• guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
  • guided yunnan cycling  tour
Cost from US$2600, 12 days, 8 cycling days

Guided Yunnan Cycling Tour

  • Introduction
  • Itinerary
  • Date & Pricing
  • Reviews
  • Map

    Yunnan is definitely one of the most ethnically fascinating and scenically stunning provinces in all of China. Home to 25 of Chinas minority groups and over half of all China's plant and animal species - it is easy to understand why Yunnan is highly favored by all kinds of travelers. 

    On this biking journey you can expect extraordinary hill climbing and unique culture experience of the Wild West Tibetan town of Shangri_la. You will visit the largest yellow hat sect Tibetan lamasery where some 600 Tibetan monks are practicing Tibetan Buddhism. Experience the extraordinary natural wonder Jade Dragon Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge-the deepest gorge in the world with it's towering walls and dramatic beauty, meander along the majestic Yangzi River. 

    You will also have a rest day in Lijiang-the world heritage town, We leave the plateau and down hill all the way to Shaxi, an extremely quiet and lovely village was once the center of the ancient caravan trading post. Our cycling trip finishes in Dali, the historical city and we will happy to relax in the laid back cobble stoned town of Dali where you can stroll around the local markets. Yunnan is no doubt a world class cycling destination !

    Day 1 Arrive in Shangri-La

    We meet in Shangri-La, the capital of Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. You will be met at the airport by a SpiceRoads local tour guide for a group transfer and brought to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon we begin exploring China with a visit to the spectacular Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, built at the instruction of the fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century. Currently, there are over 800 monks still living and practicing here. This picturesque site located on the top of a hill, is very much similar in style to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Later this evening, we will have a Tibetan-style welcome dinner Today, Shangri-La is principally a Tibetan township but has a Han Chinese population as well as a smattering of Bai, Hui, and Naxi minorities. Historically, the town was a trading centre between Tibet, Burma, and India, where mule caravans once made journeys to conduct commerce among the regions.


    Day 2 Shangri-La Loop warm up ride 

    As Shangri-La is at 3,300 m, we take it easy so you can acclimate to the altitude. We do bike fitting and a warm-up ride around Napa Lake, a wetland that attracts many migrant birds to spend the winter. This flat ride around the lake helps you acclimatize to the thin air and is a beautiful start to your bike tour! We return to the hotel for lunch, and the rest of the afternoon is free for exploring this Tibetan town.

    Breakfast, Lunch Ride 25km

    Day 3 Shangri-La-White Water Terrace

    We bid farewell to Shangri-La and transfer a short distance out of town to start cycling. It is a flat ride to start, passing Tibetan villages and white pagodas before we start the day's first big climb. This is a tough day as we will be riding high, but the spectacular scenery will make the hard work worth it. There are some difficult climbs and extraordinarily long descents to drive your adrenaline rush. We wind our way up and down through valleys and across mountainsides completely covered with wild camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, and osmanthus trees. We arrive in the late afternoon to Bai Shui Tai. If after checking in, you may feel up to a walk up to the spiritual origin of the Naxi people: the Karst Terraces“Bai Shui Tai”sits above the town. It is about 45 minutes round trip.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Ride 75km

    Day 4 White Water Terrace-Tiger Leaping Gorge

    After breakfast, we start the day with a few short climbs and rolling sections before a bigger push up and over a small pass where we see Haba Mountain (5,396 m) towering above a beautiful valley. It's a 6 km descent winding down towards the Naxi village of Haba where we have lunch in a local guesthouse. After lunch, we get back on our bikes for a 7 km climb to a pass at 3,250 m followed by another downhill for 25 km to the Yangtse River Valley. When we reach Yonke village, we turn to Tiger Leaping Gorge and cycle through one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world, rising nearly 4,000 m from the river to snow-capped peaks.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner  Ride 74km

    Day 5 Tiger Leaping Gorge Rest Day

    Enjoy the magnificent scenery of the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge of the Yangtze River.. You are free to use the bikes for a 30 km round trip cycle through the gorge of the Yangtze River. Or you might want to hike down to the river side and watch gigantic rapids running over the infamous tiger leaping rock. Or go on a hike on upper trails of the gorge to see snowcapped peaks above the third deepest gorge in the world.


    Day 6 Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang

    We have an easy 12 km cycle back through the gorge again towards the Yangtze ferry. Here we will cross the river and then start a 30 km steady climb. We then conquer the Dragon Snow Mountain pass at 3,100 metres, having ascended close to 1,500 metres! We then enjoy some undulating hills with some long downhills all the way to the Lijiang area. We travel through the Dragon Snow Mountain Park which is known as a natural glacier museum. We will stop at Blue Moon Valley, which is actually an extremely blue river meandering through a lush valley of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and be transferred for the last 30 km to Lijiang, an ancient Naxi town, in the late afternoon. The Naxi people are a small but fascinating ethnic minority known for their matriarchal society, their pictographic language, and their distinctive music.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner  Ride 73km

    Day 7 Lijiang - Shaxi

    We transfer out of the city and start another memorable day that takes us into the heart of rural Yunnan. We ride over a pass, descend into a valley, and ride along the 'Old Tibet 214 highway’past tranquil scenes of mud brick villages, bamboo groves, rivers, and paddy fields. Right before Shaxi, we do two short but steeper climbs. A downhill (check that your brakes are working) through rural scenery that brings us to Shaxi. You really sense a feeling of timelessness, as the way of life here has remained unchanged for centuries. We stay at a wonderfully local courtyard hotel.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Ride 75km

    Day 8 Shaxi Village Rest Day

    Shaxi started as a trading point of tea and horses during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). The town's prosperity was at its heights during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1912). This is probably the most intact horse caravan town on the ancient tea route leading from Yunnan into Burma and Tibet. The Sideng market square of Shaxi was added to the World Monuments Watch List of Most Endangered Sites in 2001.Today is a rest day in this interesting little town, nestled in a valley, so it is a perfect place to explore the surrounding villages and countryside.


