THE NEPAL EXPERIENCE – Ride to Lower Mustang & Muktinath

DURATION – 13 Nights / 14 Days

Exploring the terrain of a land is best done on a motorcycle and Nepal is a country with innumerable types of terrain. Nepal is also where the ice cold mighty Himalayas meet the lush green tropical region of the Terai plains. Exploring the terrain of a land is best done on a motorcycle and Nepal is a country with innumerable types of terrain. Nepal is also where the ice cold mighty Himalayas meet the lush green tropical region of the Terai plains. In the past few years Nepal has become a popular destination for motorcyclists from around the world as it offers a huge variety of terrains and views.Views of the magnificent Himalayas, colourful and vibrant cultures, ancient temples and monasteries, jungle safari in search of the elusive tiger and more…

This ride is one of the ultimate Nepal introduction rides as we ride from the rain shadow part of the wind-swept desert landscape of the Himalayas down to the lush jungles of the Terai plains near the Indian border. It follows part of the famous Annapurna trekking circuit as well as it being the ancient route for the salt traders from Tibet. We ride through, what is claimed to be the deepest gorge in the world and climb into the dramatic, desert like Tibetan style scenery of the Upper Gandaki Valley. Passing through ancient Thakali and authentic Tibetan villages. Swimming in the natural hot springs at Tatopani and climbing to the ancient and very sacred Hindu/Buddhist pilgrimage city of Muktinah that sits at nearly 4000m. Some of the riding is challenging over rocky landscape, through mountain streams and river beds, but the Royal Enfield easily copes with all of this.

SKELETAL ITINERARY
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Day 02: Sightseeing tour of Kathmandu
Day 03: Ride Kathmandu to Pokhara (approx. 210 Km)
Day 04: Ride from Pokhara to Kalopani (130 Km) Day 05: Ride Kalopani to Muktinath (3710 m) (approx. 46 Km)
Day 06: Ride Muktinath to Kagbeni to Marpha (approx. 26 Km)
Day 07: Ride to Marpha to Tatopani (approx. 50 Km)
Day 08: Ride Tatopani to Pokhara (approx. 105 Km)
Day 09: Free Day in Pokhara
Day 10: Ride Pokhara to Chitwan (approx. 160 Km)
Day 11: Jungle Activities in Chitwan
Day 12: Ride Chitwan to Kathmandu via Kulekhane Dam (Approx. 180 km)
Day 13: Free Day in Kathmandu
Day 14: Final Departure

FEATURES

Region: Nepal Himalayas.
Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days
Best season: March, April, May—Sep, Oct, Nov.
Highest elevation: 3710 meters.Rivers: Trishuli, Kali, Marshyangdi, Seti, Kali Ghandaki, Rapti, Narayani, etc
Mountains: Fish Tail, Annapurna Ranges, Nilgiri, Tukuche, Dhaulagiri etc.

RIDING GEAR RECOMMENDED

⦁ HELMET⦁ RIDING JACKET (Water proof recommended)⦁ RIDING PANTS (Water proof recommended)⦁ RIDING BOOTS (Water proof recommended)⦁ GLOVES (Water proof recommended)⦁ SUN GLASS⦁ KIDNEY BELT (Optional)⦁ TANK BAG (Optional)

Arrive Kathmandu
Upon arrival, you are met by our company representative and transferred in a private deluxe van to the hotel.

Evening: A brief introduction of the trip, followed by a welcome dinner at a typical Nepali Restaurant with cultural show at “Utsav Restaurant”.

After the dinner, transfer to the Hotel.

Overnight at the Hotel Manaslu or Similar 

Sightseeing tour of Kathmandu

After breakfast, the crew will introduce you to the Motorcycles. Make sure you are ready to ride. There will be a short briefing about safety with some tips on how to survive on the Nepali roads plus what the road captain expects of us.

