"Stay away from devils on Wheelz. They are unprofessional and are after your money. Service is bad, people are rude, and your safety is not important at all. You will have to keep making sacrifices the whole time."

Devils on Wheelz Aka (Apex Adventure Tours)

In the summer of 2018 I pulled the trigger on a motorcycling trip across Kashmir and Ladakh regions. I had planned this trip for the past 18 months and had finalized on two companies that looked good on paper. one of the companies was Devils on Wheelz AKA Apex Adventure Tours.

Prices were similar but the route for Devils on Wheelz was better, or at least I thought since they had a newly opened Umling la (The highest pass in the region) in the itinerary but we found out the pass was closed for months but they did not tell us in advance and charged us for it.

About 6 months to the trip I started communication with Devils on Wheelz and asked them some questions. They were kind of slow in their response which should have been a clue as to clients do not come first.

Based on my questions I found out that the company does not accept any kind of international credit cards. They wanted only cash or a local bank account. This was an inconvenience for me not having a local bank account but I agreed to pay cash upon arrival to their office on the day of departure.

I used my friends dads local bank account to pay for booking the amount of 20k for 5 people. Out of 5 people 2 canceled due to family and work emergencies and the company eat the money. They did not return the booking money.

They charged the price of 30k Rs for each bike with gas included plus another 10k Rs as refundable down payment In case we break the bike as insurance?? The PDF pages sent to us clearly states that there is 100k insurance for each person but we paid for bike insurance again??!!

The PDF sent by the company also states that the clients who do not wish to ride a bike will be taking the trip in an SUV. one of our group members decided to take this trip in the SUV but when they reached there the company put them in the minivan they were carrying the language around in. It’s a giant step down from SUV to a minivan with 500k+ kilometers on the odometer. This was a garbage van. I say the van was garbage because it really was a garbage van. In the back of the van there were mechanic's toolbox on the top a spare tire. it looked like a mechanics shop. They also carried all the language in the back of this van. On the second day the AC and windows stooped working. On the 4th day the power steering system started leaking. The body was barely holding together. And the driver was putting air in the tires with a manual foot pump every day and sometimes multiple times a day. Suffice to say he was driving the car with puncture tires with no regard to the lives of people he was driving around in that rough terrain.

See the pictures and you will be able to tell the difference between the advertised SUV and the crappy van.

Our bikes were old. Mine had around 16k kms on it but the speedometer was not working because they had cutoff the wires. I mentioned that to the tour guide but he shrugged it off saying “you don't need to know how fast you are going. Just follow someone” WHAT !!?!?!?!

I thought that not only it was a clear violation of the local traffic laws but very unsafe for the rider since I could not follow the road speed signs with what I could see or not see in this case on the speedometer. But it didn't look important to the company.


Day One - Delhi to Pathankot

We hauled ass to Pathankot to save a day and be able to use this saved day and spend an extra day in Srinagar. We were told by the tour guide to ride 470kms in one day. speed limit?? what speed limit. we were breaking the law in every city with wide open throttle. I couldn't tell because remember, me speedometer was broken. We reached the hotel and boy this hotel was nasty. there was uncleaned dust on the ground. it looked like they just opened the doors of a haunted hotel for the biker group and they would close it down again when we leave the next day. I don't see anyone in their right mind staying there. I would give this hotel a one star for having some food and just some dirty beds for us to sleep in.

Day 2 - Pathankot to Srinagar

The next day we left for Srinagar But as it turned out the police stopped us from advancing due to some unrest in Srinagar and a crowd of people going for a pilgrimage “Amarnath Yatra” using the same route as we did. We had to stop for the night at Patnitop. We did loose the day we saved. The hotel in Patnitop was nice i will have to admit. it was not dirty, it had good food and it was close to a mall where we spent the better part of the after noon at. I am guessing this was just luck since it was not in the itinerary to stop here.

