The Classic Leh to Manali Mountain Bike Traverse

Trans Himalayan mountain bike adventure holiday




From $2,260 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Bike the 3 highest road passes in the world
  • Spectacular flight across the Indian Himalaya to Ladakh
  • Cycling around the Buddhist Monasteries of the Indus
  • The ultimate bike descent from the Khardung La

Our classic high level bike traverse holiday provides real challenge and adventure, beginning with the truly spectacular flight over the Indian Himalaya to the Ladakhi capital of Leh where we spend the next 5 days acclimatising. From Leh, we'll enjoy a series of exploratory day rides to visit some of the many Buddhist monasteries in the upper Indus Valley. Easy rides and more challenging rides, such as our ascent to the Wari La (5159m), will provide great preparation for the traverse of the Indian Himalaya. Our time in Leh culminates in the epic ascent to (and speedy descent from) the Khardung La which is the world's highest road pass, at 5380 metres. Leaving Leh, this giant rollercoaster ride to Manali follows what is unquestionably one of the greatest mountain roads on the planet. The Leh to Manali highway crosses the main Himalaya Range by a series of very high passes, including the Taglang La (5280m), the second highest road pass in the world. This classic route offers exposure to a tremendous variety of landscape and culture, linking the strongly Tibetan influenced high plateau of Ladakh with the semi arid plains of Lahaul and the lush greenery of the Kulu-Manali Valley. Once on the main route we will have the constant back up of a support vehicle and any of the group who feel the need to hitch a lift for any section of the journey will be able to do so. From the crests of the passes, there are superb views of the major peaks of the Ladakh, Zanskar and Chandra-Bhaga ranges. We are not in a race; there will always be time to rest, take photographs and to cool hot brakes before the next amazing hairpin descent! After crossing the final pass, the Rohtang La (3900m), we reach the town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh and from there drive back to Delhi.

Is this holiday for you?

SEMI-SLICK ADVENTURE - A mountain bike fitted with semi-slick tyres or a cyclocross bike is ideal for this trip. There are some singletrack opportunities, which cut across switchback descents, but this is really a technically straightforward ride following rough tarmac roads and hard packed dirt roads. Altitude is a real factor, although our time in Leh provides excellent acclimatisation. Covering 600 kilometres (375 miles) with almost 6000 metres of ascent and 11,000 metres of descent, means that this is a tough trip, and you'll need a good level of stamina and fitness to enjoy it to the full. Cycled in its entirety, this trip will challenge the strongest of riders. But, remember that the support vehicle is nearly always available. Average 60 kilometres per day. BIKE HIRE AVAILABLE LOCALLY.

Brief Itinerary

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  • Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Transfers from Delhi Airport are provided.
  • Fly to Leh and transfer to the group hotel. Afternoon free, with optional stroll around the town.
  • Drive to Stok Monastery with the option to cycle back to Leh via the monastery at Thikse.
  • Drive to the Tsermangchen La (3750m) and bike via Likir Monastery to Nimo. Return to Leh.
  • Drive to the top of the Wari La (5159m) and bike down via Hemis Monastery. Return to Leh.
  • Drive or bike (from the half-way point) to the Khardung La (5380m). Mega downhill blast back to Leh.
  • Drive to Upshi and start our trans-Himalayan ride. Overnight at Rumpsti below the Taglang La.
  • Bike up to the Taglang La (5280m) then down across the Moray Plains into the Pang Valley.
  • Cycle across the Lachalung La (5065m) and via the 22 hairpin bends of the Gata Loops to Sarchu.
  • Bike up to the Baralacha La (4880m) and descend through Jespa into the Lahaul Valley.
  • Continue cycling through Keylong and Tandi to Khoksar at the base of the Rohtang La.
  • Bike up to the Rohtang La (3990m) before making the 50 plus kilometre descent to Manali.
  • Long drive to the Nalagarh Fort Resort at the base of the Shivalik Hills.
  • Complete the drive to Delhi, arriving at our hotel by late afternoon.
  • Departure day. Transfers to Delhi Airport are provided.
Sun 07 Aug - Sun 21 Aug Code INMB/01/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Guaranteed Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Delhi. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Delhi Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

Pricing notes
Internal Flights: The cost of the internal flights between Delhi and Leh are included in the trip price. To allow us to pay for these flights as soon as the trip is guaranteed, a higher than normal deposit is required for this trip which includes the internal flight payment.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • pass
  • point
  • trip direction
  • pass
  • bike

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Transfers from Delhi Airport are provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Delhi Airport transfers are provided for those arriving on Day 1. KE group package services begin with lunch at the hotel. The afternoon is free for sightseeing or relaxing at the hotel, which has pleasant gardens and a good swimming pool.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals ld

  • Fly to Leh and transfer to the group hotel. Afternoon free, with optional stroll around the town.

