Travel to the start point
This trip starts in Shangri-La (Airport Code DEQ), Yunnan Province. It’s airport has limited flights which means that you will have to fly into Shangri-La from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Kunming is a major city/airport in China and has flights from many domestic and international airports. Examples are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xian, Bangkok and Hong Kong from which there are many flights every day. To check flight details, time and cost we can recommend the following website:
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.
Buses are an option to get to Shangri-La also. If you are interested in travelling this way just let us know and we can suggest some options.
Travel from the finish point
The trip finishes in the town of Lijiang. It connects directly to many centres in China, and internationally through Kunming and Hong Kong. From Lijiang there are buses and trains available also.
Joining Point Instructions and Pre-tour Information
Once we have received your booking and deposit payment for the tour you will be sent a Trip Info Pack which will include details of the start point hotel with maps and instructions (English and Chinese!) as well as all the tour info, packing lists, training tips, reading and film lists, language sheets etc.
Individual arrival and departure transfers can be organised through us. Please indicate that you would like a transfer when you make your booking.
Pre and post trip accommodation
If you would like us to organise some extra nights accommodation either before or after the trip at our start or finish point hotels, just let us know when you book the trip. An extra night or two in Shangri-La is a good idea if you have the time as this will help you to acclimatise to the altitude. It is not necessary but if you know you have a tendency to be affected we would recommend this. If you would like to stay at a hotel other than the designated hotels prior to the start or at the end of the tour don’t hesitate to contact us for recommendations and advice.
You will need to bring money on the trip to pay any for the following: some meals, drinks, activities and transport in free time, airline excess baggage, and of course shopping. There are a few methods for accessing money whilst on tour.
- ATMs are available in Shangri-La, Deqen, Weixi, Shigu and Lijiang where you can access money using your Maestro, Cirrus, Visa and Mastercard.
- Banks to exchange major foreign currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, NZD etc) and Traveller’s Cheques.
- There are limited credit card facilities so best not plan on using plastic to pay your way.
The amount you bring is going to depend on how much you plan to spend. To give you an indication of prices: Beer would cost CNY 5 (local), 35 (bar) Dinner at local restaurant CNY 10 – 60 Dinner at foreign restaurant CNY 25 – 100 The Chinese currency is the Chinese Yuan (CNY), also known as Renminbi (RMB), or colloquially as kuai. Exchange rates fluctuate but to give you a rough idea: 1 AUD = 6.5 CNY 1 USD = 6.2 CNY 1 EUR = 8.1 CNY 1 GBP = 10 CNY 1 CAD = 6.3 CNY 1 NZD = 4.9 CNY There will be very relatively few opportunities to spend money whilst cycling through rural areas outside of personal items, snacks, drinks and the odd souvenir. Most of your shopping will be likely to be done in bigger centres, such as Guiyang or Guilin, or in ethnic or tourist centres such as Pingan and Yangshuo. You can chat to your tour leader about recommendations and availability of ATM’s and banks at the start of the tour. We also recommend that you bring US $100 in emergency funds, to be used when circumstances beyond the control of Bike Asia necessitate a change in itinerary.
Travellers of all nationalities will need to obtain a Chinese visa, either through a travel agent or direct with a Chinese embassy or consulate. Regulations change frequently and differ according to nationality so best to check with the nearest embassy. If you need any assistance please contact us. We can also provide visa support letters if this regulation is required for your application.
Obtaining your own travel insurance is required in order to participate on a Bike Asia tour. It will need to include a minimum coverage of medical expenses with emergency evacuation, personal liability and accident insurance. Your group leader will need to see a copy of your insurance at the group meeting on the first day. Two well known travel insurance providers are: World Nomads and Covermore.
You will need to have a reasonably good level of fitness to participate comfortably in this trip. There are ten cycling days in total, with two days cycling over 80km, one of them is over 100km. It is a great idea to do at least some cycling in the month leading up to your tour. This is up to you but we highly recommend some training as it will alleviate saddle soreness and leg fatigue, and you may enjoy the tour more if you find the cycling easier. A more detailed training program will be sent to you in the Trip Information Booklet after booking the trip. We do appreciate that with busy lives these days that it can be difficult to fit in rides prior to embarking on a holiday and we encourage people not to be overly concerned by this. Do what you can with the time available and come anyway! The first couple of days on tour might be a bit tougher but this is generally all it takes and you’ll thank yourself for not missing out on the adventure!
In order to make the most of your holiday, the healthier you are the more you will enjoy it! For a list of vaccinations, we recommend that you seek advice at a travel clinic at least two months prior to departure. If you have any existing medical conditions, take medications, suffer from allergies or even have any concerns at all these should be indicated on the booking form. We treat this information with utmost respect and privacy and only wish to use this information to ensure your personal safety and enjoyment on the tour. Our group leader will have, as a minimum requirement, Senior Level First Aid Training. It is our policy to provide further training opportunities for our leaders to upgrade to, and maintain, Remote Wilderness Emergency Training for Outdoor Professionals certification whilst they are in employment with us. Leaders will travel with a first-aid kit, however, it is also recommended that individual travellers have a basic first aid kit with any personal medical requirements. We do not encourage our group leaders to administer any kind of drugs including pain relief tablets, antibiotics, etc unless absolutely necessary so be sure to pack a supply of your favourite pain-killers or others. Pharmacy products vary in different countries and you may not be able to buy products that are widely available at home. As a precaution also include the following: plasters, dressings, bandage, calamine lotion (a must for soothing sunburn), oral re-hydration treatment (in case of bouts of diarrhoea), insect repellent, insect sting relief, antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, antibiotics and pain relief tablets. For more information on travel health, you can click on the links below.
An integral part of travelling is to have a positive impact on the country that we visit. On this trip there are a number of things you can do to have a positive impact on the communities that we visit.
Dress: Parts of China are still quite conservative. In rural areas (which make up most of this tour), and temples, overly revealing clothing is considered offensive. You should make an effort to dress more conservatively in these situations. Walking around a village in bike shorts is generally not appropriate so if you wish to cycle in just bike shorts you should have something with you, on the bike, to put on over the top (long loose shorts or a skirt/sarong). When visiting temples shorts are acceptable providing they cover the knee. Singlet tops are not acceptable in temples.
Phrase Book: A highly memorable part of your travels will be the local people you meet. In the tourist areas some people will speak some English but away from these areas you should learn a few words of Chinese. We will teach you some of the basics but if you want to really interact we recommend bringing a phrase book.
Donations: Often when coming on trips overseas people like to bring items such as sweets, pens and books for children or old clothing for families. While this is a fantastic idea, if distributed in the wrong way it can actually create more problems. Giving away anything to local people can create an expectation that visiting foreigner equals free give-aways. In some communities in Asia this has created whole villages where the only interaction is the locals asking for things. If you would like to donate anything to the communities that we visit we suggest that you give the items to us and we will then pass them on to development organizations, schools or whole communities. In this way items are distributed to those really in need by those working in the communities.
Poverty: In this part of China there is poverty which you are likely to see, since we cycle through some fairly remote rural areas. If you choose to give something to a beggar you must bear in mind the value of money in the country you are visiting. There are organizations which are working to alleviate this poverty in China and they may be able to do more good with your donations. Your Tour Leader will be able to provide more information about this.
Support Organizations: In China there are a number of organizations which we hope you can support in one way or another. Your Tour Leader will provide more information on these as you travel. For more information about Bike Asia’s commitment to ethical and sustainable travel practices, please read our Responsible Travel Policy.