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.
This expedition is for adventurous cyclists wishing to immerse themselves in Tibetan culture with a backdrop of ethereal views of the Tibetan plateau. On our journey through amazing Himalayan scenery, we visit some of the most significant monasteries of the region and come to understand the deep connection between Tibetan culture, religion and the mountains.
This tour includes an experienced bike guide cum mechanic fluent in English, equipment vehicle carrying all our personal equipment, cyclist support vehicle, and a bike mechanic with all the spares needed.
Day 01– Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal (1,340m). Overnight at Hotel
Day 02- Pre-trip meeting and sightseeing around the Kathmandu valley. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 03– Ride from Kathmandu to Nagarkot via Bhaktaur (38km 2,168m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 04– Ride back from Nagarkot to Kathmandu via Shanku (34km 1,340m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 05– Fly from Kathmandu to Gonkar, then drive to Lhasa (3,650m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 06– Ride around Lhasa for acclimatization and sightseeing. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 07– Drepung Monastery and Potala Palace sightseeing. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 08– Ride from Lhasa to Quxu (61km, 3,600m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 09– Ride from Quxu to Nagarze (99km, 4,410m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 10– Ride from Nagarze to Gyangze (105km, 4,020m). Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 11– Ride from Gyangze to Shigatse (94km, 3,835m). Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 12– Ride from Shigatse to Jidingzhen (75km, 3,905m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 13– Ride from Jidingzhen to Lhatse (70km, 4,050m). Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 14– Ride from Lhatse to Tingri/Xegar (74km, 4,320m), via Gyatso La Pass (5,220m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 15– Ride from Tingri to Rongbuk (5,000m), EBC (5,150m), and back to Rongbuk (55km). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 16– Ride from Rongbuk to Old Tingri (69km, 4,350m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 17– Ride from Old Tingri to Menbuxiang (72km, 4,685m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 18– Ride from Menbuxiang to Nyalam (97, 3,750m). Overnight at basic Teahouse/Guesthouse.
Day 19– Ride from Nyalam to Dolalghat (Nepal), drive or ride up to Dhulikhel (115km, 1,600m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 20- Ride from Dhulikhel to Kathmandu via Bhaktapur and Thimi (35km 1,340m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 21– Transfer to the airport for your final flight departure
Our airport representative will be receiving you at Tribhuvan International airport, Kathmandu and s/he will be displaying an Aarohi Holiday signboard outside the airport terminal. You will be then transffered to your respective hotel in our private tourist vehicle. Overnight at Hotel.
(No meals included)
At around 8am, we host a pre-trip meeting at your hotel in Kathmandu and introduce your leader/guide. Please seek this opportunity to ask questions about the trek. This includes a final briefing and preparations for the trip. For the meeting, please make sure you bring passport, two copies of passport-size photos, and a readable copy of your travel insurance policy. During this meeting, please clear the due balance, if any, and sign the legally binding trip form as well as the non-liability disclaimer. Please inform us in advance if you will be arriving late and therefore are unable to attend the pre-trip meeting.
After the pre-trip meeting, your sightseeing trip will start at around 8:45am. You will have a private vehicle and a professional tour guide at your disposal. We visit Boudhanath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks praying in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. After Boudhanath Stupa we visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. We then head towards Swayambhunath – also called the Monkey Temple – a Buddhist stupa perched atop a hillock on the western side. You get a magnificent view of the valley from here.
The rest of our day in Kathmandu is free for further exploration and some shopping in Thamel. Overnight at a hotel.
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 down hill 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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in a dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic Teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 very basic teahouse or guesthouse in dormitory bedroom.
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 with cultural performances (dancing and singing with costumes) 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.
(Breakfast and Farewell Dinner Included)
The trip concludes – our airport representative will drop you at Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
The trip concludes – our airport representative will drop you at Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
Pick up from and drop off at the hotel and the airport on a private Tourist vehicle.
Twin sharing accommodation in a three star hotel in Kathmandu, breakfast included. (4 nights)
Twin sharing accommodation in a three star hotel in Nagarkot and Dhulikhel breakfast included. (2 nights in total)
Twin-sharing room in a Tibetan standard two-star hotel in Lhasa, Gyangze, Shigatse and Lhatse. Basic accommodation (dormitory room) for the rest of the trip while in Tibet.
Breakfast for the entire trip.
A farewell dinner on the night before departure.
Kathmandu - Lhasa airfare for the client and the mountain biking guide(s), including airport departure tax.
Tibet entry permission and Chinese visa. Monastery entry fees during bike sightseeing in Tibet.
Ground transportation to and from Kathmandu. SUVs and a support truck during biking in Tibet.
Guided city tour in Kathmandu on a private vehicle. Monument entry fees and permits included.
Aarohi Holiday’s licensed English-speaking mountain biking guide(s). The number of guides and assistant guides is dictated by the group size.
Mountain bike for the number of days riding. The brands include Cube, Trek and Giant hardtail or full-suspension bikes, depending on your choice.
The required number of ground staff for the tour.
Food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for our ground staff.
A down jacket and a sleeping bag provided by Aarohi Holiday (to be returned after the trek).
Free Aarohi Holiday duffel/kit bag, sunhat and t-shirt (yours to keep).
All government taxes and official expenses.
International airfare and airport departure tax.
Your travel insurance (mandatory for the trip; should cover helicopter rescue charges).(See the travel insurance page.)
Nepal entry visa – you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 15 days can be obtained by paying US $ 25 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 30 days and 90 days can be obtained by paying US $40 and $ 100 respectively. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos).
Lunch and dinner in for entire trip – about USD 15 to 20 per person per day.
All items of personal nature like drinks, laundry etc.
Biking attire and other personal gears.
Tips for biking staff and driver. (Tipping is expected)
Others expenses not mentioned in the Price Includes section.
No Fixed Departure
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