MOTOR CYCLE TOUR TO EBC ( TIBET )
TIBET- “Roof of the World”
A sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people, has not only exerted a magnetic pull upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks, etc. Yet, only a few intrepid, serious and determined have been able to make it.
Tibet was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the West and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since Tibet was governed by the spiritual leaders, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion,” Bon Po” which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why a monastery such as Tashilhunpo contains thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books. The Monasteries are crowded by pilgrims who often travel long distances to fulfill their vows and wishes and their emotions show that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
Duration : 13 Days
Type : Moderate
Highest Altitude : 4640m
Best Period : May to Oct ( *August Monsoon Season)
Overnight at Hotel, Kathmandu.
09:00 Hrs: After breakfast met by guide and board the vehicle for half day’s sightseeing tour of Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple.
The Boudhanath Stupa is located 6 kilometers Northeast of Kathmandu and is a colossal imposing Stupa standing about 36 meters and is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal. The Stupa stands on the massive three level Mandala style platforms surrounded by colorful family style houses. The Stupa is said to have been built in the 5th Century and is a sight of great veneration to the Buddhist.
Continue on to Pashupanath Temple – the most sacred of the Hindu Temples in the world and is amongst the five principle pilgrimage sites for the Hindus. On an annual pilgrimage during Shivaratri Festival, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva from all the Hindu communities of the world, pay their homage here.
Pashupatinath is the reincarnation of Shiva in his most benevolent form as the shepherd of fertility and so there are no animal sacrifices in this temple. Only fruits, flowers and vermilion are offered. It lies on the banks of the Bagmati river and for the Hindus, to be cremated at Pashupatinath, means a direct passage to heaven.
After the visit, return to the Hotel.
Overnight at the hotel
After breakfast met by the city guide and proceed for the sightseeing tour of ancient Bhaktapur Durbar Square in a deluxe coach/vehicle.
Upon arrival, proceed for the sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur.
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 period 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 marvelous 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, board the waiting vehicle and return to the hotel.
Rest of the evening is free to relax and explore around. Passports will be handed over to clients in the evening.
Overnight at the hotel.
Negotiate traffic out of the Kathmandu city to the Ringroad cross section – Balaju. From here, follow the Nagarjun highway to Kakani with the winding and narrow forested road. We will have a short break here to see the beautiful mountain views. From here it is a steep winding descent till Trishuli but the scenery is fantastic. Deep forested areas, with clear flowing streams and waterfalls provide visitors of what Nepal is all about.
Trishuli – The beauty of the area is not easily forgotten. The rolling hills, the trishuli river, ethnic villages, suspension bridges all make it a very interesting ride.
Here we stop for the lunch.After lunch head north and continue ride to Dhunche. From here steep descend on a winding and snaky trail till Syabrubesi. Upon arrival at Syabrubesi check in to the lodge. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the village.
Overnight at the Lodge
After breakfast ride approx. 20 Km to Kyirong – Nepal / Tibet border, the last border town, complete Nepali Immigration formalities and cross the friendship bridge. Complete Chinese Immigration and met by guide and driver from Tibet. Proceed for China Custom clearance for the motorcycles and after completion, load up the gear on the waiting Landcruiser / Mini Truck and ride for another 24 kilometer to Kyirong town.
Kyirong, one of the frontier counties of Tibet Autonomous Region, lies in the southwest of Tibet and the southwest of Xigaze prefecture, covering 9,126 square kilometers with a population of 10 thousand. kyirong means in Tibetan happy village. kyirong Town is one of the important towns in Kyirong County, with a sea level of 2,700 meters. Pagba Monastery, Chagar Monastery and Qiangzhen Monastery are main monasteries of Kyirong and kyirong Jiangcun Nature Reserve is the famous beauty spot.
Up to 1960 one of the main trade routes between Nepal and Tibet passed through this region. Easily accessible from Nepal, it was used several times as an entrance gate for military actions from the site of Nepal against Tibet. Upon arrival check in to the Hotel.Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town to acclimatize.