    Day 9 Shaxi - Hot Spring Town

    We start with another beautiful day of riding on the once very busy tea horse caravan route. The road was used by horse caravans transporting tea and salt between villages, and they went as far as to Tibet and India. We follow the Heihui River and pass through some interesting villages. It's flat, easy riding for 47 km to Liantie Town, our lunch place. After lunch, we transfer to the mountain pass at 3,022 m. There is an exhilarating 22 km downhill on the other side. We ride for 10 km and end the day in Xia Shan Kou where we can soothe our sore muscles in the famous hot springs.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner  Ride 85km

    Day 10 Hot Spring Town - Dali

    This morning is our last riding day as we head to the historic town of Dali (1,900 m). Cycling along a flat paved road between the towering Cangshan Mountain range and Er Hai Lake, we should arrive in Old Dali in time for a late lunch. This fascinating town is home to the Bai people, one of the nation’s largest minorities and once the centre of the powerful 8th-century Nanzhao Kingdom. Dali is an extraordinary town to explore with its gated city walls, bustling old streets, and lakeside setting. In the 16th century, Dali was an important gateway for cultural exchange and trading with Southeast Asian countries. Today, it is a melting pot of different ethnic groups, reflected aptly in its amazing architecture, cobbled streets, and colorful markets.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Ride 55km

    Day 11 Dali - Kunming

    We take a 4 to 5 hour bus ride back to Kunming and overnight there. The rest of the day is free for exploring the city before we meet again for a farewell meal together.

    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Day 12 Departure

    The day is free until your departure.


    September 12 - September 23, 2021

    October 24 - November 04, 2021

    September 11 - September 22, 2022

    October 23 - November 03, 2022

    Tour Price: US$2600/person

    Private dates add US$200/person
    Singleroom Supplement: $425/person
    Lightweight MT Bike Rental: $185/person

    Bicycle details advised below


    --Most meals

    --All entry fees and sightseeing

    --All overnights in hotels and guesthouses

    --Bike mechanic and First Aid Kit

    --Drinking water, snack, tea break and picnics

    --Tour guide on bike

    --Support van for luggage and cyclists


    --All services not mentioned and all items of a personal nature

    --Tipping or gratuities to guides and drivers

    --Mandatory intl. travel insurance

    --Excursions other than those specified in trips

    --Extra cost if  tour is delayed or changed due to reasons beyond control


    A typical road side picnic includes hot tea, coffee, fruits ( fresh and dried ), bread, cheese, salami and salad etc.


    AM Mountain Bike

    Lightweight aluminium frame

    20 speed Shimano Deore M6000 Gears

    Lockable Front Shocks

    Hydraulic Disk Brakes

    Two bottle cages
    26'/27.5'/29' wheels available

    "A very satisfying challenge, and we totally enjoyed the trip, the food was excellent. Yunnan was our best cycling experience"

    -- Ade and Jennifer (UK)


    "Absolutely wonderful, every detail was taken care of, our guide and mechanic were outstanding and I enjoyed the trip very much"

    -- Jimmy (Singapore)


    " 9 out 10, if I had to rate this trip, great cycling in endless mountains. Picnics were excellent, light however with lots of energy. Our guide was very experienced to accommodate all group members according to everyone's pace. Either recreational cyclists or avid ones could make the most of this trip. I won't hesitate  to recommend ActiveChina to other cyclists."

    Mariane - USA  


    " An excellent holiday in an amazing region of China. Beautiful landscape and delicious food. We even extended our trip because we enjoyed it so much and wanted to cycle a bit more."

    Tom - USA 


    " Amazing tour with amazing guides ! Food was great, most of the roads were traffic free and some of them were quite hilly. We had brand new MTBs well serviced.

    Our guide was flexible and did whatever he could to offer everyone equal joys out of the tour. Highly recommended "

    Jim - USA 


2-16 participants




12 days, 8 days riding, 3 rest days


Demanding, hilly climbs, moderately high altitude(2000-3800m). Highest pass 3800m, highest overnight 3300m.


Shangri_la - White Water Terrace - Tiger Leaping Gorge - Lijiang - Shaxi - Eryuan - Dali



✧Visit two World Heritage Sites
✧Cycle world's third deepest gorge
✧Experience Tibetan life style
✧Traverse several national parks
✧Boat trip in the Yangtze River
✧Fascinating old towns and villages
✧Challenge yourself with hilly climbs
✧Excellent local cuisines
✧Welcoming minority ethnic groups

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