Cycle Nepal – Pokhara to Kathmandu Adventure

Pokhara to Kathmandu – Central Nepal - Cycling Tour

Trip Notes   &bull   Back to this tour's main page

Introduction

Namaste! Welcome to the Nepal and the Himalayas. We always get a thrill designing and researching new cycling tours and we came back from Nepal raving about this one in particular. Tough climbs – Yes, more technical descents – yes, steep gradients – yes, did we love it – yes! This is such an impressive country and natural choice destination for those looking for adventure. On top of the unbeatable biking experience this trip also offer travellers the soaring mountain views of the Annapurna and Himalayan Mountain range, the lush forest cover and flora of a region not lacking in rainfall, the welcoming and hospitable nature of the people, an intricate and regionally important culture famous for it’s architecture, food and spirituality. The only question is, why did we not go there earlier! So come and join us on an adventure in county that has a lot to offer the adventure cyclist and traveller.

Itinerary

DayActivityLocationMealsKm cycled

1

Arrival day.

Kathmandu

D

 

2

Early morning flight to Pokhara. Afternoon ride.

Pokhara

BLD

20

3

Cycle to Kaskikot, Deurali Ridgetop outside Pokhara.

Pokhara

BLD

28

4

Cycle back to Pokhara. Free afternoon

Pokhara

B

35

5

Cycle to Begnas Lake

Begnas Lake

BL

36

6

Cycle to Damauli

Damauli

BLD

65

7

Cycle Bandipur National Park

Bandipur

BLD

45

8

Cycle to Gorkha

Gorkha

BLD

70

9

Visit the Palace. Free afternoon.

Gorkha

B

 

10

Cycle to Arulghat.

Arulghat

BLD

41

11

Cycle to Dhadingbase

Dhadingbase

BLD

38

12

Cycle to Trisuli

Trisuli

BLD

41

13

Cycle to Kakani

Kakani

BLD

49

14

Cycle to Kathmandu. Free afternoon.

Kathmandu

BL

24

15

Departure Day

B

 

      Total 492km
*Whilst every endeavour will be made to run the itinerary as stated, Bike Asia reserves the right to change any part of the itinerary at any time without notice due to weather, political, health or safety concerns.
Day 1 - Kathmandu

This is arrival day and you'll be met by your Bike Asia leader in the evening to go over the trip ahead in the group meeting.

Day 2 – Pokhara (cycling 20 km)

First thing this morning after breakfast we transfer by minibus from the capital city to Pokhara. The drive will take six hours, much of it alongside the Trishuli River, past rice fields, small villages small towns. We will aim to arrive in Pokhara for a late lunch. For the afternoon, an orientation by bike of the town and its surrounds; the Phewa Lake and a climb to the top of the World Peace Stupa for some impressive views of the surrounding mountains and river valley.

Day 3 - Kaskikot (cycling 28 km)

We gear up for an awesome ride up to the Kaskikot ridgeline. This is a great ride in itself but also a good chance to get used to your bike and condition the legs with some hills and some good off-road! The distance is not long, but there are sections that are steep. Our lodging for the night is a guesthouse run by a man can Sonam Shering who used to work as a Sherpa in Nepal. He is Nepali, but Tibetan by birth. He has some amazing stories about trekking expeditions over the years, having climbed in over 130 countries! His lovely guesthouse, located on the tip of the ridgeline, has some of the most spectacular views of the Annapurna Mountain Ranges possible. With a perfectly placed restaurant balcony, you can sit outside eating dinner with views below of the valleys and views above the mountains.

Day 4 - Pokhara (cycling 35 km)

We return back to Pokhara for another night, using a different track. The first section as we descend off the ridgeline is quite steep down on grass, dirt and rock tracks with a few nice sections of single track. The last section coming into Pokhara is tending down on a sealed road. This afternoon and evening is free for everyone to do their own thing. There a many options including paragliding, a light aircraft flight, shopping. The leader will be available to help with recommendations for activities and places to eat.

