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Biking The Annapurna Circuit

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Duration: 16 days, 15 nights
Grade: 5 - Challenging
Max Elevation: 17,700 ft.
Accomodation: Lodge

Several years ago, the classic Annapurna Circuit trek was listed as one of the top ten treks in the world. However, with the new dirt road being built, this trek is certainly better if done on a bike. Come join us on one of the best adventures in the Himalayas – biking through lush valleys, past century old villages, slogging/pushing over a 17,700 ft. pass, on a technical downhill 5,200ft. stretch, and through the deepest canyon in the world. All of this with the tallest mountains in the world in the backdrop.

On the Annapurna Circuit, you get to experience some of the most amazing and diverse landscape in Nepal. The trip begins in densely forested and terraced hills, a region inhabited by Hindu groups of Nepal. But past Pisang the landscape changes dramatically as the dense forests are replaced by barren landscape of the Tibetan plateau. Here you enter the Manang valley which is inhabited by gypsy traders of Tibetan origin. After a rest day in Manang for acclimatization, head north over Thorung pass and descend to Muktinath village. At Muktinath there is a shrine revered by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Our Nepal and Tibet treks and climbs are operated by our sister company based in Nepal – Crystal Mountain Treks – managed by our founder’s family. Crystal Mountain Treks has been in business for over two decades and employs only the best guides with a minimum of 15 years experience. We treat our staff with the utmost care and respect. Each staff member is provided high-quality equipment, are insured and paid higher-than-average wages. Our clients have commented that our treks provide a better value (we provide more for less) than other companies they researched, comparing services, quality and price. We are happy to provide upon request references of people who have journeyed with us in the past.

Highlights

  • Explore monasteries and palaces in the Kathmandu valley.
  • Experience Nepal’s varied culture as you ride through villages of numerous ethnic groups.
  • Enjoy a thrilling down hill, descending over 5,200 ft. in a couple hours.
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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 2 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 3 Kathmandu to Jagat Jagat 4,350 ft.
Day 4 Jagat to Dharapani Dharapani 6,100 ft.
Day 5 Dharapani to Chame Chame 8,750 ft.
Day 6 Chame to Pisang Pisang 10,500 ft.
Day 7 Pisang to Manang Manang 11,600 ft.
Day 8 Manang  Manang 11,600 ft.
Day 9 Manang to Yak Kharka  Yak Kharka 13,500 ft.
Day 10 Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi  Thorung Phedi  14,200 ft.
Day 11 Thorung Phedi to Muktinath Muktinath  
Day 12 Muktinath to Tukche Tukche  
Day 13 Tukche to Tatopani Tatopani  
Day 14 Tatopani to Pokhara Pokhara  
Day 15 Pokhara to Kathmandu Kathmandu  
Day 16 Kathmandu to home    
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. (Dinner)

Day 2Kathmandu

Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Here, you’ll probably witness a Hindu cremation along the banks of the Bagmati River.

Then drive to Bhaktapur, the City of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Bhaktapur is a medieval city in the Kathmandu valley and is least disturbed by modern life. Here, you can absorb the architectural splendor of the five-storied Nyatapola temple, or the sculptural delight of the Peacock Window. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 3Kathmandu to Jagat (4,350 ft.)

Drive to Besi-Sahar and onward to Syange. Ride a short distance to Jagat. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 4Jagat to Dharapani (6,100 ft.)

Ride past several waterfalls to Chamje and then to Tal Besi. From here, it is a grueling climb on switch backs to Tal where the valley opens into a large plateau. Most of the day there are views of Lamjung, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV. Continue to Dharapani. Total ride of around 7 miles with more pushing than riding. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 5Dharapani to Chame (8,750 ft.)

Climb/push bike to Danaque and Timang. Enjoy great riding through the buckwheat fields to Koto with great views of Annapurna II. Continue to Koto and then to Chame, the district headquarters of Manang district. Total ride of around 8 miles. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 6Chame to Pisang (10,500 ft.)

A short day to allow for better acclimatization. Today’s highlight is the Paungda Danda rock face, an interesting and large rock slab. At our camp, Pisang peak (6,091m) looms over Pisang village. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 7Pisang to Manang (11,600 ft.)

Today, you will find yourself above tree-line. The trail is almost fully rideable and the mountain views are marvelous: Hiunchuli, Annapurna South, Annapurna I (8,091m) , Annapurna III (7,555m) and Gangapurna (7,454m) are visible. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 8Manang (11,600 ft.)

Acclimatization day in Manang. Free to explore the Gangapurna Lake or the Braka monastery. Overnight Lodge. (Dinner)

Day 9Manang to Yak Kharka (13,500 ft.)

Some riding but a lot of pushing through rocky terrain on this 6 mile day. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 10Yak Kharka to Thorung Phedi (14,200 ft.)

