There is no dearth of reasons for you to ride across the terrain of Ladakh for it is such a heavenly experience…
Ladakh has over the years emerged as a benchmark of adventure, style and machoness especially if you are a new biker yearning to ride across the valiant passes of this cold desert. It is the land of snow clad high passes, freezing temperatures, rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes in the Kunlun mountain range that later extends to The Great Himalayas in the South-East. One of the reasons you opted for a thumping engine on two wheels was to ride straight upto to the highest motorable road in the world and earn yourself the coveted display picture next to Khardung La signage (‘La’ is pass in Ladakhi language). There is no dearth of reasons for you to take a bike trip to Ladakh for it evokes such heavenly feelings in the explorer in you.
One feeling that stands out is that of power and accomplishment, but with great power comes greater responsibility. Rightly so, Ladakh offers a difficult terrain to ride on and over the years, we have come across many bikers/motorcycle enthusiasts waiting for help in the middle of nowhere. Here are few pointers one must keep in mind to make sure that this road trip of a lifetime is complete without any glitches; from one biker to another:
NO ONE IS A BORN RIDER, plus it just sounds wrong. So hone it up before you start flaunting those tattoos on your bodies and stickers on your motorcycle.
PRACTICE MAKES ONE PERFECT: Just owning a bike and rider suit will not make you a biker, It is imperative for you to have a bare minimum of 10000 – 20000 kilometres of driving experience, including driving in the hills and off-roading. Get comfortable with your bike before you test the rough terrain of Ladakh.
KNOW YOUR MOTORCYCLE: Spend some time with your neighbourhood mechanic and ask him questions about your machine, the suspension, the cooling, the brake mechanism, spark plugs, oiling etc. No question is stupid, you never know which answer would help you when u are stuck on a pass in freezing cold with a over 150 kgs of metal and rubber.
CARRY SPARES: with improved accessibility and so many people travelling to Ladakh, you will not be stuck for long, However it is a decent idea to carry basic spares like a spark plugs, an extra tyre tube, accelerator / clutch wire, the tool kit etc. That might make you the knight in shining armour for someone else in need. You would also need to carry extra fuel for there are long stretches without a fuel pump. If you do not have a proper riding gear yet, wear multiple layers of clothing for it gets pretty cold post Sarchu.
SAFETY IS COOLER: you might look cooler riding your favourite motorcycle without a helmet, but remember it is not just hitting your head on the road during a mishap, Ladakh is famous for landslides and stones falling from above.
DO NOT BE TOO ADVENTUROUS (read crazy): Yes it is your first bike trip to Ladakh, you have crossed the Rohtang Pass traffic jam and the dust has just settled after Keylong, do not let your guard down, not on the curves, not on the straight roads. Keep your head straight and enjoy the ride at a decent speed.
RESPECT YOUR MOTORCYCLE: A lot of amateur riders will complain that it was the machine’s fault, but then again, machines do not have a mind, it is you who are responsible. Treat her well and you will have a fantastic trip, be rude to her and keep kicking the rear tyre for all she cares. Tip: be patient at tougher terrains and have a heart, you will pull through eventually.
LISTEN TO LOCALS: If you have been paying attention to all the points above, you have earned yourself a treat. Forget what he or she told you, spend some time with the local, be nice and if they find you genuine, they might tell you about that mysterious place that is still missing from 5612 itineraries that you read before the Ladakh roadtrip.
EXPLORE, AT YOUR OWN PACE: You do not have enough offs and there is so much to cover, you cannot explore the entire LADAKH in 8 or 10 or 16 days and that is not experiencing, it is called covering. So ask yourself what you want and let it soak in before you head to tick-off the next thing in your limited time itinerary. Come back next time and do more.
CHERISH IT& PRESERVE IT: Observe more than you show, listen more than you speak, this way the land of high-passes and zen might give you a lesson in life. Remember it is you who is yearning to go this is beautiful place ever since you first heard of it and try and preserve the sanctity of this place for the next time you visit it is still the same as you left it.
Whether you and your partner are young, wild and free or ageing gracefully, we’ve got these travel ideas for you to choose from and escape!
Travel ideas for you to escape from monotony with your beloved!
The idea of romance has always been subjective. Breakfast in a bed covered with rose petals might be romantic for you, but not as much for somebody else. Some partners share a passion for fitness, some for cooking, some for reading, adventure sports, or painting…it could be anything that the two like to do together and find it romantic. But we’re yet to meet a pair in love who doesn’t like to travel, to escape. Travel and romance are old friends, after all (think honeymoons!).
Now travelling too is a matter of choice. So whether you and your partner are young, wild and free or are ageing gracefully, we’ve got these travel ideas for you to choose from and escape!
GET LOST IN THE WOODS
Explorers at heart don’t mind getting lost, given a picturesque natural location and of course the company of your beloved one. So leave all your cares behind and head to a destination where you’re surrounded by trees and sheltered by the sky.
