The Road to Everest

a 16 day bike tour in Tibet


 
This is the journey you've dreamt about your entire life - a chance to experience the remarkable, ancient cultures of Tibet surrounded by a landscape that defies description. On The Road to Everest you'll begin in Lhasa exploring the historic temples, pilgrimage trails and hot springs concealed within the surrounding hills. We'll then mount up and begin our pedal out across the Tibetan Plateau toward the ever-towering Himalayas. A series of strategically placed hotels with welcomed amenities enable us to recharge in comfort each night with one spectacular day of cycling blending into another as we blaze our groundbreaking route to Everest.

Your grand adventure starts in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet and former home of the Dalai Lama. To allow time for riders to acclimate to the high altitudes, we start with a walking tour of the ancient city followed by a short cycling loop through the surrounding valleys and hills. Dotting the countryside are a collection of Tibet's most revered temples and Buddhist universities, as well as secluded hot springs where we pause to rejuvenate active muscles. Our expedition warm-up continues with a few extra days in Lhasa offering a rare and unhurried opportunity to delve deeply into the soul of the city with its memorable cuisine, quiet cobblestone alleyways and colorful markets.

Pointing our compass south, the next leg of our journey takes us along a meandering route past scenic Yamdrok Lake, the Samding Monastery (home of the only female reincarnate of Buddha) and age-old villages renowned for their artisan traditions and carpet-making skills. We eventually turn onto the China-Nepal Friendship Highway venturing deeper into the Himalayas. Arriving at the intersection of old world meets new, we pedal down a recently paved and improved road to majestic Rombuk Monastery and the Everest Base Camp. As bikes are not allowed inside the National Park, we reach our final destination on foot by walking the last few kilometers to the base camp. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back and join the celebration - you just became part of lore and legend on The Road to Everest!
 
Flying to Lhasa for a Tibet bike tour
DAY

01
Arrive Lhasa, free time, welcome dinner and traditional music.
We arrive Lhasa first thing in the morning, the capital of Tibet and former home of the Dalai Lama, the world-wide spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Aside from orientation, assembling the bikes and dinner, we have nothing planned for today. It's a chance to start your acclimatization to the altitude. Dinner tonight is highlighted by traditional Tibetan dancing and musical performances.
Meals: D
Potola Palace in Lhasa
DAY

02
Explore Lhasa city by foot & pedicab, visit produce markets, handicraft shops and the massive Potola Palace.
A leisurely day is in store. In the morning we will explore parts of the old city, watching the day to day life in the markets and temple squares near our hotel. After a light lunch, we will head out by pedicab to explore the Portola Palace. This massive monastery overlooks the city from a rocky outcropping in the heart of the city. Head out for a traditional Tibetan dinner at one of Lhasa's great restaurants near the Jokhang Temple.
Meals: B L D
Colorful flowers outside Tibetan temples
DAY

03
Cycling daytrip to explore Sera and Drepung Monasteries, travel tree lined rural roads through river valleys.
The roads are calling our name. We will set out to the northeast today, cycling out to visit the monasteries at Sera and Drepung. These, along with Ganden, are the three famed Gelukpa University Monasteries of Tibet (Gelukpa is the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism). Drepung at its peak housed some 10,000 monks.
Cycling: 28 mi / 45 km, Terrain: hily, Meals: B L D
Gaden Monastery at the end to today's cycling tour
DAY

4/5
Pedal through local farming communities, visit Tibet's oldest monastery, Ganden, then enjoy a free day in Lhasa on Day 6.
Todays ride takes us east from Lhasa, out into the countryside passing greenhouses, potato farms and small Tibetan communities. Midway through our ride, we will leave the Yellow River valley through which we have been riding and head up to the Ganden Monastery one of the oldest in Tibet with some buildings dating back to the 1400s. After touring this colorful complex, we enjoy a swift downhill run back to the Yellow River and a leisurely ride back to Lhasa.
Cycling: 5 mi / 84 km, Terrain: hilly, Meals: B L D

