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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
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  #16  
Old 26 Dec 2013
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Martin,
There are many shifty operators selling bikes all over India. And in Delhi.
I spent a year and a half riding about india on a 350 and over that time had plenty of work done on the bike.
Plenty of parts everywhere for 350s. What I learned was that any old bike that has a straight frame and sound engine block(no cracks or stripped bolt holes) with paper work and matching numbers is a good place to start. Buy one of these cheap from a farmer in the middle of nowhere even if it is not running. Get it to your trusty mechanic and rebuild the bike. New everything. Wheels, tyres, electrics front forks that have disc brakes, rear brakes, seat, a Pujabi muffler, cylinder, piston(Original not copy), rockers(old steel type), have crank bearing done, airshocks on the rear and new torsion bars, new clutch bits, rebuild gearbox, other new electrical bits and a new paint job should see you just about done. But one more thing, a loud horn, the sort that gets fitted to the front of trains to alert those around you that your are just about to do something stupid. Always sit with the mechanic even if it takes days to do the job. The next mechanic you visit will want to steal all the good bits and put in old crap whilst you are sneezing or ducking out for a chai and a smoke.
My mechanic friend helps to run the bike in running the bike over night on a couple of tanks of fuel at varying revs. Saves riding forever at 40 ks an hour. After the run in and a change of oil I found a can of Nulon and stuck that in for good measure.
Beware of inviting gaps in roundabouts, racks of two foot high speed bumps hidden in shadows.
Be sure to push your way to the front of any congestion such as those at railway crossings.
Go to Jaipur. Call my Mechanic Friend Almas +919828233938 and say Australian David recommended you if you find Delhi a bit much. It is only a few hours away and pleasant enough place to stay and a good starting point. Head west to Pushkar (Lotus Hotel on the other side of the lake) Jodhpur then north.
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  #17  
Old 29 Dec 2013
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For a 2-3 month trip, I think buying/renting something like a 2012, 500cc electra would be better. I'd only ever get a rebuild if I wanted to export the bike home, as nearly always you'll be ripped off in India as a foreigner.
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  #18  
Old 31 Jan 2014
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Jaipur, Johdpur then...

I am just in the planning stages of my trip around India, or as much of it as I can possibly see without going too mad. Having looked at 6 weeks of travel I have resolved to only seeing the North, I am travelling in March so will miss out on trips to Ladakh, perhaps its possible to get as far as Srinagar, I probably will not know for sure until I get to pathankot.

Somebody suggested Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and then North, I think I will go Delhi, Agra, Jaipur...

But I have seen and read some good things about Kutch in Gujurat, then there are beaches a day or so ride to the south... so wonder if that is worth the detour, to Dwarka or mandvi and and then ride up through the desert in rajasthan to Jaisalmer, then on North.

I wondered if anybody had experiences of the beaches in Gujurat

Cheers
M
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  #19  
Old 30 Oct 2014
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north india

Have been reading all the wonderful replies on the north india riute. we are looking to drive from Mumbai through Rajasthan and then, Sikkim Darjeeling, into Nepal. what will the temperatures and humidity be in March and April in that area? i am new to this forum i do hope i can ask this? many thanks
jill
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  #20  
Old 31 Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by Jill Back View Post
Have been reading all the wonderful replies on the north india riute. we are looking to drive from Mumbai through Rajasthan and then, Sikkim Darjeeling, into Nepal. what will the temperatures and humidity be in March and April in that area? i am new to this forum i do hope i can ask this? many thanks
jill
Rajasthan will be hot and dry but more so in April, May than March.
Not sure about the North-east side, all though should be cooler than Rajasthan for sure considering the high hills they reside on. Same with Nepal.
Essentially you want to cross these before May to beat the heat.
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  #21  
Old 22 Feb 2017
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Northern India Destinations

India is a vast country. Pick any place according to your schedule. I have listed below some of the interesting places in northern India :

Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
Gangtok, Sikkim
North Sikkim, Sikkim
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh
Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
Lamayuru, Jammu & Kashmir
Sanasar, Jammu & Kashmir
Kaza, Himachal Pradesh
Harsil, Uttarakhand

You can also check out more places online.

Last edited by AdamVjones; 22 Feb 2017 at 09:57. Reason: incorrect destination
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  #22  
Old 22 Feb 2017
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Hi Martin,

I am from India and have ridden an Enfield from India to UK. They are good machines and reliable. Any thing I can assist you with in India please send me an email.

All the best.

Kayjay
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  #23  
Old 22 Feb 2017
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Hi Jill

Am from India and ride a Enfield since 30 odd years. Have done India UK recently. If you coming to India and need any support please email me. I live near Mumbai so we can catch up too. You are welcome home.

