Join global adventurer Tiffany Coates on the first ever women only motorcycle tour to the highest motorable pass in the World
If you just want one reason to take any motorcycle tour in the World, then riding our Ladakh High Roads Adventure over the world’s highest pass, Khardung-La, is surely good enough.
But our Ladies in Ladakh tour is more than that!
The scenery is truly spectacular, the riding will enthrall you and the culture will fascinate you. If you’re a seasoned adventure rider, then adventures don’t get much bigger than this. And if you’re not, then Ladies of Ladakh is the PERFECT tour for you to gain in confidence and knowledge. We call this tour a ‘soft’ adventure, with a bit of glamping, some ‘local’ roads, but also some lovely hotels, good restaurants, easy days and some free time.
For the whole two weeks, Tiffany will be on hand to regale you with stories, advice, knowledge and encouragement. We’ll be offering some basic maintenance tips when in unfamiliar places, some relaxing down time (maybe a spa if that’s your thing!), opportunities to exchange experiences with other riders, retail therapy unlike any other, Q&A sessions, and the chance to absorb the Muslim and above all Buddhist cultures of India’s far north..
Literally, ‘Land of many passes’, Ladakh is situated in the northernmost part of India, bordering the Karakoram Range and Tibet, and is surely one of the last unspoiled ultimate destinations. Part of the ancient Silk Route to the Orient, closed to outsiders until 1974, Ladakh also contains the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung-La (5605m, or 18,380 ft). Our tour crosses the Tibetan Plateau and follows the Indus River Valley. We cross several major passes en route, including the world’s highest and second highest, traversing three distinct Himalayan ranges. The roads are mainly tarmac, often with little traffic, and sometimes a real feat of engineering – blind bends, vertiginous drops and a pun at every turn courtesy of someone at the Border Road Organisation with a sense of humour – ‘Be easy on my curves’ and ‘Divorce speed’ being but two examples.
We like to sleep comfortably, and we want to make sure you do too. So, our hotels and guesthouses are surprisingly good, clean, spacious and comfortable. Our camps provide en-suite tents with beds, and you dine in the dining tent, with waiter service. We even offer room service in some. And all at about 5000 m altitude!
Temperatures are subject to rapid changes on this tour, and the climate will vary. While riding we must be prepared for these changes. On the high passes and Tibetan Plateau we can expect anything from warm sunny days to rain, sleet or snow, with nights cool to cold but rarely reaching freezing point. Our tour date is designed for optimum weather conditions, but mountains are mountains, and they don’t come any bigger than the Himalayas
- World’s highest motorable pass, Khardung-La
- World’s 2nd highest pass, Taglang-La
- World’s 5th highest pass, Lachulung-La
- Simla, historic capital of the British Raj
- Lamayuru monastery
- The hanger loops (112 consecutive hairpins, each one carefully numbered!)
- The Nubra Valley
- 2 weeks with Tiffany!
DAY 1 ARRIVE DELHI. After your overnight flight, we will greet you personally upon your arrival and drive you to our hotel in an A/C minibus. Relax and refresh after your long international flight. This evening we’ll take you to a restaurant for dinner, hopefully with a traditional Indian dance show. Metropolitan Hotel.
DAY 2 DELHI – PARWANOO (250 km by coach). Today we rise early to breakfast and head for Parwanoo in our A/C minibus, out of the congested city and humid plains in comfort, along the busy Grand Trunk Highway. Climbing through the jungle foothills of the Himalaya we reach the tiny hillside town of Parwanoo and our comfortable hotel by about 4 pm. Here you’ll meet the tour team and motorbikes and get to know them at our pre-dinner briefing. Timber Trails Resort.
DAY 3 PARWANOO – SIMLA (100 km). A late breakfast and we’ll hold a briefing to cover safety precautions, touring style, road conditions, and check of personal equipment, with time to select our bikes and become familiar with starting procedures, control layouts and bike handling. Our first day’s ride is a fantastic start to the tour, along the beautifully lush and twisty roads of the Himalayan foothills to Simla, where we will have time to explore this colourful bygone capital of the British Raj, a strange mix of half-palatial/half-timbered, with shops selling whisky and umbrellas. Eastbourne Hotel & Spa.DAY 4 SIMLA – MANDI (200 km). We wind our way out of Shimla on the small back-roads through towering pine and fir forests. Descending the knife ridges, we encounter dense jungle and terraced hills not unlike Nepal. Our hotel in Mandi overlooks the fast flowing mighty Beas River. Visco Resort.
DAY 5 MANDI – MANALI (110 km). Since the beginning of time Kullu Valley has been known as ‘The Valley of the Gods’. We enjoy one of the most spectacular days of motorcycle touring anywhere in the world today as we run the cliff hanging highway along almost vertical walls of jungle and cascading waterfalls of the Beas River Valley. An all-too-short ride brings us to the mountain resort town of Manali, with plenty of time to explore the shops and markets. Our hotel sits between apple orchards and a deep forest just outside the hustle and bustle of the town. Negis Mayflower Hotel.
DAY 6 MANALI (free day). A rest day to explore the markets, temples and Tibetan refugee camps of this bustling mountain town before our ascent of the high passes to Ladakh. Negis Mayflower Hotel.
