NOMADIC
ADVENTURES

LHASA KATHMANDU TIBET MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR

Experience amazing highs across the ‘roof of the world’ as you traverse the road  between Lhasa (Tibet) and Kathmandu (Nepal).

Tibet Overland from Lhasa and Kathmandu

This mountain bike tour offers one of the world's longest and steepest descents - a non-stop downhill that begins on the Tibetan Plateau and winds 1500 kms down to the fertile rice fields of Nepal (an unbelievable 4600m descent!). This epic mountain bike challenge is also a life-changing introduction to Tibet. Tours are available from April to October and are fully supported.

We will ride more than 1,100 km through Tibet on crushed stone roads tar and over spectacular mountain passes. The high point of the journey comes when we arrive at the monastery of Rongbuk and see Mount Everest Base Camp (5200m). 

This is the only trip in the world where you can visit Everest Base Camp with a bicycle!   This mountain bike experience will also bring you into contact with three religions (Buddhism, Lamaism and Hinduism) and act as an introduction to the mysticism of Tibetan culture, the friendliness of the people and the daily culture in villagers' lives. 

Distances travelled per day will vary, between 40 and 100km. It is important to remember that this route is over mountain passes at high altitude. As such, cyclists must be fit and have undergone training.  You'll need to be fit: this is a challenging biking trip with 5—7 hours of riding per day at high altitude.

everest base camp cho la trek profile
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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • 22 day tour, 14 days cycling 
  • Start point is from Kathmandu to Lhasa 
  • Altitude of 5000m 
  • Very remote sections with steep mountain passes 
  • Extended and strenuous cycling 
  • Possibility of snow en-route 
  • Dramatically contrasting scenery 
travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 

https://www.nomadicadventures.co.za/Travel-Insurance.html

Tibet Mountain Bike across the Plateau Overview

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu 
Day-2: Full day Guided sightseeing around Kathmandu valley. 
Day-3: Half day cycle 
Day-4: Half day cycle
Day 5: Kathmandu to Lhasa (3660m) 
Day-6: Lhasa 
Day-7: Lhasa  
 Day-8: Start the Lhasa Kathmandu Bike Trip! 
Day-9: Kamba Pass
Day-10: Karo Pass 
Day-11: Karo Pass to Gyantse 
Day-12: Shigatse 
Day-13: Gyachung Monastery 
Day-14: Lhatse 
Day-15: Shegar 
Day-16: Pang Pass 
Day-17-18: Rongbuk Monastery Everest Base Camp 
Day-19: Tingri 
Day 20 Cycling to before Peokutso Lake (BLD) 
Day 21: Cycling to upper Kerong (Gyirong ) (BLD) 
Day 22: Cycling to Kerong border (BLD) (BLD) 
Day 23: Morning cycling till Syburbesi DRIVE to Kathmandu (140 KM) 
Day 24: Kathmandu. Free at leisure for shopping, etc 
Day 25: Final Departure from Nepal. 

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LHASA TO KATHMANDU MOUNTAIN BIKE ITINERARY

Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer                                 

Day-2:  Full day Guided sightseeing around Kathmandu valley.                  

Day-3: Morning cycling

This morning we drive to Mutku and then cycle to Budanilkantha,  where we are collected and driven back to Kathmandu. Here we  do a gear check and collect our passports from the embassy.

Day-4: Kathmandu to Lhasa (3660m)

Transfer to the airport for the hour-long flight across the main Himalayan range. Afternoon at rest to acclimatise to Lhasa's high altitude.          

Day-5: Lhasa

We will visit Lhasa's many monasteries and sites, such as the Sera Monastery, and the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama.                    

Day-6: Lhasa

We visit the Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery founded in the 14th century, and once the largest in the world, with a population of around 10,000 monks. The afternoon, is a time to relax or further explore the area.           

Day-7: Start the Lhasa Kathmandu Bike Trip! 

Finally, your trans-Himalayan biking adventure begins. Our journey towards Everest starts with the Friendship Highway as it heads out across the plateau. We leave Lhasa and cycle along the Tsangpo River to foot of the Kamba Pass (3700 m). When you arrive at the camp you will find tents, latrines, shower tent and facilities ready. Accommodation in tents [Mountain Bike distance: 85 km].    

