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Nepal Cycling Holiday

offered by supplier M20818 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 16 people
Destination(s): Nepal  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1595 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1695 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Nepal is home to eight of the world's ten highest peaks including Mount Everest on the border with Tibet. With no less than ten natural and cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites Nepal is as historically interesting as it is scenically breathtaking. The Nepal cycling holiday offers a complete experience of this wonderful country's varied landscape and culture. Bicycling from the Kathmandu Valley you will travel over mountain passes and into the tropical plains of the Terai to explore the flora and fauna of Chitwan National Park. You will take an exhilarating flight up to Jomsen over snow-capped peaks, and fly right between the Himalayan giants Annapurana and Dhaulagiri with breathtaking views. From Jomsen we cycle up between the Nilgiri Massifs to one of the holiest temples in Nepal, Muktinath at the foot of the mighty Thorung La Pass (5416m). From here we follow single track downhill crossing a dramatic suspension bridge and riding along the beautiful Kaligandaki River, one of the deepest gorges in the world, past ancient monasteries and traditional villages. cobble paths, through ice fed streams as the landscape soars towards the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Nepal has long exerted a pull on the Western imagination. Join us on this exhilarating and memorable cycling adventure holiday and discover its wonders for yourself.

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu.

On arrival you will be met at Tribhuvan International Airport (located 6 miles from central Kathmandu) and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to acclimatise and explore the bustling capital city of Nepal. Kathmandu is one of the world's oldest cities and has a rich cultural heritage. The old part of the city is criss-crossed with narrow medieval streets with Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site, at its centre. It boasts distinctive pagoda-roofed temples, old monasteries and numerous historic monuments. Other key sites include the Royal Palace, Swayambhunath Stupa (one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal known as Monkey Temple) Boudhanath Stupa (for an insight into Tibetan culture) and Pashupati Temple (one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world). Take some time to wander through the bustling markets and lively backstreets. Souvenirs are plentiful and include Nepali clothing, embroidery and ceramics. This evening we will have group introductions and hear more about the journey ahead from our local team.

Day 2: Kathmandu - Dakshinkali.
We set off through the suburbs experiencing the modern face of Kathmandu, the political and economic centre of Nepal. Beyond the historic temples and monuments, it feels like another developing world city embracing 21st century life. Once we leave Kathmandu we will be riding off road to Dakshinkali. Situated in a valley where two streams meet is the magnificent Kali Temple, the Shrine of Dakshinkali. Here animal sacrifices are made to Kali who symbolises fertility and the powers of female procreation. She is depicted as a six armed goddess trampling over a male figure. Non-Hindus may not enter the area where the image is situated but it is possible to see it from outside.

Day 3: Dashinkali - Palung.

This is a tough but rewarding day, we cycle along dramatic trails passing through pine forest and villages on our way to Markhu, where we stop for lunch beside a beautiful lake. This afternoon we ride the 14km stretch of the Tribhuvan Highway between Nauboise and Daman. This has been described as the most spectacular bike ride in Nepal, if not the world. Until the bypass through Mugling opened about two decades ago this was the only road to India. Today there is little traffic. We cycle along a reasonable quality tarmac road which spirals up and down endless hills and passes, through broad valleys and small villages. We climb in two stages towards Daman. First cycling to a pass at 2,000m. We then descend a few hundred metres before embarking on a final climb of 500 - 600m. Our accommodation is in Palung located 8 km before Daman.

Day 4: Palung - Hetauda.

After breakfast, we cycle to Daman. At 2,400m it has a most spectacular outlook on the Himalaya - an incredible 400km panorama which extends from Annapurna to Everest. There are also great views over the Terai to India. There is a short 5 km ascent to the pass above Daman at 2,500 m. From the summit we look down over the plunging slopes of the Mahabharat Lekh which leads to the Terai, the low plains of Nepal. For the rest of the day we enjoy the ultimate downhill ride through pine and rhododendron forests which eventually give way to semi-tropical vegetation as the air becomes more humid. Small clusters of houses cling to lonely hill tops but as we approach the Terai we pass through more and more villages. Watch out for stray animals and children as you ride through! All the while the road snakes down to the ground, nearly 2,000m below. The town of Hetauda (455m) lies at the bottom of the hill and you will end today's cycling on an unforgettable high.

