An inspiring 9 day cycling tour encompassing all the classical scenery one imagines of China - but without the crowds! Epic cycling, cascading rice terraces, mountain-top temples, spires of karst mountains, secluded waterfalls, ancient river towns, rural villages and friendly Miao and Yao minority mountain people makes this one of our most poular tours.
Day 1: Arrival Guilin - Transfer to BajiaozhaiDinner
Welcome to Guangxi Province! Our meeting point today is at Guilin airport. Our reccomendation is to plan your arrival so that we can depart around midday to our first night stay in Bajiaozhai National Park. If it's difficult to arrange flights to arrive at this time we would suggest an overnight stay in nearby Guilin: we can help with hotels and suggestions if needed.
Our transfer is around two hours drive to the UNESCO listed Bajiaozhai National Park. The park is famed for the unique pink sandstone danxia formations found here, which are similar at first glance but geologically distinct from the limestone karst mountains found further south. Despite it's UNESCO listing, the park is relatively unknown in China (so far!) so is also unique among tourist spots in China for being uncrowded and peaceful! We’ll hike up and through Buddhist temples, into caverns and up to lookouts for incredible views overlooking the surreal looking landforms that spread across into the neighbouring province, Hunan.
After a wander through the temples where you'll see the locals making offerings and wishes at various shrines, it’s a walk down through bamboo groves to our hotel with time for a cool off in the hotel pool. Dinner is a local style banquet of local specialities and produce to mark the start of our Guangxi adventure!.
Day 2: Cycle to ChetianBreakfast, lunch & dinner 60 km
We begin our day with breakfast in the hotel followed by a bike fitting and briefing on the local cycling conditions. Then its on the bikes for our first riding session; undulating terrain with forest and farmland as the backdrop where you’ll see local people tending rice fields or livestock. We take a sharp ascent up onto a ridge line, where things flatten out for a while, and rural China scenes abound, before descending into a wider valley and our lunch stop in the village of Guali. Local life is on the street here and people will be curious to see foreigners on bicycles, so a pre-lunch wander is highly recommended!
After lunch is a steady climb of 18km, flat at first and becoming steeper to the top of the pass, via the tiny village of Baotian, where we’ll break at a local school. For those that wish to transfer up to the top of the hills our vehicles will be available. From the top we can see a ridge-line of the province’s highest mountain peak: Mao Er Shan (Cat Mountain).
The descent on the other side takes us through forests, narrow gullies and ravines. We’ll pass numerous villages and wooden houses built on the mountainsides and nestled amongst rice terraces, fruit orchards and wild forest. We’ll make our way down onto the main river valley which will bring us into the small Chetian Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Populated by the Miao minority group, (also known as Hmong in South East Asia), this vibrant little administrative centre is a hub for the surrounding Miao villagers to distribute their produce and the bustling market is always colourful here.
We have a short ride out of Chetian town where we stay in a secluded valley in a quiet farming village in a small guesthouse along a small bubbling stream. No far upstream are spectacular rock formations and waterfalls ideal for walking and swimming. We'll again eat local in the guesthouse with our hosts cooking up a feast of local specialities.
Day 3: Cycle to Datangwan GorgeBreakfast, lunch & dinner 44 km
The mornings ride is a scenically spectacular one today as we cycle up and along a high ridge-line with views down to the valleys below and across to huge mountains beyond where small wooden villages hang on to the mountainsides. This area is inhabited by Dong, Miao and Yao people and these villages see few tourists. One of the great experiences of the region is to simply stop and visit. Locals are sure to welcome you with a smile and are proud to see you look around their homes. We have a steep 2.5 Miles/ 4km climb from the guesthouse up to the ridge-line before we dip and climb a final shorter section and descend to our tea break. It’s a steep downhill to the Xun Jiang, Xun River, which we will follow to lunch and our hotel just beyond.
