Manali to Leh Ride

17 days
from
2 325 €
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 16 reviews >
Tough
Learn more
Trip code: 
MIH
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–15

The ride of your life - cycle six passes amidst the breathtaking Indian Himalaya!

This unique region, home to traditional Tibetan Buddhism, is the scene for one of cycling's epic journeys. The ride takes us from verdant forests and flower-filled valleys to barren lunar landscapes with towering peaks and hanging glaciers. As our route weaves its way across the Indian Himalaya we get a taste of the rich Ladakhi culture and see monasteries majestically perched on high spurs, and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of a genuinely untouched land. Running the trip in this direction entails more climbing overall, but offers the best opportunity to fully acclimatise and cycle the whole route.

Highlights

  • Ride six spectacular Himalayan passes
  • Enjoy a fantastic 2000m descent to Leh
  • Admire ancient Buddhist monasteries

 

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels, 8 nights full service camping
  • Group normally 4 to 15, plus leader, driver and camp staff. Min age 18 yrs
  • 11 days cycling with full vehicle support

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

11

Pace:

Approx. 5-7 hrs cycling per day

Terrain:

High altitude; approx. 75% tarmac, 25% unsurfaced: majority of the route is on paved roads, many of these are in poor condition. Some long climbs and descents.

Day by day breakdown
Day 454.0km/33.0miles
Day 537.0km/23.0miles
Day 651.0km/32.0miles
Day 755.0km/34.0miles
Day 825.0km/15.0miles
Day 957.0km/35.0miles
Day 1081.0km/50.0miles
Day 1151.0km/32.0miles
Day 1273.0km/45.0miles
Day 1379.0km/49.0miles
Day 1478.0km/48.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Delhi
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Delhi.

    The group flight arrives in Delhi in the morning and we will then transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and recover from the flight or for individual exploration of Delhi. Rooms in the hotel are usually available from noon. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel during the day. Bikes will be transported from Delhi to Manali by road ready for your arrival in Manali.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Train to Chandigarh; drive to Mandi.

    This morning we have an early start and transfer to the railway station before boarding the train for a 4 hour journey to Chandigarh. From Chandigarh we will drive to Mandi (approx. 145km/6 hours), arriving in the early evening.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive to Manali; free afternoon to explore.

    An easier day today with a half day drive to Manali (110 km/3.5-4 hours). We drive through the lush alpine landscape of Himachal Pradesh into the Kullu Valley. Here we meet the mighty Beas River which we follow to the hill resort of Manali (2020m). On arrival we check-into the hotel and after lunch we will collect/build our bikes ready for the following day. There will be a full bike briefing this afternoon. Late afternoon there will be time to visit the 450-year-old Hadimba temple, which is made completely out of wood and has remarkable carvings. The evening is free to explore the local surroundings. Manali is surrounded by beautiful fir and pine forests and there are lovely walks in and around the town. There is also a colourful bazaar famous for its shawls, jewellery and handicrafts.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Acclimatisation ride around Manali.

    This morning we get on our bikes for the first time and go on an acclimatisation ride. We cycle down through Manali town, crossing the Beas River and head south to Naggar. Naggar was once the capital of this area and the old castle has now been turned into a hotel. Near the castle is the Nicholas Roerich estate. Roerich was a Russian artist, who married a Bollywood heroine and lived here in Nagar. He travelled extensively through Ladakh and Tibet and many of his beautiful works of art still hang in the gallery here (please note the gallery is closed on Mondays). After a coffee and cake stop at Naggar we cycle back to Manali for lunch.

    Cycle approx. 54km, time approx. 5-6 hrs, ascent approx. 1100m.

    The other option for acclimatisation is to cycle through Old Manali on quiet backroads to the Solang Valley (a ski resort in winter). We can take a short walk to the Shiva Temple here before returning to Manali via hot sulphur springs at Vaishisht where we can have lunch. It is then a short easy downhill back to Manali with a short uphill back to the hotel.

    Cycle approx. 31km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 849m, descent approx. 842m.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Gradually climb through alpine forest towards Marhi.

