The classic Trans-Himalayan trade route is a long and demanding ride on a road which is certainly amongst the contenders for the title of ” the world’s wildest highway”. Flying to Lhasa gives you time to get acclimatized at the world’s highest capital at 3,600 meter altitude. There is much to see in and around Lhasa, including the stunning Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the largest of the Tibetan markets at Barkor. A couple of short easy bike rides around Lhasa will help the group’s acclimatization, and will allow to visit some of the many interesting temples and religious sites.
Throughout this trip, the group will have support vehicle in order to keep up with the ambitious schedule as per the itinerary. There are six major passes to be negotiated on the main Lhasa to Kathmandu route as it runs southwards, parallel to the Great Himalayan chain which forms the border with the territories of Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. On the entire trip, the road traverses a high and dry plateau – punctuated by the unforgettable monastery towns of Gyantse, Shigatse and Shegar, and also by several smaller settlements and nomadic Drogpa encampments.
This is an adventurous biking tour which covers most of the best parts of Tibet - truly a fabulous journey which offers awesomely beautiful rock formation, cascades and canyons slightly hidden under the thin mists. With numerous high passes with stunning views of the picturesque landscape, tranquil lakes, rural villages, large meadows with nomad camps scattered all around the overland trip is one of the best in short duration. Enriched by the ancient most lavishly decorated monasteries and temples with chanting saffron coloured monks, ever smiling faces of people and their typical lifestyle all contributes to this trip a memory of your lifetime. A land so rich in culture, tradition and steeped in religion with its unique landscape cast an enchanted spell that holds you in thrill and excitement. A sweeping panoramic flight over the mighty Himalayas includes the breathtaking views of Everest and Makalu.
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport you will be received by our staff and will escort you to the Hotel, where one of our leader or a local biking guide will give you a brief orientation of the Hotel, Kathmandu, and Biking / Camping, do's and don't and other related information that you might require while in Nepal & in Tibet. Our Tour Officer will ask for your Interantional flight ticket and your passport for safe keeping and for reconfiramtion of your out bound flight. Do not hesitate to do this, this is one of our routine service and it will be in the safe hand while you are on the biking trip, and after the trip you will get it back.
After your first night in Kathmandu, you will be well informed on arrival about the the time for your half day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu at places of interest. Sometime, depending upon your flight arrival if its late in the night we will do this tour in the afternoon instead of morning to give you a nice sleep and rest before you venture out of the Hotel for our interesting tour.
Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa and if the weather is clear enough you can have the spectalur view of World’s highest peaks including Mount Everest. Will be received at the Airport by the Chinese Agents and will drive to our Hotel for about 2 Hours.
During these three days we will tour the fabled City of Lhasa. A completely forbidden City until very recent times, Lhasa was Holy Grail for many central Asian explorers of past generations. The City has of course been altered by the Chinese occupation and the impact of foreign visitors. However much of the original character remains and whilst jostling through the Potala with crowds of ethnic Tibetans, it is hard not to be captivated by this magnificent civilisation. Visit to the great monasteries of Sera and Drepung, both of which were extensively destroyed in the cultural revolution but are now being rebuilt. We will also visit the Jokhang and of course the Potala. Lhasa is at 3,600m /12,000ft and provides an ideal acclimation for the first few days. The relatively comfortable hotel will give members some time to get to know each other without the stress of moving.
Continue to explore the city of Lhasa.
Continue to explore the city of Lhasa.
After the good acclimatization at Lhasa, adventure begins with a relatively level and gradual stage, towards the bottom of the Khamba-la. Just before this great ride we pack our excess gear onto our support vehicle. Taking with us only the things that are necessary for the day biking that's water bottles, camera, wind jacket.
Near to Lhasa the road is fairly good, but one should be careful, as this area is covered in a particular thorn bush that might get into the tyres.
The ride continues through the good road passing through the rural farm villages and fields and the traffic on the road coming to and from Lhasa, Gonggar airport, Tsedang or from Shigatse.
This beautiful day ride carries on to have lunch after a good 40 kilometers run finding a suitable spot away from the crowd of villagers and from the wind.
