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Spiti ‘Little Tibet’ Adventure

IND - Spiti 1Ride with us on our new Himalayan adventure, a guided motorcycle tour through the beautiful mountain landscapes of Spiti, on our Royal Enfield motorcycles.

Spiti, also known as ‘Little Tibet’, is a mountainous region in northern India known for its stark high-mountain beauty and its culture of Tibetan Buddhism. Like Ladakh, Spiti is a land of light and rock – as a high-altitude desert, what Spiti lacks in foliage it more than makes up for in coloured rock formations, sky and changing light. A journey through Spiti affords the opportunity to see Tibetan Buddhist culture unmarred, up close and personal in way that is possible on few other places on earth.

Spiti was long part of Western Tibet and was ceded along with Zanskar to one of the three sons of Ladakh’s kings in the 10th or 11th century. From this time it maintained a semi-autonomous rule under Ladakh and the over-arching rubric of the great Guge kingdom of Tibet to which Ladakh swore fealty. In the chaos that followed the Ladakh-Tibetan war in the mid-17th century, Spiti enjoyed a brief independence before the Raja of Kullu invaded and established loose control, which was promptly lost when Ladakh’s kings fell to the Mongol-Tibetan armies in the 18th century and the entire region was divided by the surrounding powers. Spiti fell squarely under Ladakh’s rule until the Dogra Rajas of Kashmir conquered Ladakh and Spiti in 1947; neighbouring Kullu and Lahoul were absorbed under British Rule and Spiti followed two years later. Through all these changes in government, however, Spiti maintained its close cultural relations with both Ladakh and, up until the 1949 occupation by the Chinese, Tibet. To this day it is one of the best places on earth to see a pure and  living example of Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture.

A quick note about our ‘camp’ accommodation. Here at H-C Travel we like to sleep comfortably, and we want to make sure you do too. So, 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!

Temperatures are subject to rapid changes on this tour, and while riding we must be prepared for these changes. 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 dates are designed for optimum weather conditions, however, mountains are mountains, and they don’t come any bigger than the Himalayas!

Day 1 ARRIVE MUSSOORIE. Welcome to India! After your overnight flight and change in Delhi, your guides will greet you upon arrival in Dehradun and transfer you by AC coach to our superb hotel in the hill station town of Mussoorie. With most connecting arrival times being around lunchtime, you should have some time to explore this historic town’s pleasant walking mall and take in some of the hillside views. We’ll have our Welcome Dinner and introductions to the staff this evening.

Day 2 MUSSOORIE - MORI (160 km). The ride from Mussoorie to Mori is the perfect way to begin our tour. We’ll first descend from our hilltop perch and then ride up the Yamuna River. The scenery is pleasant with lush Himalayan hills descending in layers to meet the turbid waters of the Yamuna. The road today is narrow but good, and the already light traffic continues to taper off the further we go. On reaching the small village of Naugoan we head north into pine covered hills, across a small pass (1900 m) and then descend to our night’s destination in Mori. The days’s road and scenery more than make up for the basic accommodations.

Day 3 MORI - SARAHAN (175 km). Today we ride good tarmac-roads, slowly winding down along the hilltops through idyllic villages. We’ll drop to the Sutlej river before ascending to the hilltop station of Sarahan – a small village nestling in tranquil surroundings with the 800 year old Bhima Kali temple taking prime position. Sarahan is set amongst lush forest and when the weather is clear, high peaks are visible in the distance. (1950 m) Shrikhand Sarahan Hotel.

Day 4 SARAHAN - SANGLA (100 km). A somewhat short distance, the route from Sarahan to Sangla is time consuming, challenging, but most of all fun! We drop once again into the Sutlej valley and ride bend after twisting bend, with some of the most amazing drop-offs ever, as the river relentlessly carves its way. From its confluence with the Baspa River we follow the Baspa up to Sangla and our night in a unique tented accommodation set among fields of flowers and surrounded by majestic mountains. Kinner Camp.

IND - Spiti 56Day 5 SANGLA - KALPA (110 km). Today’s journey on rugged roads make up for the distance as we make our way first to Chitkul, an outpost very near the border with Tibet. Hopefully we’ll have time for a cup of tea and chat with the border guards before continuing on to views of Kinnaur Kailash (over 6050 m) from Kalpa.(2759 m) Kinner Villa Hotel.

