Riding in India

Chandratal, what a ride! 14 Kms from Batal and 4300m ASL this was the highlight of our trip. We woke up early that morning in our hotel in Kaza as we were aiming to be on Kunzum Pass around noon. There were heavy clouds in that direction and none of us wanted to get caught in bad weather.

We headed off towards Losar and were slowed down by the condition of the road. Over the 6 years of traveling on these roads, I did not realize I would complain. The road is really bad, and I am complaining! We were ready for this situation though and we had time on our side, making the ride very enjoyable for us. At Losar, We had the biggest breakfast ever and saddled up for Kunzum. We wanted to get as many photos as possible and judging by the road, we would have to work for every kilometer.

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The 14 Km ride to Chandratal

The check post at Losar has shifted outside the village, towards Kunzum and we made our customary entry in the Police logs. Of Course, Morgan had to find his passport which was at the bottom of his bag. All said and done, we started the ascent to Kunzum and the weather cleared. Although it was windy, we had no problems with the weather from that point onwards. Kunzum is a beautiful Pass. It is 4590m ASL and is the connecting pass between Manali and Kaza. Apart from the altitude, it is easy to go up and down it. We rode through it around noon, took a nice long break at the temple and then made our way for the 14 Km ride to Chandra Tal.

A few Kms below the pass and just before Batal, you will see a small board that points to the turn off for Chandra Tal. And the as you keep riding it surpasses anything you have ever seen. The beauty of this place is beyond my telling. Only way to experience it is to go there. There are tent accommodations available here. From 500 Rs a night to 2500 Rs, you have a wide choice. Don’t be in a rush to select one, see them all and then make your decision. We took the one furthest from the bigger camping areas and enjoyed the hospitality of the Nepali boy running the show as a one man army. The temperatures can drop below zero at night, so be prepared and the altitude will play a major role in the way you sleep. Make sure you have stocked up on batteries for your headlamp, a good book and some snacks to deal with insomnia.

This lake itself is a few KMs North of the camp sites. You have to walk the last Kilometer or so as it is a protected wetland. The river is roaring away in a steep gorge East of you and the giant Kunzum range is on your West and the beautiful Chandratal is right in front of you. It is breathtaking. Standing on the hill with all the small lakelets visible in a panoramic extravaganza around you. There is no camera that is good enough to replicate and no writer with enough words to describe it. You just have had to be there.

Riding to Spiti

Nako lake is high altitude lake in the Eastern most part of Himachal Pradesh. It is a beautiful little spot off the highway and a must see for riders going that way. We took a two day stop here just to photograph the place and to chill for a day.

Being at 3700m, the lake is a good spot to stop to acclimatise before you head off into Spiti and further. There are a few good places to stay here and it is tough getting a booking on the phone or email as only BSNL phones work here, if that. We headed straight for Lake view hotel situated right on the banks of the lake itself. The owner is a good host and the staff is helpful. Added to all that, they are probably one of two places that serve meals in the hotel. Choice of food is limited as it is so remote, but you can get any kind of booze here, no problems. This is what i don’t understand, if we can get all sorts of booze, 5 different flavors of chips and coke in such a remote place, why not good food and veggies?

Nako Helipad, Nako Lake, Motorcycle Tours, Spiti

Anyway, the village of Nako is a small one and it is good walking around the windy streets of this little hamlet in the mountains. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhav passed through here and held audiences here in the time of his travels towards Tibet. There is a group of caves a few Kms towards the border area, which we did not go to. There is apparently a beautiful waterfall somewhere close by, which again we did not see. The problem with high altitudes is that by the time you start getting motivated, it is evening time and the rum bottle looks very inviting.

We were just 2 days into our ride and were getting acclimatized to the high altitude, is the sorry excuse. But having said all that, Nako is the place to go and explore a little. For the adventurous types, stay a couple of days as it is not expensive, yet and it is something different than the usual tourist spots.

