Day one of the Lamayuru mountain biking expedition or the YHAI Mountain biking expedition in Leh was more of going around Leh and the travel from the main base camp at Leh to Lamayuru camp. On reaching Lamayuru camp we practiced biking for a while uphill and went for an acclimation ride to Lamayuru village, just before sunset. The Lamayuru mountain biking expedition event was organized by the Youth hostels association of India.
Acclimatization walk to Shanti Stupa Leh
We reached Leh airport and the YHAI campsite is about 10 minutes ride from the airport and is near Leh youth hostel. You may reach the youth hostel a day earlier to get acclimatized well and would cost approx. ₹ 300 per day in a dorm. I would recommend coming to Leh 2 days in advance as this is high altitude and there are chances of high altitude sickness. You need at least 2 days to get acclimatized to this altitude.
Shanti Stupa Organic Cafe
Soon after having breakfast, after the initial briefing, we were asked to go for an acclimatization walk all the way to Shanti Stupa. After a long walk for about 2 kilometers and a steep climb up the stairs, you reach Shanti Stupa Organic Cafe. An awesome place, best known for its view and herbal tea or coffee at a very reasonable price.
View of Stok kangri and the Stok village
We continued further and spend some time at the meditation hall. A few steps from here is the huge Shanti Stupa which can be seen from a far-off distance and is a nice place to photograph. Go around the Stupa in a clockwise direction and enjoy the view from the top. You get to see the monastery, Leh palace, Leh city, the mountain range that includes the Stok kangri, and the Stok village. By noon we had lunch at our campsite and enjoyed the evening playing cards.
Leh Magnetic Hill
We boarded the YHAI organized bus which took us to Lamayuru. Lamayuru is about 120 kilometers from Leh and is on the way to Srinagar on National Highway one, NH1. The landscape is just awesome. Straight roads and greenery in between. We stopped at a place named magnetic hill, the phenomenon that defies gravity. You can park your vehicle in the middle of the flat road where there is marking and it will start moving on its own.
Sangam formed by Zanskar river and Indus river
We continued further till we reached a place near the Sangam where the Zanskar and Indus rivers meet and flow together as Indus. This place is known for river rafting and also a road goes to Zanskar village where the Chadar (frozen river) trek takes place at the beginning of every year. On our return, we completed the truly adventurous Zanskar river rafting.
We continued further till we reached Lamayuru. Our campsite is just before the start of the village, a place called Moon Land. The landscape at this place is unique and hence the name. It is said that on a full moon, the mud in the mountain slopes glows or appears different/brighter. The entire route was next to the Indus river and on NH1.
Lamayuru Biking expedition starts from Moonland
The cycles/mountain bikes are of Firefox, Trek brand with gear and disk brakes, given at our campsite. We checked our gear and went out for an acclimatization ride all the way up. The route goes to Fotola pass, but we did not go all the way to that place, instead cycled for about five kilometers to the viewpoint, near the TV tower. Spent some time out there at the viewpoint and enjoyed the view till sunset. Consider visiting the famous Lamayuru Monastery if time permits. We returned to our campsite, downhill and hardly took 15 minutes to reach.
Lamayuru Cycling expedition cost
The total cost of the Leh cycling expedition was approximately ₹ 7500. The cost includes transportation to and from base camp to Leh, cycling rental, food, tent stay, guide, entry and permits, and guide charges for all 8 days, plus 2 buffer days of acclimatization. For this cost this is totally worth it, isn’t it? What do you say?
The next day we take our bikes from Lamayuru Moonland to Skur Buchan, cycling next to the Indus River along the Indus valley road crossing the famous historic Domkar rock art sanctuary. To get a sense of the location, watch the video above. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.
3 Replies to “Arrival at the beautiful Leh campsite (Lamayuru Mountain Biking Expedition)- Day 1”
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Hi Ravindra, thank you very much for the descriptive write-up. I’m taking this ride this august and was nervous but your article put me at ease.
I do want to ask you couple of questions though:
– Will we be cycling uphill all the days/most of the days?
– I am unsure of the quality of cycles they may give out. I know you said Trek and Firefox but I’m assuming the better cycles will be assigned to those coming first, right? Considering this, I am planning on taking my cycle by air. Do you think this is a good idea?
– What’s the difficulty level of each day?
Thank you for your time answering these Qs.
1. No, it is a gradual climb. You will find uphill once you cross Sanjak bridge (on the way to Shakar camp) and on the last day after Haniskot – on this day you will have to cross FotoLa (pass). Not that hard, manageable as you are provided with good cycles. Also, once you reach Lamayuru camp, there will be warm-up uphill cycling, around Lamayuru monastery.
2. All of them usually get a cycle of the same brand and quality. It is not on those coming first. Cycles will not be given to you at Leh camp. You will be able to see your cycles on day 2 once you reach Lamayuru camp. You need not get your cycle, as bringing it here is a headache and you cannot go around in Leh with your expensive cycling at camp. 🙂
3. Difficulty level – moderate. I would recommend you reach Leh 2 days in advance and stay or go around Leh in Leh city to get acclimatized as this is a high-altitude cycling expedition.
All the best 🙂