Overnight at the Hotel
After breakfast, ride through the beautiful Tibetan landscape. We enter a valley and the climb to a pass and then again descend into another valley one after another and each one more scenic than the next. Finally after about 3 ½ hours, we get a glimpse of the mighty Brahmaputra river or locally known as “Tsang Po” and ride along its banks for a while and take the bridge (newly constructed. In the earlier years, all passengers and vehicles had to be ferried across) to arrive at the hustle and bustle of the Saga town.
Upon arrival check in the guest house. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.
Overnight at the Hotel
Start the scenic ride from Saga to Sakya crossing over 5 passes, Heading to Sakya from an elevation of 4600 meters, the trail wends towards the South route. Now, the trail follows a route that brushes past Brahmaputra River. Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional picturesque villages come into picture and Namring being one of the biggest. This scenically rewarding ride provides plenty of opportunities for photography. On this long day’s ride over the sandy and rocky landscape of Tibet, other sites like lake, nomads chasing hundreds of yaks and sheep, keep you busy.
Upon arrival at Lhatse continue further 26 km to Shakya. Upon arrival at Shakya check in to the Hotel.
Overnight at the Hotel
After breakfast visit Sakya Monastery, the centre of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, was founded in 1073 by Konchok Gyalpo and during the rule of Sakyapas, the priest patron relationship between Tibet and China was established. Sakyapa rulers reigned over Tibet for nearly a hundred years from 13-14th century. Many of its priceless images, fresco statues, Holy Scriptures remaining today date back to the time of its founding.
After the sightseeing tour is over, continue ride to Lhatse heading west for 50kms. Another 75kms ride brings us to Shegar. Shegar is surrounded by mountains and is another town that lies in the shadow of a great fortress. Even in ruins it is majestic. Seeming to grow out of the craggy brown rock, its sinuous wall bristles with watchtowers like stegosaurus spines. Isolated in 1855 by marauding Nepalese in search of booty, the Gurkhas cut off the dzong’s water supply and settled in for a long siege. Shegar proper has little to recommend except the highest post office in China.
From Shegar, set out for Rongbuk and arrive at the army check post where passports and permits are checked. After the completion of the formalities, ride for another 4 kilometers to arrive at a marker showing the diversion to the Everest Base Camp.
Enter 2 kms into the newly constructed gateway to arrive at another check post which is operated by the Quomolomgma National Park and is the gateway into the Quolomongma (Everest National Park). Here it is mandatory to present all the National Park entry permits for clients as well as the vehicles.
After receiving clearance, ascend on a zig zag trail to Gyawla Pass at (5200 m) which is strewed with prayer flags. A few entrepreneurs set up shop selling souvenirs, prayer flags and tea / cold drinks / can juice. Pilgrims purchase these prayer flags and after writing the names of the family members stretch them along the hillsides. It is believed that as the wind flutters the flags, their prayers reach heaven.
After a stop to view the Himalayas, descend once again zig zagging our way on 100 switchbacks all the way to the settlement of Tashi Dzom. After a turn, we suddenly arrive at Rongbuk and the Lodges. In the distance, towering above everything else is the magnificent and awe inspiring view of Mt. Everest – Mother of the Earth at 8848 m. Upon arrival, take a break for lunch at the Rongbuk Guest House. As lunch is being prepared, a visit to the Rongbuk Monastery is quite an interesting and enjoyable one.
After lunch follow the dirt road south and the Dzakar Chu (river), now much reduced in volume, is on your right. Soon the valley broadens and the road leaves the river to continue its ascent on the other side, swerving to avoid a rockslide. At the base of the slide is chorten; at its top are the ruins of the Samdrupo Nunnery (a small chapel has been rebuilt). Here is now situated the tented settlement of Dza Rongphu which was relocated from the Everest Base Camp, which lies just beyond some moraine hills a mere 4 kilometers away.
(Note: The new rules prohibit vehicles from going beyond Dza Rongphu area. Clients need to travel by the Government coach and it costs Yuan 50.00 for a round trip Ride).
So board the coach for the 4 kilometer Ride to the Everest Base Camp area. (Look out for the blue sheep that inhabit the area but blend quite well in the rocky landscape). Upon arrival at the lonely bus stop by the marker stating that it is the Quomolongma Base Camp at 5200 m. To go further from here requires an additional permit to either Advance Base Camp or a climbing permit for Mt. Everest.