Day 5 – Begnas Lake (cycling 36 km)

Today we head south west towards the two lakes of Begnas and Rupa. There is an easy start to the ride before a seriously steep climb out of the Pokhara Valley. The road here is narrow and really quiet. Our views once at the top are spectacular. With a stop for a cup of hot tea or chai and some lunch of the traditional Dhal Bhat – rice, lentil dhal, pickles, vegetable and meat curry. The final section of the day is a little easier and the terrain undulates as we pass through the middle of Begnas and Rupa Lakes to our lodging for the night that looks right out onto the larger of the two lakes. Perfect for a swim once we arrive after the day’s ride.

Day 6 - Damauli (cycling 65 km)

This is another big day on the bikes, covering more distance but over less hilly terrain. We continue heading south-east towards Kathmandu with a break halfway for lunch and refreshments. We usually stop briefly in the morning and afternoon to replenish water supplies and eat some snack food such as fresh fruit, biscuits or some delicious local Samosas. This way the group can re-gather and it also provides opportunities to see and talk about the local culture, organise invitations to inside homes and chat with the locals. Our location for tonight is the township of Damauli.

Day 7 – Bandipur National Park (45 km)

One of the great breakfasts in Nepal is a Masala Omlette ( an egg omelette with spring onions, tomato, green chilli, cumin, garlic, turmeric and coriander) served with unlimited cups of chai is an excellent way to start the day and the perfect fuel to get us all up those mountains that we will be climbing. There are some steep climbs and quick descents and although the distance is not great, there are places where we need to get off and carry the bike. Our destination for this evening is the charming hill town of Bandipur. There are views of the snow-capped mountain ranges of Annapurna and Ganesh Himal Mountain Ranges and the Marchyangdi River from all of the hotel room balconies.

Day 8 - Gorkha (cycling 70 km)

For a change we cycle for a section of the morning till lunch along paved road, with the ever present mountains underneath and as a backdrop. Lunch will be in the small town of Tuture and then it is back on the dirt trails as we climb out of the valley, winding our way through the forest and some terraced-fields sculpted into the hillsides. We finish the day with a further 15 kilometre climb on sealed road to finish in the town of Gorkha, even the driveway is steep! You can relax in the gardens or on the veranda with a well-deserved beer looking out over the valley.

Day 9 - Gorkha (Rest day)

Today we are off the bikes so as to visit the Gorkha Royal Palace. The Gorkha Kingdom, one of dozens in Nepal at that time, was established in the 16th Century under King Drabya Shah. It was not until the 18th Century that King Privthi Narayan Shah united all the kingdoms. He with his Gorkha soldiers took control of Kathmandu and since then the Gorkhas (or Gurkhas) have been famous for their bravery and fighting skills. Their invasion of Tibet in 1791 brought Chinese retaliation and a war with the British in India in 1914-1916. Gurkhas have served in the Indian and British Armies. There is still a regiment in the British Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, seen recently protecting Price Harry when he was serving in Afghanistan. The climb up to the palace means 1700 steps to the top! The afternoon will be free time to explore the town or just relax with a coffee in the garden of the hotel looking out over the valley.

Day 10 – Arulghat (41 km)

After a days rest the legs should be feeling pretty strong and ready to get you up the climbs today. We start climbing almost straight out of the town and continue on tracks and trails up for several hours around the southern face of the mountain range. What goes up must come down! There will be very few other people on the trails which leaves you free to enjoy the ride down without fear of much traffic. We finish at the river, where we must cross over and up into the town of Arulghat, cross over the town’s suspension bridge and through to our lodgings for the night.

Day 11 – Dhading Base (cycling 38 kms)

The first section for the day is undulating down as we cycle towards the River. Once we cross to the other side we have a 15km unbroken climb on a dirt road that becomes sealed in the last few kilometres. We will have lunch not long after we reach the top of the pass to replenish the energy stocks. The downhill section is mainly sealed and all the way to Dhading base, our destination for this evening. We will be staying in a basic guesthouse, but the owner is a terrific cook!

