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Mountain Biking in Nepal is an unforgettable experience. Nepal offers some of the best mountain biking trails – undulating trails going from one rustic Himalayan village to another and of-course the massive Himalayas as backdrop. This trip includes biking both in the Kathmandu valley which lies in the mid-hills of Nepal; and in the mountains of the Kali Gandaki region in mid-western Nepal. This mountain biking trip starts in Kathmandu, the historical capital of Nepal.
All our mountain biking trips will be organized through our sister company – Crystal Mountain Rides.
Hop on your bikes to explore the best jeep and single-tracks Kathmandu has to offer. We will ride through ancient Newari villages and paddy fields to give us an idea of how the region was in days gone by. We will shuttle to Kakani (roughly 7,000 ft.) and ride back to Kathmandu through the Shivapuri National Park.
For our second phase of mountain biking in Nepal, we fly to Pokhara and onward to Jomsom. We spend the first two nights at Kagbeni (9,100ft.), the gateway to Upper Mustang, riding, exploring and acclimatizing. From there we ride to Muktinath, and then descend on a technical track through Lubra valley into Marpha. From Marpha, we will descend along the Kali Gandaki river alternating between jeep track and single track. Another highlight is the stop at Tatopani where we will be able to soak in a natural hot-spring.
Your biking trip ends in Beni from where a chartered vehicle will take us to the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. Your flight back to Kathmandu is in the afternoon the next day.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 2||Exploring Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 3||Drive to Kakani. Ride the “scar road” route||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 4||Ride the “Heli-pad” route.||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 5||Fly to Pokhara.||Pokhara||827m/2,750ft|
|Day 6||Fly to Jomsom. Ride to Kagbeni.||Kagbeni||2,804m/9,200ft|
|Day 7||Drive to Muktinath. Descend to Kagbeni.||Kagbeni||2,804m/9,200ft|
|Day 8||Drive to Muktinath. Descend to Tukche.||Tukche||2,580m/8,500ft|
|Day 9||Descend to Tatopani.||Tatopani||1,190m/3,950ft|
|Day 10||Ride end at Beni. Drive to Pokhara.||Pokhara||827m/2,750ft|
|Day 11||Afternoon flight to Kathmandu.||Kathmandu||1,340m/4,300ft|
|Day 12||Final departure.|
Arrive Kathmandu. Transfer to your hotel. Welcome dinner.
Overnight Hotel. (D)
A full day tour to some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Kathmandu Valley.
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. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Proceed to Patan Durbar Square – one of the three palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley. This was the palace of the Malla Kings of Patan which was one of the three kingdoms in the valley – the others being Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Discover the intricate wood and stone work as you walk through the temples, vihars and palace in Patan.
Return to your hotel to make final preparations before you begin mountain biking in Nepal.
Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Early morning, drive to Kakani (approximately 17 miles) – the Northern gateway from the Kathmandu valley to Tibet. After a light snack, begin with a short steep climb into the Shivapuri National Park. The first hour involves technical riding on single track. We then ride on the jeep track and descend to the base of Shivapuri to our new hotel called Shivapuri Heights Cottage which is on the outskirts of the city. In total, we ride around 12 miles with 5 miles on single-track.
Overnight lodge near Budanilkantha. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Descend a short distance to Budanilkantha temple. This is an open-air temple dedicated to Vishnu. Both Hindus and Buddhists revere the laying Bishnu at this temple. Continue through a swanky colony and begin a steep ascent to Helipad from where we single-track onto Kopan monastery. From here we join the road and navigate carefully to Bodhnath Stupa where we will enjoy lunch at a restaurant overlooking the stupa.
Bodhnath Stupa is one of the biggest Buddhist stupas in the world, with its four pairs of eyes aligned in the four cardinal directions. This area is home to the many Tibetan exilees who have lived here for generations. Watch Buddhist pilgrims circumambulate the stupa in a clock-wise direction.