    Today we start our first full day of biking on one of the classic cycle routes in the world. We start climbing right from Manali through the flower-filled valleys and cedar and fir forests, passing through numerous villages. After the last village, called Kothi, we will cycle up lots of hairpin bends which bring us to the Rohalla Falls. We will then ascend into a small valley where we will reach our camp for the night.

    Cycle approx. 37km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 1415m, descent approx. 119m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Cycle to Sissu over the Rohtang La (3946m).

    Today we cross our first pass. We set off early and leave all habitation behind as the road zig zags higher and higher into the mountains. It is a fairly tough climb and the road near the top of the pass can be muddy especially when wet. We feel as though we are entering a different world as we reach the top of the Rohtang La (3946m). This barren windswept pass, blocked by snow for more than six months of the year, crosses the Pir Pinjal Range and is the gateway to Ladakh. We leave the coniferous forests and lush green pasturelands behind and enter a vivid mountainous desert. Ahead are spectacular views across to the mountains of Lahaul and Spiti. From the top of the pass the road snakes down 900m to the small village of Khoksar, where we stop for lunch. Care must be taken on the downhill as the road is being worked on and is very rough in places. We then cross the Chandra River and have an easy 14km following the beautiful Chandra Valley to our camp at Sissu.

    Cycle approx. 51km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 816m, descent approx. 1086m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Through the oasis town of Keylong to Jispa.

    We are now in the beautiful Lahaul Valley surrounded by wonderful snow capped peaks. The road to Tandi is being worked on and is very rough in places as it undulates by the river. At Tandi the rivers of Chandra and Bhaga meet to become the Chandrabhaga, which we have been following. Crossing the river here we climb through Tandi. The scenery is spectacular and the valley narrows as magnificent mountains rise high above us. Continuing up the valley we cycle through Keylong, a small bustling town. Keylong is the capital of Lahaul and is surrounded by three famous monasteries - we can see the rooftops shining in the sun on the surrounding hillsides. From Keylong the road is good as we climb up above the river to Istingri and Gemur before descending to our camp at Jispa. Next to our campsite is a small temple, which was specially built for H.H. the Dalai Lama.

    Cycle approx. 55km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 1028m, descent approx. 758m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Continue up to Patseo through the pasture lands around Darcha.

    A fairly easy day for acclimatisation as we are now approaching the Great Himalayan Range. We cycle through beautiful green pastureland to Darcha (3358m). From here we cross the river and have a steep zig zag ascent for 8km and then a nice 12km descent to a small lake called Deepak Tal. We can stop by the lake for a tea break and camp is just a further 1.5km at Patseo (3780m). The site of a lone tea house, Patseo used to be the place of an annual fair of the Changpa nomads. In the afternoon we can have a walk into the surrounding hills.

    Cycle approx. 25km, time approx. 2-3 hrs, ascent approx. 638m, descent approx. 156m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Ride over the Baralacha La (4933m) and on to Sarchu.

    A hard day crossing the Himalaya to Sarchu, the border between the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. From Patseo we have a gradual climb past large meadows to Zingzingbar, where we start our long ascent to the Baralacha La Pass (4933m). After a couple of hours and 16.5km we stop for a tea break at the only tea tents on the way up the pass. From here it’s another 2 hours and 16km to the top. Just before the top we pass Suraj Kund, an isolated high altitude lake. From here the top is not so far - the climb seems at times to go on forever but the hard work is worth it as the views become increasingly spectacular. Finally we reach the top - we are in the middle of the mighty Indian Himalaya. The word Baralacha means 'a pass with crossroads' and the trails from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul come together here. This is the main crossing of the Great Himalayan Range and offers amazing views of the many snow-covered peaks including Barashigri, Chandrabhaga and Mulkila. From the pass the breathing gets easier as we descend on rough road for 30 minutes (5.4km) to lunch at the tea tents at Bharatpur. After lunch the cycling gets easier (although the road is very rough at first) and it’s an easy 1.5 hours and 20km descending past Kiling Serai and on to our camp 6km before the checkpost at Sarchu.

    Cycle approx. 57km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 1211m, descent approx. 587m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    A challenging day, via Nakli La (4948m) and Lachalung La (5100m), to Pang.

