Total tour distance: 440 miles
Daily tour distance: 40 miles
Difficulty: 80 / 100
SICHUAN & TIBET
Xizang Zhi Lu
Chengdu to Chengdu | 15 days | 700km | intermediate grade cycling holiday
Xizang Zhi Lu is an exciting 15 day loop starting and finishing in Chengdu City, the capital of the Sichuan Province. We cover roughly 700km through stunning Chinese and Tibetan scenery, culture and fantastic biking. Starting in the hustle of Chengdu City, we make our way north west into the agricultural and rice growing regions and then climb slowly through river valleys lined with snow covered peaks to the wide open spaces of the Tibetan Plateau. There are a couple of known touristy towns (known at least to Chinese people) early on in the trip, but from then on the towns are local, rural and in some places very remote.
We visit a panda breeding sanctuary and Buddhist monasteries, meet with Tibetan nomadic yak herders, and take the challenge of crossing three high mountain passes. Stunning scenery, colourful culture, intriguing history and delicious food combine to create one of the most diverse, interesting and memorable biking destinations on the planet.
What is the cycling like?
We ride between 20-120km per day; a total distance of 700km spread over 12 days of biking. We bike on mostly paved roads where at times bikes and small tractors out-number cars. The terrain varies from gentle meandering river valleys to long sustained climbs and lovely long descents. We climb over four high mountain passes, three of which are over 4000m however in all cases the gradient is fairly gentle. Suitable for bikers with a good level of fitness and perfect for a hybrid or touring style bike.
The low-down: We start and finish in Chengdu City and loop through Sichuan Province and the Tibetan Plateau. Your group will be made up of 6-12 bikers from around the world, plus Escape leaders, local guide/interpreter and local crew. Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, can help you up the hills (if you like) and always has lunch, snacks and water at hand. Accommodation is twin-share in local hotels and guesthouses most of which have en-suites however it is occasionally necessary to share bathroom facilities. Meals and snacks are all provided mostly taking advantage of the delicious fare in local restaurants. This excludes two lunches and two evening meals which are at your own expense to give you more opportunity to explore and experience local cuisine.
Chengdu to Chengdu
(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=evening meal)
Day 1 – Arrive in Chengdu, free day. Airport pick ups will be provided. Alternatively taxis are available outside the airport, approx $USD10 to the Hotel. We will meet in the hotel reception for a pre departure meeting at 5pm | D | Accommodation: Chengdu Hotel. NOTE- please change money, use the ATM in Chengdu City to get enough local currency for the duration of your trip.
Day 2 - Chengdu – Get into the vibe of China with a city tour of Chengdu by bike including a visit to a Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre and some other local surprises. | Cycling: 40kms | BD, lunch at own cost | Accommodation: Chengdu Hotel.
Day 3 - We begin with a vehicle transfer out of the city and ride through a grain growing area and paddy fields to Pingle. | Cycling: 63kms | BLD | Accommodaion: Pingle Guesthouse.
Day 4 – We bike on through farmland and steamy bamboo forest and over our first pass at 1250m to Lushan. | Cycling: 75kms | BLD | Accommodation: Baoxing Hotel.
Day 5 – We gain some altitude in the morning with a transfer up to a lake created by a new dam project. Biking around the lake we enter the Tibetan area and on to Yaoji Forest Reserve. | Cycling: 20kms | BLD | Accommodation: Forest Cabins.
Day 6 – Our first major pass as we climb over Jiajinshan pass at 4200m. With views of the Himalayan foothills and yaks for company it’s an awesome achievement and rewarded with a 36km sweeping downhill. | Cycling: 70kms | BLD | Accommodation: Rilongguan Hotel.
Day 7 – A long and flowing day as we follow a river valley downstream through farmland and orchards to Danba. | Cycling: 120kms | BLD | Accommation: Danba Hotel.
Day 8 – A day off the bikes. Spend the morning walking through small hillside villages to explore some ancient defensive towers and then head into Danba town to check out the sights in the afternoon. In the late afternoon we take a short drive up to Jaiju Tibetan village and spend the night in a Tibetan stone house. | BD, lunch at own cost | Accommodation: Local Guesthouse.
Day 9 – We head back down to the river valley and follow the river as it gently climbs through a quiet valley to Donggu. |Cycling: 49kms | BLD |Accommodation: Local Guesthouse.
Day 10 – Biking on up the river valley we cross over a 3900m pass and drop down into the wide open Tibetan Grasslands. In the afternoon take a break from the saddle to visit an historically important Buddhist Monastery and temple. | Cycling: 55kms | BLD | Accommodation: Bamei Hotel.
Day 11 – We bike across the rolling grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau to Tagong. In the afternoon explore the town, local shops and nearby temples. | Cycling: 30kms | BLD | Accommodation: Tagong Guesthouse.
Day 12 – The most challenging day of the trip (remember the support vehicle is there) through the rolling grasslands dotted with Nomad tents and grazing yaks. In the afternoon our last and highest pass at 4298m, and end the day with a 37km downhill run to Kangding. | Cycling: 110kms | BLD | Accommodation: Kangding Hotel.
Day 13 – Leaving the Tibetan area, a morning transfer takes us back down one of the river valleys that feed the Yangtze River. In the afternoon a steep climb followed by a gentle ride past rice paddies and farmland to the ancient village of Shangli. | Cycling: 25kms | BLD |Accommodation: Shangli Guesthouse.
Day 14 – Our last ride of the trip brings us back down to the rolling farmland of the Sichuan Basin. Afternoon transfer to Chengdu. |Cycling: 45kms | BL, dinner out at own cost | Accommodation: Chengdu Hotel.
Day 15 – Fly out. Airport transfers can be arranged.