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Tibet: Lhasa to Kathmandu

Tibet - Cycling in the Tibetan Plateaus

Mount Everest - Lhasa to Kathmandu

Tibet: Lhasa to Kathmandu

Lhasa to Kathmandu Cycling Holiday

Includes Everest Base Camp!

Please Note

Although it is our intention to operate the itinerary as detailed below, it may be necessary to make some changes as a result of climatic conditions, alterations to flight schedules or other operational factors.

Day 1: Kathmandu

respokes Lhasa to Kathmandu cyling tour begins in Kathmandu. On arrival, you will be met from your flight and transferred to the joining hotel. This evening there will be group introductions and a trip briefing, followed by a meal together.

Sleeping Altitude: 1,314 m (4,311 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu

After breakfast we will take a tour of the main sights in Kathmandu: Monkey Temple, Durbar Square and Kumari Bahal. In the afternoon you are free to explore this charming city.

Sleeping Altitude: 1,314 m (4,311 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 3: Kathmandu to Kakani

Our cycling begins with a ride to Kakani. Most of the towns around Kathmandu sit at the bottom of the valley – Kakani at the northern edge is set above a ridge. Just off the road to Trisuli Bazaar there are magnificent views stretching from Annapurna to Everest, via Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Gauri Shankar, Dorje Lekpa and Shishapangma.  Some damage was caused here by the earthquake in 2015 but the village is open for business as usual.

We follow well surfaced road for 6km towards the Shivapur conservation area then continue for around 5km on jeep track, which brings us to a typical local village Sawana Gaon. From here we cycle on with a gentle downhill to Chilaune and then climb for 5km to join main road to Nuwakot. We ride a further 13km on paved road with a gentle climb until the last 3km; a steep uphill stretch to reach Kakani. We will have awe-inspiring views of majestic Annapurna Mountain, Dhaulagiri Mountain, Ganesh Mountain and other mountains. Kakani is famous for its colourful strawberry farm and Japanese rainbow trout.

Cycling Distance: 34 km (21 miles)
Sleeping Altitude: 2,030 m (6,660 ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 4: Kakani to Kathmandu

After breakfast at around 9am we cycle back to Kathmandu, via a different route. The ride begins with a 3km climb to reach the Sivapuri conservation entrance gate. Once our permits are issued we cycle on into jungle. After riding for around 45min we will have beautiful views of the Kathmandu valley.  We continue through a country side of rice fields and a few villages. After 3hrs of cycling we reach Kathmandu. There is time this afternoon to see more of the city and get ready to travel on to Lhasa tomorrow.

Cycling Distance: 33 km (20.5 miles)
Sleeping Altitude: 1,314 m (4,311 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5: Fly to Lhasa

This morning we fly to Lhasa. On arrival you will be met by our local Tibetan guide. You will be presented with a Hada (a white scarf which is a symbol of good luck and happiness in Tibetan culture). We will be transferred to our hotel in Lhasa.  Later this afternoon you have time to explore the local area and acclimatise to this high altitude city: 'the place of the Gods'.

Sleeping Altitude: 3,514 m (11,529 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 6: Sightseeing in Lhasa

A free day with the option to go to the Sera monastery. One of Tibet's 'great three' university monasteries, the Sera was built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty. It was named Sera, meaning rose, because the hill behind it was covered in wild roses in bloom when it was undergoing construction. This afternoon we see Lhasa's principal landmark: The Potala Palace, a structure of immense proportions. First built in 641, since them it has been expanded many times. Nothing can compare to your first sight of this 'wonder of the world'. It was the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas from 1649 to 1959. 

Sleeping Altitude: 3,514 m (11,529 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 7: Sightseeing in Lhasa

In the morning you have the option to visit the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual centre of Tibet. Pilgrims from all over Tibet trek here to worship. To Tibetans the Jokhang is the most important and most sacred temple in Tibet. Along with the Potala Palace it is part of a UNESCO world heritage site and a popular tourist destination in Lhasa. This afternoon we build our bikes in preparation for tomorrow when our epic cycle ride across the back bone of the Himalayas begins. 

