No question about it, cycling is certainly one of the best ways to know Nepal. The sharp descents and steep climbs of the terrain challenge not only your physical limits but your adventurous spirit, as well. Besides, cycling around the countryside brings you closer to the land and the local inhabitants. Nepal’s terrain, especially Kathmandu Valley’s, with its many dirt trails and the highs and lows of the land, is ideal for cycling. Another clear advantage is the temperate weather all year round. There cannot be a more pleasant way to make new discoveries around the valley than by cycling, or mountain biking, to be more precise. You can expect to cycle on never-ending single tracks and down steep descents. The views on the way are of course great, and you’ll be meeting quite a few pleasant-faced locals with welcoming smiles.
There are many professional agencies in Kathmandu waiting to provide you with an adventurous cycling experience. A typical 3-day itinerary begins with an early start. Right after breakfast, you begin to pedal from Kathmandu (1,315 m) towards the ancient city of Bhaktapur, from where you ride uphill to the hill resort of Nagarkot (2,100 m). Bhaktapur is worth spending some time in to explore its many artistic and cultural treasures. While there, do try out its famous curd known as “juju dahi” (king of curds). The rich creamy taste will make you want to have “just one more cup, please.” It will also fortify you for the next phase of your cycling adventure, for now you will be pedaling on ever upwards for some 20 km to the tourist hotspot of Nagarkot. The verdant forests and rows of terraced rice fields on the way should keep you inspired enough to keep on going. Of course you will be resting a lot on the way. You got to, because you deserve time enough to absorb the great views and imbibe the serene atmosphere all around you.
From Nagarkot you get fantastic panoramic views of majestic Himalayan peaks, and this alone will make your efforts worthwhile. No doubt the climb is challenging, but on the positive side, this is something that will give you all the more satisfaction. And, anyway, you are guaranteed rest and relaxation, sumptuous food, and a good night’s sleep at one of Nagarkot’s many fantastic resorts, some of which are world famous. Well, having had a rejuvenating sleep (probably dreamless), the next morning after a hearty breakfast you are on your way again. However, this time around, you’ll not be pedaling away to glory, since it is mostly downhill initially. You’ll be passing through some interesting villages before getting onto a dirt trail that goes up and down small hills before reaching Namo Buddha, a holy Buddhist shrine in memory of a prince who made the ultimate sacrifice of cutting himself to pieces to feed a starving tigress and her cubs.
The road then carries on towards scenic Dhulikhel (1,750 m), another place with some really fantastic resorts, not to mention, spectacular scenery and great views of the Himalayan peaks. Rest awhile here, in fact, settle down for the night, because how can you afford to miss out on one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world? The glorious sun rising above from behind the ice-capped peaks, and sending out a plethora of changing colors while doing so. You are assured of a restful night as in Nagarkot, good food as well, and that should be enough rejuvenation to make you up and eager to cycle to Panauti the next day. Panauti is touted as the fourth most important heritage site of the valley, after Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Go around the place and revel in its many ancient temples and courtyards. Then, having had your fill of historical sites, pedal on to Sisneri, and then to Patan, and finally, Kathmandu. Hope you have a nice trip!