Great Himalayan Bicycle Trip through the Valleys Spiti and Kinnaur

  • Sport & Abenteuer Reisen
  • Fahrrad & MTB

Overview

The 900 km tour from Shimla to Manali is one of the ultimate challenges in the Indian Himalayas! This tour includes 14 days of pure fun cycling through two of the most remote regions of the Himalayas: the Kinnaur and Spiti valleys. We cross isolated valleys, visit traditional villages and cross two high mountain passes, Kunzum La (4558 m) and Rothang Pass (3980 m). The tour offers us spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, ancient Buddhist monasteries, raging rivers and glaciers. The roads are partially fortified, but often we also have to have loose debris.

This bike trip can easily be combined with a bike ride along the Manali- Leh Highway for a 25-day tour. Please make a request for this.

Program

Day 1 Departure from home

Arrive in Delhi today or in the early hours of the next day. Transfer to the hotel. The hotel room is available for the day and night. (Overnight stay in the hotel) -/-/-

Day 2 Travel to Shimla by narrow gauge railroad

By train we first go to Kalka (4 hours) and then continue by narrow-gauge railroad through hundreds of tunnels and over numerous bridges to Shimla (5 hours). Alternatively, we can arrange a transfer from Kalka by vehicle (3 hours). Arrived in Shimla we enjoy the atmosphere of the colonial city in the mountains during a dinner together. (Overnight stay at the hotel) F/-/A

Day 3 Shimla to Narkanda (2708 m) 70 km, 900 hm

Today our bike tour starts. Narkanda is a popular winter sports resort and a must for every visitor of Shimlas in summer. Dense forest, apple orchards and potato fields are on the way. We have a unique view of the snow-capped mountains and can enjoy the silence of the mountains. Partly we are on the highway, partly on small side roads. (Overnight stay at the hotel) F/M/A

Day 4 Narkanda to Rampur (1020 m), 60 km, 600 hm

We start with a terrific descent on a small village road from Narkanda down to the Sutley valley for about 40 km, losing over 1700 meters of altitude. At the bottom, at the mighty Satluj, we are at an altitude of almost 1000 m and it is getting quite warm. Good that the next kilometers are relatively flat to Rampur, the former winter capital of the former kingdom. Here we enjoy the tranquility of the former royal palace, which is now a heritage hotel. (Overnight stay in hotel (F/M/A

Day 5 Rampur to Sarahan (2100 m), 50 km, 1500 hm

A short but canyoning route on small roads in the middle of the green Himalayan mountains to Sarahan. Sarahan is dominated by the mighty Shrikhand Mahadev peak (5777 m). It was the ancient summer capital of Rampur Bushehr, one of the largest kingdoms in the mountains of Shimla. We can visit the Bhimkali Temple with its 6 silver gates. It consists of a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist elements and is world famous. In addition, Sarahan offers magnificent views and a pleasant climate (overnight stay in guesthouse) F/M/A

Day 6 Sarahan to Kalpa (2800 m), 85 km, 1600 hm

Today we have a long but spectacular day ahead of us on the saddle. First we enjoy the 17 km long descent from Sarahan to the highway. Even though we are on the highway most of the time today, this does not detract from the beauty of the route. It goes along cliffs, through rock tunnels and the landscape changes rapidly. About 10 km before Kalpa we take a small side road and take the climb to the small mountain village of Kalpa, above Rekong Peos. Rekong Peo is the capital of Kinnaur. Here we get our official permission to continue into the Spiti valley near the Chinese border.

Kalpa is a good place to buy scarves and the typical Kinnaur caps. (Overnight stay in the inn) F/M/A

Day 7 Kalpa to Puh (2662 m) 75 km, 1300 hm

The dirt elevated road from Kalpa to Spillow and then on to the highway to Puh for 30 km is spectacular. Puh is a beautiful 5000 inhabitants village with apple, apricot and almond trees. It is the first village that belongs to the “Higher” Kinnaur region and during today’s tour we notice a strong change in the landscape. While it was relatively green until Rekong Peo, the area is now much drier, with steep rocky slopes and high snow-capped mountains in the background. For the last 5 km up to Puh we leave the highway again. Inscriptions suggest that Puh was an important trading center in the 11th century. There is an ancient temple dedicated to the Buddha and attributed to the great Buddhist translator Rinchen Zangpo. In addition, the pre-Buddhist deity Dabla is venerated here. It is manifested by a post on which a god image with yak hair and colorful fabrics hang high up. we are invited to dinner with a family friend who provides us with very special local food. (Overnight stay at the hotel) F/M/A

Day 8 Puh to Nako (3662 m) 42 km, 1400 hm

Today we leave the Sutlaj river and follow the river Spiti. Nako, located at an altitude of 3662 m in the Hingrang valley, is the largest village in the area. Here yaks, horses and donkeys graze peacefully next to each other. There will be a long 20 km ascent up to Nako. But after mastering the effort, we can enjoy the impressive village. Here there is not only a lake, but also an old monastery and a traditional village that invites you to explore. (Overnight stay in the inn) F/M/A

