Upper Mustang Summit Area Biking Tour, Nepal
Upper Mustang is more than just a challenging mountain bike journey; it’s a path of discovery, of culture, of breathtaking scenery, friendly heart-warming people and so much more. Yes we know the permit fee is a lot, but for US$500 you will get 5 million times worth of amazement, pleasure and experience from this trip. Venture into a land where Nomads herd yaks in the high pastures, ponies carry your luggage, rosy cheeked locals toil the arid soil to earn a living, where Tibetan culture is almost untouched by civilization and add to this some of the BEST and most Challenging mountain biking terrain in the world and you have a simply unforgettable journey. For Drift Nepal Expedition, this is our favorite ride in Nepal. Put simply this trip showcases the very best Mountain Biking that the Himalaya has to offer!
ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU
Touch down in the Himalayan Capital. We will collect you from the airport and you will get your first dose of the hectic streets of Kathmandu as we drive to the Hotel. Take some time to check the bikes, chill out and recover from your flight.
KATHMANDU SIGHTSEEING & WARM UP RIDE
It takes us a day to process your permits, so while we are working at that, there is time for you to make a lazy start to the day and a stroll down to Kathmandu Durbar Square. If you are up to it we can go for an afternoon ride exploring some of the single tracks and trails in the North of the Kathmandu Valley.
DRIVE TO POKHARA
Depart early from the Hotel in Kathmandu. Leave behind the valley and drive down along the Trisuli River and through the tropical lowlands to Pokhara. In Pokhara take the afternoon to rest and explore the tranquil lake side, or perhaps an afternoon ride around the edge of the lake.
POKHARA FLY TO JOMSOM & BIKE TO JHONG (3550 meters)
Wake up for sunrise and hopefully catch a glimpse of the mountains before we head to the airport. It’s about a 22 min flight to Jomsom, above the Pokhara Valley and deep into the heart of the Himalaya, take a peek out of the window for fantastic views of Dhaulagiri and beyond. The flight is simply breathtaking as the plane’s wingtips almost touch the snow capped peaks, fly right between the Himalayan giants and you feel your adventure has really begun as the small plane banks left and touches down in Jomsom. In Jomsom, we have breakfast and spend some time getting the bikes ready for the journey and meet our ponies who will carry the luggage. From Jomsom we cycle along the Upper section of the Kaligandaki River to Kagbeni. It’s a mostly flat and steady ride of about 1-2 hours. Kagbeni is a delightful Buddhist village. From here we then climb up on a deserted Jeep trail towards Jhong.
JHONG TO SAMAR (3660 meters)
Today we enter the restricted region of Upper Mustang. It’s an uphill stretch from Muktinath through Chhyonggur and up to the Gyu La Pass at 4077 meters and is 80% rideable. Here there are panoramic views of the snow capped mountains. After a short section of steep downhill we follow an undulating ridge trail down to Tetang at 3040 meters, more than a 1000 meter descent on superb single track. Pass an ancient Mani Wall and cycle on down to Chhusang. From here there is a slight climb and river crossing to reach Chele on the opposite river bank where the river passes through a rock tunnel and then a steady climb up to Samar.
SAMAR TO GHAMI (3520 meters)
A hard day of riding, leaving behind the river bed we climb into the hills. Four passes lay between us and Ghami, so yeah there will be a few ups and downs today as we cross Nyila La at 4010 meters, Dajori La 3735 meters, Bhena La 3860 meters and finally Yamda La at 3860 meters. Nyila is one of the most scenic passes on the trip with stunning views of the entire Mustang Region and the Annapurna and Niligiri Mountain Ranges. After the pass we head down a secret trails, known only to our guides that takes us the Gami where we will stop for the night. Gami is one of the most beautiful villages, situated on the river side with fertile land ripe for growing Phapar (A local Wheat). Nearby the village is an old Monastery that you can visit as well as the local hospital which is supported with aid from Japan.
A great and day of riding, with just one big climb up to Chinggel Tharsang Choyla Pass. From the pass at 3870 meters there is some really nice single track down hill riding along a little known trail used by local people and their livestock. . The ride is a welcome change from the days of climbing and crossing passes. The scenery opens up and there are fields of mustard and barley in the right season which makes for lush pockets of greenery and grazing Yaks. It is also one of the most scenic days with the ever changing colors of the landscape from yellow and browns to reds, grays and blues as the sun moves across the Himalayan sky. Charang is a nice village with a really beautiful 400 year old Gulpa Sect Monastery filled with friendly Monks who like to play football. The Monastery is also home to the oldest library in the region of Lo. Charang is a great village to hang out in and snap some photos.
From Charang we have to cross Lo La Pass at 3810 meters, just before Lo- Manthang. This pass is also known as “Windy Pass” and from here you can view the walled city of Lo-Manthang, your first tantalizing view of this kingdom lost in time and your penultimate destination. In June and July, the time when the crops are almost ready to harvest makes for the most dramatic scenery. The barren brown landscape is scattered with fields of vibrant green and gold rolling with the wind under the vivid blue sky of the Himalaya, a truly memorable scene. The ride is easy if a bit of a long climb, about 25 km total riding distance. You will enjoy the open jeep track trail and should arrive in Lo-Manthang by lunch time. Lo-Manthang is perhaps one of the most interesting places in the Himalaya and a couple of days spent here sightseeing is well worth it. Visit the Royal Palace where you have the privilege of having tea or perhaps dinner with the King of Lo himself, what an experience! In the afternoon there are three interesting Monasteries to visit, one of them is over 900 years old and displays some of the most beautiful Thangka paintings found in Nepal. The intricate details and vivid colors of these paintings is a stark contrast to the wide open spaces of the region.