After lunch ride takes to another 45 k.m. distance to camp further up the town of Quxu beneath the Khamba-la. Overnight camp on the grassy field where possible. After the great first day cycling retire in the camp for refreshment, where our nepali camping crew have already set, riding before us on supporting truck with all the camping gear.
Dinner is soon followed after the late afternoon tea, with time for chat in the evening of the day's event.
Today's great biking journey starts with a 909 metre climb to the top of Khamba-la pass at (4794m). We begin the ride with a slow start, not tiring oneself the ride continues crossing bend after bend with few traffic enroute till the top of the Khamba-la is reached after few hours of strenuous climb. At the top of this pass which offers stunning scenery of the surrounding landscapes and the snow capped peaks in the distance and as well of the deep turquoise waters of Yamdrok Tso Lake down below, where our route follows.
After a great moment here, an easy descent on the dirt track leads near to the shore of the lake, passing through farm fields and villagers on horse cart, the ride after reaching the lake shore is quite gradual most of the way towards our lovely campsite just before the town of Ngartse by the lake. Reaching to the campsite after a 6-7 hours of good scenic ride. Total ride of 70 km.
Morning view from the camp we can see the distance mountains to the south of the lake, these are in the border of Bhutan. On leaving this nice campsite, our route turns west and eventually climbs towards the scenic pass of Karo-la at (5050m). On reaching the top of the pass it can be cold being in the gorge between the massif snow capped peaks, amazing views of the glacier and ice fall of Mt.Dzongkhags. (7206m). Time for short break or for possible lunch break at this lovely sight, at this place Drok-pa or the nomads dwells, but at present they have made a permanent house and tents on the nice grassy meadow herding yaks and sheeps and selling some semi precious crude stones and quartz to the tourist. From here it is almost downhill ride passing the village of Ralung. Then continue for another 2-3 hours almost 19 k.m. down a wonderful valley, riding through a series of colourful Tibetan villages, to our camp beneath a pass of Simi-la. (4375m). after a great 6-7 hours of good biking. Total 58 / 60 km.
Continuing our biking journey towards the City of Gyantse, we will travel for about four hours. Starting with a 15 kilometre, easy-angled climb to the top of Simi-la and then gradual and mostly downhill stage of another 35 kms, taking almost four hours to Gyantse.
Another important town, almost a city which was unitl recently the third largest settlement in Tibet. At Gyantse visit the Kumbum stupa. This was built in the early 15th century and contains thousands of frescoes. At Gyantse we will take the comfort of the Hotels, the hotel in Gyantse is a step down from the hotel in Lhasa but still not too bad by Tibetan standards. In Gyantse with time to visit the Kumbum monastery and its market.
Our biking continues towards Shigatse the second largest city in Tibet after Lhasa.
Today's ride covers 95 k.m. The road has recently been improved from the bumpy and rutted portion. After leaving the Gyantse biking begins on the 15 k.m of long straight sections, with no hills to climb, just vanishing points. The road follows the Nyang Chu River passing through many scattered farm villages and fields and finally approaching towards Shigatse, riding on the good wide road. On arrival after a good 6-7 hrs of ride, here again we take the overnight accommodation in the Hotel.
In Shigatse we visit the very large complex of Tashilumpo monastery. This is the traditional residence of the Panchen Lama and contains a 27m high gold plated Buddha known as Matria (the future Buddha). Afternoon visit the local market.
After a wonderful break at Shigatse, journey continues on the dirt road once leaving the city
suburb of Shigatse, the trail climbs gradually as it makes its way to the distant Tsho-La covering 106 kms. We will be having late lunch today to gain more miles before afternoon,
lunch at a pleasant side besides the Ra Chu River beyond the village of Chemo, after 60-61 kms. Much of the section of the road has recently been tarmac, however there are more dirt section still under process of metaling. After a long vigorous 8 hours ride finally reaching to our campsite below the Tsho-La pass at 4290m.
An easy gradual climb of about two hours over 8 kms to the Tsho-La at 4,500 metres, at the top which offers a distant view of the main Himalaya range. From the top of this pass a quick sharp descent and then coming to a 1-2 hour ride across the plains to the town of Larze. Larze a growing town which lies at the junction of Lhasa-Kathmandu highway and to the west leading to western Tibet and to Mt.Kailash region. From here our journey continues on the main Lhasa-Kathmandu higheway, biking continues for another three hours on the dirt road with interesting views of the rural life along the way, and then finally arriving at our overnight camp halfway up to the top of Gyamtsho-la. Overnight camp is placed at about 4760m.
