himalaya

17 aug - 1 sep 2018

Riding along some of the world’s highest mountain passes will challenge even the most intrepid of travellers, but these are the experiences that lifelong memories are made of.

There are some travel destinations that seem so obscure that most would never even think of them. But, once you’ve heard the idea, it’s a prospect so tantalising that you can’t seem to shake the desire to get there… one day. That’s the kind of journey, a motorbike ride through the Himalayas is.

Imagine riding at 5,359 metres above sea level along the world’s highest road passable by vehicle. Feel the power of the wind as you pass moon-like crater landscapes, past the mountain-sources of historically important rivers, and alongside isolated Buddhist monasteries. All the while, as you ride the winding roads, you’re surrounded by a crown of mountains - the grand Himalayas enveloping you at every turn, stretching along the horizon as far as the eye can see.
DELHIDELHIDELHISRINAGARSRINAGARKARGILKARGILLAMAYURULAMARUYUNUBRA VALLEYNUBRA VALLEYLEHLEHPAKONG LAKEPANGONG LAKEPANGPANGJISPAJISPAMANALIMANALILEHLEHLEHLEH

D1, D2 – Arrival

Our journey starts in Delhi, and after some sightseeing in the northern city, we’ll board a bus toward the mountains. India can be a real culture shock for first timers. Pretty much everyone who arrives at the international airport in Delhi, has a moment where they consider getting on the first flight out. But leaving the chaos and the crowds of the metropolis behind, arriving in Manali offers instant relief. We’ll discover that India has a thousand faces. In this mountain town you’ll start to enjoy India’s bustling everyday life. While you acclimatise to the higher altitude, you’ll be allocated your very own Royal Enfield Bullet 500 motorcycle. The legendary Bullet was used in both world wars, and has retained the same design since then. So riding through the Himalayas on the back of one of these, is just like it would have been in our grandparent’s day.

D3 – On the Bike

We’ll go on some short rides around Manali to try out our motorcycles, and then we’ll enjoy some rest in the local thermal baths.

D4 – Green Himalayas

On day four we’ll leave Manali behind us and ride toward the Rothang Pass. We’ll sail past green steppes, terrace fields, and grand waterfalls. High in the sky above vultures will circle, and on this day we’ll also see our first 6000 metre high mountain forming on the horizon.

D5 – Lunar Landscape

We head toward the Bara-lacha Pass at an altitude of 4890 metres. This high mountain pass connects two completely different worlds; the green valleys of the Hindu region, to the Buddhist region marked by a rocky desert. Symbolically, this is where we truly step into the Himalayas, and the first day where we truly experience Ladakh’s incredible rocky desert landscape. The scene is reminiscent of a crater-covered moon landscape, surrounded by giant mountain peaks that seem to reach for the sky.

D6 – Buddhism and the Himalayas

We zoom toward the Tanglang La, which – at 5329 meters high – is the second highest mountain pass traversable on motorbike. We wind around these high roads, where monasteries dot the mountain-sides, and we’ll pass by many local Buddhist monks. Finally, riding alongside the Indus River we arrive in Leh.

D7, D8, D9 – Experience Overload: Pangong Lake

In Leh we’ll take a short break from the 5000 metre high passes and the simple mountain accommodations, and we’ll prepare for the highlight of the adventure - a visit to Pangong Lake. This is one of Asia’s biggest saltwater lakes, and sits at 4350 metres above sea level. The lake completely freezes to the core of its 100 meter depth during winter, and on its banks just a handful of families remain through the coldest months. These families host us during our one night stay in a family-run camp. So we’ll catch a glimpse of their lives, and taste the local food.

D10, D11 – Motoring Atop the World

From Pangong Lake we will head towards Nubra Valley in the riverbed of the Shyok river on a tiny road which is only ridable for one month each year. The natural landscape completely changes here to a sandy desert and we’ll even ride past camels! Next day the road back to Leh can only be described as the top of the world for motoring enthusiasts. We’ll head to the world’s highest pass that’s crossable by motorbike. The Khardung La awaits us at 5359 metres from where we'll descent almost 2000 meters to Leh.
JISPAPANGDAH HANUNUBRA VALLEYKHARDUNG LALAMAYURUDELHIMANALILEHPAGONGLAKE

D12 – Terrace and a magnetic hill

After breakfast we’ll bid farewell to Leh for two days and take a trip to Dah Hanu. This timeless village preserves a unique indo-european cultural heritage unusual for this part of the Himalayas, where the inhabitants are mainly mongolian or tibetan. We spend the night in a traditional tent in an apricot orchard, where medieval terrace techniques are still employed. On the way to Dah Hanu, we visit the spot where the Zanskar and Indus rivers meet. We climb the magnetic hill, where uphill and downhill merge together in a strange illusion.