    It’s an early start today as we return to the airport (this time to the Domestic Terminal) for the early morning domestic flight to Leh. The hour-long flight is simply spectacular and provides close views of the 7000 metre peaks of Nun and Kun. Arriving at Leh Airport, we transfer to our hotel and should plan on taking it easy for the rest of the day to assist with the acclimatisation process. In the afternoon we can slowly assemble our bikes in the shade of the hotel courtyard. There is the option to take an easy walk into Leh’s colourful bazaar, with its roadside stalls selling Tibetan artifacts.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Stok Monastery with the option to cycle back to Leh via the monastery at Thikse.

    Still acclimatising, we’ll have a leisurely morning in Leh. After an early lunch we then take a 30-minute drive to Stok Monastery on the other side of the Indus Valley. There are impressive views back across to Leh and beyond to the Khardung La itself. The monastery also has an interesting museum to look around. Now we can try out our biking legs with a short climb around Stok Village, before dropping back to the Indus and contouring along on a jeep track to Stakpa Monastery. Here, we will cross the Indus again and ride back along a tarmac road to Thikse Monastery. We will have a guided tour of this impressive Buddhist monastery, which sits in a commanding position atop a small hill. From here, we will probably load up our bikes and drive back to our hotel. If time allows we’ll stop to visit the Lingshed Hostel. The hostel is a relatively new venture and is being supported by KE and The Juniper Trust. Initially set up by a local monk, the hostel provides a home for children aged between 5 - 15 years old who come to attend school in Leh from the remote Lingshed area of Zanskar. For those of us who have acclimatised sufficiently there is the chance to tackle the additional (and challenging) 13 kilometre climb back to Leh.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 100m

    • Distance 16km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 1 hour

  • Drive to the Tsermangchen La (3750m) and bike via Likir Monastery to Nimo. Return to Leh.

    After breakfast we travel north-west again along the Indus Valley. It’s a 2-hour drive past the village of Likir to the top of the Tsermangchen La (3750m). From here, we will bike downhill past huge mani walls to the remote village of Hemis Shukpachen, where we will have time to look around before climbing back up to the pass, with its excellent views, for lunch. We then have another dirt road descent to Yangthang, with an alternative section of interesting singletrack. From Yangthang, there is a new section of tarmac single lane road that winds it way for 27 km (17miles) around to the impressive Likir Monastery which is overlooked by a giant golden Buddha. From here, it’s virtually downhill all the way to Nimo, the ancient capital of Ladakh.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 895m

    • Distance 55km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1465m

  • Drive to the top of the Wari La (5159m) and bike down via Hemis Monastery. Return to Leh.

    Today we head off by jeep for 2 hours or so, in the opposite direction, south-east up the Indus Valley. Reaching the village of Kharu, we turn off the main route and climb to the top of the Wari La (5159m) which is, according to the Indian signs, the ‘third highest road pass in the world’. This road has only recently opened and is an alternative route into the remote Nubra Valley. There may be snow on the top and the first section is fairly rough but it’s a fantastic descent back down the track to Kharu with a wicked off-road version for those looking for extra thrills. We eat our picnic lunch looking across to Tak Tak Monastery, before reloading our bikes and taking a detour to the impressive Hemis Monastery. Time to check out the most famous of the region’s monasteries, before returning to Leh.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 70m

    • Distance 29km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1820m

  • Drive or bike (from the half-way point) to the Khardung La (5380m). Mega downhill blast back to Leh.