Today's ride takes us to the highest point of this trip at the top of Gyamthso-la at
5,220 metres. Starting the morning biking on the gradual portion, with some steep and rough section, the trail winds up for tough 2-3 hours and is around ten kilometres from the camp to the summit. After reaching the top, the descent is at first a gradual gradient but finally steepens into a freewheel downhill, with superb views of Mt.Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu. Passing through more wild Tibetan settlements, isolated monastries and coming across nomadic herders and then finally reaching to the town of Shegar for a nice short break, from here we continue our ride on the main highway for an hour and then our route diverts north east from the main road towards Rongbuk and Everest Base Camp via Pang-la. After few hours of gradual ascend coming to a small farm settlement and to the entrance of the Qumolungma (Everest) region. Depending upon the time, we might ride a little further to camp beneath the pass or just on the soutskirt of this village.
Morning ride climbs on the winding dirt road for more than an hour to the top of the Pang-La Pass at 5,150 metres, and this is encountered less than ten kilometres after we have turned off the main Lhasa / Kathmandu highway. On reaching the top stunning views of unparalleled chain of great Himalayan peaks can be seen including Mt.Makalu, Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. After a great moment here, our route descends to a steep slope of 1010 metres downhill, with lots of switchbacks and wild cut offs, over 19 kms to the village of Phadu. From this village another 12 km ride distance reaches us at Tshusum village area for our overnight camp.
Today's biking leads us to the world's highest monastery at Rongbuk, from the camp the ride is gradual most of the way with slow undulating climbs following the Rongbuk river upstream.
Since last year the road to Everest Base Camp and to Old Tingri has been completed, the ride on this gravel road is smooth and takes less hours to reach towards our destination.
After 3-4 hours of constant ride with few breaks in between brings us to Rongbuk Monastery with great views of Mt.Everest.
A well worth rest day to appreciate the stunning views. Today we have an option to hike, bike or a ride on the vehicle to the Base Camp. What ever the option you take, it will take about less than two hours to reach Base Camp, the ride takes on the good road following the Rongbuk river over the glacial moraine with few steep climbs as we reach just before the Base Camp. On reaching Base Camp complete view of Mt.Everest to the east. At Base Camp there are 4-5 small tented tea shops and a Government run guest house at the top of the moraine hill. After a wonderful time here, we retrace the journey back to Rongbuk.
Depending upon one's fitness an option for a ride on the vehicle or a long bike ride towards Old Tingri, the road leads on the same route for an hour and then coming to a newly built bridge, from the bridge the road climbs all the way to the top of Lamna-la at 5,150 metres passing through isolated herders settlement, with good clear view of Mt.Cho Oyu enroute to Old Tingri. After a hard climb to the top of Lamna-la, an easy descend leads to the well define path to the village of Lungja, from this village a gradual ride on the plain field brings us to the overnight camp at Old Tingri.
From Tingri, you can have great views of Mt.Everest (8,848m) & Cho-Oyu (8,201m). Tingri, a wind blown village with more than hundred of houses grouped along the base of an isolated hill. Its orginal name used to be Ganggar. Most of the good lodge and restaurent available are on the roadside, where it's a must stop for all the Trucks and other vehicle drivers and passengers for lunch and overnight halt. Overnight camp on the grassy field near the barley and buckwheat field where there is a clean flowing stream.
After being on the highest spot on earth our journey leads towards the Tibet / Nepal border. Morning ride begins with the stunning view of Everest and Cho Oyu on the main Lhasa to Kathmandu road, after leaving Tingri, back on the dirt road passing through several villages and finally reaching to our camp below the Laylung-la pass, after a good 4-5 hours ride covering about 55 kms distance with lunch break enroute.
Morning ride heads uphill towards the double pass of Laylung-la and Thang-la, although being well acclamatised, it is still hard work climbing. From the camp it is about 14 kms to the first top, the Laylung at 5,124m, then dropping down 200 metres, over 6 kms and then climbing back again to further 7 kms to the summit of the main pass, the Thang-la, 5,050m.
