Mountain biking in Nepal is famous because the landscape is hilly, and there are many dirt roads. In addition, Nepal’s geography offers fantastic biking opportunities.
Mountain Biking is an adventurous sports activity where you will be riding a mountain bike over rocky trails and hills at high altitudes.
Many mountain bike routes claim to be the best, but a mountain bike tour in Nepal makes you question whether that is true. One of the fascinating things about mountain biking in Nepal is being surrounded by some of the highest peaks, meeting local villagers, and learning about their culture.
Since these trails are located in remote areas, they are usually not crowded. Nepal’s typical mountain bike ride lasts 4-8 hours and includes approximately 5-8 kilometers (3-5 miles) of riding uphill and then downhill.
Mountain biking in Nepal has been a growing trend for the past years. Dive in to learn more about it.
Best time for mountain biking
The best time to mountain bike in Nepal is from October to December. The temperature during this season is pleasant, and there is little chance of rain. The trails are, therefore, quieter, and the leaves haven’t yet fallen.
In winter, though, it’s not recommended to bike. The trails are also wetter during this season, so biking conditions are not ideal.
If you plan to go biking in the Terai regions, December and January are perfect months; however, the days will be shorter, so you need to be off trails by 4:30 pm.
Also, when biking at night, be careful as most roads do not have street lights.
Guided Mountain Biking Tours is one of the best ways to explore the Himalayas. You will cover more ground on a guided bike tour and see more things than if you were hiking or biking independently.
In addition, on a guided bike tour, you will have a comfortable place to sleep, you will not have to carry a tent or heavy gear, and you will have the peace of mind that comes with being in excellent hands with your mountain bike guide.
Group tours may cost $25-$35 or more for a simple day trip. The downhill day trip with vehicle support costs $55 a person.
All-inclusive tours, which take a week or more, cost around $1000, including flights and guide costs. You can also organize your own for under $500.
Renting mountain bikes
Mountain bikes are available for rent in Kathmandu. Additionally, there are several excellent biking tour companies based in Kathmandu.
Biking tours typically take people to Pokhara, but other destinations like Chitwan National Park are also possible.
You must ensure that the tour company you choose has quality mountain bikes. Some cycling tour companies will rent mountain bikes, but some of them don’t have much choice.
You can find Chinese and Indian-brand bikes on most of the streetside vendors of the places you are traveling in. You can rent them for NPR 100-NPR 200 per day.
They do not come with a helmet, so you need to manage them by yourself.
If you plan to go on a long-distance mountain biking tour, you need to hire a real mountain bike from a bike shop/tour operator who rents specialized bikes. Such places are located in Kathmandu and Pokhara only.
Renting such bikes can cost anywhere from NPR 1000 to NPR 2000 per day. You will need to leave your passport or anything of value for security.
Also, make sure the bike’s brakes, pads, tires, test spoke tension, and gears are in good condition before you pay the money.
Road Conditions in Nepal
Biking in Nepal can be tricky with all the hills and mountains, but there are a few things to consider. If you are looking for a bike tour, you need to find someone experienced and bring a bike good enough to handle the terrain.
When traveling through Nepal, there are a few things to watch out for. First, the dusty roads and the sharp rocks and mud found throughout the country are hard on bikes. Second, it would be great if you also were prepared to climb many hills in this country, which means you may have to get off your bike to avoid it from breaking.
Biking around Nepal is fascinating, with all of the things to see. You can expect to see tea and cardamom plants along the way, along with many other crops. You can also expect to come across animals such as water buffalo, cows, goats, and sheep.
The climate for biking can be challenging at times because there are times when it is sweltering and humid. Also, there are many rainy days throughout the year, making traveling difficult during certain times of the year.
Classic mountain biking destinations
Some of the classic mountain biking destinations in Nepal are as follows:
Kathmandu is the most popular biking destination. The government has built many multi-purpose trails that wind through the city and its outskirts and generally follow hills’ contours. You can see many of Kathmandu’s historical sites on these trails, such as the Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa.