Riding Tours

As things change and we grow as a company, there is a decision to be made. Should we decide on one destination or ride wherever the road takes us. I am a big supporter of the latter and love to take the road that has no sign on it. Within the pst few months it seems I have said yes to possibly work in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and the US all with a great “Don’t worry, it will be awesome!” I am definitely not being cavalier here but it seems I am just enjoying the idea of riding in all these places. After all, what could go wrong?

Kibber Village, Spiti, motorcycle tours, royal Enfield, himalayas, adventure, tours,

Indonesia and Sri lanka are island countries with laid back people and beautiful landscapes. The US is a little scary especially when you are thinking of a motorcycle related business in a country that has so many motorcycle gangs wanted for murder, extortion, drug dealing, gun smuggling and whatever else there is.

Riding to Leh Royal Enfield, Ladakh, Sarchu, Leh Road. Motorcycle tour

Our main packages will still remain in the Himalayas, but we are ready to expand to other countries and ride until we fall off the end of the world!!! Stay tuned for information regarding all our tours coming up in the year 2016.

A better Transmission

  • Restoring a motorcycle to its former glory is a hard job for Royal Enfield mechanics in small towns. Firsly, lack of precision machinery, secondly, scarcity of spare parts and thirdly, lack of information.

The key to a Royal Enfield working to its potential in the Himalayas is a strong transmission. I am talking about pre UCE engines and mostly 90s and 80s Standards and Electras. We were really struggling for a bit as every motorcycle we had was just a little under powered. On a straight road, it seems fine and as the slopes get steeper, old women on foot started passing us by.

Royal Enfield Amchissimo 500cc Clutch plates, motorcycle tours Dharamshala

  • After trying out a few options, we came across a spare set of Machissimo 500cc clutch plates. These are a set of 5, thin clutch plates, and they fit most clutch housings perfectly. The difference is amazing! You get a good pick up, doesn’t burn out on steep hills and has a long life.

Riding to Leh – Sach Pass

The Sach Pass is a little used Pass connecting Chamba Valley to Pangi Valley, and eventually to Ladakh. Pangi being a remote valley that is created by the Bhaga river connecting Keylong on the Leh road to the East and Kishtwar to the West. This route makes access to Kashmir and the road to Leh shorter for people travelling from Dharamsala. For now, it being little known and hard to access, it is one of the last few good rides.

The trip from Dharamsala to Bairagarh is 228 Kms. Being a good road most of the way, it is a good ride for Day 1, we left at 07.00 AM and reached Bairagarh by 03.00 PM. You get good roads most of the way and after you cross Chamba, it is a two lane mountain road that will take you all the way to Bairagarh 2200m.

From Dharmsala, you take the road going to pathankot all the way to Nurpur, you will see the turn off for Dalhousie/Chamba, take that road going North. It winds and splits before Chuari, take the road going to Chuari pass called Jot. Cross over and ride towards Chamba city. 3 Kms short is a place called Sultanpur, where you will cross the river and head towards Tissa and finally Bairagarh.

The trip is not long, but it is a little challenging. First, you have to ensure the Pass has been cleared of snow. In mid June the BRO starts clearing the road and depending upon the damage done and the weather they usually open the road in a couple of weeks. Last year, the clearing lasted until early July. So you need to check first.

NOTE: Sultanpur is the last station for fueling this side of the valley, so fill up as you will only get fuel from locals in small village/towns (if you are lucky) and for a higher price. Then head up North until a place called Koti where you take a right to go towards Tissa. The gorge gets narrow and the road winds up into the mountains.

Spend the night, recover and at Sunrise, it is time to make a move. The next target is Satrundi where there is a check post manned by the Himachal Police. The road between Bairagarh and Satrundi is beautiful. It is the ascent to the high mountain pass and you go through thick forests, waterfalls and finally you cross 3000m and the terrain becomes Alpine. It took us 2.5 Hours to ride the 27 Kms to Sach Pass (4305m/14,500 Ft). The road is still under construction and is impossible to ride fast without losing most of your motorcycle to the road!

