Pokhara to Kathmandu Bicycling | Nepal Cycling

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The ultimate two-week Nepal biking adventure through the traditional villages of the incredibly scenic middle hills and valleys of Nepal, from serene Pokhara to the exotic, bustling and timeless Kathmandu valley ...

Join us for this epic mountain biking journey on remote off-road trails that link the two major cities of Nepal, Pokhara and Kathmandu. After a day of biking in the wonderful Kathmandu valley, we head to Pokhara where we  treated to breath-taking Himalayan panoramas.  Pokhara is a tranquil city, the jumping off point for many treks with a stunning backdrop - the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges and Maccapuchare - and well-known for its lake, boat trips and laid-back atmosphere. We spend a day biking around the lake and up to stunning Sarankot, a village perched way up on a hillside with great mountain views.

Our biking adventure begins from this beautiful spot. Less than thirty miles of this ride is on the main highway; the rest of the journey follows a variety of wide foot paths and old jeep trails  with just a bit of technical single track thrown in. We journey across remote regions of Nepal seldom visited by westerners. Once at Gorkha, the old capital of Nepal with a fantastic fort and palace, we follow the traditional route that joins Kathmandu to other part of mid-western Nepal.

We'll have a few challenging ascents as well as some incredible descents, which combine with the remote trails to makes this on of the best bike journeys in Asia.

Great cycling in incredible Nepal!

Trip

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 - Kathmandu Valley | Cycling Trip
Day 3 - Drive Pokhara
Day 4 - Pokhara. Bike Sarankot
Day 5 - Bike Begnas Tal
Day 6 - Bike Kalasti
Day 7 - Bike Marsyangdi Valley
Day 8 - Bike Gorkha
Day 9 - Gorkha | Sightseeing
Day 10 - Bike Maleku
Day 11 - Bike Kakani
Day 12 - Bike Kathmandu
Day 13 - Kathmandu | Sightseeing
Day 14 - Depart

Chitwan National Park | Maruni Sanctuary Lodge
Chitwan + Tharu Villages Wildlife Safari

Add Ons
Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
Bhaktapur Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$100)
Patan Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$50)
Extra Trek Day Gandruk (+105)
Extra Day Chitwan (+$125)
Everest Sightseeing Flight (+$250)
Extension Shivapuri Heights Cottage (+75 Night Depending on Room)
Cycling Trip in Kathmandu Valley (+Trip Price)

Nepal Modules
Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip!

Highlights+Reviews

Trip Advisor Reviews

Client Comments
Thank you for everything you did to make our anniversary trip special. From the extras at our hotel rooms to the amazing quality, warmth and hospitality of every person who works with you – we were blown away by the trip you planned. We loved meeting you, Lhakpa, Doma and all the guides, drivers and porters who created such a hassle-free and seamless environment for us to explore beautiful Nepal.  Thank you so much – you created a truly life changing and unforgettable trip for us.
 - Kim + Bob (USA), Private Amazing Nepal Trek 2016 (Honeymoon Trip)

Kim arranged a solo trek for me at very short notice in November 2013 - and did it even whilst most of them were leading another trek in Mustang! They made the complex easy. From a wonderful guide to helping me arrange evacuation when I got sick, I was always in knowledeable, kind, efficient hands. I recommend Kamzang Journeys without reservation and I'll be using them when I return to Nepal in September 2014!
- Nick A (UK), Private Everest Trek 2013

Tsering Sherpa is marvelous, extremely responsible, serious, devoted, very thoughtful, discreet and very pleasant to trek with. He is very helpful, well travelled, speaks good English, is well-mannered and has a good experience as a mountaineer and a climber.  He is very powerful, strong and quick, and smiles a lot! He seems to know everybody on the trail, is active in his community and is respected by other Sherpas. On trek he was a good counsellor on food, and of course respectful of tradition and of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. With him we felt very secure as he knows the trail and all the short cuts.
- Nan & Odette (France), Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2014

Viney was my private guide to trek to Everest base camp in October 2013.  I felt very secure with him the entire time.  He was always attentive to my wellbeing from the time we started in x (kim pls fill in) where we ended up slogging through rainfall and mud due to the cyclone left over from India, all the way through to the end of our trip in Lukla.  I could count on him without a doubt every day of the entire 3 weeks we spent together.  Thanks to Viney for an excellent trek!
- Lori C (USA), Private Everest High Passes Trek 2014

