Hotel / Lodge
One of the most remote regions in the world, the cycling pilgrimage from Lhasa in Tibet, to Kathmandu in Nepal will quite possibly be a ‘life changing’ journey through time, scenery and physical demands. Our fully-supported mountain bike tour takes us along the Friendship Highway to the ‘Roof-Top of the World’, Everest Base Camp, and takes in the world’s 2nd longest descent, and the former home of the Dalai Lama.
Starting in Lhasa at 3,650m, we traverse 1,100km over 5 panoramic passes exceeding 4,500m, finishing in the Kathmandu Valley where the oxygen is rich and the lands fertile. Depending upon your individual tastes and strengths, we’ll average 70 km/day on our bikes. Our support vehicle is always available if you would rather take a day off the saddle. The terrain is 80% tarmac road and 20% non-technical off-road.
Upon arriving at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be received by our airport representatives who will warmly greet you and transfer to the hotel on a private tourist vehicle. We provide 3-star accommodation in the city and we arrange for a trip briefing with dinner in the evening.
A professional guide and vehicle are provided for a day of sightseeing in and around Kathmandu city. We visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city along with other interesting cultural monuments that dot the valley. These include Boudhanath Stupa (the largest Buddhist shrines in the world), Pashupatinath (the holiest Hindu temple in the world), Durbar Squares (Palaces and fortresses of medieval Kings), along with other popular cultural attractions. We get to observe the lifestyle of Nepalese people, holy sadhus and monks, fascinating history as well as awe-inspiring architecture.
We endorse Chinese visas on this day and you check bikes and equipments, after which we ride due east to the medieval town of Bhaktapur, an ancient city full of Newari culture. There are many temples and squares here that we will have time to explore. It is one of the major attractions of the Kathmandu valley, and definitely not to be missed! From here we head north-east to the beautiful Nagarkot hilltop on an excellent and quiet tarmac road. Nagarkot is the best destination to acclimatize and warm up before Tibet tour. Overnight at a hotel.
We descent on Jeep tracks through the ancient village of Shanku where we will have lunch and then ride back to Thamel, Kathmandu. We lose elevation on the downhill tracks, which at some points require technical skills. You will find yourself amidst massive stretches of farms. In fact, a considerable amount of rice and vegetables supplied to Kathmandu comes from Sankhu. Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu.
After breakfast, drive to the airport for an hour flight to Gonkar. You will be met at Gonkar Airport by your Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3,660m. It’s advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa’s altitude. Overnight at a hotel.
We will visit a few popular places such as Sera Monastery which is one of Lhasa’s great monasteries that survived the Cultural Revolution better than most. We can get up close and personal to a ‘Debate’ where the monks will try and outwit their colleagues with questions on religion. Have a peaceful time watching pilgrims circumambulate from the comfort of a café overlooking the Barkor. Overnight at a hotel.
After a good breakfast we will start biking for Drepung Monastery cycling right in front and passing the Potala. The monastery is situated 25km to the west of Lhasa, this is to further acclimatize and adjust to the climate and altitude. Drepung Monastery the largest of the monasteries out of the great Gelugpa monasteries was home to around 10,000 monks during the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1951. Once we reach the entrance to the monastery, we leave our bikes at the car park and climb up the stairs into the monastery.
Visit the famous Potala Palace. This is the cardinal landmark and a structure that deserves a place as one of the wonders of eastern architecture and it looks best from a distance. It takes about 3 hours of sightseeing at the Potala so we would advise on wearing comfortable attire, esp. walking shoes. Overnight at a hotel.