    This will be our longest and hardest day of cycling so we will set off early. We start by climbing fairly gently for approximately 32km across the windswept Sarchu Plains past Brandy Nallah and Whisky Nallah to the bottom of the Gata Loops. This is a series of 21 amazing hairpin bends, which we slowly ascend. Take time to stop and look back - the valley behind is full of amazing wind eroded rock formations. At the top of the loops we will have climbed 400m in 9.4km. From a viewpoint at the top of the loops, it’s another 9.5km to the top of our first pass, the Nakli La at 4948m. We then have a nice 4.4km downhill to lunch at a collection of tea tents. After lunch the road winds up for 7.3km to the top of our second pass of the day, the Lachalung La at 5100m. We are now crossing the barren Zanskar Range and we are surrounded by amazing multi-coloured mountains - the purples, greens and browns of the hillsides change shades as clouds are blown across the sky. From the Lachalung La we have one of the most amazing descents of the trip - an easy 17km ride down (on rough road) through an amazing canyon of magnificent rock formations of the Trans Himalaya until we reach our camp a few kilometres before Pang.

    Cycle approx. 81km, time approx. 8 hrs, ascent approx. 1611m, descent approx. 1157m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Across the Mori Plains to Tsokar Lake.

    We start slowly with a descent to the tea shops at Pang, followed by an 8km ascent to the Mori Plains (4778m). We are now in Rupshu, the waterless high altitude desert of the Tibetan Plateau. This area is all above 4500m and is home to the hardy Changpas; Tibetan nomads who live in yak hair tents and graze huge flocks of sheep and yaks in this seemingly barren landscape. We now cycle along a great section of flat black top road for 33km to the turn off to Tsokar Lake. From here it is just over 6km on a sandy track to Tsokar Lake where we camp for the night near Pongunagu. Tsokar means 'white lake', and there are white salt deposits ringing the water. Our camp is a few kilometres from the lake but for the energetic there will be time to walk to the lake, which is good for bird watching and you may even spot some 'kiang', the wild asses which roam the surrounding hills.

    Cycle approx. 51km, time approx. 4 hrs, ascent approx. 592m, descent approx. 280m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Explore the nomad settlements around the lake; ride over the Taglang La (5350m) to Lato.

    A hard day today as we cross the last pass before Leh, the Taglang La. We leave Tsokar and cycle back to the main road. From here it is 24km to the top of the pass (most of this section is now on a sealed road surface, with only approx. 8km of rough road). The long climb starts gradually and winds ever higher and steeper to the top of the Taglang La (5350m). You should be proud of yourself at the top - you have just cycled to the top of the second highest motorable road pass in India! We are rewarded for all our hard work with wonderful views of both the Himalaya and the Karakorum Mountains. After a rest and photo stop we have a wonderfully long 25km zig zag descent on a good black top section of road to lunch by the river. After lunch it’s an easy 14km ride down to our first real villages since Lahaul. The houses and green fields of barley and potatoes greet us as we pass the villages of Rumtse and Gya before reaching our camp at Lato.

    Cycle approx. 73km, time approx. 6-7 hrs, ascent approx. 1004m, descent approx. 1556m.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Ride to Leh, visiting Thikse Monastery en route.

    We start early with an easy ride winding down by the Kyamnar River down to Upshi. Here we join the Indus Valley, which we follow all the way into Leh. Passing a large army camp we come to Karu and then the road 'roller coasters' along the Indus to Thikse, where an impressive monastery sits perched on a hilltop. We cycle up to the monastery (2km), which contains a very impressive two-storey statue of the Future Buddha. Back on the road we cycle past the ruins of Shey Palace and the cycling is fairly easy as we come to Choglamsar, home to many Tibetan refugees. There is a final sting in the tail as we leave the Indus and climb into Leh. Tonight we can enjoy the comforts of a hot shower in our hotel in Leh.

    Cycle approx. 79km, time approx. 6 hrs, ascent approx. 723m, descent approx. 1230m.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 14

    Climb to Khardung La (5602m), one of the highest motorable roads in the world; exhilarating downhill ride back to Leh.

