride through the mountain ranges of the Zanskar, Pir Panjal and the Himalaya itself cycling over some of the highest ridable passes in the world. Discover your inner mountain goat as you take on the challenge of the Khardungla, take tea and overnight at the legendary Zing Zing Bar. Marvel at the More Plains the high altitude desert like landscape cut through by glacial rivers. Refresh and recharge at the historic Leh, a place that feels like nothing else on earth set in a majestic landscape of Monastries and Palaces. It’s taken Mountain Bike Kerala 20 years to make this tour happen and it’s been well worth the wait.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi: Rest up and take a short tour of Delhi’s sights.
Day 2: Mandi: Morning train to Chandigarh: Drive to delightful Mandi for overnight stay in the former home of the Maharajah.
Day 3: Mandi-Manali. It’s a 5-Hour scenic bus ride to the gateway to the Himalayan getaway of Manali (2020m). Bike build/ briefing and plenty of time to explore Manali’s famed colourful bazaars and temple. Overnight Manali.
Day 4: Manali Ride (32km). Stretch the travel out of your legs with a beautiful acclimatisation ride to the Solang Valley returning via the hot sulphur springs at Vaishisht. Overnight Manali.
Day 5: Manali-Sissu (88km). We start climbing right from our hotel door in Manali through cedar and fir forests on route to the Rohtang Pass. The Rohtang La (3946m) is the dramatic gateway to the stark mountainous desert of Ladakh. From the top we descend almost 1000m to Khoksar were we follow the beautiful Chandra Valley to our camp at Sissu.
Day 6: Sissu-Jispa (58km). Spectacular scenery all the way as we ride through the beautiful Lahaul Valley to the small oasis town of Keylong and along the river to Istingri and Gemur before descending to our hotel in the super scenic village of Jispa.
Day 7: Jispa-Zing Zing Bar (35km). A steady short day in the saddle as we approach the Great Himalayan Range through pastureland to Darcha (3358m) followed by a steep switch back climb for 8km and then a pleasant 12km descent to the lake of Deepak Tal. From here it’s a steady but stunning climb on to our camp site situated near our favourite named place of all time Zing Zing Bar.
Day 8: Zing Zing Bar- Sarchu (48 km). Another magical day of cycling as we cross the Himalaya to Sarchu. We start with a long ascent to the Baralacha La Pass (4933m) passing the Suraj Kund; an isolated high altitude lake; on the epic climb to the top, the views are breathtaking. From the pass it’s mostly a descent to our dramatically situated campsite at Sarchu.
Day 9: Sarchu-Pang (80km). Today is definitely one for the climbers. It’s a steady 32km across the Sarchu Plains before the climbing starts in earnest at the Gata Loops, a series of 21 hairpin bends, and then on to the top of our first pass, the Nakli La at (4948m) With a short respite down to Whiskey Nallay it’s another pedal spinner up to the Lachalung La (5059m) crossing the Zanskar Range and down through incredible rock formations to our overnight camp Pang.
Day 10: Pang-Tsokar Lake (55km). Morning starts with a heart thumping 8km climb to the Mori Plains (4778m) and Rupshu, the waterless high altitude desert plain of the Tibetan Plateau, home to the hardy Changpas; tent dwelling Tibetan nomads who graze flocks of sheep and yaks in this endless landscape. A few more hours pedaling takes us to Tsokar Lake and our camp for the night near Pongunagu. Tsokar means ‘white lake’, and there are white salt deposits ringing the water. Look out for the ‘kiang’, the wild asses which roam the surrounding hills.
Day 11: Tsokar Lake-Lato (72km). Another great pass lies ahead as we make our way over the mighty Taglang La which, at 5350m, affords unbelievable views of both the Himalaya and the Karakorum Mountains. From the top it’s a belter of a descent through fields of barley and potatoes before reaching our hotel at Lato.
Day 12: Lato-Leh (77km). A super day in the saddle lies ahead as we follow the Kyamnar River down to the Indus Valley and all the way into Leh. We pass the dramatically located Thikse and the white washed ruins of Shey Palace into our destination Leh.
Day 13: Leh Rest Day. A well deserved rest day gives us a chance to relax and explore the sights of Leh, from the timeless feel of the bazaars and narrow back streets to the other-worldy ruins of the Old Royal Palace. Leh is a truly unforgettable place.
Day 14: Leh-Khardungla Pass-Leh (78km). Legs refreshed its time for perhaps the greatest challenge of the trip the ride to the Khardung La (5602m) which lays claim to be the highest motorable road pass in the world. Outlandish views are a constant as we climb and climb again to what feels like the roof of the world.
Day 15: Leh-Delhi. An early morning transfer to Leh airport for the dramatic flight across the Himalaya back to Delhi. Time for a stroll around Delhi and it’s famed historical sites.
Day 16: Return Flights/Onward Travel. Transfer to airport/further travel.
2020/21 Manali-Leh (New Delhi) 15 Night
2020 June 20th £1495/£1645* Available
2021 June 19th £1495/£1645* Available
*Double or Twin/Single Occupancy
Bike Hire Available at £150 for tour duration
Is This Trip For You?
While average distances are not long the altitude makes for a considerable challenge. Some of the riding is above 5000m and anyone regardless of their fitness level can find the going tough up here. There is always the option to enjoy the scenery from the bus if things start to feel too tricky. A good level of fitness is definitely required to maximise your enjoyment of one of all the time classic cycle journeys.
