TRIPS

DEPARTING
  • Sep 25, 2016
  • Nov 1, 2016
  • May 1, 2017
  • Sep 16, 2017
  • Nov 1, 2017
TRIP DIFFICULTY
  • Challenging
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Upper Mustang

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 Himalayan Single Track, this is our favorite ride in Nepal. Put simply this trip showcases the very best Mountain Biking that the Himalaya has to offer!

DAY 01  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.
Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel

DAY 02  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.
Accommodation: 3 Star Hotel

DAY 03  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.
Accommodation:- 3 Star Hotel

DAY 04  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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 05  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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 06  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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 07  GHAMI TO CHARANG (3560 meters)
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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 08  CHARANG TO LO-MANTHANG (3810 meters)
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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 09 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.

DAY 10  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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 11  LO-MANTHANG TO GAMI (3520 meters)
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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 12  GAMI TO SAMAR (3660 meters)
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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 13  SAMAR TO JOMSOM (2980 meters)
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.
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 14  JOMSOM TO TATOPANI (1190 meters)
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!
Accommodation:- Tea House

DAY 15  TATOPANI TO POKHARA
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!
Accommodation:- 3 star Hotel

DAY 16  POKHARA TO KATHMANDU
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.
Accommodation:- 3 star Hotel

DAY 17  DEPARTURE
We will transfer you to the Airport for your departure home.

info@himalayansingletrack.com Upper Mustang Blog

BEST TIME
March, April, May, June  & Sept, Oct

SPENDING MONEY
You will need to carry with you spending money for things like alcohol, snacks, internet usage and other purchases along the way. Also tipping is expected in Nepal for guides and porters if you are happy with the service provided. You will have to carry the money with you from Kathmandu/Pokhara as there are no ATM’S along the way. All meals are included in the trip price so you should budget an extra $10 to $20 per day for your personal expenses.

PORTERS Ponies for carrying your bags are included in the price of the trip. So all you will need to carry during  is a day pack with your personal items you will need throughout the day. Ponies will not always be with you or arrive at the Tea House at the same time as you so make sure you carry a warm jacket with you. Baggage allowance is 15kg per person.

DRINKING WATER Tap water is not drinkable in Nepal. Bottled drinking water is not included in the price of the trip. Himalayan Single Track carries Steri Pens for use on the trips and we will treat filtered drinking for you. If you choose to buy or treat your own water during the trip that is also fine, but not included in the price. We strongly discourage the purchase of plastic water bottles on all of our trips for environmental reasons.We recommend two 1 liter water bottles or one two to three liter bladder for this trip.

TEMPERATURES In the Mustang Region the higher up you go the colder it gets. You need to be prepared for below zero temperatures at night time. Day time is average temp 16 degrees Celsius and at night it can get down to below zero. You also need to be prepared for strong, cold winds, possible rain, sleet and snow.

ELECTRICITY Approximately 80% of the accommodations will have electricity and an outlet appropriate for charging items such as mobile phones or iPods/iPads, you will need to purchase  a Universal Adapter, these can be purchased in most Travel shops. In the dry months from October through to May Nepal can experience Load Shedding (Periods without electricity) in excess of 10 hours a day.

LAUNDRY You can get laundry done at the hotel and in Thamel. Your cheapest option is to use a street vendor they charge 50 to 100 rupees per kilo for a one day service. While biking, laundry services are not normally available, but on rest days you can get laundry done at the teahouse at a cost of 200 to 400 nrs. Normally we just rinse out knickers and socks in the shower and dry them around the fire in the tea house during the evening!

VISA Although queues can be quite long, we prefer to obtain visas at Kathmandu Airport, as it is cheaper. You will require a passport size photo and it tends to speed things up if you have already downloaded a Visa Form and attached your picture in preparation.

Visa Duration & Fee Multiple entry 15 days US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency Multiple entry 30 days US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency Multiple entry 90 days US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency .

ACCOMMODATIONS We provide 3 star accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara. In these hotels you will get Deluxe rooms with attached bathrooms, breakfast, Wi-Fi access and all normal hotel facilities. During the biking leg of the trip you will be accommodated in Tea Houses which are a form of mountain lodge. Standard varies from place to place, rooms are simple in some cases we get attached bathrooms, in others bathrooms are shared. Rooms are not heated, but are clean and comfortable and there are not always hot showers, in some places hot showers incur extra charge. There will be electricity for charging cameras and phones, but it is limited.