    For the energetic today there is the challenging ride to the Khardung La, arguably the highest motorable road pass in the world. After the last 10 days we should now be fully acclimatised to the altitude and mountains. We leave Leh early and take a packed lunch. It will take around 6 hours to cycle to the top of the pass. The views are magnificent as we wind our way higher and higher away from Leh. The first 24km of the ride is tarmac and the last 15km is rough road. From the top we are rewarded with close-up views ahead of the Karakorums, while behind us the Ladakh and Zanskar mountains seem to stretch forever. After a photo stop we have a fantastic downhill ride back to Leh - a great reward for all the hard work this morning! For those who do not want to do the whole ride there will be the option to drive to South Pollu and then cycle the final 15km to the top and all the way down. (Please note: If you hold a Chinese, Korean or Taiwanese passport you will not be able to get an Inner Line Permit to do the Khardung Pass trip and you will only be able to cycle from Leh to the check point half way up).

    Cycle approx. 78km, time approx. 8-10 hrs, ascent approx. 2049m, descent approx. 2049m.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 15

    Time to relax and explore Leh.

    We now have time to relax and do some sightseeing and shopping in Leh. The day is free to explore the back streets and bazaars or maybe do some optional sightseeing around Leh. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill, are the ruins of the Old Royal Palace. From here a winding path takes you to the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery. The recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda is also worth exploring, offering stunning views of Leh.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Fly to Delhi; optional sightseeing tour.

    We transfer early in the morning to Leh airport and catch a flight to Delhi. The flight is spectacular as it flies right across the Himalaya. On arrival in Delhi we transfer to our hotel. During the afternoon you are free to relax or explore Delhi. There are plenty of sights in both Old and New Delhi you may want to visit such at the Red Fort, Jamia Mosque, India Gate and Humayun's Tomb.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    End Delhi.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    If you have the time and would like to discover more of India, we also offer a Golden Triangle extension after the main tour.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 9 lunches and 8 dinners are included.

This is all meals except meals in Delhi, Mandi, Manali and Leh. Please allow about £70-100 (US$110-160) for these. In Delhi, Manali and Leh there are many restaurants serving all types of food including Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and Continental. Manali and Leh are famous for restaurants serving Tibetan food - try the meat or vegetable momos, a steamed or fried stuffed dumpling. There is always plenty of choice for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Whilst camping we have a cook and assistants who will prepare simple but plentiful and nutritious food. Breakfasts will be porridge, cereals, eggs and toast with plenty of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches will usually be a picnic lunch with soup, various kinds of local breads, cheese, eggs, tinned fish and meat and fruit where available. There will be afternoon tea and biscuits on arrival at camp followed later by dinner which is usually soup, a pasta, rice or potato based main course with fresh vegetables, followed by dessert, tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

Weather

Please Note: The above weather chart for Leh shows average temperatures only. Despite its altitude, Ladakh is a desert setting and can experience surprisingly hot weather during summer time as detailed below.

Generally the weather is good in Ladakh during the summer time, with warm to very hot sunny days (temperatures can reach up to 30ºC/35ºC), and cool to cold nights depending on the altitude (it can be just below freezing at the highest camps in late August). There is, however, always the possibility of rain, and snow at higher altitudes, and you should be prepared for this. The sun is very strong at these altitudes. The tops of the passes can get cold because of the high altitude and there are windy sections on the ride. There can be some rain in summer around Manali and the Rothang Pass often attracts bad weather at any time of the year. You will need to carry gloves and warm, waterproof layers on the cycling days.

Ladakh, though technically part of the Tibetan Plateau and classified as a high altitude desert, can and does occasionally experience the effects of the Indian monsoon. Although the departures are timed to coincide with when the weather is normally good, you should remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Delhi in the summer months is very hot and humid.

Leh, India

New Delhi, India

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 7 (Tough)

Average daily distance: 60km (37 miles)

No.of days cycling: 11

Full vehicle support

Terrain and route: although this trip is graded as a road trip some of the road surfaces are in poor condition. Approximately 75% of the route is on black top road and 25% is on rough road. You must be prepared for rough sections of road. If bringing your own bike this trip is not suitable for a road bike with thin tyres.

