Nepal

Nepal: Mountain Biking the Annapurna Circuit

 

Oct. 20 – Nov. 3, 2014
15 days
$2,195 - 2,750 USD per person

A special trip for Cascade Bicycle Club & Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members.

Come join us on one of the best adventures in the Himalayas - biking through lush valleys and century old villages, pushing/carrying your bike over a 17,700 ft. pass, riding on an exhilarating, technical 5,000 foot descent and through the deepest canyon in the world. You can experience all of this with the tallest mountain range in the world as your backdrop.

On the Annapurna Circuit biking trip, which is 90% rideable, you have the opportunity 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 inhabited by gypsy traders of Tibetan origin. After a rest day in Manang for acclimatization, you head north over Thorung pass and descend to Muktinath village. At Muktinath there is a shrine revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. From Muktinath, you bike through the deepest gorge in the world – along the Kali Gandaki river – losing altitude rapidly. Perhaps you will meet a Thakali, the local inhabitants of the Kali Gandaki valley and maybe even visit one of their Buddhist temples. 

Your biking trip ends in Beni from where a chartered vehicle will take you to Pokhara. The following day you will fly back to Kathmandu after a decadent long, hot shower and a load of laundry! Enjoy a farewell dinner in Kathmandu before departing for home the following day. This tour is produced by Grand Asian Journeys, a Seattle- Nepalase company with over 20 years of experience in produced top quality mountain adventures. 

Trek Rating: challenging

Trip Highlights

  • Explore sacred stupas and shrines, and heritage palace squares of medieval kingdoms;
  • bike the world-famous Annapurna Circuit trail;
  • slog to the Thorungla at 17,700ft. for a monster 5,300ft. descent.

Capacity: 12 participants

trip ITINERARY

Day 1
KATHMANDU (1,350m/4,450ft)

Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport and transferred to Hotel Tibet or similar. In the early evening, we will gather for a trip briefing where we will also get to know each other. Welcome dinner is a 15-minute walk in the tourist hub of Thamel.

Overnight: Hotel Tibet or similar
Meals: D

Day 2
KATHMANDU (1,350m/4,450ft)

Full day exploration of the sights, sounds and pleasant chaos that is Kathmandu. You will be accompanied by our in-house city guide.

Visit Bodhnath – the Stupa of a Million dew drops. Bodhnath is a sacred destination for Buddhists. Here, you will find devotees circumambulating the sacred monument at any time of the day. Step in the rhythm with the devotees, spin prayer wheels along the stupa walls, and immerse yourself in the sacred experience of Bodhnath.

Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal's most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, the God of Destruction. The main temple has a two-tiered golden roof and an ornate silver door. Non-Hindu visitors cannot enter the main temple sanctum and must view it from across the sacred Bagmati River. Here, you are likely to witness a Hindu cremation.

Then drive to Patan for lunch. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum which houses ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar (Palace) Square. Patan is also known as Lalitpur, the City of Arts. Most households in Patan are craftsmen, and there are countless stores selling metal artwork ranging from jewelry, to meditation bowls and divine statues. The medieval architecture of Patan is the finest amongst all ancient kingdoms in Kathmandu Valley with stunning architectural designs of palaces and temples, including the Krishna Mandir.

Overnight: Hotel Tibet or similar
Meals: B, L

Day 3
JAGAT (1,350m/4,350ft)

Early breakfast at the hotel. Today is a full day of driving to our trek starting point. We first drive on the main highway along the Trishuli river. Then our road turn towards the Marshyangdi river that flows from the glaciers of the Annapurna mountains to Besi-Sahar – this was where all Annapurna Circuit treks started in the past before a jeep track was built with the objective of connecting Chame, the district headquarters of Manang, by road. Past Besi-Sahar, the road it is a bumpy two to three hour ride on a jeep track to Jagat.

Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4
KOTO (2,640m/8,700ft)

You finally get the opportunity to hop on your bikes. Starting early, by around 7:30 am, is recommended so as to avoid the glaring sun. 

Today is a grueling day. Start by climbing gradually to Tal and Dharapani. There is a police post and a ACAP office at Dharapani where your permit will be checked. The section past Bagarchap is very steep until Timang from the trail becomes gradual and even level until Koto. You will bike through millet fields and pastures enjoying views of Manaslu and the Annapurna mountains. There is a police check post at Koto where you will need to be registered.