After the briefing, everyone will be handed the keys to the motorcycles and taken for a ride around the city to familiarise themselves with the bikes. Later, we proceed for a sightseeing tour on the bikes. We will ride to Nagarkot (32 kms) via the ancient Bhaktapur Durbar Square (approx. 12kms from Kathmandu). Arriving at Bhaktapur we park the bikes and walk through the ancient city.

Durbar Square: The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like Lion Gate, the statue of Bhupatindra Malla the Picture Galley, the Golden Gate, The Palace of 55 windows, the Bastille temple and the Bell of barking dogs, etc. The statue of Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace. Of the many statues available in Nepal this is considered to be the most magnificent.

The National Art Gallery: Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist school depicting Tantrics of various periods and descriptions.

The Golden Gate: The Golden Gate is the entrance to the main counter of the Palace of 55 windows. Built by King Ranjit Malla, the gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.
The Palace of 55 Windows: The palace of 55 windows was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious settings and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is the masterpiece of wood carving.

Natyapola Temple: This five storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces, squat a pair of figures, two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins, Baghiani, Singini – the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.

After the sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur Durbar Square we have lunch at nearby restaurant and later we ride to Nagarkot.

Nagarkot is approximately 20 kilometers from Bhaktapur.Nagarkot is situated in a strategic location; It was an ancient fort of the Kathmandu valley. Built to monitor the external activities of another kingdom. Later, it became a summer retreat for the royals, before becoming popular as an international hill station.

This small hilltop lies on the ridge at an elevation of 2195 meters on the valley’s northeast rim overlooking a big chunk of the Western, Central and the Eastern Himalayas, including five of the world’s 10 highest Peaks- Mt. Everest (8848 m), Mt.Lhotse (8516 m), Mt.Cho-Oyu (8201 m), Mt.Makalu (8463 m), and Mt.Manaslu (8163 m).

Nagarkot also offers one of the best sunrise and sunset views. In the late afternoon, we go for a jaunt to the vantage point to see the sunset.
After riding back to Kathmandu our evening is free to relax and explore around the city.

Overnight at the Hotel Manaslu or similar

Ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara (210 Kilometers)

After breakfast, we hit the road to Pokhara. Negotiating the traffic out of the Kathmandu city is challenging but our road captain will keep us bunched up and safe. We ride out of Kathmandu Valley and over a spectacular hill with lots of twists and turns and heavy traffic.

After the town of Naubise, (26 kms)  the road becomes much larger and smoother. Just past Kurintar, (103 kilometers from Kathmandu.) we come across the Manokamana Temple.

We continue riding to Mugling, the junction where the highway divides, South to Chitwan and West to Pokhara.

We head west by crossing the bridge and follow the Marshyangdi river. We ascend through terraced agricultural lands and small road -side villages.
At the outskirts of Pokhara, we are greeted with views of the Annapurna Mountain range including the famous Fish Tail Mountain.

Pokhara stands at 884 m above sea level, about 700 m lower than Kathmandu Valley. Only foothills separate Pokhara form the full height of the Himalayas, and the magnificent 8000 m. peaks of the Annapurna range.

Pokhara is a vacationer’s paradise with its crystal clear lakes and fantastic views of the Annapurna range including the Fish Tail Mountain. Pokhara is a vacationer’s paradise with its crystal clear lakes and fantastic views of the Annapurna range including the Fish Tail Mountain.

Upon arrival check into the hotel

Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the lakeside bazaar.

Overnight at the Hotel 

Ride Pokhara to Kalopani (approx. 130 Km)

After an early breakfast, leave Pokhara and ride towards Beni (approx. 70 Kilometers) on the Baglung Highway. This section of the ride provides fantastic mountain vistas, picturesque terraced farmlands and an opportunity to walk on one of Nepal’s famous suspension bridges.

At Mal Dhunga, leave the main highway by taking the right trail and follow a dusty graveled path all the way to Beni, the district headquarters of Myagdi District in Dhaulagiri Zone. It is located on the confluence of Kali Ghandaki and Myagdi rivers at an altitude of 799 meters and is a bustling town lined with stores, restaurants, hotels and various government offices.

