"8 Days of fully-supported cycling through the best of Guizhou Province's epic scenery and fascinating minority cultures. Get off the beaten track and deep into the heartland of the Dong and Miao minority hill people."
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Day 1: Arrive Kaili Station - Transfer to LangdeDinner
Our meeting point is in Kali, Guizhou. We’ll have a transportation organised to pick you up from the train station to drive you to Langde village, the start point of our ride. Please see the tour Info section for details on the timings and best ways to get to Kaili. Given time, we recommend a walk in the village, and/ or cool off in the nearby stream. In the evening we’ll meet for a banquet welcome dinner, go over all the details of the tour and answer any lingering questions you may have. Our stay tonight is in a comfortable traditional style guesthouse on the edge of the village overlooking the river.
Langde is a small Miao village famed for its traditional buildings, scenic setting and proud locals who are happy to show off their culture (and sell you a trinket or two!). The village is recognised nationally for its cultural heritage so sees more tourists these days, though generally they are day trippers, and the village returns to daily life once the buses leave. Walking around the village takes about an hour but there are walks to further villages into the hills if you arrive early and want to explore wider. Langde would be a better option than Kaili to stay an extra night. Zhaoxing at the end is probably better still if you have extra time.
Day 2: Day 2 - Cycle to Baiyan - 36KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 36 km
We kick off the day today with a brief bike fitting after breakfast. We'll be following the contours of the stream by our hotel for the first 15km passing by small Miao villages along the way. We leave the valley behind and begin a 6km gentle climb into mountains and forest. A stunning twisting 6km descent follows, passing by tea plantations, terraced fields and villages, bringing us into Leishan town, the major hub for the surrounding Miao communities.
After lunch we’ll leave the relative bustle of Leishan behind and head back into the hills to begin our climb up Leigong Shan, Thunder God Mountain. The climb up to our hotel is a gentle 5kms passing by more Miao villages with the views becoming more spectacular as we rise to a ridge-line and our stay in Baiyancun Miao village. Surrounded by mountain views, Baiyancun is a serene place to relax and take in the views. You may also wish to explore the nearby waterfall or wander among the villages before dinner in the hotel.
Leigong Mountain is the highest mountain in the Miaoling mountain range at 2178m. It’s name translates to “Thunder God” Mountain due to the preponderance of thunder echoing across the mountains in summer (not for appearances of Norse gods!) and is revered among the local people as the home of the thunder god. It forms the southern end of the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, from which the lands descends in altitude into Guangxi Province. It receives the northern extent of the tropical monsoons which provide conditions that have supported a vast array of flora and fauna and is part of the Pearl River watershed. Leigong Mountain tea has been traditionally sought after.
Day 3: Cycle to Leli - 74KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 74 km
We have an epic ride today as we cycle into the clouds (and hopefully through them) and up Leigong Mountain. The first 8km are undulating tending upwards before we head into the Leigong Mountain National Forest for an a 10km climb to our pass. After a break on the top to rest the legs, a superb downhill follows: 26km of twisting descent through forest before emerging through a river gorge onto the valley floor and a well deserved lunch. A picturesque flat 12km along rivers and rural Miao and Dong villages brings us to Yan’ao village from where we start our last 5km gentle climb to finally descend to our hotel destination just outside the Dong town of Leilizhen.
Lelizhen is a Dong town with a population of around 30,000 people, also referred to as the “72 Dong Villages” by the locals, as it serves as a centre for the many surrounding villages. Lelizhen is famous for its bull fighting festival, held on the 6th June every lunar calendar year, and is attended by the 72 surrounding villages. Water buffalo bulls are prized: specific specimens, chosen for their potential strength, are fed special diets that is paid for by the whole village. Whist bull fights aren’t commonly fatal - a bull is deemed a winner if its opponent backs down or submits - deaths can happen. The winning bull brings great pride to its village and is celebrated in a festival atmosphere where all the surrounding communities come together to meet and feast. Our hotel is located outside town next to the bull fighting stadium.
Day 4: Cycle to Dalidong - 80KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 80 km
A downhill start to the day as we descend to Lelizhen, making our way through town, and onward down the Leli River: a superb ride over 32km tending downwards along the river valley with numerous wooden villages perched along the mountainsides. Our route takes us up past a reservoir for our first climb of the day over 8km up into the forest once again. We’ll catch glimpses of remote Miao villages through the trees as we make our ascent. A 5km descent, a nice break from the climbing, brings us through rice terraces to the village of Piaozhai, from where we have a 4km climb up to the village of Yuezhaicun. From here we have a 15km backroad descent, following a small rocky stream, to meet a county road to Zaimaxiang. We’ll continue along this road before turning into the mountains for a last gentle climb of 5km to Dalidong. On arrival we will park the bikes and walk into the village to our hotel for showers and dinner.
