Francis is a biker always venturing out on the road to uncover new routes with as much passion as he has telling stories. He is an enthusiast and knows our itineraries like the back of his hand.
Have you always dreamed of riding in a remote region ignored by tourists? In the heart of the Himalayas, this adventurous motorcycle road trip invites you to brave the rocky tracks of Upper Mustang, nestled on the edge of Nepal and Tibet. Expect a difficult itinerary, in groups of 6 riders maximum, for a motorcycle tour that must be earned. You won't find smooth asphalt here because these tracks are sometimes sandy, rough and almost never used by motorcycles. All around you, the rocky landscapes and canyons are dominated by the highest peaks in the world. In the villages where Buddhism holds great importance, look forward to a generous welcome from the local inhabitants.
Arrive at the airport according to your flight schedule. Transfer to your hotel in the medieval district of Patan, close to the Durbar Square (the Palace Square), a pure architectural marvel classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. You can spend the evening as you wish.
Morning transfer to the airport and short flight to Pokhara (45 minutes).You meet your motorcycle guide and get to know your Royal Enfield for a first motorcycle ride in the area.
It's the departure day for Mustang! The asphalt road stops in Beni after about 50 miles, and then the serious trails begin. The track goes up along the Kali Gandaki river, the valley becomes narrower and finally the first snowy peaks of the Annapurnas appear in front of us, at over 8,000m altitude!
The road to Mustang needs to be earned! The first stretch to Ghasa (11 miles) is the most difficult. The landscape is now truly spectacular, we’re riding in the deepest valley in the world. After the village of Kagbeni, we enter the kingdom of Upper Mustang, an area that was forbidden to foreigners until 1992.
Today we enter this ancient kingdom of Mustang, a majestic territory of rocks and canyons dominated by the highest summits of the world. The rocky, sandy tracks, sometimes steep and rugged to the point of having to get off the bike to pass the obstacles, force humility. This is the most challenging day on the bike!
The track rises and softens today and leads us to the discovery of the Dhakmar village and its famous red cliffs, then to the Ghar Gompa monastery, a jewel of Tibetan architecture set at 4,000m altitude. We stop for the night in the distinct village of Tsarang, dominated by the imposing red mass of its monastery, as well as by the old palace.
A short stage today to finally reach the historic capital of Mustang. After one last pass, the fortified city is revealed as a mirage on the plateau below. The entrance to Lo Manthang is an unforgettable moment, a true sense of accomplishment! After lunch, we let ourselves be guided by the smiles of inhabitants to explore the ancient labyrinth of tangled streets around the palace.
This morning we head north to the final point of our ascent - the Tibetan plateau and the Chinese border. This was the infamous "Kora-La border", a strategic area during the Sino-Tibetan war between Tibetan local people and Khampas warriors in Mao's military forces until the 70's. On our way back, we visit the troglodyte caves of Choser, nestled into the cliff.
The riding difficulties we experienced on the way in are waiting for us today on the way out! It's hard to believe that we've used this track before - everything looks so different when you look South! The double massifs of Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri, culminating at more than 8,000m, seem to be the monumental gate that separates Tibet from the Indian subcontinent. Once again, men and machines will be put to the test.
The descent to the bed of Kali Gandaki River provides us a stunning morning show. We cross the river at the entrance of the impressive gorges winding upstream from the village of Chele. A dozen miles further ahead await a hot shower and the delicious cuisine of our host, in the picturesque village of Kagbeni, one of the most beautiful of Mustang. Well-deserved afternoon break.
Early breakfast. We take a desert and mineral track, which rises on the mountainside. The view of the summit of Dhaulagiri (more than 8,000m) is impressive, almost unreal. We drive to Muktinath (3,800m) and visit its famous temple dedicated to Vishnu. We go down into the valley of Kali Gandaki by a short and beautiful ribbon of asphalt. As we approach Kalopani, we find the coniferous forests of the Himalayan foothills.
For this last day of our motorcycle tour, we leave in the direction of Pokhara, and after about 18 miles we’re happy to find the asphalt again. We ride through the rural and green Nepal, landscapes change from one valley to another. The winding road crosses traditional villages and terraced cultivations until reaching the ridge overlooking Pokhara and Lake Phewa, almost 1,000m below. The last miles are exhilarating, diving back into the city is dizzying.
In the late morning, short transfer to the airport and flight to Kathmandu (45 minutes). Check in at the hotel in the famous district of Thamel, close to the Durbar Square of the old town. You will enjoy the afternoon according to your desires. Last lively evening in perspective!
Transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule. End of our services.
You take off in a Jetstream 41 airplane. You fly over Mount Everest, the roof of the world, standing proud at 8,848 metres! You’ll also be able to take in other legendary peaks: Annapurna (8,091 metres), Lhotse (8,516 metres), Nuptse (7,861 metres), etc.
“We were a bunch of mates from Norwich in the UK looking for something different on bikes. We decided to email 2 company's, Vintage rides and another Aussie outfit based in Nepal. Both company's provided a detailed route in the Mustang Valley in Nepal. The Aussie company was slightly cheaper but the bikes looked older and most importantly sending 20,000 euro's abroad to either company did not appeal to me! However Vintage rides payments are covered via our version of ABTA. The Aussie company payments were not. Easy choice for us. We arrived in Nepal to be greated by the coolest dude at the airport in leather jacket, ciggy in one hand , his name Francois. I can go on and bang on about what an experience the ride was which it was but if you are looking for a company to to have the ride of your life then Vintage rides is at the top of the game. All hotels were fantastic, we bumped into another British company half way up the Mustang valley and I have to say I was glad I had booked Vintage rides. The bike the Britsh had were all sorts of old Royal Enfields and the hotel they were in looked terrible, even the Britsh tour t-shirts they were wearing looked like they were from pound land ! Francois our gide put up with 8 middle aged blokes on a 12 day bender! One hotel we drunk dry !! Brexit was mentioned once or twice but we all decided the French are not so bad after all they can drink as well !! Francois new exactly where to take us ,he has done these trips most of his life. The support crew were 10 mins behind us all the time to fix puncures and fix bikes. Vintage rides is a company that know's what it is doiing and I would have no hesitation in booking another trip (Mongolia) again. A big thankyou to Francois and Denise for organising such a great trip. Roll on next year we are booking again. Doddy.”
“i did the nepal mustang trip in november with my son, a small amount of offroading skills is required. He had only passed his test 3months earlier and had gone a couple of off roading sessions and coped well. The weather was good that time of year, no rain and warm. the tour was better than i'd ever expected with a number of surprises along route. most accommodation was of good standard with some of very good 'the wife could spend a week here' standard. the bikes worked better than i'd expected, not ktm standard but you wouldnt want to be on a ktm allday, and half the appeal was the enfield. i would recommend this trip, so much so i am looking presently to book another trip with vintages rides.”
“This is my second trip with Vintage Rides and it was just as good as the first. ( I have even booked a third, so that's three within the year!). If your a rider that likes adventure and off-road riding, then Mustang is the journey for you. Be prepared to be pushed to the limits and also meet a good bunch of fellow adventure riders.”
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