    This is the big day of our acclimatisation programme and, for some, the biggest day of the trip. The 5380 metre Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world and the challenge of cycling to the top is almost irresistible. Alternatively, of course, there is the option of driving to the top and simply enjoying the downhill all the way back to Leh. The group will take a jeep ride as far as the check post at 4500 metres and from here those that like a challenge can begin biking. Three hours' riding eventually leads to the crest of the pass and, despite the extreme altitude, the riding is not as bad as you might expect. Alternatively, you can make a very early start from Leh to cycle the whole ascent to the top of the Khardung La. The obligatory photograph at the summit beside the sign, which says, ‘you have reached the top of the highest motorable pass in the world’ is only part of the reward for this achievement, as the views are spectacular. In the distance we can see the Central Karakoram peaks and, nearer to hand, the Eastern Karakoram peaks of Rimo and Saser Kangri. The 45 km (28 miles) of surreal downhill biking back to Leh really is grin-inducing - you just have to do this one!

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 880m

    • Distance 52km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1740m

  • Drive to Upshi and start our trans-Himalayan ride. Overnight at Rumpsti below the Taglang La.

    The first day of our classic ride towards Manali begins with a jeep ride! We have already cycled this part of the road during our acclimatisation programme, so we make the best use of our new support transport, a coaster bus, to take us along the main road to the turn off to Manali - at the check post town of Upshi (3450m). The afternoon's ride is through amazing Ladakhi scenery with huge rock walls towering either side of the road as we cycle the 30 km (19 miles) of tarmac road, through small villages, to our camp just past the village of Rumpsti (4370m) which is half way to the Taglang La. This is one of the most beautiful campsites (as well as our first) of the trip.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 920m

    • Distance 30km

    • Meals bld

  • Bike up to the Taglang La (5280m) then down across the Moray Plains into the Pang Valley.

    The Taglang La (5280m) is the second highest road pass in the world and is the first major pass on our journey to Manali. For those who do not fancy the challenge there is the option of taking the support bus to the top. But, for the majority, it is an early start for the 30 km (19 miles) of steady uphill to the summit of the pass. The scenery becomes more impressive as we move slowly southwards towards the snow-covered peaks that make up the watershed of the main Himalaya range. At the crest of the pass, we can briefly celebrate that we have now been to the summit of the world’s three highest road passes and pose for yet another picture alongside the sign that reads, ‘you have reached the second highest road pass in the world’. We’ll not want to spend too long on the summit, as today is a long day, so we set off quickly down to the Moray Plains, which are geographically a part of the Tibetan Plateau – despite it lying completely within India. The colours generated by the low afternoon light, splashed across this high plateau, create an enchanting atmosphere for the final 30 km (19 miles) of riding. The plateau ends with a sudden drop into the rift valley of Pang, which is almost as spectacular as the Grand Canyon. Stopping a short distance beyond Pang, we make camp on the banks of the river. As the light finally disappears, the shapes and forms of the surrounding mountains take on a completely different perspective under a sea of stars and we savour yet another day of Himalayan mountain biking magic.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1670m

    • Distance 100km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1505m

  • Cycle across the Lachalung La (5065m) and via the 22 hairpin bends of the Gata Loops to Sarchu.

    The giant rollercoaster continues and today we set off for the Lachalung La (5065m) and the Nakli La (4900m). The slopes on either side of the road have tall rock pillars eroded into fantastic shapes and at one point the road has been blasted through the side of a cliff in the most improbable place. The magnitude of this feat of engineering, and the effort required to build this road, should never be taken for granted, especially as it allows us hedonist mountain bikers the chance to witness this beautiful part of our planet from the comfort of a bike saddle. After cresting the Lachalung La, we make a short, fast descent and then a short climb to the Nakli La. From this pass we begin a brilliant descent to Brandy Nullah (crossing Whiskey Bridge) through a series of 22 hairpin bends called the ‘Gata Loops’. Many of the hairpins can be short cut in true mountain bike style by using the footpaths created by the hardy road workers. The final part of the ride is on a relatively flat road along the Tsarap River to our campsite just past Sarchu, which is on the border between the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. A long but unforgettable day’s riding. Altitude at camp is 4400 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1370m

    • Distance 88km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1450m

  • Bike up to the Baralacha La (4880m) and descend through Jespa into the Lahaul Valley.

    We start the day with a 2 to 3-hour climb, gradually gaining height, up to the saddle of the Bara Lacha La (4880m) where our reward is close-up views of the peaks of the Chandra-Bhaga Range. The Bara Lacha La stands at the crossroads of the Spiti, Zanskar, Lahaul and Rupshu areas of the inner Himalaya. We now have a long descent of 45 km (28 miles) to Jespa (3400m), on the banks of the Bhaga River in the Lahaul Valley. From the high desert, we then enter an alpine climate with green hillsides and forested slopes - a welcome change from the dry, desert scenery of Ladakh. We stay in a small hotel at Jespa - with good basic showers and extra strong beer.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 710m

    • Distance 71km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1810m

  • Continue cycling through Keylong and Tandi to Khoksar at the base of the Rohtang La.

