Cycle Remote South China

Starting From

$2,499/person

Number of days

14

Start Location

China

Group Size

4-12

Operated by

World Expeditions

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Fully-supported cycling showcasing the very best of Southern China's stunning scenery and fascinating minority cultures

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join in Guiyang

Today is arrival day and you'll be met at the airport and transferred to our group hotel (keep an eye out for a welcome sign with your name on it). Your leader will hold a group meeting at 18:00 to discuss the tour and answer any questions you may have. After the meeting we'll head out for a feast of local Miao minority specialties. Guiyang is the capital of Guizhou Province and is an interesting place to spend a day if arriving early. Recommended are walks to the close by Nanming riverside to see the 400-year-old Jiaxiu Tower and surrounding local teahouses. Wenchang Pavilion is nearby and is the remains of the battlements that once protected the city. Slightly further afield will bring you to the Guizhou Provincial Museum in the north west of the city with an interesting array of artifacts and close by you'll find the entrance to Qianglingshan Park. Here you can surround yourself with forested parkland, inhabited by Macaques, and take a hike (or cable car) up to the top to visit Hong Fu Buddhist Temple. They do a great vegetarian lunch and you can mingle with the monks. Cycling distance: N/A Accommodation: Guiyang Novotel or similar

Train to Rongjiang Cycle to Zhengchong (~41k)

After an early breakfast we head to the train station to board one of China’s newest bullet trains for a high speed ride to the rural centre of Rongjiang. The contrast couldn't be more stark as urban China melts rapidly away and our journey into rural China begins. We’ll meet our local crew, set up the bikes and start our ride with a nice easy flat 10km into the outskirts of Rongjiang. From here we have some steady climbing that takes us into hill country, forests, rice terraces and spectacular views across the mountains and the Duliu River Valley below. We'll stop for a picnic lunch, taking in views of clusters of black-tiled wooden houses, belonging to Miao and Dong minority groups, perched precariously on narrow ridgelines. After lunch we ascend further into the hill country before a speedy descent into a lush, narrow valley with networks of farmers pathways through endless fields of rice. You'll spot the first of many Drum Towers in the many villages we pass through on the ride today. These tiered octagonal structures are gathering points for the local villagers and traditionally served as fire warnings (they would beat the drum at the top of the tower in case of fire or other emergency). They are also recreation centres for the oldies in the village, the location for village celebrations and feasts and the also local message board. They are a huge source of pride for each village and many are several hundred years old. We'll stop by and let the locals show us around. The afternoons ride takes us through the rice fields on concrete pathways and over Wind and Rain Bridges, another uniquely Dong structure, that doubles as cool shelter from rain and sun, and through small villages where you'll see local women weaving and dying the traditional indigo fabric they wear. We'll arrive at Zhengchong, home to China's oldest drum tower built in 1672, and settle into our homestay for the evening. We'll eat delicious local style food straight from the fields, cooked up by our host. The accommodation is basic tonight as the village sees very few tourists and is an exceptional opportunity to take in the local life of a traditional village untouched by tourism. Cycling distance: ~41k

Cycle to Guiping then transfer to Zhaoxing (~45km)

Today you may wish to get up early for a stroll in the morning light through the village before breakfast. We'll head off on the bikes for a ride back down the valley through several small dong villages. We have one reasonably challenging hill today before a long winding downhill to lunch and a hearty bowl of hot noodles. Everyday we'll also stop for morning and afternoon tea and coffee breaks, to refuel on local fruit and snacks at opportune points during each day's ride. After lunch we'll cycle undulating terrain to our transfer to the village of Zhaoxing, a conglomeration of several Dong villages nestled in a narrow valley. Famed for it’s five drum towers, “wind and rain bridges” and theatres, the village is a quaint network of cobble lanes and canals set among rice fields. These are often huge structures are traditionally built entirely of wood without using a single nail. We’ll be climbing in and out of valleys today with locals working fields and waving curiously as we cycle by. You may hear the bamboo pipes that are unique to Dong people and once we arrive in Zhaoxing you’ll see people working blue natural dyed fabrics that are used in their traditional clothing. Originally having no written language, history and legends were recorded in song, and the Dong are famous for their chorus singing and their unique wooden pipes. In the evening we'll eat outside among the cobblestone streets and drum towers. Our stay this evening is in a very comfortable boutique hotel in the middle of the village. Cycling distance: ~45km

Cycle to Gaoding (~61km)

