SAT 20 AUCKLAND – SHANGHAI
Depart Auckland on our overnight flight to Shanghai with China Eastern Airlines.
SUN 21 SHANGHAI - GUILIN
Arrive Shanghai early morning where we clear Immigration and Customs and connect with Shanghai Airlines to Guilin. On arrival we are meet by our China cycling hosts and transferred to our hotel. After some rest we will set up and test the bikes in readiness for our cycling ahead.
Accommodation: Hotel in downtown area of Guilin city. (D)
MON 23 Guilin cycle to Qingshitan - Distance from 40KM-70KM.
Road: Flat, concrete and dirt tracks.
Qingshitan is a very small town famous for its delicious fish meals and for the reservoirs which control the water level of the famous Li River of Guilin city. After breakfast we leave Guilin and cycle through the city along the Li River and then turn into the tracks along the branches of canals coming from Qingshitan. An easy start to enable us to adapt to both our unfamiliar bikes and the road and tracks of the Guilin region. If everybody is comfortable and keen for further cycling we can increase the ride distance.
During today’s ride, we will pass by some urban area of Guilin city seeing the real life of local people and witnessing the diverse life style from New Zealand. When we reach the countryside area, less cars and more rural features like orchards will be found. Say hello or smile to the farmers working with their E-bike or tractors in the fields or along the canal as they rarely see foreigners.
If you are quite experienced, we can increase the distance to about 70KM, but the difficulty will be doubled or tripled. The initial 40KM are on flat roads/paths with about 15KM on simple dirt tracks along the canal. If you do the 70KM the extra 30KM offers some climbs both on paved and steep off road paths, although they are only 2-3KM each time, however scenery is spectacular!
Accommodation: Basic lodge and rooms, swimming pool is available in summer. (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
The rooms around Qingshitan Reservoir area are very basic, most of them are with very old beds and room decorations. The hot water for bathing is supplied but don’t be surprised if the water amount is much smaller than standard hotels in bigger cities.
TUE 23 Cycling + Transfer from Qingshitan to Ping’an (Longji Rice Terraces)
44KM cycle and 2 hours trekking.
Road: Undulating and some climbs (3-5KM), mainly concrete and with few off-road tracks.
We cycle from Qingshitan through peaceful valleys and reservoir areas until we reach the main road again where our private coach will drive us for 20KM to the scenic spot of Longji Rice Terraces.
We re-start our ride up a short but steep slope and then follow the undulating paths with lovely views of the villages, fields and the reservoir. Getting supplies and rest at a small town on halfway, we continue our ride into big valleys following brooks. Following some lovely quiet riding, we finish by conquering a big 4km climb before being transferred to the scenic spot of Longji.
We will park our bikes at the bottom of the hill and then use the bus up to the Ping’an village where we will check into our hotel. Later we will enjoy a 2 hour trek of the rice terrace region. If time or weather is limited the trek can be arranged for the next morning.
Accommodation: Hotel on the mountain. (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
There are lot of hotels in this scenic area. Most are wooden to help protect against the cold winters. Rooms tonight are very comfortable.
WED 24 Transfer + Cycle 28KM to Xing’an County
Road: Mainly flat with few short undulating sections. Mainly paved with some unpaved.
Optional early morning walk around the village on our own before we take the bus down to where we stored our heavy bags and bikes. We then drive about 2.5 hours to a point halfway between Guilin and Xing’an. After a short visit with local farmers to enjoy their grapes and other fruit, we head off along the cycle greenway beside the Lingqu Canal and arrive Xing’an County in the afternoon.
During our ride we will cross a lot of old small bridges, pass many vineyards, old railways tracks, high speed roads and by small water pumps, making the 28KM cycles colorful and full of adventure. Later we take a walk around the county and either before or after dinner we can walk into the Lingqu Park and see the main dam of Lingqu Canal.
Xing’an is a less commercialized county but with more culture and stories. The former emperor Qingshihuan built the Great Wall in the north of China and also the Lingqu Canal in south of China.
Accommodation: Hotel at Xing’an County. (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
Normal local 3 star level hotel at Xing’an.
THU 25 Cycle Xing’an to Water Cave and Hidden Village.
Cycle approx 40KM and 1.5 hours trekking.
Road: Big undulating hills and short climbs, the majority of roads today are paved.
As most of the hotels in Xing’an do not offer breakfast, we will eat a simple breakfast outside the hotel. Today we say goodbye to Xing’an and head for the Hidden Village and Water Cave. The region has very poor accommodation so we are going to stay overnight in some basic but comfortable tents. The lovely wooden houses and peaceful world here will make up for it and the Hidden Cave is one of the highlights of the whole trip.
