Can I bring my helmet? What Visa do I need? Am I fit enough?
When you’re gearing up for an adventure, you’re bound to have questions. In an attempt to answer some of the bigger ones we’ve put together this list.
1. What are the requirements to join a tour?
Age – Riders age must be between 18 years and 75 years and co-riders must be 12 years or above (at the time of the start of the tour). Passengers in the support vehicle must be 5 years or over (with the authorisation of an adult/guardian).
Licence – Riders must hold a valid full motorcycle driving licence authorising him/her to ride a 411cc/500cc motorcycle, depending on their selected motorcycle.
Experience – Depends on the tour/region you want to ride in. Conditions in India can challenge your skills if you have never ridden a motorcycle in similar conditions. We want our riders to be fully aware of the conditions expected and the skills/ experience required to deal with them. Therefore, we have a separate “advisory” for each of our tour regions. Please read the “advisory” for the respective tour/region you are looking at before signing-up/committing to the tour. As a general guide, if you do not have at least 3-4 years (<10,000 Km) of motorcycle riding experience, you should consider things very carefully.
Fitness – (*for High Himalayas) Riders must be reasonably fit, for instance, must be able to go about daily life (like climbing two flights of stairs) without getting out of breath. Consult your doctor if you have any existing medical conditions. Please be aware that touring in the Himalayas involves being at very high altitudes and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) may occur.
Passport – These must be valid for at least 6 months past the intended period of stay in India.
Indian Tourist Visa – Citizens of 166 countries are now eligible for an e-Tourist Visa which can be obtained online (click here to go to Visa website). It is a single/multiple entry visa valid for 30/60 days stay and should be obtained online before travelling to India. Applications are accepted as late as one week before the intended date of arrival in India. The processing time is generally 36-48 hours.
Travel insurance – Adequate travel insurance is mandatory for your tour with us and is not included in the price of the tour. If you are a rider or co-rider on the pillion the insurance must cover motorcycles of 411cc/500cc for leisure. Ensure that travel insurance also covers you against cancellation charges, unexpected curtailment of the holiday, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses arising overseas, loss or damage to luggage & property and personal liability claims against the participant. Please note: our motorcycles are fully insured for third party damage only. For damage to the motorcycle itself, a deductible deposit of INR 40,500 (maximum liability is set at INR 81,000) is required before the tour departs and will be refunded in full at the completion of the tour provided no damage has occurred. Unsure? For more peace of mind, you may purchase our motorcycle “Damage waiver“. Write to us for more details.
Vaccinations – We advise you to immunise yourself against harmful diseases such as Hepatitis, Typhoid, Malaria, Rabies and Tetanus. Consult your doctor for country-specific advice.
2. Can I join as a Pillion Rider?
If you are an individual looking to join our tour as a co-rider on the pillion you’ll need to have a “rider” who agrees to take you. Such riders should be confident of handling the extra weight (specially on the Himalayan tours). For those who want to join the tour but not to ride, it is possible to book a place in a support vehicle as a passenger. However, it is not possible to accommodate all pillions in the support vehicles at the same time so it is done on a rotational basis.
3. How are the riding conditions in India?
The higher Himalayas one might encounter the most difficult terrain a motorcyclist can ever come across, however tackling big city traffic in India is also challenging at times. Having said that, we’ve had many a rider in the past who weren’t “off road experts”, so to say; yet enjoyed having to “up” their skills and feel a sense of accomplishment. At AB original Tours we have dedicated half a day at the beginning of the tour for you to become familiar with the motorcycle and terrain before departing for the tour the following day. And we’ve designed our itineraries in a way that one does not have to deal with the challenging bits on Day 01 or 02.
4. What riding and safety gear will I need?
Proper protective riding gear essential; riding shoes, gloves, knee and elbow guards (if your riding jacket/pants do not already include them). Water-proof “high-ankle” riding boots are necessary for the Himalayan tour.
Helmets – both riders and pillions must wear helmets during the ride. We urge you to bring your own.
Riding Gear – proper protective riding gear (jacket, shoes, gloves) are essential for riders and co-riders.
Small backpack – to carry water, rain-gear and camera etc.
Luggage – baggage allowance on our tours is strictly limited to 25 Kg.
Waterproof gear – this is essential (specially for Himalayan tours) as we won’t allow rain to ruin our travel plans.
Sleeping Bags – these are not mandatory; At a few locations on the Himalayan tours you’ll be sleeping in tent camps. But these are very well setup camps; almost like “Glamping” where all bedding is provided. We do provide sleeping bags in case someone needs to be extra warm. However, if you’re finicky about sleeping in a “used” sleeping bag, bring your own or bring a liner.
5. What does the average day of touring involve?
On the Himalayan tour, the average distance covered per riding day is 120 – 130km, while on the Rajasthan & Kerala tours, the average distance per day is 185 – 235km. All our itineraries have a few rest days (or optional riding days) sprinkled all along.
