"A salubrious cycling saunter through Ningxia’s wineries, food and history; featuring desert and mountain backdrops and green agricultural oases"
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Day 1: Arrive in Yinchuan. Visit Changyu WineryDinner
Welcome to Ningxia!
On arrival at Yinchuan Airport (INC) we’ll have a transfer ready to take you to our downtown Yinchuan hotel (35mins). You’ll meet your guide who will help you check in, answer any questions you may have and set a time to meet for our afternoon winery visit. After freshening up, we’ll make our way over to Chateau Changyu Moser XV to explore the winery, sample some wines and have our first group dinner together once the Chateau closes to the public. A fitting way to start our tour!
Chateau Changyu Moser XV is a collaboration between China’s first wine producer, Changyu Pioneer Wine Company, which began operation in 1892 in Shandong, and winemaker Lenz Moser, whose famous Austrian family have been producing wine for centuries. Opened in 2015, the chateau is a reasonably big producer of wine and attracts many tourists, as much for its classic European architecture and manicured grounds as for its wine (wedding photos are popular here!). There are sprawling grounds to explore, interactive displays, a wine museum, cavernous cellar and self- bottling brandy souvenir areas to wander through.
Day 2: Cycle to Helan Shan Mountains - Winery visits - 65kmBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 65 km
After setting up our bikes and meeting our cycling guides and drivers, we set off for the hills! The Helan Shan Mountains can be seen from the city and we’ll be making our way through town to connect up with a leafy cycling path that will take us up on a gentle incline to the base of the mountains. From the top, you’ll see views of the mountains, ancient temples and pagodas, and views below to vineyards and the city beyond. We’ll break out the coffee to sit back and take it all in. Continuing along the mountains on undulating country roads the views of the mountains expand before we turn downwards and make our way speedily to our first winery visit of the day, Silver Heights Winery.
Silver Heights is a family business whose story began on a hunch by Gao Lin, who planted French sourced vines in the 1990’s and sent his daughter Gao Yuan (Emma) off to France to study Oenology. She eventually returned, after receiving her Masters and with a French winemaking husband in tow, to establish Silver Heights and quickly became the poster child Ningxia wines with her successful early vintages that gained recognition abroad. If we’re lucky, we may have the opportunity to meet Emma to continue the story of Silver Heights and its wine in person.
After our winery visit, we’ll continue downhill for a little before stopping for a light lunch of local Hui fare. Our last cycling section will take us past Zhenbeibu film studio, where several film and television productions were shot, and dozens of wineries before arriving in our hotel for the evening. The hotel location is close by Geliqi Winery where we will finish our day with wine tasting and dinner.
Day 3: Cycle to Minning - Xi Xia Tombs - Winery Visits - 63KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 63 km
An action packed day awaits as we continue through Ningxia’s wine region on tree-lined and flat cycle paths that take us past yet more wineries and agricultural lands that have been reclaimed from the dry rock-strewn plain. Our first destination is the UESCO listed Xi Xia Mausoleums, where we’ll take a coffee break and check out the museum. You will have the opportunity to visit the park to take in the views of these ancient tombs against the back drop of the Helan Shan before coming back to Legacy Peak Winery, located within the park, for a lunch and wine tasting.
Legacy Peak is one of the oldest wineries in Ningxia and boasts the first exports of locally produced wine from the region. Our last leg of cycling will bring us through villages and towns to Xi Xia Wang Winery, where we will be staying for the evening in the large picturesque chateau. Dinner and wine tasting will be the evenings activities where you’ll learn about this larger wineries produce.
Day 4: Transfer to Yanche - Cycle to Haba Lake - BBQ and Stargazing - 55KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 55 km
After a leisurely mornings breakfast, we take a two hour transfer to the start point of our undulating ride to Haba Lake Nature Reserve. The first section has us cycling through the relatively recently developed agricultural areas. Huge government spending has gone into these poorest of Ningxia’s communities; irrigation, water conservation and green energy projects designed to re- green and revitalise the arid landscape to become productive growing land are evident. Dozens of re-located Hui communities make up the majority of these farming communities.
Our last section takes us off-road for around 10km through scrub- covered sand dunes, wetlands and groves of trees: an oasis of relatively more fertile land. Our destination is nearby the lake where we stay in quant detached rooms with picture windows to take in the surrounds and the incredible night skies. With little ambient light and the clear desert air, the stars unfold dramatically after sunset and we’ll take advantage with an outdoor barbecue of local roasted lamb and, perhaps, a glass of wine or two!
Day 5: Cycle to Yanche via Great Wall - 100KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 100 km
Back on the bikes! Today we’ll have a short 2 minute ride to a delicious local breakfast before we continue on out of the reserve. We’ll pass by several rural villages and towns, centres for farmers and livestock grazing (mostly sheep), before turning onto a larger county level road for a long gentle downward cycle to the start point of our Great Wall ride (some may choose to skip this section and put the feet up on the bus to save energy for the section along the wall). We turn onto mostly dirt tracks and wind along and around the Great Wall as it, and the ancient towns along it, crumble back into the earth. The prominent wall that can be seen is from the Qing dynasty but you’ll also be able to spot sections of eroded wall dating back to the Sui dynasty. Our ride brings us into Yanche town for the evening. Yanche retains its (renovated) old city walls, city gates and drum tower which make for a brilliantly lit evening stroll or an equally recommended morning walk.