Dalidong is a small 600 year old Dong village of 250 households (1300 people) tucked away in the mountains. It is very well preserved while the inhabitants maintain traditional farming and culture; uniform wooden dwellings are bisected by a stream over which sit five wind and rain bridges. Blue flagstone paths pave the alleys through the village and up to the rice terraces and forest above. A large drum tower sits in the centre of town. Dalidong has attracted efforts to develop eco-tourism, with small guesthouses offering guests an opportunity to experience the villages intact culture and ecology. A special effort has been made to retain and develop the traditional indigo dyed textiles offering local women opportunities to retain their traditional skills whilst providing them an income too.
Day 5: Cycle to Zengchong - 49KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 49 km
As we will have arrived late the previous day, we will allow some time to check out the village this morning before continuing our ride. Back on the bikes, we re-trace our route back down to the main road. We only have one climb today as the follow a small waterway up a valley climbing gently for 3km and then up switchbacks for 2km. From the top we make a sweeping descent for 7km to the Dong village of Xiaozhai. The rest of the day is generally flat; passing by several villages through rural scenery as we make our way for an early finish in Zengchong. There’ll be plenty of time to explore this tiny Dong village before we meet for dinner.
Zengchong is a tiny Dong village famous for it’s well preserved drum tower, built in 1672 during the Qing dynasty, and said to be the oldest in China. Villagers congregate around the drum tower - a great opportunity to mingle with the locals. The village itself sits in a small hook of the stream that circles the village and is surrounded by forest, perfect for walks and views over the village.
Day 6: Cycle to Basha 54KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 54 km
Today’s ride will be split into two sections. The first section takes us out of town and up past a small reservoir, the village water supply, on a gentle climb for 13km. From the top we’ll have panoramic views of the mountains and the Duliu River below. A long, fun 12km descent brings us down to the Duliu River. We’ll pack up the bikes and transfer along the main road for around 40km to avoid traffic. Our second section takes us back into the hills one more. Forested country roads take us up 10km before a a nice descent and an undulating shady ride to Basha Miao village. Basha, besides its beautiful mountaintop scenery and Miao culture, is famous for having the last remaining community still permitted to use guns. It attracts quite a few tourists, although very few stay in the village as we will, so we’ll be able to explore the village peacefully! Our guesthouse is a short walk from the bikes in a quaint traditional style building.
Basha Miao village is the last remaining place in China where people are still permitted to use guns. Hand made rifles are still made in the village and the local men are proud of this skill. Gun making dates back to the Miao rebellions during the Qing dynasty when, it is said, that two Qing generals defected and brought with them the use of gunpowder and gun making to the Miao. In more modern times, the Basha locals use the guns ceremoniously.
Day 7: Cycle to Zhaoxing - 68KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 68 km
Today is our last day of riding! We start with a 5km swift downhill to Congjiang town and make our way through its busy streets, which will be a little bit of a shock after so much time spent in quiet rural landscapes. We’ll cross the Duliu River and continue out of town. After around 10km, we’ll make our way out of the busier valley and up into the hills for the last time. Passing by several sleepy Dong villages as we climb around 4km, we’ll choose one to visit while we have a break. A further 11km undulating along the ridge line will bring us to to the top at the small Dong village of Xinchuan. From here, it’s downhill all the way. We’ll stop in Huanggang Dong village for lunch and a wander through the authentic village, as yet untouched by tourism development. We’ll continue downwards passing by lakes, ravines and small villages to make our way to Zhaoxing. We’ll bid farewell to the bikes and make our way into Zhaoxing village to freshen up for dinner and a celebration of our adventure!
Zhaoxing is a pretty Dong village nestled in a picturesque valley. Comprising of eight small clans, and thus eight drum towers, the village has a network of canals and alleys running off a main thoroughfare. Zhaoxing sees a lot of tourists (well less than most places in China - it is Guizhou after all!), who can easily travel here on the nearby high speed train line, and it has all the glitzy trappings and entrance tickets of a town spruced up by the same old developers hand. It is, however, a great base to explore the surrounding countryside or idle away some time meandering through the village, which is quiet outside of peak holidays. There are just enough cafes (1), bars (2) and restaurants (many) to keep you there an extra day or two. The hike up to Tangan at the top of the valley is highly recommended. And that train line is convenient when you want to leave!
Day 8: Departure DayBreakfast
Today is departure day and you are free to depart at any time. See Getting There & Away in the tour Info section for details of onward travel.
Guizhou 贵州 is one of China’s more fascinating provinces: home to over 40 minority groups, with a large portion still living traditional rural lifestyles across a vast and remote mountainous landscape, it is the region of China that evokes endless “National Geographic” moments. Our tour follows a route through Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, (黔东南苗族侗族自治州), in the south west of Guizhou, starting in Langde (朗德) and finishing in Zhaoxing (肇兴). Predominately populated by Miao and Dong, with small pockets of other minorities such as the Shui, our unique route will take us through dozens of traditional villages in a spectacular rural setting that sees relatively few tourists. Wind and Rain Bridges and Dong Drum Towers are ubiquitous along with old wooden houses; as are the intricate handicrafts, colourful textiles, age-old farming activities and ethnic music that make up the slow paced rhythm of local life here.