Shivapuri National Park
In the north of Kathmandu lies Shivapuri National Park. Your mountain biking tour will begin from the Budanilkantha entrance. From here on, you will ride to the hill resort of Kakani and back.
If you opt for a shorter route, you can ride from Budanilkantha to the Tokha Hospital and descend from a steep, sandy road.
Another route from Budanilkantha starts from the east side of the entrance and climbs to Chisapani. You will pass through Nagi Gompa (monastery), Jhule, Nagarkot, and stone-paved descent in Sankhu.
You can also opt to ride to Chisapani from Jhule. You can stay in Chisopani, Mulkharka, Chauki Danda or Nagarkot.
Nagarjun is a beautiful forest full of trees. Go biking with a guide as there has been news of a few attacks on tourists.
The trails take you from Sitapaila’s entrance to the west villages of Swayambhunath. After that, you will traverse Ichangu Narayan temple and reach Kakani’s northern gate.
Mountain biking to the Lele Valley is a mesmerizing experience that starts from Chapagaun. You will traverse through Godavari road and forested ridges before you reach the Lele valley.
You can choose to bike from various trails that take you to the south side of the country, such as Tinpani Bhanjyang and Hetauda.
The Lakuri Bhanjyang
Lakuri Bhanjyang is another excellent three-day biking tour that takes you to some beautiful destinations near Kathmandu, such as Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Panauti, Lakuri Bhanjyang, and Sisneri.
Biking through the trails will give you a chance to view the valley and the mountains. You can also add a day to explore Namobuddha from Dhulikhel. Or, you can go on a Namobuddha circuit. This tour begins from Panauti.
Nagarkot is a fantastic mountain biking destination for thrill-seekers. However, you have to be a pro rider as the ascents are challenging while the descents are treacherous.
The Arniko Highway to the Tibet Border
It is an incredible 3-5 day round trip from Arniko Highway from Kathmandu and takes you Kodari (Tibetan border) and back.
Your mesmerizing tour begins after you cycle past the heavy traffics of Dhulikhel and ride towards Sindhuli, Bardibas, and the Terai via Nagarkot.
If you want to cross the Tibetan border, you will have to join a tour.
The Tribhuwan Rajpath
The Tribhuwan Rajpath takes you to the Mahabharat Lek, situated more than 1700 m from the Kathmandu valley. From there on, you will descend towards Terai.
I suggest you also ride uphill to Daman and stay overnight. Then, you can return to Kathmandu via Markhu and Pharping.
Numerous trails around Pokhara require mountain bikes to explore. In addition, Sarangkot and Phewa Tal are two lakes around Pokhara that are ideal for biking. Pokhara has a lot of bike rental shops.
There are lots of other mountain biking destinations in Pokhara.
Short-day or overnight trips such as the Phewa Lake Loops, Begnas, Rupa Lake, Sarangkot, and beyond are some of the great ones.
The Phewa Lake Loop is a five-hour ride that is adventurous and serene at the same time. The loop will take you to the north shore of the lake and downhill through the single tracks of the forests.
If you want to go on a longer ride, then there’s the Sarangkot route.
Sarangkot is a beautiful viewpoint that is great for an intermediate-level day trip. But, of course, you can go biking without a guide as well.
Chitwan National Park
Many biking companies run tours from Chitwan National Park. Chitwan’s biking trails are similar to the paths around Pokhara, but you have a chance to see some of the wildlife.
One of the most alluring spots for bikers is the Everest region, where the Himalayan range offers some of the most challenging trails in the country.
The Everest region is on the wish list of many mountain bikers as it features the best of the country’s top trails. Travelers can join multi-day tours that start and finish in Kathmandu, hitting the most scenic and challenging trails in between.
The tour includes accommodation, meals, local guides, and equipment and is excellent for all rider levels.
The Annapurna Circuit
Annapurna Circuit is not only the most famous trekking trail but also a biker’s heaven. Here, bikers get to bike across the Thorung La’s high pass.
You and your mountain bike will be transported to the top by bus or mule and then begins your downhill ride.
