Mountain Biking in Kathmandu Valley | Get active in Nepal

by Vanessa Wanders Miles

Kathmandu is a buzzing city south of Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park and is surrounded by perfect countryside for hardy mountain bikers. The mountainous terrain in 35 degrees of heat was a tricky mix and it certainly challenged my poor legs! Having said that, I gave this activity a good bash and can’t tell you what a feel-good day it was to be mountain biking in Kathmandu Valley. 


Preparing to go mountain biking in Kathmandu Valley

We had a moment to get to know our bikes, checking the seat is at the right height and gears were in working order. I was handed an anti-pollution mask, I thought it was so I looked bad-ass on my bike but apparently, Kathmandu has ranked 5th in Pollution Index 2017 so you’ll find them commonplace in the capital city.

Happy face mountain biking in Nepal. Kathmandu Valley is beautiful.

Happy face mountain biking in Kathmandu Valley

Stop off at Swaymbhunath Stupa

Heading through the city towards Swaymbhunath Stupa, also known as Monkey Temple, we followed single file and I was surprised at how we weaved our way across lanes of busy traffic without any issues. We were greeted with 365 steep stone steps to reach the top, no rest for these legs today, however, we were rewarded with tremendous panoramic views of Kathmandu.

The Swaymbhunath Stupa, one of the 7 UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley, is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises (Swayambhu literally means “self-existent one”). As we walked around the temple we were faced with a few hundred monkeys on the ground, we took pictures and admired how cute they were, some were carrying babies, some cleaning each other. Then two bigger monkeys came and they all seemed to group off, there was a stand-off happening and we were caught in the middle. Time to exit we thought but the monkeys ran in the same direction, this was a little frightening as a couple of the monkeys scratched two people in our group on the legs which led to Rabies injections at the local hospital that evening!

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Cycling in Kathmandu Valley

Our lunch stop at Bhimdhungga looking down over the city was just beautiful, the leg work was very much worth it. Getting in the shade was much needed, that sun was certainly helping bring on the sweaty red-faced look. Home-cooked Nepalese momos (stuffed dumplings) were delicious, followed by a huge plate of noodles and rice was bringing on a food coma.

The cycling was not too steep to start with then it began, I had to cycle with all my might to beat these ascents, mountain biking in Kathmandu Valley was a challenge. Stopping to admire the stunning views secretly gave me chance to rest for a moment. We cycled by local farms, workers busy in the rice fields and general village life.

Paddy fields in Kathmandu Valley whilst mountain biking

Paddy fields in Kathmandu Valley

Downhill to Thamel

I was loving the downhill trails, many school buses were driving past and the school children were walking past holding hands or waving at us. There were lots of strange items being carried or wheeled along holding up the traffic, all part of the experience. We reached our final turn off the main busy street, this was a head-scratcher as to how we interrupt the traffic to cross the road, it seems if you just start moving then the cars and motorbikes will stop for you… phew! We did our final weave through the back streets to complete our 23km mountain bike adventure. Bravo team!


Whether you are a beginner or a pro in mountain biking, trails in Kathmandu range from easy paths to challenging tracks. Find the right tour in the hills to fit your needs.

Kathmandu Valley Mountain Bike Tour

Full-Day Kathmandu Mountain Bike Tour

Don’t forget your travel insurance

Especially if you’re getting involved in real adventure sports, make travel insurance a priority! World Nomads is my go-to guys, I’ve learnt this from experience. You can buy and claim online even when you’ve left home.  I love that they give a little back too and support community development projects in various countries.


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wanderlustvlog 29th October 2017 - 10:33 pm

Wauw, it must be amazing to do this! I must admit I am not that much of a sportive person, but it does look really adventurous to do this!!

kevinpulsecreative 30th October 2017 - 5:16 am

Sign me up for anything on a mountain bike! This sounds awesome! I can’t wait for my kids to be old enough to join me on these types of adventures.

100cobbledroads 31st October 2017 - 7:37 am

23 kilometers of cycling along mountain roads, with views of rice fields, villages and temples must have been quite an experience. Downhill would have been a breeze, literally and figuratively.

Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats 1st November 2017 - 3:08 pm

II am not much of a biker myself, but nice to read about your experience! Sounds like a great thing to do in Nepal for active travelers.

Reply 2nd November 2017 - 9:07 pm

I do wish I was young enough and fit enough to try something like this. I certainly wouldn’t tackle a 23 km mountain ride. I’m guessing from the facemasks it was quite dusty? even the home-cooked Nepalese momos wouldn’t have tempted me – though I do love them!

Lori 2nd November 2017 - 9:26 pm

What a great adventure. My legs would have been shaking like crazy until the downhill. Would love to visit there one day.

Tami 2nd November 2017 - 11:28 pm

What an adventure! Love how you could feel a bit more of the culture that way — weaving amongst groups of schoolchildren and such. Much more organic than riding in a taxi or tour bus!

Kavita Favelle 3rd November 2017 - 2:05 pm

Had no idea that Kathmandu has such bad pollution, that’s an eye opener right off the bat! Still, protected with the anti-pollution filters, cycling seems a great way to get around between the sites. I would love to see the Swaymbhunath Stupa but not sure I can handle the climbing!

Medha Verma 3rd November 2017 - 2:23 pm

Wow must have been so amazing to cycle Kathmandu valley, I have not been to Nepal but I know it is gorgeous. I cannot personally imagine cycling that much but I am not in great shape haha. The views would have been breathtaking, would’ve loved to see more pictures 🙂

Jessica | Magnets from Everywhere 3rd November 2017 - 11:46 pm

Looks like an awesome ride! I would have to workout so much before I’d be able to do this! Biking uphill is my kryptonite, even though I’m in pretty good shape.

Your monkey scratch story is pretty scary. I’ve heard rabies injections are quite painful.


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