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Lhasa to Kathmandu Cycling

Overview

Tibet is a sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people and this is one of the most interesting, remote and spectacular parts of the world for the adventurous cyclist this land of rugged beauty, vast landscapes, brilliant skies and glittering peaks offers one of the ultimate biking challenges. After some essential time acclimatising around Kathmandu and Lhasa, our route takes us across high altitude desert, over awesome mountain passes, stopping off at Rongbuk Monastery and Base Camp for views of the north face of Everest.

 

 

Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu
Meet group at airport. Transfer to hotel.. Arrival briefing.
We will have a full briefing in the evening before dinner. The local leader will collect your passports, your insurance to secure the group visa for Tibet. 


Day 2 Kathmandu
After breakfast we will issue local hire bikes for anyone who requires them, and then head east into the Kathmandu Valley to explore the fantastic network of country roads and off-road trails that this area has to offer. Today is the ideal opportunity to stretch your legs and begin the process of acclimatization. Ride approximately 25km. 50% off-road. NB: There won't be anyvehicle support for the off-road sections.


Day 3 Lhasa  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 meeting our Tibetan guide, it is a two-hour drive to Lhasa where we will check in to our hotel to rest and after checking into the hotel, we go for a walk around the Barkhor Square, the spiritual heart of Tibet and start our acclimatization of being at 3490 m (11450 ft)..


Day 4 Lhasa
Acclimatization is very important at this considerable altitude (Lhasa is at 3680m), so for the first few days we make exploratory local rides and cultural visits to become accustomed to the thin air. Points of interest include:
Today we'll visit the main sites of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace. This building dominates the city of Lhasa and contains the private quarters of the Dalai Lama as well as numerous grand staterooms and many important chapels. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th or 6th century, but the present palace was constructed in the 17th century. Jokhang temple is possibly the most sacred shrine in Tibet and there is always a procession of devout Tibetans through the complex. Surrounding the Jokhang is the Barkor - a maze of narrow cobbled streets that is the central market of Lhasa. 


Day 5 Lhasa
Today we will make ride around Lhasa and the Lhasa River. We'll see a different side of the city as and explore the local culture and tradition. Before we head out together for a traditional Tibetan dinner we will have a trip briefing for our departure the next morning. We also visit Drepund Monastery, Sera Monastery, one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, once housing a population of around 5500 monks, though now it numbers only a couple of hundred.


Day 6 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 95km.


Day 7 Nagartze
Transfer (or ride) over the Khamba La (4794m) and on to Yamdrok Lake.
After breakfast, those who feel up to it can 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 have lunch, before taking the gentle and scenic road around to the small town of Nagartse.


Day 8 Gyantse
Ascend to Karo La (5045m) followed by 1000m descent to Gyantse.
After 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 100km.


Day 9 Shigatse
Ride down to Shigatse.
Today's ride is a scenic and gentle 94km 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 95km.


Day 10 Shigatse
Rest day in Shigatse and visit Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Visit the huge Tashilunpo monastery complex. During our time in Shigatse, the necessary permits will be issued for visiting Everest Base Camp.


Day 11 Lhatse
Ride the passes of Tra La (4050m) and Tsuo La (4520m) to Lhatse.
A gentle start to the day with rolling terrain across the Shigatse Plains. A long but gradual 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 150km.


Day 12 Shegar
Cross over Gyatso La (5248m)    
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 13 Tashi Zom
Ride up Pang La (5200m) for views of Everest and Cho Oyu.
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 into the Rongbuk Valley and to our overnight stop in Tashi Zom.
Maximum ride distance 62kms. 90% off-road.


Day 14 Jarongbuk 
Cycle to Rongbuk Monastery near Everest Base Camp.
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 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! Maximum ride distance 52kms. 100% off-road. See note in accommodation section.


Day 15 Jarongbuk 
Rest day at Jarongbuk and visit to Everest Base Camp (5200m).
After breakfast, we take to 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 spectacular 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.
Maximum ride distance 8km. 100% off-road.


Day 16 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. Maximum ride distance 70km. 100% off-road.


Day 17 Nyalam
Ride the passes of Lalung La (4950m) and Yarle Shung La (5200m)
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 tantalizing 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 18 Dhulikhel
Cross the border into Nepal and continue on down towards the Kathmandu.
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 Dolalghat we transfer to Dhulikhel.
Maximum ride distance 50km


Day 19 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.
Maximum ride distance 20km. 80% off-road.


Day 20 Depart Kathmandu
 After breakfast.Depart to Airport

Profile
16 days cycling with 100% vehicle support.

 

Accommodation
6 nights guest houses, 11 nights hotels, 2 nights camping Near Everest Base Camp we stay in permanent tents which are very spacious and well equipped, with dormitory style single beds, solid flooring and a central heating stove The standard of accommodation.


Included
19 breakfast, All accommodation, All transport and listed activities
Tour leader throughout  and arrival & departure transfers.

 

Group size and age
Min. 2, max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 18.

 

Challenging
Fitness is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Previous Cycling experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition

Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!

 


Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trip?
You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.

 


Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
Momos
This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
Kwanti soup
This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
Choela
This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu.

 


I have some free time in Kathmandu?
If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.

 


how much spending money should I allow ?
US $ 50 – US $ 60 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.
Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.


Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.
Please note if you are staying in Nepal longer than 15 days, you will need to ask for a 30 day visa.

 

A BRIEF PROFILE of your needs and expectations should ensure a personalised, detailed, yet concise email reply from us. Information such as the following is helpful:
  • Primary purpose(s) and highlights of visit, including regions of interest.
  • Duration of stay
  • Probable number of people and short profile and level of physical challenge sought
  • Any specific queries or concerns

Download the detailed trip notes to know about this trip,including detailed itinerary supplementary information of the relevant trip of Exodus Treks & Expeditions.

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Exodus Treks & Expeditions Nepal Pvt.Ltd.
Tel. No. 977-01-4442715, 977-01-4442716
Fax: No: 977-01-4442521
P.O.Box. No: 20058
Address: Dhumbarahi, Kathmandu, Nepal
E-mail Address: info@exodustrekking.com
etreks@mos.com.np
Website: www.exodustrekking.com

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