Essential Information - China - Yunnan
- Support vehicle
- Most meals (see trip notes for details)
- Snacks and mineral water during cycling days
- Airport transfers on the start and end day of the tour
- Local professional English speaking guide(s)
- International flights
- Alcoholic drinks
- Meals not stated on the itinerary
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guide (s) and support staff
- Bike hire (available if required)
The tour starts in Shangri-La (Diqing). We appreciate that people join redspokes tours from all over the world; no matter what time you arrive at the airport on the tour start date you and your luggage will be transferred to the joining hotel. Please bear in mind that if you arrive before midday you may have to wait for your room to be made available. If you decide to arrive early or stay on after the tour, redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and airport transfers at additional cost. If you depart on the last day of the tour your airport transfer is included in the tour price.
You will need to arrange multi destination flights to arrive in Diqing Airport (DIG). This is not an international airport so you will fly into Diqing from one of China's major airports. Your journey home is from Dali (DLU).
You will at all times have the security of a back-up vehicle; either a jeep or a bus. The vehicle will carry your luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if you want. The backup van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 12 miles (20 km).
Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so if you are bringing your own bike on the tour you must ensure that it is in good working order. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
Your bike must be carried as a part of your luggage allowance and, to this end, we do ask you to make every effort to keep your total check-in baggage to an absolute minimum. The baggage allowance for most airlines for an economy-class ticket is 20kg per person; although a degree of flexibility is usually extended to groups and the check in staff may accept up to 26kg per person without imposing excess baggage charges.
Your bike (in its cardboard box) will weigh 15 to 18kg. So, that means you will have a small allowance for clothing, etc. You should carry small heavy items in your day pack / pannier which you can take onto the plane as hand luggage.
Your hand luggage is not included as a part of your overall allowance, as it is not weighed. Please inform your airline that you will be taking your bike on the flight, and attempt to make every effort to secure from the airline an additional baggage allowance - but this is not always granted. Although we cannot guarantee that there will not be excess baggage charges, this is something, which very rarely happens.
In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs. Sunglasses, lightweight trekking boots/shoes, cycling footwear, lightweight socks (3 pairs), underwear (4 pairs), lightweight long johns, lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, lightweight trekking shorts, padded cycling shorts (2 pairs), shorts, t-shirts (2), long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket/pullover, biking jacket waterproof (breathable fabric), fingerless biking gloves, sunglasses, toiletries, basic first aid kit, to include: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, painkillers, plasters and blister treatment and re-hydration salts (Dioralite) lip balm, sun cream, towel (small). If you have any questions about this list, please feel free to contact us.
If you wish to hire a bike or have a single room for the tour this can usually be arranged for you at extra cost. You will have the opportunity to request these extras at the time of booking or, subject to availability, at a later date, by emailing your request to us.
If you require additional accommodation or transfers in advance of the trip start date or at the end of your trip we can arrange this for you at extra cost.
If you are bringing your own bike you must bring spare parts specific to it. A detailed equipment list of what to bring with you will be provided on booking. Dark glasses, small day sack or pannier (assuming you have a rack to attach it to) to carry clothing, camera and valuables, a couple of spare passport photos, photocopies of key documents e.g. passport (data and visa pages), travel insurance policy, airline tickets, camera, photos of your family and postcards of your town to show the locals.
We have a wide mix of cyclists on our tours from couples, friends to solo travellers. Our prices are based on twin shared accommodation. If you sign up for one of our tours as a solo traveller we will twin share you with another person of the same gender in your group. If you prefer to have your own room this is an option on most of our tours for an extra charge.
Most meals are included in your trip price apart from on non cycling days and some other exclusions. Please check the itinerary for full details. If you have a special dietary request, please advise us at the time of booking. Most diets can be catered for, but it is always important to advise us in advance.
Most food is provided on tour except on rest days when you will need to pay for your lunch and evening meal. Rice and noodles are the staple food in China. A typical Chinese breakfast might include some of the following: Noodle soup, steamed buns, fried bread, soy milk and green teas or fruit teas. Lunches (depending on itinerary), are usually rice or noodle based with vegetables and meat. Evening meals are always a selection of dishes including meat, fish, vegetables, tofu and rice. You will have the opportunity to try a wide range of freshly prepared local dishes. Snacks will include biscuits and fresh and dried fruit.
It is mandatory that you are well-insured for the full duration of the tour. This must include personal injury, medical expenses, death, repatriation, helicopter or aircraft rescue, loss of luggage or equipment, cancellation or curtailments.
You should also ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in your tour. Any claims concerning matters for which you are insured must be directed to your insurers. We strongly recommend that you take out insurance at the time of booking your trip to ensure that you are covered in the event of cancellation.
For people within the UK Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Follow the link above to obtain full information and a quote.
Government Single Party Socialist Republic
Currency Renminbi (RMB,¥)
Area 9,596,960 km2
Population 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 est.)
Language national: Mandarin (Putonghua)
regional: Wu (Shanghaiese), Cantonese (Yue), Mindong (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages
Religion Buddhist (~18%), Daoist (Taoist), Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%, Atheist 15%, most Chinese are religious pluralists.
Electricity 220V/50Hz (US/European plug for 2-pin, Australian plug for 3-pin)
Calling Code +86
Internet TLD .cn
Time Zone UTC +8
We choose accommodation on the basis of comfort rather than luxury. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room. Should you wish to have a room all to yourself there is a single supplement option on the majority of our tours. For more information on the additional costs please see dates and prices.
The majority of the accommodation for this trip is in Hotels with one night in a guest house.
Some rooms will have En-suite facilities and Air Conditioning.