The eastern side of the Annapurna Circuit is most famous as it leads to attractive places like Besisahar, Marsyangdi Valley, and Manang. You will reach Manang from Pokhara in about 7 to 10 days.
The western side is located 90kms from Pokhara and offers a relentless climb through unpaved roads to Kali Gandaki from Beni to Jomsom.
After you reach Jomsom, you will move towards Muktinath of Upper Mustang.
Want to book an Annapurna Circuit Trek? Click here
Other Popular Mountain Biking Routes
- Mustang ( 5-10 days)
- Lower Everest Region (5+ days)
- Kalimati – Pharping – Dukuchap – Champi – Kathmandu
- Kathmandu-Tinpiple-Budhanilkantha via Tokha
- Kathmandu – Tika Bhairav – Badi Khel – Godavari
- Budhanilkantha-Chisapani-Nagarkot and back
- Gokarna (day trip)
- Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park via Daman and Hetauda
Safety points for mountain biking in Nepal
Some of the essential tips are staying hydrated, not going off the path, and being aware of weather conditions. You can have an exciting mountain biking adventure with these three simple steps.
- Wear lots of sunscreens because there is not much shade in Nepal.
- It is important to remember that it will take long for your batteries to charge because there aren’t many electrical outlets.
- Do not compete.
- For eating, the best advice—as in any trekking situation—is “eat when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty.” Always bring a water filter or purifier since the water in Nepal is not still drinkable.
- “What appears flat from a distance can be surprisingly steep up close.” It is true of the trails in Nepal. Be sure to take your time and enjoy your surroundings.
Equipment for mountain biking in Nepal
You can buy a new bike or get a second-hand one. However, hiring a bike from rental shops would be the best if you want to save money.
Make sure to take it to a repair shop for a tune-up. A new bike may have damage that needs repairing.
Mountain biking in Nepal requires some other essential equipment than just your mountain bike. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Seat Packs
- Handlebar bags
- Tube Bags
- Frame Bags
- Patch kit
- Inner tube
- Pump and basic tool kit
Clothing for mountain biking in Nepal
The mountain biking clothes you wear can mean the difference between a great experience and a terrible one. The key to finding the right outfit is choosing clothes that are cool, dry, and comfortable so you can enjoy riding rather than worrying about what you’re wearing.
The wrong clothing can lead to dehydration. Of course, you don’t need much if you’re just out for a quick ride on your own. Wear comfortable shorts and a t-shirt over your biking gear.
But if you’re going to be riding with others or doing more intense riding, it’s probably a good idea to pack:
- Bright clothing (especially in low light conditions) so that you are visible to others.
- If you’re going to be riding in the colder months, a base layer is a good idea. The jacket will keep you warm when it’s cold, but it will also help you breathe when you stop and start riding again.
- If it’s hot outside, wear a thin layer on top. It doesn’t matter if there’s another layer of clothing on top as long as the second piece is light and made of a material that will keep you cool.
- Carry a map of where you are going in case something happens and you need assistance.
- Extra water and food. If it’s sunny, you’ll lose water quickly merely from the sun warming up your body.
Here is a list of clothes you will require to carry on your long mountain biking trip:
- Face masks
- Padded cycling shorts
- Cycling gloves
- Cleated cycling shoes
- Sports sunglasses
- Waterproof jacket
- Clothes of synthetic material
- Fluorescent, reflective jackets or gears to maximize visibility to road users.
Some of the clothing essentials, according to the weather, are:
- Pair of shorts
- SPD Sandals
- Jacket or tracksuit for the night
- Thermal baselayers
- Fleece (windproof) outer shell
- Insulative waterproof trousers
- Warm gloves
- Neck buff
- Synthetic t-shirts and trousers
- Lightweight, disposable poncho
- Plastic bags
- Spare clothing
Thus, these are all we have for now on mountain biking in Nepal. We will be coming up with more low-key destinations that are amazing yet less-visited. Stay updated with us for more.
All photos in this article are by Samartha Kaji Shakya (@samarthashakya)
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