Experience Southern China off the beaten track – backroad cycling at its best. We are excited to offer an itinerary in the beautiful Guangxi Province with its spectacular Karst mountains, stunning river valleys and ancient culture. Take in the major highlights of Southern China and enjoy wonderful cultural experiences while meeting local people, many of them belonging to minority population groups. Combined with the natural beauty of this spectacular province the trip is outstanding.
Tour dates are timed to enjoy the mild weather of autumn and spring seasons. All levels of cyclist are catered for; there is some challenging riding with several good climbs but at all times the support vehicle is available if you wish to take a break. The cycling is superb and many off-the-bike experiences are to be enjoyed, including some great day walks. Chinese food is world renowned and carefully chosen restaurants allow plenty of opportunity to indulge in delicious meals. This trip really is the essence of Southern China with its friendly people, ancient ethnic cultures, spectacular landscapes and traditional cuisine.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the number of hill climbs and the length of the trip. This trip is graded moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. The tour is fully supported and if at any stage you feel like having a rest from cycling you will be able to ride in the support vehicle.
Please make your own way to the Eva Inn Hotel, 66 Binjiang Road, Guilin by mid-afternoon today. The hotel is conveniently situated close to the river walkways and lively central city area. At 6.00 p.m. we meet in the lobby of the hotel for a short briefing before walking to a local restaurant for a welcome Chinese banquet dinner.
We depart around 8:00am this morning and transfer to the far north of Guangxi Province. We lunch at a local restaurant in an isolated village near Miexe, (where we will be the star attraction with the locals), before we enter the Bajiaozhai Geographical Park. We have two hike options: a moderate 2hr loop which does include some steep sections as we walk between the remarkable Danxia rock formations or, for the strong hiker, there is an additional optional 1hr return climb to enjoy the views from the monastery at the top of Bajiaozhai mountain. After our hike we take a short transfer to our homestay lodge which is situated in the middle of the National Park and surrounded by granite rock formations. Here we do a bike fitting and then go for a short test ride before settling in to enjoy the evening at our lodge and the company of our Chinese hosts.
Cycling distance – 7 km (test ride) / 4 miles
Hiking – 2hr or 3hr options
Today is a cycling day as we ride out from our lodge on quiet rural roads. There are two good uphill climbs this morning, both with the option of a ride in the support vehicle if you want to save yourself for later, but the long downhill rewards make the effort worthwhile. The scenery is beautiful as we cycle past terraced slopes into mountain villages and small towns. We arrive at our traditional guest house lodgings mid-afternoon and after a short walk we can relax, take in the view and swim beneath a beautiful local waterfall. Dinner tonight is at our lodge where we enjoy a shared Chinese meal.
Cycling distance – 62 km / 39 miles
Hiking – easy 15 min hike from lodge
The riding this morning begins with a challenging climb to a mountain ridgeline but then follows a delightful route as we traverse the ridge before descending into Liangshui Valley. We pass several villages populated by the Miao minority people, where the women wear intricately embroidered dresses and display the family’s wealth by way of ornate silver jewellery. Around mid-afternoon we take a short walk into our lodge situated above the Longsheng River with private natural hot pools. There is an option to continue past the lodge on a short hike alongside the river to an isolated Miao village. It is also well worth staying up to watch the locals fish in the swiftly flowing river at night using torches and spears.
Cycling distance – 43 km / 27 miles
Hiking option – easy 30 min walk from the lodge
We ride this morning on a quiet and scenic new road with little traffic that takes us past a huge swing bridge across the Longsheng River. It is worth a stop for photos and the brave can pay a small fee and walk across to the temple on the other side. Further along the river is another must stop at a local monument, where we will meet Yao ladies in traditional clothing. We ride into Longsheng late morning and visit the thriving local market, often frequented by local minority peoples from differing tribes. The market is full of all manner of unusual goods but is also a great opportunity for people watching. We transfer to our lunch stop to avoid a busy section of road before our final cycle takes us into a quiet river valley and through a Duan minority village. The last 6km up to the village of Pingan in the Longji Rice fields is very steep. Those who want a serious challenge can ride it but we do advise caution as this is a gut-buster of a climb and is followed by a further 30 min hike uphill to our lodgings. We stay for the next two nights in a family run guesthouse high on the mountain with wonderful views of the rice terraces as they cascade down the mountain slopes.
