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Cycle Manali to Leh with Kate Leeming

In the company of renowned cyclist, author and adventurer Kate Leeming, this challenging expedition traverses the backbone of the West Himalaya - as we cycle the high passes that link Kullu Valley to the Ladakh. A fully supported adventure that will appeal to highly motivated cyclists keen to get their first experience in the Himalaya. Over 9 days we cycle across a vast wilderness landscape on the borderlands of Tibet, crossing passes that afford stunning vistas of snow capped ranges and rugged gorges. We hope you can join this special departure.


16 breakfasts, 14 lunches & 15 dinners
airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 17
expert bilingual guide
group medical kit
good quality hotel accommodation in Delhi, Manali & Leh
private transportation on road journeys
all site entrance fees as detailed
A challenging cycle beyond the Manali to Leh highway
Cycle across the Pir Panjal, Great Himalaya and Zanskar ranges
Spectacular cycling to the serene waters of Tso Morari
Visit Champa nomadic encampments and remote Buddhist settlements
Experience traditional hospitality at our hotel in Leh
Optional ride to Kardung La (5359 m) the highest motorable road in the world
Sightseeing in ancient monasteries and forts in Indus valley
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
Price From
AUD $4,390
Start Location
Delhi, Indian Himalaya
End Location
Indian Himalaya
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
8 to 16
Tour Style
Tour Themes
Physical Rating
Moderate to Challenging
Tour departure dates
14 Jul 201930 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $4,390
Day 1
On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a World Expeditions representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore Delhi and sightseeing tours can be arranged. Due to the differing times of arrivals of group members, a group meeting will not be held until the following morning. Note: As an alternative to arriving in Delhi on a late night flight, you may wish to consider arriving the day before the trip commences. Please talk to your World Expeditions reservations consultant or your travel agent for pre-tour accommodation options.
Day 2
From New Delhi station we board the Shatabdi express train to Chandigarh. On arrival we drive across the Shivaik foothills to the historic town of Mandi. It’s a further 90km to Manali initially driving through the spectacular Larji Gorge and into the Kullu Valley and the bustling tourist town of Manali
Day 3
A full day in Manali to prepare for your cycling expedition including a leisurely ride to Nagar Castle. We also have time to visit the nearby Hadimba temple set in a pine forest just above Manali as well as visiting the Tibetan camp and temples below the main market.
Day 4
From Manali (1980m) we cross the Beas River and commence our cycle ride along the main road linking Manali to Leh. Get used to Indian driving techniques as we slowly ascend through oak and conifer forest to the open meadows and our first camp at Marhi (3360m). From camp there are magnificent views across to the peaks that form the Prir Panjal and south down the verdant Kullu Valley
Day 5
We cross the Rhotang Pass (3978m) linking the Kullu valley to the district of Lahaul. From the pass we look north taking in the peaks that form the Great Himalaya Range before a long descent to the Chandra Valley and a well-deserved break. We continue down the Chandra valley before diverting up the Bhaga valley to Kelong (3050m), the district head quarters of Lahaul.
Day 6
A short stage to assist acclimatization. It’s a gradual uphill stretch to the village of Darcha (and the road underway to the region of Zanskar) before continuing to our spectacular camp at Zing Zing Bar set beneath the awesome peaks of the main Himalaya Range. We are now at 4360m and will remain above 4000 metres for the next week until we reach the Indus Valley.
Day 7
It’s an early morning start to the Baralacha La (4890m). After savouring views from the historic trading pass we commence a long gradual descent through the vast windswept Lingti Plains and the summer grazing meadows for the Gaddi shepherds. After completing formalities on the Himachal Pradesh/Ladakh state border we head to our camp coined by the Indian army as Brandy Nullah (4270m) – although a stiff drink at this altitude is not advisable!
