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Travel number: 27
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Himalayan Bike Tour Through the Valleys of Spiti and Kinnaur

17 days Bicycle Tours / MTB

Reiseverlaufskarte zu Himalayan Bike Tour Through the Valleys of Spiti and Kinnaur

Number of participants: from 1 person

Requirements: 7 von 10

This tour can be quite tedious, as the roads are sometimes very poorly developed and it can go only 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.

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 we also have  loose gravel.

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.

Day 1 Arrival in Delhi, India from home and onward flight to Shimla

After arriving in Delhi, we continue in the early morning with the one-hour flight to Shimla. If the flight times are far apart, we provide a hotel room near the airport.

Upon arrival in Shimla, we head to the hotel. Here we can rest a little, later test our rental bikes and explore the mountain town of Shimla. At a dinner together we get to know the whole team. (Overnight stay at the hotel) – / – / D

Day 2 Shimla to Narkanda (2708 m) 70 km, 1000 m elevation gain

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. But before it gets really quiet, we set out on the ascent to Kufri (2600 m). Some vehicles of Indian tourists will also be on the road here. (Overnight stay at the hotel) B / L / –

Day 3 Narkanda to Sarahan (2100 m) 100 km, 1200 m elevation gain

We start with a magnificent descent from Narkanda down into the Sutley valley for 37 km and lose over 1700 meters of altitude. Down, at the mighty Satluj, we are at almost 1000 m altitude and it gets a little warmer. Good that the 45 km long route to Jeori is relatively flat, with only a little ascent. We always follow the road along the mighty Sutley River to Jeori (1300 m). The route is idyllic with orchards, small villages and green fields. From Jeori it goes for 17 km quite steep uphill to the beautiful mountain village Sarahan. In the heat, not such an easy challenge. But now that we are officially leaving the main route, for a small sledging, we are also welcome to switch to the accompanying vehicle. Sarahan is dominated by the Shrikhand Mahadev summit (5777 m). It was the ancient capital of Rampur Bushehr, one of the largest empires 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 the inn) B / L / –

Day 4 Sarahan to Sangla (2600 m) 83 km, 1300 m

Today we ride to one of the most beautiful Himalayan valleys- The Sangla Valley. Sangla means “pass of light”  and we are actually very close to the Tibetan border. The Baspa River flows through the valley. Up to the valley entrance we have a relatively cozy ride in front of us. First it goes downhill from Sarahan back to the main road, from there on one of the most impressive sections partly slightly uphill, partly slightly downhill. Here the road is carved out of the rock far above the Satluj River! As soon as we turn into the Sangla valley, a 20 km ascent with 800 meters of altitude awaits us. (Overnight stay in the inn) B / L / –

Day 5 Sangla to Chitkul (3450 m) Excursion and back 47 km, 850 m elevation gain

Today is a day to explore the beautiful Sangla Valley with a trip to the last village of the valley: Chitkul at 3450 m. (overnight in the inn) B / L / –

Day 6 Sangla to Rekong Peo (2290 m) to Kalpa (2800 m) 48 km 1050 m

First we return for almost 20 km from the Sangla valley, where we come back on our main route through the Satluj valley. For about 10 km we now ride relatively flat, passing hydroelectric power plant projects and small villages until we come up to the road to Rekong Peo and Kalpa. A 17 km long ascent with about 900 meters of altitude awaits us. Rekong Peo is the capital of Kinnaur. Here we get our official permission to continue into the Spiti valley near the Chinese border.

It is a long ascent up to the beautiful idyllic Kalpa. Kalpa is a good place for buying scarves and the typical Kinnauri hats. (Overnight stay in the inn) B / L / –

Day 7 Kalpa to Pooh (2662 m) 68 km, 800 m elevation gain

Pooh 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. The road is being extended, but still runs steeply along the abyss of the Sutlej. The route goes uphill relatively moderately. Only the last 3 km climb to Pooh is a bit steeper.
Inscriptions suggest that Pooh 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. Today we stay with a family of friends, who provide us with very special local food. (Overnight at Homestay) B / L / D

Day 8 Pooh to Nako (3662 m) 42 km, 1100 m elevation gain

Today we leave the Satluj river and follow the river Spiti. Nako, located at an altitude of 3662 m in the hangrang 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) B / L / –

Day 9 Nako to Tabo (3050 m) 50 km, 300 m elevation gain

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) B / L / –

Day 10 Tabo to Dhankar (3900 m) and on to Lalung (4100 m) and Kaza (3700 m) 82 km, 1200 m elevation gain

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) B / L / –

Day 11 Kaza Rest day or bike tour to the villages Langza (4400 m) and Comic (4500 m), 50 km to 80 km, approx. 1100 m

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

Day 12 Kaza to Kibber (4200 m) and on to Losar (4000 m) 70 km, 1000 m elevation gain

For the ascent to Kibber we climb 700 meters of altitude – not so easy at these heights! First we go to ki monastery . 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) B / L / –

Day 13 Loser to Chandra Valley Lake (4270 m) over Kunzum Pass (4551 m) 44 km, 900 m elevation gain

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 Tal is 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) B / L / D

Day 14 Chandra Valley Lake to Chatru (3500 m) 46 km, 150 m elevation gain

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) B / L / D

Day 15 Chatru to Manali (2000 m) 70 km, 1100 m elevation gain

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) B / – / –

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) B / – / –

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) B / – / –

Total: approx. 900 km, approx. 13050 m, max altitude 4700 m

included services:

  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • 1 domestic Delhi-Shimla flight (alternatively in minibus)
  • Volvo Bus Manali to Delhi
  • typical middle class hotels, inns, homestays with breakfast, 2 x in tented accommodation  with full catering
  • During the bike tour lunch, refreshments and water
  • Accompanying vehicle
  • Sightseeing tour in Delhi
  • local guide and bicycle mechanic
  • Rental mountain bike (Trek / Scott)

not included:

  • international flight
  • Visa 
  • unmentioned meals and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Tips
  • Excursion Agra

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:

25.06.2021-11.07.2021

1 participant from 3100 € per person

2 participants from 2600 € per person

3-4 participants from 2300 € per person

from 5 participants 2100 € per person

300 euros single room and one-man tent surcharge

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.

Our all guides speak English.

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

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 average of around 500-1500 meters of altitude is completed.

In between, rivers may have to be crossed . The roads range from well-developed tarmac 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-speed gear. 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 also have oxygen with us.

5. Luggage

Each tour participant is responsible for taking personal clothes and items with him. We are traveling 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, Pooh, in the tented accommodations).

7. Accommodations

Depending on the location, we will be accommodated in hotel, inns, tents or home-stays. All units are clean and have a bathroom (partly shared bathroom) with hot water. Since we are traveling 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  one  is a luxury camp with attached bathrooms .There will be shared bathroom in the simple tents. It is recommended to take a sleeping bag 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.