Sleeping Altitude: 3,514 m (11,529 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 8: Lhasa to the base of the Khamba La pass

We leave our hotel cycling in convoy out of Lhasa, stopping outside the Potala Palace for a group photograph to mark the start our journey. Once we leave Lhasa behind us, the flat roads allow everyone go at their own pace as we stretch our legs and get warmed up for the climbs to come! The route follows the deep green water of the Kyi Chu (Lhasa River), with hills forming a picturesque backdrop as we head towards Chusul. The road pulls away from the river as we pass the recently constructed bridge and tunnel to Lhasa airport and gain our first views of snow-capped mountains ahead.

We stop for some lunch and then it's on towards Daga where we cross onto the south bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River; the highest major river in the world, with an average elevation of about 4000 meters. The route continues on the south bank some 10 km to our camp at the base of the Khamba La pass. We have a short walk to the river to freshen up before dinner is served by our Nepalese cooks.

Cycle Distance: 84 km (52 miles)
Total Ascent: 153 m (502 ft)
Total Descent: 202 m (662 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 3,608 m (11,837 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 9: Base of the Khamba La Pass to Nakartse

Today marks the first of our major climbs as we ride 23 km to the Khamba La pass at 4,807m. The smooth surfaced road eases our path but it will still be a tough day's cycling as our bodies continue to adapt to the high altitudes. You will be rewarded for your exertions on this morning's challenging climb by the sight of the stunning, turquoise waters of the Yamdrok Tso (lake), this is a sacred lake to Buddhists. You will also be treated to views of the snow-capped Nazin Kang Sa (7,252m) in the distance. We now make a fast descent (500 m) to the lake below and onto the Tibetan plateau. We will stop for lunch after about 5km. This afternoon we complete the last 38 km into camp along flat but tough terrain.

Cycle Distance: 61 km (38 miles)
Total Ascent: 1,276 m (4,186 ft)
Total Descent: 419 m (1,374 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,461 m (14,635 ft)

Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 10: Nakartse to Lungmar

As we leave our camp today cycling on tarmac road we head west. Our first 20km are on fairly flat road, we then climb for the next 25km to cross the Karo La (5032m). This is the first of our passes above 5000m, and a challenging but enjoyable ride to the top of the pass, from where you will see an imposing glacier. Karo La is where Francis Young husband fought a battle with Tibetans in 1903 to reach Lhasa. For our final 17km of the day we'll be riding downhill into Lungmar. 

Cycle Distance: 62 km (38 miles)
Total Ascent: 781 m (2,562 ft)
Total Descent: 708 m (2,322 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,456 m (14,620 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 11: Lungmar to Gyantse

Today begins with a gentle climb of 15km to the top of the Simi La followed by an easy ride of 35km, mostly downhill to Gyantse as we are desending to lower levels we'll see a bit of greenery aroudn us.  We will pass settelments every few km along the way, some just a few houses others upto to around 20. Our stop for lunch today is in a traditional Tibetan home. Gyantse is home to some magnificent military and religious sights dating back to the 15th C. The most famous of its monasteries is the Kumbum, a gold-topped pyramid barely touched by the passage of time and one of the most spectacular buildings in Tibet. You will be free this afternoon to enjoy looking around Gyantse.

Cycle Distance: 55 km (34 miles)
Total Ascent: 370 m (1,214 ft)
Total Descent: 801 m (2,627 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,025 m (13,205 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B & L)

Day 12: Gyantse to Shigatse

today we will enjoy a comfortable ride on a nice tarmac road to Shigatse we will encounter more vehicles along this stretch of our journey. Around us we'll see traditional agricultural scenes as locals labour in the fields. We follow the Nyang Chu River, turning one corner after another along a series of bends in the road. We'll be cycling mainly downhill during all of today's ride.

Cycle Distance: 97 km (60 miles)
Total Ascent: 208 m (682 ft)
Total Descent: 395 m (1,296 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 3,838 m (12,591 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B & L)

Day 13: Rest Day in Shigatse

Today is a rest day, with the option of a tour of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery led by our Tibetan guide. The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual leader of Tibet and was founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447. It is one of the four great monasteries of Central Tibet and was supervised and looked after by the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas of the Gelugpa, or Yellow Hat tradition.

Maximum Altitude: 3,838 m (12,591 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel (B)

Day 14: Shigatse to the Base of the Tso La pass

We leave Shigatse in convoy, climbing steadily up 125m in the first 8km at the start of a long day's cycling. After some 35 km we cross the barely discernible Tso La pass (4050m). The undulating terrain takes us through a landscape of fields where children will shout "Hello!" and run to greet you if you stop to take a break. The surrounding mountains close in on us as we enter into a river valley before reaching our camp a short distance before the Tso La pass. 

