Lhasa to Kathmandu Mountain Bike Traverse
Tibet & Nepal, Bike - Semi Slick, 22 days - from £2,595 (land only) - from €3,115 (land only) - from $4,280 (land only)
- Ultimate mountain bike holiday across Tibet
- Hugely rewarding Tibetan cycling journey
- Sunset on Everest from Rongbuk
- Worlds longest bike descent from Tibet into Nepal
- Bike across the Pang La with fine views of the Himalaya
This classic mountain biking holiday from Lhasa to Kathmandu originally pioneered by KE, is a long and demanding cycle ride on sometimes rough and ever changing roads across Tibet to Nepal. To make this cycling trip extra special, we have incorporated a trip away from the main highway, to bike to Everest Basecamp and the Rongbuk Monastery. Flying to Lhasa via a brief stay in Kathmandu, 3 essential nights are then spent getting used to the 3660 metre altitude. There is much to see in the days spent in and around the capital of Tibet, including the stunning Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and the colourful Tibetan markets. We can also accompany devout pilgrims on the circuit known as the Barkor, which circles the Jokhang. A couple of short, easy bike rides around Lhasa assists with the group's acclimatisation and allows us to visit some of the many interesting temples and religious sites, such as the Sera Monastery which lies just a short distance outside the city. Setting off on our epic journey, there are 6 major passes to be cycled on the main Lhasa to Kathmandu route as it runs westwards, parallel to the Great Himalaya Chain which forms the border with the territories of Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal to the South. Throughout this trip, the biking group will have full vehicle support and there may be times when all but the super fit need their bikes to be transported to the top of the next pass to enable us to keep to our ambitious schedule. The road traverses a high and dry plateau-land, which is punctuated by the unforgettable monastery towns of Gyantse, Shigatse and Shegar, as well as by several smaller settlements and nomadic Drogpa camps. On the detour away from the main route towards the Rongbuk Monastery, the route climbs through many hairpin bends to reach the Pang La, which affords breathtaking first views of all the Himalayan peaks including the awesome Mount Everest. We will spend 2 nights at Rongbuk Monastery close to Everest Basecamp before biking an alternative route, via the Lamma La, back to the Kathmandu highway. Back on the main route, we reach the edge of the Tibetan Plateau as we cycle across the double pass of the Lalung La and then Thang La. Now begins a mind-blowing bike descent of 4600 metres (almost 15,000ft) via the border town of Zangmu to the verdant valley of the Bhote Kosi River in Nepal. We spend a relaxing evening at the wonderful Borderlands on the banks of the Bhote Kosi, before a final climb up to the superbly situated town of Dhulikel on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. KE has an unmatched wealth of experience that ensures a smooth ride for this, one of our most ambitious mountain bike programmes. KE has led more cycle tours along this challenging route than any other company in the world.
Is this holiday for you?
SEMI-SLICK ADVENTURE. The Lhasa to Kathmandu ride can fairly claim to be the highest mountain biking in the world. It is an all-time classic biking adventure, best suited to mountain bikes fitted with semi-slick tyres, although a cyclocross bike is also acceptable. The importance of 3 days, spent gently sightseeing around Lhasa cannot be over emphasised, as proper acclimatisation is vital to anyone hoping to complete this route. Our journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu crosses some very remote country and for 80% of the ride we are on the Tibetan Plateau, at an altitude of between 4000 and 5220 metres. Biking on the main Lhasa to Kathmandu road is fairly straightforward; it is all tarmac and continues to be improved by the Chinese. However, the altitude does make the riding a strenuous undertaking. Throughout the route, we will have the support of a back-up vehicle, and anyone who is not feeling up to riding a particular stage has the option to get in the support vehicle. On our ride into Everest Basecamp, we will encounter rough corrugated dirt tracks and there will be a chance to get off road using the small herders' paths which short-cut many of the switchback descents and climbs. This is one of our toughest biking adventures and will provide a real sustained workout. Constant long days, lots of climbing and usually in very remote locations.