Cycling distance – up to 62 km / 39 miles
Hiking distance – 30 min uphill
Today is a day off the bikes and a chance to relax or hike in the beautiful mountain surrounds. Laundry facilities are available in Pingan and there are several café & restaurant options for your meals, (a picnic lunch can be arranged from your guest-house if you are going for a long hike). There are three hiking options, an easy self-guided loop of the local rice terraces with spectacular views, or your guides will accompany you on one of two other options. One is a 4 hr easy return hike through the terraces to Longji village or for fit hikers only, a 7 hr loop along the mountain ridges mountain visiting remote Aiwan and Longji villages. No matter which hike you choose the scenery is amazing and the colorful local minority people are very hospitable. This will be a day to remember and a tour highlight.
Hiking options – 1.5 hr self-guided
4 hr– easy return trip, guided
7 hr – strenuous loop, guided
After a relaxed breakfast at the lodge we take a short hike down the mountain to our waiting vehicle and bikes. There is an option to ride downhill from Pingan and retrace our route from two days ago before we start on a lovely cycle through quiet backroads. The ride is undulating as we pass through valleys covered in bamboo groves and forest. After lunch, around the 30km mark, there is an option to take a 90 min rafting trip in 2 person rubber rafts - you will get wet and be prepared for a bumpy ride. Mid-afternoon sees us check into our lodgings in a tranquil riverside setting with time to relax before dinner.
Cycle distance – up to 60 km / 37 miles
We transfer this morning to Daxu in the heart of limestone country and from here we start cycling through the Karst Mountains that jut out of the landscape like islands and finish in the quaint village of Caoping. After a local dumpling lunch we board our bamboo raft for the 2.5 hr journey down the Li River. It's time to relax and take in the breathtaking views as the river snakes its way between "mountain gates" and alongside forested cliffs and valleys. Our traditional guest house is in a small village across the river Xinping. There is a lovely courtyard in which to relax and take in the views. A walk around the village at dusk is most interesting and provides some insight into the life of the local people.
Cycling distance – 21 km / 13 miles
We take a local ferry across the river to explore the historic village of Xinping before cycling via backroads to Bai Sha and the Yulong river. Another ferry crossing leads us to an optional 3 km climb which provides us with awesome views as we look down on the Karst Mountain landscape. A cycle down a narrow trail takes us to our luxurious lodgings beside the tranquil Yulong river. Enjoy a swim in the pool or an evening stroll in the beautiful gardens.
Cycling distance - 50 km / 31 miles
This morning there is an optional early hike before breakfast. It begins with a short cycle to Moon Hill where a 30 min climb (one way) takes us to a moon-shaped hole in the rock with some amazing views over the mountainous landscape and villages below. For those who prefer to relax and sleep in, breakfast is at leisure in the luxurious surrounds of the property and we have a late checkout this morning. Once we are all back together, we head out on a local cycle around the Yulong River valley, which takes us into Yangshuo where we spend our final night. Dinner is a sumptuous Chinese banquet and a chance to celebrate our achievements of the last ten days, before we take a walk to enjoy the vibrant nightlife of this very interesting city.
Cycle distance – 30 km / 19 miles
Optional hiking - 1 hr return
Trip arrangements end after breakfast. Airport transfers to Guilin airport or additional accommodation in Yangshuo can be arranged if required (additional cost applies). Yangshou is a very interesting city with a multitude of things to do if you wish to extend your stay.
Per Person, Twin Share