Annapurna Mountain Biking is one of Nepal's most famous trekking routes lies close to the Marsyangdi and Kali Gandaki Rivers, near Tibet, and within the Annapurna Conservation area.This is not easy trek, as the route rises to an altitude of 5416m at the Thorong-La Pass, but it is an exciting and beautiful one, and one well suited to mountain biking for those with good bike skills. We first explored the route by bike in 1992 and are now very familiar with it. It is very technical, particularly the downhill section from the Thorong-La, and we do not recommend it for beginners, but with views of peaks at over 8000m and a variety of landscapes, plants and animals, it is well worth the effort. At night we stay in village lodges.
Day 01. Pick up from the International Airport, transfer to hotel and welcome dinner.
Day 02. Sightseeing in the Kathmandu valley.
Day 03. We take a bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar (177 km, 5-6 hrs) taking lunch on the way and then staying overnight in a hotel at Besisahar. At Besisahar there are shops and a bank, and the entrance to the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Day 04. Our trek starts with a ride to Bahundanda (18km, 650m altitude gain to 1310m, but some covered by jeep). The biking includes single trails and a technical crossing of a river tributary on a bamboo suspension bridge. We then bike through extensive rice terraces with views of Himal Chuli, Buddha Himal and Manaslu, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8156m.
Day 05. To Tal Manang (12km, 600hm, 1700m, about 40% ride-able). The first section from Bahundanda is a very technical trail with rocky ups and down. Several times you will need to push or carry your bike. But the journey is through a beautiful landscape of waterfalls, cliffs and gorges of the Marsyangdi River. At Tal there are lodges and shops.
Day 06. To Chame Manang (20.6km, 985hm, 2670m, about 55% ride-able). We continue uphill along a technical trail to reach Bagarchhap (about 8km), beyond which the trail heads through a fine area of jungle. Chame is a district headquarters of the Manang district and has offices, shops, and lodges.
Day 07. To Lower Pisang village (15.2km, 600hm, 3260m, 80% ride-able). The biking is easier today, following a trail beside the Marsyangdi River which goes through pine forest with views of the Annapurna Himal. We still need to push the bikes as we approach the Wave Rock, a huge rock weathered to look like a wave. Beyond it the going is easier along a lovely trail through pine forests. At Lower Pisang there are lodges and after a rest, and some tea or coffee, we can visit Upper Pisang which has a 15th century Monastery and amazing views of the Annapurna range and Pisang Peak.
Day 08. To Manang village (16.7km, 400hm, 3450m, 95% ride-able). A mostly flat trail, with more fine views of the Annapurna range and Pisang Peak.
Day 09. Today we rest at Manang to acclimatise, enjoying the village and perhaps visitng an old Monastery.
Day 10. To Thorong Base Camp (18km, 910hm, 4450m, 70% ride-able). The trail goes steeply up to Tanky, but is then more ride-able, though it still rises continuously.
Day 11. Today we cross the Thorong La, at 5416m, to reach Muktinath (21km, 966hm, 3800m, 60% ride-able). This is the hard day, with a long uphill climb to a high altitude pass. We start early because there is usually a strong wind blowing across the pass after 11am. Mostly we have to push the bikes to reach the pass, but then there is an amazing downhill ride to Muktinath, where there is a very important Hindu temple with 108 fountains. Thousands of pilgrims come here at festival time.
Day 12. To Jomsom (25km, 2750m, 98% ride-able). Today the entire ride is downhill and it is also not very technical. so it is a very pleasant day, and one with superb views of Dhaulagiri, at 8167m the seventh highest mountain in the world. The area we ride through is also very beautiful, and there are typical Nepalese villages - Jarkot and Kagbeni. Kagbeni is one of Nepal's most beautiful villages, and has a 15th century Monastery (Kagchode Gompa). The day's trail finishes by following the Kali Gandaki River to Jomsom. It is easy going, but we need to be prepared for a section notorious for strong winds between Kagbeni and Jomsom. Jomsom is the headquarters of the Mustang District and has hotels, shops and offices as well as an airport.
Day 13. To Kalopani (24.8km, 2530m, 85% ride-able). At first we follow the Kali Gandaki river through the villages of Thakali, Marpha, Tukuche and Larjung. The next section is easy riding, following a jeep track to Kalopani, a beautiful village set below the Dhaulagiri Himal. From the village there is a panoramic view of Dhaulagiri, the Nilgiri peaks and Annapurna I.
Day 14. To Tatopani, (23km, 1190m, 75% ride-able). Downhill at first, then a technical section where we cross a suspension bridge and ride through pine forest to reach Ghasa where there are several lodges. From here the trail goes steeply down to the Rupse waterfall, one of the biggest on the route, where we have lunch at a restaurant with a fine view of the falls. Beyond, the trail is much easier, going through Dana village and crossing rice paddies to reach Tatopani, a small town on the north bank of Kali Gandaki River. This is a great place to stay as there are hot springs and cold beer.
Day 15. To Beni Baazar (24km, 830m, 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.
Day 16. A free day top explore fascinating Pokhara. We could even explore it by bike.
Day 17. We take the bus for the 200km drive to Kathmandu. Overnight at a hotel.
Day 18. Free day for shopping in Kathmandu.
Day 19. Departure for home.