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Annapurna Circuit Biking

During the trip we pass the 5416m high Thorung La and have breathtaking Himalayas views. We see three of the fourteen highest mountains of the world: Manaslu (8156m), Annapurna I (8091m), Dhaulagiri (8167m) and other Himalayas such as Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak, Nilgiri and the Holy Macchapuchare or Fishtail. It's a tough ride suitable for people with excellent fitness, lots of off-road experience and a flexible setting. The trails are sometimes very rough and steep, the weather is unpredictable, and the height also plays our part. Sometimes we have to push or carry our bikes. The route runs through a huge variety of vegetations. We start in hilly landscapes with rice fields, come by rhododendron and coniferous forests, deserted areas and across an alpine zone that reminds the Tibetan highlands. In reverse order we end again in subtropical area. In the beautifully located village of Braga we visit the Buddhist monastery. After the unpredictable Thorung La, the highlight of our trip, we descend to Muktinath pilgrimage and from the Tibetan village of Kagbeni we follow the ancient salt route through Tibet, through the world's deepest ravine where the Kali Gandaki between the 8000s Annapurna and Dhaulagiri flows.

Trip Level:

Easy

Destination:

Nepal

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel in Thamel. 

Day 02: Kathmandu 

Day 03: Kathmandu - Besi Sahar

Day 04: Besi Sahar - Bahundanda

Day 05: Bahundanda - Numbers

Day 06: Tal - Chame

Day 07: Chame - Manang (80% cycling)

Day 08: Manang (rest day)

Day 09: Manang - Yak Kharka - Thorung Phedi

Day 10: Thorung Phedi - Thorung La - Muktinath (3800m)

Day 11: Muktinath - Kagbeni - Jomsom (2700m)

Day 12: Jomsom - Marpha - Tukuche - Kalopani (25km, 95% of which are cycling)

Day 13: Kalopani - Ghasa - Tatopani (21km, where 90% bicycle)

Day 14: Tatopani - Beni Bazar (25km, 90% cycling)

Day 15: Beni - Sarangkot (70km)

Day 16: Sarangkot - Pokhara (16km)

Day 17: Pokhara

Day 18: Pokhara - Kathmandu

Day 19: Kathmandu

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel in Thamel. 

Day 02: Kathmandu 

Day 03: Kathmandu - Besi Sahar: Early in the morning, we depart by bus from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar. Along the Trisuli River we drive westward. On the way we sometimes have beautiful views of the Himalayan peaks in the distance. After 4 hours we stop in Muglin where we enjoy a dal bhat lunch. After another hour or 3 we reach Besi Sahar, the starting point of the trail. 

 Day 04: Besi Sahar - Bahundanda: Along the Marsyangdi River we cycle upstream towards Ngadi. We are in subtropical hilly landscape. We cycle past rice fields and through small Gurung villages. Next to us, the Marsyangdi is heading through the landscape. In the distance we already see the white peaks of the Himalayas. In a few days we will find ourselves in the high mountains between these mountain ranges. We end the day with a solid climb to Bahundanda which is on the top of a hill. Our reward is a nice view from the guesthouse where we spend the night. 

Day 05: Bahundanda - Numbers: We start the day with a steep, 500m long descent. Furthermore, we cross the Marsyangdi a few times via beautiful suspension bridges. Due to an increasingly narrow valley, we gradually rise to the 1300m high Jagat, here the houses were built below and against the rocks. On the way we see beautiful waterfalls that descend from steep walls.

Due to the narrow gap we have to go through, we can not ride very little today. We will usually have to push or even carry the bikes for us. More and more Buddhist influences are visible. In the village of Tal where we stay overnight, just behind our hotel is a beautiful waterfall where we can walk for a short while. 

Day 06: Tal - Chame: Through spectacular landscapes we follow our route. We cross the Marsyangdi again a couple of times via bridge bridges. At each village we see rows of prayer mills and sometimes mania walls. We pass corn, potato and cornfields and slowly the gap is narrowing. 

After a few sharp increases we arrive in Bagarchap. In 1995 this village was hit by a landslide but now the weather is completely built up. The village has a beautiful monastery that we can visit for a while.

