Biking in the Himalaya

Tilicho Lakes Annapurna Mountain Bike Tour

The Tilicho Lakes mountain bike tour takes you into some of the truly remote regions of the Annapurna Himal. We start biking from lowland paddy fields, steadily gaining altitude as we pass through oak and pine forests that eventually give way to the high desert country at Manang (3579m). Strenuous biking is well rewarded at both low and high altitudes, on the approach to the Thorung La (5380m) as well as during the descent from it. Note that this tour includes a 'rideable rating,' e.g. if a route is 80% rideable it means that 20% of the time you will be pushing or carrying your bike.


Day-1: Arrive Kathmandu

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing in Kathmandu

Day-3: Drive: Kathmandu / Besishar (760m) / Khundi (790m)

Day-4: Khudi / Bhaunadanda (1310m) Total Cycle: 19km

Day-5: Bhaunadanda / Tal (1700m) Total Cycle: 12km, 600hm, Rideable 45%

Day-6: Tal / Chame (2670m) Total Cycle: 21.8km, 985hm, Rideable 60%

Day-7: Chame / Pisang (3300m) Total Cycle: 16.4km, 600hm, Rideable 48%

Day-8: Pisang / Manang (3540m) Total Cycle: 17.2km, 400hm, Rideable 95%

Day-9: Manang / Khangsar (3,750m) Rideable 50%, Time: 5 hrs

Day-10: Khangsar / Tilicho Lake Base Camp (4,200m) Rideable 55%

Day-11:Early morning ride to the Tilicho Lake and back to Khangsar (3,750m) Rideable 40%

Day-12: Khangsar / Manang (3540m) Rideable 50%

Day-13: Continue to Letdar (4200m)

Day-14: Letdar / Thorung Phedi (4450m) Total Cycle: 19km, 910hm, Rideable 75%

Day-15: Cross Thorung La (5416m) to Muktinath (3800m) Total Cycle: 22.4km, Rideable 60%

Day-16: Muktinath to Jomsom (2710m) Cycle: 25.6km, Rideable 95%

Day-17: Jomsom / Kalopani (2530m) Cycle: 26.2km, Rideable 90%

Day-18: Kalopani / Tatopani (1190m) Cycle: 24.4km, Rideable 75%

Day-19: Bike until Beni Baazar ( 830m). Drive to Pokhara (79km) Total Cycle: 24km, 90% ride-able

Day-20: Fly to Kathmandu (1310m) After breakfast, we transfer you back to the airport for your onward departure flights

Day-21: Depart Kathmandu


Day-1: Kathmandu
Kathmandu overnight at the Hotel

Day-2: Guided Sightseeing in Kathmandu and some preparations for the climb.

Day-3: Drive: Kathmandu / Besishar (760m) / Khundi (790m)

After breakfast, we drive via Besisahar to Khundi by our private vehicle. This can take up to seven hours. Your adventure vacation starts the moment you reach Khundi. We stay overnight in a local Lodge. (BLD)

Day-4: Khudi / Bhaunadanda (1310m)

Total Cycle: 19km, 4 hrs
The changes in the valley's ecosystem and its physical characteristics quickly become evident. The incredible Himalchuli summit rises to the east.After crossing the river, we head to the east bank and pass through the village of Bhulbhule and then head north to Ngadi at 930m asl. We then continue to the ridge top settlement of Bahundanda at 1311m.The name of this village literally means "Brahmin Hill". Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-5: Bhaunadanda / Tal (1700m)

Total Cycle: 12km, 600hm, Rideable 45%, Time: 6 hrs
We descend to the valley floor and then, after crossing the river, we climb steeply up a ridge to follow a trail which has been carved out of the rock wall of the valley.We pass through Khani Gaoon and Ghermu until we reach Sangye. From here, we continue along the West Bank of the Marsyangdi River through the village of Jagat to Chamje where we will cross the river to its eastern bank to enter the Manang District at the village of Tal.
As we head up river, we will begin to notice the changes in the people as well as the land, architecture and culture.You willnotice that there is a concentration of people of Tibetan origin, their houses are built of rock, the vegetation is less tropical and the culture is predominantly Tibetan. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-6: Tal / Chame (2670m)