Last May I spent almost three weeks hiking with Mingma in the Khumbu region of Nepal and we explored the Gokyo lakes, Gokyo valley and we climbed Gokyo Ri. Mingma is an experienced mountain-guide, knows all the summits in the region, the Sherpas and routes.  He is responsive of the challenges, strong and kind, but he is very calm in case of difficult situations. While we walked together, he was attentive and he always tried to accommodate my phyisical condition and my spiritual eagerness. We spent wonderful time together and I immensely enjoyed every moment of the trek. I am planning to walk with him again in 2015!
 - Kati K (Hungary), Private Gokyo Lakes Trek 2014

Tashi was the perfect guide for me. I was going solo, and looking mostly for solitude; Tashi's temperament was the perfect match for mine. When he had something to say, it seemed eerily to come right when I was about to ask him a question about the very thing he started to speak about! He has a real passion for the natural world he lives in and for the Sherpa people and their traditions, too. I ended up falling ill with something and here again Tashi was the perfect guide - helpful but not smothering or overly-solicitous. I will be back, and with my family and I'm certain to request that Tashi accompanies us when we return.
- Nick A-H (UK), Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2013

Thanks for looking after my friends Ian & Adam so well! They were really pleased and very impressed with the arrangements made by Kamzang Journeys and particularly pleased with the guide, Karma, who did a wonderful job of looking after them on their trek. Everything went to their satisfaction and it exceeded their expectations. He's now got a taste of Nepal and thinking about doing another trek there sometime!
 - Viv D, friend of Paul & Patrick, Private Annapurna Peaks & Villages, Helambu Trek 2014

I have traveled the world and I have never been as cared for as I was in my trek in Nepal.  Karma was beyond attentive and professional. He has become family. The very best of Nepal and mankind can be found in this young man.
 - Dave M, Annapurna Peaks & Villages 2013

Client Highlights
Travelers' Comments

Trip Highlights

  • Kathmandu Valley cycling + sightseeing
  • Spectacular Himalayan panoramas from Sarankot
  • Relaxing + biking in Pokhara
  • Exotic Kathmandu sights
  • Historic Gorhka
  • Diverse mountain + river cycling in Nepal
  • Cycling through Hindu + Buddhist regions

Kim Bannister Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Kamzang Journeys | Country + Regional Photos
Kamzang Journeys Photos

Kamzang Journeys Group Photos
Group Photos

Himalayan Photos
Himalayan Wildlife Photos

Himalayan Bird Photos

Himalayan Flower Photos

Market + Street Food Photos
Asian Markets + Street Food

Travel Reading | Enhance Your Trip!
Travel Books

Date+Price

Dates
Custom Departures
14 Days

Trip Price
$2680

+ Single Supplement Hotels - $150
+ Bike Rental - Included

Includes

  • 3-star hotels in Tibet
  • Private Transport in Tibet
  • Kathmandu-Lhasa Flight
  • Airport Pick-ups & Drops
  • Departure Tax
  • Tibet Permit
  • Tibet Entrance Fees
  • Kamzang-style Biking:
    3-star hotels or camping as required by itinerary. Camping: all meals and hot drinks, herbal teas and French press coffee, snacks, medical kit, PAC bag (depending on trip), Oxygen & Oxygen saturation meter, Western, Nepali & Tibetan guides (depending on trip), bicycle mechanic & support vehicles.

Excludes

  • International flights (to & from Nepal)
  • Insurance (travel & medical)
  • Bicycle rental
  • Nepal & Chinese visas (although we get the Chinese visas & Tibet permits for you)
  • Meals in Kathmandu
  • Lunch & Dinner in Tibet
  • Rescue Service (cost)
  • Oxygen (we have it but your insurance will need to pay for this)
  • Equipment Rental
  • Oxygen Use
  • Alcohol & soft drinks
  • Laundry
  • Tipping & other items of a personal nature

Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $200 for meals (while not on trek), drinks (on trek) and tips. We recommend $150 per trekker thrown into the tips pool for the crew.

Contact+Details

Trekker's Comments
Travel Books

Guide
Kim Bannister (Special Departures)
Nepali Cycling Guide

Kamzang Journeys Contact
Kim Bannister
kim@kamzang.com
Mobile: +(977) 9803414745
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21277980 (Nepal)
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21274092 (Tibet & India)

Kathmandu Contact
Khumbu Adventures
hiking.guide@gmail.com
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361

Arrival Hotel
Kathmandu Guest House

Kathmandu
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Health Information
Nepal Health Information
CDC

Arrival Kathmandu

Early Arrival
You'll be met at the airport by Lhakpa or Doma Sherpa (of Khumbu Adventures) or a car from the hotel of your choice. Transfer to your hotel where your rooms have been booked for you. Relax!