There is little technical riding and the majority of riding is on roads of varying conditions. The surface of the roads over the high passes is often nonexistent and there will be rough sections and maybe muddy sections crossing the high passes, particularly the Rothang and Khardung La. The altitude should not be underestimated and presents a considerable challenge, particularly when combined with dust and fumes from passing vehicles. Some of the riding will be above 5000m and there will also be some steep and long climbs. There is always the option to enjoy the scenery from the support vehicle. Some off road experience is advised. This is a classic cycle journey. A good level of fitness is definitely required.

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning under the 'Practical Information' section below. We run this trip south to north as it provides better acclimatisation and allows all participants an increased chance to ride to the top of the Khardung La at the end of the trip.

Please note that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI's schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Timings stated include rest and photo stops but not longer lunch breaks and will vary depending on the pace of your group. Elevation gains given are based on the maximum altitude reached during the ride, not sleeping altitude.

Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & full-service camping

8 nights hotels, 8 nights full-service camping. The hotels in Mandi, Manali and Leh are simple hotels, but all hotel rooms have en suite facilities with hot and cold running water and electricity and water supply is reliable.

The ride itself is on a full-service camping basis, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and do all of the camp chores for you. You need only carry your day pack. Most of the camping on this ride is wild camping. We stay in new alpine two-person tents which have enough room inside for your bags. Sleeping mats and bags are not provided – please see the packing section.

We also have a dining tent complete with table and folding chairs, and at least one toilet tent (usually two) for use during the evenings. No running water is available whilst camping. You will be camping close to a river or stream and the camp staff will provide bowls of warm water (to wash with).

Single accommodation available on request from GBP295

Call us on
+91 531 40 28
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Forget feeling lethargic on your travels – cycling is one of the easiest ways to blend cultural and active expl

  • Reviewed September 2017
    Gabriella Butler

    Manali to Leh July-Aug 2017

    The trip is really an unforgettable one. The cycling itself is difficult but the people on our trip were very supportive of each other; even the locals shouted encouragement to keep us going! The clashes of different cultures, from the chaos in Delhi to the serenity in Leh, show you the vastness of the country and so you are able to experience India more than you would by simply visiting the main tourist attractions. The landscape was very diverse featuring Alpine-like forestry, red rocked valleys, and misty snow-capped mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was reaching the top of the Khardang-La, the highest motor able road pass in the world, standing at 5603m. The sense of achievement from reaching the top, especially with new friends that have completed it with you, is a euphoric feeling. All the people in our group were different; we had people from Australia, Belgium, Holland, and the UK, but it was very inspiring to push out of our comfort zones throughout the trip, and achieve conquering the final mountain together. The people you meet on this trip, whether from India or elsewhere, will be people you won't ever forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip leaders, Valerie and Raj, were very knowledgable of the area and so you gain an understanding from the landscape and culture more than you would by simply admiring the beauty of India. They were very encouraging when anyone felt under the weather or was struggling with the cycling and ensured that everybody was enjoying themselves. Both were very inspirational.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to add, I was the youngest on the trip at 18 years old. This was not a problem at all. The range of ages and abilities across the group were all catered for and, although you need some basic fitness, there is no need to worry. To sum up, the trip was amazing. The camping is basic but perfect and makes you come back feeling very humble for what you have. Also the stars at night make the lack of showers worth it! If you're thinking about going on the trip, go. You will not regret it.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    simon charlesworth

    Ultimate Bike Trip

    It really is like no other place you will cycle. Each day takes that bit longer as you marvel at the scenery.You worry that you will not be able to remember the unique landscapes. Everything as usual is slick and well planned. BUT, the altitude can catch you out, listen to the guides, with the emphasis on take it easy, dont push too hard!! Did we listen? No!. We road too hard and felt the effects. But some TLC from the guide and we were back to form next day!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cresting the Baralaccha Pass and seeing the blue skies and amazing high altitude ranges stretching beyond. Descending the TanglangLa, and the remoteness of the trip, far away from civilisation. Check the photos!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two great guides Valerie,sweeping from behind and 'Riczun' leading up front. Both amazingly knowledgeable and supremely competent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need to love cycling, be very fit to enjoy the trip, and do as you are told-don't race up the mountains, it is not the Uk or even the Alps!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having cycled with Exodus in Vietnam and Morocco this feels like the natural next step. As you can see from the previous reviews everyone is unanimous in their thrill of completing the trip.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Christopher Ross