Day 12 - Trisuli (cycling 41 km)

It is another big day on the bikes. Most of the morning is climbing on a mix of dirt and rocky terrain. The section before lunch is not quite so steep as we cycle across a valley floor. The afternoon gets steep again as we climb up out of the valley with very rewarding views at the top. Following is a long, fast and steep descent into Trisuli town. They’ll have cold beers waiting for us!

Day 13 - Kakani (cycling 49 km)

For a change all the cycling is on a sealed road today, but fear not, the traffic is close to non existent and the views are still great. Today is mostly climbing with the exception of the first 10 km which is mostly downhill. The climbing gradient is not very steep until the last three kilometres of the day. Tonight we stay in Upper Kakani, perched right on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley.

Day 14 – Kathmandu (cycling 24 km)

This is our last day on the bikes. We head back down to the main highway and coast downhill all the way to the capital on a sealed road. The last couple of kilometres coming into the city will be very busy with buses, cars, cycle cabs and motorbikes. We will be in Kathmandu for lunch and a celebration for the end of the journey.

Day 15 - Departure

This is departure day and you are free to leave at any time.

Bike Asia Travel Style

We think cycling through a region for the first time with a group of like-minded people is a great way to travel in Asia. Our aim is to provide you with the opportunity to meet new people, learn about new cultures, experience different landscapes and most all to have some fun. Cycling is a major part of our trips – they are cycle tours after all. We have designed them so that they are accessible to people with a reasonable level of fitness. Different trips will require varying degrees of physical ability. Each trip dossier has specific details on terrain, cycling conditions, distances covered each day and an altitude profile. All of our trips are fully supported, so should you want or need to take a rest, there will be a seat for you and a place to put your bike. Our trips are also designed to allow you the opportunities and time to appreciate the environment, scenery and culture around you, and to participate in any activities that may be on offer.

Responsible Travel

An integral part of travelling is to have a positive impact on the country that you are visiting. On this trip there are a number of things you can do to have a positive impact on the communities that we visit.

Dress: Parts of Nepal are still quite conservative. In rural areas and temples overly revealing clothing is considered offensive. You should make an effort to dress more conservatively in these situations. Walking around a village in bike shorts is not appropriate so if you wish to cycle in just bike shorts you should have something with you, on the bike, to put on over the top (long loose shorts or a skirt/sarong). When visiting temples shorts are acceptable providing they cover the knee. Singlet tops are not acceptable in temples.

Phrase Book: A highly memorable part of your travels will be the local people you meet. In the tourist areas some people will speak English but away from these areas you should learn a few words of Nepali. We will teach you some of the basics but if you want to really interact we recommend bringing a phrase book.

Donations: Often when coming on trips overseas people like to bring items such as sweets, pens and books for children or old clothing for families. While this is a fantastic idea, if distributed in the wrong way it can actually create more problems. Giving away anything to local people can create an expectation that visiting foreigner equals free give-aways. In some communities in Asia this has created whole villages where the only interaction is the locals asking for things. If you would like to donate anything to the communities that we visit we suggest that you give the items to us and we will then pass them on to development organizations, schools or whole communities. In this way items are distributed to those really in need by those working in the communities.

Poverty: In Nepal there is poverty which you may see. If you choose to give something to a beggar you must bear in mind the value of money in the country you are visiting. There are organizations which are working to alleviate this poverty and may be able to do more good with donations that you make. Your Tour Leader will be able to provide more information about this.

Support Organizations: In Nepal there are a number of organizations that we hope you can support in one way or another. Your Bike Asia Leader will provide more information on these as you travel through the country.

For more information about Bike Asia's commitment to ethical and sustainable travel practices, please read our Responsible Travel Policy.

