Have you ever wanted to cycle over the Himalayan range from the southern lush green valley of Manali in Himachal Pradesh to the arid high mountain desert of Ladakh? The dramatic changes in the landscape are best enjoyed on a road journey (most of it on a cycle). You pass through small villages in Lahaul on the banks of Chandra and Bhaga rivers, through the pea and potato fields and never ending plateaus of Sarchu and Pang to the flat deserted plains of Indus valley.
Interacting with the locals and the nomads on the way; is a great way to enhances your experience. The journey includes going over some high passes, such as Rohtang Pass, Baralacha La, Nakee La, Lachung La and Tanglang La, which is the second highest motorable pass in the world next only to Khardung La. It’s a real test of your mental, as well as physical fitness.
The duration of the trip is about 14 days, where you’d be cycling for 463km in ten days. You can imagine the kind of dedication that would require. Here’s a detailed break-down of what to expect on this cycling tour:
Day 01: Arrival in Solang (2560m/8400 ft.)
Check in at the hotel in Solang by 11.00 am. Brief meeting with the group and Tour Leader after which you can relax.
Day 02: Solang – Cycling trial run
Do the dry run around Solang village – go up to Dhundi and then come back just to test the bikes. Overnight stay at hotel in Solang.
Day 03: Solang – Marhi (3340m/10,959 ft.; 27.7 km)
This is the first day of your cycling expedition. Easy road till village Palchan 8km from Manali. From Palchan the climb begins towards Rohtang Pass. Camp at Marhi 12km before Rohtang Pass. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Marhi.
Day 04: Marhi – Sissu (3120m/10,237 ft.; 51.5 km)
Start your day by finishing your final climb of 12km to Rohtang Pass 3978m/13,052 ft. From the top if the weather is clear you’ll get beautiful views of the glaciers and snow clad mountains of Chandrabhaga Range on the other side of the pass. The road descends 22km down to Khoksar village and then a flat road of 15km along the Chandra River to Sissu village. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Sissu.
Day 05: Sissu – Jispa (3260m/10,696 ft.; 52.5 km.)
Continue along the Chandra River with gradual gradients in-between till Tandi. At Tandi, leave behind the Chandra River and continue up along the Bhaga River to Keylong, the district capital of Lahaul. Continue further along the Bhaga River for 21km to reach Jispa. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Jispa.
Day 06: Jispa – Patseo (3811m/12,504 ft.; 31 km.)
From Jispa the road continues along the Bhaga River till Darcha. From Darcha the road climbs in switchback turns and gradually leads to Patseo. Good camping site for overnight stay. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Patseo.
Day 07: Patseo – Sarchu (4300m/14,108 ft.; 48.6 km.)
You need to be more cautious since now that you would be staying for next 2-3 days on an average altitude of approx. 4400m. From Patseo the hard climb begins for next 30km to Baralacha La 4920m/16,143 ft. You’ll pass two small but beautiful lakes of Deepak Tal and Suraj Tal on our way. The views from the pass are rewarding. Road descends from the pass to the plains of Sarchu. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Sarchu.
Day 08: Sarchu – Brandy Nallah (4120m/13,518 ft.; 27 km.)
Continue on the plains of Sarchu to arrive at Brandy Nallah. Dinner and overnight at camp in Brandy Nallah.
Day09: Brandy Nallah – Pang (4510m/14,797 ft.; 50.2 km.)
Start the 10km switchback climb to Nakeela Pass and then descend to Whisky Nallah. And again climb to Lachung La 5065m/16,618 ft. to descend to Pang. This is going to be the toughest day of your expedition. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Pang.
Day 10: Pang – Debring (4700m/15,421 ft.; 51.9 km.)
Climb to the More Plains/Pang Plateau; the flat section for 42km to reach Debring at the base of Tanglang La. The arid mountain view on both the sides of the road is a feast. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Debring.
Day 11: Debring – Upshi (3350m/10,991 ft.; 75.2 km.)
A gradual climb to the top of Tanglang La 5340m/17,521 ft. Though the climb is gradual, the altitude makes it difficult. Once on the top you are rewarded by some awesome views of the never-ending mountain ranges. This terrain continues, in a narrow gorge with extremely colorful mountains on both the side, till you exit at Upshi on the banks of Indus River. From Tanglang La descend for 29 km to Rumtse and then the road continues to Upshi. Dinner and overnight stay at camp in Upshi.
Day 12: Upshi – Leh (3500m/11,484 ft.; 48.2 km.)
Easy flat road section till Leh. You can make stopovers to visit Thiksey and Shey monasteries on the way before reaching to Leh. Overnight stay at hotel in Leh.
Day 13: Leh – Rest day
Day 14: Leh – Excursion to Khardung La and back
Drive to Khardung La (5602m/18,380 ft.), the world’s highest motorable pass (37 km.). Overnight stay at hotel in Leh.
Day 15: Final departure