The forbidden kingdom
ride through the heart of the highest mountains on earth, into the hidden world of an ancient buddhist kingdom
Length: 16 DAYS
Location: Upper Mustang
High altitude and cold condtions
Up to 300km of off-road trails
The Forbidden Kingdom
Adventure into Upper Mustang!
A mountain bike holiday to a region rarely visited with stunning mountain peaks, true mountain people and a mystical sense of being on a different planet in Nepal, the heart of the Himalayas.
A high level of fitness is required!
We offer bespoke departures for groups of 2+, let us know your dates!
▼ UPPER MUSTANG, NEPAL ▼
▼ DAILY ITINERARY ▼
You will be met at the airport by one of the Mountain Biking Worldwide team members and transferred to a 3*+ hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu. There will be time to unwind and unpack etc. before an informal evening meal with the rest of the riders and crew.
Following a relaxed breakfast at the hotel, riders will be issued with their MTB-WW merchandise; this will include a kit bag for transporting belongings during the tour and a MTB-WW cycling jersey. There will then be time to check the bikes over with one of the MTB-WW crew on standby to assist with any mechanical issues. The afternoon will be free for a relaxed sightseeing ride around some of the sights that Kathmandu has to offer. An early evening group meal will leave ample time for packing belongings for an early start the following morning. Bike bags and all luggage not required during the tour can be left at the hotel.
The MTB-WW team will load the luggage and bikes onto the support vehicle whilst the riders have breakfast at the hotel.
We will leave Kathmandu at 8am for the 7 hour drive to Pokhara. We will stop along the way for lunch above the Trishuli River, arriving in Pokhara by mid afternoon, leaving plenty of time to explore the relaxed lakeside city.
Jomsom to Kagbeni – 10km Ride – 250m Ascent
Today we will have a morning flight to Jomsom which will take around 25 minutes. Upon arrival we will rebuild the bikes, and then embark on the ride to Kagbeni which is around 10km with around 250m of climbing. We will be riding from Jomsom along the glacial river, the Kali Gandaki. Kagbeni is the gateway to Upper Mustang, has a labyrinth of narrow alley ways to explore and the infamous Yak Donalds to enjoy a yak burger or apple cider!
Kagbeni to Muktinath – 10km Ride – 1100m Ascent
After the breakfast we will start the ride up to Muktinath. Don’t expect any downhill riding today as the trail consists of 10km uphill with 1100m of ascent. The effects of the increasing altitude and steep climbs means it could take as long as 3 hours before we arrive at our destination, which is at 3900m. During the ride we can enjoy views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri. Following lunch at the hotel we can embark on a short hike to explore the famous Hindu temple of Muktinath.
Muktinath to Samar – 29km Ride – 1350m Ascent
The real riding starts here!! We will need an early start today and after a couple of kms we will be riding through a beautiful village and start the climb up to Gyu La Pass at 4066m, 7km from Muktinath. From the top of Gyu La we will be dropping 1200m on technical but fast single track all the way to Chhusang. We will cross the Kali Gandaki and again start to climb for our destination of the evening, Samar. This will be one of the toughest climbs of the whole adventure, but there are plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the breathtaking views all around.
Now that we are in Upper Mustang, our accommodation for the evenings will become more basic.
Samar to Ghami – 28km Ride – 1100m Ascent
Today we have five passes over 3800m. These are; Bhena La, Yamdo La, Syanboch La, Nya La and Ghami La. The trail will be tougher than previous days but the climbing won’t be as steep as that to Samar. After breakfast we will start the ride which is immediately uphill but we also have some fast downhill during the day. We will stop at Ghiling for lunch, where it will take a maximum of 2 hours to reach Ghami with another 5km climb and one long downhill before the hotel.
Ghami to Lo Manthang – 26km Ride – 1080m Ascent
Today we only have two passes to cross. The first one has the longest ascent of 4.5km with the second one not as taxing. Today is slightly easier than the previous two days, but the high altitude makes 26km feel like 52km!! About halfway we pass through the beautiful village of Charang where we will stop for lunch, taking some time to explore before continuing the ride to Lo Manthang. We will check into the hotel, and if we arrive in time we will take a walk down to the village to explore the ancient walled city. Lo Manthang is a colourful village with spectacular views all around. In the middle of the village we can also see the Kings Palace, where the last King of Lo Manthang lived.