Arrival Hotels
Kathmandu Guest House

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Temperatures + Clothing
Kathmandu during trekking season, in the spring and autumn, is usually warm (t-shirt, sandals, light pants or skirts) during the day, and gets chilly (light fleece or windproof top) in the afternoon. Nights can be cold enough for a sweater or light jacket, or warm enough for t-shirts. Summer is hotter and wetter; you’ll need a rain jacket and umbrella. The winter months (November – March) are chilly in the mornings and evenings, cold enough that you might start the day in a down jacket, but often warms up enough to wear a t-shirt by mid-day. Nights get cold enough for a down jacket if you’re sitting outside in the spring and autumn, and much colder in the winter when you won’t leave the hotel without your down jacket. It never snows in Kathmandu, leave your snow boots behind. Keens or lightweight sandals great for wandering around Kathmandu, and for trekking in lower altitudes.

Trekking is a mixed bag of temperatures. LAYERS are the key as hot can change quickly to freezing crossing the passes and snowfalls are common. We often have some rain below 3000 meters in the spring and early autumn, and it can rain hard in the summer. Have a wide range of layer-able trekking clothes for summer to winter temperatures. Keep a lightweight down jacket or synthetic jacket with you at all times, available inexpensively in Kathmandu. A lightweight rain poncho and umbrella for trekking recommended spring and summer. Be prepared! See our GEAR LIST for full details on gear, shoes, clothing, electronics and meds for the trek.

There are lots of real gear shops (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Sherpa Gear) and of course many fake ones in Kathmandu, so if you don't think you have the right gear starting the trip it will be easy to pick-up stuff once in Kathmandu. We have sleeping bags, duffel bags down jackets to rent.

Dress conservatively in Kathmandu and on the trail as a rule. Shorts are okay if they aren't too short, mini skirts aren’t recommended. Sleeveless t-shirts are absolutely fine, but perhaps avoid tank-tops on the trail. Super tight doesn't go over so well with the village elders. Many of the younger generation in Nepal wear modern Indian or Western-influenced clothes, but remember that you haven't signed up for a beach or surf vacation. Use your good judgment, be an ambassador for western tourists! Please ask Kim or your guide if unsure about appropriate clothing.

Duffel Bags
We have North Face style duffel bags with Kamzang Journeys logos for sale (XL, orange). They are (mostly) waterproof, mid to lightweight (lighter than North Face) and good quality. Price 4000 NRP (about $40)

Cultural Issues
Nepalis are very open and welcoming, but there are a few issues you should be aware of to make your stay in Nepal more fulfilling. Use your right hand to pass things, shake hands or do most anything. Left hands are somewhat taboo. Nepali's often place their left hand on the right forearm when passing things to others, a sign of respect. Best not to pat kids on heads, or point feet ahead of you at monasteries. Don't walk over someone's legs or feet, but put your hand down in front of you to signal them to pull their legs to the side. Take off shoes and hats when going into Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples, don't use flashes inside monasteries or temples in general, be respectful of a puja (prayer ceremony) if attending one. You can talk, all religious are very tolerant, but be aware of your level of voice.

Nepalis don't anger quickly, so try not to raise your voice if exasperated or angry as it only will make a situation worse. Do bargain at shops, with taxis and rickshaws, but don't fleece them. They are poor and making a living, generally.

Give small donations on the streets if you choose, but try not to encourage begging too much. Be aware of who you are giving money to, and please only give small amounts. If you do want to donate to a cause, ask about our Kamzang Fund or other responsible organizations.

Pampering Yourself in Kathmandu
We’re happy to book your rooms before or after the trek (or upgrade during the trek) at other boutique or luxury hotels in Kathmandu. We recommend Dwarika’s, Shangri-La, Yak & Yeti or Hyatt. We can also direct you to wonderful spa & massage centers in Kathmandu.

Tips for Staff
We recommend at least $200 per person to go into the tip pool for the staff. Please bring Nepali Rupees (NRP) with you on the trek for the tips. It’s nice to buy the staff drinks on the last night. Or any other night that you feel like getting them a bottle of Kukure Rum!

