Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nepal – Asia’s fastest Growing Adventure Play Ground

When people think about Nepal they have visions of mountain climbing and trekking, but little do they realize that these days, Nepal is fast becoming one of the adventure capitals of Asia! There is certainly much more on offer here than just trekking and Mount Everest!

In two weeks in Nepal it’s possible for the adrenaline seeking traveller to do a short trek, go white water rafting, take a bungy jump and perhaps throw in a spot of paragliding and mountain biking. So pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a life time. Don’t forget 2011 is visit Nepal Year so here are some ideas of the adventures that await you.
White Water Rafting & Kayaking
Nepal offers some of the best rivers in the world for white water rafting and Kayaking. There is a river to suit all levels from the first time rafter to the most experienced kayaker. You can try one to two day trips on the family fun and friendly Trushili and Seti Rivers or go further afield on longer three to ten day adventures on the Sunkoshi (one of the world’s top ten rivers), Marsyandi, Arun  or Tamur Rivers. Don’t forget the action packed Bhote Koshi, a pure white adrenaline rush. Also there are adventures to be had for kayaking expedition adventurists with trek and kayak trips to all of Nepal’s remote rivers.

Mountain Biking
For every ten trekkers in Nepal you will barely see one mountain biker. But the sport is fast taking off and there are endless tracks and trails to explore. There are some pure downhill tours, but for the majority you will need mountain honed thighs to get up these serious climbs. The rewards are endless, uncrowded trails, remote wilderness, life changing culture and unbelievable views! There are places in both Kathmandu and Pokhara to hire bikes, guides and arrange tours.  Trip length varies from one day sightseeing and downhill tours to longer five to twenty day adventures.

Bungy Jumping
Bungy Jumping is popular worldwide, but nowhere offers as spectacular jump as right here in Nepal. Spanning over the raging Bhote Koshi, one of Nepal’s fiercest rivers, this 160 meter jump is not for the feint hearted! The gorge is surrounded in jungle and natural wilderness and from the Last Resort, you can not only Bungy, but you can canyon swing, trek and hike as well.

Nepal is now well established as a paragliding destination. The sunny lakeside town of Pokhara is popular world wide as a place to learn paragliding. The beautiful scenery and back drop of the Annapurna Himalaya make this the most serene and spectacular place to fly. Flights on offer vary from half hour tandem flights, longer cross country flights, para-hawking flights to intensive ten day polite training programs. All equipments and flight companies operate in line with international standards. It’s truly a must do for any visitor to Nepal seeking a little bit of action.

Rock Climbing
With Nepal being home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, it’s no surprise that there are many places to hone your climbing skills. Rock faces are abundant and the sport of rock climbing is fast become popular among tourists. Trained instructors offer courses from beginner to advanced and courses last from one day to three days. Most rock walls are found around Kathmandu and Pokhara so you don’t have to trek all the way up into the mountains to do some “hanging around”!

Canyoning is another new adventure sport to Nepal. This wilderness adventure takes you into the jungles of Eastern Nepal. Grapple, abseil, climb, wade and crawl your way through some pristine canyons before retiring at the night time to your river side camp. Canyoning is fun and exciting and a great way to be at one with nature.
There is so much on offer in Nepal in the way of Adventure. But as with everything, remember, “Safety First”. Make sure you book your adventure with a reputable operator, cheapest is not always best, experience and safety far outweighs budget when it comes to this kind of holiday!

Himalayan Single Track is one very reputable Adventure Tour Operator that runs adventure toursnd mountain biking in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. More information can be found on the website – 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Monsoon Nepal – A Beautiful Time of Year.

Many travelers hear the words monsoon and shudder in dread, the last thing they want is a rain drenched holiday. Alas, traveling in the monsoon also has its benefits. Uncrowded streets & tourist attractions, beautiful landscapes and a rare insight in to Nepal’s Culture.
Many people get put off travel to Nepal during the monsoon. I think that the monsoon is one of the very best times to travel in Nepal if you want to see the true culture, way and beauty of life in the Himalaya. Granted you may not see the coveted snow capped peaks of the Himalaya, but the rewards of getting a bit wet and muddy are worth it. Just remember to pack your umbrella, a touch of good humor to sit out the down pours and your camera to capture the heart and soul of Nepal.

The monsoon itself is very much the life blood of both urban and rural Nepal. Life here revolves around the arrival and departure of the annual three month deluge. Festivals, worship and colorful celebrations are had to call upon Indra the rain god to bring the monsoon in good time and then again to end it to prevent the crops from being battered by rain. After the crisp winter days draw to an end, the spring time herald’s clouds and light showers and the snow capped mountains slowly disappear behind a cloud bank. Morning mist fills the valleys, but it’s dry. Bone dry, the winter harvest is finished and fields and roads are ground to dust by countless feet, hooves and bicycle tires. The winter harvest is done and dusted and villagers sit around spinning wool, winnowing wheat, corn and millet, brewing Raski and Chang. The air hangs thick with dust and pollution and the temperature rises. The harsh sun dries out the spring wheat crop and there is nothing left to do but prepare the fields and await the rains.