Day 9 Nako to Tabo (3050 m) 65 km, 850 hm

On the right side of the spiti river is the ancient village of Tabo, flanked by high mountains on both sides. Here you will find one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries: more than a thousand years old, the Tabo Gompa has exquisite frescoes and stucco statues. After today’s very relaxed ride (it goes only a few meters uphill very leisurely, but over 1700 m downhill) we visit the monastery and can walk through the apple orchards. Today we have reached the Spiti Valley. (Overnight stay in the inn) F/M/A

Day 10 Tabo to Dhankar (3900 m) and further Kaza (3700 m) 60 km, 1200 hm

In the early morning we can sit with the monks in the new monastery and see them studying. Then we will continue on our way. For a short distance we go on the “main road” in the direction of Kaza, then drive up on a branch to the village of Dhankar. Dhankar is the ancient capital of the Spiti king. The incredibly beautiful monastery is located between high rocks. After a visit, we continue on a small jeep runway to the tranquil village of Lalung. From here it goes downhill and then flat on to the district capital Kaza.

In Kaza there is little more than a bus station and a market where people from the surrounding villages do their shopping. We take the opportunity to stay in a beautiful and country-type hotel. (Overnight stay in the inn) F/M/-

Day 11 Kaza Rest day or bike ride to the villages of Langza (4400 m) and Comic (4500 m), 45, approx 1100 hm

Today there is the possibility to take a beautiful tour through the wonderful mountain world of the Spitital and visit some small villages on the way. The course can be extended as far as desired. If you prefer to take a rest day, you can also visit the villages by jeep. (Overnight stay in the inn) F/ -/-

Day 12 Kaza to Kibber (4200 m) and further to Losar (4000 m) 65 km, 1350 hm

For the ascent to Kibber we climb 700 meters of altitude – not so easy at these heights! First we go to ki monastery for 12. The Ki Gompa is the largest monastery in Spiti and participating in the daily morning prayer is something very special! You should also try the traditional butter tea! Then we continue to Kibber. Kibber was for a long time the highest permanently inhabited village, which had electricity and was connected by road. Now it gets adventurous: you have to cross a gorge to the next village. Luckily no longer in the bucket bridge, but over a niegelnagel new bridge – the highest in Asia! Then we continue on a road off the main road to Losar (mostly downhill), the last inhabited place in Spiti. It is inhabited by 242 people, there are 4 shops, a school, a health center and even a post office! (Overnight stay in the inn) F/M/A

Day 13 Loser to Chandra Valley Lake (4270 m) via Kunzum Pass (4551 m) 46 km, 1000 hm

Today we climb the Kunzum Pass (4551 m) and leave the Spiti valley. We enjoy the descent down the dirt road into the Lahaul valley and then turn to Chandratal Lake. “Chandra” means moon and “valley” lake. The beautiful lake has the shape of a crescent moon. today we live in a luxury camp. The tents have small bathrooms and proper beds. (Overnight in the camp) F/M/A

Day 14 Chandra valley lake to Chatru (3500 m) 45 km, 250 hm

Today is a challenge for us and the bike. It goes along the raging Chandra River. The unforefested road is crossed by streams and there is a lot of loose rock! We fight our way through the dry mountain desert and enjoy the beautiful view of the Shigri Glacier, the largest in the area. There is not a single village along the entire route, only some tented accommodations will pass us. Chatru itself is also a tent city. Today it goes almost exclusively downhill. (Overnight in a tent) F/M/A

Day 15 Chatru to Manali (2000 m) 70 km, 1500 hm

Today we go up the Rothang Pass (3950 m), the gateway to the Kullu valley. We enjoy the view of the green valley and set off for the fast descent down to Manali. (Overnight stay at the hotel) F/M/-

Day 16 Closed day in Manali, evening return trip to Delhi

We enjoy Manali, rest from the tour and visit some sights. In the evening we take the bus back to Delhi (14 hours). (Overnight on the Volvo Bus) F/-/-

Day 17 Arrival in Delhi/Departure home

Early in the morning we reach Delhi. We can use the day for a little more sightseeing or even for a trip to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. In the evening/night you will be taken to the airport. (Overnight stay at the hotel, if necessary) F/-/-

Total: ca 900 km, ca 14550 hm, max altitude 4700 m

Included Services

  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • Train ride or cab ride to Shimla
  • Volvo Bus Manali to Delhi
  • typical middle class hotels, guesthouses, homestays, 2 x in camp in tents
  • Meals as advertised
  • During the bike ride refreshments and water
  • Accompanying vehicle
  • German speaking tour guide from 6 participants
  • local guide and bicycle mechanic
  • Rental mountain bike
  • international flight
  • Visa
  • unmentioned meals and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Tips
  • Excursion Agra

Highlights

Prices and Dates

This tour is possible from June to September and can be combined with our bike trip over the Manali-Leh Highway at a special price! Please make a request.

