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Classic Lele-Bhatase Danda-Panauti MTB circuit around Phulchowki - Central Region, Nepal

by Jur9en  
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On 8 September 2012 Jurgen and I cycled this fantastic 104km, 10 hour circuit that goes from the Kathmandu Valley out through Chapagaun right around the south of the Phulchowki massif and back via Khopasi and Phulchowki. This is about the sixth time I have done the route and I claim it as my own. I first saw the potential in 2008 after finishing the Dal Chowki ridge at Chaughare and seeing this road leading off to the east into the multiple huge ridges to the south.
The history: A few reconnaissance rides from Chaughare of the western part and of the eastern part from Khopasi, and hours poring over maps and Google Earth saw me try the full circuit in March 2009 uncertain if it was possible. I reached the mid-point at Bhatase Danda to find the end of the road. You could see a new road way across the deep valley of the Ghatte Khola in Kavre with a mechanical digger working away there. So after a cup of tea and a bowl of Wai-Wai I set off with a local guy who was taking my route. I carried and pushed my bike the two hours to the road head across steep and winding paths. The last major ascent and the ride back via Panauti saw me exhausted and elated at completing this great day long ride.
The route: First head out through Chapagaun and take the eastern (left) road around Bhagavan Danda and down into Lele. Turn left and pass through the bus park and follow the tarmac around to the right and up over the Bhardeu ridge. Whizz down into Bhardeu and up the other side to Chaughare Bhanjyang. Fuel up at the tea shop on the right on cups of tea (really good tea here) , tarkari and malpa bread. Then head east around the foothills of Phulchowki down through a really beautiful section with spectacular landscapes around including Kaleshwor Danda to the south. At the bottom head uphill for about 1 km before taking the jeep track that goes steeply uphill to the left. Ride/push up this to the top and then follow the jeep track around the contour until you reach the half way point at Bhatase Danda. Ask around which tea shop is open and eat and drink.
Take the new road into Kavre. It is a bit hard to find but heads east out of the village and down-downhill. There is then a long climb and a particularly long and tough last section up to the last bhanjyang at 2260m. The final jeep track part of the circuit is a long descent on bumpy road down through Dhumkharka and on to Khopasi. Return via Panauti-Banepa and the main road back into Kathmandu.
This is a fantastic route with all the virtues! It is a coherent circuit amidst great scenery with good tea shops and hardly any traffic for the 80% of the route between Chapagaun and Khopasi. Try it out and let me know what you think. The roads are greatly improved since the first time did it in 2009.

-- Steve Keeling
Take note of the way points for tea shops on the way. They offer a convenient point to eat noodles, local donuts and fill up your water bottles.
KTM, Lele, Bhatase Danda, Panauti, epic, mountain bike, mtb, loop
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Trip Info
by Jur9en
September 07, 2012
Trip Location: Bhainsepati, Central Region, Nepal
Length: 64 miles
Duration: 10 hours
Activity: Mountain biking
Trip viewed 1,212 times
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