Biking towards Kathmandu starts on this day. After cycling through the busy roads for about 45 minutes we leave Lhasa behind. Please remember to always ride on the right side as there will be vehicles plying on this road. We follow the Brahmaputra River all the way down. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Biking over the Khamba-la pass (4,794 m), approx. 24km climb passing the old road between Gyantse and Lhasa the dazzling Yamdrok-tso (also known as Scorpion Lake) can be seen from the summit of the Kambha-la pass. The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather the lake is seen as a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. We will have lunch beside the beautiful Yamdrok Lake. After lunch we cycle down to the town of Nagarze. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Panoramic sight sweeping from the left hand side up to the front give great views of the Himalayas and glaciers upon reaching the summit of the Karo-La Pass. One can awe at the sight of the glacier which is approximately 50m below the pass. Bike over the Simi-La (4,330m), and then it’s a pleasant gradual ride to Gyangze town. Visit the monasteries and Stupas contained within this historical town. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Leaving Gyantse, we also leave behind our 2 days of off-road aches and pain as we find ourselves on a newly paved road which is a long day ride that will take us across vast stretches of flat agriculture land to Shigatse, Tibet's second biggest town in the traditional capital of Tsang. The Tsang kings exercised their power from the towering heights of Shigatse turning this town in to an important trading town as well as an administrative center. We visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery on the way. Overnight at a guesthouse.
After a good breakfast, we’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery as we ride to Jidingzhen. We’ll call it a day as close to the base of the Tso-La pass as possible. This will be a good time to prepare physically and mentally for a couple of passes in the following days. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Today will be a tough ride, with an occasional paved road making the rest of the road a dusty one. You can, of course, hitch a ride on the support vehicle if you don’t feel like riding the whole day. After we leave the Tso-La Pass (4,500m), we go down a long 9km descent and reach Lhatse, which is a small truck stop and is a dusty place but has some shops with well stocked shelves and few guesthouses. Overnight at a guesthouse.
In the morning after breakfast we cycle up to a 25km climbing towards the Gyatso-La Pass (5,220m), the highest pass of our trip. The ride to Gyatso-La is an interesting one as we will be in the middle of a gorge during the start of this particular ride accompanied by a river on the right hand side. Approximately 7km before reaching the summit we come to an opening where we can once again see the great mountains, but it will be very windy at this point until we cross the pass and descent down to Xegar. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Today we start our ride on a paved road up to the police check post. Here we would have to produce our passport to the authorities and after the check post we will turn off the Friendship Highway around 6km west of the Shegar checkpoint where our guide will sort out the permits for the Everest region. From here the path will be the toughest of bumpy roads. The road is very winding both up hill and down hill with sharp turns. On this particular road we would like to advise everyone to stay on the edge of the road at a safe pace because of heavy vehicle also using this road, which takes us to the Pang La pass (5200m), a rocky uphill. From here a superb panoramic view of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu can be seen on a clear day. We will bike downhill towards the river where after crossing it we will face the windiest place of our tour. We will cycle to Tashi Zong village. Overnight at a guesthouse in Rongbuk.
After an hour ride from Rongbuk we take new route to Old Tingri via Long Jong La. Occasionally, the level of river gets high which will make us difficult to cross the river, in such case we will ride and drive to Tingri via Tashi Dzong and Pang La. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Today the biking takes us over the pass of Lalung-la, which offers spectacular view of Gaurishankar, Dorje Lhakpa, Shishapangma and Langtang. Please make sure that you check your brakes properly because we will be riding mostly downhill from here. Overnight at a guesthouse.
We continue our descent southwards and after a few hours of biking we reach Nyalam which literary means ‘The Gateway to Hell’ in Tibetan. This is because the road drops from Nylam like a stone off the Tibetan plateau into a mossy gorge of waterfalls and cascades which during the monsoon creates a sea of clouds that submerges the road and thus giving the effect of an eerie scene out of a horror movie. Before reaching Nyalam just 10km off there is a place with the closest cultural sight which is Nyalam Pelgye Ling, a small temple that is associated with the Cave of Milarepa, the famous Buddhist mystic and composer of songs who lived during the late 11th to the early 12th century. Overnight at a guesthouse.
This is our last day in Tibet as we head towards the border Zhangmu which also is known as Khasa in Nepali and Dram in Tibetan, then entering Nepal through Kodari (which also happens to be the only bungee jumping spot in Nepal). We descend rapidly to Barabise on the longest downhill of our tour on muddy, rocky and slippery road with a big drop on the right hand side into the river Bhote Kosi. We will have lunch at Barabise (870m) a small town with shops and basic hotels. From here after lunch we have to option to either ascend to Dhulikhel (1,600m) or hop on the support van to the hotel in Dhulikhel. Overnight at a hotel.