Our hotel is riverside and a dip in the river will be attractive. The surrounding views are epic as we are located at the end of a high and narrow gorge: Datangwan translates to big gorge. Dinner will be in the traditional style hall with local dishes featured.
Day 4: Cycle to Pingan - Longji Rice TerracesBreakfast, lunch and dinner 60 km
The first half of the day we'll spend cycling along the Xun River heading downstream (so slightly down easy cycling!) with views of the river, resorvoirs, villages and surrounding mountains. Along the way we’ll pass through the county capital, Longsheng, where we’ll check out the local market. This is where much of the produce in the region ends up for local consumption or to be traded to far off locations around China. There is an extraordinary array of goods for sale; exotic and sometimes very strange, but always colourful and fascinating.
We’ll ride out of Longsheng and make our way to the Longsheng Rice Terraces. We’ll stop for lunch before entering the park area. The following ride has a few little climbs as we make our way up a small river that is dotted with Yao villages, and their colourfully dressed occupants. Glimpses of the villages high above give an indication of the climb ahead: a 6km climb up a switchback road to the base of Pingan village situated in the middle of the rice terraces.
We’ll swap out the cycling shoes for hiking shoes and take a walk up stone steps for around 20mins to our guesthouse. We suggest that you pack a day pack to bring with you for the stay in Pingan. We’ll arrive in Pingan with enough time so that you have time to sit back with a beer and enjoy the sunset views from the terrace of the Zhuang minority, traditionally-built guesthouse. The owners, Keyin and Lily, always make us feel at home and may offer us a sample of their special sweet rice wine to go with their outstanding cooking.
Day 5: Cycle to Shiertan - optional raftingBreakfast, lunch and dinner 60 km
We say goodbye to Pingan with a fantastic downhill back through the switchbacks we cycled up previously - a nice reward for the effort! We spend the day on quiet, sealed roads undulating through pine and bamboo forests, often passing villages tucked away in the hills. The views are spectacular as we head up a 12km gentle climb followed by the fastest twisting descent of the trip. Being close to Guilin, delicious Guilin-style rice noodles are available for lunch at the roadside.
In the afternoon there is the choice to continue cycling through bamboo plantations and small rural villages or put your feet up and pick up some paddles for a sometimes thrilling, sometimes serene, optional rubber raft ride directly to our hotel by the river. Cost for the rafting is around 180CNY (28USD) or so and reccommended by all who have experienced it in the past. We’ll settle in to the hotel for the evening with a chance to explore the area on foot, or relax before a banquet of local dishes overlooking the river.
Day 6: Cycle to Liu San Jie Tea Plantation - Transfer to DaxuBreakfast, lunch and dinner 35 km
We'll be leaving behind the mountain cycling today for flatter rural landscapes, although mountains are always in the background! First we make our way through the village of Wantian, and visit the local market, before wending and winding our way through farmers’ fields on back roads and farmer’s paths: you’ll literally be able to touch all the produce being grown in the region. Quaint cycle paths take us along the riverside and rice fields to Wuteng, a larger market town, and on to Liu San Jie Tea plantation where we stop stop for lunch. You’ll have a chance to learn a little about Chinese tea culture with a tour of the plantation. You’ll see how tea is picked after which a traditional tea ceremony will provide an opportunity to taste several different types of tea.
After lunch, we pack up the bikes for a drive to our hotel near Daxu Old Town, located on the banks of the Li River. After checking in you'll have time to explore the old town by foot. Daxu is an old merchant port town having it's hey day at the turn of the 20th century as a significant trading hub for goods that passed along the Li River from Guilin to Guangzhou and beyond. Only one old street remains but it is in original condition and it's easy to imagine life in times gone by. Whilst more tourists are visiting Daxu these days it still retains its charm and quiet scenes of the elderly residents and local life abound.