After getting off the bus, ascend steeply to a small ridge with prayer flags which provides an unobstructed view of Mt. Everest and the open Tibetan plateau leading to the Camp II area. During peak climbing season, one can see scattered tented expedition camps below. After being one with the mountain, descend to the Bus Park and board the bus for the ride back to Dza Rongphu. Here we can spend some time at the tented city for a cup of tea/ noodle soup or shop for souvenirs or even send a post card from the mobile post office which is considered to be the highest post office in the world at 5200m.
Later get geared up and then set off for Rongbuk and check into the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House.
Overnight at the Rongbuk Monastery Guest House
After breakfast, set out for Tingri by retracing the route from Everest Base camp t0 the 26 kilometer marker and leaving the main road down the small dirt track on the left leading to the river. Cross the bridge and head off with a steady climb through scattered Tibetan settlements. The road passes directly through the village and then descends steeply. On the other side of the ridge, we then start the climb through valleys with scenic views of the Tibetan landscape and fast flowing river to the highest plateau of the world. This area is still dry and dusty and has not been paved yet and allows for some entertaining off road riding.
Dusty and weary we arrive at the high Tibetan plateau with good views of Cho Oyu (8201 m) and enter the settlement of Tingri in about 3 hours by covering a distance of 70 kilometers. Tingri used to be an important trading post where Sherpas from Nepal exchanged rice, grain and iron for Tibetan wool, livestock and salt. It gives its name to the broad upland basin more than 4,500 meters high that is known as the Tingri plain. Shallow, fast-flowing rivers of melted snow water make its grassy meadowland ideal for grazing by livestock. Upon arrival check in to the guest house. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.
Overnight at the guest house
From Tingri we Ride on the highest plateau of the world with typical view of the Tibetan landscape offering sheer feeling of standing on the roof of the world. Cross the Lalung La (5,200m) and Thong La (5050 m) from where, weather permitting, here is a breathtaking panorama of beautiful Himalayan ranges including Mt. Everest (8,848m) but is dwarfed by the vastness of the Tibetan plateau.
The road passes through the desolate plain of Digur Tang with its enormous sand dunes and the snowcapped peaks of Shishapangma (8012m.) and Langtang (7232m.) in close proximity to the south. Leaving the Bum- Chu basin we descend towards Pelkhu Tso (4600m.) a stunningly beautiful lake into which the glacial streams of Da-Chu and Lha-Chu drain. After spending some time at lake continue ride to Kyirong Xian. From here continue ride towards Kyirong Town (approx. 70 Km). Upon arrival check in to the Hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.
Overnight at the Hotel
After breakfast, ride down 24kms to the border of Nepal and Tibet. Here the porters will transfer the luggage to the Nepal side and we bid farewell to our Guide and driver from Tibet. Complete Chinese Immigration and then cross the small makeshift bridge and enter Rasuwa gadhi, Nepal.
Met by representatives from Nepal to assist and complete Nepal Customs and Immigration.
Rasuwa is rich in natural resources. Langtang mountain range stands to the north of Rasuwa. The northern parts of the area largely fall within the boundaries of Langtang National Park. Gosainkunda Lake, Ganja La Pass, and Tamang village in Bridim are the major highlights of Rasuwa for tourism. The Goshainkunda Lake, also known as “Frozen Lake”, one of the most beautiful mountain lakes lies in the Langtang region. There are about 108 kundas (lakes) in this area. Saraswati Kund, Bhairab Kund, Surya Kund and Gosaikund are most important ones. Langtang valley is another attraction in Rasuwa which is aptly called the valley of glaciers; mountains rise soaring toward the sky. The valley offers pine forest, swift mountain streams, rugged rock and snow-capped peaks, grassy down and meadows strewn with daisies and wild animals.
The ride from here is along the Pasang Lhamu highway with switch backs and dirt sections. This section of the highway is vulnerable to landslides and regular blockades during the monsoons. As we descend along the winding road, we will ride along the edge of the Langtang national park which will fall on your left. Most of the ride today will be slow and steady as this section is the major entry for goods to Kathmandu from China. We will come across big trucks and the road is just big enough for it. So giving way and waiting turns at corners and narrow stretches is time consuming. 80kms ride from the border brings us to a small town of Bidur. From the traffic junction we take a left and climb 9kms to The Famous Farm Resort. Upon arrival, check into the hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax and explore the ancient Nuwakot Palace close by.