From this top stunning views of the snow capped peaks of the central himalayan range can be seen from Number, Gauri Shankar, Shisapangma to Langtang. After a great moment here, an hour steep descend reaches to the bottom of the pass, journey continues on the good level road passing through numerous farm villages and cultivated fields till Nyalam town is reached. From Nylam a short bike downhill brings us to our overnight camp just by the roadside.
Our last day in Tibet, cycling continues after breakfast on the downhill slope to meet the Bhote Koshi river just by the bridge, we finally leave the cold, arid Tibetan Palteau and enter the warm jungles of Nepal. The road is at first quite steep and rocky with lots of hairpin bends. Brakes takes a bit of a hammering on this section. The road enters a steep narrow gorge with many waterfalls, after 40 minutes of downhill rush, the path is gradual on this winding road, following the river downstream through the lush green forest of pines, hemlocks, oaks and rhododendrons, with beautiful waterfalls cascading just by the roadside.
The journey continues going downhills and eventually coming to the border busy town of Zhangmu with a mixture of Chinese, Tibetan and Nepali people. After going through the passport fomalities, biking continues towards the Friendship Bridge where the red line divides China and Nepal. Here again on the Nepal side of the border going through the visa formalities, we continue for another 15-16 kilometres to the Last Resort beside the Bhote Koshi River. Great place to relax after the great biking adventure. Today's total biking hour approx. 4-5 hrs on the 60 km road stretch.
Our biking journey continues on the long winding road following the Bhote Koshi with number of hairpin bends around, but compared to Tibet the day will be warm cycling through the villages and paddy fields and eventually coming down towards the town of Dolalghat, where Bhote Koshi river joins with the great Sun Koshi River. After this place, the road climbs slowly and then coming to 17 kilometres drag up to Dhulikhel perched on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. On reaching the ridge top, we take our overnight accommodation in Dhulikhel and from this high vantage the main Himalayan chain is spread before us. Dhulikhel is famous for its outstanding view of the snow capped peak range.
Today is our last day of this great biking adventure, we follow a partially off road 'back way' to Kathmandu passing through Nama Bhudda and Panauti village before rejoining the Friendship Highway for the final kilometres into the Kathmandu city.
This ride is also an optional and anyone wishing to be earlier and to spend more time in Kathmandu will drive there directly in our supporting vehicle. Biking will reach Kathmandu in time for a late lunch. Rest of the afternoon free to rest and recuperate, and of course to clean and pack up the bikes.
A free day in Kathmandu, please let our staff or tour officer know if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for scenic mountain flight or hot air ballooning.
Today as per your international flight time, keep your confirmed air ticket, departure tax (in local currency) and your passport handy. Our Tour Officer will take you to the airport for your final departure from this amazing country, Nepal.
During your biking tour all the heavy items are carried by porters, yaks or donkeys and personal belongings that you may need for the day like money, water bottle, rain gear, camera, sun cream and toilet paper etc. should be carried by yourself. So you are briefed to pack items in two different bags.
- Bike gloves x 3 pairs
- Biking glasses
- Padded cycling shorts (to last at least 5 rides)
- Long-sleeved base layers
- Short-sleeved and long-sleeved cycling tops
- Biking socks (at least 5 pairs)
- Hat and non-biking gloves
- Head torch
If you’re bringing your own bike:
- Brake pads specific to your bike x 2 sets
- Rear mech hanger specific to your bike x 2
- Bottle of dry lube
- Four inner tubes, or spare bottle of fluid for
- tubeless tyres (two for each tyre)
- Quick link to suit your chain
- For 29” wheels bring extra spare tubes; these are more difficult to find in Nepal
- 4 seasons Sleeping bag (we can provide one if you need it but is to be returned after the trek)
- Duffel or Rucksack bag or suitcase
- Down Jacket only if you are traveling in the cold season i.e January, February, November and December (Optional/we can provide if you need one but is to be returned after the trek)
Upper Body - Head / Ears / Eyes
- Shade hat or baseball cap – some people drape a bandana down the back of their head and then put a baseball cap on to hold it. This can be a flexible alternative while keeping the sun off your ears and neck.