Total Cycle: 21.8km, 985hm, Rideable 60%, Time: 7 hrs
The trail from Tal crosses the Marsyangdi Khola to its West Bank after the village of Karte and continues towards the village of Dharapani.From Dharapani we continue up the river valley past the Gurung village of Thonje to the village of Bagarchap. Bagarchap means "Butcher's place". Continuing along the left bank, we climb up the heavily wooded Manang Valley past small settlements with excellent views of Manaslu and the peaks above Larkya La. We stay at the village of Chame, administrative headquarters of the region and the last major market before Jomsom.Chame also has a police check post and bank. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-7: Chame /Pisang (3300m)

Total Cycle: 16.4km, 600hm, Rideable 48%, Time: 6 hrs
From Chame the trail condition changes, somewhat. The continuing trail is not as well maintained as the one up to Chame.We pass through pine forests, over fairly level ground, through the village of Taleku to Bhratang.Like all villages since Dharapani these predominantly Buddhist villages have an entrance chorten and an exit chorten.Annapurna II can be seen to the south and you are now behind the main Himalaya peaks in their rainshadow area. After crossing a series of wooden cantilever bridges we enter a spruce and fir forest that eventually gives way to a pine forest.After days in the gorge the forests provide a welcome change. Crossing the river to its left bank we reach the village of Pisang. You may want to visit the village before dinner. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-8: Pisang / Manang (3540m)

Total Cycle: 17.2km, 400hm, Rideable 95%, Time: 5 hrs
We are now in the dry arid region of Manang called Nyesyang. Since this area falls in the rainshadow area of the Himalaya it seldom rains in the summer months, though it snows in the winter and the snow remains on the ground for a long time.The population is mostly farmers and traders. People in this area keep comparatively less domestic animals and the consumption of meat is very limited
There are two routes leading out of Pisang towards the Manang valley.The one we will follow keeps to the valley floor on the left bank. Spectacular views of Annapurna III and IV along with Gangapuran and Tilicho peaks abound.This is possibly the best day for viewing mountains.You will pass through the village of Hongde where there is a STOL airfield servicing the Manang district. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-9: Manang / Khangsar (3,750m)

Total Cycle: unrecorded, Rideable 50%, Time: 5 hrs
Today we will take a side trip towards Tilicho Lake. The route is rarely used by bikers. The terrain is difficult but is exquisitely beautiful. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-10:Khangsar / Tilicho Lake Base Camp (4,200m)

Total Cycle: unrecorded, Rideable 55%, Time: 4 hrs
Today we head along a single-track past Khangsar which will take us to the Tilicho Base Camp, surrounded by high snowy peaks. This section of the trail is narrow and requires careful concentration. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-11:Early morning ride to the Tilicho Lake and back to Khangsar (3,750m)

Rideable 40%,
The adventure never stops as today, we cross the 5000m altitude barrier. We ride up the rocky terrain and seemingly endless snow ramps toward the magical Tilicho Lake and then head back to Khangsar for overnight stay. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-12:Khangsar / Manang (3540m)

Total Cycle: unrecorded, Rideable 50%, Time: 4 hrs
We follow the same route back to Manang making a slight deviation. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-13: Continue to Letdar (4200m)

After Manang, the trail climbs steeply to the village of Tenki, which is the last permanent settlement, this side of the Thorung La. We climb a little further and then contour slowly past various pastures to Yak Kharka (literally meaning Yak Pastures) to stay at Letdar. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-14: Letdar / Thorung Phedi (4450m)

Total Cycle: 19km, 910hm, Rideable 75%,
Today we continue to a high arid desert at Phedi, at the base of Thorung La. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-15: Cross Thorung La (5416m), Continue to Muktinath (3800m)

Total Cycle: 22.4km, 966hm, Rideable 60%,
After leaving the river valley we set out early in the morning provided the weather is good and it is not snowing.From Phedi we ascend to an outcrop and turn left towards Thorung La.A chain of rocks marks the pass. Beyond the pass you enter the river valley of the Kali Gandaki River. The descent from the pass to Muktinath is steep but not difficult.
Muktinath is a sacred pilgrimage site to both Hindus and Buddhists who flock there annually for their respective festivals.Of particular interest is the temple of the Hindu God Vishnu and the one hundred and eight waterspouts where devotees bathe.From Muktinath there are beautiful views of Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167 m). Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-16: Muktinath to Jomsom (2710m)

