Indo-Tibet Mountains & Oasis-LADAKH - Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive in New Delhi; India.
Most of flights arrive around midnight and on your arrival in India, Motorcycle Expeditions’ representative will meet & greet you at the airport IGIA (Indira Gandhi International Airport). And accompany with a private bus or taxi to your hotel accommodation in New Delhi for overnight stay.
Day 02: Fly to Leh (3,500mtrs: 1.2 Hrs.)
Fly into Delhi, where you will transfer the short distance to the domestic flights terminal to meet your connecting flight to Ladakh. From Delhi it is a short (approximately one hour), but visually stunning flight over the snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya that will deliver you to Leh. Here you will be transported to our hotel and met by the Motorcycle Expeditions staff.
Rest and gentle exercise is what you will now need, as the acclimatization to altitude begins. As you'll have flown in to an altitude of over 11,000ft, taking things easy is a must. Spend the morning taking a gentle walk into town to shop, eat and visit the sights. This large, history-drenched town was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Ladakh. It is set at nearly 12,000ft above sea-level in the Upper Indus Valley and like all Ladakh its culture is principally Tibetan Buddhist. There are, however, also Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities in Leh and throughout Ladakh. Overlooking the town is the huge, nine-storey Leh Palace, long since abandoned, but still impressive and worth a visit. There are many more ancient temples and monasteries to visit and the old Leh market is a fascinating experience. By afternoon you will be introduced to your motorcycle and will have a short ride to check out the bikes, dinner and overnight at the Hotel.
Day 03: Leh To Tso-Moriri via Upshi (4572 mtrs: 210 Kms/ 8 - 9 Hrs.)
We will be riding 210 kms today so it is best to start early from Leh. We take the Leh – Manali highway until the town of Upshi. Near Upshi we stop at a check post where you need to submit your permits. For the better part of today’s journey we follow the Indus River and the tarmac is in good condition for the most part, barring a few landslide prone stretches…
Chumathang itself has little to offer to a visitor apart from a few local roadside restaurants, a Gompa and hot water springs. A quick lunch stop would suffice for most, instead we make our own track, riding off road and following the numerous tracks left by passing vehicles. The last 30kms are a pain, but a boon for those who love off road riding! The track here is a mix of sand and dirt trails littered with small stones. However the view one gets at the end of it makes it all worth it, overnight in a fixed camp on the bank of the Tso-mo-riri or Korzok village.
Day 04: Tso Moriri (Korzok) to Tsokar (4485mtrs: 90 km/ 6Hrs.)
From Korzok we back track to the Junction Sumdo and from there take the diversion to reach Tso- Kar. This road tends to be a bit rough for some but great fun for those who appreciate off road motor biking!! It is believed that Tso-Kar was once connected to Tso- Moriri, even though Tsokar has salt water lake while Tso Moriri has fresh water… The area surrounding Tsokar is protected, overnight in a fixed camp or in guest house.
Day 05: Tsokar-Leh (3500mtrs: 150 Kms/ 7Hrs.)
The off road goes to the Manali-Leh road in Morey Plain while keeping an eye out for Tibetan Nomads, we will ascend quickly again and emerge into an amazing high altitude valley. We’ll gradually ride toward the Tanglang La (5300 m), the second highest motor able pass in the world. We are rapidly losing altitude and reach the first village Ladakhi Rumtse.
The road winds through a gorge impressive before flowing into the Indus Valley. We follow the Indus 50 km and climb up a side valley to finally reach Leh, the capital of Ladakh. En route, visit the monasteries of Hemis, the largest monastery in Ladakh and Thiksey, built atop a rocky peak overlooking the village, free afternoon, overnight in hotel.
Day 06: Leh to Nubra Valley – Hyunder (3048 mtrs: 125kms/ 6-7Hrs.)
We will start the day riding up to the Khardung Pass (which holds the title of the 'World's Highest Motor able Road') for a cup of chai and some stunning views. At over 17,500ft you'll be short of puff, so it will be a quick stop before we head down the other side of the pass and descend to Khardung village. This is a very isolated area, the road only having been opened to traffic as recently as 1984. From Khardung the scenery opens into some of the most magnificent views imaginable, and the vast Nubra valley. Nubra, being bordered by both China and Pakistan, is of great strategic importance and outsiders are not allowed beyond the village of Hyunder. It is in this furthest accessible village that we will stop for the night, sleeping comfortably under canvass in the peaceful grounds of a disused Buddhist monastery overnight in a local house with a local family.
Day 07: Nubra Valley – Hyunder to Pangong Tso (4350 mtrs: 180kms/ 7-8Hrs.)
From Nubra we will take a new route, only completed in 2010, but this road is always under construction, every year harsh winter snowfall and avalanche destroy the road, we’ll negotiate constantly hairpins and some impressive road sights from Nubra to the equally impressive Changthang Valley. More sinuous tarmac will bring the deep blue Pangong Lake into view, alongside which we will ride until we arrive at our camp, which is as far as the road towards Chinese-infested Tibet goes. Again, the beauty of this destination borders on unfeasibility, the quality of the high-altitude light is reflected from the salt water giving the area an otherworldly feel, overnight in a fixed camp on the bank of lake.
Day 08: Pangong Tso to Stok Monastery (3963mtrs: 200kms/ 7-8Hrs.)
From Pangong it's a steady climb up to the second highest pass of the tour, Chang La. This place is less visited and has a more remote feel than Khardung, while being all but its match in loftiness. The descent to the main Manali-Leh highway is yet again entertaining thanks to the serpentine road and awesome views. We end the day at the Monastery village of Thiksey with time to tackle the short but steep climb up to the monastery complex for sunset. Overnight with a local family nearby Stok palace
Day 09: Stok Monastery to Lamayuru via Alchi, (3390mtrs: 150kms/5-6 Hrs.)
Leaving the capital of Ladakh, we will play alongside the Upper Indus River, travelling through ancient Buddhist villages and past a number of glorious monasteries. On good tarmac we wind up and over several small passes, across desert plains and past colourful, mind-boggling rocks capes.
The 1000-year-old Lamayuru Monastery is situated high on a valley side at 11,500ft and houses 150 monks. Staying nearby we will have the opportunity to watch the sun go down over the buildings and crop fields in this idyllic setting. The evening can then be spent exploring the monastery, or simply taking in the many ancient Stupas around the settlement and gazing in awe at the huge and colourful rock formations all around. Or just kick back with a beer amid the scenery, overnight in a Guest House nearby the monastery.
Day 10: Lamayuru Monastery to Leh (3500mtrs: 150kms/5-6Hrs.)
After breakfast we’ll ride the same road way back to Leh but we’ll stop on the way to visit some other impressive Buddhist villages and monasteries. Afternoon reach at Leh, and have leisure time, this will be your last evening in Leh town, and therefore it will be last day for shopping to get the souvenir for your loved one back home, evening fair well with the team; night and dinner in the hotel.
Day 11: Fly Leh to Delhi to Home.
That's it folks, you've done it (we hope), crossed the World's two highest motor able passes, seen huge glaciers, ridden by high-altitude lakes and immersed yourself in the colourful cultures of Ladakh. Time to board the early morning flight back to Delhi and thence home; back on western turf you won't be able to explain the scale of this journey; photographs and videos will fail to do justice to the adventure in which you have been involved. Lucky then that memories are made of epic adventures.
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