Himalayas 2012 - When , where, How??

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by Yamahuh, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Yamahuh

    Yamahuh Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
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    Hi all - first of all let me say that this site has an amazing amount of useful info which I have been searching through for days...

    A friend and I are planning a trip to Leh/Ladakh and Kardung La, will have a maximum of 3 weeks and would like input on an itinerary.

    We realise that acclimatising may be an issue and want to avoid any potential problems so which of the itineraries below would you recommend or do you have better ones?

    #1 Shimla - Leh - Manali

    Delhi to Shimla
    Shimla to Narkanda
    Narkanda to Manali
    Manali to Jispa
    Jispa to Sarchu
    Sarchu to Tso Moriri Lake
    Tso Moriri Lake to Leh
    Leh to Nubra Valley (inc Kardung La)
    Nubra to Hemis
    Hemis to Sarchu
    Sarchu to Manali (inc Rohtang Pass)

    #2 Shimla - Spiti - Leh

    Delhi to Shimla
    Shimla to Narkanda
    Narkanda to Sangla
    Sangla to Kalpa (inc Chitkul)
    Kalpa to Nako
    Nako to Kaza (inc Tabo)
    Kaza to Keylong (inc Kunzum-La)
    Keylong to Sarchu
    Sarchu to Tso Moriri Lake (inc Lachlung La)
    Tso Moriri Lake to Leh
    Leh to Kardhung La to Leh

    Also - opinions seem divided on the best time to go.
    We had been thinking of end of June - Mid July with possibly into August. OK or not?

    Although we're arranging this ourselves it seems like most tour groups average less than 180 kms a day and of course we would like to stop along the way to see the sights etc but is a 3 week motorcycle trip enough time to get up to Kardung La - Leh etc and still make it back to Delhi to fly home?

    We have been in contact with a shop called BulletWallas who seem to have reasonable rates for rental Enfields - are there any better places we should contact? Are there better bikes we should be considering? I've looked through a couple of RRs and one in particular has me wondering about Enfields as opposed to other makes. We're not mechanically incompetent but also have no desire to be stripping top ends at the side of the road with an adjustable wrench - if you know what I mean.
    Which bike would you recommend?

    Thanks all.
    :freaky
    #1
  2. wbb2

    wbb2 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
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    hi... would you guys be interested in one or two more adding along? i've been looking to do a himalayas tour and the pics on ADV rider are amazing... send me a PM with your email please!
    #2
  3. Yamahuh

    Yamahuh Adventurer

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    Don't mean to be dicks guys but this is a 'once in a lifetime boys vacation'
    Me and my best pal doing it right :freaky We've known each other since we were teens and we're now appraoching 50. Have fun - be safe - maybe we'll see you on the road...
    #3
  4. southroads

    southroads old and tired

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    Location:
    East-East Gippsland
    Hey Yamahuh,

    Me and a mate (were Australian, everyone's a mate:lol3) are off there on June 11 2011 for a month up that way,

    We are also hiring bikes from Bulletwallas so Ill let you know if there are any problems, Heres a great story of some Aussies that did the same trip a couple of years ago,, These guys hired from Lalli Singh though but still a great trip,,

    Cheers Mate!!

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=493085
    #4
  5. Yamahuh

    Yamahuh Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
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    That sounds brilliant cobber!! :1drink
    I was born and raised in Blighty so everyone's a mate there too!!

    Would LOVE to get your feedback; especially interested in if the roads at altitude are all open at that time of year plus recommendations for places to stay etc.

    Are you hiring Enfields?
    Have started to question the logic of that after reading some threads around the boards - but must admit the idea of riding them up into the mountains sounds fantastic.

    Hope you have a great trip.
    Take it easy and I look forward to your thoughts on BulletWallas and their bikes.

    :freaky
    #5
  6. Yamahuh

    Yamahuh Adventurer

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    Southroads - are you guys finished, done and dusted the trip yet?

    Would love to hear all about it :wink:
    #6
  7. tsk1979

    tsk1979 4x4 wheeler

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    you have 3 weeks. Depending on your appetite for adventure, as well your stamina, with 3 weeks of riding, you can cover Zanskar area, Ladakh area and Spiti too.
    First of all I would like you to open the openstreetmap.org. Its 100% correct(partly mapped my me) for the region. and partly by others
    For example, open this for Leh region
    http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=33.789&lon=77.587&zoom=10&layers=M

    Now there are two ways of going to Leh.
    The Srinagar Leh highway - Heavy traffic and not very sceninc
    The Manali Leh highway - Very scenic and very advenetrous

    So lets say you had 3 weeks ex Delhi, and you have your bikes with you in Delhi(I am assuming).

