Sally & Angus. March 2011. Ghorepani Poonhill

A truly great experience from start to finish. Everest Bike came highly recommended to us by colleagues who have been using the same company for five or six previous visits to Nepal. During the planning of the trip, all correspondents by email were dealt with quickly and efficiently and we were able to tailor our holiday to include extra activities suggested by Everest Bike, such as white water rafting and paragliding or leave out parts we felt unsuitable to our needs. Without the guides from Everest Bike Company the trip would not have been the amazing experience that it was. Their years of experience trekking in the Everest (replace with Annapurna, if we really weren’t scaling Everest) region meant we were safe at all times, kept well informed of cultural issues and had the good fortune of staying in the best tea houses and eating at their recommended restaurants – important parts on a trip where you might be missing some home comforts Kevin, Sally & Angus This tour was run in March 2011 for Poon Hill/Ghorepani area

Valerie & Chris, April 2014

First, let me say that the team in Nepal are fantastic. We can’t stress enough how we appreciated the hospitality and flexibility. Bista did an excellent job coordinating the latter half of our trip, and we would recommend the Jungle Island Lodge where we stayed in Suahara. The food there was so-so (this was called out in the Lonely Planet book we had), but since dinners in town were less than $10/ person, this wasn’t a showstopper at all. The staff were extremely friendly and even let us choose the menu on our last night (I asked for Dal Baaht, to the amusement of the other guests). 

Shishir and Kumar also did a great job leading the trip. They modified the routes to fit our riding – some days were a little shorter, some days were a lot longer, and took us to some great places for lunch. We really appreciate the effort they put into the trip, and the extra time they spent with us. From taking us to a mustard oil factory to waking up at 5:30 am so I could take a mountain flight, the team was willing to go above and beyond to make it a memorable trip. 

In terms of things we thought could be improved upon, they can be broken down into a few categories: 

Communication – We had a few instances where we would arrive at a hotel and our guides would take off without communicating a plan for dinner or the rest of the evening. This was primarily a problem in Hetauda, as it was a bustling, blue-collar town that didn’t cater at all to people who didn’t speak Nepali. Also, during some of our riding days, Shishir changed the route a little to accommodate our speed / skill level without communicating this beforehand, resulting in some confusion about our goals for the day. We spoke with them about these concerns during the trip, and it got much better.

Bike Travel – The first thing we noticed on the cycling day was the lack of a bicycle rack. Instead, the bikes were stacked on the roof and lashed down when we were traveling. Shishir did an excellent job of loading the bikes, with foam mats in between them, but one can’t expect that this method will work on dirt roads without some wear & tear to the bikes. I’ve traveled with my bike before and I expect some damage, but my bike sustained some deep cosmetic damage to the fork from contact with the roof. If that had happened 1″ higher on the slider, I would need to have it replaced. Just so we’re clear – I’m not looking for compensation – but it would have been avoided with a rack.

I do want to call out that the team at Everest Mountain Bike completely cleaned our bikes while we were at Chitawan – I literally did not recognize them when we went into the shop to pack for the flight home. They also took a bag of our smelly clothes and had them laundered while we were at the park. I had been imagining the joy of unpacking a suitcase full of week-old fermented bike clothes, and a dirty, ruined bicycle, and was very happy to be able to avoid both of those cases!

Expectations – I think the most unexpected part of the trip was the effect of the pollution on the environment. During our trip, the Himalaya were not visible at all from Kathmandu (heck, most days you could not even see Swayambhunath from the hotel, and that’s only about 4km away), and even in Pokhara the mountains were only visible for about 3 hours a day – 2 hours after sunrise, and then maybe at sunset, if the clouds cleared. Being March, there also was not a lot of flora to look at. Mustard and Bananas were in season, but I’m sure the trip would be much more spectacular in October.

Also around expectations, having a bit more clarity on the accommodation in your materials would be good. For example, it would have been nice to have brought a sleeping bag liner for the guest houses between Pokhara and Gorkha. Or clothes for the below freezing temperatures at the Everest Panorama Resort and a room without heat (There was an electric floor heater, but 2 out of 3 elements were broken).

I do want to call out the Begnas Tal resort, where we stayed in Pokhara. That place was exceptional. I’m sure it was by far the most expensive place we stayed during the trip, if the prices at the bar were anything to go by. You know it’s expensive when they don’t even use the local currency! The rooms were well-appointed, clean, and spending two nights there allowed us time to do laundry. It should be noted to your guests that this resort is not in Pokhara center – it’s 15km out, which was a bit of a surprise to us when we arrived.

Valerie & Chris – April 2014