The Classic Leh to Manali Mountain Bike Traverse
India, Bike - Semi Slick, 15 days - from £1,395 (land only) - from €1,675 (land only) - from $2,295 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Delhi. Transfers from Delhi Airport to the hotel are provided on this day. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch.
Day 2: An early start for the return to the Domestic Terminal of Delhi Airport, where we take the dramatic flight over the Indian Himalaya to Leh, in the district of Ladakh. Afternoon at leisure and overnight at a Leh hotel.
Day 3: After a leisurely morning in Leh, we drive across the Indus to Stok Monastery. We do our first biking, recrossing the Indus to visit the impressive monastery at Thikse. Option to bike back to Leh and our hotel. Ride distance (not including Thikse to Leh) 16km (10 miles).
Day 4: Our first real day of biking starts with a transfer to the top of the Tsermangchen La (3750m). From here, we enjoy a roller-coaster ride via Yangthang to Likir Monastery and on to Nimo. Overnight in Leh. Ride distance 55 km (34 miles) with 895 metres of ascent and 1464 metres of descent.
Day 5: Today, we drive to the top of the Wari La, the third highest road pass in the world at 5159 metres. We have a thrilling descent by bike and then take a detour to visit the famous Hemis Monastery. We return to overnight in Leh. Ride distance 29 km (18 miles) with 72 metres of ascent and 1823 metres of descent.
Day 6: The big one! We can make an early start and bike all the way to the top of the Khardung La (5380m), the highest road pass in the world. Or, we can bike from half way up. Or, we can drive all the way to the top. Whichever way we choose to get there, it's a mega-downhill blast back to Leh. Ride distance (from the check post) 52 km (32 miles) with 880 metres of ascent and 1736 metres of descent.
Day 7: We drive to Upshi, as we've already ridden this section of the traverse. Then, we strike out for Manali on our bikes. Today, we get as far as Rumpsti (4370m) and set up our first camp below the Taglang La. Ride distance 30 km (19 miles) with 920 metres of ascent and negligible descent.
Day 8: We bike up to the Taglang La (5280m) the world's second highest. Option to take the support vehicle if necessary. Then, it's down and across the Moray Plains, then down again into the Pang Valley, India's Grand Canyon. We camp beyond Pang beside a river. Ride distance 100 km (62 miles) with 1667 metres of ascent and 1505 metres of descent.
Day 9: We climb again, to the Lachalung La (5065m) and then the Nakli La (4900m). The descent is via the 22 hairpin bends of the spectacular 'Gata Loops' to our camp beyond Sarchu, with short-cut singletrack options for daredevils. Ride distance 88 km (55 miles) with 1372 metres of ascent and 1450 metres of descent.
Day 10: Steady biking up to the Bara Lacha La (4880m) with great views of the Chandra-Bhaga peaks. Then, a long, long descent to Jespa (3400m) and the Lahaul Valley. We overnight in a simple hotel. Ride distance 71 km (44 miles) with 710 metres of ascent and 1806 metres of descent.
Day 11: We continue, through Keylong and Tandi, to Khoksar at the base of the Rohtang La. The semi arid scenery of Lahaul gives way to a greener, more forested landscape as we approach the Himalayan watershed. We camp below the final pass of our Himalayan crossing. Ride distance 69 km (43 miles) with 1031 metres of ascent and 1138 metres of descent.
Day 12: Fit and well acclimatised, we climb to cross the Rohtang La (3990m) and can look down onto the lush alpine scenery of Himachal Pradesh. Here, we are confronted by the prospect of a blistering 52km (32 mile) descent to Manali, some 2000 metres below us. Overnight at a hotel in Manali.
Day 13: We have a long drive, stopping off for lunch en route, to the Nalagarh Fort Resort at the base of the Shivalik Hills. The fort dates from 1421 and was originally a palace. We overnight here.
Day 14: We depart Nalagarh and drive to Delhi. It should take around 7 to 8 hours and the roads improve after the initial couple of hours. We arrive at our hotel in Delhi by late afternoon.
Day 15: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Delhi Airport transfers are provided on this day.
This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.