11th Sept - Chango - Tabo

Distance - 43 km

Ride Time - 2:58:42

Average - 14.4 km/hr

Total Ascent - 519 m

Total Descent - 231 m

I decided to spend the night in the town of Tabo which is shorter than planned but worthwhile. Tabo is the site of one of the most important ancient Buddhist sites in the world. The Tabo Gompa  was founded in 996AD and as you can see from the photos, quite extraordinary. It is also a nice town to relax and hang-out in for a day or too. I stayed in the Monastery which is excellent accommodation and close to the Gompa.

There is always a temple close by the roadside.

Nice smooth tarmac for a change!

Prayer flags ever present.

I would normally head off early in the morning and then stop for breakfast after about an hours ride. This is typical of a breakfast stop

Pranthas being cooked on the side of the road. Tasty and good cycling fuel. Washed down with a glass of Chai of course!


In this region and in all of India the horn is used as a warning.

Fairly basic white brick housing in the part of the world. Similar to what you would see in Tibet.

Wild deer on the side of the road

Welcome to the town of Tabo home of the ancient Tabo Gompa 996AD.

Modern Tabo Gompa

It's still a working Monastery.

Ancient Tabo Gompa

My nights accommodation at the Monastery

Meditation caves in the side of the mountain

12th Sept - Tabo - Shichling - Dankhar

Distance - 34 km

Ride Time - 2:44:36

Average - 12.2 km/hr

Total Ascent - 455 m

Total Descent - 27 m

Today was a fairly short days ride, but quite challenging as the town of Dankhar is 430m up from the main road. It's a punishing 8km ride off the main road as you make your way up to the town which resides at 3442m. It has some of the oldest buildings in the Spiti Valley. Check out the photos and you will see why it is a worthwhile side trip. 

Back on the road to Dankhar.

First views of the town of Dankhar

Decided to go for a hike up to a lake at 4000 metres

The view made the effort worthwhile

We heard rumors that there might be a horse race around the lake - and then they appeared on the top of the mountain.


13th Sept - Dankhar - Kaza

Distance - 33 km

Ride Time - 2:18:55

Average - 14.3 km/hr

Total Ascent - 301 m

Total Descent - 465 m

Just a short ride to Kaza this morning. Kaza is the administrated capital of the Spiti Valley and a good place to stop and catch up on email and telephone calls. I had been cycling in fairly remote areas and it is difficult to stay in touch with home so this is an important stop.

14th Sept - Kaza - Kibber

Distance - 23 km

Ride Time - 1:52:37

Average - 22.5 km/hr

Total Ascent - 654 m

Total Descent - 224 m

A short ride to the town of Kibber where I spent a couple of days. Kibber Village is a highly recommended detour as it passes the famous Ki Monastary. At 4205m Kibber claims to be the highest inhabited village in the world!  From the main road it's a 7km climb up to Ki Monastery and then another 11kms to Kibber. from the town of Kibber there are a number of single day or five days hikes you can do to villages in the surrounding area.

They were inducting a new Penchant Lama when I rode through so there was a big festival going on.

The Gateway to Ki Monastery and Kibber Village

View across the valley

First view of Ki Monastery.

Ki Monastery

The view looking down into the valley from Ki Monastery.

16th Sept - Kibber - Losar

Distance - 68 km

Ride Time - 5:19:46

Average - 12.7 km/hr

Total Ascent - 850 m

Total Descent - 853 m

Today I start my ascent up to Kunzam La (4501m) which is the highest pass of the trip. I spend the night in Losar which is the last town before the pass and then ascend over the pass the next morning.

Manali my finishing point on 180kms away - but two major passes in between.

Nice to have some smooth, flat tarmac for a change!


And then the road deteriorates.

Is that a road or a river?

17th Sept - Losar - Kunzam La - Chhatru

Distance - 60 km

Ride Time - 6:44:35

Average - 8.8 km/hr

Total Ascent - 610 m

Total Descent - 1320 m

Have a look at the average speed and you can see that it was really slow going today. First of all there was the ascent up to Kunzam La pass and then an extremely terrible road to Chhatru - probably the worst of the trip.

Leaving the town of Losar - snow capped peaks await.

Another road/river.

Very dry and barren at this altitude.

4kms to go to the top of Kunzam La.


Buddhist Chorten marks the approach to the summit.

Mani stones placed on the summit of Kunzam La,

Prayer flags and temple on the top of Kunzam La (4501m).

A makeshift restaurant in the town of Batal after a long descent from Kunzam La.

The road from Batal was terrible and got worse.

Campsite for the night in the town of Chhatru.

18th Sept - Chhatru - Gramphoo - Rohtang La - Manali

Distance - 81 km

Ride Time - 6:42:50

Average - 12.0 km/hr

Total Ascent - 1141 m

Total Descent - 2338 m

The final push to Manali including the Rohtang La mountain summit (3988m). The road on either side of Rohtang La has seriously deteriorated since I rode it in 2005. Lots of thick mud to content with resulted in me having to push the bike for large sections of the ride.

Makeshift restaurant for breakfast the next morning. These "parachute" restaurants are seasonal as this area 

of closed due to snow for 8 months of the year.

The climb begins up to Rohtang La.

Always plenty of Donkeys on the side of the road - this was the first photo I had bothered to take of them.

Plenty of "Nullahs" on this section of the road leading up to Gramphoo.

Lots of trucks to contend with on the climb up Rohtang La

The Buddhist Chorten on the top of Rohtang La (3988m)

The view from Rohtang La.

On the approach to Manali - finally back on good quality roads!

Time to relax in the town of Vashist.