This is 12 days of hardcore adventure. A beginner rider would find this difficult and even an experienced rider will find it challenging. The route starts off easy enough with the majority of the roads being sealed but from about the halfway mark, it is usually unsealed and pretty gnarly riding. It probably won’t rain but if it does the dirt turns to mud and makes it twice as challenging. We start at altitude and head down to 1500m over the first three days and then work our back up to three of the world’s highest motorable roads at well over 5000m (17000 feet). The days are long so you will be as exhausted as you are refreshed, ready to take on whatever the world can throw at you. If your life is throwing you some curve balls, then the great escape is what you need – the best Himalayan motorcycle adventure on the planet.
We’ve devised a route that will push you to your limits, taking you to the most remote part of the Himalayas, where the roads are rebuilt every spring after the harsh winter has taken its toll. Starting in Leh, Ladakh, we’ll visit isolated villages along the border areas before tackling the notorious roads of the Pangi Valley where we’ll camp under a million stars. We’ll zigzag over unimaginable mountain roads on the extremely capable Royal Enfield Himalayan and Scram.
We’ll visit a monastery that is alleged to have been visited by Jesus in his formative years and a few days after, we visit the tomb of the greatest escapologist to have ever lived in Srinagar. It’s an amazing story that will stay with you forever.
From here on in, the adventure starts to become challenging. You’ll be on narrow and dusty mountain roads more akin to 4WD tracks, ride through deep gorges and wide-open valleys, and cross axle-deep cold glacial streams. The enchanting Kishtwar National Forest welcomes us as we ride through lush green valleys, orchards, rhododendron forests, sandy desert regions, and restricted areas where passports are checked multiple times a day.
The great Chenab River is our guide through the cliffhanger valley before we camp at the highest cricket ground in the world. The cliffs we ride along, though, and sometimes even under, have a sheer drop of over 600m in places. On the final leg, we take an old trekking route that has only recently become accessible to vehicles. On the shortest day, we trek to a monastery that is built into the side of a mountain and cross a sketchy suspension bridge. We will cross two 5000m+ passes and meet the friendliest people in the Himalayas.
We finish the adventure by riding to the top of Khardungla which was the highest motorable road in the world until very recently. Once at the top, we grab a few photos before turning our engines off and rolling the entire 43kms all the way back to Leh. This will be the greatest escape you’ve ever had.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||New Delhi, India|
|ADVENTURE DATES||2023 – September, Monday 11th – Friday 22nd
(Optional Extra) – Inaugural Indian MotoGP Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th
|PRIVATE ADVENTURES||This tour is also available as a private adventure for solo adventurers, a couple, a club, or even just a group of mates. This can be any combination of riders, pillions, sidecar passengers, or even family in one of our expedition support vehicles. The tour can be shortened or lengthened to suit your desires. Please contact us to discuss your needs.
The best months are June, July, August, and September
|PRICES||Rider: US$3,990 per person
Pillion: US$3390 per person
|WHAT’S INCLUDED|| Transfers to/from Airport and Hotel
All internal transfers and other travel for the duration of the adventure
Your choice of Royal Enfield Himalayan or Classic 500
Quality Accommodation on a twin share basis (Comfort hotels/guest houses/Camps/tents)
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for the entire tour
English speaking guides
Medical kit available and Oxygen on high-altitude adventures
Mechanics with all necessary spare parts
Support vehicles to carry your luggage and tired riders
Bottled mineral water throughout the adventure
Tea/Chai & snacks en-route
Permits for restricted areas
All entrance fees en-route
|NOT INCLUDED||International flights
VISA (details sent with rider pack)
MotoGP entry, accommodation, food, transport.
NOTE: The prices above are based on a twin share basis. If you’d like your own room, then there is a US$650 supplement.
Payment terms: A US$500 deposit must be made at the time of booking. Balance payment must be paid 8 weeks before the tour start date. Payment plans are available upon request.Terms & Conditions What To Bring Price Guarantee
NOTE: This route was designed around the infamous “Cliffhanger” road in the Pangi Valley as seen on YouTube and countless websites claiming it to be the most dangerous in the world. It certainly was a contender but having ridden it in 2022, we found it to be closed to traffic and a higher mountain pass was made to replace it. (Other tour companies continue to take photos in front of the Cliffhanger sign but fail to mention the road is closed). People who are attracted to this adventure want a life-changing experience on a challenging road so I designed a new route that takes the same period of time, includes the reroute around the “Cliffhanger” (as per days 7 and 8 below), and then continues to the most challenging roads I’ve found in the Himalayas…so far. It’s now better than it has ever been.
The itinerary below is the planned route, however, things can change very quickly in this region. A landslide can block a road, a storm can wash a bridge away, political tensions could flare up and roads could be blocked. Weather can change extremely quickly. We will err on the side of safety if a situation like the above arises and make alternative plans. The Itinerary should be used as a general guide only.
