Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Bike Tour-21 days
TIBET-NEPAL CROSS COUNTRY MOUNTAIN BIKING
Tibet- Shangri-La, the land of snows is well known as the roof of the World lies on a plateau at an average elevation of 4,000m. Tibet further is the land of ancient Buddhist culture having awesome landscapes, artistic monasteries and centuries old caravan trails. The holy land is bounded by the Kunlun mountains to the north and the Himalayas to the south. Tibet covers an area of 1.2 million sq. km, and has a population of 2.3 million. Tibet is a sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people. It has not only exerted magnetic spell upon travelers for centuries but also upon spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks etc, yet, only few intrepid serious and determined travellers have been able to make it. Tibet being extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan ranges, a fascinating world of timeless splendor, unique tradition and breathtaking scenery awaits all travelers.
BEST SEASON and WEATHER
From April to October is the best season for riding. There is not much rain in Tibet as it is a plateau behind the Himalayan range. But it rains to some extent during July and August and rest of the season is fine with clear sky. There may be snow fall in the high passes if it rains during April and end of October. Temperature ranges from 0-15 degree Celsius depending upon altitude and weather.
The bulk of the trip is crossing the arid Tibetan Plateau, which lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas and does not receive much annual precipitation. Our departures during the season are timed to miss the monsoon in Nepal, and we should be guaranteed clear, dry weather for the last step into Kathmandu. The weather on the Tibetan Plateau during the day will be surprisingly mild and warm, while nights will be clear and crisp. Temperatures will range from 20 degrees Centigrade during the day to well below freezing at night. As on any of our routes though, storms can occur at anytime along with a sprinkling of snow.
Tibetans are generally honest and Hotel staff can be trusted not to walk off with our belongings. Pickpockets are virtually unknown and there seem to be no scams aimed at parting us from our money. The situation has eased and Tibetans no longer risk being punished for talking with foreigners. We have to avoid taking photographs of Chinese soldiers.
Min 4pax, plus Nepali guide-medically trained and experienced, drivers, Tibetan guide and extra Nepalese MTB guide if numbers dictate.
GRADE: Cross Country
These trips follow mainly vehicle-width dirt roads, which may be smooth, gritty, stony, rocky, rutted, loose or hard-packed. The tracks will rise and fall over undulating, hilly and mountainous terrain, but single-track riding will not be included in the main itinerary (optional bits are often possible). Some experience of off-road riding is advisable before booking, but the amount recommended will vary from trip to trip.
Important Note and Optional Activities
Your safety is of paramount concern whilst traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, as this is adventure travel in remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it! Weather conditions, health condition of a member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Day to Day Itinerary
Arrival in Kathmandu:
Upon our arrival in the Kathmandu airport (KTM) we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking (HGT). After completing our custom formalities (Visa, etc) we pick up our luggage and look for representative with a Himalayan Glacier display board at the arrival gate. We will be then escorted to hotel. After check in, we will visit Himalayan Glacier office site and meet our trekking guide as well as other participants and do final preparation for the trip. Later in the evening Himalayan Glacier will organize a "Welcome Dinner" at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where we will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program along with a fine meal.
Today after breakfast, we will start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites; including the historic Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupati Nath, the famous 'Monkey Temple' (Swayambunath) and Buddhists shrine (Buddha Nath) which is one of the largest Stupas in the world.
Fly To Lhasa
At the dawn we take the morning flight to Tibet. This is one of the world’s most spectacular flights, with a one hour flight over the incomparable Himalayas that keeps our eye out for Everest! After landing at Gongkar airport we will be escorted to our hotel in Lhasa’s beautiful Tibetan Quarter. After checking in the hotel, we go for a walk around the Barkhor Square, the spiritual heart of Tibet. Barkhor has a lively market for souvenir shopping.
Sightseeing in Lhasa: Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Bazar, Drepung Monastery
Foremost, our tour begins with a visit to SERA MONASTERY. An experienced tour guide also working as an interpreter escorts us to this preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Equally adventurous and exciting tempo builds up while touring NORBULINGKA, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. JOKHANG TEMPLE is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. We further visit to BARKHOR MARKETS where we can view goods of Tibetan culture, custom and tradition. Eventually, the tour for the day concludes as y reweurn to the comforts of our hotel.
