Because the Chinese authorities are no longer
issuing foreigners with entry permits to Tibet, SpiceRoads Cycle
Tours has had to cancel two Lhasa to Kathmandu tours and is
instead offering a 10-day cycle tour to Sikkim in northeast India.
Sikkim is bordered by Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan,
and the influence is seen in the people, the majority of whom are
ethnically Nepali, and the two predominant religions of Hinduism
and Vajrayana Buddhism.
Stops on this cycle tour include the
200-year-old Tibetan Enchey monastery in Gangtok and the Rumtek
Monastery, which dates back to the 16th century and is lead by the
16th Karmapa who fled Tibet in 1959 and took over Rumtek as his
main seat in exile.
Throughout the ride the Kanchenjunga mountain
range of five peaks and includes Kanchenjunga, the third highest
mountain in the world with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft), is
ever present, another reminder of the snow-capped peaks of Tibet.
The Cycling Sikkim's Tea Trails
route is 330 kilometres over six days of cycling and takes
breaks to make a wish at Sikkim's holiest lake, sample tea from
local plantations, and ride a toy train in the colonial hill
station of Darjeeling.
SpiceRoads does warn interested cyclists that the riding will be strenuous, as it will
consist of exhilarating descents down into valleys and then climbs
up over passes (none higher than 2,100 m).
The tour costs
US$1,950 with an additional $175 for bike rental, and starts and
ends at Bagdgora airport in Sikkim.
The price includes accommodation, most meals,
drinks and snacks while riding. SpiceRoads Cycle Tours
has three fall departures and is offering a 10% introductory
discount for 28 October - 6 November, 25 November - 4 December and 23 December
- 1 January tours.
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