Cycling Nepal's Backcountry: Kathmandu to Pokhara
This Nepal cycling tour takes cyclists from Kathmandu to Pokhara, covering over 250 km in a north-westerly direction. While Kathmandu is the administrative and cultural capital of Nepal, Pokhara is called its tourism capital as it serves as the base camp for mountaineering expeditions to some of the highest mountains on earth, all of which are located in its vicinity. This tour offers a unique experience, connecting these two major cities through an array of mountains and backcountry routes - truly an offbeat one.
Ride along pristine villages, forests, lake valleys, unique terraces, and paddies through trails ranging from easy to challenging. The route, once a postal service network in times without roads or internet, connects us to historical places like Nuwakot, Gorkha, and Bandipur. Additionally, it introduces us to serene lakes, rivers, and various ethnic cultural villages. Each night, we stay in local guesthouses, sharing experiences and immersing ourselves in the local way of life. The trail from Kathmandu to Pokhara for mountain biking is less frequented by tourists, providing a unique opportunity to explore the cultural richness of the Himalayan foothills and relish the cross-country ride in Nepal. The entire route unfolds along an elevated plateau at an average altitude of 1200m above sea level.
Kathmandu | 13:00hrs
moderate to challenging
Manaslu & AnnapurnaRide under the shadow of Manaslu and Annapurna, the eighth and the tenth highest mountain peaks in the world respectively
|casual Inns or similar
|Bar Peepal Resort
|Bar Peepal Resort
|38km / 23
|Fly to Kathmandu
Day 1: Kathmandu
Arrive at Kathmandu and be welcomed by our tour guide. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and has direct air connectivity to most major cities in the world. It is a bustling city of close to 3 million people located in a valley in the central Himalayas at about 1400m above sea level. Considered among the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Kathmandu is a charming mix of the ancient and the modern. In the 60s and 70s, it was the terminal point of the famous hippie trail. From the 1990s onwards, it became a hub for mountaineers heading to Everest. It isn’t for nothing that legendary musicians such as Cat Stevens and Bob Seger have penned odes to Kathmandu.
We meet for a bike fit in the afternoon followed by a walking tour exploring the sights and sounds of the famous Durbar Square and several of its famous temples.
We convene tonight over dinner to celebrate the commencement of a spectacular adventure through the highest mountain range on earth.
Day 2: Trishuli
We begin the day with a quick shuttle transfer to leave the bustle of Kathmandu behind and head out into the countryside to begin our cycling adventure. We strike a north-westerly route along little-used backroads and cycle through undulating hills until we reach the town of Nuwakot. Once an important center on ancient trading routes between India, Nepal, Tibet, and China, the town is home to the ruins of a 300-year-old hilltop palace which is under consideration by UNESCO to be declared a World Heritage Site. We ride under its watchful shadow to head further to the northwest, riding over undulating hills and crossing pretty mountain streams to reach our stop for the night — Trishuli. Trishuli is a zesty, fast-flowing mountain river that originates from the perennially snow-bound glaciers of Tibet and forces its way through the mountain gorges of Nepal. For this reason, it is considered the best destination for water sports in Nepal. We spend the night at a campsite close to the banks of the Trishuli river, and under the Himalayan sky.
Elevation gain: 924m, Elevation loss: 1709m
Day 3: Dhading
We begin this day’s cycling with the perky Trishuli river as our constant companion as we follow its meandering path through hills, ravines and plains, eventually heading in a westward direction to a small town called Dhading. Known as Nepal’s Ruby Valley because of the rubies that were once abundant in this region, Dhading presents a picture postcard view of a mountain hamlet framed under towering snow-clad mountains. The day’s cycling is idyllic and picturesque, passing through villages, forests of rhododendron and pine, and beautiful valleys.
Elevation gain: 1647m, Elevation loss: 1603m
Day 4: Aarughat
We begin cycling in the morning from Dhading itself. As the sun comes out from the mountain mist, we are welcomed by spectacular views of Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain on earth at 8,148m above sea level. Manaslu, in fact, remains a constant companion as we ride towards our destination for the day, Aarughat. Aarughat is another small mountain hamlet that is popular for being the starting point of trekking expeditions to and around Manaslu. The day’s riding begins with a challenging uphill, before petering out into a gentle downhill.
