High Passes of Ladakh – Himalayas
We are proud to offer our new cycle tour in the Ladakh Range a beautiful desert landscape in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. The cycling is essentially taking place in what can be best described as the western Himalayas. We believe you will find it an exhilarating, challenging and life-affirming adventure, it is ideally suited for clients who have tested themselves on our Lands End to John O’Groats tour or our flagship Road to Vienna and who are looking for something exotic and inspiring.
Ladakh is a beautiful region renowned for its stunning mountain landscape and Buddhist culture; it is often called Little Tibet or the Land of Many Passes. The cycling holiday is played out against the backdrop of the magnificent Ladakh Range, which is a segment of the Karakoram mountain range that spans the borders of Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Our carefully researched cycling holiday has been designed to offer 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. We will also be cycling alongside three Himalayan rivers, the Shoyok (the river of death) a tributary of the Indus, the Indus itself, which at 3,180 kilometres is one of the longest rivers in Asia, eventually flowing into the Arabian Sea near Karachi and the Zangskar another tributary of the Indus. Besides the amazing scenery and crisp cool desert air we will be pedaling through valleys where time appears to have stood still.
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 and make their living from pastoral farming by irrigating small plots of land to grow buckwheat and barley. One of the true joys of cycling in this region is also the 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 occasional Himalayan blue sheep (also called a bharal and which is the staple diet of the snow leopard) as well as the kiang which is the largest of the wild asses, a native of the Tibetan plateau and only found in Jammu and Kashmir.
The trip starts 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 before turning back south and then east to Alchi, in Lower Ladakh, famous for its nine hundred-year-old monastery. We continue east to Stok Palace before turning north and crossing the formidable Wari La at 5280m, with a spectacular descent from the Wari La under our belts we 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, all that remains is a well-deserved celebration meal.
- Cycling in the Himalayas
- Crossing highest motor-able road Khardungla 5602m
- Beautiful scenery
- Buddhist culture
Terrain & Experience
Most of the road is Tarmac but there are some stretches that are not in good condition. This trip has been graded as Tough 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. A prior off-road riding experience and good fitness levels are recommended.
In Leh, the hotel is simple but clean with en suite facilities. In the more remote areas we will use home-stays. In Delhi we stay in a comfortable hotel.
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. There will be a support vehicle for all the cycling days.
Flights costs are not included in the tour, however we are happy to give you advice or 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 route of this tour 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 Ladakh – HimalayasAccommodationLunchCycling guideVehicle supportBaggage transferBike hireAirport transfers
- Not IncludedEvening meals (unless specified)GPX filesTravel to start & from finishInternational flightsTravel insuranceVisas