An early start on riding days ensures that we arrive at the next destination in good time. In the Himalayas, however, bad weather and road blocks/landslides can disrupt our plans so sometimes it may be necessary to ride longer and further in order to align with the original schedule.
All tours are run at an optimum pace with respect to the terrain, traffic and road conditions. We travel in convoy formation with the ride leader in front and support vehicles in the rear. Anyone driving in a dangerous manner will be excluded from the remainder of the tour with no refund.
6. What does the accommodation involve?
We have carefully selected some good mid-range hotels on our tours and at some places we stay in “luxury” hotels/ heritage mansions or “glamping” camps. Our selected hotels on the Rajasthan tours end up becoming one of the highlight of the tour for some, mainly for their charm and comfort. Our Kerala tours have the highest percentage of “luxury” hotels on the tour. In the Himalayas, however, at a location or two we have to stay in some basic accommodation as options are very limited (specially at desolate locations at very high altitudes). We always book the best accommodation we can in the area for a reasonable price.
Rooms are priced on a “twin-share” basis, that is, accommodation for two people in a twin-bedded room. If you are travelling alone we will do our best to put you with an acceptable roommate of the same sex. If you wish to have a single room, you may purchase a single supplement Add-On.
Please note: if you are the last person to book a tour and have opted for twin-share, it is likely that you will have to have a room on your own and will consequently be liable for the single supplement. It is therefore advised that you 1) bring a roommate with you and 2) book early. Please specify any room requirements at the time of booking.
7. What facilities will be available on the tour?
On the Rajasthan & Kerala tours, facilities such as wi-fi/ internet and laundry are available at all hotels we stay. However, on the Himalayan Tours, on 2-3 days when we stay at high altitude camps, even basic electricity is not available or is very unreliable. If it is vital that you need electrical power every night, please speak to us before booking.
8. How much spending money will I need?
You will need money for bottled water, all lunches, personal expenses like laundry, Internet, phone calls, entrance to sights such as monuments, photography and tipping. Roughly $300-400 USD per person should be a sufficient amount for a 2-week tour (not accounting for alcoholic drinks).
9. What motorcycles are used and do I have to provide my own?
You will be riding a Royal Enfield Motorcycle – one of the best touring motorcycles available in India. We now have the Himalayan 411 cc EFI as the latest edition to our fleet. For our tours in Kerala we offer the Standard 500cc Bullet which now comes with the same engine as the Classic 500 EFI as well as disk brakes. We had to discontinue the Classic 500 EFI model from our fleet as it’s production was discontinued by Royal Enfield in 2019. However, if you really really wanted to ride this bike on one of tours, do write to us in advance and we shall do our best to get one for you. The cost to rent one of our motorcycles is included in the price of the tour.
AB original Tours does not allow riders to bring their own motorcycle on the tour. Please note: motorcycle riding on our tours is arranged in a convoy formation, with a ride leader in the front and support vehicle at the rear. No independent riding is allowed during the tour.
10. Might there be any disruptions to the tour?
On the Himalayan tours, weather is the biggest adversary and unexpected events, such as landslides and road maintenance, can spoil plans. Even though we stay at hotels and camps most nights, leaving nothing to chance, we carry high altitude camping gear, fuel and rations for the entire group to last at least seven days in the case of disruption.
On the Rajasthan tours, since we cross bigger towns and cities, disruptions (though rare) may come in the form of public protests and political unrest. Delays may occur, however, we make every effort to avoid these situations.
In the event of a medical emergency, there is a comprehensive first-aid kit (including bottled oxygen on Himalayan tours) as well as a ride leader who is certified in first aid. In serious cases, we would seek the aid of the nearest medical facility.
Please be aware that High Altitude Illness can occur; this covers a spectrum of illnesses including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and can affect those who ascend rapidly to a higher altitude. Keeping this in mind, our itineraries are designed to ensure we either do not ascend too quickly or provide enough time at a certain altitude to accimatize. Hence we’ve never had anyone on our tours with any condition which even needed a doctor. However, if you haven’t been to high altitude before it is important to be cautious. We urge people to consult their GP before registering for our Himalayan Tours, if they have any preconditions in which being at high altitude could be detrimental to their health. Symptoms of AMS include headache and one or more of dizziness or light headedness, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting and fatigue, in the presence of a recent ascent to altitude. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet (2,438 metres) with minimal effect. Factors such as age, sex, or physical condition, do not appear to correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. In the case of AMS, the correct action is to stay where you are and then if symptoms worsen or fail to improve, descend to a lower height.
11. I’m interested in a tour, how do I proceed?
Just send us a message through one of our Contact Forms or email us directly and we shall reply with our Registration form. Once your registration is complete, we shall send you an Invoice for the tour/services opted. If there is more than 3 months to the tour start date, a 25% advance payment shall suffice to secure your spot on the tour.
Still pondering something? Hit us up on the right of this page. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!