From here, the riding becomes more challenging. The road is unpaved and dusty with potholes, slips and the occasional water crossing. And if it has rained recently – lots of mud.

We are now climbing gradually through the Kali Gandiki gorge. The deepest gorge in the world. The scenery is spectacular and the terrain becomes more arid and stark.

We pass through Tatopani where the hot springs are. (We will stay here on the way back).

From here set out on the trail by following the Kali Gandaki River and passing through Thakali and Magar villages to Dana (4700ft/1446m) to Dana, which is famous for its beautiful cascading waterfall.

Then we steeply ascend to Ghasa (6600 ft./ 2012m) and continue the ride on a difficult and dusty section of the road towards Jomsom via the Thakali villages of Tukuche and Kalopani.

Enroute, there are fantastic views of the Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Tukuche (6920m), and Nilgiri (7061m).

As we pass between the Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna mountain range, there is a dramatic change. Vegetation gives way to dry arid desert. The Thakali’s are the dominant tribe of the valley. They are related to the Gurung and Magars of the southern slopes.

After passing Ghasa, we will cross a bridge at Dhaiku then ride for 10 kms, via Lete until we arrive at today’s destination – Kalopani. (2530m/8349feet). Some of you will be finding that you are short of breath at these altitudes. From here we can enjoy a magnificent view of Mt. Nilgiri and Mt. Tukuche.

After checking in at the lodge for the night the rest of the evening is free to explore.

Overnight at Hotel

Ride Kalopani to Muktinath via Jomsom (approx. 46 Km)

After an early breakfast, we set out on the trail again.

Still following the Kali Gandaki River, we pass through the Thakali and Magar villages of Kokhethanti and Tukuche on our way to the bigger settlement of Jomsom.

Jomsom (2713 m) is more correctly known as Dzongsam or New Fort. It spreads over both the banks of the Kali Ghandaki.
The towering peaks of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri form an attractive backdrop.

Jomsom is the Administrative center of the Mustang region and consequently very busy. It is the gateway to the Annapurna region. This is where most of the trekkers of the Annapurna Circuit end their journey as the region’s only airport is situated here.

It also has a hospital, many guesthouses and restaurants, a visitors center, the Royal Nepal Army High Altitude Warfare training center, and government offices.

It is a bustling town where government officials, trekkers and the local Thakali people all mix and mingle. Not far past Jomsom, the valley opens very wide. After about 20 minutes, arrive at the small village of Ekklaibhatti. The road divides here. The left will lead to Kagbeni while the right one leads to Muktinath. We take the right trail and continue to ascend slowly to the settlement of Jharkot, which has a fort “Kot”.

From here, another 15 minutes ride on the desert plateau brings us to Muktinath, where we check into our accommodation for the night.

Late PM: Visit Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple is a very sacred pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists alike. It is located at an altitude of 3,710 meters (12,243 feet) at the foot of the Thorong La Pass.

You will see Tibetan traders here as well as sadhus from as far away as South India. Also many pilgrims from all over the world.

The shrines, in the grove of trees, include a Buddhist gompa, a Vishnu temple and the The Jwalamai (the Goddess of Fire) Temple which shelters a spring and natural gas jets that provide Muktinath’s famous Eternal Flame. It’s the combination of Earth, water and fire in such close proximity that accounts for Muktinath’s great religious significance.

The Hindus call this sacred place MuktiKshetra, which literally means “Place of Salvation”.

After the sightseeing tour of Muktinath Temple we descend back down to Ranipauwa (Main Bazaar of Muktinath).

This day’s journey is a tough one, but the scenic views of the rugged landscape, beautiful cascading waterfalls, orange and apple orchards, scattered roadside villages, ancient Buddhist monasteries all make it ‘One Hell of a Ride”. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.

