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HomeBiking/SkiingCycling Tour from Shangri-la to Lijiang

Cycling Tour from Shangri-la to Lijiang

Shangri-la, Tiger leaping Gorge and Lijiang

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Tour Code: BK-S-009
Duration: 7days
Biking Distance: 250km
Biking Time: 4-6hrs
Good time to visit: from Jan to May, from Oct to Dec
Departure date: on request 2016
Effort Nature Culture

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Introduction to Travel to Yunnan: Shangri-la to Lijiang:

Shangri-la, located in the beautiful Northern Yunnan province of China, captures China’s beautiful nature at its best. As we Travel to Lijiang from Shangri-la by bike over a period of 7 days we’ll charter through high mountain passes, visit the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, and bike around beautiful alpine lakes. 

Elevation range: 1900 meters to 4100 meters
Terrain: Flat, rolling and mountainous
Cycling tour level: Moderate to challenging - alternative transportation may be used if needed
Total cycling distance: Approximately 300km; Average distance per ride day: up to 75KM.

Day-By-Day Itinerary of Shangri-la Trip:


Shangri la Travel Day 1:

Shangri-la: Introductions & Getting Acquainted

Arrival Shangri-la. Here you’ll meet and greet one of our expert guides and transfer over to the local hostel in the famous old town, Shangri-la (Zhongdian).

Old Town is a Tibetan town located at about 3,400 meter and offers a picturesque and fascinating look into Tibetan culture and life, as this area is considered a gateway to Tibet. Here we’ll find the Gandan Sumtseling Monestary, Paducuo National Park, and of course Tiger Leaping Gorge.

After a short rest at the hostel we’ll hop on our bikes for a test ride to make adjustments, begin getting adjusted to the altitude, head to a nearby restaurant fro some delicious dinner. You’ll have to try to Barley Wine made from “zanba” (a roasted highland barley flour). Thereafter we’ll head in for a good night’s. 

Overnight in local hostel in Shangri-la.






China-Yunnan-Zhongdian-Songzanlin monastery.jpg    China-Yunnan-Zhongdian-Shangri-la (3).jpg

(Songzanlin Monastery)                                 (Praying stones and view near Zhongdian)

Shangri la Travel Day 2: Shangri-la

Road Condition: Paved. On the way to Napa Lake, 10km from town, we’ll encounter a small slope

Distance: 22km

Elevation: 3400M

Time: Half day casual biking with visiting spots along the way

Today we’ll spend our day doing more sightseeing and cycling around Old Town of Shangri-la and getting further adjusted to the high elevation.

This area is rich with Tibetan-style architecture and dates back 1300 years! We’ll eat breakfast and ride to Songzanlin Monestary, 5km north of the old town center. The Songzanlin Monestary (constructed in 1679) is the largest Tibetan Monestary in Yunnan and is nicknamed the “Lesser Potala” due to its resemblance to the magnificent structure in Lhasa. We’ll visit for 2 hours until lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch we’ll cycle over to a small hill to visit Napa Lake about 6km away. The Napa Lake Nature Reserve is the country’s largest grassland and most scene area of the plateau. We’ll have time to walk around and take everything in, enjoy the Tibetan culture and take lots of photographs before riding back to Old Town.

Upon returning to our hotel in the evening we’ll have a delicious dinner. We’ll be getting a good night’s sleep tonight - we have a big day tomorrow! 






Overnight in local hostel in Shangri-la. (B)

Shangri la Travel Day 3:

Shangri-la - Baishuitai

Road Condition - Paved. Three difficult uphill and downhill section in a row. High altitude elevation

Elevation: 3300m - 4100m

Time: 5-6 hours cycling

Distance: 101 km, about 60 km riding with 40 km vehicle transfer (this section is really a 2-day ride but there is no suitable accommodation half-way and the first part is a very tough, steep, uphill mountainous climb with little scenery. For this reason, we will use vehicle support to transfer the group to the high mountain pass, where the rest of the day is a much more interesting downhill ride)

After breakfast we’ll say goodbye to the beautiful Shangri-la and will be transferred directly to a high mountain pass (4100m) where we’ll start our cycling for the day. As we begin today’s journey at the top it will be apparent there is little wildlife, few trees or brush but only some moss, and large rocks. As we make our way down its fascinating to watch this change.  

