Call of the Mountains - Leh

Manali - Leh

Fri, 30 Jun 2023

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12 Nights / 13 days


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The Manali - Leh cycling tour is one of the most scenic, challenging and popular mountain biking routes. You cover 500 km over 11 days going past many high passes - Rohtang (3900m), BaralachaLa (4800m), NakeeLa (4850m), LachungLa (4800m) and TanglangLa (5200m and the world's second highest motorable road). The route is a mix of tarmac and unmetalled roads. Once you cross into Lahaul Valley from Manali, you go past picturesque villages. However, after Darcha, it's all wild country with no permanent villages till you cross Tanglang La closer to Leh. The only settlements you will come across are doksas or make-shift bed-and-breakfasts and off-late, fixed campsites that have come up for the season. From alpine forests and meadows in Manali through deep valleys in Lahaul, and vast plains in Sarchu, you enter Ladakh - a land that offers every hue of orange, red, brown and ochre. Along the way, your challenges include searing hot days, freezing nights and most importantly, high altitude.


Day 1: Arrive in Manali (spot elevation: 2050 m)
  • All riders will gather in Manali. Spend the evening getting acquainted with your fellow riders. Hang out at the dreamy little cafes across town, many of which have views of the idyllic mountains around.

Day 2: Acclimatization and gear checks (spot elevation: 2050 m)
  • Gear check and last-minute preparations, if any.
  • Local ride to Solang to get acquainted with your bike, and get acclimatized before climbing further up the mountains.
  • Time permitting, in the evening you can unwind in the hot springs of Vashisht village across the Beas River, or visit the medieval Naggar Castle nearby. 
  • Go to bed early and rest well, so you can start your tour refreshed the next morning. 

Day 3: Manali - Marhi (spot elevation: 3400m)
  • The journey starts from the smooth roads of Manali, surrounded by pine and deodar forests. We follow the meandering route along Beas River, taking a series of hairpin bends. Steadily ascending, enjoy scenes of the Himalayan foothills, as you cycle through the villages of Palchan, Kothi and Gulaba. This stretch is dotted with several small waterfalls and viewpoints. Upon reaching the lush alpine meadows at Marhi - the base of the Rohtang Pass, we camp there for the night.
  • Distance: 35 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1600 m, Loss: 200 m

Day 4: Marhi - Sissu (3200m)
  • We start the day with a steep climb to the top of Rohtang Pass at nearly 4000m, our first pass on the trip. We cycle downhill to reach Koksar and then cycle along the Chandra river to reach Sissu.
  • Distance: 50 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 815 m, Loss: 1085 m

Day 5: Sissu - Jispa (3900m)
  • Today we cycle through Keylong - the biggest city in Lahaul and Tandi - the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers to form the Chandrabhaga River which later becomes the Chenab. The gradient is low most of the day today. Camp at Jispa on the banks of the river.
  • Distance: 53 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1260 m, Loss: 1075 m

Day 6: Jispa - Padseo/ Zing Zing Bar (4300m)
  • We leave the inhabited parts of Lahaul behind to cycle through Darcha and start the climb to Patseo. Option to camp at Padseo or continue onward to Zing Zing Bar at the base of the Baralalcha La.
  • Distance: 35 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1200 m, Loss: 240 m

Day 7: Zing Zing Bar - Sarchu (4350m)
  • A long day today in high-altitude regions. We start with a steep ascent to the top of Baralalchala at 5000m while crossing the emerald waters of Suraj Tal Lake on the way to the top. The path down is a welcome physical respite going through the dhabas at Bharatpur and then onward to the windy campsite of Sarchu for the night.
  • Distance: 50 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 900 m, Loss: 900 m

Day 8: Sarchu - Pang (4400m)
  • We leave the vast camping site of Sarchu and begin the hairpin turns of the Gatta Loops to reach the Nakeela Pass at 5150m. Pang, our destination for the day is on the other side of the pass.
  • Distance: 76 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1450 m, Loss: 1250 m
Day 9: Pang - Tso-Kar (4400m)
  • A short ascent from Pang takes us to the extensive More Plains flatlands. The only sign of life in this Martian landscape is the occasional nomadic Changpas tending to their herds of Yaks. One can also occasionally spot wild Tibetan asses - the Kiangs on the plains. We take a short deviation from the main highway and camp on the Tso Kar Lake for the night.
  • Distance: 54 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 540 m, Loss: 450 m

Day 10: Tso-Kar - Lato (3200m)
  • We start from our camp at Tso-Kar to the top of our highest pass on the trip - the Tanglang La at 5260m. On a clear day, the views from the top are expansive and overwhelming. We descend to get to the village of Rumtse and sort of back to civilisation. Our camp for the day is the village of Lato which is 10 Km ahead of Rumtse.
  • Distance: 35 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1600 m, Loss: 200 m
Day 11: Lato - Leh (spot elevation: 3400 m)
  • Today is the easiest day of the trip. We cycle the rest of the way to Leh town through mostly flat land. We cross several villages and Thiksey Monastery on our way to the town. Spend the night in a hotel in Leh.
  • Distance: 35 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1600 m, Loss: 200 m
Day 12:  Leh - Khardung La (spot elevation: 5500 m) - Leh
  • Optional Ride to Khardung La and back. You can also choose to rest and celebrate the completion of the tour
  • Distance: 78 km, Cumulative Elevation Gain: 2100 m, Loss: 2100 m

Day 13: Leh (spot elevation: 3400 m)
Prepare for departure. Trip Ends
Recommended gear for this tour:
  • A trusty bike helmet
  • Good quality waterproof winter jacket
  • Waterproof and windproof trousers
  • Balaclava (thick fleece)
  • Sun hat
  • Cycle mitts
  • Warm gloves - mountaineering gloves (waterproof outer, fleece inner) are good.
  • Mid-weight fleece top
  • Cycling shorts (preferably the looser, MTB fit shorts)
  • Shorts
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Travel trousers
  • 2 moisture-wicking tee-shirts (synthetic or merino wool)
  • Cotton tee-shirt for around town
  • Long-sleeved thermal top
  • Thermal long johns
  • Multiple pairs of underwear and socks
  • 1 pair of warm socks
  • Cycling shoes, for example, SPDs, if applicable (bring spare cleats)
  • Trekking shoes and climbing shoes
  • Flip-flops, Crocs or sandals to wear around camp

Additional suggestions:
  • Dark glasses (the sun can be very sharp up in the mountains)
  • Small day sack to carry trail clothing
  • Camera
  • A couple of spare passport photos, scans and photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages),
  • Travel insurance policy


What's included in this tour?
1. Tents, Sleeping bags, Carry mats and access to Mess Tent
2. Nutritious, high-calorie food will be served
3. Guides, cook and camp helpers
4. Logistics and support vehicles such as a Tempo Traveller to carry all our equipment. You will only have to carry your personal knapsack containing a water bottle, camera and trail layers.
5. Hotel accommodation in Manali, Leh and a few other locations where they are available along the journey
6. Tents on double occupancy on other days of the tour
What's not included in this tour?

1. Any expenses of personal nature
2. Food expenses in Chandigarh/Manali and Leh, before and after the tour
3. Mountain bike (You will bring your own bicycle or opt for the rental add-on)
4. Personal and gear insurance
5. Transportation on tempo/bus/cab from Chandigarh (or elsewhere) to Manali at the start of the tour or from Leh at the end of the tour
6. Khardung La permits 
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