Tips in General
Tips are always appreciated but they don’t need to be extravagant. 100 NRP to carry bags to/from your room is fine. The women who clean your room will be happy with 100-200 NRP when you leave, and 100 NRP is good for drivers to/from the airport. Round up taxi fares. A larger tip would be expected for a daytrip in a car, perhaps 500 NRP. 10% is included in most restaurant and hotel bills in Nepal, and if it’s not included it’s still expected. Check your bills, and still round up at restaurants. Feel free to give out small change to the beggars in the streets (5, 10, 20 NRP) but try not to give it out to the street kids who use it for glue to sniff.

Cash + ATMs
You’ll want some cash with you on the trek for drinks, snacks, beer, sodas, etc. There are often  chances to during the trek, and usually local crafts to buy en route. (You’ll want your tip money in NRP as well). There are ATMs in KTM but they don’t dispense large amounts of cash (usually 10-20,000 NRP) so you’ll be best with currency or TCs to change.

International Medical Center Kathmandu
CIWEC

Kathmandu + Kathmandu Valley Information
Our personalized 'Insider' list of things to do, places to go, what to visit, the most happening restaurants + the best hotels in Kathmandu and the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Gear

On Your Bike
You will need to carry certain things with you while riding, and the extras you can store in our back-up vehicle. In your daypack (or panniers) you will need:

  • Helmet & warm hat
  • Warm, windproof jacket & tights
  • Warm, windproof cycling gloves
  • Wind &/or rain jacket
  • Lightweight synthetic or down jacket
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Small bike-repair kit (extra tube, puncture repair kit, multi-tool, lube | chain oil)
  • Headlamp
  • Small medical kit
  • SPF lip balm & sunscreen
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Snacks

Other Gear (Optional)

  • Pedals
  • Saddle
  • Bike shoes
  • Panniers
  • Bike tubes (specifically sized for your bike tires)
  • Spare tire
  • Spare wheel set
  • Spare RD hanger
  • Brake pads (extra pair if you still use pads)

Gear List
This is a guideline NOT a bible for the gear you will need on the trek! Please base your gear on what has worked for your previously, and double-check with this list. Your duffel bag can not be any larger than a North Face XL (140 Liter, 32" x 19" by 19"). ONE duffel bag per person.

20 kg (50 lbs) weight limit for trek.
15 kg (33 lbs) weight limit for domestic flights (airline regulations). This includes day packs, so you may have to adjust your gear accordingly.

  • Small daypack | Biking pack
  • Sleeping bag (-20F/-30C recommended)
  • Thermarest (Air mattress)
  • Sneakers, Keens or light shoes (city, evenings)
  • Crocs (camp + washing) 

  • Cycling tights
  • Cycling T-shirts
  • Cycling L/S shirts
  • Cycling windproof jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Cycling socks
  • Cycling beenie (hat)
  • Down jacket
  • T-shirts (city)
  • Pants or skirt (city)
  • Fleece or thermal jacket (evenings, city)
  • Fleece or thermal top (evenings)
  • Fleece or thermal bottoms (evenings)
  • Lightweight Gortex jacket & pants (wind & rainproof)
  • Lightweight long underwear (to sleep in or layer under clothes)
  • Socks (evening, city)
  • Gloves (evening)
  • Thermal hat
  • Down booties (optional, recommended)
  • Sunglasses (2, bring extra pair)
  • Water bottles
  • Bladder (optional)
  • Toiletries, sunscreen with SPF, lipbalm with SPF & personal medical supplies
  • Watch (or small clock with alarm)
  • Extra batteries & battery chargers
  • Headlamp 
(2, bring extra)
  • Laundry Detergent (Lhasa) or Bio-degradable Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Books
  • Zip-lock bags
  • SOFT toilet paper or tissues (we supply Chinese toilet paper but you’ll want something softer for blowing your nose)
  • Baby-Wipes | Wet-Wipes OR Chux (for washing)
  • Rehydration | Electrolytes
  • Snacks!

Medical Supplies
We strongly suggest bringing Western meds with you as there are a lot of Indian fakes on the market!