Total distance approximately 14 miles and 4,350 ft. of ascent
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 5
PISANG (3,200m/10,500ft)

Ride past Chame, the district headquarters. An hour past Chame is Bhrathang where there is an abandoned Khampa settlement dating from the 1960s. The Khampa’s, aided by the CIA, fought a guerilla war with the Chinese for many years after the occupation of Tibet. Past Bhrathang, climb towards the dramatic Puangda Danda, a tremendous curved slab of rock rising about 5,000 ft. There are magnificent views of Pisang Peak, Himalchuli and Ngadu Chuli. Past Dhukur Pokhari, the valley opens and the trail becomes level. Ride to Pisang village for the night.

Total distance approximately 10 miles and 2,200 ft. of ascent
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 6
MANANG (3,530m/11,600ft)

Today is a short gradual ride to Manang. Ride past Hongde, where there is a small airport and past barley and buckwheat fields to Bragha, one of the most picturesque villages in the region. You are welcome to explore this village before you continue onwards to Manang.

Total distance approximately 10 miles and 2,100 ft. of ascent
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 7
MANANG (3,530m/11,600ft)

Today is an acclimatization day. You have options to visit a small monastery near the village, check out the Gangapurna lake or just take a slow stroll through the village.

Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 8
YAK KHARKA (3700m/13,500ft)

Today is a short day of riding to allow for better acclimatization. The trail climbs to Tengi and then to Gunsang. There are great views of Annapurna II, Annapurna IV and Gangapurna. Past Gunsang, the trail enters pastures and miniature forests of juniper and barberry. Beyond is Yak Kharka.

Total distance approximately 6 miles and 2,000 ft. of ascent
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 9
THORUNG PHEDI (4,540m/14,200ft)

Today is another short riding day to allow for acclimatization. Climb to Letdar and then to Thorung Phedi a desolate rock-strewn meadow surrounded by vertical cliffs. Thorung Phedi means base of Thorungla.

Total distance 2.5 miles and 1,000 ft. of ascent
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 10
MUKTINATH (3,800m/12,400ft)

Rise early (around 3 or 4 am) to begin the slog to the top of Thorungla (5,416m/17,700 ft.). Depending on conditions, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to get to the top. The views from the pass are amazing. If you have technical downhill riding skills, this is one exhilarating ride to Muktinath – a descent of around 5,000ft. in two hours.

Total distance approximately 8 miles with 3,300 ft. of ascent and 5,400 ft. of descent.
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 11
TUCKCHE (2,580m/8,500ft)

You have the option of taking the straight-forward descent on the main jeep track to Jomsom and then to Tuckche (maximum 3 hours) or the more scenic route via Lupra valley. Tukche was an old trading town and is the site of the Tukuche distillery which produces apple and apricot brandy. Approximately 4,000 ft. of ascent.

Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 12
TATOPANI (1,190m/3,900ft)

Today is a mostly downhill ride to Tatopani. We ride through several villages with empty looking lodges that have been severely hit because of the new road. Tatopani means hot water and there is a natural hot water spring which is surprisingly clean. Relax in the evening.

Total distance approximately 26 miles with 1,200 ft. of ascent and 5,800 ft. of ascent.
Overnight: Lodge
Meals: B, L, D

Day 13
POKHARA (800m/2,640ft)

Ride for a couple hours to Beni where our ride ends. Board a bus for a 3-4 hour ride to Pokhara. We will be staying at a lodge close to the lake. You are free to explore the arts, crafts, dining, laundry and internet facilities in the town of Pokhara on your own this evening.

Total distance approximately 15.5 miles.
Overnight: Fairmount Hotel
Meals: B, L

Day 14
KATHMANDU (1,350m/4,450ft)

This morning is free for you to continue your exploration of Pokhara. Transfer to the airport for a mid-afternoon flight back to Kathmandu.

Transfer to your hotel in Kathmandu. Rest of the day is free for you shop, relax or explore on your own. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner to recap the incredible experience! 

Overnight: Hotel Tibet or similar
Meals: B, D

Day 15
FINAL DEPARTURE

Transfer to the airport for final departure.

Meals: B

Note on Itinerary 
Although we will do our best to adhere to the itinerary as listed, ground realities can mean that the program can change.