After lunch, a bus will pick us up and we continue to Pashupatinath, one of the holiest Hindu temples in Nepal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the destroyer, in his incarnation as ‘Lord of the Animals’. The temple is situated on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River and is the main cremation site for Hindus and some Buddhists in the Kathmandu Valley.
Evening is free to relax and enjoy the spa at your lodge.
Overnight Lodge near Budanilkantha. (Breafast and Lunch)
Morning flight to Pokhara. The day is free for you to explore Pokhara on your own. You may take a boat ride across the Phewa Lake and hike to the Peace Stupa (30 minute hike). And/or visit the International Mountain Museum to check out exhibits on the mountains and mountain communities around the world.
Overnight Big Pillow Inn or similar (Breakfast)
Wake up early for your flight to Jomsom. The 15-minute flight will probably be the most thrilling flying experience of your life. The plane flies over Ghorepani, through the Kali Gandaki gorge with the Annapurna massif on the right and the Dhaulagiri massif on the left (both Annapurna and Dhaulagiri are over 8,000 meters).
After a quick breakfast, fit your bikes for a short but interesting ride to Kagbeni. We ride to the edge of town and cross a suspension bridge. We then follow the jeep track along the Kali Gandaki river. The Mustang region of Nepal is high desert and receives very little precipitation. Winds pick up in the afternoon and despite being at an average elevation of over 9,000 feet, it can get quite hot in the scorching mid-day sun.
Kagbeni is the gateway to Upper Mustang and was formed in the 14th century to control travel to the Kingdom of Lo. Historically Upper Mustang dominated trade along the ancient route connecting Tibet with Nepal and India. The people of this region are Buddhists and culturally Tibetan.
In the evening, explore the alleyways and the monasteries of Kagbeni while also enjoying a latte with apple pie.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Approximately 3 miles of riding
Jomsom to Eklebhatti: 1.2 miles
Ascent: 400 ft
Descent 78 ft
Eklebhatti to Kagbeni: .86 miles
Ascent: 236 ft
Descent 167 ft
From Kagbeni, it is all uphill to Muktinath. Jeeps will transport us to Muktinath on the jeep track but those interested have the option to complete this ride on their bikes. Note, it would be a grueling all uphill ride especially because of the altitude as you would be ascending over 3,200 feet. From Muktinath, on a clear day, Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest mountain in the world, along with several other peaks is visible.
From Muktinath, we make a short but grueling ascent to the ridge before beginning the thrilling technical single-track descent to the ancient village of Lubra. We then join the jeep track and return to Kagbeni.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Muktinath – Kagbeni (via the Lubra valley) – 11 miles approximately
Ascent – 1,410 ft
Descent – 4,700 ft
Again, jeeps will transport us to Muktinath. After arriving in Muktinath, push/ride an hour further up to the Muktinath temple which is revered both by Hindus and Buddhists. A Buddhist nun conducts Buddhist prayers inside the temple while a Hindu priest sits outside the main temple and caters to Hindu pilgrims.
From Muktinath, continue to ride/push bikes a further thousand feet or so to the base of Thorung La pass. The Thorungla pass (17,700 ft) connects the Annapurna region with the Mustang region. We then begin the thrilling descent to Muktinath and continue to descend to Jomsom via Lubra valley.
From Lubra, we then return to Jomsom and start descending through Marpha to the village of Tukche. Both Marpha and Tukche are major Thakali villages with an abundance of apple and apricot orchards which can only mean more apple pies.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Kagbeni to Muktinath – 8 miles
Muktinath – Tukche (via the Lubra valley) – 18 miles approximately
Ascent: 2,100 feet
Descent 5,500 feet
Today we follow the Kali Gandaki river which has carved its way down the valley forming the deepest canyon on earth – through the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri range (both over 8,000 meters). We will cover a lot of mileage but it isn’t necessarily a very strenuous day as most of the day’s ride is downhill. We criss-cross between single track and the jeep track east and west of the Kali Gandaki river respectiely. As we begin to lose altitude, the landscape also begins to change; the bushy azaleas give way to taller pine and birch trees and the landscape is greener. As you approach Kalopani, you pass through a big valley formed by the river from where there are jaw-dropping views of the ice fall on Dhaulagiri.