    I would also recommend the month of september. Start first week of september, and avoid rush at most mountain towns. June is madness. Madness you have not even dreamt of in your wildest dreams. And plains are roasting. July august it rains. Nay it pours, it pours so hard that even with a 200$ rain protective gear you will weep and cry for mama.

    A good way of covering Leh and Spiti in one trip would be
    Day 1 - Drive around Delhi. Get used to the driving conditions in India. Its a war zone. Imagine mortar shells coming from all directions, and you have to dodge them. Its slightly more difficult than that as mortar shells make noise. Indian roads get many silent weapons in the form is light bikes, pedestrians. Also remember, might is right. When a bus comes at you, do not expect it to follow right of way. You get out of a way,even if you have to abandon bike and climb a tree.
    Day 2 - Start at 4am. Seriously. I do not kid you. Drive all the way to Narkanda. There are few speed traps on the highway, but if you cross the state of Haryana by 6am you should be fine, as cops like to sleep too. That said you can be in Narkanda in 12 hours. Stay at the nice HPTDC hotel there. In off season you should get a room for 2 people around 2000 INR max. Govt hotels have fixed rates, so nobody can try to make an idiot out of you(people will keep trying).
    Day 3 - Today you will ride to Nako. Its a short 9 hour ride, but will show you whats in future for you. As you are entering remote territory, the honesty index of people will rise, and you will get cheaper acco. Somewhere on the way at police checkpost tourists have to register. But do not worry, at all such places barriers will be put up.
    But anyways, its a good idea to find out near Nako about this thingy. If you want, I can probably look up the exact procedure for you around that area(very close to china border you see)
    Day 4 - Today ride to kaza, the head quarters of spiti. This will be your spiti base
    Day 5, day 6 - See pin valley, monastories and drive around. Not much change of getting lost, as one road goes up and same comes down. Your hotel will guide you
    Day 7. Today you ride all the way to Chandertaal if you fancy camping, or you can ride to chandertaal lake and then come down to "batal" vilage, where there is tented acco available
    Day 8. Ride to Jispa - Nice hotel there for 2500 INR. This will be your base for the crazy ride. The manali leh highway ride.
    Day 9 - Depending upon your stamina you can ride to leh, or simply ride till pang and stay in tents at 4200m+. I would say push it to leh. You do not want to spend a night at that altitude. So push for 14 hours and reach your hotel in leh
    Day 10,11 - Local leh sight seeing. Your hotel will arrange for permits. Should not cost more than 1000-1500 including their fees. you get permits for 7 days, take it for Pangong. Tso moriri, Nubra valley.

    Nubra - Double humped camels and sand dunes
    Pangong Lake - Google it up,
    Tso moriri lake - Again google it up.

    Day 12 - Ride to nubra stay there for night
    Day 13 - Ride to leh
    Day 14 - Ride to Pangong - Many people make the day trip back, but thats such a waste, I would say stay there for the night
    Day 15 - Man up and ride to Tso moriri (14 hours)
    Day 16 - Tso moriri - Wherever
    Now wherever can be the manali leh highway again, or you can choose to go to Zanskar. But then we are at day 16, arent we. So you have to get back to leh, and then do manali leh highway again. SO if you reach leh on day 16
    Day 17 - Ride to Keylong
    Day 18 - Ride to manali
    Day 19 - Ride to Delhi

    you can skip spiti, and do Leh and Zanskar if you are not too much into monstories. Scenery around leh beats spiti any day.

    I have written a few travelogues. 2 leh trips and one spiti "sprint". Will give you a fair idea of surroundings. Ignore some parts like hanle and all. AFAIK, foreigners cannot go to Hanle or Kyun Tso, so you are restricted to Tso moriri pangong and Nubra(not that they are any less sceninc). Anyways, your hotel will tell you whether you can go to hanle. Sometimes they allow you. Hanle is great if you want to do wildlife(wild ass mostly) spotting.

    anyways, links to my "4x4" travelogues. Since its not bike, I cannot post on advrider
    2009 trip
    http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...-passes-20-day-wild-wild-ride-roof-world.html
    We did not make it to zanskar due to my back pain, but you get a fair idea of what to expect
    2010 trip - This was adventure circuit doing some parts restricted to foreigners
    http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/83818-ladakh-changthang-wilderness-chronicles.html
    spiti sprint - Here you will see chandertaal (to see this lake, you can make a short detour, no need to do full spiti)
    http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/88375-lake-moon-spiti-sprint.html
    #7
  8. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
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    661
    I believe both your itineraries are impossible to do. To visit Tso Moririr, you need a permit and permits are only issued in Leh. So you need to go to Leh first, get permit, and then you can go to places like Nubra/Pangong/Moriri. Maybe someone can chime in and confirm this.

