The best way to explore the Kathmandu Valley is on a mountain bike. Nepal's diverse terrain makes a mountain bikers dream adventure come true. Mountain biking offers an environmentally sound way of exploring this magnificent country, its landscape and living heritage. There are plenty of roads and trails in Nepal to meet every mountain biker's wildest fantasy. Mountain biking is specially recommended if you wish to explore the countryside. Adventurous souls may plan extended trips to such exotic locales as Namche Bazaar, and western Nepal. You can even do the entire length of Nepal across the plains. Mountain bikes are available for rent by the day or longer in many of the bicycle rental outlets in and around the city.
DAY 01: ARRIVE KATHMANDU
Arrive and transfer to hotel. In the evening there will be a briefing over dinner regarding the trip. O/N Guest house.
DAY 02: KATHMANDU TO GODAVARI.
After an early morning breakfast in Kathmandu we drive up to Gujeshwori (backside of the Pashupatinath temple) to avoid the crazy traffic. We then unload the bikes and ride towards the medieval town of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is an ancient city, full of Newari culture. There are many temples and squares here that we will have time to explore. After a heartfelt lunch in the square we continue riding towards Surya Binayak and then to Lubhu, known for its handmade cloth. Leaving Lubhu behind we head toward West on a jeep track passing paddy fields along the foot hill of the highest hill Phulchowki in the Valley on our way to Vajra Varahi home of the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ancient woodland surrounds the temple, protected by the local belief that to cut even one tree would greatly anger the deity. We shall stop in this forest for some refreshments on a small clearing ideal for a rest and to enjoy the tranquil sanctuary of the ancient forest. The villagers still appease the wrathful Vishnu by weekly sacrifices of chicken, goat, and buffaloes. We spend the night at the Godawari and if we still have enough energy, we can always visit the Botanical Garden of Godawari. Overnight in Hotel.
Distance: 45km (25km off-road)
DAY 03: GODAVARI TO DAKCHHINKALI.
We drive all the way to Bungamati, to avoid the heavy traffic, and after unloading and getting the bikes together, we start riding the valley floor south of the city now; stopping in Bungamati (summer home of Rato Machhendranath) a fantastic view of the Kathmandu valley is visible from here, so we rest for lunch here. We then carry on riding alongside the chobhar gorge, and unto the paved road that leads all the way to Dakshin Kali. The main attraction of this place is the temple dedicated to goddess Kali, Shiva"s consort in her most bloodthirsty incarnation. After seeing the condition of the riders we then walk to the temple the same evening or the next morning ON hotel.
Distance: 37km (20km Off road)
DAY 04: DAKCHINKALI TO DAMAN.
We spend the morning sampling some exciting trails that lead up and across the valley rim to the south and on to the Kulekhani dam (completed in 1982 Nepal's first major hydroelectric project). In between the trails we ride through pine forests and many beautiful small villages (Hudu, Hunanae Bhanjyang, Fakhel and Kalanki) before reaching Markhu. A picturesque lake provides the perfect background for a lunch stop. We then carry on riding towards Daman on the Tribhuvan highway through Taukhel, Bajra Barahai and Thana bazaar). Anyone fancying an introduction to Himalayan hill climbing (14km) can spin all the way up. The hotel enjoys a spectacular mountainside location, arguably offering the most spectacular outlook on the Himalaya in all Nepal. On a clear day one can see all the way from Everest in the east to Dhaulagiri in the west. Daman also happens to be the highest point in the valley. Overnight in hotel.
Distance: 65km (45km off road)
DAY 05: DAMAN TO HETAUDA.
After breakfast in the hotel we set off for the hike down to visit the nearby monastery before returning to the hotel for lunch. With our appetites satisfied we saddle up for the exciting ride down to Hetauda in the Terai, the lowland area of Nepal. The road sweeps us down towards the plains of Northern India offering 1,500m of downhill over 52 km, we need to be a little cautious and careful on the way because the roads have very sharp turns and lots of bends. As far as the views are concerned you would'nt be disappointed. We start off through Rhododendrons (national flower) pine forests and orchids can also be seen depending on the time of the year, as we descent further down riding pass (Sim Bhanjyang, Agor, Chaukhel, Bhaisidoban) to the lowlands a lot of crop farming takes place around this area. We continue riding towards Hetauda through the Mahendra highway. The area is well known for its factories and concrete bazaars. The surrounding area is dominated by Sal forests. Overnight in hotel.
Distance: 52km (100% paved road)
DAY 06: HETAUDA TO SAURAHA.
We start off once again following the Mahendra Highway, through (Gajiya, Monohari) we arrive at the Lothar bridge (33 km). We then start riding off-road towards Sauraha. With the forests on our right and the Rapti river on to the left we follow a narrow jeep track into Sauraha. The terai offers a completely different though equally fascinating side to Nepal - consisting of an almost flat plain wedged between the Himalayas and the Indian plains. Riding on ancient bullock-cart tracks we pass through neat mud-walled villages, vivid green paddy fields and mixed sub-tropical forests criss-crossed by numerous rivers. We ride all the way hopefully arriving in time for sunset at the hotel. The hotel lies peacefully surrounded by jungles fields and rivers away from the town, the hotel is s spectacularly situated on the banks of the Rapti River. Sauraha also happens to be one of those unstoppably successful destinations at which Nepal seems to excel. Overnight in hotel.
