Our Three Gorges bike trip which is scheduled for this year’s Sept 20 combines a selection of the most prominent historic and cultural sights of China with a great and authentic experience of rural and urban life in the heart of the country.
On top of this, you get to discover great varied landscapes on a challenging 1000 km ride through the Qinling Mountain Range – all the way to the Yangzi’s famous Three Gorges.
We have divided the tour into five topical stages to convince you of its unique character:
Stage One: Exploring Beijing and its surroundings.
Our hotel in Beijing is located right inside the historic old town. From here, we use public transport or simply walk to explore the historic sights of the Chinese capital: We walk through the “Hutongs”, the traditional back alleys of the city, visit the pretty Temple of Heaven and watch the local pensioners who gather in the park for dancing, exercise, music rehearsals or playing Chinese chess.
Of course we won’t miss the gigantic Tian’anmen Square and Forbidden City and will go out to have a traditional Beijing Roast Duck in the evening. Before leaving the city on a sleeper train to Xi’an, we go on a day trip to a pretty part of the Great Wall which is still spared from mass tourism.
Stage Two: Xi’an, the Terracotta Warriors and Mount Hua
Xi’an used to be the capital of China during the empire’s golden ages and was once the largest and most multicultural city on Earth, marking the start and end point of the famous silk roads. When we explore the city, we can still feel the multicultural vibe in the Muslim quarters.
After climbing the big city wall and having a good view of the old town from above, we have time to discover some of the city’s many food specialties.
On the next day we start the cycling part of our trip. On a short stage, we cycle to the Terracotta Warriors just West of Xi’an and see one of the world’s most impressive tombs. After another day of cycling we reach Mount Hua and then take a whole day to climb the holy Daoist mountain with its many picturesque peaks.
Stage Three: Qinling Mountains and cycling deep into Central China
Mount Hua marks the Northern End of the Qinling mountain range. Here we turn South and start our cycle journey over mountain passes, along rivers and terraced fields, venturing deeper and deeper into central China.
The cities and old towns we see on our way are simply too remote to be included on other travellers’ itinerary. Be prepared to meet locals who have never shook hands with a foreigner before!
On our route through this area we’ll get used to some of Chinese habits, such as the daily group dancing routines on the big city squares – and will have the chance to try many of the great local dishes. Did you know that Shaanxi province is famous for its excellent freshly made noodles? On our cycling stages, those noodles will be the perfect lunch to provide us with energy for the afternoon’s climbs.
Stage Four: The Yangzi and its Three Gorges
After 8 days of cycling we will finally reach the Yangzi at Fengjie. The world’s third longest stream comes from the Himalayan Mountains and flows eastwards to enter the Yellow Sea just a bit north of Shanghai.
We meet the river at its most famous spot: The Three Gorges. The magnificence of the gorges has served as inspiration for many ancient Chinese poets and continues to fascinate the people of the Middle Kingdom.
From Fengjie to Wushan, we cycle along the Qutang Gorge, the first of the three huge ravines. Then we continue our journey downstream until we reach the famous Three Gorges Dam at the end of Xiling Gorge. We’ll have a chance to take a close look at this gigantic project which has sparked worldwide controversy.
Stage Five: Shanghai
A stroll through Shanghai, China’s gate to the West will be the final venture of our journey.
We walk over the World famous Bund and stroll through the city’s shopping district at Nanjing Lu and visit the beautiful Yu Garden. We then cross the Huangpu River and enjoy the view from the top of Pudong’s giant skyscrapers.
After our tour through the Chinese hinterland, we now get a full grasp of the “economic miracle” that drives this country since the 1980ies.