You can apply for an E-Visa with a 60 day stay-limit
If you are visiting India for a longer duration then a 6 month tourist visa could be worth considering but they are more expensive.
Get in touch with your GP well in advance of your departure for latest information on vaccinations and any other medical considerations. There are no mandatory vaccination requirements whilst current recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. For riding above 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected..
For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
You might want to consider bringing your own personalised 1st aid/medical kit to supplement our medical and 1st aid supplies.
Get insured. It is a condition of our trips that you are adequately insured. Policies must cover cycling. If your usual insurance doesn’t cover cycling then consider specialist coverage. We need a copy of your insurance ready for us on arrival or you can send us on a copy via e-mail prior to the trip.
Better to wear over shorts rather than cycle britches to minimise any unwanted attention and ease of walking into temples and places of interest on route. Cycle shoes are usually better with a non-exposed cleat so you can easily have a walk around mid-ride at stops and places of interest..
Kit to bring
Gloves x 2 Full length for cool morning starts
Head torch (For camping)
Warm Clothes: duvet jacket, trouser inner, nights can get cold.
Mix of long sleeve and short sleeve riding tops in case of sunburn
Universal electric plug
High factor sun-cream
A water bottle – this should be a standard size to fit into a normal water bottle cage on the bike
Sleeping bag. Campsites are neat and clean with plenty of duvet’s and blankets but for instant warmth a light sleeping bag come in handy.
Hydration pack/small ride pack for storing extra layers.
Bringing Your Own Bike
A short travel hardtail MTB is the bike we recommend for this trip. Please ensure it is in top condition, if you have any doubt about any part of your bike surviving the trip then get it replaced. Please let us know in advance what bike you are bringing out so we can make sure we have all spares covered.
If you are bringing your own bike then please bring
Spokes specific to your bike
Spare Mech Hanger
2 extra sets of brake pads
Renting A Bike
We have Scott MTB Hardtail’s available for this trip at £140 for the trip duration. Please contact us in advance for availability and bike sizing. Please bring your own pedals and compatible shoes if you are riding SPD. All bikes will come supplied with saddles which might be a bit on the sporty side so it could be worth bringing your own if you have a comfortable saddle that your are used to.
Eating and Drinking
All breakfasts, lunches and dinners taken at camp are included. Dinner is not included in Delhi/Chandigarh/Manali and Leh were there is a range of restaurants serving a wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food including Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and Continental. Manali and Leh. Campsite food is simple and plentiful with breakfasts including porridge, cereals, eggs and toast with plenty of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches are usually taken on route either at local restaurant or a picnic set-up with noodles, bread, roti daal etc and plenty of energy snacks. There will be afternoon tea and biscuits on arrival at camp followed later by dinner so expect soup, pasta, rice or potato based main course with fresh vegetables, followed by dessert, tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Generally the weather is good in Ladakh during the summer time, with warm to hot sunny days (temperatures can reach up to 30ºC/35ºC), and cool to cold nights depending on the altitude, possibly below freezing on occasions. There is, however, always a possibility of rain and even snow at higher altitudes particularly around Manali and the Rothang Pass. You will need to carry gloves and warm waterproof layers on the cycling days. Delhi in the summer months is very hot and humid.
The trip spends considerable time at altitude so we run this trip south to north as it provides better acclimatisation and allows riders a better chance to complete and enjoy the trip without spending time in the backup vehicle.
Nights spent on the tour are a mix of excellent hotel rooms, characterful local guest houses and camping which is on a full-service camping basis, camp staff set up the tents and cook the food etc. We also have a dining tent complete with table and folding chairs, and at least one toilet tent (usually two) for use during the evenings on some nights no running water is available but you will be camping close to a river or stream and the camp staff will provide bowls of warm water (to wash with).
All scheduled transfers
Leh to Delhi Flight
All breakfasts/lunches/All Evening meals except those listed below
All scheduled entry fees
Personal travel insurance
Snacks, soft drinks etc
Evening meals in Delhi/Chandigarh/Manali and Leh
We have full vehicle support on for the duration of the tour. Riders who are tired or just wish for a quick break from the cycling will be able to take time out in the support vehicle.
ATM’s are available in Delhi/Chandigarh, Manali and Leh. Visa is the most widely accepted. Food items, snacks, gift items are all well priced so expect to pay £5 for an evening meal or just over £2 for an alcoholic drink. Airport exchange rates are usually very poor so if you are exchanging money here then just change small amounts. You can change larger amounts of cash at good rates in New Delhi on arrival day.
Delhi/Chandigarh/Manali and Leh have phone and internet connectivity whilst coverage on the rest of the tour is patchy.
India’s Timezone: (GMT +05:30)
India’s Electricity: 230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. 2 pin type.
There are recharging facilities at all the hotels and usually for short periods on camping nights. The electricity supply is not 100% reliable but it is usually only off for short periods of time. If you have camera/Gopro etc then consider bringing extra batteries or a power bank for charging.
Our Mountain Bike Kerala do not expect tips but our riding guides, drivers and local staff would greatly appreciate them if the service is excellent. For a rough guide then consider from £50 to cover riding guides and back up team and £1-£2 per day for hotels/campsite staff etc if the service and food has been great.