Lhasa to Kathmandu Cycle

This adventurous cycle tour traversing Himalayas boasts the world's longest and steepest descent – from Lhasa Valley up to Everest Base Camp and then down to the green farmlands in Nepal, it’s almost 6000 meters up and down within 1000 km.

There are 7 tough passes to be conquered as the new border shifts to Gyirong port. Throughout the ride, the winding road is punctuated by the spectacular monastery towns of Gyantse, Shigatse, Lhatse, Shegar and Gyirong, as well as several smaller settlements and villages. The highlight is the detour to Everest Base Camp away from the main road; at Pang La pass, you can see 4 of the highest mountains next to each other at one glance. The most exciting time comes the moment when you really reach the EBC by bike, which must be one of the most amazing achievements in your life. After one night at Everest Base Camp, finish 60 km bumpy road and back to the main road at Old Tingri. Afterwards, head to Gyirong Valley known as the Back Garden of Mt. Everest. The downhill descent starts from Kongtanglamu Pass (5236m) all the way to Gyirong Port (1700m).

 

Day 1: Arrival upon Lhasa
Highlights: Arrival & Pick-up & Acclimatization
Schedule today: Reach Lhasa by train or flight, you will be warmly greeted by our local Tibetan guide and driver and then be transferred to the hotel booked for you; you can take a rest in the hotel or have your own time wandering this holy city to get the first impression.

 

Day 2: Lhasa city tour
Highlights: Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, Barkhor Street
Schedule today: In the morning, visit the landmark of holy Lhasa city— the Potala Palace which was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King for his wife from China Tang Dynasty. Later, the palace served as the winter residence for the Dalai Lamas since His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama moved into the palace. After lunch, visit the religious hub of Tibetan Buddhism—Johkang Temple, there you will come across many devoted pilgrimages from the whole plateau, some reach here even by prostrating. Both places are under the UNISCO world cultural heritage sites list. Afterwards, free time for you to wander through the Barkhor Street, not only the busiest bazaar in old Lhasa quarter, but also a pilgrim kora around the Johkang Temple.


Potala Palace

Johkang Temple

Day 3: Lhasa city tour
Highlights: Norbulinka Park, Sera Monastery
Schedule today: In the morning after breakfast, we will visit Norbulinka Park that was the summer palace for the Dalai Lama before. This park now is also a world heritage site with Potala Palace and Johkang Temple. And in the afternoon, we will visit another influential monastery of Gelugpa sect—Sera Monastery, where you can see the largest scale of scripture debating among monks.


Drepung Monastery

Sera Monastery

Day 4: Lhasa—Khamba-La Base (alt.3800m) / (86km, 6 hours)
Highlights: Yamdrok Lake, Kumpa Stupa, Pelchor Monastery
Schedule today: Leave hotel in Lhasa after breakfast, take a group photo with our bikes before Potala Palace to mark the start of our epic ride. Westward out of city, make our way down the Lhasa Valley along Lhasa River, with hills forming a picturesque backdrop as we head towards Qushui. En route, we will find a shady spot by the river to have lunch. Our camp this first night is set right at foot of Khamba-La.

Day 5: Khamba-La Base—Yamdrok Lake—Nakartse (alt.4400m) / (72km, 8 hours)
Highlights: Tashilump Monastery
Schedule today: Today we face the first of 7 major passes of our trip - the Khamba-La Pass (4794m). The 23 km climb and 1000 meters of ascent from our camp to the pass is a big challenge as our bodies continue to acclimatize to the high altitude. On the Khamba-La Pass, you will have a clear picture of turquoise Yamdrok Lake which is a Tibetan holy lake and said to be transformation of a goddess; in distance, you can also see the snowcapped summit of Ninjingkangsang. Afterwards, we will be on a fast descent (500 m) to the lakeshore. We will stop for lunch after about 5km. This afternoon we finish the last 38 km into a nice campsite just before Nakartse town.

Day 6: Nakartse—Ralung (alt.4300m) / (68km, 7 hours)
Schedule today: Leaving Nagartse, today, we will conquer our first pass above 5000m; this is a challenging but enjoyable ride to the top of the pass, from where you will see the imposing Karola glacier, which tumbles down to within a few hundred meter of the road. Descending from the Pass, we come into the Ralung valley which is a huge open valley until we reach the village of Ralung and set our campsite there.

