A tour here is to visit a place like no other and to call it a 'holiday', is to do the experience no justice whatsoever. Even to try and get close to explaining the sheer scale of this adventure, the raw, untouched beauty of its locations and the endless fascination of its peoples and cultures, carries with it a degree of futility, but we will blunder on nonetheless…
A tour here is to visit a place like no other and to call it a ‘holiday’, is to do the experience no justice whatsoever. Even to try and get close to explaining the sheer scale of this adventure, the raw, untouched beauty of its locations and the endless fascination of its peoples and cultures, carries with it a degree of futility, but we will blunder on nonetheless… Revellers Paradise have been running Himalayan tours through the Spiti Valley since 2000 and it is this experience, allied to precise organisation, that allows us to guide riders to such places. As with all our trips an experienced leader and support crew are with you every mile, providing expert guidance and mechanical or medical assistance if required. But despite our enormous local knowledge, a ride through the Himalayas is never going to be without its challenges and surprises…
While we do everything within reason to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as we can, there are challenges implicit to travelling in the world’s mightiest mountains that we could not remove if we wanted to – it adds to the excitement. The environment is very much in charge here, the natural forces so great that human endeavours to tame them barely register.
The Himalayas are still growing, and at the same time collapsing – often overnight and across our route. For this reason, no itinerary is ever set in stone. So each morning your tour leader will gather information and assess conditions ahead. If our planned route is blocked, we may have to detour around, or wait until a passage can be forced. This happens and is usually overcome, but there’s the possibility routes and accommodation will have to change. This is not a normal package holiday! If you’re looking for the ultimate biking adventure, with the best back-up and most fitting overnight stays, then please read on…
As a participant in this tour you will fly to Delhi, before being directed aboard a comfortable train to Kalka and then on to the ‘toy train’ to Shimla, the historic summer capital of the British Raj and its administration. There you’ll be accommodated in a comfortable hotel, introduced to ‘your’ bike, a 500cc Enfield Bullet (with a front disc brake fitted) and given instruction on its eccentricities. There will be a full briefing before we set off into the high mountains.
Whenever riding there will be a leader and ‘outrider’ guiding and trouble-spotting. A ‘sweeper’ rider, a support vehicle with spares and an extensively-equipped medic will travel at the rear. Roads are often rough, so we recommend you have at least two year’s riding experience before taking on this challenge. You will also need a reasonable fitness level and there are certain medical conditions that preclude travelling at altitude.
Travelling up in Spiti / Ladakh by bike brings you close to the environment and its inhabitants; close to the nature of this incredible place. ‘The trip of a lifetime’ is an overused expression, but not in this case, we promise.
|Date 2||15-08-2018 Close|
Himalaya Spiti / Ladakh Paradise Tour 19 Nights and 20 Days
Day 1 :- Arrival transfer in New Delhi
First day of trip involves the procedure of having all of you fly from different parts of the world at different time zones and somehow all meet up in New Delhi. From your first glance at the majestic capital you will immediately be surprised to know that India is a land of its own nature, a land of diversity and variation unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Something like 14 million people somehow manage to eke out an existence in this city whose levels of activity continues to escalate at an apparently unsustainable pace. At times confusing, at times challenging and at all times chaotic, Delhi is never still, never restful and never boring. If arriving on our recommended flight you will be met at Delhi airport by our representative for your safe and rapid transfer to the hotel, to minimize what can sometimes be a testing introduction to the country.
Day 2:- New Delhi to Chandigarh by Train
Today early morning we board on an air-conditioned train, the Shatabdi Express, heading north to the Haryana state capital of Chandigarh. This relatively small city is a much better place than Delhi in which to come to terms with the vagaries of your motorcycle! Even the experienced biker will find the Enfield tricky to start until shown the TDC secret, but the purring chug of the single cylinder will have you falling in love with it immediately. So, we practice a bit in the car parking to the amusement of the inevitable crowd of local onlookers, before heading out onto the road to tackle India’s daunting traffic for the first time. We deliberately break you in gently, with a short casual ride of only 30km to Parwanoo where our hotel has a swimming pool and a cable car to take you to your rooms.
Day 3:- Parwanoo to Shimla (100 Km)
Today After Breakfast we proceeding another 90km along a hilly and winding road to the Himachal state capital of Shimla, frequently alongside the railway track where the ‘Toy Train’ runs on narrow-gauge line through more than 100 separate tunnels in less than 100km, up to this astonishing hill station. Shimla was the summer national capital in the days of the British Raj, when the entire government would relocate up here for three months every year to avoid the sweltering heat of Delhi. The stately English houses are starting to look a little ragged around the edges these days, but the main street is still called The Mall where the locals enjoy a daily hawakhanna, their evening stroll. We should be there in time for a few pleasant hours taking in the charms before beer o’clock.
