Hiking or TrekkingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Climbing or Peak TrekkingTours in Nepal
Cycling or Mountain BikingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Sightseeing or FestivalTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
This mountain bike tour offers one of the world's longest and steepest descents - a non-stop downhill that begins on the Tibetan Plateau and winds 1500 kms down to the fertile rice fields of Nepal (an unbelievable 4600m descent). We will ride more than 1,100 km through Tibet on tar and gravel roads and over spectacular mountain passes. Along the way we will encounter small villages, local people going about their daily chores working the land, and at times, may encounter snow, rain, sleep and high temperatures.
The high point of the journey comes when we arrive at the monastery of Rongbuk and see Mount Everest Base Camp (5200m). This is the only trip in the world where you can visit Everest Base Camp with a bicycle!
This mountain bike experience will also bring you into contact with three religions (Buddhism, Lamaism and Hinduism) and act as an introduction to the mysticism of Tibetan culture, the friendliness of the people and the daily culture in villagers' lives.
Note: This route is rated as a non-technical biking tour on a combination of tar and hard packed gravel. The section up Pang Pass and from Rongbuk Monastery across to Tingri is on gravel roads with lots of stone and rock. One is cycling at high altitude with strong afternoon headwinds and varying temperatures. The rating is considered, 'difficult' and prior fitness is essential.
There are six 7 passes (La) to be negotiated on the Lhasa to Kathmandu route as it runs westwards.
Kamba La - 4,794m
Karo La - 4,750m
Tso La - 4,520m
Gyatso La - 5,220m
Pang La - 5,150m
Lalung La - 4,990m
Thang La - 5,050m
Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel
Day-2: Full day guided sightseeing around of the Kathmandu valley.
Day-3. Kathmandu to Lhasa (3660m) Transfer to the airport for the hour-long flight across the main Himalayan range. Afternoon at rest to acclimatise to Lhasa's high altitude.
Day-4: Lhasa We will visit Lhasa's many monasteries and sites, such as the Sera Monastery, and the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama.
Day-5: Lhasa We visit the Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery founded in the 14th century, and once the largest in the world, with a population of around 10,000 monks. The afternoon, is a time to relax or further explore the area.
Day-6: Start the Lhasa Kathmandu Bike Trip! Finally, your trans-Himalayan biking adventure begins. Our journey towards Everest starts with the Friendship Highway as it heads out across the plateau. We leave Lhasa and cycle along the Tsangpo River to foot of the Kamba Pass (3700 m). When you arrive at the camp you will find tents, latrines, shower tent and facilities ready. Accommodation in tents [Mountain Bike distance: 85 km].
Day-7: Kamba Pass Our first mountain pass. A strong uphill climb along a tar road of several switchbacks, reaches a summit lavishly adorned with prayer flags (4794m). After descending we continue alongside Lake Yamdruk, at the far side of which we set camp (4490m). Overnight in tents. [Mountain Bike distance: 55 km]
Day-8: Karo Pass Leaving the beautiful lake behind, we cycle along the Friendship highway which soon becomes a gravel roadway, through a ravine and up to the foot of the Karo Pass (4750m), where our tented village will be prepared for the night. Accommodation in tents. [Mountain Bike distance: 54 km]
Day-9: Karo Pass to Gyantse A significant time on the tour, as we have to get up early to climb the high Karo Pass (5010m). Around us we can see glaciers stretching down to 6000m and beautiful lakes. You are rewarded for your effort with a night in a top hotel in the city of Gyantse (3980m). Hotel.