Nanga Parbat

On our last day on two wheels we are entering into our last 5000 meters high pass. Weather permitting, we glimpse of Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world at 8126 meters. Before heading back to Leh we will stop off in Lamayuru and Alchi the home of 1000 years old monastery.

D14 - A flight from Leh to Delhi and it’s back home!

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Way of the Road – Himalayas– Motorbike ROadtrip

17 AUG - 1 sep 2018

€1750

ability level

advanced motorbike skills or no experience required for pillions and for those who travel in the back-up car

best suited for

couples, solo travelers, groups

meeting point

Delhi airport / upon agreement in case of group travel

weather

hot and humid in Delhi (35°C), sunny, 22-28°C with occasional showers in Himachal Pradesh, sunny and dry mountain weather 10-25°C in Ladakh

road conditions

curving mountain roads, bumpy dirt roads, ponds and river crossings

biker package

Royal Enfield motorbikes, professional guides, back up van, mechanic

accommodation

double bed 3star hotel rooms and glamping tents with bathroom, mostly with wifi and hot water

local transportation

bus, motorbike, airplane

free time/nightlife

nice local restaurants, beers and papadums in the hotel garden

how big is the group?

each back up crew (back up van, mechanic and guide) can take maximum 15 riders at the same time. In one camp we can handle a maximum of 2 groups

what’s included

accommodation, local transport, airport transfers in India, Royal Enfield motorbikes, breakfast and dinner, local guide on a bike, back-up van, mechanic, permissions to militarily protected areas

what’s not included

flight tickets, visa, petrol, insurance, lunch, motorbiking clothes, alcohol

special requirements

driving license for motorbikes

application deadline

3 months prior the trip

installment payment plan

40% upon application, 60% 2 months prior arrival
Send us your application! Once we receive your details, we will send you the booking information. To confirm your booking, a deposit of 40% of the price of the given trip (or the full balance if within two months of the departure date) is required. This can be done by bank transfer.

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Way of the Road – Himalayas Q & A

Do I need a visa?

It depends on your nationality. From most of the countries you will need a visa which is a really easy process possible to make online with an average price of 70 USD. Please always check it on your local embassy’s website.

Which countries will we visit?

We’ll stay between the borders of India for the whole trip.

What kind of driving license do I need to participate on the trip as a motorbiker?

You need to have a motorcycle driving license valid for an 500 cc motorbike (at least).

What can I do if I really want to attend, but I can not ride?

You can sit into the back-up van and enjoy totally the same trip while saving 300 EUR.

In what kind of a dress should I ride?

It depends on your choice. We do not recommend to wear leather motorbike suits as we do not go fast on the bikes. But do to the fact that the temperature is very differing in the variant heights, it is good to wear multiple layers, such in case of skiing. It’s a good idea to wear either a durable high top hiking boot, a real biking boot or even a dirt bike boot.

Is it expected to rain?

In Delhi it is absolutely possible, but we won't ride there. In Manali rain can occur in the first two days, then the probability is very small, in most of the time we'll ride in a high altitude desert.

Should I bring my own helmet? If yes, what kind is the best?

They provide helmets if necessary, but obviously these ones are used and not the from the highest quality. We recommend you to bring your own one! It is your decision what kind of a helmet you prefer, but you need to be prepared for defending yourself against a very strong sunshine and a lot of dust.

What kind of road conditions should I expect?

There will be parts with straight, smooth concrete roads, but this is not typical. You need to be prepared for bumpy dirt roads, river crossings, mud, sand, gravel, lots of curves and anything you can imagine.

For what kind of health issues should I be prepared?

First of all we are travelling in India, so you need to know that diarrhea and stomach infections can happen anytime. On the other hand, besides Delhi we are staying in a mountain area for the full-time, where water is a lot cleaner, so the risk of getting sick is a lot lower, for instance last year nobody got sick. It’s always a good idea to keep a hand sanitizer or a small bottle of spirit in your bag. Secondly, altitude sickness is a significant issue, although we reach the first 5000 meter high pass in 3 days, usually it is demanding for your body. The risk is getting higher, if you are overweight, you have cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure or in case of smoking. If you are unsure, talk to your doctor. We'll spend 10 days above 3300 meters and we'll cross 5000 meter passes 5 times. However, if anyone feels unwell, he/she can sit in the back-up car with oxygen cylinder. From this point someone else will ride his/her bike for a while.