You have the day to your leisure. It is a great chance to relax and recharge from the high altitude exertion. Or perhaps you might wish to explore some more of Lhasa ancient streets and markets. (lunch & dinner are on your own today)
Meals: B
Religous carvings seen alongside the road
DAY

06
Start down the road to Everest, cycle Poplar Tree lined roads through Lhasa River Valley.
Our first ride on the Road to Everest is a leisurely journey through the Lhasa River valley. The road is often lined with poplar trees, as it winds alongside the many channels of the river. Tonight's lodging is in the quiet town of Quxul. 67 kms
Cycling: 42 mi / 67 km, Terrain: flat & small hills, Meals: B L D
Murals seen during Tibet cycling holiday
DAY

07
Tackle Kamba La (4750 m), pedal the lakeshore roads of Yamdrok, explore Nangartse Monastery.
Today we tackle our first big ascent, biking from Quxul to Nangartse. Other than the 30 kilometer slow ascent to Kamba La pass (4750 meters), the balance of our day is valley floor riding. Descending off the pass, we will pedal along beautiful Yamdrok Lake, whose shoreline we follow to Nangartse. The turqoise waters of Yamdrok will provide numerous photo opportunities.
Cycling: 75mi / 120 km, Terrain: mountainous, Ppss: Kamba La 4750 m, Meals: B L D
The scene while biking past the Baiju Fortress
DAY

08
Enjoy glacial landscapes en route to Gynatse, visit carpet weaving shops, tackle two passes, visit the fortress and Baiju Monastery.
Glacial landscapes outline today's ride to Gyantse, the third largest settlement in Tibet. The area is renowned for its carpet weaving and you may have an opportunity to look for some small rugs to treasure back home. Upon reaching Gyantse we will visit the Kumbum at Baiju Monastery dating from the 1400's, whose unique architecture resembles a three dimensional mandala and stroll up to the ancient Dzong (fortress) which overlooks the city.
Cycling: 59 mi / 95 km, Terrain: mountainous, Pass: Karo La 5045 m, Simi La 4330 m, Meals: B L D
Prayer flags
DAY

09
Leisurely cycling through river valleys to Shigatse, visit the Samdrubtse Dzong, explore Shigatse by foot.
A day of mostly river valley cycling is in store today as we pedal to Shigatse. Home to the Panchen Lama who co-ruled Tibet with the Dalai Lama, Shigatse is now guarded by the restored Samdrubtse Dzong on the ridge high above. You will have ample time to stroll about town with our early arrival. 90 kms
Cycling: 56 mi / 90 km, Terrain: flat & small hills, Meals: B L D
Cycling the China Nepal Friendship Highway
DAY

10
Bike the China - Nepal Friendship Highway, roll through colorful high desert style terrain.
We pick up the China - Nepal Friendship Highway today and follow it for the next two days. Today's landscapes are reminiscent of Utah's high desert regions, with rolling hills, decorated with multicolored stripes of browns and reds. The area raises not only barley, the staple food of Tibet, but sheep, yak and cattle. Along the way we will pass by the remains Narthang Monastery, one of the earliest printers in Tibet, using carved wooden printing tablets. Our goal for the evening is the village of Lhatse.
Cycling: 47 mi / 75 km, Terrain: mountainous, Pass: Yulong La 4950 m, Meals: B L D
Bicycle touring in Tibet
DAY

11
Tackle the China - Nepal Highway's highest pass, the bed down in Old Tingri town, former jumping off place for climbing trips.
Our second day cycling the dramatic scenery of the Friendship Highway takes us over the highest pass on the road, Lappa La at 5220 meters. We will wind down for the night in Old Tingri, a few miles past New Tingri, the starting point of the new road to the Everest Base Camp.
Cycling: 56 mi / 90 km, Terrain: mountainous, Pass: Lappa La 5220 m, Meals: B L D
Pedaling to Mt Everest
DAY

