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.
Dates & Prices
- 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'.
"The trip to Yunnan exceeded our expectations. Challenging rides in a beautiful mountain scenery, picturesque villages, local ethnic minorities and markets. Our guide Tony and driver/cook Ken were doing great..."
Peter and Jannie Werkhove