Elevation gain: 994m, Elevation loss: 1072m
Day 5: Gorkha
We begin cycling today from Aarughat itself, taking a northerly course to the town of Gorkha, located close to the border with Tibet/China. Gorkha is a town intimately connected to the formative history of Nepal and its ruling dynasties, remnants of its eventful past still lying scattered across the town in the form of various monuments and ruins. Aarughat is surrounded by more than 14 peaks over 7000m in altitude that rises up all around it like sheer walls of stone and snow, giving it the appearance of a Tolkien-esque citadel.
Elevation gain: 1314 m, Elevation loss: 741 m
Day 6: Sundari Bazar
Today is a long and fun day of cycling. We strike a western path through some gorgeous scenery consisting of rice paddies, small villages, quiet village roads, and clean mountain air. Our companion for much of the ride will be the Marshyangdi river, a swift-flowing mountain stream famous as a destination for white-water rafting. Today’s ride brings us close to Pokhara, as we stop for the night at Sundari Bazar, a quaint mountain town on the outskirts of Pokhara.
Elevation gain: 875m, Elevation loss: 1320m
Day 7: Begnas Lake
This is one of the longest days of biking on the tour. We head out towards Begnas Lake, a high-altitude, freshwater lake situated on the outskirts of Pokhara. The waters of the lake change colors depending on the season of the year. On clear days, visitors can see the imposing white massif of the Annapurna mountain — the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8091 m above sea level — reflected in its blue waters. Along the way, we pass by small mountain rivulets and numerous small villages, stopping to chat with the ever-friendly farmers and villages about life, lemons, philosophy, and everything else under the sun.
Elevation gain: 1524 m, Elevation loss: 1458 m
Day 8: Begnas Loop
After yesterday’s long hours spent in the saddle, we take this day as a rest day or go cycling; leisurely around more lakes. Beginning from the Begnas, we head over to another, an even bigger lake called Lake Phewa. Phewa is the second-largest lake in Nepal and is famous for adventure sports. The lake is also known for offering mesmerizing reflections on its clear waters of the Machapuchare or the Fish-tail mountain — one of the few mountains in Nepal that have never been climbed.
Elevation gain: 317 m, Elevation loss: 204 m
Day 9: Astam
We bike today towards Astam, a small village known as a trekking destination for novice trekkers. The village offers spectacular views of the Annapurna mountain range. Visitors especially come here for the sunrise and sunset over the magnificent Annapurna. Astam is known for its many eco-tourism resorts. We spend the night at one such comfortable eco-resort.
Elevation gain: 280 m, Elevation loss: 204 m
Day 10: Bhumdi Village
This is another relaxed day of biking in which we ride from Astam to Bhumdi, another idyllic village set in the valleys around Pokhara. We take many stops along the way to admire the natural beauty of the Pokhara valley, click pictures of the snow-clad mountains and chat with the farmers.
Elevation gain: 550 m, Elevation loss: 432 m
Day 11: Pokhara
After 10 days of riding through a mesmerizing Himalayan landscape, we finally arrive at our destination — the famed town of Pokhara. Today’s ride begins with a short uphill and then descends into a knuckle-gripping downhill into Pokhara. A metropolitan town of over half a million inhabitants, Pokhara is marked by two striking geographical features — the Annapurna mountain and the Phewa Lake.
Elevation gain: 550 m, Elevation loss: 432 m
Day 12: Pokhara
Exploring Kristi village on a mountain bike is a must for any biking enthusiast visiting the Pokhara Valley. Today's ride leads you through charming villages and the renowned orange orchards of Pokhara, where abundant orange harvests occur annually.
While navigating the skyline trail, be treated to mesmerizing views of Annapurna I (8091m), Dhaulagiri (8167m), Manaslu (8164m), and other mountain ranges.
Day 13: Fly to Kathmandu
Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu that offers a quick 25-30 minute journey with spectacular views of the Himalayas. The flight showcases picturesque valleys and mountain peaks, making it a memorable experience. Keep an eye on weather conditions for potential schedule changes. Upon landing in Kathmandu, transition from the serene mountain landscapes to the bustling city life.
Day 14: Departure
Please make arrangements as per your onward travel plans.
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Dates and Prices
From US $900
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All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
E-bikes are available (subject to availability) on this trip at a surcharge.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.
When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Our fleet majorly consist of the below bikes as a part of this tour. However, sometimes due to height or availability constraints, we may provide a different but similar quality bike.
Trek Marlin 7 or similar
Included in your trip price
Trek Rail 5 Gen 2 or similar
Available at a surcharge
Bergamont E-trailster or similar
Available at a surcharge
The best time to visit Nepal is between October to December and March to May when average temperatures range from 5-28°C. January and February are cold and June to September is the rainy season.
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