Cycle Across Tibet
This expedition allows time for exploring many of Tibet’s most fascinating cities and monasteries and gives the rider the opportunity to ride the best and most scenic portions of the friendship highway that links these two ancient Himalayan Kingdoms. Support vehicles carry all equipment (and riders who may need a rest on the climbs!) giving us the freedom to accommodate participants of many different levels of riding skills. The cost starts from $5,100.
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel. You will meet up with your guide for dinner and a briefing on the trip and hand over your passport to the guide to sort your Tibetan visa.
Ride to Nagarkot via Bhaktapur (Acclimatization ride) We endorse Chinese visas; you check out the bikes and equipment then we ride due east to the medieval town of Bhaktapur, an ancient city full of Newari culture. There are many temples and squares here that we will have time to explore. From here we head North East to the beautiful hill top village of Nagarkot, on an excellent and quiet tarmac road. Nagarkot is the best destination to acclimatize before the Tibet tour. Distance: 38km Altitude: 2,168m/ 7,112 feet.
Ride back to Kathmandu via Shanku and Boudhanath Stupa. We descend on jeep tracks through the beautiful ancient village of Shanku. From here we are on tarmac road towards Boudhanath Stupa, here we will have lunch and then ride back to Thamel, Kathmandu either we ride or drive through a busy road. Distance: 30km Altitude: 1,340m/ 4,396 feet.
After a hearty breakfast, drive to the airport for an hour flight to Lhasa. It’s an approximately 1 hours (65km) drive to reach our hotel in Lhasa 3,658m/ 12,001 feet and we will go on a short walk to Barkhor Square to stretch our legs and following the crowds into the square which gives us the sensation of slipping into a medieval carnival. This is one part of Lhasa that has resisted any invasion of the modern world where ancient way of trading is still practiced.
Acclimatization day (rest day in Lhasa) or full day sightseeing in Lhasa. We will visit a few places such as the Sera Monastery which is one of the great monasteries that has survived the Cultural Revolution better than most. We can get up close and personal to a -Debate’ where the monks will try and outwit their colleagues with questions on religion. After Lunch, we will visit the famous Potala Palace. This is the cardinal landmark and a structure that deserves a place as one of the wonders of eastern architecture and it looks best from a distance. It takes about 3hrs sight-seeing the Potala so we would advise on wearing comfortable attire and comfortable walking shoes.
After a good breakfast we will start biking to the Drepung Monastery cycling right in front and passing the Potala. The monastery is situated 25km to the west of Lhasa, this is to further acclimatize and adjust to the climate and altitude. Drepung Monastery the largest of the monasteries of the great Gelugpa monasteries was home to around 10,000 monks during the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1951. Once we reach the entrance to the monastery we will have to leave our bikes at the car park and climb up the stairs to the monastery.
Cycling through the busy roads for about 45
minutes we leave Lhasa behind please remember to always keep on the right hand
side as there will be vehicles plying on this road as well and as we cycle
along the Bhramhaputra river heading toward the bottom of Khamba-la, Approx. 6-7
hour’s ride and we will be camping tonight. Distance: 85km, Altitude: 3550m.