LO-MANTHANG – DHIGOAN DAY TRIP
Today we explore the Lo region. An easy climb takes us away from the walled city and up to a nice view point west of Windy Pass, from here we discover one of the best downhill trails in the region. A local live stock trail switch backs down with a 800 descent to the river. Skilled riders will love this natural single track decent down into the gorge. The views on the way down are nothing short of spectacular. We ride all the way down to the village of Dhigoan where we take lunch. A short ride takes back to the jeep trail where a jeep with transport us back to Lo-Manthang.
LO-MANTHANG – DAY TRIP TO GHOM
Today we ride up to Garphu. Follow the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki River, crossing over several of its tributaries. Here you will find Ghom, a cave tunneling into the mountainside which is the historical site of a Monastery and the cave of one thousand windows. The beautiful scenery and isolated Tibetan culture make this day trip a worthy experience. The way back from Ghom is beautiful single track through traditional villages. This truly is a place to lose yourself in history, rustic architecture and mind blowing landscapes, one could easily roll back in time 100 years or more here.
Leaving behind Lo-Manthang, cycle over the 4090 meter Pangla Pass, it’s a challenging climb about 75% rideable on single track, but you get great views from the top of the Mustang Region. From the pass the road leads steadily down to Dhakma. The downhill is amazing. Around Dhakma you can see some of the most dramatic scenery on offer, where the landscape changes from red to blue and is especially breathtaking around sunset and sunrise. Around Gami there are some interesting village ruins to explore as well as the longest Mani Wall in Mustang which is found near the Japanese Hospital. Following the river to Ghar Ghumpa at 3950 meters. From the Ghumpa, climb to Mui La (Pass) at 4170 meters, you have to carry for some distance and then it’s a great rideable downhill to Dhakmar before riding on to Gami.
This route retraces the same trail as we passed on the way up. There is quite a bit of climbing involved today as we climb over Nyla Pass 4010 meters followed by a downhill to Syangboche where we will have lunch. After lunch head to Ranchung Cave along some pretty stunning single track in the gorge. In the caves lives one old monk who acts as the curator of the holy places. One and a half hours of push and carry follows before a sweet single track downhill takes us to Samar.
Leaving Samar, we have two small passes, Dajori La (3735M) and Taklam La (3624M). Along the way the route passes the scared place where the ancient art of Sky Burial is carried out. Here you may see the rare Himalayan Vultures soaring in the sky. Continue cycling on down to Kagbeni where we can enjoy a nice Illy Coffee, get our permits checked for the last time and cycle on to Jomsom.
Today is the longest ride of the journey, around 74km. The ride starts off flat along the river bed to Jomsom and then undulates to Marpha the best place in the Himalaya to get fresh apples and sample the renowned locally produced Apple Brandy. Here the trail drops down along the roaring river all the way to Tatopani. We pass the impressive Rupse Chhara on the way (waterfall), a nice place to stop for lunch. Tatopani is our resting place for the night, enjoy the therapeutic hot springs and a very cold beer, you deserve it!
An easy days ride, 18 km of mostly downhill jeep trail takes us to the main road and a town called Beni, where we will transfer for the three hour drive back to Pokhara by Jeep. There is the option to ride the last section downhill to Lake Side from nearby the hill station of Sarangkot. A fitting end to a brilliant ride!
Take a mid-morning flight from Pokhara along the Himalaya and back to Kathmandu. Your bikes will be transported back on the bus. In the evening we will clean and box your bikes for you while you take care of any last minute shopping.
We will transfer you to the Airport for your departure home.
PRICE INCLUDES – ACCOMMODATION
- 3 Nights in Kathmandu (3 Star)
- 2 Nights in Pokhara (3 Star)
- 11 Nights in Teahouses while biking
- Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit
- ACCAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit)
- TIMS (Trekking Information Management System)
- Kathmandu Sightseeing Entry Fees, Tatopani Hot Springs
- Pokhara to Jomsom
- Pokhara to Kathmandu
- All airport taxes and Service Charges
- Excess Luggage Charges up to 7kg Over weight
- Breakfast (16)
- Traditional welcome dinner and traditional dance
- Tea and Coffee during the biking trip
- Drinking water on the biking trip (Purified using SteriPen)
- Airport Transfers (All)
- Private Vehicle Kathmandu to Pokhara
- Private Vehicle Beni to Pokhara
- 15 Days Qualified Mountain Bike Guide (MBLA Certificate and Wilderness First Aid)
- 11 Days Porter, Pony and Pony Handler
- Support Guide for group over five people
- All Guide and Porter expenses and insurance
- Full use of Workshop for assembling, washing and packing bikes
- Travel tool box carried by guides on tour