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Destination: Himalaya, India

Duration: 12 Day(s)

Group Size: 9

Pillion Friendly: Not really. It can be done, but they may need to get in the support vehicle

Terrain: Several tough (maybe very tough) days

Support: Tour leader / Pro Medic / Mechanic / Support vehicle

Distance: Approx 1500km



This exhilarating tour is something of a Himalayan odyssey, crossing some of the World's Highest Motorable passes and linking three of the ultimate mountain range's most breathtaking regions: Lahul, Ladakh and Zanskar. Leaving from Dharmasala, in the shadow of the magnificent Dhauladhar range, we will travel over the heights to the incomparable beauty of the Zanskar Valley, with its 24,000ft snowcaps and glaciers... little comes close in terms of natural splendour. From there it's on to Leh, 'capital' of Ladakh. Appropriately, we will be using the 410cc Royal Enfield Himalayan for this route. With its ground clearance and dirt riding ability, it is well suited to the rigours of this route.
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This trip is very much at the 'Adventure' end of the bike-riding spectrum, carrying us over many high passes and through the most dazzling of mountain environments. While this ride is definitely challenging, the rewards are huge. This is an unforgettable adventure.

How rigorous any single trip turns out to be is likely to be weather-dependent. While we only travel at the very best time of year – when this high-altitude journey is actually possible – there is an outside chance of rain, or even snow over the very highest points. Whatever the clouds decide to do, huge roadside drop-offs will be a feature. The riding is not massively technical, or demanding and the Enfield Himalayans smooth things out, but you should be a confident and competent rider to take this on.

Over two decades of experience of guiding riders in such places means we will have what's needed in place in terms of guidance and mechanical or medical assistance if required. But despite our local knowledge, a ride through this colossal place is never going to be without its challenges and surprises...

While we do everything within reason to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as we can, The environment is very much in charge here. For this reason no itinerary is set in stone. Each morning your tour leader will gather information and assess conditions ahead. If our planned route is blocked, we may have to detour, or wait until a passage can be forced. If this happens it is usually overcome, but there is the possibility routes and accommodation will have to change. This is not a normal package holiday, but if you're looking for the ultimate biking adventure, with the best back-up and most fitting overnight accommodation, then you'll love it.

As a participant in this tour you'll fly to Delhi International, before transferring to the nearby domestic terminal, where you will board for the (approximately hour-long) flight up to Dharmasala. Here you will be met by Blazing Trails staff and be handed 'your' Enfield Himalayan. The machine will be left in Leh at the trip's end and from where you will be flying back to Delhi.

There will be a full briefing before we set off into the high mountains. When riding there will be a leader and outriders, guiding and trouble-spotting. A 'sweeper' rider/mechanic and a support vehicle with medic will travel at the rear. Roads are often rough, so we recommend you have at least two year's riding experience before taking on this challenge. You will also need reasonable fitness and there are certain medical conditions that preclude travelling at altitude, so check with Blazing Trails and your GP if in doubt. Weather ranges from warm in the lower valleys, to conditions similar to a UK winter's day up high, rarely including snow.

Travelling up in these beautiful mountains by bike brings you close to the environment and its inhabitants; close to the nature of this huge place. For most riders a trip like this will be the experience of a lifetime. 

The 'START DATE' (Day 1) date is the date of arrival at your destination airport. The 'END DATE' is the date on which you fly home.

Please make sure that on booking you select a tour date and bike.


Day 0

Fly to Delhi

Fly into Delhi, where you will transfer the short distance to the domestic flights terminal to meet your connecting flight to the foothills.

Day 1

On to Dharmasala

From Delhi it is a short (1.5hrs) flight to Dharmasala. Here you will be met by the Blazing Trails staff and transported to our hotel base for dinner and a briefing on the adventure ahead of us.

Day 2

In Dharmasala

Spend the morning taking a walk into town to shop, eat and visit the many sights. This large town is home to the Dali Lama, whose base is in the suburb of McLoed Ganj, a taxi ride up the hill and well worth a visit. At 1450m above sea-level, this is a good place to start your acclimatisation.