Day 5: Hetauda - Chitwan National Park.
A much flatter ride today after the adrenalin-pumping downhill of yesterday. We are now in central Terai, a region of hot subtropical plains, and the surrounding vegetation reflects this. Sal (hard wood) and Kal (silk cotton) trees line the roads to the Royal Chitwan National Park, designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. At Tadi, the route diverts onto a dirt track to the outskirts of the park area at Sauraha. Tonight we will stay at a hotel in the park. The park is the largest and most famous wilderness in Nepal, and covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem. It boasts more than 43 species of mammals and is especially renowned for the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and Bengal tigers. It is also home to 450 species of birds and 45 types of amphibians and reptiles. This evening we hear more about the range of activities on offer tomorrow.

Day 6: Chitwan National Park.
Today is a welcome break after the exertion of the previous days of cycling. You may choose to rest and recuperate at the hotel or venture into the Chitwan National Park. The best place to start is the Visitor Centre at Sauraha where you will find plenty of information on wildlife and conservation programmes. The park is a popular destination for eco-tourists and activities (at an extra charge) include:
- Canoeing: A journey down the river Rapti in a traditional 'dug out canoe' and an opportunity to quietly observe the exotic species of birds and animals that come to drink at the water's edge.
- Elephant safari: Get a closer view of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and possibly the elusive Bengal tiger from a safe vantage point.
- Guided jungle walk or drive: Accompanied by an experienced naturalist you can walk or drive deep into the jungle, to prime locations in search of rare animals.
- Bird watching: An early morning walk through the bush and along the Rapti River, with an expert guide to view some of the 450 species of exotic birds including the Giant Hornbill, Lesser Florican and Paradise Flycatcher.
- Observation tower: Climb the 22 foot high wooden tower built in a prime location within the park for a unique perspective on wildlife.
Village tour: Visit a traditional Tharu village deep in the jungle.

Day 7: Chitwan National Park - Bandipur.

We leave the park and begin cycling through the western Terail along the road to Ghumane for the first 40km. Here we cross a bridge over the river travelling a further 8km before an uphill section of the ride begins. We continue to climb for a steep 6km with undulating road for the rest of the day. Today's ride offers a real glimpse into local life in this part of Nepal. We pass through picturesque thatched villages where farming methods have changed little in centuries. Cycling is the ideal way to discover this beautiful area and to meet friendly villagers living a traditional and simple life. We finish cycling for the day at Bandipur, a picturesque Newar (historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley) mountain village with stunning views of the Ananpurna Range and the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Langtang. Retaining much of the charm of 'old Nepal' there are shrines, temples and pagodas to visit. There are also holy caves in the area featuring limestone formations of geographical and religious interest, including what is said to be the largest cave in Asia the Siddha, which is 750m long. The caves attract many pilgrims and adventurers. The historic trail to Bandipur was immortalized in a poem by King Mahendra, who observed how remarkably long and steep it was.

Day 8: Bandipur - Damauli.
Today we set off on the bikes heading downhill enjoying panoramic views of the Annapurna's from the crest of the hill along the way. The last hour to Damauli is on a paved road, the scenery becomes more rugged as we cycle up into the mountains.

Day 9: Damauli - Pokhara.

For most of the day we'll be cycling along the river bank. There is an uphill stretch of 6 or 7 km uphill before we reach Pokhara. We cycle through picturesque scenery, enjoying more views of the Himalayas, passing little or no traffic. Our route passes through tiny villages of mud houses with thatched roofs. We witness scenes from a bygone era - children playing with home-made toys in the streets, elderly villagers sitting on grass mats in the sunshine, farmers ploughing the land by hand Pokhara, located in a magnificent valley of lakes and mountains, is the second largest tourist destination in Nepal. It offers one of the best mountain panoramas in the world with spectacular views of the Himalaya. The most impressive peak is Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain), which stands only 25 km away from Pokhara. Its reflection in the Lake Phewa is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Nepal.

Day 10: Pokhara.
We have a break from our bikes today in order to spend more time discovering Pokhara and its environs. If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its adventure centre. There are opportunities to sample some of the activities on offer in this spectacular setting (for an extra charge). They include: trekking, rafting, kayaking, paragliding, horse riding and jungle safaris. Pokhara is also a place of outstanding natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre rising behind it create an ambience of peace and tranquillity. You may decide to simply relax by the lake enjoying the temperate, sub-tropical climate. Alternatively, you can explore the town: Pokhara bazaar, Devi's Falls, World Peace Pagoda and Seti Gorge. This evening we hear more about the final 3 days of cycling from the local team.

