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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 14 Feb 2012
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Planning a trip to India and the Himalayas

I was planning a trip to India, Nepal, and around the Himalayas. I am hoping to start the trip mid August and I am pretty open ended on the duration, I am tentatively planning to travel for a couple years and this is the opening act. Ideally I would like to buy a bike and ride around at my own pace. The only plan I had was to start off in Nepal at the tail end of the monsoon season to do some treking and then work my way down to India where I would probably spend 6 plus months traveling around before picking my next destination. I was interested in hitting up the stans, but I have not had a chance to look into them yet. I have done a lot of backpacking travel, although never in India, and I have done long motorcycle trips throughout the US and Canada. I figured I would try to combine the two on this outing.

Does anyone have any suggestions, advice, or pointers? I am particularly interested where to get the bike, I hear it is best to buy it in India? What kind of bikes I can expect to fine? Whether I should bring my own gear or just buy gear there? Does anyone have experience in the area and have suggestions on itinerary? Thanks in advanced for any help.
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  #2  
Old 14 Feb 2012
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Hi ggemelos If spending two years travelling get a good bike, avoid old Enfields (Oilfields), the latest unit construction ones are getting relatively good press, if not there are Honda waves some Yamahas etc but no larger than 250cc, a bit whiney for the Himalayas but will do the job. Starting in Nepal limits your choices of available bikes, best bet are other tourists, stick a few flyers around the hotels and bars. You might consider starting in Delhi or Kolkata and ride up the mountains to ensure you have a good bike. If you stay for a while at high altitudes change your carbie jets.
Bring helmet, gloves, bike tools
I think the itinerary will develop of its own accord, India has a way of ignoring the plans of mice and men, keep it vague.
Little steps first.
1. get over the shock of India (if first time )
2. get a bike
3. get used to the flow and ebb of traffic, its chaotic but it works.
By this stage you will have a better understanding of what you want to do and talking with fellow travellers will give you the current situations at the borders.
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  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2012
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...info for Nepal and India

hi there
we were in India and nepal for a little while....have a lot of GPS ref points for download on the front of our website...http://www.2ridetheworld.com
plus our diary sections online for both countries.
it may be good for you to have a read and start to prepare yourself for the driving 'standards' in India.
and of course great places to visit and stay. 2ridetheworld.com : diary

so - if you have the time have a look at our website. when you got to the above diary link just select the continent and then country you wish to read about.

have fun planning.
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  #4  
Old 15 Feb 2012
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Thanks for the information. Lisa Thomas, I will definitely go through your website to get an idea about riding a bike in India. I have never been there before, but I have ridden scooters throughout SEA. I am guessing it will be a lot more intense. Twobob, I have heard that starting in Nepal would limit my choice in bikes and I have been warned about Enfields, althought I heard that the newer models were supposed to be more reliable. One place I found in Nepal was Hearts and Tears, see link below. Supposedly you can buy a newer Enfield rigged up for travel and even take a class on maintaining the Enfield. Does anyone have any experience with them or the newer Enfields? Thanks again for all the advice.

http://http://www.heartsandtears.com

EDIT:
Actually, after spending more time on the Hearts and Tears website, I like the idea of the Yamaha RX. It is a 135cc 2-stroke. It is probably bulletproof, I am just not sure about what kind of power it can put out. There appear to be a lot of stories of people taking those bikes all the way back to Europe. The shop also helps you get the Carnet de Passage.

Last edited by ggemelos; 15 Feb 2012 at 17:57.
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  #5  
Old 16 Feb 2012
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Good choice, you have to wear rose coloured glasses with Enfields sometimes
I've got a bit of a masochistic/nostalgia bent so I go the Oilfield though I never absolutely recommend them. Whatever you get check it out thoroughly.
You will only need power in the mountains, average speed in India is 50kph, for power in the mountains be anal with your carbie jets.

Last edited by twobob; 16 Feb 2012 at 02:27. Reason: add
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  #6  
Old 16 Feb 2012
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Obviously it goes without saying that you should make sure you do the Manali-Leh and Leh Srinagar roads.
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  #7  
Old 26 Feb 2012
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Nepal

We went for a Oilfield ! oh I mean Enfield, & have not regretted it YET !, we are in Pokhara & plan to ride down to Jomson on it. But I love the Enfield here is a pic with the handbrake.
Attached Thumbnails
Planning a trip to India and the Himalayas-img_2911.jpg  

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  #8  
Old 18 Mar 2012
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India

Hi,I have had several visits to India and I have to say that it,s a made place which I enjoy greatly.As with the other post the driving standards very considerably,on a sliding scale from bad -down ,but don't let this put you off,I hire a bike each time I go out there,and have a great time,just to address a couple of points that you have raised.

The type of bike should be of an indigenous brand then any one can fix it should it fail,Bmw Yamaha are starting to appear but if you are in the back of beyond that wont help.