Kimaling; Choser Loop – 21km Ride – 600m Ascent
An optional easy day riding today to explore Kimaling, the village above Lo Manthang, close to the Chinese border. We will also ride out to Garphu to visit the ancient cave dwellings and a monastery where Tibetan people used to live many years ago! If the weather is clear, from here we can see a very nice panorama of Nilgiri and the Annapurna mountains. The day has very little climbing with most of the trails being flat and we will be riding through remote villages which are as if time forgot.
Lo Manthang to Ghami via Dhakmar – 21km Ride – 900m Ascent
Today we have more than 50% of single track which is often quite technical so you will need to have good handling skills to enjoy this day to the max. Again we have two passes which are Chogo La, 4280m (the highest pass in the trip) and Mui La, 4170m. During the 6.5km from the beginning to the first pass we might need to push a few sections because of steep and rocky single track uphill. From the top of both passes we have some steep descents with rocky single track, these sections are only suitable for adept riders, less technically skilled riders are recommended to push! After 15km we will reach Dhakmar and from here we will follow jeep tracks all the way to Ghami. Again we can enjoy mountain views, colourful landscapes, monasteries and the longest mani wall in the world!!
Ghami to Chele – 32km Ride – 1300m Ascent
Another long and hard day on the bike with the same passes we crossed going up in to Lo Manthang! Its unavoidable that today we have to retrace the same trails we traveled up but we will be taking some shortcuts whilst going down. These shortcuts will have some really fun and fast sections and also amazing front views of Nilgiri and Annapurna mountains. From the hotel a 7km climb takes us to the Niy La pass at 4010m which is the longest climb of the day. After the pass we have fast downhill to the village Ghiling. From here we have another 4km climb to Syangboche La at 3850m, followed by a few minutes of downhill to Syangboche village and again a 3km climbing up to Yamda La Pass at 3850m. From here the trail undulates for a while before a long downhill trail takes us to Chele.
Chele to Marpha – 35km Ride – 950m Ascent
As we start the descent out of Upper Mustang the air gets thicker and the riding gets easier, but there are still a few tough climbs to tackle. The first 3km from Chele are downhill or flat all the way to Chhusang. After this we will cross a metal bridge from where we can see the river coming through a natural tunnel. From Chhusang the trails will be undulating until Kagbeni. From Kagbeni we will again be riding along the Kali Gandaki riverbank which is flat but we could encounter very strong head winds all the way to Marpha.
Marpha to Tatopani – 43km Ride – 550m Ascent
Today has the longest distance, the longest downhill and the most fun riding of the whole trip. The first 20km of trail takes us through a wide valley where you can enjoy forest sections, single track sections and a suspension bridge crossing to the village Lete. From here we have more than 20km of very rough downhill. Here we could encounter traffic so we will need to be careful and vigilant during the descent. After arriving in Tatopani, we will check in to the hotel and make our way down to the natural hotsprings for some rest and relaxation and a few beers if that’s your thing!
Tatopani to Maldhunga – 35km Ride – 550m Ascent
The last ride of the trip! Being back at lower altitudes will make the riding seem easy and the trail undulates all the way to Maldhunga. The first 21km to Beni is jeep track and then from here we will be riding on broken tarmac. As soon as we arrive at Maldhunga the MTB-WW team will pack the bikes on the vehicle and we will drive to Pokhara which will take 3 to 4 hours. We will stop en route for lunch and after arriving in Pokhara we will check into the hotel with plenty of free time for exploring and shopping!
Transfer to Kathmandu
After breakfast we will transfer to the airport and take an early morning flight to Kathmandu. The flight takes around 30 minutes and once back in Kathmandu we will transfer back to the hotel and there will be ample time for more souvenir shopping and packing for tomorrows departure.
See you next time!
Transfer to international airport or continue on with own itinerary.
▼ PACKAGE OPTIONS ▼
- 3 nights in a 3* hotel in Kathmandu
- 2 nights in a 3* hotel in Pokhara
- 10 nights in MTB-Worldwide selected teahouses
- 11 days guided riding
- Most meals
- Coach transfer between Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom
- Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu
- Choose your departure dates
▼ ESSENTIALS ▼
The Mountain Bike Worldwide team wants your holiday to not only be the adventure of a lifetime, but also a relaxing and fun experience, so here's our Essential & Frequently Asked Questions!
Two (or more) Qualified & Experienced Guides
We understand that everybody is different. Some riders will want to push hard, others will want to take in the views and learn about the surrounding area and cultures. All of our guides are selected not only for their fitness but also for their local knowledge. The passion for mountain biking, fun loving nature and local connections, that all our guides have, ensure that your adventure will be an incredible journey.
