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21 Days The ultimate Mountain Biking expedition across the roof of the world

Tour Route: Lhasa-Gyantse-Shigatse-Everest Region-Gyirong

Trip Overview:

This is a simply brilliant high level ride, traversing the road between Lhasa and Kathmandu and including the 4-day round trip, off-road, to the Rongbuk Valley beneath the stunning north face of Mount Everest. Flying into Lhasa, there are days for essential acclimatization in the mystical Tibetan capital and have plenty of time to explore its numerous attractions, including the fabulous Potala Palace. The overland route to Kathmandu crosses 6 major passes and visits the spectacular monastery towns of Gyantse, Shigatse and Shegar. Reaching the edge of the Tibetan Plateau at the Thang La (5200m), we begin the longest road descent in the world, an almost unbelievable 4600 metres to the valley of the Sun Kosi River in Nepal. Two days of biking on the amazing ridge-top trails of the Kathmandu Valley round off this superb trip.
 

  • Tour Code:
    TTO-BT-LZ-21
  • Max Altitude:
    5,150 m
  • Tour Type:
    Private tour with private guide and vehicle
  • Phisycal Demand:

    Phisycal Demand Level Guide:
    1. Easy (1 point) - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
    2. Moderate (2-3 Points) - suitable for those having average level for fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 years.
    3. Moderate to Strenous (4 Points) - suitable for those physically fit and have experiences of high altitude trekking.
    4. Strenuous (5 Points) - suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.

  • Season:
    springSpringSummerSummerautumnAutumn

Highlights:

  • Ultimate mountain bike holiday across Tibet
  • Hugely rewarding Tibetan cycling journey
  • Sunset on Everest from Rongbuk
  • World’s longest bike descent from Tibet into Nepal
  • Bike across the Pang La with fine views of the Himalaya

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu

Upon your arrival, our local guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. After a little rest, go to visit the Durbar Square. The Durbar Square lies in the heart of Kathmandu. Locally also called as Hanuman Dhoka Palace Square-an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty.

Most of the buildings seen here date from 15th to 18th century. Some of the important monuments to be seen here are: Taleju temple, Jagannath temple, Kal Bhairav, Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap - built from the timber of a single tree.

Day 2: Kathmandu Day Tour

In the morning, first drive to Pashupatinath temple which is situated 5 kilometers east of Kathmandu City and one of the holiest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Then continue driving to Boudhanath Stupa, 8 kilometers east of Kathmandu City. Boudhanath Stupa is one of the biggest in the world of its kind.

After lunch, drive to Swayambhunath Stupa, located approximately 4 kilometers west of Kathmandu city. This Buddhist Stupa is said to be 2000 years old.

Day 3: Flight to Tibet & Acclimation

Take the morning flight to Lhasa. In a little over one hour, the Kathmandu - Lhasa air journey covers rugged terrain that once took trade caravans months to cross. The views are spectacular, and on a clear day, as many as eight of the world's 14 highest peaks - including Everest - lie before you.

At the Lhasa airport, you will be met and taken to your hotel in Lhasa by your Tibetan guide, for a relaxing afternoon adjustment to the altitude! You can have a comfort stop near Nietang Buddha where a giant statue of Buddha has been carved out of a stone cliff-face centuries ago.

Day 4: Lhasa sightseeing

In morning, go to visit the famous Potala palace and explore the grandest of this myriad chapels, you will experience its audience halls, the jeweled and Golden burial chortens (stupa Tombs) of past Dalai Lamas, and a tremendous number of Buddhist frescoes, thangkas, combinations of mandala, etc.

In the afternoon, pay a visit to the holist temple in Tibet, the Johkang Temple, built during Songtsen Gonpo's reign by princess Wencheng of Tang Dynasty, 647 A.D, and its famous Barkor Kora. (Notice: the sequence of sightseeing might be changed based on the reservation of Potala Palace).

Day 5: Lhasa Sightseeing

Today, you will visit two important monasteries in Lhasa, the Drepung and the Sera.

Situated at the foothill of a mountain, Drepung monastery was founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. It was once home of 10000 monks and Ganden podrang in Drepung is famous for it was the government centre during the fifth dalai lama and later moved to the famous potala palace.

After having lunch, continue to visit the Sera Monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamchen Choeje. The most attractive is its Buddhist Scriptures debating held in the courtyard mostly around 6:00 - 7:30 in the afternoon.

Day 6: Start the cycling today (85 km), O/N: Camp

The first riding day is very short and easy. You journey towards Everest starts with the Friendship Highway as it heads out across the plateau. The road in good condition is quite flat. Leave Lhasa and cycle along the beautiful Tsangpo River to the foot of the Kamba La Pass (3700 m).

Day 7: Ride to Yamdrok Tso via Kamba La Pass (55 km), O/N: Camp

Today, you will overcome the first mountain pass of this trip. A strong uphill climb along a tar road of several switchbacks, reaches a summit lavishly adorned with prayer flags (4794m).

After descending we continue alongside Lake Yamdrok Tso, at the far side of which set camp (4490m). The dazzlingly turquoise green Yamdrok-Tso Lake is one of the three great holy lakes in Tibet.

Day 8: Cycling to Karo La (54 km), O/N: Camp

Leave the beautiful lake behind, cycle along the Friendship highway which soon becomes a gravel roadway, through a ravine and up to the foot of the Karo La Pass (4750m), where your tented village will be prepared for the night.