    We continue our bike ride on broken tarmac for 25 km (16 miles) to Keylong, the main town in Lahaul, gently losing altitude. After lunch at Tandi, where the Chandra and Bhaga streams join to form the Chandrabhaga or Chenab River, we have a 30 km (19 mile) ride to the check post at Khoksar, at the base of the Rohtang Pass. The land becomes increasingly greener as we get closer to the watershed of the Himalaya and we could easily imagine ourselves to be in Switzerland, such is the beauty of the alpine scenery. We’ll make camp here at an altitude of 3150 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 1030m

    • Distance 69km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1140m

  • Bike up to the Rohtang La (3990m) before making the 50 plus kilometre descent to Manali.

    Now fit and full of confidence, we start our last climb to the Rohtang La, which is at the relatively modest altitude of 3990 metres. The semi-arid Lahauli valleys give way to lush green slopes and from the top of the Rohtang (if the weather is clear) we can glimpse the green, forested slopes of the Kulu-Manali Valley. The monsoon rains that are deposited on the southern slopes of the Rohtang completely transform the scenery. A mind-blowing 52 km (32 mile) downhill blast to Manali, with 2000 metres of descent, completes the main part of our trip. We overnight at a comfortable hotel in Manali.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1000m

    • Distance 52km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2000m

  • Long drive to the Nalagarh Fort Resort at the base of the Shivalik Hills.

    After breakfast we make the 8 hour drive - stopping for refreshments en-route - to the Nalagarh Fort Resort, located at the base of the Shivalik Hills and spread across acres of lush greenery. The fort was built in 1421 and was originally a palace and is now a hotel. After dinner, we can relax in the surroundings of this impressive old fort, perhaps with a couple of G&T’s in the bar.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Complete the drive to Delhi, arriving at our hotel by late afternoon.

    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 should arrive at our centrally located group hotel in Delhi by late afternoon.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Transfers to Delhi Airport are provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the hotel. Airport transfers are provided for all client departing on this day. There are lots of extensions that can easily be added to your holiday in india. Why not pre-book a 1-day excursion to the fabulous Taj Mahal, or a multi-day Rajathan experience, or a beach hotel break in Goa or Kerala. Contact our office for details.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced KE Indian biking leader
  • The internal flight from Delhi to Leh
  • Delhi Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 15 of the Land Only itinerary
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Support vehicles and drivers in Leh and during the journey from Leh to Manali
  • All accommodation as detailed in the trip dossier
  • All meals

  • Travel insurance
  • Indian Visa
  • Delhi Airport transfers (other than on the group arrival and departure days)
  • Tips for drivers and other staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc. Bike Carriage on the flights - please check with your carrier for charges

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

Transfers from Delhi Airport to the group hotel in the city are provided for all clients arriving on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and transfers back to Delhi Airport are provided for all clients departing on Day 17. If you are arriving or departing outside of these dates, independent Delhi Airport transfers can be arranged at additional cost. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

On the camping sections of this trip one of the cook crew will wake you shortly after first light with a cup of 'bed' tea or coffee brought to your tent, which is to be savoured as you ease yourself into the day. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your kitbag before sitting down to a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the support vehicle will be packed. Depending on the day’s riding ahead we will generally aim to set off around 9 am. and will make stops as required to regroup. We will usually break for a rest in a convenient spot mid morning as well as early to mid afternoon and our lunch stop is generally taken after we have completed over half of the day’s ride. The lunch break is a chance to relax and enjoy our packed lunch that is prepared, in advance, by our crew. Our crew will normally have arrived at our next camp well in advance of us and will have our camp established and the tents pitched. Soup and hot and cold drinks will be available shortly after our arrival at camp and any spare time is usually spent relaxing and dealing with any bike maintenance that may be required. Dinner is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trip so far and for general socializing. As night falls, the temperatures drop and it is time to retire to your sleeping bag.