Day 7: Cycle to XingpingBreakfast, lunch and dinner 55 km
Daxu lies on the edge of the UNESCO listed Southern China Limestone Karst Area and we’ll spend the last few days exploring the amazing scenery of this region. We’ll cycle the famous bamboo-lined Li River passing through groves of bamboo and watching the river-life along our route before heading for the hills where the views get progressively grander. Citrus plantations predominate in the hills as towering karst mountains surround us in all directions. There’s two steady climbs and two thrilling downhills for the morning’s ride that brings us into a wider valley for lunch at a small local restaurant. After lunch we can opt, weather dependant on a steep ride climbing up a to a spectacular natural pool and waterfall for a refreshing swim, or a speedy ride into Xingping back on the Li River.
Xingping is an interesting place to wander around. It sees more tourists these days, which means there are lots of little cafes and handicrafts to check out, adding to the overall charm of the place. There are also some spectacular lookouts to climb. Xingping is also a port town with some old streets and we'll head out to dine in the old section tonight.
Day 8: Cycle to Yulong River ValleyBreakfast, lunch and dinner 55 km
Every day is a highlight but today is a standout last days ride. Heading back upstream along the Li River we stop to check out the "20 yuan note" view, we continue along the river to catch our ferry across the Li River. We’ll catch views of fishermen and water buffaloes drifting by in a “Dr Zuess” landscape before we hit the road again to continue a little further up the river. Next is a steep climb out of the Li River valley and into a forest of limestone peaks. A short break for a re-fuel in the mountains will see us cruising down into the spectacular Yulong (Jade Dragon) River Valley. We'll stop for luch at 400 year old Fuli Bridge, an ideal location for a swim. And then it's a flat ride along the Yulong river on quiet back roads to our hotel in the valley. Our last night is in a tradional style Qing style boutique hotel in the centre of a traditional village surrounded by rice fields and karst mountains. There'll be time to explore the village, grab a massage or relax in the courtyard before we met for dinner in the evening to toast the end of our adventure!
Day 9: Departure dayBreakfast
Today is departure day and you are free to leave at any time. We'll organise airport/ train station transfers today to get you safely on your way home or onward travels. If you wish to stay on in Yangshuo there's plenty to do and we're happy to offer suggestions.
If you had to choose one cycling tour in China this one would be our reccommendation...it's consistently our most popular too! From the northern most extremity of Guangxi, on the border with Hunan, we start with an exploration of the red sandstone landforms of Bajiaozhai National Park before heading into remote Miao and Yao mountain country making our way to the beautiful Longji Rice Terraces. Sureal limestone karst peaks, ancient river towns and rural village life bring us to our final destination outside Yangshuo. Besides the epic cycling, throw in secret waterfalls, white water rafting, temple visits, markets, hikes and funky accommodation far away from the crowds and you can see why we love this tour too!
Getting there & away
This trip starts in Guilin and finishes in Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China. Guilin and Yangshuo are serviced through the airport in Guilin (Airport Code KWL). It is an international airport with connections across Asia as well as most cities in China. Yangshuo is 85 kilometres (one hour) from Guilin International Airport by car. Below are some of the main options for flights.
- Hong Kong (HKG) – China Southern Airlines, Dragon Air
- Bangkok (BKK) – Bangkok Airways
- Beijing (PEK) – Air China, China Southern, China Eastern
- Shanghai (SHA & PVG) – Air China, China Southern, China Eastern
- Guangzhou (CAN) - Air China, China Southern, China Eastern
- Kuala Lumpur (LCCT) – Air Asia
- Macao (MCM) ) - Air Macao
- Seoul (ICN) - Asiana Airline
- Singapore (SIN) - Jet Star
To check flight details, time and cost we can recommend Trip.com. It features all languages and currencies, is reliable, and you can pay by credit card.
Trains and buses to Guilin are available from almost anywhere in China. New high speed trains are a great option too with many connections throughout China to both Guilin and Yangshuo station and tickets can be purchased on Trip.com.
Airport/ train station pick ups and drop offs are included in the tour price. Please make sure you give us details of your arrival and departure, including flight details, date and time, so we can arrange your transfers.