Day 9: Cycling to Gyantse (86 km)

A significant day on the tour, as you have to get up early to climb the high Karo La Pass (5010m). You can see glaciers stretching down to 6000m and beautiful lakes. You are rewarded for your effort with a night in a top hotel in the city of Gyantse (3980m).

Day 10: Cycling to Shigatse (94 km)

First visit the Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating from the 14th century and the Kumbum, a large gold-domed stupa with several small chapels, containing an impressive collection of Tibetan Buddhist murals.

Then head out on the highway towards Shigatse. Although today is a long cycling day, the highway is tarred and flat. In the afternoon, arrive in Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse (3860m). You can enjoy a shower in your hotel.

Day 11: Ride to Gyachung Monastery (75 km), O/N: Camp

Get up early to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery where you can see the well preserved largest statue of Jampa (future god) in the world. The monastery itself is abiding place for the successive Penchen Lamas.

Then leave Shigatse and ride over two small passes and through several small Tibetan villages, past the isolated Gyachung Monastery and camp.

Day 12: Cycling to Lhatse (95 km), O/N: Camp

Keep riding along the highway. The route leads you through picturesque valleys before the long route begins which leads over the Tso-La (4520m). After lunch, head towards Lhatse past the hot springs and camp about 10km outside of town.

Day 13: Cycling to Shegar (75 km), O/N: Camp

Today, you will ride over the 5220m Gyatso-La with stunning view. On a clear day you will be rewarded for your effort with your first view of Mount Everest.

After a 40 km ride through flat prairie towns, you will arrive in the town of Pelbar, often referred to as Shegar. Shegar, is a popular stopover for anyone heading to the Everest region. Today will be a long and gruelling ride through the canyon.

Day 14: Ride to Pang Pass, O/N: Camp

Today's riding is a little tough for the road condition is not so good as that of the past days.

You will divert off the flat highway just outside of Shegar, then head towards the world's highest peak, Everest. After passing through the border control point, you will be faced with 20km's uphill switchbacks (42 hairpin bends in total) before you reach the summit of the Pang Pass (5150m). Your reward will be some of the most magnificent views of Everest and her surrounding peaks.

Enjoy lunch as you gaze over Makalu (8463m), Shishapangma (8012m), Cho Oyu (8210m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8850m) and several other breathtaking peaks. Then a 20-kilometer downhill follows to the Rongbuk Valley (4200m), where we camp.

Day 15: Continue ride to Rongbuk Monastery (35 km)

Now you should be at peak fitness and excited about the approach of your highest destination, Everest Base Camp.

A bumpy road winds up through the Rongbuk valley until the majestic Mount Everest appears before you. We will camp beside the monastery with the unforgettable sight of the world's highest peak in front of you. We will stay here for two days.

On your second day, you can either read a book or get even closer to Everest by taking a walk, cycling or hopping on a donkey and cart ride to Everest base camp, which is 8km from the campsite. Overnight at Rongbuk Monastery (Dormbed/Tents)

Day 16: Cycling: Rongbuk to Tingri (86 km)

Leaving Rongbuk, head back down the bumpy road and then take a shortcut into the mountains. Another bumpy trail takes us over a canyon and down into Tingri (4340m).

Day 17: Ride to Lalung Pass (77 km), O/N: Camp

This day begins with a 40 to 50km flat ride before lunch. Then we tackle the gradual incline of the Lalung Pass (4990m). From here you will feel like you are as high as the peaks around you, including Shishapangma (8012m). We will set up tents in the valley between two passes.

Day 18: Cycling: Cross Thang Pass to Gyirong (117 km)

Today, we tackle our last up hill, as we cycle up the incredible Thang Pass to 5050m. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the Himalayan chain as you freewheel the most incredible non stop downhill.

From the town of Nyalam you will notice that the scenery starts to turn green again. You will cycle down past countless waterfalls and pine trees line roads, with waterfalls practically crashing over you, to the border town of Gyirong. This will be our last day in Tibet. 

Day 19: Cycling: Gyirong to Dhulikhel (97km)

From Gyirong we have to pass through customs and into Nepal. Once you are in the Nepali town of Kodari the downhill continues for the next 50 km along some very bumpy and rocky roads. Suddenly it is tropical and humid and green again as you cycle alongside rice paddies. After you reach the town of Dolalghat you must climb up to the town Dhulikhel (1600m).

Day 20: Cycling: Dhulikhel - Bhaktapur - Kathmandu (35 km)

Today will take you from Dhulikhel to Kathmandu. You will freewheel down through Bhaktapur where you can stop and see some of the town's famous temples if you wish, before we ride into bustling Kathmandu. In the afternoon you can relax, shop or go sightseeing.

Day 21: Depart from Kathmandu

After a long exciting trip, today it's time to say goodbye to Kathmandu. Transfer to airport for your flight to next destination.

What’s included?

1.Tibet Entry Permit

2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;

3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;

4. Professional English speaking tour guide;

5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.

6.All measl listed in the itinerary;

7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance

What’s not included?

1. International flight to and out of China;

2. Chinese Visa

3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)

4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;

5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish

6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.

Trip Notes:

1. Tibet Travel Permit

Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.

In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.

2. Accommodation

Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.

We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.

3.Guiding and Tipping

Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.

Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.

4. Toilet

Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.

However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.

5. Tibet Weather

One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.

Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.

6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude

For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.

7. Other Dos and Don'ts

Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.

As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.

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