Soon we arrive at Tatopani (or hot water in Nepali). Here is a natural hotspring which is surprisingly clean and maintained by a local care-taker. You would want to soak in the hot water which is said to help relax the muscles.
Overnight Lodge. (All meals)
Tukche to Tatopani – 22 miles
Ascent: 1,100 feet
Descent: 5,200 feet
Continue for around 3 hours on the jeep track to Beni where our biking adventure ends. Drive 3-4 hours back to Pokhara.
Overnight Temple Tree. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Afternoon flight to Kathmandu. A farewell dinner is planned for in the evening.
Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast and Dinner)
Transfer to the airport for final departure. (B)
Per Person Cost (valid till Dec 31, 2022):
2 – 4 persons: US$ 2,800 per person
5 or more persons: US$ 2,520 per person
Single Supplement: US$ 300
This is a 12 day program. You may shorten your trip by either cutting out the Kathmandu portion or the Annapurna portion. On the other hand, you can lengthen the trip by doing the whole Annapurna circuit on your bike.
Contact us for details!
There are two preferred seasons for the Annapurna 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 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.
It is also possible to do this biking trip in the Winter (December through February). Expect night time temperatures of below freezing at most places. But once the sun comes out, it gets substantially warmer. Don’t forget to avail the $150 discount for Winter departures.
Participants are required to possess moderate biking skills. So at least 8 – 12 months of riding. While the trip does not involve any crazy downhill trails (and even if it does, you can always opt to walk/push), riding in the Himalayas does require a certain degree of balance and skills.
Anyone who is reasonably fit and can ride 12-20 miles a day can sign up for the Annapurna Biking trip. Most of the ride involves descents but also includes some steep ascents. Regardless, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the mountain biking in Nepal trip a 4 (strenuous) on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).
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.
Meals in the Annapurna region are quite varied. 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.
Yes, it is possible to rent good hard-tail and double suspension bikes in Kathmandu with good parts. Expect to pay around US$ 25 – US$ 35 per day for a hard-tail bike and US$ 40 – US$ 50 per day for a double suspension bike. You may also bring your own bike from home.
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.
The best way to prepare for a biking trip is to bike. A lot.
The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek.
1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning.
2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.
In the end, the more your training simulates a biking trip, the better off you will be. So biking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trip.
Most tea houses have a common toilet. Some tea houses, especially those at the beginning of the trek, have en suite rooms. While squat toilets are more prevalent, newer lodges have Western style toilets.
It is possible to shower in almost all the lodges. And hot shower usually means a bucket of boiled water. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $2-$5 for this service.
Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.
if you’re trekking with Crystal Mountain Treks, we provide a sleeping bag (rated to 0 degree F or -17 degree C), duffel bags, down jacket and Steripen for water purification to our clients for no charge.
It is possible to buy cheap and relatively functional gear in Kathmandu – convertible pants, down jackets, fleece, Gore-tex jackets. But remember, you get what you pay for. Wool gloves, hats, socks are available too.
There are quite a few branded stores too. North Face, Moutain Hardwear, Marmot and Sherpa. If you’re coming from Australia or Europe, items in these shops are probably cheaper than back home. But if you’re coming from the US, it’s better to buy branded gear at home.
Activity: Lodge Trek
The Gokyo Lakes trek is a great alternative for those who wish to avoid the popular (and busy) trail to Everest Base Camp. Moreover, the views from Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) and Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) are arguably better than those from Kalapathar. A little above Namche, the trail to Gokyo splits from the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Head North, following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Ngozumpa glacier. Trekking to the Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy views of giants such as Everest, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Pumori, Amadablam, Thamserku, Tarboche, Cholatse etc.
