This 22-day bicycle tour through southwest China begins in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, and ends in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, known as the "Spring City" and home to China's largest concentration of ethnic minorities. This tour is designed as a strenuous ride. Average daily cycling mileage will be about 40 miles (65 km). On a few days vehicle transport will be used to supplement the cycling to get us to the next destination. Riders will carry their own luggage in their bike panniers. This tour will visit both well-known and little-known sights and will appeal to those who have cultural, social and geographical interests.
This tour begins with a tour of brief tour of Chengdu visiting the Panda Breeding Research Base and the Sichuan University Museum. This will give us a chance to test the bike equipment and get a feel for cycling in China. The second day the tour will cycle south to Huanglongxi, the site of a historic event and sample the local specialty. Afterward the tour will travel via van/truck to Leshan to visit the site of the world’s largest Buddha at 232 feet (71 meters). The next day is a short cycle to Emei Mountain, one of China’s sacred Buddhist mountains and will hike around the base and visit a few temples.
After Emei Mountain, the tour travels along the Dadu River, one of the tributaries of the Yangzi River. There will be overnight stops at the small towns of Jinkouhequ, Hanyuan, Shimian and Mianning before arriving at Xichang, the heart of the Yi minority. The route then turns west toward Yunnan stopping at the small towns of Pingchuan and Yanyuan before arriving at Lugu Lake. This is the center area of the matriarchal Mosu culture surrounding a lake at an elevation of 8,800 feet (2685 m). The tour will spend two days exploring the area and visiting Liwubi Island and Yongning Monastery. The next day the group will cycle to Ninglang.
The next stop is Lijiang, home of the Naxi minority and set in a valley overshadowed by Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. With a picturesque old town including fast moving water through open waterways and wooden architecture, Lijiang makes a good two-day stopover. Visits to surrounding villages will include the 15th century frescoes the Yufeng Monastery and attend a Naxi Orchestra using unique traditional instruments.
The next segment of the tour goes into Tiger Leaping Gorge, a spectacular mountain area. This is one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world and is still quite wild despite the enormous efforts to tame it. The group will visit the narrow spot of the gorge where it takes it name. It is a powerful spot with the whole of the Yangzi River confined to a 20- meter (70-foot) width. The group will spend the night in the gorge at a simple guesthouse. The following morning, the group will cycle to Shangri-La (Zhongdian). This a predominantly Tibetan town located at about 3,000 meters (9,800 feet). The group will spend two days exploring the area of grasslands and Tibetan temples. The following day the group will fly to Kunming concluding the tour.
Day 1: Chengdu - Group meets. Visit Panda Research base and the Sichuan University Museum to view Sichuan minority dress. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 2: Leshan - Cycle to Huanglongxi for lunch then transport to Leshan. Tour Giant Buddha. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Emei Shan - Hike the bottom of this Sacred Mountain. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Jinkouhequ - Cycle along the Dadu River. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Hanyuan - Visit the Fulin Cultural Site. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Shimian - 6 miles (10 km) northwest a site where the Red Army made an historic crossing. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Mianning - Red Army Long March Memorial Hall. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Xichang - Center of the Yi minority - Visit old city walls and Muslim Mosque. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Pingchuan - Small mountain village. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Yanyuan - Small mountain village. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Lugu Lake - Use transport part way. Visit Sichuan side of Lugu Lake. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Lugu Lake - Visit Liwubi Island. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Lugu Lake - Cycle to Yunnan side of Lugu Lake. Visit Yongning Monastery. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Ninglang - Small town. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 15: Lijiang - Stay in Old town. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 16: Lijiang - Naxi minority culture. Naxi orchestra at night. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17: Lijiang - Black Dragon Lake, Naxi Museum and Baisha Frescoes. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 18: Dazu - Cycle to Dazu, the entrance to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 19: Walnut Grove - Cycle in Tiger Leaping Gorge. Spend the night in the gorge. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 20: Qiaotao - Visit the narrowest point in the river and a small rafting museum. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 21: Shangri-La (Zhongdian) - Mutian Castle and the Tibetan Songzanlin Monastery. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 22: Kunming - Bus to Lijiang. Fly from Lijiang to Kunming. End of Trip. Includes: (B), (L).
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