Yunnan is one of China’s most ethnically fascinating and scenically stunning provinces. Home to over one third of China’s minority groups and over half of all China’s plant and animal species it is easy to understand why Yunnan leaves our travellers ……
This is arrival day and you’ll be met by your Bike Asia leader in the evening to go over the trip ahead. Kunming is a great place to explore with its wide boulevards and modern shopping centres giving way to back lanes and old wooden buildings. There are plenty of things to keep you busy if you arrive early. Check out the Tang Dynasty Pagodas or join the Buddhist pilgrims to the 1000 year old Yuan Tong Temple, the largest of its kind in Kunming. This temple is a great place to try Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. We will meet in the evening for the group meeting to go over the formalities of the trip. For dinner, we will head to sample some of the local cuisine – maybe dinner at one of the nearby Muslim restaurants with their array of spiced meats, fresh vegetables, noodles and stuffed sweet breads!
After a short flight we find ourselves in the World Heritage listed town of Lijiang. You will have time to explore the ancient cobblestone alley ways and canals of the Old Town that is home to the intriguing Naxi minority people. This is a shopper’s delight with all sorts of handcrafts and souvenirs lining the streets of the old town. It’s also a great place to grab a coffee and watch the world go by. Optional activities such as a visit to Black Dragon Pool, with its famous reflected views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a visit to Mu Mansion or a performance of the ancient orchestral compositions by one of the many Naxi orchestras are there for you to enjoy. We stay in the Old Town so everything is at your doorstep.
We gear up for an awesome warm-up ride around the beautiful Lashi Lake. This is a great ride in itself but also a good chance to get used to your bike and condition the legs with some hills and some good off-road! Cycling around the lake will bring us into the local rural life as we meander through several Naxi and Yi minority villages. We stop for lunch at Zhi Yun temple, a small monastery that has been renovated after having been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Day 4 – BaiShui He (cycling 52 km) ( B , L , D )
This ride is varied and spectacular as we take the back roads out of Lijiang past Baisha village, known for its Buddhist fresco paintings. We reach a tar sealed road which takes us winding up for a short way to Yu Feng Temple and then a quick downhill to reach the ascent that will comprise most of the day’s cycling. We catch many glimpses of the dramatic snow capped peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain on our route. We reach the day’s high point in evergreen pine forests before a exhilarating down hill run to Bai Shui He water terrace, our home for the night. You’ll have time to stroll down to these calcified terraces, a result of the heavy mineral laden mountain waters reacting to sunlight, and have your photo taken astride a yak in the brilliant blue waters!
*Please Note: At this time the accommodation regulations for Jade Dragon Snow Mountain National Park have changed which has made it necessary for us to transfer back to Lijiang after this day’s ride. On Day 5 we will transfer from our hotel in Lijiang to pick up the cycling from Bai shui He. The cycling is unaffected in any way and this change does not alter the cost of the trip. We will revert to the original itinerary if, or when, accommodation in the park becomes possible.
This is a big day! With Jade Dragon Snow Mountain behind us we start the first of two ascents for the day. The first is an easy climb on a great paved road. This will bring us up into the mountains and some of the most spectacular scenery on the trip. A speedy downhill with lots of hairpins brings us to our second climb for the day. This will take us up a cobblestone road to a height of 3300m. You’ll more than likely feel the altitude on this climb but the reward is a downhill of 34kms on cobblestones through many small farming villages nestled into the mountainside! This is a dream for speed freaks. The only downside is that you don’t want to keep your eyes on the road as you miss out on the views! This long descent brings us to our lunch stop in Daju. Daju is situated on the Yangtze River at the northern end of the imposing Tiger Leaping Gorge. We should arrive there in the early afternoon. After lunch we ride 4 km to the Yangtze River ferry. Our support vehicle can’t cross the river here so it leaves us with our bikes and day packs and heads off to meet us in Haba the next day. It’s a steep climb down to the ferry so we have porters carry the bikes. This is one of the biggest rivers on the planet and we cross its swirling waters on a Chinese barge. Up the other side is another steep climb after which we say goodbye to the porters and then it’s back on the bikes to meet our transfer on the main road. From here we travel in support vehicles the 30 odd km to our guesthouse in Haba. We will be cycling this section tomorrow.
In the morning we have an optional hike into the Yi and Hui villages that sit on the slopes of Haba Mountain above our guesthouse. This is a great chance to meet some of the locals who may, if we are lucky, invite us in for a chat or a cup of tea! After lunch we’ll get back on the bikes and we are in for an exciting 25km downhill (the same section we did in the vehicle the previous afternoon). We enter the gorge and cycle to our lodgings for the night. Riding in the gorge is a highlight for many people on this trip with its overhangs, steep walls and waterfalls. We cycle halfway through the gorge to our guesthouse at Walnut Grove; the guesthouse with possibly the most spectacular view in all of China.
Travelling in the gorge does pose some risks. There are often landslides in summer, and while we only schedule our trips outside of the landslide “season”, their occurrence is outside our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee your safety on this part of the trip. You will need to consider this before signing up. In the event of a landslide we may have to alter the itinerary which means that we cannot guarantee a continuous ride through the gorge but will have to detour around it. This may take several hours or up to a whole day. We are always in communication with local contacts with regard to local conditions and are committed to keeping you informed but will always reserve the right to alter the itinerary where we see fit in order to ensure the safest possible experience.