    Manali to Lei, July 8-24, 2016

    This was a fantastic trip - so glad I signed up! Logistics were great. Food was excellent, and the camping was lots of fun. We had a great group that got along so well. Very motivated to do another Exodus trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Viewing the Karakorum ridge from the top of the Khardung La, including K2 and Gasherbrum I - unforgettable!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jangbu Sherpa was an excellent leader. He briefed us thoroughly on each day's journey, and introduced us to the culture and food. I especially enjoyed our visits to the monasteries.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The sun is strong at altitude, so for those sensitive to burns, light layers for the arms can help.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd suggest adding lights to the equipment list. On occasion, in our case on the Rhotang La, it can be foggy and misty. A blinking rear light would be good for added safety!
  • Reviewed August 2016
    John Heathcote

    MIH August 2016

    An amazing trip, but not for the faint-hearted! I have experience of climbing 3000 m/day in Europe, but the effect of high altitude is not to be under-estimated. The trip is hard! The mountains are big, some of the valleys very deep, and there's the transition from the cedar forests of Manali to the desert of Ladakh. There's some velvet black-top and some truly appalling roads under construction - no engineered surface at all. Even a few streams to ford.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the Khardung La. Even though it's not actually as high as claimed (my GPS reckoned 5385 m), it's still a very long climb from Leh at 3500 m. The descent goes on for ever. The descent down the valley/gorge from the Baralacha La is pretty mind-blowing too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie had a very good knowledge of the region and was also well able to manage the various ills that beset the group during the trip. Ringzin was good at keeping a pace that could be sustained all day.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You don't get forests unless it rains! We had some seriously wet weather for the first few days of the trip and were starting to despair of ever getting dry. Don't rely on washing and drying your kit every day.
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Samantha Innes

    Unbelievable

    This trip is not for the faint-hearted! You will be both physically and mentally challenged, in the best way possible. Do not underestimate how fit you have to be, not necessarily cycle fit but general aerobic fitness should be high. It is a trip of a lifetime and one you wont forget in hurry - it's one of the best trips I've ever done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Khardung La. I highly recommend you do this (it's optional), even if you get to Leh and can't bear the thought of sitting on a bike again. You're only there once and you will regret not doing it. You can see K2 from the top on a clear day, it's by far the hardest but most rewarding things I've ever done.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jangbu Sherpa was an exceptional leader. I don't think he was out of breath for the whole trip! ALways smiling and very encouraging.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit. Have a comfy roll mat and a warm sleeping bag. Take clothes/suncream for all weather conditions. A camelbak is vital. Immodium. You don't need to pack a huge number of cycle tops (only 2 or 3) as you can wash them on the way/wear them dirty! Loose trousers are useful for women for visiting monasteries/in Delhi. A book as we often got to the campsite early and could relax. The air is not crisp and clean...the road is busy and therefore lots of fumes and dust. It's important you don't get the idea you will be cycling in quiet, clean mountain air!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do this trip!
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Yvonne Peters

    Manali- Leh

    A fantastic bike trip with absolutely unique scenery. All weather conditions were part of our trip: wind, sun, rain, hot and cold temperatures. The trip is well balanced to prepare you for the high altitudes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To get to the top of the Taglang pass was the highlight, we had a kind of mistral wind facing us to get to the top, and part from the last part it was all off road biking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Regzin and Jangbu were excellent, friendly, interested, responsible and experienced

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    bring enough warm and wind proof clothes, have a good/warm sleeping bag, and make sure you have a matrass that isolates well. ( I brought a warm water bottle, it was very helpful) bring enough snacks. a good pair of glasses can be helpful. a head light is perfect to bring.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    drink during the bike trip lot's of water, even at night! the trip is unforgettable!
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Iain Hyslop

    Manali to Leh

    A great adventure it was hard in many ways but well worth the effort

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenary and environment were the stars all the way through

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The leaders were very good a pair of professional mountain men

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you think your fit get fitter

