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 dreamt of riding in a remote region undiscovered by tourists? In the heart of the Himalayas, this motorcycle adventure invites you to brave the rocky tracks of Upper Mustang, nestled on the edge of Nepal and Tibet. In groups of a maximum of six riders, don’t expect an easy ride: you really have to work hard for this motorcycle tour. The itinerary includes anything but smooth tarmac! Tracks are sometimes sandy, rough and almost never usually used by motorcycles. The world’s highest peaks dominate the rocky landscapes and canyons that surround us. Expect welcoming smiles from locals in the villages where ancient monasteries are proof of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. This motorcycle adventure in Nepal immerses you into a country that’s as wild as it is enchanting!
You arrive at the airport according to your flight schedule. You are transferred to your hotel in Patan’s medieval district, close to Durbar Square (the Palace Square), an architectural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site. You can spend the evening as you wish.
This morning, you are transferred to the airport and take a short flight to Pokhara (45 minutes).You meet your tour leader and get better acquainted with your Royal Enfield with a first motorcycle ride in the area. A hike to the Peace Pagoda offers breathtaking views of the lake and mountains in the background.
Today, we leave for Mustang! The asphalt road comes to a halt in Beni after about 50 miles, giving way to the serious tracks. The track goes up along the Kali Gandaki river, the valley becomes narrower and finally the first snowy peaks of the Annapurna come into view, at over 8,000m altitude!
You need to work for the road to Mustang! The first stretch to Ghasa (11 miles) is the most difficult, for you and your bike: the rocky track is very steep in areas and we have to cross strong currents in places. The landscape is now truly spectacular as we’re riding in the deepest valley in the world. After Kagbeni village, we enter the kingdom of Upper Mustang.
Today we enter the ancient kingdom of Mustang, a majestic territory of rocks and canyons dominated by the highest summits in the world. The rocky, sandy tracks are often so steep and rugged that we’ll have to get off our bikes and push them past the obstacles, a humbling experience, which proves to be our most challenging riding day!
The track rises and softens today and leads us to discover Dhakmar village and its famous red cliffs. Then, we head on to Ghar Gompa monastery, a real Tibetan gem, set at 4,000 m altitude. We spend the night at Tsarang, a typical village dominated by the imposing red monastery and ancient palace.
Today’s a short leg but we finally reach Mustang’s historical capital. After one last pass, the fortified city appears as if it were a mirage on the plateau below. Entering Lo Manthang is an unforgettable moment, a true sense of accomplishment! After lunch, we let ourselves be guided by the smiling locals, exploring the ancient labyrinth of woven streets around the palace.
This morning, we head north to our last 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 people and Khampas, warriors in Mao's military forces until the 70s. On our way back, we visit Choser’s troglodyte caves, nestled into the cliff.
The riding difficulties we experienced on the way in are waiting for us on the way out today! It's hard to believe that we've used this track before - everything looks so different when you look to the south! Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, culminating at more than 8,000m, seem to be the monumental gate that separates Tibet from the Indian subcontinent. Once again, you and your bikes will be put to the test.
The descent to Kali Gandaki River offers a stunning morning show. We cross the river at the entrance of the impressive gorges winding upstream from Chele village, where 4x4 trucks drive to Tibet during winter when the water level is at its lowest. A few more miles and we can enjoy a hot shower and our host’s delicious cuisine, in Kagbeni, one of Mustang’s most beautiful villages. We have a well-deserved break this afternoon.
We enjoy an early breakfast. We take a rocky desert track, which rises on the mountainside. The view of Dhaulagiri’s summit (more than 8,000 m) is impressive, almost unreal. We go down into the Kali Gandaki valley on a short, beautiful stretch of asphalt road. As we approach Kalopani, we are greeted by the fir-tree forests of the Himalayan foothills.
We ride through rural, green Nepal, and landscapes change from one valley to the next. The winding road passes through traditional villages and terraced croplands. The last miles are exhilarating and driving back into the city is dizzying. We find ourselves back in civilisation.
In the late morning, you have a short transfer to the airport and flight to Kathmandu (45 minutes). You check in at the hotel in the famous Thamel district, close to Durbar Square in the old town. You can spend the afternoon as you wish.
You are transferred to the airport according to your flight schedule, where our services end.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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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