Is the fuel supply solved in the whole trip?

Yes, the group leaders will take care of it, they bring extra supply in the back-up van.

What about the food?

You’ll get breakfast and dinner at the hotel in a buffet system. For lunch we'll stop at roadside stalls where we can buy snacks and basic foods (everyone pays his own). The type of all three meals are basically Indian. In case of special diets, please let us know in advance and we'll ask the local partners about the possibilities.

Who leads the tour?

The staff contains the following people: a professional motorbiker mountain guide grown up between the mountains of the Himalaya (he's the one who leads the group on the roads), a well-equipped mechanic (he's an expert of Royal Enfield bikes, travelling in the back-up van with his tools and spare parts), another group leader sitting in the back-up van (he can ride anybody's bike if anything goes wrong and he takes care of any upcoming situation) and there is also a group leader from our side, who has already done this trip multiple times and knows the local stuffs and staffs as well.

How do bags travel, what kind of bags should I bring?

You need to pack into at least 2 bags. The big bag travels in or on the back-up van so don't bring your expensive suitcases (you can pack them in and out everyday in the hotel), and hand baggages will be strapped on your motorbikes. In this you should wear your extra layers, water, camera and any personal items you need during the day.

What kind of vaccinations should I have?

Please ask your local health authority. Usually there are no mandatory vaccinations, but the recommended ones are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, DPT, Meningitis.

Are there any military or political risks?

Due to the fact that the route runs on the Indian-Chinese-Pakistan border region, there is a very strong military presence with lots of camps on the way. Our local guides are familiar with there military camps and have a good relationship with them. These places are responsible for medical tasks as well in these areas. Tourism is very developed and is a significant income source in this region, so they are very nice with tourists and pay attention to them. If any problematic situation developed, they would also handle them, but nothing like this will happen.

How much pocket-money will I need?

When you get your Royal Enfield, you'll need to pay a 150 EUR deposit, which is refunded upon the return of the undamaged engine. Please note that usually an amount of around 30 EUR is deducted as an average amortisation. In addition you will have to pay for your petrol, your lunch, some drinks and maybe few massages. For all this, if you don't drink heavily and you don't buy expensive souvenirs, 250 EUR should be enough.

What is the local currency and where to change money? Are there ATM-s and can I pay by card?

The currency is Indian Rupee (~ 1 USD=64,3 INR, 1 EUR=68 INR). We will have the opportunity to change money at the airport after the arrival to Delhi, or somewhere in the city center. ATM-s and credit card payments are not typical, but can occur in Dehli, Manali and Leh (they do not accept all card types). So we suggest to bring money and change (you'll have the opportunity to change money in Delhi, Manali and Leh).

Is it possible to buy and drink alcohol during the trip?

Of course you can drink, but buying alcohols is somewhat more difficult. It is advised to take spirits from home or buy them at the airport. In larger cities there are dedicated alcohol shops and it is always possible to buy beer in our accommodations, although the price of it rises in proportion to the height above sea level.

What kind of insurance should I take out?

You'll need to have one that is valid for motorcycling, valid in India and valid above 5000 meters altitude. If you need help, please get in touch with us!

What kind of accommodations should I expect along the way?

We'll mostly stay in high standard 3 star hotels, we'll spend some nights in tents and once we'll sleep in an adobe house. However, the tents are equipped with beds and bathroom is also located inside the tent. The hospitality of the locals makes up for all the inconveniences.

Is it a problem if I want to come alone?

Not at all. Indian hotels usually have double bed rooms, if you don't want to be paired with one of your super friendly group mates, you can ask for single bed rooms for an additional fee, please request this in the application form.

What happens if you'll get a flat tire or anything else is broken?

You shouldn't worry, the back-up van with the mechanic is always the last one on the road, just park your bike beside, wait for him and enjoy the stunning scenery while he repairs your bike. Usually he can fix anything within 15 mins. The head of the group will wait you at the next snack station.

Will I have wifi and mobile network coverage during the trip?

In the big cities such as Delhi, Manali and Leh you’ll have both, even in the hotel we stay at. In the remote areas it is better not to count with them, but at least every second or maximum 3rd days you will be able to contact with the rest of the world. :)
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