Day 3

Dharmasala to Chamba

Today we leave McLeod Ganj and head over remote hills to Chamba. This is an incredible road and an incredible ride as the tarmac ribbons its way steeply upward, with big drop-offs and vast panoramic views. Although the distance to be covered is relatively small, the twistiness of the road means this is a whole day’s ride, with time to take a few cups of chai and stops to admire the scenery.

Day 4

Chamba to Killar

A potential monster of a day's riding leads us higher into the mountains until we scale the intimidating Sach Pass. At 4550m it's not super-high, but as it gets more rain than the Ladakh or Zanskar deserts there can be plenty of roadside snow and this dirt road can be rough and muddy, with huge roadside drops adding to the intimidation. The day ends at a simple hotel in the nowhere town of Killar!

Day 5

Killar to Jispa

Today is yet another breath-taker, as we make our way from Killar to Jispa via another beautiful, but infamously dizzying and potentially rough gorge ride. We have designed the route so we are on the left of the road (drop to the right) – something you will really appreciate at the time! At 3100m, Jispa is a charming village, with a good hotel and super views.

Day 6

Jispa to Purne

A short ride on the highway leads us to turn on to a dramatic new route which leads over Shinku La (a 5100m pass). Whether this is a trial or a pleasure is weather-dependant, but either way it will be epic. Having topped the pass on tar, we descend toward Zanskar Valley on far rougher stuff. The night will be spent at the small and dramatically-positioned village of Purne, where will will spend the night in tents. This is not luxurious.

Day 7

Purne to Padum

Zanskar, oh Zanskar, down into Zanskar. With high mountain scenery and surrounded mainly by Buddhist culture, with stupas and monasteries all around. Beauty on a massive scale. Glorious at 3600m.

Day 8

In Padum

A rest day in which to walk around, taking in the place. In the afternoon, we will have a short ride-out to one of the cliff-side villages, Karsha. Here we will walk up to the monastery through the tumbledown village and watch the shadows grow across the colossal valley below. 

Day 9

Padum to Lamayuru

We hope, if conditions permit, to be taking a newly-opened route, which cuts through altitudinous desert to meet the Kargil-Leh Highway. We will decide on the route when post-winter road reports are available. The alternative is another amazing ride to Kargil. Whichever way we go, dirt roads and water crossings are on the agenda. The day ends in a beautiful spot, for a beer with sunset.

Day 10

Lamayuru to Leh

There's time in the morning to take a walk to the local monastery. Today's ride will feel smooth and easy. The road is tarred, twisty, swoopy and again spectacular. We should arrive in Leh in time for a nice meal out to celebrate the ride.

Day 11

In Leh / Up Khardung

Optional Khardung La ascent. You can, as an option, ride to the top of Khardung La, once claiming to be the world’s highest ‘motorable’ road. Claims of 5600m altitude are false, the pass reaching 5360m. We cannot use our bikes for this (due to aggressive unions running tourist cartels in the area) but can help you arrange hire bikes and will offer back-up support. Otherwise, take a 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.

Day 12

Fly Away Home

Off you zoom, over the mountains with incredible downward views, having completed an amazing adventure.


  • Nine Days of Bike Hire
  • Luggage-carrying Support
  • All Internal land Transfers
  • Eleven Nights Accommodation
  • Meals: 11 Breakfasts; 1 Dinner


  • Other Meals
  • Flights
  • Tolls, Entry Fees, Visas and Excursions
  • Fuel
  • Bike Damage

The tours can be booked online, by email, or over the phone on: +44 (0) 7494 050404. To secure a place you will be asked to put down a deposit of £500 and payment can be made by card, cheque, or bank transfer.

Yes. We enjoy hosting riders from all countries.

Flights are not included in the price of your tour, but we can provide details of where to book an appropriate flight.

For many nationalities, a tourist visa is issued free of charge at your port of entry. It is, however, your responsibility to check current regulations.

You will need a valid certificate of travel insurance.

We own and manage our own fleet of bikes.