Day 3 - Patnitop to Srinagar

The next day we left Patnitop for Srinagar again and we were allowed to move forward but the van that carried the language and our group mate got stuck behind the hundreds of buses that were going for the pilgrimage using the same route. The van was constantly stopped by the police and the driver was told to turn around and go back to Jammu or Patnitop. Our group mate explained how she had to plead with a dozen of police officers to let her go because the rest of the group was already ahead of her. She felt harassed and very uncomfortable. Jammu is not one of the regions of the world for you to travel alone and specially for a lady to travel alone and be told by the police that you have to stop somewhere out in the open for the night. The police stopped the bikers three times as well but somehow we managed to get out. Our over all stops for the day came something close to 2.5 to 3 hours.

Two key factors and important pieces of information was deliberately kept from us.

1- The fact that there was a pilgrimage was known to the company since it happens every year in the same date.

2- The unrest in Srinagar was in fact due to some folks wanting to celebrate the death anniversary of a local Kashmir militant (terrorist) who was shot by Indian army two years ago. This also happens every year in the same date. 

We could have avoided all the trouble and changed our travel dates to a week or two latter had the company mentioned this to us ahead of time or maybe they can have blackout dates for whatever that could cause great harm to the travels well being, but they failed to do so leading us to believe that they don't care about the travelers.

Right before reaching the Srinagar city, were were stopped by the police and asked where we were going. groups who had a confirmed hotel booking in Srinagar city were allowed to enter the city and the rest were turned around. Devils on Wheelz had no advance hotel booking in Srinagar (what a shit show) and to fool the police they made a fake reservation and had a friend impersonate the hotel front desk, then they had the police call that person who was impersonating the hotel and lie to the law enforcement and pretend we had a reservation. This to me was extremely unprofessional and plain illegal. Had they made the reservation in advance we could have been in a much better state.

Thinking about the facts above I truly believe that the owners of the company put their greed ahead of the travelers safety. Lots of valuable information were omitted and intentionally not shared since the company wanted to make a quick buck. "Money first, guests last" is their mission statement!!!

We finally made it to Srinagar and got to the hotel safe well after dark. The hotel in Srinagar was pretty clean and one of the good hotels in the area. The people were nice and very helpful. we had a long day and it was comforting not to deal with anymore bullshit.

Our team mate who got stuck behind the buses and trucks and was harassed by the police and misled by the company finally had enough and decided it was the end of the trip for her. she booked a ticket from Srinagar airport and left for home the next morning. She was very upset over the fact the the company kept lying by omitting information and hiding facts from all of us.

Day 4 - Srinagar to Kargil 

We lost the day we had saved to spend in Srinagar and had to move forward. Next day we were Driving to Sonmarg. The driver was driving through Srinagar small streets aggressively and taking over other cars and trucks forcing all the riders to do the same and put their lives in danger. He had his morning weed and was high like a kite again and was tearing through the narrow streets of Srinagar. I don't care how the locals ride there but I was not used to this kind of maneuvering and facing head on traffic every 30 seconds. call me unadventurous but how can I enjoy the adventure if I am dead!!

The tour guide did not share information as to where are we going when leaving for Kargil. The morning meetings were skipped sometimes which brought about confusion. I was not a local and things should have been explained to me every morning before we moved but that was not the case. The guide would come and order everyone to jump on the bikes coz were leaving??

One of my group mates ran out of gas 30km to Kargil because they did not top off his gas tank in the morning again because they were rushing. The issue was not taken seriously when he could have gotten hurt when his bike shutdown while riding. To add insult to injury the backup truck arrived and they did not have a drop of extra fuel when it clearly stated in the contract that the backup truck will carry fuel at all times. We reached Kargil and went to the hotel. this hotel was good.