From the outside the Water Cave complex looks like a huge rock bridge and therefore it was named as the Natural Bridge and is one of the biggest Karst landform chained caves in Asia. It is very popular with Chinese hikers and locals living nearby. The cycling from the cave is only around 40KM but it is not easy with many small climbs. The amazing scenery is also quite a photo distraction meaning the cycling is likely to be rather slow!
Accommodation: Wooden lodge and tent. (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
Very simple facilities will be supplied. Guests will need to share bathrooms and use them one at a time taking showers. We will have some private rooms and some tents if group number is greater than 6 people, however it’s quite possible that there will be more private rooms by 2018.
FRI 26 Water Cave Cycle to Shenlong.
Cycle approx. 66KM
Road: Mainly flat and slightly downhill. Short ascents.
Today will be one of our longest cycling days but it’s not hard as it will be mainly flat. We will pass by small rivers, along the Li River and through the ancient town of Daxu’s. Cycling will mostly be along the bike path beside the Li River. On the way, crops like corn and sweet potato are easily found along the country roads. We mostly cycle slightly downhill passing along small rivers and the magnificent Karst mountains. Today some of the road sections are affected a little by vehicle traffic as they need to transfer fruit and crops between Guilin and the farmland. This area is also famous for the gingko trees. Late this afternoon we will arrive at the isolated Shenlong Water World Resort Hotel for a well earned rest in our lovely rooms.
Accommodation: Hotel (villa style). (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
As the hotel is built on a mountain, the parking lot is about 8 minute on foot to our rooms! However the rooms are very quiet and we should have a great sleep tonight.
SAT 27 Shenlong Water World to Xingping.
Cycle approx 50KM
Road: Big undulating climbs, mainly on perfectly paved asphalt road with a few off-road tracks.
We bike through a very peaceful and mountainous area today and arrive at Xing’ping early afternoon. Today we see bigger Karst Mountains and cycle on delightful roads along green rivers and reservoirs. Always during our bike tour we see people busy harvesting their orchards as we cycle on tracks they built for farming. We also cycle to the high-speed railway station area and will witness a surprise ‘big change’ hidden in the splendid scenery.
On arrival at Xingping we check-in to our hotel and take a short rest before we cycle to see the famous scene printed on our 20 Yuan note. Later we will enjoy rafting for an hour on diesel powered boats. (However the government are introducing and encouraging the use of electronic boats to reduce noise and pollution so maybe when we arrive the diesel boats will be changed). This evening we take a leisurely walk in the old streets in Xingping.
Accommodation: Hotel to be advised (B,L,D).
About today’s hotel:
Hotel with big rooms with fancy balconies.
SUN 28 Xingping cycle to Yangshuo.
Cycle approx 60KM
Road: Small undulating, dirt tracks, paved and unpaved roads between villages.
We cycle through the peaceful and hidden countryside to Fuli where we cross the river by boat and continue our ride to Yangshuo. We will have a picnic lunch during the cycling today as there are minimal local restaurants on the tracks in these less-visited places.
The cycling today is very special as it differs a lot from the other days. Be ready for the colorful sites and quick changes from road to track. We will use the local boat to cross the Li River to continue our peaceful cycling with less chance to be affected by traffic. On arrival at Yangshuo, rest or walk around on our own in the downtown area before our van will transfer us to the theater to enjoy the 1 hour evening light show of Liusanjie. Dinner is not included today as we have many restaurant options in Yangshuo.
Accommodation: Hotel to be advised (B,L).
About today’s hotel:
Local 4 star hotel with very nice Western-Chinese breakfast.
MON 29 Yangshuo cycle to Yangdi.
Cycle approx 55KM
Road: Simple tracks and some climbs on concrete road, few off-road climbs.
Today’s cycle will be a little harder although the distance is not so far. We will ride some great tracks with some very short but steep downhill sections. A lot of the cycling in the afternoon is over big undulating hills but in reward, the most beautiful scenery hidden between Guilin and Yangshuo will be found.
During our ride to Yangdi today, we can make an optional visit to Xianggongshan Mountain to see a gorgeous view of the big bend of Li River if time and energy permits. When we arrive at Yangdi Dock we have the choice to stay overnight in Yangdi Town or cycle another 7KM and take a boat across the river, with simple necessities, and stay in a hotel on the other side of the River (If we choose that, we have to be up early to get back to Yangdi town the next morning.)