DAY 7 MANALI – KEYLONG (125 km). Think of the Alps and let your imagination expand and go wild, this is the Rohtang-La! After a hearty breakfast we start to climb right outside of town, up the most beautiful alpine road on earth. Though not that high a pass for the Himalaya (3978 m), it is certainly one of the most spectacular. We’ll lunch on top and descend to the Lahaul Valley to meet the Chandra River and our hotel in the Lower Market with its views across the river to the monastery. Tashi Delek.
DAY 8 KEYLONG – SARCHU (115 km). Crossing the Rohtang Pass we’ve entered a whole new world; Tibetan Buddhist monasteries hang off precipices. Noticing how dry it’s becoming as we climb toward the Tibetan Plateau, we run the entire length of the Lahaul Valley heading for our next high pass, Baralacha-La (4892 m). From there we descend to our luxury camp at Sarchu.
DAY 10 SARCHU – TSOKAR LAKE (100 km). Like a scene out of ‘Fantasia’ our day begins with a climb up the Gata Loops, 21 dizzy switchbacks on excellent surface, towards our third pass, Lachulung-La (5066 m). Descending through a moonscape gorge we arrive at the military post called Pang and then on to our luxury camp at Tsokar Lake.
DAY 10 TSOKAR LAKE – LEH (175 km). An early start up more hairpin curves out of Pang brings us to the Tibetan Plateau and what is called the More Plains, 44 km of wide valley filled with nomads and yaks, flat as a table, with massive glacial peaks either side. Taglang-La is the world’s second highest motorable pass at 5328 m (17,582’) with views of all creation from the top. Descending countless hairpin turns we enter the beautiful Miru Gorge, razorback ridges of every colour rock with tiny villages set among green/gold fields of barley. We’ve entered Ladakh, the last Shangri-La! Our hotel is possibly Leh’s finest. Oriental Hotel.
DAY 11 LEH (free day). Today we take a much- deserved rest in the ancient capital of Ladakh. Like a shining green emerald nestled in the stark setting of the Indus Valley, Leh is a mixture of old and new buzzing with shops, cafes, markets and activity. Viewed from the hilltop palace ruins, Leh looks medieval, but downtown, it’s all systems go. We are free to explore Leh town on our own or just relax in the hotel’s lovely gardens. There is an optional afternoon ride to explore the monasteries and upper valley with views of the Indus River and Stok mountain range below. Oriental Hotel.
DAY 12 LEH – LAMAYURU (130 km). Rested, we make for Lamayuru, a 10th century monastery at the head of the Indus Valley. The road sweeps alongside the river, over barren desert, through mud-walled villages set in shocking green fields, finally to the base of an immense gorge. No way out but up, we start the climb on what’s known as the ‘hanger loops’, 112 improbable hairpins and, like a dream set on the moon’s surface, Lamayuru floats into view. Monastery Hotel.
DAY 13 LAMAYURU – LEH (130 km). After breakfast and a visit to the monastery we take the road back down the hangerloops, to the village of Alchi. Another monastery, humble on the outside, hides some of the rarest works of Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings anywhere in Asia. We reach Leh early afternoon and the comfort of our hotel. Oriental Hotel.
DAY 14 LEH – NUBRA (60 km). The day you’ve been waiting for. Conditions permitting, we’ll ride the 26.5 km to the highest motorable pass on Earth, Khardung-La (5605 m, 18,380’). After the last 14 km of rocky road, we will join an elite few motorcyclists that have stood on top of the world! The views over the mountains of Tibet to the north, the Karakoram Range, K-2, and back down to the Indus Valley and Zanskar are simply indescribable! Then over the top and into the Nubra Valley Nubra Valley Hotel.
DAY 15 NUBRA – LEH (50 km). After a leisurely late morning coffee in the garden, we have the option of visiting another monastery, described as the ‘Potala of Ladakh’: Tikse is only 20 km from Leh and houses the largest statue of the future Buddha anywhere in the Himalaya. The views from the rooftop down the Indus Valley are a stunning contrast of river, green fields and barren high desert. We’ll hold our Farewell Dinner tonight to say our goodbyes. Oriental Hotel.
DAY 16 LEH – DELHI. Possibly the most exciting mountain flight you can have, retracing our entire route at 9000 m, and taking only an hour and a half! The Himalaya glaciers unfold beneath us as we pass mountain range upon mountain range on our way back to the low plains and our hotel in Delhi. We’ll take you out to dinner before you prepare for the journey home. Metropolitan Hotel.
DAY 17 DEPART DELHI. After breakfast this morning our tour ends, transfer to Gandhi International airport is in an A/C car or coach. Your return flight will arrive in the UK later this evening.
Total distance c. 1300 km
Tour price includes: 13 days Royal Enfield 500 Bullet; fuel, oil and maintenance; 4WD air-conditioned jeep support vehicle, trailer and spares; group leader with medical kit/training; Enfield mechanic and local guides; tours/guides listed; airport transfers; all entrance fees to monuments / parks / reserves; 16 nts hotel accommodation; all meals; soft drinks/bottled mineral water on tour; road maps/information packets
Price excludes: Flights, travel insurance (both available from H-C Travel); US$500 refundable security/damage deposit to pay locally in cash; visa (c. £90); alcoholic beverages; laundry service; tips / gratuities
Taj Mahal Extension Tour We are able to offer tour to the Taj Mahal, which can be taken before or after our High Roads Adventure: 2 days, incl. 1 nt in 5* hotel in Agra, private car/driver/guide, entrance fees to Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, £295/person twinshare.
Visits to wildlife reserves can also be arranged.