Overnight at the Hotel
AM: sightseeing tour of Nuwakot Durbar (Palance) and surrounding.
Well talking about Nuwakot Durbar (Palae). The palace is at the top of a hill, 7 kilometers away from the headquater of Nuwakot district. The hills are full of huge jungle. Nuwakot Durbar is also known as “Saat Talle Durbar” means seven storied palace. Nuwakot Durbar is one of the historic with ancient wood carving and sculptures that aged back to seventeenth century were fabulous piece of artifact. Beside Nuwakot durbarthere was Rani Mahal where dancers used to dance for the kings.
As the palace has been converted to museum, it is open for all to see that past life of the royals. Each floor of the palace has got its own distinctive character. Nuwakot district itself has got very qnique and rare structure. This district is moon shaped in the map of Nepal. The Trishuli River will make you feel calm and relaxed with its fresh air and melodious flow. The river also hides the most valuable metallic mineral, the river roars at night which can be heard from the very distance. It gives such a heavenly pleasure that anyone can have sound sleep and lost in the dreams of mysterious Nuwakot District.
After a quick breakfast, we head out towards Kathmandu. The route from here is on a dirt track. The red clay makes a sharp contrast with the blue of the Trishuli River. The road, at places, is full of pot holes caused by the big trucks and busses that ply this route and so riding is a bit difficult. A dust mask is essential by the constant traffic. There is an increase in traffic of motorcycle riders during holidays as many revelers are seen picnicking along the river banks.
The beauty of the area is not easily forgotten. The rolling hills, the Trishuli River, ethnic villages, suspension bridges all make it a very interesting ride. A little after Bahun Besi, the small village of Kosh kade is located on the other side of the suspension bridge which is the venue for annual Bullfighting festival that takes place during Maghe Sakranti festival in January.
After about 1 ½ hours of dirt track, the end of this stretch of road is a steep, uneven descent till the suspension bridge. Enter a busy and populated settlement of Devi Ghat and then set out for another kilometer to meet up with the main road from Trishuli Bazaar. From here, the road is black topped and riding along a path lined with pine trees for another 10 kilometers brings us to the famous Trishuli Bazaar and a great place for a much deserved lunch break.
After lunch, the 72 kilometer ride to Kathmandu is an interesting one. Firstly, we retrace our ride for about 10 minutes through the hustle and bustle of the Trishuli Bazaar and then take the road to Kakani. Firstly, it is a steep winding descent but the scenery is fantastic. Deep forested areas, with clear flowing streams and waterfalls provide visitors of what Nepal is all about. The Langtang himal from “TADI” in the far distance is a beauty to behold. The riders wind their way up the narrow forested mountain road enjoying the view of the mountains, the colourful landscape and the small roadside settlements where time seems to stand still.
As one comes to the top of the ridge at Rani Pauwa, there are signs that points to the trout farms which have been a blessing in disguise for the economy of the region. The cool mountain air, the cold waters of fast flowing mountain streams has been ideal for trout farming and people all the way from Kathmandu come here on weekends to enjoy this delicacy. The farms here supply much of the requirements of the restaurants and hotels of the Kathmandu City.
Deep friend trout with “Piro Golbheda ko Achar” (hot and spicy tomato pickle) is just what the doctor recommends and is accompanied by a salad of fresh radish and carrots, another favorite from this region.
The route from Rani Pauwa slowly descends via Kakani to Balaju. The sunset over Mt.Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Dorji Lakpa etc. from Kakani is magnificent. Enroute, there are steep bends and descents and so the riders need to be extra careful with the oncoming traffic from Kathmandu. The army check post below Nagarjung checks everyone for any illegal plants or animals. As one descends into the Kathmandu valley, the view of the Kathmandu City, a cluster of dense concrete jungle greets us and we mill into the traffic at Gongabu to slowly negotiate our way towards out hotel.
EVE: farewell dinner
Overnight at Kathmandu