LHASA- KATHMANDU (20 NIGHTS 21 DAYS) (Tibet-Shangri-la, the land of snows and the roof of the World.)
Tibet-Shangri-la, the land of snows and the roof of the World. Tibet is the land of ancient Buddhist culture with awesome landscapes, artistic monasteries and century's old caravan trails; it is an autonomous region of China. It lies on the plateau at an average elevation of 4,000 m. It is bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the north and the Himalayan 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 has not only exerted magnetic spell upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks etc. Yet, few intrepid serious and determined 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 to the roof of the world.
A fully guided and supported expedition into Tibet from Nepal to ride the second biggest downhill in the world and get closer to the real nomadic people of Tibet. For bikers with an adventurous spirit who appreciates to spend a little more time to experience this vast landscape at a closer and more personal level. This expedition visit’s all the monasteries, places of interest in the cities and towns, and gives you the chance to ride the best, most scenic sections of the friendship highway. We drive in the support truck for the most uphill sections to give ourselves a rest. Guided by an experience Nepali Mountain bike guide, who is there to look after you, help you acclimatize and smooth your ride on the bike and communicate with the Chinese officials. Your trip starts and finishes in Kathmandu with the guide so all your worries are taken care of and to ensure a trouble free fantastic trip.
Day 1: ARRIVE KATHMANDU
Arrive in Kathmandu late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. After sorting out the hire bikes you have some free time to either explore or relax. We will have a full briefing in the evening before dinner.
Altitude: 1340 m
Day 2: KATHMANDU - NAGARKOT
After an early morning breakfast in Kathmandu, we ride due east to the medieval town of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is an ancient city, full of Newari culture. There are many temples and squares here that we will have time to explore. From there, we head northeast to Nagarkot on an excellent and quiet tarmac road. We gradually climb 20 km to Nagarkot, on the valley rim, passing steeply terraced farmland and houses that seem to be clinging to the hillside. When we reach the summit we will be able to see the Himalayan mountain range and on a good day, mount Everest too. We stay in a guesthouse on the ridge.
ALTITUDE: 2000 m
Day 3: NAGARKOT - KATHMANDU
(34 - 40km with 650 m. descent)
The day starts with an exciting descent on Jeep tracks. We pass through many rustic villages, Himalayas in the right on clear day! We reach the beautiful ancient village of Shanku. From here we are on tarmac road towards Boudhanath Stupa, here we will have lunch and then ride back to Kathmandu or ride toward Budhanilkantha (Sleeping Vishnu) temple and then to Thamel.
DISTANCE: Approx 40 kms
ALTITUDE: 1340 m
Day 4: Fly to Lhasa
An early rise to 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– keep your eye out for Everest! After landing at Gongkar airport we transfer 70km 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.
Days 5: and Day 6: Lhasa
Acclimatization is very important at this considerable altitude (Lhasa is at 3680m), so for the first three days we make exploratory local rides and cultural visits to become accustomed to the thin air. Points of interest include:
Day 7: Lhasa – Chusul
Now fully acclimatized, we take to our bikes and 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. Maximum ride distance is 70 km.
Day 8: Chusul – Nagatse
Following breakfast, those who feel up to it can tackle the 25 km 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 4794 m are spectacular. We then descend to the turquoise Yamdrok Lake where we have lunch, before taking the gentle and scenic road around to the small town of Nagatse. Maximum ride 105 km.
Day 9: Nagatse – Gyantse
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 3 hours. 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 the eye here, including the Palcho Monastery and the magnificent Kumbum Stupa – a fantastic tiered structure that is now unique in the Buddhist world. You will also be able to see the beautifully located Gyantse Dzong – where Lt. Col Francis Younghusband made his infamous first stronghold in 1904. Maximum ride distance 100 km.
Day 10: Gyantse – Shigatse
Today’s ride is a scenic and gentle, 94 km across beautiful plains with a dramatic mountain backdrop. After a mid-ride lunch stop, we 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.Maximum ride distance 94 km.
Day 11: Shigatse
Rest in Shigatse; visit the huge Tashilunpo monastery complex. During our time in Shigatse, the necessary permits will be issued for visiting Everest Base Camp.
Day 12: Shigatse – Lhatze
A gentle start to the day with 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. Maximum ride distance 150kms.
Day 13: Lhatze – Shegar
A day to test the legs! We leave Lhatze 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 will be needed to conquer it. The sight of Everest looming into view is the reward for attaining the summit, as we gradually approach the Himalayan chain. Maximum ride distance 85km.
Day 14: Shegar – Tashi Zom
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 5200 m 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. Maximum ride distance 62kms.
Day 15: Tashi Zom – Rongbuk
Cycling on a vehicle with 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 here is one of the highlights of the trip. After lunch, we continue the short distance to our overnight accommodation at the Jarongbuk tented camp. The remainder of the afternoon is free to allow for acclimatization 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! Maximum ride distance 52 kms.
Day 16: Rongbuk
After breakfast, we take to our bikes and head slowly up the gravel jeep trail to Everest Base Camp. The route is only 4 kms, but the stunning views and thin air mean, it might as well take 90 minutes. The views from Base Camp are stunning and offer a 360 degree panorama of the high Himalaya to put your 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. Maximum ride distance 8km.
Day 17: Rongbuk – Tingri
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. Maximum ride distance 70km.
Day 18: Tingri – Nyalam
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 here is 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. Maximum ride distance 75km.
Day 19: Nyalam – Dhulikhel
Not a high pass to be found today! At Zhangmu we pass through Chinese customs before continuing down to Nepal, crossing the famous Friendship Bridge at Kodari. Please remember to ride on the left in Nepal. From Barabise, we transfer to Dhulikhel. Maximum ride distance 50km.
Day 20: Dhulikhel – Kathmandu
After a fine breakfast 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 transfer to our hotel where we pack up the bikes, shower, and prepare for our well-earned farewell celebration dinner. 80% off-road. Maximum ride distance 20km.
Day 21: Departure or Optional program.
Group Size: Minimum 4 people