    Second, ride from Delhi to - almost Manali - is not all that special. If you are pressed for time and want to maximize the quality riding, you should fly directly to Leh or Manali and rent bikes there. Both Leh and Manali have tons of moto rental places. No need to waste 4 days out of your 21 (20% of your trip) transiting to top riding areas if you can go there directly.

    Thirdly, acclimatization can be an issue. Since you are on a motorcycle you are just sitting all day so it is not that strenuous and you should be OK. But avoid any activities like mountain biking/etc initially. I came down with a critical case of altitude sickness when I got to Leh and I think it was because the first day at 10K+ altitude I ended up pushing by broken down bike and exerting myself a lot...

    Lastly, in regards to Enfields, most rental places rent old pieces of junk Enfields. Chances are good that they will break on you leaving you stranded in some remote ares. I've seen a lot of them on the side of the road with frustrated riders near by. The only Enfields worth getting IMO are the newer ones that are fuel injected and they are probably a lot more expensive to rent. I would not rent the old pieces of junk a lot of rental places have on offer unless I really feel very comfortable working on bikes, which I don't.
    #8
  9. Yamahuh

    Yamahuh Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
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    tsk1979 and witold - awesome info and suggestions - thanks.
    sorry it took me so long to reply but I'vve been on very limited internet for the past few weeks and so couldn't get in here. Looks like we will be doing this trip in September 2012 and taking between 2 and 3 weeks - still trying to decide on R.E's or something else (Pulsar / Jap bikes / etc)

    Any and all suggestions appreciated...
    #9
  10. tsk1979

    tsk1979 4x4 wheeler

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    Actually many travel agents will get you a permit in advance for a fee(500rs extra)
    They will even courier it to your hotel in India before you start your trip, or simply email you a scanned copy. You can take a print out and go about your trip
    #10
  11. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    Good clarification. Permits are in Leh, but since people don't need to apply in person they can have it shipped somewhere or emailed. I did not think about that.

    Keep in mind that permits are generally issued for max 7 days, so delivery time can be an issue.

    On several occasions, they asked me for the original instead of the copy I usually gave out. I don't know how they could tell this apart from email printout, but just something to think about also...
    #11
  12. eragon

    eragon Dragon Rider

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    #12
  13. 300kg

    300kg on our 1st RTW trip

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    We've done all the ring up in the Himalayas (Manali - Leh - Spiti - Nubra - Anu Dah - Sirinagar - Dharamshala ecc ecc..) last year starting from September with our Transalp 600. It took us around one month and it was amazing!! :rofl

    Permits for the Pangong Tso can be issued only in Leh, I never heard of anyone who got a permit sent somewhere by mail but I guess it could work (also because what you need to bring with you are a huge number of photocopies that you have to give to every check post..).
    Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri and Anu Dah also need to be included in the permit (which lasts only 7 days). We only managed to do the Nubra Valley (3 days) and Anu Dah (2 days).
    Roads are fun but exhausting: to cover the 400 km from Manali to Leh it will take you 3 or 4 days so don't try to go everywhere but visit less places better.

    You better check the conditions of the road between the Nubra Valley and Shakti (Hemis) when we were there we were told that the road was closed due to landslides (basically one every other road is closed due to landslides at that time of the year..) and anyway very rough (not that the "normal roads" were smooth at all...).


    The best part of going to Laddakh is actually the ride to Leh. In my opinion, it doesn't make any sense to fly to Leh.

    Highlight of our trip: Lahaul and Spiti Valley (don't miss out!!)

    No need to say that you will meet almost no one on the road (beside other crazy bikers and cyclists like you)so bring a tent, good sleeping bag (the coldest night of my life: the night at the Chandar Taal at 4000m+ with summer sleepingbags..), food and petrol (you will need it for the Manali- Leh).

    Have fun and drive safe!!
    #13