Overnight at the guest house

After a leisurely breakfast, we ride down to Kagbeni (2800 m), which is the gateway to Upper Mustang. (Note: The Kaligandaki Valley becomes increasingly windy during the day as the winds blows south to north and makes it difficult for travellers.

Ride Muktinath to Tatopani via Kagbeni (approx. 26 Km)

Kagbeni, at an altitude of 2840m, is a fascinating medieval village with closely packed mud brick houses, dark alleys and imposing chortens. This is the gateway to Upper Mustang. (check out our ride to this region “the Hidden Kingdom”)

The village stands in a little green oasis dominated by its red monastery. Though the village has a very medieval look, it can provide all the modern amenities that a traveler requires. This is the only village after Jomsom where there is an internet facility for communication with the outside world.
The monks, in the monastery, are of the yellow hat or the Gelukpa Sect and have only recently opened their monastery to visitors with an entrance fee of Rs 100, which they collect for the maintenance of their school.

After spending some time at Kagbeni, we continue our ride back through Jomsom (approx. 11 Km) then continue on 5 more kilometers to Marpha Village.

Marpha, at an elevation of 2670 meters, is famous for its apple orchards and apple products. This large Thakali village exhibits the typical ThakKhola architecture of flat roofs and narrow paved alleys and passageways. It also has a monastery.

Upon arrival check in to the Guest House. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore the village and the Tibetan Camp.

Overnight at the Guest House

Ride Marpha to Tatopani (approx. 50 Km)

After a leisurely breakfast we retrace the route until we arrive at Tatopani.

Tato” means ‘hot’ and “Pani” means ‘water’. A name earned courtesy of the hot springs. This is a popular place for trekker’s and motorcyclists to relax and dip their weary bodies in the natural hot springs.

Upon arrival we check in to the Guest House. The rest of the day we can enjoy a beer at the Hot Springs.

Overnight at the Guest House

Ride Tatopani to Pokhara via Beni (approx.105 Km)

After breakfast we retrace our route until we arrive at Pokhara.

Lunch at Beni / Nayapul.

Upon arrival at Pokhara check in to the hotel and the rest of the day is free to relax and explore.

Overnight at Hotel

Rest Day in Pokhara.

Pokhara is my favorite place. There is so much to do and see.
You may want to chill by the hotel pool or cruise round the many shopping opportunities OR…..

Optional Activities in Pokhara:-

PARAGLIDING: Early morning you will be picked up and taken up to Sarangkot (on top of a mountain) for paragliding.

Sarangkot  is also the best place to go at sunrise or sunset to view the huge panorama of the Himalayan mountain range. Some awesome photographic opportunities to be had here.

You will also get an amazing view of Fewa Lake After being briefed about the take-off, flight and landing you will be harnessed in with your pilot and start flying!!!!

The flight lasts for about 1 hour, depending upon the wind conditions. As you are gliding, you will have unobstructed and fantastic views of the lakes, monasteries, hills, mountain peaks and many other points of interest. You can vary your paragliding experience between regular calm flights to one with acrobatic surprises. Just tell your pilot your favorite style and he will comply willingly. The flight concludes when you safely land on the grassy bank of Fewa Lake.

BOATING AT PHEWA LAKE: PhewaTal or Fewa Lake  is the second largest lake in Nepal. It lies at an altitude of 784 m (2,572 ft) and  covers an area of about 4.43 km2 (1.7 sq mi) with an average depth of about 8.6 m (28 ft) The maximum water depth is 22.8 m (75 ft) . Maximum water capacity of the lake is approximately 46,000,000 cubic metres (37,000 acre·ft). Annapurna looms in the distance from the lake and the lake is famous for the reflection of Mount Machapucchre on its surface. The holy Varahi mandir temple is situated on an island in the lake. You can hire a canoe or a paddle boat to take you out here. It is a delightful place to visit.