Day 5 - Kargil to Leh

The guide did not care about being on time and leaving on time everyday. The night before any departure he would state a fixed time for people to leave in the morning but we actually left 1.5 to 2.5 hours after the stated time. By leaving late we were then forced to ride fast to make it to the next destination before dark and endangered our safety on the road. We had multiple accidents because of this fact. We reached Leh at 9pm because we left Kargil at 10:30am.

The lunch on the way from Kargil to Leh was served 1.5 hours late because the restaurant had to serve 50 people all at once. The tour guide or office did not call ahead to advise them that 50 people was going to show up. Or get at least 4 items ready to go. I had to cancel my order and go to another restaurant so I would at least have lunch. had I not done that, the tour guide would have left with the rest of the group and I would have been left behind.

The contract stated that staying in hotels will be on a double occupancy bases. There were three of us traveling and we paid for three people. which means that we kind of paid for three beds and 1.5 rooms. When my one of our teammate decided to cancel her trip on the third day either the rest of her money should have been returned to her or we should have been accommodated with a full room and a half. but in return we were only given one room and the half was removed. what i am trying to say here is not only they did not return her left over money but also took away the extra accommodation from us. They literally stole her money.

Before we leave for the trip the company sent us links to hotel websites as examples of where we were gonna stay which latter turned out to be complete lie. Some of hotels did not match or even came close to what was presented to us. The actual hotels where we stayed were a lot worse. Please see links copied from an email from Devils on Wheelz.


Hi

We provide 3-star category hotel and A category hotels in this package. In Leh Ladakh region 3-star category hotels are not available but they are similar to 3-star category hotels.

Kindly check  hotel list which we are providing-:

Srinagar-Hotel shefaf http://www.hotelshefaf.com/

Kargil-Hotel Zojila residency (http://www.zojilaresidency.com/)

Leh-  Hotel Ladakh retreat (http://www.ladakhretreat.com/)

Nubra-Himalyan Eco resort (http://www.himalayanecoresort.in/)

Pangong lake- Camp Martsemik La  (http://www.martsemik.com/)

Tsomorri-Hotel lake view or nomadic camp

Sarchu- Red rock camp (http://redrocksarchu.com/)

Manali-Sun park resort  http://www.sunparkresorts.com/

Broadways Inn   http://www.broadwaysinnmanali.co.in/


Thanks

Naman


Don’t count on the hotel WiFi just because they say they have WiFi it doesn’t mean it will function. Either bad and crappy equipment or connection drops by the ISP will drive you mad.

The touring company does not care about you and providing a good service to you it’s just about how much money they can get out of  you.

In Leh, the group grew to 40+ people. Every stop was taking so long and every restaurant had a hard time serving us. It became ridiculous. How you may ask? well, more and more people joined the group in every major city. the tour started in Delhi, more people joined in Patnitop, more joined in Srinagar, more joined in Leh.


The company again neglected to hire another guide or road captain and break the group in to two smaller groups to make it easier on us. 40+ people is a large and hard to control group and hotels do run out of rooms and can not provide proper service, the restaurants in small towns are not prepared to serve 40+ people all at once, some them haven't even seen such a large bikers group let alone being able to serve them. the safety of a large bikers group can not be guaranteed in a rough region like Ladakh. Many variables such as land slides, mechanical breakdown and running of resources can effect the bikers safety on the road with a huge group. it was evident that Devils on Wheelz did not care about our safety even though we tried to explain the facts to them more than one time.to them it was all about how much money can they save by not hiring another mechanic, road captain and driver to drive the backup car. Greedy bustards.

Day 6 - Leh town

We were left alone to decide where to go in Leh. no maps. the internet was not working. and there was no cell service. That is all I am going to say :(

Day 7 - Leh to Nubra Valley Diskit

The night before leaving for Nubra valley we were told to unpack our bags, find smaller bags and only pack for 3 days. This was very out of the blue and unexpected and unpopular demand among all the teammates. The reason was explained to us as “only one car will be going to the next destination and there is not enough room in one car for bags and tools” latter I found out that more people joined the tour and instead of hiring another car, mechanic and tour guide the company decided that we the customers have to adjust and compromise since the company was not in the business of compromising and providing good service. The lady who owns the company was opening a restaurant in Leh and she needed all the money and resources she could get to open that restaurant and therefore take every penny from the tour participants and provide bad service.

