Hike and Bike China
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Discover a different side to fascinating China as we hike and bike our way across this vast country
China is a country of vast natural beauty and majestic man-made wonders that simply must be experienced up close to fully appreciate their essence. To get you there we have designed an innovative hike and bike adventure commencing in Beijing with a two day hike on a remote section of the Great Wall. We then explore the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace. By train we arrive in historic Xian where thousands of Terracotta Warriors lie in wait, before travelling southwest to the colourful province of Yunnan. Here we discover the Naxi people in the World Heritage town of Lijiang then hike though one of the deepest and most stunning gorges in the world; Tiger Leaping Gorge. We save the best to last as we cycle the picture book limestone landscape of Yangshuo that has inspired painters and poets for centuries. We complete our trip upon arrival in the vibrant, fast paced city of Hong Kong.
- Visit to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing
- Hike remote sections of the Great Wall
- View the Terracotta Warriors in Xian
- Explore the ancient World Heritage town Lijiang and surrounding minority villages
- Hike the spectacular scenic Tiger Leaping Gorge
- Cycle through the sublime limestone scenery of Yangshuo
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant city of Hong Kong
Day 1 Arrive Beijing
On arrival in Beijing you will need to make your own way to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Beijing before we meet in the hotel lobby at 6.30pm for a trip briefing with the group leader. Following the group meeting we will head out for our first group meal to sample some delicious local cuisine.
Day 2 Hike the Great Wall to Jinshanling
The Great Wall, stretching westwards for 6,400km, from China's eastern coast to the rugged mountain ridges north of Beijing and beyond, has become a national symbol of China. We leave Beijing early this morning for the 3 hour transfer out of Beijing to the remote section of the Great Wall at Gubeikou, where we begin our hike to Jinshanling (approx 4 hours). Jinshanling is a relatively undeveloped section of the Wall far away from the tourist crowds. Tonight we stay in a small guesthouse near the Wall.
Day 3 Hike the Great Wall to Mt Simatai
Today we continue hiking along the Wall from Jinshanling to Simatai (approx. 4 hours). Simitai is an exhilarating section of the Wall with sweeping scenery. Built during the reign of the Ming dynasty emperor Hongwu, this section is made up of a string of 19 watch towers with some rugged, scrambling sections of the Wall that give this area its texture. Simatai has some unusual features, such as ‘obstacle-walls’. These are walls within walls used for defending against enemies who had already scaled the Great Wall.
Day 4 Return to Beijing, sightseeing
This morning we transfer back to Beijing to enjoy a full day tour of its fascinating, historic sights. We will visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.
Day 5 Morning cycle in Beijing. Overnight train to Xian
This morning we rise early and cycle out to a ‘Hutong’ area (narrow alley ways). These Hutong's are the location of historic Beijing homes made up of ramshackle dwellings and historic courtyard homes. Most of these areas have been swept away in the rush of China’s mass development, but what is preserved is well worth a visit. This afternoon we transfer to the train station for our overnight train journey to Xian in comfortable air-conditioned sleeper cabins.
Day 6 In Xian
This morning we arrive in Xian, the traditional starting point of the Silk Road. The old walled city of Xian, the capital of Shaanxi Province, is a vivid example of old and new China. The modernized new city bustles around the quaint, winding lanes of the Old Quarter, where old men can be seen smoking pipes and watching the world go by, as butchers pull their carcass-laden carts and hawkers sell their wares. After a leisurely morning cycle around the old city walls, we then transfer to the Terracotta Warriors. These warriors stand in their thousands outside the tomb of Qin Shihuang where they were uncovered in 1974 by peasants digging a well. Each warrior stands over 6 feet tall and has different features and characteristics. Some stand in a vanguard with crossbow and longbow bearers; others hold spears, daggers and axes at the ready. They are accompanied by dozens of horse-drawn carriages and enormous terracotta horses. The sight of the warriors arising from their muddy grave, some intact, others still submerged in the ground, is an extraordinary one.
Day 7 Fly to Lijiang
Today you have the morning free for your own exploration before wel transfer to the Xian airport for our flight to Lijiang, located in the Southwest colourful province of Yunnan. Lijiang is the cultural center and capital of the Naxi people. Lijiang has existed for 800 years and was once at the end of a very popular ancient Tibetan trading route. It is now a World Heritage listed site. The city is populated by mainly Naxi people with their vibrant blue traditional dress. Lisu, Pomi and also Han Chinese people populate the city along with a small number of Tibetan people. The town has a thriving arts community and its own traditional music and musical instruments can be heard whilst walking along the narrow cobbled streets. Where ever we look the stunning snow capped peaks of Jade Dragon Mountain commands our view and helps frame our photos. This evening there is an option to watch a traditional Naxi music performance.