- Warm wool or synthetic hat that covers your ears (only if you are traveling in the cold season i.e January, February, November and December)
- Goggles or sunglasses for sunbeam, dust and wind.
- Headlamp – Black Diamond and Petzl both make several good ones. Make sure to bring extra batteries and that they are lithium batteries so that they will last in the colder temperatures. These are indispensable for getting around at night, reading, etc. so, don’t go cheap here.
- Some people like earmuffs; These are optional; a good hat, balaclava, and hooded jacket should really be sufficient, but this is a personal choice for some people.
- A neck warmer is another piece of gear for extra warmth if you feel you will need it and is for cold season.
- 1 pair liner gloves, thin wool or synthetic, useful alone on mild days or as a layer inside other gloves / mitts for additional warmth.
- 1 pair warm gloves (This is required if you are traveling in cold season i.e January, February, November and December).
- Instant hand warmers are always nice in a pinch, but really shouldn’t be necessary on the trek. Bringing appropriate hand protection as recommended above, should be sufficient (optional).
- T-shirts (2).
- Fleece jacket or pullover.
- Fleece Windstopper jacket.
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket.
- 2 women sports bras, Synthetic, no cotton!
Lower Body – Legs
- 2 pairs nylon hiking shorts – Quick drying type, not cotton!
- Underwear, stay away from cotton (4).
- 2 pairs lightweight long underwear – Capilene or other synthetic.
- 1 pair soft shell pants – synthetic, full zip from top and bottom preferable.
- 2 pairs trekking pants, preferably that zip on/off at the knees so they double as shorts..
- 1 pair cotton pants (loose jeans/khakis).
- All clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks or large puncture resistant plastic bags.
- 2 pairs of liner socks, synthetic or Capilene.
- 2 pairs heavy weight socks to be worn over liner socks preferable for cold season.
- 2 pair light weight socks, a good option for the lower / warmer parts of the trail.
- 1 pair light to medium weight waterproof hiking/trekking boots. Ensure a good fit with layered socks and you have worn them before to get used to it (otherwise you will get lots of blister).
- 1 pair light trekking shoes or sneakers. Good for around the camp/lodges and in Kathmandu.
- 1 pair hiking gaiters, good for keeping dust and rocks out of your shoes / boots as well as keep your feet dry as necessary.
- 1 pair sandals.
First Aid Kits
Please note our guide will also carry the first aid kit bag during the trek. However, we still recommend you to bring your personal first aid kit as well.
- Extra Strength Excedrin for altitude related headaches.
- Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
- Immodium or Pepto Bismol capsules for upset stomach or diarrhea.
- Diamox (commonly prescribed as Acetazolamide) 125 or 250mg tablets for altitude sickness. Please discuss with us before starting to take this medicine.
- 1 small personal sized first-aid kit with blister treatments such as mole skin, band-aids, some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc. Your guides will have more extensive medical gear, but you should have the basics for general use.
- Passport and extra passport photos (4 copies).
- Airline ticket (Please make a copy and leave on at our office in KTM just in case if you need to change the date of your).
- Durable wallet/pouch for travel documents, money & passport.
- Lip balm. At least SPF 20, 2 sticks. A string taped to the stick is helpful, to hang around your neck and some are now being sold with a cord already attached. Handy as it avoids you from having to stop and look for it.
- Sunscreen. SPF 40 is recommended and should be relatively new since it loses its’ effectiveness over time.
- Pocket knife or small Swiss Army type.
- Water purification Iodine tablets or Polar-pure crystals.
- Toiletry kit. Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag, hand wipes, and liquid hand sanitizer, towel, soap, etc.
- 2 bandanas.
- 1 pair adjustable trekking poles. Although these are listed as optional, these can be of great assistance to people who may think of themselves and generally clumsy or with bad knees, ankles, etc, especially when going downhill
- Favorite snack foods, no more than 2 lbs
- Paperback books, cards, mp3 player (there are a couple of stops where you could recharge. Avoid players with moving hardware as it may not function.
- 1 light weight point & shoot camera or 1 large SLR. Digital cameras are ok, but you must keep the batteries warm when not in use
- Hydration bladder with the drinking tube and tube insulator
- A pee bottle for men and pee funnel for the women
- 1 small stainless steel thermos