Ladakh on a Bike Tour

27th June - 5th July 2020
27th June - 5th July 2020
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  • 9 Days
  • 250 kilometres
  • Leh, Ladakh
  • Leh, Ladakh

Tour Intensity

Medium Intensity Tour

Activity

Best Season

Tour Overview

Ladakh on a Bicycle – Guided Tour

Ladakh is a remote high-altitude desert region in Jammu and Kashmir, India, which reflects a blend of natural and cultural diversity unique to this region. This Buddhist influenced region also has some Tibetan roots. Ladakh offers a traveller a sense of dramatic contrast of culture along with vibrant colours of its landscape – blue skies, vast expanses of brown, gold, and ochre mountains that are occasionally disrupted by green agrarian villages and hamlets.

This Unventured trail is truly an enriching “Ladakhi” experience. You will ride alongside the Indus River, heading north towards Lamayuru. Along the way, you’ll pick up on local Ladhaki culture, listen to stories from the locals, try some local food and even get your hands dirty while cooking with a Ladakhi family. You’ll get to stay with a local household to experience and gain an insight into life in these harsh Himalayan mountains.

Between June and October, the region opens up with its markets, Stupas, and Chortens rise from their snowy cover. At the pace of a pedal, starting from Leh, you’ll get to take in the rich natural biodiversity through village rides, where you’ll see sights of yaks being milked and children playing in a pastoral setting. After a taste of Ladakhi cuisine from your homestay, our local guide will walk you through its rich history and heritage via stories of fleeing monks, antagonistic princes, and adventures – all found in this impregnable valley. What more? These stories will be narrated by locals while you bicycle through this fascinating place. 

Who can do this tour?

The Ladakh on a bicycle trail is a medium intensity tour and ideal for anyone who wants to explore the region on the bicycle. The riding distances range between 30-40 kilometres on an average. The terrain in Ladakh is a mix of climbs, steep descents, and is combined with narrow roads. Cyclists should be in good physical shape with at least some cycling experience. They should be adept at cycling for a duration of 3-4 hours a day. Being physically fit will, of course, be a huge asset, but a tour van will be always close at hand if needed.

We will climb up and down several trails as we take the road from Nimoo through quaint village roads and countryside making our way to Lamayuru and back into the town of Leh. The ascents are steep at some sections. Gradients vary between 8-12%. You will have a mix of drive days in between and adequate rest days for you to acclimatise and settle in.

Gallery
Itinerary

You will start your trail from Leh town in Ladakh with enough time allotted for you to acclimatise to the cold high altitude desert. This is a culturally rich trail that will take you through quaint villages like Nimoo, Lamayuru, and Alchi which are rich in heritage whilst traversing through some beautiful, scenic places.

Your ride through the land known by many names such as ‘Little Tibet’, ‘Magic Land’, ‘Moon Land’, and other such endearing names come well-deserved because it possesses such unique landscape and exquisite culture. As you cycle, you will stop by beautiful monasteries, full of priceless art and antiques, and learn about their monastic way of life. In all, the unforgiving yet beautiful terrains, the isolated yet elaborate monasteries, and the weathered yet spiritual people are bound to make this a memorable mountain bicycle ride.

Tour Inclusions

Day 1 : Arrive in Leh and acclimatisation

Travelers are expected to arrive at Leh before noon, you will meet your tour leader who will escort you to your homestay in the quaint village of Stok. A 20 kilometer drive through Ladakh will give you your first views of the beautiful landscape. You spend the day acclimatizing for the next few days of riding will be intense. An easy day with an evening walks around the village where you’ll meet locals and sip on Ladakhi chai (Tea).

Drive distance: 25+ kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• You’ll meet and greet your fellow travelers
• Enjoy your stay with a host who has a 100-year-old ancestral home
• Take a ride to acclimatize

Day 2 :Ride to Likir

Today is your first day of riding. Post breakfast and a briefing session, you will set off on your bicycles and ride to your first stopover, Likir, which is famous for its Klu-KKhyil (meaning “water spirits”) monastery, built in the 11th century. This is a fairly isolated village with surreal views of the mountains. You will ride along the river’s edge on a rolling trail with some mild climbs. You’ll spend the night star gazing and spotting various constellations.