If rustic is your style then we’d suggest you go camping at a place like Nainidanda. You could go for a trek or simply just lie in a hammock and enjoy the company of trees. The hammock life at Nainidanda[/caption]
Then there’s Sher Bagh, a perfectly dreamy abode bordering Ranthambore National Park, if living in a forest is not your cup of tea. It features luxurious, hand-stitched canvas tents and just about everything elegantly romantic.
Aamod at Shoghi is another natural wonderland with accommodation offered in wooden cottages. Having been built on forest land, the resort has a gazillion pines and deodars running through. One of the most romantic thing to do, when here, is avail the benefit of their Jacuzzi on top of the hill.
That feeling of hitting the highway, leaving the mundane behind, with no particular destination in your mind, and the love of your life sitting right beside you is…inexplicable. Isn’t it?
If you’ve got little ones that you can’t leave behind, you might as well plan a short road trip; if driving from NCR, Fatehpur Sikri could be an ideal choice with Coral Tree Homestay at Agra being your home for the night. But if it’s just the two of you, we’d recommend you cross a couple of states and drive to a point where you feel like you can touch the horizon.
If heading towards Rajasthan or The Thar Desert, a pit stop at Alwarbagh by Aamod can be a good idea. And do you know of this nice little hamlet called Jibhi? It falls on the route that connects Shimla and Manali; if by any chance you find yourself on this way, you must stay at Latoda by the River in Jibhi. And if the peaks of Uttarakhand seem to be calling you, the Mountain Trail Resort near Mukhteshwar makes for a comfortable stay.
MINGLE WITH STRANGERS
…and get to know each other again! As unromantic as it may sound, this is a fantastic idea when you’re growing old together and feeling like romance is wilting away.
So if you’re two people who have literally been eating, sleeping and breathing together for quite a long time now, it’s time to take a break; a break from your daily routine and take a vacation with a bunch of strangers around. This will help you rediscover the friends in each other yet again. Stay in a hostel or go hiking with a bunch of passionate travelers and try not to discuss the monthly expenses.
La Vie hostel, a popular among travelers, can be found in Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, McLeodganj and Leh as well. Similarly, there are plenty of Zostels too.
GO OFF THE RADAR
Disappearing from the face of the Internet is what first world romance sounds like. Add to that an off-beat location and you’re all set for your private escape!
Get ready to say goodbye to the Wi-Fi for a few days. Because sometimes a digital detox is all you need to rekindle the romance between the two of you. Pick a beautiful private villa or a boutique homestay such as the ones offered by Mary Budden Estate in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary for a hassle-free vacation. What better way to spend some days of uninterrupted romance with your partner!
TOUCH NEW HEIGHTS
It’s time, don’t you think so?
Whether you choose a trek to Triund or unravel the highs of Rudraprayag, together, at least once in your lifetime, you ought to experience an adrenaline rush unlike any other. More adventurous options include paragliding and sky diving, of course. Talking of paragliding, what better place than Bir – the paragliding capital of India.
If you decide to travel to the village of Chopta in Rudraprayag, Pristine Eco Camp is the perfect place to rest your feet at. Those visiting Tirthan valley must experience staying at Raju Bharti’s Guesthouse; it’s simple and comfortable.
Wherever you wish to go, we hope you come back with pockets full of love and memories that’d last forever…
Distance from Delhi: 480 kms (Delhi – Ambala – Rupnagar – Una – Kangra – Dharamshala) When to visit: Snowfall in January, trekking in summer and monsoons from July to mid-September Top things to do: Bask in the culture of Mcleodganj, camping at Triund and other adventure activities
Dharamshala from Delhi is a little longer by road in comparison to other popular destinations in Himachal Pradesh, India. At the same time, it is an amazing road trip for the adventure seekers especially when covered on a motorcycle. Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh is surrounded by cedar forest on the edge of Himalayas.
McLeod Ganj is a tourist hotspot and popular among adventure seekers for the nature trails it can offer. With a beautiful blend of Tibetan and British influence in its by lanes, McLeod Ganj is a beautiful hill station known as Little Lhasa as well as the Headquarters of Tibetan Government in exile. If you have a soft corner for Tibetan culture, food, chilled out cafes and monasteries, McLeod Ganj is your spot.
Dharamshala offers a lot of options to get that adrenaline rush. An array of new spots are springing up that offer adventure activities like paragliding, nature-trails, soon-to be introduced bungee-jumping and zip-lining among others. Triund is a spectacular hilltop overlooking the magnificent Dhauladhar ranges at a stone’s throw distance. We were blessed with rainbows, clouds, snow covered peaks, sunshine and rain as we stepped on the ridge (watch video).
Camping at Triund is a great experience and is highly recommended. Watch the video for a glimpse of the great experience.