Sport Specific Nutrition
We know how important it is to remain properly fuelled during an arduous day in the saddle and so have teamed up with TorqFitness to provide all our adventures with a selection of energy products.For an additional $210, you can collect your Torq nutritional pack, of gels, bars, energy powder and recovery powder on location, saving you excess baggage charges and customs scrutiny. You will then only need to carry provisions for use during the day whilst the remainder will be transported by the support vehicles or porters.
The nature of your holiday is to have an adventure, but that doesn’t mean you have to rough it. For all of our adventures we use the best accommodation that is available in the area. All our hotels / guesthouses have been personally vetted, so whether it’s a 3* hotel in the city or a basic teahouse in the mountains you can rest assured you will be warm, comfortable and well fed.
Each group will have at least 2 riding guides, that way if any riders want to push on and “race” the stage, the remainder of the group will still have an accompanying guide. Each group (where terrain allows) will also be closely accompanied by a support vehicle, carrying water, food, bike spares etc, with space to transport any rider to the hotel should the going get too tough. All our guides are mechanically adept and will be able to fix most bike problems out on the trail. There will also be a separate vehicle and guide to transport all the luggage and to ensure your hotel / guesthouse is ready for your arrival after a hard days riding.
Your detailed adventure information pack will list the exact meal arrangements but in general, all breakfasts and evening meals are included in the price of your trip. Most dietary requirements can be catered for, even in the remotest of areas, and as all trips are guided by experienced riders you can be assured of loaded plates of high carbohydrate quality food to fuel you through the day.
All in country transport costs related to the adventure are included in the trip cost.
During the actual adventure most evenings will be spent dining as a group, but pre, and post adventure we arrange a social get-together so that everybody can get to know each other and the guides, and share their experiences.
The Finer Details
All our adventures follow the same itinerary / route as the races in our World Challenge Series ensuring that we have extensive, first hand and current knowledge of all the finer details relating to the area. The MTB-Worldwide team together with their in country partners, check out the trails, hotels, local transport on an annual basis so that all racers and adventurers alike can be assured of an ultra smooth passage during their time away.
The MTB-Worldwide team are proud of their branding and want to share their vision with the world. On arrival, all MTB-Worldwide Holiday guests will receive a MTB-Worldwide t-shirt and a branded kit bag. They are yours to keep as mementos of your epic adventure and as a thank you for travelling with us.
Adventure Information Pack
Being avid mountain bikers, travellers and adventure enthusiasts ourselves, we know how important it is to be able to visualise your trip before arrival. All MTB-Adventures Holiday guests will be sent a detailed PDF trip specific information pack. This extensive document will arm riders will all the details they need to plan and prepare for their adventure, and will include a day to day itinerary, maps, photos, information relating to the country and much more.
Our knowledgeable MTB-Worldwide team are always on hand via email or phone to answer any queries that you may have related to the adventure, during the booking process or after you have booked.
We will keep you informed with regular updates from the adventure, and closer to departure, with specific details of the guides, hotels, meeting times etc. If you "opt in" we will also give you contact details of other riders joining the adventure so that you can start exchanging information and getting to know other riders before arrival.
We aim to make all adventurers feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. We offer single room supplements for any rider that prefers to have a room to themselves (prices vary on destination).
MTB-Worldwide Holidays take riders into some of the remotest and wildest areas on earth”. The MTB-Worldwide team takes rider and crew safety extremely seriously and only uses the most reputable and properly equipped ground logistics teams on location. All our logistic teams also provide the support for our races and have a track proven record for customer service and safety. By travelling with MTB-Worldwide you can rest assured that your safety and well being could not be in better hands.
Compare Your Times
Via GPS data you will be able to compare your stage times with those of corresponding races and the top adventure timings will be featured in a MTB-Worldwide timings leader board on the website. Incentives – If after taking on a MTB-Worldwide Holiday, you feel like taking on one of the world challenge series races, we will give you a 10% discount of any of the race entry fees.
All the MTB-Worldwide team have flown to far flung destinations with their bikes, an know that it is not the most relaxing of procedures, from checking it in at one end to the nervous wait for it to arrive unscathed at the other. To make your MTB-Worldwide holiday even more stress free we have a range of high quality mountain bikes (nothing we wouldn’t ride ourselves) available to rent. Please enquire for prices.
What's NOT Included;
- International flights to and from the adventure country
- Country entry visa fees
- Equipment hire / rental
- Transport to the adventure pickup location
- Lodging before and after the adventure
- Trip / medical insurance (which is compulsory and must include helicopter evacuation in the event of an emergency)
- Medical expenses
- Alcoholic and soft drinks consumed during the adventure
- Personal items purchased during the adventure
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