Later this day, we see some beautiful white peaks of the Himalayas. Amongst others we see the over 8100m high Manaslu, the Annapurna II and Lamjung Himal. Chame is a fairly big village and there are hot springs. Today we have to travel a lot and cycle through beautiful forests. But .. today we will have to carry or push our bikes often. Only after Dharapani we can really ride long bikes. 

Day 07: Chame - Manang (80% cycling): Today we pass the 3000m border. Slowly we arrive in the Manang Valley. The village of Pisang consists of 2 parts. Lower and Upper Pisang. Upper Pisang is definitely worth a visit. This village is doing very authentic Tibetan. The houses have been raised from stones, and there are prayer flags everywhere on the roofs. The views are again very beautiful. Again we see some beautiful peaks whose view of the Annapurna II is the most spectacular. We see more and more high peaks as we cycle through a wide valley. Steady and drier becomes the landscape. We have breathtaking views of the Annapurna II and IV, Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak and Roc Noir.

For even more beautiful views than the usual route, today the "high route" can be chosen. The views are much nicer and on our way we pass two authentic mountain villages, Gyaru and Ngawal. In Gyaru, if we can find the key manager, we can visit the little monastery and we will lunch at Ngawal. 

A little hour before Manang we see the small but beautifully located village of Braga. High above the village lies the 500-year-old Braga monastery stuck against the rocks. Behind the monastery, huge pointed rocks protrude beyond the monastery. 

Day 08: Manang (rest day): Today we take a rest day to acclimatize. We stay in a very comfortable lodge and everywhere in the village are small bakeries where we can have delicious apple pie. We can also taste the delicious seabock juice. This local product is made from berries that grow only in this region. 

Today there are various possibilities to complete the day. A visit to the monastery of Braga is highly recommended. On the outside there are 108 ceramic statues of Kargyupa Lama and inside we see gorgeous murals and various golden Buddha statues.

It is also possible to walk along the banks of the azure lake opposite the mighty Gangapurna glacier or visit the 100-rupee monk who lives in a monastery high against a rock wall. A splendid day walk to the Ice Lake at 4600m high is also possible. And. For those who do not feel like it and just want to laze a day, it's possible to enjoy the sun on our lodge's roof. 

Day 09: Manang - Yak Kharka - Thorung Phedi: Due to a good acclimatization we are just a short distance away today. We cross the tree line and slowly fall into the high mountains. Everywhere around us, white peaks tower above us and we see glacier turrets paving the way through the wild landscape. At 4100m we overnight in Yak Kharka which means yak-meadow. It is no more than a small settlement with a number of lodges.

Phedi is the Thorung La base camp. Phedi means foot and in our case, "at the foot of the mountain". Tomorrow it's over, then we go over the Thorung La. For this, we try to acclimatize as well as possible. From Thorung Phedi we walk uphill to the 300 higher "Thorung high camp". After lunch we descend to our busy lodge in the base camp. We're going early under the wool because the next day we have to get out early. 

(Due to the height it is very likely that we will take an additional acclimatization day here) 

Day 10: Thorung Phedi - Thorung La - Muktinath (3800m): Very early today we begin our heavy journey over the 5416m high Thorung La pas. Up we will have to wear our bikes all the time. In the dark we climb up and slowly we see the sun rise. We walk through the moorland and sometimes through snow tracks. After an hour or four and a few headsteps, the chörtens and prayer flags on the top of the Thorung La come in sight. At last you are standing between the mighty mountains, it feels like you are on the roof of the world. The views are phenomenal, in the distance we see for the first time the 8167m high Dhaulagiri. We suddenly look at the valley of Kali Gandaki and the desert landscape of Mustang.

On the other side of the pass it is much steeper. Our day is not long, we have to descend another 1600m to the pilgrimage town of Muktinath. After a seemingly endless descent between snow and gravel fields, we arrive in our luxurious lodge where we can enjoy deliciously and enjoy a well-deserved hot shower. 

Day 11: Muktinath - Kagbeni - Jomsom (2700m): Today we are doing it calmly. We have all the time to visit the beautiful Buddhist and Hindu temples in Muktinath. Pure water springs from 108 cranes and many pilgrims bath here. In the Juwala Mapa pagoda we see water burning !! Sometimes we see holy men (sadhu's) in their orange robes coming from India.