Kayjay
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  #24  
Old 22 Feb 2017
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Hi Steamy

Am from Gujarat.

It is Incredible INDIA, and you would love it here. Let me know if you need any support in India.

All the best for the tour.

Kayjay
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  #25  
Old 14 Jan 2018
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Roads ridden

Looks like you guys have tons of experience in the North India region.

Planning my first solo trip and hoping to identify some roads/easy off-road that can be taken from Jaisalmer through to Jaipur. I only have 10 days so keeping the distance short but hoping to get off the main route.

Here is the rough outline of a plan (work in progress) http://bit.ly/2FB5tr6 but any key points to see or interesting roads taken would help a lot in the planning

Thanks!
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  #26  
Old 14 Jan 2018
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Northern India

Hi,

Done this ride about 8 years ago,and wrote a little story about it,for the Ulysses Club magazine: Riding on,here in Australia.


Adventure before dementia, riding in the Indian Himalayans.

As with so many of us, I rekindled my love with motorbikes. Doing so, after retiring from a demanding 24/7 job a while ago. I’m glad I did, because its great. I bought a second hand machine and rode 5000 km in 4 months. First mainly on my own, to re-familiarise myself with the basics, then later riding together with others to polish and refine those skills.

Once I went on a ride with a friend, he has been riding all over southern Africa for 25 years while he lived there. After our trip we had a and I asked him: what do you think about riding in the South west of WA?
“Oh, its great.” he said. “The roads are good, little traffic, the speed limit is a pain, there’s usually sunshine, but honestly it’s just pussy footing around!”

I couldn’t quite comprehend what he meant, I had always thought this is a biker’s paradise. What else was out there? Having plenty of time and some money on hand, I spread my wings to do some riding somewhere else. I had written the words: “do something extraordinary” on my bucket list earlier on and set about researching a real motorcycling adventure.

Inspiration came via the Riding On magazine and the internet, where I found a travel company in New Delhi in India who specialised in adventure motorbike tours. Found out there was only two vacancies left on 2009s last Himalayan tour.
My current boss (dear wife) agreed, it was a great idea, so I booked two places, one for me and another one for my fellow biker son Greg. We found cheap flights on the net and off we went.

I was a bit sceptical on the flight over; was this seemingly friendly company with the nice website actually legit? What would the traffic be like? Luckily I had prior experience in India, more than 30 years ago as we travelled overland through the country, along the hippie trail. I have very fond memories of warm people with genuine smiles, very easy to get along with and always eager to make a buck.

Many things have improved since then, but not the basics. Its still typical India and extremely crowded, dirty, undisciplined, sometimes even horrible, but always incredibly fascinating.

On the roads however, things step up a whole extra level. The traffic is absolutely disastrous, most roads are pretty bad, constant potholes, clouds of black diesel smoke pouring out of trucks, livestock like cows, goats, dogs, sheep, donkeys, horses, camels, monkeys, you name it. The main traffic rule is simple, just don’t obey any and keep yourself alive. The biggest car/truck/bus or military convoy simply demands the right of way. Flexibility is a must, constant horn blowing is vital communication and swearing inside your helmet can be a useful stress management tool.

We had our first riding practise in New Dehli, on unfamiliar Royal Enfield Bullets. Much has been written about these ancient bikes. Some 60 years ago the factory was located in the UK, after they went bankrupt, the whole operation was shipped to India. It has been operating there ever since and the bike specifications have had, until recently no changes, except for the front disc brake and double horn upgrade, the most important things on Indian roads.

To ad to the confusion the gear lever is on the right, and you push the level down to go up a gear, pull it up to go down a gear. The foot brake is on the left hand side where you’d expect the gear lever to be. There is no electric starter, only a kick-start, to operate it you have to use the decompression lever to clear the cylinder. If you forget to do this, it will kick you in a way you won’t forget for the rest of your life. If you don’t constantly rev it, especially at low speed, the bastard will stall. It is terrifying when your bike stalls, while you are negotiating potholes and suddenly finding yourself face to face with speeding two trucks on their overtaking manoeuvres around one of the endless blind corners on those tiny gravel roads up in the Himalayas. Especially with an unsecured 100 m vertical drop straight down from the road edge, emergency stops in such situations this occurred very often on some days.

But the bikes are very agile, manoeuvrable and ultimately tough machines. They continued chugging on through dust, rain, mud and endless deadly mountain obstacles. Being on an organised tour, we were lucky that we did not have to worry about bike reliability because there was a mechanic travelling in the escort bus behind us. After a 10 hour day of riding through bumpy roads in the magic 3rd gear, doing 15 to 60 km/h, the last thing anyone has nerves for is maintenance or repairs. On the rare occasions something needed doing, such as my son’s bike’s accelerator cable broke, our mechanic Shiraz jumped immediately into action, popped off the fuel tank and had the cable replaced within 5 minutes.