Biking over the Khamba-la pass (4794 m) on a newly smooth paved road, approx. 24km climb passing the old road between Gyantse and Lhasa the dazzling Yamdrok-tso (also known as Scorpion Lake) can be seen from the summit of the Kambha-la pass. The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather it is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. We will have lunch at the beautiful Yamdrok lake. After lunch we cycle down to our camp site on the other side of Yamdrok Lake before Nagarze town Approx: 6-7 hours ride before getting to our camping site. Distance: 68km, Altitude: 4300m
After breakfast we pack up and cycle on a straight path toward the Karo-la (5045) pass, cycling on the out skirts of the town Nagarze, with a panoramic view sweeping from the left hand side up to the front thus having great views of the Himalayas & glaciers upon reaching the summit of Karo-la pass one can awe at the sight of the glacier which is approximately 50 metres below the pass. There is the perfect photographic opportunity for anyone who wishes to trade their bike for a yak! However brief! From here we ride down the path which has been slowly eroded by water that has made it resemble a water slide at an amusement park and taking us almost to the camp site before the Ralung Monastery intersection. Approx: 6 hours ride. Distance: 49km, Altitude: 4610m
Biking over the Simi-la pass (4,330m), we are on a pleasant and gradual ride to Gyantse town. The road is a gentle climb with a pleasant view of a man-made lake for the purpose of generating electricity from a dam. We enjoy a nice lunch at the summit of Simi-la. Upon reaching Gyantse (3950), in the Nyang Chu valley 254km south-west of Lhasa, is one of the least Chinese-influenced towns in Tibet and is worth a visit for this reason alone. The town’s principal attractions are the Gyantse Kumbum, a magnificent tiered structure (Jonang, 60km north-east of Lhatse) in the Buddihist world. Till the 14th century, there are no conclusive records of its existence but the town emerged as the centre of a fiefdom with powerful connections with the Sakyapa. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to visit the monasteries and Stupas contained within this historical town. Approx: 4-5 hours and we will spend the night in a local hotel. Distance: 87km, Altitude: 3950m
Leaving Gyantse, we also leave behind our one day of off road aches and pains as we find ourselves on a newly paved road which is a long day ride that will take us across vast stretches of flat agricultural land to Shigatse, Tibet’s 2nd biggest town in the traditional capital of Tsang. The Tsang kings exercised their power from the towering heights of Shigatse turning this town in to an important trading town as well as an administrative centre. Approx: 6-7 hours and spend the night in a hotel. Distance: 90km, Altitude: 3900m
Today will be a long day ride, with an occasional paved road making the rest of the road a dusty one and we will stop for lunch break beside the Ra Chu River, then we cycle on to our camp below the Tso-la pass (4500). Approx: 6-7 hours. Distance: 112km or 83KM if tired, Altitude: 4000m
After we leave Tso-La pass (4500m), we go down a long 9km descent & pass through Larze, which is a small truck stop and is a dusty place but has some shops with well stocked shelves and few guesthouses. Camp below the Gyatso-la near a river. Approx: 5-6 hours. Distance: 58km, Altitude: 4150m
In the morning after breakfast we cycle 25km climbing toward the highest pass Gyatso-La (5220m). The ride to Gyatso-la is an interesting one as we will be in the middle of a gorge during the start of this particular ride accompanied by a river on the right hand side. Approximately 7km before reaching the summit we suddenly come to an opening where we can once again see the great mountains but it will be very windy at this point (we advise you to have wind proof attire ready as our support vehicle will be at a distance just in case) until we cross the pass and descend down to Shegar and spend the night in a guesthouse. Approx: 6-7 hours. Distance: 70km Altitude: 4350m
Today we start our ride on a paved road up to the police check post. Here we would have to produce our passport to the authorities and after the check post we will turn off the Friendship Highway around 6km west of the Shegar checkpoint where our guide will sort out the permits for the Everest region. From here the path will be the toughest of bumpy roads. The road is very windy both up hill and downhill with sharp turns. On this particular road we would like to advise everyone to stay on the edge of the road at a safe pace because of heavy vehicle also using this road which takes us to the Pang la pass (5200m), a rocky uphill. From here a superb panoramic view of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu can be seen on a clear day. We will bike downhill towards the river where after crossing it we will face the windiest place of our tour. We will cycle through Tashi Zong village toward our camp at Pasoom. Approx: 5-6 hours. Distance: 62km Altitude: 4350m
