Cycling The Backroads Of China Trip Notes

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Trip code : Emca
Trip length : 13
Trip starts in : Chengdu
Trip ends in : Yangshuo
Maximum group size :


This exciting new cycling trip explores the very best of rural South-West China. Taking in some of the most famous images of China, including the giant pandas of Sichuan and the Karst scenery of Yangshuo, but you will also embark on a ride through some of best kept secrets of the region. Starting in Chengdu you will journey to Guiyang where you will begin cycling. The route takes you through breathtaking scenery, terraced rice fields and to ancient villages, alongside rivers and streams, lined with bamboo. The trip will end in Yangshuo among the towering, limestone mountains that appear to have bubbled out of the ground and set in dramatic shapes and sizes as far as the eye can see, leaving a lasting and mystical scene in the memory.



Arrive in Chengdu. There is an optional visit to the famous Sichuan 'face-changing' opera.


After breakfast we will drive approx. 2-3hrs out to the old towns of Gaomiao and Liujiang. There will be time to explore their ancient streets and we spend the night in Liujiang.


In the morning we will journey via the Leshan Giant Buddha. This is a magnificent sculpture, carved into the cliff-face during the Tang Dynasty. The Buddah sits facing Mount Ermei and above the joining of three great rivers. You start from the Buddha's head and walk down one side of the cliff to his feet and then ascend the other side. Return to Chengdu to visit the giant panda centre.
Catch the overnight train to Guiyang.


We will start with breakfast in Guiyang before transferring out to Kaili. This is where we will begin our first ride towards the Miao ethnic village of Xijiang. The riding is generally quite flat along this section and is 90% tarmac. For the last 8km we have a steep uphill, but at the end of it we will be rewarded with dismounting at the gates to Xijiang village. We will then transfer by the designated local buses into the village itself.


This morning we have a 10km transfer out of the village to the start point of our ride. From here you will cycle about 38km through incredible scenery of terraced rice fields all the way to our lunch point at Leishan town.
The next part of the ride is the toughest of the trip, as we climb up to Leishan mountain pass which sits at 1500m. It is a gradual climb over 37km, so while it is long, we can take our time and enjoy the views. There is always the support vehicle for back-up if you need it. From the top of the pass we have another 24km to reach our destination at Yong Le village, with some sections on gravel paths. Throughout the afternoon, your efforts will continually be rewarded by the beautiful setting of the ride.


We start with a transfer of 90km to Ba Ji village, which will be the start point of our ride. From here we will cycle 26km along the Du Liu Jiang river, lined with bamboo to our lunch point at Xiajiang. As choices are limited here, the lunch will be quite simple, but traditional. We will then continue for another 42km on an undulating section of road to Congjiang. From here there is a 7km climb to visit the traditional village of Basha Miao. Once you have had a look round the village, it is an easy cruise back down the hill to Congjiang where we will spend the night.


Today is relatively easy after the last two days of cycling. After breakfast we will drive for 20km to our starting point located on a small country road, from here we cycle 22km to our lunch point at Guandong. After lunch we continue for another 14km towards Zhaoxing, passing a bridge of 'wind and rain' en route, which is an iconic symbol of the Dong ethnic minority.


From Zhaoxing we transfer 30km to the start point of today's ride. It is then a very beautiful 10km ride along a gravel track to Dudong. From here there is a 3-4km steep climb after which the riding is undulating for a further 13km through the picturesque scenery of the surrounding tea plantations. We then have a 10km stretch of downhill to Tongle for lunch. After the break we will then transfer 73km to Sanjiang, and from here we finish with a final 23km to Chengyang Bridge old town where we will rest for the night.


This morning is free to explore the village lanes and watch any local cultural performances that are going on. We will stay here until lunch time, so there will be plenty of time to relax before we transfer about 65km towards the Longsheng rice terraces. Once we have turned off the main high way, onto the quiet roads, we will begin cycling in the Longsheng scenic area. The terrain is mainly flat in this area with some short undulating sections. The final 15km is a steep uphill into the entrance of the park. We will stop cycling here and take a short walk to our guesthouse in Pingan village to watch a beautiful sunset over Longsheng rice terraces.


After breakfast we will walk back to the park entrance to collect our bikes and start cycling back the same way that we arrived yesterday. This should be a nice leisurely ride of about 45km on a nice, quiet road lined with bamboo. We will stop for lunch and then continue for another 25km before transfering by bus to stunning town of Yangshuo.


Today we can start the ride right from the hotel towards Xingping. We will follow the valley with stunning views of the limestone karst scenery along the way. You will cycle through rice fields, bamboo forests and follow the meandering Li River on this gentle ride. You will then take a ferry across the Li River to our local guest house in Xingping.


Today is the last day of cycling. After breakfast at Xingping we will start to make our way back to Yangshuo. First, we will board a boat to cross the river towards Yangdi. This section is probably one of the most beautiful of the Li River. We will then cycle along quiet, rural lanes, passing the local markets in Baisha village. The final stretch follows the Yulong River back to Yangshuo. There will then be some more time to explore the wonderful town of Yangshuo.


Transfer to Guilin airport where those who have booked flight inclusive will depart on the group flight. Those booked land only will depart via their own arrangements.

Meals and Accommodation

On this trip 12 breakfasts and 11 lunches are included.
The only breakfast which is not included is after the overnight train. The rest of the breakfasts are included and this is perhaps the most unusual of the day's meals. They are usually traditional and are made up of Chinese porridge, plain buns, with salted veggies or fermented bean curb and hard-boiled eggs. These will be the standard options available, but we understand that this is probably quite different from your usual breakfast options. Therefore, it is possible for your leader to supplement the breakfasts with things like muesli, yoghurt, milk and bread (the bread is often not of the same quality that you would find at home). As these things are not generally provided in the traditional places we are staying you may need to make a contribution to have a breakfast you are more accustomed to.

Lunch will usually consist of fried rice or noodles, noodle soup and a chicken or vegetable dish to go with it. Lunches will be quite simple and more limited in options, but they will be tasty and suitable to keep you going for the afternoon rides.

Dinners will be your choice and often the best thing is to order as a group. Chinese cuisine is designed to share and often comes as separate vegetable/fish/meat dishes. If you eat as a group you can order 7 or 8 different things and then all tuck in to make up a complete meal, full of variety and flavours. Dinner is usually served with rice and some sort of soup.
Chinese food can be quite different for many people so we often suggest that you bring your own selection of snacks, that you know you love, just in case you want a taste of home. Or cereal bars for the morning if you know you might struggle with the breakfasts. Our team will also provide snacks along the cycling route of fruit, nuts and juice.

Single room supplement

A single supplement is not available for this tour

Trip grades



We use a mixture of 2, 3 and 4 star hotels, boutique and family run guesthouses with en suite facilities. 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths dependent on availability.
9 days cycling with 95% vehicle support
85% tarmac, 15% good tracks
Undulating terrain with some steeper sections



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