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Tour Description

Western Sichuan - Chengdu to Dege and the Tibet Border 13-Day Cycling Tour

Dates: Contact us with the dates that work for you.

Village near Ganzi

Western Sichuan - Chengdu to Dege and the Tibet Border 13-Day Cycling Tour

Dates: Contact us with the dates that work for you.

Route Map

This 15-day cycling tour begins and ends in Chengdu, is designed as a challenging ride. From the heart of the Sichuan basin we travel into the foothills of the Himalayas visiting the Wolong Panda Reserve, the Tibetan town of Danba with their fascinating defensive towers and temples, to the Hailougou Glacier Park at the foot of Mt. Gongga, a 7,556 meter (24,800 ft) mountain. This 13-Day cycling tour begins and ends in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.   This tour is designed as challenging ride. Average daily cycling mileage will be about 74 km or 46 miles. Riders will carry their own luggage in their bike panniers. This tour will visit both well-known and little-known sights and will appeal to those who have cultural, social and geographical interests.

On the first day, the group will meet in Chengdu in the morning and transfer gear into panniers and store excess luggage at the hotel. We will take transport to the starting point 100 kilometers from Chengdu. This puts us on a road leading into the Wolong Panda Reserve. We will spend the night at Wolong and visit the Panda Research Center early the next morning when the pandas are most active.

For the next two days, the group will head up to Balangshan Pass through the Wolong Nature Reserve. The pass is at 4,550 meters (14,950 feet) above the tree line. On the way up, one night will be spent in a simple guesthouse at 2,730 meters (8,950 feet). This will allow a more gradual acclimation to the altitude. Yaks can be seen grazing on the slopes tended by Tibetan herdsman. At the top of the pass we will then coast down into a gorgeous valley to Rilongguan, at the base of Four Sisters Mountain.

The following day we will cycle (mostly downhill) to Xiaojin Xian for lunch where there is a Buddhist Temple, an Islamic Mosque and a Catholic Church where Mao spend some time on the Long March. We will then cycle to Danba, located on the Dadu River, a major tributary to the Yangtze. Along the way we will visit a lamasery and a Tibetan Buddhist Temple.

In Danba, there will be a rest day and the group will explore the area including some of the Tibetan Defensive towers the dot the hills around the town.

On the sixth day, the group will cycle to Bamei visiting hot springs along the way. The next day the group will cycle to Daofu and visit a local orphanage.  Next is Luhuo, a small Tibetan town, followed by Ganzi.

Ganzi is a great Tibetan town. There is a huge monastery, old Tibetan houses and glaciers on the mountains. The landscape side has become the Tibetan plateau with grasslands, cows, yaks, and horses.

On the following two days, we will cycle to Manigange and then on to Dege, the last town before the Tibetan border. In Dege, time permitting, we will visit the Tibetan Sutra Printing House. On the 12th day we will cycle to the Jinsha River at the border of Tibet and then return to Dege via transport.

On the 13th day the group will travel via vehicle returning to Luhuo. The following day the group will have the option, time and weather permitting, cycle down from Balangshan pass to Wolong where we will be transported to Chengdu concluding the bike tour.

Here are several travelogues covering the route:

Bike Trip to Danba Travelogue and Photos
Bike Trip to Ganzi and beyond Travelogue and Photos
Another Bike Trip to Danba Travelogue and Photos

Itinerary and Tour Details

Western Sichuan - Chengdu to Dege and the Tibet Border 13-Day Cycling Tour
1,017 km - 636 miles
Route Map

Day Location Cycling  KM/Miles Total km/miles Notes
1 Wolong 41/25


Transport by truck for 103 km. Visit Wolong Panda Reserve
2 Dengsheng 41/25 41/25 Ride through the beautiful Wolong Nature Reserve to 2,750 meters (8,950 feet)

