Note: Altitude Sickness
Having arrived from Delhi to the high altitude of the region, it is not uncommon to feel washed out, dizzy, nauseous or lethargic due to lack of oxygen in the air. You also may suffer from mild but constant headache. These maybe signs of altitude sickness! It is imperative to take a lot of rest for the initial days and keep yourself hydrated with water. Even if you are walking in the town, keep a steady slow pace and do not over stress the body.
Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to acclimatize after arriving in Leh because of altitude sickness (recommend to read this article – Source: Leh District official website). Avoid doing anything for the first couple of days and drink plenty of water. Laptops also don’t appreciate the high altitude and hard drives are known to crash.
Day 1: Leh
Take a flight from Delhi to Leh (flight is not included in tour price) over a stack of snow-topped mountains for a large part of journey. Pray for a clear sunny day for a stunning view! This day is entirely dedicated to acclimatizing the body to the altitude of 3524 meters / 11,562 ft.
Leh is the capital town of the Himalayan district of Ladakh, and falls in the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. A former stop on the silk route, which cut across the vast Afro-Eurasian landmass, the unassuming town still has an unquestionable allure about it. Being a backpacking hub for decades, Leh and the surrounding areas have an exquisite mix of a Bohemian vibe and a diffident rustic environment. Experience the best of both in the small cafes bursting with different nationalities and international cuisines along with the contrasting local life, steeped in simplicity and strong Buddhist leanings.
Today you can plan your own day. We recommend to explore on foot and stroll to the Leh palace, which overlooks the town from its perch on a small hill. The 17th century palace is a perfect place to get a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the region. The Japanese Shanti Stupa, is another sightseeing spot worthy of your time. Take the steps rather than the road to get that blood pumping; that panoramic views from here will be even more rewarding after that little trek.
It is imperative for us to get the body used to the rarified air of the mountains before we hit the pedal.
Day 2: Leh
We warm up with a short ride to Spituk monastery and later do white water rafting from Pheyo to Sangam today. This day takes you past stunning mountainous landscape of Ladakh. We visit the majestic Spituk Gompa along the way and then cross the majestic Indus river – the cradle of one of the world’s greatest civilizations before looping back to Leh.
You can also take this day to acclimatize further for your trip ahead.
Distance cycled: ~ 30km/18mi (optional)
Day 3: Sakti
Today, we ride to Stakna past the famous Thikse monastery to Sakti. The Stakna Gompa (Buddhist monument/monastery) is a treasure trove of cultural heritage. Also known as the ‘Tiger Nose monastery’, Stakna stores invaluable artifacts and paintings from late 16th century.
It’s gradual ride to the Sakti after a small infusion of culture yesterday. Time to rest well and gear up for some serious climb ahead!
Distance cycled: ~ 50km/30mi
Day 4 & 5: Tangtse
We leave early to reach one of the most distinguished destinations of Ladakh- the Chang La pass. The steep climb to pass is narrow and often rubbly for long patches a wholesome one for cycling nevertheless. Along with the steep climbs, you will also encounter downhill dips and flat roads – this one will be perfect for your cycling sensibilities!
Next day, we ride to spectacular Pangong Lake. Admire the unmatched beauty all around before shuttling back to Tangtse.
Distance cycled: ~ 70km/42mi & 30km / 18mi*
Day 6: Sakti
Today we shuttle to Sakti and take it as a rest day. You have ample time today to walk through bucolic Sakti village.
Day 7 & 8: Hunder, Nubra Valley
We take a shuttle to the top of Wari La pass and then ride to Hunder. The topography changes dramatically from washed out browns to the lush green meadows dotted with black yaks. Soon you hit the cusp of the Shyok and Siachen Rivers that flow through a vast sandy valley. Scant vegetation, a snaking black river seemingly diving the Tibetan plateau give Nubra a dramatic topographical edge over the other destinations in Ladakh.
Hunder, one of the largest villages of the Nubra Valley, is a picturesque settlement where you can see small stands of apple orchards and locals busying themselves over farmlands.
En-route, we visit Diskit monastery. Diskit is the oldest and largest Gompa of the Nubra Valley and has many legends attached to it since it was built in the 14th century. Another intriguing sight that cannot be missed is Hunder, the land of sand dunes. It is intriguing to see double humped Bactrian camels here.
Next day we ride towards Tuktuk village. It is a border village between India and Pakistan. The culture changes dramatically here from other parts of Ladakh.
Distance cycled: ~ 50km/30mi & 40km / 24mi*
Day 9: Khardung Village
Today we take a shuttle to Khardung village and set up a camp here. This is in preparation towards a long and arduous climbing day ahead tomorrow to Khardung La.
Day 10: Leh via Khardung La Pass
Get ready for a tough yet rewarding day and ride to the highest motorable pass in the world, Khardung La. It’s a long switchback route. Arrive at the mish-mash of snow, military sheds, plenty of motorbike teams and make a stop for the famous maggi again. We bet you will be addicted by then. Spend time here to take in the last of the snowy peaks, shivering prayer flags and top view of the Shyok river valley. Hop onto the cycles for the last exhilarating stretch downhill till Leh.
Distance cycled: ~ 70km/42mi
Day 11: Departure
Depart for your onward journey.