If you are looking for the ultimate mountain bike adventure and physical challenge, this is the expedition for you. The Manali - Leh Highway combines the joy of riding some of the toughest terrains in the world surrounded by impossibly beautiful landscapes – Ladakh is truly the playground of the gods.
This expedition is as riveting as it is challenging. The locations offer sceneries bound to stay tattooed to your memory. Over the duration of the expedition, you will experience riding through different landscapes, from snow-kissed mountain passes and Mars-like plateaus to lush, rolling hills and pristine lakes.
We will provide you with all the logistical, technical and cultural support to undertake this journey and ensure you have the best ride of your life! I won’t say much more…this road needs to be seen to be believed and fully appreciated.
TRANSFER DELHI TO MANALI
All riders need to arrive in Dehli by August 12. Our private bus charter will transfer you from Delhi to Manali. The journey will take around 14 hours. When we arrive in Manali we will check into The Himalayan hotel (or another similar luxury hotel).
Familiarisation day in Manali
Distance: 30km approx. Elevation: 2050m
Following a morning meet and greet with our team, we will brief you about the journey ahead, the safety tips to be observed while riding and answer any last minute questions you might have. After this, we're introduced to the bikes we're riding and we will them for a spin around the scenic locales of Solang Valley and Naggar Castle. This will allow you to get comfortable with your bike as well as take in some of the natural splendours of Manali. The expected ride is around 30kms and offers first-timers to the Himalayas a chance to get familiar with the sharp turns and hills, as a group, under an experienced expedition leader. We will spend another night at The Himalayan hotel.
Manali to Marhi
Distance: 42km Altitude: 3320m
We will begin our journey from Manali to Leh through the evergreen pine and deodar trees that line the Pir Panjal Ranges of Himalayas with a steady ascent around the many hairpin bends and switchback turns on the way to Rohtang Pass. We will spend a night camping in tents.
MARHI TO TANDI
Marhi > Rohtang Pass > Grampu > Khoksar > Sissu > Tandi
Distance: 78km Altitude: 3350m
We start the day by finishing the 12km ascent to the Rohtang Pass for spectacular views of snow-covered peaks and glaciers on the horizon. Then we will cross over to Lahaul Spiti district, where we descend to Gramphu. From here we encounter some unmetalled stretches of flat road and cross the raging river at Khoksar before the easy, steady climb to Sissu and onto Tandi, where we stop for the night in a hotel.
TANDI TO PATSEO
Tandi > Jispa > Patseo
Distance: 48km Altitude: 3820m
A relatively ‘easy’ day cycling up to Patseo. The terrain is a lot more arid and the road is rutty, dusty and rickety. Passing through the hamlet of Jispa, we head through a gorge and descend downhill before starting the ascent to Patseo. Here you get a sense of real isolation, with just a few sheep dotted around as we enter the territory of the Lamas. When the weather is clear you can see the bleak, but awesome high Himalayan ranges in the distance. Overnight camping.
PATSEO TO SARCHU
Patseo > Baralacha Pass > Bharatpur > Sarchu
Distance: 58km Altitude: 4255m
Today is all about high passes as we continue from Patseo to Baralachala Pass (5,029m). It’s a steady 30km journey with a steep ascent to the pass, especially the last 18 km from ZingZingBar. It’s important we take extra precautions on these roads as the winds could be chilly and roads dangerous. Over the next few days, our journey to Ladakh will take us up the Gata Loops to Nakee La (4738m) and Lachulung La (4881m) passes and onto Leh. We will register at the police check post and stop for the night at Sarchu, where you will be put up in comfortable tents.
SARCHU TO WHISKY NULLAH
Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakeela Pass – Whisky Nullah
Distance: 56km Altitude: 4750m
An easy start to the day that becomes a LOT more challenging when we arrive at the infamous Gata Loops; 21 zigzag, switchback turns that rise to a height of 4581m up a canyon wall and then continue to the pass of Nakee La (4738m). From here it’s downhill to Whisky Nullah to our overnight camp through some beautiful arid mountain scenery of the high ranges.
WHISKY NULLAH TO TSOKAR LAKE
Whisky Nullah > Lachalang La > Pang > Moray Plains > Tsokar Lake
Distance: 82km Altitude: 4835m
We start the day by ascending the second highest pass on the expedition – Lachalang La. Here the road is likely to be the worst of the trip, with a lack of good tarmac and many loose stones. There’s a long descent into Pang down a steep-sided gorge and then an 8km switchback climb to the flat top of Moray Plains These famous, open plains are famous for their extremes, with hot and cold temperatures, high winds and sandstorms. You really feel like you’ve arrived at the top of the world! We descend to our overnight camping location, Tsokar Lake.
TSOKSAR LAKE TO RUMPTSE
Tsoksar Lake > Tanglang La > Rumptse
There’s nothing like a big challenge early in the day, and a 20km ride up Tanglang La (5360m) – the world’s second highest pass - certainly provides it! Once you reach the top, it’s all downhill from there with an exhilarating 1200m of switchback descent into the village of Rumpste. Overnight in camp.
Rumpste to Leh
Rumptse > Upshi > Leh
Distance: 39km Elevation: 5359m
This is the last stretch of our journey from Manali to Leh. We continue the descent to Upshi and the scenery changes dramatically passing through a fertile irrigated valley dotted with pretty villages and Stupas. The spectacular red coloured mountains add to the beauty and richness of the scenery, we cross the Indus River on the final ride into Leh. We will stay at The Grand Dragon Ladakh.
LEH - ACCLIMATISATION DAY
Taking a rest from the bikes today you have the chance to explore Leh and some of its twisting narrow streets, explore some of the more famous sites, such as Leh Palace or the Sakar Gompa monastery, and a few little Best Life Adventure surprises! Overnight at The Grand Dragon Hotel.
LEH TO KHARDUNG LA PASS (RETURN)
We will set off for the Khardung La Pass as soon as first arrives in the sky. Cycling 39km and gaining 2000m, this is the ultimate challenge of the trip. It is the highest motorable road in the world taking you to a dizzy 5359m. The view from the top is spectacular stretching from the Indus valley in the South over the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range to the giants of the Saser Massif in the North. You can feel proud of a true achievement as you finish the trip with your final satisfying descent. Overnight at The Grand Dragon Hotel
TRANSFER TO LEH AIRPORT
Your Best Life Adventure is drawing to a close. We drop you at Leh Airport, ready to catch your flight back to Delhi (not included in the trip cost)
Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India