Suggested: Diamox, Azithromyacin, Ciprofloxacin, Tinidazole or Flagyl & Augmentin. Bring COMPEED for covering blisters & good tasting electrolytes &/or rehydration salts (Emergen-C is a good American brand). The local versions aren’t very appealing.
We also recommend bringing strong knee & ankle supports & braces, ACE bandages for sprains & strains, Tegaderm &/or other would coverings. Duct tape is always useful. We're happy to take excess medical supplies off your hands when you leave if you won't need them and pass them on to others. We use lots of the large amount we have with us to treat locals as well as our own trekkers ...

Comments on Gear
On our biking trips in Tibet we either stay in hotels or camp. When we stay in hotels you'll want something comfortable, casual and warm for the evenings. For Lhasa and sightseeing you will want good walking shoes (or Keens), and comfortable clothes for visiting monasteries, hiking around fortresses, basic comfortable street wear. Mornings and evenings are always chilly in Tibet, even in the summer, while days can be scorching.

Nights are chilly to cold, so a down jacket and a WARM sleeping bag are essentials. We recommend a DOWN sleeping bag of 0 to -20 F (-18 to -28 C). Campsites near passes can get COLD. Rentals are available although they are only about 0 to -10F. The dining tent is a Tibetan style ‘yurt’, with blankets and camp chairs on the ground. It warms up in the evenings with everyone inside and hot tea but it is still important to have warm clothes for the evenings. Down booties are great when it’s cold, a down jacket is essential, and down or synthetic pants are also nice to have.

Crocs for washing and the evenings are also very useful. Wear a pair of warm socks under them for going in and out of the dining tent which is a 'shoes off' zone. Tevas take a long time to dry, not recommended.

Good, polarized sunglasses are essential; please bring an extra pair if you tend to lose them! Don’t forget a sun hat &/or baseball cap and have plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF!

Tents
Everyone gets their own tent without a single supplement. Singles have a 2-person tent and couples share a larger, 3-person version.

Water
We bring KATADYN expedition-sized water filters along on the trek for fresh drinking water, ecologically the best way to get water in the Himalaya’s fragile trekking regions. Bring your own filter pump, Steripen/UV purifier or iodine/chlorine tablets for fresh water while trekking. NOTE: To be extra safe with your drinking water, you can drop one purifying tablet into your water bottle after filling with our filtered water. Make sure you wait the required amount of time before drinking, and don’t add anything with Vitamin C as this negates the iodine.

Please bring at least TWO (and better three) Nalgene, Sigg or other unbreakable plastic/metal water bottles. Camelbacks and other bladder systems are good for trekking but can leak, so as a back-up it’s best to also bring a Nalgene or other water bottle.

NOTE: We do not provide boiled water for drinking on either our tea-house/lodge or our camping treks although there is endless hot water for herbal, black or green teas, hot chocolate, hot lemon as well as Indian chai and Kashmiri tea.

Snacks
You will NEED snacks hiking at altitude, even if you’re not a snacker. People crave unusual foods at altitude!  Energy bars, ‘GU’ gels, chocolate bars, dried fruit & nuts, beef jerky (or whatever) are important to have along for long days, pre-lunch bonks and passes. Lemonade mix, Emergen-C or similar drink mixes are great to have for hot days in your water bottles, and it is ESSENTIAL to bring electrolytes with you every day.  

Bring something to share in the tent in the evenings if you want. Cheese is great as a treat on a cheese-board before dinner (Blue, Stilton, Yarlsburg, good Cheddar, Brie, etc). If you would like, bring a bit of your favorite and we’ll throw it on a cheese board for appetizers one night.

NOTE: Nothing besides your personal snack food is required, but it’s fun to see what everyone comes up with!  Almost all basics available in Kathmandu, so no need to over-load.

Rentals
We have Western down jackets to rent for $1.50 per day.  We also have good super-down sleeping bags to rent (0 to -10 F) for $2.50 per day.

Duffel Bags
We have North Face-style duffels with Kamzang logos for sale, L & XL. They’re very good quality and come in Orange (XL) for $40, Yellow or Red (L) for $35.

Packing & Storage
It’s easiest to pack and unpack from a duffel bag, especially when the temperature drops, and easiest for porters to carry. Inexpensive and decent quality duffels are available in Kathmandu but it’s best to invest in a strong, waterproof duffel such as a North Face. You can store extra gear in Kathmandu at the Kathmandu Guest House storage room free of charge. Valuables can be stored at the Kathmandu Guest House in private safety-deposit boxes for 2 NRP per day.