Day 11: Pokhara - Jomsom - Muktinath - Jomsom.
This morning we take a short flight from Pokhara to Jomsom (2,713 m). Jomsom is the headquarters of the Mustang District and a key location along the popular Annapurna Circuit trekking route. We cycle off-road from here through a dramatic, arid landscape towards Muktinath (3,825 m). It is a tough ride over rocky terrain which resembles the Tibetan plateau with some fascinating rock formations en route. Muktinath is as pilgrimage centre for Buddhists and Hindus. The shrines, in a grove of trees, include a Buddhist monastery and the Vishnu temple of Jiwala Mayi. An old temple nearby shelters a spring and natural gas jets which provide Muktinath's famous eternal flame. The earth - water - fire combination accounts for Muktinath's great religious significance. Spectacular views of the Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tukuche peaks and several other 8,000m peaks are visible. We return to Jomsom where we stay tonight.

Day 12: Jomsom - Tatopeni.
We set off from Jomsom alongside the Kali Gandaki river over sandy and rocky tracks. Today's ride is 100% off road over rolling hills. We pass through various villages including Marpha, a picturesque place with white-washed houses and cobbled streets that is well known for its apple production. The next section is easy riding, following a jeep track to Kalopani, a beautiful village set below the Dhaulagiri Himal. From the village there are panoramic views of Dhaulagiri, the Nilgiri peaks and Annapurna I. After about 25 km we reach Kalopani (2,530m) which means 'black water'.
From there the route is downhill at first. We cross a suspension bridge and ride through pine forest to reach Ghasa. The trail then goes steeply down to the Rupse waterfall, one of the biggest along the route. Beyond, the trail is much easier, passing through Dana village and crossing rice paddies to Tatopani (1,190m), a small town on the north bank of Kali Gandaki River. Tatopani means 'hot water' in Nepali and the village took its name from the hot springs nearby. At this point we have ridden 48 km.

Day 13: Tatopeni - Beni - Pokhara.

The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River through the World's deepest gorge to reach Beni. (830m). This is an easy ride through stunning scenery. The remainder of today's route is 100% on-road which will be a relief after the last couple of days of dirt tracks. We leave Beni, headquarters of the Parbat District, and head back into the tranquil countryside. We continue following the Kali Gandaki river in order to reach the Baglung Highway. We cycle along this road to Naudanda, an attractive village perched on a hilltop surrounded by steep rice terraces. From there we ride to the Sarangkot viewpoint (1,592m) which offers the best and most spectacular panoramas in the Pokhara area. We can marvel at the views of Annapurna (8,019m), Manasalu (8,165m), Ganesh Himal (7,446m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m) and Machhapuchhre (6,993m). We now have a final steep downhill ride back to Pokhara with lakeside views en-route. We bid farewell to our bicycles here and transfer by road back to Pokhara.

Day 14: Pokhara - Kathmandu
This morning we fly back to Kathmandu for our final night of the tour when we can celebrate the end of this epic cycle ride.

Day 15: Tour Ends. Transfer to the airport for our flight home!

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- All accommodation will be in hotels
- Guest houses or tea houses (We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room; single rooms are sometimes available at extra cost).
- All food is provided on the tour, except in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara where we only supply breakfast
- All transportation and local guides within Nepal
- Entrance fees to Chitwan National Park are included however other optional sights are not covered on the tour cost.

Price Excludes:
- International flights are not included in the tour costs

Note: Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £200 will be more than enough to cover the 16 day tour. There is a domestic airport departure tax of 170 Nep RP and international airport departure tax of 1695 Nep RP. Visas are £35 (30 days / multiple entry).

About This Supplier
Location: England
Joined InfoHub: Mar 2011

M20818 is a specialist company taking small groups of cyclists to spectacular, remote areas of the world. We offer a unique blend of physical challenges, cultural experiences and cycling camaraderie, at highly competitive prices. M20818 guides are experienced cyclists and tour leaders. Destinations include Laos,...

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