Cycle Distance: 96 km (59 miles)
Total Ascent: 705 m (2,312ft)
Total Descent: 376 m (1,233 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,166 m (13,667 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 15: Base of the Tso La pass to Base of Gyatso La

This morning we begin with a fairly flat 10km to the bass of today's pass. A steady 8km climb takes us to the peak of Tso La (4,580m). This is followed by a fast downhill descent of 425m over 29 km, and a flat stretch into Lhatse. Lhatse is reminiscent of a Wild West frontier town; children here are both friendly and inquisitive and not afraid to interact with us strangely dressed cyclists! We head out of Lhatse and into the Chusar Chu valley, where we camp at a very picturesque spot along the riverside.

Cycle Distance: 64 km (40 miles)
Total Ascent: 526 m (1,725 ft)
Total Descent: 604 m (1,981 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,088 m (13,412 ft)

Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 16: Base of Gyatso La to Shegar

The day starts with a 24km climb on sealed roads to the highest pass - the Gyatso La (5,253m). You will be rewarded with stunning views of the snow-capped mountains either side of the pass and the offer of a cup of Yak tea from the solitary tent alongside the fluttering prayer flags. We drop down 10km, out of the wind, to our lunch stop. The gradual descent takes through small villages and past Stupas down to the Lolo River. You may well be greeted by excited children from a roadside school at the foot of the descent, before we end our day in Shegar. 

Cycle Distance: 68 km (42 miles)
Total Ascent: 1,212 m (3,976 ft)
Total Descent: 892 m (2,926 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,408 m (14,461 ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 17: Shregar to Tashi Dzong

We begin today riding to a checkpoint and to the turn-off for the highlight of the tour: Everest! The early morning sun softens the rugged appearance of the landscape bathing the snow-dusted mountains around us in light. The terrain changes abruptly as we leave the main road towards Everest and the switchback-climb to the top of the Pang La (5205m) is slow going. ahead of us we will be able to see all 48 of the loops on the ride ahead! On a clear day you will enjoy stunning views of the Himalayas at the top of the pass, with Everest directly in front of you. Another fast descent of endless hairpin bends takes us through settlements where  we may see local people grouped together in the fields drinking Yak tea and making bricks. We drop further onto an almost desert-like valley floor surrounded by rugged mountains cycling on to our campsite for the night.

Cycle Distance: 69 km (43 miles)
Total Ascent: 1,109 m (3,638 ft)
Total Descent: 1,364 m (4,475 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,153 m (13,625 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 18: Tashi Dzong to Rongbuk to Everest

We climb gradually through villages where children rush to greet us, eager for any photo opportunity. They may even be keen to take a test-ride on your bike! Jagged snow-capped peaks confront us as we start our climb to Rongbuk. Your anticipation will increase at the turn of every corner as prospect of seeing Everest draws ever closer. Just beyond the monastery at Rongbuk, the awe-inspiring backdrop of Everest is a just reward for the challenges of the last few days.  We have a steady 8km ride taking us to the base of the North Face, a truly spiritual experience - simply unforgettable! We return to our campsite just before Rongbuk. 

Cycle Distance: 63 km (39 miles)
Total Ascent: 925 m (3,034 ft)
Total Descent: 567 m (1,860 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,511 m (14,800 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 19: Rongbuk to Tingri

This morning we cycle back down the valley, retracing our tracks from the previous day. For the more technically minded riders there are some excellent sections of stone single track, with Everest in the background!  We continue with a superb but challenging off-road ride on mountain tracks, interspersed with some very rocky rough sections that will prove to be tough even to our hardy support vehicles.  We cross the Lama La Pass, at 5101m before descending on a mixture of rough sections of road, mixed with free-flowing dirt tracks and stream crossings on into the barren plains ahead of Tingri. Here, after 44km of rough riding,  we re-join the Friendship Highway cycling to our camp just outside the town. 

Cycle Distance: 65 km (40 miles)
Total Ascent: 711 m (2,332 ft)
Total Descent: 948 m (3,110 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,348 m (14,265 ft)
Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 20: Tingri to Nianduocun

Today's cycling is on undulating, fairly flat road, although headwinds may hamper an otherwise comfortable day! If the weather is clear we will have views of 3 great mountain peaks: Shishapagma ahead, Everest behind and Cho Oyu (the turqoise goddess). The ride will take us through a landscape of monasteries, fortresses and clear mountain rivers. 