Later in the day we walk a little further to Mustang, Kagbeni's gate. Before we arrive in this very Tibetan village we pass the beautiful, rocky, walled Jharkot village with its beautiful gompa. In Kagbeni we visit the little monastery. From the roof of the monastery we have a beautiful view of the village and on the far-reaching Upper Mustang and the Thorung La flanked by the Thorung Peak.

Depending on the interests of the participants, it is also possible to visit the special remote village of Dzong today. This village is out of the normal route and belonged to the forbidden Upper Mustang until a few years ago. The people are waving Tibetan and prayer flags exuberantly on the flat roofs of the white houses built close to each other. The people are clearly not used to visitors. We drink tea at the only restaurant in the village and take a look at the beautiful monastery. 

Day 12: Jomsom - Marpha - Tukuche - Kalopani (25km, 95% of which are cycling): A really beautiful day today. Through the bed of the Kali Gandaki we walk in a bare desert landscape. Sometimes we find ammonia fossils or shaligrams, proof that one of the highest areas on earth used to be the bottom of the ocean. The shaligrams are honored as Vishnu's embodiment. The views on the Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, among others, are unmatched. As watchmen, these giants of the Himalayas rise for us.

We pass this beautiful day Marpha, a settlement with a still Tibetan character. At the entrance of the village we see a row of prayer mills and beautiful paintings. The whitewashed houses were built close together and prayer flags waved on the roofs of the houses. Marpha is also famous for its apple farms. When arriving in Marpha we enjoy a delicious piece of apple pie with the tea. There is also time to see the great and rich monastery of Marpha.

From Marpha we ride to Tukuche, also a village with a Tibetan look. Like Marpha, this village is located along the old caravan route. Tukuche is beautifully situated at the foot of the Dhaulagiri. The views are again phenomenal. Along the Kali Gandaki River we descend slowly to Kalopani (2500m), which lies at the deepest end of the valley. 

Day 13: Kalopani - Ghasa - Tatopani (21km, where 90% bicycle):Through a narrower valley we walk into a deep gorge. Through a long suspension bridge we cross the gap and continue our way through lush forests, along steep walls and gorgeous waterfalls. We always walk along the Kali Gandaki and we are again in subtropical area with associated temperatures. We regularly see mandarin and citrus trees. We are again in the world of rice fields and small cozy Gurung villages. 

Tatopani (hot water) is famous for its hot water sources. We have the opportunity to cope with the fatigue of the past few days. 

Day 14: Tatopani - Beni Bazar (25km, 90% cycling): From Tatopani we cross the bridge over Kali Gandaki and cycle further along the eastern shore. After a while we pass a bridge again and cross the Ghara Khola. We pass the junction towards Ghorepani and continue cycling in the southern direction. Already ascending and descending (Nepalese flat) we pass small villages until we reach the village of Beni (830m). Beni is a bustling marketplace (bazaar), and there are buses to and from Baglung and Pokhara. We are in the "inhabited" world again. 

Day 15: Beni - Sarangkot (70km): After breakfast, we cycle over a beautiful, flat road along the eastern shore of the Kali Gandaki River and reach Baglung's Baglung highway. Over the paved road we pass countless villages and drive through woody surroundings. In Naudanda we lunch. 

Through an untouched piece we eventually climb to Sarangkot (1600m), the most beautiful viewing point in the vicinity of Pokhara. We enjoy beautiful views of the Himalayas, the lake and the beautiful sunset. 

Day 16: Sarangkot - Pokhara (16km): Please check the brakes for today it's 90% downhill !!!! 

Day 17: Pokhara: A day for free spending in Pokhara. There are countless ways to spend the day. Very popular, for example, is to make a boat trip on the beautiful Phewa. It is also possible to rent bicycles, visit a bat or just laze on the banks of the lake and shop a bit. In the evening you can dine in one of the countless restaurants on the banks of the lake. In a number of restaurants it is possible to combine the food with a typical Nepalese dance and singing evening. 

Day 18: Pokhara - Kathmandu: In about 8 hours we return to Kathmandu by bus. In clear weather, we can enjoy once again the magnificent view of the Annapurna Mountains and the Sacred Macchapuchare. 

Day 19: Kathmandu