Manali to Leh Mountain Bike Tour

  • Unmatachable topography of contrasting barren desert fields and green farmlands to soak in
  • Bike past four formidable mountain passes in the lower Himalayas and the highest motorable road in the world at Khardung La
  • Have an intimate tryst with Ladakhi life in local homes, village-side shops and in conversations with a passing shepherd
  • Push the boundaries with sweat and sinew behind one of the toughest but best cycling trails in India
  • This one will be a wholesome fill of cycling in one of the most spectacular trails of India, with an infusion of local food, culture and the pleasant simplicity that you will encounter with locals

Get ready to ride on one of the most outrageously beautiful trails in India! Given the hazard of altitude, bumpy roads and sheer cold, the Manali-Leh bike tour circuit is both challenging and highly rewarding cycling experience. At an average elevation of 13000 feet the 479 km route from Manali to Leh takes you through dramatic views of lush forested slopes to contrasting arid mountain deserts. Expect to cross, windy passes, finger numbing glacial streams and lonely villages perched on high hills. Plummeting valleys dotted with herds of sheep andgushing rivers are going to be constant companions to the exhilarating ride that awaits you.

Pack in a good measure of resolve along with suitable fitness to haul up from the relatively easier lower Himalayan terrain of Manali across four passes till Leh. Once the intrepid cyclist in you has overcome the demanding gradients and cutting chilly winds, you can soothe the senses in the unassuming Tibetan town, Leh. An erstwhile, though veritable, pit stop on the silk route, Leh still retains its vibrant charm. The laid back town is now sprinkled with lazy cafes, small guesthouses and an atmospheric bazaarwhere most tourists like to hang out. With some time to sooth the weary legs, you can set out to explore the Buddhist monasteries around. And the journey doesn’t end here. After Leh, an 18308ft pass awaits you with one last demanding conquest over Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world.

Quick Facts

  • Duration

    14 days / 13 nights

  • Start / End

    Manali / Leh

  • Price

    From $1,750 pp dbl. occ.

  • Hotels

    Casual Inns & Camping

  • Riding Style

    Pro Rider

Group Departures

PRIVATE TRAVEL

Make it a private tour if you already have a group or the dates shown above do not coincide with your travel plans.

ITINERARY

Day 1 & 2: Manali
Manali is an extremely popular hill station so it’s best to avoid the packed streets and head straight to the Old Manali road or the quieter Vashisht. True to the cliché of Indian towns that have a heavy influx of western travellers, you will find a German Bakery, temptingly lethargic cafes to chill and a row of shops with a promise to tap onto your Bohemian side (harem pants, colourful caps, gloves and kitschybric a bracs will be in plenty). We dig into some steaming momos (quite a modern Tibetan staple food) to kick off the trip! Overnight stay will be at a guesthouse.

Day 3: Marhi
The first stretch of the ride takes us through thick green copses of towering Pine and Deodar trees, representative of the verdant lower Himalayas. These forests patches are broken up by a large expanse of the Solang Valley, which during the winters turns into a perfect ski haven. The few obstacles to look out on this day are some hairpin bends and switchbacks. Today, we have the comfort of metal roads, but this won’t last too long. We end the day short of Rohtang pass in Marhi and pitch tents for the night.

Distance cycled: ~ 40km/25miles

Day 4: Keylong
On the second day of cycling, we keep to the same altitude making our way 16 km ahead to the tourist clad Rohtang Pass. Over the last few years, heavy traffic has turned the last length to Rohtang into a slushy mess of mud. You are likely to see heavier vehicles stuck or long queues being managed by the Indian army. Luckily for us, getting past the crawling traffic would be much easier; be prepared to lift the cycle and wade through ankle deep sludge. After a short break at Rohtang, we descend towards Gramphu leaving the luxury of metal roads.

After crossing the gurgling river at Khoksar, its time to turn towards Sissu and the Pir Panjal Range overlooks the entire area. From Sissu, the ride to the last stop for the day is 28 km. You can see potato fields add that splash of green to the comparatively barren hillside in the Chandra Valley below. You can also stop at a small Kulu castle as Gondhla village, built in typical hill style using wood and stone. This was built in the 1700s but the tall tower of the castle still looms above the village.Before you hit Keylong, you will see all motorable company veer left towards a petrol station at Tandi, the last one before 380 kms to Leh. A small guesthouse at Keylong becomes the pit stop for the night.

Distance cycled: ~ 80km/50miles

Day 5: Patseo
Today’s drill is fairly easy! First an easy descend into the wide valley of Jispa and then a short uphill to the lonely village of Patseo.From this point onwards, the enormity of the mountains strike you. The jarring isolation is absolutely gripping. There are few other vehicles or habitation and the topography rapidly turns harsher. In the far distance, the snow topped Himalayan Range starts appearing. We spend a night in the fluttering tents as the nights get windier. The gushing sound of the Chandra river keeps us company for the night.

Distance cycled: ~ 50km/31miles

Day 6: Sarchu
Look forward to your first big pass today – Baralacha La. But before that, a serene large pool of water, Suraj Taal (Lake of the Sun God) warrants a quick stop take in the solitude and beauty of the place. This will be no easy feat as you ascend slowly to a wide expanse of nothingness and probably some snow. The pass stands at 16040 feet and connects the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in J&K. Stunning mass of nothing more than lose rubble, decree and small mounds of stones piled on top of each other manage to make a breathtaking scene. It is advised to stay here no longer than 10-15 minutes. After the short stop, we descend to the flat but extremely windy camps at Sarchu.