Day 7: Ralung to Gyantse (alt.4055m) / (45km, 3 hours)
Schedule today: Today begins with a gentle climb of 15km to the top of the Simi La and then an easy and mostly downhill stage of approximately 30 km to Gyantse. The town 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. After a good shower at hotel, you will be free this afternoon to enjoy looking around Gyantse.

Day 8: Gyantse—Shigatse (alt.4055m) / (90km, 7 hours)
Schedule today: After breakfast, we’re cycling along the flat paved road to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet. Along the way we are treated to amazing views of farmlands adorned with rape flowers and plains with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Stay overnight in a hotel. We can hang out its night market if you are interested.

Day 9: Rest & sightseeing in Shigatse
Schedule today: Today, visit Tashilumo Monastery which is the seat of Panchen Lama, the equally important religious figure in Tibet as Dalai Lama. The monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama in 1447, and inside the Monastery placed the highest statue of Buddha in Tibet which is 26.8 meters high. Have half day rest in Shigatse to do laundry, have good food and buy some fruits for our coming attempt towards Mt. Everest.

Day 10: Shigatse—Tsola Base (alt.4300m) / (105km, 8 hours)
Schedule today: Today’s ride starts with an easy cycling along gentle rolling terrain across the Shigatse plains. We then ride over two small passes and through several small Tibetan villages besides the picturesque Ra Chu River. 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.

Day 11: Tsola Base—Gyatsola Base (alt.4800m) / (65km, 6 hours)
Schedule today: A steady 8km climb takes us to the Tso La pass (4580m) with spectacular views of the main Himalayas, followed by a fast downhill descent of 30 km to Lhatse County. Lhatse is famous for the best quality of handmade Tibetan style knives. After lunch here, we head out of Lhatse and into the Chusar Chu valley, and then it is another 2 to 3 hours and 620 meters of ascent to our camping site, part of the way up the long climb to the Gyamtsola Pass.

Day 12: Gyatsola Base—Tingri (alt.4300m) / (55km, 4 hours)
Schedule today: The day starts with a 15km climb to the Gyatsola Pass (5248m). You will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the Himalayas; the steep descent around 20 km passes through small villages and past Stupas down to the Lolo River. Several km before Tingri, you will have your first sight of Mt. Everest if weather is good. After lunch in Tingri, ride to visit ruins of Shegar Dzong perched on the mountain, the ruins used to be the capital administration center of Tingri region and it's also a good point to view the Himalayas. Besides the ruins, you could also visit the small and cozy shegar Chode Monastery built in the 13th century. Have a good rest tonight in the hotel, because tomorrow we ride into Mt. Everest Nature Reserve, nice ride starts from a good rest tonight.

Day 13: Tingri—Tashi Dzong (alt.4120m) / (65km, 6 hours)
Schedule today: Leave hotel for the Everest after a big checking-point. The terrain changes abruptly as we leave the main route towards Mt. Everest, and the switchback-climb to the top of the Pang La (5200m) is slow going. On a clear day, you will enjoy stunning views of the beautiful peaks of 4 highest mountains over 8000 meters (Mt. Everest; Mt. Makalu; Mt. Lotse; Mt. Cho Oyu) at the same time. After fast descent of endless hairpin bends, the road takes us onto an almost desert-like valley floor surrounded by rugged mountains. We set up our campsite near Tashi Dzong.

Day 14: Tashi Dzong—Rongbuk Monastery (alt.5150m) / (50km, 5 hours)
Schedule today: The route through jagged snow-capped peaks is relatively flat at the beginning as we leave Tashi Dzong, and it grows considerably steeper for the final 10 kilo meters to the Rongbuk Monastery. Your anticipation will increase at the turn of every corner as prospect of seeing Everest draws ever closer, but Mt. Everest only comes into view during the last hour of this ride. We will set our camp just outside of the Rongbuk monastery, the awe-inspiring backdrop of Everest is a just reward for the challenges of the last few days. The sunset views could be very fabulous if the weather is good.

