The Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is one of the world's most beautiful countries. From the highest point on the earth to the jungle lowlands along the Indian border, there is an incredible variety of scenery, including huge glaciers, alpine pastures, thick uninhabited forests and carefully terraced hillsides.
Highlights of this trip include:
Visit many of the key sights
Dramatic flight across the Himalaya from Pokhara to Kathmandu
A stay in Royal Chitwan National Park
Good variety of cycling routes, on tarmac and rough tracks
Agriculture –terrace farmings,lowland vegetation and crops cultivation
Flora and Foana
Culture and People
Amazing old architecture
CH = Comfortable Hotels
SH = Standard Hotel
BH = Basic Hotel / Lodge
ACCOMMODATION: 5 nights CH, 8 nights SH
This trip gives you the opportunity to experience Nepal’s diversity in one of the most rewarding ways, by bike. Starting from Kathmandu we head into the Mahabarat mountains where you can experience the best Himalayan views in Nepal, from Dhaulagiri in the west to Everest in the in the East. From here, we bike down into the terai, close to the border of India where you will visit small thatched villages and experience the ancient farming traditions. Once in the terai, we visit the Chitwan National Park, one of Asia's finest wildlife parks, where you can go on elephant safari in search of rhino and tiger, or take to the river in a dugout canoe. Refreshed from the comforts of our lodge we return to the mountains, cycling towards the mighty panorama of the Annapurna range and the sacred peak of Macchapuchhare (Fish Tail).
Arriving in Pokhara, we have some time to relax by the lake or to experience some trekking before biking the ‘Royal Trek' and returning to Kathmandu by the scenic mountain flight. The Valley is the historic centre of Nepal, the place where kingdoms rose and fell, palaces and temples were built and rebuilt and Nepalese art and culture were developed and refined. The combination of some superb dirt tracks and more relaxing road sections, and the abundance of temples, monasteries and palaces, makes this both an exhilarating and fascinating place to cycle and indeed to end one of the most varied biking trips you could wish for.
DAY 01: Arrive in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and transfer to our hotel. In the evening, there will be a briefing on the trip. Those not flying with the group from London will join us in the afternoon in Kathmandu. O/N Guest house
DAY 02: Kathmandu is such an extraordinary place that it is well worth having time to explore fully, so today is a free day. There is of course the opportunity to get out on your bike for an independent ride around the bustling, mediaeval streets of old Kathmandu, or further field across the countryside to nearby Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur-The biggest out of the three Durbar Squares happens to lie peacefully in Bhaktapur. Lots of history and mind blowing architecture are treasured in the square. Some may prefer to look around on foot. In the evening, the group can get together and compare notes before thinking about the forthcoming trip. Overnight in Hotel
We drive just out of town to avoid heavy traffic. Check all your gears and bike towards Changu Narayan, the ancient temple complex here, which includes the oldest Hindu temple in the valley where in the sixth & seventh centuries, Newari stone masons made cravings of Lord Vishnu. The stone tablet standing on the west side of the temple is said to be the earliest known inscription in Kathmandu Valley. It depicts King Mandev’s military conquests in the fifth century. It’s on the way and enjoys commanding views over the valley and its fine statues are the best outside the National Museum. From here ride down to Bhaktapur is an ancient city, full of Newari culture. There are many temples and squares here that we will have time to explore. Overnight in Hotel
DAY 03: After a heartfelt breakfast riding towards Surya Binayak and then to Lubhu, known for its handmade cloth. Leaving Lubhu behind we head toward West on a jeep track passing paddy fields along the foot hill of the highest hill Phulchowki in the Valley on our way to Vajra Varahi home of the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ancient woodland surrounds the temple, protected by the local belief that to cut even one tree would greatly anger the deity. We shall stop in this forest for some refreshments on a small clearing ideal for a rest and to enjoy the tranquil sanctuary of the ancient forest. The villagers still appease the wrathful Vishnu by weekly sacrifices of chicken, goat, and buffaloes. We spend the night at the Godawari Resort and if we still have enough energy, we can always visit the Botanical Garden of Godawari. Overnight in Resort
Altitude: 1400 mts (accommodation resort) Drive: Drive out of the Kathmandu to avoid heavy traffic (approx 6 km) Bike 9 km: Begin riding on broken tarmac road after crossing Bhaktapur town. Bike 30 km: off rd. Total Distance: 45 km (Kathmandu to Godavari Resort)
DAY 04: We spend the morning sampling some exciting trails that lead up and across the valley rim to the south and on to the Kulekhani Dam Site (completed in 1982 Nepal's first major hydroelectric project). In between the trails we ride through pine forests and many small villages (Hudu, Hunanae Bhanjyang, Fakhel and Kalanki) before reaching Markhu. A picturesque lake provides the perfect background for a lunch stop. We then carry on riding towards Daman riding on the Tribhuvan highway through, (Taukhel, Bajra Barahi, and Thana bazaar). Anyone fancying an introduction to Himalayan hill climbing (14km) can spin all the way up. The hotel enjoys a spectacular mountainside location, arguably offering the most spectacular outlook on the Himalaya in all Nepal. On a clear day one can see all the way from Everest in the east to Dhaulagiri in the west. Daman also happens to be the highest point in the valley. Overnight in Hotel.