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 on our website which can be viewed via the link below. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

The group will have one night at a pleasant and conveniently located hotel, close to Delhi Airport, at the beginning of the trip and a second night at the same hotel at the end of the holiday. In Leh we stay in a centrally located hotel for 5 nights. We also stay in hotels for 1 night in Manali, 1 night in Jespa and 1 night in Nalagarh. All accommodation is allocated on a twin-sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Whilst on the ride between Leh and Manali there will be 4 nights camping. It is possible to hire a single tent for these nights at additional cost - please note that single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. Depending upon availability, it may also be possible to arrange single room occupancy in Delhi and in Leh. For additional hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

India is famous for it’s fragrant and spicy cuisine. The food served during the trip is a mixture of lndian and Western mostly purchased in India and cooked for us by highly trained camp cooks. The emphasis is on providing a tasty, high-carbohydrate diet with a good vegetarian selection, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. When we stay in hotel accommodation we will mainly use the hotel’s own restaurants which generally offer a variety of Indian and Western style dishes.

All meals are included in the trip price from lunch on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary to breakfast on Day 15.

Approximately £200 (or the equivalent in euros or US dollars) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, including crew tips and soft drinks, etc. There are several opportunities to buy souvenirs on this trip. It is not necessary to purchase local currency (Indian Rupees) before you travel. Sterling and US dollars are readily exchanged in Delhi. Since you will be changing the majority of your spending money into local currency on the day of arrival, we recommend taking this in cash. Credit and debit cards can be used to purchase many goods in Delhi and are particularly useful for more expensive souvenirs. It is possible to withdraw cash (rupees only) from cash machines in certain banks in Delhi, Leh and Manali using credit and debit cards.

The trip will be led by an experienced KE Indian biking leader. In addition the group will be accompanied by vehicle support, drivers and an Indian camp crew.

Tipping is an accepted, and expected, part of Indian culture. However, you should only tip for services that are well done. The total amount that you can expect to pay in tips for your local crew and drivers is approximately £50 (in Indian rupees). The KE leader will help to co-ordinate these payments and decide on an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member.

Taking a bike on an aircraft is usually straightforward. Different airlines have differing policies with regard to baggage allowances and transporting bikes. We advise you to visit the website of your chosen airline and check out their baggage allowances before purchasing your air ticket. Take account of the weight and dimensions of your intended check-in baggage in advance of your arrival at the airport, since airlines can charge for both excess and oversize baggage, or refuse to carry oversized baggage. If you are using a domestic flight to connect with your International flight then it is likely that a different baggage policy will exist for the domestic and international flight sections. Please note, in addition, that the check-in baggage limit on all internal flights within India is now 15kg. Any additional charges incurred for transporting your bike on any of the flights required for this adventure are the responsibility of each individual client.

This is a SEMI-SLICK adventure. You can use a mid-level mountain bike, such as a Specialized Rockhopper Pro or a Trek 6500 Disc, equipped with suspension forks and semi-slick tyres. Or, you can use a cyclocross bike. If you are proposing to use a cyclocross bike you should ensure that is has a compact chainset, wide ratio cassette, cyclocross-specific wheels and 700x30/35c touring/cross tyres. Please call us if you are unsure about the suitability of your current bike. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your bike is in perfect working condition before you start this trip. You are depending on your bike to transport you throughout your trip, across demanding terrain. It is VITAL to ensure it is THOROUGHLY SERVICED to guarantee it is in good mechanical order before departure. If you are not mechanically minded, get your local bike mechanic to service it for you. For home mechanics, points to note particularly are:

a) Check rims and if they are worn / cracked / dented replace with a new rim / wheel to avoid wheel failure. It is especially important to check that the rims on rim-braked bikes are not worn concave by the brake blocks – replace them if they are.

b) Check wheels are true and spoke tension is tight.

c) Check and, if required, adjust / grease ALL bearings and quick release skewers.

d) Check and, if required, replace brake and gear cables.

e) Check disc / brake pads, mounts and cables / hydraulic lines - replace if necessary.

f) Check - lube / threadlock and tighten - all bolts (esp. suspension pivots, bottom brackets, disc rotor bolts and disc mount bolts).

g) Check chain, cassette and chain rings for wear – replace as necessary.

h) Make sure you have the right tyres, inner tubes and BIKE SPECIFIC SPARES for your bike.

Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs to your bike e.g. fixing a puncture, changing an inner tube. Naturally our bike guides will always be happy to assist with any repairs, but due to the often remote nature of our trips, being able to carry out a simple repair can save time and the inconvenience of waiting for assistance.