Sourcing a bike I could help with,I have a friend who has been in India for a considerable amount of time ,they may have accesses to bike,s should you wont to progress this further,fluent hindi speaker etc,if you send me your email I will pass his details on to you.
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  #9  
Old 18 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggemelos View Post
Thanks for the information. Lisa Thomas, I will definitely go through your website to get an idea about riding a bike in India. I have never been there before, but I have ridden scooters throughout SEA. I am guessing it will be a lot more intense. Twobob, I have heard that starting in Nepal would limit my choice in bikes and I have been warned about Enfields, althought I heard that the newer models were supposed to be more reliable. One place I found in Nepal was Hearts and Tears, see link below. Supposedly you can buy a newer Enfield rigged up for travel and even take a class on maintaining the Enfield. Does anyone have any experience with them or the newer Enfields? Thanks again for all the advice.

http://http://www.heartsandtears.com

EDIT:
Actually, after spending more time on the Hearts and Tears website, I like the idea of the Yamaha RX. It is a 135cc 2-stroke. It is probably bulletproof, I am just not sure about what kind of power it can put out. There appear to be a lot of stories of people taking those bikes all the way back to Europe. The shop also helps you get the Carnet de Passage.
The hearts and tears website is certainly interesting but your link has a problem with too many "http" so here's another one:-
Hearts & Tears Motorcycle Club

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  #10  
Old 18 Mar 2012
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Hello mate
I travelled in India for 10 months in 2004-05 and 5 of the last months on a enfield 350 cc i bought second hand from a fellow traveller. Here's a few of my thoughts:

- if its your first time in India, don't be in rush to buy a bike... see the country travel for at least two months first without bike, and then if you want to stay longer buy a bike. the train journeys in India are their own experience. and i would personally prefer the bike for the mountains rather than the plains.. but i only rode in mountains instead of plains so can't compare.

- if you go to goa or manali you can rent bikes there maybe in rishikesh too - renting is very cheap.. and once you are a bit used you can buy a bike if you want

- itinery - all the places i went to i found incredible.. these are the places and you can form your own itinary i havent been to rajasthan and many other places but at least this is a good start - you have to factor in rainy seasons, hot summers cold mountain winters etc...
south circle: goa, gokarna, mysore, bylakupe, hampi, (i didn't go to tamil nadu or kerella)
west to east (plains): calcutta, bodhgaya, varanassi, delhi
mountains: rishikesh, jashunath, Manali, Parvati valley, Dharamsala, Srinagar, Leh

- i am currently travelling in Colombia, South America, and have just bought me a Bajaj - Boxer 150cc. in colombia first hand is not that much more expensive than second hand, and i bought a first hand. I have met people who have travelled in 125 cc through the mountains in South America. So i expect 150 to be ok. ALthough in 2004 i got the impression for any long journeys in India it was only the enfield 350 or 500, but things may have changed by now.

- the number 1 rule in India for driving is that the bigger the car the right of way it has. As a bike don't take risks give way to the bigger cars.

- in india if a car shows you a headlight it means you wait there, I am taking this road first. In england incidentaly it means the opposite.

Good luck with your trip. There are plenty of bikers travelling in India, so it should be pretty easy to form a group.

Chao

Sameer.
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  #11  
Old 19 Mar 2012
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"in india if a car shows you a headlight it means you wait there, I am taking this road first. In england incidentaly it means the opposite."

Too right Sameer, I rode with some Europeans for a while in India and they insisted that they leave their lights on for safety, it took about 3000 klms before they cottoned on.
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  #12  
Old 19 Mar 2012
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Thanks for all the advice. I was hoping to get a bike at Hearts and Tears, but I think they are closed for a while. I am therefore back to considering other options. Since this is a long trip through quite a few countries, one option I am considering is shipping a bike out there. That definitely is a bit more complex, but has the benefit of getting a lot of the paperwork done ahead of time.

S Davies, I sent you a PM with my email address.
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  #13  
Old 23 Mar 2012
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If your looking to buy a bike in Nepal, be aware that it will cost at least double the price in India, due to tax, of course with a Nepal bike you can get a CDP, but unless you intend to take it out of India you don't need one.When I was sourcing my current Bullet in Kat, I came across a very usefull website www.hamrobazar.com. There's usually a pretty good selection of different bikes for sale and ,of course, you can check it out before you leave to get an idea of prices etc. I don't know whats happening with Hearts and Tears, I was in Pokhara last Nov and they didn't seem to be operating, Rick, the owner, was back in Germany and their mechanic of many years Raju, has parted company and set up a workshop by himself next door to 'The Bullet Bar' on the Road out of Lakeside into Town.
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  #14  
Old 23 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uselessbaba View Post
If your looking to buy a bike in Nepal, be aware that it will cost at least double the price in India, due to tax, of course with a Nepal bike you can get a CDP, but unless you intend to take it out of India you don't need one.When I was sourcing my current Bullet in Kat, I came across a very usefull website www.hamrobazar.com. There's usually a pretty good selection of different bikes for sale and ,of course, you can check it out before you leave to get an idea of prices etc. I don't know whats happening with Hearts and Tears, I was in Pokhara last Nov and they didn't seem to be operating, Rick, the owner, was back in Germany and their mechanic of many years Raju, has parted company and set up a workshop by himself next door to 'The Bullet Bar' on the Road out of Lakeside into Town.
Thanks for the pointer to hamrobazar. I do plan on traveling outside of India and Nepal and therefore want to get a CDP. You are right about the price of bikes in Nepal. I am seeing close to 600,000 NPR for a Honda XR250 Tornado; that is a bit steep. Given those prices, it probably will not be much more to buy a bike like a WR250R in the states and ship it to Nepal. The benefit there is I can get all the CDP paperwork done ahead of time with less hassle and prep the bike here. Shipping seems to be its own hassle and I still have not decided whether to ship or buy local. Thanks again for the pointer.
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  #15  
Old 23 Mar 2012
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Bikemandu

That's a shame about hearts and tears, but these folks say they can help in buying, and selling, within Nepal.
But, their site does not look very active in this particular field - they are much more into hiring bikes and organising tours.
Bike Rental Services in Kathmandu Nepal | Rent a Bike Motorcycle in Kathmandu Nepal Pokhara Chitwan Nagarkot Dhulikhel
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