After scanning this beautiful Yunnan view we’ll mount our bikes and will be immediately challenged by two 3900-meters-high mountains in a row. It will be worth it though! On the way we’ll stop and choose a nice spot for a picnic lunch.

Our destination is Baishutai, the backdoor to the Tiger Leaping Gorge area. As we descend, we will pass through large coniferous forest that is famous in Yunnan. There area is very undeveloped as the only sounds we’ll here are the animals and the wind as it passes through the enormous pines that line the roads. After a long day’s journey we’ll check into a local hostel, take a shower, grab some delicous food, and relax! 






Overnight in the small local hostel

Tiger Leaping Gorge Day 4:

Yilik / River - Camping Along the River
China-Yunnan-Baishui Terrace.jpg  China-Yunnan-Tiger leaping girge (1).jpg  
(Baishui Terrace)                          (Tiger Leaping Gorge)

Road Condition: Paved. 4km uphill at the very beginning, then most of the road continues downhill. As we approach Tiger Leaping Gorge, there will be a 3km long gravel section, but its still downhill. After entering Tiger Leaping Gorge itself, we will ride another 10 km on a paved road to reach our destination.

Distance: 73 km

Elevation: 3400 - 1800 m

Time: 6 hours cycling

Before we set out for today’s Yunnan biking journey we’ll first visit the unique Baishui Terraces (“bai shui” means “white water” in Chinese). For thousands of years, mineral-laden spring water has flown down the mountain, leaving crystallized sodium carbonate along its slopes, leaving us now with the awesome view of a series of limestone basins full of water that look like huge marble sculptures! Its a lot cooler when you see it than when we try to describe it!

After an hour or so of visiting and taking photos, we will start on our day’s cycling tour. We’ll start with initial 4k uphill section until we head downhill the rest of the way to the Gorge.  Lunch will be in Haba, a small but unique village on the way.

In the late afternoon we will enter the world-famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest most dramatic gorges in the world, and still quite wild despite enormous efforts to tame it. We’ll bike another 10km after enter in the gorge until we finally arrive at the “middle” of Tiger Leaping Gorge. Here we will spend the night. 

Overnight in cozy hostel at Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge


Cycling the Yangtze River Day 5:



China-Yunnan-Tiger leaping girge.jpg  China-Yunnan-Yangze river first bend.jpg  

(Hostel in Middle Tiger Leaping gorge)  (The first bend of the Yangtze river)

Road Condition: Paved. 10km in the beginning as we ride along Tiger Leaping Gorge, then a steep 8km uphill stretch. Afterwards, the road will alternate between flat terrain and gentle slopes.

Distance 70km

Elevation: 1800 - 2400 m

Time: 6hours cycling

In the early morning we’ll spend an hour or so hiking down the narrow spot of the gorge where the entire Yangtze River is forced through a gap only 20 meters wide! We’ll be unable to talk here because of the tremendous, thundering roar!

Once we head out on our bikes we’ll ride along a 10km stretch on a packed gravel road. Once we pass this we’ll reach smooth and rolling roads and get a view of the might Yangtze on our right and the majestic Snow Mountains on our left.

After passing Songyuan Bridge, we will have lunch in local restaurant. Later in the afternoon, we will reach “The First Bend of the Yangtze River” where the mighty Yangtze turns almost 180 degrees. This is the first of several abrupt turns it makes on its way eastward across all of China, before it finally empties into the East China Sea at Shanghai.

The mighty Yangtze, the third-longest river in the world (after the Nile and the Amazon), originates from a glacier in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, "the roof of the world", where it surges into Yunnan from the northwest, cutting through the high mountains and deep gorges of the Hengduan Mountains, and rushing southwards from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Here, where we stand, the Yangtze is blocked by the Hailuo Cliff, which forces it to turn roughly to northeast, forming a great "U"-shaped bend, which is called the First Bend of the Yangtze.

At this first bend the river is wide, so the water seems to flow in a gentle, slow pace hiding the power beneath the surface. Large willow trees grow luxuriously alongside the river that is banked on both sides with lush, fertile deep green vegetation and immense, steep mountains that rise up from the river toward the sky above. On the fertile soil deposited as the river makes its turn lies the town of Shigu, linking Tibet with the outside world. Here is where we will stay for the night, in a local hostel. Shigu (Stone Drum) town is named after a white marble monument, carved in the 1500’s in the shape of a drum, to commemorate victory by the Naxi ruler over an invading Tibetan army.






