From the green hills of Shimla, to rugged rockscapes of Lahaul Spiti, pinnacle-topped monasteries and on to Leh, the Shimla Spiti Leh Tour blends the adventure of riding India’s Classic Royal Enfield with spectacular scenery, amazing roads, unspoilt cultures and traditions in the north of Himachal Pradesh in the hidden Sangla Valley – Kinnaur’s best kept secret, the challenges of the Chandra Valley with its many river crossings and onwards into Ladakh ending in Leh.
Tour Start & Finish at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, India
Tour Duration 12 days
Tour Months Aug, Sep, Oct
See Terms for complete list of Includes and Excludes.
This is a stunningly beautiful, rewarding and challenging 15 day Motorcycle Road Adventure through one of India’s most remote and spectacular Himalayan Buddhist regions. From the green hills of Shimla, to the dry desert-scapes of the Lahaul Spiti valley, with pinnacle-topped monasteries and onwards on the dramatic Leh highway. There are many river crossings through the Chandra Valley after leaving the Spiti Valley.
High Mountain Roads – Vast Panoramas
Clear Blue Skies – Raging Rivers
Sky Blue lakes – High altitude desert
Three Star Hotels – Luxury Camps
Local Guest Houses – Parachute Tents
Simple huts – Local Lodges
Culture & Customs
Cliff Top Buddhism – Nomadic Life
Bhuddist Gumpas – 14th Century Farming
Silk Road Scenes – Dance and Dress
Broken roads – Off-road sections
River crossings – Altitude Sickness
Snow & Ice – Bright hot sunshine
Day 1 – Arrive in Delhi
In Delhi you repack your clothing and kit into two motorcycle panniers and a tank bag that you will transport on your motorcycle, leaving behind our travel suitcases to be collected on your return to Delhi.
Day 2 – North to Chandigarh
Day 3 – Satluj River
Your confidence grows as you learn the ‘rules of engagement’, the group is finding its pace and we’re heading north east up the highway. Way above us apple orchards high on hidden plateaux. Apples are brought from the high orchards by ropeway, down to the roadside, to be piled high in waiting jeeps and Tata trucks.I’ve seen Himachali apples on sale in markets in south India, 3,500kms to the south. A hundred million boxes of ‘ruby reds’ on their way across India through Delhi’s huge fruit markets and way below us a silver streak – the Satluj river, deep in its bottomless gorge.
Our night-stop in old colonial style cottages is in the sleepy village of Sarahan, home to the centuries old Bhimakali Temple with its six concentric silver coated doors; creating a unique blend of Hindu-Buddhist architecture. Sarahan is also a summer home to the Apple Maharajas whose fine wooden houses can be seen dotted on hillsides.
Day 4 – Sangla Valley
Day 5 – Kinner Kailash
Day 6 – Holy Nako Lake
We’re in ‘border country’ we ride below ridges that once were occupied by Chinese forces in the Sino-Indian war 1962, parts of the territory China called Aksai Chin – a high altitude salt desert. It was absorbed by the British in a 1904 treaty with Tibet, once the extended kingdom of the largely Hindu Dogras.
Day 7 – Tabo & Kaza
Beneath fantastic blue skies we ride on to Kaza. It’s a short ride, giving you time to stop and absorb the huge mountain-scape around you. We stop regularly on this rides to take pictures and ‘admire the view’. Our night stop is in a monastery guest house high above the Spiti river in Dhankar where the now ancient, crumbling monastery sits, with spectacular views across the Spiti Valley reveal the entrance to the Pin Valley.
Day 8 – Kaza Take II
Kaza is only a short distance to ride. We can have lunch here or at Kibber, 22kms furth up the road. But we’ll leave our bags at the hotel in Kaza and ride on to visit (the neck-craning sight) of Ki Monastery, perched quite litterally on a pinnacle of rock. We’ll ride on to the village of Kibber (for lunch or light refereshment). Kibber is still one the most unspoilt villages in the Spiti Valley. We’ll night stop in Kaza. Then further to the hidden village of Kibber. It’s at 4,270m. the highest you’ll have ridden on the tour.
Some of you will notice the thin air and start to move a bit more slowly, but acclimatising yourself to the rarefied atmosphere that lies ahead on the Tour is important. We’ll not stay long, riding back to the hotel for a ‘Sundowner’ and dinner. We night stop in Kaza.
Day 9 – Kunzum La
Day 10 – Lahual coming...
Our destination today is Keylong. From the lake we have to cross many road-rivers, It is uninhabitted, remote, challenging and rewarding – in places may seem impassable. Crossing the Chandra River we climb the far side on a narrow mud road – scratched into the mountain, high above the river, until we meet the main highway to Leh. We night stop in Keylong.
Day 11 – Sarchu plateau
Day 12 – Tso Kar
Day 13 – Leh Ladakh
On the far side of the pass, the road is constantly being rebuilt after harsh winters. Landslides weaken the higher sections as we drop down through swinging through loops down towards civilisation. One more tricky river crossing, through enormous gorges in red and green rock buttress-like formations and we’re on for lunch at Upshi on the mighty Indus river. With Leh in our sights the road takes us through ancient Buddhist capitals, past Potala-like monasteries and triumphantly into Leh. We night stop in a quiet and peaceful guest house close to the centre of Leh.
Day 14 – Khardung La
Day 15 – Last Day in Leh
Day 16 – Depart India
Tour Prices Include…
Motorcycle including fuel, oil, maintenance & spares.
A Jeep as a support vehicle with driver.
Royal Enfield mechanic and spares where required.
Road Captain/Tour Guide.
All domestic transfers.
All hotel accommodation for the Tour dates (unless otherwise arranged).
All meals whilst at a hotel / lodge / camp. Typically Breakfast and Dinner.
Restricted Area Permits, where required.
Road Book notes and area maps, with en-route contact details.
First-Aid Boxes are carried in the support vehicle and with the Tour Guide.
Expedition Luggage: 2 Panniers, Tank Bags (by request) and 1 Holdall for accumulated stuff*.
*Luggage can be carried in the support vehicle.
Tour Prices Do Not Include…
International Flights / Excess baggage charges.
International Airport departure taxes, airline fuel surcharges.
Visa (Passports must be valid for at least 6 months.)
Personal Travel Insurance.
Lunch. Lunch is usually a “Road Experience” and is either paid for by yourself or a ‘group kitty’.
Entrance fees to national parks, monuments and sites of historic interest.
Hotel bar and snack bills, bottled drinking water.
Vaccinations and medicine.
Laundry service, tips, room service, porters, telephone and fax calls.
Single Accommodation supplement for each tour day is £70.