Day-10: Shigatse First we will visit the Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating from the 14th century and the Kumbum, a large gold-domed stupa with several small chapels, containing an impressive collection of Tibetan Buddhist murals. We then head out on the highway towards Shigatse. Although this involves a longer distance, the highway is tarred and flat. In the afternoon we will arrive in Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse (3860m). Shigatse Hotel. [Mountain Bike distance: 94 km]
Day-11: Gyachung Monastery We leave Shigatse and ride over two small passes and through several small Tibetan villages. We will cycle past the isolated Gyachung Monastery and camp. Accommodation in tents at around 4100m. [Total cycle: 75 km]
Day-12: Lhatse The route lead us through picturesque valleys before the long route begins which leads over the Tso-La (4520m). After lunch we head towards Lhatse past the hot springs and camp about 10km outside of town. Accommodation in tents. [Total cycle: 95 km]
Day-13: Shegar We view the stunning canyon of the 5220m Gyatso-La. On a clear day you will be rewarded for your effort with your first view of Mount Everest. After a 40 km ride through flat prairie towns, you will arrive in the town of Pelbar, often referred to as Shegar. Shegar, is a popular stopover for anyone heading to the Everest region. This is a long and gruelling ride through the canyon. Hotel Quomolongma. [Total cycle: 75 km]
Day-14: Pang Pass Just outside of Shegar, we will divert off the main Lhasa-Kathmandu highway and head towards the world's highest peak, Everest. After passing through the border control point, you will be faced with 20km's of uphill switchbacks (42 hairpin bends in total!) before you reach the summit of the Pang Pass (5150m). Your reward will be some of the most magnificent views of Everest and her surrounding peaks. Enjoy lunch as you gaze over Makalu (8463m), Shishapangma (8012m), Cho Oyu (8210m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8850m) and several other breathtaking peaks. Then a 20 kilometer downhill follows to the Rongbuk Valley (4200m), where we camp. Overnight accommodation in tents. [Total cycle: 67 km]
Day-15-16: Rongbuk Monastery Everest Base Camp Now you should be at peak fitness and excited about the approach of Everest Base Camp. A bumpy road winds up through the Rongbuk valley until the majestic Mount Everest appears before you. We will camp beside the monastery with the unforgettable sight of the 8848m peak in front of your eyes. We will stay here for two days. One your second day, you can either read a book or get even closer to Everest by taking a walk, cycling or hopping on a donkey and cart ride to Everest base camp, which is 8km from the campsite. Accommodation in tents (5150m). [Total cycle: 35 km]
Day-17: Tingri Leaving Rongbuk, we head back down the bumpy road and then take a "short-cut" into the mountains. Another bumpy trail takes us over a canyon and down into Tingri (4340m). Overnight in tents. [Total cycle: 86 km]
Day-18 : Lalung Pass This day begins with a 40 to 50km flat ride before lunch. Then we tackle the gradual incline of the Lalung Pass (4990m). From here you will feel like you are as high as the peaks around you, including Shishapangma (8012m). Overnight in tents. [Total cycle: 77 km]
Day-19: Cross Thang Pass the ultimate downhill We tackle our last up hill, as we cycle up the incredible Thang Pass to 5050m. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the Himalayan chain as you freewheel the most incredible non stop downhill, all the way to the Nepalese border. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the Himalayan chain as you freewheel down.
From the town of Nyalam you will notice that the scenery starts to turn green again. You will cycle down down past countless waterfalls and pine tree lines roads, with waterfalls practically crashing over you, to the border town of Zhangmu (2300m). This will be our last night in Tibet. Zhangmu hotel. [Total cycle: 117 km]
Day-20: Back to Nepal From Zhangmu we have to pass through customs and into Nepal. Once you are in the Nepali town of Kodari the downhill continues for the next 50 km along some very bumpy and rocky roads. Suddenly it is tropical and humid and green again as you cycle alongside rice paddies. After you reach the town of Dolalghat you must climb up to Dhulikhel (1600m). Dhulikhel Lodge Resort. [Total cycle: 97km]
Day-21: Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.Free for shopping, etc. You will freewheel down through Bhaktapur where you can stop and see some of the town's famous temples if you wish, before we ride into busy Kathmandu again. In the afternoon you can relax, shop or go sightseeing. We will all get together in the evening for a last dinner to celebrate the successful completion of this amazing adventure. [Total cycle: 35 km].
Day-22: Final Departure from Nepal.
End of services
Being a high altitude plateau, weather conditions can be unpredictable.
Summer (June to September) is the warmest time of year across the Tibetan Plateau and as a result, a popular time for people to visit. It is however, also the time when Tibet is likely to get more rain. Despite this, it is still possible to go trekking, although the downside is that the mountains tend to be more cloud covered than in the winter. Summer in Tibet is also the time when you will see more signs of nomadic life, as nomads make their way through green pastures with their yaks.
In September and October there is not much rain making the air drier. It is also harvest time in Tibet. This is a perfect time to come to Tibet for trekking or cycling and also a great time for good photographic opportunities.
Winters (November to March) are cold (the average temperature in January is -2°C)
The night temperatures listed below are from April to November on average. Minimum temperatures on average at base camp are:
April: -10 deg C or -14 deg F
May: -8 deg C or 18 deg F
June: -4 deg C or 25 deg F
July: -3 deg C or 27 deg F
August: -4 deg C or 25 deg FSeptember: -6 deg C or 21 deg F
October: -10 deg C or 14 deg FNovember: -11 deg C or 12 deg F
Proposed Fixed Departures 2015
16/04 - 07/05/2015
07/05 - 28/05/2015 24/05 - 14/06/2015
14/06 - 05/07/2015
05/07 - 26/07/2015
16/07 - 06/08/2015
06/08 - 27/08/2015
23/08 - 13/09/2015
03/09 - 24/09/2015
17/09 - 08/10/2015
08/10 - 29/10/2015
22/10 - 09/11/2015
Across the Tibetan Plateau, we make use of three star hotels in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse and Shegar.
In between these towns, we will camp at varrious spots along the route. The logistics van will go ahead with the gear and equipment and set up camp for the night. You will be given a bowl of boiled water in the morning for washing along with a cup of bed tea and where posssible we will erect a shower tent at night. Meals are prepared by our cook and served in the Dining Tent. Lunches will probably be packed lunches which you can enjoy along the route.
Your final night in Tibet will be in Zhangmu where hotel standards are not good, but we will stay at the best available.