Distance cycled: ~ 60km/37miles

Day 7: Sarchu
Also, known as Sir Bhum Chum, Sarchu has developed as a necessary stop for most travellers. Rows of tented enclosures have propped up on one side of the road. This is a good place to relax and acclimatize your body further to the altitude now. Spend a day resting and catching up on stories from the road with other travellers or walk across to the drooping chasms between the mountains to stretch down and see the Yunam River below.


Day 8: Whisky Nullah
An intriguing name to a destination always adds an extra thrill to reaching there. The 21 asphalt loops of Gata spice up the ride even more till you climb up the reddish cliff to reach Nakeela pass and then spiral down to Whisky Nullah. This is where you stat seeing massive rocky conical outcrops along the way – these look like huge anthills and are a favourite with photographers. On reaching Whiskey Nullah, we pitch tents to rest for the night.

Distance cycled: ~ 56km/35miles

Day 9: Debring
We stretch ourselves a little with the distance as the Morey plains allow us a smooth, though dusty, ride across. But first, it’s up to the second highest pass of the route, Lachalang La and then the comforting descent to Pang. A short switchback climb and you are on the Morey plains plateau. Only two things can make you slow down here: the gusty sandstorms or a lone Changpa Shepherd with his yak herd.A ‘middle of nowhere’ feeling is thrilling in the Morey plains. Stop for a quick snap of this vast expanse before you hit the pedal to reach Debring. Camp 20km below the second highest pass of the world; Tanglang La at 5360m! Surviving the hard-hitting wind here is reason enough to feel a sense of achievement. And to share your thrill, you might have herds of Kiang (Tibetan wild ass) by the road.

Distance cycled: ~ 82km/50miles

Day 10: Rumptse
Cross the quivering Tibetan flags at the Tanglang La monument, the next stop is Rumpste. Cycling today is quite demanding, with the massive peculiar rock formations the only respite to keep you distracted. After the pass, the switchbacks swivel you down by 1200m into the village of Rumpste. This is the first permanent settlement of Ladakh on the road from Manali. Take a break at Rumpste to reminisce over the purplish-brown hefty stalwarts you have overcome till now. We stay overnight in tents.

Distance cycled: ~ 50km/31miles

Day 11: Leh
The barren topography soon acquires colour as you start seeing fertile land near Upshi. A fresh scenic countryside replete with villages, bright green patches of green farmlands, large furry dogs lazing around and children making their way to school infuse some interest in the vicinity. We cross the Indus River, towards Thiksey monastery and finally reach Leh by evening. With ten days on the road, it’s time for a warm bed and a hot shower in a guesthouse.

Distance cycled: ~ 90km/56miles

Day 12: Leh
It’s a much needed rest day as you get time to unwind and explore the town. The hectic market selling jewelry, masks and artifacts makes for an interesting walk. The meandering narrow lanes of the old residential area are also good to see the typical Ladakh architecture with low roofs, bright windows on white washed walls with a large kitchen in each house. Ladakhis are shy but generous: if you are lucky, you may be invited in for a cup of tea.

Day 13: Leh
The highest motorable road – Khardung La Pass in the world will be a piece of cake, having done the journey so far. Today, we head out early to cross the most formidable challenge of the last 12 days. You cycle through the rugged mountains, scree and tricky stretches. No doubt that this is a sharp ascend, cycling up is worth your effort for a hot cup of black tea and some maggi noodles at the pass. Even if it bright and sunny on the day, you are bound to find more snow than any of the passes before. The descent from here will be the final one of the trip!

Distance cycled: ~ 40km/50miles

Day 14: Shuttle to Leh Airport
The trip closes as we provide transfers for you to reach Leh airport.

INCLUSIONS & MORE

we go the extra mile

Beautiful Hotels

On this tour, experience the best of small homestays & camping at each destination. They are chosen carefully so that you are well rested, get a drift of the local character or an enthralling view from your verandah! Under circumstances of non-availability of homestay, we will put in equivalent or a better one. Any extras at homestay is at your expense.

Quality Bikes

When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Most of our tours in Himalayas run on some of the best mountain bikes in the cycling tour industry. Upright position, good traction and optimal balance between performance and comfort are some of the characteristics.

Outstanding Food

Local food plays an integral part in experiencing the culture of region and we make sure that you get plenty of this. The inclusion of daily meals is highlighted in detailed itinerary. Drinking water and soft drinks such as juice, tea/coffee is included while riding. Fresh fruits, cookies, salted chips & water is provided while cycling.

Charming Guides

Our most visible and perhaps most important role is played by a Trip Leader, the folks who make a trip exciting, comfortable, knowledgeable and who are able to steer you towards the real experience! In most of the trips, we have two guides riding with you. One is leading the group of riders and other is closing at the back.

Comfortable Support Van

A Van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to. It also provides you refreshments along the way and sometimes a chilled beer.

Guaranteed to Depart Tours

We run most of our tours with minimum 2 people traveling and sometimes even with 1 person, without any extra fee. Rest assured, your trip is always guaranteed to depart. If for some reasons you don’t wish to join a tour then you can always transfer to another trip or we’ll give you a credit which you can settle against any future trip.

Entrance Fees & Transportation

Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, temples & other exclusive events and transportation from rendezvous to final drop-off is always included in your tour price. Our tour designers give as much focus on non-cycling activity as on cycling.

Deep Local Knowledge & Presence

Presence of operations in India, local associations at Himalayas and ad-hoc field network allows us to leverage local know-how and deliver on what is promised to you without any culture and communications barrier.

Singles Friendly

It is applicable in cases where you want to opt for a room alone or we don’t find a room partner. In other cases, we will try to club you with another person, preferably of same sex.