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11 Day Upper Mustang Guided Motorcycle Tour in Nepal

Pokhara, Kaski District, Province No. 4, Nepal

Guided Nepal Motorcycle Tour

This listing has one of the 10 most popular offers available in Asia & Oceania

Join Hearts and Tears for the ride of a lifetime into one of the most unexplored regions of the Himalayas. Upper Mustang provides experienced riders with an adventure that very few have dared to undertake. This ride is not for the faint-hearted person. It will push your riding skills, the bike, and endurance to the limit. The rewards are plentiful however as you get the chance to experience the last remaining Tibetan kingdom in all its glory. The majority of the tour rides close to 4000 meters (4800 meters maximum) on terrain which regularly encounters snowfall, landslides, and glacial melt. So get ready to take deep breaths!

Key information

  • Terrain: asphalt and off-road
  • Bike: rental bike (Royal Enfield 500cc or 250cc Enduro)
  • Mileage: 980 kilometers / 609 miles
  • Daily rides: 50 - 150 kilometers / 31 - 93 miles
  • Riding gear: included
  • Meals: breakfasts, lunches, and dinners

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Pokhara
  • Explore a world that time has forgotten
  • Visit the ancient walled-city of Lo Manthang
  • Explore Tibet's last remaining of the Forbidden Kingdom
  • Traverse the trans-Himalaya and Tibetan plateau at 4800 meters
  • Venture to the world's oldest active monastery
  • Ride through the world's deepest gorge
  • 10 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Advanced

Styles


10 riding days
Group size: 4-8 participants
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Accommodation

During the tour, you will be accommodated at remote guesthouses chosen by Hearts and Tears. Accommodation is on a twin-share basis (two people per room in a single bed each), with attached western bathroom. Toilet paper is provided at each accommodation but it is wise to bring your own roll for stops during the day.

Program

Briefing session

The briefing session kicks off the evening before the tour starts at 17:00 at the Hearts and Tears' clubhouse located in Pokhara. The briefing session is factored into the tour dates. Accommodation is also included on the night of the briefing session.

The briefing session gives you a chance the meet the Hearts and Tears' crew, your fellow riders, and your bike! You meet in the clubhouse which is a short walk from your hotel, enjoy a beer, and then get even more excited about the upcoming ride. A welcome package is provided to every rider which contains the itinerary, route map, buff, some stickers, and a Hearts and Tears t-shirt.

Matt usually conducts the sessions, and over some local snacks, he will go through the tour details and explain how it all works. It's a time to ask any questions you may still have, but more importantly, it's a time to get familiar with everyone (and place bets on who's going to come off first!). By about 19:00, the session is over, giving you a chance to head out for dinner and explore Pokhara before the riding starts the following day.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Welcome to Pokhara!

Relax by the lake and take in the beautiful surrounds by day. Meet your riding team, your trusty steed, and tour briefing by night. Tomorrow you ride!

Day 2 - The Dragon's Tail (150 kilometers / 93 miles)

Get familiar with your bike with a ride through chaotic traffic, along winding rivers, into quaint villages, and countless corners! The route is designed to give you the confidence and local knowledge needed to tackle.

Day 3 - The birthplace of Buddha (140 kilometers / 87 miles)

The first stop today is the birthplace of Buddha at Lumbini. Visiting the holy grounds gives significance to your journey as your trip continues north towards Tibet - a region dominated by the Buddhist culture. After Lumbini you will take an absolutely spectacular route to the remote organic farm.

Day 4 - Harthok to Myagdi (100 kilometers / 62 miles)

After a breakfast of smoked bacon and other local foods, you will take the spiritual Kali Gandaki river north. It's an amazing route and the local villages are incredibly fun. You'll be introduced to friends along the way and cross numerous suspension bridges en-route. Tonight, you will stay at a restored palace.

Day 5 - Myagdi to Kagbeni (120 kilometers / 75 miles)

Today, you will ride north and enter the region of Mustang. You'll pass through the world's deepest gorge, some incredible alpine forests, and go ballistic as you head higher and higher.

Day 6 - Kagbeni to Lo Manthang (80 kilometers / 50 miles)

Enter the moonscape of Mustang as you leave the vegetated landscape behind you. It's a big day today as you take in the stunning Himalayan views and eventually arrive at the walled capital - Lo Manthang!

Day 7 - Lo Manthang to Tibetan Border & Caves (60 kilometers / 37 miles)

Ride up to Kora La (4600 meters) at the Tibetan Border and feel the intoxicating effect of the thin air. On the way back to Lo, you will have a stop in at the Chosur Caves and explore the limestone formations.

Day 8 - Lo Manthang to Ghami (60 kilometers / 37 miles)

Follow the trail of mythical demons and dragons as you see the blood-stained cliffs of Dhakmar, the slain dragon at Ghami and spin the wheels of Nepal's longest mani-wall before settling in at Ghami for the night.

Day 9 - Ghami to Marpha (50 - 70 kilometers / 31 - 44 miles)

Decend from the Tibetan plateua and ride south to the world below. You will stop in at Samar for lunch - a quaint Tibetan village and then drop down to the apple orchards at Marpha for the night.

Day 10 - Marpha to Mallaj (50 kilometers / 31 miles)

Today you enter thick air again. Your energy builds, your concentration increases, and the speed picks up as the bumpy road is now tackled with ease.

Day 11 - Mallaj to Pokhara (100 kilometers / 62 miles)

Ever wondered what a knight felt like returning home from a victorious battle? Well maybe, just maybe, it was a little you do today. A freaking here! You have done it. Upper Mustang.

Note: In Nepal, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required to legally ride a motorcycle in Nepal. These can be purchased for about 30 USD in your home country before departing.