Overnight in local hostel in Shigu.

Shigu/Lijiang Day 6:

 China-Yunnan-Shigu Town.jpg    China-Yunnan-Lashi Lake-Lijiang.jpg
(Shigu which means Stone Drum)  ( Lashi Lake)



Road Condition: Paved. Flat road most of the time. Heavy Traffic.

Distance: 60km

Elevation: 2200m-2400m

Time: 4 hours cycling

Today, we will depart from Shigu and ride to Lijiang, our final port of call for this challenging route. In this final leg of the race, we will pass by Lashi Lake. This lake is situated 8 km west of Lijiang City with an area of about 9 square kilometers. In the Naxi language, Lashi means "New Basin". This beautiful lake is not only a scenic spot but also a provincial nature reserve because of the rich biodiversity of life forms found here. Rich in cultural and biological diversity, the Lashi Lake watershed is home to two minority ethnic groups, the Naxi and the Yi, and provides another critical habitat for the endangered black-necked crane, the only alpine crane in the world. The watershed is also the primary water supply to a large downstream population and the rapidly growing tourism industry in the historic city of Lijiang.

This last leg will be a pretty easy and relaxing part of the tour. Upon arrival, we will celebrate our accomplishment






Overnight in local hostel in Lijiang.

China-Yunnan-Lijiang old town.JPG  China-Yunnan-Lijiang old town (4).JPG

Lijiang Day 7:

We did it! Today you are free to do whatever you please before flying back home. We’ll take you on over to the airport afterwards. Thanks for a great trip! Keep riding!




Tour Cost:               Currency Converter
 2-3 person4-5 person6-9 personOver 10 personSingle Supplement
Tour CostCNY11960/P
(The cost for the child of 2-12 year old is based on 15 % discount of the adult's tour cost.Any baby less than 2 year old is free of any charges. If it turns out there is cost involved, we reserved to collect the cost.)

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The tour cost includes: 

  • Meals daily as listed in the itinerary, picnic lunches in remote area if required(B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner);
  • Service of English-speaking guide
  •  Scenic spots admission fee; Nature Reserve Protection fee and/ or camping permit fee (inside nature reserve) if required
  • Accommodation: double-occupancy in 4 star hotel in big city, and the best hotel in small cities or counties, clean guest house/hostel/or home-stay in villages as clarified in the itinerary; camping in non-residential area as mentioned in the itinerary(tent and mattress),
  • One bike for each and supportive vehicles as required(For tours in the mountainous area like Yunnan, Qinghai, Tibet, etc. we strongly suggest the participant bring your own mountainous bike with you.)
  •  All domestic flights/trains/local airport taxes if there is in the itinerary; 

 The tour cost does not include:

  • Personal travel accident insurance. 
  •  The fee of rescuing for any accident, including but not limited:
     a. Asking the help from the international SOS;
     b. Transfer service and amending fee, if the bike is seriously damaged.
     c. While repairing the bike, the rental fee must be paid.
     d. Any others.
  • The medicine for the sickness or accident while on the way.
  •  Transfer, guide, entrance tickets, and meals in your free time,
  • Sleeping bag if camping.
  • photography charges at monasteries/palaces/sites.
  • Chinese visa fees; Excess baggage charged by Airlines; Single room supplement; Tips to guides and drivers;
  •  Domestic or/and international flights and related airport taxes not listed,
  • The extra cost due to the unforeseen events or weather; supplementary trips and services not mentioned, and personal expenses and the items don’t listed in the “The tour cost includes” column.