Day 15: Rongbuk Monastery—Everest Base Camp—Rongbuk Monastery (16km, 2 hours)
Schedule today: We embark on the final 8 km to our closest point to Everest Base Camp. This is a bumpy ride taking us to the viewing-platform of the North Face of Mt. Everest; there you can see the base camp as well as the whole body of the Everest very clearly for a truly spiritual experience - simply unforgettable. Ride back to campsite at Rongbuk Monastery after immersing yourself in the joy and excitement before Mt. Everest.

Day 16: Rongbuk Monastery –Old Tingri (alt.4340m) / (70km, 7 hours)
Schedule today: Leaving Rongbuk, we head back and turn left to take a ‘short-cut’ into the mountains. The last bumpy trail takes us over a canyon and down into Old Tingri. It offers a picturesque view with a huddle of Tibetan homes overlooking a sweeping plain which is bordered by the towering Himalaya Range. We reach a maximum altitude of 5101m before descending along a mixture of rough sections mixed with free-flowing dirt tracks and stream crossings on into the barren plains ahead of Tingri, where we get back to the main road. Stay overnight in a guesthouse in Old Tingri.

Day 17: Old Tingri—Silong Village (alt.4400m) / (95km, 7 hours)
Schedule today: Say farewell to the Everest region and leave early today since it’s a long ride. The good part is the road is very well paved though the average altitude is around 4300m today. After 65km ride, we can see a big road fork, the main one heading south is the old cycling route to Zhangmu port which was seriously damaged during the earthquake in 2015 and now closed. At this fork, we turn right and continue westward to Gyirong area; from here we can see a corner of snowy Gangpenqyen summit which will escort our ride till Silong Village, that is the entrance and checking-point to Mt.Shixiabangma, the only mountain over 8000 meters high that completely within China.

Day 18: Silong Village—Gyirong County (alt.4200m) / (95km, 8 hours)
Schedule today: Today might be the toughest day of the whole ride, not only because it’s a long ride but also we have to conquer the very high pass of Kongtanglamu at 5236m. Tough the road is very well paved, yet it’s still very tough because the uphill of the Mt. Kongtanglamu is around 20km long. Take it easy on the way and do remember that we have supporting vehicle all the time. To your relief, the amazing snowcapped mountain views are not only on both sides of road but also in front of you, on the contrary, you might get more excited on such a ride. En route, you will also ride along the beautiful Pekutso Lake that is framed by snow peaks. From Kongtanglamu Pass, it will be all the way downhill till border, and this part is known as Gyirong Valley. From the pass, it’s around 30km left to Gyirong County. Stay in a hotel and have a good shower tonight.

Day 19: Gyirong County—Gyirong Town (alt.2600m) / (70km, 4 hours)
Schedule today: The tough and long ride of the past two days finally pays off today. The 70km road from Gyirong County to Gyirong Town (known as Gyirong Valley and said to be the Back Garden of Mt. Everest) is all downhill, so it will be a very easy ride, the journey is just perfect as the scenery along the valley changes. This couldn’t be a better ending to our whole ride in Tibet. Though it’s easy and amazing, you still have to keep alert, because the long and continuous downhill may bring big danger if you are not cautious enough. Tonight will be your last night in Tibet, feel free to enjoy a bottle of beer with your companions and guide to celebrate this epic journey.

Day 20: Gyirong Town—Gyirong port (alt.2000m) / (24km, 1.5 hours)
Schedule today: Get up early this morning to see the last sunrise in Tibet, but also could be the most fabulous one, because Gyirong Town is surrounded by several very high snowy mountains, you can simply watch it from the window or roof of your hotel. There are 24 km from the town to the Gyirong Port, and the port opens at 10 AM. We set on our bikes at about 8:30AM to ensure we can cross the border ASAP because the road in Nepal side is not that good and takes long time to reach Kathmandu. Our guide will help you go through Chinese border formalities and you will cross the border and check in Nepal side by yourself; Nepal visa is available upon arrival at 25USD P/P, please prepare one photo of passport size to get Nepal visa. Next, you need to find a vehicle towards Kathmandu, 20ms ahead of Resuo Bridge are dozens of 4WD vehicles for travelers with each holds 7 passengers at a price around USD 25 P/P. It’s an around 9 hours’ trip from border to Kathmandu. Note, all our service ends at Chinese border side, you are on your own once cross the border.