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Home More than 5 Days China Yunnan Odyssey by Bike

China Yunnan Odyssey by Bike

Tour Itinerary

Tour Highlights

*  Charms of Tibetan Cultures and No Visit Restrictions for Westerners.
*  Natrual Wonders at Napahai Lake.
*  Tiger Leaping Gorge Top Hike Routes.
*  Rural Minority Cultures and Lifes,
*  Snow Mountains and Lakes at Lijiang and Dali.
*  Hot Springs and Remote Villages.
*  Optional E-bike and Fully Car Supported Tour to Cater Cyclists' Budget and Fitness Level.

Tour Overviews

The tour is focusing on the world famous places in southwest of China – Yunnan, and is including the Tibetan culture visit at Shangri-la, amazing trekking on Tiger Leaping Gorge (both upper and low way), biking the highlight regions around Lijiang, Dali though remote villages, lakes, snow mountains, hot spring and ancient towns, together with a boat experience to across the branch of Yangtze River and home stays in the local farmers’ guesthouse.

Tour Level From: 1/2/3/4/5  (Difficulty of GCT?)  
Start and Finish Point (Airport): Diqing (DIG) - Dali (DLU).
Distance (flexible): About 390KM in 8 cycling days. 
Bike Type: MTB / E - Bikes / Hybird Bikes (flat bar).
*  Tour style: Guided by guide, supporting van. 
*  Road Condition: Mostly paved with concrete/asphalt (Some roads in the less-developed rural areas of China are little rougher compared with the big cities in east coast of the country).

Tour Notes

Yunnan provinces is mountainous but with plenty of both scenic and cultural values for tourists who enjoys outdoor activities. If you are just a 'very basic' beginner for long-distance cycling, or being a person who 'less enjoying' uphills but still wish to join this tour, please don't worry because you can choose to fully / partly use our electronic bikes for this tour, the extra fee is only CNY150 per day. The elevation of the first 2-3 days in the tour is around 2500-3000 meters, please be careful if you have heart problems or any potential risks related with high altitude sickness. (P.S, for normal people, you won't have too much uncomfortable feelings under 3000M).

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Day 1 Arriving Shangri-La (Diqing)   (D)

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The best transit airport to Shangri-La is Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. It is only 1 hour flight between the two cities. Our guide and driver will meet you at the airport of Diqing (also known as Shangri-la city), and we transfer to the hotel. If you arrive early today, we will have a leisurely walk in the Dukezong Ancient City before the welcome dinner and tour presentations.

Day 2 Shangri-La Acclimatisation Day:Warming up cycling ( B L D) 33KM

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We may face more difficulties physically and spiritually than usual while cycling on high mountainous areas. To guarantee a safe return, we are supposed to make good preparations. An easy relaxing day for acclimation is suggested. Have a warming up ride in the afternoon on the famous Napahai grassland and lake, then visit Dukezhong Ancient town, which is the best place to know about Tibetan culture during the whole trip.

We will aclimatise today and have time to visit the 17th Century Sumtsenling Garden Monastery which is home to over 600 monks: a smaller but no less magnificent version of the grand Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Day 3 Shangri-la to Bai Shui Tai (B L D) 67KM

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We begin with a short transfer out of town, passing through arid plateau on towards Pudacuo National Park where the day’s point to point cycling begins. We set off on the bikes with a downhill stretch on good road and continue during the day to cycle a series of valleys and mountains through a changing rural scenery gradually descending to the village of Bai Shui Tai. Our final stretch of the route brings us through conifer forest. Located below the Haba Snow Mountain (the other side of Tiger Leaping Gorge), Bai Shui Tai is famed for its natural mineral terraced White Water Tables created by calcium carbonate deposits from the melting mountain spring water.

Day 4 Cycle and Drive to Tiger Leaping Gorge Highway Hike Starting Point(B L D) Cycle 40-80 KM

We set off today with a few gentle hills before challenging a more serious climb. Once we reach the top of the pass we will have views of the stunning Haba Mountain peaks (that we could skip with the help of our van). The highest point is at a dizzying 5,396m. With alpine moraine lake, endless clusters of azalea and waterfalls cascading down snow-covered cliffs, the glacier on the Haba Snow Mountain is the south most glaciers in China. We make a short descent into Haba village, whose resident minorities include Naxi, Hui (Muslim) and Yi peoples, as well as a few Tibetans. This afternoon we climb to our next pass then cycle down into the Yangtze River Valley. At the village of Yonke we turn into the legendary Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest ravines. Cutting its path between Haba Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain your surroundings will be as dramatic as the place names suggest. We finish our riding today anytime and then drive to the downstream part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge for a short visit (Where most Chinese tourists visiting), then drive uphill to our hike starting point tomorrow– The Qiaotou Town for rest. The riding distance today is up to you, from 40-80KMS. (On mountain areas but the challenging climbs mostly comes in the afternoon).

Day 5 Highway Hike on the Tiger Leaping Gorge (B L D) 40KM

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After early breakfast and good preparation for the hardest challenge of a long hike today, our driver will drive us to a village nearby and we will start our hike there. The hiking distance today is depend on your wishes, an 8-12 hours walking is our big mission today! If we choose the further starting point, we can finish our hike and recover our legs early at the guesthouse.

