The open to all tour sold out in four days, so we're making some changes. See below.
In October 2019 a group of 12 intrepid Sideburn readers went on the inaugural Sideburn Nepal trip. Before we were even halfway through I knew we'd return for another trip. I didn't think it was going to be four years later, but a global pandemic got in the way. Now is the time to announce Sideburn's return to Kathmandu and the Manang valley for TWO trips in October 2023. All the photos in this post were taken on that first Sideburn trip in 2019.
We were running one of the trips as woman-only, followed by an open for anyone trip. Because the open tour has sold out to one group of friends, we are no longer offering a women-only tour for 2023. Instead, we are having Leah Tokelove be our rep on the tour starting on 1 October and making it an open tour, that is obviously going to be very welcoming to women riders.
Sideburn has co-promoted a number of unforgettable sold out trips in the Himalayas and we were itching to do another in the region with our Indian-owned partners at Helmet Stories.
After a few reconnaissance journeys over two years they have designed and researched this trip for us that is the ideal mix of challenge, duration, culture, natural beauty and value for money.
You'll be riding tough and capable Royal Enfield Himalayans in the mountains the bike was named after.
Read the report from one of our paying punters in Sideburn 39.
The itinerary for each trip is identical, and outlined below, only the dates differ.
SIDEBURN NEPAL OPEN TO ALL - 1- 10 October 2023
SOLD OUT SIDEBURN NEPAL OPEN TO ALL - 10- 19 October 2023 SOLD OUT
Day 1 - Arrive in Kathmandu
Check in to hotel and relax after the flight and get into the groove of Nepal.
Day 2 - In and around Kathmandu
While the necessary permits get issued we rest up, and get to know each other as we take in a few of the incredible sights of Kathmandu, including the Boudha Stupa Buddhist temple and the ancient Durbar Square UNESCO heritage site. The hotel is a great place to hang-out, with a secluded terrace bar and pool.
Day 3 - Kathmandu - Besisahar
We ride out of Kathmandu in the morning as the city wakes up and escape all the chaos and craziness of the capital. We ride towards Pokhara on the Prithvi highway before turning off into back country roads to Besisahar.
Day 4 - Besisahar - Timang
This is where the tarmac ends. We ride out after a hearty breakfast and enjoy everything the trails have to offer.
Day 5 - Timang - Braga
More fantastic vistas and more challenging trails ahead towards the brilliant village of Braga. It's not a long ride but the ever-changing views make it hard not to stop and stare and take photos. There was also a great coffee shop and bakery on this section.
Day 6 - Braga
The village of Manang is one of the main stopover point for trekkers and cyclists on the Annapurna circuit. However, we prefer the charms of Braga, close on the banks of the Marsyangadi river. This is a relaxed day that you can use to explore further on the bikes and/or on foot.
Day 7 - Braga - Bhratang
We start our ride back down the way we came. This seemed less than ideal when I first read it, but the view is completely different and it's like you are riding a whole different road as you descend.
Day 8 - Bhratang - Kurintar
We ride back towards civilization to Kurinter and a smart hotel.
Day 9 - Kurinter - Kathmandu
It's an intense ride back to Kathmandu from here. As the crow flies it's not far, but the road and traffic make it unforgettable, especially after the open spaces of the previous week's adventure. This is where the ride comes to an end. We have one final grand evening.
Day 10 Kathmandu
Leave for home.
• Transfers to and from Kathmandu Airport
• Twin sharing rooms with breakfast on all days
• A traditional Nepali welcome dinner on the first day
• Fuel for the trip
• Back-up vehicle for luggage and mechanic
• Anapurna Conservation Area Project fee
• TIMS Permits
• Sideburn rep on the tour
• Local English-speaking road captain and back-up guides
• Helmet Stories Team
• Medical Kit
• Flight to Kathmandu
• Visa to Nepal
• Lunch and dinner (even staying in tourist accommodation, it is inexpensive to eat and drink in Nepal)
• Riding kit
• Personal Insurance and evacuation charges
• Personal expenses
• Insurance against or for accidents/ loss of life etc
• Tips to staff
• Costs incurred due to natural calamities, strikes and things beyond the control of Helmet Stories Adventures and its associates.
• All repairs and damage to the bikes will be on cost basis.
RS 230,000 (Inclusive of all taxes). At time of publishing is roughly £2600, $2800, €2900
We can accommodate a maximum 12 people for this ride as all the home stays and spots we like to stay in are small and can take just about that many people.
A 30% deposit is to be paid at the time of booking and is accepted as part of the total cost of the tour and will not be refunded unless the applicant cannot be offered a place. The balance of the total cost for the tour must reach Helmet Stories no later than EIGHT weeks before the tour date.
This trip is different to our Sahara adventures, where we demand experienced off-road riders. For Nepal you need to be an experienced road rider who is not afraid of riding rocky trails or heights (look at the photo above). You must also be happy riding in the maddest of city traffic.
It is an incredible, mind-blowing, journey of a lifetime, in a really friendly country, staying with some local families in their bed and breakfasts. Magical.
OPEN TO ALL - 1- 10 October 2023
SOLD OUT OPEN TO ALL - 10- 19 October 2023
If you have any questions or to secure your place, email us for details on how to pay your deposit. Remember, there are only 12 places.
sideburnmag at gmail dot com
(we spell it out like that to try stop the nefarious spam bots finding us)
As with all the Sideburn trips, we partner with experienced and trusted local tour companies and we send a Sideburn representative. The benefit of a Sideburn tour is you are (almost) guaranteed to be on the same wavelength with the rest of your great group.
Helmet Stories, who we have worked with for years, take all the payments and run the trips. Sideburn is a co-promoter, not the tour leader or organiser.
Photos: Andrew Neri, Helmet Stories