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Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days

5th May 2013
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 1/6 by Helmet Stories
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 2/6 by Helmet Stories
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 3/6 by Helmet Stories
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 4/6 by Helmet Stories
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 5/6 by Helmet Stories
Photo of Motorcycling across Leh - Manali in 16 Days 6/6 by Helmet Stories
Nubra Valley

Ladakh literally means the Land of the Passes. This trail of utmost serene solitude of motorcycling roads famed world-wide will take you through three mountain ranges, six passes–a dizzying 18,380 feet high at Khardung La, pre-historic salt water lakes of the Changthang Plateau and a 40-km off-road ride through a high altitude desert at the Moré Plains.

Rich in natural beauty, the landscape in its silence, emptiness and unbelievable vastness is breathtaking. Lying off the beaten track, this mysterious destination once accessible only to professional explorers can now be easily done, as Helmet Stories will take you to hidden villages and an enlightened people, who had worked out a sustainable lifestyle centuries ago and have seen little reason to change.

ACCOMODATION: There will be options of superior hotels in Manali and Leh. In Tandi, Sarchu, Hunder and Tsomoriri we have comfortable pre-set camps. We will set-up ourown tents in Tangse and provide custom meals. All hotels rooms have been calculated on a twin sharing basis but single rooms are as available as well (at an additional cost). All accommodation provides two meals—Breakfast and Dinner. The menus can be specially set for the group if you can decide beforehand what you would like to eat.


  • Motorbike hire (500cc Royal Enfields) (no deposit)
  • Fuel for the whole journey
  • Accomodation is on twin sharing basis
  • Two meals (Breakfast and Dinner)
  • Meals on the road
  • Support vehicle for luggage backup crew
  • Inner Line Permits for Nubru Valley and Pangong Tso
  • Expert mechanic support
  • Spares
  • Experienced Tour leaders
  • Flight form Delhi to Kullu
  • Flight form Leh to Delhi
  • Pickup from the Airports


  • Alcohol
  • Tips
  • Visas
  • Air tickets to and from India
  • Personal Accident Insurance
    • please make sure your travel insurance company covers costs
  • Health Insurance
  • Motorcycle riding gear

The tour is conducted during the months of May, June, July and August

So join us in the best experience from the seat of a motorcycle!

Day 1: ARRIVE IN NEW DELHIThe 16-day ride will begin with your arrival in New Delhi where we’ll whisk you guys to the hotel . The after a rested much-required night's sleep, we'll leave for Manali the next day.DAY 2: DELHI - MANALICommencing the next day with a short one-hour flight, Helmet Stories will take you out of the madness of the city straight into the heart of the Himalayas in Kullu. After a short refreshing stop, there will be a 60-km drive along the Beas river from the airport, to the your hotel in Manali. You will have the rest of the day to relax and explore all the "tourist-y" spots in Manali!

Photo of New Delhi, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 3: MANALIThis is when the action begins!! We get the bikes out and get everyone comfortable to riding the iconic Royal Enfield. The rest of the day, we can all have our Manali-tourist moments on our 2 wheels. We will head out for a short ride for lunch at the nearby Nagar and check out the famous Roerich art gallery or just tootle around picturesque Manali.

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 4: MANALI - TANDI 115 km ; 5-6 hoursWe finally head out on our biking expedition and make an early start towards Tandi, our next night halt. The abundance of greenery and trees dramatically disappears into arid landscapes as we ascend the steep Rohtang La. Expect a few muddy tracks at times. We'll reach our overnight camp at Drilbu Retreat, overlooking the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers that become the Chenab. Also the last petrol pump for over 365 km. So you know where you have to tank up!DAY 4: TANDI - TRILOKNATH - UDAIPUR- TANDI140 km ; 5-6 hoursThis will be a travel to beautiful pine-clad village of Udaipur where you will visit the Trilokinath temple, one of the most ancient temples of Lahaul. It was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to the Pandavas and later converted to Buddhism, by installing a statue of Phagpa Chrinzik. Also visit a temple dedicated to Mrikula Devi, which is remarkable for its wood carvings. The King of Chamba and his Lahauli feudal chief constructed it during the 15th century. For the night, we'll head back to Drilbu Retreat in Tandi.

