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Nepal Cycling Holiday

Kathmandu to Muktinath

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu

redspokes Kathmandu to Muktinath cycling tour begins in Kathmandu. On arrival you will be met at Tribhuvan International Airport (located 6 miles from central Kathmandu) and transferred to our hotel. For the rest of the day you are free to acclimatise and explore Nepal's bustling capital city.  Kathmandu is one of the world's oldest cities and has a rich cultural heritage. The old city quarter is criss-crossed with narrow medieval streets.  Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site, sits at its centre. The old quarter 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.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Kathmandu - Dakshinkali

Our first day of cycling in Nepal takes us from the bustling streets of Kathmandu through the serene countryside, with picturesque hills and terraced fields lining our route. After our ride we will organise a visit to the Dakshinkali Temple, one of Nepal's major Hindu temples. Dedicated to the goddess Kali, who represents the destructive aspects of cosmic energy, the temple is nestled amidst lush forests and attracts thousands of devotees who seek blessings and offer sacrifices. The temple visit is a perfect way to cap off an exhilarating day of cycling, providing a unique insight into the cultural and religious practices of Nepal.

Cycling Distance: 32.4km (20.6 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 789m (2,588ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D) 

Day 3: Dakshinkali - 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 reasonably good 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.

Cycling Distance: 44km (27 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 1,145m (3,756ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4: Palung - Hetauda

After breakfast, we continue our Nepal tour cycling to Daman. At 2,400m Daman 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 thrilling downhill riding 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 cycle 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.

Cycling Distance: 78km (48 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 1,090m (3,576ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

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 on our route cycling towards the Chitwan National Park,  a World Heritage Site since 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.

Cycling Distance: 72km (45 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 129m (423 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

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 explore 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.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 7: Chitwan National Park - Bandipur

Our first 50 km ride is relatively flat, and we advise caution for the first 15 km due to traffic. However, our van is always available for anyone who would prefer to use it. Later in the day, we face two challenging 500-meter climbs, making it one of the most challenging days on the trip.

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 Annapurna 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.

Cycling Distance: 71km (44.2 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 1,670m (5,479ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8: Bandipur - Damauli

Today's cycle from Bandipur to Damauli is full of adventure and natural wonders. The morning starts with a walk around Bandipur before we set off on our bikes. We enjoy a stunning 10-kilometer descent, taking in the panoramic views of the Annapurnas along the way. Our journey takes us to the awe-inspiring Siddha Gufa cave in Bimal Nagar, where we explore the intricate rock formations. The last hour of our ride to Damauli is on a paved road, but as we cycle up into the mountains, the scenery becomes more rugged and awe-inspiring. 

Cycling Distance: 24km (15 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 248m (813ft)

Accommodation: Guest house (B,L,D)

Day 9: Damauli - Pokhara

Today's cycle ride takes us through breathtaking scenery, with stunning views of the Himalayas, and hardly any traffic on the way to the outskirts of a beautiful city. As we cycle along, we pass through small villages with traditional mud houses and thatched roofs, giving us a glimpse into a bygone era. We see children playing with homemade toys, elderly villagers basking in the sun on grass mats, and farmers tilling the land by hand.

The city we're heading to is situated in a magnificent valley of lakes and mountains, and it's a popular tourist destination. It boasts some of the best mountain panoramas in the world, with Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain) being the most impressive peak, located just 25 km away. The reflection of the peak in Lake Phewa is considered one of the most beautiful sights in the region.

Cycling Distance: 66km (41 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 1,455m (4,773ft)

Accommodation: Guest House (B,L)

Day 10: Pokhara

We have a break from our bikes today in order to spend more time exploring Pokhara and its surroundings. If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal, Pokhara is its adventure centre. There are opportunities to participate in 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 our final 3 days of cycling in Nepal from the local team.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

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.

Cycling Distance: 42km (26 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 1,065m (3,494ft)

Accommodation: Tea House (B,L,D)

Route to Muktinath, returned the same route. 

Day 12: Jomsom - Tatopani

We set off from Jomsom cycling alongside the Kali Gandaki river, riding over sandy and rocky tracks.  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, we cycle 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 cycle 48 km today.

Cycling Distance: 48.1 km (29.9 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 319m (1,047ft)

Cycling Descent: 1,678m (5,505.3ft)
Accommodation: Tea House (B,L,D)

Day 13: Tatopani - Beni - Pokhara

Today's cycling trail follows the Kali Gandaki River as we ride 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 riding on 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 here we ride to the Sarangkot viewpoint (1,592m) which offers the best and most spectacular panoramas in the Pokhara area.

You will 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 as our Nepal cycle itinerary comes to an end. We will transfer by road back to Pokhara.

Cycling Distance: 68 km (42 miles)
Cycling Ascent: 248 m (813 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B,L)

After 42km / 300-metre tunnel

Day 14: Pokhara - Kathmandu

After breakfast the group will be transfered to the airport and fly back to Kathmandu. As the sun sets on your final night of the redspokes tour, the group will gather to celebrate their achievements and reflect on the incredible experiences they shared on this unforgettable journey.

Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 15: Tour Ends

As the Kathmandu to Muktinath cycle tour comes to a close, participants bid farewell to the amazing journey they've had. They'll be transferred to the airport for their return flights, cherishing the memories and experiences gained.



If you need assistance or wish to discuss the tour, please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1463 417707.

Alternatively, you can email us on office@redspokes.co.uk for more information on this adventure holiday.