Day 6 KALPA - NAKO (120 km). Today we’ll rise early to continue our ascent along the River Sutlej. The landscape quickly changes from the verdant green of the Himalayan foothills to the high desert for which Spiti is so well known. Mountains of barren majesty become the mainstay, their colours vibrant with rich minerals and changing rapidly as the light and cloud constantly move. The road, the altitude and the sheer beauty make today’s ride one of the most challenging and rewarding. Our hotel tonight is surprisingly comfortable - a perfect place to contemplate the day’s accomplishment.

Day 7 NAKO - KAZA (130 km). Today’s ride affords us a later start - giving us time to explore the town of Tabo and its namesake monastery. A gentle ride takes us through achingly beautiful scenery to our evening’s destination of Kaza and spectacular views of the Ki Monastery. (3870 m) Sakya Abode Guesthouse

IND - Spiti 89Day 8 KAZA – KIBBER - KAZA (60 km). Today we’ll take a short day ride to the Komic and Ki monasteries. The Komic monastery is set above the valley in Kibber, one of the world’s highest human settlements. With luck we’ll reach the monastery in time to witness morning prayers and to have tea with the monks. Next we’ll visit the Ki Gompa, built like a fairy-tale castle up a central hill in the valley and surrounded by snow-capped peaks. After a good visit we’ll descend again to Kaza. Sakya Abode Guesthouse.

Day 9 KAZA – LOSAR (80 km). Today we’ll take a leisurely, winding ride up the Spiti River to our journey’s highest night, in the village of Losar. Losar is a typical Tibetan village and perfectly placed for tomorrow’s crossing of Kunzum La. (3890 m) Nomad Cottage Guesthouse.

Day 10 LOSAR - MANALI (190 km). We’ll rise early again for a long day of two passes and a final descent into Manali. Dirt roads will lead us to our ascent of Kunzum La - the highest pass we’ll cross on the journey. Once over the pass, we have a good, long stretch of dirt road through remote terrain as we near the Lahaul Valley, a region known for its heavy winter snows, its idyllic mountain beauty, and its world-famous seed-stock potatoes. We’ll hit the main road to Leh, but instead of heading into Lahaul and towards Ladakh, we’ll climb switchback after switchback of sometimes smooth, sometimes broken tarmac up to Rohtang La itself. This pass may be smaller than Kunzum, but it is at least as impressive with views and terrain that have often been compared to the alps. A gorgeous descent takes us once again into lush terrain and our evening’s sanctuary in Manali. (1800 m) Negis Mayflower Hotel.

Day 11 MANALI (free day). A rest day in Manali to explore the bustling markets, fantastic restaurants, temples and Tibetan refugee camps. There are even hot springs in the area for the more adventurous.

Day 12 MANALI - SHIMLA (250 km). Since the beginning of time the Kullu Valley has been known as the ‘Valley of the Gods’. Today we enjoy one of the most spectacular days of motorcycle touring anywhere in the world as we ride the cliff hanging highway along almost vertical walls of jungle and the cascading waterfalls of the Beas river valley. An all-too-short ride brings us to the Visco Resort where we’ll lunch on some of the best Indian cuisine yet to grace the planet. Another brief afternoon ride takes us on to Shimla. Eastbourne Hotel.

IND - Spiti 14Day 13 SHIMLA - DEHRADUN (230 km). The ride from Shimla to Dehradun is an idyllic final day’s ride through the foothills of the Himalayas. The roads are generally well-paved and curvy and the views are a splendid mix of the occasional tea plantation, village or rugged hillside. Conditions permitting we’ll arrive in Dehradun by mid-afternoon with enough time to check in, freshen up and explore this bustling town before our Farewell Dinner

Day 14 – DEPART DEHRADUN. The tour officially ends with checkout this morning - we’ll transfer you to Dehradun’s airport for your connecting flights home, or if you’ve opted to travel by other means we’ll assist with those connections as well. Or, of course, you’re welcome to make your way onward throughout the great subcontinent and we’ll be happy to help with your plans. Your connecting flights will arrive in the UK the next day.

Total distance    c. 1500 km

Dates - Please enquire

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Tour price includes: 12 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 and local guides; tours/guides listed; airport transfers; all entrance fees to monuments / parks / reserves; 13 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 High Roads 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.

Visits to wildlife reserves can also be arranged.

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