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Bear’s Himalayan Adventure

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IND - Bear1Join the World’s most famous Route 66 tour guide and mountain man Gary ‘Bear’ Fleshman as he swaps his Harley-Davidson saddle and the relatively flat roads of his working life in the USA and small mountains of his home (a mere 4,000 m or so) for a Royal Enfield 500 EFI and the ultimate bike tour – to the World’s highest motorable pass.

The scenery is truly spectacular, the riding will enthrall you, the culture will fascinate you, and the whole experience almost beyond description.

As part of H-C Travel’s ‘18 years in India’ celebrations (we’ve come of age!), we’re offering existing customers a unique opportunity to ride a totally new route through the Himalayas. Alam and his crew will run the tour as usual, with our celebrity guest guide Bear trying to keep up. I do hope you’ll join us for this unusual experience!IND - Bear 2

Literally, 'Land of many passes', Ladakh is situated in the northernmost part of India, bordering the Karakoram Range and Tibet, and is surely one of the last unspoiled ultimate destinations. Part of the ancient Silk Route to the Orient, closed to outsiders until 1974, Ladakh also contains the world's highest motorable pass, Khardung-La (5605m, or 18,380 ft). Our tour crosses the Tibetan Plateau and follows the Indus River Valley. We cross several major passes en route, including the world's highest and second highest, traversing three distinct Himalayan ranges. The roads are mainly tarmac, often with little traffic, and sometimes a real feat of engineering – blind bends, vertiginous drops and a pun at every turn courtesy of someone at the Border Road Organisation with a sense of humour – ‘Be easy on my curves’ and ‘Divorce speed’ being but two examples.

We like to sleep comfortably, and we want to make sure you do too. So, our hotels and guesthouses are surprisingly good, clean, spacious and comfortable. Our camps provide en-suite tents with beds, and you dine in the dining tent, with waiter service. We even offer room service in some. And all at about 5000 m altitude!

Temperatures are subject to rapid changes on this tour, and the climate will vary. While riding we must be prepared for these changes. On the high passes and Tibetan Plateau we can expect anything from warm sunny days to rain, sleet or snow, with nights cool to cold but rarely reaching freezing point. Our tour date is designed for optimum weather conditions, but mountains are mountains, and they don’t come any bigger than the Himalayas!


  • World’s highest motorable pass, Khardung-La
  • Lamayuru monastery
  • The hanger loops (112 consecutive hairpins, each one carefully numbered!)
  • Spectacular mountain lakes
  • Nubra Valley
  • 15 (more) days with Bear!


Day 1 ARRIVE DELHI. We’ll meet you at New Delhi International Airport and transfer you to one of the new and modern nearby airport hotels in Gurgaon for a brief rest before tomorrow’s early morning flight to Leh. Ibis Hotel.

Day 2 DELHI – LEH. We rise very early to catch our breathtaking 90-minute flight across the Greater Himalayas to Leh - possibly the most exciting mountain flight there is, as the Himalayan glaciers unfold beneath us. We then transfer to our attractive garden hotel in Leh's old town. The rest of the day is free for you to acclimatize to Leh’s significant altitude (3,550 m) by sipping tea in the garden or exploring the town. You’ll appreciate this opportunity to get used to the thin mountain air in a few days’ time. Welcome dinner in one of Leh’s many fantastic local restaurants. Oriental Hotel.

IND - Bear 34Day 3 LEH (50 km). After an introductory meeting, our warm-up ride takes us to two of the Ladakh’s most famous monasteries, Shay and Tikse. If our timing is right, we’ll witness daily chants and ceremonies, and possibly have tea with the monks. We’ll sup at a local restaurant. Oriental Hotel.

Day 4 LEH – LAMAYURU (130 km). Rested, we make for Lamayuru, a 10th century monastery at the head of the Indus Valley. The road sweeps alongside the Indus River, over barren desert, through mud-walled villages set in shocking green fields, to the base of an immense gorge. No way out but up, we start the climb on what’s known as the ‘hanger loops’ – 112 hairpins and, like a lunar dream, Lamayuru floats into view. (3,510 m) Monastery Hotel.

Day 5 LAMAYURU – LEH (130 km). After breakfast and a visit to the monastery we take a different route back to Leh that wends through a narrow gorge and along a chalky blue tributary of the Indus, before meeting up with the main road. We’ll stop off at Alchi – another monastery, humble on the outside, that hides some of the rarest Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings anywhere in Asia. We reach Leh and the comfort of our hotel in the early afternoon. Oriental Hotel

Day 6 LEH – TSOMORIRI LAKE (220 km). Today is a longer ride as we head toward the eastern end of the Indus Valley. The road out of Leh takes us past Thikse and Shay, and onward – the barren landscape is green only where it has been cultivated. We’ll hit the Mahe Bridge, pass the Inner Border Line check point, and begin a slow ascent to Namshang Pass at 5,050 m before finally glimpsing the azure jewel that is Tsomori Ri. We’re in the land of the nomads now! (4,500 m). Korzok Deluxe Tent Camp.