Shopping
Almost all gear is now available in Kathmandu, from real (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Sherpa Gear, Marmot shops in Thamel) to inexpensive knock-offs. The real gear shops take credit cards. Lhasa also has lots of gear near Barkor Square if you find you don't have something you need.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1340m
You'll be met at the airport by a representative from your hotel who will have a sign with your name on it. Transfer to the Kathmandu Guest House (or hotel of your choice) hotel where your rooms have been booked for you.

The Kathmandu Guest House is in the hub of Thamel, a myriad of banners, signs, music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, shops of all imaginable varieties and eccentrically clad backpackers. Dwarika's is an oasis of calm near the airport. Relax by the pool, visit the spa and enjoy the historic and serene surroundings, dining at one of their world-class restaurants. Yak & Yeti is just off Durbar Marg, a tree-lined, upscale road of shops and hotels. Shangri La is in Lazimpat, just a few kilometers outside Thamel and features a lovely garden and outdoors cafe.

We'll need your travel medical insurance, a copy of your passport and Nepali visa and one (or more) visa-sized photo, so have them ready to give to your guide. Spend the afternoon unpacking and putting together your bike if you've brought it with you, or we will visit the cycle shop to get you fitted for your bike for the trip.

Day 2 - Bike the Kathmandu Valley
Get your bikes ready for a great ride around the Kathmandu Valley, potentially some of the best biking in Asia. Excursion to be decided, lots of options such a back road rides to Nagarkot and Changu Narayan, up to Kakani, to Pharping & Dashinkali, to Sankhu.

Kathmandu | World Heritage Sites (Optional Tour)
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley. We can arrange sightseeing guide, vehicles and guides as required. See Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings for more details.

We recommend beginning with Pashupatinath in the early morning, and moving on to Boudhanath mid-morning. Hindu Pashupatinath on the sacred Bagmati river and its sacred temple complex is one of Nepal's most important sites, a powerful cremation site and Nepal's most important Hindu temple. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating, when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Local guides can explain the significance of the complicated ceremonies. Please be respectful when taking photos.

Boudhanath, in the midst of traditional monasteries (gompas) and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the iconic stupa. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. There are wonderful spots for lunch at Boudhanath (Roadhouse Cafe has wood-oven pizzas and a breathtaking view of the stupa and colorful Nepals circling it), and it's a good place to learn the technique of thanka painting and purchase a thanka (Buddhist mural). See also Bhaktapur for more options for shopping for thankas.

Wander through the many temples, pagodas, courtyards and the museum at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a timeless gathering spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the old royal palace, is Kathmandu's 'Palace Square', a showcase for the world renown artisans and craftsmen of Kathmandu and a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist palaces, temples, stupas and statues. The Malla and Shah kings ruled over the Kathmandu Valley during the centuries of the building of the layers of this Durbar Square. Along with their opulent palaces, the square surrounds numerous courtyards and temples, all works of art with intricate and often erotic carvings. Kathmandu Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. The social, religious and urban focal point of the city, Durbar Square is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies such as Teej. Some important structures are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages.

In the evening (take the interesting back streets from Durbar Square) climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. . Swayambunath, the 'self created’  stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.

Stop to photograph reflections in Kathmandu's many pokhari's, or ponds, including the beautiful Rani Pokhari (queen's bath) near New Road, and the Naga Pokhari (pond of the snake gods of the underworld) just beyond the palace gates. The many bathing ghats, square enclosures with steps leading down to water spouts, often decorated with naga heads, are also interesting and colorful gathering spots.

Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)

Day 3 - Drive Pokhara 800m
We leave the Kathmandu valley early in a private vehicle to avoid traffic and drive along the Prithvi Highway paralleling the Trisuli River through the grreen middle hills of Nepal, still very traditional in architectural style, to Pokhara. The drive will take us 6 hours if there is no traffic. We check into the lovely, lake side Lake View Resort. We have the afternoon free to set up our bikes, wander along Phewa Tal (lake), do some shopping, or sit and relax at the hotel with a book and a beer. We'll head for Moondance Cafe for dinner and drinks in the evening, a great venue!

Day 4 - Pokhara. Bike Sarankot
We start with a gentle country ride along Phewa Tal, passing the ever expanding line of small guest houses and hotels along the locals fishing by the side of the lake. After several kilometers we start the steep off-road uphill or more gentle on-road climb to reach the idyllic village of Sarankot, where we are treated to an amazing Himalayan panorama and views of the Annapurna peaks if the weather is clear. We'll pass through several traditional Nepali middle-hills village en route, a great start to our ride.