Day-8: Kamba Pass

Our first mountain pass. A strong uphill climb along a tar road of several switchbacks, reaches a summit lavishly adorned with prayer flags (4794m). After descending we continue alongside Lake Yamdruk, at the far side of which we set camp (4490m). Overnight in tents. [Mountain Bike distance: 55 km]                                            

Day-9: Karo Pass

Leaving the beautiful lake behind, we cycle along the Friendship highway which soon becomes a gravel roadway, through a ravine and up to the foot of the Karo Pass (4750m), where our tented village will be prepared for the night. Accommodation in tents. [Mountain Bike distance: 54 km] 

Day-10: Karo Pass to  Gyantse 

A significant time on the tour, as we have to get up early to climb the high Karo Pass (5010m). Around us we can see glaciers stretching down to 6000m and beautiful lakes. You are rewarded for your effort with a night in Gyantse (3980m). Hotel.          

Day-11: Shigatse  

First we will visit the Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating from the 14th century and the Kumbum, a large gold-domed stupa with several small chapels, containing an impressive collection of Tibetan Buddhist murals. We then drive on the highway towards Shigatse. Although this involves a longer distance, the highway is tarred and flat. In the afternoon we will arrive in Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse (3860m).  [Mountain Bike distance: 94 km]                  

Day-12: Gyachung  Monastery 

We leave Shigatse and ride over two small passes and through several small Tibetan villages. We will cycle past the isolated Gyachung Monastery and camp. Accommodation in tents at around 4100m. [Total cycle: 75 km]                

Day-13: Lhatse  

The route lead us through picturesque valleys before the long route begins which leads over the Tso-La (4520m). After lunch we head towards Lhatse past the hot springs and camp about 10km outside of town. Accommodation in tents. [Total cycle: 95 km] 

Day-14: Shegar 

We view the stunning canyon of the 5220m Gyatso-La. On a clear day you will be rewarded for your effort with your first view of Mount Everest. After a 40 km ride through flat prairie towns, you will arrive in the town of Pelbar, often referred to as Shegar. Shegar, is a popular stopover for anyone heading to the Everest region. This is a long and  grueling ride through the canyon. [Total cycle: 75 km]           

Day-15: Pang Pass

Just outside of Shegar, we will divert off the main Lhasa-Kathmandu highway and head towards the world's highest peak, Everest. After passing through the border control point, you will be faced with 20km's of uphill switchbacks (42 hairpin bends in total!) before you reach the summit of the Pang Pass (5150m). Your reward will be some of the most magnificent views of Everest and her surrounding peaks. Enjoy lunch as you gaze over Makalu (8463m), Shishapangma (8012m), Cho Oyu (8210m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8850m) and several other breathtaking peaks. Then a 20 kilometer downhill follows to the Rongbuk Valley (4200m), where we camp. Overnight accommodation in tents. [Total cycle: 67 km]       

Day-16-17: Rongbuk  Monastery Everest Base Camp  

Now you should be at peak fitness and excited about the approach of Everest Base Camp. A bumpy road winds up through the Rongbuk valley until the majestic Mount Everest appears before you. We will camp beside the monastery with the unforgettable sight of the 8848m peak in front of your eyes. We will stay here for two days. One your second day, you can either read a book or get even closer to Everest by taking a walk, cycling or hopping on a donkey and cart ride to Everest base camp, which is 8km from the campsite. Accommodation in tents (5150m). [Total cycle: 35 km] 

Day-18: Tingri 

Leaving Rongbuk, we drive back down the bumpy road and then take a "short-cut" into the mountains. Another bumpy trail takes us over a canyon and down into Tingri (4340m). Overnight in tents. [Total cycle: 86 km]

Day-19: Cycling to before Paiku-Tso Lake (BLD) 

After breakfast in Tingri we will then start our ride to the   Paiku-Tso Lake. Paiku-TsoLake is a lake at 4,591 meters on the Tibetan Plateau at south of the Yarlung River. The lake is 27 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide at its narrowest. It is surrounded by mountains reaching 5,700 to 6,000. Streams fed by glaciers cascade to the valley floor. Today is a long day of cycling but the rewards of the lake are worth ever second . Overnight accommodation in tents [Total cycle: aprox 95 km]

 

Day-20: Cycling  to upper Kerong (Gyirong)  

Today we cycle mainly downhill to Gyirong Town at 2,700 meters. It is an important town in the cross-border trade between China and Nepal and serves as the border between China and Nepal. Overnight accommodation in tents). [Total cycle: 100 km]

Day 21: Cycling to Kerong border  

After breakfast in Gyirong we will start cycling to the Kerong border and camp for the night. It is a beautiful scenic campsite and you can use the rest of the day to explore the area. Overnight accommodation in tents). [Total cycle: 70 km]

Day 22: Morning cycling till Syburbesi DRIVE to Kathmandu (140 KM)

After the breakfast, we will start cycling until around midday when we should reach Syburbesi where a vehicle will be waiting to transfer back to Kathmandu Overnight accommodation in hotel).  

