Cycling Holidays in
China - Yunnan
China - South East
Lhasa to Kathmandu
Includes Everest Base Camp!
redspokes China cycling holidays are journeys of discovery through rural China and historic Tibet.
In South East China we cycle through quiet minority areas following secluded roads up into mountain villages discovering a world far from the modern face of the country, characterised by drum towers and wind bridges. Inhabited by many ethnic minorities we encounter a huge variety of cultures as we cycle through a landscape of rice terraces etched into the mountain, rising up in layers towards the skyline.
In Yunnan diverse landscapes, minority communites and ancient history await from Shangri La to Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and cobblestoned Lijang old town, before we follow the old tea horse route to Dali.
In Tibet you will have the unforgettable experience of high altitude cycling over mountain passes and visiting Base Camp Everest before riding the longest downhill in the world back to Nepal.
Our KKH to Kyrgystan tour takes you to Kashgar in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far west. Kashgar is world famous for its Sunday Bazaar.
The redspokes China itineraries offer inspirational cycling, breathtaking mountain scenery and unique cultural encounters.
Here are some more details on our cycling holidays in China
China - Yunnan
redspokes Yunnan cycling holiday is a challenging and mystical journey. Meaning ‘South of the Clouds’, sky-high Yunnan province in the far south west of China is rich in geographical diversity. Mountainous peaks, river valleys, and a vast array of species of flora and fauna. Around 34% of the local population is made up of 25 different minority communities including Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai and Miao.
Taking in high altitude climbs, swift descents and a varied terrain, the redspokes south west China cycling holiday begins in Shangri-La (formerly Zhongdian, also known by its Tibetan name Gyalthang). Despite a serious fire in 2014 and modern reconstruction, the old town retains its traditional character; you can wander along cobbled lanes and see the world’s biggest prayer wheel Zhùangjīn Tǒng.
From Shangri-La we cycle through to limestone plateaus and white-water terraces at Baishuitai, then ride on to the dramatic scenery of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain visiting Haba village, where resident minorities include Naxi, Hui (Muslim) and Yi peoples, as well as a few Tibetans. We cycle on to reach the Yangtze river valley before arriving at legendary Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest ravines in the world. Riding to the mouth of the ravine, site of the famed leaping tiger boulder, we take a ferry across the Yangtze.
Our next biking challenge comes as we cycle the slopes of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain before we enjoy a well-earned rest day in historic a world heritage town Lijiang. Surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, Lijiang old town is a well-preserved city of diverse ethnic minorities, rich in traditional culture. The Old Town is built along the lie of mountains and the flow of rivers with narrow streets and traditional buildings.
From Lijiang we cycle on with a scenic downhill ride to Shaxi; renowned trading point on the ancient Tea Horse Road, dating back to the Tang dynasty. Following the Tea Horse route our adventure cycling holiday ends at the walled city of Dali, capital of the autonomous Bai prefecture. Dali dates back to the 8th Century kingdom of Nanzhao; its traditional houses and ancient temples sit on the shores of Erhai Lake with spectacular views of the Cangshan Mountain Range. A spectacular location to end our Yunnan cycling adventure.
China - South East
redspokes 'Hidden China' adventure cycling holiday starts in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province beginning a journey of discovery cycling through rural China. Diverse ethnic minorities live in Guiyang, enriching the city with their colourful folk traditions and cultural activities. For the start of our cycling tour in China, we transfer out of Guiyang into quiet minority areas where the cycling commences. Following secluded back roads, we ride up into mountain villages to discover a world far from the modern face of China.
During redspokes cycling holiday in China, you will discover as many as 30 different ethnic minorities who live peacefully alongside one another in the areas we cycle in Guizhou and northeast Guangxi, with a huge variety of cultures. Generally, Dong villages are located along river valleys whilst Miao villages are scattered amongst the hills. During our cycling holiday, you will discover that minority communities have maintained their cultural traditions over centuries, living simple remote lives, away from modernity and full of unique character.
The Dong are known for their architecture, particularly the octagonal pagoda-type drum towers (Gulou), and wind and rain bridges that provide shelter for people during bad weather. Built without a single nail, they are the symbol of the Dong people and serve as a gathering place for the villagers to discuss and settle important matters and to stage festivals or entertainments. Thoughout our cycling tour, you will meet various Miao, the Miao were among the first people to settle in present day China, and among the first rice farmers in China. Miao wear brightly coloured embroidered clothing and observe strong cultural traditions including a love of storytelling and music.