TOUR PRICING:

2  persons: $2,750 USD per person
3 - 6 persons: $2,345 USD per person
7 - 12 persons: $2,195 USD per person
(Single Supplement: $300 USD)

Bikes

Both hard tails or all-mountain bikes will work on this trip, though a double suspension is recommended. Bike rental is NOT included in the trip price. You may either bring your own bike from home or rent one in Kathmandu. On you flight from North America, you are generally allowed two bags of 50 lbs each. High quality mountain bike rentals in Kathmandu can range between US$25 – $35 per day. It is possible to pre-arrange a bike rental for people who wish to go this route. 

Insurance

Medical Evacuation Insurance is REQUIRED 
For participation on this trek, and we highly recommend the addition of trip cancellation and interruption insurance as well in the event of a non-planned cancellation due to natural disaster, sickness or a death in the family. We are agents for Travelex Insurance and can help you choose and purchase the right insurance for your specific needs. Please contact us for more information or a quote.

TRIP COST INCLUDES

  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • All airport transfers
  • Three nights twin-sharing accommodations in Kathmandu at Hotel Tibet (three-star hotel) or similar
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated on itinerary with guide, vehicle, and entrance fees to monuments
  • One night in Pokhara at Fairmount Hotel (one-star) or similar
  • Airfare: Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Lodge trek as indicated on itinerary
  • Three meals a day on the trek – you choose from a menu (no set meal)
  • Boiled water for your bottles three times a day
  • Guide/staff wages, equipment and meals
  • Guide and staff insurance
  • Annapurna Conservation Area fee and 

COST DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Your international airfare
  • Nepal visa
  • Your personal bikes
  • Meals not indicated on itinerary
  • Tips and gratuity
  • Personal equipment (a suggested list will be emailed to you)
  • Your travel insurance (required)
  • And other expenses of personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food, etc).

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

While in Kathmandu, you will stay at Hotel Tibet (or similar). Hotel Tibet is a clean,comfortable hotel located in Lazimpat, about 15 minutes walking distance from the bustling tourist hub of Thamel. Dining in Kathmandu will be at some of the choicestrestaurants that offer a range of clean, healthy and delicious food. The Kathmandu sightseeing will be led by our in-house cultural tour guide with a wide range and depth of local knowledge.

Activity/Skill Level

This trip is designed for energetic people with a spirit of adventure, positive attitude, patience and good humor. You will need to keep an open mind that is receptive to the richness and paradoxes of Himalayan culture.

While you must be in good physical condition, no technical experience is required, nor is it required that you are a very experienced biker to participate on this trek. Moderate down-hill and single track riding skills are required if you wish to ride the section from Thorungla to Muktinath. Most of the riding is either on a jeep track or a clearly marked trail; hence anyone with average biking experience but good conditioning can participate.This trek is rated 5 on a scale of 1-5, or challenging, where 1 is easy and 5 is challenging. The highest altitude reached is 5,416m/17,700ft at the Thorungla pass and the highest overnight camp is at Thorung Phedi (4,540m/14,400ft.) The entire trek involves numerous ascents and descents, with the ascent to and descent from the Thorungla pass being the most dramatic.

trip Extensions:

I. Rafting near Pokhara (Cost – US$ 145 per person; minimum two participants)

DAY 14: After breakfast, drive 1 hour to raft put-in point. Raft on the Upper Seti river (rated Grade II) for about an hour. Raft for an hour. Drive back to Pokhara. Boat ride on the lake. Hike to Peace Stupa. Drive to International Mountaineering Museum. Evening free in Pokhara. Overnight Hotel (B, L)

DAY 15: Fly to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (B)

DAY 16: Final departure. (B)II. Chitwan National Park(Cost – US$ 450 per person; minimum two participants)

DAY 14: After breakfast, drive 4 hours to Chitwan. Overnight Rhino Residency. (D)

DAY 15: Jungle activities in Chitwan. Overnight Rhino Residency. (B, L, D)

DAY 16: Transfer to airport. Fly to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (B, D)

DAY 17: Final departure. (B, D)

 

About our Tour partner

Grand Asian Journeys weaves enriching experiences, authentic culture and local knowledge into distinctly memorable adventures. Our passion for providing fun, quality journeys throughout the most fascinating parts of Asia is showcased in each itinerary. We are proud of our exceptional customer service, our dynamic guides and our commitment to leaving a positive impact in the communities we visit. With over two decades of experience in the Himalayas we now operate two offices – one in the Seattle area and one in Kathmandu, Nepal to provide you excellent service beginning with registration, and through your entire trip experience.