There is no place more fitting to spend a day of rest and relaxation than immersed in the beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge. For the energetic there are plenty of hiking opportunities; walk the plunging forest tracks to the gorge itself or venture off on the high trail to plunge yourself into a gushing waterfall. Otherwise sit back, relax and soak in the truly awe inspiring views of this remarkable natural wonder.
Day 8 – Shigu (cycling 74 km) ( B , L , D )
We meander our way out of the gorge and along the Yangtze River passing mud brick villages on quaint tree-lined, tar-sealed roads. This area is home to many minority groups including Dai, Yi and Naxi people. We get up close and personal with rural China as we see people going about their daily lives. We stay overnight in the tiny historical town of Shigu, known for its location on the “first bend in the Yangtze River”. Though popular with local Chinese, prepare to be the centre of attention as it’s likely we will be the only foreigners there! A wander about this small town will take you back into the past as many old courtyard houses, cobblestone streets and temples remain as they have been for ages.
There is a sense of timelessness as we cycle through villages whose cultural traditions and simple life-styles have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Often we’ll come across a local market bustling with activity and blocking off the road. This is a great chance to mingle with locals of differing ethnicities, all sporting their own particular traditional clothing, bargaining for and selling local produce and the necessities of life. This is our longest days cycling of the trip and we start with 16 km of uphill! We’ll ride through the town of Jianchuan before heading off to Shaxi. If our pace has been good then we may get a chance to stop at “Shibaoshan Shiku” Stone Treasure Buddhist Grottoes. These are old Buddhist shrines carved into the mountain rock, some still carrying the last of fading pigments. These are a legacy of the trade route which, although it was designed to carry tea, also spread Buddhism throughout the region. One last big uphill and a bumpy downhill before a long flat cobblestone run into Shaxi, a historic town that was once a hub on the Tea Horse route.
This is a free day for you to wander around Shaxi town and see the old architecture – untouched by modernity and new construction (a rarity in China today!). This is the perfect place to get yourself lost in the narrow, cobblestone alleyways of the town, get a close look at intricately carved wooden entrances and hopefully catch glimpses of the well-fenced and attractive courtyards of many of the homes in Shaxi.
We hit the road with a big, steep climb on cobbles before we hit dirt to the top, all the way cycling through a heavily wooded forest of pine trees. We’ve been warned by locals to keep a close eye out for ghosts in this area! The view is spectacular, overlooking the valley all the way to Jianchuan. The road down is endless hairpins on a rutted road. Rough stuff, but it’s a good way to work up an appetite for lunch. The afternoon ride is a nice flat run through endless rice fields which change with the seasons. We cycle down through a ravine into Er Yuan, the location of our hotel for the night and their relaxing hot springs …so bring your bathers!
Today we share our cycling with bell-laden horses and carts as we continue travelling on the Old Tibet Road to Dali. We follow a circuitous route that takes us to Er Hai Lake. We skirt the shores of this huge inland sea, passing through fishing villages and farming communities. This is a spectacular finale as we head up the hill toward the ancient walled capital, Dali. The Cang Shan Mountains rise behind Dali as we cycle our last few kilometres to our finishing point! We’ll feast and celebrate the completion of our ride with a beer or two!
Dali is home to over 1.5 million Bai minority people whose culture, crafts and warm hospitality create its renowned laid-back atmosphere. You are spoilt for choice with things to do and see. You can visit the colourful Shaping Markets, see the preserved architecture of Xizhou village, hike up to Zhonghe Si temple or just do a good day’s shopping! The day is yours to do with as you like!
We take a bus back to Kunming, arriving in the afternoon. Our last night together means dinner and celebrations!
Tour Package Includes
– Accommodation based on twin sharing occupancy at hotel, guesthouse and Home stay.etc…
– Meals as indicated in program,B=Breakfast , L=Lunches ,D=Dinner
– Professional English speaking guide (other languages upon requests)
– A/C transfers and transportation.
– Boat trip mention in itinerary
– Pump, bike tools, spares tubes, Spare bike , Mountain Bicycle ( Asama , Gaint or Trek bike 13- 27 speed )
– Cold water box, small fresh towel , bike helmet
– All entrance fees for sightseeing as indicated in the program
– Service charges, rooms tax and handling fees
Tour Package Excludes
– Visa stamping fee
– Travel assurance
– Mineral water beyond that supplied
– Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
– Additional transport required due to any emergency situation
– Tips and gratuites
– Personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.
– International air tickets and airport departure taxes
– Meals and drinks not mentioned in the program
– Optional excursions
pecial offers :
– Mineral water drinking.
– Seasonal fruits.
– Fresh tissue and some fruits while touring !
What to bring :
Sun Block , Wide brim hat, Camera + Film, Comfortable shoes, Rain Gear , Warm clothes in winter, Original Passport, Bike Helmet ( compulsory ), Small backpack , Shoes and shorts for cycling ,Sunglasses , Gloves , Professional Pedal ,Insect repellent ,Wide brim hat ,Bike water bottle (if you don’t want to use Indochina Bike Tour’bottle)
Glide down hills, through villages and fields to experience the north’s wilderness.
Tour can be modified,hotels changed to suit your tastes and budget
Minor program changes are sometime necessary, depending on road conditions and weather.
This itinerary allows for 10 days on the cycling section. You will be able to decide for yourself at any time during each of these days how far you want to cycle. Average daily cycling distances are approximately 40 -100 km. These distances may vary according to weather, road conditions and group fitness and preferences. This is a sightseeing cycle tour, not a marathon or time trial.