June 29th to July 13th
Classic Himalaya is the perfect combination of holiday and adventure. A mix of lively sightseeing and exciting driving through jaw dropping scenery. It is your choice whether you drive one of our modern SUVs or ride one of our Enfield motorcycles.
Beginning in Amritsar for two days of sightseeing we then catch a train south to collect our vehicles and start our journeys to the Spiti Valley, one of the remotest inhabited regions in the world.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as “a world within a world” the Spiti Valley is one of the world’s great road trips. Once there, you really will feel you’re in another world.
Cut off for much of the year due to heavy snow, the valley road has only been open to foreigners since 1992. No words can prepare you for the beauty of Spiti and the Himalaya mountains. It’s like driving through a living museum. Thousands of years of wind erosion have created the most fascinating landscape, often referred to as ‘moonlike’. The terrain varies from lush vegetation through to mountain desert. The roads themselves have to be seen to be believed and are a quite staggering feat of engineering.
The route takes us just a few miles from the Tibet border and the influence of this close neighbour is clearly evident in the people, houses and monastries. The whole area has a peaceful and calming feel.
Classic Himalaya is much more than a holiday. It really is a Great Road Journey.
For a map of the route click here
Day 1 Sat June 29th – Leave Heathrow for an overnight flight to Delhi and a connection to Amritsar.
Day 2 Sun June 30th – Arrive Amritsar and transfer to the hotel enjoying possibly your first glimpse of Indian driving. After spending an afternoon relaxing we will be taking a sunset visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most beautiful temples in India.
Day 3 Mon July 1st – Today is a day off to explore Amritsar until mid afternoon when we head to the India/Pakistan border at Wagah to watch one of the most amusing displays of patriotism, made famous by Michael Palin in his Himalaya programme.
Day 4 Tue July 2nd – Up early to catch a train south to Ambala where we have lunch and then collect our vehicles for the drive to Shimla, former capital of the British Raj. The temperature drop as you enter the hills of Shimla is a welcome relief after the heat of the plains. You’ll no doubt be tired by the time you arrive in Shimla, where we will be staying in a wonderful colonial hotel.
Day 5 Wed July 3rd – Shimla, with it’s wealth of history and the magnificent Viceroy’s Lodge is too good to miss so today is a completely free day giving you plenty of time to explore the sights.
Day 6 Thu July 4th – Shimla to Sarahan. Today the adventure begins as we leave Shimla and head into the mountains. The route is twisty and an ideal learning curve for what lies ahead. We pass through beautiful verdant valleys climbing towards Narkanda before a long descent to the Sutlej river valley. We follow this raging river before finally ascending for the overnight stop at Sarahan.
Day 7 Fri July 5th – Sarahan to Kalpa. Descending from Sarahan we continue following the Sutlej towards our nights stop at Kalpa passing some of the largest hydro-electric engineering projects I have ever seen. Our hotel in Kalpa lies in the shadow of the 21,500ft Kinnaur Kailash mountain, a perfect place to enjoy a drink as the sun goes down.
Day 8 Sat July 6th – Kalpa to Nako. Today we’ll see big changes in the landscape. Travelling above the tree line we enter the Himalayan desert. Thousands of years of wind erosion has created fascinating rock formations which are unlike anything you will have seen elsewhere. On the way to Nako we’ll pass within 5 miles of the Tibetan border hence the need for our Inner Line Permits.
Day 9 Sun July 7th – Nako to Kazza. A beautiful drive along the Spiti Valley, past more outstanding scenery. We’ll pass glaciers and stop at Tabo to look around the 1000 year old Tibetan monastery. We should arrive at the busy little trading town of Kazza by early afternoon. After filling up with fuel at the world’s highest retail petrol station you might like to take a short drive to Kibber, one of the highest villages in the world.
Day 10 Mon July 8th – Kazza to Tandi – Today is the biggest drive of the trip as we head further up the valley crossing the Kun Zum pass at 14930ft. Descending the other side of the pass we stop in a dhaba for hot noodles before tackling several water crossings on the way to Tandi, our overnight stop.
Day 11 Tue July 9th – Tandi to Manali. First thing in the morning it is only a short drive to the bottom of the infamous Rhotang Pass. At 13,000 it’ll be cold and snowy at the top but, weather permitting, it has some spectacular views. After a tea stop on the mountain we’ll descend to the hustle and bustle of Manali.
Day 12 Wed July 10th – Manali is a lively, vibrant town full of backpackers, shops and happy locals. We have a day off and get together in the evening for a beautiful meal in a local speciality restaurant.
Day 13 Thu July 11th – Manali to Nalagarh – We now leave the hills and return to the plains. The morning is a lovely drive following numerous green valleys before eventually reaching the busy main roads further south. In the evening we reach our overnight stop in an old hilltop fort.
Day 14 Fri July 12th – Nalagarh to Delhi – Driving down India’s Highway 1 we reach Delhi where we’ll drop the vehicles off. We should arrive shortly after lunchtime giving you a free afternoon for last minute shopping.
Day 15 Sat July 13th – Depart for Delhi Airport and a mid morning flight back to the UK arriving at Heathrow later the same day.
BOOKING INFO & COST
SUV – £2980
Motorcycle (Enfield Bullet) – £2740
Motorcycle Pillion – £2200
Costs are per person and exclude flights based on two sharing a car and accommodation.
• Airport collection in India
• Accommodation – based on two people sharing a room
• Breakfast and Dinner except for one evening
• Entry to Museums/Temples and other places of interest
• Use of a modern SUV or Enfield Bullet
• Fully comp insurance and breakdown cover
• All necessary route books and maps
• Full support of a team of mechanics, and spares
• The Great Road Journey team doing their utmost to ensure Classic Himalaya is one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life
• Lunches – about £1 per day
• Visa (Currently £92 for UK Residents)
• Travel Insurance
• Flights – cost of the flight is approximately £600 per person –
What happens next
Send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details. After that we’ll be in touch. A deposit of £750 will be required upon booking. The balance will be due one month before departure. In the meantime you’ll receive regular updates from us guiding you through everything you need to know re your visa application, innoculations, international driving licence etc