Big Mountain Passes? Riding in the shadows of 8000m Peaks? Stunning Remote Teahouses? Dal Bhat? Join us in Nepal, on the first of our Pannier Expeditions – longer, more adventurous bikepacking tours in the world’s wilds…
The Annapurna Circuit is considered one of the most challenging bike trips in the world – this expedition takes us to some of the most stunning biking tracks in Nepal, starting at 700m above sea level, and reaches up to a staggering height of 5416 meters at Thorong-La pass. We will ride a combination of jeep track, trails covered with snow and single tracks
via Manang and Mustang’s harsh climatic condition. Hardships aside, you will be rewarded with the fantastic Teahouse infrastructure in the mountains, and the opportunities to get up close and personal with the locals, whose lifestyle in these mountain villages have remained unchanged for centuries…
1 May – 13 May 2020
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel in Thamel District. This evening we will fill out the necessary paperwork for permits, have a rider briefing and tour overview.
After an early morning breakfast in Kathmandu, we head into the Kathmandu valley to explore some local trails at a leisurely pace. Today is the ideal opportunity to ensure the bikes are working well…
Our day starts as early as 6:00 am to catch the bus to Besisahar. The drive takes approximately 6 hours. Upon arrival in Besisahar we will check in to a guest house, and this evening is free to explore the town or head out for a ride in the surrounding hills.
Food: Breakfast, Dinner
…we follow the Manang – Dumre Jeep Track which hugs the Marsyangdi River upstream. The road becomes steep to bustling Chamche. Soon we see the welcome gate to Manang district, which means we have reached our stop
at the village of Taal…
Today’s ride is a tough one with the majority of it going uphill to our final destination of Chame. The main challenge of the day is the 35-degree ascent through the forest to Timang – it’s a push, and hard going, but after this it is an ace ride into our accommodation…
Today we ride through a steep valley, criss-crossing the river via narrow bridges on a trail to Pisang, where we pedal above 3000m for the first time. From Pisang, the route follows a wide valley that opens up ahead of us as we pass Humde (the highest commercial airport in the world). A cliff
face obscures Manang until were practically upon it and a final steep climb brings us to its prayer wheel lined streets and stunning scenery.
…a well-deserved rest day in Manang. To help with acclimatisation we will head out for a hike up to Gangapurna Lake, and its surrounding 8000m peaks.
We will feel first-hand the effect of riding at altitude as we pass Manang on a steady climb up to Ghusang at 3900m above sea level. It is then a short distance to Thorong Phedi, but will be slow going at this height.
Today we will be getting up at 4am to take on the Thorong-La Pass (the highest point on the tour). The first dawn 5KM ascent to reach the top of Thorong-La Pass is painfully slow and arduous – it could even be a push and carry for most – in the darkness. After a summit session, we descend down a steep slope to the holy site of Muktinath, and enjoy a super descent to Kagbeni.