Ride distance: 20 kilometres
Drive distance: 40+ kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• You’ll ride for 20 kilometers (approx.) to acclimatize
• Visit the Likir monastery and learn about the Gelukpa Monks
• You’ll spend the night at a homestay where you’ll get to stargaze

Day 3 : Ride to the “Moonland”

After a breakfast of freshly baked local bread and choice of eggs from Likir village, you will ride out towards Lamayuru, better known as the place of the “Eternal Monastery”. The village is also a favourite jaunt for trekkers and photographers for it is called the “Moonland” because of its moon-like landscape that can be viewed from the top of the Lamayuru Monastery. This monastery is also famous for the festivals it celebrates through the summer season with mask dances and rituals.

Ride distance: 65+ kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:

• You’ll visit the Lamayuru Monastery today
• Enjoy your lunch at Uleytekpo, one of the most beautiful villages in Ladakh
• Your stay for tonight will be in a quaint village home-like hotel

Day 4 : Hike to Walna Village across a low pass and visit Lamayuru village

Today, you will take a break from cycling and instead walk around and explore the beautiful village of Lamayuru, taking the trekker’s route. On this route, you can explore the “Moonland” landscapes, interact with the locals, listen to their stories while you pause to soak in the mountain air – you can choose to rest or do this trek. A picnic lunch is a perfect to way to sit back and truly rejoice your ongoing mountain holiday.

Hike distance: 10 kilometers

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:

• You’ll have an easy day with rest and a little exploring
• Take a walk into a village and mid-intensity trek up Wanla
• Take in the breathtaking views of the “Moonland”

Day 5: Ride to the old monastery village of Alchi

You will ride by the Indus River toward Alchi, your well-rested legs should be ready to get back and pedal ahead to a monastery located on flat ground instead of a hilltop. This monastery is also home to some well-preserved 11th and 12th-century paintings. Your guide will walk you through this rich form of art called “Thanka” and the exquisite “Mandalas”. Your overnight stay is at a heritage home where your host will walk you through the home’s Ladakhi architecture and introduce you to their rich cultural heritage.

Hike distance: 58 kilometers

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:

• Ride into the rolling terrain and downhill all the way to Alchi
• You’ll get an introduction to Ladakhi art and architecture
• You’ll stay the night at a heritage home

Day 6 :Visit the capital town of Leh

You will drive to Leh and ride some distance, stopping by for lunch at a farm stay where you will also learn about the Ladakhi way of self-sustenance. The drive & ride may take a little over 4 hours with stopovers to take pictures. The evening is free to explore Leh.

Ride Distance: 20+ kilometres
Drive distance: 45+ kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• You’ll drive into Leh
• Take a walk around Leh town
• Spend a leisurely evening in the town

Day 7 : Drive to the blue Pangong Tso Lake - Visit monasteries enroute

Post breakfast, you will drive out of Leh town to visit the Thiksey Monastery. If permitted, we will sit for prayers with the monks, while we learn and chant mantras echoing from the ancient walls of the monastery. Later, a 6 hour drive through Changla Pass will get you to Pangong Tso Lake. The only salt water lake displays surreal blue and green hues and is surrounded by mountains in the many shades of brown. No amount of pictures or words do justice to the beauty of Pangong Tso Lake. You will spend the evening strolling by the lake. Dinner and overnight at the camp

Drive distance: 155 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented campsite

Highlights:

• You’ll visit the Thiksey Monastery
• Take a walk in the evening to the lake to watch the sunset
• You’ll stay at a campsite by the lake

Day 8 : Drive back from Pangong Tso Lake - evening shopping in Leh market

Today, you will drive back into Leh town via Hemis Monastery. A significant monastry in India for Buddhism that dates back to before the 11th Century. Another less known fact is that Russian journalist, Nicolas Notovitch, claimed that Hemis has an origin of an otherwise unknown gospel, the Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men, in which Jesus is said to have travelled to India during his “lost years.” Spend the evening leisurely and enjoy a continental dinner at a quaint cafe.

