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India : Spiti - Ladakh
High Himalaya

Tour Overview

redspokes high altitude cycling adventure from Spiti to Ladakh combines ever changing panoramas on rough terrain and challenging weather conditions. Experience awe inspiring mystical overtones in isolated mountain locations. The extremes of the journey intensify the appeal of landscape, culture and local communities on your journey from Chandigarh to Leh.

Spiti valley was first opened to foreign visitors in the 1990’s. The redspokes adventure cycling holiday is a thrilling journey of contrasts from beautiful valleys to expansive barren landscapes. The high mountain ranges divert cloud cover from the area, resulting in wide open areas of arid desert-like terrain. Dotted across the region you’ll encounter religious culture: monasteries, prayer flags and sacred symbolism.  

You will take a flight to Chandigarh, India’s best planned metropolis. Le Corbusier and Nehru number amongst the city’s conceptualists.  From here we transfer to Rampur, passing through Shimla the capital of Himal Pradesh. Surrounded by green hills with snow-capped peaks, Shimla is a popular tourist destination during the summer months. Regarded by the British as the summer capital of India and traces of the colonial era remain. After a day to acclimatise in Reckong Peo (2,290m) our cycling begins. We climb zig zagging road passing fruit orchards, scenic lakes and monasteries riding close to the Tibetan border as we ascend to the Kunzum La Pass. We will pass herds of Himalayan blue sheep grazing and hopping in the rocky terrain and ride through some of the highest populated villages in the world including Kibber which has become a renowned wildlife spot due to sightings of the snow leopard. We continue on navigating some tough terrain before joining the main Manali to Leh road before Sissu in the foothills of the Pir Panjal range.

On the horizon you will see the bleak, magnificent spectacle of the Higher Himalayan ranges as we traverse a high-altitude desert to reach the isolated mountainous Ladakh region, so remote and stark it is barely populated. Nestled high in the Himalayas and accessible for only 4 months of the year, Ladakh which means the "land of passes" has been described as ‘Little Tibet’ and the last 'Shangri-La'. The region is situated on the banks of the Indus between the World's two highest mountain ranges, the Karakoram to the north and mighty Himalayas to the south. It is the highest, most remote and least populated region in India. From the verdant Kullu valley we traverse a striking barren landscape through Ladakh, so high and stark it is barely populated.

Riding mountain passes and river valleys we are soon tackling the twenty-one zigzag Gata Loops 15,030ft up the canyon wall to reach the Lachulung La, the second highest pass on the Manali to Leh road at 5059m. After passing the Tso Khar salt lake we tackle the world's second highest pass, the Taglang La at 5,328m. Over the pass we descent entering more verdant terrain with a few more climbs and downhills to reach Leh. We have a rest day to draw breath and explore the sites such as the Leh Palace or the Sakar Gompa monastery. The Manali to Leh road is an old trading route and although described as a 'highway', is extremely narrow in places. For much of the year it is closed due to extreme weather conditions.

After our well-deserved rest day in Leh, reinvigorated, we face the ultimate challenge of the tour: the Khardung-La. Starting at 3, 600m (11,500 feet) in Leh we cycle to the top of the pass at a breath taking height of 5359m (17,583 feet) in just 39km (24 miles). This is one of the highest roads in the world accessible by motor vehicles.

redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday ends in Leh. 

After our well-deserved rest day in Leh, reinvigorated, we face the final challenge of the tour: the Khardung-La. Starting at 3, 600m (11,500 feet) in Leh we cycle to the top of the pass at a breath taking height of 5359m (17,583 feet) in just 39km (24 miles). This is one of the highest roads in the world accessible by motor vehicles.

redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday ends in Leh. 

23 days from
£2,348
$2,935
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Tour Itinerary
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Average Temperature and Average Rain Chart for our Spiti and Ladakh in India cycling holiday

Start Your Nepal Cycling Adventure Here

Key details of our Cycling holiday in Nepal:

Tour Features

  • Chandigarh: India’s best planned metropolis.
  • Shimla: summer capital of India.
  • Ki Monastery: the largest gompa in Spiti Valley.
  • Gata Loops: twenty-one zig-zagging hairpin bends.
  • Leh: 'little Tibet' Buddhist Stupas, bustling bazaar.
  • Kardung La: one of the highest motorable roads.
Cycle Holiday Tour Difficulty: 9/10 - Extreme

Ride Difficulty
9/10 - Extreme

Average Daily Distance: 70km / 45 miles

Avg. Daily Distance
70km / 45 miles

Number of Cycle Days: 16

Number of Cycle Days
16 days

Maximum Altitude: 5,600 / 18,200

Max Altitude
5,600 / 18,200

Example route for this Nepal cycling holiday

This map is for illustration purposes only and may not show the exact route taken on this Nepal tour.