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Spiti Motorbike Adventure TOP033_13

  • Summary
  • Trip Notes
  • Dates & Rates
  • Operator
  • Enquiry Form

Spiti Valley Motorbike Adventure

The Spiti Valley lies above 10,000 ft and is an extraordinary place.  In the rain shadow of the mysterious Tibetan Plateau, the area is considered a desert and riding here is like exploring another planet.

Trip highlights:

  • Experience untouched ancient and pristine wildness of the Himalayas in Northern India
  • Epic riding through rapidly changing scenery and geography
  • Spend two weeks on a 500cc Enfield Bullet (front disc brake fitted) and learn first hand about all it’s eccentricities
  • Visit ancient temples and monasteries
  • Taste the local brews of the agrarian nomads who make a living in these extreme conditions
  • Spend a night in a Hindu temple compound in Sarahan
  • Get a view of Mount Kinnaur Kailash – the summer home of Shiva
  • Soak in the hot springs at Guru Vashisht’s temple in Manali – perfect after a long day on the bike
  • Travel on India’s railway system as you travel from Delhi to your starting point in Shimla

The Spiti Valley, though now within Indian borders, is more Tibetan than Indian and more Buddhist than Hindu.  This is an inspiring tour that will take you up the high passes, down into the lush valleys, stopping at the small quirkily charming villages and the bustling chaotic tourist towns.

The roads are in mostly good condition, and you’ll have an expert guide with a fantastic support crew that includes mechanical and medical assistance. However the Himalaya’s themselves are always shifting and growing – sometimes they grow right across the route you’ve planned to take – so this is likely to be an adventure with some unexpected challenges.

If you have a love for adventure, a heart that beats faster in the face of awe-inspiring natural beauty, and the nerve needed to challenge yourself as you soar around high altitude passes, then this is the adventure for you.

Enquire today to learn more.

Itinerary

 

Day 1: Fly UK to Delhi

Leap aboard your flight to Delhi.

Day 2: Delhi to Shimla

Land in Delhi (by 4am) following an overnight flight, to be whisked across Delhi to the train station and guided aboard an air-conditioned train (approx’ five hours) to Kalka, where the plains meet the mountains. At Kalka you will board the famous narrow-gauge railway up to Shimla. Taking some five hours, the 97km train trip passes through 103 tunnels, 18 stations and over 24 bridges. Fifty years in the making, this incredible feat of engineering was completed in 1897. Arriving in Shimla in the early evening, you will be transported to your hotel for a briefing on the adventure ahead.

Day 3: Shimla to Sarahan

Leaving Shimla, we will head toward the hill station at Narkanda, before descending into the Sutlej Valley. Turning from the main road, we will climb the valley-side to the picturesque hilltop village of Sarahan, where a characterful stay is found in an ancient Hindu temple compound.

Day 4: Saharan to Sangla

A short hop, but challenging nonetheless, thanks to uber-twisty roads with some of the wildest drop-offs you’ll find anywhere. From Sarahan we drop back into the Sutlej Valley, then head east alongside the Baspa River into a valley of indescribable beauty. At Sangla you’ll find special tented accommodation in fields of flowers, with mountains completing the idyllic scene and a camp fire to round off the day.

Day 5: Sangla to Kalpa

Spend the morning walking in the Valley, or kick back and relax. After lunch we’ll be heading back down to the ‘main’ road by the River Sutlej and then up the other side of the valley to the hilltop town of Kalpa. Views over the nearby mountain ranges are stunning and, when the weather is clear, the perfect triangle of Mount Kinnaur Kailash, said to be the summer home of god Shiva is visible from our hotel.

Day 6: In Kalpa

We will spend the morning just down the hill in the regional capital of Reckong Peo, sourcing the Inner-line Permits that will allow us to enter Spiti Valley. The afternoon can be spent exploring the area on foot, visiting local temples and drinking in the scenery.

Day 7: Kalpa to Tabo

A big day, an epic ride, so an early start. From Kalpa, we again head up the River Sutlej, through rapidly changing geography. At Jangi Police Post the Inner-line, and another world, is entered. Soon many-hued mountains rear all around… and on along a most challenging road, to the magical scenery of Spiti itself. We spend the night at Tabo, where an ancient monastery (circa 996AD; one of the world’s most important Buddhist sites) nestles in a valley of awe-inspiring grandeur. Rest is found at a surprisingly comfortable hotel, where you can reflect on what will almost certainly have been one of the most rewarding days of your life.

Day 8: Tabo to Kibber

Spend the morning resting or exploring Tabo and its monastery, before a gentle ride along a boulder-strewn valley carrying a cobalt river. Again, assuming you have a heart in your chest, you will be reeling at the spellbinding beauty. We will visit the amazing, fairytale Ki Monastery, before ending the day in the blissful peace and quiet of Kibber, a tiny village set high on a mountainside. Kibber, once claiming to be the world’s highest village at 4270m, now makes the more modest (but still questionable) claim of being the highest village with both electricity and a ‘motorable’ road. Whatever, the village of traditional Spitian houses and the incredible mountain views make this a lovely spot.