Day 5 - Bike Begnas Tal
Biking details to come ...

Day 6 - Bike Kalasti

Day 7 - Bike Marsyangdi Valley

Day 8 - Bike Gorkha

Day 9 - Gorkha | Sightseeing

Day 10 - Bike Maleku

Day 11 - Bike Kakani

Day 12 - Bike Kathmandu

Day 13 - Kathmandu
A free day in exotic Kathmandu. Options: Climb the many steps to Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), with its commanding views of Kathmandu (at 1420 m), its whitewashed stupas and its unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. In the midst of traditional gompas, and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, Boudhanath attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the stupa. Durbar Square, one of the old capitals of the Kathmandu valley, is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies. Hindu Pashupatinath and its sacred temple complex on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating - when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees.

We'll have time for a bit of gear shopping in Thamel for anyone who needs to do this, and in the evening will head out for dinner of wood-oven pizza at the Roadhouse Cafe.

Day 14 - Depart
We drop you at the airport for your international flight. Thanks for joining us for this epic bike journey ...

Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.

Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.

Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!

Pokhara Bicycling Routes

Excerpts from ROUGH GUIDES

Phewa Tal Loops
A shortish day’s circumnavigation of Phewa Tal is easily possible, heading out along the north shore and returning via Danda Kot and the World Peace Stupa – the last part takes you downhill along single tracks through the forest, coming out just west of Damside. This loop will take most people around five hours. A more adventurous, slightly longer option heads out across the face of the hillside underneath Sarangkot – but you’ll need a guide to find the mix of 4WD trails and single-track; the longer alternative would be to follow the Sarangkot ridge. To make a really full day-trip, you can extend the loop south of the Peace Stupa down the Seti Nadi.

Sarangkot +
The hilltop viewpoint of Sarangkot makes a great focus for an intermediate-level day-trip or overnight, and one that can be easily done without a guide. From the Bindyabasini temple in the bazaar, follow the paved road 8km westwards to Sarangkot town and lodges, where there’s a junction: the hilltop viewpoint is another 3km along to the right, while the left-hand fork leads towards Naudaada. The first 10km of the Naudaada road contours pleasantly along the south side of the ridge through forest, terraced farmland and villages; at Naudaada you can head back to Pokhara on the busy Baglung Highway. A shorter, but more demanding alternative is to break off the Naudaada road at the saddle of Deurali, then descend steeply on off-road tracks via Kaskiot to Pame, a couple of kilometres west of Pokhara along the lakeshore.

Begnas + Rupa Tal
A fine road, paved only in its earliest sections, follows a ridge between two beautiful lakes, Rupa Tal and Begnas Tal, and then westwards to Besisahar. A network of trails developing in this region can offer one or several days’ riding – enquire at Pokhara bike shops. A fairly tough, long day’s route, involving some carrying, is known as the Begnas Loop: it takes you east of Pokhara (from the Bhadrakali Mandir), along the ridge road past Tiger Mountain Resort to Kalikasthan and Tiwaridanda; from here it’s downhill, heading south on a rough road to Kotbari and Sundari Danda, then back on the partially paved road between Begnas and Rupa Tal. Heading east of Begnas Tal, it’s a 40km three-day rough-road trip through Bhorletar and Sundaari Bazaar on the way to the paved road at Besisahar; from there you could head on up the new road up the Marsyangdi valley (the eastern side of the Annapurna Circuit) or return to Pokhara (with a side trip to Bandipur).

The Annapurna Circuit
Only the most committed mountain bikers take on the full, trekking-style Annapurna Circuit, carrying their bikes across the high pass of the Thorung La. Some tour companies offer the option of plane, bus and mule transport to the top, followed by an incredible downhill, but it’s expensive. If the complete circuit is beyond most people’s reach, it’s increasingly possible to follow either of its arms upwards, then turn around and descend the same way. The eastern side is the more popular. Attractive roads lead to Besisahar, from where you can now cycle up the Marsyangdi Valley all the way to Manang – though you may find yourself carrying your bike for up to a quarter of the ascent. The trip from Pokhara to Manang usually takes 7–10 days. The western side of the circuit is less varied, at first, though new roads being built will soon offer the possibility of a cut-through from Birethanti to Tatopani, via Ghorepani. Currently, however, it’s 90km from Pokhara to Beni, and then a fairly relentless climb along the mostly unpaved 80km road up the Kali Gandaki from Beni to Jomosom. Above Jomosom, dusty, Tibetan-style and relatively flat roads beckon on towards Muktinath (and, with a special permit, Upper Mustang).

