19 days Mountain biking tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu via E.B.C.
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa. Afternoon, have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.
After breakfast, you will visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang temple is the most sacred shrine in Tibet which was built in the 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa, the circuit around it called Barkhor street, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both are the focal points of pilgrims from the entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Summer Palace - Norbulingka palace. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala, it was once the world largest monastery in the history with 10,000 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its Buddhism philosophical debate practice, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Norbulingka is the summer palace of Dalai Lama, you can visit the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. The park is crowded with picnickers and traditional activities during the Shoton (Yogurt festival) in August. Overnight at Lhasa.
One more day in Lhasa for acclimatization. Today a short biking tour is arranged into suburbs of Lhasa.
Mountain biking adventure begins from Lhasa, you will transverse through barley fields, traditional Tibetan villages, and undulating uphill slopes. Few kilometers ahead, a bridge appears across the river leading to the airport. Turning away from the route to the airport, you have to skirt along another direction following the rarely-visited sandy path to Khampa La. The trail meanders through a village of mud-walled houses and pastoral farmlands. Further ahead, the trail branches into a valley away from Tsangpo and then ascends. You will approach your first campsite on a rocky territory encompassing an area of width 30 meters and height 100 meters. After cycling for about 6-7 hours, you will eventually arrive at the foot of Khampa La (pass) at an elevation of 4794.
A tough climb across the first of six high passes of the trip. If you find it too tough peddling up 4794-meter high pass you can always get on the support vehicle. Once you are on the top of the pass you have a glittering view of Yamdrop Tso (lake) and stunning summit of Nanzin Kanga (7252m). A descent to deep turquoise Yamdrok Tso Lake amidst its exquisite mesmerizing views further accentuates the biking thrill. After lunch, you will ride along the shore of the lake on sandy roads for about 40km. The trail further continues along ridges in the valley wall with breath-taking views of towering snow-capped peaks as the backdrop. Sooner sheep pastures come into sight. Resting your cycling journey for the day, you set a camp after riding for 72 km up to Nagartse village at an elevation of 4,475m.
Barking and howling of Tibetan Mastiff work as the morning alarm in awakening you from your hard-earned sleep. Cycling away from Nagartse, the trail progresses towards a valley and to the top of Karo La the first 5000-meter pass of your trip (you have an option to getting on the support vehicle). Crossing Karo La (5050m) you descend to the foot of Simi La at an elevation of 4330m through several interesting Tibetan villages. Basking in the grandeur of surrounding natural exoticism, you will overnight at a superb locale.
Today it is a fairly easy and short ride to the top of Simi La at 4375m and then mostly downhill ride into a wide sandy valley towards Gyantse. The trail crisscrosses barley field along the flowing river. Here, you will spot several military and religious sites. You can bask in the sheer pleasure of visiting Pelkor Chode Monastery, and Gyantse Dzong. Pelkor Chode Monastery has ancient murals, thangkas, chapels, mandala and paintings of 84 mahasidhhas in yogic posture. Gyantse Dzong was constructed in the 14th century and offers a majestic view of both Gyantse and Nyang Chu Valley. Gyantse Kumbum is one of the major attractions of cultural interest in Gyantse. You will spend the night at a comfortable hotel.
Today's ride is on the tarmac following Nyang Chu River to Shigatse, the second-largest city of Tibet. En route, you will encounter several trucks, cabs, and pedestrians hurrying along the busy streets of Shigatse. There are internet cyber cafe, many well-resourced shops, restaurants, etc. Overnight here will be in a comfortable hotel.
Today is the rest day to explore the local market and Tashilhunpo Monastery. This monastery is one of the largest functioning monasteries in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding walls.
The road being bumpy, loose and dirty, you may find the ride strenuous. Following the Friendship Highway, you will gradually climb to the foot of Tso La where you stay the night at tented camp.
A fairly easy eight kilometers ride brings you to the top of the Tso La from where you will have a clear view of the main Himalayan range. A brief stoppage at the top of the pass follows a thrilling downhill ride to the small town of Lhatse. After lunch at riverside, the biking trail gains gradual climb to the foot of Gyatso La at 4,630 meters where you camp for the night.
The Gyatso La at 5,220 meters located approximately 15 kilometers from the campsite, is the highest pass of this biking adventure. The trail to the top of the pass passes through the steep and rough slope. From the pass, it is steep downhill ride amidst stunning views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse & Cho Oyu. Riding past small Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen make your journey even more eventful. After arriving at a small Tibetan Town of Shegar. After peddling a few kilometers you reach your camping site.
Today you will detour away from the main road to Everest Base Camp. The biggest hurdle of today's ride is Gawu La at 5,150 meters. Approximately 2-3 hrs paddling along the dirt road into the north base camp of Everest brings you to the top of Gawu La. The road zigzags across the back wall of the valley overlooking a stunning view of the pass. The view from the top of the pass is breathtaking with the whole Himalaya range gleaming right before you. The tough climb to the pass follows an excellent downhill ride to small Tibetan settlement where you camp for the night.
The trail along the river for first few kilometers is fairly easy as you head toward Rongbuk valley. This ride gets quite pleasurable as your eyes savor the breath-taking view of a glaciated valley. Yak-skin tents and grazing yaks can be viewed on the other side of the valley. Within few hours along Rongbuk Glacier, North Face of Everest becomes visible flaunting its unparalleled beauty. Enjoy the sunset if the weather permits.
Enjoy the sunrise if the weather permits, head back down to Tingri, if you look back you can catch a stunning sight of majestic Everest and Cho Oyu. The dirt road turns into a paved road as you will enter a small town of Tingri which is an unsheltered and windy settlement nestled underneath the enchanting Cho Oyu.
Starting with a little uphill climb you make your way along the edge of the valley following a river and at some point, you will see the river branching into a lake sheltering a variety of Himalayan ducks. Meandering past the valley floor of grazing yaks, mud bricks, small traditional villages and ruined monasteries, the trail narrows to a gorge making you ride into the headwind for another five kilometers. Views of Everest and Cho Oyu from your lunch stop is simply amazing! Riding a further 15 km brings you an excellent campsite at the foot of La Lung La with green grass and crystal clear mountain rivulet.
Climbing double pass today calls for real hard work. It is approximately 15 km uphill peddling from the campsite to the top of the first pass, La Lung La at 5,124 meters which offers excellent views of Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shankar. A six kilometers downhill ride and a further seven kilometers uphill climb brings you to the top of the second pass, Thang La at 5,200 meters. If you find it too much to peddle uphill you have an option of getting on the support vehicle.
Cycling to the Chinese border town of Gyirong, clear the customs and enter in Nepal. Then you have an option of driving all the way to Kathmandu or bike up to Dhulikhel and drive to Kathmandu. The ride is on the tarmac with an occasional steep climb, the large section of the road follows Bhote Koshi river through lush green beautiful Nepalese countryside. Evening in Kathmandu is a time for the celebration in a traditional Nepalese restaurant.