If you have decided to tackle "The Great Himalayan Ride" via motorcycle during your visit to Northern India, we want to ensure that you are equipped with the best advice possible. You will be covering around 2200km at altitudes beyond 8000 feet above sea level after all, so it is important that you have mentally and physically prepared for the challenge ahead of time.
Expect the Unexpected
We feel it is important to note that India is different and unique in many ways – the people, the weather, the traffic, the road sense, the lane discipline and even the oxygen in the air are likely to be not what you are used to. All of these things are a part of the Indian travel experience, but can be quite a shock to the system.
The tourist season in Northern India usually begins in June and finishes up at the end of September. This is also monsoon season for the Himalayas so you could experience sun, torrential rain, gusty winds and cold patches in the same day. It is important that you are prepared for all kinds of weather.
India’s road system is very similar to that of countries like Britain – we travel on the left hand side of the road and overtake on the right. When travelling through cities and towns, you will share the road with pedestrians and cattle. When travelling on mountain roads, you will encounter blind turns and potholes.
Because many of the places you will visit in this part of India are close to borders, it is important to remember that access is tightly controlled. Beyond Leh, you will need an inner line permit in order to travel. At every checkpoint, you will have to hand over a copy of this permit, your passport and visa.
Altitude and Acclimatisation
Most of your journey through this region of India will be spent at high altitudes where the air will be thinner and oxygen less. Ensuring that your body properly acclimatises to these altitudes is a must – keep hydrated, avoid over exertion, avoid tobacco and alcohol, keep warm, and avoid sleeping during the day.
Whilst there is plenty of other advice that you would find beneficial during your motorcycle tour through Northern India, these little tidbits will be picked up during your research and travels. The 5 points that we have outlined above tend to be the most beneficial and overlooked pieces of advice that we wanted to ensure you were armed with prior to leaving.