Bike Tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Mar 26, 2013 8:17 AM Last Post By: udilehavi
Feb 5, 2013 5:26 AM
my boyfriend and me are thinking about joining an organised bicycle-tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu...
Has anyone experiences with that?
I find it very difficult to estimate if the tour is feasible fort us. We are both fit and making sports like running, swimming, gym around 3-6 times per week. But we have nearly no experiences with longer bike tours. The longest one that I did was one week in Tasmania, my boyfriend didnt do any yet.
However we would like to join the tour in August and till then there is still quite a lot of time to get trained. My boyfriend intends to do some longer day-tours on the weekend till we start. But I dont have the opprtunity to do this, because I would do the tour in the middle of my around the world trip (before I will be travelling with public transport from Germany to India; but when I am travelling I always do a lot of trekking, walking....). I just could do some trekking before in Nepal.
On the other hand, I have been on high altitude before (Inka-Trail to Machu Picchu) and had no problems, in constrast my boyfriend has never been that high.
I know that we would definitely push our limits in this tour, but I really would like to do the tour because I think it is really an unique experience! And there will be a truck all the time where you can always sit in with your bike if you cant make it anymore (of course that shouldnt be the goal ;-)) and of course we will have 3 days before in Lhasa to get used to the high altitude and after that the increase in height is not too much.
So know I would like to "know" if it would make any sense to try the tour?? I am really interested in your opinion!!!
Thanks for every answer!
Feb 5, 2013 10:18 AM
1You'll be fine. The company organizing the group you will go with has probably done this a hundred times. It will have developed an itinerary that is not intended for elite athletes, but rather the fit and energetic traveller- i.e. you and your friend.
The last thing the organizers would want is a bunch of sick people. They will have eliminated all the problem areas - they will have clean water for you guys to drink, a reasonable daily distance to achieve, etc. Really, the only thing I would make sure of is that I was well-acclimatized for the start of the trip. You can do this by arriving at the starting point a few days early and letting your bodies adapt to the higher altitude.
Of course taking the time before the trip to improve your fitness level is never a bad thing! Knowing that it will help you enjoy your bike tour even more is an additional incentive.
You ask - would it make sense to try the tour? My answer - It always makes sense to step out the front door and go on an adventure! Go for it.
Feb 5, 2013 1:27 PM
2I wouldn't take the Inca Trail as a good comparison to the Lhasa-Ktm route : starts and ends below three thousand , and barely goes higher than Lhasa in sleeping elevation. Make sure you acclimatize well in Lhasa before setting out ( minimum three nights at 3000+ , one of which could be spent on the train , and check your firms itinerary against guidelines . Lots of nutty plans out there.
Feb 5, 2013 1:28 PM
3A friend of mine booked up for one of these last year but ended up just doing Nepal as the Chinese had stopped Brits going to Tibet, something to do with David Cameron meeting the Dalai Lama, you do not give a nationality but if you are a Brit look into this first.
The Nepal trip was good though, so I am told.
Feb 5, 2013 1:39 PM
Feb 5, 2013 1:47 PM
5I checked the itinerary of a reputable UK adventure travel company I have used and they do have a Lhasa to Kathmandu bike trip on offer. The overview is here -
What I was looking for was the acclimatization plan. It looks like they have their riders, after flying in from Kathmandu, spend the better part of three days in Lhasa. Chances are good that a couple of the day trips will involve going a bit higher during the day and then returning to sleep at the lower altitude, a classic acclimatization technique.
The two + days in Lhasa sounds like a very sensible start to the itinerary they have planned. My guess is that most better companies will have something similar. If not, you can always get to the start point on your own a few days before. Something I did not check the entire itinerary for but am willing to predict is this - each day's end point will be at a point lower than the high point for that day.
To sum up, it is in the interest of the travel company to have a proper itinerary which takes into account the acclimatization issue.
Feb 6, 2013 1:29 PM
6Just looked over the exodus itinerary , which is a good illustration on what information to look for :
- it opens with the cheery assertion that the group is fully acclimatized after three days in Lhasa , which is utter nonsense.
- sleeping altitude , the single most important factor in acclimatization , is only given for Lhasa.
- the second stop after Lhasa seems to mean a eight hundred meter hike in sleeping elevation , well outside guidelines.
Feb 19, 2013 11:49 AM
7I did a big ride in Tibet in 2007, the last year it was easy to travel there independently. I did Kashgar to Lhasa, so rode some of the route you'll be doing. Blog is here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Occupiedterritories
In all honesty, given the very high cost, and the fact that the route really doesn't show you the best of what Tibet has to offer (you need to get away from the tourist trail to see that), I'd go somewhere else. Chinese style tourism is so awful and expanding so fast, it must have got a lot worse since I was there.
If it's mainly mountains you're after, Tajikistan is a better prospect (another of my blogs covers some of that: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/standiet ) or perhaps Ladakh (sorry, never got round to writing that one up). Both of those places have nicer mountain scenery with either no bureaucratic hassles (India) or less (Tajikistan). In both you can travel independently so you'll save a bunch of money. Tibet is a high plateau, so while there are of course mountains, they're not as dramatic as you might expect, and it can be mighty bleak.
If you're really wedded to Tibet, there are regions (and I'm out of date with this stuff) where the cultural destruction has been much less than in/around Lhasa, bizarrely because the Chinese consider them not to be Tibetan so have left them alone. As a result they're more Tibetan than Tibet is. A spot of research will turn this stuff up, if of course it's still possible at all.
It's not that Lhasa/Kathmandu is a bad ride to do, more that you can do much better for less money. Lhasa to Kathmandu is popular for organised trips because it sounds good on a web site, not because it's a truly great ride.
If you don't want to do this stuff independently, there are specialist outfits with more imaginative options than the bog standard Lhasa/Kathmandu thing. Bikechina has a good reputation, but as I always travel independently I've never used them.
Mar 26, 2013 8:17 AM
i did the trail 2011 and will do it again 05-26 September. It is hard but we had 2 trucks accompaniing us for the whole time so that if someone got sick he could have just take a ride. During the tour we were doing camping most of the time and the wonderful cook gave us enough to eat. One thing you HAVE to take are earplugs because wherever you are dogs are barking at nights and mostly between 0200-0400 in the morning, i am sure that you will be grateful for this Tip.
Another suggestion is to dedicate your effort for some Charity organisation and to try and raise some money for a good cause! I did it 2011 and it helpt me especialy when the ride was hard to know that those whom i want to support have it harder!
Enjoy and if you have more question mail me to firstname.lastname@example.org
(3 star Hotel)
From US$125.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$72.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$150.00 per night