The Highest Roads - (18300 Feet) - Doug Wothke Edition - INDIA $4499
Forget riding the highest pass in the world, how about conquering 4 at once! This is is a once in a lifetime journey to some of the most remote and certainly highest places on earth! We call it climbing mountains with motorcycles and if an epic National Geographic level trip is what you're after this is your ride!
Passenger option available! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
Day 1: NEW DELHI/CHECK IN DAY
Your adventure begins in the Indian metropolis of New Delhi. You will be greeted at the airport by a Motorcycle Sherpa representative and they will guide you to your first night’s accommodation. There’s an early flight tomorrow morning so it is recommended that you arrive as early as possible on Day 1 in order to have some time to recover from your flight and jet lag.
Day 2: TRAVEL TO MANALI
A flight at daybreak will take you to the city of Chandigarh. From there, private vehicles continue the journey north towards the Himalayas and the resort town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh. There are many amenities to be found on this leg of the journey, including food and sight seeing. Tonight is the official welcome dinner where there will be a rider briefing before distributing keys to the bikes. After dinner, get some rest in a comfortable guest house.
Note: Flight has a 15kg weight limit so pack light and plan to wear all your motorcycle gear!
Day 3: BEAS RIVER VALLEY
Regional Routes (60 km/2 hours)
Get a feel for your Royal Enfield bike and Indian traffic on the winding roads around Manali and up into the nearby mountains.
Sleep well tonight, tomorrow you hit the road!
Day 4: BANJAR VALLEY AND THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK
Manali to Banjar/Gushaini (100 km/5 hours)
Hop on the bike this morning and head south through the Banjar Valley. This area is known as the ‘Green Himalayas’. Take in the sweeping views of the lush Himalayan foothills along the boundary of the Great Himalayan National Park.
The riding is moderate today and food is easy to find in the many villages you pass through. Spend the night relaxing in a guest house in the area.
Day 5: ON TO KINNAUR
Banjar/Gushaini to Sarahan (190 km/6-7 hours)
Ride the scenic roads south through pine forests to the resort town of Narkanda at 8,599 ft. elevation. After taking in the views, begin the descent through the mountains. Pass small villages and watch the terrain change as you join the old Hindustan-Tibet road and carry on to Sarahan. In Sarahan, pay reverence to the goddess Bhimakali at the 1,500-year-old Shri Bhima Kali Temple built in the Kath-Kuni style of architecture. Tonight’s stay is a local guest house.
Day 6: MOUNTAIN IMMERSION
Sarahan to Kalpa (150 km/5-8 hours)
Start out early from Sarahan through the Sangla Valley towards Reckong Peo and Kalpa. Stops along the way include the Kamru Fort, Naga Temple, and Sapni, each site having unique cultural and architectural significance.
Reckong Peo offers dramatic views of Kinnaur Kailash mountain (el. 19,849 ft.), a sacred area for both Buddhists and Hindus as the mountains here are considered the mythological abode of Lord Shiva. The area you are entering is among the most remote and least visited in Himachal Pradesh.
Local guest houses are the standard for this leg of the trip.
Day 7: CLIFF-SIDE RIDE
Kalpa to Tabo (180 km/7-8 hours)
Hit the road early. There’s a checkpoint where passports are verified at Jangi, and then the route continues along the Sutlej and Spiti rivers towards Khab. At an average elevation of 12,500 ft, the scenery unfolds on rugged valleys and isolated villages. Hug the sides of the cliffs tight here – the roads are narrow and uphill along the Spiti. Stop at the pristine, lake side village of Nako for a photo before continuing north. The cliff side roads deliver you to Tabo Monastery, founded over one thousand years ago in 996 A.D. The ancient monastery, isolated from much of the world, is well preserved and contains spectacular murals.
A night exploring the village of Tabo includes the opportunity to attend a Puja ceremony at the monastery.
Day 8: ROAD TO DHANKAR GOMPA
Tabo to Kaza (110 km/4-5 hours)
Today’s ride from Tabo to Kaza is moderately relaxed. The highlight today is the Dhankar Gompa (monastery). The name ‘dhankar’ means ‘a place in the mountains unreachable for strangers’ and you will see how this Buddhist temple and village received such a name. Overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers, this barren, rocky mountain landscape at nearly 13,000 feet will take your breath away.
Once you do catch your breath, continue to Lallung through the national park in the Pin valley, known for its exotic wildlife. Park for the night in Kaza.
Day 9: KUNZUM PASS
Kaza to Jispa (210 km/6-7 hours)
Some of the most rigorous riding begins today. These are the roughest, most challenging, and physically exhausting roads yet. Off-road dirt tracks include water crossings and the occasional icy patch as the road winds up to the Kunzum Pass. At a little over 15,000 feet and with 15 sharp hairpin turns, this leg of the journey will thrill you.
Stop at Batal for some much needed nourishment and then continue along the Chandra Valley through Tandi and further into the Ghar Valley following the Bhaga River.
One last break for some chai and a stretch and then carry on through the Tod Valley to hotel accommodations in Jispa.
Day 10: PASSES AND PLAINS
Jispa to Tso Kar (220 km/6-7 hours)
This morning’s ride is considerably easier, but there’s a lot of ground to cover. The views of the Zanskar mountain range are commanding as you ascend Baralacha La (pass) at 16,040 feet elevation.
The ride shifts down hill from here with a pause at Bharatpur for lunch and then on through more hairpin turns as the mountains give way to the Morey Plains, an empty and remote valley with more commanding mountain views. Take an off-road short cut to Tso Kar, a high elevation salt lake, where a campsite and meal await you.
Day 11: TAGLANG LA ROAD
Tso Kar to Pangong Tso (240 km/6-7 hours)
Climb back on the bike for a real challenge – Taglang La. At nearly 18,000 feet elevation, Taglang pass is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. In addition to the elevation, this stretch features unpaved conditions including water crossings that will put your riding skills to the test.
Ride on towards Upshi and Hemis as you join the Pangong Tso road. Tonight’s camp site is at Pangong Lake. At 14,270 feet elevation, this large, brackish lake straddles the border with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China and is an important breeding ground for a number of migratory birds.
Portions of this ride pass through Chinese controlled area claimed by India.
Day 12: TWO PATHS TO DISKIT
Pangong Tso to Diskit (16-225 km-6-7 hours)
Off road for a bit on the 50 km run to the junction at Durbuk. At the junction, one way runs along the Shyok river to Diskit, while the other way leads to an intense, winding road over the mountains down into the village. Either way you get there, you will be greeted by the 106-foot-tall statue of the Jampa Buddha at the Diskit Gompa.
Rest well in a guest house tonight, tomorrow you take on the Highest Road.
Day 13: THE HIGHEST ROAD
Diskit to Leh (120 km/4 hours)
The four hour ride today will ask more of your body and skills than any previous day. It’s time to tackle the highest motorable road in the world.
Khardung La, at 17,582 feet elevation offers scenery as exhilarating as the ride there. Make sure to snap some pictures to commemorate your achievement before you hop back on the bike.
Overnight in at a hotel with ample time to explore Leh, the capital of this former Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh.
Day 14: RETURN TO DELHI
Fly Leh to Delhi (1 ½ hours)
Departure from Leh is bittersweet after tackling one of the most intense and demanding motorcycle expeditions in the world.
After a short flight, decompress in a New Delhi hotel this evening. You can head home right away or stay a few days in Delhi exploring this ancient, thriving metropolis.