The trip started with a blessing of the bikes, riders and pillions in Lord Ganesha’s name (the Hindu Elephant headed god) by the Indian organisers, it was quite a touching ceremony. We were a small group of, riders from Australia, UK, India, Germany, Muscat and NZ, including two couples with their wives as pillions. So the adventure had started.

Our first leg of the journey was via train from Delhi to Chandrigar where the actual riding began. We all struggled at the beginning, adjusting to death wish-riding by Australian standards. Luckily on the first stretch of road there was slightly less traffic, so we all had a chance to familiarise ourselves with the roads and these glorious Enfield’s. The leader of our entourage, was an Indian tour guide named Sayed. His bike was always in front and the rest followed suit, learning on the fly how to stay alive and adjust to the organised chaos by weaving in and out of all directions of traffic.


Generally we more or less had sight to the bike in front of ours, but this often changed due to unpredictable conditions and sometimes the gaps opened up to a few km. Somehow we always managed to regroup and didn’t miss any turns on chaotic highways.

First, we went through the tunnel of death. This is a 2.7 km long cavity cut through a mountain, the lights are so dim a moth would get lost and there are 2 lanes with no divider for oncoming traffic. Now ad to this mix an unkept road surface, cutting edge 1950s headlight technology and an onslaught of speeding cars, tractors, bikes and Indian truck drivers who all constantly overtake each other through the deafening roar of the darkness. They have learned to actively apply the same skills bats use at night to fly through dark spaces by beeping their horns and listening for a response as a type of vehicle echo location system. Life is cheap on Indian roads, but somehow we made it through unscathed, to Shimla that night, where the old English colonial past is still very present.

Next day we went on to Manali, a nice town where we had the first day of rest. Roads and traffic where still reasonable but became slightly more demanding to ride. I took the opportunity to have may boots polished and bargained the price down from 400 Rupees to 30 Rupees, probably still too much, but the kid was nice.

Off to Keylong , it was a hard ride due to the heavy rain the day before. The mountains had begun and the road was littered with big washouts, landslides, water and rock falls. Sometimes we had to wait for a bulldozer to arrive and clear a path. It took us 7 hours of hard riding to cover just 110 km. In addition everyone started to feel the dizzying effects of altitude, getting up to 3978 m on top of the pass. The sophistication of things like food and accommodation were becoming more basic now, there were few luxuries.


The trip to Sarchu went through a 60 km desert like flat plateau, with no road or any marking, only sand and some of it was very loose. Sometimes one would see a truck, followed by a cloud of dust somewhere off the in the distance, but staying on course in the riding direction was just guesswork and luck. It’s also very scary to get bogged in what seemed to be quicksand, especially with all the riders disappearing unknowingly onto the horizon. Somehow we all managed to make it to the tent camp in Sarchu, which is 4408 m above sea level. Being not acclimatised to this altitude,made it very hard to breathe normally, any fast movements would slow me down, feeling unease. Woke up at 3 am gasping for breathe, the mind instinctively searching for answers, “Is this normal, or am I having a heart attack?”. So here at Sarchu, I spent one of the worst night’s of my life, surpassed only during my national service in the sixties in the mid winter of the Bavarian Alps.

During breakfast next morning, one of the fellow riders came into the mess tent and said , “We are all mad, all nutters, paying money to go through this hell, I never thought I would survive this night.”

The following day we were having a break at a roadside stall. Here we met a film crew of the European TV station Arte. They where shooting a documentary, about the five most dangerous roads in the world. Will go on air next year over there and hopefully we can watch it on SBS on day.
Soon we all made it to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, to enjoy a day of rest, sightseeing, Internet and shopping. The Dalai Lama has a residence in Leh and my son even managed to get a brief encounter with him.

Here we were in the thick of the Himalayas. These unforgettable days were spent riding awe as the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Our tiny motorbikes were dwarfed by timeless giants, rocky formations which have stood in serene peace as long as humanity has been on this planet. One could clearly see the beauty of geological formations caused by tectonic plates as their massive yet graceful forces had shaped the landscape and pushed it towards the sky at a glaciers pace.

So we rode up to the mighty Khardung La, at an altitude of 5603 m, this is the highest motor able pass in the world. The air is pretty thin up there, the previous day a tourist had collapsed and died due to breathing difficulties. Anything other than slow walking has the potential to wind you and even riding a motor bike up was exhausting, so you can imagine our absolute amazement to see a small group of professional cyclists who had ridden their bicycles to the top! The views up there were unbelievable, an unending pattern majestic mountains rising up through the clouds. We only stayed at this altitude for 30 minutes, any more would have been unsafe, so we headed back down the windy mountain road into Leh.