A short day of around 2 miles with a majority of pushing/carrying to the base of the Thorung la pass. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 11Thorung Phedi to Muktinath

The day begins early with wake up call usually around 3:00 am. The steep ascent/pushing/carry to the pass can take up to 5 or 6 hours. Then it is an amazing downhill descent, including a few technical single-track sections, to Muktinath. This 8 mile ride, with 3,300 ft. ascent and a 5,400 ft. descent, is the toughest/most exhilarating day of the trip. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 12Muktinath to Tukche

Technical single track descent through the spectacular Lubra Valley. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 13Tukche to Tatopani

A long ride day of about 30 miles mostly downhill on Jeep track and along the river bed through the Kaligandaki gorge. Descend to Tatopani. At Tatopani enjoy a dip at the natural hot spring. Overnight Lodge. (All meals)

Day 14 Tatopani to Pokhara

Ride a short distance to Beni. Board a chartered vehicle to Pokhara. Optional ride from Naudanda to Pokhara. Evening free in Pokhara. Overnight Hotel Temple Tree. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 15Pokhara to Kathmandu

After breakfast, fly to Kathmandu. Sightseeing in Kathmandu. Farewell dinner in Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day 16 Kathmandu to home

Arrive breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. (Breakfast)

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Detailed Cost Information

1 person: $3,000 USD per person

2 – 4 persons: $2,700 USD per person

5 or more persons: $2,400 USD per person

Single Supplement: $300 USD

Extra: If you decide not to bring your own bikes, bike rental in Kathmandu can cost between US$25 to US$35 per day depending on quality/features.

Price Includes

Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information | Motivated, well-cared-for staff | All airport transfers | One full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments | 3 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu | 1 night twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Temple Tree (4 star) in Pokhara | Chartered Transfer: Kathmandu to Besi-Sahar | Airfare: Pokhara to Kathmandu | Meals as indicated in the itinerary | Lodge trekking as indicated in the Annapurna Circuit Trek itinerary | Three meals a day | Boiled water for your bottles three times a day | Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals | Guide and staff insurance | Annapurna Conservation Area Fee | Trekkers Information Management Card

Price Excludes

Your international airfare | Nepal Visa | Meals not indicated in the itinerary | Tips and gratuities | Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you) | Travel insurance (Required) | Other expenses of a personal nature.

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Map
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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Is it possible to rent good mountain bikes in Kathmandu?

Yes. There are quite a few cycle stores in Kathmandu that sell and rent quality brands. A good hard-tail would cost around $25- $30 per day to rent. A good full suspension bike would cost around $40-$45 per day.

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes, you can. Most long distance flights will allow two checked bags of 55lbs (25 Kilograms) each. But some may charge you for the extra bag.

When is the best time to do this trip?

There are two preferred seasons for the Annapurna Circuit Biking Trip: Spring (March through June) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of below Freezing near the Base Camp. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.

What kind of food should I expect on the trek?

Unlike as on the Everest Base Camp trek, food variety on the Annapurna Circuit trek start out being quite sparse but later become more varied especially in the big villages of Manang, Muktinath and Jomsom. In general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect Nepali dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.
Ours is an OPEN menu. Meaning we allow our clients to order anything from the lodge menu besides bottled beverages, specialty coffee and packaged snacks. We also don’t limit the number of items per meal as long as you aren’t wasteful. When choosing your trekking company, ask if meals are fixed or if you are only allowed to order one item from the menu. If this isn’t the case, costs can add up over 15/16 days.

Can I drink tap water?

Nepali tap water is NOT safe to drink. Even if you see the locals drinking water straight from the tap, never drink water before boiling or sterilizing. Bring water purifying tablets or other water purifiers. At higher elevations during the coldest times of year the water will freeze, so you’ll need to buy boiled water from teahouses. If you plan to use a STERIPEN, bring wide mouth water bottles. You would need at least 2 one-liter water bottles for the trek. Even if you plan to bring a hydration pack, bring 1 one-liter water to sterilize the water before pouring into your hydration pack.

Crystal Mountain Treks will provide you with a Steripen to use on the trek for no charge.

Is there mobile coverage on the trek? Is wi-fi available?

Most of the places on the Annapurna Circuit trek route now has cell coverage. Lodges in some locations will offer wi-fi for between $1 to $10 per hour. You can also buy a Sim card with 5GB or 10GB data for under $25: do this in Kathmandu.

How fit do I need to do the Annapurna Circuit Biking Trip? What skill level do I need?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and can bike 20-25 miles a day can sign up for the Annapurna Circuit Biking Trek. Allowing for optimal acclimatization is the key. The

We rate the Annapurna Circuit Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).

1 Review
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Emma Agosta., Seattle, WA

Group Traveller

“We were so impressed by your ability to change the itinerary and all the relative arrangements and that there was not even one hick-up or problem in the entire trip! Once we got to Pokhara and flew to Jomsom we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains and the landscape through which we were riding.

We had plenty of time for breaks, lunch and taking pictures and still enough time at the end of the day to explore the little towns we rode to. The ride from Muktinath to Tukuche through the Lubra Valley was the most spectacular single track I had ever experienced. Not sure how I could ever top that! I know we will be back and that we will choose Grand Asian Journeys for our next adventure!

THANK YOU so much for making this trip unforgettable!”
– Annapurna Biking 2014

November 30, 2014