Manali to Leh Cycling Tour

Long Duration Tour
From₹ 72,000
Long Duration Tour
From₹ 72,000
Fixed Departure
Private/Custom Tour
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June 15, 2019
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  • 15 Days
  • 550 kilometres
  • Delhi
  • Leh, Ladakh

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Tour Overview

Getting Leh’d – The Unventured Manali to Leh Bike Tour

Unventured’s classic bike expedition starts from Manali, Himachal Pradesh and traverses through the lower Himalayan passes to reach Leh, the capital city of the Ladakh. This journey includes 470 kilometres of cycling (90 kilometres additionally to KhardungLa pass in Leh). On this memorable 15 day expedition, we’ve packed the right mix of cycling, leisure, rejuvenation, and exploration. You will experience stretches that challenge your limits, sceneries that indulge your senses and interactions that expose you to the local culture.

This is a challenging adventure primarily because of the varied terrain, altitude, and the extremely unpredictable weather conditions. Distances pedalled daily will range between 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 miles) as the difficulty level will vary from being easy, manageable and extremely challenging along the journey.

The early part of the tour focuses on the cycling adventures sifting through four high altitude Himalayan passes. As we move along, you will be smitten by the regional culture and the last few days are reserved to revel at the splendour of Ladakh and its Buddhist culture. This expedition also involves visiting the Pangong Tso lake.

Who can do this tour?

This is a high-intensity tour for anyone who seeks an adventure and is committed to practicing and preparing for the rough terrain. At Unventured, we offer participants all necessary support, training, guidance, and practice information to prepare for this tour. This is a tour for an experienced rider who has cycled long durations and must be physically fit. The tour is fully supported with a van that is always close at hand if needed. We will climb up to 5 high passes reaching above 5,000 metres in altitude and ride at 4,000 metres altitude for 3 days. The ascents, however, are fairly gradual and not intensely steep but expect long days of climbing up hills. Gradients vary between 5-10%.

Itinerary

The Manali to Leh bike tour is one of the most sought-after experiences for cyclists in India and our flagship expedition. It takes a lot of endurance and mental preparedness to accomplish it; which is why very few dare it. Unlike most expeditions in the region, we aim to offer a complete experience that combines endurance with local offbeat experiences enjoyed in the company of like-minded travellers. We’ve ensured a well-planned trail that will have you working hard but will allow you to take a minute to soak in the views of the Himalayan passes.

On our tour, we’ve ensured we put a good mix of local experiences like an overnight camp stay by the edge of TsoKar lake, stay at a local home-stay in a quaint village where you can walk around and make conversations with the locals.

The tour is broken up into 2 parts:

  • Cycle ride: 10 Days
  • Experience Leh: 3 days (Motorized transport)

You will average in at 55 kilometres per day but will be faced with days that are more intense and longer than some other day. The itinerary and each day’s ride distance is carefully planned from years of experience in offering tours in the region. The intensity of the tour increases with each day and this ensures your body also get acclimatized to the conditions.

Day 1 : Drive to the Himalayan foothills (Manali)

Participants arrive in Delhi by 3:00 PM and will be required to meet at a convenient place to board their bus to Manali. The road to Manali is a 13-14 hour drive via Chandigarh. We board A/C semi sleeper Volvo buses by 6:00 PM and head to Manali. Dinner will be en route at a highway dhaba. ETA in Manali is by 9:00 AM

Drive distance: 545 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Overnight bus ride

Highlights:

• You’ll meet and greet our fellow riders on the tour
• You’ll do the long overnight drive to Manali

Day 2: Exploring Manali and gearing up for the tour

Arrive in Manali and check-in to your hotel. Post breakfast, your cycle boxes will be provided to you so you can inspect and assemble your cycles. You will be assisted and guided by our mechanic. We will then head out for a refresher/countryside ride through the pine forests and along the river. Post a short ride of 15 odd kilometres we will head back to our hotel and rest up for the expedition beginning the next day.

Ride distance: 25 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Hotel

Highlights:

• Do the bike fit and gear check to ensure you get a hang of your cycle
• Go on an acclimatisation ride
• Get briefed about the tour

DAY 3: Beginning of the 9-day expedition to Leh

We ride out of Manali town on the road weaving its way through sparse alpine vegetation and up towards Rohtang La (pass). On a traffic-heavy day, a lot of tourists will be spotted going up to the pass for a glimpse of snow. As you gradually ascend along the road, you can look back at great views of the Manali valley below. We camp at Marhi (3,000m above MSL) is a small settlement located en route to Rohtang La.

