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.
Explore Himalaya recently organized the Lhasa-Kathmandu biking tour for the 4 bike riders Mr. Jose Rosario, Mr. Christopher Chilimintris, Ms. Annamaria Chilimintris and Mr. Sandro Taboada, from America.
Group in Tibet
The riders had arrived Kathmandu where they did one day sightseeing tour and 1 day biking tour around Kathmandu before flying to Lhasa to start the Lhasa- Kathmandu biking tour.
Karo La in Tibet
After returning home, one of the riders, Ms. Annamaria Chilimintris sent us her wonderful write up of their experience of biking in Tibet and Nepal with Explore Himalaya and photos of the trip.
“My uncle was turning 50 and wanted to celebrate doing something spectacular he has never done before but always wanted to. He is an avid cyclist in NYC and thought it would be a great idea to bike from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal. One of the most memorable moments was bike riding out of Kathmandu, around it, and back into the main city. The grand landscapes were breathtaking, and the rice fields were awe inspiring. Also, the ride itself was challenging. The terrain changes frequently when you are outside the city. And when you are inside the city, the traffic presents other obstacles. All challenges were met with open arms and hearts. They make you laugh!! Somehow the chaos of Kathmandu keeps its order. On our last night, we were taken to a dinner and show. There was live music and cultural dances. What a sight to behold!! Nepal is a beautiful country and we look forward to hopefully returning one day.”
On the way to Kathmandu
View on the way to Kathmandu
Photos: Ms. Annamaria Chilimintris
Explore Himalaya recently organized the ‘Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu overland trip’ for the group of 5 persons from Russia. The trip was accompanied by our Executive officer Mr. Samundra Subedi.
Group at Potala Palace
The group drove to Nylam from Kathmandu to commence their trip to Lhasa. Enroute to Lhasa, the group visited different interesting places and monasteries. After visiting Lhasa, the group drove back to Kathmandu just in 3 days stopping in Shightse and Zhangmu.
View from Naylamthungla
Although, there were some hiccups on the way, the group was greatly satisfied and found the tour to be “excellent and memorable one’.
Here is what they had commented concerning their trip and experience:
“We are very glad for the tourt to Tibet which was organized by Explore Himalaya! All journeys were nice and we like it! We are in Moscow now and full of impressions! Thank you! We’ll keep it in our memory during long time!” – Anna
“Thank you for a wonderful trip to Tibet in July of this year, for help and support. Impressions are very bright and with time do not fade”. Lyudimila
Karo la Glacier
Yam drok tso Lake
Photos: Lyudimila, Samundra
Mrs Vinni Smed and her husband Mr Hans Hiordt Hansen this July led a cultural group of Seventeen people from Denmark to the Roof of the World – Tibet. The group arrived in Lhasa on a train from Beijing on 13 July and exited Tibet from zhangmu border to Nepal on 23 July. Thereafter, they spent 3 days excursing some of the UNESCO world heritage sites around Kathmandu valley before heading back to their homeland.
On this tour the group visited some of the famous sites in Tibet such as Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Deprung Monastery, Jokhang Temple, Gyantse Dzong, Norbulinka Palace, Gyantse Kumbum,Tashilunpo Monastery and many more. They not only got to learn the culture, heritage and history but also got to view picturistic landscape of the beautiful country. Also the centre of attraction was the majestic view of Mountains like Everest, Sishapangma, Cho Oyu, Menlungtse and Gauri Shanker.
In Nepal some of the places the group visited were Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
The group was very happy with the tour and organizing skills of our company. They wish to travel with Explore Himalaya if they ever happen to come again in the Himalayas.
Frank Mayes, along with his family, explored the scenic and cultural hotspots of Kathmandu and Pokhara recently. The Mayes family (from USA )had actually planned to visit Everest Base Camp in Tibet but had to scrap their plans due to permit issues. As an alternative tour, the Mayes family enjoyed a cultural and scenic extravaganza to Nepal’s tourist hotspots Kathmandu and Pokhara. Before their departure, EH met up with Frank Mayes . Here’s his feedback:
EH: How was your tour?
Frank Mayes: Overall we had a very good and enjoyable time. We liked the people we met and the guide.
EH: How was the service of our staffs and guide in Kathmandu and Pokhara?
FM: The service of the guides was very good and we enjoyed their company. We felt very safe and secure with the company.
EH: Any special moment you would like to share?
FM: I personally enjoyed the music and dinner that we had. All of us enjoyed our visit to the Monkey Temple (Swoyambhunath). Visiting there is lot of fun and we learnt a lot about the origin of the Kathmandu Valley from that trip. The Hindu temple of Pashupatinath was also quite interesting.