Day 1: Flights from Beijing arrive at Kunming in the afternoon. Meet and transfer to a three star hotel (four and five star hotels are available as upgrades) and a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Our warm-up city tour includes the East/West Pagodas, Cuihu Park, and the nearby Yunnan Imperial Military Academy. We will also see the Yuantong Monastery and the famous Flower and Bird Market. If time permits, we will visit the Yunnan Provincial Museum. This day’s tour will be conducted on bikes rented from the hotel, types of bikes that ordinary Chinese people use every day.
Day 3: In the early morning, the group will fly to Xiaguan and then get transported to a two star hotel in the charming old town of Dali. Old Dali was traditionally a way stop for travelers from China to Burma and Tibet. In the afternoon, we assemble our bicycles and visit the Three Pagodas at Chongsheng Temple and some nearby villages. We will take our meals in a courtyard style restaurant in the old city.
Day 4: We will have a western style breakfast at one of the street cafes and then we will take a short ride to the shore of Erhai Lake. From there, we will take the ferry to a fishing village on Jinsuo Island. After exploring the village and having lunch there, we will take a ferry to the east shore of the lake. We cycle to Tianjingge Temple, and then return to Dali.
Day 5: We start out by cycling north along the Yunnan – Tibet highway to Jianchuan, passing through markets and villages where numerous ethnic minorities can be seen in their traditional dresses. Stay in a two star hotel.
Day 6: Jianchuan. Today, we will cycle out Jianchuan to a old village called Shaping one it was the most prosperous village in this region when the local transportation heavily replying on the caravan of ponies in old days. On the way back to Jianchuan, if time permits we will have an opportunity to visit the Jinhuashan Precipice Bas-relief Grottos on Stone Bell mountain. Overnight in Jianchuan.
Day 7: Continuing north, we cycle along the Yangzi River and view the First Bend at Shigu, the first capital of the Naxi kingdom. Shigu is a historical ferry crossing point. The Mongols and the Red Army succeeded in crossing it by diplomatic negotiations, but the early Tibetans were unsuccessful. We then proceed to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world, and we stay in a one star hotel in Qiaotou.
Day 8: We will spend the day hiking in the magnificent gorge, and we will marvel at the spot where the entire Yangzi River thunders through a 20-meter (70-foot) wide gap. We spend the night in a simple hotel (local top end), with no internet connection available.
Day 9: Cycle from Tiger Leaping Gorge to the renown Lijiang, the center of the artistic Naxi minority. We stay in a three star hotel for tonight and one day more.
Day 10: We explore Lijiang and visit several temples and the Baisha Frescoes at the foot of Jade Dragon Snowy Mountain.
Day 11: Leaving Lijiang, we head to the northern border of Yunnan and cycle down to the subtropical Yangtze River valley. This route is too difficult for one day’s ride, so we will cycle as much as possible until we are spent. At this point, we take our support vehicle to Lugu Lake, the famous and beautiful highland lake. We stay two nights in a small lakeshore hotel.
Day 12: We cycle half way around Lugu Lake to the border of Sichuan Province on a dirt road, passing through the matriarchal Naxin and Mosuo societies, returning to Yunnan Province by boat. Traditionally, the two provinces were ruled by 2 different Mosuo chieftains: the Yunnan side was Buddhist but the Sichuan side was populated by members of the Bon religion. The last chieftain on the Sichuan side married an educated Chinese lady, who first brought Chinese culture into this hidden kingdom in 1940s.
Day 13: On our last day of cycling, our morning is spent continuing around Lugu Lake to the Yongning Monastery if time permits, and we leave Lugu Lake in the afternoon to drive to Lijiang airport and fly to Kunming in the evening, staying two nights in a three star hotel.
Day 14: Depart for Beijing and home.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia China Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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