Fly into New Delhi (IGIA – Indira Gandhi International Airport) and head to the hotel. Relax at the bar or in the pool and if you have the time, ask about our tour of Old and New Delhi. Make sure you hit the sack early as we’ve got an early start the next day. You’ll be transferred to the domestic airport to catch the flight to Leh. As Leh is at altitude, we suggest taking precautions for altitude 24 hours before you land.
We catch an early morning flight to Leh where we are greeted by a Himalayan Heroes rep and taken to our hotel for breakfast. We ask everyone to take it easy and acclimatise to the altitude while we secure the permits that we need to visit the restricted areas that we visit. If everyone is feeling good then we’ll have a rider briefing where we explain what is expected of you, give you a run-down on road safety, and check everyone’s equipment. If mirrors, pegs, or levers need adjusting, now is the time to mention it. We’ll jump on the bikes in the afternoon and go for a ride to a monastery that is said to have been visited by Jesus in his formative years. They have a museum that is well worth a visit. In the evening we get back to the hotel for dinner and rest before the adventure starts proper.
We head west on the road out of Leh and find the Indus River which heads into a restricted valley. While others take the beautiful Srinagar – Leh road, we take the more challenging and much quieter road along the river and through the Aryan Valley. The people in the four villages of the valley believe they are descendants of Alexander the Great and speak a language that is spoken nowhere else in the world. We leave the valley at Batalik and tackle our first mountain pass of the trip. Not particularly high at just over 4000m but one of the more challenging passes. If we have the time, we’ll detour at Apati and visit a 1000+ year old Buddha carving in the side of a mountain. From here it is only 17 km into Kargil where we stay the night. Kargil is the first Muslim city we encounter as we enter the predominantly Muslim (96%+) Kashmir Valley. In mid-1999, Kargil was bombed by Pakistani forces from the border which is only 8kms from the town centre!
As we leave Kargil, we ride closer to the Pakistani border and past a sign that says “Don’t Stop, you are in view of snipers”. Stop and take a photo of the sign if you dare. As we get close to Dras, we might stop at the Kargil War Memorial before heading to one of the highlights of the adventure – Zoji La (La means pass). Zojila is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world but it is notoriously dangerous; so dangerous, there is a tunnel being built to bypass it. We enter Srinagar and ride along the shore of Dal Lake where we spend the evening on a houseboat. If you want beer, you need to order it from one of the Shikaras.
SRINAGAR TO KISHTWAR (215kms | 7-8 hrs | Altitude 1600m)
After breakfast, we jump in a shikara for a trip across the lake and get back on our bikes to find Roza Bal which is said to be the shrine of Jesus. His mother’s tomb is built a bit further West in Pakistan and a telecommunication tower is built on top of it. The traffic in Srinagar is the worst we’ll encounter so corner marking is necessary as we try to escape as one group. The highway out of town will see us test our motorcycle’s top speed just to try and stay out of the way of the other vehicles. We turn off the highway and through small villages and into a stunning forest all the way to Sinthan Top. From here we make our way through arguably the most stunning (and ignored) part of the Indian Himalayas all the way into Kishtwar. We stay in the best hotel in town and it won’t win any Tripadvisor awards.
KISHTWAR TO SURAL BHATORI (130kms | 6 – 7 hrs | Altitude 3400m)
For many, this is the toughest riding of the adventure. We spend the entire day following the Chenab River, riding along cliff roads that are one car wide. Many videos exist of the 3km stretch of road with waterfalls cascading over it and with 600m sheer drop-offs but alas it was deemed too dangerous to repair after it was washed away in 2022. A new road was built above it that is more difficult to ride but not quite as spectacular. It can be frustrating as there are 6 military checkpoints that waste 20 minutes each stop while they write everyone’s passport details down into a book that will never be read or checked. No one does meaningless bureaucracy like India does. At the end of the day, we veer off the road after the Sansari Bridge and into our third state – Himachal Pradesh. Our destination is a camping site situated high up a mountain that overlooks the highest cricket ground in the world. The youth from four surrounding villages play each night. It’s a great spectacle. Get your cameras out for some amazing time-lapse photos of the milky way spiraling over the Himalayas.
SURAL BHATORI TO KEYLONG (160km | 7-8 hours | Altitude 3100m)
We head down the mountain and continue along a breathtaking road full of hairpins that follow the narrow Chenab valley to Keylong. We’ll stop briefly at Udaipur where the road becomes sealed. The towns start to get bigger which means there are more vehicles on the road and as we roll into civilisation that is Keylong, you’ll be exhausted but invigorated. Huge altitude and riding through enormous gorges make this day exceptional and truly unforgettable. You’ll be completely satisfied with your adventure at this stage but the best is yet to come.