Day 7: TSOMORIRI (free day). We’ll forsake the bikes for a day and instead visit the Korzok monastery and visit the tents of the nomads that traditionally camp in the area in the summer. We’ll also have lots of time to relax and take in the splendour of the high desert landscape and the lake juxtaposed so perfectly against it. Both Tsomoriri and Tso Kar, which we visit tomorrow are home to much of the area’s wildlife, with occasional reports even of snow leopards and Tibetan wolves. Korzok Deluxe Tent Camp.

IND - Bear 89Day 8 TSOMORIRI LAKE – TSO KAR LAKE (90 km). Today’s road is dry, rough, and dusty, so take care! We’ll skirt the lake, pass sulphur springs and cross the 4,900 m Pologongka Pass toward Tso Kar Lake. The Tso Kar salt lake nature reserve protects several rare bird species including the black-necked crane and mammals such as the kiang (wild ass), Tibetan fox and reclusive wild mongoose. This stop is always a favorite along the route and we generally camp a few kilometres from the lake near the only fresh-water spring. (4,600 m) Tso Kar Tent Camp.

Day 9 TSOKAR – CHEMREY (90 km). We hit the main route back towards Leh and ride the world’s second-highest motorable pass, Taglang-La at 5,390 m. The leisurely ascent is usually punctuated by some broken road, but then followed by a stunning descent of nearly 2,000 m that culminates in the spectacularly beautiful Miru Gorge. We follow the Indus briefly and then head off to our camp. Chemrey Tent Camp (basic).

Day 10 CHEMREY – PANGONG LAKE (110 km). Today we leave Chemrey and climb the literally breathtaking Chan La Pass before descending down through the beautiful desolation of these mountains toward the azure jewel that is Pangong Lake. Tonight’s tent camp is basic but comfortable and affords majestic views across the waters toward Tibet’s beckoning shores. (4,300 m) Pangong Lake Tent Camp.

Day 11 PANGONG – NUBRA VALLEY (150 km). Time for Bactrian action today with two passes. We’ll hump first over Chan La and down the Shakti Valley, then up the new road leading over Wari La at 5,300 m. The views are spectacular, but don’t look away too long, for it’s a challenging ride down into the beautiful Nubra Valley. Here we’ll have the opportunity to explore the ancient Diskit Monastery before heading on to Hunder, tonight’s destination and a truly luxurious tent camp replete with a surprising, lush garden! (3,000 m) Hunder Luxury Tent Camp.

Day 12 NUBRA VALLEY (110 km). A late start and a leisurely ride down the sweeping Nubra Valley to the hot springs of Panamik. Time willing the brave and weary may take respite in the reputedly healing waters – others may stand agog in wonder of the brilliant colours that the springs have painted on the rock and soil. We’ll journey back to Hunder for an afternoon camel ride and dinner once again in the camp’s halcyon gardens. Hunder Luxury Tent Camp.

IND - Bear 1314Day 13 NUBRA – LEH (160 km). We’ve saved the best till last! Today we’ll tackle the world’s highest motorable pass, Khardung-La, at 5,605 m (18,380 ft), 2/3 the height of Everest and over twice the height of the highest pass in Europe. If we’re lucky we can sample some very delicious chai at the top, make our memories, take our photos, and then descend once again to what by now feels like the booming metropolis of Leh. We’ll make it there in plenty of time for some shopping or coffee before dinner in one of Leh’s terrific restaurants. Oriental Hotel.

Day 14 LEH – DELHI. We’ll rise at the crack of dawn in order to catch our early morning flight back to Delhi and check in to our city-centre hotel. Then it is free time – a sightseeing tour can be arranged, or for those desiring more unstructured exploration, New Delhi’s central shopping and restaurant district is minutes away by foot. We’ll have a Farewell Dinner at one of the delicious local restaurants. Park Hotel.

Day 15 DELHI. After breakfast this morning our tour ends, transfer to Gandhi International airport is in an A/C car or coach. Your return flight will arrive in the UK later today. If you’d like to stay and explore Delhi, or take a private tour to the Taj Mahal, we’ll be happy to help

Total distance   c. 1300 km

Bear’s Himalayan Adventure




Sgl rm suppl.

19 Jul - 02 Aug 2014




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Tour price includes: 11 days Royal Enfield 500 Bullet; petrol, oil and maintenance; 4WD air-conditioned jeep support vehicle, trailer and spares; group leader with medical kit/training; Enfield mechanic ; tours/guides listed; airport transfers; all entrance fees to monuments / parks / reserves; 14 nts hotel accommodation; all meals; soft drinks/bottled mineral water on tour; road maps/information packs.

Price excludes: Flights, travel insurance (both available from H-C Travel); US$500 refundable security/damage deposit, to pay locally in cash; visa (c. 90); alcoholic beverages; laundry service; tips / gratuities.

Taj Mahal Extension Tour We are able to offer tour to the Taj Mahal, which can be taken before or after our Ladies of Ladakh Adventure: 2 days, incl. 1 nt in 5* hotel in Agra, private car/driver/guide, entrance fees to Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, 295/person twinshare.

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| Rajasthan Palace Classic Tour | Himalayan High Roads Adventure | Ladies of Ladakh with Tiffany Coates |
| Spiti ‘Little Tibet’ Adventure | Kerala Mountains, Wildlife and Beaches Tour | Kerala Tea and Spices Tour |
| Bear’s Himalayan Adventure | India Home Page |