More than anything, Ladakh is a feeling; a feeling cumulative of several other feelings, and a feeling that everyone experiences for themselves…
More than anything, Ladakh is a feeling; a feeling cumulative of several other feelings, and a feeling that everyone experiences for themselves…
The awe-inspiring virtue of Ladakh captivates you to the extent that it seems impossible to encapsulate all its beauty in a definite number of words. And yet, we try…we try to express the allure of this cold desert in terms of the traits it possesses, in feelings it evokes.
Evident in the air of Ladakh, even more than Oxygen, is the essence of spirituality and a state of Zen. The fact that Ladakh was once a Buddhist kingdom is reason enough to explain the roots of this emotion; Buddhist pilgrims used to be the only kind of travelers back then. Guru Nanak also spent some time meditating in Ladakh. In the present times, with places like the Shanti Stupa, Diskit Monastery, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Jama Masjid and more dotting its landscape, Ladakh is enveloped with a sense of zen.
A land of supernatural landscapes, as they call it, Ladakh’s geography evokes a truly celestial feeling. For every second that you spend in Ladakh with your eyes wide open, you’ll witness physical beauty in one form or the other. From vast rocky terrains and snow capped peaks to vibrant and almost magical skies, every frame in Ladakh is surreal. Even amid the crowded Leh, one thing or the other would manage to charm you. And then there are rather breathtaking locations such as the Lamayuru village in Uleytopko. Known as the moonland of Ladakh, Lamayuru is home to lunar landscapes that give one the feeling of being on moon.
Ladakh’s lakes are an integral part of its character and beauty. These extraordinary lakes are alluring to the extent that they appear mystical, even more so when the water is absolutely still and the lake mirrors the sky. All three of them are unique in their own way. Pangong, being the highest salt water lake in the world, owns a reputation of its own. But it is its ever-changing colour – from blue and azure to green and grey – that makes for a visual delight. Tso Moriri, one of our personal favourite spots, is where you get to spot Tibetan wild asses grazing by the shore in all their laziness. And the fluctuating Tso Kar attracts its own share of exotic birds, and awe from travelers.
If you have already been to Ladakh, chances are that you have come back with anecdotes of your heart-warming experience with the locals. Sometimes, the interaction lasts a smile and if you (you must) choose to live in a homestay, you end up getting a closer look into the life and culture of the Ladakhis. Either way, it is evident that the indigenous people of Ladakh are extremely kind and hospitable, sometimes beyond comprehension. If you do get to stay with a Ladakhi family, you’ll learn how they cherish the little things in life. It is no less than an opportunity to learn a couple of things from people who have found a way of life in a region with extreme climate. Your choice of staying in a homestay over a hotel or resort will not just give you a beautiful experience but will also help keep Ladakh from the risk of commercialization that it is currently facing.
More than anything, Ladakh is all about what you feel; a feeling cumulative of several other feelings, and a feeling that everyone experiences for themselves. Right from the excitement of getting there and the dizziness you feel when you actually get there to the mind-numbing chill, the thrill of being ‘on top of the world’, and the entire experience you bring back with you, it is your own journey that counts.
As much as we love to escape and explore ourselves, it gets even better when like-minded people join us on our journeys. So if Ladakh is on your bucket-list this year, join our Escape to Ladakh this June and Experience Ladakh at your own pace! Talk to us and let us custom-make an itinerary for you and your gang.
For the adventure seeker in you, Escape Route has come up with its own camping site near Delhi. Camp under the stars, pitch your own tent wherever you want, cook food the rustic way, go for a nature trail, spot hyenas and/or just laze around and share stories with fellow travellers…& get one with wilderness
For the adventurer in you, Escape Route has come up with its own camping site near Delhi!
Situated close to Damdama Lake, amid Aravallis, this camping site near Delhi allows you get one with wilderness. Camp under the stars, pitch your own tent wherever you want, cook food the rustic way, go for a nature trail, spot hyenas and/or just laze around and share stories with fellow travellers.
Just about an hour from Delhi and even lesser from Gurgaon, the route to this site passes through the Faridabad-Gurgaon forest range which in itself is an incredible off-roading experience for all wanderers. The route is one of the favourites for motorcycle enthusiasts in NCR. The camping site can also be reached via Sohna road in almost similar time.
This site is spread across 4 acres of land in the forest range and is being preserved and maintained as per the strict guidelines of the forest department. On one side, the land has a water stream flowing towards Damdama Lake. So when it rains, one can enjoy a little boat ride to reach the camping site. The network and electricity here is limited; almost perfect for the urban professional who seeks a digital detox every now and then.
To retain its raw essence and allow you a purely rustic experience, we make sure that minimum human touch-ups are made. But don’t you worry, the bare minimum, such as facility of proper toilets, has been made available. More than anything else, it is an honest attempt to escape from monotony without having to travel too far, and spend time with nature in the middle of nowhere.
Please note: The site is functional on specific dates and on group requests only. And you may rent out camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags etc.) from Travelers Cafe by Escape Route.