Monday, May 10, 2010

2 weeklets (and a bit) to take-off: the itinerary

Impeccable timing for a cold/flu (if the cold simply had to be had, that is). After Joberg2C, but with enough time to recover for the Himalayan adventure. The Mnweni Marathon, however, will have to wait till next year - doc said not with this cold in that temperatures and altitude.

Got a mail from Mohan this morning; he's organising the 'alien permit' for Tibet and had some questions. Suddenly the trip is a reality.

My mom always wanted to know the exact itinerary, even if i was backpacking in a post-war African country with no plan at all, except a date that i had to be back at work - so here goes:

26 May
Check in. drink airport coffee, shop that the duty-free Cape Union Mart shoppie, and then fly to Doha and on to Kathmandu.

27 May
Arrive in Kathmandu, hope that the riots cleared up, and shop for stuff that you forgot at home. There should be lots of outdoor shops, with it being the gateway to some big mountains.

28 May
Sighteeing in Kathmandu

29 May
Fly over arguably the world's prettiest mountains to Lhasa.

30 May sightseeing Lhasa
(this is mainly to acclimatise; Lhasa is amost 4000m amsl)

31 May - more sightseeing in Lhasa. Find a place to drink Yak Butter Tea.

1 June Start the Bike Tour![85km]
Finally, your trans-Himalayan biking adventure begins. We leave Lhasa and cycle along the Tsangpo River to the foot of the Kamba Pass (3700 m). When you arrive you will find tents,latrines, shower tent and facilities ready. Overnight accommodation in tents.

2 June Kamba Pass [55km]
Your first mountain pass. A strong uphill climb reaches a summit lavishly adorned with prayer flags (4794m). After descending we continue alongside Lake Yamdruk, at the far side of which we set camp (4490m). Overnight accommodation in tents.

3 June Karo Pass [54km]
Leaving the beautiful lake behind, we cycle through a ravine and up to the foot of the Karo Pass (4750m), where our tented village will be prepared for the night. Overnight accommodation in tents.

4 June Gyantse [79km]
A significant day on the tour, as we have to get up early to climb the high Karo Pass (5010m). By now you will be feeling in good physical condition. Around us we can see glaciers of 6000m and beautiful lakes. You are rewarded for your effort with a night in a top hotel in the city of Gyantse (3980m). Overnight accommodation at Hotel Gyantse.

5 June Shigatse [85km]
First we will take an hour to visit the Palkhor Monastery and the old part of Gyantse town.Although today involves a longer distance, the highway is paved and flat. In the afternoon we will arrive in Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse (3860m). Overnight accommodation at Hotel Shigatse.

6 June Gyachung Monastery [75km]
We leave Shigatse and ride over two small passes and through several small Tibetan villages. We will cycle past the isolated Gyachung Monastery and camp. Overnight accommodation in tents at around 4100m.

7 June Lhatse [95km]
The route lead us through picturesque valleys. Then the long ramp begins which leads over the Yulong pass (4520m). After lunch we head towards Lhatse (3860m). Just before this town there is a hot springs. We will camp approx. 10 km after Lhatse. Accommodation in tents.

8 June Shegar [75km]

Today we have to contemplate the stunning canyon of the 5220m Lakpa Pass. On a clear day you will be rewarded for your effort with your first view of Mount Everest. After a 40 km ride through flat prairie towns you will arrive in the town of Pelbar, often refered to as Shegar. This town is a popular stopover for anyone heading to the Everest region. Overnight accommodation in a hotel Quomolongma.

9 June Pang Pass [67km]
It's now time to divert from the Lhasa-Kathmandu highway and head towards the world's highest peak. First you are faced with 20km of uphill switchbacks (42 hairpin bends in total!) before you reach the summit of the Pang Pass (5150m). Enjoy lunch as you gaze over Makalu (8463m), Shishapangma (8012m), Cho Oyu (8210m), Lhotse (8516m), Everest (8850m) and several other breathtaking peaks. Then a 20-kilometer downhill follows to the Rongbuk Valley (4200m), where we camp. Overnight accommodation in tents.

10 June Rongbuk Monastery [35km]
Now you should be at peak fitness and very excited about the approach of Everest Base Camp. A bumpy road winds up through the Rongbuk valley until the majestic Mount Everest appears before you. We will camp beside the monastery with the unforgettable sight of the 8850m peak in front of your eyes.. We will stay here for two days. Overnight accommodation in tents (5150m).

11 June Everest Base Camp [8km * 2]
A day to relax. However, you will definitely want to get as close as you can to Everest. You can walk, cycle or even take a donkey and cart ride to the base camp which is 8km from the campsite. Overnight accommodation in tents.

12 June Tingri [76km]
Leaving Rongbuk, we head back down the bumpy road then take a "short-cut" into the mountains. Another bumpy trail takes us over a canyon and down into Tingri (4340m). Overnight accommodation in tents.

13 June Lalung Pass [75km]
This day begins with a 40 to 50km flat ride before lunch. Then we tackle the gradual incline of the Lalung Pass (4990m). From here you will feel like you are as high as the peaks around you, including Shishapangma (8012m). Overnight accommodation in tents in the valley between two passes.

14 June Cross Thang Pass and The Ultimate Downhill [117km]
Now get ready for one last kick uphill. You will climb Thang Pass (5050m). You will be treated to breathtaking views of the Himalayan chain as you freewheel down.
Stop and pat yourselves on the back because from here on down to the Nepalese border it's all downhill.. From the town of Nyalam you will notice that the scenery is starting to turn green again. Spiral on down past countless waterfalls to the border town of Zhangmu (2300m). This will be our last day in Tibet. Overnight accommodation in a hotel Zhangmu.

15 June Back to Nepal [97km]
From Zhangmu we have to pass through customs and into Nepal. Once you are in the Nepali town of Kodari the downhill continues for the next 50 km. Suddenly it is tropical and humid and green again. After you reach the town of Dolalghat you must climb up to Dhulikhel (1600m). Accommodation in Dhulikhel Lodge Resort.

16 June Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. [35km]
What a wonderful way to end this trip – a big breakfast at sunrise and the spectacular panorama of the Himalayas. You will certainly enjoy the last few kilometers as we freewheel down to Bhaktapur. Here you will stop to see some of the town's several century old famous temples before riding into busy Kathmandu again.
On the remaining time you can relax, shop or go sightseeing. Evening we invite you on a farewell dinner at Rum Doodle Bar.Stay overnight at Hotel De L' Annapurna.

17 June
Flight from Kathmandu to Doha and on to Joberg International.

18-19 June

Rest of the Year
bore everyone with pictures and stories :D
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