Cycle Distance: 68 km (42 miles)
Total Ascent: 412 m (1,351 ft)
Total Descent: 146 m (479 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,613 m (15,134 ft)

Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 21: Nianduocun to Paiku Tso Lake

We continue on the highway for the first 8km then turn off heading west, we begin cycling through a wide valley and we're on undulating terrain for the rest of the day riding with a gentle climg and one or two descents for the next 37km, then its a downhill ride that brings us all the way to our camp at the beautiful Paiku Tso Lake.  Paiku Tso Lake is surrounded by towering mountains on three sides, numerous small streams drain into the lake. There are wild birds and horses in the surrounding area. This area is one of Tibet’s magical spots with stunning views of the snow-capped Shiishapangma (8,012m) the only 8,000m peak situated wholly within Tibet and the Langtang range bordering Nepal to the south.

Cycle Distance: 68 km (42 miles)
Total Ascent: 278 m (912 ft)
Total Descent: 296 m (971 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,595 m (15,075 ft)

Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D) 

Day 22: Paiku Tso Lake to Gyirong

Heading away from the lake, today is the biggest challenge of the tour so far! We cycle 2 more high passes. The first at 5,000m is a long climb,  the second at 5,253m is a long series of switchbacks and we see the whole climb ahead of us as we are cycling. We reach the second pass after cycling 40km The rest of the ride is downhill over 29km with some rougher stretches to reach Gyirong. This region of Tibet is known as the back garden of the Himalayas.

Cycle Distance: 71 km (44 miles)
Total Ascent: 814 m (2,670 ft)
Total Descent: 1,250 m (5,216 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 4,065 m (13,336 ft)

Accommodation: Camping (B,L,D)

Day 23: Gyirong to Rasuwa Ghadhi 

Today's route begins with 42km on undulating road; we then drop over 200m for the next 50km as we follow the fast flowing Girong Zangbo River, to reach Mangmu. We ride through rocky canyon with mountains in the background.  We continue on for 8km to the border to cross the Friendship Bridge bidding Tibet farewell. The border point between the two countries sits in a valley of approximately 300m.  On the Nepalese side is the Rasuwa Fort, the site of a three-day battle during the second campaign of Sino-Nepalese War in 1792. The fort was constructed on the site in 1855 when Nepal invaded Qing-ruled Tibet in the Nepalese-Tibetan War. We stay tonight at Rasuwa Ghadhi.

Cycle Distance: 97 km (60 miles)
Total Ascent: 315 m (1,033 ft)
Total Descent: 2,445 m (10,718 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 1,774 m (5,820 ft)

Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 24: Rasuwa Ghadhi to Kalikasthan

From Rasuwa Garhi we cycle the Pasang Lhamu Highway alongside the along the Trishuli River beginning on narrow road bordering the Langtang National Park. We enjoy a scenery of waterfalls, river, gorges and forest; small houses cling to the steep mountain sides. We begin our ride with a pleasant 14km gentle descent to the foot of Syapru Besi village a popular start point for people trekking in the Langtang valley.  From here we climb on winding road to Dhunche village 2/3 of the way up where we stop for lunch. Look out for views through the clouds of Langtang Lirung peak (7,246m). 

Cycle Distance: 56 km (35 miles) 
Total Ascent: 1,215 m (3,986 ft)
Total Descent: 1,592 m (5,223 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 1,418 m (4,652 ft)
Accommodation: Guest House (B,L,D) 

Day 25: Kalikastahn to Kathmandu

Today begins with a steep descent of just under 1,000m over a distance of 15km. We continue to follow the Trishuli River downhill for a further 17 km before challenging a final monster climb of over 1,000m 34km, then its downhill for the final 22km into Kathmandu. Tonight, we will gather together to celebrate the end of our epic journey. In the evening we get together for that all important and well-deserved celebratory meal!

Cycle Distance: 76 km (47 miles)

Total Ascent: 1,573 m (5,160 ft)
Total Descent: 1,612 m (5,288 ft)
Sleeping Altitude: 1,395 m (4,576 ft)

Accommodation: Hotel (B & L)

Day 26: Kathmandu - Home

redspokes Lhasa to Kathmandu cycling tour officially ends this morning. Hotel check out time is midday. We will arrange a free transfer from the hotel to the airport for your international flight home. 

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.