We discover their world as we cycle through China reaching the Longji rice terraces (Longji Titian), known as the Dragon’s Backbone by the locals. Entire mountain sides have been transformed into rice fields creating a dramatic landscape like great chains, or ribbons extending from the foot to the top of the hills. Etched into the mountain they rise in stepped formation towards the skyline to reach mountain top village Ping An.
Having cycled the remotest of settlements up in the hills and experienced inspirational, breath-taking mountain scenery on our cycling holiday in China we bicycle away from the rice terraces towards Guilin. The mountains and waters around Guilin have been described as the best under heaven riddled with limestone Karst formations, caves and lush greenery. Calm rivers and streams meander through the cliffs and rocks irrigating farms and villages where we will see orchards, vegetable plots, reservoirs and farmyards alive with the sound of clucking chickens.
From here you can choose to extend your holiday, cycling alongside the tranquil waters of the Li River and into the hilly landscape of Karst limestone peaks, to reach Yangshou, famous for the landscape depicted on the ¥20 note. There are also interesting caves and temples to visit.
Lhasa to Kathmandu
Cycling the Tibetan Plateaus from Lhasa to Kathmandu is an awe-inspiring experience and a must for adventure cyclists. redspokes’ Tibet cycling holiday takes you on a journey between two of Asia's most exotic cities. We ride 4 major passes above 5000m and traverse a 1000km over the backbone of the Himalayas.
Starting in Nepal, we have a couple of days to explore Kathmandu and warm up with some local rides. We take a dramatic flight across the great Himalayan range to Lhasa, capital of Tibet and spiritual heartland. Lhasa means ‘Place of the Gods’. This is one of the most interesting, remote and spectacular parts of the world. We have three days to acclimatise and to explore the city’s old quarter before our cycling begins and we ride across a beautiful landscape of snow-capped summits. All around us are signs of religious devotion; prayer flags fluttering on the tallest mountain passes and processions of devout pilgrims travelling to the numerous monasteries and temples.
Riding to Everest Base Camp is an exhilarating feature of our tour and a major cycling challenge, as the road climbs almost fifty hairpin bends over the Pang La Pass. Here at 5,205m we see the magnificent views of the Himalayas and of Mt. Everest itself. Coming face to face with Everest, the world’s most famous mountain, is an experience few will ever forget. From here our journey continues over more high passes before we return to Nepal with a marathon downhill cycle.
redspokes’ Tibet cycling holiday offers great physical challenges: extreme mountain biking through breath taking scenery as you cycle the "Roof of the World".
redspokes’ Karakoram Highway to Kyrgyzstan cycling holiday is an adventure filled journey through three fascinating Asian countries where you will encounter outstanding, varied natural beauty. The legendary KKH to Kyrgyzstan itinerary offers stunning scenic biking with the chance to experience the contrasting cultures and lifestyles of Pakistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.
We begin with a dramatic flight from Islamabad to Gilgit by turbo prop plane around Nanga Parba at 8,125m; the sharp triangle of K-2, the second highest mountain in the world, is clearly visible on the horizon. From Gilgit we cycle the Bagrote Valley at the heart of the Karakorum Mountains, and Dubani to the south east. riding narrow road to summer pastures passing beautiful terraced fields and meadows where crops and orchards are irrigated by water channels from the Barchi and Hinarchi glaciers and mountain snow. We visit school and community projects supported by redspokes and our partner charity LVCF, receiving a warm village welcome. We journey onwards to Shimshal, the highest settlement in the Hunza valley, cycling back down the pass on thrilling mountain road.
You will revel in the striking beauty of Northern Pakistan's snow-capped Karakoram mountain range (with its peaks at 7,000-8,000m) and glacial river valleys characterised by distinctive black rocks and the world's largest non-Polar glaciers.
We leave Pakistan crossing the Khunjerab Pass. The Khunjerab is known as the highest paved international border crossing in the world at an elevation of 4,693 meters.
In the autonomous region of Xinjian Uyghur in Western China we visit the city of Tashkurgan, named after 1400-year-old stone (tash) fortifications (kurgan) and home to an ethnic Tajik community. We cycle along vast valley basins, passing lakes and ascending mountain passes enjoying views of the stunning north side of the Muztagh Ata Massif (Father of Ice Mountains at 7,546m). We enjoy a rest day in Kashgar with time to sightsee and visit one of the largest outdoor traders’ market in the world.
Last but not least, on our cycling tour is enigmatic Kyrgyzstan a land of distinctive wide plains and grass-clad mountains (90% of the country lies above 1,000 m). We encounter semi-nomadic horsemen and shepherds tending to their flocks on an unparalleled off-road cycling route. You will visit Issyk Kul. the second largest alpine lake in the world, before finally discovering the delights of Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.