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Tour Description

Western Sichuan - Pandas, Glacier, Tibetan Plateau, and Snowy Mountains 15-Day Bike Tour

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

Balangshan Pass - 4,523 meters (14,835 feet)

Western Sichuan - Pandas, Glacier, Tibetan Plateau, and Snowy Mountains 15-Day Bike Tour

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

Tour 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. There are several days where there will be vehicle support. 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 take a leisurely tour of Chengdu visiting Wenshu Monastery, the River Viewing Pagoda, the Sichuan University Museum and visiting several restaurants for some local culinary specialties.

Pandas On day two, the group will meet in Chengdu in the morning to 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 quiet road leading into the Wolong Panda Reserve.  We will spend the night in Wolong and visit the Panda Research Center the following morning when the pandas are the most active and have plenty of Panda photo opportunities.

On the third day, group will head up to Balangshan Pass (partially using transport) through the Wolong Nature Reserve. The pass is at 4,523 meters (14,835 feet). 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 Girls Mountain. We will spend a day in the area hiking and cycling around this scenic area.

Wori Defensive Tower On the fourth day we will cycle (mostly downhill) to visit the village Wori with an impressive defensive tower and then on to Xiaojin Xian where there is a Buddhist Temple, an Islamic Mosque and a Catholic Church where Mao spent some time on the Long March.   The group will end up in Danba, located on the Dadu River, a major tributary to the Yangzi. Along the way we will visit a lamasery and a Tibetan Buddhist Temple.

The fifth day is a rest day and the group will explore the Danba area including some of the Tibetan Defensive towers the dot the hills around the town.

On day six, the group will go from Danba and head southwest climbing 67 km up the 4,200-meter pass to Bamei on the Tibetan plateau partially using transport.

Tibetan Girls From Bamei and cycling on the Tibetan plateau for 20 or km then head down along a river to Xinduqiao, a small town on the Chengdu-Lhasa highway.

From there we cycle to Kangding, a well-known Tibetan town straddling a fast-flowing river. The next day will be spent cycling and hiking around this area visiting a Tibetan temple and soaking in a hot-springs bath.

On the 10th day, the group will cycle through Luding, a historic place where Chairman Mao crossed the river with his Red Army on his Long March.  Next stop is in Moxi, the gateway to Hailuogou Glacier Park. This is the lowest glacier in Asia and, weather permitting, offers some spectacular views of Gongga Mountain, a peak of 7,556 m (24,784 ft). Hiking, pony treks, mountain biking and hot springs are some of the possible activities. The next day will be spent hiking around the glacier and visiting the hot springs.

Hailuogou Glacier Cycling downhill from Moxi, the group will get transported over the Erliang Mountain (through a tunnel) to Tianshan and then cycle to Lushan.

From Hushan we will cycle to Chonglai. There is an old village nearby that we will explore.

On Day 14, the group will cycle to Anren near Dayi, to visit the Li Landlord Manor. This is a good example of a feudal manor and was used as a re-education center to illustrate the evils of the landlord-serf system and includes an area of over 100 life-size clay figures graphically displaying the downtrodden workers being abused by the landlord. Afterwards, the tour will continue to Xinjin and visit the Bass-relief frescoes at Guanyin Temple and then to Huanglongxi to spend the night. Huanglongxi is a small fishing village that is often used as a set in classic-period movies.

On the last day, the group will cycle back to Chengdu.

Some Photos Highlights in Western Sichuan

A Travelogue in the Western Sichuan.


Day Location Cycling Distance KM/Miles Total Distance KM/Miles SICHUAN PROVINCE
1 Chengdu 18/30 18/30 Meet group members/Brief City Tour - Wenshu Monastery, River Viewing Pagoda, and the Sichuan University Museum
2 Wolong 41/25* 141/86 Take transport to the starting point 100 kilometers, then cycle into the Wolong Nature Reserve.  Visit the Pandas the following morning.


Rilongguan 50/31* 98/60 Partially using transport, head to Balangshan Pass (4,523 meters or 14,835 feet) then cycle down to Rilongguan at the base of the Four Girls Mountains.
4 Danba 120/73 120/73 Cycle mostly downhill to Danba stopping in Wori and Xiaojin to visit defensive tower, Tibetan and Buddhist Monastery and a Catholic Church.
5 Danba 20/12 20/12 Rest day. Explore the Danba area getting a good look at the numerous defensive towers that dot the hills.
6 Bamei 97/59* 97/59 Partially using transport, cycle up to the Tibetan Plateau over a 4,200 meter pass.
7 Xinduqiao 62/37 62/37 Cycle along the plateau at 3,600 meters and then down along a river to Xinduqiao on the Chengdu-Lhasa Highway.
8 Kangding 77/47 77/47 Cycle over a 4,290-meter pass and then down to Kangding
9 Kangding 20/12 20/12 Rest day. Explore Kangding's hills, temples and hot springs.
10 Moxi 43/26* 94/57 Visit Luding, a historic place in Mao's Long March and then cycle to Moxi at the gate to Hailuogou Glacier Park.
11 Moxi 0/0 0/0 Explore Hailuogou Glacier Park, visiting the glacier and hot springs.
12 Hushan 72/44* 161/98 Cycle downhill to Luding, then take transport to Tianqian, and then cycle to Tianqian
13 Chonglai 74/46 74/46 Visit an ancient village.
14 Huanglongxi 58/36 61/37 Cycle to Anren, and visit the Li Landlord Manor used for re-education of the masses during the cultural revolution. Then cycle to Xinjin and visit the Bass-relief frescoes at Guanyin Temple.
15 Chengdu 50/31 50/31 Cycle to Huanglongxi for lunch, an historic village used in many period movies, then cycle to Chengdu, completing the tour.
  Total Distance 851/520 1019/622 * Support vehicle will be provided on these days.


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

Start location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Finish location: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Tour type: This is a partially self-supported tour. On some days there will be vehicle support. (Note: This tour is also available with a dedicated support vehicle at a higher cost.)

Geographical location: Southwest China Elevation range: 1,640 feet (500 meters) to 14,835 feet (4,523 meters)

Terrain: Flat, rolling and mountainous

Cycling tour level: Challenging - alternative transportation may be used when needed

Total cycling distance: Approximately 522 miles (856 km): Average distance per ride day: 37 miles (61 km).

Days: 15

Nights: 15

Click for Chengdu Forecast

Climate: The best time to tour is in the Spring and Fall.

Group size: 1 - 8

Private room supplement: US$-Call/Email

Rental bike: US$-Call/Email.

Accommodations will be basic Chinese hotels generally of the 1-3 star variety. At least once it will be necessary to use a no-star hotel.

The prices are for double occupancy rooms, and will vary depending on the number of people who participate. 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. All hotel accommodations for 15 nights.
2. Meals eaten as group (private meals, snacks and alcoholic beverages are not included).
3. All group land transportation costs (buses, boats, and taxis).
4. All group entrance fees.
5. Rental bikes and related biking gear including helmets, gloves, bike bags and raincapes.
6. Bilingual bike tour guide to accompany the group throughout the tour.

This will be a partially-supported ride. This means that each rider will carry their luggage on their bikes except on Days 2, 3, 6, 10 and 12.

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: -Call/Email
2 people: -Call/Email
3 people: -Call/Email
4-8 people -Call/Email

* 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; Labor Day ; and National Day

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. 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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