Once we have recieved your booking and deposit we'll send you a Tour Info Pack that will include tour notes, training tips, preparation info and joining point instructions. If you have any questions about the tour at all please don't hesitate to contact us.
Arriving early or want to stay on after the tour ends? No problem! Just let us know if you'd like to book extra accommodation in the tour hotel at either the start or finish of the tour and we will arrange it for you. Just include your request on the booking form.
Single Supplement or Single Room Request
Prices for our tours are based on twin share rooming arrangements. If travelling alone you will be paired with someone of the same sex. If you require your own room, just let us know, and this can be arrange for a supplemental fee.6
Can we change the itinerary or customise the tour?
Not for publicly listed dates, but if you have your own group or date in mind, Yes. If you want to make a private booking we can help design a tour that suits you. You may have ideas based on any of our tours or something in mind that you can't find on our website. Just get in contact with us and let us know what you have in mind and we'll try our best to make it happen!
Do you cater for vegetarians?
Yes we do! If you have any dietery requirements just let us know when you book in the space provided (Additional Requests). For any severe alergies or other conditions it is best that you let us know in advance so that we can prepare and/ or advise you on what we can provide or what you might need to bring so that are well catered for.
What about Covid 19?
Covid restrictions have passed for most countries and it is now possible to obtain tourist visas for China. For China you may need to provide a personal Covid test within taken 24 hours before your departure, these are only checked randomly, and can also be taken on arrival.
During all our tours we take care to avoid any transferring of any viruses, such as Covid, through providing hand sanitisers and minimising exposure. As with any illness, all care will be made for the participants well being during the tour and we will help with any arrangements that need to be made if the participant needs to leave the tour (this will be at the cost of the participant). Costs for unused segments of tours cannot be refunded, for any reason, as all tour costs are paid in advance.
How to I make a booking and payment?
Simply go to the "Dates" section of the tour page and click on the "book now" button, or click on "book" on the website header and select your preferred tour and departure date. If you are booking onto an on demand tour and have your own dates in mind there will be an facility for you book here too.
Before you book, we recommend that you read through the tour details and our booking terms and conditions. You can contact us about the trip if you have any questions at email@example.com or set up a time to chat about the tour.
Upon completion of your booking form we’ll send you an acknowledgement email and invoice for a deposit. All long trips (7 days or more) require a deposit of 300USD to guarantee your place. Trips departing within 60 days at booking will require full payment. Once your deposit is received, we’ll also send you a pre-trip information pack that will give you added information about the tour, the region you’ll be travelling through, a checklist of things to prepare, suggestions for packing, training tips and more. For shorter trips and day tours we require full payment 30 days prior to the commencement of the tour or as soon as convenient if booking within 30 days of departure.
Payments can be made on credit card via Paypal or through a direct bank transfer in most currencies. Information on payments will be present on your initial deposit invoice. Paypal payments will incur a 4% fee.
- 9 days
- Cycling Tour,Multi-activity
- 407 km
- 6 - 16 People
- 1425 USD
- Cycle stunning, quiet, mountain and rural southern China back-roads
- Hike the extraordinary Longji Rice Terraces and red sandstone formations at Bajiaozhai National Park
- Meet local Yao, Miao and Zhuang ethnic minorities
- Raft down a thrilling ravine
- See the UNESCO listed sublime Southern China karst mountain scenery
- Visit and stay in centuries old Ming and Qing dynasty era villages
- Dip into a secluded waterfall
- Sample sumptuous local food
- Learn about local history and culture
- Experience rural Chinese farm life
- 8 nights accommodation on a twin share basis in local hotels and guesthouses with all amenities
- All meals as listed in the itinerary
- Coffee, water and snacks provided on all cycling days
- Airport or train station return transfers
- Support vehicle(s)
- Entry tickets as listed in the itinerary
- Bike Asia cycling/hiking guide(s)
- Excellent quality hybrid flat bar bike
What's Not Included?
- Tps, gratuities and personal expenses