After 2.5 km ride from Dhulikhel, we leave the Arniko Highway behind. Follow the dirt road up to Bhaktapur. Continue the broken tarmac road to Thimi a popular town for handmade paper mask. Thimi is the major supplier of vegetables in the capital, Kathmandu city. Ride the last section of Valley rim through busy traffic and transfer to your hotel. A pleasant stroll and a last-minute shopping spree in Thamel and Basantapur. We host a farewell dinner in a typical Nepali-style restaurant tonight to celebrate our hard work and achievement in the biking trip.
You have the option to extend your trip to continue onto Chitwan jungle safari, Pokhara sight-seeing, trekking, rafting & bungee, Kathmandu valley shopping tour, scenic Everest flight, and other activities. Overnight at a hotel.
The trip concludes today. You will be dropped at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport by our airport representative for your flight departure from Nepal.
Please enquire with us for prices
Whilst on the trek, the Nepali guides and porters will ensure that you are well looked after. Every trek has an English speaking guide, known as the Sirdar, who is in overall charge. It is his responsibility to organize the trek en route and manage the guides and porters and deal with the local peoples and they are experts in trek organization, as well as being able to discuss the local culture, religion, and landscape. In addition there will be other guides, sometimes referred to by the generic term Sherpa, who will be your walking companions on the trek and will assist the Sirdar in organizing the logistic of the trek. On camping treks there will be full kitchen crew who are responsible for all aspects of catering. And finally there will be porters who are the transportation system of the Nepali mountains. They will carry the duffle bags and other equipment as necessary.
On camping treks, all food is prepared by the trek cook - an expert in preparing delicious camp food. And most importantly, special care is taken to provide well - boiled, purified drinking water. On lodge treks, food is provided in the lodge and this ranges from delicious local specialties to common western dishes. If necessary, bottled water can be purchased from the lodges for a small fee, although many trekkers prefer to use fresh water with the added precaution of a purifying agent. You could bring some Chocolate or special energy drinks for yourself as these are hard to get in the Himalayas.
A typical trekking day
A typical day revolves around the Nepal sunrise and sunset. The day starts with an early wake up call. You then pack up your gear and enjoy a rousing breakfast before starting your morning's walk. The Sirdar will already be organized loads to porters and or animals, and your group will then set off on the trail at a leisurely pace, enjoying the view and stopping to take photographs. After 2-3 hours walk you stop for lunch. This lasts for about 90 minutes which gives you time to relax, or explore the local village. The afternoon's walk is usually shorter and we arrive at the campsite or tea-house in plenty of time to relax and savour the surroundings. Later in the evening dinner is served, giving you an opportunity to sample the delicious food, talk over the day's events, and look forward to another special day on the trails of Nepal.
Health and safety on the trek General
Anyone can be affected by Altitude Sickness. However, our itineraries are specifically designed to minimize the risks associated with trekking to high altitudes by building in acclimatization and rest days. In the event of any symptoms we will ensure that the individual descends to a lower altitude to gain a quick recovery.
And finally……….. It must be stressed that whilst trekking in the Nepal Himalaya is challenging and rewarding, you must be prepared for he occasional inconvenience or discomfort. The correct mental attitude to trekking is as important as being physically prepared.
All equipment and food, and your own personal backpacks are carried by the porters or pack animals. It is only necessary to carry a camera or small daypack ! On camping treks all necessary camp equipment is provided - this includes dining tent, dining table and chairs, toilet tent, foam mattresses, and all cooking equipment. The only kit that you will need to bring is your own personal equipment and clothing.
Recommended Trekking Kit
The following is a list of clothing and accessories that we recommend that you take with you. This is not intended to be a comprehensive clothing and equipment list, rather it is intended to act as a reminder of those items that we feel are essential for your comfort and convenience. However we recognize that you may have your own personal preferences for clothing which may be equally as suitable.
Recommended Mountaineering Kit
In additional to the items mentioned above for trekking the following is a list of the additional specialist items which are required for the trekking peaks.