Accommodation: Local Hotel in Small Town. (B,L,D)
About today’s hotel:
We will need to decide in advance which location we wish to spend our night.
TUE 30 Yangdi cycle to Guilin - 62KM
Road: Small undulating and short climbs in the morning, and then flat ride on paved roads or tracks in the afternoon.
We finish our ride today with a relatively long but excellent cycling on different surfaces. We lunch at the wetland area of Huixian town and then finish our last cycling leg back to Guilin. This evening enjoy a walk around Guilin city before our farewell dinner to celebrate 10 wonderful days together.
Accommodation: Hotel in downtown area of Guilin city. (B,L)
WED 31 Guilin Departure
Full day free time to explore on our own until we return to Guilin airport for our evening flight to Shanghai and our overnight connection on China Eastern Airlines to Auckland. (B)
THU 1 Arrive Auckland
About our bikes:
27 speed mountain bikes with front suspension. Crank set is Shimano M590, wheels are self-assembled by one of the best bike technicians in Guilin with water proof Shimano hubs, oil-disk brakes. Luggage racks are available, if you don’t mind the extra weight, but we do recommend them as we are fully supported by vans.
Support and supplies during the cycling:
We offer many kinds of snacks during the cycling, bottled mineral water for drinking, simple but nourishing local fruits such as banana, water melon, oranges, etc. We will try to introduce more typical and traditional local snacks and food on this tour.
We are supported by van(s), so you can skip some climbs when you feel uncomfortable. However as we are largely cycling on back roads and off-the-beaten paths suitable only for bicycles and motor bikes, we are only going to see our vans and luggage at the end of the day. Please communicate with the guides if you want any rest from riding.
It’s possible on some days that our luggage van or supporting van will be slower than us resulting in our arrival at our hotel well after we check in. Whilst this is a nuisance it is all part of cycling back roads in rural China
Bike leaders and drivers:
All leaders speak good English making communication easy. They are fully trained in bike mechanics and can fix anything that goes wrong. We recommend that you bring your own helmet, pedals, saddles or other bike parts if you feel it helps you a lot to enjoy the holiday, however we do offer high quality bikes. We do not provide water bottles so please bring your own.
Meals in Guilin area:
We will try our best not to repeat the same meals during our itinerary but we have limited choices in smaller towns. We will introduce the best Chinese food to you so please inform us in advance if you have special dietary needs e.g vegetarian, gluten free etc.
Rice noodles are largely being taken as breakfast in Guilin city and other cities in Guangxi province. We have different kinds of rice noodles so we can offer variety on the tour. We will prepare simple picnic lunches; sandwiches + soft drinks or simple packed meals when formal and safe restaurants are not available. Beer and other alcohol is not included in the meal. A local beer is here is only around USD1-2 per bottle
Tips for this tour:
Tips are not included in the price. We strongly recommend tipping the guide and driver as it is very hard to find qualified people who wish to serve cycling groups in China. This is because it’s hard to find guides both skilled in language and long-distance cycling, or drivers skilled in fixing bikes and driving. Also a lot of extra work is done for cycling groups compared with non-cycling groups travelling in cars such as cleaning & moving the bikes, extra work time before and after guests resting. The cycling guides are normally working about 9-13 hours during their service day, hence the tips.
The tip kitty to cover both the guides & drivers is CYN250 per tour participant (approx. NZD50.00)
The China Visa can be obtained by yourself at the China Visa Office in Penrose. This process means applying personally on one day and then retrieving your passport with visa a few days later. Be prepared for long queues on both days. We will supply you with the visa forms and guidance in completing them. If you would like us to process the Visa for you there is a charge of 50.00 per person
ESTIMATED TOUR PRICE:
$4200.00 per person share twin
TOUR PRICE INCLUDES
- Economy class airfares & taxes ex Auckland
- Modern purpose built cross trail bicycles
- Meals as indicated (B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner)
- Other transportation as mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking cycle guide
- Airport transfers in Guilin
- Water and simple snacks daily
- Entrance tickets to the Yanshou Lightshow & Longji Rice Terraces
- Rafting at Xingping
- Tour Escort from New Zealand
TOUR PRICE EXCLUDES
- Domestic travel within NZ
- Travel insurance (compulsory)
- Tips (NZD50 per person, collected in advance in Chinese Yuan – CNY250)
- China Visa (NZD140.00 per person – see notes)
- Meals other than stated
- Beverages other than water during riding and meal times
- Cycling clothing equipment