Day 04: Shimla – Narkanda (80 KM)
After breakfast it’s time to kickoff your motorcycle .Today’s ride is comparatively short but challenging nonetheless. You’ll be leaving Shimla and riding up the Hindustan-Tibet Highway (NH-22) to Narkanda, situated at 2850 M amidst dense “deodar” forest.
Day 05: Narkanda – Sangla (180 KM)
Riding further on the NH-22 you’ll continue towards Kinnaur. Riding along the fierce Sutlej river flowing angrily in the gorges below you’ll reach Karchham. At this turning point, a road continues towards Spiti and another turns towards the Baspa Valley and on to the beautifull village of Sangla. This is another 18 km stretch of narrow winding road with hair-raising gorges & cliffs high above the Baspa river gushing below. Accommodation is in comfortable tented camps at a beautiful setting at the banks of the river.
Day 06: Sangla (Return trip to Chitkul – 40 KM)
After enjoying a quite morning in the lap of Sangla valley you’ll saddle-up once again, for a short ride to Chitkul, another quaint village in the Baspa Valley. Chitkul is the last village on this road towards border with Tibet (China) and offers great views of snow clad peaks of the Kinnaur region. After spending a little time here you’ll return to Sangla in time for lunch. The evening is at your disposal to take a walk along the Baspa river or just enjoy the view & the setting from the camp.
Day 07: Sangla – Kalpa (55 KM)
Again backtracking to the NH-22 at Karchham you’ll continue on the road towards Recong Peo, nestled 7 km above which is the village of Kalpa. You’ll most likely be spending this day absorbing the stunning views of the “Kinner Kailash” and reminiscing the past few days after you left Shimla. Or perhaps, taking walks around this lovely village & its apple orchards. We, on the other hand, will be busy arranging your Inner-line permits (which are required by “foreign visitors” for visiting the areas ahead) and giving the motorcycles a thorough check-up for the journey ahead. You’ll be heading further up the NH-22 tomorrow and soon enter a region devoid of certain amenities (cell phone networks & provision stores, among other things) so its your last chance to make long distance phone calls & stack-up on toiletries & whatnot.
Day 08: Kalpa – Nako Lake (120 KM)
As you ride further up the Hindustan-Tibet highway, the mountain landscape starts to change from green to rocky & barren. Still riding along the Sutlej you’ll reach Spello where your permits will be checked at a Police check-post. Another 35 km ride will bring you to Khab, a small village at the confluence of the Spiti & Sutlej rivers. Leaving Sutlej, from this point on you’ll be riding along the Spiti river to reach Nako, a village situated near the small but beautiful Nako lake (3660 M). This is first of the many high altitude lakes visited by you on this tour. The location of this village is remote & infrastructure is basic. Accommodation here is in comfortable tented camps.
Day 09: Nako – Tabo – Kaza (120 KM)
Today’s ride will take you further up into higher mountains (& across the infamous “Maling Nala”, your first major water crossing) and down to Chango where you’ll enter Spiti Valley. Your first destination is Tabo where you visit the historic monastery. After having a look at the 1000 year old monastery, a 47 km ride along the Spiti river brings you to Kaza.
Day 10: Kaza
Kaza is the head-quarters of the Spiti sub-division and you’ll be staying here for two consecutive nights. You’ll be able to use facilities like Internet & long distance phone calls again, “luxuries” you left behind at Kalpa. You’ll also be visiting the Key Gompa and Komic village (4275 M), considered to be one of the highest villages in Asia, on your motorcycle.
Day 11: Kaza – Chandra Tal (100 KM)
Continuing up the Spiti Valley & further into higher Himalayas, today you’ll arrive at the second High Altitude Lake on your tour. After crossing a high pass (Kunzum La, 4550 M) and a couple of streams (glacier melts) you’ll reach a pasture land 4 KM short of the beautiful & desolate lake of Chandra Taal (Vehicles are not allowed beyond this point & camping is no longer permitted near the lake shore). Here, the accommodation will be at a “make-shift” camp-site in “dome” tent (sleeps two each). Sleeping bags will be provided. Dinner & breakfast will be basic “camping meals”. Call of nature will have to be answered in a small toilet tents or “in the open”, as per your preference.