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My only criticism is that the party was not adequately equipped for some of the river crossings A rope and gear to provide a hand rail should be part of the standard equipment
  • Reviewed August 2014
    Ganesh Vaidyanathan

    Amazing ride through breathtaking landscapes

    A memorable ride with undoubtedly tough sections that will test your fitness and determination to the limit. The spectacular landscapes and sheer challenge of getting to the top of those passes kept me going.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Baralacha-La in freezing conditions, getting to the top of Lachulung-La and the final climb to the top of Khardung-La.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant. Both Valerie and Rigzen were fit, highly knowledgable and very thoughtful right through the trip. Baking a cake for the four of us who were on our special birthdays this year was a very nice gesture

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You don't have to be an avid cyclist to do this trip but you do need to be fit. You never know how the high altitudes will affect you but the fitter you are, the more likely your body is to cope. So, do train as hard as you can and climb as many hills as you can before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will be without electricity for most of the trip. So, make sure you have sufficient battery packs/solar chargers/replacement batteries for your cameras, GPC devices and other gadgets. It is a trip of a lifetime, so you don't want to miss capturing those special moments for posterity.
  • Reviewed October 2013
    Anonymous

    MANALI TO LEH RIDE

    Some real challenging cycling in an unbelievably beautiful part of the world, that can best be experienced on a bike. The scenery changes daily, and it would be difficult to find a more amazing landscape to cycle through anywhere else in the world. You get a real sense of achievement making it over the top of the passes, and seeing other group members win their own battles. You really need to do this!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The butterfly and the pigeon!The beauty of the canyon coming down from Lachalung LaThe road workers and their families living and working above 4000m during the few months in the year where the roads were open.The great efforts made by group members whose health was not so good at times.The loneliness in places.Everybody in the group getting to the top of all the passes. WELL DONE.The tremendous road signs along much of the trip, with interesting sayings e.g. "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly", "Be gentle on my curves", "After whisky, driving risky".Being given a Mexican wave welcome by a number of tourists when my wife and I reached the top of the Khardung La.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jangbu was an amazing guy, having summited Everest twice, and was a very capable cyclist. Him and his team (three cooks, one mechanic and two drivers), did a great job looking after us.He did a good job of going over the next days itinerary.He was very hands on when it came to dismantling tents or maintaining the bikesFull of energy and a happy character to have around. He could have been better at sharing some of the information through the whole group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any exposed flesh without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for flying back down from Leh.  It is quite restrictive.Camping Practice the squatting position before you go on holiday (maybe its a guy thing?)Bring a decent carry mat, the thicker the better (one of our group had two).Bring a head torch.Washing Maybe take a small washing line as you will have an opportunity to wash some gear during the camping part.  PhotographyBuy an extra battery for your camera and charge it before you go.Dont try and take rechargeable batteries out of the country in your hand luggage. They will be confiscated :(Take a helmet cam. Try it out before you go. Well worth it!Health Quite a few of the group had stomach problems for one or more days. Make sure you take antibiotics with you just in case (Cipro was used by many).Diamox was also used by a number of the group for the duration of the trip as a precaution.A camel pack is very useful, and encourages you to drink the quantities of liquid that you need at altitude (especially if you are taking Diamox)GeneralThe sun can be very hot. Be careful not to leave any exposed flesh without sun cream.Be careful about the weight allowance for flying back down from Leh.  It is quite restrictive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cycling It is hard work. Make sure you get plenty of miles in the legs before you go take this trip on, and quite a bit of uphill would be very useful. Remember, what goes up must come down, so there are some fantastic downhill sections to enjoy (if the wind is not blowing in your face)However, the challenges are really the altitude (lack of oxygen) combined with stomach problems that a number of people suffered from.They do look after the bikes very well during the trip, with daily maintenance carried out, and the Trek bikes we had were good quality.None of the cycle is really steep. Most of the climbs are long and gradual, with lots of switchbacks, so not as tough as it could be.There were some fantastic road surfaces, with beautiful smooth tar in many places. There were also some road surfaces which required special attention, and really justified the mountain bike (tyres)Many dogs around many of the places we visited, but none of them were bothered at all about cyclists.  A couple even jogged along next to the bike for a few kms.It is not a race. Take your time on some of the stages. Take some pictures. You may not be back to such an amazing place again. Remember to look behind you!The 24 mile climb up from Leh to the top of Khardung La is not for the faint hearted! There was solid snow and ice across the road at the top!We were a day ahead of the snow over the last pass before Leh. The next morning looking back it was covered! So you could be unlucky.Do the first day extension down to the monastery south of Manali (it was the longer of the two options but a great start to the trip).It may rain, and if it does at the top of a pass, you could get VERY cold cycling down.Be prepared to be held up by flocks of goats and sheep on the road :)All paces were catered for, although for the group of nine, there was only one staff member cycling.The support bus did a good job of hanging on at the back, and you could leave some gear on it when required.CampingMost of the camping locations were in beautiful settings.The tents had seen better days, and a night of rain resulted in some with pools of water inside.Be prepared for some not so flat tent locations, both gradient and lumps!  FoodIf you like Indian food, you will love big parts of this trip.Try and buy a nan bread straight off the oven wall from the street in Leh where all the bakers and cheese shops are.During the camping I was pleased with the quality of the food, although that was not shared by all the group. There was plenty of it.I ate a huge amount and still lost 5kgs on the trip.  High altitude can do strange things to you!!!A number of people brought snacks from home. Washing There is the opportunity in a couple of places to have a wash in a river.Bowls of water provided early morning to wash away the cobwebs. Culture Probably worth while finding out a bit about Buddhism before going out, as you will visit a few monasteries. TravelThe train trip to Chandigarh was way better than expected. Air con, seats and meals supplied!Be prepared for a hair raising truck ride to Manali. Narrow roads, tight bends, many lorries and a few accidents along the way.The minibus (main mode of transport before the cycling started) was a bit cramped. New Delhi Go to the old part of the town for a better flavour of the local life.Travel in a Tuk Tuk. It is great fun. GeneralDespite being told otherwise before the trip, it was possible to recharge battery via cigarette lighter in support bus.Be respectful of those who may not want their picture taken.Not so much wildlife, but there is some there if you look for it!It was all plastic bottled water that we drank whilst cycling.  That is what they gave us, despite what the trip notes said about responsible tourism.The bit I really didn't get was after spending 11 days above 3000m, going up the steps of the hotel in Leh we still got out of breath! FINAL NOTE: Having done the High Passes of Everest trekking last November, we found this cycling tougher.If you have not quite decided see http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahndi/sets/72157635544522431/ 
  • Reviewed September 2013
    Anonymous