Blessings were with us on our next days trip as some of the main roads had improved greatly, due to mobility requirements of the Indian Army. They have a high military presence close to the Chinese and Pakistani border and out of 1.2 Million + people in the forces the majority are deployed in this region. It took France and Germany 3 wars and more than 100 years, till they became friends, pulled down the border posts and use a common currency, they have a long way to go.

The following days we continued to Zori La Mountain pass, roads with a 500 m sheer down on the left and 500 m straight up towards the sky on the right. Unsurprisingly at the bottom of these drops we saw a few shells of a trucks which had come to a tragic end.The track continued on and in the middle of nowhere we arrived at the famous 1000 year old Monastery, tucked away in the mountains.

Onwards down the terrible roads, littered with army convoys, reaching Kargill after 12 hours on the road. We were totally buggered but the lower altitude meant easier breathing and sleeping. Being in Kashmir now, the majority of the population are Muslims. No available.

Off to Srinagar, where we stayed 2 nights on a beautiful houseboat on Dal Lake. Despite the warning of our guide of ongoing terrorist activity, we went to town. In front of the post office were many soldiers, barbed wire, a metal detector checkpoint and a machine gun behind sandbags. Wouldn’t let us take pictures, afraid we may sell them to the Pakistanis. Met lovely people, they all would like to live in peace.

Than, diarrhoea hit me, can happen in India. No visitor is spared, despite all precautions. It is no fun when one is riding a bike in a highly populated foreign country. As my belly started again in the middle of a small town, I stopped to look for an opportunity to relieve myself, when I saw a cop. Indians are always eager to show of their English. When I asked for a public toilet, he pointed all around and said: “Open system in India, beside road”.

By now we were past the Himalayan foothills and onto the plains. The danger had reverted back from falling off cliffs on blind corners, to sheer mass volume of vehicles. We completed a long ride to Amritsar, the capital of Punjab and homeland of the Sikhs and their unique golden temple. Where an army of volunteers is serving 100 000 meals a day, on public holidays twice as many, free to every one who is hungry. Beautiful atmosphere and a touching expression of humanity at its best.

On our final riding day we were treated to the border ceremony in Wagah, the only open border post between India and Pakistan. It is closed at night and every evening there is a “Closing the Gates” ceremony, where thousands of spectators on both sides of the border watch soldiers performing the show. These soldiers are ferocious looking as they march, parade and stamp in a display of strength during this war game. Hysterical masses on both sides are shouting: “Hindustan” or “Pakistan”. Some of the fanatics take this very seriously, until finally they slam shut the big iron gate closing the border.


Back to town and the war on the road starts. All these agitated Indian drivers, it was an absolute nightmare. The road was full with all sorts, cars with no lights, high beam, one light, push bikes, rickshaws, busses, trucks, taxis, cows, the whole lot came to our last ride. I still wonder how we made it, but somehow we did. On the last days we did a bit of relaxed touristing to Agra and the Taj Mahal by train and then our Indian trip came to an end.

It was simply unforgettable, father and son became great mates, we made many good friends, had countless near misses and even through we tragically underestimated how difficult it would be, we proved we rise up to the challenge.

So probably, instead of buying another bike, a bigger one of course, for pussy footing around the Southwest, I will put another biketrip, on the bucket list.
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  #27  
Old 14 Jan 2018
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Originally Posted by kate_0000 View Post
Looks like you guys have tons of experience in the North India region.
I would recomend to rent a scooter and explore the South if India: Motorcycle world trip - Dharavi slums in the 18 million city of Mumbai

Beautiful jungle parts, Elefants and friendly people

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  #28  
Old 15 Jan 2018
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I can tell you that we couldn't stand the very humid heat in the summer months around Delhi and such.
It was great to go up the mountains from Manali upwards, to get rid of all the humidity.

But september will be getting a bit late in Jammu and Kashmir regions because the weather will be changing.
However, I think it will be fine for being in the Rajastan area.

If you're going for the Khardung La pass, don't forget to go up the Wari La pass. Virtually no other cars/people there, it is higher then Khardung La and we thought it was better looking as well.
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  #29  
Old 21 Jan 2018
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Thanks!

Thanks for sharing Rusty Max, a great report! Good tips on the bikes but ultimately this make me reassured!

[QUOTE=rusty max;576905]Hi,

But the bikes are very agile, manoeuvrable and ultimately tough machines.
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