We got to Diskit and since the company had not done advanced booking half of us were forced to stay in a tent camp. The other half got to enjoy their overnight stay in a hotel. We were told that we will get to stay in the hotel the next night. We were not able to charge the batteries for the camera and cell phones because the campsite turned off the power to the whole camp at 11:00pm When discussed with one of the company people he said you were too late returning to your room and if you would have come back before 10 you would have been able to charge the batteries. This!! While the folks whose stayed in the hotel (VIPs) including the guide and his girlfriend were having access to electricity all night.

The company and their representatives were skilled at making things your fault. Everything is your fault and the company is not at fault at all. I mentioned to the guide that I was not able to charge my camera because the electricity was gone at 11. He said "You should have come back to your tent earlier" nothing was their fault it was all our fault. you know what was my fault? hiring Devils on Wheelz for this tour. it was a huge mistake.


Day 8 - On wards to Turtuk

In the next morning we went to Turtuk. It’s a sleepy little town at the edge of the earth. Plus Turtuk is at the Line of control. It’s a fake barbwire border between India and Pakistan. Why? Don’t ask or they will kill you.

At the last military check point we were told by Shaheen (The tour guide) that foreign nationals were not allowed to pass the checkpoint and we will have to wait at the checkpoint until the rest of the group visits the barb wires (border between India and Pakistan) and come back. Then for some reason the officer in charge of the checkpoint came out to see who we are. After he had seen a copy of our passport, which was kind of wired. He asked my friend where he was from and my friend said he is an None resident Indian. The officer did not ask me anything and told us we can wait at the checkpoint while the others can move on forward including the guides Chinese girlfriend who I was sure was some kind of spy. of course I don't have the facts to prove it but she specious.

Why would the officer come out to see us? If there such law that prevents foreign nationals to cross past the last check-post then it should apply to everyone. There was no need for the lead office to come out and check what we looked like. They could have simply denied the entry. The company should have told us not to take this trip today and relax in the hotel. We could have planned a visit to the local market instead of wasting a whole day on a trip that was a big waste of time.

This was a complete crappy management on company’s part.


Day 9 - Pangong Lake When reaching Pangong lake our group was settled in a run down camp with older tents where the group from Srinagar, the guide and his girlfriend got to go to the better camp with WiFi, TV, bonfire and they got to see the soccer World Cup streaming live. I was again given a double occupancy room.

The trail of lies were unstoppable. First our group was told that we will get to stay in the new camp but then we were given instructions to stop and check in to the older camp.

After I asked Naman to get me a single room which he agreed by saying “Okay” in WhatsApp. I was not provided the single room for the next two nights. In the s come night I asked the guide if he had a conversation with Naman to which he replied “I was only able to talk to him in Leh and nothing after that because there’s no cellphone signal” I think that was a lie because the camp arrangements and hotel arrangement are done daily and he talks to them in daily bases.

One of the guests used his own money to buy time from the satellite company so we could watch the world cup final match. Neither the camp owners nor the company paid for TV reception while the other half of the group who stayed in the new camp got to enjoy bonfire in front of the projector streaming the world up live. I am not sure what was the reason and why we had to be separated into two different groups of privileged and not so privileged but it seems like the other group always got the better amenities starting in Leh all the way here.

The guide and the mechanic and driver and the photographer were avoiding answering questions by saying “we just work here and we are not the boss, madam is the boss and she runs the show and even though there is a partnership between Kyrish and madam but madam also is his boss No one can say anything to madam” which I knew and I find odd since when in the field the decision are made by the guide.?? it is highly irresponsible of whomever this madam is to try and control everything from Delhi and not allow his employees to make decisions when she is not reachable ever. the guide and others tried to call her to answer our questions but they did not get through due to lack of phone reception. Its either that or they were lying to us the whole time to avoid answering questions that would ultimately end in the company paying out money.


