High Passes of Ladakh
The High Passes of Ladakh tour has a beautiful desert landscape in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. Ladakh, often called ‘Little Tibet’ or the ‘Land of Many Passes’, is renowned for its stunning mountain landscape and Buddhist culture. Locals make their living from pastoral farming by irrigating small plots of land to grow buckwheat and barley. Traversing the region by bicycle means that we can observe at close quarters some truly spectacular scenery and get the chance to interact with the villagers who reside in this tough, arid landscape.
We believe you will find it an exhilarating, challenging and life-affirming adventure. If you’ve tested yourself on our Lands End to John O’Groats tour or Road to Vienna, maybe this could be your next adventure?
You will cycle against the backdrop of the magnificent Ladakh Range, which is a segment of the Karakoram mountain range. It spans the borders of Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. We have designed the High Passes of Ladakh cycling holiday so you can enjoy the best that the region has to offer.
We will be cycling over two of the highest mountain road passes in the world, the Wari La at 5280 metres and the unforgettable Khardung La at 5602 metres above sea level. You’ll also experience cycling alongside two Himalayan rivers: the Shyok (the river of death) and the Indus River, which at 3,180 kilometres is one of the longest rivers in Asia. Besides the amazing scenery and crisp cool desert air we will be pedalling through valleys where time appears to have stood still.
You will start the trip with a flight to Leh at 3500m above sea level. The first couple of days will be taken up with acclimatisation and orientation rides around Leh.
We then head northwest into the Sham Valley, crossing some small passes and heading as far as Tingmosgam. Afterwards we turn back south (then east) to Alchi, famous for its nine hundred-year-old monastery. Continuing east to Stok Palace our route heads north, crossing the formidable Wari La (5280m). With a spectacular descent from the Wari La under our belts we then pedal alongside the Shyok river and enter the serene Nubra valley; this is notable as the place where the Karakorum and the Ladakh ranges are separated from each other and it is the closest we’ll get to Tibet. The last full day of cycling takes us over the highest drivable mountain road, the Khardung La at 5602 metres above sea-level, and the swift descent back to Leh marks the end of an epic adventure in Ladakh.
- Cycling in the Himalayas
- Crossing highest motor-able road Khardungla 5602m
- Beautiful scenery
- Buddhist culture
- Opportunity to see some interesting animals such as the Asiatic ibex, Himalayan marmot, the dzo (which is a cross between the yak and domestic cattle), the Himalayan blue sheep (also called a bharal – which is the staple diet of the snow leopard) as well as the kiang, a native of the Tibetan plateau and only found in Jammu and Kashmir.
Terrain & Experience
Most of the road is tarmac but there are some stretches in poor condition. This trip has been graded as 4 due to some technical riding involved on the days when we cross High Mountain passes around 5000m. Altitude also plays an important role and this adds to the challenge. However, there are fairly good riding conditions on most of the days. Having prior off-road riding experience and good fitness levels are recommended.
In both Leh and Delhi, we’ll stay in hotels; whereas in more remote areas we will use home-stays.
We stay in guest houses with twin rooms and en-suite bathrooms. The price of the cycle tour is based on a twin shared basis. A single supplement is payable on request. Please contact the office for availability and price.
All breakfasts are included and some lunches and dinners as specified in the Tour Plan. You can buy a meal for 600 rupees (£8), excluding alcohol. Your leader will run a kitty for water and snacks whilst cycling. Please allow about £40 for this.
Luggage & Support Vehicle
Cargo Jeep/truck will transport your luggage, all you have to carry is what you need for the day: waterproofs, fleece, hat, camera, water bottle etc. The support vehicle will be available for all days cycling.
You will independently book and pay for flights costs, however we are happy to give you advice or help book your flights for you.
Please note: The trip starts with Delhi to Leh flight on day 1. Most flights to Leh depart very early in the morning, so before booking international travel do confirm with us. Any transfers to the airport on this day from within Delhi could be arranged free of charge. If bringing your own bike, airlines will charge additional baggage fee.
The High Passes of Ladakh tour route is flexible and should be seen as a guide only. Local conditions, weather or fitness could lead to changes in our daily plans. All times and distances are approximate.
Download the Ladakh Itinerary
- Depart fromDelhi, India
- Return fromDelhi, India
- Road surfacesLots of hills. Tarmac, Off road (conditions can vary).
- Bike TypeMountain bike
- IncludedHigh Passes of LadakhAccommodationLunchCycling guideVehicle supportBaggage transferBike hireAirport transfers
- Not IncludedEvening meals (unless specified)GPX filesTravel to start & from finishInternational flightsTravel insuranceVisas