Day 6 Hike the Middle Section of the Gorge and Drive to Daju (B L D)

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The hike yesterday needs more endurance while today we need more technique; we even need to climb vertical ladles or walking along the inclined rocks. In reward, the hike today brings us to the edge of the gorge where the masterpiece of the natural exists. Return to our hotel and rest then we will drive some same way back and across the gorgeous Yangtze River with our car and bikes and rest at Daju town - an old town full with old houses and countryside lives.

Day 7 Daju Cycle to Dadong(B L D) 50KM

We begin the day with a 23 km climb as we cycle towards Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Snow-capped and often shrouded in mist, Dragon Snow Mountain is a sanctuary for rare animals and wild plants with unique micro climates on the different slopes. It is also known as a natural glacier museum and is now a famous scenic spot for tourists and scientific research. We ride up over the pass with a long 1475m climb up the southern slope of the Dragon Snow Mountain for 31km to the top. We then enjoy a long downhill ride through another valley. We end the day with another short climb to Da Dong. We can relax in hot springs this evening. Today is both a great challenge and tonic for tired legs.

Day 8 Drive and Leisure Cycle around Lijiang (B L D)

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After couple days hard cycling and scenery around the areas. It is not a bad idea using our van and driving directly to Lijiang and skip the busy main road heading to it. We will have some leisure riding today and see the surrounding small towns and villages of Lijiang, where the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains and peaceful lakes and reservoirs are, visit some museums and then back to the Lijiang Ancient Town for your own rest and walking explore the famed touring town.

Day 9Drive and Highlight Cycle around Shaxi and Dali(B L D)40-65KM

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A cycling from Lijiang to Shaxi costs us a whole day but with a car driving it is only 2 hours. We can decide to cycle to Shaxi or drive and only ride leisurely of the interesting places of the area and then leave more time enjoying the more peaceful town of Shaxi Old Town for an late lunch and then continue our ride to orchards and small rural towns on the way to Dali. Our driver will help us again and again loading our bikes up and down, making sure we will enjoy the best bike ride in this areas before driving us to the north lakeside of Dali.

Day 10 Supported Drive and Cycle around Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town(B L D) 40-65KM

Another day riding through the mountains and hidden villages gives us more impressions of the local life and people in the area; we will ride a cycle and back to our hotel today. Enjoy the cycling around the Erhai Lake all the way to the downtown of Dali Ancient Town, visiting local museum learning the culture of Bai people, celebrate our tour together.

Shaxi is a well preserved historic stopping point on the Tea Horse route. In the old town square, you will find a traditional wooden temple with cobblestoned quadrangle. In the past, it has been relatively inaccessible to visitors and thus has not become modernized. Efforts are now underway to preserve its historic identity. With more sunshine, annually than California the area has rich natural biodiversity. Victorian botanists and flower hunters were drawn here to collect specimens for the ornamental gardens of Europe and America including orchids, roses, rhododendrons, azaleas, and magnolias, to name but a few. There is an interesting Caravan museum in the town. On the outskirts of Shaxi you can enjoy views of the Heihui River, with rolling peaks in the background. An ancient crescent shaped stone bridge connects the town to the fields over the river. There are local options for horse riding, another way to explore your beautiful surroundings.

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Day 11 Dali Departure and Free Time(B)

Our services will end after the breakfast today, we will have spent 10 memorable days together in the most beautiful place of China. Saying goodbye to the guide and he/she will give you more suggestions for your free day(s) staying in Dali before leaving to the airport / train station.

Tour Feedback

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Room Standard 

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Guide Price

2023 - 2024 Price (based on twin-beds rooms and non-holiday dates)P.S Popular Holidays in China: Qingming (Early April), National Holiday (First Week of Oct.),  rooms price in some areas during Chinese school summer vactions will be doubled or tripled. (July).

USD2280 p.p (2-3), please email us if you are interested or having more people coming. 

Single Room Supplement: $250

*   10 nights' accommodation,
*   Diqing (Shangri-la) airport pick-up to hotel on Day1,
*   Support vehicle,
*   Local professional English speaking guide(s),  
*   Bike hire ( MTB/ Hybird Bike - Flat Bar). E-Bike = CNY150 extra / day, 
*   Helmet, (recommended to bring your own),
*   Most meals (see trip notes for details),
*   Tickets:  Sumtsenling Garden Monastery, Dadong Hot Spring Hotel, Boat Fee, White Water Terraces, Lijiang Ancient Town, Tiger Leaping Gorge and other attactions if mentioned in the itinerary and was not stated as 'Optional',
*   Snacks and mineral water during cycling days.
*  Departure airport transfers,
*  International flights and flights to Diqing,
*  Extra paid-in-cash program fees,
*  Alcoholic drinks,
*  Meals not stated on the itinerary,
*  Travel insurance,
*  Tips for guide (s) and support staff (Recommended but not forced).

*Please note that obtaining your own travel insurance is required in order to participate on this biking tour. It will need to include a minimum coverage of medical expenses with emergency evacuation, personal liability and accident insurance. Our biking leader will need to see a copy of your insurance at the group meeting on the first day. We reserve the right to refuse you if you do not carry such an insurance policy.

(B=simple breakfast available on the street, L= simple lunch available when passing by noodle shop/small restaurants with easy cookings, D=Dinner at nicer restaurant for not expensive dishes ).  

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