Travelling with a bike is usually as straightforward as travelling with any other type of baggage -providing you have packed it adequately. We have many years experience of travelling with our bikes, and nowadays we think that the best way to travel and fly with a bike is to partially dismantle it and put it into a purpose made soft bike bag. Although more expensive than a cardboard bike box, they are smaller in size to transport and are considerably easier to handle. To pack your bike you simply remove both wheels and pedals and prepare it for travel as follows. Obviously, extra care when packing your bike can minimise the chances of accidental damage occurring in transit. Ask your local bike store for plastic wheel hub protectors (which will prevent damage to your bike bag) and plastic fork and frame spacers, insert the spacers into the dropouts, tape them in place and then put extra padding over this area. Use pipe insulation lagging (from your local DIY store) to cover frame tubes, forks and seat post. If required, remove your bars from the stem and attach them carefully to your frame/forks using plastic ties or pvc tape -ensure that your Ergo/Sti levers are well padded to minimise the chance of damage. You may also wish to remove your rear gear mech, pad it with foam and tape it to the chainstay out of harms way. Finally, you should partly deflate your tyres, but leave some air in them to help absorb any impact on the wheels. Don’t forget to pack wheel skewers, pedals and any bolts you have removed, these are the items that tend to get left behind. Finally, find an old cardboard bike box and cut out panels to fit inside your soft bike bag for extra protection. Don’t forget to bring sufficient packing materials to pack your bike on the way home.

PLEASE DO NOT USE a purpose-made rigid bike box -these are heavy (which can put you over your baggage allowance) and are also too bulky to be easily stored or transported on the group’s support vehicle.

Throughout this trip we have the back up of one or more support vehicles. Each morning our main baggage will be loaded onto the support vehicle which will follow the group on the day's ride. The KE biking leader and the support vehicle driver will watch over the group and the support vehicle can pick up any group members who wish to take a break from cycling at any time. We want everyone to enjoy their cycling experience on this trip and we recognise the importance of group members being allowed to cycle at their own pace. So, although the group will become split up at times, we have regular stops to ensure that it's never long before we regroup.

One option is that you take your own bike on this holiday. After all, it is the bike you know best. However, you can also hire a bike locally. Our local agent has a range of Merida (Matts 40 and Matts 20 hardtails), as well as Trek (3500 / 3700 / 3900 / 4300 hardtails). These bikes generally have Shimano Acera and Altus components. They either have Tektro V-Brakes or, in some cases, Tektro Disc Brakes. They have 100mm front suspension and 26 inch diameter wheels. They are available in a range of frame sizes - from 13 to 21 inches. Bikes can be reserved, subject to availability, at a cost of £150 (Oct 2014 – subject to change) for the duration of the holiday. This cost will be paid locally and does not cover you if you lose the bike or damage it beyond 'fair wear and tear'. This cost also includes bike carriage from Delhi to Leh. Contact the KE office if you want us to reserve a bike for you. Your hire contract will be with our local agent and KE cannot be held responsible for any issues arising from bike hire. If you do hire a bike, we recommend that you take your own shoes, pedals and possibly even your saddle, which will go a long way towards making it feel like your own bike. You must also take your bike helmet, which you will wear whenever you are biking. One final issue with regard to the hire bikes is that they are fitted with regular knobbly tyres. If you would prefer to ride on fast-rolling, semi-slick tyres (the great majority of this route is on tarmac) you should consider taking a pair with you. These can be fitted to the bike for you before the first day’s ride.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

All nationalities need to obtain a visa for entry into India. You must have a machine-readable passport with at least 6 months validity at the time of your arrival in India and your passport must have at least two blank pages.


e-Tourist Visa Application

If you require a Single-Entry visa for a visit of up to 30 days, we recommend that you use the e-Tourist Visa Application process which has been available to UK nationals since 15 August, 2015. You should make your application at

Most nationalities, including travellers from the UK, USA and many European countries can apply for their Indian Visa online through the e-Tourist Visa system.

The e-Tourist Visa is valid for entry through 16 designated Airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi.

This visa is cheaper than the Regular Indian Visa and does not require that you send your passport to your nearest India Visa Application Centre (IVAC).

Please note: If you travel on an e-Tourist Visa, your passport will be stamped and your biometric data (fingerprinting and retinal scan) will be processed on arrival in India.