Bikes

Hearts and Tears' trusty steeds are the infamous Royal Enfield Bullet. Its history is incredible and some quick googling can give you a good insight into this vintage bike. They mainly ride the Himalayan 400cc these days but also have the 500cc and 350cc Bullet models in their fleet. They also ride 250cc dirt bikes on their Enduro tours. They command a much different style of the tour as compared to the Royal Enfield so they don't mix the bikes with the same group.

Bike rental deposit

Hearts & Tears requires a bike rental deposit of 200 USD.

Road and traffic information

Spectacular winding roads cling precariously to the sides of the mountains. With few bridges and no tunnels, there are virtually no straight sections of road. Corner after corner, hour after hour, a 200-kilometer ride is a long way in Nepal. It’s an extreme terrain.

Bikes and buses are the most common form of transport in Nepal. Riding is great fun and very different to the aggressive car-focused road culture of the west. Local people usually stick to the left side of the road, but there’s a chaotic, anything-goes style thrown into the mix. Literally anything could happen anywhere, at any time. It seems crazy at times and you’ll witness stuff that defies belief.

Driving is a team sport, and everyone joins in. Truck drivers give various signals using the horn, lights, indicators, and their hands. Buses employ a boy to hang out the side of the vehicle and wave signals. Motorcycle passengers help out too. If you use your indicators as you do at home, you will be sending the wrong messages. If you know the local way, it’s easy. Hearts and Tears will show you how.

Riding style

You will ride in convoy, single-file, with a sensible amount of space between bikes. The road captain leads the group and the mechanic rides as sweeper at the rear to assist with any mechanical issues. The support jeep then follows the pack carrying major tools/spares and your luggage. The support vehicle does not chase the tail of the pack and is normally about 30 minutes behind.

Skill level

Advanced

  • Can ride for 5-6 hours
  • Extensive riding experience
  • Assistance on demand (if required)
  • Experienced with riding a variety of motorcycles
  • Comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Location

Nepal is the most bio-diverse country on Earth. The world’s highest peaks, many over 8000 meters, lie along the northern border with China. 150 kilometers to the south, at the Indian border, the scorched flatlands are near sea level. That’s the steepest incline anywhere and accordingly, the landscape and climate change dramatically with altitude.

Few people realize that Nepal is the world’s second-biggest water-producing nation, after Brazil. This sustains an incredible abundance of life. Woolly yaks trudge through Himalayan snow and ice, while rhinos and elephants forage in sweltering jungles below. Despite being a land-locked country, there are even freshwater dolphins. New species of flora and fauna, previously unknown to science, are discovered on a regular basis.

Nepal only stretches about 800 kilometers east to west, but maps fail to convey the scale of the scrunched-up mountainous landscape. The sheer size is hard to describe or capture in photos but perfect for exploring by motorbike.

Food

On the tour, all of your meals are included. For dinner and breakfast, you can choose from an a la carte menu at the hotel, and when riding, you will stick with daal baat. Any drinks and snacks between meals are not included.

Safe drinking water can be found in the mountains at the various 'safe-drinking stations', but to avoid any issues, Hearts and Tears recommends always using bottled water. Before purchasing, check the seal in case it has tampered. A bottle of water costs 25 NPR in towns and up to 100 NPR in the mountains.

Nepal is all about daal baat, chiya, and momo's. Daal baat (literally meaning lentils and rice), is the main cuisine and is eaten twice a day by the locals. It is a large plate consisting of rice, lentil soup, a vegetable curry, mea curry, some pickles and sauce.

It is delicious and each household or restaurant will prepare the dish slightly differently. It is normally eaten at about 11 a.m. and then again at 7 p.m.

If you don't want meat you simply go without the meat curry dish, which is a small component of the meal anyhow. On tour, you will eat daal baat for most lunches as it is nutritious and easy to prepare for groups.

Between meals chiya (tea) is drunk consistently. It is similar to chai in India. Some tea, spices and lots of sugar and infused. In the winter time it is had with milk and in the warmer months kaloo chiya (black tea) is more common.

Momo's are also a favorite with everyone. They are similar to dumplings and originated from Tibet. They have a slightly thicker skin as compared to dumplings and are either filled with a chicken, buffalo or vegetable mix.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Royal Enfield Himalayan or 250cc Enduro
  • Petrol, support jeep, and riding gear (if required)
  • Upper Mustang permit (500 USD)
  • TIMS and ACAP permits
  • English speaking guides and mechanics
  • Medical kit with satellite phone
  • Pannier bag
  • T-shirt
  • Local SIM card (please request before arrival)
  • 10 nights' accommodation
  • Delicious meals

What's not included

  • International and domestic flights
  • Nepal visa and travel insurance
  • Alcohol, personal expenses, and tips
  • Bike damage deposit (100 USD)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Transfer from and to the airport is not included. Most major airlines fly into Kathmandu - which is the only international airport in Nepal.

Arrival by bus

Tourist buses leave Kathmandu every morning around 7 a.m. and cost between 10 to 25 USD. The first hour or two is congested, but the chaos is fascinating. The road winds its way through beautiful scenery. Buses normally arrive in Pokhara mid-afternoon at the tourist bus park, a 20 to 30 minutes' walk from Lakeside.

Arrival by taxi

Taxis can be organized for around 100 USD one way. It’s cost-effective for two or three people and much more comfortable than a bus. Depart when you like, stop when you like, and get dropped off at your hotel. The downside to any form of road transport is that you can be delayed by traffic jams, accidents, or the occasional strike.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 40% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
11 days / 10 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 4 participants

Availability

Start: Wednesday November 18, 2020
End: Saturday November 28, 2020

Special discount

Bookings made with 5 or more riders will get a discount of 400 USD per person.

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