Zanskar Cycle Tour

Trip Details

  • Trip Type: Cycling

  • Region: Lahaul, Zanskar and Kargil

  • Grade: Moderately Challenging

  • Duration: 12 days

  • Max Altitude: 5091m

  • Batch Dates: Custom Trips Only July - Mid Sept

Zanskar Cycle Tour Overview

A 12 day trip that takes you from Manali, over the Rohtang Pass and into the Lahaul valley along the Chandra river and onward over the Shingo La Pass to reach the mythical Kingdom of Zanskar and onward to Kargil. The route is a mix of tarmac and rough un-metalled roads with beautiful views throughout. Biking through some of the remotest parts of Himachal and Ladakh, this trip provides a myriad of experiences.  Zanskar is a valley from another time. The remoteness of the region allows few modern amenities . Ancient monasteries dot the brown valleys, interspersed with green villages - it's the  High Himalayas at their best. We end the trip in well connected Kargil town from where you can choose to either make your way to Srinagar or Leh. 

Trip Cost

This is a custom departure tour and so please write to us for prices and more info on this trek. 


Zanskar Cycle Tour Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Manali

The participants arrive in Manali. Take the day to get acclimatised with your bike and for last minute preparations.


Day 02: Manali - Marhi (3400m)

Distance: 50km

Duration:  5-7 hours

The journey starts from the smooth roads of Manali. We take a series of hairpin bends to leave the Pine and Deodar forests surrounding Manali, cycle through the villages of Palchan, Kothi and Gulaba to reach the alpine meadows at Marhi - the base of the Rohtang Pass. Camp here for the night.


Day 03: Marhi - Sissu (3200m)

Distance: 62 km

We start the day with a steep climb to the top of Rohtang Pass at nearly 4000m. The descent from the pass is the beginning of the mix of metalled and unmetalled roads. We follow the Chandra river here to reach the camping grounds at Sissu.


Day 04: Sissu - Jispa (3300m)

Distance: 50km
Duration:  6-7 hours

Today we cycle through Keylong - the biggest city in Lahaul and Tandi - the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers to form Chandrabhaga river which later becomes the Chenab. The gradient is low most of the day today. Camp at Jispa on the banks of the river.


Day 05: Jispa -Zanskar Sumdo (3600m)

Distance: 42 km
Duration:  7-8 hours

We cycle today on mostly flat terrain until we reach Darcha. We leave the main Manali Leh Highway to make our way to Zanskar Sumdo on a gradually ascending trail.


Day 06: Zanskar Sumdo - Shingo La (5091m) - Lakhang(4500m)

Distance: 30km
Duration:  5-6 hours

Pass day today. We start early today and make our way on unmetalled roads with sparse vegetation. The ascent is steep but the view from the pass is spectacular. Make our way down to reach Lakhang by the evening.


Day 07: Lakhang - Purne  (3700m)

Distance: 40 km
Duration: 4-5 hours

Make our way today to the first Zanskari villages we see enroute. We pass Gumburonjon (5900m), a huge rock face revered by the locals. Pass Kargiakh, Kuru and Testa village to camp at Purne at the riverside.


Day 08: Purne - Phuktal - Purne 

We take a side trip today to the picturesque Phuktal Gompa (3850m), one of the most spectacular sights in Zanskar. This monastery dates back to the early 12th century and is built in a cave. Return to camp at Purne.


Day 09:Purne - Padum (3000m)

Distance: 50km

Duration:  5-6 hours

We leave behind the isolation and make our way to the bigger Zanskari villages of Ichar and Mune to reach the capital of the erstwhile Zanskar kingdom - Padum. Padum is a small town now with shops and cafes and most modern amenities.


Day 10: Padum - Lalung Nala (2400m)

Distance: 60km

Duration:  6-7 hours

We leave Padum to cycle to the base of the Pensi La. The road, although wide, can be littered with big potholes. Even though this is the only fully motorable road that connects Zanskar to the rest of the world, cars on the route are infrequent. We camp next to the road for the night.


Day 11: Lalung Nala - Tangol (2600m)

Distance: 90km

Covering a larger distance today. We start the day with the uphill climb to Pensi La and cycle down to the valley floor of the Suru River. A very scenic ride takes us through Rangdum and Parkachik villages and onward to Tangol. 


Day 12: Tangol - Kargil (2400m)

Distance: 75km

Duration:  6-7 hours

Our Last day of cycling today. Cycle through Balti settlements and Panikhar town to reach Kargil town by the evening. Trip Ends!


  1. Camping Tents, Kitchen tents, Sleeping bags (Holofill) and Carry mats.
  2. Nutritious, high-calorie, vegetarian food.
  3. Guide, cook and camp helpers.
  4. Logistics Vehicle like tempo traveller to carry all our equipment.
  5. Participants are not expected to carry any loads other than your personal knapsack containing a water bottle, camera and trail layers.
  6. Two people will be accommodated in one tent.
  7. Hotel accommodations in Manali and Padum in a budget hotel/ guesthouse
  1. All expenses of personal nature like drinks, tips, telephone calls, mineral water etc.
  2. Food in Manali and Kargil
  3. Medical and evacuation expenses, we strongly recommend purchasing a suitable insurance cover.
  4. Mountain bike. (You could get your own cycles or could also rent from us.)
  5. Transport from Kargil onward on Day 12


- Good quality waterproof jacket

- Waterproof trousers

- Balaclava (thick fleece)

- Sun hat

- Cycle mitts

- Warm gloves - mountaineering gloves (waterproof outer, fleece inner) are good.

- Mid-weight fleece top

- Cycling tights (looser, "trackster" fit rather skin-tight lycra),

- Shorts

- Long sleeved shirt

- Travel trousers

- 2 wicking tee-shirts (synthetic or merino wool)

- Cotton tee-shirt for around town

- Long sleeved thermal top

- Thermal long johns

- 2-3 pairs underwear

- 2-3 pairs of standard socks

- 1 pair warm sock


- Cycling shoes, e.g. SPD's, if applicable (bring spare cleats)

- Trekking shoes and climbing shoes

- Flip-flops, Crocs or Sandals to wear around camp.


- Main bag - soft shell duffle bag to be kept in the logistics vehicle. 
- Day Pack 15 - 20 lts - You will use this to carry your camera, water bottle, Trail layers, trail food etc.


- A bike helmet

- Dark glasses (the sun is very strong),

- Camera

- A couple of spare passport photos photocopies of key documents. e.g., passport (data and visa pages),

- travel insurance policy

- Toiletries - Sunscreen SPF 40+, Moisturizer, Lip balm, Soap, Toilet paper

- Repair Kit (needle and thread).

- Headlamp/ Torch.

- Water Bottle- Ideally keep two bottles 1 litre each.

- Plastic Packing covers.