Fixed date:

05.07.2024-21.07.2024

1 participant from 3200 € per person

2 participants from 2700 € per person

3-4 participants from 2400 € per person

from 5 participants 2200 € per person

300 € single room and one-man tent supplement

Travel info

Requirements

This tour can be quite tedious, as the roads are sometimes very poorly developed and it can only go over boulders for miles. A good stamina and fitness are therefore a prerequisite. Crossing the 2 passes and other ascents can also be exhausting due to the altitude and the resulting low air pressure. This tour is intended for cyclists who are interested in culture and the mountains. There is always an accompanying vehicle available, so that stages can also be shortened.

Information about our bike tours in the Himalayan region

1. guide and team

On all our bike tours we have at least one (for larger groups of 6 participants two) mountain bike guides/bicycle mechanics with us, who take care of our guests and their bicycles. For fixed tours or if desired, we also have a German-speaking travel companion with us.

Our guides all speak English.

We will also have an accompanying train with a driver. The accompanying train is used for luggage transport. In addition, if desired, you can also switch to the accompanying vehicle again and again.

2. Bicycle routes

The bike routes are designed for the skills of our guests and are all feasible for a sporty person with a good fitness level, unless otherwise mentioned. The daily routes are between five and eight hours long (with breaks) and an average increase of around 500-1500 metres of altitude is completed.

In between, rivers may have to be crossed or crossed. The roads range from well-developed asphalt roads to stony jeep slopes. The ascents are moderate, but long, with the long descents up to 50 km one should exercise caution. The roads are connecting roads and are also used by tourists in cars, motorcyclists and trucks. Traffic is moderate, but you should be careful. In India, the left-wing driving commandment applies, as well as the unwritten law “The greater wins”. So it would be better to give priority to all other road participants.

3. Bicycles

We provide you with our own trek or Scott bikes. These bicycles are rental bicycles. We have bicycles in the sizes “Small” and “Medium” and also some bikes with a large frame. All bikes have hydraulic brakes and nine-fold switchgear. Otherwise, you can of course also use your own bike. Helmets are mandatory.

4. Altitude and altitude sickness

This is a very important topic that should not be underestimated, especially during our bike tours in the Indian Himalayas. At altitudes above 3500 m, our body has to slowly get used to the low air pressure, which also causes less oxygen to enter our lungs. The first signs of altitude sickness are headaches, which are accompanied by dizziness, nausea, insomnia and loss of appetite. It becomes problematic when water accumulates in the lungs and brain and edema occurs. Then only the immediate descent to lower altitudes will help. In order to prepare for the heights on our tours, we will either spend a few nights at high altitudes before the tour or slowly climb up during the tour to acclimatize. If we notice that there are problems with our guests (each person is otherwise able to acclimatize, regardless of age, gender and fitness level), either the entire tour group or the participant returns with a team member. In addition, it makes sense to take an emergency drug for altitude sickness. For this, it is best to get advice from the pharmacy or the travel doctor. We will also have oxygen with us.

5. Luggage

Each tour participant is responsible for taking personal clothes and items with him. We are travelling with escort vehicles and the luggage will be transported with it. A small day backpack for the camera and something to cover can make sense. The escort vehicle will always be close to us.

Click here for the packing list for our bike tours in the Himalayas.

6. Meals

During the tour, breakfast and lunch are offered during the cycling days on the go. Refreshments, snacks and water will also be available during the bike tour. Of course, we will mainly enjoy the local cuisine, with noodle soups, momos, roast noodles and rice, as well as curries mainly -Indo-Tibetan and Indian. We have a water filter with us. For dinner we stop in restaurants or order in our inns on our own account (meal about 2-5 €). Some dinners will also be included (1st evening, Puh, in the tented accommodations).

Tofu Thentuk in Vaschsisht, a delicious Tibetan noodle soup

7. Accommodations

Depending on the location, we will be accommodated in hotel, inns, tents or homestays. All units are clean and have a bathroom (partly shared bathroom) with hot water. Since we are travelling in very remote regions, there may be power outages from time to time. A power bank for charging electronic devices is recommended, as well as a headlamp. Twice we will stay in tented accommodation.

This is once a luxury camp with attached bathrooms in the tent and once simple tents. It is recommended to take a sleeping bag or a sleeping bag inlet with you.

For the most part, there will be neither a telephone network nor Wi-Fi on the way.

8. Weather

In the Himalayas, temperatures fluctuate widely. While it can get warm up to 25° C during the day and the sun is not only warming but also very intense (sun protection is a must), it can also cool down significantly below the minus straight at night, especially in the months end of September and October, as well as in June. There may also be weather changes with snow on the passes. Sometimes it can also get very windy.

Great Himalayan Bicycle Trip through the Valleys Spiti and Kinnaur

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