Altitude: 2325 mts Distance: 65 km
DAY 05: After breakfast in the hotel, we set off for the hike down to visit the nearby monastery before returning to the hotel for lunch. With our appetites satisfied, we saddle up for the exciting ride down to Hetauda in the terai, the lowland area of Nepal. The road sweeps us down towards the plains of Northern India offering 1,500m of downhill over 52 km, we need to be a little cautious and careful on the way because the roads have very sharp turns and lots of bends. As far as the views are concerned, you would not be disappointed. We start off through Rhododendrons (national flower) pine forests and orchids can also be seen depending on the time of the year, as we descent further down riding pass (Sim Bhanjyang, Agor, Chaukhel, Bhaisidoban) to the lowlands a lot of crop farming takes place around this area. We continue riding towards Hetauda through the Mahendra highway. (Hetauda)The area is well known for its factories and concrete bazaars. The surrounding area is dominated by pine forests. Overnight in Hotel
Altitude: 535 mts Distance: 52 km
DAY 06: We start off once again following the Mahendra highway, through (Gajiya, Monohari) we arrive at the Lothar bridge (33 km) We then start riding off-road towards Sauraha. With the forests on our right and the Rapti River on to the left we follow a narrow jeep track into Sauraha. The terai offers a completely different though equally fascinating side to Nepal - consisting of an almost flat plain wedged between the Himalayas and the Indian plains. Riding on ancient bullock-cart tracks, we pass through neat mud-walled villages, vivid green paddy fields and mixed sub-tropical forests criss-crossed by numerous rivers. We ride all the way hopefully arriving in time for sunset at the hotel. The hotel lies peacefully surrounded by jungles fields and rivers away from the town, the hotel is spectacularly situated on the banks of the Rapti river. Sauraha also happens to be one of those unstoppably successful destinations at which Nepal seems to excel. Overnight in Hotel
Altitude: 295 mt. Distance: 66 km
DAY 07: Waking up at the hotel is a fantastic experience and today is a free day to enjoy a full range of jungle activities in one of Asia's premier wildlife parks - Chitwan National Park. There are a number of activities to choose from (all included in the trip cost) ranging from dug-out canoe safaris to elephant safaris in search of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the elusive Royal Bengal tiger, as well as over fifty species of mammals and more than four hundred species of birds. Sadly or perhaps wisely, mountain biking is not allowed in the park! Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 08: After breakfast, we start riding towards Tikauli, entering the Beeshajaar Tal and Ramsen site. This forest area has about 131 species of plants and many endangered species, such as the royal Bengal tiger, great Indian Rhinoceros, mash mugger crocodile and many other animals. The main attraction of the area is the lakes. (8km forest area) We ride through the forest going through (Devnagar, Halchok) once we leave the forest behind, the scenery changes completely, riding on small jeep tracks we have vast area of farmlands that stretches as far as it's visible, we then join the Mahendra highway and ride up to Narayanghat (32 km) and stop for refreshments. The scenery on both the sides is captivating as we ride further upto Kawasuti bazaar (30. 50km's). We then ride to a quiet spot off the highway and have lunch. After lunch we load our bikes and drive to Lumbini via (Rajahar, Kawasuti, Domkibas, Butwal, Bhairawa, Parsa. Lumbini-Home to the Sacred Garden where the Buddha was born in 623BC. In the garden are a number of temples and sites, the Ashoka pillar carries an inscription identifying the spot as Buddha's birthplace. Maya Devi (Buddha's mother) Mandir (temple) contains brick work dating back to 300 Bc, besides these places there's so much more the garden has to offer. Overnight in Hotel (152 drive)
Altitude: 165 mts Bike off Rd.: 30km Bike paved road: 30 km Drive: 132 km Total distance: 192km
