If it is silky smooth ride with fair amount of challenge you are after, the stretch of autoroute on the roof of the world is ideal. After the many motorway challenges have been faced and conquered for the first 100 kilometers to Kodari, the ride gets truly adventurous as soon as it begins to chase the celebrated Friendship Highway. Roads and the driving conditions on the highway best suit the superbikes. Flanking Tibetan landscapes, snaky lefts and rights, soaring passes close to the sky and glimpses of treasured Tibetan culture during the frequent stopovers- this ride genuinely offers the pleasure of lifetime.
A team of adrenaline hungry Nepalese riders took on Everest Challenge 2014 on their pet beasts- Ducati Superbikes. The Ducati Everest Challenge 2014 began on 10th of June. Six riders of the burgeoning Ducati Community Nepal set off to enjoy the pleasure of riding the Roof of the World. Launched from the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, the monstrous Ducati bikers rode 1000 kilometers on the Friendship Highway to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa and then rallied back to Kathmandu on the 19th of June via Everest Base Camp of the Tibetan side. The 1000-kilometer stretch along the foothills of Himalayan giants is a fantasy with unrivaled scenery—windswept Tibetan landscapes, magical highland lakes and the dramatic rise and fall of the winding curves of the highway.
Pramod Shrestha (Goofy), the Road Captain of the Event and five other Nepalese Ducati Riders experienced smooth rides. The power of the Ducati beasts was unleashed on the roads of Tibet. On the road to Lhasa, the ride over Khamba La Pass was much anticipated. On the open highway, the bikes fared exceedingly well and succumbed to no altitude issues- none at all. The weather was favourable throughout and the joy of riding was thus exceptional. The beasts scored an average speed of 80 km/hour, allowing the riders to stay ahead of schedule, even arriving in Lhasa three hours earlier than the projected time. The ride itself is larger than life, but the major celebration going on in Tibet during the time was a fascinating fortune. The Shakadawa festival, the year of the horse, which is celebrated once every 12 years, and the revelry and festivities had reached its pinnacle on this full moon evening that our riders pulled into town. The guys had fun walking around and also feel extremely privileged to be able to witness these merriments.
The time to triumph over the Challenge was on the ride back to Kathmandu. However, to grab the most out the trip the Ducati riders planned to take on every challenge head-on. The team of adrenaline junkies arrived to the top of the famous Yam-drok Tse Lake and established an idea to traverse down to the bank of this alpine beauty and daringly they made it. The adventure continued and the fleet of Ducati arrived at Shegar. From Shegar, a divergence from the Friendship Highway that unfolds mishmash over a 68 kilometers stretch is the way to Everest Base Camp. The hard-hitting and unpredictable road was so challenging that the monster Ducatis had to slow down to 10km/hr. Despite these adverse conditions, the wheels rolled to the Base Camp of world’s highest peak, Everest. The Ducati Everest Challenge 2014 was accomplished and the experiences of the ride would forever fondly haunt the heads and souls of all the riders.
Ducati Everest Challenge 2014 was supported by Explore Himalaya Travel and Adventure and Turbo Motors Trading Pvt. Ltd. After the completion of the Event the Road Captain, Pramod Shrestha said, “It felt great to ride a bike worthy of excellent roads in Tibet. There was not much traffic and hence my machine and I had the freedom to fly across the Tibetan Plateau.”
Tibet has been the traveler’s major choice to explore. The world’s highest plateau Tibet is considered the holy land of monks indulged deeply into the meditation. The Highway joining this roof of the world to the Himalayan nation Nepal is Friendship Highway. The highway almost covers the distance of 1000km. Every year Explore Himalaya brings the adrenaline hungry road adventurers from around the world to this highway for its special product Motorbike tour to Tibet. The long ride on Enfield motorbikes along the spectacular landscapes on the highway could possibly be the most exciting two-wheeler journey that happens once in a life.
Eight Aussies; Peter, Robin, Ricki, Johann, Susan, Bradley Stephen (Travel Journalist) and Tony Evans (Operation Director, Travel Directors) experienced this thrilling highland journey with Explore Himalaya last spring. The trip was a great retreat. Beginning with sightseeing in Lasha on October 9 the journey covered the mesmerizing natural awe-inspiring sites throughout the highway.
The roadies began to celebrate their motorbike journey at Lasha. They visited Dakripya, Johkang Temple, Ganden Monastery, Sera Monastery and the Majestic Potala Palace at Lasha before their bikes hit the road on the Friendship Highway October 13.
The 1000 km long Friendship Highway, from Lhasa to Kathmandu, goes through 4 passes over 5000m+ starting along the Lasha River. Traveling downhill the Gyatso La Pass at 5220m the scenic view of Yamdrok Tso Lake aka turquoise lake at the 4447m further inspired the every member of the Motorbike Tour.The ride continued to the city of Gyantse along the Yarlung Tsong River and Karo La pass at 5045m. Gyantse is the city of famous Gyantse Dzong, Kumbum, Palkhor and Pecho monasteries. Down the isolated passes the Aussies came to Shigaste; the Chinese Town with Tibetan flavor. Shigaste lies at 3900m below New Tingri. Tashilhunpo monastery at Shigaste has been the resident of all the Panchen Lama. At Shigaste the road branches to two directions. West headed to the City of Ali and south continued with our travelers to pass Shegar, New Shegar and the famous Rongphu Monastery and the Everest Base Camp. Traveling to Everest Base Camp on the 500cc Enfield was no doubt a rare opportunity. Then, Lhatse a small city came in between Shegar and Shigaste. Before hitting towards the Nepalese border from Lhatse the motorbikes passd Tingri valley via Lalung La pass at 5050m. Tingri is also the upper valley of Bum- Chu or Arun River. The valley is full of young rivers. From here the road continued towards the Nepal-China border traveling down through Nyalam Tong la pass at 5143m to Nyalam and Zhangmu. Nyalam 3700m is the last major Tibetan city before the riders’ reached the border city of Zhangmu.From the custom city of Zhangmu the riders made the way towards Nepal leaving the Sino- Nepal highway (Friendship Highway). They crossed the Friendship Bridge over BhoteKoshi and hit on the Araniko highway to Kathmandu via small hilltop tourist town Dhulikhel.
As the visitors came closer to Kathmandu on October 18, Explore Himalaya team was even more eager to receive them cordially for the lawn party at Malla Hotel. The reception was deservingly grand. Our visitors enjoyed their relaxation time after the long journey with cultural presentations by the local artists.
After, the tiring but adventurous long journey on the Friendship and Araniko Highways, the Aussies spent two more days in Kathmandu to visit around the cultural, historical and religious heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley. The Aussie lineup departed Nepal on October 21, 2012.
‘Nepal Traveller’, a tourism magazine from Nepal published this article in their June issue.