You absolutely could, but most of the edges of the paved roads have completely vertical drops on the low sides. I see a few smaller dirt bikes around like Honda XR's and they also have a variety of Enfield's with knobbies and spoked rims.
Stay off the roads and there is unlimited off-road riding, kind of like riding in the southwest states but at high elevation.
Nepal (which is one of the most mountainous countries in the world), has tons of bike rental places but it seems much less common in Tibet because you must have a guide outside Lhasa. Our guide in Tibet leads multi day rides on BMW GS's for small groups and up to 20 riders!
Thanks for the link - looking forward to watching more his stuff over the holidays.
Trip was really amazing. Started a new job after returning, so I had to spend a week catching up while training my replacement while working on new projects at the same time, so I haven't even had time to look at pics yet.
We did 3 days in Beijing, 8 days in Tibet, 5 days in Nepal and 5 days in India. For anyone interested in going to Tibet, I'll post up more later with some details on things to know about visa, permits, border crossings and just getting around. But for now I will say that the amount of Chinese suppression of the Tibet people is uncomfortable - cameras and big brother watching everywhere. The Tibetan people are incredible and their way of life is really something that we enjoyed learning about. Every night we stayed in a different place and were super lucky because we were the only ones on our tour, so the guides non English speaking wife joined us for the whole trip. She ran a guest camp at Everest Base Camp and since it was no longer climbing season, she was doing a pilgrimage to all the important Buddhist monasteries and temples across Tibet.
Nepal is somewhere I would easily go back to and spend more time in, because I just like being anywhere there are mountains and good food. We started in Kathmandu, headed over to Pokhara and then moved south over to Lumbini. Kathmandu is a big, dirty city, so it was a welcome change to get to Pokhara which is pretty quiet with a laid back vibe. I really like Pokhara even though it has a bit of a tourist trap feel to it. Lumbini was neat to see the birthplace of Buddha, but we only had 1 day there. While in India, we decided to not move around so much and just stay in Varanasi for 3 days and then New Delhi for 2 days. I really enjoyed walking around the city and watching all the bodies burning along the Ganges River. The markets and food in Varanasi was really incredible.
Highlight of the trip for me by far was in Varanasi, when we found a local tabla and sitar shop, who make the instruments and teach all levels of students and also do concerts. They were lifelong musicians - skills passed down from their parents who were also table and sitar makers in Varanasi. They gave us a private concert which blew me away, because they were so insanely skilled at their craft. I was not expecting this concert at all and it's weird that this was more impactful to me than seeing Everest and all that Tibet had to offer.
sounds like an amazing trip, truly something to remember for a lifetime...i personally don't have a yearning to visit that part of the world (not sure why, just don't ), however, from what I've seen on YouTube and heard, it's a spectacular place with wonderful people...congrats on the new job and glad to see you're back safe...can't wait for the pics!
It was pretty cold in Beijing - pretty much around 0deg. But no need for heated gear when you ride with carpets taped to the front of your bike. They also had these great bixi style bike shares, that had a lock on the rear wheel. People just park the bikes everywhere when they are done with them and it seems to work.
Not sure about this one. There was a phone right beside the sign too, so they weren't lying. I have so many pictures of strange signage.
One thing we always wanted to see was the Great Wall and it did not disappoint. It's almost 7000km long and millions of people died making this thing. Thousands of people spent their entire lives building this wall - they would live up in the mountains right where they were building the wall and were essentially slaves.
No legs, no problem!
Due to their strong faith and heritage, the colours and architecture on the buildings across Tibet is very homogeneous - I really liked it!
This place is called Potala Palace apparently housed around 10,000 monks at one time and was the winter home of Dalai Lama's for over 1000 years. It was enormous and the level of detail inside was remarkable, with ornate carvings, statues, prayer halls and more. In these monasteries, many of the previous Dalai Lama's would study, teach, live and be buried. Throughout Tibet, no pictures are allowed in any temples or monasteries though. We climbed inside and checked the whole place out. No heat, no lights, no flush toilets, no thanks!
Our guide Sonam and his wife Dolma at a glacier lake - this is around 15'000ft elevation. One of the nice things about travelling at non-peak periods is that everywhere we went, we were pretty much the only ones there. Sonam was telling me that between April-November he doesn't get any days off because it's one large group after another. He also does 6-10day moto tours on BMW's which would be pretty sweet. Both he and his wife grew up and live in a small village near Everest. He was born in Tibet and left when he was 3 to go to school in Nepal, which is why he speaks very good English. He came back as a teenager, just before the Chinese stopped allowing this practice. He has brothers and sisters who were not able to come back and have been stuck in Nepal their whole lives. He wasn't allowed to talk about it and opened up our trip by saying that anything to do with religion or politics about the Chinese was not allowed. Later on we met a Tibetan in Nepal who we talked to for quite a while. He told us that he knows many people who have spoken against the Chinese rule in Tibet and they just vanished and their families don't even know if they are dead or imprisoned.
Tibetan prayer flags are found all over the higher ground of the plateau. In the middle of the pic there is a small castle, or building of some sort that juts out into the lake. The only way to get there is to walk along the crest of these rocks. It was probably built a few hundred years ago and a lot of these lakes are considered holy lakes, because they get their water from nearby holy mountains. Pilgrims who are typically farmers from the remote villages would do pilgrimage walks around the bases of these mountains - sometimes for days on end.
This is the Rongbuk Monastery - the highest monastery in the world, located just a few miles north of Everest Base Camp, which is front and centre here. We were supposed to sleep here on this night, but the two previous nights I was barfing my brains out after catching some bug. I got lucky and we happened to be staying in some decent digs, so I had clean toilets to embrace. Since I wasn't really feeling like barfing into a pit toilet that hadn't been cleaned in 500 years, we opted to sleep in the village that both our guide, his wife and driver lived in. But that view from up here - would have been something special to wake up to!
As much as I disliked the Chinese presence in Tibet, they have done a ton of infrastructure improvements, making it a surprisingly smooth country to travel through (asides from the camera's and checkpoints everywhere). As we cross over into Nepal, the road from the Tibet border to Kathmandu is one of the worst I've been on. Long stretches of 1st gear only with potholes that would swallow the wheels of a normal car. 4x4's are the minimum standard here and 160km took 10hrs on a completely dry day with next to no traffic. Can't imagine it in the rainy season. But hey, they are building a new road which is mostly at low elevation which would only take around 3-4 hours. If the Chinese are building it, it should be ready in a year. If the Nepalese are building it, the road will never be ready and will wash out during the first rains. Now that we are at lower elevations there are beautiful conifer forests. Next up, Nepal and India