Ride to the roof of the world with Red Panda Adventures. Let us take you on a motorcycling pilgrimage, known among riders as one of the best motorcycle rides you can ever do in your lifetime. This is one of the best and one the most challenging rides we offer and the rewards are yours to reap. Enjoy the breathtaking landscape, challenging terrain and immerse yourself in the local culture on our ride to the roof of the world.
We have been organizing guided rides on this route for over eight years and even now, every ride feels like the first time. We have deep local knowledge of this terrain and we understand, riders need a good mix of hard riding and comfort. This Khardung La Bike Tour offers a mix of everything, long sweeping tarmac highways, rough broken terrain, riding endlessly through valleys and high-altitude climbs.
The trip starts in Chandigarh at 1,050ft (350mts) above sea level and in about 1300kms, climbs all the way to a whopping 18,379ft (5,602mts) above sea level at mighty Khardung-La. This is the highest motorable road in the world, open to civilians.
We will provide a pickup and drop to this airport as part of the package. Inland train journey from Chandigarh to New Delhi and back is included in the cost.
Riding in the Himalayas is a lot of fun and promises adventure around every bend. Formed over millions of years, the Himalayas command and deserve respect. We try our best to inform our clients of all the possible challenges they might face and also of all the key highlights and attractions along the way. However, the ultimate responsibility of safety lies with the riders. We have had the pleasure of riding with over 150 riders in the last eight years and we hope to continue building these relations with like-minded individuals across the world. This trip is not ideal for someone who has just started riding. The terrain and the altitude can get overwhelming. We do not believe in rushing through this and we have a time table which allows for many stops along the way, for photographs and chit chat. There are a multitude of ‘chai’ stops along the way but we aim to start and finish the ride each day while the sun is up. The accommodation and food we provide is considered to be top of the line for this part of the world but we do expect our clients to set their expectations accordingly. Luxury in this part of the world is relative to the terrain and needs a bit of adjusting. With our extensive experience of operating in this region, we take full precautions for health and safety before and during our trips. We have a well-equipped support vehicle that is part of each trip. We carry spares for all kinds of small and big breakdowns and a mechanic is always part of the crew. The team is trained in first aid and we carry a well-stocked first aid kit along with medicines to tackle altitude sickness, stomach bugs, nausea, fever and headaches. We have a list of all police stations, hospitals, military posts and emergency services for all our routes to handle all eventualities.
All our local and international riders will arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and we will arrange for an airport meet and greet (inclusive). We will depart from New Delhi to Chandigarh in the evening around 5pm on the New Delhi – Chandigarh Shatabdi Express Train (inclusive). All the riders will check-in into their rooms around 2100hrs on Day 1 and meet for dinner around 2130hrs for a meet and greet as well as a briefing and welcome kit distribution. The ride will begin on Day 2 at 0700. (We can arrange for accommodation around the airport at a cost, for those who reach New Delhi early in the day)
Chandigarh to Narkanda (2,710m, 8,891ft) is roughly around 180kms from Chandigarh and will take approx. 8hrs to cover. We start our gradual ascend into the Himalayas via NH 5 and head towards Shimla, which we will bypass en-route to Narkanda. We will cross the Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary and the breath-taking Himalayan views start right from your first day on the road. By the time we get to Narkanda, you would have realised what this ride is all about. We will end the day with a hot meal and some good stories from the day’s ride.
From Narkanda, we start heading down towards Rampur and ride besides the mighty Sutlej River and on towards Kalpa (2,960m, 9,711ft). As you push deper in the Himalayas, human population gets thinner and you will you will start experiencing the wilderness. The view of the roaring Sutlej River on your left is a constant reminder of force and the magnitude of nature’s powers. The views are simply breath-taking. On this day, you will ride on roads carved out on sheer granite cliffs. There will be tunnels and canopies that are blasted through solid rock. Keep your cameras ready. The ride ends with a superb 10kms climb from the village of Recong Pio to Kalpa through switchbacks cut across a pine forest.
From Kalpa, we head towards Kaza (3,800m, 12,467ft) which is the capital of Spiti Valley, one of the most beautiful places on earth. The ride begins with a steep descend from Kalpa and onto NH 5. As we keep riding, the surroundings start becoming barren and the remoteness of the whole region begins to set in. This leg of the trip is our personal favourite and one of the most picturesque. We will stop on the way at Nako and Tabo monasteries before entering Spiti Valley and finally, Kaza. Kaza also happens to boast of having the "World’s Highest Fuel Station”.
This is a rest day for the whole group to explore Kaza and the nearby areas or just put up a chair next to the river and enjoy the view and the clean, fresh mountain air. Sightseeing in and around Kaza. At the foot of steep ridges, and on the left bank of the river Spiti is the Ki Monastery, which is the biggest monastery in Spiti and is located between Kibber and Kaza. Hundreds of Lamas receive their religious training in this monastery and is famous for its Murals and books. For those who want to ride, we will organize a 4 hours ride up to Komic, which is claimed to be the world's/Asia's highest village located at 4,520m (14,829ft) above sea level and home to indigenous Buddhist monks who live here throughout the year.
The route from Kaza to Sissu continues to emphasize on the remoteness of this region. This is where we usually see most of our clients connect with nature and truly relish the essence of motorcycling. The ride is relaxed for the first few hours and the morning sunlight, chill and the view is something to look forward to. We will cross our first high altitude pass of this trip on this day, Kunzum La at an altitude of 4,590m (15,060ft). We eventually join the Manali – Leh road and then continue towards Sissu where we halt for the night at a campsite.
The ride from Sissu to Sarchu on the Manali – Leh highway takes us through a steep climb right after Keylong and on the right, for the most part, is the revered Bhaga river. We will cross Jispa. This is the only big village between Keylong and Leh. From here on it’s just you and your motorcycle. This is when the scenery and scale of the Himalayas really starts to set in. We will cross one high altitude pass, Baralacha La (4,890m or 16,040ft) on this leg along with stunning glacial lakes Suraj tal and Deepak tal. Sarchu is a popular halt point with tented accommodation and lies at the border between Himachal Pradesh and the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Gear up to spend the night in a cozy tent at an altitude of 4,290m (14,070ft) above sea level. This will be a night you will remember for the rest of your life.
We depart from Sarchu at 0700 and head towards Leh, crossing a border check post that comes within a few minutes of departure. Enroute, we cross Gata Loops - 21 switchback carved on the mountain, each look almost a kilometer long. We will cross three high altitude passes on this day. Naki La 4,740m (15,547ft), Lachlung la 5,019 m (16,616ft) are the first two before the landscape flattens out at More Plains, a true wonder of mother nature. This stretch of flat 40kms long road across the More (pronounced: more-eh) plains is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides. Once you cross More Plains, you start the climb towards Tanglang La, the second highest motorable road in the world at at altitude of 5,328m (17,480 ft) before descending into Tsokar and then ultimately Leh, via the highway that runs into the Indus Valley.
We begin our ride at 1000. We gather around for a team breakfast and relax a little before commencing the ride towards Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. Depending on what time of the year you are riding, the weather could be pleasant or extremely cold. Riding up to 5,602m (18,379 ft) will be one of the most surreal and rewarding experience you will ever have on a motorcycle. It is an achievement in its own right and we will have a celebratory ‘chai’ and a group photo before heading back down to Leh.
We will ride back to Leh, crossing Khardung La for a second time.
We will all depart to New Delhi from Leh airport. This flight is included in the cost. We usually try and accommodate everyone on the same flight but we can't guarantee this due to different bookings coming in at different times. It usually works better with a group booking. You will then each head to your respective destinations once we reach New Delhi.