Distance: 66km (36km off road)
DAY 07: CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
Waking up at the hotel is a fantastic experience and today is a free day to enjoy a full range of jungle activities in one of Asia's premier wildlife parks - Chitwan National Park. There are a number of activities to choose from (all included in the trip cost) ranging from dug-out canoe safaris to elephant safaris in search of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and the elusive Royal Bengal tiger, as well as over fifty species of mammals and more than four hundred species of birds. Sadly or perhaps wisely, mountain biking is not allowed in the park! Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 08: SAURAHA TO LUMBINI.
After breakfast we start riding towards Tikauli, entering the Twenty thousand lakes (Beeshajar Tal) and Remsen site. This forest area has about 131 species of plants and many endangered species, such as the royal Bengal tiger, great Indian Rhinoceros, mash mugger crocodile and many other animals. The main attraction of the area is the lakes. (8km forest area) We ride through the forest going through (Devnagar, Halchok) once we leave the forest behind, the scenery changes completely, riding on small jeep tracks we have vast area of farmlands that stretches as far as it's visible, we then join the Mahendra highway and ride up to Narayanghat (32km) and stop for refreshments. The scenery on both the sides are captivating as we ride further upto Kawasuti bazaar (30.50km's). We then ride to a quiet spot off the highway and have lunch.After lunch we load our bikes and drive to Lumbini via Rajahar, Kawasuti, Domkibas, Butwal, Bhairawa, Parsa. Lumbini-home to the Sacred Garden where the Buddha was born in 623BC. In the garden are a number of temples and sites, the Ashoka pillar carries an inscription identifying the spot as Buddha's birthplace. Maya Devi Temple (Buddhas mother) contains brick work dating back to 300 BC. Besides these places there's so much more the garden has to offer. Overnight in Hotel (152km drive).
Biking distance: 62km
Total distance: 192km (180km paved road)
DAY 09: LUMBINI TO TANSEN.
By bike we retrace our steps from Lumbini to Bhairahawa, through Ekala, Bharbaliya, Mangalpur, Landihema. Riding through typical Indian community villages, with hay stacks and buffalo ponds in-between the wide spread fields, we ride through narrow village passages before meeting the Mahendra Highway. We continue riding before stopping for lunch at Butwal (45km), one of the Terai’s most important crossroads (1km of heavy traffic). After a hearty lunch we ride along the bumpy Siddhartha Highway for 10-15km (uphill). And then drive to Tansen. Our overnight stop is in the town of Tansen (1440m), which enjoys spectacular views over the Himalaya. Tansen is a romantic medieval hill town, perched high above the Kali Gandaki river. Tansen - once the seat of a powerful kingdom, the hill town of Tansen (Palpa) now seems little more than a bazaar town stranded in the hills. Mul Dhoka (main gate), tall enough for elephants and their riders to pass through, and reputedly the biggest of its kind in Nepal. Besides these places there are many places of interest in Tansen. Overnight in Hotel.
Biking distance: 60km
Total distance: 86km (70km paved road)
DAY 10: TANSEN TO POKHARA.
In the morning you may wish to make the two-hour trek to the banks of the Kali Gandaki River and the ruins of the vast Ranighat Palace, originally built in 1896. We then start descending through narrow,winding streets of the old Tansen village, before meeting the Siddartha highway. We descent on wide paved road that's got lot of winding and sharp turns all the way down to Ramdi, then start a mild uphill towards Galyang. We stop at Galyang (48km) for lunch then continue up to Waling (65km) and then load our bikes and head towards Pokhara. Along the way, weather permitting, there should be spectacular views of the 6,997m peak of Machhapuchhare, the `fishtail' mountain, and the main Annapurna mountain range rising up to 8,091m. The area around here is also very popular for honey hunting. After the exertions of the recent cycling, the prospect of spending a day relaxing in Pokhara is very appealing. On reaching Pokhara we check into the hotel where we will be staying for the next three nights. Overnight in Hotel.
Biking distance: 65km.
Total distance: 125km (100% paved road)
DAY 11: POKHARA.
Pokhara is set in a wide valley directly beneath the Annapurna range. If Kathmandu and its valley are the architectural treasure of Nepal, then Pokhara is nature's equivalent. Set at only 860m amongst semi-tropical plants and with a delightfully warm climate, it is actually much closer to the main Himalayan peaks than Kathmandu. Machhapuchhare dominates the skyline especially in the clear morning air. Pokhara is a great place to relax and today you are free to enjoy the atmosphere - there is a wide choice of shops, restaurants and cafés along the lakeside to explore. For those feeling like some more energetic activities, boats can be hired on the lake or you can trek up to Sarangkot (4 to 6 hours round trip). Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 12: POKHARA.
From hotel, we bike towards highway to Tansen and Butwal. We cross right to the off-road climbing approx. 3km on Jeep track after 12km from the main road and begin nice single trail with technical down through Biswa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) to the dam side. Overnight in Hotel.
Altitude gain: 375m
DAY 13: POKHARA TO KATHMANDU.
Today we take one of the most stunning flights in the world: 30 - minutes in a 19 seater Twin Otter or a 45 seater Avro across the huge mountains. The views will live with you for a long time. The flight departs in the early morning mountain, and the bikes return by road, saving us a painful six hour bus journey! Back in Kathmandu you have the afternoon free to explore the shops and sights of this fascinating city. Points of particular interest include Durbar Square, location of the former Royal Palace with its intricate woodcarving and four fine towers; Pashupatinath, Nepal's most important Shiva temple; and Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal. The evening is free to explore the city's many restaurants. Overnight in Guest House.
DAY 14: DEPARTURE
END OF THE TRIP