KEYLONG TO PURNE (110kms | 4-5 hrs | Altitude 3800m | Trek is 2-3 hours and 6kms return)
The first part of the day is fairly easy on freshly sealed tarmac. Once we pull into our campsite, we’ll have lunch and then for those that are feeling good, we’ll put our walking shoes on and trek up the valley to Phuktal Monastery. It is spectacular and shouldn’t be missed. On our return, we can jump into the Tsarap River to cool off.
PURNE TO PADDAM (50kms | 3-4 hrs | Altitude 3600m)
We leave the remotest spot of our adventure and head the short distance to Padum which is on the confluence of Tsarap and Stod Rivers. We finish early and give everyone a half day off to do whatever they want. Some might choose to visit Sani Lake or you might visit Stongdae Gompa which has a phenomenal view of the entire valley. Some choose to rest up for the big day ahead of us tomorrow.
PADUM TO LAMAYURU (200kms / 7-8 hours | Altitude 3500m)
This is the best day you can possibly have in the Himalayas. It is extremely remote and until 2021, it was a simple trekking track. The roads have been finished now and no doubt will eventually be sealed. It includes challenging water crossings, open valleys, lots of shortcuts between hairpins, and 2 very high 5000m+ passes. You’ll be exhausted at the end of this day.
LAMAYURU TO LEH (120kms / 3-4 hours | Altitude 3500m)
We’ll take it easy today and have a short ride into Leh and enjoy the afternoon sightseeing, visiting the markets, Leh Palace and picking up some souvenirs.
LEH TO SAKTI TO KHARDUNGLA TO LEH (220kms / 6-8 hours | Altitude 3500m)
Today it is your choice if you want to take it easy in the morning and leave for Khardungla at 5350m after lunch or start early and take the longer route up one of the best roads I’ve ever ridden on. After leaving Leh, we head East to Sakti and North over Wari La at 5300m and down to the Nubra Valley for lunch. We then continue our loop and head up towards Khardungla (Often called the highest road in the world) to catch up with the others for an epic photo. When we leave the top, we turn our engines off and roll the 40km down the mountain back to our hotel. We finish the adventure off with a dinner in the best restaurant in town.
LEH TO DELHI (160kms / 4-5 hours)
We take an early morning flight to New Delhi and we’ll transfer you to the hotel where you can shower and relax. If you have a late flight then you are free to shop or explore some of the many interesting sightseeing options, for example: seeing old Delhi by bicycle rickshaw, exploring the spice market, India Gate, the houses of parliament, the legendary Red Fort, walk-in Lodi Gardens and much more.
Time to board the flight back to Delhi and head home. On the plane, it will hit you, what an insane adventure you’ve just been on and you’ll be smiling in your sleep as you completely zonk out. Once home, you won’t be able to explain the scale of this journey; photographs and videos will fail to do justice to your extraordinary adventure. Your memories of this epic adventure will stay with you forever.
Optional Add-On – Taj Mahal
As most flights leave in the evening we have time for a quick day trip to see the Taj Mahal. We’ll travel via a private minibus to the Taj stopping for lunch along the way. An English speaking guide, an air conditioned mini bus, Entry fees and lunch is included in the price of US$250
INSURANCE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
(INDIA, NEPAL, BHUTAN, TIBET, MONGOLIA, MYANMAR and SRI LANKA)
In the countries we conduct adventures, commercial insurance on motor vehicles is either not available, or is of questionable value. 3rd party insurance will usually not cover foreigners and even if it does, it is generally worthless if one needs to make a claim. In the event of an accident in these countries, the situation is usually settled on the spot without the “assistance” of insurance companies. If insurance companies are involved, it can take days, weeks and even months before there is a resolution.
Damage Cap Option “DCO”
Himalayan Heroes offers its riders the option of capping the cost of your damage bill on the motorcycle you are riding. The cost of this damage cap option “DCO” is US$195, paid as a lump sum before the tour starts. In the event you damage the motorcycle, the DCO will cap your damage bill at US$200.
- If, like most of our riders, you do not damage the motorcycle then the total cost to you is only the cost of the DCO = US$195.
- If, like some of our riders, you put the bike down at slow speed and damage mirrors, levers, foot pegs etc and the damage bill is say, US$120 then you pay the US$120. The total cost to you is US$315 (US$195 DCO + US$120 damage bill)
- If you have a big off and damage the tank, forks etc and the damage bill is say US$750 then your damage bill is capped at US$200. The total cost to you is US$395 (US$195 DCO + US$200 damage bill).
The DCO is optional, so if you would like to carry the risk yourself, you are welcome to. At the completion of the tour, you will be presented with an itemised bill of the damage to the bike. Approximately 50% of our riders do not damage the bikes and of the 50% that do receive a damage bill, the majority of the bills are less than $300. Please send us an email if you’ve got any questions about the DCO.
The DCO is not an insurance policy and therefore any costs related to it cannot be claimed on a travel insurance claim.