Easy-ish riding today as we descend quickly down to the hot spring town of Tatopani. Here we can rest and recover in the hot spring waters, reflecting on the past few days riding…
We start early to avoid the heat of the day and ride an undulating route towards the ace city of Pokhara. The road slowly becomes busier and dustier as we get out of the mountains, so we finish the day with a transfer to our accommodation in Pokhara. Evening in Pokhara. Lots of fantastic bars, and eateries there to explore…
After waking up in Pokhara, we take the bus back to Kathmandu for our final evening social and dinner…
Travel to Kathmandu Airport, and head home…
…on our Pannier Expeditions, we’ll always be riding with the best local guides we can find. In Nepal, it’s Chhimi Urkyen Gurung – one of the pioneers of mountain biking in Nepal. He established the first mountain biking company in 1997 and has over 20 years of experience. He is very active both professionally and socially where he was the president of Nepal Cycling Association from 1995 to 2018 and he is still the Founder and life time President of The Nepal Cycling Association. Chhimi also summited Everest in 2011. No biggie…
>> Adventure Bike & Accessories (UK/EU tourers only)
>> Bikepacking Bags
>> Camp Kit (sleeping bag, sleeping mat, liner)
>> 11 x days adventure cycling in Annapurna with Pannier guides
>> 3 x overnights in hotel accommodation – Kathmandu
>> 1 x overnight in hotel accommodation – Pokhara
>> 9 x overnights in guest/teahouses – Annapurna
>> Most meals whilst on tour
>> All listed transfers
>> Pannier.cc tourer pack
>> #coffeeoutside and #teaoutside throughout
>> Travel to/from Kathmandu
>> Visas and vaccinations – required
>> Travel insurance – required
>> Bike Hire (UK/EU tourers only)
>> Camp Kit Hire
>> Alcoholic drinks
*Please see Trip FAQ/Field Notes for more info, and note about booking travel before a tour is guaranteed*
Nearest Airports: Kathmandu (Nepal)
FAQ / Field Notes
Annapurna, Nepal Expedition
Joining instructions >>
This tour starts and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal. There is no set arrival time but we recommend all tourers aim to be there for the early evening to meet the Pannier team and attend the briefing. A joining itinerary will be sent out to all tourers at least 6 weeks before the tour start date.
There are several flight carriers offering good routes to Kathmandu, we recommend checking on Skyscanner.com for available route options from your local airport. Please factor in extra travel days at the start of the tour to allow plenty of time to meet the group. Once we know your flight times we can arrange airport transfers to the meet accommodation.
Some flight routes require an overnight stay between connecting flights. If you need to leave the airport you may need a short stay Visa in some countries.
You will need to pay to get your bike and kit there and back. Please note: Bicycle delivery and flight charges are not included in the Pannier bike hire costs. We will work with you on this, if you decide you want to hire a bike 🙂
Please do not book non refundable travel before a tour has been guaranteed to go ahead [see our general FAQs]
Food & Drink >>
What to bring >>
Adventure bike (see bike details)
A basic personal bike tool kit – inc. patches, tyre lever and tubes / tubeless repair kit
Cycling kit, shoes, helmet, pedals
Off the bike clothes – warm layers for mornings and evenings + clothes for travel days
Warm and Waterproof jackets
Bike details >>
The ideal bike for this tour is a big-volume tyre gravel bike, or XC/hardtail mountain bike. The most important thing to consider is the range of gears on your bike. There are some long and tough ascents and having a low range of gears will help you keep riding…
Pannier staff will be carrying spare parts including chains, gear and break cables, inner tubes and pumps etc. All Pannier staff are trained mechanics and will be on hand to help build, fix and dismantle bikes if needed. We recommend you bring basic spares that are specific to your bike with you on this tour as once out of Kathmandhu there are no bike shops. If you have wheels with strange spokes, specific tools needed or a belt drive bike for example, you need to be able to fix it.
Unfortunately we are only able to offer bike hire to tourers coming from the UK/EU. If hiring a bike we will send you one of our adventure bikes one week prior to the tour departure date. It is then your responsibility to take the bike out to Nepal with you.
Bike boxes and extra equipment can be left at the hotel in Nepal for the duration of the tour.
General information >>
Visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders. To obtain a visa upon arrival by air in Nepal you must fill in an application form on arrival and provide a passport photograph. A single-entry visa valid for 15, 30 or 90 days costs US$25, 40 or 100. At Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport the fee is payable in any major currency. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you submit your application for a visa.
You will need a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months beyond the start date of your tour. You will also need a minimum of two blank pages for arrival/departure stamps.
Nepal is GMT+
Health and fitness:
This tour is physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness to complete. Please read through the itinerary and make sure you are capable of completing the outlined distances and elevation before signing up.
Please make us aware of any ongoing injuries or health issues before traveling with us. This information will be requested before departure as it is vital we know of anything before heading to remote areas.