Day 9: Kibber to Losar

In the morning we will visit one of Spiti’s most enigmatic monasteries, the high-altitude (4500m) monastery at Komic, where we will have tea with the monks in one of the world’s highest human settlements. Following lunch in the regional capital, Kaza, we follow the Spiti River up to the village of Losar, around 60km further up the Spiti Valley. Here we will spend the highest night of the trip lodged in a Tibetan village, in place to take on the crossing of Kunzum La the following morning.

Day 10: Losar to Manali

An early start to do a ‘big one’. Today we will climb dirt roads over the highest point of the tour, Kunzum Pass, at 15,000ft. We travel on through remote territory, amid icy mountains with only a few scattered villages along the way, until the famous Rohtang Pass is met. Here we ascend again to nearly 13,000ft and as we plunge down the other side, everything changes… suddenly we are out of the altitudinous desert and into a greener, lusher world of pine forests and waterfalls. At the foot of busy Rohtang is Manali, and an extensive menu.

Day 11: In Manali

There is every kind of activity to be found in Manali, including good shopping. There are also several interesting Himachali villages in the area that can be visited, plus Hindu temples and hot springs. Eating, whether in our excellent hotel restaurant, or in a multitude of eateries in town, is another favoured pastime, as is relaxing at the hotel come evening with a drink in your hand – welcome back to Hindu India.

Day 12: Manali to Shoja

Following a post-breakfast briefing, a late-ish set-off takes us down the Kullu Valley’s smooth tarmac, accompanied by views of gorges and waterfalls. Turning from the main road, we will soon be spiralling up into lush, forested mountains to our overnight stop at Shoja and a relaxing fireside drink with the sunset.

Day 13: Shoja to Shimla

Leaving Shoja, we will top the Jalori Pass (3120m) before riding down to the Sutlej Valley once more and joining the road to our start point (pillions will have to step off for the steepest sections at the top). It’s a super ride back to Shimla, where we will eat a celebratory supper, having circumnaviagted one of the most beautiful areas imaginable.

Day 14: Shimla to Delhi

Most of the day can be spent exploring the Raj-era sights of Shimla, before it’s back aboard the light railway, this time in the other direction to Kalka. There you will meet the sleeper to Delhi, which will deliver you to the capital to connect with your homeward flight.

Day 15: Delhi to Home

Once back home you may try and explain what you’ve just done down at the pub. But even with your wad of do-no-justice photographs you will fail to convey the experiential magnitude of riding in the World’s biggest place.

 

More Details

Documentation

You will need a passport with valid visa, appropriate travel insurance and an international driving permit.

Currency

You should be able to get by on around £200 spending money if you don’t do a lot of shopping. You may want to change a little money (about £30) at the airport, but check the rate before changing a large amount. Cash and travellers’ cheques are easily changed in Manali and Shimla (where there are also cashpoints), but nowhere else on the route.

Climate

Even at high altitudes the Himalaya can be surprisingly warm in summer. But nothing can be taken for granted and although rain is rare there is always the chance of wet weather. When overcast, things can get chilly at night and at the highest points there is a remote possibility of snow. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 30ºC; the minimum 0ºC (rarely, at night).

Bike Kit

We advise riders to consider their kit in terms of layers. Good quality gear can also prevent a minor spill causing a trip-ruining injury, so we require that you ride with no exposed skin (except your face).

Luggage

While your main luggage will be carried in a support vehicle, you may wish to bring a small rucksack or tankbag in which to carry articles you need on the road. Your main bag must be ‘soft’ and not a suitcase.

Fitness

While you don’t have to be an athlete to join us on this adventure, we would not recommend this tour to those who cannot, for instance, climb a flight of stairs without puffing and blowing. Please note that there are some long days in the saddle. We reach some great altitudes on this tour, so if you have any existing medical condition, please consult your doctor and the tour operator before booking.

Riding Skills

While we insist those joining us have a full motorcycle licence, and recommend a minimum of two year’s riding experience, time in the saddle and miles ridden are of more relevance to an adventure like this. Riding in India is very different from Europe and although the speeds at which we travel are relatively low, demands on planning and observation are high. Other factors making demands on riders are the heat (and possibly cold), conditions of the road – including sections of unpaved dirt – and getting used to the bikes’ reversed foot controls

Health & Hygiene

Although there is always the chance of getting a ‘holiday tummy’, following a few simple guidelines keeps the chances of this to a minimum. The tour will be accompanied by a medic with extensive kit to deal with any problem. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, it is essential that you consult both the tour operator and your physician before booking.

Departure dates:

  • 11th June 2016
  • 27th August 2016

Price from: 2,999 GBP per person

 

What is included

  • International Flights
  • Bike with Mechanical Back-up, Spares & Repairs
  • Medical & Luggage-carrying Support
  • All Internal Transfers
  • First Tank of Fuel
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfasts
  • Four Dinners & Two Lunches

What is not included

  • Some Lunches & Evening Meals
  • Entry Fees
  • Fuel subsequent to first tankful

 

Operator

This highly experienced motorbike outfit have been running small group tours since 1999 and their love of bikes and passion for discovering the most exciting new routes shines through.

The trips are meticulously researched and lead by expert guides plus mechanics and a professional medic with safe and well maintained equipment. Eat and sleep in the best locations enjoying the best riding and cultural experiences each destination.

The company is committed to supporting the local communities it works with providing education for staff-members and their families and contributing to the local economies. They are also bonded with ATOL and comply with the Package Travel Regulations so you know your money is protected.

Enquiry Form

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