SUGGESTED PACKING LIST
• Water proof/wind proof jacket suitable for riding, optional Down Jacket
• Long thermals (2 sets in Winter Season), a couple of T-Shirts and shorts or trekking trousers
• Light Fleece Jacket or a Warm Jumper
• Cycle clothing – long sleeve and short sleeve tops, full and half cycling shorts, arm warmers, leg/Knee warmers, thermal cap, knee and elbow pads are recommended
• Hat, sunglasses, sun cream, toiletries (Bio Degradable is recommended)
• Windproof/water proof cycling gloves (full), Helmet (Both are Compulsory on HST Tours)
• Chap stick, moisturizer cream, toilet paper, Hand wipes and sanitizer
• Good shoes for both walking and cycling (Stiff race type SPD shoes are not recommended go for a walking style SPD Shoe), also a pair of sandals or flip flops for around the tea houses
• Warm socks, woolen hat and a scarf/Muffler
• Buff, bandana or some kind of face covering
• Own medicines including re-hydration salts and any personal medication required (Our Guides carry full first aid kits)
• Camel Pak or water bottles (Minimum 2 Liters)
• Water proof pack cover, Sleeping bag (Optional) or Sleeping Sheet

TRIP REQUIREMENTS/DOCUMENTS
Personal Travel Insurance Copy of Passport 6 Passport Sized Photos Signed Copy of Himalayan Single Track Booking from and disclaimer *To make things easier for our porters, we request you to pack your belongings in soft water proof duffel bags or back packs rather than suitcase.

BIKE SPARE PARTS
If you are bringing your own bike to Nepal then you will also be required to bring the spare parts required to keep your bike on the trails. All our guides are good mechanics who will assist you with repairs etc. We recommend that you bring the following items for your bike own bike. Our guide will carry tool kits and basic spare parts.
• Inner tubes (esp if you are running 29 or 27.5 wheels)
• A tire that fits your bike, recommended for Nepal 2.2+
• A few spokes and nipples
• Hanger/Drop Out
• Seat Post Clamp, spare parts/adapters for through axles
• Chain Oil, Bleed kit relevant to your brakes and/or dropper seat post, suspension pump, pump, brake pads Spare parts and accessories can easily be purchased in our shop, most readily available items in Nepal are Shimano 9 and 10 speed chains, cassettes and cranks, tubes 26 & 29 and a full range of cycling clothing.

ALTITUDE Generally speaking, if you are not feeling well above 3000 meters you should consider it as altitude sickness until otherwise proven. It mostly affects people who ascend too quickly or fly to higher altitudes and don’t allow time for acclimatization. Himalayan Single Track staffs are very mindful to the necessity of acclimatization. Common Minor Symptoms Include–

  • Headache/Nausea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling lazy or weak.
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Slight swelling around hands and face

It is very easy to talk yourself into these symptoms! Most people trekking above 2500 meters suffer some of the above complications, though only 2% of people biking between 2000 and 6000 meters will develop serious illness. As long as the above symptoms remain mild, they are of no significant problem just an inconvenience that affects your sense of well being. You need to rest where you are until you feel better, and then you can progress to higher altitudes. If the symptoms worsen, you need to descend and perhaps spend a night at a lower altitude. If you get better ascend at a slower rate and try again. If your symptoms progressively worsen you must descend, it’s the only cure and prevention before you progress to serious altitude sickness. Our guides are well informed and able to realize the more serious signs of altitude, you are in good hands, and your safety is always our number one priority.

ACCLIMATIZATION Serious illness or death is preventable in every case. Acclimatization is the key, this means to ascend gradually and take your time. Generally it is the younger bikers who think it is a race to the top, that experience complications, rarely do more experienced trekkers have serious issues, as pacing themselves is a key to a successful completion and they are aware of the symptoms if any should arise. It’s also up to you to monitor how you feel and the changes in your body and report them to your guide. Other Things You Can do to Aid Acclimatization

  • Drink, drink, drink, at altitudes and under exertion you should be drinking around 4 liters a day, no less than 3.
  • Eat Carbohydrates, yes lots of potatoes, rice noodles and pasta, and avoid excessive salt.
  • Rest; allow your body time to recover, excessive exercise does not help improve acclimatization.
  • Ride at a pace that doesn’t overly increase your breathing and heart rate, basically if you are gasping for air, you are going to fast!
  • Do not take sleeping pills.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol, save the celebrating for your return to the valley!
  • Take it easy, enjoy the scenery and don’t be afraid to ask for help or extra rest if you feel like you need it.