Drive distance: 155 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• Take a scenic drive from Pangong Tso to Leh
• Go on a guided walk through the Hemis Monastery
• Take the evening off and shop around in leisure

Day 9 :Drive back to Leh

You will bid goodbye to the mountains and your fellow travelers and head toward your onward journey with many memories of the “Mysterious Land”. For any assistance with ticketing and planning an extended holiday, you can always reach out to your tour guide who will assist you accordingly.

Drive/Hike distance: 5+ kilometers

Accommodation Type: None

Highlights:

• Bid adieu to new friends
• Airport drop

Our tour cost is inclusive of:

  • Transport from Ladakh to Ladakh
  • Accomodation on all days
  • All meals specified in the itinerary, water, juices, and snack pack
  • Good quality cycles and helmet (Mountain Bikes)
  • Mechanical and medicinal support through the tour
  • Services of an Unventured tour leader

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic/aerated beverages
  • Camera charges (still and video)
  • Evacuation charges
  • Expenses incurred beyond our control (bad weather, natural calamity)

The Unventured Experience

The Ladakh on a Bicycle trail is set against the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountain ranges with views of snow-capped mountains, river streams and valleys, and quaint villages. These are also home to some of the most beautiful patches of grasslands amidst desert regions and is rich in biodiversity with sightings of some unique wildlife.

This 9-day trail begins and ends in Leh and includes about 200 odd kilometres of cycling over 9 days. We’ve packed the right mix of cycling, leisure, and exploration. You will experience stretches that challenge your limits, sceneries that indulge your senses, and interactions with the locals that expose you to their culture.

Difficulty Level:

This is a medium intensity trail and anyone fairly active can attempt to explore Ladakh on a bicycle. You will be guided through climbing high gradient climbs and accommodate weather conditions.

Preparedness – Physical & Mental

Our Ladakh on a Bicycle is a good blend of food, nature, culture, history, and real-world experiences of Ladakh on a cycle and by foot. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a regular city commuter; this trail has a good combination of challenging climbs to downhills through countryside roads, villages, cold desert trails, and apple orchards for you to trail leisurely and interact with the locals. This tour is graded medium intensity in terms of distance and gradient climbing. Since most of the rides will be done on tarmac roads and some graveled roads, we suggest that our guests start mountain biking in their own home country a month before this trip. This is to ensure you take away the unfamiliarity with mountain bikes that occur due to lack of practice, physical unpreparedness, and you don’t hold up the other prepared participants. This tour will include a personal guide, mechanic, and a designated driver.

Cycling Support

Your tour will be supported with a “support vehicle”. The cycles are21-speed aluminium 6061 alloy frame mountain bikes. You will also have a well-trained mechanic accompanying you, and a full repair kit with essential spares. We will also be carrying a back-up cycle along the expedition just so that nobody misses out on the riding experience, should his or her bike have a serious breakdown.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in 2-3 star hotels and homestays with good hygienic bathrooms offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: A team of 10-12 riders will be supported by one coaster bus with a carrier that will transport both the riders and bikes along with a spare cycle, lunch packs, and water. Through the day this vehicle will trail with the riders.

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1 Review
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Taresh Ghei

Solo Traveller

Juley Ladakh
Ladakh is not your typical vacation destination but I’ve always been mesmerised by the views Ive seen and wanted to discover the land for myself and hence signed up for a 9 day tour of Ladakh with Team Unventured.

The Unventured – Ladakh on Bicycle tour 2017 tells you that theres more to Ladakh than Leh and theres more to a cycle than just a mode of exercise. This medium intensity tour took us through Alchi, Lamayuru, Likhir and other villages, soak in the great culture and history, meet the beautiful people and experience the ever so changing weather all on the bicycle.
Thank you for introducing me to Ladakh.

10/03/2018
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