3 Rilongguan 57/35 57/35 Cycle to top of 4,550-meter (14,950-foot) pass then coast down to Rilongguan (3,100 meters, 10,200 feet) at the base of Four Sisters Mountain (snow-covered all year)
4 Danba 120/74 120/74 Explore Wori Feudal Lord Tower, Twin Bridge Gorge, Catholic Church, Islamic Temple, Buddhist Temple, a 500-year old Lamasery, and Tibetan Temple
5 Bamei 97/60 97/60 Climb a 3,850m (12,630) pass. Relax in hot springs.
6 Daofu 77/48 77/48 Visit an orphanage
7 Luhou 78/48 78/48 Small Tibetan town
8 Ganzi 97/60 97/60 Visit Tibetan monastery
9 Ganzi 30/19 30/19 Rest day to explore the Ganzi area
10 Manigange 95/59 95/59 Small Tibetan town
11 Dege 112/70 112/70 Last town before Tibet. Visit the Dege Sutra Printing House where Tibetan Buddhist scripts are printed.
12 Luhou 22/14 426/267 Cycle to the Jinsha River at the Tibet border. Return to Dege where the group will get transport to Luhou
13 Chengdu 60/36 536/326 Return to Chengdu via vehicle with an option to cycle down from Balangshan to Wolong
  Total Distance 1,017 km
636 miles
1,876 km
1,173 miles

Details - Western Sichuan - Chengdu to Dege and the Tibet Border 13-Day Cycling Tour

Dates: Contact us with the dates that work for you.

Start location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province

Finish location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province

Tour type: Self-supported - riders carry their own luggage. Transport will be provided for riders and gear on portions of Day 1, and Days 12 and 13. (Note: This tour is also available with a support vehicle at a higher cost.)

Geographical location: Southwestern China. Elevation range: 500 meters (1,640 feet) to 5,050 meters (16,560 feet)

Climate: The best weather for touring is in the spring and fall. Chance of rain (or snow at the passes). Historic weather information for Chengdu is available from the link below. Higher elevations will be colder.

Click for Chengdu, Sichuan China Forecast

Terrain: Mountainous and rolling

Cycling tour level: Challenging

Total cycling distance: Approximately 1,017 km (636 miles): Average distance per travel day: 74 km (46 miles) Cycling may be supplemented on occasion with vehicle transport when necessary to reach the next destination before dark.

Days: 13

Nights: 14

Cycling Days: 12

Group size: 1 - 8

Accommodations: Will be basic Chinese hotels generally of the 1-2 star variety. On occasion it may be necessary to use a 0-star guesthouse/hotel. The prices are for double occupancy rooms, and will vary depending on the number of people who participate.

Single room supplement: US$260

This tour is limited to no more than eight people. This will permit more flexibility in the program and allow more spontaneity for taking photos or exploring villages along the way.

Prices include the following:

1. Bilingual bicycle tour guide.
2. All hotel accommodations (double occupancy) for 14 nights.
3. Meals eaten as group (private meals, snacks and alcoholic beverages are not included).
4. All group transportation costs (vans, trucks, buses, and taxis) including to/from the airport.
5. All group entrance fees to attractions.
6. Transport of gear and cyclists when necessary. Riders carry their own luggage.
7. Travel insurance for the duration of the tour.

Bicycle rental is available for $140 including bike, panniers, lock, gloves, raincape and helmet.

This will be a self-supported ride. This means that riders will carry their luggage between destinations unless special arrangements are made. Please contact us for details.

If you decide to do something on your own, you will be responsible for those costs.

Cost: Prices depend on the total number of people going on the tour and the time of year. Below are the price per person (pp) and quoted in US dollars (US$) for non-holiday periods*:

Group size:
1 person: $3,050
2 people: $2,240 pp
3 people $2,020 pp
4-8 people $1,660 pp

* Holiday Periods require a 30% surcharge to the basic price due to increased costs of hotels and transportation. Tours with overlapping dates will be prorated. These periods are: Chinese New Year (Feb. 7, 2008) from Feb 1-17, 2008 and (Jan. 26, 2009) from Jan. 19 to Feb. Feb.2, 2009; Labor Day Apr. 24 - May 10; and National Day Sep. 25 - Oct. 10.

An announcement of the cost of the tour will be made to the group 45-days prior to the start based on the number of registered members.

A deposit of $500 per person is required. This is fully refundable up to 45 days prior to the start of the tour. Submission of a deposit will guarantee your place on the tour. Balance is due at least 45 days prior to the beginning of the tour and payable by credit card, wire transfer, or personal check.

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