Group Size

Minimum 3
Maximum 12

Accommodation

There is a mix of accommodation styles on this trip. 11 nights are in standard hotels/guesthouses - twin share, private bathrooms, hot water, television, air-conditioning etc. 3 nights are in more basic style accommodation – shared washing and toilet facilities, and some have dormitory sleeping arrangements. We are staying in these places because, travelling by bike, we get to travel through some of the smaller, rural areas, and this means of course that we are limited in our choice of accommodation – sometimes we are staying in the ONLY guesthouse. Whilst not of a service standard that you may be accustomed to at home, we can safely say that these small, family-run places make up for that in location, views, atmosphere and friendly service. All the sleeping arrangements are for twin share so if you are a single traveller you will be paired up with someone of the same sex. This ensures that whether you are travelling solo or with friends, everyone is paying the same rate. We choose hotels (where possible) that are comfortable, centrally located places which are adequate in every way. Single supplements are possible on this trip. Check the trip page for prices.

Transport

All transport listed is included in the trip price: all support vehicles (one or two depending on the group size) and the bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara at the start of the cycling component. You will need to pay for any transport taken during free time.

Transfers: We can organise arrival and departure transfers for a fee. Contact us for more details.

Inclusions

  • 14 nights accommodation (11 nights in comfortable hotels with twin share rooms, private bathrooms facilities etc, 3 nights in more basic hotels)
  • All transport en route (whilst cycling) including the bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara
  • Mountain Bike
  • Meals; Breakfasts (14), Lunch (11), Dinner (10)
  • All water and snack food whilst cycling
  • Professional Bike Asia tour leader
  • Local cycling guide and mechanic
  • Bike tools and spare parts
  • Support vehicle

Bikes

Bikes are included in the trip cost. Our mountain bikes are entry-level standard. We keep them well-maintained and we travel with all necessary tools and a variety of spare parts. We use bikes with the following specifications: Hard tail (front suspension) with Shimano 21 speed gears, Shimano v-brakes, off road tyres, one bottle cage, and ergonomic seat, in sizes 15", 17", 19" or 21". Please specify your bike size when booking. You may wish to bring your own pedals, cleats, saddle or handlebar extensions, as we can easily fit them to our bikes.

You are of course welcome to bring your own bike. Keep in mind though, that while we offer maintenance and spares for the bikes we provide, we can’t guarantee that we can cater to your particular bicycle’s needs so it would be best to bring your own parts and tools. If you are unsure we recommend that you speak to your local bike shop about what parts to bring.
To see the bikes we use go to our Bike Info page

Because we travel with a support vehicle it is not necessary to carry many things when on the bike. You may like to carry a daypack, bum bag or handlebar bag with personal belongings, camera, sunscreen etc., or you may prefer to leave a daypack in the support vehicle and carry only a camera & rain jacket (perhaps in a seat post bag) when cycling.

Food

Food is a very important part of any travel experience. Most of the meals are included in the trip cost, with a few exceptions like free days. To see which meals are included, read the inclusions list or the itinerary. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for and should you have any other dietary restrictions, you just need to inform us. In Nepal, breakfast is not an important meal. However it is one of the most important meals when on a cycling trip. Breakfast will usually include the following; milk tea, omelettes, bread and fruit. Lunch and Dinner will usually be the ubiquitous Nepalese Dhal Bhat – a meal of rice, large bowl of lentil Dhal, vegetable curry and meat curry. Every single Dhal Bhat is different and by the end of this trip you are going to be an expert. We also provide snack food for morning and afternoon tea like fruit and biscuits. The food is healthy, very fresh and very tasty, so don’t worry, we'll make sure you have more than enough fuel to get up those mountains!

Money

You will need to bring money on the trip to pay any for the following; some meals, drinks, activities and transport in free time, departure tax, airline excess baggage, and of course shopping. We suggest you utilise a variety of methods for accessing money. There are:

  • ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokhara where you can access money using your Maestro, Cirrus, Visa and MasterCard.
  • Banks to exchange major foreign currencies and Traveller’s Cheques.
  • Some credit card facilities in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

The amount you bring is going to depend on how much you plan to spend. To give you an indication of prices:
Beer would cost NPR 250
Dinner at local restaurant NPR 70
Dinner at foreign restaurant NPR 300

The Nepalese currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). Exchange rates at the time of writing are;
1 AUD = 61.2 NPR
1 USD = 73.04 NPR
1 EUR = 90.28 NPR
1 GBP = 109.73 NPR
1 CAD = 68.69 NPR
1 NZD = 50.02 NPR

As there will be very few opportunities to spend money whilst cycling, most of your shopping will be likely to be done in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

We also recommend that you bring US $100 in emergency funds, to be used when circumstances beyond the control of Bike Asia necessitate a change in itinerary.

