Not surprisingly, motorcycle tours in India are growing in popularity, as the country's vast and varied terrain holds great appeal to motorcycle enthusiasts. Initially, most motorcycle tours were lead by foreign organizers. However, in recent years, numerous Indian companies have formed and started running these tours as well. Local knowledge, coupled with innovative routes and reasonable rates, make these tours excellent options. Discover six of the best destinations and tours in this article.
If you have your own motorcycle, a trip along Maharashtra's Konkan Coast from Mumbai to Tarkarli (or beyond to Goa) is also popular.
Northern India, especially around the Ladakh region, is undoubtedly the most popular destination for motorcycle tours in India. The route there, to what feels like the top of the world, will take you through dramatic changes in scenery -- starting out from hectic Delhi, to planned city Chandigarh, followed by the lush mountains around Manali, then ascending up the barren landscape to Leh. Many people choose just to do the Manali-Leh stretch. However, one company that will take you all the way is Mumbai-based Ride of My Life.
Ride of My Life offers a range of eight to 13 day premium and luxury tours, for both Indians and foreigners, to Leh and beyond (the Nubra Valley, and Pangong Tso including Chang La, the world's second highest motorable pass at 17,800 feet). The tours operate from June to August, and are conduced using 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycles in mint condition. The two owners are passionate motorcyclists who have also founded a non-profit organization to encourage more people to take up motorcycle travel, and made award-winning documentaries about their motorcycle journeys to remote parts of India.
North East India, with its meandering roads (many of which are in challenging condition) and its abundant natural beauty, provides an appealing landscape for motorcycle tours. Numerous companies offer motorcycle tours throughout the North East region. However, the personal attention provided by Anuj Singh and Shahwar Hussain of Chain Reaction has become quite renowned. This duo are a photographer, and an automotive journalist and travel writer. They've been riding together as a team, doing adventure motorcycle travel stories, for many years.
Chain Reaction has 17 and 21 day tours that will take you through Kazaranga National Park, the tea estates of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tawang Monastery, tribal Nagaland, and misty Meghalaya to the remarkable root bridges of Cherrapunji.
India's desert state of Rajasthan, full of old forts and palaces, always holds special appeal for tourists. You'll share rustic roads with camel and buffalo carts as you make your way through colorful villages and explore regal cities.
Aboriginal Motorcycle Adventures Tours offers a 22 day Jumbo Rajasthan Tour, which starts from Delhi and does a loop through top destinations including Jaipur, Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bundi, and Ranthambore National Park. A stop at Agra to see the Taj Mahal is also part of the tour. If you don't want to spend so long on a motorbike, shorter 14 day Rajasthan tours are also available. The Indian husband and wife team that owns and operates Aboriginal Motorcycle Adventures Tours are avid adventure travelers. Atul Bhardwaj gave up retail business ownership to pursue his passion for motorcycle touring, and aims to provide honest, value for money tours, which he leads himself.
Are you a woman who loves to ride? Indian Rides offers this 16-day women-only guided motorcycle group tour through Rajasthan.
Tropical, laid back Kerala, will delight you with a combination of beaches and backwaters, spice estates, and scenic hill stations. The pace of life there is slow and unchanged for decades -- people still make their own spices and catch their own fish.
Royal Bike Riders offers a 13 day Golden Beaches and Spices motorcycle tour through parts of Kerala and neighboring Tamil Nadu. The company is a young and dedicated Delhi-based team who aim to make motorcycle touring fun. What stands out is their flexibility -- they offer both fixed departure and customized trips. The team puts a lot of effort into designing itineraries and selecting routes that are still relatively unexplored, yet offer an exciting blend of adventure, culture, and attractive accommodations. Go on their Kerala tour and you'll even be able to take a motorbike ride along the beach!
Also check out the epic 1,400 kilometer Spice Route Tour by Indian Rides. It goes down the Kerala coast from Kochi to Alleppey, then inland all the way up to Pondicherry and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu Coast
If you love the coast, you shouldn't miss cruising along the picturesque and smooth East Coast Road, from Chennai to Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu. It invitingly hugs the seashore. Chennai-based Date a Bike offers an easy overnight private trip. It's possible to rent luxury bikes, including Harley Davidsons, from them.
The Royal Riders offers a 13 Day South India Tour that starts in Pondicherry and takes the coastal route down to Kanyakumari (the most southern tip of India) and up the coast to Varkala in Kerala before heading back inland. You can choose from various shorter three and six day tours in Tamil Nadu as well. The team consists of a group of eclectic guys, including two from France and one from Spain, who all live in Pondicherry. Their trips don't follow the tourist trail, but rather their favorite routes discovered throughout years of riding adventures.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Want to get off the well-beaten tourist trail? The spectacular barren rural countryside of Gujarat's Kutch region is often referred to as India's "Wild West." Much of it consists of sprawling seasonal wetlands, incorporating the haunting white salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch and smaller Little Rann of Kutch (famous for its Wild Ass Sanctuary).
The Dream Riders, based in Ahmedabad, have come up with a Rann of Kutch Ride with premium and deluxe options and lengths of four or six days. There are frequent departures from November to January, and the ride is quite easy. The company has been in business organizing adventurous guided motorbike tours across India since 2009.