For this tour we have Am 22 speed mountain bikes in a range of sizes. Spare parts (tubes, tyre, chains etc.) are included in the price of the bike rental and will be carried in the support vehicle with a tool kit and track pump.
The bikes are equipped with flat pedals. Those who prefer to use spd or clip-in pedals, are welcome to bring these with you, along with your own cycling shoes and cleats. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle.
If you are able to do a simple repair yourself then you can if you wish take a small repair kit with you as this will avoid the need to wait for assistance should the team or support vehicle be any distance away. The bikes will come with one water bottle cage fitted.
Helmets are not included in the bike hire. We strongly advise that you wear a helmet an all our trips.
Our Yunnan tour is only suitable for mountain bikes.
We strongly recommend that you have your bike fully serviced before going on the tour. Ensure that wheel spokes are adjusted, greasing all bearings, check gear and brake cables, tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamp and tyres. Put in a new inner tubes and check wheel rims aren't worn.
We recommend that you take the following items with you.
- Multi tool
- Tyre levers
- Spare inner tubes
- Spare spokes
- Check with your bike shop for disc/ brake pads
- A few links for your chain
- Spares for any unique things for your bikes i.e fluid or bleed kit.
Your bike must be carried as part of your luggage allowance. The weight of a bike in cardboard box is about 15-20kg, so please bear this in mind when packing for the trip and you may have to pay for excess luggage.
Whilst we endeavour to provide correct and relevant information obtained directly from the relevant Embassies, High Commissions and Consulate Generals - this information is subject to frequent changes, without warning and at very short notice. Due to this, we cannot be held liable for any errors in the information provided on this site. We strongly advised you to check all information with the relevant embassy for details on your visa/passport requirements.
You must be in possession of a valid passport and visa. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of arrival or 1 month after expiration of visa and have 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.
You can apply online for an e-visa. Alternatively, visa application forms for UK residents can be obtained by clicking here. If you would prefer to pay an agent to get your visa, we would then suggest using Travcour UK Ltd. They have been in the visa business for 25 years.
Please ensure you check that all the details on the visa are correct prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you contact your doctor or local Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks before going on your trip for advise on the correct vaccinations required for your trip. Also please refer to advice from National Travel Health Network and Centre .
There are no mandatory vaccinations for this trip, however the following are recommended Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis. Within China there may also be a risk of Rabies so appropiate actions should be taken in line with you health professionals recommendation.
Vaccination requirements can change and we aren't medically qualified to answer your questions regarding vaccinations so please also check again with your health professional before departing for your trip.
The areas we visit are seasonal; cold in winter (October to April) and hot in summer (May to September). We recommend that you bring some warm clothes even in the summer months as you are at or above 2,500 m in Lijiang and in Tiger Leaping Gorge. A light fleece and/or thermal underwear is recommended for all times of the year. Yunnan has high mountains bordering Tibet in the west, a hilly 1,000m plateau in the east, and a tropical zone in the south. The east of Yunnan (around Kunming) has a year-round spring-like climate. The average temperature annually is 17°C. The coldest month is January with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 17°C. The hottest month is July with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 27°C. November to April is the dry season, with abundant sunshine and strong solar rays. Do not forget to take skin care products, such as sunblock and sunglasses. May to October is the rainy season. Most of the rainfall is between June and August. Temperatures may drop quickly. There can be a significant temperature difference between day and night time, especially from November through to February. Yunnan is a mountainous province with a diverse range of climate zones, from a subtropical zone at the base, to a temperate zone in the middle, to a frigid zone near the top.
The weather conditions are changeable, you will be travelling over some mountain passes where you may well experience colder temperatures. You need to be prepared for this and have suitable warm and waterproof clothing.
- Cycle Helmet
- Water bottles or camelbak
- Base layer tops
- Fleece jacket/ pullover
- Waterprood Biking Jacket (breathable fabric)
- Down Jacket
- Padded cycling shorts
- Cycling shoes Over Shoes – extra warmth
- Lightweight socks & heavyweight socks
- Trekking Shorts
- T-shirts– lightweight
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Fingerless cycling gloves
- Warm gloves
- Warm fleece hat
- Lipbalm/ sunscreen
Our guides carry first aid supplies, however we recommend you bring your own first aid kit which should contain the following item;
- Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen (or whatever you prefer for headache)
- Lomotil or Diacalm
- Rehydration salts (Dioralite)
- Antiseptic cream
- Throat lozenges
- Plasters (band aids)
- Nasal spray
- Eye drops
- Ear plugs
- Anti bacterial hand wash
- Antiseptic wet wipes
- Insect Repellent
- Energy Bars (gels, power bars)
- Energy/recovery drinks
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. £20 for each team member at the end of the tour is recommended.
It is customary for this to be collected up and given to your guide who will distribute it amongst the team. Unfortunately there is usually a hierarchy for the division between guides, helpers and drivers.
Spending money depends on your taste for souvenirs, drinks etc. We estimate that £200/£250 will be more than enough to cover the 13 day tour.
People's Republic of China - Capital: Beijing
Population 1.4 billion
Area 9.6 million sq km (3.7 million sq miles)
Major language Mandarin Chinese
Major religions Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism
Life expectancy 75 years (men), 78 years (women)
Currency Renminbi (yuan)
- Shangri-La: Zhùangjīn Tǒng prayer wheel.
- Baishuitui White water terraces: moutain springs.
- Minority culture:Yi, Bai, Zhuang, Dai, Naxi, Miao.
- Lijiang: cobbled streets, ancient waterways.
- Tiger leaping gorge: dramatic river valley.
- Ancient Tea Horse route: 'Silk Road of S W China'.
"This was probably the most scenic cycling tour I have ever done. Yunnan is simply stunning. I wish more people would go.The trip is tough with very little flat roads,..."