Insurance

Obtaining your own travel insurance is required in order to participate on a Bike Asia tour. It will need to include a minimum coverage of medical expenses with emergency evacuation, personal liability and accident insurance. Your group leader will need to see a copy of your insurance at the group meeting on the first day.

Two well known travel insurance providers are: World Nomads and Covermore.

Fitness

You will need to have an excellent level of fitness to participate in this trip. There are twelve cycling days in total, with most days cycling an average of 41km and one day over 70km some on unsealed roads. This trip involves a lot of long mountain climbing of 15km, 20km+ and 30km+ climbs. The cycling is done at an altitude between 1000 – 2500 metres above sea level. It is a great idea to do at least some cycling in the month leading up to your tour. This is up to you but we highly recommend some training as it will alleviate saddle soreness and leg fatigue, and you may enjoy the tour more if you find the cycling easier.

Cycling Conditions

The terrain is a mix of sealed surfaces, unsealed surfaces and off-road (10% sealed, 80% unsealed and 10% off road). Traffic is mostly quiet but with some busy sections. In Nepal you need to be constantly alert for vehicles, potholes, animals, people... everything really! Much of the terrain is mountainous with climbs on every day…. It is the Himalayas after all!

Health

In order to make the most of your holiday, the healthier you are the more you will enjoy it! For a list of vaccinations we recommend that you seek advice at a travel clinic at least six weeks prior to departure. Our group leader will have a Wilderness first aid training (WAFA) and will travel with a first-aid kit, however it is also recommended that individual travellers have a basic first aid kit with any personal medical requirements. Our group leader is not authorised, for legal reasons, to administer any kind of drugs, including pain relief tablets, antibiotics etc so be sure to pack a supply of your favourite pain-killers. Pharmacy products vary in different countries and you may not be able to buy products that are widely available at home. Include the following: plasters, dressings, bandage, calamine lotion (a must for soothing sunburn), oral re-hydration treatment (in case of bouts of diarrhoea), insect repellent, insect sting relief, antiseptic cream and antiseptic wipes.

For more information on travel health, you can click on the links below:

Australia - United States - United Kingdom

Visas

Travellers of all nationalities will need to obtain a Nepal visa, either through a travel agent, direct with a Nepalese embassy or consulate or you can also obtain a Nepal Visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International airport for US$30 and two passport photos. For the latest information, see your travel agent.

Luggage / Packing List (Guide Only)

We strongly advise against using a hard shell suitcase for this trip. China is not suitcase or wheelie-bag friendly. A soft backpack would be the most suitable, and the easiest to transfer in/out of the trucks in the morning and evening, up and down staircases and in and out of airports. Keep in mind when you are packing that often our local crew are lifting our bags in and out of the luggage truck that several of the hotels we use do not have lifts, and that the luggage allowance on the domestic flight is 20kg. Therefore please try to pack as lightly as possible. Please check our climate charts to assess your clothing requirements, or contact us if you are unsure.

