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Nepal Motorbike Tour TOP033_13

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Nepal Motorbike Tour

Your chance to motorbike some of the best mountain roads in one of the world’s most interesting countries. In addition to the stunning Himalayan views, Nepal also boasts high twisting roads, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rare wildlife, fascinating history, delicious food, and an incredibly welcoming people.

In just one tour, you’ll be guided through the shadow of the mighty Annapurna, through jungles and plains, the capital city of Kathmandu, and the Nepal-Tibet border with Mount Everest in your sights.

Trip highlights:

  • Tour the beautiful country of Nepal on an Enfield Bullet
  • Camp on a riverine island, deep in the jungle
  • Twist your way through huge gorges with frothing rivers below and the snow-peaked Himalayas
  • Raft down a river in Bardia National Park and boat around Lake Phewa
  • Paraglide down the mighty mountains of the Tansen region
  • Visit beautiful and sacred Hindu temples
  • Climb the 1700 steps to King Prithivi Narayan Shah’s palace (the original founder of the Shah Dynasty which controlled the country until recently)
  • Watch a glorious sunset near Chitwan National Park with a beer in hand and maybe a rhino down by the river
  • Later see a spectacular sunrise over the Everest range
  • Visit the Kosari Bridge, the center of which is the border with Tibet

This is a challenging two week adventure that runs both from Kathmandu to Bardia and Bardia to Kathmandu.  Tour the country on an Enfield Bullet (with fitted front disc brake) while learning about all its eccentricities along the way. Eight of the worlds ten highest peaks are found in Nepal.  It’s a country that contrasts hardships and beauty in an effortless way and by motorbike is a spectacular way to see it.

Because of some long days, tough climbs and light but unpredictable traffic, a minimum of two years riding experience is need in order to secure a place on the tour. The roads themselves are in good condition but the Himalayan mountains are a living breathing entity. The mountain range grows and collapses regularly – sometimes right across the route.

Your guides will have medical and mechanical assistance on hand as well as an experienced leader and support crews.  But there will always be surprises and a large element of the unknown.  It’s what makes this tour an adventure.  Removing some of those obstacles removes some of the adventure and fun!

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu and on to Bardia

Land in KTM following an overnight flight, to be met by a tour operator representative and transferred to the Domestic Terminal to meet your flight to Nepalganj, from where you will be collected and driven (around 2hrs) to our jungle resort on the fringes of Bardia National Park. Here you will be greeted by our staff and briefed on the trip ahead.

Day 2: In Bardia National Park

We will be transferring to rafts, which will carry us through the park to the most surprising of overnight stops, a camp on a riverine island, deep in the jungle. The evening’s entertainments are best left a surprise. This National Park is one of Asia’s great secrets, situated as it is away from the usual tourist circuits. The park holds tigers, leopards, elephant, great Indian one-horned rhinoceri, crocodile and many other species.

Day 3: In Bardia National Park

The journey back from our overnight camp to the hotel near the park gates can be made either on foot, or by raft/jeep. It’s a stiff half-day on foot, but worth it as it’s rare to be allowed to walk in such places and the chances of seeing wildlife here are high.

Day 4: Bardia to Tansen

This is a long ride – around 200 miles. After leaving the park’s rough roads we’re back onto the Mahendra Highway. Most of the ride is fast and smooth, but towards the day’s end we will turn off into the hills and begin a steep climb, which ends in the charming and historic regional capital of Tansen. Our hotel has great views all the way to Annapurna and there’s a fantastic restaurant in town.

Day 5: Tansen to Pokhara

A half-day of twisty, twisty, twisty riding, through huge gorges, with rivers frothing beneath us and stunning snow-peaked Himalayan vistas opening up along the way. We should be in Pokhara in time to spend the afternoon checking out Nepal’s second largest city. Pokhara is a trekker Mecca, from where those without engines head out for the ‘Annapurna Circuit’ trek.

Many also take the opportunity to do a tandem paraglide, with the huge mountains as a back-drop. Due the the city’s popularity with adventurers, there is a very lively nightife on offer, with live rock bands and hundreds of resaturants and bars from which to choose. From the Lakeside area in which we will be staying it is possible to see most of the Annapurna range on a clear morning.

Day 6: In Pokhara

A day to do some boating on, or take a walk beside, Lake Phewa, over which our hotel looks. For the more adventurous, it is also possible to go paragliding in the most majestic of settings (we would advise that you book your flight the evening before). For the less energetic, there is also plenty to do, like shopping, eating and drinking.

