Nepal Tours 2017
Prior to organising motorcycling tours in Nepal, I’d been out there twice before, on kayaking and trekking holidays.
In conjunction with a well-established travel company in Kathmandu, I set up and took part in 2 motorcycle tours of Nepal in 2016. The one in April, was the “Classic” trip from Kathmandu up into the Himalayas to reach sacred temple at Muktinath, 3750 metres above sea level. We learned from this; so for the November tour, we missed out one small section in the mountains, but added an extension at the end of the trip, to visit the Chitwan National Park in the south of the country.
For 2017 the plan would be to repeat these trips; one around March / April time, and the second, most likely in early November.
There are 2 variations on the trip at present. The “Classic Enfield Challenge” can run, as before from Kathmandu to Muktinath. For the those on a tighter budget, or indeed, time, this trip requires a minimum of 9 days – but really needs 11, to allow for a little leeway for arrivals and departures in Kathmandu. This can be achieved for around £1575 GBP plus flights.
An extended version, the new, “Mountains & Jungles” tour, includes the previous, challenging, high mountain ride to up to Muktinath, but now includes an extra 2 day extension to the South of Nepal to see wild rhinos, crocodiles and elephants in the Chitwan National Park. We return via a more pleasant, high mountain route back to Kathmandu, thus avoiding heavy traffic experienced on the shorter tour. This tour is 12-13 days and uses higher quality, comfortable accommodation wherever it is available. This tour costs in the region of £1975 GBP plus flights. Further option sand activities can be added here, such as elephant rides in the jungle (approx. £40), canoe descent in the crocodile river (approx. £15) and even a flight around Mount Everest for approx. $220 USD.
BOTH trips use Classic Enfield 500cc Bulletts, and include the bike rental, all fuel, all accommodation, most meals, 4×4 back-up vehicle, excellent (& essential!) Royal Enfield Mechanic and 3 more Nepalese support crew. We hope to acquire some brand new Enfield “Himalaya” motorcycles at some point in the future.
Comfortable, “tourist class” accommodation is used in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the Chitwan. Bu ton both versions of the trip, the lodgings in the high mountains are a little more basic.
Where a group of riders are interested (for example the group from Iceland), the trip can be customised to suit your preferences, in terms of duration, comfort level or exact destinations.
(For existing Bike Tours customers, those known to enjoy a higher level of adventure & challenge, we’re also considering a “recce” tour into the little visited regions in the East of Nepal. Contact me if this appeals to you)
The Route – Why this? Because you’ll see the bustling cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara, but then also the more challenging trails leading right into the fringes of the high Himalaya. You’ll get views of Annapurna, Dhauligiri, Nilgiri, Machapuchare and other 6-7000m+ peaks.
The Riding – half on tarmacked, surfaced “roads” – but not always as you know them! You’ll experience frenetic, astonishingly chaotic, scary traffic in Kathmandu, and even when that dies down, the roads are often damaged and full of pot-holes. After Beni, the road deteriorates into a rock & dirt track (still a “road” marked on the maps, and used by buses / trucks / tractors etc), often very bumpy and sometimes wet. There are some shallow river crossings.
The bikes? – Ha! Perhaps not what you’d choose, but this is a challenge! The Enfield Bullett is a workhorse, with the 500cc beating heart of a Buffalo, brakes hewn from then finest Cedar, underwhelming suspension and 3 or 4 extra random neutrals built into the gearbox. It’s an experience J
What about pillions? Possible? Yes……….. but. You need to be tough. I’ve carried a pillion on most of this route, and it’s pretty hard on rider & passenger. Not so bad on the tarmacced bits, but arse-plunderingly difficult on the rocky sections. The compromise is for pillions to ride part of the time on the bikes, but jump into the 4×4 support truck when the going gets really tough.
Best thing is to look at the trip pictures on Facebook, or ring me.
Consider whether you’d like to join the March / April Tour or the later November trip. (The November trip may already be full if the whole Icelandic group want to come).
Weather? Much warmer in April: 30C+ in the valleys not much below 15C in the high mountains. In November 20-25C (daytime) in the Kathmandu valley, down to around zero in the hills. (4C in the rooms – no heating). However clearer skies and better views in November.
Give some thought whether you’d prefer the shorter, more budget oriented tour, or the extended tour including the Chitwan National Park.