Today we will be on a bumpy road but a gentle climb up to Rongphu monastery from our campsite. Rongphu Monastery is the main Buddhist centre in the valley and once coordinated the activities of around one dozen smaller religious institutions. Approx: 4-5 hours. Distance: 33km Altitude: 5000m
After breakfast, we ride for Everest Base Camp which is 8km one way from the Rongphu monastery. The road up to the Base Camp is a rocky one. There is also a pony ride available for 60 ““ 80 Yuan for visitors because the government has recently banned all motor vehicles from going up to the Everest Base Camp and because of this we will not have our support vehicle with us. There is little to see at the Base Camp but just imagine you are actually standing on the world’s highest mountain. At the Base Camp you can take photos next to a marker that reads -Mt. Qomolangma Base Camp’ which means -Mother God’ and indicates on a marker reading 5200m. Return to Pasoom campsite. Approx: 6-7 hours. Distance: 49km Altitude: 4350m
Drive and bike towards Tingri, our campsite from Pasoom where we will be once again on a repeat trail to Pangla pass and back on the Friendship Highway where we will be on a smooth jeep road. When we reach Tingri it is another picturesque view with a huddle of Tibetans homes overlooking a sweeping plain bordered by the towering Himalaya Range. It is also called Tingri Dzong overlooked by ruins that were once a fort that was not blown up by the Chinese Red Guards but in fact destroyed by the invasion of Nepalese in the late 18th century. Nearby our campsite there is place called Tsamda where we can find a Hot Spring. Approx: 7-8 hours. Distance: 112km Altitude: 4340m
On this day we will cycle on the Friendship Highway to and camp at Lhavlung Dovang (Dovang means a place road construction workers live) between Thong-la (5050) and Zarakpa (5000m). After we leave the highway we paddle onto a road which is dusty during the dry season and muddy when it is wet. Approx: 5-6 hours.
Today the biking takes us over the pass of Lalung-la, which offers spectacular views of Gaurishankar, Dorje Lhakpa, Shishapangma and Langtang. Please make sure that you check your brakes properly because we will be riding mostly downhill from here with another 6 hours biking that brings us to Nyalam which literary means -The Gateway to Hell’ in Tibetan. This is because the road drops from Nyalam like a stone off the Tibetan plateau into a mossy gorge of waterfalls and cascades which during the monsoon creates a sea of clouds that submerges the road and thus giving the effect of an eerie scene out of a horror movie. Before reaching Nyalam just 10km off there is a place with the closest cultural sight which is Nyalam Pelgye Ling, a small temple that is associated with the Cave of Milarepa, the famous Buddhist mystic and composer of songs who lived during the late 11th to the early 12th century. We camp after Nyalam. Approx: 5-6 hours. Distance: 65km Altitude: 3650m
Our last day in Tibet, we descend 2,850m/ 9,350 feet to Barabise on the longest downhill of our tour on a bad road which is muddy, rocky and slippery with a big drop on the right hand side into the river Bhote Kosi. Heading towards the border Zhangmu which also is known as Khasa in Nepali and Dram in Tibetan and entering Nepal through the border of Kodari. Approx. 3-4 hours of biking, we will have lunch at Barabise 870m a small town with shops and basic hotels. From here after lunch we will be transferred to a resort in Dhulikhel in our support van before Kathmandu. The last day party will be held in this resort. Approx: 4 hours. Distance: 127km Altitude: 1600m
The last day of our biking trip brings us back to where our journey began. Your Cycle across Tibet is over and you are back in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel. We will have a group dinner and enjoy the last evening together. Approx: 3 hours. Distance: 32km Altitude: 1300m
Departure day. Your Cycle across Tibet is over. You will be transferred to the airport for your return flights home. You can spend some additional nights in Kathmandu exploring this amazing city, relax and take in the journey you have just undertaken.
A little bit more about our Cycle across Tibet
We will have an experienced Nepali mountain bike guide, fluent in English and Tibetan. They will ride with you, look after you and your equipment, help you with all-important altitude, acclimatization and other health matters, and deal with Chinese officials and the support crew. Your trip starts and finishes in Kathmandu, where the guide will take care of all your last-minute needs, endorse your Chinese visas, and ensure that this fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime experience will also be trouble-free.
Ready to go?
You want to take on the cycling challenge of a lifetime. You want to visit Nepal and Tibet in one amazing adventure? If you would like to see Mount Everest from the iconic north side of the mountain. Join us!
We will help you cycle 1,170 km across Tibet and take on the longest downhill in the world. E-mail us or call us and lets starting working on this Tibetan adventure.