Day 7: Pokhara to Gorkha

The morning’s ride gets curvier and more interesting by the hour as it follows the main Kathmandu road through scenic river gorges. Turning off the main road, we will follow the road up to Gorkha (after which the famous ‘Gurkha’ Regiment takes its name).

The afternoon can be spent visiting some very important Hindu temples and scaling 1700 steps to the palace of King Prithivi Narayan Shah, the founder of `Shah Dynasty’ which ran Nepal until recently. Around 300 years ago, he unified the 50-or-so states that comprised the area that is now Nepal into a single country.

Day 8: Gorkha to Chitwan

A late-ish set-off will allow those who want to explore Gorkha more time, before we wind down from the hills and back to the Terai plain, some 500km east of where we started. The aim is to hit Chitwan before sunset, so we can park ourselves in the most appropriately-named Sunset Bar to watch the event. It is not uncommon to see a rhino cross the river with a beer in your mitt, illuminated by the most spectacular of sundowns.

Day 9: In Chitwan

Chitwan is a little more developed than Bardia, but is still incredibly beautiful. It is possible to indulge in rhino-tracking on elephant-back and you have very good odds of seeing one of the horny fellows (the picture here was actually taken near the riverside bar), plus many smaller creatures. The tigers and leopards in this park are much rarer sightings.

There are also opportunities to walk in the ‘buffer zone’, take boat rides and visit local Tharu tribespeoples’ villages. Once you have finished with your activities, sidle down to the riverside again, where you will doubtless find the BT staff down by the river watching the sunset, glasses in hands.

Day 10: Chitwan to Nagarkot

An early start is needed as we’ve much ground to cover. The day will start with knocking out a few kilometres on the fast Mahendra Highway, before we head back into the hills for what is one of the most spectacular rides imaginable. We will climb and climb a twisty and near-deserted road until reaching the top of a pass at Daman (2600m) for lunch. From here, the views open up all the way to the Everest massif, hundreds of kilometres away (pictured left, through a 200mm lens).

The ride down the other side is no less incredible, this time the Annapurna Range supplying the vistas. And then again we climb (though on a rough and busy road) to a small pass that is the gateway to the Kathmandu Valley. To reach Nagarkot means travelling a few kilometres on the Kathmandu ring-road, from where our hotel is but a short ride up to 2175m.

DAY 11: Nagarkot to the Last Resort

Early risers will get the chance to see sunrise striking the Everest Range, before we head out after an early lunch. Today’s roads and views are again stunning, as we head north-east, closer to Tibet and the Everest region on the Chinese-built Arniko Rajmarg (Friendship Highway). We should reach our tented resort, set besides the Bothe Kosi River in the early afternoon.

DAY 12: At the Last Resort

A day in which to engage in bonkers activities, or just chill. Possible foolishness includes bungee jumping into a 160m gorge, white-water rafting and canyoning. Less adventurous types may instead opt to relax at the resort with a massage or in the sauna. Another option is to take a ride 20km up to the Kosari Bridge, the centre of which is the border with Tibet.

DAY 13: Last Resort to Bhaktapur

A reverse of yesterday’s ride will take us back in the direction of Kathmandu. Some 25km short of the capital, we will be stopping for the night in Bhaktapur, one of the three cities in the valley. Packed with historic, religious and cultural (World Heritage) sites and sights, a fine afternoon can be spent investigating the squares and temples.

DAY 14: Bhaktapur to Kathmandu

Up early to catch the short bus-ride bus from Bhaktapur to our hotel in the Thamel district of KTM – where most of the climbers and trekkers hang out. Spend the remainder of the day exploring this amazing city. There are several large temple complexes, both Buddhist and Hindu on the city’s edges and Durbar Square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is just half an hour’s walk from the hotel.

Every street of central Kathmandu is full of shrines, shops and unusual sights. If you want to buy dodgy-quality, moody outdoor gear, then Thamel is the centre of the universe. Kathmandu also has a huge number of eateries to choose from, with good Continental cuisine to back up the local fare. Later in the evening you should be able to track down a busy bar with live music.

DAY 15: Fly from Kathmandu

Relax on an aircraft, savouring memories and accidentally deleting pictures of the jungles, mountains and towns that make up fascinating Nepal. Bask in the satisfaction that you have ridden some of the best mountain roads in one of the world’s most interesting countries.