12
Ride the Rongbuk Highway, built for the Olympics torch relay, bed down at Rongbuk Monastery with an "in your face" panoramic view of Everest.
China recently opened a new road from New Tingri to Rongbuk, to allow for the Olympic torch to be carried to Mt Everest before the Beijing 2008 Games. The project generated lots of controversy, but opened easier access to the mountain. We will travel this road to Rongbuk Monastery, sitting at the upper end of the valley, which has one of the most dramatic views in the world. Along the way Pang La (Pass) provides an unparalleled panorama of Shishapangma, Everest, Cho Oyu and Gyachang Kang peaks. Due to a total lack of maintenance, the road is currently unsuitable for cycling, so we may drive to Rongbuk.
Cycling: 68 mi / 110 km, Terrain: mountainous & rough roads, Pass: Pang La 5120 m, Meals: B L D
Cycle through the Yellow River Gorge
DAY

13/14
Shuttle back to Shigatse, on Day 15 bike through the beautiful Yellow River Gorge to a small resort overlooking the gorge.
This morning, if the weather gods cooperate, we nay be treated to one of the most photographed images, the stupha of Rongbuk with early morning light on Mt Everest behind. Afterward we will load the bikes and start the drive back to Lhasa. We will break-up the trip with an overnight stop in Shigatse once again. We will explore the Tashilunpo Monastery upon arrival in Shigatse town.
Meals: B L D

We'll visit the Gang Gyen carpet making factory, a project started by the 10th Panchen Lama after breakfast, then drive a short way out of town to the start of the Yellow River Gorge. The bikes will get unloaded for an 80 kms ride through this magnificent narrow gorge, punctuated by small villages and white water rapids. Our stop for the night is a small resort perched above the cascading river out in the countryside.
Cycling: 50 mi / 80 km, Terrain: flat & small hills, Meals: B L D
Historic building in Lhasa
DAY

15/16
Shuttle back to Lhasa, enjoy some free time, on Day 17 bid your farewell to Tibet.
A short drive takes us back to Lhasa, where you are free to explore, shop for souvenirs or just relax and take in the scenery. We will head out in the evening for a final dinner at one of Lhasa's better restaurants, taking in our last taste of delicious Tibetan cuisine. (lunch on your own today)
Meals: B L D

It is time to bid fond farewells to our fellow adventures. It was a monumental, journey without comparison through one of the world's most dramatic landscapes. We will offer a shuttle back to the airport to meet the major flights departing Lhasa. Kah Leh Phe
Meals: B
16 days (12 days cycling)
Inn to Inn
Level: D

Local inns and resorts
2 and 3 star    See some of our hotels

Tour meets and ends in Lhasa, Tibet (LSA)
Small paved roads, very little traffic, mountainous terrain
high altitudes (3300 to 5220 m, 10,800 to 17,225 ft)

Total: 470 mi / 757 km
Daily Avg: 47 mi / 76 km


Scheduled Departures:
Tour Cost: $3995
Deposit: $400

Private Trips:
6 or more people: $4095
2 to 5 people: $5095
1 person: n/a

Extras:
Single Supplement: $800
Bike Rental: free of charge
(All costs per person in US $. Seasonal supplements may apply on private trips.)

More Ideas

Here are some other great bucket list trips to check out.

Comfortable Boutique Accommodation

Shambala Palace
Elegant hotel featuring traditional architectural stylings and in the heart of old Lhasa.

Yeti Hotel
Recently renovated hotel, featuring Tibetan style architecture in Gyantse

Tashi Choten Hotel
Traditional Tibetan stylings in a full service resort.

Lhatse Shanghai Hotel
Chinese style group tour hotel, but the best place to stay in Lhatse

The hotels listed here are some of the hotels we use. Our properties range from nice resorts to very basic guesthouses and most do not have websites.

Choose Your Date

Trip Starts Departure
Trip Ends
Price
Sgl Sup
Deposit
Notes
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3
Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018
$ 3995
$ 1050
$ 400
 
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