DAY 09: By bike we retrace our steps from Lumbini to Bhairahawa, through (Ekala, Bharbaliya, Mangalpur, Landihema). Riding through typical Indian community villages, with haystacks and buffalo ponds in-between the wide spread fields, we ride through narrow village passages before meeting the Mahendra highway. We continue riding before stopping for lunch at Butwal (45 km), one of the Terai’s most important crossroads (1km of heavy traffic). After a heartfelt lunch, we ride along the bumpy Siddhartha Highway for 10-15 km's (uphill). Then drive to Tansen. Our overnight stop is in the town of Tansen (1440m altitude), which enjoys spectacular views over the Himalaya. Tansen is a romantic medieval hill town, perched high above the Kali Gandaki River. Tansen-Once the seat of a powerful kingdom, the hill town of Tansen (Palpa) now seems little more than a bazaar town stranded in the hills. Mul Dhoka (main gate), tall enough for elephants and their riders to pass through, and reputedly the biggest of its kind in Nepal. Besides these places, there are many places of interest in Tansen. Overnight in Hotel
Altitude: 1440 mts Biking distance: 60 Km Total distance: 86 km
DAY 10: In the morning you may wish to make the two-hour trek to the banks of the Kali Gandaki River and the ruins of the vast Ranighat Palace, originally built in 1896. We then start descending through narrow, winding streets of the old Tansen village, before meeting the Siddhartha highway. We descent on wide paved road that's got lot of winding and sharp turns all the way down to Ramdi, then start a mild uphill towards Galyang. We stop at Galyang (48 km) for lunch then continue up to Waling (65. 50) and then load our bikes and head towards Pokhara. Along the way, weather permitting, there should be spectacular views of the 6,997m peak of Machhapuchhare, the `fishtail' mountain, and the main Annapurna range rising up to 8,091m. The area around here is also very popular for honey hunting. After the exertions of the recent cycling, the prospect of spending a day relaxing in Pokhara is very appealing. On reaching Pokhara we check into the hotel where we will be staying for the next three-nightspot. Overnight in Hotel
Altitude: 850 mts Biking: 65 kms (all paved road with mostly downhill) Driving: 60 kms Total distance: 125km (Tansen to Pokhara)
DAY 11: Pokhara is set in a wide valley directly beneath the Annapurna range. If Kathmandu and its valley are the architectural treasure of Nepal, then Pokhara is nature's equivalent. Set at only 1,000 mts amongst semi-tropical plants and with a delightfully warm climate, it is actually much closer to the main Himalayan peaks than Kathmandu. Machhapuchhare dominates the skyline especially in the clear morning air. Pokhara is a great place to relax and today you are free to enjoy the atmosphere - there is a wide choice of shops, restaurants and cafés along the lakeside to explore. For those feeling like some more energetic activities, boats can be hired on the lake or you can trek up to Sarankot (c. 4 to 6 hours round trip). Overnight in Hotel
DAY 12: A combination of hiking and biking today sees us tackle a section of the ‘Royal Trek', so-named because Prince Charles once covered the route. Initialy following the ridge line offering the superb backdrop of Annapurna IV After a 20km drive east out of Pokhara to the lake of Begnas Tal we set off on foot to Majdana (2 hours' walk up) where we will meet up with the bikes. From here we descent approximately 6 kms down to Vijayaypur river and follow the road through Mahendrapul old town of Pokhara to the hotel. For those who want to get as many miles in as possible, from the bottom there is an optional 10km of tarmac that takes us back to Pokhara. If we have sufficient time, we go visit the Tibetan refugee camp. Overnight in Hotel
Altitude: 850 mts. Paved Rd: 11km (drive up to the start of the hiking point) Hike: 8 km (off road) Bike: 10 km (Off Rd) Total Distance: 29km (Pokhara to Pokhara)
DAY 13: Today we take one of the most stunning flights in the world: 30 -minutes in a 19 seater Twin Otter or a 45 seater Avro across the huge mountains. The views will live with you for a long time. The flight departs in the early morning mountain, and the bikes return by road, saving us a painful six hour bus journey! Back in Kathmandu, you have the afternoon free to explore the shops and sights of this fascinating city. Points of particular interest include Durbar Square, location of the former Royal Palace with its intricate woodcarving and four fine towers; Pasputinath, Nepal's most important Shiva temple; and Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal. The evening is free to explore the city's many restaurants. Overnight in Guest House
END OF THE TRIP