You must make your application a minimum of 4 days before your arrival and a maximum of 30 days before your arrival in India. You must also remember to print a copy of the e-Tourist Visa and take it with you to India for processing on arrival.

The validity of the e-Tourist Visa is 30 days from the date of arrival in India.

The e-Tourist Visa fee is $60.

Instructions for making the application are provided at the above link, including details and specifications of the passport and passport photo scans that you need to provide.


Filling out the application form
Where you are asked to state ‘Places to be visited in India’, please write “Delhi” or the port of entry as the destination you are travelling to in India. Please do not mention any restricted areas such as Sikkim or Ladakh as this may result in delays to the issue of your visa. Answer ‘no’ to the question about visiting Sikkim. Note that when applying online, most of the questions have ‘required fields’ (denoted by a red asterisk). This means that you will not be allowed to submit the form without filling in these fields. If the question is not applicable to you, please type ‘NA’ into these fields.

For ‘Sponsor’ use KE Adventure Travel; first UK referee use KE Adventure Travel; Second UK referee use a friend or relative. For the first Indian referee please use the name and address of our Ground Agent as listed on your Booking Confirmation. For ‘address in India’ and also for second referee in India, please use the name and address of the group hotel as listed on your Booking Confirmation.

If you need help with your e-Tourist Visa Application
A visa processing company such as Travcour can help with your application. Travcour charge £20 to process your application and a further £9 (for postage) if you want them also to handle the scanning of your passport and photo.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised visa requirements and charges are subject to change.

The following is a basic checklist to help you with your packing. We recommend using the layering principle of clothing for predominantly cool climatic conditions and cold evenings. Good padded cycling shorts are essential.

Your bike MUST be at least a mid level Mountain Bike such as a Specialized Rockhopper or Trek 6500. Front suspension is essential. It is vital that your bike is THOROUGHLY SERVICED and in perfect working condition before the trip.



  • Stiff-soled cycling shoes or SPD’s
  • Neoprene bike overshoes for extra warmth


  • Base-layer - short sleeve cycling top (x 2)
  • Mid-layer - long sleeved cycling top (x 2)
  • Outer layer - lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Warm Fleece jacket or jumper
  • Down Jacket (for evenings)


  • Regular biking gloves
  • Winter biking gloves or warm overgloves


  • Padded cycling shorts (x 2)
  • Warm Cycling tights or tracksters


  • Eyewear - Biking glasses
  • Cycling helmet – mandatory
  • Fleece headband
  • Buff

Daypack and contents

  • A cycling daypack (e.g. Camelbak) of at least 20 litres carrying capacity is recommended
  • Water bladder - min. 2 litres capacity
  • Lightweight waterproof top
  • Multi-tool
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Inner tube(s)
  • Pump
  • Camera
  • Sun cream (inc total bloc for lips/nose)
  • Small roll of gaffer tape
  • Warm Fleece Jacket or Jumper
  • Lightweight loose trousers to wear over shorts for modesty
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

Trek Bag Contents

  • Travel and apres biking clothes for predominantly cold conditions
  • Training/Leisure shoes for apres biking
  • Wash bag, towel, toiletries, including anti-bacterial handwash
  • Warm hat
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Sleeping Bag - comfort rating (minus -15 degrees centigrade)
  • Thermarest/Camping Mattress
  • Headtorch/Headlamp


  • Note: If you are hiring a bike, you do not need to bring any spares. Although it is still a good idea to take a couple of 26 x 2 inch inner tubes with Presta valves.
  • You should bring the following with you as a minimum. Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs e.g. changing an inner tube, fixing a puncture. Naturally the bike guide will always be happy to assist with any repairs, but due to the often remote nature of our trips, being able to carry out a simple repair can save time and inconvenience waiting for assistance.
  • Tyres - for this trip you will need: 1.9 to 2.2 inch semi-slick tyres suitable for mostly dry tarmac/dirt road conditions.
  • Pump
  • Plastic tyre levers
  • Small tube of grease
  • 1 rear brake cable
  • 1 rear gear cable
  • Spare set of brake blocks / disc pads (front and rear)
  • 2 spare spokes for front and rear wheels
  • Spoke key
  • 4 x inner tubes Spare chain links
  • Liquid chain lube (bottle not aerosol)
  • Multi-tool with Allen keys
  • Chain link extractor (if not on multi-tool)
  • 2 x puncture repair kits
  • A rag and brush for cleaning bike and drive train.
  • Spares specific to your bike**

KE tools and spares

  • On all of our trips we carry a toolkit and a basic range of spares for emergencies. As bikes become increasingly part specific it is impossible to carry a comprehensive range of spares compatible with all makes and models of bike. ** Please ensure you bring any bike-specific spares which might be needed - such as disc brake bleed kits (and appropriate fluid), shock pumps etc).

