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Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Itinerary

Have a look at our 2011 tour on Bridget's Blog

 

Notes:

  • The following itinerary should be seen only as a guide. As when cycling in any mountain area, weather and other circumstances can change our daily plans.
  • Note: For each day’s ride we’re giving distance and approximate total ascent.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge)

2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Delhi Streets2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Jama Masjid mosque2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Manali2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Group picture before the start of the ride2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Up the 51km Rohtang Pass out of Manali2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - The Chandra Valley after riding over the Rohtang Pass2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Following the Bhaga Valley out of Keylong2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Baralacha La ascent2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Our campsite in Sarchu2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Lachalung La Descent2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Leaving Tsokar2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Tanglang La2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Ladakh2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Leh, the capital of the mountain kingdom of Ladakh2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Leh Palace2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - A polo match during Ladakh Festival2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh2012 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tours - Celebrating on top of Kardung La Pass

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Arrive in Delhi and recover. Brave the mad markets and sample some Indian street food!

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 2: Delhi

Take a walk in the chaotic streets or visit the famous Red Fort and Jama Masjid mosque.

Catch overnight ‘luxury’ bus to Manali (a 14h trip)

 

Day 3: Manali (2000m)

Arrive Manali in the morning, check into our hotel and enjoy a walk around the old town and pine forest reserves. Manali is a sensible starting point in the foothills (2000m) and offers a quite respite from the hectiness of Delhi. Set alongside the Beas River the valley sides steepen quickly where you will catch glimpses of the mighty Rohtang range which will be your first intro to Himalayan pass climbing! We’ll assemble our bikes and go for a testing ride.

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 4: Manali (2000m)

This is another rest day to recover completely from all the travelling. Optionally, we’ll go for another ride or/and a short hike

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 5: Manali - Marhi (3350m) (36km, 1400m)

This first 36km is a sensible warm-up and will allow you to acclimatize, the distance may not seem long, and however you will be ascending 1400m. The pass switchbacks up the Pir Panjal range which receives the brunt of the monsoon. Storms ram into these 4000m mountains stopping them in their tracks, thus creating the rain shadow on the other side. With the now unpredictable weather patterns showers are touch and go!  The result, however, of this high rainfall area is beautiful: lush forested slopes of towering pines, evergreens and fir trees broken up by cascading waterfalls. Our camp will be already set up for us when we get there.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

 

Day 6: Marhi- Keylong (3200m) (84km, 1200m)

A final tough 17km along seriously washed out rocky road bound by impressive drop-off will take us to the top of our first pass just under 4000m, The Rohtang-La Pass. Once crossing the pass you will be rewarded with a fabulous downhill but on a bumpy pock-marked surface. At the police checkpoint of Koksar we will follow the Chandrabhagga River bound by towering snowy peaks and glaciers to Keylong.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (All meals included) Possibly your last warm indoor shower for the next 5- 6 days!

 

Day 7: Keylong – Patseo (3850m) (45km, 900m)

The forested slopes diminish as the terrain becomes more arid. The road is mostly rutted and rocky while some sections are surprisingly superbly sleek! Jispa is the last proper village from where we start to ascent to Patseo, an army encampment. In the distance the bleak, rugged high Himalayas beckon.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 8: Patseo – Sarchu (4250m) (67km, 1200m)

The day starts with a 9km flattish section to Zing Zing Bar, a small army post. Then a dusty series of switchbacks leads you 22km up the scree-covered Baralacha-La Pass (4980m) – the rewards are high-altitude lakes and valleys together with a fabulous downhill to Bharatpur (a camp of dhabbas) where we will stop to eat our packed lunch with a well earned tea! The descent continues along a magnificent valley - mountains thrown up in all directions and the detail of delicate flowers clinging to the edge of a high pastures until we get to the Sarchu Plains.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 9: Rest day at Sarchu (4250m)

This is a key rest day. After gradually ascending for the last for days a day for acclimatization is important. It is also the perfect opportunity to service your bikes, read, eat, sleep, walk or simply admire the magnificent scenery.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 10: Sarchu – Pang (4550m) (72km, 1300m)

This is a very tough day over a double pass. The route meanders along the beautiful Sarchu River and then starts to climb up out of the valley the 21 switchbacks of the Gata loops for 10 km, which is only half the way up the Nakee-La Pass (4920m). From this ‘false’ summit the road descents into a desolate windswept valley only to ascend once more to the Lachalung-La Pass at 5065m! The descent to Pang is absolutely spectacular as granite walls rise like fortresses on either side of the valley.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals include)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 11: Pang - Tsokar (4650m) (47km, 300m)

An easy climb out of Pang (yes, comparatively easy!) takes you onto the only flat section of the trip – the might Moray plains, a flat and wide valley bound by softly shaped mountains. Timing is crucial here in order to avoid being thrashed by strong winds. We take a 3km detour to Tsokar, a high altitude salt lake and our highest camp at 4650m

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 12: Tsokar - Rumtse (4300m) (64km, 900m)

Today is the 17km climb over the ‘2nd highest pass in the world’ and the highest on this highway. The approach to the Taglang-La pass is gentle although the horrendous road surface ensures that it will never be easy. Prayer flags adorn the summit and views that give you an ‘on top of the world’ feeling are the rewards! A phenomenal 1200m descent to camp awaits you. The picturesque village of Rumtse is essentially the first real experience of Ladakh and the first village you will have seen in 5 days.

Accommodation: Camp (All meals included)

Fresh river water available

 

Day 13: Rumtse- Leh (3600m) (82km, 400m)

A geologically spectacular descent through a wine coloured gorge will lead you into the Indus valley. The small town of Upshi marks the junction from where we follow the gently undulating milky-green Indus River all the way to the capital of the Kingdom of Ladakh - Leh!

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 14: Leh (3600m)

A well earned rest day! You are left to your own devices which may be to explore the old town of Leh and its twisting narrow streets as well as some of the more famous sites, such as Leh Palace or the Shanti Stupa. Or you may simply spend your time recharging on chocolate cakes and cappuccinos at the numerous exceptional bakeries!

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 15: Leh - Khardung-la (5380m) - Leh (78km, 1800m)

The ultimate challenge to end off this trip is to assault the ‘Highest Motorable Road in the World’. This incredible ascent of 1800m over 39km from 3600m – 5600m will be worth all the gasping and puffing as you are rewarded with snow-capped peaks of the Stok range and the sweeping views of the Nubra valley and the Karakorum range in the distance (besides the fact that you will feel very chuffed with yourself) and you can whizz back down the 39km in about a fifth of the time it took to get up there!

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 16: Leh - Delhi

Early morning flight to Delhi. Welcome back to the madness!!!

Accommodation: Hotel (Breakfast included)

 

Day 17: Delhi – South Africa

Another day in Delhi. Night flight to South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 
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