  • Once you confirm the trip, the quotation in RMB is fixed (subject to the items above). However, as exchange rates may continue to fluctuate, we reserve the right to modify the price quoted in USD to match the original RMB quotation, when you pay.
  • Reservation should be made at least ONE MONTH before departure time.
  • The train and flight schedules are presented according to time-tables available at time of publication; they are subject to change according to any new schedule, and we reserve the right to choose alternate flights. 
  • Prices may be somewhat higher if tour dates fall on public holidays (including, but not limited to,  Chinese National Day Sep. 30th -Oct.8th , Or other Special Festival time).
  • The quotation is based on the present domestic air fare and discounts available; we reserve the right to modify the price according to the airline’s policy. 
  •  If you prefer to have a single room, you are expected to pay the single supplement.
  • This is a tentative itinerary, the really itinerary and hotel/hostel maybe different from the itinerary. For the enjoyment of your trip a "go with the flow" attitude is necessary. Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather conditions, health, route conditions, etc. Please prepare two days more as "cushion" day in case of delays in travel due to unforeseen events.
  • The part of the area we will visit has not been well developed like Beijing and Shanghai. While it is good to enjoy the well protected nature view and experience unique primitive folk customs, we should prepare for that even the star hotel is not so good and though we will try our best, the food may not be so delicate and various.
  • Very important: When you are planning to do mountain biking, you acknowledge that there are risks involved in this sport and confirm that you are fully aware of and accept these risks. You may or may not be required to sign a separate acknowledgement and acceptance of personal liability by the local supplier before being allowed to do cycling. And if you are not allowed to participate because you refuse to sign, you will have no claim against CSH or the supplier and will not be entitled to any refund or compensation.

Travel Tips:

  • The participants we are looking for: HEALTHY!!! able to cycle for over 6 hours a day; prepared to cross high altitude passes and over difficult terrain in remote areas; experienced in mountainous area riding (with many bends, turns, and possibly switchbacks); excellent physical condition required with a positive attitude and a strong determination; previous hiking experience preferred. Please keep in mind that this is a general guide only. A variety of factors, including weather, may add to the challenge.
  • This is a tentative itinerary, the final itinerary and hotel/hostel may vary considerably from the itinerary. For the enjoyment of your trip, a "go with the flow" attitude is necessary. Many factors will influence the trip, such as weather conditions, health, route conditions, etc. Please allow one extra days as "cushion" days in case of delays in travel due to unforeseen events.
  • Regardless of your previous high-altitude experience, it is crucial that you be self-confident, superbly fit, committed, and determined at the outset of the expedition and possess the necessary stamina and experience to be a contributing player in the excursion.
  • Biking Gear suggested: Wind/waterproof coat, Hip pad, kneepad, gorro, helmet, Headlight, towel, sun block, glove, shoes for cycling etc
  • While you will most-certainly enjoy the fantastic views offered with this exciting biking adventure, there will also be unexpected encounters with other vehicular traffic, especially big trucks making wide turns, so you should ride very carefully in these places.
  • Many tourists have an uncomfortable feeling in the high-plateau areas, generally headaches and being out-of-breath; don’t be worried about it and you will adapt to the altitude in 2-3 days.
  •  To counter altitude-sickness in the high plateaus, be sure to take extra rest and try to avoid arriving with a cold. Although extra oxygen will be available for those who need to stop and take an extra breath or so, any quantity brought along will be limited, and cyclists cannot be dependent on its availability
  • Please be respectful of local customs and religion while you are in any area of a minority people; pay attention to any instructions given by the local guide and cooperate with him/her.
  •  Please be aware not to expect/order the meat of  dog, horse, mule, pig, or donkey, all of which are forbidden in Tibetan areas; eating the meat of any animal slaughtered without proper religious supervision is also forbidden
  • It’s not allowed to watch the Tibetan sky burial without their permission
  • To be polite, it is expected that you finish any beverage served to you in a cup, upon being greeted by a Tibetan; if you cannot finish the drink, please politely beg their pardon.
  • When greeted by a Tibetan who puts a silk scarf around your neck as a present, leave it on – do not immediately take it off.
  • There are some special taboos in Muslim area, such as exposed skin, head coverings, and proper conduct in mosques – listen to the guide
  • It’s prohibited to drink or to smoke in any Tibetan Monastery
  • Check with the guide regarding taking photographs; it’s forbidden to take any photos in a monastery without permission, although you may be allowed to “buy” permission. Always ask permission before taking a photo of monks or women, regardless of where they are. 

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What Our Clients Say

Two of us enjoyed a truly wonderful tour of Guilin, Yangshuo and surrounding countryside.    Many thanks to CnAdventures for providing very helpful assistance and our guide, David, who was really terrific, both accommodating and informative.  The trip provided a great deal of variety as we hiked, biked and rafted through some of the most gorgeous countryside I have ever seen.  An unplanned side trip to the Dragon's Backbone Rice Terrace was a most worthwhile addition to our itinerary.  Another nice aspect to the trip was the opportunity to sample some excellent local food along the way--stuffed snails and sticky rice cooked in bamboo were a couple of highlights along with rice wine and osmanthus tea. 

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