Energy Gels/Sports Drinks/Power Bars

  • Our back up vehicle will carry ample supplies of water, snacks and lunches but if you like a particular energy gel, sports drink or power bar we suggest you bring a selection of your preferred choice along.


We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The better conditioned you are the more you will enjoy your trip. We suggest that you adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in a number of long cycle rides in hilly country to ensure you are physically capable of taking part in this trip - this will also provide you with an opportunity to make sure all your riding kit is tried and tested before you travel. Cycling is obviously the best activity to prepare for this trip, however, running, squash and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

During July and August the temperature in Delhi will be hot (35 degrees Centigrade) and humid. On the high plateau of Ladakh, the maximum daytime temperature low down on our trip (and at Leh) will be around 15 degrees Centigrade, with night-time lows around 5 or 10 degrees Centigrade. At our highest camps, the night-time temperature may be as low as minus 5 or even minus 10 degrees Centigrade. At high altitude, the sun has a very strong effect and it will feel hotter than the indicated temperatures. Ladakh is not affected by the monsoon and we can usually expect stable, weather. However mountains do generate their own weather systems and some rain or snowfall cannot be ruled out. As we cross the Rohtang La and descend into the Kulu Valley, we should notice an increase in temperatures and humidity and we may encounter some rain.

Trekking in the Indian Himalaya. (Lonely Planet) India. A Travel Survival Kit. (Lonely Planet) Exploring the Hidden Himalaya. Kapadia and Mehta Leh and Trekking in Ladakh. Charlie Loram Ladakh, Crossroads of High Asia. Janet Rizvi

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From $116 per room per night

Florence Inn

From $97 per room per night Combining comfort and elegance with economy, the Florence Inn is our preferred group hotel in Delhi. Well appointed throughout and with a smart lobby, it is immaculately clean. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The Florence Inn is just 5 minutes walk from Karol Bargh market and the metro station making it an ideal location for exploring the city.


From $166 per room per night Situated in Lutyens’ Delhi within 10 minutes walk of the famous Lodi gardens and Khan Market, Claridges oozes old-world charm and luxury. Set in a landscaped garden with swaying palm trees, you can get right away from the hurly burly and enjoy gracious Indian hospitality. The guest rooms and suites are classically decorated and equipped with all modern conveniences as you would expect in a hotel of this calibre. Claridges contains several excellent restaurants offering a choice of world cuisine and there is an outdoor swimming pool and a health club.

Maidens Hotel

From $133 per room per night Operated by the Oberoi group and set in 8 acres of garden with shady trees, Maidens is one of Delhi's oldest hotels. Built in the early 1900s, it has retained its colonial charm and offers spacious well appointed rooms with high ceilings. The hotel has a restaurant serving international and Indian cuisine, a garden terrace extending to an open courtyard, and a small intimate bar. There is no pool. Located in Old Delhi, it gives easy access to Mughal monuments and the colourful Chandni Chowk bazaars.

Manor Hotel

From $144 per room per night This 2-storey, 15-room boutique hotel in a pleasant garden setting is very distinctive. With clean modern lines and contemporary furnishings the Manor Hotel has an understated elegance and comfort which is very appealing. Its public areas contrast cool Italian mosaic flooring with warm rich wood panelling, and you can enjoy a high level of service which is friendly and efficient. The hotel has an award winning restaurant and a bar. There is no pool but the hotel has a Wellness centre with yoga and massage. The Manor is located in a quiet residential area close to the Lodhi Gardens.

Ambassador Hotel

From $133 per room per night Situated in Lutyens’ Delhi next to Khan Market, this art deco style hotel designed by British architect Walter George in 1945, is a listed heritage building. Its location makes it convenient for both the airport (22km) and the city centre (10 minutes by dive). The Vivanta-by-Taj Ambassador is operated by the Taj group of hotels, so you can expect the best of hospitality and service.

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