    MANALI TO LEH RIDE

    A trip of a lifetime. Agonisingly hard at times on the way up. Joyful and endless descents. A challenging but totally amazing trip. The scenery on the clear days was stunning.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the Taglang La. This was so special individually but also as a group. It meant I would complete the whole ride from Manali to Leh as did the whole group. Going up the Khardung La 2 days later was an additional bonus.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jangbu was great. Quietly in the background he supported us at all times. Good daily briefings -"a little up" was a common phrase. He helped around camp with bike maintainance, tent construction, food delivery and wake up calls. He was extremely fit. He managed the group well as we had a wide range of abilities from the exceptionally fast to the exceptionally slow. He was to be found at the top of all the passes smiling and congratulating us even in driving freezing rain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is totally achievable with a bit of training. Take it slow, enjoy the views and and just concentrate on getting the oxygen in. We took our own bikes which was great. The hire bikes were in good condition but somehow having my own bike gave me that extra bit of confidence. Pack to expect hot and cold. Winter leggings and summer shorts were often needed on the same day. Take winter and summer gloves as the descents could be very cold. we had snow, rain and blazing hot days. A selection of your own snacks may be a good idea but there were lots of places selling very cheap chocolate. We bought a very sugary concentrate in Manali to add to our water. An essential energy source on those long long climbs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip to anyone with a good degree of fitness and a sense of adventure. It's not for the faint hearted. Ensure you have some medication to deal with dodgy tummies and consider taking diamox with the altitude.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trip Extensions: If you would like to visit India’s Golden Triangle it is possible to extend your trip. For more details please refer to the Trip Notes or call our Sales team, who will be happy to assist you.

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