Ride distance: 36 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• Take in the views of the Alpine trees and the valleys
• Keep calm and navigate through heavy vehicular traffic

DAY 4: Crossing our first high altitude pass

We begin the day climbing up the last leg to the top of the Rohtang pass. This ride is a 14-kilometre ascent and the rest downhill and then a rolling trail to camp. Enjoy the bliss of riding through walls of snow as you cross awe-inspiring scenery of the Rohtang pass. Rohtang (meaning a pile of corpses) is at an altitude of 3,978 metres and has a reputation for unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards. As you cross Rohtang, you’ll also be crossing over from a primarily Hindu culture into Buddhist culture. Look forward to some beautiful Buddhist stupa installations along the road.

Ride distance: 53 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• You’ll encounter your first high altitude pass
• You’ll get a glimpse of thick snow cover
• Be careful as you will encounter a downhill section

DAY 5 : Our last leg of the ride in civilization

This will be your last day with network as we pass through the town of Keylong. Past this point, you will begin to get cut-off from the civilization. Jispa (elevation 3,200 metres) is a small village with few hundred households only. It is a favourite camping place for mountaineers and adventure tourists who visit this region.
Get as much as rest possible and prepare yourself for the next day.

Ride distance: 58 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Lodge

Highlights:

• Come across some surreal views of the mountains
• You’ll have to climb uphill moderately

DAY 6 :We hit 4,000 metres and stop ahead of our 2nd pass climb

This is a challenging terrain for cycling; one that will test your endurance and willpower. We will have lunch by a small lake. At this point, you’ll notice the vegetation beginning to disappear. Zingzingbar is predominantly a basic road works camp area and we will be camping at an altitude of over 4,000 metres.

Drive distance: 38 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• Biker’s day
• You’ll cross a Stream
• Begin your ascent to 4000+ mtrs ASL

DAY 7 : Pass #2, getting across the snow packed Baralach La Pass and crossing states

You’ll be crossing over from Himachal Pradesh into Jammu and Kashmir. Look out for Marmots along the road – large squirrels that live only in mountainous regions. In India, they can only be found in the Ladakh region. Bara-lacha la (4870 m above MSL) is yet another popular high altitude pass along the Manali to Leh highway.

Ride distance: 68 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• You’ll encounter thick sheets of snow
• You’ll cycle through wide open plains
• Cycle through steep descents along broken roads

DAY 8 : Intense riding day with Pass #3 & #4 covered on the same day

Challenging terrain for cycling as you start ascending from the Sarchu plains through the double pass of Nakee-la (4,950 metres) and the Lachalung-la (5,060 metres). One of the most demanding days on this expedition, the Gata Loops are a series of twenty-one hairpin bends leading upto Nakeela. The climb becomes more memorable with a discussion on the local legend – ‘Ghost of Gata Loops’. Watch out for Bharl, the Himalayan blue sheep and if you have the eyes to scan the slightest movement up in the hills, then perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of the elusive Snow Leopard.

Drive distance: 67 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• You’ll cycle through steep ascents
• Take in amazing views and wildlife
• You’ll ride through 21 “Gata” Loops

DAY 9 : Relaxed day of riding across vast plains and exploring wildlife

This is a day of relaxation. Rejuvenate while you pedal along flat roads but under the hot sun. Enjoy riding the vast plains and the feeling of nothingness. The Moore plains are home to the Changpa tribals, native herdsmen of the Ladakh. The Moore plains are summer pastures for their herd of goats, sheep, and Yak. The campsite will be along the banks of the Tso Kar lake with beautiful views of clear blue water.

Ride distance: 45 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Tented Camp

Highlights:

• Take some short steep ascents
• Ride along rolling flat plains as well
• Spot wildlife across the open plains

DAY 10 : Climb Pass #5 to reach civilization

Taglang-la (5,359 metres) is also the second highest motorable mountain pass in India. The climb upto this pass is demanding and can take a toll on you. Stay committed and you will make it to the top. Descend with high caution along this 25 kilometres decent into Lato town. Riders are required to decend together and under the vigil of the lead guide and backed by the support vehicles.

Ride distance: 68 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• Ride on India’s second highest motorable road
• Interact with the tribal settlements as you pass by
• You’ll descent downhill down a tarmac road

DAY 11 : Ride into Leh through villages, passing monasteries and beautiful landscapes

Begin to experience the Buddhist influenced Ladaki way of life as you roll through several small towns with great views all around. We will ride past several monasteries and Buddhist installations. Karu is an army settlement en route to Leh, one of the biggest you will come across. A very well-organized township, for the armed forces. And finally, the ride up to Leh town that will require one last climb of about 12 kilometres to get into the town and your homestay that sits at the base of the mountains.

Ride distance: 60 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• Cycle through steep ascents
• Take in picture-perfect views
• Cycle through narrow roads through villages

DAY 12 : Intense ride up to one of the Highest Motorable Roads

This is the mother of all climbs claimed to be one of the highest motorable passes in the whole wide world. Located at an altitude of 5,602 metres, this pass was opened to motor vehicles in 1988 and has since been a strategic route to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. The participants will host a dinner for the tour crew as an appreciation of their support.