The bleak and barren country side creaks in the May heat, Kathmandu’s streets heave with rubbish and smell, the rivers trickle, taps in many villages have run dry and trees and plants wilt along with the people.  Eyes turn heaven wards towards the cloud bank on the horizon and finally a swift wind brings the first sweet patters of rain to the ground.  The first pre -showers of the monsoon clear the air, distill the oppressive heat and moisten the parched earth. The villages become a hive of activity as farmers harness oxen and plough the fields. Women cart doka’s(Woven Baskets) full of manure and nurture seedling crops of Dhan(Rice). Corn, Potatoes, Sag and Tomatoes are planted everywhere and men work hard to link intricate networks of hand dug irrigation channels to feed the rice paddies with water. But it’s not time yet, these showers are just the prelude of what’s to come. Next is a waiting game, a game of man against clouds, when will the big rains come? Sharman(Witch Doctors) and Priests are called to throw rocks and caste predictions. Rice, the life blood of Nepal depends upon the arrival of the big rains and getting the planting right is vital to the success of the crop. More clouds build on the horizon and more showers fall. Then as sudden as a clap of thunder from a seemingly blue sky the heavens truly open and the life giving rains of the monsoon arrive.

While the tourists flee and Kathmandu locals retreat to their homes, the villages come alive with activity.  The land also comes to life, the rivers carve ever change courses, the land moves and slides around making new landscapes and plants burst to life with a million shades of vibrant green. The rain has a thousand faces, soft and clinging, hard, violent, pleasant, lulling, cold, warm...rain rain rain, the sweet flow of life to the land of the Himalaya!

The very best thing about the monsoon rain? It turns the ever increasing amount of village roads back into single tracks and makes for a hell of a lot of fun on a Mountain Bike, test your stamina slogging it out through mud and test your skill against the rocky down hills, ruts and gutters made by the monsoon and the endless single tracks that traverse the vibrant green rice careful though, don't fall or you will EAT MUD!  

Lots of fun can be had mountain biking at this time of year, but there are also other things to do in Nepal During the monsoon - 

White Water Rafting
The rains swell Nepal’s River into raging torrents and for those looking for some adrenaline then this is certainly the time for a load of big splashy fun. River that are raftable in the Monsoon are the Trushili, Sunkoshi and Seti, but be sure to book with a safe and reputable company.

Village Treks
While most of the Himalaya may be off limits at this time of year due to unpredictable weather, landslides and snow, some village treks around Pokhara, Kathmandu and Dhulikhel are ideal for those looking to experience the real side of rural Nepal. Don’t forget that most village trekking route can be ridden on mountain bike as well!! Get down and muddy in Nepal.

Yoga and Meditation
If you don’t like getting wet then head to one of the many Yoga and Meditation Retreats around the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. They are great places to learn about getting in touch with your inner self. Nowadays there are some outstanding value for money meditation and yoga packages around.

So now you know that there is more to the monsoon than just rain and mud. For more information on what to do in Nepal during the monsoon then you check out our website. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journey to Upper Mustang - The Lost City of Lo Manthang

Upper Mustang is the restricted region to the north of Jomsom and on the edge of the Tibetan plateau in the Annapurna Region. This ride is simply out of this world, following the Holy Kaligandaki River up into the breathtaking scenery of Upper Mustang. The scenery is simply awesome and the terrain some of the most challenging for mountain biking in Nepal.

You will push yourself and your bike to the limits on the rugged trails on route to Lo Manthang, the mystical walled city on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Passing over the high altitude desert region, this ride is also a photographer's dream, capturing masterpieces fit for the National Geographic along the way. Get swept up in Gompa's, traditional architecture and rustic homes along route. The region is rich in Tibetan Buddhism and the people live to a simple farming culture, harvesting this arid land and herding their precious livestock such as yaks, and goats.

This is sure to be an unforgettable journey for the serious Mountain Biker and the best bit; you get to have afternoon tea with the King of Lo!

So you want ride this incredible journey…. Read the following information. 

Trip Duration: 22 Days Kathmandu to Kathmandu
Trip Grade: Hard
2011 Departures: 24th September to 15th October

How Physical will it Be? Prepare Your Body and Your Mentality
Good basic endurance for 4-6 hours per day on the bike as well as carrying and pushing section. Make sure you are comfortable riding with a day pack and also carrying your bike uphill’s. A good dose of willpower in extreme climatic conditions such as heat, cold and strong winds is necessary. On the onward journey to Lo Manthang we have daily 800 to 1500 meters uphill at an altitude 3000-4200 meters to cope with so work on building your stamina before undertaking this ride.

