Our Himalayan motorcycle tour is a trip of a lifetime - a cliche, we know, but we will never stop loving this tour. It really is marvellous. We have been running this tour since 2009 and still find it inspirational.
An evening in Delhi to explore; a morning train journey to Amritsar (the Golden Temple) and a visit to the border with Pakistan (bizarre border rituals); a visit and stop over at Dharamsala (the Dalai Lama may be in); then an epic motorcycle adventure on a trusty Royal Enfield, following the ancient silk route into the beautiful and unspoilt Spiti Valley. Then it is over the forbidding 15,000ft high Kunzum La pass before heading over the Rohtang Pass and visiting the beautiful hill stations of Manali and Shimla. Finally, a trip on the narrow gauge railway out of the hills and back to Delhi.
The Cost of The Tour The cost of the tour is £2200 for a single rider in shared room (two to a room). A rider and pillion will cost £4000. A few single rooms are available at a cost of £2650.
In order to book your place we will require an initial deposit of £250 deposit. The balance is then due a minimum of 12 weeks before departure.
Below is a brief description of the itinerary:
Day 1- London to Delhi (Flight departing UK on Saturday)
The start of our amazing adventure. A direct flight into Delhi is the easiest option. We will assist you in finding the best flight from your most convenient UK airport.
Day 2 - Delhi - (Exploration Day)
Your night flight will see us arrive in Delhi in the morning where you will be transferred to our 4 star hotel.The day is then yours to explore the beautiful city of Delhi – The Red Fort, Qutb Minar (tallest stone tower in world), have a drink and meal in Connaught Place, go shopping in the amazing Paharganj main bazaar.
Day 3 – Delhi – Amritsar (Train to Amritsar)
Up early for our journey on the Shatabdi Express to Amritsar. Introduced in 1988, Shatabdi Express is one of the fastest and fully air-conditioned luxury trains in India. The Shatabdi trains run between main cities of the country at a speed of 140 km per hour (for India that is so, so fast!!)
Shatabdi trains are designed mainly for tourists and business people. It provides facilities for quick and comfortable travel. During the journey complimentary mineral water, tea, coffee, light snacks and meals are served (constantly!!). We should arrive in Amritsar by 1300hrs. Once we have dropped our luggage off at the hotel we it is only a short taxi drive (24kms) to the border town of Wagah. The border closing ceremony takes place at 1600hrs and is a very bizarre spectacle.
Day 4 – Amritsar - Pathankot – Dharamshala - (200kms)
The start of our motorcycle adventure. The day we get on our bikes and head 200 kms Northwards into the foothills of the mighty Himalaya. Before we set off on the bikes we will take an early morning ride to the Golden Temple of Amritsar. Whatever your faith, you will be humbled by what is quite simply a very spiritual, welcoming and beautiful Temple.
The first part of our motorcycle journey will take us across the plains of the Punjab on the main road to Pathankot – the gateway to Himachal Pradesh and the Himalaya. This road will give you time to get used to your bike and Indian traffic! Then from Pathankot we will make the 3hr journey to Dharamshala. The road will become narrower, twistier and higher. On your left hand side there will be the beautiful backdrop of the Himalaya.
Day 5 – Dharamshala to Mandi (125kms)
In the morning you will get the opportunity to explore Dharamshala and McLeodganj, home of Tibetan exiles and the Dalai Lama. At a height of 1,768m and set against a background of high peaks on three sides, it is a glorious setting. You can even go for a swim in the melt waters - very cold!! In the afternoon we will start our journey to Mandi through the Kangra Valley. As we make our way to Palampur we will make our way through numerous tea plantations (it reminds me so much of the tea plantations on our Southern India tour). All in all, a lovely pleasant ride.
You should be used to your bikes by now as we take you into the mountains proper. You need to be on top of your riding game, as today we will be doing our first mountain pass; the Jolari Pass at 3,350m is by no means the highest pass we do but it is one of the steepest. Furthermore, the road conditions (if you can call it a road) are interesting! We will descend from the Jolari Pass and join the old Hindustan - Tibet Road. This road was originally part of the Silk Route, Work on the actual road was started in 1850 by Lord Dalhousie who wanted to continue and enhance the trade ties with Tibet. It is a fabulous spectacular road with adventure and challenges awaiting around every corner. Magnificent.