ULTRA LIGHT FLIGHT: Another early morning start where you are taken to the airport for the Mountain flight on an Ultra-light aircraft.
You will get panoramic views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu Himalayan range, lakes, villages, picturesque landscape etc. Ultra-light aircraft flight was introduced in Nepal in 1996.

Ultra-light flights are operated in the morning from sunrise until 11am, and from 3pm until sunset in the months from September through June. Ultra-light flight is a quiet and peaceful experience without fear, floating comfortably in the clouds. You will fly above the twisty rivers, breathtaking valleys, ancient, culturally rich, diverse villages, dense forests and the Himalayan range.

ZIP FLYER: The officially named Zip-Flyer Nepal is the world’s tallest, fastest and the longest zipline in the world located in Sarangkot- one of the most beautiful places in Nepal. It is not just another zipline; it is inclined at 56 degree, 1.8 km in length, 2000ft vertical drop and speeds of over 160kmph. It is claimed to be the most extreme ride in the world.

Overnight at the Hotel

Ride to Chitwan (Approx. 167 Km)

We ride to Chitwan National Park today.

Chitwan National Park, the oldest national park in Nepal is situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of South Central Nepal. The park has an area of 932 square kilometres. The park was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The park is just a short detour off the Prithivi Highway.

The name Chitwan means heart of the jungle. In recent years this park has risen meteorically on the lists of the “Things to do in Nepal”. The park covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world. It contains the Churiya hills, ox-bow lakes and flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Sal forests dominate the vegetation of the park. The grasslands form a diverse and complex community with over 50 species, the Sacchurun species, often called elephant grass, can reach 8m in height.

The park boasts more than 43 species of mammals, 45 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 450 species of birds in the park. The park is renowned for endangered animals along with many other common species.

We check into our hotel at the village of Sauraha.

Choose whether to chill by the hotel pool or bar, stroll down to the river and the bar/restaurant there where you can watch the sunset over the jungle and if you are lucky. You will spot wildlife coming down to the river to drink.
You can also take a canoe ride at dusk with a spotlight, or just cruise round the shops in the local village.

Overnight at the Jungle Resort and decide on tomorrows activities

Jungle activities in Chitwan.

There is a big choice of what to do here:

  • Take a 5-hour jungle jeep safari where you will see a huge variety of wildlife and hopefully the allusive one-horned rhino. And, if you are really lucky you may come across a tiger.
  • Take an elephant safari in the jungle
  • Visit the Elephant breeding center
  • Take a canoe ride along the river banks at dusk with a spotlight to catch wild animals coming to the water to drink.
  • Or just chill at the riverside restaurant/bar watching the wildlife and tourists

Overnight at the Jungle Resort

Ride to Kathmandu

We set on the Mahendra highway, across the flat plains of the terai, through forested areas and small roadside settlements to arrive at the boom township of Hetauda (77 kms 1 ½ hours).

We take a small detour here to visit the Khuleykhani Dam and Pharping. We are required to pay the toll tax for crossing over the narrow curvy and steep road up to the Kulekhani Dam.

Kulekhani Reservoir is also known as Indra Sarobar and the security guards do not allow people lingering along the dam area. So, a short break for some quickly taken photographs, we continue on the ride to Kathmandu.

Some of the road we cover is still under construction so we need to be alert and wary of crazy speeding drivers. There will be a lot dust!

This section of the ride provides beautiful scenery of the mountains, rolling forested hills, deep gorges and typical Nepali village scenery. Our arrival at Pharping brings us to the city limits and a 18 kilometer rides brings us to the city centre

Bid farewell to the Road Captain, mechanic and the team and check into the Hotel.

Overnight at the Hotel

Free Day in Kathmandu

Free day to relax or explore around the town ( check with ride leader about sights to see) for  final souvenir shopping.

EVE: Farewell Dinner.
After dinner transfer to the hotel.

Overnight at the Hotel

Final Departure

Free until final departure.