Free day in Lhasa
Despite the day is free, we further engage into experience of strangeness attained in such remote place of the divine world. Its senice views, cultural traditions and innocences of people at Lhasa makes us thrill.
Sightseeing in Lhasa: Drepung monastery and Potala Palace; Rest free day to explore Lhasa
We experience invaluable insights during our visits to POTALA PALACE and DREPUNG MONASTERY. This 17th century POTALA PALACE offers an awesome view of entire city and also has private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Ancient history has it that Drepung Monastery which was built in 14th century used to shelter around 10,000 monks but as now there has been quite a declination resulting in only few hundreds. Tibetans' respect and belief are immensely knotted with this monastery.
Lhasa - Chusul: 97 km
At our full acclimatisation, we take to our bikes or cycle out to the Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa. The Freedom Highway then leads us away from Lhasa down the Lhasa Valley and to our guesthouse in Chusul.
Chusul - Nagatse: 105 km
Following breakfast, we move on to tackle the 25km climb up to the pass of Kamba La. This tough climb will take 3-4 hours but the views from the prayer-flag-strewn summit at 4794m are spectacular. We then descend to the turquoise Yamdrok Lake where we will have lunch. After lunch, we make a gentle and scenic road jurney to the small town of Nagatse.
Nagatse - Gyantse: 100 km
Following breakfast, there is the opportunity to tackle the first and (fortunately) ‘lowest’ of the high passes – the 5045m Karol La. This climb will take approximately 3hours. The subsequent descent is twice as long and descends over 1000m in altitude to Gyantse in the heart of the Yang Chug Valley. There is plenty to catch including the Palcho Monastery and the magnificent Kumbum Stupa – a fantastic tiered structure that is now unique in the Buddhist world. We will also be able to see the beautifully located Gyantse Dzong – where Lt. Col Francis Younghusband made his infamous first stronghold in 1904.
Gyantse - Shigatse: 94 km
Upon our today’s ride, we traverse through senic gentle 94 km road across beautiful plains with a dramatic mountain backdrop. At mid-ride, we stopp for lunch and then continue across the plains into Shighatse, Tibet’s second largest city and home to the controversial Panchen Lama, whose home is traditionally at the Tashilunpo Monastery.
we make our rest in Shigatse where we also visit the huge Tashilhunpo monastery complex. During our time in Shigatse, we engage to obtain the necessary permits for visiting Everest Base Camp.
Shigatse - Lhatse: 150 km
Today, we start a gentle ride through rolling terrain across the Shigatse Plains. A gradual but long climb then takes us to the double passes of Tra La (4050m) and Tsuo La (4520m). There is then a fantastic descent which flattens out before we arrive at our guesthouse at Lhatse.
Lhatse – Shegar : 85 km
Today will be the judegement day for our legs! We leave Lhatse and ride to the foot of the Gyatso La, before climbing to the summit of the pass at 5248m! This is the highest pass on the Friendship Highway and a steady effort requires to conquer it. The hard effort rewards into the looming sight of Everest, as we gradually approach the Himalayan chain.
Shegar - Tashi Zom: 62 km
After the initial smooth tarmac from the door of the hotel, we then turn south and head off-road for the next few days! For the very fittest there is another pass - this time the 5200m Pang La - where we feast on the extensive views of the Himalayas. On a clear day, the sheer scale of the mountain views throughout is unequalled in the world! The descent from the pass is fast and twisty and brings us down in to the Rongbuk Valley and to our overnight stop in Tashi Zom. 90% off-road.
Tashi Zom - Rongbuk: 42 km
Cycling on a vehicle width jeep trail today in full view of Everest’s North Face, we approach both the mountain itself and the Rongbuk Monastery. Taking lunch in the airy tranquility at this moment will be is one of the attractions of the trip. After lunch, we continue the short distance to our overnight accommodation at the Ja-Rongbuk tented camp. The remainder of the afternoon is free to allow for acclimatisation to the lofty (5200m) altitude. The stunning views of Everest, visible from our campsite, hopefully make up for the lack of air! 100% off-road. We can eee note in accommodation section.