No special bike permits are needed for the Annapurna Circuit, but if you are entering the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) you will need a TIMS card and park entry ticket, just as trekkers do.

The Seti Nadi
Unpaved roads head downstream along the churning Seti Nadi, with dramatic overlooks of the canyon and views of the mountains. The road on the south side of the canyon goes on for many easy, downhill miles, and leads to some more remote trails further to the southeast. One good loop from Pokhara follows a trail south from the main road to Chhorepatan, stopping just short of Kristi Nachana Chaur, then turns east to Nirmal Pokhari; from here, you descend to the Seti, crossing at Dobila, below the huge Fulbari Resort – from where it’s a relatively gentle ride up the Seti towards Lakeside.

To the Terai: Chitwan, Lumbini and the Mahendra Highway
The easiest route to the Terai is along the Prithvi Highway to Mugling and then south from there to Narayangadh, which is only a short hop from Chitwan National Park. It does get heavy traffic, but is mostly downhill and you can pedal it in a day.

A more adventurous and strenuous route follows the winding, scenic Siddhartha Highway southwards to Butwal, via Tansen. This ride requires some long stints in the saddle and several overnight stops. It’s a fast downhill ride from Tansen to Butwal, and from there it’s a flat and easy couple of hours to the Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini. An even more adventurous option would be to head west of Pokhara to Baglung, and from there follow the incredible, switchbacking Tamghas Highway south – either looping round southeastwards via Ridi Bazaar to Tansen (it’s 80km from Tamghas to Tansen via Ridi), or continuing south and west from Tamghas via Sandhikarka, on 90km of rough roads, joining the Mahendra Highway at Gorusinge, 48km west of Butwal (and some 10km north of the Buddhist archeological site of Kapilvastu). West of Butwal, the Mahendra Highway leads through a beautiful dun valley towards the relatively undeveloped far west, the traffic lightening as you go.
A shortish day’s circumnavigation of Phewa Tal is easily possible, heading out along the north shore and returning via Danda Kot and the World Peace Stupa – the last part takes you downhill along single tracks through the forest, coming out just west of Damside. This loop will take most people around five hours. A more adventurous, slightly longer option heads out across the face of the hillside underneath Sarangkot – but you’ll need a guide to find the mix of 4WD trails and single-track; the longer alternative would be to follow the Sarangkot ridge. To make a really full day-trip, you can extend the loop south of the Peace Stupa down the Seti Nadi.

Sarangkot +
The hilltop viewpoint of Sarangkot makes a great focus for an intermediate-level day-trip or overnight, and one that can be easily done without a guide. From the Bindyabasini temple in the bazaar, follow the paved road 8km westwards to Sarangkot town and lodges, where there’s a junction: the hilltop viewpoint is another 3km along to the right, while the left-hand fork leads towards Naudaada. The first 10km of the Naudaada road contours pleasantly along the south side of the ridge through forest, terraced farmland and villages; at Naudaada you can head back to Pokhara on the busy Baglung Highway. A shorter, but more demanding alternative is to break off the Naudaada road at the saddle of Deurali, then descend steeply on off-road tracks via Kaskiot to Pame, a couple of kilometres west of Pokhara along the lakeshore.

Begnas + Rupa Tal
A fine road, paved only in its earliest sections, follows a ridge between two beautiful lakes, Rupa Tal and Begnas Tal, and then westwards to Besisahar. A network of trails developing in this region can offer one or several days’ riding – enquire at Pokhara bike shops. A fairly tough, long day’s route, involving some carrying, is known as the Begnas Loop: it takes you east of Pokhara (from the Bhadrakali Mandir), along the ridge road past Tiger Mountain Resort to Kalikasthan and Tiwaridanda; from here it’s downhill, heading south on a rough road to Kotbari and Sundari Danda, then back on the partially paved road between Begnas and Rupa Tal. Heading east of Begnas Tal, it’s a 40km three-day rough-road trip through Bhorletar and Sundaari Bazaar on the way to the paved road at Besisahar; from there you could head on up the new road up the Marsyangdi valley (the eastern side of the Annapurna Circuit) or return to Pokhara (with a side trip to Bandipur).

Namaste & Tashi Delek!

© Kim Bannister

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