Day 10 - Tso Moriri

The route to Tso Moriri was worst than worst. Take it off the plan if you can. This lake is not something you should go to. Panganong lake is much better.

In Tso Moriri, we were supposed to get a hotel but seems like the company did not book ahead of time and we ended up in a wooden box with 3 beds. And a bathroom in the -2 degree temperature at night. We were not allowed to have a bonfire and were told not to light a fire or we will get in trouble.

No one even wanted to go close to the lake since it was cold and by now they were all tired of lies. The mood was very gloomy that night.

The driver was high the whole time. In fact he was making the guest uncomfortable smoking weed while driving.

Both guides were also pot smokers. I am not sure about other drugs but I won’t be surprised!!!


Day 11 - Tso Moriri to Leh

We rode back from Tso Moriri to Leh since some of the people who joined us in Leh had to take a flight home. Stayed in another hotel for the night. next day we were riding to Sarchu.


Day 12 - Leh to Sarchu

the ride was OK. very comparable to the rest. nothing special happened there. Oh yes I had a flat rear tire and Saddam (The mechanic) got it fixed in about 20 mins. Saddam was the only reliable person and truly an asset among the rest of the useless folks from Devils on Wheelz. he was a great help in the middle of nowhere. we stopped in Sarchu and stayed in a camp at night.


Day 13 - Sarchu to Manali

This is a they day when lost of folks had many mechanical issues with the bikes. lots of the issues occurred with the breaks of the rental bikes. this was a stressful day for the group.


Day 14 - Manali to Delhi

We decided to skip the last day with the Devil company and ride 500+kms and make it to Delhi. got up at 5:30am and tried to hit the road. I say tried since we found out that my friend's bike had a flat. he was given this shit of a bike that would not break properly and the suspension was jacked up to a point where when he hit of of the thousand potholes in the road the key pop-ed out of the ignition and was lost. WTF. he had to ride that crappy bike for 200+ kms. it was the last stretch and we wanted to get back to Delhi so badly and in the middle of that the crappy bike. I had an accident when someone just made a u turn and ended up in front of me but Saddam was there and solved the issue and told me to keep going. we did ride our bikes for 16+ hours that day. one of our group-mates made sure we reached the Devils on Wheelz office safely close to 10pm at night. I owe him a mountain of gratitude forever. Thank you sir.

We stayed in a hotel for the last night the hotel was a dump, it looked like a modern hourly rental to somewhat questionable clientele. The rooms were sizable but the sheets were stained and the bathroom was disgusting for lack of a better term.

Our team mate who canceled her trip after three days contacted the company to some of the money back since she left three days in to the trip but they told her they will talk to me about it. I tried contacting them but with no luck. My messages and calls went unanswered. I am still waiting for them to call but I won’t be holding my breath.

In final stay away from devils on Wheelz. They are unprofessional and are after your money. Service is bad, people are rude, and your safety is not important at all. You will have to keep making sacrifices the whole time.

To summarize the experience I would have to say that Devils on Wheelz is not a company I would ever trust in the future and you should also think about what you are getting yourself into. here are some point to ponder upon.


Things that I observed from Devils on Wheelz.

- failure to disclose known facts that severely effected the tour.

- Intentionally adding closed or shutdown destinations to the itinerary to make the package look more attractive to charge a higher price. 

- Bait and switch packages, hotels, bikes, SUVs and equipment to charge more money. 

- failure to return all or any portion of unused money when a traveler cancels the trip due to legitimate concerns such the company putting ones life in danger.

- double charging for something that is already covered such as insurance.

- failure to mention that some of the promised items may not work. WIFI?!?!

- failure to deliver what is promised in the contract.