Photo of Tandi, Himachal Pradesh, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 6: TANDI- SARCHU180 km ; 7-8 hoursAfter Jispa, begins the real ascent over some muddy patches and water crossings where the melting snow from the higher ranges flows down on the road. Riding fearlessly on our Royal Enfeilds, we will ascend Baralacha La (4830m) and then cross into the Zanskar range to our accommodation at the Adventure Camp in the plains of Sarchu. The tents will be warm, comfortable and have attached toilets. Hot water is also provided on request!

Photo of Sarchu, NH 21, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 7: SARCHU - LEH173 km ; 6-7 hoursAnother early start to the day, as we will head to to cross Brandy Nallah, Gata Loops and the double-humped Lachulung La (5060m). It’s awe inspiring scenery (if bleak at times) all the way as we cross Pang (4630m) and the More Plains- a flat stretch of 40 km, at an average height of 4200m to reach the world’s second highest motorable pass Tanglang La (5,360 m). It’s down the other side to get our first sight of the Indus river that will be our companion all the way to Leh, the capital town of Ladakh.DAY 8: At Leisure in Leh TownJoolay! The next morning you will wake up in the lap of the Ladakh Valley. Greet the locals with a Joolay and feel the warm and hospitable nature of the Ladakhis envelop you. The day is a well deserved rest day for both man and the machine. So you'll have enough time to explare all the "must-see" spots of Leh!

Photo of Leh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 9: LEH - KHARDUNG LA - NUBRA140 km ; 5-6 hoursThis is the day we all came on this ride -to be on Top of the World- the Khardung La (5602M)!!! The initial smooth tarmac gets tougher as we ascend, full of boulders and stones—but it is certainly worth the ride. After a short break at K-Top we move on to reach the Nubra Valley. It’s a fantastic ride over good, paved roads most of the time. Overnight, we'll be fixed in to Eco Camp in Hunder, the last point where civilians are allowed to travel.DAY 10: SIGHT SEEING IN NUBRA VALLEY40 kms (At your own pace); Nubra Valley (altitude: 3,150m).Formerly known as Lyumra meaning ‘A Valley of Flowers’ with numerous high altitude yellow roses, apple and apricot orchards dotting its landscape. Lying approximately 1,300 ft lower than Leh, Nubra sports a much milder climate, enabling its inhabitants to cultivate more extensively, as compared to their counterparts in the main Indus Valley. Ninety per cent of the population here is Buddhist. There are numerous monasteries and other places of religious significance, the most prominent among them are Samstanling (140 years old) and Deskit monastery (500 years old) both attached to the Gelugpa order (yellow Hat sect). Hunder is the most interesting village housing numerous historical ruins and you can find the double humped Bactrian camel here which were left behind by ancient silk route traders. Overnight in camp.DAY 11: NUBRA VALLEY - LEH170 kms; 6-7 hoursAfter an early breakfast we will head out to explore the beautiful Nubra Valley and after some great riding in this remote area we will head back for Leh over Khardung La. Our overnight stay will be at the hotel.

Photo of Nubra Valley by Helmet Stories

DAY 12: LEH – TANGSE120 kms; 5-6 hoursWe'll start the day with some fantastic riding from Leh to Tangse crossing the 15,500 feet pass Chang La. Overnight we will pitch camp at a site at Tangse and get the BBQ fired up and have a great evening under a star-lit sky.DAY 13: TANGSE- PANGONG TSO -TANGSE120 kms; 5-6 hoursWe'll start early morning after breakfast to reach Pangong Tso early. Pangong Tso is a spectacular salt water lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m. It is 134 km long and extends from India to China. 60 percent of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite the salinity of the water. We'll spend the better part of the day at Pangong Tso, have lunch and make our way back to Tangse for a cook out and a great evening swapping ride stories.

Photo of Tangse, India by Helmet Stories

DAY 14: TANGSE - LEH120 kms; 5-6 hoursWe'll finally make our way back to Leh on the same route we took coming in. This will be our last riding day as we will be done with the riding part of the trip once we reach the hotel.DAY 15: LEHWe'll spend the day walking around the beautiful town of Leh, shopping for presents and knick-knacks to take home for friends and family. You can also take some time off, find a cafe and just relax and have a beer and catch up with the locals and other travellers.DAY 16: LEH-DELHIFinally, this adventure will come to an end as we will catch the morning flight back to Delhi. Travelers joining us from elsewhere can further head to their next destination.

Photo of Return to Delhi by Helmet Stories