This traditional lifestyle has been preserved due to Guizhou’s remote mountainous terrain: not suitable for extensive farming, the region has been among the poorest in China, typified by the local saying, “The sky is not clear three days; the land is not level for three li; the people don’t have three jiao”. For us, this means lots of long climbs - balanced, though, by equally long downhills! Plenty of time has been allocated to complete each days ride, whilst still being able to stop and to take in the surroundings along the way. A support vehicle is also available for those that wish to take a ride whenever they wish. This tour is designed to be accessible to those with a good level of cycling fitness and an interest in exploring beyond the usual tourist offerings.
Getting There & Away
Getting There: The tour starts in Langde village, Kaili, Guizhou. We will arrange a meeting point and time at Kaili Train Station and organise transport to Langde at designated times. The transfer from the station takes around 30mins to Langde.
The easiest way to get to Kaili is to fly to Guiyang Airport (Longdongbao KWE). There are plenty of flights from all destinations. From the airport there are regular trains to Guiyang North Station (18mins), from where you can take one of many high speed trains to Kaili (38 mins).
& Away: From Zhaoxing we will arrange transport to the nearby Congjiang High Speed Train Station. You can catch a high speed train directly to Guiyang Airport (Longdongbao KWE) at 8:07, 11:21 and 14:55. This train takes around 1.5 hours. At other times you can take a train to Guiyang North and switch trains to the airport.
You can also opt head south to Guilin (from 47mins) or onto Guangzhou (4 hours) with trains departing regularly. Feel free to contact us for advice with any of your arrival and departure questions.
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.
Tour Info Pack
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.
For additional information regarding guides, accommodation and sleeping arrangements, cycling grades, food, bikes, etc you can head over to our About section to see more about how we run our tours.
How difficult is the tour?
It's a hilly trip!!! Ideally this tour would be enjoyed by those with biking experience or are up for a challenge. Distances average around 50km per day (with the longest at 80km), but there's quite a bit of extended climbing. The riding is well paced with lots of time to stop and make the most of anything that spontaneously crops up, and we encourage people to take advantage of this and not race through and miss everything!
We have a support vehicle during the whole time so it is completley fine to use it as needed; to catch a lift up the hills or just to put your feet up. We encourage anyone to participate as traveling by bike hrough this region is absolutely the best way to experience it and we have staff capable of dealing with riders of different abilities and interests to make sure everyone is happy. With some training and preparation, this trip can be accessble to begginners and for experienced riders you'll love the quality of the riding. E-bikes are available too. If unsure, feel free to ask us for advice or guidance.
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?
2020 has seen travel grind to a halt and the outlook going into 2021 looks to be more of the same. While we have suspended travel to most of our destinations we are operating tours in China for domestic travellers. We'll open up destinations as the stuation improves and only when travel is green lighted by the relevant health and government agencies.
Travelling during this time means adhering to mandated guidlines and practices which means having green codes enabled on your mobile phone apps, taking Covid tests, wearing masks where neccesary, and filling in contact and travel history forms. These rules and guidelines are constantly changing as situations regarding the virus change, so it is important to remain flexible. We'll inform you of the requirements when you book and leading into the tour departure date.
Given the situation as it is, please understand that cancellations are quite possible and are outside of our control. While we understand the frustrations this may present, we'll do our best to make things run as smooth as possible and keep you informed of any changes as they arise.
During this time we will only accept full payments for tours three weeks before departure. All payments, however, will be refunded in full if the tour is cancelled prior to departure, or your personal covid-related situation precludes you from commencing the tour. Please make sure when booking flights that they are aslo refundable in the event of a cancelation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
*****COVID 19 Booking Terms Update*****
During this unique time we will only be accepting full payments for tours three weeks before departure. All payments, however, will be refunded in full if the tour is cancelled prior to departure, or your personal covid-related situation precludes you from commencing the tour. Please make sure when booking flights that they are aslo refundable in the event of a cancelation.
- 8 days
- Cycling Tour
- 528 km
- 4 - 12 People
- 1570 USD
- 345 USD (single supplement)
- Off-the beaten-track cycling route into lesser known parts of Guizhou, Southern China
- Ride quiet backroads and phenomenal mountain roads
- Discover unique traditional architecture; wooden drum towers and "wind and rain" bridges
- Experience the Dong and Miao minority ways of life and culture
- See endless cascading rice terraces
- Sample sublime local Chinese cuisine straight from the fields
- Soak in a mountain stream or shower in a waterfall
- 8 nights accommodation in comfortable hotels or guesthouses
- Meals as listed in the itinerary
- Water and snacks whilst cycling
- Entry tickets as per itinerary
- Support vehicle(s)
- Airport transfers
- Bike Asia tour leader
- Local cycling guide/ mechanic and driver
- Quality mountain bike
What's Not Included?
- International airfares
- Tips or gratuities
- Personal expenses