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There is seldom a dull moment on this trip as it goes through a good diversity of scenic environments from snow capped mountains to green forests and a variety of ethnic villages. The riding is a real mixture as some days are short but have hill climbs, and others are longer, flat and fast, but they are all filled with jaw-dropping scenery. Add in a great deal of ethnic diversity and you have the recipe for a wonderful tour for enthusiastic cyclists.
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration12 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level3 - Intermediate
- Activity Level4 - Challenging
- Elevation4 - Challenging
- Distance321.2 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance40.4 miles
- Day 1Meet at Shangri-La
You will be met by a guide at the Shangri-La airport and then transfer to the hotel for check-in. The afternoon is free for you to explore this town, which once was a trading center between Tibet, Burma, and India, followed by a Tibetan welcome dinner.
- Day 2Shangri-La Loop
Shangri-La is very high at 3,300m (10,827ft) so after a bike fitting, a short high-elevation acclimatization ride around scenic Napa Lake will follow. After lunch at the hotel, you'll visit the spectacular Ganden Sumsanling Monastery, built at the instruction of the fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century. The rest of the afternoon you are free to explore this Tibetan town.
- 15.5 miles
- Day 3Shangri-La – Bai Shui Tai
Today the tour departs Shangri-La with a short morning transfer to start the ride out of town. It will be a tough day with rides that climb up and down through valleys and across mountains with spectacular scenery to arrive in Baishuitai in late afternoon. Check in the hotel and see if you can still manage a walk up to the spiritual origin place of the Naxi people, the Karst Terraces "Baishuitai".
- 46.6 miles
- -2,880.6 ft
- Day 4Baishuitai – Tiger Leaping Gorge
There are a few short climbs and rolling sections in the morning, but you'll be rewarded with the view of Haba Mountain (5,396m (17,703ft)) towering above a beautiful valley. Then you'll head down to the Naxi village of Haba for lunch at a local guesthouse. Afterwards, the ride continues towards the Yangtse River Valley. When you reach the village of Yonke you'll turn into Tiger Leaping Gorge and cycle through one of the deepest and most dramatic gorges in the world.
- 46 miles
- -1,236.9 ft
- Day 5Tiger Leaping Gorge – Lijiang
Today the group continues through through the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. The road leads to Qiaotou, where you'll switch to another road along the Yangtse River to Naxi, an ancient small city dating back over 800 years.
- 42.3 miles
- -1,128.6 ft
- Day 6Jade Dragon Mountain Ride
Today you'll explore the countryside of Lijiang by riding north on quiet back roads that take you to Suhe Village. The group will pass through a few Naxi villages on the ride to scenic Baisha, an excellent spot to stop and sample some ginger tea. After a moderate climb you'll reach the view point of the day, a place worth stopping for a picnic with views out over the flat plains that surround Lijiang. Afterwards, head downhill on the other side and cruise back with a gorgeous view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. In the afternoon, visit the Mu Palace or Black Dragon Park or catch the performance of the Naxi Orchestra. Dinner is on your own tonight.
- 28 miles
- Day 7Lijiang – Shaxi
After a morning transfer, today you will take a journey into the heart of rural Yunnan. You'll ride over a pass, descend to a valley, and finally ride along the ‘Old Tibet 214 highway’ to Shaxi where you'll overnight at a wonderful local hotel with a courtyard.
- 55.9 miles
- -1,108.9 ft
- Day 8Shaxi Village Rest Day
Today is a rest day in the interesting town of Shaxi. This old town nestled in a valley is a perfect place to explore the surrounding villages and countryside.
- Day 9Shaxi – Xia Shan Kou
You'll start with another beautiful day of riding on the once very busy tea horse caravan route. Today follows the Heihui River, passing through villages to the town of Liantie. The day ends in Xia Shan Kou, where you can soothe your sore muscles in the famous hot springs.
- 52.8 miles
- -3,274.3 ft
- Day 10Exploring the town of Dali
On the last riding day, you'll head to the historical town of Dali. Today's cycling is along a flat paved road between the towering Canshan Mountain range and Er Hai Lake. Dali is an extraordinary town to explore with its gated city walls, bustling old streets and lakeside setting. It is a melting pot of different ethnic groups, reflected aptly in its amazing architecture, cobbled streets and colorful markets.
- 34.2 miles
- -118.1 ft
- Day 11Transfer from Dali to Kunming
The group will transfer by bus to Kunming (4-5 hours) for the last overnight. The rest of the day you'll have free to explore the city before meeting to have a farewell meal together.
- Day 12Departure
Have your last breakfast with the group before your onward travel.