Hidden beyond the Himalayas is a remote valley where time stands still. Its people came from Tibet and kept the ancient traditions and a simple way of living alive, rooted in religious rituals and beliefs. Its king says it is the place of happiness.
Travelers have been dreaming about the valley of Mustang for centuries. Today it is still a paradise, especially for cyclists. A mountain bike and a backpack are all you need to set off and explore solitary trails, locked in majestic valleys, dotted with vernacular villages and monasteries.
Mustang is in north-central Nepal. In Katmandu, a small group of local young men set up a small company, El Yak, with the vision of opening up the best, and less touristic, trails of their country for the lovers of the two-wheels. Together, we designed an itinerary that will cross Mustang from south to north, along its ancient caravan road, to reach its capital, Lo Manthang.
We will venture further north to explore the caves and monastery near the border with Tibet. We will leave our bikes and hike back south, off the beaten track, across remote valleys and passes well above an altitude of 4,000 meters. We will connect with the northern section of the Annapurna Circuit at Muktinath, get our bicycles back, climb the 5,400-metre pass of Thorong La, and follow the circuit downhill counterclockwise.
Eleven days of tailor-made adventure!
The guys at El Yak organise my special permit needed to enter Mustang and arrange the two flights, first to Pohkara, at the base of the Annapurna, and then to Jomsom, across the Himalayas. Shyam, a member of the Nepali national downhill team, will be my guide. My friend Ake, a cycling and safari guide in Tanzania will come along too. We don’t need any support.