Day 7 – Sarahan - Recong Peo - Kalpa (120kms)
The scenery just gets more awe-inspiring as we head deeper into the mountains and towards the Spiti Valley. Today sees us leave Sarahan nice and early as we follow the Sutlej River towards the Baspa Valley. The road in parts has been cut into the mountainside and there are sheer drops (150m+). It is breathtaking. We will be heading for the District HQ of Recong Peo - at Peo, as it is known locally, we will make a short detour to the Sub-Divisional Magistrates Office who will issue us with Inner Line Permits. Once we have got our permits we will head up to the beautiful village of Kalpa and our hotel. The views of the 6050m high Kinner Kailash are truly stunning.
Day 8 – Kalpa to Chitkul to Sangla (90kms)
Back down the road and into the stunning Baspa Valley. The road along the Baspa Valley must be one of the most scenic in the world. We are now heading for the last Indian Village before the Tibetan border, Chitkul. This small village (population of approx 700) is located at an altitude of 3,3435m and the Tibetan influence makes it presence felt. For those of you who want abit of exercise we will take you on a short trek (4km each way to the village/outpost of Nagasthi). No civilians are allowed beyond this point as a few miles across the mountains lies Tibet. Back to the bikes and then its a short 45 minutes ride to our accommodation. We will be staying in Tents but don’t worry, these are large Swiss style tents with attached bathrooms and hot water. In the evening we will have a BBQ, sit by the bonfire and enjoy the mountain air.
Day 9 – Sangla to Tabo (190kms)
It is hard to see how things are going to get better but they most certainly do. Day 9 is a long day but what a day - today is the day that we will be entering the wonderful Spiti Valley. It is a day of motorcycling that you will remember for the rest of your life. We will continue to follow the course of the Sutlej River until it converges with the Spiti River - hairpin bends and steep climbs are the order of the day. Our inner line Permits will be checked at Jangi - from there the terrain begins to change as we move from Kinnaurs heavily forested landscape to the stark high altitude desert of the Spiti Valley. After a breathtaking day we will arrive at Tabo. Tabo is home to the second most important Buddhist monastery in the entire Himalayan region.
Day 10 – Tabo - Dankhar - Kibber - Kaza (100kms)
Day 10 is a the day for exploring the magical Spiti Valley and is beautiful monasteries (Gompas ). The terrain is incredible - it must be the closest thing to riding on the moon. Kaza is only 50kms away from Tabo but we will take you off the main road to visit some of the local sights. Visits will include the spectacular monasteries at Dankhar and Ki, a visit to the ones of the highest villages in the world at Kibber.
Day 11 - Kaza to Manali (210 kms)
This is one of the toughest days on the bike as we will be tackling two high mountains pass. The first is Kunzum La which at just under 15,000ft is the highest pass that we will be going over. The road conditions can be quite bad especially if it has recently rained. However, it is well worth the effort when you get to the top. The second pass is the Rohtang pass which separates the Lahaul/Spit Valleys from the Kullu Valley. The road is always busy through the summer months as it is popular with visitors to Manali who want a day out to see the snow at the top of the pass!
Day 12 - Rest day in Manali
A day for chilling out. Explore the beautiful hill station of Manali, do some shopping, visit the famous Hadimba Temple, enjoy a Gin and Tonic at one of the many restaurants. The choice is yours.
Day 13 - Manali to Shimla (270 kms)
Your final day on the bike as we make the journey to the hill station of Shimla. Our route will take us through the heart of the beautiful Kullu Valley - the Valley of the Gods.
Day 14 - Shimla - Kalka - Delhi
We are back on the train. However, this time it is a Narrow gauge railway which will take us the 96kms from Shimla to Kalka. The ‘Toy Train’ as it is affectionately known, crosses 864 bridges, passes through 103 tunnels and takes approx 5hrs to complete the journey. Part of India’s ‘Unesco’ protected railway lines - it is a train journey that you will never forget and an ideal opportunity to chill out and take in all the scenery. From Kalka we will take the Shatabdi Express to New Delhi, check into our final hotel and enjoy our final night with a farewell dinner.
Day 15 - Flight to London
Time to say goodbye to all your fellow bikers. Hopefully, you will have had the journey of a lifetime, will have made new friends and be already preparing for your next adventure. Alternatively you may want to stay on a few days and explore Delhi, visit Agra and Taj Mahal - the choice is yours.