Ride six spectacular passes through the Indian Himalaya, unparalleled for sheer scale and mountain beauty.
Closed to the world for centuries, Ladakh lies high in an almost inaccessible region of the western Himalaya, close to the borders of China and Tibet.
This unique region, home to traditional Tibetan Buddhism, is the scene for one of cycling's epic journeys, crossing two of the highest passes in the world! Over the course of the ride the scenery changes from verdant deodar forests and flower-filled valleys to barren lunar landscapes with towering peaks and hanging glaciers.
As well as the spectacular surroundings, the rich culture of the Ladakhis is also a highlight and as our route weaves its way across the Himalaya we can see monasteries majestically perched on high spurs, and cycle off to explore little-visited areas, enjoying the tranquility and beauty of a genuinely untouched land.
Running the trip in this direction entails more climbing overall, but offers the best opportunity to fully acclimatise and cycle the full route.
What makes this trip responsible?
We ask all our clients to use environmentally sound practices whilst in Ladakh. Boiled drinking water is provided whilst camping and we advise to bring purification tablets/liquid for any non-boiled water. In 2 months along the Markha Valley trekking route 35,000 plastic bottles are bought and left behind by trekkers. We hope in the future, safe drinking water can be provided throughout to avoid any more plastic waste.
Burnable rubbish is burnt on trek and each client should take a bag to collect any non-burnable rubbish and take back to Delhi. Out of respect for the country we ask you to dress conservatively - no sleeveless tops. Although shorts are acceptable for cycling they should be very modest and reach the knees and for visiting temples or monasteries we ask you to carry something to cover your legs.
Exodus Ladakh projects
Exodus started supporting this area in the Markha Valley in 2007, after the heavy rains in 2006 caused flooding throughout Ladakh, which destroyed many houses and caused loss of life and livelihood to many families. We rebuilt two houses and provided wire for the school in Hankar so they could build themselves a flood barrier. When Ladakh was hit by worse flash floods and mudslides in 2010, we set up a flood relief appeal to help support these communities.
Since 2011 we have been working with the Youth Association for Conservation and Development in the Hemis High Altitude National Park (YAFCAD) and a Niyamdru Dro, a French NGO, to provide the people of the Markha Valley with safe drinking water which they can sell to foreign trekkers instead of mineral water. We aim to sponsor as many water filters as possible and ask those villages without to boil water rather than selling bottled mineral water. The plan is eventually to ban the sale of plastic mineral water bottles along the popular Markha Valley trekking route.
Please see our project page for more information.
Cyclist on Manali to Leh road