Day 8
Another day, another pass. This time we enter dramatic gorge country winding up to the Lachlung La (5070m)- an outer rim of the rugged Zanskar Range before a gradual descent cross the summer grazing pastures of the Tibetan yak herders to our camp at Pang (4300m).
Day 15
Today we have a full day sightseeing some of the outlying forts and monasteries in the Indus Valley. We include a visit to Shey Palace – the capital of upper Ladakh - until the Royal family moved to Leh in the 17th century. We also visit the nearby Tikse Monastery perched on the summit of a sugarloaf mountain overlooking the Indus Valley. Tikse was founded in the 14th century after the Dalai Lama sent monks to Ladakh and the outlying regions of West Tibet. The monastery is situated in a commanding position in the Indus Valley with the monk’s chambers spreading down the hillside below the main Assembly Hall. In the evening we can either wander up to Shanti Stupa for a magnificent sunset or relax around our hotel in the comfortable grounds.
Day 14
On the final day of the cycle ride we down the Indus Valley until we reach the confluence of the Manali to Leh road at Upshi. Depending on the group preferences we can either continue cycling for the last 46km to Leh or transfer onto the bus in time to reach Leh by lunchtime. On arrival in Leh we will have the opportunity to climb to the Victory Fort (above the Palace) built in the 15th century to commemorate Ladakh’s independence from the invading armies from Baltistan and Kashmir. From the Palace we can also appreciate the alleyways that comprise the old town of Leh, located to the east of the main bazaar and appreciate the wonderful panoramic view back over the Indus Valley to the south. You may even consider the prospect of a hot shower and a comfortable bed for the night
Day 13
A full day cycling leading through whitewashed village and tiny settlements nestling in the side valleys above the Indus River. By now you will be full of spirit as you adjust to the lower elevations en route to our final camp at Rani Bagh (3440m)
Day 9
Today we leave the main ‘highway’ linking Manali to Leh. Shortly after Pang we follow a side road leading to the salt lake at Tso Kar (4460m) and another inspiring campsite more akin to the high Andes than the Himalaya. If we are fortunate we may see the rare black neck crane as the lake is one of the last breeding areas in this region of the Himalaya.
Day 11
A magnificent day!. We ascend to the prayer flags that define the Namshung La (4950m) before a short descent to the exqusite waters of Kiagar Tso. The road then winds through open grazing lands, the home to the Changpa nomads with the flocks of pashmina goats and herds of yaks. Reaching the serene waters of Tso Morari you will be taken aback by the sheer size of the lake some 20 km long and 3 km wide set beneath 6000 metre plus snow capped peaks. After registering with the ITBP we head to our camp (4480m) just beyond the village of Korzok. if time permits we will visit the local monastery reflecting something of the deep-seated Buddhist traditions of the region.
Day 10
We continue cycling across more dramatic landscape with peaks in the vicinity of 6000 metres. We ascend to the Polo Kongka La (4970m) a minor pass before negotiating the switchbacks on down to the Tibetan village at Puga Sumdo (4318m). Be sure to visit the Tibetan school where children gain an education while their parents graze their animals on the borderlands of Tibet from early spring until the first winter snows.
Day 16
We have the option to drive to the Khardung La (5359 metres) is the highest motorable road in the world. From the pass we complete an exhilarating ride back to Leh. The rest of the day is free to complete last minutes shopping as well as packing your cycle in preparation for the flight to Delhi the next morning.
Day 12
A comparatively long stage. We return over the Namshung La to Puga Sumdo before descending down the narrow gorge leading to the bridge at Mahe over the Indus River. We then cycle alongside the deep swirling waters of the Lion River to our camp at Chumathang (3950m)
Day 17
This spectacular flight takes us across the backbone of the West Himalaya en route to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport your trip concludes. If you are departing on late flights and require a day room in Delhi please liaise with your World Expeditions reservations consultant or travel agent. This is not included in the cost of your tour. Please note that check in baggage allowance is 15kg and some excess baggage charges may apply.