Day 23:  Final Departure from Nepal. 

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Tibet Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best month to travel in Tibet?

The best time to visit Tibet is between May and October when the skies are largely clear and blue, temperatures reach double digits, and the ice has melted. 

April is the beginning of spring in Tibet. At this time, the minimum temperature rises back above zero and the average maximum temperature is around 15 °C. The peach blossom blooming season in Nyingchi begins in late March or early April. 

From April to May, the average daily maximum temperature in Lhasa and other major destinations of Tibet will gradually rise from 15 °C to about 20 °C, which is perfect for outdoors. 

September temperatures range from 7°C to 21°C, making it very pleasant to visit Tibet in September. It is also the harvest season in Tibet. 

Is Tibet ever closed to foreign visitors? 

A passport with a minimum validity of 6 months is required for processing the visa for China and then the permit for Tibet. You are not allowed to enter Tibet with only a Chinese visa. You need to arrive to Kathmandu prior to 9am on day one of your tour to process the visa. There is a separate procedure for Tibet permit and we ask that you  send your copy of passport three weeks before arrival to us so that we can start the process.

Do I need any permits?

There are actually a number of required documents.

If starting your tour in Nepal you will need a multiple entry visa or if starting in Tibet, an entry visa for Nepal. Both can be obtained on arrival for $50.

For Tibet, who will need a China Visa. These can only be applied for in Kathmandu if travelling in via Nepal, otherwise from a visa agent if entering directly into Tibet.

You then also require a special Aliens Travel Permit to allow you to enter certain areas of Tibet such as Everest Base Camp and then a Tibet Travel Permit. Tibet Travel Permit can only be obtained by a registered tour operator, and is required to gain entry to Tibet, including boarding the plane or train, and will be checked at any of the checkpoints throughout the region. Both of the latter as well as the visa for Tibet if entering via Kathmandu are arranged by us.

You must of course also be in possession of a valid passport which is valid for at least 6 months from the end of the tour

What is the accommodation like?

In Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse, you will be staying in a comfortable and pleasant boutique or highly-rated 3-star Tibetan-owned hotels. Accommodation in other areas of Tibet, such as Everest Base Camp. On the tour, it will be best available guesthouses.

Can I travel on my own in Tibet?

The best season to go on this trek is from August to October and mid-March to mid-April. This is the peak time of the year to go on this trek, and you will find many other trekkers along with you on the journey. With May being summit season it will be very busy and also the time of year when trekkers are restricted

What is Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)?

It is the key permit every foreigner traveler needs to apply for which allows you to enter Tibet and visit Lhasa.

What visa is required for Tibet?

There are actually a number of required documents.

If starting your tour in Nepal you will need a multiple entry visa or if starting in Tibet, an entry visa for Nepal. Both can be obtained on arrival for $50.

For Tibet, who will need a China Visa. These can only be applied for in Kathmandu if travelling in via Nepal, otherwise from a visa agent if entering directly into Tibet.

You then also require a special Aliens Travel Permit to allow you to enter certain areas of Tibet such as Everest Base Camp and then a Tibet Travel Permit. Tibet Travel Permit can only be obtained by a registered tour operator, and is required to gain entry to Tibet, including boarding the plane or train, and will be checked at any of the checkpoints throughout the region. Both of the latter as well as the visa for Tibet if entering via Kathmandu are arranged by us.

You must of course also be in possession of a valid passport which is valid for at least 6 months from the end of the tour

How will the altitude affect me on the tour?

This is a really difficult one to answer directly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one tour suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly.                  

What are the altitudes of Tibet?

The average altitude of Tibet is above 4000m. In Lhasa, the altitude is 3656m. The popular tour destinations like Everest Base Camp (5200m), Lake Namtso (4718m) and Mt. Kailash (4600m) are some of the highest places for travelling in Tibet.

Where can I get travel Insurance for Tibet?

If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp, Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click on the icon