Rongbuk: 8 km
After breakfast, we take our bikes and head slowly up the gravel jeep trail to Everest Base Camp. The route is only 4km, but the stunning views and thin air mean it might well take 90 minutes! The views from Base Camp are stunning and offer a 360 degree panorama of the high Himalaya to put our photographic skills to the test! After enjoying the ambience of Base Camp, we return to our tented accommodation where our cooks will have prepared another amazing lunch! The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the incredible surroundings. 100% off-road.
Rongbuk - Tingri: 70 km
Heading back out of the wide valley, a turn-off takes us over the Nam La pass and along smaller tracks to Tingri, a little town overlooking the sweeping plains. Tingri is bordered by the mighty Himalayas and we will have distant views of Everest, Cho Oyu, as well as the ruins of buildings destroyed in the 18th century Nepalese invasion of Tibet. 100% off-road.
Tingri - Nyalam: 75 km
We usually drive to the first of the double passes of Lalung La (4950m) before riding down and up to the Shung La (5200m), the last pass in Tibet. The high-altitude lunch spot at this juncture offers fantastic with tantalising views of Shishipangma. Lunch is made even more enjoyable for knowing that it is now more than 4000m down to Nepal! We begin our epic descent by thundering down to Nyalam where we will spend our last night in Tibet.
Nyalam - Dhulikhel: 75 km
Today we will not encounter high pass! At Zhangmu, we pass through Chinese customs before continuing down to Nepal, crossing the famous Friendship Bridge at Kodari. We should remember to ride on the left in Nepal! From Barabise we head to Dhulikhel.
Dhulikhel - Kathmandu: 20 km
Today, we are on the eve of our tour. After a fine breakfast at Dhulikhel, we head off through the greenery of the Kathmandu Valley towards our final destination, Kathmandu via the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bhaktapur, where we will have the time to visit the beautiful Durbar square. From here, we make our ride to our hotel where we pack up the bikes, shower, and prepare for Himalyan Glacier's well-earned farewell celebration dinner. 80% off-road.
Today, our journey in Nepal comes to an end! There is nothing to do but we can trade emails with our travel companions and organize our photos. If time permits we can do some shopping or sightseeing at our interest.
- Complementary welcome dinner in one of the finest Nepalese restaurants in Kathmandu
- Sightseeing in Nepal and Tibet as per itinerary
- Experienced English speaking local tour guides (Tibetan & Nepalese in respective places)
- Accommodation on Bed and Breakfast basis in Nepal and Tibet
- Overland transportation (1 Truck up to 5 pax with cabin for passengers and more than 5 pax jeep and truck)
- All Entrance fees in Tibet and Nepal.
What's Not Include
- International airfare to/from Kathmandu
- Kathmandu to Lhasa airfare
- Mountain Bike if on rent
- Lunch and Dinner in Nepal and Tibet
- Trip cancellation and Medical/Evacuation Insurance
- Items of personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet , laundry etc.)
- Excess baggage
- Tips for guides & drivers
- Nepal Visa fee
- Tibet Visa
The tour includes hotels, and simple guest houses on bed at breakfast basis. If we are solo traveler, we will share a room with someone else of same sex of our group. If we prefer a single room, we may express our preference and get single rooms on request by paying single supplement USD 390.
Generally, breakfast is included within the trip throughout the journey. Upon our meal service, we will be served commonly available Tibetan dishes such as noodles, and bread. Further, the tour does not include soft or hard drinks. Lunch and dinner will be upon our own cost.
Visa and Travel Procedures
Traveling to Tibet is a dream of many. Since, Himalayan Glacier would like to assist us in making our Tibet tour an adventure of a lifetime. Therefore, presented below is a list of rules and Tibet entry procedures we should know about before traveling to Tibet. Read More
Equipments & Packing List
While packing for Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Bike Tour certain equipments are essential.
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Trip Start Dates
We will organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please contact us for your customized departure date.
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us.