More Details

Security

Despite the ongoing peace process, the political situation in Nepal remains a little fragile. Problems involving tourists are extremely rare, but we will be monitoring the security situation on an ongoing basis and an alternative itinerary will be put in place if we judge the situation at the time to be too dangerous.

Documentation

You will need a passport with valid visa, appropriate travel insurance and an international driving permit. While visas can be obtained on arrival, the queues can be long. Better to get a visa from the Embassy of Nepal in London.

Currency

The Nepali Rupee (NPR) is fixed against the Indian Rupee (INR) at an exchange rate of 1.6 NPR to each INR – meaning the rate tends to hover around NPR110 per UK Pound. However, the daily price given by foreign exchange wallahs, is set as a cartel and you’ll have difficulty getting the full rate. Thus, we would suggest you check the rate before flying, so you do not get ripped off at the airport. In the major towns (Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan), there are cashpoints and any hard currency (UKP/USD/Euro) cash is easily changed, as are travellers’ cheques in these currencies. If you don’t go crazy in the shops, then changing around £200 should see you through the trip. Please, though, check out (above) the cost of any additional activities in which you wish to participate.

Climate

Even at moderate altitude the Himalaya can be surprisingly warm in summer. But nothing can be taken for granted and although rain is rare there is always the chance. Evenings can get quite chilly, but the rest of the time it should be warm/hot. The maximum temperature likely to be encountered is around 30ºC; the minimum 6ºC (rarely, at night).

Bike Kit

We advise riders to consider their kit in terms of layers. Good quality gear can also prevent a minor spill causing a trip-ruining injury, so we require that you ride with no exposed skin (except your face).

Luggage

While your main luggage will be carried in a support vehicle, you may wish to bring a small rucksack or tankbag in which to carry articles you need on the road. Your main bag must be ‘soft’ and not a suitcase.

Fitness

While you don’t have to be an athlete to join us on this adventure, we would not recommend this tour to those who cannot, for instance, climb a flight of stairs. Please note that there are some long days in the saddle. We do not reach any great altitude on this tour, but if you have any existing medical condition, please consult both the tour operator and your doctor before booking.

Riding Skills

While we insist those joining us have a full motorcycle licence, and recommend a minimum of two year’s riding experience, time in the saddle and miles ridden are of more relevance to an adventure like this. Riding in India is very different from Europe and although the speeds at which we travel are relatively low, demands on planning and observation are high. Other factors making demands on riders are the heat (and possibly cold), conditions of the road – including sections of unpaved dirt – and getting used to the bikes’ reversed foot controls

Health & Hygiene

Although there is always the chance of getting a ‘holiday tummy’, following a few simple guidelines keeps the chances of this to a minimum. The tour will be accompanied by a medic with extensive kit to deal with any problem. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, it is essential that you consult both the tour operator and your physician before booking.

Departure dates:

14th October 2017  (Saturday) Kathmandu 3199 GBP (2549 GBP excluding flights)
 28th October 2017  (Saturday) Kathmandu 3199 GBP (2549 GBP excluding flights)
 13th October 2018  (Saturday) Kathmandu 3299 GBP (2649 GBP excluding flights)
 27th October 2018  (Saturday) Kathmandu 3299 GBP (2649 GBP excluding flights)

 

Trip length: 15 days

 

What is included

International Flights (if flight inclusive option chosen)

Bike with Mechanical Back-up, Spares & Repairs

Medical & Luggage-carrying Support

All Internal Transfers

First Tank of Fuel

Accommodation on a Bed & Breakfast Basis

What is not included

Most Lunches & Evening Meals

Entry Fees

Fuel Subsequent to First Tankful

Optional activities

Bungee Jump (Last Resort); about £50

White-water rafting day trip (Last Resort); some £35

Park entry and guides (Bardia & Chitwan) £10-ish

Elephant safari (Bardia & Chitwan); around £45

Paragliding (tandem flight, Pokhara) £70, or thereabouts

 

Operator

This highly experienced motorbike outfit have been running small group tours since 1999 and their love of bikes and passion for discovering the most exciting new routes shines through. The trips are meticulously researched and lead by expert guides plus mechanics and a professional medic with safe and well maintained equipment. Eat and sleep in the best locations enjoying the best riding and cultural experiences each destination.

The company is committed to supporting the local communities it works with providing education for staff-members and their families and contributing to the local economies. They are also bonded with ATOL and comply with the Package Travel Regulations so you know your money is protected.

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