Day 6: Transfer to Hongsibu/ Cycle Luo Shan/ Winery visit - 50KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 50 km
We’ll allow time this morning for those wanting to explore the city walls before breakfast, and recover from the previous days big ride!, before making a two hour transfer to Hongsibu. We’ll jump back onto the bikes and cycle up to the base of Luo Shan Mountain that overlooks town. The ride will offer fine views of the surrounding valley and old abandoned Hui villages, before we turn downhill and wind our way through vineyards, Goji Berry orchards and fields of corn to Hongsibu town and our hotel. With time to freshen up, we’ll spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at Luo Shan Winery where the vivacious owner will offer us a tour of the winery and a tasting followed by dinner. You will be free to linger on the grounds before we head back to the hotel for the night.
Day 7: Transfer and cycle to Xige Winery - 60KMBreakfast, Lunch & Dinner 60 km
Today we drive two hours to the Yellow River and the start point of the final day of our wine ride! We start by cycling paths and country roads that offer glimpses of the Huang He, agricultural communities, wetlands and small villages and towns. After lunch we turn away from the river and start a gentle climb into more rural landscapes until we reach our final winery and accomodation for the night, Xige Estate. One of the most modern and ambitious wineries in Ningxia makes a fitting end to our tour. A winery tour and tasting in sumptuous surrounds will precede our final night’s dinner where we will toast the end of our tour, and a bright future for Ningxia’s wine growing future!
Day 8: Transfer to Yinchuan Airport - DepartureBreakfast
Zai Jian! Today is departure day and we will arrange a transfer to Yinchuan airport. Arrival and departure flights will be advised closer to the tour date so you can book appropriate flights to match the transfer times.
One of China's newest wine regions is to be found in the unlikeliest of locations on the arid loess plateau of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Fed by irrigation from the Yellow River (Huang He), and overlooked by the imposing peaks of the Helan Shan Mountains, these wineries are winning international recognition and curiosity (as wells a few awards) for their surprising production of wine in an environment not considered exactly conducive to grape growing. In fact, the vines have to be completely buried in order to survive the 5 month long, sub-zero cold winters. Innovation and passion, along with imported expertise from traditional wine growing regions internationally, make for a fascinating look at this burgeoning industry in a region that is making great strides to turn it's desert landscapes into green agriculture oases.
Historically, the region is extraordinarily rich: sections of the Great Wall from the Qing and Sui Dynasty eras, along with their accompanying ancient fortified towns, can be seen crumbling back into the desert. Giant Xi Xia mausoleums dot the arid landscape beneath the Helan Shan mountains (some of the only remaining remnants of this once powerful Qiang dynasty completely wiped out by Genghis Khans' Mongols in the 13th century). Pre-historic rock etchings of animals and human figures that are to be found on rock walls of the Helan Mountains indicate the long inhabitation of humans in the area. And in more modern times, the Muslim Hui people whose customs and culture were imported from Persia with the merchants that arrived along the Silk Road in the 13th Century, settling and intermingling with the local Han population and enduring until today.
Despite all these potential draw-cards and huge local government investment, Ningxia sees relatively few tourists (especially westerners), outside of one or two desert resort playgrounds. This makes it an ideal destination for a new Bike Asia tour: friendly locals are happy to welcome visitors, where life is slower and relaxed, the food is plentiful, unique and tasty, and there's a lot to see and experience. We've designed a cycling route that combines all this but with a winery focus: you'll visit, stay in and sample the produce of many wineries from the more famous to the offbeat and unusual. The cycling is mostly flat and accessible, with the obligatory undulating sections (of course!) - appropriate for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a decent level of appreciation for wine! All the usual support will be available, including our attentive guides and support vehicles, so you will be able to ride (or indulge!) as much or as little as you wish.
Getting There & Away
This trip starts and finishes in Yinchuan (Airport Code INC), the capital of Ningxia Province, China. It is a domestic airport connecting all the major cities/airports in China. To check flight details, times and costs we can recommend Trip.com. It is in English, reliable, and you can pay for these flights by credit card. If more convenient you can also book domestic China flights through us (a small service charge applies per ticket) at competitive rates. Just let us know when you book.
High speed trains also make stops at Yinchuan. This often a convenient, fun and environmentaly friendly option for travel throughout China.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 350 km
- 8 - 20 People
- 1850 USD
- 400 USD (single supplement)
- Sip locally produced wines from a hand-picked selection of famous and lesser known wineries
- Meet winery owners and hear the remarkable story of grape production in Ningxia
- Cycle through Yellow River wetlands, green agricultural pastures, and stark desert scenery
- Discover the ancient Great Wall and Xi Xia Mausoleums
- Visit Yanche, a Qing Dynasty era town and walk the intact city wall
- Meet local Hui villagers and learn about their traditional customs
- Stargaze in the desert with a bonfire BBQ of roasted local lamb
- Learn about the extraordinary effort to irrigate, stabilise and re-green the Ningxia plateau
- Sample sumptuous Hui noodles and prized local produce
- Stay in a range of charming accommodations from sublime wineries to hotels to nature reserves
- See sunny blue skies with a no rain guarantee!
- Ride carefree with a support vehicle, great bikes and attentive knowledgeable guides
- 8 Nt’s accommodation in comfortable hotels or guesthouses (Inc. two winery stays)
- All meals as listed
- Airport transfers
- Bike Asia cycling leader and local cycling guide(s)
- Support van(s}
- Great quality mountain bikes
- Entry tickets for included tourist sites
- Water, snacks and fruit on cycling days
- Wine tastings at included wineries
What's Not Included?
- Airport transfers
- International airfares
- Tips, gratuities and personal expenses