Ride distance: 90 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• Cycle through the World’s highest motorable road
• Take the downhill descent

DAY 13 : Exploring Ladakh - Drive to the Blue Lake (Pangong Tso)

Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king, Sengge Namgyal. The annual Hemis festival honouring Guru Padmasambhava is held here in early June. Pangong Tso is a marvel lake. It is 134 kilometres long and spans almost 700 square kilometres. Did you know that this lake lies in the disputed area between India and China? The Line of Control passes through the lake.

Drive distance: 180 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Swiss Tented Campsite

Highlights:

• Visit one of the largest high altitude lakes in India
• Find wildlife along the alpine areas
• Take in the sistas of mountains

DAY 14 : Exploring Ladakh – Visiting Monasters and return journey from Pangong Tso

The Shey Monastery and the Shey Palace complex are located in Shey; which was once the summer capital of Ladakh.
Thiksey Monastery is the largest in central Ladakh and is noted for its striking similarity with Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, Thangka wall paintings, and swords.

Drive distance: 180 kilometres

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• You can visit the Pangong Tso Lake
• You can visit a few Buddhist monasteries
• Celebratory party on completing the ride

DAY 15 : Free day, exploring markets and shopping in Leh

A day reserved for local sightseeing and shopping in Leh. Live through the hard earned bliss of getting Leh’d. Visit Shanti Stupa – a symbol built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism.

Drive/Hike distance: 0 KM

Accommodation Type: Homestay

Highlights:

• You’ll get to soak in the local experience
• Enjoy your Free/Leisure day

Day 16 : Flight out of Leh

We wake up to bid adieu to our newly made friends and with promises and hopes that we will cross paths in the future. Following breakfast, we drive out to the airport and take the flight out to Delhi and further to other destinations.

Drive distance: 5 kilometres

Accommodation Type: None

Highlights:

• You’ll bid adieu to new friends
• You’ll be dropped to the Airport

Tour Inclusions

The Unventured Manali to Leh Experience

Unlike most expeditions in the region, we aim to offer a total experience that combines endurance with local offbeat experiences enjoyed in the company of like-minded travellers.

We’ve planned a trail that will have you pedalling hard, but also give you a minute to soak in the views. On our tour, we’ve ensured we put a good amount of local experiences like an overnight camp stay by the edge of TsoKar lake, stay at a local home-stay in a quaint village where you can walk around the village and make conversations with the locals.

Difficulty Level: High Intensity (Challenging due to the high altitude and long days of riding)

Preparedness – Physical & Mental

The Manali to Leh bike tour is one of the most sought-after experiences for cyclists in India. It takes a magical blend of endurance & mental preparedness to accomplish it; which is why very few dare it. It is not age or gender that will be key to success, but the commitment to a good training regime and a positive approach to the whole expedition.

Over the years, our closely monitored training regime has helped participants not only to endure the tour but also relish every moment along the way. We’ve had instances where participants (men & women) who were new to cycling trained and practiced, to pedal almost all the way and completed the tour.

Cycling Support

Your tour will be supported by a well-trained mechanic, and a full repair kit with essential spares. However, we strongly encourage participants to carry their basic bike maintenance kit along. We will also be carrying a backup cycle along the expedition; just so that nobody misses out on the riding experience should their bike have a serious breakdown.

Accommodation:

Accommodation will be in tented camps and homestays (in Leh and Manali) with good hygienic bathrooms offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport:

A team of 10-12 riders will be supported by 2 support vans with a carrier that will transport both the riders and bikes along with a spare cycle, lunch packs and water and camp equipment and gear. Through the day one vehicle will trail with the riders.

Our tour cost is inclusive of:

  • Trasnport From Manali to Leh
  • Accomodation on all days (14 days starting with dinner on Day 1 and until Breakfast on Day 14)
  • All meals specified in the itinerary, water, juices and snack pack
  • Good quality cycles and helmet (Mountain Bikes)
  • Mechanical and medical emergency support through the tour
  • Services of a local guide

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic/Aerate beverages
  • Camera Charges (Still and video)
  • Evacuation Charges
  • Expenses incurred beyond our control (bad weather, natural calamity)
  • Anything not mentioned in the includes section
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1 Review
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Malika Suri

Solo Traveller

After I made the mental decision to cycle from Manali to Ladakh my research began. I came across various Adventure companies in India. There were certain aspects I had in mind while I was doing my research that I didn’t want to compromise with- and Unventured seem to full fill those particular aspects.

I spoke to the Co founders of the company and I was certain it was Unventured that I would take this Adventure forward with. A life changing experience with Unventured there is no looking back. They delivered more than they mentioned and I expected. I was more than satisfied with how they took care of each member in are group from accommodation, food, the back and forth conversation about training for the 540Km cycling in such high altitude and most importantly the detailed packing list!

I have signed up for another tour with Unventured this year. Hands down the best travel company in India.

May 10, 2018
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