In the morning we’ll arise early to take in the delightful scenery of the village and it’s people preparing for a day in the fields. Once on the bikes, we head over the first (7km) pass and then down a paved road that winds through picturesque rice terraces. Turning off from the main road, the next 10 km of cycling is through narrow valleys and ravines to the town of Shuikou and remote countryside that sees no other tourists. Here you will be rewarded with an insight into the lifestyles of the hardy farmers that till this steep hillside terrain into incredible rice growing terraces. After a break we have a long gradual off-road climb to the top of a ridge with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, terraces and villages as we pass into Guangxi Province. Following is a short, steep descent into Dudong, a county centre, before heading north toward the Hunnan border and the Dong village of Gaoding. We'll have another homestay on the edge of the village and recommended are walks through this untouched Dong village with it's unique square shaped drum towers. Cycling distance: ~61km

Cycle to Chenyang (~50km)

Today's ride is a short but challenging one as we head over two passes over the course of the day. We'll be heading into mountainous farmland where only farmers trails and roads to small villages nestled in the mountainsides take us through stunning countryside. We begin with a speedy descent before heading for the hills on some dirt trails - for those uncomfortable on the dirt we recommend you skip this section in the support vehicle. A long winding descent off the main ridge line takes us into another valley where we stop for a well earned lunch in a local farmer's house. The afternoon has us climbing one more ridge before a long speedy descent into Chenyang village which is home to the biggest wind and rain bridge in the region. You'll see more tourists in this town, both foreign and Chinese, drawn to the picturesque traditional architecture and local lifestyle. Our hotel is located in the centre of the village with views across rice fields and surrounding villages. They also have some of the best food on the tour so we'll sample a host of local specialties. Cycling distance: ~50km

Cycle to Wan Fo Shan (~40km)

After a walk around the village we'll pack up the bikes for a drive to Tongdao. Here we'll jump back on the bikes for a back country ride into Wan Fo Shan National park with it's remarkable danxia red sandstone rock formations. Our flat ride takes us by lakes and into forest and farmland before arriving at our guesthouse for the evening. We'll take a walk up to Wan Fo shan itself, once a famed Bhuddist retreat, for the dizzying exposed stair case climb up to the summit for exceptional views. A see-through walkway awaits those happy to brave the vertiginous views below! Cycling distance: ~40km

Cycle to Wenchange (~50km)

Today's ride takes us out of Wan Fo Shan National Park amongst green rice fields stark against red rocky our crops. We'll make our way steadily upstream on a gentle ride into a continually narrowing valley alongside a a rocky mountain stream. Small wooden, black tiled houses gather in the small patches of available land by the riverside or nestled high above on the hillsides. Our stay tonight is in a local homestay in a tiny picturesque valley where we'll eat outdoors with our hosts. Cycling distance: ~50km

Cycle to Nanshan (~30km)

A shorter day on the bikes today, only 30km, but we'll be heading up over 2000m above sea level for some of the most stunning views of the tour. Several major Miao villages are going to break up the ride as we explore these traditional villages that see no foreign tourists. Lots of switchbacks slowly bring us to the exposed summit of our ride where we ride above the tree line with views extending for miles over the mountains receding far into the distance. Surprisingly the terrain becomes grassy pasture and noticeably cooler as we pass by several sheep and dairy farms - a sight more common to Mongolia than southern China. Cycling distance: ~30km

Cycle to Longsheng Hot Springs (~74km)

After a hearty breakfast we hit the road for some epic cycling as we descend over 1500m today. Tiny hamlets dot the route as we pass switchback after switchback. There are a few climbs along the way but we are going to be rewarded with a a nice soak in one of our favourite stays on the trip at Longsheng Hot Springs. Local fare is on the menu for the night and there are some great evening strolls to be had for those with the energy to explore. Cycling distance: ~74km

Cycle to Pingan (~63km)

In the morning we’ll backtrack for around 10km before continuing on to the Longsheng markets at 30km. One of the most interesting in China, the market is where farmers descend from the surrounding hillsides to sell their produce, many dressed in their ethnic clothing making for a colourful bazaar. Any and all manner of things can be seen here from live and cooked animals of every description, exotic herbs and medicines, vegetables, farming equipment and more. Snake oil sellers, fortune tellers, letter writers, card playing and mahjong games abound, taichi practitioners and ballroom dancers all enjoy themselves in the market area. After lunch, we have 33km of paved road from Longsheng to the spectacular village of Pingan. This traditional Zhuang minority village is perched high up on the mountainside in the middle of the Longji Rice Terraces – thousands of rice paddies cut into the mountain by the local people over hundreds of years. The last 6km of our cycling will take us from the valley floor climbing up dozens of hairpins to Pingan. This is a truly rewarding cycle to one of the highlight locations of the tour. Cycling distance: ~63km

