The Rickshaw Run: Tour the Himalayas by less conventional means

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Rickshaw Run cover Rickshaw Run cover

A week of three-wheeling fun sounds like one hell of an adventure!

The Himalayas are high up on the bucket list for many travellers, but while its usually traversed on foot – it can be hard to squeeze it all in if you’ve only got a week or two off work.

Until now that is.

The Adventurists’ Rickshaw Run of the Himalayas allows you to travel the iconic range by less conventional means of covering over 5000m mountain passes.

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The Rickshaw Run Himalayas is now in its second year of operation and looks to offer a week-long Himalayan experience like no other.

Starting in Leh, a high-deser city in Northern India, the Rickshaw Run follows the famous Leh-Manali Highway and Spiti Valley route to finish around 650 miles later in the foothills of Shimla.


The Aventurists point out that ‘highway’ is a very loose term for the route, which is only open for four months of the year and winds its way up and over three huge passes including the Tanglang La pass, at a dizzying 5328 meters.

As Guido, an aviation aficionado, pointed out – that’s a helluva long way up! Non-pressurised aircraft are limited to approximately 3048 meters.

What the route lacks in tarmac, it makes up for in droves of incredible views of the remote and beautiful Spiti Valley, passing thousand-year old Buddhist monasteries before soaring up mountainsides to unveil views across some of the world’s tallest peaks.


Those who have done the Rickshaw Run before emphatically praise the locals they meet along the way who made the trip most memorable. The area is inhabited by semi-nomadic people who live in yurt-style tented communities. Once they’ve stopped laughing at the fact that you’re in a rickshaw, are incredibly welcoming and hospitable.

There are small guesthouses along the route, though it’s more than likely you’ll be invited to spend the night hunkered under a sheepskin for a truly authentic Himalayan experience.

The route would take over a month to walk, but is easily done in a week by Rickshaw. You don’t need to lug a big swag around either, which sounds good to us!


The Rickshaw Run Himalaya takes place in June, starting in Leh and finishing in Shimla – then again in September in reverse.

Within the entry price: you get a three-wheeled four-stroke Rickshaw provided, pre and post-launch parties, test driving and mechanical briefing; a jerry can and a few key spare parts plus tools, and one hell of an adventure!

For more information, visit


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