From Namche, head north west following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Gokyo Lakes. The Gokyo Lakes trek culminates at Gokyo on the banks of the third lake. Here, we will spend three nights exploring the area. On our second day at Gokyo, hike to either Gokyo Ri or Renjo La pass for views of the lakes and the mountains (see photo above). On the third day, hike to the 5th lakes for up-close views of Cho Oyu and other mountains.
It is possible to combine trekking to the Gokyo Lake with the Everest Base Camp trek. Check out our 19-day Everest Base Camp Trek or the 15-day Everest Base Camp – fast paced trek. Also, if you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out the Ultimate Everest Trek. This involves crossing two passes: the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (from Gokyo lake to Thame). Furthermore, an even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek. No climbing skills are required for these treks. We are also happy to customize any of these treks for you. Click on the options tab to check out more options.
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are quite comparable to those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the trekking to the Gokyo Lakes are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February if you do not intend to cross the passes. While it will obviously be very cold (upto -20 C/, -4 F), it will be less crowded and there aren’t as many trekkers in the area.
The Gokyo Lakes trek is rated “STRENUOUS”. It is rated 4 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at Gokyo Ri (5,357 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500 feet) which is much lower than on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with one long day of around 7 hours on the day hike to the 5th lakes. It is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
All our Gokyo Lakes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff.
We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…
On the Makalu Base Camp trek, participants get up-close with the fifth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Makalu (8,485m). Eric Shipton was the first outsider to have trekked in the region in the 1950’s. Consequently, the Shipton Pass on this trek was named after this English explorer. Makalu trekking starts at a relatively lower elevation which is home to Rai’s, Gurung’s and Tamang people. Ascending slowly, the trek follows a trail through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park which is home to diverse flora and fauna. Continue to trek past the Barun river are the spectacular granite rocks and waterfalls. Finally, the villages near the Makalu Base Camp are home to the Sherpas.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is quickly emerging as a popular trekking destination especially among trekkers who prefer solitude. Trekking to Makalu is a great alternative to the more busier treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. And with daily flights available to Tumlingtar, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is also quite easily accessible. It has all the makings of an epic Himalayan trek including stunning snow-clad mountain scenery, high passes, intriguing mix of Nepal’s culture and soaring Himalayan peaks.
The journey begins with a 35-minute flight to Tumlingtar from where we drive to the road-head on a chartered vehicle. The lower parts of the Makalu region are quite hot and humid with lush rhododendron and oak forests, cardamom plantations. Ascend slowly over several passes following the Barun river valley to the Makalu Base Camp. Return to Tumlingtar is along the same trail but vistas are quite spectacular in both directions.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The lodges on this trek are quite basic. Meals are not as varied as on the Everest or the Annapurna treks but options do include rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. On this trek, we will carry some food to supplement what’s available at the local lodges. Furthermore, we will also carry tents so you may opt to sleep in tents in some of the places.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Makalu Base Camp trek are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to trek to Makalu Base Camp in December but obviously it will be very cold with temperatures dipping to -20 C/, -4 F or slightly lower.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). The highest overnight altitude reached is at Makalu Base Camp (4,800 m/15,750ft) and the highest elevation reached is at the view point above base camp (5,300m/17,400 feet). There are two acclimatization days to allow for proper acclimatization. Trekking to Makalu involves average daily hiking or around 6 hours with a few longer days of around 7-8 hours. Also, this is a relatively long trek in a remote area. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a private trek for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff. We are also proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…
“For me personally, this was the trip of a lifetime. I came to see the mountains and they were breath-taking beyond my wildest expectations, but unexpectedly what I will miss the most are the people of Nepal. I know we will be back and that we will choose Grand Asian Journeys and Crystal Mountain Treks again for our next adventure!
THANK YOU so much for making this trip unforgettable!”