Rest Day in Pingan

Today we have a rest day to take in the extraordinary mountain views from the Zhuang minority, traditionally built guesthouse, nestled on the mountainside in Pingan. During the day we can take a walk to one of the viewpoints over the rice terraces, or simply sit back with a beer and enjoy the view and the atmosphere on the terrace of this very special guesthouse. The owners, Ke yin and Lily, always make us feel at home and may offer us a sample of their special sweet rice wine. Eating is easy with English menus in the guesthouse and cafes about the village. Those exploring the walking trails will soon discover that this area is also inhabited by people of the Yao minority, whose dress is quite distinctive and whose women often grow their hair so long it can touch the ground when untied. Longer walks are also available for those that wish to climb higher and further onto the ridge line to little travelled to villages. Cycling distance: N/A

Cycle to Miaoping (~30km), transfer to Yandi, boat to Xingping

What goes up must come down and that is certainly true this morning. We ride the twisting road back down the mountainside. We spend the day on quiet sealed roads undulating up through pine and bamboo forests, often passing villages tucked away in the hills. As we are now close to Guilin, delicious Guilin-style rice mie fen noodles are on the menu for lunch at the roadside. After lunch we pack up the bikes for a drive to Yandi, a riverside town on the Li River where we hop onto bamboo motorised rafts to take us through the most stunning section of the Li River. For the rest of the afternoon we put up our feet on for the breathtaking views of this incredible landscape, finally arriving in the beautiful old village of Xing Ping in time to eat, shower and perhaps watch the sun set from our guesthouse roof-top terrace with a drink in hand. Cycling distance: ~30km

Cycle to Yangshuo (~48km)

Our last day of cycling is a great action-packed one as we head up through the karst mountains onto a ridgeline high above the Li River. This section is famous for its beautiful towering limestone karsts and is a fantastic start to the day. After stopping at a couple of incredible viewpoints, we ride away from the river and take stunning, hilly, quiet back-roads through fruit orchards, rice fields and dozens of tiny villages to Baisha town. Baisha is famous for its market where produce from the local area is sold as well as for its stone working industry. From Baisha we take our time riding off-road down the lush and serene Yulong River valley, among paddy fields and through villages overlooked on both sides by majestic karsts. We’ll stop to check out the ancient Dragon Bridge and if it’s hot enough, take a cooling swim in the clear running Yulong River. Our last leg is on farmer's dirt trails and back roads into the relative glitz of Yangshuo where we'll celebrate the end of an epic ride. Cycling distance: ~48km Accommodation: Yangshuo Magnolia Hotel or similar

In Yangshuo, trip concludes

Following breakfast, today is departure day and you are free to leave at any time. We will arrange a transfer to Guilin airport for your onward journey. However, Yangshuo is a great location to spend an extra day or two. You'll find plenty to do or plenty of places to sit back in paradise and do nothing at all. Activities on offer are endless: cooking, calligraphy, painting, Tai Chi and Kung Fu classes, kayaking, caving, rafting, swimming and world class rock climbing are all available to extend your stay. Cycling distance: N/A

Additional Information

Two weeks of fully-supported cycling showcases the best of Southern China's epic scenery and fascinating minority cultures. We explore where few outsiders travel on backroads and trails that are far off the beaten track and deep into the local heartland of the Dong and Miao minority hill-people. Starting in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, this ride winds its way south through the mountainous Dong and Miao ethnic minority regions - passing the centres of Rongjiang and Zhaoxing where you'll see drum towers, water wheels and "wind and rain bridges". We dip into Hunan Province to visit the spectacular red sandstone formations at Wan Fo Shan National Park before scaling the dizzy heights and pastures of Nanshan Mountain over 200m above sea level. Crossing the border into Guangxi Province brings us to Longsheng, made famous by the spectacular Longji Titian, the 600 year old Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces, and Guilin before heading along the Li River with it's stupendous overhanging karst mountains. The trip is complete with experiencing local Chinese cuisine and concluding in scenic Yangshuo. There is also the option to upgrade to E-Bikes making this an enjoyable trip for all level cyclists

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