If you damage the bike, you will be charged for the damage up to the amount of your excess. On all our bikes, the excess is £1000, so in the event of a mishap you will not be charged more than this amount. If the damage is less than this amount, then you will only be charged for that damage.

If you have damaged the bike near to this total, we may ask you to place a further deposit before continuing.

Yes, you need travel insurance to cover you for the period of the tour. This insurance must cover you to ride the bike you have booked.

We would advise that you change some money on arrival at the airport. ATMs are widespread and an efficient way to get hold of cash. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere.

About 300-£400 should cover food, drink, petrol and sundries.

Yes, unless you pay a supplement. Even then, single rooms may not be available at some stops as the hotels we use are popular, or in some cases small, and we have to book our accommodation some time in advance.

It varies widely (and tour-to-tour), but is always clean and the best we can find in the area for a reasonable price in a suitable setting. We are always in clean, comfortable hotels and guesthouses.

Yes, but you may need a travel plug adaptor.

We would recommend only booking a tour with us if you have a licence to ride your tour bike (compulsory) and have at least a year’s recent riding experience. The main criterion, however, is confidence.

Riding anywhere carries with it a degree of risk, as does riding in South Africa. However, with light traffic and good roads, we would suggest that riding in South Africa is no more dangerous than a tour in Europe. For more information on the riding side of things see ‘Riding’ in the ‘About South Africa’ section of this site. If any rider joining us rides in a manner we suspect will endanger themselves, or others, or indeed displays antisocial behaviour, they will receive one warning. If they continue to display a threat to the safety or enjoyment of others on the tour, they will be excluded from the remainder (with no refund given, see terms and conditions).

We will be riding ‘progressively’, at or around the speed limit and according to conditions. Most South African roads outside built-up areas have a 75mph speed limit – fast enough on the twisties. There are fixed cameras and mobile speed traps in towns…

No, you can’t ride independently of the tour group, sorry.

No fitter than you would have to be to tour Europe.

You are limited by most airlines, so check with the carrier. However, we suggest you pack as lightly and in as compact a form as possible. Bring only soft luggage to be carried on a support truck.

Keep it minimal. One set of riding kit for the tour and a few sets of clothes for the evening. There are usually laundry facilities at two-night stops – check your chosen itinerary. Leave some space for shopping you do in SA.

While South Africa has had some pretty bad press in recent years for violent crime, very little of this nature happens in the tourist areas through which we will be travelling. And, as ever, the media tends to sensationalise the bad and ignore the good. Being guided through the ‘right’ areas in a group greatly mitigates the chances of encountering unpleasantness. Petty crime – pick-pocketing and theft – happens, as it does in virtually all tourist destinations with a wide gulf between rich and poor. A few simple precautions, like keeping your wallet/docs in an inside pocket and leaving nothing unattended on the bike, should mean a trouble-free tour. You will be briefed on sensible measures prior to setting off.

If you’re wet, yes. They are provided throughout the tour.

Only some meals (check your tour for details). We prefer that where there are choices you make your own on what and where we eat. You will find South African food of a very high standard and good value.

It seems not, as we can no longer offer this experience…

They are, but not every night. Check the itinerary of your tour – you will be able to get clothes cleaned at two-night stops, so consider this when packing.

Yes. If your riding kit isn’t waterproof, then bring some light waterproofs.

Maybe, maybe not, but if you take part in a safari at Kruger, St Lucia, or Addo Elephant Reserve you will certainly see some interesting wildlife and landscapes.

Not really. There may be a few around, but you won’t be plagued. Bring some repellent. South Africa is pretty much malaria-free, but for advice on anti-malarials, please consult your doctor (take the itinerary with you).

Depends on whether there are any great whites around. We would advise you to ask locally – and then go and get a beer instead.

Consult your GP/travel clinic for immunisation and malaria advice. Bring enough of any prescribed medication you take regularly. A basic first aid kit is useful (plasters, antiseptic cream, bite/sting relief, plus insect repellent).

Gel or air pads add comfort on long days in the saddle, but are not necessary.


Find out more about the bikes available for this tour.

About India

Everything you need to know about motorcycle touring in India

India FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about touring in India.