Good riding skills are also essential; this is not a ride for beginner mountain bikers. Secure control of the bike, even on challenging trails is absolutely necessary.

Prepare your mental attitude to able to cope/tolerance unpredictable program changes and interest, respect and openness towards the country and the indigenous population and we are confident you will have a great trip.

Weather Conditions:-
In mid September the monsoon in Nepal ends. But short post monsoon rain showers are still possible on the south part of the Himalayan range. Mustang itself is very dry, desert-like and rain is very rare in this region. Typically, however, are strong thermal winds, occurring in the afternoon. During the day it can be quite warmwhile the evening and night temperatures, especially in Lo Manthang, may fall to near freezing. Snow fall is also a possibility.

Where will we Stay Overnight?
In Kathmandu and Pokhara we will stay overnight in medium class hotels in double rooms. In Mustang we sleep in traditional simple tea houses with close connection to the local families. Most are simple rooms with two beds and shared bathrooms. Hot showers are not everyday available. The guest rooms are rustic but very comfortable. Conditions are basic.

What kind of food will be Available?
The food is good but not very varied. It mainly consists of homemade chapattis, pasta, rice, eggs and lentils.For breakfast porridge, chapatti and omelets are served with jam. At noon we strengthen ourselves mostly with noodle soup. The main evening meal is normally rice, dhal and vegetable curry.

What about the Luggage?
During biking everybody is carrying his own day pack with the things needed for the day to the next accommodation, like camera, snacks, waterproof/windproof jacket, sun cream etc. The rest of the luggage is carried by porters or on an accompanying vehicle. You will be limited to 12 kg per person.
Which Bike and Gear to Bring?
A hard tail with front suspension is sufficient but on the free ride and downhill parts you will have a lot more fun with a full suspension bike. But this should not weigh over 14 kg and you should be comfortable riding it up long climbs. Top Quality mountain bikes can also be hired at our agency in Kathmandu.

In regards to cycling clothes, you should bring comfortable loose clothes that are practical in warm weather and easy to layer up in cold weather. An outer windproof/waterproof layer is essential and also some thermal under layers will be needed in the higher altitude. It will also help to apply a waterproofing agent to your shoes. In regards to shoes, SPD’s are great but make sure you go for the mountain specific types not racy shoes; you have to be comfortable walking in them on rocky surfaces and up hills. Don’t forget most import gloves and a helmet!

Included in the price:
Trekking permit for Mustang, trekking permit for Annapurna, transfers, flight from Pokhara to Jomsom, hotel with breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara, tea-house or lodge with breakfast and dinner during the biking, German tour guide, Nepal bike guides, porters or support vehicle.

Not included in the price:
Return flight to Kathmandu, airport taxes, excess baggage when flying to Jomsom, lunch during the Biking, lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara, tips, entrance fees in Kathmandu..
For trip details please email

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet the Himalayan Single Track Team

Welcome to our blog, this is the place to visit for all our latest news about races, upcoming tours, new trails and ideas and advice for biking.  Also keep track of our Himalayan Single Track riders and how they are doing in races and training.

At Himalayan Single Track we are passionate about mountain biking and in this blog we also want to share our advice and knowledge with you.

First you should get to know us. Who is Himalayan Single Track?
Santosh Rai

Santosh Rai (Dhan Jit)- If you ride a mountain bike in Nepal you probably know Santosh. A talented rider and a superb mechanic with experience working and racing in Spain, Italy and Israeli. Santosh is a passionate mountain biker as well as a qualified guide with more than 15 years experience in the industry.

Jenny Lama
Jenny Lama – Has been riding in Nepal for four years and knows all the best tracks and trails around Kathmandu. Original from Australia, Nepal is now her second home. Jenny has much experience in Tours and Travels, she manages the marketing and organization side of the business and sees establishing Himalayan Single Track in partnership with Santosh as a path to developing mountain biking in Nepal and helping new riders as well as promoting and growing the Mountain Bike Tourism Industry in Nepal.
Sunil Lama

Sunil Lama – Sunil is 18 and has been working on our team for six months. He loves mountain biking and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his uncle who is one of the most experienced tour leaders and top ten riders in Nepal. Sunil is fun and friendly and already one of our full time guides.

Som Rai
Som Rai – The youngest member of our team, Som is fast learning the right way to become a Mountain Bike Guide. He is a quick learner is fast becoming a talented mountain bike. Som has a fun and caring personality and shares a passion for mountain biking. He’s quite fearless when it comes to dropping down steep single tracks leaving more experienced riders in his wake; we have big hopes for Som in the next few years as a racer and a guide.

Mountain Biking and having Fun is what we do best at Himalayan Single Track, so follow our blog, enjoy our stories and riding tips and drop by our office anytime you are in Thamel.