Our mountain biking trip to the Upper Mustang Valley is truly an awe-inspiring adventure and a phenomenal experience that you’ll never forget.
Words can’t really describe this amazing & unique place of ancient Buddhist and Tibetan culture. The Upper Mustang, where our destination point ‘Lo-Manthang’ is located, is a remote and forbidden area, restricted to foreigners until 1992.
Now, with our unique knowledge of the area and our passion for finding awesome biking trails we’ve managed to carve out a spectacular route on some of the most remote trails in the world in a place where most riders would never get the chance ride. If you’re looking for something truly unique, our Upper Mustang biking trip is certainly one of the best rides that Nepal has to offer!
Lo-Manthang, the ultimate destination of this route, is an area where only handful of foreigners ever visit and only possible with a special permit. The town was constructed in the 15th century on a plateau 3800 meters above sea level. Our journey to reach it goes high onto the Tibetan Plateau at a maximum altitude of 4300 meters. As you leave Lower Mustang and venture deeper in to the Kaligandaki gorge you’ll leave behind the familiar Nepali greeting of “Namaste”, now replaced by “Tashi Delek” in the local reigional dialect. This area is the home of an ancient Tibetan Kingdom with a recorded history dating back 700 years.
The culture of Mustang is distinctly Tibetan and Lo-Manthang is one of the last places where you can see this ancient culture, relatively untouched by modern influences, located in a province whose name translates as ‘Across the Himalayas’. If you can visit in early May, the trip coincides with the spring Tiji festival where you’ll experience rich traditional displays of music, dance and costume to celebrate the arrival of spring after the harsh winter.
Arrival in Kathmandu Airport, greeting by our representative and transfer to the Hotel. Take you’re time to relax & soak in Nepal’s ancient capitol with some sight seeing.
Today we have a 7 hour drive in a private van to Pokhara with some stunning veiws from the road along the way as we skirt the impressive Annapurna Massif.
The adventure starts today with a warm up ride on our home trails of the Pokhara Valley!
We have plenty of circuits to choose from. Flat Cross Country rides, hard climbs that offer stunning views of the Himalayan Range, recreational rides visiting some caves or just enjoying our flowing single-track, it’s up to you… Get into the groove before jumping up into the high mountains the next day.
We’ll leave early to take the spectacular flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, (approximately 20 minutes). As soon as we land at Jomsom airport, we assemble our bikes, and have breakfast in the lap of Mount Nilgiri.
After breakfast, we start biking to Kagbeni (2800m). Our ride will follow the Kaligandaki gorge on a flat, rocky jeep track along a famous holy trekking trail. Kagbeni is the entry point to Upper Mustang where we’ll stay in the “Red House” hotel.
We recommend waking up early to enjoy the spectacular sunrise and get some photos that you wouldn’t believe! Today we will be biking mostly uphill to Muktinath on jeep track. We will have lunch at Jharkot exploring afterwards some of the monasteries and local culture.
Today our journey enters into the forbidden land of Upper Mustang. We will ride uphill to the Gyu La pass descending to Chusang where we will have lunch and rest for a while.
After having lunch, we’ll follow the banks of the Kali river and cross by bridge, riding uphill to reach Chaile. This is a nice little village which offers an awesome view of mount Nilgiri and the Kaligandaki valley from a different angle than the first day in Jomsom. In Chaile we can explore some ancient buildings and a monastery.
Heading farther North into the Himalayas we’ll ride and push the uphills, enjoying the downhills after the passes. There’s 4 passes in between Chaile and Syangboche.
We’ll stop at Samar for lunch then ride again towards Syangboche, being likely to meet some village people, ponies and donkeys along the way!
To start we have short climb to reach the first small pass with two more passes to come. From the 1st pass we will be rewarded with an amazing view of Nilgiri, Annapurna and Mustang. We will then ride, first on gentle track then hair rising downhill, to the Gilling then uphill again through some beautiful villages on single track. After the bigest pass of the day (4000m) we’ll ride the downhill to Ghami.
We’ll have Lunch in a local tea house with some delicious food from the Tibetan influenced kitchen. Next we’ll ride down through some farmland where yak/ Chauri graze and cross a bridge riding past Mani wall and an ancient Gumba. Then we’ll approach the last pass followed by a downhill taking us towards Charang where finally we can relax after the big day!
Today we’ll finally reach our destination of Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Buddhist heritage. It is a relatively easy day’s ride with only the Lo-la pass (3810m) to cross. In this true Himalayan landscape the views are amazing and there are some 360 degree view points where we can stop and take photos. We’ll be riding through open jeep tracks and some trekking trails. After the pass we’ll reach Lo-Manthang after about half an hour. We’ll take lunch in our guest house and relax for the rest of the day.
Now we get the chance to explore the fascinating Lo-Manthang with it’s centuries old Gumba, Royal Palace, inhabited caves, museum and ancient Buddhist ways of life. We may even get the chance to meet the traditional King and Queen of the region!
Now it’s time to be leaving Lo-Manthang and head back through some new single-track routes. We’ll have to pass two passes over 4000 meters, looking back up the Mustang Valley with some amazing views. We’ll be able to see the Ghar Gumbaon from the other direction and later in the evening we’ll explore the village of Ghami (the village we had our lunch in on the way to Lo-Manthang).
We’ll now be reversing the route we took coming towards Lo-Manthang with the veiws and scenery just as spectacular as before! We’ll take lunch in Syangboche then ride up to the pass followed by a downhill to reach Samar village.
We’ll start today’s ride early in the morning with small climb up to Da- Jorila pass (3737m) then a downhill ride to Chaile. We’ll ride along the kali Gandaki river bank to Kagbeni and take lunch in either Chhusang or Kagbeni. After lunch we ride back along the kaligandaki gorge to our starting point at Jomsom. Then we’ll continue with a ride through gorgeous apple gardens to the beautiful village of Marpha. We will stay overnight in Marpha which is known for it’s Apple brandy!
We’ll wake up early after a good sleep (as you come down from high altitude most people sleep better at night) and have the chance to explore some of Marpha. After a good breakfast we’ll get started on our journey toward a more subtropical region along the Kaligandaki River. It’s downhill all the way with lush, green scenery and more oxygen in your lungs, what a great feeling! We’ll reach Tatopani (meaning ‘hot spring’ in Nepali) which is a famous place among locals for treating skin ailments (& not bad for tired legs too!).
After breakfast we will ride along the river bed on a jeep track to the Beni Bazaar where we’ll meet the Pokhara road. Our vehicle will be waiting for us to take us back to Pokhara.