    Personal
  • Long trousers
  • Shorts
  • Shirts
  • Warm jacket
  • Thermals
  • Woollen socks
  • Jumper
  • Hat
  • Sandals/light shoes
  • Swimming costume
  • Light rain coat
  • Toiletries
  • Tampons
  • Small towel
  • First aid kit
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Camera and film
  • Contact solution
  • Gloves/scarf
    Travel
  • Passport with 6 months validity and spare pages
  • China Visa
  • Passport photo
  • Travel insurance details
  • Flight tickets
  • Money - travellers cheques / cash / credit card
  • Guide/phrase book
  • Money pouch
  • Sleep sheet
  • Medication (eg. cold tablets, headache tablets, sleeping tablets)
  • Day pack: big enough for over-night essentials
  • Alarm clock
  • Plastic bags
  • Pocket knife
  • Torch
    Cycling
  • Optional daypack, bum bag or handlebar bag.
  • Helmet
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle/bladder
  • 2 x Padded bike shorts with something to put on over the top when off the bike
  • Your own seat, pedals, cleats (optional)
  • Light wind-proof jacket for cycling
  • Cycle shoes (with cleat attachment if you use them)
  • Optional gel seat cover and or handlebar extensions

Pre/post trip accommodation

If you would like us to organise some extra nights accommodation either before or after the trip at our start or finish point hotel, just let us know when you book the trip.

Tipping

One of the reasons that our trips run so well and are so much fun is the effort and energy put in by our local crew. On this trip, we will have a driver and local cycling guide, and with larger groups a bike mechanic. Their mix of professionalism, enthusiasm and sense of fun are infectious. We recognise that the wages in an economically developing country are vastly different from ours and if you are satisfied with the service then please show your appreciation with a tip. Your group leader will collect this at the end of the trip and organise a small thankyou presentation. As a guide only, we recommend you allocate USD 30. Tipping is NOT compulsory and it is meant to be a reward for good service.

Safety

Our cycling tour leader has the authority to change or cancel all or part of this trip if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. This decision would not be taken lightly, and where possible it would be made in consultation with our local crew, local operator and Bike Asia management. Your leader will be present on all included activities, staying at all the same hotels, guesthouses and of course cycling with you. During free time, should you choose to participate in any optional activities that are not part of our itinerary, please note that we cannot give any representations or guarantees about the safety of the activity, the standard of the operators running them or the equipment that they use.

In the group meeting on day 1, your tour leader will run a session on cycling safety. Whilst some travellers will have years of touring experience, others might be on their first cycling trip. We need to cater for a range of abilities and experience and it is in everyone’s interest to learn about the particulars of cycling in this region from someone who has already done it. It goes without saying that by running and participating in a cycling trip, both parties accept an inherent level of risk. However, we take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we ask that you cycle in a safe and responsible manner and that you look out for the well-being of your fellow travellers. Cycling helmets must be worn by all cyclists at all times whilst cycling.

Most national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest information before departure. The links for some major travel advisories and updates are listed below

Australia - United Kingdom - Canada - New Zealand - United States

We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling in the cities, for the safe keeping of your passport, money, credit cards and traveller's cheques. Utilise the hotel's safety boxes or safe where these are available.

Communication

In Kathmandu and Pokhara you will be able to access email, phone, fax and post offices. Outside these cities there will be little chance to email and the main communication will be phone. You should leave your family or friends the Bike Asia contact details. Our office staff will be able to get in touch with us in an emergency.

Bike Asia Tour Leader

Our leaders are passionate about Asia and cycling ... phew! They love what they do and take their job seriously. They will make every effort to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable trip with as much fun as possible. They bring many qualities and skills to this role; knowledge of group cycling, safety, management, and liaising between you and the local crew. In working for us, they have made a commitment to learning as much about the culture, language and customs of China as possible, and they are happy to share any of this knowledge with you. However, please keep in mind that they are not local and will not know everything.

Rules

We don't have many, but the ones we do have are important. We always abide by the laws of the country that we are travelling through. This means you are not to use any illegal drugs or use prostitutes. Any passenger who does so will be asked to leave the tour immediately.

Feedback

After you have completed the trip, we want to know what you thought about it. This is important to us, as it is through your feedback that we monitor our trips and make improvements for the future. Log on to our website and click on the feedback link. It will take you a minimum of 3 minutes, or should you feel like writing in more detail, then a little longer. If you fill in the feedback form, we’ll give you an automatic 5% discount on any of our trips in any other region.

Photos

We are always looking for good photos of the regions which we travel through. If you have some that you would like to send us, we would love to have a look

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