Day 8 Half day hike in Lijiang
Today we travel out of town to start a day’s hike (approx. 4-5 hours) around the area to explore it’s rural villages and monasteries. Today we gain an elevation from 2500m to 3400m. We may find ourselves sharing our walking track with donkeys and horses as this is still a popular form of transport in the more remote areas of Lijiang. Our walk is a little steep but well worth the panoramic views that our ascent provides! Our afternoon is spent at leisure in Lijiang exploring the labyrinth of cobble stone alley ways and canals that make that characterize Lijiang.
Day 9 Transfer to Tiger Leaping Gorge, commence hike
After breakfast we continue our journey north and follow the Yangtze River to marvel at the awe-inspiring views of Tiger Leaping Gorge. This gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the world. The sight of the 3900m walls of the gorge, as they drop from the snow capped mountain tops of Haba Shan to the cool gushing waters of Shinsha River, are simply breathtaking! The gorge is considered to be one of the most spectacular natural wonders in all of China. The starting point for our hike is the small town of Qiaotou, where we leave our large backpacks behind for two nights, and take only the most basic essentials in a day pack, which are required to carry for the whole course of the trek. After a slow and steady climb on the high trail, we reach the 24 bends (the most challenging part of the trek), a steep and twisting path gaining some altitude. After stopping for a break we traverse along the gorge to our guesthouse. In the evening we are treated to a night of star gazing staying at a small guesthouse.
Day 10 Morning hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge. Fly to Guilin, transfer to Yangshuo
Today we continue our hike on the along a gentle section of the gorge. After lunch we transfer back to Lijiang for our flight to Guilin. On arrival we transfer directly to the charismatic, colourful town of Yangshuo set amongst the dramatic limestone karsts.
Day 11 In Yangshuo, cycle to Moon Hill
Yangshou is an idyllic town set amidst soaring limestone pinnacles on the banks of the Li River. The surrounding region is very beautiful, spotted with small villages and imposing karst rock formations. This area has long been the inspiration for generations of artists and poets. It is classed by many as the most spectacular area in the whole of China. The village itself has fantastic shopping and restaurants, and an extremely laid-back ambiance. This morning we enjoy a leisurely bike ride around the countryside followed by a visit to Moon Hill which is set alongside the Li River. Moon Hill is a strange limestone pinnacle with a crescent moon-shaped hole at the top. From the top of the hill there is a magnificent view of the layers of mountains and jigsaw landscape of rice paddies for which this region is famous. Make sure you have your camera as the view is incredible! In the afternoon we board a boat and cruise the beautiful Li River, one of the most famous rivers in China, for endless views of striking karst mountains.
Day 12 Tranfer to Guilin, overnight train to Shenzhen
This morning we have time to explore the famous West Street and perhaps practice our bargaining one more time with the many vendors along the street. After lunch we will transfer to the Guilin train station, where will board a comfortable air-conditioned sleeper train to Shenzhen.
Day 13 Transfer to Hong Kong where trip concludes
We arrive in the Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen in the morning (approx 10.30am). Shenzhen is China’s riches city and has become so in just 20 years, before which it was a poor fishing village. Shenzhen straddles the Hong Kong border and it is here that we cross the lively border teeming with transfers from mainland China to Hong Kong. This is an easy, border crossing and your guide will see you to the border. After immigration and customs clearance, you will board a KCR train to Central in Hong Kong. This train ride takes 45 minutes. Our trip concludes in Hong Kong, however ask our staff for information on Hong Kong accommodation packages. If you are heading straight to the airport it is best to book a flight departing after 5.00pm in case of any train or immigration delays. Hong Kong is an intriguing, vibrant city well worth at least 2-3 days exploration. Best of all it is a very easy place to get around with an excellent transport system. Stay a while and take the historic Peak Tram to Victoria Park for the best views of Hong Kong; soak up the glittering skyline from the famous star ferry; try your hand at haggling in the Temple Street Markets or enjoy a “junk” boat ride to Lamma Island for a sumptuous seafood lunch. Please ask our reservations staff for accommodation options in Hong Kong.
- 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
- Comfortable hotels and guest houses on twin share basis
- Internal flights Xian/Lijiang/Guilin valued at US$619
- Soft sleeper train travel between Beijing/Xian and Guilin/Shenzhen
- Private air-conditioned vehicles
- Bike hire as listed in itinerary
- Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
- Expert bilingual guides throughout. For smaller groups of 2 - 5 passengers we employ expert local guides in each location.
- Medical kit
- 13 day trip
- 5 day trek
- 3 day cycle
- 7 nights hotel
- 3 nights guesthouse
- 2 night train
Trip Main Activities
- Adventure Touring
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
A bike helmet is compulsory on this trip. We also highly recommend bike pants, gloves and a gel seat cover for your own comfort. A full gear list will be provided on booking.
What You Carry
Our bikes are fitted with a 'bike pack' which sits on the bike rack to carry essential items with you as you cycle such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a rain coat and your camera. On hiking days you will be required to carry a day pack with your water bottle, rain jacket, sunscreen and other personal items.