Day 12: Chandra Taal – Keylong (135 KM)
After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye to the “Moon Lake” and head down into the Lahaul Valley, along the Chandra, a river originating from a glacier near Baralacha La. The road (or the lack of it) from Chandra Taal all the way to Gramphu (where it meets the popular Manali-Leh “highway”) offers some of the most thrilling riding experience you’ll have on this tour. This stretch of the journey has several big & small water crossings challenging enough to test your grit & determination. After Gramphu it’s a relatively smooth ride till Jispa (20 km ahead of Keylong) On the way, the Chandra & Bhaga rivers meet at Tandi (which is also the last fuel station before Leh) & together form the Chandrabhaga river which is renamed as “Chenab” in Jammu & Kashmir state. Jispa is small village, mainly serving as a convenient stop-over on the way to Ladakh.
Day 13: Keylong
A well deserved rest day has been placed here after 2 challenging days of riding specially because another 2 days of back-to-back riding follows afterwards. Here you’ll be able to snuggle in a soft, warm bed once again (and enjoy a hot shower) in a beautiful Guest House right on the banks of Bhaga, a river originating from Suraj Taal (Sun Lake) also near Baralacha La.
Day 14:- Keylong to Sarchu the cold desert
Today after breakfast when we start you all feel every turn into a new valley produces a breathtaking change of colour, texture, formation. Enormously deep river canyons combine with wind, rain and ice to carve impossible sculptures out of rock and gravel. To paraphrase the English author Douglas Adams, one section resembles the remains of a hundred Gothic cathedrals collapsed on top of one another. Several times today we may find water gushing across the road from glacier melt, causing us to dismount if deep; we push the bikes through with ignition turned off to prevent shorting out the spark plug. And yes, the water is cold. Our destination for today is a group of a dozen tents in a semi-permanent ‘town’ just before a police checkpost at Sarchu (4,400m), which marks our entry into the state of J&K (Jammu & Kashmir).
Day 15 :- Sarchu to Leh
Today after breakfast the day starts with us tackling the 21 switchbacks of the Gata Loops up the side of a rocky mountain, then zipping along a flat, straight, lunar-landscape plateau where nomadic peoples tend their goats and yaks,
which appear to have developed the ability to survive on a diet of gravel and sand. Then it’s up, up and more up as we climb to the Taglang La, at 5,328 metres the second highest road in the world. (Don’t worry, we’re doing the highest in a couple of days, beyond Leh). At this altitude the Enfield as well as ourselves may have difficulty breathing the rarefied air – there’s not a lot of oxygen up here! It’s also cold, so after the obligatory photographs we then proceed to legendary Leh, the Ladakhi capital and a stunning green oasis in this otherwise desolate area. Red coloured run-off from the copper-rich bulk of the Zanskar mountains (zanz means copper, kar is white) feeds the sacred Indus river, source of all life in this region.
Day 16 :- In Leh ( Ladakh )
Today is a Leh-day (pun intended) to allow further acclimatising. Either today or tomorrow we’ll ride back along the Indus Valley a short way to Thikse Gompa, a dramatic Buddhist monastery clinging to the side of a hill and eerily similar to Lhasa’s Potala Palace in Tibet. A little further on, Shey Palace houses a huge Buddha and a fine collection of thankas, Tibetan wall hangings. We can cross the river and ride back to Leh via Stok, where the Ladakhi royal family now reside. At sunset we can visit the splendid hilltop Shanti Stupa (peace pagoda) nearby, to watch the curtain be drawn on Leh.
Day 17:- Leh Khardungla Leh
Today After breakfast we riding to further north. Our objective is the Khardung La, at 5,600 metres the highest road in the world open to traffic! We have the satisfaction of knowing that no-one anywhere has ever driven or ridden higher in the world than we are right now. This is as close to heaven as we’ll ever get on a bike! This whole area is actually a military zone and special permission is obtained from the authorities because it is fairly close to the sensitive border with China. We return to Leh again for the night.
Day 18:- Leh to Delhi
Our team provides departure transfer to Leh Airport for your flight to back New Delhi.
Arrival Transfer in New Delhi Airport to Hotel.
Day 19:- Delhi Agra Delhi
Today we get to view the road from the opposite perspective. We charter a bus to take us 200km south to the one- time Mugal capital city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. The magnificence of the Taj cannot be overstated; it is simply the most superb building and is a must for anybody visiting the north of India. We’ll also take in the impressive red-sandstone Agra Fort before heading back to Delhi on our air conditioned bus.
Day 20:- Departure transfer to back home
Congratulations, you have completed an epic 2,500 kilometer Trans Himalayan expedition! We may have time for some last-minute souvenir shopping, then we farewell you this evening with an early meal in one of the popular restaurants in New Delhi before transfer to the airport for those on the night departure to Singapore or wherever you’re headed. It’s been a lot of fun, joy, memories.
Home sweet home; please go tell all your near and dear friends.