On the way to Ladakh, Sach Pass 4300m

As usual, Himachal Police are friendly and helpful and after 5 chais each and entering your vehicle and license details, and you are ready to go. Don’t be in a hurry because from this point,  the road is rough. Since the stone has been laid as a base for the future road, it is a little tough on the motorcycle and the rider. But the beauty of the terrain is amazing. At the top of the pass you pass some permanent ice and more often that not, get rewarded by a flurry. As you cross over the Pass, the road is nightmarish as it carries on as a half made road all the way to Killar. The road from Killar is prone to landslides, which all of Pangi is. You can stop at Killar, Cherry or where we stopped at a place called Ajog, 20 Kms ahead of Killar. There is a natural water spring here, which was sought after by kings, the camping is awesome.

Riding to Leh - Sach Pass

Next day, a few hours ride is Udaipur and the Trilokinath Temple. The road from Udaipur is amazing! After the ride from hell, you get to open throttle all the way to Keylong, passing apple orchards and large farmed lands. We got delayed by landslides and reached this area late in the evening. Once this road connecting Leh and Kashmir is complete, the journey will be really easy from Dharamshala.

We meet the road to Leh at Keylong. The fuel station at Tandi will be the only fuel station you will see until Leh, so fill up and get some to spare if you can. Between Keylong and Jispa, I would definitely stay at Jispa at either of the places there. Padma Guest House being the best in my opinion. Hot and cold water, good food, tents with bathrooms at 2500 twin sharing. It is a good deal. Also it is a good idea to break journey and take 2 nights here to acclimatize, repair your bikes and get ready for the toughest part ahead. You will be heading out and crossing 4 major passes to reach Leh, so be prepared and rest up.

The road at Jispa

Spiti-Leh Motorcycle Tour

This is an epic ride that has been launched at the request of a few riders. Our Ride Captain, Shankar Nath, came up with this kick ass itinerary and it became an instant hit. Because it is so good, we are opening this itinerary for more riders to join in this epic ride.

Dhankar Monastery, Spiti
Dhankar Monastery, Spiti

This 14 day ride through the Himalayas combines Spiti and Ladakh as well as covers the beautiful heritage spots in Nalagarh and West of Shimla on the Hindustan-Tibet road. Starting from Nalagarh, we will wind our way along the Hindustan-Tibet Road and work our way into the Spiti Valley. Using Kunzum Pass, we will join the Leh Road and make our way to Leh after conquering BaralachaLa, LachungLa , Nakila and TanglangLa. Leh is a beautiful city to explore and then we head up North to the Nubra Valley and take the Wari la into Pangong Lake and back to Leh where we will fly out back to Delhi.

Sarchu
Sarchu

This is a high-end motorcycle tour that means the best bikes, Ride Captain, mechanics and hotels for us on this tour. Are top class!

We have a few seats left for this season, sign up now!! Email or phone us and we will sign you up in a jiff.

Get all the details of the package here »

Himalayan Motorcycle Tour

The motorcycle tour dates in the Himalayas for 2015 are getting closer!. Season is coming and the amazing roads of Ladakh will be open by June. We at Himalayan Explorers are ready and excited for this. Whether you decide to come alone or in a group, you guys will come to embrace the challenge and conquer the mountains with us on this adventure!

Ladakh Mountain Tour is a route designed to discover the most fascinating highlights of the region. Our route departs from the green mountains of Dharamsala, then a first ride to Rewalsar or Tso Pema lake. This is followed by an easy ride (compared to what is next) to Manali, where you will feel ready and trained for the real first big challenge:  Baralacha La!. Now comes the big spectacle: the stunning lakes of Tso Kar and Pangong, all the highest passes on earth and the unmatched road to Leh, the famous Kardung La and the beautiful Nubra Valley. This panorama with endless ranges of mountains on the horizon will take your breath away and the realisation of the magnificence of mother earth at its best will be your biggest reward!.

Are you already in?
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Ladakh Mountain Tour _MG_4495 _MG_4529-1