Motor Biking over the Roof of the World - Tibet
After doing a bit of research earlier on, last year in April I thought I had found my
It ticked all the boxes for me , it was a two week long motorcycle holiday from
Kathmandu the capital of Nepal to Lhasa the capital of Tibet - a 1500 mile journey
over the roof of the world via Everest Base Camp.
Another of my “Bucket List” things to do before I die! Motorcycles, Mountains, Two
countries, Everest, Yaks and Yetis, temples and tigers, lakes and lamas, JUST PERFECT!
The adventure trip was run by a premier motor biking company, who hadn't ran a trip
like this for five years due to logistical problems with borders and visas and all that
goes with that, so they collaborated for all the logistics assistance with "Getupandgo" an
Indian Adventure Travel Company, ran by two people who were on the trip - Neha
and Arjan who took care of everything every step of the way.
The Holiday started in Kathmandu where I, an Irishman, joined 10 others a Scot, a
Jamaican, 2 new Zealanders and 6 Australians. The first 2 days we went on trial runs to
get used to the bikes. They were Royal Enfield Desert Storm 500 CC motorcycles which
are an old English bike still made in India today. Mine had only 55km on the clock
virtually brand new
The driving around Kathmandu was “pretty hairy “ to say the least with traffic
everywhere, but on day 3 we headed to the border between Nepal and Tibet and the
roads calmed down as we headed to the mountains with our first night on the road in a
tented campsite near the border. We were thrown in at the deep end when we spotted a
snake in the canteen area and one guy had to remove a leech from his foot, not to worry
we were told after tomorrow only the altitude will be affecting us!
We were given a crash course in passing through the border (first of all you can’t
mention Tibet ,it is China Tibet, second of all you can’t mention the Dali Lama, and
most important you can’t bring maps or guide books with you) the border took ages
with visas etc. and the Chinese soldiers pouring our petrol into the river another of the
things you cannot bring with you. But finally we entered Tibet. The next few days we
drove through Tibet and gradually gained height we were on “The Friendship
Highway” a fine road that crosses Tibet and would be our route to Lhasa. It is the most
breathtaking spectacular ride over the high passes and constantly surrounded by the
majestic mountains and high altitude plateau. We stopped in small Tibetan towns and
villages along the way eating the local Yak meat and sampling a few local beers (a bit
risky above 3600m).
The most dramatic day was day 06 of the trip. On this day we turned off the lovely
smooth highway and headed the approximate 80 kms ish on dirt/mud pot holed, dust
road to Rongbuk monastery and Everest Base Camp. This was off roading at its best!
That afternoon, we had the opportunity to explore the Everest Base Camp [5200m]. The
base camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest more than compensate for
this. It is a truly awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain
in the world towering above us. That night we stayed in the monastery at 5200m it is
hard to get a good night’s sleep so we were up early to take a different but equally
dusty road back to the friendship highway and on to LHASA VIA NEW TINGRI Xegar,
Shigatse, and Gyantse.
When we finally reached Lhasa with no accidents or injuries, thank god we got to stay
in a five star hotel in what we called Lhasa Vegas - it was Heaven .
The next day we visited the famous Potala Palace the original home of the Dalai Lama,
Jokhang temple and roamed around the old streets of Barkor. We then flew back to
Kathmandu, the flight only took an hour and a half and if you were on the right side of
the plane you got a bird’s eye view of Everest on the way back.
I would like to thank Neha and Arjan for a wonderful safe trip with great personal
involvement. Next year i'm getting them to run a hiking trip to MT KAILESH in Tibet !
Getupandgo.in is an adventure travel company that operates out of Mumbai and
Chennai, focused on helping create life changing travel experiences for people from all
walks of life.
19 Khader Nawaz Khan Road,
Chennai 600006, India