TIPPING
In most cases like taxi’s, local restaurants and guided tours tipping is expected in Nepal but not compulsory. Generally local wages are low which reflects poor local economy. Tipping is a voluntary bonus on your part if your are happy with a service. If you come across good service and are impressed with the guide, food, driver or other things then your tips will be appreciated. Please note that in Hotels and Tourist restaurants service charge is always added onto the bill which is 10%. If you have bad service you can refuse to pay this, but it will be automatically added unless you state otherwise, so in these cases tipping is not required.

Himalayan Single Track Guidelines (This is just our suggestion and in all cases tipping is optional) Meals/Restaurant (Local) – 10% of the bill Taxi Ride – 50 to 100 nrs Driver – 200 to 500 nrs Trip Guide 500 to 1500 nrs per day (as a group) Trip Porters – 500 to 1000 nrs per person (as a group) Hotel/Airport Porters – 100 nrs

ACCESS TO MONEY
There are only ATMs within the main cities of Nepal, Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan ATMs in Kathmandu are on every corner and accept most key cards and credit cards. Traveller’s Cheques are outdated but can be changed still with Money Exchangers (also on every corner) or within big hotels. Please don’t change your money at the airport, you will not need cash until you get into town and you will get a much better rate in Kathmandu than at the airport. USD, EURO and AUD are also accepted for large purchases (in case you go on a shopping spree!)  

WHAT CAN I BUY IN KATHMANDU? Nepal is an awesome place for shopping. You can by in the main Thamel area anything and everything related to trekking and outdoors from small dry bags to trekking trousers, Shirts, boots, hats, scarves and gloves. Brands are not normally original but good quality can be found. There are also supermarkets where you can by most things you get at home like toiletries, muesli bars, cereals, tea, coffee, nuts fruit and chocolate. There are also some well stocked and cheap pharmacies that can fulfill all your needs without prescriptions for most generic brands. Leave some room in your bags for souvenirs like Pashmina, Handi Crafts, Thanka paintings and hand crafted Buddhist and Hindu relics. Most standard bike parts can also be brought in our Himalayan Single Track Shop.

BARGAINING While shopping in the tourist areas of Kathmandu bargaining the price of an item is expected. However you should be aware that Nepal is an economically poor country, keep in mind when you enter a shop this point and that the shop keepers have to make a living to support their families. Aggressive behavior and price haggling is ugly.

  •  Most items such as trekking goods are not genuine, inspect the quality of the items before you enter bargaining
  • In most cases you should be able to bargain between 15 to 30 % off the price
  • Always be realistic about the value of price being asked, people can get carried away over a few dollars…….this is poor etiquette
  • If you are not happy walk away, if there is a better price to be offered the vendor will shout to you as you walk away, this will normally be the very cheapest price
  • When buying high value items such as pashmina, silver and gems make sure the item you are purchasing is of the standard (quality) you are seeking. If in doubt, walk away
  • Shopping and bargaining can be fun, except a cup of tea from the vendor and you could have some fun haggling the price. Try not to get agitated or aggressive as most Nepalese shop keepers are genuine and not at all trying to rip you off!
  • Try shopping in small groups and make purchases of similar items from the same shop, bulk buying like this will give you more bargaining leverage.
  • A big smile and a friendly manner will get you a long way in Kathmandu….
  • Bargaining is NOT APPRECIATED at local fruit and vegetable markets or local restaurants, however you can bargain with the fruit vendors in Thamel.

PRICE INCLUDES – ACCOMMODATION

  • 3 Nights in Kathmandu (3 Star)
  • 2 Nights in Pokhara (3 Star)
  • 11 Nights in Teahouses while biking

PERMITS/ENTRY FEES

  • Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit
  • ACCAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit)
  • TIMS (Trekking Information Management System)
  • Kathmandu Sightseeing Entry Fees, Tatopani Hot Springs

FLIGHTS

  • Pokhara to Jomsom – Tara Air
  • Pokhara to Kathmandu – Buddha Air
  • All airport taxes and Service Charges
  •  Excess Luggage Charges up to 7kg Over weight

MEALS

  • Breakfast (16)
  • Traditional welcome dinner and traditional dance
  • Tea and Coffee  during the biking trip
  • Drinking water on the biking trip (Purified using SteriPen)

TRANSPORT

  • Airport Transfers (All)
  • Private Vehicle Kathmandu to Pokhara
  • Private Vehicle Beni to Pokhara

GUIDES/PORTERS

  • 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

WORKSHOP/TOOLS

  • Full use of Himalayan Single Track Workshop for assembling, washing and packing bikes
  • Travel tool box carried by guides on tour

Price is dependent on group size, please inquire. Thank you info@himalayansingletrack.com