Total Cycle: 25.6km, Rideable 95%,
We cycle along a level but rocky trail through juniper thickets to Jomsom. In the late afternoon it gets very windy and so face masks are required. Take care to guard your eyes and cover as much of your skin surface as possible. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-17:Jomsom / Kalopani (2530m)

Total Cycle: 26.2km, Rideable 90%, Time: 7 hrs
We cycle by the side of the Kali Gandaki river passing through the villages of Thakali, Marpha, Tukuche and Larjung. Then it is easy riding from here on in as they have built a jeep track to Kalopani. This is a beautiful village right below the base of Dhaulagiri mountain. The place is ideal to see panoramic views of the mountains including Nilgiri peaks and Annapurna I. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-18:Kalopani / Tatopani (1190m)

Total Cycle: 24.4km, Rideable 75%, Time: 6 hrs
We enjoy the downhill before negotiating a technical section. We ride past a suspension bridge and continue through the dense pine forests. When we reach Ghasa there are some really good lodges. The trail ahead is steep until the Ruptse stream. Though it is early, we stop for a relaxing lunch and enjoy the scenery knowing that the trail ahead is much easier. We ride past the Dana village and after seemingly endless ricefields finally reach Tatopani. It is a small town at the north bank of Kali Gandaki River, famous for the hot springs and of course cold beer if you like. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-19:Bike until Beni Baazar ( 830m). Drive to Pokhara (79km)

Total Cycle: 24km, , 90% ride-able
The trail follows the Kali Gandaki River through the world's deepest gorge to reach Beni. This is a fun day, with an excellent trail and a section of new road. Beni is the headquarters of Parbat District and has many shops and hotels. From here we take a bus for the 78km to Pokhara. Overnight Lodge. (BLD)

Day-20:Fly to Kathmandu (1310m)

After breakfast, we will return to Kathmandu (just half an hour). Our bikes will be sent back by jeep. Overnight Hotel. (B)

Day-21: Kathmandu. Free day for shopping, etc

On the remaining time you can relax, shop or go sightseeing. Stay overnight at Hotel. (BD)

Day-22: Fly back

After breakfast, we transfer you back to the airport for your onward departure flights
End of services


Your Questions Answered

Long cycling days and tougher terrain (for both on- and off-road trips) require a certain degree of experience. The tour is demanding and entails technical riding for the reaches of the mountain. You should be very confident of your physical condition and bike-handling skills for all terrains and all weather conditions
You will need to partially dismantle you bike in order to carry it on cargo on the plane. Most airlines will require you to remove the pedals and place the handlebars, parallel to the wheels. Ideally, the bike should be packed into a cardboard box or bike bag. To get it into the box, you will also need to remove the front wheel, seat and post and handle bars. Alternately, you can rent a bike in Nepal for around $10-$20 per day. Bikes that are available include:- Giant, Trek, Garyfisher, Kona, Ghost, Klein and La Ruta. You may be charged excess weight for the flight to Lhasa if you total weight, bike and duffel bag, weigh more than 20kg. It is not always possible to send your bikes on the logistics van to Tibet as we can encounter problems at the border with customs seeking permits for the bikes if they believe they are being brought in to sell. In addition, if our logistics van has problems en-route on the roads, the bikes might not arrive in time.
You will experience a wide range of temperatures from +20c to -20c depending on the month you are looking at going. During Spring and Autumn the day time temperatures range from 0c to 15c on the tour. Be prepared for every type of weather.
The average is around 6-8 hours a day though days when you cross passes will be longer and extended.
There are telephones in some villages along the cycling routes from which you can make international calls. There is intermittent cell phone signal in places.
This is one of the most often asked questions - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an 'unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly, acclimatise correctly, don't ascent too quickly and drink plenty of water.
The climb can be done during Autumn (Sep - Nov) which is the best time or Spring (March - May)

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard option and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.
4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.

We will assist in helping you provide good cover. If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the details herewith:. Once you have done your initial quote, you will need to upgrade your cover to include altitudes up to 6000m. Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section called, Options: Upgrade your cover. Click the link called 'View Adventure Sports Benefits'. A blue pop up screen will open. Look for the level of cover required for 'trekking to 6,000 meters' or 'hiking to 6,000 meters'. Depending on your country it is usually a level 1 or 2. Note: we are not insurance experts and it is your responsibility
to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

Tilicho Lakes at a Glance

Tilicho Lakes Profile